Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, September 30, 2005









Southpaw: America, Facism, and God


Southpaw on Davidson Loehr,the minister of the First UU Church of Austin and his concern of America slipping into fascism and fundamentalism.
Even the suggestion that America has fascist tendencies tends to yield yowls of disbelief and ridicule. Set aside, if you can, thinking of Nazism when talking about facism. There are various degrees and types of an -ism apart from the prototype. Assuming that it can't happen here, that America is not and cannot be a fascist state—it's like assuming that we can't be attacked. Any great damage is possible through a thousand small cuts, each of which we might be oblivious to. Even if you don't accept that America is fascist (which I can't say that I do), it is worth asking "How do we keep it from happening?"








Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hurricanes sign of God's Justice

I'll buy that if the DeLay Indictment is a sign that God loves us.



Simple Facts for DeLay Case


From an email:

Here are the facts, which are known from the civil trial evidence. In mid-September 2002, John Colyandro of TRMPAC sent a blank check, from a TRMPAC corporate money account, to Washington D.C. to Jim Ellis, a TRMPAC principal and close aide of Delay's. Ellis filled out the check for $190,000 and delivered it to RNSEC (the Republican National State Elections Committee). The indictment alleges that with the check Ellis gave to RNSEC a written list of seven Texas state representative candidates. Several weeks later, on October 4, RNSEC cut seven "hard money" checks, in sequential order, to these seven candidates, totaling $190,000.

The DA alleges that this is money laundering, i.e., TRMPAC and RNSEC had an agreement to exchange illegal corporate money (which cannot be given to candidates in Texas) for hard individual money. The DA alleges that Delay conspired with Ellis and Colyandro to send this illegal corporate contribution through indirect means (RNSEC) to the seven Texas candidates. The 3 defendants deny that they conspired to exchange illegal corporate funds. This is a classic fact issue for a jury to decide.

We believe our criminal justice system should be allowed to run its course so that justice is done--whatever the jury's conclusion based on the evidence and law.

Fred Lewis
President, Campaigns for People

Please tell your friends to go to www.cleanuptexaspolitics.com and support reform in Texas



Forecasters thinking recession could be coming


After weakest non-recession since 'stagflation' conventional wisdom is pointing to recession.
Many homeowners are betting that their homes will appreciate enough to offset their growing personal debt. Should the economy slow down and home sales drop sharply, these homeowners and their mortgage lenders face financial ruin.



Chain of Dishonor


Joseph Galloway:
If the lowest private fails, then others have failed in training, leading and directing that private. The chain runs from sergeant to lieutenant to captain to lieutenant colonel to colonel to one, two, three and four stars, on to the longest serving, most arrogant secretary of defense in our history, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and beyond him to the commander in chief, President Bush.

It's long past time for responsibility to begin flowing uphill in this administration. It's time for our leaders to take responsibility for what's being done in all our names and under our proud flag. It's time for Congress to do its job if the administration won't do its job.

The Teflon is wearing off this administration in a hurry. It's past time for an end to strutting, victory laps, crowing to the skies and boasting "Bring 'em on!" Now is the time to provide the leadership our troops deserve. Now is the time to state plainly and unequivocally that we are Americans, and we live by a rule of law that protects everyone, even the worst terrorist who ever fell into our hands. Maybe especially the worst terrorist who ever fell into our hands.





Charles Auld's Choice


Charles Auld, a lifelong Republican from Alabama who became a Dean Democrat during Bush's tenure, is leaving. The following is a message he posted to his large mailing list.

On September 24, the day that thousands of patriotic Americans traveled to our nation's capital to protest an immoral war that is being waged in our names, I also boarded a plane; but bound for another country. I left the United States of America that Saturday, and my family and I now reside in Canada. I obtained a Canadian work permit at the port of entry (Toronto) and I stared a new job with a large insurance provider in the province of New Brunswick. I phoned my former supervisor yesterday to let him know I'm not returning to that job, and only to the States to oversee the sale of our property there, and the movement of our household goods and animals to our new home.

Why did I choose to do this? At one time, I might have considered anger the primary motivator; but not now. Most of the anger I've felt in the past has turned to disappointment. I'm terribly disappointed in the people I once respected and often admired back in the States. In the past few years, I've grown to see them as small-minded, parochial, shallow, consummately selfish, and lacking both courage and conviction ... and not people I choose to be identified with.

If you are reading this; you are certainly not one of those people. You are only receiving this now because you have been faithful to true American values from the beginning; you are a person of honor who refused to abandon those principles, even when it became unpopular to stand by them. You refused to accept the notion that disagreement with our leadership is traitorous. Most of you came to know me through the failed campaign of Howard Dean to win the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. That campaign was a noble endeavor.

Your steadfastness will be rewarded. I really believe that. We've all sown seeds that are beginning to germinate, take root, and flourish. Remember the saying that "no single raindrop ever considered itself responsible for the flood" ?

I'll be closing down this mailing list one day soon, I'm not sure how long ago I started this, but I think it was before I read the speech I excerpt below from William Rivers Pitt. I believe this is one of the most inspiring things I ever sent to the list, and I didn't write it. I wish I had, because it expresses the entire spirit which motivated me to do things (only within the past couple of years) that I never even considered doing before. The entire speech is worth re-reading:
At bottom, America is a dream, an idea. You can take away all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies -- you can take all of that away, and the idea will still be there as pure and great as anything conceived by the human mind. I do very much believe that the idea that is America stands as the last, best hope for this world. When used properly, it can work wonders.

That idea, that dream, is in mortal peril. You can still have all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies -- you can have all of that, but if you murder the idea that is America, you have murdered America itself in a way that ten thousand 9/11s could never do. The men and women within this current administration are murdering the idea that is America with their Patriot Acts, their destruction of civil liberties, their lies, their daily undermining of even the most basic tenets of decency and freedom and justice that we have tried to live up to for 227 years.

William Rivers Pitt, a New York Times best-selling author of two books, War On Iraq (Context Books) and The Greatest Sedition is Silence (Pluto Press), in an address delivered August 10, 2003, to the Veterans for Peace National Convention in San Francisco


I love you all. Thanks for being my sounding board and for letting me know I've never been truly alone!

Charles

By the way; I don't want my last message to be taken as disparaging of Americans in general (though I doubt it was taken that way). What I meant was simply this: that nothing our government has done under the Bush administration has dismayed me ... TERRIFIED me ... as much as the response of the American people to those actions. Even the horrendous attacks on the WTC towers in NYC didn't frighten me as much as the response of my neighbors, co-workers, friends and (in some cases) my family.

People, if our value systems change at the whim of malevolent manipulators, they aren't truly values at all. If we have to be told how to act, think and feel; then we have already chosen tyranny.

I think the response to the Katrina disaster has been most encouraging, though ... it's as though people awakened to the reality that they might truly be next. In other words, we're all losing our "safety nets" to encroaching corporatism.

Charles
_______________________________________________
Mylist mailing list
Mylist@aulds.homeip.net
http://aulds.homeip.net/mailman/listinfo/mylist




My connection with Ron Earle


In the interest of full disclosure Ronnie Earle prosecuted a distant cousin of mine - a Democratic politician.

Lane Denton is also known for possibly outing our state governor during his trial.





Those who advocate smaller government also want more pork


Two from Max Speak, You Listen:
In the present period the escalation of pork arguably derives from the doctrine of limited government and from Republican control of all branches of government. If you want less pork, you should relax your ideological barriers to growth in government and throw the Republican bums out.

An interest in simplicity, in the context noted above, creates a bias in favor of local projects, many of dubious value. Animus to new national programs inspires the use of back-door, ad hoc activities financed with borrowed money.



CREW battling the Republican Culture of Corrruption


Since 2003, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and spearhead investigations into Rep. DeLay and his cohorts' blatant violation of House ethics rules, state law and federal law.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Instahack is also a fiscal idiot


Delayed Snark - this got caught in my drafts over a week ago and was forgotten.

Pendagon caught Glenn asking: Where should we cut spending to finance Katrina relief?

Complete list:


Farm subsidies
Federal support for public broadcasting
The DARE program
Congressional travel and staff allowances
All of the above

The stupid factor is, of course, that eliminating these programs entirely is a drop in the bucket of Katrina spending, even with the huge farm subsidy program that Bush approved. This is like paying for a house by deciding to drop a magazine subscription or two. The fact that Reynolds compares the other three programs to agricultural subsidies displays abysmal ignorance.




GOP Reverses, Places Closet Hetero in Backfield


Late this afternoon, Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the majority whip, was appointed temporary House majority leader, with David Dreier of California, the chairman of the Rules Committee, designated to assist him. Earlier in the day, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Speaker J. Dennis Hastert intended to appoint Mr. Dreier to take over for Mr. DeLay.






A Matter of (dis)Honor


Officer unable to obtain answers as to what Bush's War on Terror permits in regard to prisoners.

WP Editorial - How the administration does not respond.
All of which is to say that anything short of outright torture goes -- or, at least, that nothing is absolutely forbidden. The Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to report Mr. Flanigan's nomination to the floor as early as tomorrow. Having only recently confirmed Mr. Gonzales despite his similar refusal to be pinned down, the committee isn't likely to draw the line at Mr. Flanigan. Still, it is an odious thing that the top two law enforcement officers of the United States will both be people who resort to evasive legalisms in response to simple questions about uncivilized conduct. Capt. Fishback should not have to be pleading with senators, as he is now doing, to give "clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals [soldiers] risk their lives for."





Howard Dean 'Texas is holding GOP accountable'


The Raw Story has Dean statement: "Today, the state of Texas is doing what the Republican-controlled federal government has failed repeatedly to do, which is hold Republicans in Washington accountable for their culture of corruption. This alleged illegal activity reaches to the highest levels of the Republican Party.

"With House Republican Leader Tom DeLay under criminal indictment, Senate Republican Leader Frist facing SEC and Department of Justice investigations, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove under investigation, the Republican leadership in Washington is now spending more time answering questions about ethical misconduct than doing the people's business."















U.S. military in Paraguay unsettles South America


Are they planning to take over a large airbase? This was part of the US Columbian involvement plan that was put off by the Iraq War.



CATO is more progressive than Center for American Progress on PBS Yesterday


Lawrence Korb ignores the decimation of FEMA under Bush and urges military disaster government.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer had two think-tank guests discuss Bush's call to place the military in charge of disaster response.

Libertarian CATO's Gene Healy actually advocates the liberal position of keeping standing armies away from keeping the peace domestically.

Lawrence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense for manpower and personnel during the Reagan administration, represented the liberal Center for American Progress and supported Bush.

So the big question, why did the Center for American Progress send a Republican to a high profile interview and have him support what Bush is advocating?










Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tales of Rita 4 - Janette Sexton's Story


I left my home at 2:00 AM Thursday morning and decided to take Highway 90 on my neighbor's advice. Didn't take long to get to the 90 exit off BW8 East, but after that it was bumper to bumper traffic.

Heard they'd opened the I-10 contraflow lanes after 12 hours, so I headed north to Sealy. They were out of gas. They told us the next nearest fuel was at Weimar, so we all piled off there. The service stations were closed, and a church a block away was handing out coffee, softdrinks, small snacks, and allowing us use of their restrooms.

I had half a tank of gas, but I wanted to top it off. I was tired for lack of sleep Wednesday night, so I camped out in line at a Shell station. When I awoke six hours later at 7:00 AM, I was told that I was in "the wrong line" and had to move to the end of the line. I finally left Weimar at 10:00 AM.

Chili was not eating, drinking water, or using potty, so I stopped at a rest area and dug out his litter box. He used the litter box and gobbled down a small portion of his cat treats.

We arrived in SA at 1:00 PM on Friday afternoon. I was exhausted, filthy, and frazzled.

Charlene, who lives on the third floor of a nice apartment complex, actually left her front door unlocked for me. I took a shower and made myself presentable before they returned from lunch.

She is a math teacher and her 16-year-old daughter attends the International School of the Americas. This was through the www.moveon.org web site. Four of the five people I contacted actually responded.

Left SA at 8:40 AM yesterday and arrived home four hours later. There was no flooding, no damage, and I had power.

Took some time to unpack the trunk, back seat, and passenger seat. Watched The Sea Inside (best foreign film) and returned it and another film last night. Nothing was open, and I was hungry, but I came home and snacked on my small nonperishable food supply.

{Work} was closed today, which is going to severely impact my budget, but I cannot help it. I would have gone back to work today if it had been possible.

Glad you all made it through the storm all right. Just heard on the radio that five people were found dead in Beaumont...caused by running a generator in their apartment.




Tales From Rita 3 - My story


I was at first determined to stay but my sister and brother convinced me to go with them, that and a possible 20 foot storm surge in Galveston Bay. Maps show it would flood from La Porte through Deer Park to most of Pasadena. Once I made up my mind they couldn't decide on where to go.

Finally Thursday (correction) morning after an invitation they decided on a good friend of my sisters relatives who lived up by A&M. However Bill had not filled up his tank with gas and we all at different times kept forgetting to load the 25+ gallons of fuel tanks we keep around. We spent almost two hours siphoning gas from from my sister's car to his truck through the tiny ice maker tubing cut from the back of my Dad's refrigerator.

We took two dogs and a cat and hit the rode at 9:20 AM. (Other two cats who are more wild were left with supplies and liter boxes on the 2nd floor.)

Meanwhile Pat was up till early AM capturing her stray cats and went to a friend's house in Humble before 6 AM.

We managed to get to the 290 feeder and saw that 290 was impossible. I realized we could take Clay Road to 6 and try that but soon 740 KTRH recommended that as an alternative as well. The last 45 minutes we had gone just over a mile on Clay Road and I was suggesting checking if David Forbus was riding out the storm although the remaining mile might take an hour by car and I wondered about his roof.

My sister decided to try a friend of hers at Chimney Rock and 59 and we turned around. But then we couldn't reach her by phone. Traffic not headed north out of town was great.

We decided to try my brother's at Wesleyan and Bellaire despite their small house with his sick mother-in-law. He was home preparing a hurricane party and had invited a friend and her animals over. Sue, his wife Amy's mother, had gone to Austin with a nurse friend of hers. Technically we were only on the road from 9:20 to 11:40 AM but an hour and a half of that was to go about 3 miles.

The upscale grocery stores were open till 6 and we stocked up on expensive wines and cheeses and sandwich meat and such. Kat and her daughter and boyfriend showed up and made arrangement to come over Friday morning with her animals and take over one of the two bedrooms. Thursday night I had the couch while my sister Charlene and Bill shared a tiny twin bed . Bill, Charlene and I had the living room to sleep in Friday night. Jim and Amy had their own room.

Watched DVDs (*Team America*, *Harold and Kumar go to White Castle*, *John Cleese's Wine for the Confused*, *The Core*) before the hurricane while grazing and drinking. The animals turned out to be 9 cats, 2 rats and a dog. Like Pat she was rescuing neighborhood cats.

(Have I mentioned I am attracted to animal lovers? And to creative women, and to intelligent women, and to many other women? I agree with my brother, I like women! I like the way the look, the way they walk, the way they smell, the way the think, the way they talk. I like the secret steely core within them all. I like women!)

Left early Saturday after my brother fixed me fried eggs, fresh hash browns, and refried beans. No power in either my Dad's or our house. Could tell that side of Houston had been through a category 1 hurricane winds on the dry side. One inch of water in Dad's rain gauge. Minor damage at our house, a gutter came down and another pulled loose about a foot - it was already a little loose. Our old house had part of a water spout from the gutter detach as well as a couple boards from the fence.

About noon power restored to my Dad's. Most sections around us have power in La Porte including Brent's but not us.

Pat had the worst damage, except for Victory below, - a big tree in her front yard split in half and another large tree in her back yard lost a quarter off the top.

The next day grocery stores and gasoline came back Sunday after noon. Bill went into work at the railroad 2 PM. With still no power in our section of Somerton I spent Sunday moving refrigerated and frozen food back to Dad's and cooking stuff that needed to be used. The cats are staying there but aren't happy about the 86 F. temperature. If it gets warmer we will move them here. But it didn't.

Sunday night power restored and half of cable channels back - but not cable internet. Monday everything OK but I almost had a heat stroke from working outside - we have record breaking temperatures and high humidity.



Tales of Rita - 2


Collections of Tales from Emails by my friends at Apollo Con and Houston SF groups

Victory - Artist
Hey guys, we made it to Henderson.

It was hairy, the traffic was unbelievable, we made it to just
north of Livinston before all of us ran out gas because all the
gas stations had no fuel. We had to overnight next to an Exxon
station. The next moring D.O.T. had a thousand gallon tank of
gasoline and started rationing it out. We waited in line for 5
gallons each from 7am till 3pm. I'm as red as a beet (that damn
Irish blood) the animals had a really hard time, we have 3 large
dogs and 2 cats. The cats had the roughest time. We left Dayton
Thursday at 1pm and got to Henderson Friday 6pm.

We are fine here in the hotel.
However, I had a neighbor call and tell us that our entire fence
and half our roof has blown away, and a large chunk of the side of
the building. The only window we couldn't board, the large bay
window in my studio (figures) broke.

Mark Hall reports on a number of people
Kim and I never got out of Houston. We were going to Dallas anyway for FenCon, but packed a bunch of stuff we wouldn't want to lose if the worst happened. We waited for the traffic to die down, but it never did. On Thursday night, we decided it was better to ride it out in Houston. Bright side: no damage, we didn't lose power, and only lost the cable about 10:30 Sat. morning. Very Lucky, indeed.

About 30 minutes after we made the decision to stay, we heard from David Brummel, who with his wife spent 16 hours or so traveling from Friendswood to the north side of Houston, and was calling to tell us they were turning back. We offered them crash space, and they rode out the storm at our place. The bright side: having guests took our mind off worrying about Rita, we ate pretty well, and Emily is really cool. (You too, David.) BTW, when they got home to Friendswood everything was okay...

Shai and Michael traveled out 290 towards Austin for about 7 hours before turning around, and rode out the storm at a friend's place. They have power, phone.

Anita rode out the storm at her place. She was without power Sat. afternoon.

Rebecca rode out the storm at her house. They were also without power as of Saturday, but it came back on today.

Bill left early Friday morning, and made it to Dallas in 7 hours! Then he gave us grief for not making it to FenCon. Like it was no big deal. Next time I'll ride with him... ;-p

Lee also made it to Dallas and FenCon in about 7 hours, thanks to a Texas road atlas. Russ stayed home. Haven't heard from Russ on their power status.

Mark Hayes
The trip to Huntsville, that takes 2 hours regularly, took 23, including sleeping in the car in a hotel parking lot. Hundreds more were with us, and it was incredible. I'm sure a move-of-the-week will be written........

Made it back to Houston in 2 hours Sunday, only to find the power at about 6 homes dead. They say it will be a week, but we are optimistic. We are staying at the Camden Plaza Hotel [deleted address and phone]. I'm at my office reconnecting the systems, and no one else here.

Mom is tough, otherwise she would have not made it thru the last few days.

Clifford and Margaret, Clif was developing his own hurricane modeling system which would be an improvement - most of the ones in use are not dynamic enough.
I went down and picked my mother up on Wednesday and got her and her van to my sister's. Thursday morning, the four of us caravaned in two vehicles headed for cousin Karen's in Dallas to ride it out up there. We didn't want to use up Karen's food and thought a storm that headed north might knock the power off even that far North, so we were well provisioned, and with full gas tanks.

Then began the nightmare of the freeway. It would take an hour to get a single exit north. The radio said that they were opening both sides of the freeway with traffic on both sides going north at a time that kept getting later and later. Every so often an ambulance would make it through the crowded traffic. By the afternoon we finally saw traffic going north both ways but it didn't really help. Gas stations were inundated and closed. The radio news was reporting people taking the better part of a day to work their way through Houston. Some people would use the shoulders to wizz by traffic, till traffic there stopped when they came to someone who had run out of gas. Then the shoulder and regular lanes had to merge slowing everybody down, but once they got past they would do it again. Traffic was so slow that passengers would jump out of their cars, cross the stalled feeder roads to use the restroom and buy food and then walk to catch up with their car. People kept trying to cut between us and it was a constant battle to keep the two cars together.

The Governor and Mayor came on the radio and was proud of the contra-flow and the fact so many people had been evacuated out of Houston. We got a brief spurt of 15mph that seemed like speeding and then things backed up again as we came to Conroe. Police blocked the entrances and exits and were starting to get seriously concerned about fuel.

By early (maybe 2AM) Friday morning we hit Huntsville, couldn't get a hotel room for love nor money. We spent the night in a Kroger parking lot in a line for a gas station. At 4 AM the gas station lights came on and with police at hand started to pump gas. About two cars got gas and the pump that pumps gas from the storage tank to the machines died and so it station had gas, but no way to get it to people. We spent the night in the corner of the Kroger parking lot.

The next morning my sister got a hotel on her cell phone that was putting up evacuees in their lobby and meeting room space until the storm was passed. Their meeting room had a large glass window, and so after a couple of hours, we were evacuated to the Huntsville fairgrounds. We spent that night and the next in a large metal building with 1,200 other people fleeing the storm. We were better
provisioned than most, some of which had been rescued from their cars, but for bedding we had our emergancy blankets stretched out over a concrete floor. The building would have been a bad joke in a tornado, but it got us through the edges of the hurricane just fine. My sister got us a reservation for a room in a Super 8 motel after two nights and so last night was our first good sleep in awhile.

Had neighbors check my mothers house and all is ok except a light pole in her back yard got knocked over and narrowly missed knocking out her power and electrical connections. Called my sister's, mother's and my and Margaret's answering machines and since they are answering we are confuident we have power.

Keith
I am safe in Denton. 35 hours on the road to get out of Houston,
but made it okay. Sounds like things won't be as bad in Houston as previously thought, but still glad to not be there for the storm.

Arwen in Pasadena
Hey everybody, Ralph and I are ok, too. There were just very slight winds here in Pasadena. Only a few branches came lose from our trees. Not much wind at all and virtually no rain.

Ralph and I were not able to make it out, because we have an older model car and it would have never made it and we would be broken down on the side of the road.

Tim and Lisa
We went to Lufkin-Huntington and sheltered there. I have family in nearby state of Arkansas. We thought about going there but decided to stay as local as we could.

We bolted early (before the voluntary re-entry plan)my animals were alone and I was very upset we couldn't take them. My kids went with their boyfriends/girlfriends except one son stayed with us and that was all we could fit-with supplies for several days. Even with only three people and taking the seats out of the RAV we were packed tight. Unfortunately, my best friend's Mother came and got her to go to Vidor, Texas, we were going to pick her up! I heard her ask on the local radio for her sister and her sister's daughter to call in. They were separated from her-this is just before we got the eye of the hurricane ourselves, I don't know what's become of my friend, there is no answer on her Father's telephone. My sister in Arkansas has an SCA friend (formerly named Barbara Armstrong, since remarried) who was there in Vidor, and emailed her and said everything was flattened except her own mobile home in that section of Vidor.

We drove back down Hwy. 69-the locals had mercifully and blessedly cleared enough for a getaway-the devastation was unbelievable. We had no choice about power lines, either, I dodged most of them, my Husband was preety freaked out, but I am a very determined person and I went off raod when I had to to dodge the lines and downed trees. If you can get in to Houston, consider using the Beltway from 1-10. We passed through Beaumont without exits-DPS had closed them. That was fine-going straight into it all might seem stupid-but I am not one to follow the crowd and for us, the counter-intuitive move was correct.

We got in Saturday afternoon. Clean up was minimal. I want to praise the good people of Lumberton, Jasper, and woodville, and other small towns who got up and cleared roads.

Lee and Russ
Everything is cool here. Russ stayed home to ride out the storm, and says we never even lost power. It took 6 or 7 hours to get from here to Dallas, largely thanks to getting off the main highways which were still backed up; the worst delay was caused by several miles of backup in front of one station that had gas on a 2-lane road. Getting back took about the same length of time -- I got off 45 at Madisonville and went down state Hwy 75 instead as far as Conroe, then ran the feeder until I got past Hwy 1488, which is where the road widens from 4 lanes to 6. After that it was smooth sailing.

We have to turn around again and leave on Thursday morning for Archon. Positive thoughts would be appreciated -- this hurricane business has cost Russ a week of printing time that he couldn't afford to lose.

Brent and Cherie
Brent and Cherie are in Tyler TX with her relatives. 30 hours on the road. Truck abandoned and stored at a car shop in Cleveland. It ran out of gas. Thistle and Lil miss are fending for themselves like they wanted.

Amy S. and Paul
Hi folks, just letting you know Paul and I are staying with friends in Ft. Worth.

We were able to bring all our cats, who are understandably freaked after the 20 hour ordeal of getting here. That was the longest, scariest night of my life, and it already seems like a bad dream. I'm trying not to think about what we might find when we return.



Tales of Rita I


Drivers stranded on I-10

I have just two pieces of advice for anyone who has to
flee a large metropolitan area in the face of a
Category 5 hurricane: Be sure you have a Magellan
RoadMate and a Japanese car. Let me explain.

My 14-year-old son, Sam, and I left Houston at 10:30
Thursday morning with our golden retriever, headed for
my parents' condo in San Antonio. This is normally a
three-hour drive. My neighbor, offering to share his
hotel room at the Hilton downtown, warned me not to
go-"It's anarchy out there," he said-but by then I was
packed and was being drawn out of town by
progressively more anxious calls from my parents and
my boss. My husband, a newspaperman, had to stay. He
kissed us goodbye like someone forced to stay in
Atlanta as Sherman approached.

I was not particularly worried about Rita. I grew up
with hurricanes, starting with Carla in 1962, and
spent Alicia, in the early '80s, calmly babysitting my
friend's cats while the wind howled around us. In
anticipation, I stocked the house with canned goods,
flashlights, and batteries; got cash from the ATM; and
filled up the car day before yesterday-go or stay, I
was as ready as a Girl Scout trying to win her
preparedness patch. I thought I even had a good
alternate route out of town: I was going to go south
and then head west on 90A, a back road I'd taken a few
times before to San Antonio. If the phrase "going
south" strikes you as somewhat ominous, please note
that I have been living in Hurricane Central for the
last few weeks, and was gripped by serious denial

And so, Sam, Chuy, and I drove toward the coast, out
Main Street and on to 90A, where there was, indeed, no
traffic. At all. Somewhat further on we sped past a
beat-up scarlet Nissan with the words "Rita, go away
bitch" spray-painted on the back window. Fifteen
minutes later, we hit gridlock. To the right of me was
a family that had three kids and a bright cockatoo
flittering out of its cage. Behind me was an Asian
couple who took no solace from the smiling, happy
Buddha on the dashboard of their pickup. In front of
me, as far as the eye could see, were cars, bumper to
bumper. "I think there's a wreck up there," a driver
with binoculars told me hopefully. Meanwhile, the
radio DJs kept using the word "catastrophic" and
talking about "the cone of uncertainty"-that area
where the storm might or might not hit, which included
the exact point at which we were stuck. I had the air
conditioner on-at the lowest setting, mixed with
outdoor air, which by then was already 100 degrees. My
son and I were both the color of tomatoes, and the
dog's panting was starting to sound like coronary
disease.

We sat there for two hours, during which time we moved
exactly three-tenths of a mile by my speedometer's
reckoning. I kept checking the gauges on my 9-year-old
Honda Accord's dashboard-so far, all was well. I had
about three-quarters of a tank of gas-I'd run a few
errands on Wednesday, but the car wasn't overheating.
I figured I needed only a half-tank to get home to San
Antonio, and we had about 48 hours until Rita came
ashore. Still, at the rate we were moving, the odds
weren't good. I turned off 90A the first chance I got.

We were somewhere near the suburb of Missouri City in
what was most definitely a mandatory evacuation area.
We spent the next hour or so heading north again, past
oversized tract homes that, if past experience was any
indication, might not be there when we returned. Every
gas station we passed either had long lines in front
of it or bright yellow plastic ribbons tied over the
tank handles, indicating they were out.

I remained calm, and couldn't figure out why, since
it's not my normal state. Then I realized I wasn't
calm-that this quiet focus was what it felt like to be
terrified. I had visions of riding out the storm in
Southwest Houston-a part of town I avoid on the best
days-while the water rose up around the Accord, the
dog whimpering as Sam and I huddled together, waiting
for the end in a Ross Dress for Less parking lot. I
thought about turning back home, too, but I kept
worrying about the pine tree in our backyard crashing
through the roof. I wondered, briefly, how long our
neighbors would realistically let us stay at the
Hilton, and how long the Hilton would realistically
let us all stay. (During Alicia, the hotels pushed
everyone out once the power went off.) Then I thought
of my parents' condo, with computers, clean beds, and
air conditioning. I pushed on, toward I-10, despite
increasingly alarming reports on the radio about
people running out of gas and further blocking the
highway, where many drivers had already been stranded
since the night before. "Better start rationing those
Doritos," I told Sam, who had already gone through one
bag and three Capri Suns with electrolytes, while the
dog had already drunk two bottles of Ozarka.

It took about three hours heading dead west on
side-streets before I reached the approach to I-10. It
was utterly jammed. Then I remembered my husband's
Christmas present to me last year-a GPS device called
the Magellan RoadMate. That may not sound like the
most romantic gift, but I spend a lot of time in the
car, and a lot of that time on strange roads on the
verge of being very, very lost. "Turn on the
RoadMate," I said to my son.

The RoadMate displays a map so detailed that even the
most directionally challenged can find their way to
their destination. I decided to skip the freeway and
let the RoadMate guide me. At 1:23 the radio brought
news that the first rain bands had reached the coast.

By then we were on a series of farm roads, driving
about 50 mph toward San Antonio, tacking first west,
then northwest, then west again, according to the
computer on my dash. I knew most of the towns, with
their wonderful German and Central European
names-Waelder, Wiemer, Schulenberg, New Ulm-but had
forgotten how pretty and pastoral they are, racing
around Texas on the interstates as I do. While the
radio was predicting Armageddon, we drove past gnarled
live oaks and sable herds of cattle, crossed the
Brazos near Columbus, and veered past
turn-of-the-century homes that were still waiting for
gays and yuppies from the city to take them over. We
pulled into a general store called "Po Boys Gas." It,
too, was out of gas, and mobbed by desperate
Houstonians in search of homemade sandwiches (there
were none) and bottled water (supplies were
dwindling). "Oh, I forgot to tell you," Sam said, when
we were further down the road, "The lady back there
told me I-10 is open on both sides now."

We used the navigator to tack south-past a house
inexplicably decorated with four knights in shining
armor out front-and got to the interstate, where,
indeed, traffic was now moving at 60 mph on four
lanes, all of them headed west. There were families
picnicking at underpasses, and cars broken down along
the road-clearly out of gas-but the traffic moved, so
we stayed on until my boss called to tell me that I
should get off the highway because it was going to
bottleneck in Seguin, where the four lanes went down
to two again. We had lost the radio by then, and so
were blissfully free of horrifying news.

A few miles later we turned off the AC-I was down to a
quarter of a tank, probably enough to get to San
Antonio but I wasn't taking chances. We rolled down
all the windows, and soon, the car filled up with
glistening gold hairs floating in the air-my dog
shedding in the breeze.

We cut south. It was close to 6 p.m., the sun was
starting to set, a bright orange ball with the kind of
rays you see in children's paintings, filtered through
the beginnings of the fluffy cumulus clouds that
signal storms on the way. Even this far west, people
had boarded up windows of their homes-no one here
needs a DJ to tell them hurricanes can change
direction overnight. We finally pulled into a gas
station that had lines but also gasoline, filled the
tank, and, air cooled again, tacked northwest for the
30 or so miles toward my parents' place. We had been
on the road for nine hours. Near Seguin I passed a
high school jammed with people and bright yellow buses
and assumed it was a shelter. Then I looked again:
Crowds had collected on small bleachers, and there
were kids in pads and uniforms on the field. I had
forgotten: This was Texas. They were just playing
football.


Mimi Swartz is an executive editor at Texas Monthly




Natural gas woes bigger story than crude oil

Having seen his prediction that crude oil prices would reach $65 a barrel become reality, Dr. Michael Economides is making equally bold predictions about natural gas.

Natural gas prices, he said Wednesday while visiting Midland to address the Permian Basin section, Society of Petroleum Engineers, will reach $20 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) around Christmas.

Having forecast $65 oil, he said, he's now predicting $100 oil "but I'm not impressed with that. Natural gas is the real story."

...All these factors have combined to form what Economides called a "perfect storm -- a double Category 5 perfect storm" to drive prices higher. And next month, he predicted, oil companies will have a major public relations disaster on their hands as they begin reporting historically high third quarter profits that will be "obscene even by our obscene standards."

el - A local energy expert notes that two years ago Economides was on panels pooh-poohing the concept of "peak oil" and a big rise in energy costs. I have previously noted rumors that the price of gasoline is now being surpressed by the gasoline companies who can well afford it to reduce calls for government intervention.


Monday, September 26, 2005



Bush off the wagon


National Enquirer breaks the story that has been circulating since 9/11. Pressure makes Bush turn to booze. Capital Hill Blue has had the most reports of his drinking.




Backlash at Oil Companies - 4 in 5 want a windfall profits tax


40MPG.ORG

el- Industry holding prices down after Rita and record breath-taking profits currently. Insiders say companies trying to quietly defuse public anger and introduce a more gradual rise.





Why we have to get our troops out of Iraq


Juan Coles - We are making things worse - not better.

ADDED - Medium Lobster knows this "by goading possible terrorists to become terrorists, it allows America to fight them in the present so that it doesn't have to fight them in the future. For in the future, terrorists will not be armed with mere roadside bombs and hijacked airplanes, but robot bombs and robot airplanes, which will be able to perform millions more explosions per second than the clunky, outdated terrorists of today.

"Indeed, America should do more to antagonize potential enemies, as the best chance for victory against any of them is to defeat them now in the ultimate preemptive strike before they can grow stronger later. The Medium Lobster suggests that America embark on a campaign to systematically alienate the world by discarding international treaties and agreements, broadly violating widely-held tenets of international law, encouraging its military to violate the most basic human rights of its prisoners, and appointing deranged nihilists to positions of authority in the United Nations."




Beyond DeLay who are the most corrupt members of Congress?


DeLay is in a class by himself but who else is a problem? This site has chosen 13.

# Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
# Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA)
# Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
# Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
# Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
# Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
# Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
# Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
# Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
# Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
# Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
# Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
# Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

What has Maxine done? Enriching her family with shakedowns of other politicians. Hey, if anyone should be screwed it is probably more politicians. Let's give her a medal and go after the rest.



Houston Anti-Bush Katrina Rap hugely popular

An unlicensed rap song describing the frustration of African-American evacuees has been made available free on the Internet. The song, "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People," by the Houston duo called the Legendary K.O., vividly recounts the plight of those who endured the hurricane, occasionally using crude language in the process. It has already been downloaded by as many as a half-million people. The videos have been seen by thousands.












Would you believe...


American Samizdat: Neocon who mistreats women owns Suicide Girls
Suicide Girls is owned by Sean Suhl. "Missy" is just a figurehead, and Playboy has or had some sort of partnership with Suicide Girls, but they do not own it. Suhl's listed as the only authorized representative for the company. If Missy ever owned a stake in it, she doesn't now.

Suhl's a neoconservative white male. The site's blog used to be filled with right wing rants. Mostly foreign policy stuff like pro-war and violent anti-Palestinian stuff. But perhaps they've realized they were alienating a lot of their readers and models and have now made the blog open for anyone to post, and it now appears to lean towards the left.






New rushed constitution points Iraq toward civil war: report

The ICG regrets that Bush's administration "chose to sacrifice inclusiveness for the sake of an arbitrary deadline, apparently in hopes of preparing the ground for a significant military draw-down in 2006".

Amid increasing domestic calls for the US to pull troops out and with "scant evidence of progress on the ground... meeting political deadlines has become a substitute for genuine progress."









Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bad things to get for hurricanes


Hand held battery powered personal fans from Academy Sports and Outdoors. Both did not work.

Package of 3 lighters from Everything's-A-Dollar store. One did not work.

Too much fresh fruit.

Frozen items - I was smart enough to avoid the last.



4 PM Sunday Rita Update


Major grocery stores open in Deer Park and La Porte and Pasadena. Home Depot and Lowes open for home repair supplies. Around noon gas stations at HEB and WalMart as well as a Citgo opened.

Our house in La Porte still without power. Hot and humid - inside downstairs 86 F., upstairs 90 F. but breeze from windows open. Cats have been left there and are not too happy but busy catching up on sleep.

I made trips unloading refrigerators and freezers. Opening freezer to unload accelerates the warming process.

At Dad's house in La Porte have been cooking things like hamburger and chicken buffalo wings that became defrosted.



Update Sunday AM - Post Rita


Some areas of La Porte and Deer Park remain without power. Areas along major streets were restored first.

A CiCi's pizza buffet on Spencer, an icehouse bar along Red Bluff and a donut shop on Pasadena Blvd. were first retail establishment to open yesterday. Some convenience store/gas stations have reopened their stores but have no gas. An unmarked white gas tanker was seen in La Porte on Spencer Hwy. yesterday but it was unclear where it was headed.

An extended post will be done as soon as we have power and cable back in our house in La Porte. This is being posted from my Dad's house on the Pasadena/Deer Park border off of Pasadena Blvd.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Leaving AM


Up past 2 AM but no decision reached as to where to go.

This morning just after 6 AM we are headed out to friends of Charlene's in Bryan/College Station.

Rita approaching Galveston. Landfall expected as strong category 4 but with storm surge of category 5.

Track Rita.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rita is now Houston's 'Perfect Storm'


Two days ago the Science Guy at the Houston Chronicle depicted what would happen in a worst case scenario. Rita is following that path with a higher intensity.

A 20 foot storm surge in Galveston Bay could flood over 500,000 homes.

Meanwhile the storm coming in at Freeport, close to current projection, produces winds in excess of 120 mph that tear through Houston.

We are leaving tonight for either Jackson Mississippi area or Clarksville Ark., both Super-8 said were closest areas with available hotel space for tomorrow night. I have a courtesy reservation till 6 PM tomorrow for Clarksville, 90 miles north of Hot Springs but the others are leaning toward Jackson Mississippi.

Meanwhile my ex-wife is rescuing neighborhood stray cats to try to protect them from the storm surge. She is planning just to go to Humble. Still in the new hurricane zone but away from flooding which is the worst danger.

If I was by myself I would stay in the 2nd floor of our house but I'm not.



Moving to Deer Park


Higher ground at my Dad's which has never flooded. He is in Tenn. on vacation. Will try to continue from there. Will deal with possible mandatory evacuation tomorrow.






Mandatory Evacuation for parts of Harris County


Well this sucks, as of 6 AM tomorrow we are supposed to be included in a mandatory evacuation zone. All the purple areas on this map. (I also posted this map down below.)

The reason? If hurricane Rita turns closer toward us Galveston Bay would have an over 20 foot storm surge.

La Porte is issuing a mandatory evacuation notice and a neighbor reports they will turn off water tomorrow.

Added - Found out we are in the 2 AM mandatory evacuation part of La Porte. We will probably go to my Dad's house in Deer Park. We called the DP police and they will keep city services running until and if they have sustained winds of 50 mph.











3:30 PM Wednesday in La Porte/ Deer Park/ Pasadena


All routes leading North from Clear Lake and more Southern areas are bumper to bumper.

Scattered stores are closed and boarded up. An example would be Kohl's Department Store. HEB Grocery was surprisingly not crowded but some staples were gone. They are closing at 6 PM and will reopen Sunday depending on conditions. Academy Sports and Outdoors was being boarded as I entered and all of the store closed except for a few possible hurricane items near the front. The rest of the store was roped off and closed. Odds and ends available but they were closing by 6 PM. Mini-flashlights and coolers available and Coleman propane lanterns (but no propane) were the major items available.

Picked up candles at a Everything's-A-Dollar store.

Good supplies to get - peanut butter, bagels, bread, Apples, fruit juice, mosquito repellent, soup, crackers, candy, cookies, and candles.

Filled tank with gas at HEB - 261.9. Only needed 6.7 gallons but that seemed a good price compared to what I expect after the hurricane. Ten minute wait but I had more of a problem with my gas tank being on the passenger's side and not the driver's. Over 80% of vehicles are the other way and I couldn't get in a correct line with the right facing. Damn it, I forgot and left the gas cans at home.

Nephew has gone to Austin with his birth mother - 4 hours to get to Katy.

Watching news - if I lived on the west side of Houston I would be evacuating. Will this extra forty mile distance be enough?

My Red Cross source has gone to stay with a friend who lives by Houston Intercontinental Airport. About 20 miles north of her house in Pasadena just below HWY 225. My brother and family are staying in old house in central - west Houston area. He is off getting supplies.

Only about one in ten homes here are getting boarded up. More businesses are. I guess they saw they couldn't count on help from the authorities to control looting.

Overall the scene is like what I would expect if the hurricane was a day closer. Katrina and the lack of federal response has scared people. A category 4 and 5 hurricane scares people.



Official News


HURRICANE LOCAL STATEMENT HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR HARRIS COUNTY VALID FROM WED SEP 21 2005 03:22 PM CDT UNTIL WED SEP 21 2005 05:30 PM CDT.

RITA A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE WITH WINDS NEAR 140 MPH... ...COASTAL FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FOR THE UPPER TEXAS COAST... ...THIS STATEMENT APPLIES TO THE RESIDENTS OF...GALVESTON... JACKSON...MATAGORDA...FORT BEND...WHARTON...HARRIS...BRAZORIA... LIBERTY AND CHAMBERS COUNTIES... ...

WATCHES/WARNINGS IN EFFECT... A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE UPPER TEXAS COAST FOR THURSDAY NIGHT.(el - note this is 24 hours before landfall)

...EVACUATION INFORMATION... FOR JACKSON COUNTY... MANDATORY EVACUATION HAS BEEN DECLARED FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTY. FOR MATAGORDA COUNTY... MANDATORY EVACUATION FOR THE SOUTHERN TWO THIRDS OF THE COUNTY WILL BE IN EFFECT AT 6 PM. FOR GALVESTON AND BRAZORIA COUNTIES...VOLUNTARY EVACUATION IS IN PROGRESS. MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITIES IS UNDERWAY. ON GALVESTON ISLAND... BUSES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTER ON BROADWAY AFTER 10 AM FOR PERSONS WITH NO OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. IF THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF RITA'S TRACK IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS...A MANDATORY EVACUATION OF GALVESTON AND BRAZORIA COUNTIES IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN AT 6 PM TODAY. VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS ARE ALSO IN PROGRESS THIS EVENING FOR LOW LYING AREAS OF CHAMBERS COUNTY... HARRIS COUNTY... AND THE CITIES OF HOUSTON...SEABROOK AND BAYTOWN DECISIONS CONCERNING EVACUATIONS FOR OTHER COUNTIES AND COMMUNITIES WILL BE MADE LATER TODAY.

SCHOOL...GOVERNMENT...AND HOSPITAL FACILITY CLOSINGS... MOST INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN GALVESTON...BRAZORIA...AND SOUTHERN HARRIS COUNTIES WILL BE CLOSED. IN ADDITION...ALL SCHOOLS IN THE SAN JACINTO COLLEGE DISTRICT AND BRAZOSPORT COLLEGE WILL BE CLOSED. GALVESTON COUNTY GOVERNMENT FACILITIES WILL ALSO BE CLOSED TODAY. THE JAMAICA BEACH OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WILL BE CLOSED. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDICAL BRANCH (UTMB) IN GALVESTON WILL BE CLOSED. NO MEDICAL CARE WILL BE AVAILABLE AT UTMB HOSPITAL FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. ...

STORM SURGE AND TIDES
... TIDE LEVELS ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING NEAR NORMAL ALONG THE UPPER TEXAS COAST. TIDE LEVELS ARE EXPECTED TO GRADUALLY BEGIN RISING ON THURSDAY AS SWELLS ASSOCIATED WITH HURRICANE RITA BEGIN PROPAGATING ACROSS THE COASTAL WATERS. THIS POTENTIAL WATER LEVEL RISE COUPLED WITH THE HIGH TIDE CYCLE BEGINNING THURSDAY EVENING AND PERSISTING DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS INTO EARLY FRIDAY MORNING WILL LIKELY RESULT IN MINOR COASTAL FLOODING ACROSS THE LOWEST AREAS ALONG THE COAST AND ADJACENT TO THE BAYS. MORE SIGNIFICANT COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED TO OCCUR AT THE SUBSEQUENT HIGH TIDE CYCLE WHICH WILL BEGIN FRIDAY EVENING AND CONTINUE INTO SATURDAY MORNING. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE HIGH TIDE TIMES FOR THURSDAY EVENING AND EARLY FRIDAY MORNING...AS WELL AS THE PREDICTED WATER LEVELS. LOCATION HIGH TIDE TIME EXPECTED WATER LEVEL RELATIVE TO MEAN LOWER LOW WATER PLEASURE PIER 937 PM CDT THU 4.5 FEET PORT BOLIVAR 1123 PM CDT THU 3.7 FEET GALVESTON CHANNEL 1109 PM CDT THU 3.7 FEET SAN LUIS PASS 1100 PM CDT THU 3.5 FEET JAMAICA BEACH 147 AM CDT FRI 3.2 FEET MORGANS POINT 930 AM CDT FRI 3.2 FEET EAGLE POINT 303 AM CDT FRI 3.2 FEET FREEPORT 949 PM CDT FRI 4.2 FEET PORT OCONNOR 451 AM CDT FRI 3.3 FEET CLEAR LAKE 514 AM CDT FRI 3.1 FEET (el - meaning a 4 foot storm surge 24 hours before the big surge of which no predictions have been made.)

WIND IMPACTS... TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO REACH THE UPPER TEXAS COAST UNTIL FRIDAY AFTERNOON. .

RAINFALL... NO SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL IS EXPECTED ALONG THE UPPER TEXAS COAST THROUGH THURSDAY.




Local paper has nothing online about Rita yet


But they do have a new article about Rosie's struggle to save her brother's house from city hall. Sister vows to fight uphill battle for home





Bush, Katrina and the Media


Consortiumnews.com: "What’s been so surprising about the U.S. news media’s coverage of George W. Bush’s Katrina debacle is that leading journalists finally have broken with a five-year pattern of protecting both Bush and his presidency."



HISD Schools closed Thursday and Friday

If citizens need assistance evacuating and have no means of transportation, reach out to neighbors and family. You may also call 311, or (713) 837-0311 if that number does not work, to inquire about transportation help.

To access shelter information, call the United Way's helpline at 211, which is a statewide number.

The FEMA disaster recovery center will be suspending operations at 3 p.m. Wednesday and reopening as soon as possible after the storm.




Received my first panicked phone call


Didn't get to sleep until after 6:30 and a friend of mine calls me panicked just after 10 AM.

"Where are you going? It's time to get out of here!"

Me groggy, "Has the course changed?"

"It's headed straight for us and it's bad news. I don't want to die! Maybe I'll go to Huntsville and stay in a shelter. What are you doing?"

"As of late last night staying here unless it looked like it would hit closer. Let me get online and check."

"I've only been through one hurricane and I don't want to do that again in a monster hurricane."

Me: "It looks like they shifted it a bit further South. Without my glasses I am not sure. But it is not closer and not headed right at us."

By that time I had lost her cell phone connection.

I had promised my sister and nephew I would make them some CD's by this morning.

Of course, Cakewalk Pyro decided not to recognize my CD Burner again. This is a known common problem with the software. It is especially common with my model of CD burner which provides no CD writer drivers of its own but relies on the music software to create any kind of CDs. Pyro wants to be the only software on your PC that is able to talk to that CD drive. Any other programs can cause Pyro not to recognize the CD burner. My version of Pyro is also 3 years old with no free upgrades available. I have other music software so this has happened before.

I had to go through all my songs on my computer, 2800 of them, volume equalizing them so Windows media player could create good sounding CD's for my sister.

That was fine except WMA cannot produce a data CD that I promised my nephew. I had to transfer his 5 CD's worth of songs to my sister's portable PC to create his. The first one did not verify. So that is why I was up till after 6 AM.

Then my sister did not take her CD to work.

I need coffee.



Daily Howler catches three journalistic howlers


The Washington Post obsesses over teenage oral sex when the incidence of regular sex is 1% behind, Friedman slams American public education but ignores important facts in the report he uses, and Newsweek tells an amazing story of a clueless out-of-touch President but then loses track of the real narrative.



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lovely Rita Meter Maid Approaching Texas

Retail establishments are going full blast in the Houston Area with the big stores having long lines and some hurricane related supply shortages. The big things are bottled water and plywood and gas although generators are also not to be had.

Really, why are people wasting money on bottled water? Fill up your tubs and sinks and all containers -- FRIDAY if you stay or tomorrow if you are leaving. This is panic buying after all the images of Katrina.

Gas stations are running out of gas. I will have to shuffle cars in a bit to fill up my truck.

This area around here of La Porte, Deer Park and Pasadena, is only in the Hurricane level 4 or 5 evacuation zone. And that if it was coming straight toward us. Right now it looks like we will get 70 mph winds perhaps if it stays aiming to the south and a lot of rain for less than a day.

Our concerns are mainly flooding. This area did flood because someone panicked and released some water with nowhere for it to go during tropical storm Allison several years ago (2001). This is that tropical storm that stalled and then hit the Houston area twice and some highways ended up with over 10 feet of water. Our family has moved to higher ground 6 houses away, the city and county have added more drainage and retention ponds and said they have a better control over the dam release since last time.

We are not panicking and my sister is making fun of all those who are. Of course, she seemed to be sticking with an obsolete forecast that it will hit Corpus or Brownsville and totally dismissed the one forecast that had Galveston as the target instead of the current Matagorda.

Here is a good Houston-Galveston area hurricane evacuation zone map if you have a PDF reader.

I'll post a section with this. Blue needs to evacuate, yellow evacuate on a category 2 or 3, purple on a category 4 or 5. We have a two story house but will evacuate on a 3 or 4 headed toward us. Leave it to Pacific Views to have a copy of the forecast where we would evacuate.



More Morford - God Loves The 1974 VW Dasher

We invaded Iraq, by and large, to protect our strategic oil interests, to lock down that desperately needed 10 percent of the world's supply by whatever violence and blood and dead disposable U.S. soldiers necessary. And as a vicious adjunct, Bush recently signed the worst energy bill you will ever see in your lifetime: $12 billion worth of the most disgusting pork you ever laid eyes on, billions for oil and useless bridges and nauseating pet projects, and barely a penny of it goes toward renewable energy technologies or alternative fuels or conservation, and almost all goes toward BushCo's profiteering thugs in the corporate marketplace. Go, USA!

I love my new car. I enjoy the fact that, by choosing this model, I tried to minimize its impact on the world, short of giving up driving entirely and getting a bike. But I hate that it is, in the most vital way, no better than my mom's Dasher, 30 years ago. I hate the fact that, despite all our protests, despite all our gizmos and high-tech dazzle, the Powers That Be still don't seem to care.

Are we not gods? Are we not on our way to the stars? Hell no, we're not. In many ways, we haven't even left the damn driveway yet.



George W. Bush Still Rocks! The CEO president is executing his job requirements perfectly


Morford: The truest measure of any president, of any leader, is how well he takes care of his own people. And Bush, well, Bush has done a simply spectacular job of taking care of exactly his own people -- the wealthy, the corporate, the extreme religious right, his core base of supporters -- while happily and fiercely ignoring, restricting, condemning, destroying the rest.



Hurricane Rita - Trouble at the gas pumps


My nephew just came in from Walmart. Says there are 40 minute lines at the pumps.

He was also involved when someone pushed an old guy and tried to take his large filled gas can. He held the guy until the cops arrived and they filed charges.

Several reports of empty shelves in grocery stores and home improvement centers for the typical stuff. I need to get gas but will wait for late tonight since I didn't get it earlier like I should have.





Hurricane Rita Heading Toward Texas Coast As Major Storm


Hurricane Rita: The status so far

RITA MOVING INTO GULF OF MEXICO & INCREASING IN INTENSITY.

THIS STATEMENT APPLIES TO THE RESIDENTS OF.JACKSON.MATAGORDA. FORT BEND.WHARTON.HARRIS.BRAZORIA.LIBERTY & CHAMBERS COUNTIES.

CURRENT STORM INFORMATION.

LOCATION.
AT 4 PM CDT.THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE
24.0 NORTH.LONGITUDE 82.4 WEST.OR ABOUT 850 MILES SE OF
GALVESTON TX.

MOVEMENT.
HURRICANE RITA WAS MOVING WEST AT 15 MPH. MAX SUSTAINED WINDS
WERE 100 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS. A GRADUAL INCREASE IN INTENSITY IS
FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HRS.

EVACUATION INFORMATION.
FOR GALVESTON & BRAZORIA COUNTIES.VOLUNTARY EVACUATION IS IN
PROGRESS. MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NURSING HOMES & ASSISTED-LIVING
FACILITIES WILL BEGIN AT 6 AM WED MORNING. ON GALVESTON
ISLAND. BUSSES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTER ON
BROADWAY WED MORNING AFTER 10 AM FOR PERSONS WITH NO OTHER MEANS
OF TRANSPORTATION. IF THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF RITA'S TRACK
IN THE NEXT 24 HRS.A MANDATORY EVACUATION OF GALVESTON AND
BRAZORIA COUNTIES IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN AT 6 PM WED EVENING.

VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS ARE ALSO IN PROGRESS THIS EVENING FOR LOW LYING
AREAS OF CHAMBERS COUNTY. HARRIS COUNTY. & THE CITIES OF
HOUSTON.SEABROOK & BAYTOWN


DECISIONS CONCERNING EVACUATIONS FOR OTHER COUNTIES & COMMUNITIES
WILL BE MADE EITHER LATER THIS EVENING OR ON WEDNESDAY.

SCHOOL & GOVERNMENT FACILITY CLOSINGS.
CLEAR CREEK.GALVESTON.FRIENDSWOOD & HIGH ISLAND ISD SCHOOLS
WILL BE CLOSED BEGINNING WEDNESDAY. GALVESTON COUNTY FACILITIES
WILL ALSO BE CLOSED BEGINNING WEDNESDAY.






Houston News Station - Rita Blog

Friendswood calls for voluntary evacuation
At this time, emergency management officials are calling for a voluntary evacuation of the city of Friendswood.

Highest strike probability: Galveston, Freeport
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Rita will most likely strike Freeport or Galveston

Space Center closing
Space Center Houston will be temporarily closed to visitors starting Wednesday.

Huntsville evacuations
If you are taking I-45 N to evacuate to Huntsville, exit for mile marker 101 and go to a receiving site at that location.








'Whatever It Costs'


Another Bush attack from the conservative WP editorial pages
The hurricane has exposed our government as complacent, corrupt and unprepared; it has also created a brief and fleeting chance to launch bold reforms. Yet Bush seems content to accept business as usual. He will sit back and wait for disasters, then write large checks. Hey, it's going to cost whatever it costs. Is this supposed to be leadership?









Five Ideas That Matter


The Nation Daily Blog: Number one, End the War

Eliminate Poverty
Get Off Oil
Curb Militarism
Reform Government












Touched by His Noodly Appendage

An interview with the prophet

Recently, a ploy to take the public’s attention away from the truth and focus it on a mythical theoretical debate has been cleverly crafted and successfully implemented by the United States government. The so-called debate about how we came to be, whether through Darwin’s theory of evolution or via Intelligent Design, is merely an elaborate guise to stifle the growing voices and eminent truths behind the real reason we exist: the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Henderson knows—he was touched by FSM's Noodly Appendage and anointed to spread the good word.

Join the Pastafarianism Revolution.

Related in Gelf

You Say You Want an Evolution: Gelf book nerd Aaron Zamost recommends some background reading to get up to speed on the debate over Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Falling: The Onion tells Gelf what’s up with down.



How the So-Called Liberal Media Works


Karl Rove's Friend and Allies Program:
Another Win for 'Friends & Allies'

When John G. Roberts is approved as chief justice of the United States, as expected, he can thank President Bush 's "Friends & Allies" program, which went to work on him immediately after he was nominated. The project, started by the Republican National Committee in the 2004 re-election campaign, is simple and effective: Give opinion makers, media friends, and even cocktail party hosts insider info on the topic of the day. How? Through E-mailed talking points, called D.C. Talkers, and conference calls. For Roberts, it worked this way: A daily conference call to about 80 pundits, GOP-leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers was made around 9 a.m. On the other end were the main Roberts gunslingers like Steve Schmidt at the White House and Ken Mehlman and Brian Jones at the RNC. D.C. Talkers would then be distributed to an even larger list filled with positive info about Roberts and lines of attack on his critics. "The idea," said one of those involved, "is to feed them information and have them invested in us." It has even created addicts, he added. "Now they come to us before going on TV."





World News Today


Large sections of Baghdad controlled by insurgents

Iran threatens to quit NPT as Bush loses control of US allies, many supporting Iran.

Nine Americans killed in Iraq


London Bombers staged dry run.

Starbucks opens on China's Great Wall.

Hidden Da Vinci painting supports Da Vinci Code thesis

Day of violence in Basra exposes myth of trust between British and Iraqi forces

Guantánamo Prisoners on Hunger Strike
As many as 200 prisoners - more than a third of the camp - have refused food in recent weeks to protest conditions and prolonged confinement without trial, according to the accounts of lawyers who represent them. While military officials put the number of those participating at 105, they acknowledge that 20 of them, whose health and survival are being threatened, are being kept at the camp's hospital and fed through nasal tubes and sometimes given fluids intravenously.

The military authorities were so concerned about ending a previous strike this summer that they allowed the establishment of a six-member prisoners' grievance committee, lawyers said. The committee, a sharp departure from past practice in which camp authorities refused to cede any control or role to the detainees, was quickly ended, the lawyers say.



Monday, September 19, 2005



My Contribution to Talk Like A Pirate Day


"I'm here from Vice President Cheney's Office just trying to help you people."











Gore and Clinton, Together Again


Gore Gets Standing O attacking Bush Clinton asks the participants to commit to do something tangible in four areas: fighting world poverty, fighting global warming, encouraging religious tolerance and improving government.





The Raw Story | Exclusive: Anti-gay forces protest at Rehnquist death, celebrate Katrina


Church group protests Rehnquest funeral


God hates fags,

Thank God for Katrina,

God is America's terrorist,

America is doomed,

We are the GOP base.












How can you really make a difference around Houston?


“Building a majority, issue by issue”

Grassroots Political Workshop

Talking the Talk

University Center at University of Houston – Central Campus

Sunday – September 25, 2005 at 1:00 pm – 5 pm

Sponsored by the Harris County Democrats (HCD)

NOT the Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP)

Find out the latest from

Dr. Richard Murray, Dr. Bob Stein, and Dr. Stephen Klineberg

and many others!



"Media moguls, not looters, killed Katrina’s truth tellers"

If big media look like they’re propping up W’s presidency, they are. Because doing so is good for corporate coffers — in the form of government contracts, billion-dollar tax breaks, regulatory relaxations and security favors. At least that wily old codger Sumner Redstone, head of Viacom, parent company of CBS, has admitted what everyone already knows is true: that, while he personally may be a Democrat, “It happens that I vote for Viacom. Viacom is my life, and I do believe that a Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one.”

..Given all of the above, it comes as no surprise that, as early as that first Saturday, certainly by Sunday, inevitably by Monday, and no later than Tuesday, the post-Katrina images and issues were heavily weighted once again toward the power brokers and the predictable. The angry black guys were gone, and the lying white guys were back, hogging all the TV airtime. So many congressional Republicans were lined up on air to denounce the “blame-Bush game” — all the while decrying the Louisiana Democrats-in-charge — that it could have been conga night at the Chevy Chase Country Club.

And the attitudes of some TV personalities did a dramatic 180.







President Clinton attacks Bush on Iraq, Katrina, budget


Finally

In Houston the Bush/Clinton campaign for Katrina has switched ads to showing only Bush and local businessman Mattress Mac





Sunday, September 18, 2005


Friday, September 16, 2005

Dave Lindorff: Frances Newton Died for Bush's Sins


A Probable innocent woman was executed in Texas yesterday
Her guilt was always hard to fathom, with the prosecution claiming that, after killing her alleged victims, Newton somehow left the scene, disposed of the gun, and returned only 30 minutes later with not a trace of blood on her body or clothes, which were all dry-a good trick, as OJ Simpson could attest, given the amount of blood at the scene.

The trial was rife with improprieties and prosecutorial misconduct-the most egregious of which was that investigators had recovered not one but three identical .25 cal. Pistols during their investigation of the case, while the prosecution pretended there had been only one pistol recovered and hid the other two from the defense. It was also rife with the standard neglect and incompetence we've come to expect from underpaid, unmotivated and incompetent public defenders provided to poor and black defendants in such cases-Mock never even brought in Newton's husband's parents, who had volunteered to testify on her behalf, and who have steadfastly opposed her execution!

Ironically, when there was more attention being paid to the case back in December 2004, Gov. Perry granted a 120-day stay from execution because of evidentiary questions in the case that raised some doubt about her guilt. Yet the matter of the multiple guns and the outrageous hiding of important exculpatory evidence from defense-which raised much more serious questions about her guilt and about the fairness of her trial--came up subsequent to that stay. In other words, doubts about Newton's guilt were much greater the day she was executed than they were last year when Perry granted a stay.
I wouold feel guilty if I left this off for a couple of days.


Home