Here is to enjoyment of a dark and stormy night

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was a dark and stormy night last, except when the lightning flashed.

Tropical Storm Cindy blew ashore about 40-to-50 miles from here on the upper Texas coast. Actual landfall, which is in many cases of little significance, came about 3 a.m. It seems as if every hurricane or significant tropical storm I have experienced shows up in the middle of the night much like a drunken, old girlfriend wanting to start some s**t for something said 30 years ago.

The rain yesterday started sometime around 3 p.m. in the form of a medium-to-heavy mist with intermittent large droplets of precipitation. The area from New Orleans to the Panhandle of Florida was pounded during the day with constant rain and heavy surf.

Rain began falling in earnest, and in Beaumont as well, near dark-thirty. The liquid was heavy to a light drizzle. Heavier storm elements such as slightly increased wind along with thunder and lightning began rolling in as the evening proceeded.

As far as I know, no serious damage, with the exception of a large tree falling on a local residence with a family inside, took place here in Jefferson County, Texas. One fatality, a 10-year-old who along with his family from St. Louis was visiting the coastal areas near Mobile Bay, was killed when a huge log popped out of the surf with no notice.

An accident closer to home resulted in the death of an elderly man from a neighboring county. A body was found near or inside a burned truck that had been submerged into the sand on the beach just east of state highways 87 and 124 in Galveston. Claude Credeur, 86, of Winnie in Chambers County, was dead at the scene. His 81-year-old wife, Lena, was found alive and was recovering at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston hospital. Some reports initially reported that authorities believed the couple were there due to a suicide pact. Officials later said that did not appear to be the reason leading to the fatality. The couple’s family earlier reported the pair missing, and prompted a so-called “Silver Alert,” which is a program for missing elderly people similar to “Amber Alerts” for missing children.

The storm was the type of event I enjoy sitting at home listening to the rain and the thunder. I have been out in all kinds of weather in my past professions as a sailor, a firefighter and a newspaper reporter. But I am not reckless. I, likewise, wouldn’t “send a dog out on a night like this.”

There is something magical about weather events, specifically storms. We have no control over them. Storms claim no intellect, or any other quality one might, just might, find in a living human being. Although storms are potentially dangerous, many more such as I am drawn to its raw power.

Perhaps you might argue with me about that. Just make sure you are inside and away from your windows. That’s all I’m saying.

The attorney of U.S.B.S. answers questions a few blocks away

Holy moley! I didn’t realize that it had been so long since I last posted here. Well, I’ve been kind of busy with this or that.  Take a look at the picture below. I took it about three hours ago as a Uber driver was taking me back to hotel.

I didn’t see our illustrious Attorney General Jubilee Cornpone Sessions while being driven by the U.S. Capitol. I am listening to Session’s crap right now.

The jackass who is our Attorney of United States Bull S**t is being questioned by U.S. senators as I watch CNN. I will continue to listen as I begin packing for my trip back to good ol’ Texas in the morning.

If Session finally flips out and starts running down the street, a few blocks from where I sit typing, I will let you know if I see him.

Money, money, money, money. Money!!!

It’s been so long. No, I haven’t gone on a long trip. Although, if my Power Play ticket hits all six numbers tonight, I might just take a trip.

I once would daydream about hitting the big lottery pots. That was mostly when I was able to walk an hour a day for exercise. But I am lucky if I can stand for 60 minutes within a day.

“New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team” — Roger Waters, Pink Floyd.

If I were to fantasize about winning the lottery, it would include thoughts of seeing whatever doctor was possible to help my lower back which pains me so standing or walking today. Then I would hire a personal trainer to help whip my overweight ass into shape. All of that would be little to accomplish if I won the $154, 800,000 cash value of Power Ball.

Oh hell, I would buy my dream home somewhere — likely in the East Texas piney woods — and maybe a townhouse on some coast somewhere. And a vehicle? Oh yeah. I would buy an SUV, trading in my  newly purchased 2004 Chrysler Pacifica; I’d buy some kind of full-size pickup; and I think I’d probably buy some cool little BMW. I had a Beemer once.

I bought, kind of, a 1972 BMW 2002. I became its driver in 1990 from my friend Bruce. It was a rather odd-looking vehicle with three colors. I drove it during my first months in a small East Texas sawmill town where my first newspaper job resided. I edited  a weekly paper, all with no experience except a degree in journalism. I must have done something right. I was told the paper turned a profit for the first time in years during my tenure.

Here is my take on winning the big money:

  • Being an old sailor man, I find it hard to fathom someone who wins a jackpot who previously hadn’t thought for what reason or reasons, he or she might use a lot of money.
  • No one will feel that you are s**t if you buy an expensive car. If you can afford it and want to kiss it all over, who cares?
  • I don’t care one way or another what you do with you money. If you want to fund a kangaroo path in Melbourne, just do it!

There is so much silliness one might think of should one hit the jackpot. Besides my material world items — not to mention I would fly off or ride a ship to wherever —  I would  likewise try my best to help people.

I think I would do whatever possible to help, relatives first, then friends or acquaintances or family to attend college. Check back with me when or if I win the Power Ball.

I once worked as a firefighter. I have and have had relatives and friends who became firemen/firefighters. Two nieces are officers in my hometown volunteer fire department. They also work as police officers in a nearby town. I would like to help out fire departments or other public safety services in my hometown or other groups whose existences mean quite a lot to me.

Will I win? I never won more than $10 playing Lotto. I won $50 once or twice and $100 doing scratch off on my 40th birthday in Massachusetts. I had to split it with my friend who bought the ticket. Oh well! If I win the almost $155 million. I will not let you know, at least not immediately. But if you know me, you might some day see the green. Or not.

 

Trump fires “mean ol'” FBI director Comey

What country is this?

This is a question that I just posed to my friend, Paul, who lives in Tokyo, with whom I communicate once or more times a day on What’sApp. I was referencing the news that President Donald J. Trump has just fired FBI Director James Comey for, as CNN panelists are describing as “being too mean to Hillary Clinton.” I must emphasize that this isn’t from an Onion story.

Bye Jimmy. It’s been unreal.

This doesn’t pass any smell test. It seems history is repeating itself. The historic story of which I speak is that of the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre”. This bloodless event took place on Oct. 20, 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon, who was under fire as a result of the Watergate scandal, ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon ordered Attorney General Eliott Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused. Richardson was then fired. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus was then ordered to fire the special prosecutor. He refused. Both Justice officials had assured a congressional oversight committee that they wouldn’t intervene in the investigation of Nixon. Solicitor General Robert Bork made no such assurances and he fired Cox. Congress, almost exactly 14 years later, rejected Bork as a Supreme Court nominee. Bork had served as a justice of the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals circuit and was nominated for the Supremes by President Ronald Reagan.

Anyone who has followed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, should recognize that Comey has made sometimes confusing statements. And Hillary Clinton has recently said that Comey’s announcing that the FBI would look further into her e-mail probe in late October was a contributing factor in the Electoral College win by Trump even though Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

The Justice Department said in July that Clinton would not be prosecuted for her email practices. The statement by Comey that he would look further into some email problems in Clinton’s State Department appeared to turn the tide for Trump as Republican presidential nominee. It made no difference that Comey announced just a few days before the election that Clinton had another all clear. The rest, is our sorry history.

Some people who acquire great wealth and power come to believe that they may do whatever the hell they want. It seemed that Trump has headed in that direction. Now there is no such question. Are we in for our long national nightmare II, as President Gerald R. Ford described the aftermath of the Nixon saga?

Stay strapped in because it looks our nation is in for another bumpy ride.

Trump: “Bring me more smoke and mirrors!”

More smoke and more mirrors. I know a little about smoke. In the header-photo above, I am the one on the tail-end of the 2 1/2-inch fire hose. I know 2 1/2 inches of hose does not sound like much of a hose. But it is. A normal uncharged section of 2 1/2-inch hose is not the easiest of objects to maneuver.  But once you charge that hose and the principles of fire hydraulics begin its activities, you have a whole lot of water and weight.

Now the picture above shows much more fire than smoke. It’s funny. When my lieutenant and I were fighting this blaze, it seemed to me that the heat, and smoke was much more intense than the blaze itself. As you look in this wonderful photo, you see the house outlined in fire. Thus, I saw much more in that picture of a house blazing than from when the house was right before my eyes.

lt is simple to say, the picture defies reality. What  that means is something entirely different. This afternoon, I heard something that defied  reality. That was when our president was collectively blowing smoke up our asses. It seems that Donald Trump does that quite often.

President Doofus was exercising his almost daily ritual, often times more than once, of blowing smoke and employing mirrors. Why? Well, if a little smoke looks good much more of it has to appear even better. Or so would such an argument — as stupid as it seems — might go.

Today’s grand illusion is the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By employing his weapon of choice, the presidential executive order, President All About Donald can claim all the credit should the VA order turns out to be an unqualified win.  And if matters should fail … Well … ?

There is no doubt that the VA has many problems although  many of its problems fall not so much in the area of health care.

The VA provides benefits to millions of veterans and their families. The third of the three largest branches of the VA handles nothing but cemeteries and veteran burial benefits. Even in the area of health care, a gigantic bureaucracy  looms to ensure the agency will be paid, one way or the other.

It is amazing how many people believe all veterans are due free health care. I once corrected a member of Congress on that fact. Only certain groups of veterans receive free care, among those are those whose illnesses or injuries are connected to the vet’s military service. Then, the percentage of that disability is service connected goes into the equation of what amount, if any, co-pay a veteran will pay.

I am at the low end end of care which is means-based. Last year, quite suddenly, the VA decided I owed them co-payments for medicines and afterwards were charged  for co-pays of actual medical care in addition to those for prescriptions. Many of those who know little of the VA may also not realize that one’s ability to pay is based on gross income. Let’s say my income is $45,000 a year. But I don’t work full-time so I might make no more than $24,000 after taxes. You see the problem there.

I spent quite a few years reporting on and writing about the VA. I saw the agency from a number of vantage points. Most recently I have seen the many views of fiscal accounting, or lack there of, from a patient’s point of view.

There are at least three and possibly more offices one must deal with in settling debts. These offices sometimes do not deal with each other directly.

If the president thinks he can sign a piece of paper and the VA will have its problem solved, then he will definitely require a lot of help. That, and much much more smoke and mirrors.