Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tom Delay Indicted ... For What?

Controversy over at Sparkle's blog prompted me to look into this mess with Tom Delay a bit deeper. Here is the text of the indictment:


IN THE NAME AND BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

THE GRAND JURY OF THE COUNTY OF TRAVIS, STATE OF TEXAS, duly selected, organized, sworn, and charged as such at the April term, A.D., 2005, of the 147th Judicial District Court of said county, in said court at said term, upon their oaths do present that on or about the thirteenth day of September, A.D., 2002, in the County of Travis and State of Texas, JOHN DOMINICK COLYANDRO, JAMES WALTER ELLIS, AND THOMAS DALE DELAY, the defendants herein, with the intent that a felony be committed, did enter into an agreement with one or more of each other or with a general purpose political committee known as Texans for Republican Majority PAC that one or more of them would engage in conduct that would constitute the offense of knowingly making a political contribution in violation of Subchapter D of Chapter 253 of the Texas Election Code, a violation of Sections 253.003 and 253.094 and 254.104 of the Election Code, in that said contribution was made directly to the Republican National Committee, a political party, during a period beginning sixty days before the date of a general election for state and county officers and continuing through the date of the election, and indirectly to candidates for the Texas House of Representatives, and that said contribution included a prohibited political contribution by a corporation; and that John Dominick Colyandro, and James Walter Ellis, and Texans for a Republican Majority PAC did perform overt acts in pursuance of the agreement, to wit: John Colyandro and Texans for a Republican Majority PAC did accept contributions from corporations, namely Diversified Collection Services, Inc. in the amount of $50,000, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the amount of $25,000, and Williams Companies, Inc. in the amount of $25,000, and Cornell Companies, Inc. in the amount of $10,000, and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. in the amount of $20,000, and Questerra Corporation in the amount of $25,000; and James Ellis and Texans for a Republican Majority PAC did tender, deliver, and cause to be tendered and delivered to the Republican National Committee and Terry Nelson, a representative of the Republican National Committee, a check (a copy of which is hereinafter reproduced) payable to RNSEC (the Republican National State Elections Committee, a nonfederal component of the Republican National Committee) in the amount of $190,000, said check being from the same bank account into which the above-described corporate contributions had been deposited; and James Ellis and Texans for a Republican Majority PAC did the said Terry Nelson with a document that contained the names of candidates for the Texas House of Representatives and amounts to be contributed to each of the said candidates, namely, Todd Baxter, Dwayne Bohac, Glenda Dawson, Dan Flynn, Rick Green, Jack Stick, and Larry Taylor; and James Ellis and Texans for a Republican Majority PAC requested, solicited, and proposed that the Republican National Committee and the Republican National State Elections Committee make political contributions to said candidates after the aforesaid check was delivered to Terry Nelson; and John Colyandro did sign the aforesaid check; and John Colyandro did deliver the aforesaid check, and did cause the aforesaid check to be delivered to James Ellis by instructing Russell Anderson to send the aforesaid check to James Ellis;

[INDICTMENT EXHIBIT]

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER PRESENTS that, with the advice and consent of counsel, the defendant, THOMAS DALE DELAY, did heretofore knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive the application of Articles 12.01 and 12.03 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to the indictment presented herein. In particular, the Grand Jury present that with the advice and consent of counsel, the defendant, THOMAS DALE DELAY, did knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive the requirement that an indictment for the felony offense of criminal conspiracy, the object of which is a felony other than those listed in Subdivisions (1) through (5) of Article 12.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, may be presented within three years from the date of the commission of the offense, and not afterward, insofar as requirements pertains to the indictment presented herein,

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER PRESENTS that on or about the thirteenth day of September, A.D., 2005, the Grand Jury of the County of Travis, State of Texas, duly selected, organized, sworn, and charged as such at the April term, A.D., 2005, of the 147th Judicial District Court of said county, in said court at said term, upon their oaths did present and indictment charging the defendants, JOHN DOMINICK COLYANDRO AND JAMES WALTER ELLIS, with the offense hereinbefore charged in this indictment, and the said indictment was pending in the 331st Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas at the time of the presentment of this indictment.


The indictment exhibit is a copy of the front of a check, made out to RNSEC dated Sept 13, 2002 and signed by John Colyandro. I tried to clip it from the PDF, but it required a password.

The check referred to in the indictment was cut 7 days after the 60 day deadline afterwhich corporations and labor unions cannot make donations to political parties. That sounds more like an oversight than a conspiracy. How is Earle going to prove that three guys and an organization conspired together to cut a check 7 days late? That's proof of criminal activity? Come on.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No, Mr. President!

The federal government has taken a lot of heat of its perceived slow response to Katrina emergency. Many do not have a clear understanding of Federal vs. State vs. Local jurisdictions in these cases. It is clearly the responsibility of State and Local governments to handle emergencies. Calling in the Feds when overwhelmed is always an option.

Buried by the left in criticism, "W" is suggesting that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 be amended to allow immediate Federal action in the case of a natural disaster, terrorist act, or outbreaks of disease. He is asking that "automatic triggers" be built into the law that allows the Feds to act immediately. His words:

"It's very important for us as we look at the lessons of Katrina to think about other scenarios that might require a well-planned, significant federal response -- right off the bat -- to provide stability."


That just all sounds real good, sir, but I respectfully disagree. We have a long standing tradition in this country of keeping the military and civilian situations seperate, and I for one, would like to keep it that way.

The ACLU disagrees as well, and this time (horrors), I have to agree with them.

Mr. President, please, oh please QUIT LISTENING TO THE MOONBATS!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Busted.

Today, Cindy Sheehan got busted. Here's a pic, garnered from Townhall.Com.




Is it just me, but does she seem to be enjoying herself? And that cop on the left ... where is his right hand exactly? Is this a photo op or playtime?

Moonbats. You gotta love 'em.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Stories From Dallas

A friend of ours just got back from spending two weeks working the shelters in Dallas where the evacuees from Katrina were being housed. She's a nurse (and our bass player, a good one too - she was missed!). She got up this morning and told a little of what transpired. She was pretty emotional.

When I first asked her how it was in Dallas, she said "crazy, terrible, wonderful, a blessing, and sooo sad." She filled in the details during the service.

She said that, at first the victims were in so much trauma that they were mostly unable to express themselves about what they had been through. They are beginning to open up now. She said many had stayed to protect someone else, like an elderly parent, who would not leave. As we have heard, many, many of them simply did not have the money to leave. They didn't know where they were supposed to go or have any idea that there were busses they could board.

She told a story of one mom with five children. When the waters were swirling about them, and she was trying to save her babies ... she had to let one go in order to save the other four. That's hard to listen to.

She said many of those that were housed in the convention center or the Super Dome did not sleep for days, for fear of being raped or murdered. They didn't go to the rest rooms because they knew they would be raped. "There were babies being raped and killed ..." she heard over and over.

She said many of them were the poor that we had heard of, but most were working folks just like us. They had lives and jobs and kids and dogs and now it's all gone and they have to start over.

The overriding story was, however, from those who wanted out. They wanted a new life, but could not afford to leave New Orleans. For many, pre-Katrina New Orleans was a living nightmare. It was too dangerous to venture outside in the daytime, much less at night. For these folks, New Orleans had apparently become a very evil place. There is no question of them going back. They are quite happy to be in Texas.

For those trapped in a surreal world of drugs, crime, voodoo, and debauchery, Katrina did what the government could or would not: give them new lives. It is these people that Barbara Bush was talking about when she said "they would be better off ..." It sounds like she was right, afterall.

I'm not prepared to say that Katrina, and later Rita's veer to the North, was some kind of judgement (or cleansing depending upon your perspective) by God, but it does make you wonder.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another Friend Just Called ...

...He and his new wife evacuated Orange, Texas on Wedensday. Now, I thought Orange was near Houston ... not so. Orange is right between Beaumont and Lake Charles. In other words, ground zero. They're currently staying in his folks house in Nachogdoches where it is still pretty windy and very rainy. They have no power. He doesn't know if they have a house left. They'll be headed this way on Monday ... wants some Java training anyway. They both work for the school system in Orange which won't re-open for two weeks.

They were really fortunate to have evacuated when they did. In fact, most of Texas was quite fortunate.

Firefighters

They Stayed!



The images above depict the fires burning in downtown Galveston and Pasadena (suberb of Houston), respectively, as Rita made landfall last night. Look at the photos ... There are firefighters fighting the fires! They stayed, braved the storm and did their jobs!

I am constantly and consistently amazed by the bravery and "can do" attitude of firefighters. Way to go, guys.

Friday, September 23, 2005

1-800-525-5555

Call this number if you need assistance.

Night ...

I've been listening to the KRBC TV folks talk about covering hurricanes and severe weather. I've been watching videos of horrible looking experiences. I've been through it.

Then, I had to get something out of the car. Oh, my goodness! How beautiful it is outside. The starry sky is as big as West Texas. The crickets are chirping away in their symphony of night time. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the palm of God's hand ...

I am sooo thankful to the Lord for His provision, and for His protection.

Empty

KRBC TV Showed various webcams in Houston. Nobody home. The lights were on, but nobody was home except for the occasional forlorn police car. Way to go evacuating South Texas, ya'll!

It's amazing that a storm almost as large as the Gulf of Mexico, headed straight for us, won't bring us even a drop of rain. Such is West Texas.

Rita is about to make landfall.

Victory!

Texas' tenth best whips Missouri's 1st best: AHS 33 to 14!

Coach Warren reminds me of the old Dallas Cowboys; by the fourth quarter, the 2nd string is put in ... and they score too!

Rita: CAT 3, 120 mph sustained, eye still 44 miles SE Sabine Pass. Winds averaging 60 mph in the region, although some cities reporting much less. Eye may be East of Port Arthur, into Lake Charles. The heaviest rainfall will be on the East of the storm, like, unfortunately, LA.

Thanks, Craig Carnesi for posting radar images.

Yes!

About 10 minutes to go ... Abilene High 26, Rochurst MO 7!

Live Blogging:

Abilene High 20, Rockhurst, MO 0 (halftime)

Just Talked to a Friend ...

... in deep East Texas. They're pretty worried about the amount of rain they're going to get. She said their town is completely full of people. People everywhere. People with NO gasoline. She's got a doctor's appointment in Houston pretty soon. Don't think she's gonna make it.

My prayer to God has been to weaken the storm. It has gone from one of the most powerful storms ever recorded to a CAT 3. Thank You Jesus.

Network Humor: What comes after CAT 5? ... Wireless.

Sparkle Made It!

Right Wing Sparkle made it out of Houston! It took here a looooong time, though (seems there was a bit of a traffic jam).

We Interrupt This Tagging ...

Huricane Rita is due to make land fall in the next 4 - 6 hours. I would be remiss if I didn't post what I know of the event.

My brother and fam are still MIA, although I imagine they are in the Austin area with my brother's in-laws ... I hope. My wife's cousin was in constant contact yesterday from I10 where he was pretty much stuck. He was making less than 10 miles per hour of progess. His fam went to San Antonio the day before. Don't know yet where he is today.

Rita's eye is set to make land fall in the Port Arthur / Beaumont area in the next few hours. They expect somewhere between 10 and 30 inches of rain.

Hotels are full here in Abilene, and shelters are filling rapidly. Plans made for Katrina are being executed for Rita.

Local NBC affiliate KRBC has opened a Weather Blog to cover the event. That is a very good idea.

News video showed Galveston weather conditions worstening rapidly. New Orleans is back under water with at least one major levee breach. The I45 corridor between Houston and Dallas is beginning to move, only hours before the full brunt of the storm hits. The South-bound lanes have been opened to North bound traffic to clear the highway more quickly. Traffic on I10 is moving well.

Texas is not only absorbing almost a million residents of LA, but 4 million from the Houston area as well. We take care of our own. Now, if somebody would just bring us some gas ... just kidding, we'll make some more.

More later.

Update: Notice, Rita is not daring to make land before the Friday night High School football games are over. Abilene High is in Texas Stadium tonight. He.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tagged (Part IIa)

One other thing in 1993 I forgot: The Waco Massacre. That really, really ticked me off. And a lot of other people as well.

I have this uncanny knack for turning on the television and witnessing disasters. Which is weird, because I pretty much don't watch TV, and never have that much. I never, ever watch daytime TV, except to witness disasters. I saw both of the space shuttle disasters live. I saw the whole 911 event on live TV, after turning it on for I don't know what reason. It's kind of like, when I feel the urge to turn on the TV in the daytime, I just know something is happening or about to.

On the morning of April 19, 1993 I turned on the TV. I saw fire coming out of the cannon of one of those tanks. The occupants of Mount Carmel were then quickly dispatched to their ultimate destination. I never saw that same footage again, but once was all it took. They did it on purpose. I knew it then, I know it now, and it colored my reaction to events that followed.

Bill Clinton and Janet Reno had been in office only a few weeks when they burned up dozens of people, fourteen of them children.

The conspiracy theories heated to almost as hot as Mount Carmel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tagged (Part II)

I don't remember 1991. Other than being numb for a whole year, I have very little recollection of it. I only remember that my wife and I traveled in one car for that and several more years. It was quite a hassle.

At the beginning of 1992 I got fired from the university. There's really no other way to put that, even though the university might not want to put it in those harsh a terms. I worked for them for another year for free (I, in turn, kept all of my computer and telephone equipment) operating the data center remotely. Even though I was told to exit in January, I didn't actually leave the payroll until June. In June I went into business as a contract software engineer at $75.00 an hour. Not bad.

But June was also the trial, a trauma I'm not likely to forget. Most people try to hush this particular crime up. Not us. We played the entire thing out on television. I did interviews with the three networks daily in front of the courthouse. After the trial, we did an interview out at our house that won the TV station a reporting award. I guess it was all our way of trying to communicate to women that if this happens to you, don't hide it, report it! and then prosecute!

Life might have gotten back to normal if it hadn't been for two seemingly unrelated events: the 1992 presidential election and my hard drive crashed. The presidential election was in November and my hard drive crashed in the summer. 1992 was the first time (and probably the last) in my life time that a third party candidate had a decent shot at the presidency. My hard drive contained all of my personal information, including and especially my income taxes. I was unable to file by the already extended August 15th deadline because I no information with which to do it. I became a tax protestor by default. Disillusioned with my Republican brethren and of course, not willing to vote for a Democrat, I joined in the campaign for Ross Perot.

One other event began punctuating my life in 1992: talk radio. I started listening to Rush Limbaugh. Now, Rush wasn't saying what I wanted to hear about Ross, mind you, but he was funny nevertheless. Rush has changed the culture. He made being a conservative cool.

The summer and fall of '92 us Ross backers began meeting in the show room of a local Volks Wagon dealership. We met, and stategized, and campaigned. We made signs. We took abuse from a 75% Republican town. We even held a parade. We decorated our cars with campaign stuff. Our '89 red Ford Probe was decorated so well we could have put it in the Tournament of Roses parade and people would have applauded. It was the most fun campaign I've ever done. We delivered almost 25% of the vote in our county, one of the highest percentages in the country.

The coolest part of the experience is the friendships made. Those of us who really got down and campaigned got very close. Ross formed United We Stand America after he lost the election and we became the local chapter. I was elected president of the local chapter. I was the guy that went on TV and radio ... again.

1993 was the toughest political fight of my life: NAFTA. It was in 1993 that I met Ross Perot. We had an anti-NAFTA strategy meeting in Dallas with key UWSA leaders. Our local UWSA chapter had become an information gathering group. We studied everything. By the time I met Ross, I had become aware of the conspiracy theories regarding the so-called New World Order. NAFTA, the trade treaty uniting the U.S., Mexico, and Canada was, I felt (and still do), a nail in the coffin of U.S. sovereignty. I fought it with everything I knew.

I went on television nine times fighting against NAFTA. I debated my congressman on live television. I'm a good debater ... he's better. He was a blue dog Democrat ... a "conservative" Democrat. I didn't consider him conservative, nor did I consider supporting NAFTA a wise or conservative action. It was a bad deal for the U.S., and especially for Texas. We lost. I worked every election cycle since to take out that congressman and finally took him out in 2004.

1993 was the year I began to really read. I mean really read. I read everything from Larry Tribe to Robert Bork. I read the constitution over and over. I read many many supreme court cases. I read Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Shippman on Common Law Pleading, and a host of others. I learned to Shepardize cases. I spent a lot of time studying Title 26 (IRS code). I was beginning to understand a lot of stuff, not all of it good.

I was beginning to meet people with a "hard edge" about them. I was also introduced to the world of short wave radio. Conspiracy theories were rearing their ugly head. Politics was taking a turn for the strange.

I know this tagging thing isn't meant to be a life's story. But Bones has got to understand how it is that I have heard those guys on his flick before. And why I think they are so dangerous.

More in Part III.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tagged (part I).

I've maintained a certain amount of anonymity in the blogosphere. I live in a small town, go to a small church. I thought if I did a blog, I might just let it all hang out. But I haven't. Maybe being "myself" is not quite as wild as it once was.

But Dave Bones tagged me, which I bet means that he wants me to further explain the "patriot movement" of the 1990's. I'm not sure I can. I take it I'm supposed to answer some questions, not sure where the questions are, so I'll infer from the Bones' link above what they are.

Now that I think about it, I'm going to take some liberties with the format.

20 Years Ago

I was working for a local university as the systems and programming manager. Living in a small house on the lake with my then new wife of only two years. Living it up, I should say. From 1983, to 1987, I sailed in five oceans. I love sail boats.

We sailed on the lake, water skiied on the lake, and fished on the lake. In those days, we had seasons for everything.

January - March was snow skiing season. April - May was crappie & bass fishing season. June - August was water skiing season. September - December was hunting season. Party season was year round. What a happy life.

My wife and I were DINKs ... Double Income No Kids. We were both making good money and did what we wanted when we wanted to do it. It was a dream.

I listened to mostly rhythm & blues in those days. The music I wrote was mostly blues or country. Happy for the most part, although I wrote one about Christmas that was pretty forlorn (Those Low Down Mean and Dirty Christmas Blues).

The decade of the 80's ... now there was a decade.

15 Years Ago

Fifteen years ago is 1990. That year was my Waterloo. It was the worst year of my life by far. Maybe the worst thing about it was that I had to grow up. I was 35.

I lived on a lake. I had no flood insurance. I was stupid. In the Spring it started raining. Now, it doesn't rain very often in West Texas, but when it does ... look out! The water went four and five feet in my house. I was basically, ruined.

Like a typical lake loon, I simply started cleaning the house. The water receded after a few days. But my wife wanted to move. This was not acceptable. To placate her, I signed a contract on a log house in the hills. I knew it was impossible to get because someone else was ahead of me. The $500 in escrow was my attempt to show my wife I was willing to move, but I really wasn't. After signing the papers, driving the university van, we drove back out to the house to feed my dogs. We arrived just in time to see a tornado swoop out of the sky and take the roof off the house. There were several tornados that night, and they devastated the lake. I and my phone calls got the area declared a disaster area so that federal funds were available to help. I lost about 30,000 dollars in all. The feds provided about 350 bucks.

The next day, the financing for the guy ahead of me on the log house fell through. Suddenly I was first in line. 10 days later I owned a beautiful log home 45 miles from the lake. I was thankful to God and all, but I had lost the thing, that at the time, was the most important to me: my lifestyle. I would no longer be strapping on a waterski at dawn and dusk to "ski the crack (of dawn/dusk)". I was now living in the hills, far from my friends and extended family.

While my house was still flooded, I attended a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert. In my opinion, Stevie Ray is the best guitarist that ever lived. That concert did something to me. During the pain of losing most of everything I owned, I listened to Stevie Ray CD's constantly. It helped me get through.

By August I was slipping into a very deep depression. I was in San Francisco for a conference, when I heard of a helicopter crash at a concert. I knew it was Stevie Ray. I knew. Damn it! I knew. I didn't hear until the next day. Stevie Ray was dead. He was exactly my age. When I heard on a news channel, I pulled my rental over into an alley and wept.

I slipped into a form of depression that I can only describe as demonic. I was not a nice person. I was calling out to evil, and evil was listening.

On September 29, 1990, my wife was kidnapped at gun-point and raped. The pain of the previous 4 months was but a blip on a radar, nothing more. My world collapsed. A couple of months later, my dog got run over. 1990 sucked.

What you have to understand, if your're going to understand how I dealt with the 90's, is most of it was a response to what happened to my wife, and by extension, to me.

I love my wife. I loved her then, and I love her now. There is nothing, NOTHING, that will split us up. So when this happened, you might as well have hit me in the head with a baseball bat.

The guy went from here a couple of hundred miles West and raped a seventeen year old girl working as a waitress. Then he went to a road-side park and took a nap. When a State Trooper decided to question him, he ran. A chase ensued, and the guy ended up in the desert with helicopters and dogs after him. The original cop ended up catching him. He was in jail two days after raping my wife. God was looking out for us, after all.

My wife was a very, VERY, good witness. She identified him from a photo lineup. He didn't really have a chance. He plead out at 16 years for the seventeen year old girl. We weren't having any of it. We wanted a trial. A trial we got, and the piece of S**t got 65 years from the jury. The judge, once my Sunday school teacher, stacked the sentence. This asswipe will never again walk the streets.

The guy was from Kansas. A Kansas judge, a Democrat, let him loose prior to him stealing a rental car and coming to Texas. He had raped 26 women (known) before coming here. I wanted to know why someone like that was let loose.

Thus began the journey.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Little Time Off

I took a little time off the blogosphere last weekend.

I ...

1. Mowed (3 acres, a lot of work)
2. Played Legos with my daughter
3. Slept
4. Went to Church
5. Practiced with the band
6. Played more Legos and slept some more

It was a pretty nice weekend. There were hundreds of comments over at Sparkle's place about abortion, evolution, and such. It took hours just to read them.

I'll post meaningful stuff later.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Woops.

The moonbats and trolls over at Sparkle's place are constantly yammering about how a disaster was declared before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. I never really saw much about this, and really doubted the validity until today. The following is posted on the White House web site:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050827-1.html

The document attests to the fact that a state of emergency was declared August 26, 2005, fully two days before Katrina hit. Now, declaring a state of emergency is not the same as declaring a disaster area. As I suspected, you can't declare a disaster before it happens!

Now, look at the following opening sentence:

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.


The federal government's job is to supplement state and local response efforts. An important point that the moonbats calling for Bush's head should keep in mind. But, now the woops; the following parishes (why don't they call them counties like everyone else?) are listed in the document:

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.


Emphasis mine. None of the listed parishes are on the Gulf Cost. Not one.

Disaster was declared on August 29 after Katrina had moved inland some. Here is the White House link:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050829-2.html

The first sentence:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 29, 2005, and continuing.


See? Disaster, not emergency. Note the parishes in the relevant part of paragraph 2:

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the parishes of Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.


These were the hard hit parishes along the Louisiana coast. They're not the same. They're, in fact, the opposit parishes.

I have no idea whether a simple bureaucratic error could have tied FEMA's hands. I just don't know. But it sure looks ridiculous.

No one gets out of this one mistake free, it appears.

Lefty Bob Harris spins it his way here, complete with a map.

Texas A & M Pitchin' In

I've never been a great big Texas A & M fan. They're just so doggone:

What do you call an Aggie five years after he's graduated?

Boss.


You know? Anyway I got this in e-mail. I only edited for blog formatting:


Subject: Relief Efforts at Texas A&M

Any Aggie of any age who believes the Spirit of Texas A&M is waning should have been at Reed Arena over the past three days.

Under an agreement with local government officials, Texas A&M has made Reed Arena available as a temporary shelter for a little over two hundred or so evacuees from New Orleans through September 9th. Probably like many parents and others, I was deeply concerned about security given what we all had read about violence in New Orleans. I only agreed to the use of Reed after being assured that the evacuees would be vetted, processed and security wanded at a facility elsewhere in Brazos County, wanded again upon arrival at Reed, and that University police and other security would be present at all times at Reed. Students who park at Reed Arena (mostly freshmen) will be parking elsewhere on campus for the week. The evacuees are escorted by non-students wherever they go.

I asked the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Lt. General John Van Alstyne, to take charge of this endeavor, in no small part because one of his last responsibilities at the Pentagon was taking care of displaced military families after 9/11. I also wanted a no-nonsense person in charge. He has told me that he is quite comfortable with the security arrangements. Either he or his chief of staff are at Reed 24/7.

Now to the best part. With little advance notice, Aggies sprang into action last Friday. The Corps of Cadets was asked on Friday afternoon to set up several hundred beds on the floor of Reed Arena; to help establish a structure for processing the evacuees; to make arrangements for them to shower and get new clothes; to help develop a process for medical checks; and so on. (Contrary to some rumors, the Corps was never asked or expected to provide security.) Lt. General Van Alstyne asked the Corps Commander, Matt Ockwood, for 300 volunteers to do these tasks. 900 cadets volunteered, and Reed Arena was ready after the cadets worked all night.

The first evacuees began to arrive around midnight Saturday. They had boarded busses in New Orleans that morning, had been driven to Dallas and then finally to College Station - all in one day. Of the more than 200 arrivals, most were families, including some 40 children and a number of elderly. They arrived exhausted, dirty, hungry and many in despair.

They then encountered an Aggie miracle. Clean beds (not cots but surplus beds from a refurbished Corps dorm), showers, hot food, medical treatment, baby supplies for mothers, toys for children and more. But most of all, what they encountered were a couple of hundred compassionate, caring Aggie cadets and other volunteers. The cadets escorted them to their assigned beds, and not only saw to their individual needs, but sat on the side of their beds with them, talked with them - treated them like they were a member of the family. The cadets made them feel welcome and cared about.

Sunday, when I visited Reed, I learned that the women of the Aggie Dance Team had organized and were running a distribution center for pillows, towels, bedding, personal hygiene kits, baby food, diapers and much more; that sorority women were running a child care facility for dozens of children, well supplied with toys, juice, coloring books and cartoon videos; and that plans were under way for other student leaders and students to replace the cadets, some of whom had been at Reed for more than 50 hours. Plans were underway for some of our athletes (and escorts) to take some of the evacuee boys ages 10-16 to the Rec Center to shoot hoops - boys perhaps including one I met who had treaded water under a bridge for 11 hours before being rescued by a helicopter. There is a communications room where the evacuees can use both telephone and internet to try to reach relatives and friends. The Red Cross, United Way, and other community organizations are right there on the Arena floor, and the Salvation Army is serving three meals a day. Escorted trips are being organized throughout the day to laundromats and stores. Area physicians, supplemented by the Aggie Care Team and the Health Science Center are available. Being treated with dignity, respect and compassion, our guests have responded accordingly.

Many other Aggie students are involved in the relief effort on campus, in the local community, and at our Galveston campus. Sunday afternoon, students organized a massive collection effort to gather canned food and clothes as part of the MSC's Open House. Student Government, led by Student Body President Jim Carlson, is planning other relief-associated activities, including helping organize more volunteers to work at Reed Arena the rest of this week.

By agreement with Brazos county officials, Reed Arena is a temporary location for these evacuees, and during this week, we are assured that most, if not all, of the evacuees will move to longer-term housing.

Aggies need to know that the past few days have been a high point in the history of Texas A&M as we have responded to this terrible disaster named Katrina. Seeing the desire to serve, the organizational skill, the willingness to work, the caring and compassion, and more, on the part of the Corps of Cadets, the Dance Team, the sororities and so many other students who have worked incredibly long hours - has been a profoundly moving experience. I do not know a single University official who, having watched our students over the past three days, does not choke up with emotion out of pride in these amazing young people.

And it's not just the students who have been amazing. It is also our staff, including those who today began admitting and helping up to 1,000 students displaced by the Hurricane. Faculty and administrators have volunteered as well, and also put in long hours to ensure that these displaced students can be processed into Texas A&M and their classes with speed and efficiency. I visited the processing center this morning and met many of the parents and students; I know now that they will never forget our generosity and warm welcome to Aggieland.

Aggies often speak of "the other education" here. My original intent had been to keep the evacuees entirely isolated from our students. Once assured of the safety of the students, that would have been the wrong decision. I have no doubt that the Aggie students who are participating in this extraordinary humanitarian endeavor will never forget it -- or what they are learning from it about crisis management and, far more importantly, about their own humanity and character. Nor do I doubt that the evacuees, all of whom are now wearing Texas A&M t-shirts, will always remember how these young people treated them and cared for them.

The hearts of every Aggie should swell with pride in what this University is doing for fellow Americans in trouble, and especially in what our students and staff are doing, to help those devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I thanked a University policeman inside Reed yesterday for what he was doing, and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and replied, "It's an honor to be here, sir."


Robert M. Gates
President, Texas A&M University


Maybe I'm a fan now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oh, Now, This Is Cool ...

3D Lego Design Software! It not only lets you design virtual Lego models, but allows you to upload the model, and find out how much it costs to buy and build. Very cool. My daughter will love it ... as soon as I figure it out. Oh, by the way it's free!

Via one of the links on Golden Eagle's Golden Odyssey blog.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Preachers of Hate

I discovered dave bones over at Right Wing Sparkle's place. He comments a lot. Dave bones (obviously not his real name which will not be revealed here) is a film maker. He's made a short called "Preachers Of Hate", about Abu Hamza, or rather a couple of guys around him.

The film resonates with me. Probably not in ways that Bones intended. Probably not in ways that Hamza or any of the others would approve of. Nevertheless ...

First, a note on retrieving the movie. Here is the link for it. However, if you are in the U.S., it may take a while to download. I have a high speed link at work ... Ok, high speed is a silly description ... 3 DS3's ... 45 Mb of bandwidth, enough to download the movie in seconds. But that didn't happen, it took two hours. Something between West Texas and England, I guess. Perhaps Bones should consider posting it to a server Stateside. Anyway, it could take a while. It's MPEG, by the way.

Now, a quick note about Dave Bones. To say he is a liberal is to underexagerate. He is so far left that if he takes one itsy bitsy step further to the left, he will come full circle and be a conservative. And he smokes a right smart. But enough of that.

The film opens with a shot of a dude who wants to protest, anything, just to protest. When he asks what is being protested, the answer is "nothing", so he's like, "yea, Nothing, nothing, ... " in a chant. See, that's the problem.

I don't know if Bones did this on purpose or not. But the (being gracious) guy in the opening scene really represents Western culture. They don't know or care a whit about Islam, its tenets, or any implications of what they stand for. They wouldn't know shareeah if it bit them in the shorts ... at least at first. So Bones opening the piece with this human non-thought is almost prophetic and at least chilling.

The next few scenes, I guess are of Abu Hamza and a media circus surrounding him. What I heard, again, I don't know if intended or not, chilled my "bones". Because, I've heard it before!

I'll have to include a little background in order to lend credibility to my response. In the early 1990's after my wife was assaulted, I began asking questions like "why?", researching law, conspiracy theories, everything. I listened to shortwave. I became a part of the "Patriot" movement.

I was angry. Angry at a system that had let an animal out of prison that harmed my wife. Angry at a government that dared encroach upon the freedoms that my ancestors had fought so hard to obtain.

In 1993, when Janet Reno murdered 86 people in Waco, Texas, 14 of them children, I became an activist. In 1994, I was on site in Waco, defying the FBI and protesting the murder of those people. In the process of all that, I heard a lot of stuff.

I heard a lot of BS about Zionist conspiracies and the Jews owning all of the banks and all kinds of crap that I dismissed out of hand. But I could tell, some folks believed these lies, and were willing to die for those beliefs. In 1996, some guys blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City because they believed this crap so much.

So when I look at Bones' mini-flick, with that Abu Hamza cat yammering on about how Zionist love the FBI and stuff, my blood runs like ice. I've heard it before. Damn it, those Arab nuts have bought into the same BS lie that got all those people in Oklahoma ultimately killed. And not a few "good" kids brought down, rotting in prison or dying there, because they believed in something that was a total fabrication. And now a whole culture buys into the same BS. More people are going to be hurt because of these lies. Lies whose most recent source is with the Nazis in WWII Germany.

In Bones' flick, we move from the scary to the real people segment. Bones tries to show that these are real people with real lives and real pasts. That's actually laudable. Because in an increasingly "smaller" world, if we do not learn to communicate on some common grounds, we could end up annihilating each other.

But Bones spends a bit too long on this segment, one obviously close to his heart. Not only that, the audio is very difficult to deal with. If I were Bones, I'd take Audacity and get some of the background stuff out of the video so we could understand what the old dude was saying.

I got enough to understand where Bones is coming from. Namely, that these are people too, and it should be possible to strike a dialogue with them in such a way that we don't end up killing each other. But the problem is, that if they have bought "hook, line, and sinker" into a complete fabrication that they are willing to die for (one sourced in Mein Kempf and likely promoted by leaders as a controlling force), dialogue may not be the first order of business.

In many ways, Bones' mini-movie is a re-run, I've seen it before and people are going to get hurt.

I'm not a film critic. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Perspective

Via Right Wing Sparkle, here is a perspective worth reading. It is extremely well written, albeit a bit reductionist for my taste. It's still a very good article.

Mikey Was Right!

A blogger named Mikey Camel (aka, Lazy) pointed out that the spelling BLONDE was the feminine for BLOND. He was right! So, I am changing the title to spell it correctly.

The blond term comes from my attributing my "mental hiccups" to "blond moments". Case in point:

On Easter Sunday I was singing a special with S. It was a beautiful arrangement of Great is Thy Faithfullness. After practicing for a couple of weeks and warming up for at least twenty minutes, we did the song. I absolutely butchered the first six notes. Hozed it up. No known reason. The rest of the song was perfect, albeit considerably more difficult than the first six notes. But I screwed the first six notes terribly. It was a blond moment.

That's why I titled the blog the way I did. But BLOND didn't look as cool as BLONDE, so I re-titled it (and changed the URL). I had no idea that BLONDE meant something different than BLOND. Who knew?

I've changed the title, but have not yet changed the URL. That may not be as easy since there is stuff posted to it. Hmmm.

Woops, Wrong Link ...

The correct link to the timeline is here. Sorry about that. I've got so many blog pages open it's getting a little confusing.

Getting a Little Better

Things are looking a little better on the Gulf Coast. Most of the folks are out of downtown New Orleans now. The National Guard has regained control of the city.

I've been listening to a show on American Family Radio (AFR) about Gulfport / Biloxi. They managed to get their station in Biloxi back on the air this weekend. That's very important, because communication in the Gulf Coast region is primarily by radio. The government handed out 12,000 transistor radios, but more are needed. Several of the talk show hosts were victims of the storm and were asking the same kinds of questions as undoubtedly everyone else is. Questions like why? and what next?

Protien Wisdom has an excellent piece that attempts to chronicle a timeline on the New Orleans disaster. After reading it, I'm not so quick to place blame anywhere at all. The busses posted below made me angry, and that kind of thing needs to be addressed, but we are where we are and we need to move on from here. We can assess lessons learned later.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bus Trip ... Not!


I found this picture over at Junk Yard Blog. None of them are deep enough in the water to not start. Look at the picture! Are you telling me that all of those people had endure what they had to endure in the New Orleans Superdome because of a city government's utter incompetence? That makes me sick!

Well Done, Good and Faithful Justice

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist passed away this evening, Sept 3, 2005. He was 80 years old. He was arguably the best chief justice to come along in generations.

Well done, sir.

Why Does God Send Stickers?

Last weekend I was picking stickers from a spot in my yard. My five year old daughter was outside with me, and she asked

Why Does God Send Stickers?

Why indeed. Why does God send Hurricanes? Why suffering, etc, etc.

My wife works on Saturdays, so I am again here hangin' out with my daughter. Everything seems so normal. TCU was playing Oklahoma on TV, my daughter is taking a bath, it's 90 degrees outside. Normal all the way around.

But in New Orleans there are hundreds of thousands of shattered lives. Many will never return to the area. A bunch will, no doubt.

The study of God and suffering, I believe is called theodicy. Actually, theodicy is more the question of why God would allow evil in the world, but human suffering is wrapped up in it.

Maybe it's easier to ask what life would be like if we had no suffering. How would we grow stronger? Why would we need God at all? I've been through some tough stuff. Each disaster made me stronger. Is that the purpose of suffering?

Will all of this suffering make New Orleans stronger? Perhaps the people involved will become stronger, but I doubt New Orleans will become stronger. It didn't after the 1927 disaster that befell it. I suspect that the city is in for an extremely bumpy ride. Tourists, the major source of revenue for the city, are probably going to choose another destination, at least for the forseeable future. Companies that haven't already left are likely to do so now. The suffering, albeit in a different way, will likely continue for some time.

I don't know what the answer is. We do what we can do. I'm going to read C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed to see if I can garner any wisdom.

My answer to my daughter: "That's a very good question, sweetie ... I don't know..."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blame Game.

I've noticed quite a few moonbats attempting to blame GW and the administration for the chaos in New Orleans. A good article in the New York Sun about who really is to blame is here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Freaking Unreal ...

I've been looking over some of the coverage on Katrina today. It appears that the New Orleans Superdome has turned into an embarrasing catastrophe ... one that didn't have to happen. People (animals, really) are shooting at the folks attempting to deliver food and water. Busses are being hijacked. It's freaking awful.

I'm going to give money. Probably to the Red Cross.

My brother lives in Houston. Maybe there is something I can do down there.

I talked to my wife last night about opening our home to a family. She's good with it. Now, how do I find someone who needs us?

Oh, God ...