The Reb flag is down. We’re back to Step 1 with a mass murder.

The Confederate Battle Flag was taken from its pole today on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol in Columbia, S.C. It should have left a long time ago. It is likely it should have not been there at all. I think that flag has no real use except in museums, history books and movies about the Civil War. To me the battle flag is akin to the Jolly Roger flag that once indicated piracy on ships in the 18th century.

Those symbols might have been fun for us redneck kids of the mid 20th century in East Texas — a place that has always been more Old South than cowboy country. But the CSA battle flag symbolizes an open-ended hostility toward the United States and the black folks whose lives were captured in Africa and sold to American folks who believed they needed slaves to make them rich or richer.

As someone who has given more than 10 years to the United States military and government, I have become appalled with those who have shallow dreams of another Texas secession. I speak of people like our former Gov. Good Hair. Yes, I know Rick Perry was an Air Force pilot who flew C-130s. Good for him. While I appreciate his service, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is a patriot or particularly blessed with useful gray matter. For heaven’s sake, he thought Texas had the right to secede. It doesn’t.

My feelings on the battle flag has evolved over the years. It wasn’t the flag of the confederacy.

Although I think removing the flag in South Carolina is a positive development it should make us think more about our other symbols. I see today that just after the battle flag was removed in South Carolina, the FBI director admitted that a screw up in the background checks for weapons allowed the alleged killer of nine in S.C. to buy a gun. This shooting that killed so many in the Carolina church led to the outrage over the Confederate flag.

And so, here we are back at the beginning. Where nine people died needlessly. I mean, are we just ignoring the fact that nine people were murdered in a church, hoping the problem will go away?

Will it end in Houston or Dallas or any other Texas city when the state of Texas allows licensed handgun owners to openly carry their pistols next year? Are will this be the Old West once more, with people putting notches on their belts? Jeez, it is time for our people in the US of A to WTFU (Wake The F*** Up!)



Poor impulse control? No impulse control? Whatever!

Impulse is a word that appears as imparting more bad than good. It would be my guess that people these days seem to associate the word in its psychological form and specifically dealing with “poor impulse control” as in criminal acts. Specifically, the criminal acts – thanks to TV programs such as “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” associated with sex.

But impulse, that dealing with human behavior, is not always negative. Indeed there are some wonderful aspects of life that are constructed due to impulse. Of course, circumstances in which impulse may be great in the same manner may be, well, let’s say not so good. Take for instance life in one of its basic forms: birth.

While it is true that birth control has slowed down the numbers of babies resulting from the impulsive act of, as Bob Seger so aptly put it, “the Horizontal Bop.” So called “unprotected sex” not to mention faulty birth control methods still produce the little “surprise.” Some might see that little surprise as surprise!:) or as surprise:/OMG!

Not to get off the point, but doesn’t unprotected sex seem as quite a harsh expression? The phrase evokes showing up to the bed encased in a latex body suit. Or maybe a suit of armor. Let’s say you are just sitting there slowly rusting away from the humidity of the room while awaiting for the fair damsel to arrive with the key to her chastity belt. Quaint.

It also would be interesting to see studies of children of those with “poor” impulse control. Do they have a plan for everything ranging from taking a shit to having the car serviced?

I heard the Steve Winwood song “Roll With It” today while sitting in the IHOP and the title made me think of my impulsive life, good and bad, but mostly good. I never suspected, by the way, that I would do a phone interview with one of that song’s writers. Will Jennings has written or co-written for what seems like a “Who’s Who” of popular music. He co-wrote most popular songs recorded by Winwood, after the artist’s younger years spent with the group Traffic. I interviewed Jennings after he received Song of the Year honors at the Grammys for “Tears In Heaven,” which he co-wrote with Eric Clapton. Jennings came across as warm and unpretentious, which his friends from the college he attended and taught – my alma mater Stephen F. Austin — said were typical.

Oh, while I’m name dropping, most who know me understand I was far from a George Dubya Bush fan. However, I am proud of having interviewed him when he was head of the Texas Rangers baseball team. I was unmolested by handlers and Secret Service, which were prevalent while covering several events while he was president. I was actually part of the press pool a couple of times during visits he made home to Crawford, Texas. And I did get wet once. Pool, wet, get it? That was from waiting in the rain for the Secret Service to do their sweep of the church where I would attend services with the first family. In between baseball and the presidency, I also covered I don’t know how many events while GWB was governor. The same goes for Ricky Bob Perry.

I have had many good times doing the impulsive. And I never did anything to land me in prison. Well, let me rephrase that. I was never imprisoned for anything and kind of leave it at that.

And I did a few impulsive acts I wish I hadn’t. They mostly cost me money or made me feel awkward the next day. I will kind of leave that at that.

Just remember, my friends, there is no explanation better than leaving matters at that. Or maybe that isn’t so. It’s all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand, as if you ever heard “Clap for the Wolfman.”


Trying to wake up for the Texas November elections

The Texas General Election in November has failed to capture my attention so far this year. Why is really not that important to discuss except that some candidates have done their best to keep away from the news media. I especially note Republicans Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton, respectively, candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

Patrick did manage to surface from meeting with small influential crowds long enough to debate Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte last night in Austin. I tried finding the only scheduled debate for Texas Lieutenant Governor on the TV last night but couldn’t. Oh well. Media stories covering perhaps the one opportunity to see the two candidates say it was pretty much what I expected, charges and counter charges about raising or not raising taxes.

I did watch a debate between Republican Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott and Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis, the two candidates for Texas Governor. It was of slightly more substance. Of course, I have been getting email up the ying-yang all year from Wendy’s people and Obama and every Dem politician running for public office it seems. It seems as if they want money. Hey, I will clean your windshield. Sorry, it’s all ho-hum. It just seems like the election has already been determined and we will have a repeat of all these Republican nut jobs in state offices, as well as a majority in Legislature.

Perhaps I will be surprised. Maybe at least Van de Putte will win, that would put her in what is constitutionally the strongest office in the state as head of the State Senate. Of course, Good Hair Perry did put a sizable dent into that power by his ability to appoint people to boards and commissions.

Maybe I will feel more like becoming a part of the political process as time goes on toward the election. I hope I do. It will take my mind off other things like the spread of Ebola.


Texas: Dreaming beats actions of nutty governor

Gov. Good Hair is back in the news. Or should I say Republican Texas Gov. Rick “Good Hair” Perry has made the news once more with one of his stupid utterances.

This time the former and perhaps future 2016 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination has a conspiracy theory blaming President Obama for the massive influx of Central American children who have been creating a refugee crisis at the U.S. border. Perry repeated the ridiculous theory he made last week on Fox News to ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on “This Week” Sunday.

 “I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” Perry said.

Of course Perry didn’t elaborate on his theory. I suppose some cockamamie illegal entry conspiracy hatched by the president is about as possible as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un getting signed along with his pal Dennis Rodman to a NBA contract. Because that would be the likelihood of such a theory as fact.

It is also no big surprise Good Hair wants permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to put drones on the border. I’m sure Perry also wants those drone armed with Hellfire missiles, or at the very least Vulcan 20-mm cannons. That way he can now operate a fully functioning Texas Department of Public Safety Air Force as well as Navy. Hell, DPS probably has more armament than some Third World nations.

All of this Perry bluster is something he is aiming — sorry for the pun — toward his ultra Tea Party klan. I suppose he failed to look at some of the recent primary election races in which the Teas were beat like rented mules.

I don’t really expect Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis to win the race for Texas governor although stranger things have happened. Under the “stranger things” department perhaps GOP hopeful Attorney General Greg Abbott may tone down his rhetoric and actions should he win that race for guv. We need a highway patrol again and not a Texas Armed Forces. Not to mention the state will go broke if Abbott files anymore of his ridiculous lawsuits. But then, I’m just dreaming. Dream on little dreamer dream on …


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.


The Trans-Louisiana express: Unearthing friendliness in the Pelican State

Wednesday saw me take what might be called a “whirlwind trip” to Louisiana. I had to do safety inspections in Lafayette and Alexandria, then drive back home to Beaumont in the same day. It has been awhile since I covered that much ground. My best guess is that I drove about 300 miles. I’ve not had time to study the odometer readings I had to write down for my work vehicle.

The sun was rising above all the huge petrochemical pipe towers when I neared Lake Charles. A perfectly clear morning. It was even more a spectacular sight when summiting the Interstate 10 bridge over the Calcasieu River.

It was on that same trek to Lafayette that I found myself being serenaded by the fiddles and accordion as well as the soulful sounds of Cajun French lyrics. Although I live in what is called “Cajun Texas” this area I found myself in is the real Boudreaux. The station, KBON 101.1 FM in Eunice, La., is a channel I have listened to many times on the internet and somehow just forgot about it.

The two-step Cajun music, as well as a little Clifton Chenier zydeco thrown in, recalled my younger days when I would drive from my Navy base in Gulfport, Miss., maybe once a month or every couple of months to my Texas hometown near Louisiana border. Rather than from this side of Lafayette, I would pick up a station after traveling through Baton Rouge and the long bridges on I-10 of the Atchafalya Basin. I don’t know if it was the same station or call letters. Back then I only had an AM radio in my car. Not only would I heard the music of Acadien but some of the lesser-known songs of “hippy” music, the kind of B-sides or album cuts you hear when someone puts the record on, but aren’t the more popular tunes. Either way: “Looka!” I done found myself in the land of Ca-juns!

I made my first trip to downtown Alexandria. It was pretty underwhelming from the area in which I saw it. It’s not as bleak as our county neighbor Port Ar-ture (Port Arthur, Texas), but at least from the view presented from I-49 Alexandria definitely lacked curb appeal.

The trip home was a bit confusing to say the least. I intended to take U.S. Hwy. 165, which would bring me back to I-10 in Iowa (La.) and not a long trip from Iowa back to Lake Charles and the Texas line. But I didn’t see any signs, for some reason, for Hwy. 165. I did see ones for U.S. 167, so that was the road I took. I eventually came to this nice-sized eatery and grocery store that had the look of the famous Buc-ee’s with the cleanest restrooms in Texas. Or so they say. I figured, why not stop, especially since the name of the place is “Y-Not Stop.”

This place was more like Buc-ees than I had imagined. It even had clean restrooms and a couple of terminals in the restaurant from which you could place your order, extract a ticket and sit down. They would call your name and you could pay or you could pay and they would still call your name. That’s not to say it was a knock-off of Buc-ee’s. It just had some similarities.

While waiting I looked at the map function on both smart phones I had with me — a Blackberry from work and an iPhone that is my personal cell — for a road to take me home. My preference was finding Hwy. 165. Both phones proved useless, mainly because the hair-trigger screens are a nightmare for a person with tremors in his hand.

I finally resorted to the old-fashioned way of navigation. I asked for directions.

First I asked a guy sitting across from me. He wasn’t from the area but he did his best. By then I had received a catfish sandwich with a fried filet halved and placed on a wheat bun with the dressings I ordered. I knew I shouldn’t but I also ordered their onion rings. Oh my, they were lightly crusted with a light-brown look and it felt like eating, well, a ring of onion, only one with a light crust of corn meal, flour and whatever secret seasoning that was concocted for this delight.

Before finishing, this big ol,’ good ol’ boy came walking undoubtedly on his way out.

“You need directions to Highway 167? I grew up around here.”

I told him I did. He told me to go down “this road take a right, go over the bridge, you’ll cross under I-49 and you’ll come to  167 in Woodworth.”

Woodworth rang a bell. I had asked directions of the people I met in both Alex and Lafayette. They told me about Woodworth and told me to watch my speed because the place was a speed trap.

“And,” said the good ol’ boy, “Watch your speed when you come to Woodworth.”

I was doubtful about the directions because it put me on a narrow, paved road. The road crossed a wood bridge and it snaked around what looked like a river or bayou that mirrors the larger Red River nearby. This was a reddish-clay type water body and that same redness coated leaves lying about the previously flooded areas. It reminded me of the area around Nacogdoches, TX, where I spent many younger and semi-younger days. Eventually, I crossed under I-49 and came to the town of Woodworth. I saw the speed limit of 35 mph, so I set my cruise control to 30. I finally got out on Hwy. 165, still going 30 for quiet a ways. Good thing, because I saw a couple of police cars had someone pulled over. After awhile I came through the casino town of Kinder, home to the Coushatta Indian casino, then knew I had only an hour or so before getting home.

It was quite an interesting day, despite having a continued bout with a bum knee. I have no idea what’s wrong with it. I am waiting to hear from a specialist about an appointment. I thought about how Texas had the motto: “Friendship.” It was apparently from the days the Caddo roamed the then-virgin pine forests of East Texas. I always liked to think Texas had the friendliest people in the country. It might not seem so these days with our opportunistic Gov. Good Hair, folks like the jackass freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and the assortment of nuts that make up the Tea Party arm of the GOP in the Texas and U.S. legislatures.

But I had to say, for today at least, our neighbors to the east can be pretty worthy of that “friendship” motto. Thanks to my Louisiana friends.






‘Pow!’ Time to duck and cover kids. Teachers be packin’ heat!

The end of this month brings to an end the current session of the Texas Legislature. That would be good news in itself were it not for the fact that with the end of the lawmaking comes the culmination of a horse race for “Most Ridiculously Insane Texas Law of 2013.”

At the present we have a very solid leader for that race as lawmakers run out the clock with the inane, the idiotic and the imbecilic a.k.a. Texas Law. The front-runner makes a statement about guns, that being: The only way to combat gun violence on Texas school campuses is to turn the first grade into the OK Corral.

A bill innocently known as HB 1009 establishes secret “school marshals” which according to the bill’s text also creates:  ” … the training and appointment of certain employees of a school district or open-enrollment charter school as school marshals, and the rights, restrictions, limitations, and responsibilities of school marshals; authorizing the imposition of a fee.”Hmm, seems like there’s always a fee. No taxes though.The Senate passed the measure with a rousing 28-3 margin. Sing it — “People all over the world, join hands, join the gun train, gun train … ” The bill is headed for an inking by our gooder-n-good-haired Guv, Mister Perry his own damned self.

Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, authored the gun bill. Villalba told The Texas Tribune that the program is modeled after the federal air marshal program and the identity of the participants will supposedly be held closely. Only certain school officials, DPS, and local LEOs shall know. Yep, something looks different about Coach these days. Can’t tell what it is with those tiny shorts and a bulge from his backside. Must be some kind of new jockstrap.

“This legislation provides school districts with a cost-effective school security option that includes robust training tailored to protect children in schools during an active shooter situation,” Villalba said.

And details? What about those details? The district may appoint only one marshal per 400 students. That district “may, but shall not be required to” pay for the employee’s training. And check this out! A school marshal may carry a concealed handgun on campus but only if district regulations provide the employee is not in direct contact with students as part of the employee’s normal routine. However, the marshal:

 ” … may possess a handgun on the physical premises of a school in a locked and secured safe within the marshal’s immediate reach when conducting the marshal’s primary duty. The written regulations must also require that a handgun carried by or within access of a school marshal may be loaded only with frangible ammunition designed to disintegrate on impact for maximum safety and minimal danger to others.”

Frangible? Fragile – brittle – breakable – frail – tender – friable. I had to look it up.

I see all kinds of trouble ahead with this legislation. Yes, I’m talking trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P and that stands for “Pow!” Trouble too extensive to extenuate! Too God-awful to genuflect! First Amendment problems. Fourth Amendment woes. Logistical problems.

“Coach, you can’t go out on the field anymore unless you move your gun safe out there! 444-44-4 or not!”

Such silliness. The Tea Partyers, the RINOs, the regular old Republicans, even the Dems, they don’t want to piss off the NRA. So the Lege just throws something together up into the atmosphere and see where it lands.

Maybe somewhere down the line that landing will bring weapons to the students so it will give them a fighting chance.


Texas AG: My name is “Sue.” How do you do?

Fate would seem to guarantee that had Gregory Wayne Abbott been born a girl his parents would have named him Sue. Or so one would think.

As of September 2012 the Texas Attorney General “Greg” Abbott had run through more than $2.5 million of the taxpayers money from having filed 24 lawsuits against the United States. It also appears that Abbott hasn’t run out of things over which to sue the federal government.

An article today in the right-wing Washington Times says Abbott is once again threatening to sue Uncle Sam. This time Abbott plans to waste more scarce tax dollars in litigation should President Obama sign a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Earlier today the UN General Assembly approved the treaty over 23 abstentions and “no” votes coming from North Korea, Iran and Syria. What great company Abbott is in with his animus toward the treaty!

The UN News Center, the official news site for the organization explains what the treaty will and will not do:

 “The treaty regulates all conventional arms within the following categories: battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons.

 “According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not do any of the following: interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.”

Those darned Europeans and their “misspelled: words such as “armoured,” “calibre,” and “defence!” Why it would make a pure-D, red-blooded American want to go buy a big batch of Freedom Fries.

It’s that Second Amendment right of U.S. citizens which has the AG’s boxers in a bunch. Well, I’m not sure he wears boxers and I suppose men’s undies really shouldn’t be a topic here since Abbott is partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. That’s not to say Abbott is a great leader in rights for the disabled. He’s not. And even though he is of the Republican religion whose tenets say “thall shall not sue,” Abbott started off his career as a de facto serial plaintiff’s lawyer by suing the owner of the tree that fell on the future Texas AG as he was jogging by.

Abbott said in a letter to the president that the treaty fails to recognize an individual’s right to bear arms and to protect their families. He claims the treaty will be carried out by bureaucrats who are not accountable to U.S. citizens.

“I recognize that the ostensible purpose of the treaty is to combat the illegal international trade of weapons into third-world war zones,” Abbott writes. And writes. “The treaty could, however, draw law-abiding gun owners and gun store operators into a complex web of bureaucratic red tape created by a new department at the UN devoted to overseeing the treaty. For instance, the treaty appears to lay the groundwork for an international gun registry overseen by the bureaucrats at the UN.”

His legal rant to Obama is an example of the “black helicopter” style of paranoia that Abbott taps into for furthering his political career. How can one forget his threat during the 2012 elections to order any international election observer arrested who would dare show up at a Texas polling place?

Was it not that the AG was playing to his Tea Party base the litigant-averse Republicans would burn Mr. Abbott, and presumably his wheelchair, in effigy for the filing of frivolous lawsuits. In fact, a law signed in 2011 by fellow mad dog Republican Gov. Rick Perry seeks payment for court costs in suits in which the loser must pay.  Would that happen with all the frivolous suits filed by Greg Abbott?

Well, it is like that old saying that old sayers say all the time, at least Democratic ones: If hypocrisy was a crime, most of our Texas elected officials would be behind the cross bars!


Will Perry run or just hunt coyotes?

If I had access to Lexis-Nexis I bet I could find a quote where our Good-haired Guv, Mr. Perry, supports term limits. I say that because he has been in elected office for some time now. Maybe he didn’t say it at a press availability which now seems to be favored by both politicians and media alike because it is easy. Maybe he said at some small town function where he, as a young House member, didn’t figure the Whipoorwill City news made it to Austin or Dallas.

But I don’t have Lexis. I don’t even have PublicData at the moment. It would be something rich to throw in Good Hair’s face when he runs for Governor or President or Travis County commissioner. The GOP wouldn’t care. Hypocrites are no problem. The Democrats would make hay with such lines, for sure.

And we should care why? It looks like the Guv might just run again.

Perry told the Dallas Regional Chamber that his biggest potential foe as governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott has pledged he will not run against him if he decides to run for an unprecedented fourth term. Of course, that’s if Abbott doesn’t decide to have the governor indicted for some crime or the other. Then he runs for governor. That also depends whether one of the big powers in Texas politics decides to run against him. There are certainly some big pols circling the Governor’s Mansions like buzzards these days. I speak of Lite Gov. David Dewhurst, and others who have been patiently waiting their turn to be picked as the “Good Party Man,” or lady if, for instance, Comptroller Susan Combs decides it’s her turn.

The chamber types were told by the Guv that he would decide sometime this summer. I can’t hardly wait.


California burnin,’ Texas style!

Well if this isn’t a fine how do you do. The state of California is known for its wild fires that get out of control when the Santa Ana winds start blowing and whatever other kinds of natural freaks show up. And now? I don’t know whether the state just doesn’t have enough left to burn or is worried about what is left. But, a California university wants to pay to burn a patch of Texas ground.

Now I know the fire and environmental folks around Houston, where the 115 acres was scheduled for torching during the gusty winds this afternoon, have seen plenty of their own land go up in smoke and flames. Hey, wake up! Remember the disaster last year in Bastrop? Almost 1,700 homes burned up in the county, less than 100 miles away from Houston.

I suppose some of the folks out on the left coast just have money to burn. Break out the Gatorade for the firefighters and some margaritas for the neighbors. This sounds like something Guvnuh Good Hair Perry dreamed up.