Well, I’m back. Not that I went anywhere. I see I haven’t posted since last week. When I was last here Tropical Storm Bill was causing havoc with its torrents of rain. But alas, I have returned to the keyboard and summer has returned to Southeast Texas with its muggy days and afternoon bouts of here and there thunderstorms.
Having not written in a few days I do realize that many items of importance have gone unmentioned by the proprietor. To that, I must say, missed it. Missed that. Missed that as well!
Something just caught my attention on the local news though.
The story by KFDM Channel 6 right here in Beaumont, Texas, got me to wondering what some of the folks over in Orange County (Texas) have been smoking?
I mean, the 70s were my heyday and that was supposed to be a time when folks were smoking a lot of different things. I was there, but I don’t remember much of it … being so long ago. With all these places allowing marijuana, like Colorado, I don’t know much what to say. I figured I would never see marijuana legal. Of course, it is only half-assed legal. It’s illegal, according to federal law. But a bunch of different local laws were passed making pot legal for everything to medicinal reasons to recreational. I think all places should just cover their bases and make it all legal. The federal government too!
But in this story on Channel 6 story by Lauren Huet, one wonders if she must have run into a bunch of folks over in Orange, between Beaumont and Louisiana, who are smoking something mighty potent.
The story this evening tells how locals over in Orange including the young county judge seem to think they can get the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to build an inpatient hospital there. That very idealistic. Very very idealistic.
I tell you why. Not so many years ago the VA went through the “CARES” years. And those years weren’t anything like the Care Bears. The GOP presidential years in the early “Oughts” (2000) could have been called the “Don’t CARES Bears.” Too bad I didn’t think of that back then.
CARES was an acronym for a VA-equivalent of the military Base Closing and Realignment Commission. CARES (Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services) had an “independent” commission of some distinguished individuals such as its chairman Everett Alvarez. “Ev” as he is known, was a Navy fighter-bomber pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam. The Navy commander spent almost nine years in the notorious prison camp sarcastically-known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”
There were a number of VA hospitals targeted by CARES for closure ranging from New York state’s Canadaigua VA facility to the Waco VA Hospital, now named after Waco-born Messman Doris “Dorie” Miller. Miller a black cook was one if not the first U.S. Navy hero of WWII. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroics during the Japanese bombing at Pearl Harbor. There has been a large admiration society over the years for Miller who believe he should have been a Medal of Honor recipient. However, his race is generally recognized as having kept him from that award.
When the news broke that the VA planned to close the Waco VA hospital, a cry to action quickly happened. A local committee made up of Waco leaders was formed. The then-Congressman for the area Chet Edwards, D-Waco, was on the rise in the Democratic party. He had been considered as a running mate for President Obama. Edwards position and his fervor to help veterans gave the CARES bunch and the VA quite a fight. Eventually the hospital was made a center for mentally ill vets.
The report tonight on Channel 6 mentioned that the U.S. House member representing Orange, Rep. Brian Babin-R, Woodville, had mentioned his willingness to help with the move to get a VA Hospital in Orange. The fact that the Baptist Hospital-Orange shut its doors as an inpatient center, the ER is still open, appears to present an opportunity for the VA to serve what was is estimated 6,000 veterans in Orange County and others in Southeast Texas.
An inpatient VA hospital in Orange, Texas, is nice as a pipe dream. The Strategic Plan for the VA through 2020 isn’t big, it isn’t even small, on more inpatient facilities. The department is still out to close long-established facilities.
I can understand an idealistic young war veteran elected as Orange County Judge, Brint Carlton, believing he can move heaven, earth and the U.S. Government. Congressman Babin is relatively new as a U.S. House member. However, he has been in politics for many years as a small-town mayor and running unsuccessfully for Congress.
Babin’s name became known in a negative light during his unsuccessful campaign against then U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, D-Crockett. As the National Journal reported during Babin’s election campaign to Congress, his Democratic opponent brought up:
” … Babin’s role in a notorious Texas campaign finance scandal, noting that he received $37,000 in illegal corporate money from his friend, (Orange) businessman Peter Cloeren, when he made his first House bid in 1996. Cloeren claimed the idea came from GOP Rep. Tom DeLay—the former House majority leader—but DeLay denied any involvement. Cloeren eventually pleaded guilty to campaign violations and paid a fine of $200,000, while the Federal Election Commission dismissed his claim that DeLay was responsible.
As for Babin, the FEC gave him a pass, ordering him to pay $30,000 in civil fines. The official who let him off the hook was Lois Lerner, the embattled former IRS official who recently was accused of giving extra scrutiny to tea-party groups.”
So Rep. Babin should know better, if no one else around Orange doesn’t. The odds on Orange being even considered for an outpatient facility — with a fairly large one 25 miles away in Beaumont and a huge inpatient hospital in Houston– seem pretty long-range.
Smoke up! Orange would have better luck getting pot legalized.