Bridges to nowhere fast

A quick trip to Houston today that I would just as soon forget — except for the fact I have to return for the same thing Friday — brought at least one pleasant surprise.

The reconstructed Interstate 10 bridge spanning the Trinity River, between Beaumont and Houston, has finally been completed after four years. Or perhaps, make that after 50 years as that is how old the bridge was. The structure arcs 75 feet above the river which along with the two lanes it had for so many years made it a little close quarters for my taste. I have long had this love-hate relationship with bridges which has eased somewhat over the years. Narrow bridges were never really my cup o’ soup so this fully-functional six-lane bridge, three lanes in either direction, makes traveling a bit more mentally comforting.

I think I was listening to Fred and A.J. on The Blitz, an early afternoon show on Houston’s sports-talk ESPN 97.5, and by the time I got to Anahuac on the return trip I realized I had already crossed the bridge a second time. I guess that’s the hallmark of a good road job. Or maybe it was the degenerate discussion Fred and A.J. were having which made me space out however many miles I had traveled. The Blitz discussion centered around an alleged one-night stand Sarah Palin had with NBA player Glen Rice in the late 1980s when she was a local TV sports reporter in Alaska. Rice was playing college hoops and was in Alaska for a tournament. Now, I admit that you are likely to hear anything on The Blitz, even some sports. That is why I tune in while driving during that time of day, it being such a well-rounded bastion of broadcasting that you just don’t see much of anymore.

As for Sarah’s supposed one-night stand. I say right here that I make no judgment of it on its face. But actually this alleged revelation comes via, where else but, the National Enquirer in the new Joe McGinnis book about Palin. This is the book that was being written while McGinnis moved in next door to the once almost 2/3-term (check my math) governor of Alaska.

The story, if you really want to know the nuts and bolts, is right here. Personally, like the old song says:

“Candy is dandy and liquor is quicker/You can drink all the liquor down in Costa Rica/Ain’t nobody’s business but my own.”

Now if she tries or has tried to be all hypocritical and sanctimonious about the subject, that might be a different matter. But to my knowledge, and that is just to my knowledge and that of no one else, I don’t know if she has either fessed up to the alleged affair or has been a hypocrite regarding this supposed happening. I speak of that particular subject. She has definitely been a hypocrite on other topics.

Nevertheless, this is surely one of those subjects that gets you off of talking about bridge construction in a hurry. Maybe that’s the Republican plan to prevent the president from talking about his jobs plans and getting millions of construction workers back to work. Of course, Palin was known as being for the “Bridge to Nowhere” before she was against it.

Wow, back to solid Democratic footing through all of that. I’m not sure how that happened.

One if by bus …

The morons are coming! The morons are coming!

Had 18th century patriot Paul Revere been alive that is what he might have said upon learning some Sarah Palin supporters tried to make her explanation of his ride to warn of the coming British fit the historical account in a Wikipedia entry. Of course, Revere first would need an explanation himself of just who was this misguided Sarah Palin and why anything she said means much of anything at all. Then the midnight rider would need to learn about that whole “Wikipedia/Internet/Computer” thing.

Palin told a group of supporters on her big bus ride to call attention to herself that Revere warned fellow Americans that the British were purportedly coming to take away their arms. Well, history has it that’s not really what Revere was delivering during his mobile horse ride newscast.

Wow, could you imagine a horseback newscast?

“From Boston this is Dan Dominguez, on the Action 5 News Horse.”

Or how about a news zeppelin?

It makes about as much sense having a news zeppelin as it does having Palin Kool Aid drinkers making history fit her words. Isn’t it bad enough that the almost one-term Alaska governor completely makes up something that seems to be made whole cloth from a NRA advertisement?

Palin and Gov. Rick “Good Hair” Perry — with his fantasy Texas is permitted by U.S. law to secede — need to team up. They could be the Never-Never Land Party Candidates.

To be perfectly frank, I don’t really know what these bird-brains were thinking, what it was they would accomplish by changing Revere’s story in Wikipedia? The source, Wikipedia, is a great one as a directory of sorts but I would never trust anything of substance from the site without checking other sources, or unless I wrote the entry. Even in the latter case, I would be ‘a checkin’.

I likewise can’t understand all the attention given the Palin “mystery” bus ride. She is playing a game with the media with a wink and hardly a nod. The media people eat it up and I want to upchuck just thinking about it.

It makes one wonder what kind of history Palin will make (up) this week.


Sorry. That is one gate I won’t open

Good hair and the inexact science of compromise

BACK IN TEXAS — Coy seems to be the watchword these days among the growing crowd of would-be candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Pundits and GOP talking points distributors have thrown themselves all into a big ol’ tizzy this week over the on-again off-again presidential ambitions of Sarah Palin, a.k.a. Caribou Barbie, suddenly switched into the on-again position. A piece of interesting journalism from The Christian Science Monitor poses the intriguing question: Will Palin face her “mini-me” in Michelle Bachmann should the almost one-term Alaska governor decide to run? Meanwhile, our good-haired boy Gov. Rick Perry — between denouncing the federal government and asking for its help — is thinking of throwing, at least his coquettishness, into the presidential ring again.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets ready to lead the secession

These GOP politicians who otherwise take up valuable air on this planet are, of course, joined by declared candidates his Mormonesque Mitt Romney, his Newtwitishness Newt Gingrich, his Weirdness Ron Paul and other well and less well known Republicans such as pro-Pot former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and pro-anything that works at the time former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Coy. The rest are being coy. Coy can be cute. But it’s not so much in this case.

Soon you will need a program for the players. And, I am not talking about a television program hosted by his Donaldness Donald “The Donald” Trump.

Such a wide-open field makes for a more-interesting race sometimes. In this case, the race might evolve into a contest in which  of the biggest harebrain crackpots might be nominated rather than the traditional GOP “good party man.” If this next presidential challenge doesn’t finish off the Republican Party as we know it, then I don’t know what will.

But what if the dog actually catches the car? What will Fido do with it?

My prediction is that a Republican president taking office in 2013 will not be the cure-all for all those, supposedly, long-suffering GOP and/or Tea Party boosters. An example is the furor over the state of Texas failing to receive a major disaster declaration from Spring wildfires.

FEMA rejected a request earlier this month by Gov. Good Hair for a declaration that would help reduce the state and local fiscal burden for those wildfires that have scorched more than 2.2 million acres across Texas. Perry said at the time of the rejected request: “It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency.”

This is the same governor who shocked millions of Americans by saying Texas could secede if it wanted to do so.

“We are very proud of our Texas history; people discuss and debate the issues of can we break ourselves into five states, can we secede, a lot of interesting things that I’m sure Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would love to be able to say about their states, but the fact is, they can’t because they’re not Texas,” Perry said.

The governor must have been tossing back cold Lone Stars at the Dixie Chicken when Texas History was being taught during his college days at A & M.

An 1845 joint congressional resolution annexing Texas allows, theoretically at least, the state to divide itself up into five states. That doesn’t mean Texas would leave the United States. The Civil War took care of that notion. That was after Texans turned their back on one of its most revered figures, then-Gov. Sam Houston. The leader whose troops defeated Mexico at San Jacinto and who was later president of the Republic of Texas and a U.S. senator for Texas — before Texas he also served as governor of and a U.S. representative from Tennessee — was removed as governor because of his strong opposition to secession.

Knowledge of Texas history  aside, Perry has appealed the ruling for no disaster declaration and the Obama administration’s contention that almost $40 million in grants to help battle Texas wildfires was sufficient.

In addition to the millions already granted to Texas, federal help has come in the form of wildland firefighters from 35 states. Many of those who have helped battle fires across the state are from so-called “hotshot” crews which come from three federal agencies, Native American tribes as well as from the states of Alaska and Utah. The U.S. military has likewise lent assistance in the form of helicopters and air tankers.

Having the federal government take an additional burden of the funding for fighting these fires would be welcome and might have been readily deliverable to the state. Unfortunately, Perry and his faux secession act as well as a number of Texas congressional members made that declaration a non-starter.

An increasing number of Republicans were elected to the U.S. House from Texas over the past decade. Yet, few of them have found access to power and have spent more time obstructing and less time working with the administration. Congress members from the state with more tenure and more oomph might have grabbed the president’s ear or found ways to, as that great scholar Larry the Cable Guy says: “Git R Done.”

Sometimes it takes a little more than just sending someone to Congress who is of your party preference. Also, the notion of a House member serving only one or two terms is ridiculous. It takes that long just to find your way from the Capitol to the congressional office buildings.

It seems cruel to say that voters who think the federal government should fork over millions every time their governor says: “Go,” only have themselves to blame. But that is about the gist of it. People who want ideologues in office and get them are often disappointed. Life isn’t easy to stand for your principles unbending. I have seen the word politics defined as “the art of compromise.” Perhaps it is more an inexact science. Although, “compromise” remains an essential particle.

When it comes to picking the next nominee to run against President Obama, perhaps something more substantial than nice hair and a pretty smile might be entertained by Republican voters.

A bloodless coup for suckers. Time to call the plumber.

Shellac to have a nickel? Shellac to have a dime?

The word of the day, boys and girls, is “shellac.” Even the president says that his Democratic party took a “shellacking” in Tuesday’s general elections. It wasn’t because voters had an unabiding affection for the Grand Old Party. Perhaps it is closer to the description written by John Dickerson of Slate, saying that the election was not so much a victory as it was voters throwing their hands up in the air.

But what are voters so pissed off at? Is it big government? Is it the deficit? Is the taxes raised by Obama? To begin to answer these questions, one must ask: Do you go to bed at night worrying about big government? Ditto the deficit. I bet it keeps millions up all night long. And the taxes. What taxes?

Welcome to America — Land of the All-Day Sucker!

The candidates selected Tuesday elevate the electorate from All-Day Sucker to All-Term Sucker.

This election has probably been the greatest propaganda job since Dr. Joe Goebbels and Kristallnacht. It started with the 24/7 saturation of anti-health care reform commercials on cable. Of course, you have the conservative talk machine on radio and Fox News as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. The Tea Party was invented and the national media jumped on it like stink on s**t. The national news media had a ready-made drama and since they don’t like searching for the real Mr. Bigs of the operation they have plenty of Mr. Littles. The nuts, who mostly and thankfully weren’t elected, were just what the media needed for the Miracle Whip on top.

Hyperbole was the watchword of the day this mid-term election. And drama. News can no longer be explaining policy, it’s the drama that’s important. The public wants to know if Paris Hilton went panty-less last night so they also require something that will keep them entertained, but mostly worry, worry about politics. The national media chases the drama. Their suits chase the money. Oh my God, so much money, that the candidates spend on TV ads. Except at the local level, you hardly ever see a “My name is Joe Schmoe, I have done this and now I want to do that. My name is Joe Schmoe and I approve of this message.” Instead, you see a story that looks like it is real and may have some basis in reality, but is played by actors on the commercial, which is paid for by some entity of which you’ve never heard called “Americans for Growing a Sound and Sane Government.”

The voters have been suckered, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, Charlie Brown fell on his butt trying to kick the elusive football held by Lucy. You think you’d learn.

A good many voters were convinced Obama’s health care plan was heavy-handed or would change their current insurance plans, which continue to rip their customers off left and right. Others may have liked parts of the plan but were leery about how it was to be implemented.

Big money, big business, the  U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who now seeks to rule America, seized upon the unhappiness with so-called “Obamacare.” It didn’t help, of course, that the recovery from the greatest economic panic since the Great Depression was way too slow for the Americans who expect everything to be done yesterday. The powers that be, along with Goebbels’ own modern-day ideological ancestors, made the concerns and fear into their own little Holy War. “I want my country back,” says Clueless McEuless. Uh oh, where’d it go. Where’d they put my country?

This all sounds like a lot of paranoia, I know. Rightfully so. I can’t confirm all that is going on behind the scenes among the folks who engineered what in some countries might be called a “bloodless coup.”

Maybe it is paranoia but unlike those people who don’t sit up all night worrying about the deficit or big government, I have to sit up at night worrying if this Congress will try to take away my Veterans health care or at least put it in the hands of some Third-w0rld country. Am I ever going to see that damn orthopedic specialist or am I just supposed to walk around until my knee melts into a big lump o’ protoplasm?  I also worry whether those  who made threats of shutting down the government will do so, which will really make me stay up nights, wondering if the government will pay what they owe me or will my creditors run roughshod over me?

There is really nothing I can do about it now. Obviously, the politicians will not listen to me. People like my congressman for the last four or five years, Rep. Ted Poe,  surely aren’t listening. Our governor sure as Hell won’t listen, but he’ll probably run for president in 2012. Good Hair for President! Maybe a Moose Lady Sarah Palin–Good Hair Rick ticket. That would be perfect. The reality is that with Republicans in charge of our state government and the U.S. House, I am pretty much disenfranchised, in all but certain matters which require the assent of the Senate.

The onus is on you my friends. That is “onus” with an “o” an not with an “a.” You are the ones who wanted to “throw the bums out.” So you have to do your part to participate in government, or else, the government goes down stinking (yes, I said “stinking” and not “sinking” although I could see both terms applicable.) Save us from the big bad, government my opposition friends. Save us from ourselves.

Oh, and when you wake up some day and see what a mess that has been made by the bozos you elected, don’t despair. We all make mistakes. Some only cost us dollars. Others cost us dignity. Still others, like some folks who recently departed after almost a decade, cost us lives. It’s your problem now. It’s your time to call the plumber.

Don't judge an unsolicited opinion by its deliverer

The idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has been around in one form or another for probably, well, let’s just say a very long time.

Nonetheless, if the adage is cliche to one or the other then all I can do is provide a response with an acronymn, delivered in the phonetic alphabet, kind of like you hear fighter pilots do in movies. My phonetic message is: “SIERRA, ALPHA, TANGO, SIERRA,” which is short for “sorry about that s**t. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover suits my needs insofar as this — hopefully — short post exists.

I stopped to talk with a neighbor upon returning from the store. After a few words or so, he launched into a discourse about how the elections in Virginia and New Jersey today should tell the tale of just how screwed up that blankety-blank Obama is doing.

Now I wrote a line or two about this yesterday saying I don’t think these few scattered elections are going to tell anything about how Obama is doing in office, the state of the Democrats or the future for the divisions within the Republican party. So, I told my neighbor I didn’t think the elections will matter one damn bit except in those states. He went just right along with his rant.

I have never discussed politics with my neighbor. He probably doesn’t even know I blog or have what some refer to as a “liberal” blog. I don’t particularly see EFD that way, but whatever works. I am a liberal in the good sense, but mostly a moderate and conservative on other matters and even libertarian on still others. The neighbor’s take on matters is rather obvious, a “watch Fox News all-the-time ultra conservative Republican.” This is obvious because he spouts the party line every time I see him.

What puzzles me is why he thinks I would like to hear his, mostly wrong, political opinion. Is it because I look like a redneck? I get along with some of the rednecks who live around here. I don’t get along with some of the crackheads. So is that why my neighbor targets me as a Limbaugh-boostin’ Obama hater?

The same happens when I am in the waiting room at the VA clinic. Some guy wearing a World War II GI-rene veteran ball cap — thank him for his service — comes in and starts blasting away at how Obama is ruining this universe, not to mention the Corps, Semper Fi! Of course, at the VA you’re liable to get some long-hair guy wearing a biker’s vest with Vietnam veteran patches who either starts saying the same type of thing, or else he goes off on the Republicans, which he blames all the way back to Dick Nixon.

Surely it isn’t just me. My past mental health counselor labeled me as  having a narcissistic personality disorder, so that statement should be a sign of progress, yes? Well, perhaps not. The point is, why do people who you really don’t know that well or at all approach you and unload upon you with their opinions — or the opinions of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Fox News?

The same goes for religion. I don’t mind having a rational discussion about religion but I don’t like people who get in my face and tell me I’m going to Hell when in fact they don’t know me well enough to know where I might be going. Nederland, Texas, for instance. I have had very civil discussions about religion with Mormon missionaries who neatly parked their bikes outside my place and were extremely polite. They even gave me a Book of Mormon, which I have somewhere.

But I am getting out of the octagon here. People approaching me about religion, I think, would be less likely based on how I look than politics. The truth  is, though, I have to think that a good many people who give me their political outlook unsolicited do it because, well, I’m not sure why they do it. I guess the weather became to passé.

Some probably do see in me the look of a Limbaugh-Palin conservative: Shaved head, overweight, unhappy looking most of the time (although that is from chronic pain and not from figurative pains in the ass), known to wear ball caps with the Houston Astros logo. There you go.

If that be the case, then I wish people would cease and desist. Stop judging this book by its cover, or whatever the hell else it is that’s wrong with you!