The state seizes Beaumont school control. The circus has left town.

The state board that oversees public education in Texas announced today that an appointed board of managers will rule the troubled Beaumont school district.

A letter from Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to the Beaumont Independent School District superintendent and school board said the managers along with an appointed conservator and superintendent will run district functions effective June 15. This means the current elected board and its appointed superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois, will cease supervision of the largest district in Southeast Texas. A copy of that letter is here.

The announcement comes in the wake of years-long controversy, often based along racial lines, over financial and other mismanagement. Some of the former has resulted in the alleged disappearance of  millions in public dollars. A few pleas by district officials made in federal court may result in prison time as well as financial reimbursement and fines. A deal was also worked out by federal prosecutors and the district’s electrician in which the latter will receive no prison time for allegedly bilking the district for more than $4 million.

A Texas Education Agency report released earlier this month noted ” … a severe breakdown in the management of the district’s finances both by the board of trustees and the superintendent.”

Additional criminal investigations by local law enforcement and the FBI are currently under way.

Not addressed in these official reports are the racial overtones that pervade the controversy. Some of the racial discord dates back more than two decades in which the school district incorporated predominantly black schools and marked the beginning of a “white flight” that has today left Beaumont as a city with a black majority in population. Population estimates for 2012 by the U.S. Census show Beaumont with a population of 118,228. Of that population, 47 percent is black and 40 percent white.

Much of the racial-driver controversy concerning Beaumont schools teetered in the shadows until recent years under the district’s predominantly black school board and its black former superintendent Dr. Carroll “Butch” Thomas. Before Thomas retired in 2012, his salary of more than $360,000 was the highest in Texas. This despite Beaumont ISD was not even in the top 20 Texas schools in enrollment size.

The zenith of the BISD controversy came about after voters in 2007 passed a more than $380 million bond issue. Some of the most vocal critics say Thomas and cohorts mishandled funds in the bond issue. The large “Carroll A. “Butch” Thomas Educational Support Center, with a 10,600-seat football stadium at its center, is perhaps the monument for the BISD storm that either saw its peak today with the state takeover or whatever else is to follow.

Within the fight against the school board has been a vocal minority led by white residents of the district’s more affluent neighborhoods as well local Tea Party activists. The opposition leaders include one of the few white school board members and one local attorney who serves on the Beaumont City Council. Many who are among the most vocal, and often the most racial, can be found at the board meetings and on the comment sections of local media stories. Often the most vocal make their thoughts known pseudonymous online, such as adopting racist names for Beaumont school leaders as well as making sure minorities in other stories are likewise not given the benefit of doubt for their actions.

I must admit, it was once fun watching the squabbling on both sides. But no longer is that the case. Many of the opposition to the school board and its appointed leaders Thomas and Chargois, will feel vindicated and perhaps even giddy upon the actions taken today by the Texas Education Agency and its distinguished commissioner, Mr. Williams. It is pertinent to point out that Williams, who is a Republican former Texas Railroad Commissioner, is also black. I fear though that if the white BISD opposition does not get out of those appointees what they want, the vocal minority will likely point at the black TEA commissioner and probably at any African-Americans he appointed to the board of managers. Perhaps even, the loyal opposition may show its ire at the whole group.

If such takes place, it can only result in more discord and more white flight.

A word for the media here. I am sure all the local TV stations will claim their role in this hoped-for correction of the district. The TV stations are already doing their annoying “It was first reported here … ” The local newspapers took a very, very slow start into covering problems in the district as did the TV stations. Were it not for several of the aforementioned ringleaders of opposition, the media coverage of the district problems would have been nil. Had these media outlets been competently led, they might have seen Pulitzer or Peabody prizes in their future. While I would be willing to bet the TV and newspapers may win some prizes, the awards will be nothing near what they might have been had the local media been on the ball. It’s even possible these problems would have never even come this far.

So much for the fun and games. The circus has long stopped being fun. The clean-up crew now has to try and sweep away all the crap that the clowns, rather than the elephants, left behind.


What’s wrong with Ferguson and Geoff replacing Letterman?

It looks like Wednesday, April 9, may finally be the day my torn knee meniscus cartilage is fixed. What a freaking ordeal that’s been.

The world of late night TV is also having its own freaking ordeal now that David Letterman announced his retirement last night. Some say he retired years ago. I just think the time has come. I have liked Letterman over the years but his show is difficult to remain with through a night. It’s definitely lost a lot of its freshness.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised Jimmy Fallon has become successful, off to a fast beginning in replacing Jay Leon. I suppose the people who like Saturday Night Live over the last 15 or so years would like Fallon. Of the two Jimmies, I overwhelming say Kimmel is the better. But I don’t really like to stay with his show the entire episode either. Automatically, many think of Craig Ferguson on the CBS Late Late Show which follows Dave as a likely replacement, but I supposed those who like the two Jimmies shows don’t particularly get Ferguson. Not so, me.

Only over the past year or so have I begun watching Ferguson and his very different style of humor. I really suppose I should start taping it so I can get to sleep at a better time. Oh, and I stay with his show, wishing it was just a bit longer.

Ferguson reminds me of the early days of Letterman who, while seeming appearing stable on the outside seems possessing a zany personalaity with deep intellect. Not that Letterman seemed all that brainy, although many times he ends up looking crazy as a fox. Ferguson, a naturalized Scot who shows an abiding love for America with all it warts (most often a difficult task these days), has no band and no real human sidekicks. He has an robotic skeleton, Geoff Peterson, whose fingers seem to be falling off and two people in a horse suit known collectively as “Secretariat.” The latter only dance around and nod their heads at something to indicate an affirmative or negative. Geoff is hilarious as is Ferguson.

Ferguson likewise has great guests and, I don’t know if they rehearse, but they all seem to come off as if they had been sitting around talking all day. A limbo contest between Ferguson and guest Ashton Kutcher last night was a hoot. The Late, Late Show  follows a legacy of another “out there” host whom I really enjoyed, Tom Snyder.

One must admit that there are some intriguing names circulating as potential candidates to replace Letterman. Among them, Chelsea Handler, Ellen DeGeneres, Arsenio Hall, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. All could revitalize that first late show time spot. Then so could Ferguson and others.

Maybe I just should lighten up and accept what passes for comedy of the more recent Saturday Night Live variety. Maybe I am just stuck in the Belushi, Murray, Ackroyd days. Or maybe not. Too much to ponder.

Happy Weekend.

Start with a microbe, you end up with a redneck pondering speech

Here is a story from Canadian TV that helps put one back in their place: Ah, yes, tales of the “Methane-spewing microbe blamed in worst mass extinction.”

Speaking of methane-spewing, I am still laughing today at a particular scene from last night’s episode “Starvation” on the great FX series Justified. Yeah, I know some may have still not watched it so avert your eyes.

The wonderful redneck criminal character Dewey Crowe, played by Down Under-er Damon Herriman, is caught siphoning gas from a little old lady’s car. Asked if he wants some snack or such she trots off while Dewey hollers: “If you’re gonna be a minute, you mind if I run in and take a shit?”

Not surprisingly, the old woman returns with a double-barrel shotgun. Well, it isn’t surprising she returns with a gun, not that it isn’t surprising she comes back with a “side-by-side.” Or isn’t it?

I’m not all that good in character minutiae, especially with a fast-moving, Elmore Leonard-inspired TV series. But the show’s executive producer Graham Yost tells Entertainment Weekly that another comic exchange, this time between Dewey and lead Timothy Olyphant, has ties to the series’ beginning. Olyphant, who exquisitely plays U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylyn Givens, manages to arrest Dewey after he, figuratively, blew up a chance for the marshals to trap Dewey’s meaner brother Darryl. As Dewey is led away Raylyn gives the hapless criminal some advice that he might ” … stop referring to himself in the third person.”

“What? This guy?” Dewey asks, nodding toward the cop about to drive him to jail.

“Man, sometimes I don’t understand you.”

The last phrase, as it turns out, Dewey uttered in the pilot episode. I don’t know if I even saw the pilot. I’m sure I must’ve. I haven’t missed many of the episodes Justified‘s five season. This is one of the few golden nuggets in TV these days. It is a reminder that the show must’ve had a writer. And it did and it does.

Too bad it wasn’t me.


Crime and medicine: Duo subjects for budding sports journalists

The role of a sports writer has seemed to widen each year. The media, and I would say rightly so, has reported in recent years on criminal escapades of athletes at all levels. Depending on how forthcoming the sports media are about developing stories on “student-athlete-criminals” the consumers of said media may be delivered crime stories ranging from jocks at the junior high to professional levels.

As is the case with most crime stories a person need not be arrested, tried or convicted  to have one’s name end up on the pages or on television in relation to some criminal misdeed. And if one is a prominent athlete, or just an athlete in some cases, or a celebrity a conviction is not always needed to rate coverage. Take the example today of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson has been shopped as of late by Philly front-office types. Reasons range from work ethic, or lack thereof, to temperament. The latest rap is that Jackson allegedly has ties with gang members. One such alleged gangsta, a rapper named “T-Ron,” has supposed connections to the notorious L.A. “Crips” gang. Such thin allegations involving Jackson says little as for his involvement, innocence or guilt. What does give rise to suspicions is that the Eagles have so intensely shopped Jackson who came off the previous season with big numbers and a big salary to boot.

Writing about such allegations takes no specific training as a journalist or sports writer. Perhaps these scribes would study their libel courses very well before engaging in publishing stories heavy with accusations and light on facts. To do hard-nose reporting on criminal escapades committed by a ball player and his friends requires a bit of training, if only OJT.

A second type of specialty reporting in sports news falls into the field of medicine. I thought of this having heard earlier on the radio that Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley was supposedly diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee after an injury during the Rockets-76-ers game last night. Always sunny in Philadelphia, huh?

Deeper reading will probably find some journalist with a knowledge about such an injury, what it means, and how surgery might impact Beverley and his team on the Rocket’s path to the playoffs. I first heard this story earlier in the afternoon on Houston ESPN 97.5 “The Blitz” program. Hosts Dave Tepper and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon ran down the Beverley story and how it could result in Jeremy Lin starting in place of the injured Rocket. These radio hosts made an interesting observation that former Knicks phenom Lin has as his strength these days playing from the bench. Whether this means  Lin can step up, of course, is a good question. Where Tepper and Solomon could have used help is in having someone with even the slightest bit of medical knowledge concerning the injury suffered by Beverley.

I know I could provide a little information about that injury. As a result of a medial and lateral tear of the meniscus cartilage, I have been ordered by my doctor to stand no more than 2 hours per day. This has gone on for a bit more than a month and a half due to a reexamination into my worker’s compensation case. I just learned today that surgery for my torn meniscus has been authorized so there is the possibility I might have an arthroscopic meniscus repair sometime next week. I have been and am ready to get it over with and hope it will help. Perhaps I can become an expert on such injuries. At least I might have more knowledge than I was given today on the radio. That isn’t slamming Tepper or Solomon. Such journalist or commentators aren’t expected to be lawyers nor doctors. They just need to know where to find one. And that’s my point.

If one has a dream of becoming a sports reporter, then legal and medical issues are the types of subjects which sports journalists are expected to encounter these days. My piece of advice is, if such subjects aren’t approached at some point in the first couple of years in J school, then I would suggest you find courses into which one may learn these issues. Basic criminal justice of the kind reporters require should be taught in news writing intro courses. If not, then sign up for an actual criminal justice class. You will likely find in those classes some would-be cops or actual LEOs who might add to your knowledge, that, in addition to what one learns in class. Medical classes are something of which I am not so sure. I learned my medical knowledge through EMT training in which I was certified for 10 years. I also dated a couple of nurses. (Pause.)

At the very least, talk to an adviser in your school’s nursing program. No telling what you might find there. Anything is better than nada, someone — I think Doug Sahm — once said.

Will the isolation give up the ongoing Malaysian mystery?

Perhaps Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is located in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps not. After the immense speculation and leads given the public from corporate and government sources one could think the Boeing 777 jet with its contingent of almost 300 lives aboard might just be anywhere. It is heartening to think a possible crash site might finally be spotted, according to media reports.

The strange paths this Beijing-bound flight supposedly took and the elements to which the flight pertains is certainly a mystery worthy of fiction. If indeed this jet is found in almost completely the opposite direction from where it was headed, then that too seals the mysterious flight which headed out just after midnight from Kuala Lumpur on March 8. And while the 24-hour media has raised the possibility the 777 might perhaps had been en route to as far north as Pakistan, the possibility the aircraft and its passengers and crew may lie in the Indian Ocean east of Western Australia seems to make more sense than any other ultimate destination.

It didn’t really hit me at first when a newscaster commented this morning that the missing place could in a place as “remote” as to the east of Western Australia. When one looks at a map it really can understand just how far removed from civilization such a place really is.

I made a trip once sailing out of Fremantle, the Swan River port city for Perth, Western Australia, headed for Jakarta, Indonesia. I don’t remember much about the passage, our two warships alone  out on the Indian Ocean. We had spent the better part of two months visiting ports all up and down the two major New Zealand islands and to three Australian ports in a semi-circular journey from New South Wales, to Tasmania and up to Perth. The majority of us sailors, under 25, had just experienced “sailor-man heaven.”

So I really cannot comment too much one way or the other about the trip across the western Indian Ocean and into the Java Sea. The only thing that really sticks out in my mind about the Indian Ocean is that it was generally hot as hell, it being during the heat of the southern winter. I did notice what appeared to be dirty-looking ocean water, it being one of those odd instances one comes across when at sea after awhile.

Few islands of the Indian to the west of Australia other than Madagascar are noteworthy.  The only place in the Indian Ocean where I have known people to go was Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, home of the major U.S. Navy facility that was built in the 1970s mostly by Navy Seabees. A number of my Seabee friends were deployed there at one time or another. One even sent me a B.I.O.T. T-shirt though I don’t know what happened to it.

Yes, I would have to think that area west of of Perth is pretty remote as many ocean areas might be. Still the ocean is tranquil and desolate in many areas of the world as it is there. Hopefully, this remote area will soon uncover this ongoing mystery and provide some comfort to those with loved ones on Flight 370.



And when all else fails, talk turns to Texas

Seems Texas is in the political news today. Nothing new. It shouldn’t be. I mean why should it, given this is the second largest state in population and the second largest in area? It’s two (smack) two (smack) two number two states in one.

Sr. Comadreja, a.k.a Sen. Ted Cruz, the Canadian-Cuban who represents the two-for-two state in the upper house was visiting here in Beaumont yesterday at the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. The symbolism is not lost because the museum is only a short-short away from the gusher that started the modern petroleum industry. So, Cruz represents the “new” Tea Party face of the Republican party, but doesn’t want to shy away from that good ol’ awl money. Dana Bash of CNN was interviewing Cruz at the Boomtown, asking him about all kinds of insignificant matters. Such as Ted Nugent campaigning for Greg Abbott, Texas attorney general and candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.

Nugent said some things which are really not very meaningful when it comes to anything. Unless, perhaps you interpret ol patriotic, draft-dodging Teddy’s words as racist. But the media, mostly the cable news networks, have to pounce on these things. He called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and some other things which weren’t nice. When Abbott was questioned about the aging rock singer’s remarks, the GOP goober-natorial candidate for governor ran away from the media with both hands over his ears, screaming: “Nonononononon!!” All of that is pretty difficult since Abbott’s weird encounter, some years back, when a tree fell on him as he was jogging. I mean that is what insurance companies mean when they say: ” … act of God … ” That didn’t stop lawyer Abbott for suing the pants and just about everything else off the people “responsible.” Yes indeed, what a good Republican-stop-lawsuit-abuse fellow. As a matter of fact, Abbott continued to sue folks upon taking oath as Texas AG, especially suing the U.S. of A.

Perhaps for good measure, or Good Hair, Wolf Blitzer had old Good Hair himself on his program this afternoon. Gov. Rick Perry was hemmin’ and hawin’ about, whom else? Ted Nugent.

 ”He shouldn’t have said that about the president, said Perry. “But we should be focused on what’s really important here.”

Whatever that might be.

 ”Ted has said some pretty outrageous things … ” I do have a problem with somebody calling the president a mongrel.”

“That was a ‘subhuman mongrel!’ ” Wolf reiterated.

Yeah, well. A few free minutes of watching the “news” after an exhausting day all shot to hell by the “subhuman” elite of Texas politics.

It’s only rock and roll and 50 years later … damn knee!

Perhaps I have been a bit inattentive lately. I swear I have an excuse. But you know what they say about excuses — Yes, everyone’s an ass****. Well, maybe not.

My right knee has, quite frankly, hurt like a sonofabitch for the last month. It still does but I’m hopefully getting a little closer to the reason why. I went to a non-VA doctor and he says it looks as it I have a torn cartilage. Probably a meniscus tear would be my guess. I am awaiting an appointment for a MRI that may tell me what’s up. In the meantime, the orthopedist told me no standing for more than two hours a day. I might have to get him to add no sitting for more than two hours. It feels okay when the knee is bent. It is standing up that is tricky.

Just putting my two scents in on that Beatles tribute on CBS earlier in the week. Sunday maybe? Whenever.

Someone once told me there are two kinds of people in the world. There are Beatles people and there are Stones people. Well, I’m a Stones people, uh, person. I saw them in concert 30 years ago at the Superdome and figured it amazing they were still getting around very well back then. And now. Damn, Mick must be 100 years old. Keith Richards looks 200 at least. But their music is still … great.

I like the Beatles too. Some of their music I liked more than others. Wasn’t much of a Sgt. Pepper’s fan. Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album and one of my favorite all-time works. The White Album comes second. George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” is one of my favored songs from that album. It was played powerfully during the Beatles 50-year tribute by guitarists/vocalists Gary Clark Jr., Joe Walsh and drummer Dave Grohl. Clark is an Austin bluesman, whom sadly, I had not heard of but perhaps heard. Walsh, from James Gang and later Eagles guitarist and presidential candidate rounded out a great leading trio on the Harrison song with Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, drumming his heart out.

Not so much did I care for the covers by Maroon 5, although I like some of Adam Levine and the band’s songs, mostly “Harder to Breathe.” Katie Perry, Grammy queen, was seemingly panned by most writers I have seen after the tribute concert for her take on “Yesterday.” But then what do writers know anyway?

The two surviving Beatles? They still rock. I wonder though, what they might look like if they looked their age? Ringo? Half-bald and a pot belly? Paul, like he did singing on the Rooftop Concert. Even 80-year-old Yoko Ono was dancing during the tribute and … I wonder what John was thinking, way back when?

Cop arrests firefighter for not saying “How high?” when told to jump

If there is one thing video cameras are good for it is unearthing abuse by those with official powers. I’m talking here about the California Highway Patrol and one of theirs — no Erik Estrada — arresting a firefighter because he wouldn’t stop in the middle of an auto accident rescue to move his fire truck.

Something such as this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen police at the scene of emergencies who are absolutely worthless. I have witnessed men in blue who should be charged a fee for taking up the vital air we breathe. This I have seen working as a firefighter and later as a reporter.

On the flip side I have seen cops who got their hands dirtied, their uniforms ruined , and their lives and limbs jeopardized while helping anyway they can to save a life.

Here is a unique perspective. I was a small-town editor who went to the scene of an accident just a short ways from where I lived. The cars involved were a pickup pulling into a convenience store and a police car on its way to a burglary in progress. When I arrived, I could tell the officer was already dead. A former EMT checked his vitals and found his eyes fixed and dilated, as well as having no breathing or pulse.

The other officer who was on duty and who had responded to the burglary fell apart upon arriving at what turned out to be a two-fatality accident, the other driver was killed instantly as well. The other officer literally didn’t know what to do. He looked at me with eyes pleading for some direction. Thus, I suggested he call for the Jaws of Life, there being a fire truck on the scene but no rescue unit with the Hurst tool. There would be a need for the rescue tool to remove the bodies but other than that, my suggestion kind of kick-started the cop and got him back to doing as he was trained. This was nothing spectacular that I did. I stayed steady like I did when I was a firefighter and EMT. And I just helped a brother out.

Tiffs between cops and firefighters aren’t that uncommon. A police officer arresting one of his brother public safety personnel is, fortunately, uncommon. A law enforcement officer arresting a firefighter and in front of rolling cameras, while that officer is endangering public safety, is very rare.  Stupid would be a word that comes to mind.

Police, EMTs, firefighters are all on the same team. And while there may be “no I in team,” there are asses in ass****s.






Peyton didn’t shoot rainbows out his butt though German engineers did

For your reading pleasure I will not be the Monday afternoon quarterback after the latest version of the “Big Game.” Blowouts do not make for good games when you aren’t really wild about either team. I liked certain individual players, Peyton for one. There are several local guys, Earl Thomas and Red Bryant, come to mind, who played for the Seahawks. Seattle came, and must have brought actual fans rather than corporate types, they saw and they conquered.

I am extremely happy Peyton Manning had the remarkable season that he did. Especially coming off four cervical spine surgeries. I didn’t think he could do it. And I really didn’t think he should have even played. I have had two neck surgeries. The first was when I was about Peyton’s age and the second one, where they cut a piece of my hip and fused it with a titanium strip with screws, when I was 45. I recovered okay from the first one but it wasn’t a long time that I had additional C-spine problems that are virtually inoperable unless I have some serious bodily or life-threatening conditions. The difference is that I have never been close to being in similar physical condition as Peyton. Hell, he was in better condition when he was under anesthesia and on the operating table for five hours than I have ever been. I probably could have beat him in a 40 had I been 27 and he still under on the operating table, but even that is questionable.

Maybe Peyton gave me hope that others don’t have to go through the pain and other bullshit that I do with chronic pain from degenerative arthritis. One must remember though, Peyton has those Manning genes. All three boys were exceptional athletes, even though all three didn’t have the best necks. Peyton and Eli’s brother Cooper Manning had to give up football prior to starting at Old Miss. He had spinal stenosis, which I had prior to my 2001 surgery, though his was more severe so that had he been hit he might end up paralyzed. These Manning boys remind me of the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito characters in the movie “Twins” in which the unlikely pair were part of an experiment to build the better human being. Kind of like Frankenstien, except more handsome and more engaging with uncanny athletic abilities, the young Manning boys.

The Super Bowl commercials also pretty much sucked this year. I did think a few were good. Audi’s “Doberhuahua” hit it out of the park, I think. I also thought the Volkswagen German engineers sprouting wings when their cars reached 100,000 miles was pretty funny, especially upon the young girl’s suggestion that at 200,000 they also shoot rainbows out their butts.

A few highs and a few lows this Super Bowl XLVIII, but mostly lows.

The actions of our democracy were outside the chambers last night, sorry to say

This was the first State of the Union address I have missed in several years. I did not miss watching it because of something the President did or didn’t do. I missed it because I knew every good deed that was proposed in the past year was usually grounded because of our pitiful excuse of a Congress.

Here is a full transcript of the 2014 SOTU. Beginning with:

 ”Tonight this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.”

What would the President say? “Man, this whole stinkin’ union sucks!”

During this past year, the minority within the House majority, along with the minority of the Senate minority, caused the federal government to shut down for half a month. We, the workers (part-time ones like me too) were all paid but we worried about whether that would happen because our senior U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R, Texas, held up the legislation allowing us our pay to the end of that sorry saga. I wish someone viable would appear to defeat Cornyn, the piece of dusty furniture that occupies our vaunted Senate succession from the great Sen. Sam Houston, who was for those from another planet was also President of the Republic of Texas and Governor of Texas. That is, until Big Sam was overthrown by Texas citizens of the United States who wanted to undo all the state had fought for by succeeding from this nation over slaves they couldn’t even afford.

No viable candidate brings me to the end of the SOTU. Read it yourself. I will. I have read the excerpts and the pundits, some of them. I rest my case, whatever it was on the SOTU because the scourge of idiocy showed itself outside the great congressional chamber where first, one of Cornyn’s opponents “showed his ass,” as we say down in Texas.

Rep. Steve Stockman, R, Texas is leaving Congress to run against Cornyn. That’s the good news, that he’s leaving Congress. Stockman, unseated congressional legend Rep. Jack Brooks who served 42 years in office. I wasn’t living in that district then. I am living in that district now but because of redistricting we have a brand new piece of Republican Tea Party furniture. Thankfully, I was ably represented back then, in 1995, by Rep. Charlie “Good Time Charlie” Wilson, D, Texas of “Charlie Wilson’s War” fame. Not that I could have done anything to stop the looney tunes Stockman from taking office. During Stockman’s tenure he was reviled for a bizarre incident in which he received a fax from Michigan militia types just after the Oklahoma City Bombing. While Stockman was accused of having received the message before the bombing and not reporting it to the FBI (he did report it), his sanity and ethics were questioned for sending the fax to the NRA. Plus his ties to a Michigan militia seemed also shady.

But Stockman, these days, seems shady-er, shadier. Cornyn’s high-powered Republican operatives have dug deep and found all kinds of dirt about financial shenanigans from Stockman and his missing in action from the House.  

Then there was that whole Stockman, figuratively thank you, showing his ass last night by walking out on the SOTU. The Senate candidate said he did so to protest the President abusing his power yadda, yadda. What a moron you are Steve Stockman.

Finally, the Republicans also made news for the party’s former Marine and FBI agent member of the House who last night threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony of the Capitol and to break the reporter into. That was because the reporter had the gall to ask Rep. Michael Grimm, R, N.Y., a question that was about some campaign finance irregularities rather that something from the SOTU on which the congressman probably had ready for a quote.

It turns out Grimm has a long history of bad behavior toward the press and others as well as many ethical and financial questions trailing his time in Congress.

Both congressional Republican morons think they can speak to reporters on their own volition. But that isn’t the way our democracy works. As it turned out, I made the better decision to just keep a copy of the SOTU handy to read at my own pace. Besides, all the action, if you want to call it that, was outside the chamber. Unfortunately.

Stupidity be thy name, Mr. GRIMM and Mr. STOCKMAN.