Wednesday, May 31, 2006
We enter Hurricane Season tomorrow, so this is a good time to make sure your family has an evacuation plan and supplies “just in case” we get another Rita or worse. Hey, we live on the coast so we have to be ready for hurricanes every year – they are the earth’s mechanism to transfer the heat build up near the equator. The hotter we get, the more intense they will be. But it sure beats worrying about earthquakes, which aren’t so visible. We just need to make sure we can get through a Category 4 or 5 if it hits us like Katrina hit New Orleans. Roofs blow off at 110 mph and Rita hit 160 before slowing down last year.
Are we prepared? For some things we are more prepared than in the past, but others remain totally unprepared. Our hurricane response will be better (unless we are the ones who get hit and sustain major damage), but the latest list issued by the Homeland Security Dept on a likely terrorist attack -- includes Houston. It wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out why.
But even a non-terrorist act could show how unprepared we are. For example, we live within the shadow of the South Texas Nuclear Plant, yet we have no system in place to deal with a radiation leak if there was just a mechanical failure (like Three Mile Island). Mechanical failure, in fact, is more likely than a terrorist attack on the plant. Ironically, Nuclear power offers one of the few sources of new power that avoids the global warming impact of coal plants.
As a former farmer, I still enjoy rain, especially after a long dry spell. There are worse things in the world.
We could really be building a bold new system to produce alternative fuels with less pollution to break our oil addiction and reduce security threats if our leaders made it a priority like the first moon shot. Our national and local security depend on it…Energy independence is as much a part of our security as border control...
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I started to leave, rounded a corner and ran into the press. One of them quipped: “Now everyone is here except Steve Stockman.” LOL. I said that I’d been surprised that Mr. DeLay had come. Instead of flapping my lips to the cameras, I let Kay Bailey (R) and Luci Baines Johnson (D) give two of the best statements I have ever heard. Kay Bailey said Bentsen was “the last of an era” and she longed for the return of civilized bi-partisan statesmanship that he represented. Luci Baines gave a tribute from the heart. Both were impressive.
A return to statesmanship is what we should start picking for office.
As we left a reporter came running out and asked my wife for her name. Apparently they took a photo of her talking with a former Presidential candidate. Well, that should be interesting if it's published...
Sen. Bentsen and Jack Cato – you are two good men --statesmen giants that will be greatly missed.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Within minutes those beautiful chairs were being abandoned as a sudden downpour opened up -- on the citizens, dignitaries, the Congressman and some wannabe replacement Congressmen who stood like statues in their thousand dollar suits on the marble platform, above the crowd and in the rain -- getting totally soaked as the rain fell. I had just witnessed the death of common sense. It was not an inspiring moment.
I watched from under one of the side tents, wearing a (dry) red-and-white shirt with a fold-up umbrella in my back pocket. The tent had a waterfall cascading over its side --and was suddenly more than full.
The whole event reminded me of the recent column by Dr. Rich Lucas on “The Death of Common Sense.” In front of me was the leadership in charge of protecting us and planning ahead for our nation and city – getting soaking wet because no one planned for rain. Worse, only after getting completely wet did they move undercover and suspend the program while workers appeared and pulled tarps over the (already wet) expensive speakers, and piled up the (already soaked) chairs. The people who had abandoned the chairs watched as they huddled under the awnings of stores on the edge of the square. It reminded me how vulnerable they are in other ways, since no one has even prepared them for disasters such as a leak at the South Texas Nuclear plant, despite the fact we lie within its radiation kill zone.
Constable Nehls had already presented the disabled veteran --that was the important part-- so instead of staying to hear the wet Congressman, I dodged the rain and went into the Sharper Image on the corner of the square to check out the gadgets –maybe I’d spot something that will come in handy, like the Pocket TV I bought there a year ago and used for updates during the last storm when power went out at our house for several hours. It worked great and comes in handy for news broadcasts when I’m stuck in traffic.
A lady came in and said, “Tom DeLay is speaking but no one can hear him.” I couldn’t help but think how ironic that was. Do I want a wet Congressman who is under indictment giving me advice on security? Ummmm.
Perhaps you should ask all the ordinary folks who were there today -- who found their comfortable seats were an illusion. They trusted their leadership and yet they ended up wet and huddled next to a building in the rain. Should they follow anyone who would stand in the rain in an expensive suit? If they do, then it's time for that "Twilight Zone" music...
What we really need right now is a resurrection of Dr. Lucas’ Mr. Common Sense --in our government, schools, businesses, in the way we live, period! We need leaders who prepare for future rains – someone who is fiscally responsible, ethically straight, has the common sense to either put up a tent or get out of the rain and won’t leave the people without a roof in the next storm…Know anyone?
Saturday, May 27, 2006
If you’ve read the Brazos River site about the candidate forum to replace Tom DeLay in CD 22 you get the feeling that it was a scene from the clone wars – lots of candidates looking the same and saying the same. “The Clones” said pretty much the same thing. It’s time someone told the public some honest truth for a change. Now for something completely different (i.e. Time for a reality check).
Immigration: All the candidates favored throwing out the 12 million folks cutting our grass and working those nasty jobs in meatpacking plants, while making them felons. Well I suggest we see how many of you Americans are going to rush in and lug 200 lb sides of beef in meatpackig plants or cut the grass or build the homes you live in before we do that.
Sure, throw these low paid rascals out so we could end up with overgrown yards and become vegetarians out of necessity because there is no beef! None of them are coming in as CEO of Enron or Wal Mart. I think we can have guest workers without necessarily making everyone a citizen. I know this: the Berlin Wall never worked and never will this one. The solution is getting countries to grow their economies instead of dumping people on us. Until that happens, the problem remains the same, wall or no wall.
None of the candidates wanted to have a commuter rail in Ft. Bend – even though it would take 50,000 to 100,000 cars off the roads everyday—and we are about to DOUBLE in population the next 20 years. Duh! Roads aren’t exactly cost effective either but we need them, and rail. A line to Richmond Rosenberg would also open up their historic downtowns to Houston daytripers on weekends.
No one said that spending has gone UP 25% under a GOP majority in Congress. How conservative is that?
I didn’t attend – my wife insisted I take her to the ballet instead. Maybe that wasn’t a bad idea.
Mr. DeLay has set it up such a mess that his seat could easily switch to a Democrat—especially with Steve Stockman pulling GOP votes and even being a potential player in the end when a plurality vote is possible. Isn’t that ironic?
It’s clear that whoever gets the GOP nod may find all they end up with is a mummy’s curse “YOU lost the seat!” Then he/she is politically dead and two years from now will be the real race.
Who wants to be the one to lose this for the GOP? Please step forward. The only way to win this for the GOP is to give some honestly better answers then those offered last Thursday night…only then does the GOP have a chance...I am offering a DVD to Precinct Chairs which documents my warnings about 9 11 before 9 11...we need honesty and expertise more than a politician right now.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Yet the entire incident could have been avoided with one or two simple software programs on the market that would have automatically destroyed the data on a stolen laptop -- or would have notified the sender the location of the device (just do a Google search for "Laptop Security Software" to get a list of options).
What is amazing is that the VA and others like it did not have something as simple as this simple, inexpensive "off the shelf" software as standard equipment on their computers to avoid exactly this kind of disaster. With just a little bit of security thinking by our government, a thief would end up only with a blank hard drive instead of 26 million veterans names at risk. Duh!
Monday, May 15, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
So what was Congress doing about it?
Some were taking trips to Scotland with lobbyists… Most believed the bad intelligence on Iraq that led to major mistakes that is still costing American soldiers lives. Doesn’t that make you feel safer? It’s about time Congress funded real human intelligence – satellites won’t cut it. Neither will another Congress rep who is clueless on these issues.