Saturday, January 28, 2006

Texas Has A Grand Canyon, Too (And It Isn't Palo Duro Canyon, Either)

If I wasn't so crazy in love with Candidate Larry, I might just chase Phillip over at Burnt Orange Report. He has been writing some incredibly good, well-sourced stuff lately, and I always seem to be linking to it. His latest is on Texas' very own Grand Canyon - a Grand Canyon of income disparity, even within a country of growing incoming disparity.

Now, this is not only bad for those families whose income is shrinking - it is bad for our whole economy. I though we learned this lesson when Henry Ford taught it to us by paying good liveable wages so his workers could afford his product. I guess things are different now?

Go read my Fair Haired Boy Phillip. And if anybody has a picture of him I can tape up on my fridge, send it to me.

Friday, January 27, 2006

TV Shows and Strep Throat

Well, we are all caught up on the doin's of our youngest and family TV watching, too. Billy came back from a tournament in Quebec (obviously, we must be Dems, because they speak French there, don't they?) with a nice case of strep throat. So after a trip to the doc and a bag of meds, and a nice nap, he talked us into watching the recorded family shows. First we watched this week's episode of Commander-in-Chief, which I am beginning not to like. Geena Davis' clenched-teeth look and her fake (even for her) man's voice is really beginning to grate on me. I know they cast her because she is an Amazon with a naturally deep voice - why make her sound like she is on male hormones? And that clenched-teeth look pisses me off even in a man. She does not have to be Clint Eastwood to run the country - Golda Meir wasn't, Benazir Bhutto wasn't, and neither was Margaret Thatcher. Margaret had her own annoying mannerisms, didn't she, though? Her slippery mumble-mouth Britishisms and her Tory-ness rankled me almost as much as McKenzie (see? even the name has to be a guy's name!) Allen's clenched-teeth manliness. And what really makes me tear out my hair is those kids of hers! They act like Republican kids, so self-absorbed and whiney. Only the little girl seems like a kid of Democrats, with her hopefulness and generous nature. But those teenagers, I swear! If any of mine acted like that, they'd be sent off to Outward Bound or to do do missionary work in some third world country so they could see what real problems are.

So then we watched the last two episodes of Battlestar Galactica. Geez, I love that show! And the themes are getting more hopeful, now, as the thick black line between humans and cylons is getting thinner and fading to a more charcoal color. I am disturbed and exhausted by the tension of being human in this show, the constant moral re-evaluation that goes on inside the main human and the cylon characters. It's just like my life as a Democrat. Life events as well a world events are always forcing me to re-evaluate my choices in light of new information and my own moral bottom line. Obviously, the Republicans are the earliest models of cylons - the ones that simply destroy and do not think with their brain and their soul, like the Sharon model does. Nothing changes for them, they are never wrong, they never feel shame, remorse, or transformative love. Just like some Republicans we know.

And now, a word from our sponsor:

Little Larry is getting ready to order some push cards, known in polite society as "campaign literature". But he needs bucks to do it, so we are asking for some wampum to make it happen. Hope y'all can help.

BTW, Billy got up feeling a bit better today. Antibiotics and sleeping 11 straight hours will do that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Secrecy, Cronyism and Graft - Right Here In River City! - *With Update*

I had a unique experience Saturday morning at Ancira Jeep on 281 North. A group of citizens joined together over a common issue: Toll Roads. Terri Hall of the Texas Toll Party chaired the event and was a delightful and energetic host. A number of candidates spoke about toll roads from a variety of perspectives, including Carole Strayhorn, Chris Bell, David Van Os, Tommy Adkisson and others. The legal issues, the economic effects, and general impact of toll roads on our lives were addressed very well by these fine candidates. Terri Hall graciously introduced me as the candidate running in HD 122 against toller Franke Corte. My own observations were these:

1. There are some hospitals, and many doctor offices and pharmacies located on the 281-1604 corridor. If Perry, Corte and their TXDOT buddies have their way, a resident of district 122 would have to pay a toll tax to take a family member to the doctor or to fill a prescription; or, even worse, pay the tax and waste precious time entering and exiting the toll system to get someone seriously sick or injured to the emergency room.

2. There are many churches located on 1604 and several others sit on or are near 281. Literally thousands of us drive these roads to pray on the Sabbath. Do you want to pay a tax to pray?

This issue of toll roads, brought to you by secrecy, cronyism and graft, just may well be the issue that really starts bringing Texans together again. Yup - secrecy, cronyism and graft are the common enemy of the Common Good.

C'mon y'all, let's rumble.

**Update**

My wife went to the Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transporation Policy Board meeting yesterday. She was very interested in two particular questions brought up by 2 different commissioner's court judges - Mr. Adkisson from Precinct 4 and Mr. Larson from Precicnt 3. They both seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the community regarding this issue, and they both addressed it, in different ways. Mr. Adkisson ruminated on the very makeup on the board, noting that it was made up of many more appointed officials and community members than elected members. He suggested it may be difficult to hold the Board accountable with so many appointed positions on the Board, and hoped that the Board itself could visit the issue of its own makeup in the near future.

Mr. Larson was more direct - he asked if the synchronization of the traffic lights on 281 north of 1604 may have been altered recently, as he noticed a change in how they operated during peak traffic hours, and noted this traffic flow pattern had changed rather recently. A city official was asked about the issue (sorry we don't have her name) who was not direct in her answer, stating that different lights were on different systems. After some discussion in which Mr. Larson noted that this sort of questions feeds community conspiracy theories, the Board agreed to request the city check on the synchronization of the lights in question and report back to the Board at the next meeting. It was all very civilized, even the clapping from the audience when Mr. Larson mentioned the apparent lack of synchronicity at peak hours; but there was definitely an undercurrent of emotion on both sides of the room. Could it be that the traffic light patterns were altered recently to cause more congestion on 281 at peak hours to enhance TXDOT's claims about the need for toll roads?

Stay tuned, sisters and brothers. This issue is getting legs, and fast.