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Monday, June 15, 2015

T.S. "BILL" is Coming - Don't DROWN in HIGH Water - "Float" Around! (No Turn Around!)

Wouldn't you know it. Tomorrow -- when the forecast is for "submarine cars" in Houston -- I need to make a run for the crew who need supplies for jobs going on this week. 

That means dealing with I - 45, probably the worst of America's highways for congestion.  Today, news said that I - 10 our primary east-west American trade corridor, had been shut down both directions due to an overturned 18 -wheeler. Imagine what it will be like when we DOUBLE in size next few years?

This morning a waitress at I- Hop and I talked about the weather and she reminded me of the AMPHIBIOUS CAR that they made back in the 50's. It must be a one-of-a-kind, like the Bond cars. However, getting it or one like it sounded VERY TEMPTING. We may have to start mass producing them as the rain extremes overwhelm our flat-as-a-dinner-dish Houston gulf coast! I am still tempted to open a side business that bolts pontoons to cars, to keep people from drowning in high water as their car sinks.

In the meantime: "Stay OUT of high water!" (Why? Because it might get the munchies and eat you). k, not my best pun, but we aren't done yet.  If you didn't catch that then obviously you must have just arrived from planet clueless. lol. 

P.S.  Ok, I am DONE looking at political memes on Facebook. It's the same-ole same-ole "I think your opinion sucks" and that is not something I will waste time doing all day. I'd rather drink wine and fly airplanes while my guys armor peoples houses of straw that they live in - as the winds howl and the bad guys prowl....

Folks, it is WAY too early for me to get into ANY debate over ANY candidate for 2016. Surviving '15's raging weather is quite enough for me at the moment...Now, about that FLYING CAR this Viking needs to get around Houston. Let's work on that!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

You Can Let Your Children Out Now - the Texas Legislature Had Gone Home

The Texas legislature has wrapped up its session. Your children are now safe for two more years. I used to think how backwards Texas was from the U.S. Congress because they met only once every two years, and for only 140 days.

I was quickly persuaded of the folly of my thoughts and the wisdom of not having the legislature in session too much. Watching it in action did that. If we could keep them from meeting once every four years would be even better.  They keep electing more people who are "right of right" in gerrymandered districts, so common sense is no longer common.

Look at this session: Open carry and guns on campus were more of a priority than fixing our broken transportation and education systems. You know all about the roads and how they are packed. Texas funding of our education system has failed the fairness test in court multiple times. No one addressed it.

Giving tiny tax cuts of $127 per household were more important than fixing the roads that will cause damages to your car far greater than $127.  It turns out that billions of our surpluses were held in non-interest bearing accounts, for years (which bank did that benefit?). Paying down the $20 billion debt  borrowed to build roads was not a priority -- roads that were paid for when the cement had dried when democrats controlled Austin.

One bright spot: The new Governor says he will sign a bill allowing cannabis oil for epilepsy and other medical issues. We'll see if the bill allows for an oil that would be strong enough to work.
AND "pick-a-pal" grand juries finally died a long overdue death (again, Texas being one of the last states to resist changing a biased, flawed system for rendering justice).

Personally, nine (9) days after undergoing prostate surgery, I was well enough to be standing in the Galveston convention center at a hurricane event last Saturday.  Fortunately, I had staff on hand. I had the honor of meeting a couple of our weather experts from KPRC, Frank Billingsley and retired NOAA hurricane expert, Bill Read. Its amazing what can be done these days. I did not have cancer but they had to make the prostate smaller so it would not block the bladder, which can lead to infection and loss of organs. they did it on a Thursday and I was out of there on Saturday. I am good for another 50 years!

Time Warp. Yesterday, I went to a small cafĂ© called the Texas Grill in Sugar land (for lunch) after picking up a check at the office. The lady said: "I just voted for you recently." I said: "What? I haven't run for anything!"  

Then we figured out that it was last March 2014 when I ran for US Senate in the Democratic primary. It seemed like a century ago (to me). It may indicate how rarely I have been in town.

She said that her partner had a deal: they both voted at the same time to cancel out each others vote! He votes in the Republican party primary and she in the Democratic primary. That's where she had seen my name. I told her that after I signed up and had gone on a cruise in the Mediterranean a guy signed up who spent $5 million to win the nomination --and less than that to lose the general election. Even if I had $5 million I would rather have it in my retirement account than blow it on a sure loser election deal. My ego isn't that out of control. LOL.

That much I have learned, much of it the hard way.  Anyway, we are safe again from the lawmakers, until the next session.

By the way, after picking up that check (from a place where I know you have eaten since it is a Texas institution), I discovered that there was an error -- an overcharge on one store of about $1,300.

Rather than let it slide and hope no one noticed, I sent them an email and said "We made an error in your favor. Either I send you a check our give you a credit."  Is being honest that hard?

I never assume that someone wouldn't find out. It's just the way I was raised. Honesty is the best policy. It's the way I choose to live my life. No regrets.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Send Your Legislator This Link - WHY Texas Needs a CLIMATE CHANGE DEFENSE PLAN.

The weather is no longer 'normal' - we swing  from one extreme to another.

It is the classic definition of what scientists say happens with climate CHANGE.

HOTTER air holds more moisture, so it can release more rain at faster rates - at one point during Memorial weekend we got 1 inch of rain in a mere 5 MINUTES!  Unheard of. During Allison it took a day to get 12 inches. We are now getting that in 6 hours!

Hence we will be getting more 100 year and 500 year events, annually!

We are now FEELING the effects. This past few years in Texas we have seen both extremes - Extreme DROUGHT (covering 95% of the state at one point) then extreme FLOODING. No in-between. 

Tornadoes have now hit such rare places such as Mexico and Maine. The Pacific has had a record number of monster CAT 5 hurricane/typhoon storms in the last two years. 120 degree temperatures in India is melting asphalt into black pools of molten rock. 

The planet is sending us a message. But you can't see it if you never leave Austin, TX or pay attention.

                                     Victims of Houston's Flooding, hometown of Author

 Ignoring it will not improve our situation.  WHERE is our Texas PLAN to DEAL with it?

We need a crash program to attack climate change before we commit species suicide with our only living planet in this galaxy.  

Turning Earth into hot-house Venus by continuing our relentless release of billions of carbon and methane emissions will make your heirs future a dark one.  I don't have any kids; my motivation for yelling is to avoid humans looking stupid by extincting themselves.  We humans are the proverbial frogs in water who doesn't notice it is getting hotter and hotter, until he's a goner.

The good news is that if ever decide to use them, humans have these marvelous BRAINS that are quite good at finding solutions IF they are put to use. 

Methane leaks must be stopped. We need a crash conversion to solar and wind from our dirtiest sources first - zero coal use to start. I have witnessed how many JOBS are CREATED by addressing these issues with technology. (I went to China as a young attorney in the early 80's to sell them pollution control technology for coal plants).

We will also need to start converting to PERMEABLE PAVEMENT - so that the rain will soak through our cement surfaces inside of becoming more run-off as it happening. As we have grown and laid more cement, we cut off a chance for the moisture to  go underground instead of building up to a Tsunami of water seeking an avenue of escape on our flat dinner-dish terrain. Permeable pavement looks like pavement, but lets the water soak to the ground below, reducing runoff.

The other great threat is wind-borne debris thrown our windows by more frequent hurricane-force winds. Glass is the weakest link of our biggest asset. When winds break it the internal pressure causes uplift on the roof, and that leads to structural failure and damage. Not to mention mold, water damage, etc. We humans are relying on a technology that hasn't changed in 5,000 years. It is time to upgrade that too. We need to do multiple things AT ONCE.

We CAN fix this, but it will take committing to using NEW technology along with our  human brains, which are remarkable when we use them to solve issues instead of creating problems.

Contact your legislator and send this link with a request Texas establish a CLIMATE CHANGE DEFENSE PLAN.    

Your kids lives and our future depends on it. More than you think.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Texas Historic Floods Prove: NO LONGER is the question "Is Climate Change REAL OR NOT?"

Tonight Texas is under, once again, a TORNADO ALERT. So its a good time to discuss this issue

NO LONGER is the question "Is Climate  Change REAL OR NOT?" When 97% of the experts agree, deal with it. We elect presidents with only 51% (or less). I don't care what 97% of the plumbers think since they don't do climate studies (I will ask them about those damn wipes plugging my system.) Nor do I plan to ask my surgeon about that monster typhoon hitting Australia. I have traveled globally but that doesn't make me a climate expert either. So I listen to the experts who DO study this unique area.  They aren't split 50-50. It's 97-3.

The only argument left (at best) is whether its "natural" or "human-caused" but even that debate doesn't matter either. Why?

Because the answer is the same regardless of which of those two are correct.  It's REAL. Stop wasting time. DO SOMETHING. PLAN for it. Have a STRATEGY to deal with it, because it is kicking our butts. It's messing up the only world we have and we are passing to our kids a deteriorating mess.

Weather Extremes are the new norm. Call it "Weather Whipsaw.' All Drought to all Flood. From too little to too much. Texas zips  from years of Droughts straight into 500 year floods. Except they start happening annually. 

It's not just here. India is being parboiled at 120 degrees melting asphalt streets and killing thousands. Below the equator the biggest typhoon in history is raging across the southern hemisphere.

Since its real and the hotter air is adding speed to the winds, we should first ask ourselves a fundamental question:

Are the  buildings we live and work in able to handle these more ruthless storms? 

Shocking, but most people don't know that they live in literal houses of straw...only a huff and a puff from blowing away (or floating away as we tragically saw on the Blanco River, this past Memorial Day).

 But it need not be...

There are things you need to know to protect your most valuable asset and family.   The alternative of doing nothing is foolish at best, deadly at worst.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Gov. Abbott Just Created a Potential Oklahoma City Act of Terrorism

3 May 215

Governor Abbott’s Jade Helm Statement

Just Created a Potential Oklahoma City Act of Terrorism

Governor Greg Abbott just did the equivalent of falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, creating mass panic that can get people trampled to death. He lit the fuse to potential violence that could result in Texas experiencing what happened to Oklahoma City in 1995 by legitimizing the crazy idea that our own military is coming to Texas to fight Texans. Texas is a military state. Troops have been coming here for decades to train and never before has anything this absurd been claimed – or believed -- by those who apparently don’t get out of town often. 

As one of the few who is a documented terrorism analyst (who predicted 911 on TV), it is clear to me that  Governor Abbott has created a dangerous situation that could drive the most extreme people over the edge when he gave lunatic thinking his stamp of authority. This encouragement could lead to our own domestic misfits into acting out terrorist acts. What if someone starts shooting at our troops? What if one of the unhinged takes the Governor at his word and decides to copy Tim McVeigh’s Oklahoma “protest” act of blowing up a building? The ingredients are readily available. Instead of tamping on the fuse, the Governor tossed some gasoline on it.

Despite what people think, today’s biggest threat to Americans comes from potential domestic terrorists, not foreign ones. Why? Because the domestic ones already live here! Unlike an isolated ISIS member attempting to cross the border, the domestic ideologues are far more numerous and armed to the teeth including military grade weapons.  We saw this play before when a disgruntled Tim McVeigh loaded a Ryder truck with explosives and blew up the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 including children in a day care center.  We have seen this play as people have jumped the White House fence and made an historic number of threats against America’s first black president. A Governor’s words carry weight; they can make a bad situation worse.

                                  Texas Militia on the border with military weapons
Despite what the unproven claims, ISIS is nowhere near Texas (or Mexico) but is focused on building a caliphate halfway across the planet in places called Syria and Iraq.  Governor Abbott’s statement on Jade Helm 15 encouraged those who get their exclusive news from people like alarmist Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh to take action against our own troops who have been in places like Iraq and Afghanistan but come from places like Lubbock and Kansas City.  This is not an American civil war. No one is taking away guns. Walmarts are still safe outlets for cheap Chinese goods and low wages.

It’s one thing for a Governor not to be able to remember the three things he wants to abolish as president and talk about secession. It’s totally another for a sitting Governor to allow our most extreme people to think their paranoia is valid and that they should act as if invaded. It invites another Oklahoma City incident. It invites someone shooting at our own troops on a training mission. It invites disaster.

It creates fear instead of understanding and facts. What Gov. Abbott did violates his oath to protect the Constitution and the public. The Governor should immediately retract his remarks and be more like a common sense leader we need instead of giving the stamp of approval to wingnut theories.

Michael Fjetland
Author "Better Times Ahead April Fool"
President, Armor Glass Int'l Inc.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Is Texas REALLY following its own Constitution? Not Really. Christian Sharia?

Is Texas REALLY following its own Constitution?  Are Texans really treated equally?  It has elements of Christian Sharia Law, which is no better than Islamic Sharia Law.

Click the link above to read the TEXAS CONSTITUTION provides:

"Sec. 1.  FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE.  Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States." (my emphasis and italics)

Therefore, by Texas' own adopted Constitution it is subject to the very federal laws and U.S. Constitution that our officials are spending millions of taxpayer dollars trying to avoid!  They do it by filing a blizzard of lawsuits to avoid the federal authority granted by the U.S. Constitution, using your Joe Blow taxpayer funds.  A total waste of precious money.  They even dole it out to private law firms and attorneys with political connections.

Today our legislature in 2015, sitting on a slush fund, is CUTTING Veterans education funding --funding they swore to provide on their "Support the Troops" bumper stickers and prior laws.  Of course they claim they can't pay for it because they are giving a tiny tax cut of $179 to everyone instead of  paying the vets or fixing roads or paying down debt. It shows how little our current majority leaders really value vets and education because they aren't honoring their commitments.

Next, Texas Constitution speaks to EQUALITY:

"Sec. 3a. EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. This amendment is self-operative. "  (my empahasis and italics)

Then how can they pay women LESS? How can they draw districts that deny minorities there share of the vote? (aka Gerrymandering).  How does treating women like 2nd class citizens who have no medical choices of their own make them equal?  Local government like Denton are told that they can't prevent fracking next to their BBQ pits in the backyard. How "equal" in rights is that when the state is the bully instead of the feds?

How is equal justice found when a one-party red state picks a lawyer to be the appellate judge to hear the case of Gov. Perry when they previously worked together? How is that "equal justice" under the law? It's more crony favoritism when one party has monopoly power and ethics reform can't even get out of committee.

Is Texas really following its own Constitution?

It doesn't look that way.  Section 4 of the Texas Constitution provides this statement on religion in Texas.

"Sec. 4. RELIGIOUS TESTS. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."  (my emphasis)


That section imposes a religious test while banning the practice! LOL. The test?  You have to believe in one Supreme Being in order to hold office.

An Atheist would be barred from holding public office in Texas since they naturally don't believe in a any Supreme Being.  Texas definitely has atheist citizens as well as citizens from dozens of religions.

  Hindus are numerous in Texas, especially Houston, Dallas, etc. (it is the third largest religion in the world, after Christianity and Islam).  Hindus don't acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being either.  They don't have one God; they have many. Quoting from wikipedia:

"the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one god; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances..."

  What about people who have no view?  What about Buddhists who also are Texas citizens?   They don't have one God. Or Texas Muslims?  They believe in one God but some religions insist that it is not the "same" God (even though there is only one).  What about Texas Jews, who don't recognize Jesus but have one God.  Would they be barred from Texas office under our Section 4?

When one religion's views are forced on other Texas citizens isn't that a violation of our own Constitution?  Isn't that also a violation of Section 3 that declares all men equal? That is what Sharia Law is - forcing one set of religious views on people in a state.  Is Christian Sharia any different than Islamic Sharia when both force their religious views on people of other religions who have a different beliefs.

An example comes from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's group of advisers who uniformly denounced pre-K education as "socialist and dangerous."  It was a unanimous and bizarre statement.

If you think education is a bad thing, then you don't trust people to use knowledge in an intelligent manner. You are favoring ignorance, the exact same ignorance that fuels Al Qaida and ISIS who refuse to tolerate any views different from theirs--and refuse to teach girls and the young anything except religion instead of math and science.

If those Mr. Patrick's best advisers (they are certainly his strongest supporters,) then Texas is in serious trouble -- far beyond the failure to follow our own Texas Constitution.

If you agree, pass it on~!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - My Mom is Awesome, Especially How She Treated Her Stepkids

For this "Throwback Thursday" I want to recognize my unique mother, who is now 86 and closing in on 87 years young.

Yesterday on the phone she was saying how good she felt now that she was exercising, but went on to talk about outreach to her numerous stepchildren, who live as far away as Amarillo, a thousand miles.

She said "I hope (Diane, etc.) they come up each year to see me. I really want to know what is happening to them."

I think that makes her special.  I remember both parents encouraging me to do whatever I wanted - but I had to earn it. It was a tremendous lesson in independence and the critical thinking needed to figure out exactly how I was going to pay for those flying lessons I wanted!

But it worked. I screwed up the courage to go out to the little airport in Plainview where we lived and ask for a job in exchange for flying time. To my amazement they gave me the job! What a confidence builder that was. As a result I got my private and then commercial pilot's license - while my siblings whose flying lessons were paid for by my parents (dad as doing really well at sales at the time) did NOT finish getting their license.

Dad died on Earth Day 1971 in a car wreck. So mom has been both parents since then. 

When she remarried after dad's death she inherited four stepkids to go with her four who were still home (I was gone by then). She remains a great example of what a parent in a blended family should be. She is also a great example of a positive attitude, even when her eyes no longer let her see due to macular degeneration.

Happy Throwback Thursday.