Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry New Year!

It's one of my all time faves:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

4th day of Christmas, 8th night of Hannukah

And I'm going JStreet on you.

Stop the violence. Divest from AIPAC! Promote peace by supporting JStreet.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We made it

Christmas 2008 has come and gone. I'm relieved! It means that we are closer to the new year, and that is good because most of us are soo ready to kiss 2008 goodbye.


The thought of it makes me smile. Coming up: swearing in ceremonies, inauguration, town hall meetings...only to be immediately followed by the dang blasted mayoral and city council elections. One word comes to mind regarding municipal elections - Drama.

The 81st Regular Session of the Texas Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, January 13, 2008. Are you going?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope you're reading this post in the comfort of your festively decorated homes and with the people you love.

I'm in my apartment... stressing the season. Yes, I know this is supposed to be a joyous occasion and we're supposed to be buying, shopping and spending for family and friends but I am tempted to turn off the damn TV, leave the radio off and stay of the internets because for me, Virginia, there ain't no Santa Claus.

There is no job, no money and nothing really for me to celebrate other than the end of the Christmas commercials advertising Lexuses and jewelry and other crap that no one really needs but is offered, anyway, hoping there's someone out there who can still afford to buy it.

I need a damn job. I need to work. I mistakenly believed that working for elected officials and others who asked for my help would turn into some type of offer or a gig after it was all said and done. Nope.

So I hope y'all are having a Merry Christmas. I hope for one, too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have for you today...

One of those self-important "open letters" to public figures expecting them to Respond. To Me. In person.

On second thought ... nah, nevermind. I don't want these three so-and-so's around here.

Kos, Atrios, & Hamsher:

You really need to get over yourselves already. Is this your first time in elected politics?

For any candidate, first time or 10th, the first thing you do is to reach out to other elected officials who make up the Democratic leadership. The fact that Caroline called "the elite" is a bullshit slam against her that is unfounded, naive and really, really dumb.

The only reason Hillary Clinton was "qualified" for that seat was because she established NY residency had Money. The only reason she had Money was because she had Name Recognition. 2000 was the beginning of the end for many Democrats in the U.S., but because she was Hillary Clinton she raked in the cash from all over the country.

So get off of your high horses already. Caroline Kennedy doesn't owe you an explanation unless it's already 2010 and her name is on the ballot and, oh yeah!, you're a New York voter. Until, then, get out of Gov. Patterson's business, spare us your fake & contrived outrage and quit trying to smear a woman who has led a life of scholar, dignity and service to this country outside of Democratic politics. It just shows what assholes you are.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

There's a big polluter in the neighborhood

Via HP's Hair Balls blog, we are alerted to a USA Today report on pollution and our schools. The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America's Schools analyzed EPA data on 127,000 schools across the country. The result is a Google map of school locations with airborne pollutant types and the source of each pollutant. So then you can drive by and take pictures for your blog, which yes, I may do.

I searched for schools here in the North Side and found that many of the polluters are your standard industrial dirty air guys, like Dow Chemical Clear Lake and Quality Electric Steel Casings, L.P. But wouldn't you know it, there is a culprit only a few blocks away from me on Everett and Carl - Dee Foundries, a die casting shop that produces sulfuric acid pollution. Sulfuric acid is a full 10% of the toxicity found at Ketelson Elementary School, just two blocks away. 

From the HHS website:
Sulfuric acid is a clear, colorless, oily liquid that is very corrosive. An odor threshold of sulfuric acid in air has been reported to be 1 milligram per cubic meter of air (mg/m3). If you are exposed to concentrated sulfuric acid in air, your nose will be irritated and it may seem like sulfuric acid has a pungent odor. When concentrated sulfuric acid is mixed with water, the solution gets very hot. Concentrated sulfuric acid can catch fire or explode when it comes into contact with many chemicals including acetone, alcohols, and some finely divided metals. When heated it emits highly toxic fumes, which include sulfur trioxide. It is also called sulphine acid, battery acid, and hydrogen sulfate. More sulfuric acid is produced in the United States than any other chemical. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, explosives, other acids, and glue; in the purification of petroleum; in the pickling of metal; and in lead-acid batteries (the type commonly used in motor vehicles). Sulfuric acid can be found in the air as small droplets or it can be attached to other small particles in the air.
There are many, many mornings when we wake up to the strong smell of sulfur in the North Side. Now we know where it's coming from. From their website:
Dee Foundries is a jobbing shop, producing non-ferrous castings using the Airset or Greensand Process.

We produce castings weighing from ounces up to 2400 pounds in Bronze, 500 pounds in Aluminum.

Our melting equipment is High Frequency Electric Induction Furnaces for all Copper-base Alloys, and Controlled Combustion Gas-fired Tilting Furnaces for Aluminum Alloys.
I have an idea of what that means but I am certain that Dee Foundries is stinking up the place. They may also be causing health problems for the people who live in the neighborhood, meaning, of course, lots of poor, very young and elderly people.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day

In memory of all those who died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in honor of those who answered the call to serve after that day, here is a story from the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project and U.S. Marine veteran Jesus Ochoa from San Diego, CA.

The U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project is based at the University of Texas at Austin. It is an increasingly important project because we're losing this generation, and with them, much of our history. The Oral History Project reminds us of the resilient patriotism Latinos had (and still have) for our country.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid

As if we needed more evidence about how much it sucks to be poor, here is a piece from the gang at Gawker regarding a UC Berkeley study on the differences in the brain development of rich kids versus poor kids. It's another indication that socioeconomic status has everything to do with brain development:
"Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult," said Robert Knight, director of the institute and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. "We found that kids are more likely to have a low response if they have low socioeconomic status, though not everyone who is poor has low frontal lobe response."
Well, that's a relief. And, yes, maybe it's just a little DISTURBING that the brain physiology of poor children is likened to that of brain damaged adults. 

Not. Good. 

Sunday football blogging - we won!

The Houston Texans, despite their varied attempts at effing it all up, instead, stepped it up and beat the Green Bay Packers in 5 degree weather at Lambeau Field, 24-21. Hard to believe, but the Texans are still Wild Card eligible. Wow!

Now I'm watching Dallas at Pittsburgh... they're 11 minutes into the 2nd quarter and still no score. Borrring. As much as I dislike the Cowboys, I can't bring myself to cheer for Pittsburgh. True Luv Ya Blue fans don't do such things.

Update: AHHHahahahahahaha..... the Steelers' Townsend just intercepted a pass by Tony Romo to score a touchdown with 1:40 left on the clock. The score is now 20-13 Steelers. Sometimes, it just be's that way. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Members Only

KVUE's Elise Hu has an excellent story on the renovation of the House Members' Lounge at the Capitol. I'm glad Elise is asking the questions, because, like most people, I miss many of the details. While getting her story, Elise ran into some access issues at the Capitol.

Apparently, Speaker Tom Craddick is concerned with "safety" and that is the reason no one is allowed in the hallway behind the House Chamber. At least that's what spokesperson Alexis DeLee told KVUE. Unless you're James Leininger, the hallway is off limits while the House is in Session, but why can't anyone go back there during the interim? 

The Members' lounge is just that - for House members only, but lots of money is being infused to redecorate the place. Since that falls under women's work, it was a job that Nadine Craddick was happy to do.  But I digress.

The Texas Capitol belongs to the people of Texas and not to the Craddicks. Notice that Elise was not asked to leave by either the DPS troopers or by the House Sergeant-At-Arms.  It was Craddick's personal bodyguards - two guys, bigger & badder - who were sent to deal with the questions. This is what happened when a KVUE photographer went back to the Capitol to work on their story:
Robert said he wanted to speak with security directly, and instead of security, Delee sent Terry Keel and Ron Wilson! Robert says Wilson came down the hallway wearing a big black shirt and sunglasses, even though they were indoors. But Keel (who is now House Parliamentarian) did the talking. He let Robert in to the lounge, to shoot what he wanted. We were thrilled to get what we could get, but would have loved anyone from the Speaker's office to go on camera. We were denied.
And there you have it.

Monday, December 1, 2008