Thursday, December 29, 2005
My wife and I spent a couple days after Christmas surveying the destruction in New Orleans. It broke her heart to see it.
TV does not show you the real devastation - it reminded me of World War II scenes of destroyed cities.
For blocks the homes are wrecked. Not a soul can be seen for miles. One or two diehards are trying, but they are doing it in toxic laden ghost suburbs like Chalmette. The photo was taken at the levee break in the Lakeview subdivision. On the left is where they are repairing one of the breaks.
The houses are filled with mold. Now they stand like dry timber on soil contaminated by chemicals that poured in with the flood waters.
At one levee I found out from the repair crew that there was not one break, but seven.
Legislation authorizing levee upgrades have sat in Congress, ignored, for YEARS. Once again, the lack of foresight by our leadership has resulted in billions in losses. Had the levees not failed, New Orleans would not have flooded - it has lost 80% of its population. It will cost FEMA billions without addressing the levee problem. I saw little construction or clean up activity. You would think that our billions of tax payer dollars would result in a little more organized activity on the ground.
Why does this concern District 22? Because DeLay was Majority Leader and could have acted on it before disaster struck. New Orleans is critical to America because it is the terminal for offshore oil from the Gulf of Mexico that drives America. It is a major coffee and sugar import port. The Mississippi River is our main north-south river of commerce moving grain from the Midwest. New Orleans is the southern terminal. If it didn't exist, we would have had to create it because of its strategic importance to our national economy.
Keep in mind that Mr. DeLay has been sitting in office for over 20 years with the power to protect the Gulf Coast yet he failed to pass the necessary legislation. Texas, while hard hit by Rita, was spared a major hit to Galveston. Maybe next time we won't be so lucky. As long as DeLay is in power, we certainly won't be more prepared.
I ordered a half Muffaleta at the Napoleon restaurant. The waiter returned and said they only had gumbo and one quarter Muffaleta left- supplies are still sporadic in the region. I took it and was grateful to have a taste of the city I love so much.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I watched DeLay’s people hit on people for signatures at events all summer – and all they came up with is 1,000? In 2002, I filed 750 names for the GOP ballot – I started in mid-December and got them in two weeks!
Then, to please DeLay, the party removed me from the 2002 GOP ballot, claiming I did not have the required 500. I had to stop campaigning and go to court to get back on. I spent the campaign season in limbo. We won the case and I was reinstated. By then the primary season was nearly over. So the 20% of the vote I got in 2002 was without benefit of campaigning or a mail out.
As I watched DeLay’s people circulating the petition, I saw few people signing. When I was asking people for signatures, I was getting 9 signatures for every 10 requests. Even my volunteers were getting over 50%. If DeLay had the same success rate he would have turned in over 10,000 signatures not less than 1000!
Bottom line: DeLay’s “strength” in the GOP is not as strong as the spin.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
The US Supreme Court has decided to hear the Texas redistricting case. If it throws it out, this primary could be void and we could end up having to do this all over again in a special election.
That means chaos on the GOP side. You could have DeLay convicted, a special election, and a dozen GOP candidates splitting up the vote versus one Democrat (Nick Lampson).
2006 promises to be a wild ride. My focus is on issues of concern to the people in District 22. It always has been. My prior campaigns made Mr. DeLay focus more on his district. I have seen three (3) different boundary configurations, and run in each.
That could come in handy if we end up on a Special Election in a new district - where my 5 years of name recognition counts.
We are calling this campaign "Operation Restore Honor." Why? It is evident that we need more, not less, ethics in Washington. We need a return to "Fjiscal Fjitness" to put it another way.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." -- Helen Keller
How true Helen.
And I think it also thirsts for genuine leadership.
Leadership is not all about money and power or overuse of power. People want leadership that is about people
All people, not just some of the people. Leadership is certainly NOT politicians who sell their favors.
We just had a Congressman resign for taking a $2.5 MILLION bribe! He was a Republican. The Republican Ex-Majority Leader is under indictment for a felony.
You don’t get a felony indictment for jaywalking. Bribery is a serious offense. Abuse of power is wrong. The GOP needs some new people.
My focus is on restoring honor to Congress.
In the last week much has been happening. Pledges are pouring in. Donations are rolling in. THANK YOU!
Spread the word.
We shall continue this campaign for all the "tiny pushes of each honest worker" and American.
We are calling it: "Operation Restore Honor"....
P.S. It’s not about being a hero. It is about helping people. It is about doing the right thing as an honorable Congressman represents our country and all the people in it regardless of religion, color, etc.
My goal is to be a statesman, not a monarch.
To do this, I need your donation TODAY. Do it for justice, honor and America.
"Don't DeLay" Donate Today at www.MikeFjetland.com
Thursday, November 24, 2005
It will sound like science fiction, but it's not. Some of it sounds totally bizarre, but it is already happening.
Scientists in Israel have made the world's smallest computer by engineering DNA to carry out mathematical functions. Other researchers are engineering the E. coli bug with genes from the wormwood plant and yeast to create a new malaria drug.
The worry is that there is no control on this system that could also produce something harmful - a bio disaster could be the result along with new malaria drugs, etc. It is not on Congress' radar because it is so new.
Scientists are creating new life forms with vast and unknown impact. This is something Congress should be looking at now before there is a disaster by "gene hackers" using these "Mail order genes." They could be used for anything by anyone in the world.
Congress should be proactive, not just reactive. Preparing in advance to avoid pandemics like Avian flu and future bio terrors should be a central part of Congress and our leadership.
It certainly is my focus. Our future depends on what we do now to prepare for these and the other rapid changes sweeping this brave new world.
I'm off to deliver food to the less fortunate today. Thank God for this country and our unique system.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
He talks about the lobbyists who showed up and ponied up $2,100 apiece to DeLay's campaign fund a few blocks from the people's Congress.
That is efficient - Mr. deLay doesn't have to go far from his office to grab the fat checks and run to the bank before signing back in at Congress to do whatever the lobby wants him to do - not what the people of his district need or want.
"Congressman for Sale" should be a sign hanging outside his door. It could not get any more apparent than watching this DC money grab go on. It's almost like open Prostitution. It is Legalized bribery and vote buying...
What kind of American values is this Mr. DeLay?
I will represent the people of this district who have real concerns from prescription drugs to pensions, not the lobbyists.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
In today's Washington Post is a blockbuster. Apparently Mr DeLay admitted in front of prosecutor Ronnie Earle (after agreeing to a stenographer recording it) that he knew about the illegal $190,000 BEFORE it happened, and approved it.
In law, that is called an "Admission against interest."
Yikes. That is serious.
That means his seat could become vacate after the primary next March, if he is re-elected and then convicted based on his own admission and other evidence...
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The election yesterday resulted in Democrats taking two Governor spots --Virginia and New Jersey-- and does not bode well for the GOP in 2006.
Anyone who says otherwise is whistling past the cemetery.
The former House majority leader is under indictment. The Vice President's Chief of Staff is under indictment on a separate matter. Spending has gone nuts. The proposed cuts miss the fat and cripple our future.
As the election showed yesterday, either we make the change or the people will. If the GOP does not change out these characters, the public will do it for them --by picking Democrats instead of Republicans.
The next opportunity to do that is in the District 22 primary next March.
What if the district GOP primary voters elect an indicted Congressman next March, who gets convicted before the general election? That will be great for the Democrat in the race.
Even if he is not convicted (DeLay's lawyer got off a guy who shot and chopped up his neighbor), the damage has been done.
"Where there is smoke, there's fire." The incumbent has already rolled up several reprimands and become a national negative symbol for the party.
The incumbent's skeleton pile is becoming a mountain. This cannot be a good thing for the district, the party or America...
Monday, November 07, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
"In a speech to a group of conservative academics and policy experts, DeLay blamed the runaway spending of recent years on minority Democrats."
What? And check this quote:
"When he took questions, the first came from a senior official at the American Conservative Union, who asked DeLay, "How large does the Republican majority in the House and Senate need to be before Republicans act like the fiscal conservative I thought we were?"
Very good question.
Take responsibility Mr. DeLay - the bloat in the budget is what you made as majority leader. Quit blaming the minority for your $24 billion pork barrel 'bridge to nowhere."
It has been on your watch that we have the highest deficits on record - nearly $500 billion/year. Don't blame others for the mess you created.
And $24 billion in highway pork is just the tip of the bloat...This quote from the article sums it up best:
"The Club for Growth, a conservative group that funds like-minded candidates for Congress, has turned the highway legislation into a bumper sticker for the GOP's fiscal failings. "Too many Congressional Republicans have veered away from the limited government agenda that got them elected to the majority in Congress. They have approved pork-barrel highway bills worse than the Democrats used to give us," says one appeal to supporters."
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Not a lot of people are rolling in so much dough that they would actually miss reporting $20,000 of it but it happened (see the highlighted story).
I had a conversation with a self described conservative Republican woman at dinner the other night - after I overheard her mention "Kinky" to her dinner companion (who turned out to be her husband).
When I dropped by their table and introduced myself on the way out, she explained that she had been at the packed Ft Bend Chamber luncheon where Kinky Friedman, independent candidate for Texas Governor, spoke. It was a packed house. He made a big impression.
She said every conservative in the county was there - many trying desperately not to laugh at Kinky's witty remarks (after stifling a laugh she said they'd look around the room to see if anyone saw them trying not to laugh).
She said Kinky made a good impression and had a shot at getting the 45,000 signatures, even from conservative Republicans. Even many conservatives are not impressed with our present leadership. Very interesting.
Mr. Friedman did say things, quoted in the Ft. Bend Herald, which I agree with -- such as: "We need to put teachers back in charge of the educational system. We need to have people in charge who have actually seen the inside of a classroom."
"Friedman said a border policy with Mexico is an issue which needs to be addressed as 'New Mexico and Arizona have declared a state of emergency on their borders, but Gov. Perry says all is well with our borders.' "
Very interesting. Before I left the lady said she knew my name, and had voted for me when I ran before. That made my day.
Monday, October 24, 2005
In his column in the October 17, 2005 edition of Newsweek he made some interesting points. Will said: "DeLay, who neither knows nor cares any more about limited government than a camel knows or cares about calculus, probably will never return to the House leadership, and might even be voted out of the House in 13 months." (my italics)
He goes on to say:
"Furthermore, in 2004 DeLay won with an under whelming 55%, running nine points behind President Bush in his district."
Finally, he says: "...some Republicans think 'big government is good government if it's our government.' Since 2000 the numbered of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled, from 16,342 to 34,785. They have not been attracted to the seat of government, like flies to honey, for the purpose of limiting government."
Mr. Will makes perfect sense.
Our present wild spending and episodes of K Street lobbyists writing bills in Mr. DeLay's office diminishes our future, leaving less prosperity for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. This activity also diminishes Congress.
Instead of being an independent branch of government Congress has become one selling favors for donations. There is a word for that.
We have to change directions and start doing what is right for the people who aren't big donors or lobbyists. Congress is supposed to be serving people, not PACS. That is one of the things that drove me to challenge the incumbent previously. That has not changed.
On Houston 740 am radio Saturday, a commentator, interviewing Pat Buchanan said that perhaps "the GOP should spend a few years in the wilderness (out of office) because of this out-of-control budget situation….”
Pat Buchanan responded by saying that instead of replacing the Republicans with Democrats:
“What the GOP needs is fresh faces.” Mr. Buchanan also has a good point.
Either the GOP replaces its faces in office (the ones under a cloud) or, as George Will points out, it will be Democrat faces getting elected to replace the GOP DeLay’s, etc. as the public decides that they have had enough of Congress dining with lobbyists over wine and golf in expensive Scotland resorts while spending trillions for bridges to no where.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
But with the same huge deficit hole Congress is still giving itself a pay raise:
"the raise from $162,100 to $165,200 appears certain, because the House has voted to accept it; it takes actions by both chambers to block congressional pay raises. A yes vote was to block a congressional pay raise."
Give the Senate credit for voting it down. The House, supposedly run by conservatives still continues to spend money like mad and continues to give itself pay raises when it has lost control of the budget and spending.
We need to put Congress on the same social security plan as the rest of us (instead of their elaborate six figure pension plans). Their inflated pensions and pay raises that cannot be justified when they are cutting spending for kids, freezing benefits for military vets, etc. at the same time. That isn't right.
Cutting payments for something optional like Viagra was a rare moment of sanity coming from Congress. Now let's take an axe to the $24 billion in pork in the last highway bill (with the bridge to no where) and cut the rest of the fat on our bloated budget--like an unnecessary pay raise for the Congress that created the budget mess in the first place.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
The news covered up Mr. DeLay’s historic trip today -- a mug shot and fingerprints as part of the felony indictment for money laundering.
TD has hired an attorney who recently got an acquittal for a guy who shot and chopped up his neighbor (Mr. Durst). That’s serious. It was avoidable.
The claim that Earle’s case is “just political” falls apart when you look at the facts. According to DeGeurin, Earle gave DeLay the option of pleading out on a misdemeanor. If he had taken that plea offer, DeLay would still be majority leader.
It was a “slap on the hand” offer. If it was a vendetta, there would have been no misdemeanor offers. Mr. D should have taken it. It’s too late now.
After three recent reprimands Mr. D has received, people would not have been shocked or surprised by a misdemeanor (unfortunately). He would be in power now; instead of unplugged from it. He’d be on easy street. It was his call.
My condolences to Mr. DeLay’s family.
I attended a great briefing on Houston homeland security upgrades this week. More on that later. Go all the way Astros...
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
He says: "present top priority is given to medicines and other items like tents." So if you can help, please do. In Houston call the Pakistan Center via Tasleem Siddiqui. He will be available at the Pakistan House but you have to him to set up the timings: Cell 281-236-7597. . Drop your donations there at Dairy Ashford and Bissonnet. Floods, hurricanes and earthquakes are killing far more than Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Saddam’s trial is starting up. He is another guy who spent over 20 years in power and loved to squeeze the little people -- to death. Saddam shows the danger of having “one party” States where your guy never pays a price for stepping over the line.
Today's Chronicle had an interesting tidbit –Before the indictment Mr. DeLay had been offered a plea bargain by Ronnie Earle. DeLay could have pled guilty to a misdemeanor (yep, a slap on the hand) and he would have been able to retain his job as majority leader. DeLay turned it down, according to his lawyer, Dick DeGeurin. Now he faces a felony and had to step down as majority leader. After 3 ethical reprimands, what the heck is a misdemeanor? It would have saved him millions in legal fees and bad press and he could have kept his job. Duh.
I have to wonder about his decision making. DeLay had no where to go but down and he passed on a safe deal.
Don’t forget the “DC RULE” – Once you lose power, you never get it back (e.g. LBJ, Nixon, Jim Wright, etc.)
That’s the cool thing about American democracy -- and keeps it fresh. And it gives a chance to those of us on the bottom who have no where to go but up.
America remains a dictator-free zone because we prosecute people regardless of party affiliation when they “play the ethical edge” even if they have Saddam-like powers. Iraq and countless other places could use the same judicial checks and balances.
P.S. Don’t you love those Astros! After 45 years they are at the front door of their first World Series! Don't let that distraction or donor fatigue keep you from helping our many neighbors who need it.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
All this since the Boxing Day Tsunami last Christmas killed an estimated 300,000 or so and lead to the Bush-Clinton Fund.
And this year we have actually hit the end of the alphabet on hurricane names - Wilma (?) is forming.
Obviously we need to do a better job paying attention and addressing mother nature's terrorism - hurricanes and flooding have killed vastly more people than Al Qaeda. It will take a combination of public and private efforts to deal with these threats to the global economy and peoples' lives.
The billions lost in our own economy are staggering. Multiple that globally and it is in the trillions.
But we could turn these disasters into global economic generators – new homes, new construction, new schools for kids in places like New Orleans and Pakistan. New jobs and better opportunities can be the result of these upheavals.
For over 20 years of the incumbent’s watch, we have not had an organized system for dealing with these issues in an organized, global/local/regional approach.
I will insist on it.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Today we face the possibility, along with terrorism and high gas prices, of something worse than either 9 11 or paying $3 a gallon for gas --a new flu virus from Asia that could be a worldwide Pandemic. The last one in 1918 killed millions. Much more should be done nationally and internationally to minimize the potential destructive power of this invisible killer.
My concern is that our rep is so focused on his own legal troubles (as one should must when charged with a felony) that he is less able to pay attention to, or deal with, these critical issues before they become critical.
We all know what happened after the side of the Titanic was gashed one watertight compartment too many. Ironically, the ship would have survived had the crew turned it TOWARDS the iceberg instead of away (so the berg merely sliced the side like a long, fatal knife cut). A front end collision would have damaged fewer compartments, and the damaged Titanic would have remained floating, instead of floundering.
We need to tackle this virus head on.
We don't need to flounder in a global world of events when something is happening 12,000 miles away which can forever change our tomorrows in a negative way. We do not have a vaccine or the international controls necessary to avoid this biological creature potentially more dangerous then Al Qaeda.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I published a piece about the need for local/national/international emergency aid today at my Global American group:
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I did downplay the potential disaster of another hurricane evacuation. Or any evacuation caused by a natural disaster or terrorism. I was trying not to scare everyone, although the same disaster could happen again.
We have major chokepoints in adjacent counties that are overwhelmed by 2.7 million people fleeing a Cat 5 storm from the Texas coast.
Our population will DOUBLE in the next 20 years. How will our evacuation handle even more people? it won't, not without changes.
One great idea I heard today from an Indo-American friend was using high speed rail between Houston, San Antonio and Dallas as an evacuation tool to move elderly and countless others out of harm's way. It was tried between Houston and San Antonio on an Amtrak line during RITA, and worked.
However, because of lobbyist’s influences on our Congressman, our commuter rail system is now a decade behind Dallas, Atlanta, etc. We
Adding commuter and high speed rail should be considered as part of our improved evacuation plans after the lessons of RITA.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
I picked up the Chronicle, and saw yet another story on yet more ethics probes of our incumbent representative. According to the article, it could be DC based scandals that finish off the incumbent and not the Texas indictment. I doubt he'll have much time for focusing on the district. Not when he's facing up to two years in jail. "Where there's Smoke, there's usually a fire."
Last week the incumbent's attorney had to contradict his own client, saying that the incumbent was wrong when he claimed he didn't get a chance to tell the grand jury his side of the story. It doesn't look good to get indicted and then get caught telling a fib the same week!
I have to sign off this to work on an article on Homeland Security implications for the Houston area I discovered the past few days working with CAP. We have bottlenecks in our regional evacuation system that makes future hurricane or terrorism evacuations even more dangerous.
P.S. I fell in love with the red, white, blue of the new USAF Aux 8 seat, single engine GA-8 aptly call the "Air Van." It looks like something the "Jetsons" could use for a flying SUV. We use them for photo missions and ferrying people and cargo. I can't wait to fly one.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Mr. DeLay stands indicted. The trail back to the dirty money is so clear that little kids could trace it --sequentially numbered checks in blank sent back days after delivering the illegal money. Dumb! DeLay’s team should be in the running for TV’s “America’s Dumbest Criminals.”
Fact: DeLay is no longer majority leader.
Therefore he is no more effective than a freshman Congressman. In fact, he's less effective than a freshman because he is now focused only on his own hide instead of our community.
And he won't be able to shake the fact you don't get a felony indictment for jaywalking. Or that in the jungle of DC you don't get the power back once you lose it. I cannot endorse criminal activity -- whether it is by a Democrat or Republican.
Those who back DeLay from here on out are backing a person charged with a high crime not a misdemeanor. The law was clear and so was the intent to avoid it. DeLay is now in the same category as Al Capone. He put himself there, not the Democrats.
Mr. Earle as a Democrat has charged four times more Democrats with high crimes than Republicans, and unlike DeLay, he has been bipartisan in approach.
I started on this mission because of his negative use of power and activities like this.
We can all debate policy decisions but money laundering to skirt a 100-year law is pretty serious. It wasn’t a simple accounting error. It wasn’t because he was forced into it. It shows how corrupt power has made Mr. DeLay.
It is time for it to end.
My mission from day one in 2000 has been to replace the Congressional face of this district --from DeLay’s arrogant, corrupt, overly partisan, negative persona to mine.
Mine is focused on cooperation, respect and finding common ground and common sense solutions in this global economy.
I invite all readers and potential supporters to say goodbye to the ways of DeLay and be a part of my 21st Century diversity team –the only team headed by someone with the global skills our country needs after the avoidable blunders made in Iraq, FEMA, Katrina, Pork barrel highway bills, runaway deficits, etc.
For more info, please call my coordinator/press secretary Jason Kniss and introduce yourself. His cell # is (281) 630-4917. Or email him at: Jasontheaggie@yahoo.com Or email me at: GlobalAmerican2020@yahoo.com Or call me at Cell 713 213 5080.
P.S> On my first try after announcment of DeLay's indictment, I received a pledge for $50,000. We expect that to mushroom as word spreads.
Standby for some major announcements ahead...
Fall has always been my time of the year...
Thursday, September 29, 2005
What is your overall impression of Tom DeLay?
This is a national poll and shows some serious problems for the party's image. I have to leave to finish helping with the hurricane damage assessment work being done by the US Air Force Auxiliary and will comment further later...
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This will be quick because I have to fly on a US Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol or "CAP") mission later today to do hurricane damage assessment. It's volunteer duty. Sometimes we joke that CAP stands for "Come and pay." The way it is set up in Texas, pilots end up fronting the cost of gas on search and rescue missions until it is reimbursed (weeks later). Other states issue credit cards to avoid that situation.
I saw a NY Times article on the effect the new bankruptcy law that takes effect in October will have on hurricane victims. The law was intended to punish those who run up debt without the intent of paying it. However, it will also punish even the honest folks who were victims of Hurricanes like Katrina and Rita.
If I were the representative I would vote to amend the law to carve out an exception in cases of natural disasters like we have witnessed. I have seen no indication that our representative has any intention of doing so.
Whatever happened to justice and fairness?
Monday, September 26, 2005
I spoke today with a friend, who is a special needs patient and formerly lived in Port Arthur with his elderly mother. Port Arthur is now uninhabitable and lacks electricity, water, and other utilities. It may be a month before they have those services restored.
I was advised that after applying for FEMA, he attempted to apply for Texas unemployment compensation. They told him that they couldn't help him. Why?
"Because the President has not signed any paperwork," they said (even though the President has already declared our state a disaster zone). Apparently, without a signed piece of paper they are not prepared to help anyone who has lost their livelihood and their home.
Further, he has attempted to contact the US Postal Service to redirect his mail. All he has been able to get is a recording. So his bills and correspondence are piling up somewhere and everyone is left in the dark.
Before it was FEMA. Now Texas bureaucrats are failing the public.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I totally agree with his comments. They should be required reading for our public officials, federal, state and local.
I have been hearing stories about people who were "losing it" during Houston's evacuation. At one gas station the attendant's became alarmed and turned off the system. That prompted a man threw a brick threw the window. Things were getting out of control and a friend of mine went around to calm people down. The only pump left operating took credit cards only, but some people didn't have credit cards. They offered him $100 if he would use his credit card to buy $60 worth of gas. To his credit, he helped but only charged the actual cost.
Check out this article on how ill prepared the U.S. is if we have a major terrorist attack or natural disaster.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
We had high winds here on the western edge of the storm; the “clean side,” so I can only imagine how fierce it was in Port Arthur that took the hit on the “dirty side” along with western Louisiana. Rita even broke a levee in New Orleans, re-flooding parts of the city.
We dodged a bullet. We lost power for only 7 hours and that was enough “camping out” for me. Many people ran out of gas on the road and had to take shelter anywhere they could. Some slept in their cars. Confusion continues and people are streaming back into town although the Mayor has requested they “stay put” to keep the highways clear for emergency responders and clear power lines, debris, etc.
And a huge problem became evident in Rita’s wake.
Here we live in a major gas refining area -- and yet we have no gasoline in the city. It could be days before supplies come in. The lack of gas stranded thousands of people for hundreds of miles around Houston.
Clearly the State emergency plan has some serious defects, despite all the post 9 11 planning.
Nearly 3 million people evacuated. We could see the same traffic jams coming back that existed when they left the city. Residents of Port Arthur may not have anything to go back to. This isn’t over yet…
Friday, September 23, 2005
The moment of truth has come. No choice now but to stay – there is no gasoline available anywhere. I met people sitting at gas stations, waiting for a tanker, with their belongings and family stuffed in their cars.
The past two days the air has been still and hot – 100 degrees, and the sky was clear as we secured the house.
Today the temperature is much cooler and the wind has started to swirl. There is change in the air.
Yesterday the cars blocked all highways going north and west. People were running out of gas and sleeping in their cars. Stores were closing and the open ones had long lines. It felt like the set of some kind of bad movie.
Today the streets and freeways are empty; the stores are boarded up. A bus with elderly evacuees caught fire and killed over 20 as their oxygen bottles exploded.
We haven’t had national news in three days; it has just been local hurricane coverage 24/7. I have to read the papers online to know what is going on other than the storm.
Now Rita is licking the coast. She moves in tonight. The pine trees in the front yard a already swaying. I was worried about a friend in Port Arthur who is in a wheelchair and lives with his mother. Now it appears Port Arthur will be destroyed in the storm surge. I heard late today that they are in Arlington.
By this time tomorrow it will be blowing and we’ll have no power. Will try to do another update early morning if possible. If not, it will be sometime later…
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I just found out from a friend who knows someone at Centerpoint Energy that controls our power grid. They plan to pull the plug on electric power when the storm hits – to avoid transformers blowing out, etc. So we are going to be without power for some time, days or weeks.
So our representative who thought Katrina survivors were “having fun camping out” at the Astrodome (see earlier "Camping Out" blog entry) may get to personally get a taste of how much “fun” it is not to have A/C or take a shower for days on end. I doubt he’ll put up with it long before bailing out of town.
A funny note. We decided to stay put and moved all our yard stuff inside on advice from the weather guys to avoid them from becoming flying missiles. That included moving in the dog house. Guess who took it? I discovered Minou (“Me New”) our 10-pound cat lounging inside. Henri, our 100-pound dog that fears nothing --and likes that house-- has not dared enter. Come to think of it he does fear one thing, and she is only 1/10th his size. He's found that she has a mean left hook.
It proves the adage that “it's not the size of the cat in the fight but the size of the fight in the cat!”
I will try to make one more entry before we lose electricity and start having “fun.”
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
So with all the troubles in Iraq and the devastation of Katrina, what do I get in the mail yesterday -- a letter from our incumbent representative, wanting money! What? Yep. Four pages!
Does he mention Katrina or Iraq? No. The biggest evil he cites in four pages is MoveOn.org -- not FEMA's fumbling and stumbling and still too slow response (they still haven't done squat for Mississippi, etc).
It’s over a year before the next November election and Tom's busy focusing on...bashing potential opponents instead of kicking some bureaucratic butt.
Houston is flooded with evacuees who have lost everything, straining our resources and wearing out volunteers -- and Mr. DeLay wants you to run out and send HIM a check for his campaign (and knock on doors, volunteer, etc.)!
Once again I question his priorities.
Time for a change folks.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
A few days ago I was helping as a volunteer at the Sugar Land Resource center based in the old city hall building. In the hallway near the front door, I happened across a lady with a disabled 10-year-old daughter who was about to leave. She said she had no place to stay that night -- and would have ended up sleeping in a car. In the organized chaos, she had somehow slipped through the system. She was out of gas and out of work.
I got her to some of our people who were going to get her a $10 gas card and a place for the night. But that was not the miracle.
Yesterday I was driving my dogs back from getting shots at the vet when I got a message on my cell phone from the United Cerebral Palsy in Houston offering to help this lady find housing. I did not know how they knew about her or me; I had only mentioned the lady’s plight as one line in an email to my church that would be helping prepare meals at a shelter.
That was great news but I didn’t even know her name or where she was. Our system had a stack of 500 or more names of people needing housing, none sorted by disability or special needs.
Then the miracle happened. As I went about my volunteer duties yesterday, I happened across another volunteer and mentioned my quandary. To my surprise the volunteer said that she remembered the lady since she had been the one who drove the woman to get a gas card and to the local Red Cross Shelter at a church.
I called the shelter, and they remembered her and the child! They checked. She was still there. I gave them the contact information.
So, the little miracle is that I was able to link a woman and her disabled daughter to someone who could help. It might not be much, helping two people out of the hundreds of thousands of evacuees living in Texas, but combined with the efforts of countless other volunteers and organizations, it made a difference in someone’s life.
That made the long days of volunteering even more worthwhile.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
When I got back I found out that DeLay's associates were indicted today--the last possible day before the statute of limitations expired.
Tomorrow I will be back trying to help Ft. Bend manage this huge influx of people who lost everything they had.
This makes no sense. This is a FEDERAL responsibility. We have 30,000 children enrolled and it is expected that could rise to 60,000. To pay for buildings but not the extra teachers needed to give these kids an education is another example of the feds dumping an unfunded mandate on the state.
Texas has stepped up to the plate to help the evacuees and done a great job.
Now the feds need to do their job and help pay Texas for the extra costs instead of dumping on Texas taxpayers.
And check out this observation by George Will: "passed a transportation bill whose 6,371 pork projects cost $24 billion, about 10 times more than the price of the levee New Orleans needed. Louisiana's congressional delegation larded the bill with $540,580,200 worth of earmarks, one-fifth the price of a capable levee."
Saturday, September 10, 2005
What is so "fun" about losing your home and all your possessions? What is so "fun" about your parents now being unemployed? I have been to the dome and saw a lot of people sleeping on cots. Nobody was having "fun." They were killing time, trying to put their lives back together again.
As a volunteer, I have met hundreds of evacuees the past week coming into Hurricane Relief shelters. They needed medical help, financial help, etc. They ranged from the working poor to Vietnamese business owners and whites who had lived in the New Orleans garden district. All were polite and kind, but no one was having "fun."
I wonder if it would be "Fun" if Mr. DeLay was sleeping on one of those cots after losing his job, his home -- and had to rely on a $2,000 FEMA handout to rebuild?
After all, it was Mr. DeLay who approved cutting the Army Corps budget requests for New Orleans levee enhancement, decade after decade, that would have avoided this hundred billion dollar disaster. The money for levees ended up going for a bridge in Alaska to serve 50 people.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Today, I was at the Astrodome, the Toyota Center, and the GR Brown convention center before heading back to the Sugar Land center until 8 pm.
During the course of the day I ended up meeting Mayor Bill White, County Judge Eckels, Bill Cosby, etc.
The dome was peaceful and operating smoothly; people were sleeping on cots, reading, being helped at stations. I was at the press briefing given by Mayor White and Judge Eckels. It did have some leaks in the basement from 40 year old pipes but it was cool inside and food was being provided.
In comparison, the GRB looked like a First Class hotel with air mattresses instead of cots. Mr. Cosby appeared there. I took his photo with a cell phone. The Toyota center had banks of laptops for people needing jobs or resume help. Mr. Alexander really knows how to do things first class.
People streamed into Sugar Land’s center all day. We got computers up and running and people were working their buns off all day. These are the countless thousands who came over to stay with friends and relatives and now have no home to go to.
The center feels like a war room in a way, but it is helping people instead of killing them. It’s intense because misinformation between the county and feds kept happening. The County was sending people over for food stamps which the Center was not issuing, but we worked them out one at a time. Not a lot of folks are getting much sleep.
I published a detail report on the trip to Baton Rouge in the Global American series,
article # 103.
Monday, September 05, 2005
A Sugar Land lady was kind enough to donate supplies to fill my van. I figured the supplies piling up here wouldn't reach there for some time and I wanted to check it out and get the goods as close to the scene as possible.
Interstate I 10 runs from Houston to New Orleans, right to the point where it goes underwater. The road was in good shape - no downed trees or sign of damage.
But I heard enough on Louisiana radio to make your hair stand on end - stories about people trying to help who were turned away during the critical hours of need. I'll address those in a separate Global American series article.
I delviered my load to a church in Baton Rouge whic is the staging area just outside New Orleans. From their reaction you would have thought I'd delivered an 18-wheeler full of goods. U.S. Marshall's were sleeping on the floor and going out on 4 hour shifts to provide protection.
A guy came in with a 64 year old lady he'd brought in from New Orleans. I offered to bring her to Houston but they were looking for something there.
On the way back I encountered a group of evacuees at the Texas rest stop just inside the border at midnight - they were in a group of yellow school buses and were being fed by volunteers at that hour! A pickup was full of rescued dogs taking a break. Everyone looked tired. Despite the crowd it was very quiet.
The overhead highway signs down the road said: "Houston closed to evacuees. Divert ot Ft Chaffee Arkansas." My God, I thought. That's another 9 or more hours on the road in unairconditioned school buses. Houston has 250,000 of them and so they are being spread out.
I'll be going back to try to do some more.
Friday, September 02, 2005
The National Guard have arrived in force today, thank god. But they will have their hands full maintaining order and finishing rescuing trapped people. Due to the delays, they still need help.
Many will die in the next 24 to 36 hours without water or help. Even the National Guard will need help with this American Tsunami, at least in the short term.
Americans who believe in private enterprise and charity are needed to assist me on a life-savig mission.
I am organizing a private convoy to take water and food to the New Orleans area, and bring people back, with me as driver and my van as Vehicle No. 1. People are getting out so there must be a way in.
It may remain a convoy of one but when people are losing their lives every bit helps. I cannot sit home and think of my schedule or go to soccer games when passengers from the Titanic are splashing in the ocean and drowning. Vast potential loss of life is at stake. The safety margin is now gone. Mothers are reported on TV walking around with dead babies in their arms.
24 hours is an eternity if it were you in that situation. I’ve been in similar situations in 3rd world countries.
If she makes good on her pledge, I've got a lady willing to sponsor my personal convoy and I thank her very much. She is even supplying the cargo. I am looking for more donations to add more drivers and vehicles and supplies. We need to help evacuate as many people as possible --and get them water – in the next couple days.
The idea to is drop water and food and pick up people and bring them back. Repeat as often as necessary until its done. Please spread the word.
Donations to my legal site are 100% dedicated to Katrina Relief:
Donations to my Congress Exploratory site are 10%. I challenge all politicians, office holders and candidates to match it. The real winner will be Americans who need help.
What? I thought I'd heard wrong too, until I checked the site:
Fascinating. If Cheney is required to bring his guns to the OK Corral, someone is worried.
What do they know that requires bringing in the big guns?
Do they expect more ethical skeletons to fall out of DeLay's closet? Mr. DeLay knocked a GOP Congressman off the veterans committee because Chris fought cuts in Vet benefits. DeLay allowed cuts in the Army Corps of Engineers which begged for money to beef up New Orlean's levees to handle a storm like Katrina. Now millions are paying the price.
If so, do they really want Mr. DeLay as the image of the GOP in 2008?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
The bus convoy that is supposed to bring 20,000 people in the Superdome to our Houston Astrodome has been stopped -- because of an alleged sniper shooting at a military helicopter. Someone has set up a riot.
How does keeping people off buses who suffering from what the President has called an “unprecedented American disaster” make it less likely someone will shoot at a helicopter?
This is not an airlift. It is a BUS convoy so this decision makes no sense. Those taking shelter in the Superdome have little or no food or water and no working toilets. Try that here for a few hours and see how people react. If a shot was fired, and it probably was, it shows the need for FASTER action, not stopping it.
To whoever is in charge: Get that bus convoy rolling and get those people out of there before it does become a domestic reminder of the chaos in Iraq.
I felt just a little of the New Orleans residents pain this morning. I woke this morning at 5, sweating. There was no power. The AC was off. It turned out a transformer had blown out. It was before sunrise and it was already uncomfortable in our powerless house. Put yourself in their position – go cut your power and live like that for DAYS in mid-90's humidity without power, running water, hot food, etc. --and then tell me stopping this convoy makes sense.
Luckily, Centerpoint had us with lights in less than 2 hours (and coffee pot going) versus an estimated 2 months or more for New Orleans.
Someone has made a bonehead decision to keep thousands of desperate people stranded. Keep that up and there will be real gunfire and chaos.
Who is running this show? Homeland Security? Someone needs to exercise some common sense before things really get out of hand in this national disaster...
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
This is a disaster still in process.
I am pledging to donate 10% of any donations made at my Congress exploratory site in the next two weeks to the Red Cross for Katrina relief at:
Monday, August 29, 2005
Call it "America's Gasoline Alley." Katrina is exposing our Achilles heel. Much of our production eggs are in one basket. If a storm or an accident or terrorist knocks out one or more of our aging, 30 year old refineries or Gulf platforms, gas prices will go even further into orbit and our economy will go south (see news headlines a couple days from now--8 refinieries out; gas shortages). It is moving closer to the cliff as oil prices are peaking and busting peoples’ wallets. Oil is now spiking past $70 on the spot market. Analysts say it could go up another $5 to $10 more - $80 oil! This will hurt the country unless action is taken. Oil is good for Houston and Louisiana but it is also a negative brake on the U.S. economy as a whole when it gets over 3% of our disposable income. That is when it can cause a recession as it did in the early 80’s during the Reagan administration when it last peaked. We are now at that point, and the new spikes will take us into recession unless action is taken. I’ve talked to owners of car repair places who tell me that people are putting off maintenance on their cars until they break, which makes the problem even more expensive. They are avoiding even routine maintenance because all their money is going into filling the tank. The system is stressed; so are the people. The Energy Bill does not make building new refineries with new equipment a priority. So we rely on 30-year-old ones running at 95% capacity and when a storm or an accident shuts anything down, prices surge. Congress has not addressed this issue despite all the warnings. That inaction has left us vulnerable to pain at the pump -- and another national recession fueled by high oil costs that hit everything in our oil based economy. I think Congress should be proactive in avoiding these problems rather than just being reactive after the cows have run out the barn door. 9 11 should have taught us that.
Foresight is required, and planning. Refineries aren't built in a day, so we now have a shortage that can't be fixed without doing the one solution available that our government refuses to endorse: conservation.
One would think that would be a conservative value.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
It was very interesting --a huge crowd arrived from all points of the compass. His district 14 adjoins District 22 (D22) and some of the people attending now live in D22.
Dr. Paul looked as if he had stepped off a golf course --very energetic and personable. He's considered a maverick Republican, which is fine by me. I like a person who has independent judgment instead of being just another party clapping seal. We've got enough of those on both sides of the aisle.
Dr. Paul is supporting HJ Res 55, a resolution calling for a “planned exit strategy” from Iraq. But he wants to avoid fixed calendar dates, so it is not a “cut-and-run” policy. All investors go into a business deal with an "exit strategy." Why shouldn't our government take a page from business and do the same? Having a plan is supporting our troops.
An "intelligent design" exit strategy could be triggered by milestones, such as XX% of security being turned over to Iraqis, approval of a Constitution, etc. When those things happen, we start bowing out. We are already at a point where our opinion means less and less in Iraq.
As a counter terrorism expert, I know that there will always be an insurgency killing our troops as long as our soldiers remain in Iraq. It will NEVER fall to zero. It would be no different then if Iraqis were manning checkpoints in American towns and raiding our houses. If the roles were reversed, don’t’ you think we would be leading our own insurgency?
Our country has experience being occupied. Remember the British making U.S. colonists house troops -- and their bad experience with our Minutemen shooting at them from behind trees in 1776? We really resented the British soldiers pushing us around.
Locals on the home front will always have a hometown advantage over any foreign army (look at what happened to the Russians in Afghanistan).
That is why we need to let the Iraqis take over their security ASAP. HJ Res 55 should be given serious consideration.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
This is a bad, bad, dumb move. Houston and its port are a major potential target. Having fighters come from San Antonio is too little too late.
And it happened despite Mr. DeLay. Houston just lost a big one that could be very costly.
So, the district would have fared no worse with a freshman GOP Congressman. The incumbent saw no problem with our security despite the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and bombings of U.S. targets in 1996, 1998, and 2000.
In fact, the district might have fared better if a new Congressman with a track record of counter terrorism consulting had been involved in the decision-making process.
Houston just became a more inviting target by this move...
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
It is pretty shocking to hear a man claiming to be an Ambassador of Christ and God’s commandment “Thou shall not kill” endorse murder of an elected country leader as if he were ordering a bowl of soup. Before this he once expressed a desire for someone to blow up our own U.S. State Department over some issue he disagreed with.
We need to avoid Christian intolerance that can be as extreme and violate the Bible as much as Osama bin laden is violating the dictates of the Koran.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
We are at a crossroads in Iraq.
It might get better, but it seems more in danger of evolving into something even worse than Saddam -- another theocratic fundamentalist Iran. That would mean perpetual terrorism in the nuclear age.
Therefore, we can’t afford to take our eyes off the ball at this time. We can’t afford any more mistakes. There have been too many already. They have hurt America's image.
You’ll have to read the article to get the analysis -- from the perspective of a person who did warn about the potential of a 9 11 long before it happened….
P.S. Don’t forget to “Vote” on Iraq, Gas prices, etc. at the top of the website:http://mikeforcongress.bravehost.com/
Monday, August 22, 2005
The article offers real solutions. Check it out.
I have a new set of Poll questions on the website - Give me your opinion on Iraq, Energy, taxes, terrorism, etc. at:
The Poll can be found by clicking "Vote" at the top of the web page.
(Get your friends to vote).
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Today, a lady at church said to me:
"Your running against Mr. DeLay the past 5 years has really got him paying attention to his district. That is success." I listen to this lady because she makes great sense. Her cousin is one of our U.S. Senators who I consider to be a great role model to follow, Kay Bailey. (I wish all our reps were like her. Texas would be in a class by itself).
I have to agree that is a form of success - that my efforts have made a difference. In earlier campaigns, people told me "We haven't seen Rep. DeLay here in years."
Now he is at every Lincoln Day dinner, ribbon cutting, etc. In fact, he's moving like his pants are on fire (raking in millions of special interest money while doing it).
Success is many things, including keeping our democracy alive. I was the only GOP challenger to Mr. DeLay in two elections. Last year he was unopposed in the primary. Without that competition to the powerful DeLay from a political unknown, NASA would not finally be getting full funding as it did this year; and pork barrel highway spending would not be sending our budget deficits to Mars before man gets there.
Competition works folks!
But the problem is that this "success" doesn't change the old wine skins into new ones. After winning prior elections, he has gone back to pulling the rug out from under folks - like cutting NASA’s budget or giving Houston's mass transit funds to other cities like Dallas. As a result, Dallas now leads Houston by over a decade in commuter rail development. Only recently has he restored what he took away five years ago.
Had I been elected twenty years ago when the incumbent went into office, our astronauts would now be riding new space vessels instead of 30-year-old technology. Houston's commuter rail lines would already be built to handle the doubling of population coming here the next 20 years. And we would have prepared for 9 11 in advance by making the FBI and CIA share information with Immigration after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade center.
None of that has happened on the incumbent's watch.
So, success in getting an incumbent to pay attention has not been the same as success in making a change in Washington.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Yesterday I spent an hour in front of a video camera contracted by a film production company from near Chicago.
It is being made to send to police and fire departments across the U.S. on terrorism. I was interviewed as a counter terrorism advisor. In the background was a world map, and that was for a reason.
Our first responders are on the front lines here, but they are also the "tail of the dog" since they have to deal with issues that arise because of something going in somewhere else in the world.
In other words, they have to clean up stuff that they don't create.
Our own leadership may jab a stick into a global hornet's nest or miss the problem entirely (as they did before 9 11) -- and it will fall to First Responders to deal with the consequences if it results in a 9 11 or Tim McVeigh.
The London and Spain bombings confirm Iraq is spinning off attacks as a direct result. Even yesterday's rocket attack in Jordan against U.S. ships was a result of Iraq - the actors were not Jordanian. They were Syrian, Iraqi and Egyptian extremists taking the battle to Jordan yesterday, and maybe here tomorrow!
I can't cover an hour of video here, but you can review some ideas to resolve these issues in this Texas Viking blog and my platform page at the Congress website link (Wishlist).
If anyone wants a copy of the video, email me and I'll forward the producers' contact information. Otherwise, you won't see it unless you are a first responder.
Friday, August 19, 2005
It wasn't allowed at DeLay's meeting (written questions only!) and at LULAC it would have required that I speak with my back towards the people (facing the panel). Sorry, but I only speak if I'm facing the people I'm talking to (and that isn't the panel but the ordinary folks in the room).
I will be convening a townhall meeting on this vital issue - offering a plan to solve this complex issue. You cannot separate security and a guest worker program in my opinion as a counter terrorism advisor.
I believe we will get security only if we set up an intelligent, legal way to process all immigration without treating people like animals.
In doing so we'll look more like confident, intelligent Americans who work out problems with our global neighbors instead of one reduced to checking 18 month old babies because their name is on the "no fly" list and using our Homeland Security funds as pork barrel rewards instead of making genuine safety investments that I will propose in this townhall meeting.
It is called various names including the "pass out" game - kids choke another kid into unconsciousness - then they get a 10-second "rush" when they come by into awareness.
One girl said that "she didn't do drugs and alcohol" but yet spent all night with a girlfriend being choked to the point of passing out, then waking up. Some haven't and have died.
If these kids need a "rush" to feel alive then I suggest they spend time digging latrines for poor people in Africa or South America for awhile, so they can get a "rush" when they come back to the U.S. and see a real toilet with running water.
I hope parents pay close attention because this new "craze" is more dangerous than some illegal drugs. Speaking of which, nearly 1 of 3 kids have abused cough syrup. Legal prescription drugs are being abused. And we have a "meth" epidemic that local authorities say is the worst drug problem they are dealing with.
Last year more people died from using LEGAL drugs than from all illegal drugs combined (such as heroin, cocaine, etc.) so this is serious. How do you keep kids (and adults) from abusing LEGAL drugs such Oxycontin, which hooked even Rush Limbaugh.
We need solutions and parents are a key part of it. Talk to your kids - As the article pointed out, kids are less likely to do this stupid things if they have good communications with the parents.
On a Congressional level, we need to focus on treatment and establishing more drug courts that focus on making troubled kids responsible citizens instead of just locking them up and throwing away the key.
If you don't think so, then people like Mr. Limbaugh also need to serve jail time if we are going to apply the law equally to everyone.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Since Congress' job includes advice and consent, consider this a friendly act of advice.
Note: I was trained by the Fortune 500 to be solution-focused so I bring that habit with me in the political world. (Yes, i know - how quaint to focus on solutions in the age of focusing on finding fault).
Here is a quick and easy solution. If I were President I would meet with Ms. Sheehan, spend a few minutes listening to her -- and it would be all over, Mr. President. Done! Back to chopping wood!
Then you can enjoy what is left of your well-deserved vacation (it can't be much fun at the moment with Cindy and press camped outside the Ranch and the Iraqis still not getting their Constitution act together, etc).
Yes, I know, it is vacation time and you saw her once. I understand. But with things going the way they are, does losing a child in Iraq limit a person to only one audience with the President who championed this action?
I've been a candidate and found it required that I listen to people like Cindy as well as people who oppose her who live in the same district. I figured that it was part of the job if I was going to be representing people in Congress.
Meeting her a second time won't end the world and it solves your problem.
Mr. President, you are a caring man who has nothing to lose by talking to a grieving mom. Good luck. All true Americans are looking for solutions to these difficult issues and need an audience.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
A Midwest video company making a counter terrorism program to be sent to police agencies across the U.S. is interviewing me this Friday to take some quotes, so I did some updating on Homeland Security to prepare for it.
After talking with some local law enforcement people I discovered some very shocking information on the lack of border security –2 and ½ years after 9 11 and how our system is not working on keeping out the bad guys.
On top of that is today’s news that our geniuses in Homeland Security are not allowing babies to board an airplane when their name comes up on the “no fly” list! This is nuts. What happened to common sense? This is an improvement?
Are you scared yet? You should be.
I am. And all I can do about it now is make this video. No one listened before when I did a video in the 90’s on terrorism coming to the U.S. (Nor did they listen to the FBI guy who figured it out before 9 11, so at least they are consistent).
One of the items I learned was that PEOPLE smuggling is more profitable than drugs, and has less of a penalty. That can be more dangerous from a security standpoint.
I learned that there is a pay scale --very bad people coming in have big bucks and are willing to pay a lot more than that charged for Mexican laborers just looking for work. The Mexico-Texas connection in people smuggling is a key part, but not the only part.
Worse part - we have people in law enforcement who know how they are being smuggled in, but have no jurisdiction over HLS -- and HLS is so dumb it isn’t listening to them or changing their Keystone Kop methods. I guess they are too busy keeping babies off airplanes.
Sorry to say, but Congress has really missed fixing this problem. If keeping babies off airplanes is an improvement, then it is going to lead to another “big one” in the words of my law enforcement advisors.
I’m not in Congress and can do nothing about it until I am, if I run.
Monday, August 15, 2005
How unbelievable is it to send troops into a war zone without body armor? And 2 1/2 years later they still don't have it right!
How bright is it to start a war without a post-war plan?
How smart is it to have so few troops that Iraqi nuclear material was left unguarded and looted at the start of the war. We had so few troops that the Iraq borders were left wide open to foreign terrorists to pour in, and they did.
How many of our troops unnecessarily died or were wounded because of these obvious oversights?
Congress has a duty to call our officials on the carpet when their conduct results in unnecessary loss of life and chaos. Do we attack only Democrat blunders yet consent to our own –even when it is costing American soldiers’ lives? I don’t think it should.
Yet our Majority Leader has remained silent despite all of these huge, costly mistakes by Mr. Rumsfeld. I believe that our troops are more important than the career of someone who has been so cavalier with the lives of our troops. His turning a blind eye to torture has further stained America's reputation as a global guy. His incompetence resulted
Mr. O’Reilly is correct -- Rumsfeld's actions are at best gross negligence and have cost us the good will of the Iraqi people. That loss of goodwill makes success in Iraq less likely.
Congress at the minimum should launch a hearing to find out why we still don't have adequate body armor for our troops -- and demand the President replace Mr. Rumsfeld with someone more competent (less arrogant).
Mr. DeLay has been silent and tolerated this despite the high cost in lives and money. I won't --not when American soldiers' lives are paying for it.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
“Conservatives have traditionally been for smaller government, balancing budgets with controlled spending and strong international alliances...
…And we have NONE of that.”
I have to agree with the caller. Spending is out of control. The border is out of control. Government hiring since 2000 has exceeded that of the last Democratic administration. Lobbyists have doubled in the last 4 years to over 35,000. And we’ve plunged into a costly war while refusing to pay for it like past generations have.
And much of what we are borrowing is foreign sourced. If it dries up, the bottom really falls out of this house of cards.
None of this strikes me as conservative or good for our country. So why aren’t more Republicans demanding some common sense changes in what is happening? Why aren’t more people realizing the emperor U.S. has lost most of its financial clothes? We are in deep debt while still spending like drunken sailors. I do not desire to be the lone voice crying in the wilderness.
What is happening is not good for our kids or our future. It is diminishing our future prosperity.
Congress passed an “Energy Bill” that does a few things good like encourage renewables but is bloated with national pork – which might be survivable except that it misses the two key things needed. It neither (1) cuts our gas consumption by encouraging conservation nor (2) increases the refining needed to meet growing gas demand.
More hybrids and refineries would help solve that. Our leaders are pushing neither solution.
In a world in which China and India are growing fast and need some of the same global oil we need, it is an unwise foreign policy that forces us down the road to future global wars and shifting alliances over oil. It has already put us in bed with some nasty governments. We were Saddam’s largest oil customer before the war!
This is true especially if our use of conservation and alternative energy sources could avoid that lose-lose scenario.
Conservation and increased mileage in cars are things we can do immediately that cut the billions we send to countries like Saudi that are not democratic. This is conservative in my opinion. But it is not happening.
In and near this Congressional district are the BP plants that have had 3 or 4 explosions (one loses count) in the past 4 months. An engineer claims that the newest equipment on our refineries is often 30 years old! This lack of updating of our technology has refineries running over 95% capacity. This is asking for gas shortage trouble and is causing today’s pain at the pump.
This has occurred under leadership in office for over 20 years.
It would not take much to be an improvement.
I believe our leaders are supposed to plan ahead – we should already have our astronauts in second-generation machines instead of 30-year-old Shuttles running 70’s technology. We should already have additional refining sources to avoid these sharp spikes in gas pricing.
Our leaders should have known that wild spending and tax cuts that benefit only the top few per cent is not going to stimulate a broad group of Americans. I talk to people every day in the Houston area that can’t pay their bills because of gas and medical costs.
I believe in balanced budgets, planning ahead, smaller government, controlled spending, higher technology and putting people ahead of lobbyists.
If you agree with me I need your contribution (and your friends) today at the website.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Ummmm. Let's see. He's been in office over 20 years, filed zillions of these FEC reports that are preety routine when you are also writing the reporting laws -- and yet they somehow miss reported $200,000 that was soft money spent on a Congress campaign, which is illegal.
The explanation? Ok, the incumbent's wife and daughter are on the PAC payroll and rake in $500,000 in the last four years, the incumbent takes in $3.5 million in donations, plus a salary and free global travel.
So maybe to him the $200,000 was just chump change that somehow got mislabeled.
Perhaps that explains why we have the largest federal deficits on our history. It's just another accounting error!
So, what's next?
One important thing that needs to be investigated is the finances of a DeLay "charity" The Oaks of Rio Bend for kids in Ft. Bend that sat on $6 million dollars for several years before anything was built. No records of who was paid what have been released to the public.
Did Mr. DeLay's wife and daughter also get paid charity funds for Rio Bend? Who did? If he has nothing to hide, I call on Mr. DeLay to voluntarily release the charity's financial records since the donors are receiving tax benefits and the public deserves to know who was paid what with their money...
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Mr. DeLay himself faces an ethics probe this fall regarding trips paid for by lobbyists. Where there is smoke, there is usually a fire. All Congressmen/women who traveled illegally at lobby expense should face the same scrutiny.Is there a pattern here? There is the old saying: "Birds of a feather, flock together." So do criminals and people with loose ethics, apparently.
I look around at my friends and associates. None of them are getting indicted for anything, not even jaywalking. But none of them are ripping off people for millions either.
My worldwide travel was never paid for by any lobbyists. My travel was not for sightseeing and playing golf at some expensive resort in Scotland. You don't learn squat about the real world that way. When I could I donated pro bono time and travel expenses out of my own pocket, like the trip to the Mideast involving a kidnapped 12 year old American girl. Apparently, making $150,000 (plus) year as a Congressman isn't enough for Mr. DeLay to pay his own travel expenses. A lot of Americans would be thrilled to pay their own travel if they were making that kind of money. And those same ordinary Americans would probably hang out with nicer people also -- people who weren't playing fast and loose with the rules and other peoples' money.
We need an ethical Congress and ethical members of Congress. Period.
Only way to do that is to have a lot of turnover and a real "house cleaning" ...
New website is up for online donations, polling, etc. It's at:
Sign up on the mail list if you like.
P.S. There is a DA candidate in DeLay’s home district who said at a recent "Young Republican" meeting that the local District Attorney should also investigate Mr. DeLay in the county where he resides. It could be an interesting fall…
Monday, August 08, 2005
I had to usher a funeral today, so I spent part of the time recalling my surprise, brief encounter with Peter.
It was over a decade ago, not long after I had spent time in the (1990-91) Gulf War as a Mideast analyst for a local Houston TV station. At the end of a TV newscast, he said something that sounded to me like a freudian slip. So a sent him a light-hearted fax, ribbing him about it.
A few days later the phone rang. My assistant picked it up and a voice said it was "freudian slip" and asked for me. She said "Is that you Peter?"
It was. We had a brief conversation, and laughed about whatever it was.
I was impressed that he would make such a call. I certainly was not a celebrity. We never talked again but he proved to me that he was a great gentlemen on top of being a worldwise newsman.
We shall all miss you Freudian Slip...
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Let us spend a moment of silence in memory of that event, and hope that we'll never see one used on another city.
One of the surviving crew of the Enola Gay, the plane who dropped the Hiroshima bomb, said it best: "Let's hope terrorists never get hold of one."
We've done very little since 9 11 to stop the global spread of nuclear material and weapons...
Friday, August 05, 2005
One of the first odd things was the announcement that "all recording devices must be turned off." It was a public forum, with media and campaign people with video cameras -- so why the ban on recording? What didn't DeLay want public? That soon became apparent.
One of Mr. DeLay's solutions for dealing with illegal immigrants stuck out like a sore thumb. He said we should round them up and "put them in tents" if we didn't have enough space for them in jails, etc.
Forcing people to live in tents in Texas in August when it is nearly 100 degrees? That will show the world how “civilized” we are! Why not just be like the Taliban and beat them with sticks while you're at it? I don’t think so.
American criminals who steal or kill get jail cells with air conditioning. But a person whose sole crime is illegally looking for work deserves nothing more than a tent, according to our majority leader. I disagree. If you put anyone in a tent in the summer heat it should a Congressman who gives himself a pay raise while cutting teachers’ pensions. I would also include pedophiles.
If we are going to be a great nation, we can deport people and still provide due process without degrading them in the process. This is America. We can do better than throw people in tents even if they are illegal - they are still human beings.
Second comment. Last night, I saw that Mr. DeLay only answer questions written on note cards, which are carefully screened. No oral questions from voters are allowed! Not even from a very friendly audience of loyal Republicans like the one last night, who applauded like trained seals. That strikes me as strange.
I’ve mentioned before a prior meeting in which two GOP ladies had a question for Mr. DeLay about tobacco companies marketing candy cigarettes etc. to children. They wrote their question on a card, but it was never asked. After the meeting ended they followed Mr. DeLay, and verbally asked for a response. No response.
A Congressman should take questions people ask from the floor, and not just from cards. And not from just Republicans. I would take questions at a town hall meeting from any citizen living in the district: Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green or Martian (ok, just kidding about the Martian).
The incumbent does not even represent all Republicans. If he did then I, a political unknown, would never have received 20% of the GOP primary vote in 2002 against a 18-year incumbent without so much as an ad or a mailing. Had I been able to do mailouts and advertise that percentage would certainly have been higher.
Current RNC polls show that Mr. DeLay's hardcore base in the district is only 36-38%, including that narrow group who votes in the March primary. That means he no longer represents the majority of voters in the district. With funding, my base would easily equal or exceed that.
If you add my 2002 GOP vote of 20% plus the 41% who voted Democrat in District 22 in November 04, that is 61% of voters in District 22 who prefer someone other than Mr. DeLay. So he is not representing a majority when you add them together.
This townhall meeting is a vivid example of leadership isolating itself from the public, and creating a negative image of the party. It reflects badly on how we as a country treat people. I want to change that.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Now, the Energy Bill. It has taken years to get an energy bill through Congress. But what was passed won't fix our biggest problem - lack of refineries! We have access to crude but not refined gasoline we need to fill your tank.
An expert I met explained it this way: Say we can refine a maximum of 1 million barrels a day. Say that because of summer driving or whatnot we consume 1.1 million a day - only 100,000 barrels short. That 100,000 shortfall has to be imported as refined gasoline at a 20 cent a gallon premium. So what happens? The sellers of the other 1 million raise their prices 20 cents a gallon to match it! So the 100,000 shortfall raises prices on the other 1 million. Yikes.
So until we build another refinery or two to refine the extra gas we need daily, we will have artificially high gas prices. Problem? Environmentalists drive but object to refineries -- and studies take years.
My solution: build a US refinery just across the border, either in Canada and Mexico with a pipeline straight to the USA, and watch the cost of filling your car drop like a stone. Start now.
Finally, Iraq - Steven Vincent didn't realize that the Iraqi Death Car had come for him (today's Houston Chronicle). Before being killed yesterday, he had reported that the insurgents are infiltrating the new Iraqi police and army. Off duty police paid by the extremist al Sadr's group drive around, kidnap and kill people. The death car, one of many, probably killed him. 45 journals have died along with over 1,800 American troops and countless Iraqi civilians. My military advisors say if we withdraw too soon Iraq will fall into a civil war.
Recently Mr. DeLay voted "no" to a motion that would have given a mere $53 million for more prosthesis research for vets coming home with missing limbs...
I believe if we send troops in harm's way we should take care of them 100% when they come back. $53 million is a spit in the bucket compared to the $200 billion spent on Iraq so far...
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
NASA Returns to its Original Mission - Doing Things Never Done Before
It's something NASA has never done before - repairing the shuttle in space. Dangling an astronaut beneath the Shuttle to fix protruding cap filler that could blowtorch Shuttle tiles on re-entry is going where no one has gone before.
This is as it should be. When the first Model T car broke down a hundred years ago, its occupants learned Roadside Repair 101.
A century later, NASA's team for the first time is learning Space-side Repair 101 with its space truck, the Shuttle.
NASA's original mission was to do things it had never done before --developing an entirely new space technology, which created a new industry. Fixing an aging space shuttle in orbit is the logical next step in that process.
Yes, the repair has risks of doing further damage to the fragile tiles lining its vulnerable underbelly. But not fixing it carries greater risks. NASA crews need to become comfortable dangling Astronauts under Shuttles in orbit on every future mission until it gets replaced.
Even the next generation orbit vehicles will eventually require it. Let's face it, the next level is Space Repair 202 and on to Advanced Lunar Repair 303, etc. as we reach for the Moon and Mars.
As we evolve ever more deeply into a space-age society, repairing a space vehicle in space will become as normal as wrestling with a flat tire or a dead battery on a Houston freeway.
I wish NASA’s team Godspeed in fixing its first space flat…
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Fair enough. That is why this blog exists.
You'll find that I focus on solutions and bridge building. I'm a trained international negotiator (starting with the Fortune 500). You don't form agreements without it.
An example of that is today's release how to change NASA strategy to continue operations yet avoid another crew loss. It is at my Global American yahoo Group site.
If you join you'll find plenty of articles on different issues. I try to provide the pubic with insight on complex issues around the world that affect all of us. I would do the same as Congressman.
I am a fiscal conservative and always strive for fairness and justice. I believe it is better to think ahead and avoid the tragedy rather than dealing with the pieces after the train wreck. It's better to change direction of the Titanic than to hit the iceberg.
That is why I wrote to NASA.
And that is why, if I had been the majority leader, I would have created an energy bill that actually did something for our future and help avoid the shortages we experienced in the 70’s instead of merely lining the pockets of DeLay’s friends who are already making record profits. This bill will provide no energy security, unfortunately. Where does it cut consumption, ramp up renewable energy sources or raise car mileage standards?
It is raw pork not substance. Is that leadership? We continue to guzzle our way towards another energy shortage iceberg. More on that and other issues later.
In the meantime please join me to pray for the safe return of the Discovery crew... Comments on my proposed NASA solution are welcome.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The Shuttle is almost 25 years old - it first took off in 1981, three years before Mr. DeLay was elected. It is supposed to continue flying until 2010 when it would be almost 30! It runs on 1970's technology for the most part.
So here is my question. If NASA and its people are part of your district, and you are the "most powerful" Congressman from the majority party, then why are our astronauts being sent up into space in 25-year old shuttles? How many of you are driving 1981 cars?
My idea of leadership is planning ahead. Had I been Congressman the last 21 years I would have pushed for a second generation shuttle decades ago.
I recently wrote an article that said we should ground the present fleet and focus on rolling out a replacement vehicle before 2010. No one listened. Discovery barely missed another hit by falling debris that could have doomed the crew - and this is after 2 1/2 years of trying to fix 30 year old technology.
Remember the old bible saying that says "Don't put new wine in old wineskins"? Why? Because the old skins would break. Trying to fix an old vehicle to soar into space is the same.
This is not NASA's fault. For years Congress has starved NASA of the funds needed to develop a new vehicle and continue its other exploration activities. It is a failure of Congressional leadership.
That failure has cost dearly. It has cost us time and billions in trying to make the old technology work after three decades of use. NASA spent over $1.5 billion trying to fix the fuel tank that, despite the work, shed a potentially deadly piece of foam that would have doomed Discovery if it had hit the wing like the one that hit Columbia. We'd have astronauts stranded at the space station --and Atlantis would have been grounded and unable to launch a rescue mission. What then?
This is the 21st Century. We need a new generation shuttle flying long before 2010. We need new leadership that would have insisted on it long ago.
In the meantime, I say that we park the shuttles at the Smithsonian and let NASA focus 100% on returning to space with 21st Century technology. I am not willing to ask another astronaut crew to risk their lives on 1970's technology....
If they fly the old shuttle again, I think the Majority leader who let this happen should be on it. If it's good enough for astronauts, it's good enough for him to risk his life in it also.
And while DeLay is riding the old Shuttle, I suggest that we enlist private industry and Burt Rutan, who built SpaceShipOne which successfully took a man to the edge of space, twice. I say we give Mr. Rutan up to $1 billion --less than that that spent by NASA trying to modify the Shuttle fuel tank--to produce an orbital vehicle that will go to the Space Station and beyond. What have we got to lose?