Friday, April 28, 2006

Fool of the Week

If it's Friday, it's time for Fool of the Week. Paul Ash, Lexington (MA) Superintendent of Schools.

Mr. Ash finds himself in the middle of a lawsuit for violating a 1996 Massachusetts law that requires parents be notified of sex education lessons. Mr. Ash feels no responsibility to notify parents when a teacher is reading a questionable choice of book to seven year old second graders. I think the book "King & King" falls into the sex education category.

"King & King" is a story of a crown prince who rejects the beautiful princesses and falls in love with a prince. The two marry, kiss and live happily ever after. Nothing new to a mature audience but a whole new concept for seven year olds.

A student's mother complained to the school's principal after her son told her about the storybook. Thus, the lawsuit.

"King & King" is written by two Dutch women and has sold about 15,000 copies in the U.S. since it was translated and published in 2002.

This story caught my interest as I was reading the newspaper yesterday. It brought back memories of my own son at the age of seven years and in second grade. I was waiting in carpool line one afternoon to pick him up at school and after saying hello to me as he was loaded into my car, he asked me what oral sex was and why adults were talking about it. Yes, you remember the good old Clinton days, don't you. I was first stunned that this question came out of his mouth then I was angry.

Children should have the right to remain innocent past the age of seven. They have no agenda and they rely on the adults in their lives to protect them. Sexualizing children has led to disastourous results. Watch MTV or other current popular music videos. I'm no prude but good Lord, it is ridiculous. I don't think encouraging teenage girls to look and dance and talk like whores is sexy. It is no wonder so many boys have no respect for women. The whole "bitches and pimps" attitude is destructive to society at large.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tonight's Post

So here I am doing another evening post. I much prefer my normal routine of reading blogs and posting to mine in the morning. I usually take son to school then come home, pour another cup of coffee and head back to the computer room to enjoy the quiet. I'm the only human home, usually, at that time so I can leisurely read as much as I want and catch up with everyone. It's also when I catch up on e-mail and I browse news and other sites that eat up lots of time! I think I could sit in front of the computer all morning long and not get anything done, easily.

Anyway, husband was home again today playing hookey and working on new kick butt computer. I think tomorrow I may be able to solo on it my own self. Nice.

I am watching the cooking show that will determine the next new chef that will have a tv show on the food network. That means I can find absolutely nothing on that is grabbing my attention. I am finishing up a book and hope to do a book review on it for The Dew over the weekend. It has been so long since I have written a book review, though, I am a little hesitant. It'll be a good challenge to myself.

Tomorrow is another day.

"We have a choice: to plow new ground or let the weeds grow." - Jonathan Westover

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

Still winging it with husband's IBM notebook as he is still getting the new computer going. All the stuff must be transferred and all that. The new one is all turboed up, of course so I am anxious to give it a test drive.

We enjoyed watching the Part Two of "Elizabeth II" on HBO the other night. Really good. Helen Mirren is such a talented actress.

Twelve illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday after police responded to a call about gunshots fired. Turns out it was two smugglers firing on each other during a quarrel. Three women and a six year old boy were among those taken in by the police. Just a square in the quilt that is life in Houston.

Mary McCarthy, the now former CIA employee who confessed to leaking top secret info to reporters, one of whom received a Pulitizer Prize for the treasonous act, is now denying she is guilty. She failed more than one polygraph, and admitted to what she did so she was fired. That pesky oath she signed upon going to work for the CIA mustn't get in the way of political derangement.

Ms. McCarthy gave $2,000 to the John Kerry for President campaign, and has given over $8,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Hmmm.

Newspapers such as the Washington Post are heralding Ms. McCarthy for providing a "good leak" yet were the first to roundly criticize a 50 year veteran of the journalistic world Robert Novak when it was assumed he was the leak for the whole Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson drama. It has since been determined that Ms. Plame was not undercover and Mr. Wilson has been completely discredited in all camps, including bi-partisan commissions. Dana Priest and James Risen are heroes yet Robert Novak is lower than low. Hmmm.

Tony Snow is announced as the new Press Secretary and is criticized for having been associated with Fox News. Nevermind he is a veteran of more than 25 years in print, radio and tv journalism. He worked in the first Bush White House as a speechwriter. Yet we didn't hear much when George Stephanopolous received his own Sunday morning show with ABC News after leaving his Director of Communications position with the Clinton administration. And he had absolutely no previous experience in the biz. Hmmm.

Interesting times.

"I'm a fool for love, a hopeless fool." - Elizabeth I

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Thousand Points of Light

I read a really interesting article this morning in the Wall Street Journal about volunteerism and the senior citizen. Now, while I am not quite at the point of being considered a senior citizen, I did learn a lot from the article. The article discussed some tips to use when a person is agreeing to volunteer.

Keeping busy is so important at every age, and certainly this is true as we age. How many times have you known someone to retire and notice how they age if they do not remain active? At the end of her life, I saw it in my own mother. Illness seems to creep in and take over when a person becomes content to sit in the house and watch television all day while neglecting social contact with the outside world. Seems like such a sad life.

I grew up in a house where my parents practiced volunteerism and led by example on the subject. Even though my father travelled at least three weeks a month, Monday thru Friday with weekends at home, he was active in a local men's (at the time) group and in our church. He would have liked to accept the position of Deacon in the church he was offered more than once, but that was something requiring someone in town more than he.

My mother volunteered through Junior League, eventually serving as President. She was a volunteer at our schools and even mastered "new math" when it was the rage to tutor students. In her later years she worked with a homeless men's shelter and then fundraising for cancer research.

Most of my volunteering has been through my son's schools. However, when I was turning 40, I was desperate for a purpose, a reason to get out of the house and make a mark. I found the purpose in a trio of local women in Lafayette who were working to open a Children's Museum. I was wanting to use time on my hands while my son was in kindergarten. It was the hardest physical work I have ever done as there was no budget for workers to convert the old building into the museum. It was great. When it finally opened I was on staff as Educational Director, coordinating field trips from the school - a prime source of income for the museum. I also booked the birthday party room and oversaw the parties. It was a very interesting time.

I left my mark.

I have volunteered to help with grant writing next year at my son's high school. Grant writing is something I have been studying off and on for the last couple of years. I had a mentor for a while until she became too busy with starting her own business. So, the opportunity through the school should jumpstart my ambition again. I am looking forward to it.

"No one grows old by living, only by losing interest in living.: - Marie Beynon Ray

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Finger in the Dike

It's a good thing, as Martha would say. The CIA agent, Mary McCarthy, responsible for leaking classified info to the New York Times reporter, Dana Priest, winner of the Pulitizer Prize for the leaked story, is now unemployed and facing future criminal charges. It is about time. She should go away for a very, very long time.

The office of the Inspector General is investigating several more leaks. McCarthy failed more than one polygraph test and confessed to her crime. The operational details about CIA run secret prisons in Europe to obtain info from suspected terriorist captured on the battlefield was too good of a story to keep classified, I suppose. She signed a document swearing to uphold the confidentiality of classifed info, just as every other employee of the CIA does, yet she felt her personal opinion concerning President Bush and the war on terror overrode any such professional ethics. So, she has been terminated for violating a secrecy agreement and is potentially facing future charges. An inflated sense of personal importance torpedoed a 22 year career.

Apparently the rights of terrorists are more important than the security of her own country or the troops that are defending her priviledged lifestyle. McCarthy has previously defended the likes of Sandy Berger, the one caught stuffing classified memos into his pants before testifying before the 911 commission and Richard Clarke, the former State Department aide who had a hissy fit that his opinions were not put into policy and wrote the tell-all whining book touted by the likes of CBS news.

Intense hatred of all things Bush and his view of the world have produced an abundance of deranged actions from overgrown egos masquerading as patriots. Our ability to carry out missions for intelligence has been severely compromised and this is deadly for the troops. The intelligence community was down to bare bones over the course of the two terms of Clinton due to his contempt of the military and the intelligence community and it is taking a long time to bring it to the level needed to fight the world wide war on terrorism. Those without the ability to see the big picture or understand the importance of taking the fight to the enemy just don't get it. After 5 years it is a shame.

I watched Part 1 of HBO's "Elizabeth I" and it was good. If you are a fellow Anglophile you will want to check it out.

Also last night I watched FNC's story by Greta van Sustern about the Jill Behrman disappearance and murder in Bloomington, Indiana in 2000. I had heard about the story from my MIL who still lives there. Hubby is a native Hoosier, born and raised in Bloomington. It is interesting to see the story play out now.

So, I guess we can write off New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu are in a run-off, just as most predicted. It's too bad that the mayor will win re-election and the whole mess will continue. No new ideas, no big motivation to honor the people of New Orleans with a city that is re-built better than ever. It's a shame the folks in New Orleans haven't followed the example of those on the Mississippi Gulf coast or the people on the west coast of Louisiana and the east coast of Texas devastated by Hurricane Rita. They had leaders encouraging them to do for themselves as much as possible until more federal and state help could come. It's a whole different mindset that produces success and personal freedom.

Looks like the new computer will arrive Tuesday, according to the tracking info thru the website. Hubby and son are busy clearing out space for it in the room dedicated to computer work and other things technical. The old one will remain and be used, too.

Go on over to Basil's Blog and check out my interview. The site is It was fun and son helped me out with the technical question I had for submission of answers. That boy comes in handy.

Hubby is home and he got to attend a crawfish boil while in southern Louisiana with some work collegues. Lucky him. We used to love laying out newspaper on the picnic table on the deck and stuffing ourselves with crawfish in Lafayette. Pinching tail and sucking head. Doesn't get any better than that. A little zydeco music in the background and some cold beer (or root beer) and you have a party.

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalms

The above is my favorite bible verse. I try to say it to myself, and sometimes to son, every day.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fool of the Week and Others

This week the Fool of the Week is Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans.

Last night I watched a New Orleans Mayor's Debate on C-Span. It was simulcast with WWL-TV in New Orleans. The debating panel was made up of the top 7 money-raising candidates. The two front runners are Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu, the current Lt. Gov. of the state.

It is important to know that at the end of May the city will be completely out of money. No money and the hurricane season begins on June 1. The levees are not fixed and no one guarantees the levees will be able to sustain a Cat 5 hurricane until maybe 2010. Makes you ponder who would want to be the mayor, doesn't it.

My pick, if I was a voter in the election tomorrow, would be Peggy Wilson, a former city council member who has innovative fresh ideas on getting revenue into the city other than the age old crutch of tourism dollars. She was all but openly ridiculed by the members of the press asking the questions of the debaters so that confirmed my inclination to go with her.

Mitch Landrieu is the brother of Mary Landrieu, now senator representing Louisiana in Washington, DC. You won't see her as one of the Democrats in Washington using the term "culture of corruption" to bash Republicans. She wouldn't dare. Her father was Mayor of New Orleans much too long for that. She began as State Treasurer after a stint as a State Rep in Baton Rouge. Her husband is a lawyer/lobbyist with offices in Monroe, LA and Washington. As I said, Mitch is the current Lt. Gov. How much longer must this family continue on with the family business? I don't know but Mitch may very well win the governorship. Common thought is that there will be a run-off after the election tomorrow.

Poor Ray Nagin. He just doesn't get it. He wants to keep on keeping on. He had no answers other than wanting to name commissions to solve problems and no firm answer on how to bring in jobs or solving the housing crisis. People can't come to work if they have no place to live. And he had no answer to solve the problem of abandoned houses where the owners are not responding to fix them or not. He just thinks he is the person of experience and that is good enough.

Keeping the status quo is what brought New Orleans to its knees. The status quo is what kept the levees weak without the proper maintenance from the corrupt levee board of commissioners. All political appointees. The federal government has given millions to maintain the levees over the years and President Bush increased federal dollars pre-Katrina yet the proper work was never done. The dollars went somewhere, though. That's the status quo in Louisiana. As a kid in Louisiana we all heard that one day a big storm would hit New Orleans. It's is not like the thought wasn't there. Nagin still refuses to admit the lower 9th ward will probably not be built back. That would be a huge improvement to New Orleans and the city it can be.

Runner up this week is Priscilla Slade, President of Texas Southern University until a few days ago. She has been fired due to her practice of using University funds to pay her personal expenses. The Board of Directors is looking into $260,000 worth of expenses and questioning if they are proper for her position. She used University funds to repair her old house so she could sell it and built a new mini-mansion as she is expected to entertain and raise money for the University. She charged over $100,000 for landscaping at the new house. She charged thousands of dollars at a high end furniture store for furnishings, including a $9,000 sleigh bed for herself. She charged the University for spa treatments, and things of that nature. Manicures, too. She used university help fulltime at her home for housekeeping and yard work.

I know many universities have a President's House. Many universities have expense allowances if entertaining is expected of the President. No problem, it is always in a written contract. She had an allowance of over $4,000 for housing expenses. All the other things like car allowance,
travel, and the like were written into her contract.

The worst part of this is that Ms. Slade was hired to increase enrollment at this historically Black university and increase revenue. She has been in the position for 7 years now. I think she got carried away with arrogance and thinking she is owed more than what she was. She has a master's degree in economics and knows better than to do the accounting tricks she was doing.

Dana Milbanks, reporter for the Washington Post, is all upset today about the treatment President Hu received at the White House yesterday. He blames the White House with shabby treatment of Hu by not giving him a state dinner. And how dare they allow a Fulan Gong protester to interupt the President of China. Never mind it was the Secret Service in charge of okaying her press pass. The Secret Service is a separate entity from the White House, Dana. Since when did liberals ignore the whole human rights aspect of countries like China and advocate for royal treatment of Communists? I say bravo to that 47 year old woman brave enough to risk all to yell at Hu. He got the military welcome and the upper Cabinet people at the ceremony. He got a fancy luncheon with business leaders. That was way more than he was entitled to as far as I see it.

About little Kendrick, the 3 year old missing from here. His father posted bond but was re-arrested on gun charges so he is still in jail. The search has been called off by Texas EqquSearch due to running out of leads.

"When in doubt, tell the truth." - Mark Twain

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thoughts All Around

Our new computer may be delivered by Saturday. Now, if only husband was home to install it al. Son is going to open it up and make sure everything passes inspection. He may do some installation himself. We'll see how it goes.

Hubby has gone to south Louisiana to get out to the Gulf. Not sure how long as he has two oil drilling rigs to attend to this trip.

I watched the welcoming ceremony at the White House for the Chinese President Hu and his wife this morning. Two protesters were taken out during Hu's remarks. The cameras didn't show the first, a man, but they zeroed in on the second, a Chinese woman shouting at Hu, in Chinese, and was there in the crowd with a press pass. She was shouting about the abuses of the Falun Gong and human right abuse. The contrast being if she had done this in China, the outcome would have been different than just being taken out by the Secret Service agents. She'd be held for much more severe punishment there, probably death by tortue.

Hu's arrival today in Washington, D.C. comes on the heels of a visit to Washington state and a big welcome from the captains of industry. Bill Gates, Boeing, the politicians of Washington state giving Hu the big high five. Nevermind China takes the technology, prosecutes Chinese via Yahoo cooperation, and enriches their military on the backs of exploited workers in manufacturing plants all in the praises of "global unity". Bill Gates, critic of our military actions and policies but a-ok with his buds in China.

I am fascinated with reading biographies. People interest me, the decisions made, paths taken. Last night I was watching an interview with Barbara Bush. What a life she has lead. I wonder how she and former President Bush feel about the Chinese leadership today as they were living in China many years ago when former President Bush was an ambassador there.

Back when Katrina evacuees were taken to the Astrodome and were visited by every famous person known to man for the purpose of the photo op, rarely for compassion, she and the former president visited several times. During one of the visits she was roundly criticized for a remark she made that the evacuees were better off than they ever were in New Orleans. What the critics didn't understand by the remark was she was speaking to the opportunities that are now presented to the former residents of the projects of New Orleans. Not that they were so well off in the Astrodome, which was implied by the narrow minds of critics. Last week buses were provided to transport voters to polling places in Louisiana for the mayorial race in New Orleans. Those travelling from here were taken to the Lake Charles area to vote. Many are doing so using absentee ballots.

The evacuees living here in Houston have been provided with 12 months of free rent and utilities by the City of Houston. FEMA is to reimburse the city. Those who are waiting for every available penny to be used up before going out and taking charge of their lives will no doubt be planning on continuing the cycle of dependence and demand arrangements be made for their benefit. Many have taken the opportunities offered and gotten jobs, acquired housing and put their children in school. They have been quoted in the local press as stating they have no intention of going back to New Orleans where so many had no opportunities and living in poverty to be exploited by politicians there.

That's what Barbara Bush was talking about.

Bill Cosby was really the only celeb to come to talk to the evacuees while they were in the Astrodome without fanfare or entourage. Or local press coverage. I would not have known he was here if it hadn't been for a radio station I was listening to with a caller who had been there to see the visit. He went out into the crowd riding a golf cart accompanied by a local police officer and used a microphone to speak to the people. He talked of getting over any thoughts of living as a victim, of taking the opportunities presented whether it was a job or going back to school. He spoke of the fact that this is their chance for a better life than they ever imagined in New Orleans.

Same thing as Mrs. Bush. Truth is powerful stuff. Especially when you are not worried about political correctness, just the people.

The most absurd quote of the week:
"The hurricane season starts June 1st. Do you want experienced leadership, or do you want to experiment at this critical time?" - New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, making a plea for re-election.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


It's after dinner already and finally get to check in. I'm using husband's IBM notebook as we will continue on with off and on computer usage on our system until the new one arrives. Blech. Husband is napping as he plans to leave around midnight to head out to south Louisiana. Going out in the Gulf for a bit. Max the dog is keeping me company on the couch and my fave tv show is on, "Amazing Race."

No blackouts since Monday afternoon here. Temp is getting a smidge better each day but the a/c is still running about non-stop. You haven't had fun with a power bill until you've paid one in Houston, I'll tell ya.

Son had no TAKS testing today. He'll have it tomorrow and Friday though. He got the worst one for him out of the way on Tuesday, math. Poor child got my math genes instead of his father's. Husband is an engineer so he is super whiz in math. Yeah, it's disgusting.

The Court of Appeals sided with Tom DeLay and upheld throwing out the conspiracy charge against him. Ronnie Earle just keeps on losing out on rulings. You'd think the charges were a political smear or something.

The Pulitzer prizes were announced and it is interesting to note that treasonist acts by insider leakers and journalists now are rewarded with literary awards instead of shame and punishment, at a time of war. Anything to sell a book these days.

I hear TomKat and Brooke Shields had their new baby girls the same day, same hospital, same floor. Sweet. I think Brooke should send over some anti-depressants for Katie to cope with that crazy ass Tom.

I'm looking forward to seeing "Flight 93" and it is getting good marks from the surviving families of the heroes on that flight. It'll be a good reminder of what this country is up against.

Big illegal immigrant raid this morning at two businesses. Seems that they took in some managers, too. Good. Unless the businesses are punished for exploiting workers, nothing will change.

If you are going to Los Angeles on May 1, make arrangements for transportation in advance. Big walkout scheduled of taxi drivers at the airports and other workers that day in support of the illegals.

Later, gators.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


This morning's brew: Community Coffee's Cafe Special. Served with International Delight's Toasted Almond. Now we're talking.

Yesterday I completed the interview for Basil's Blog. It was fun and thought provoking! I didn't think too long on answers as I wanted it to be conversational, not like a speech. Glad I did it. It should be posted on this weekend. Check it out. Thanks to those posing questions. You should think about doing it, I'd ask a question or two for you.

Houston had rolling black-outs yesterday with our electrical power. Ours occured at afternoon traffic rush, about 4:45 and I was taking son to a 5:00 doctor's appt. I love it when traffic lights are out on busy intersections. And also when I have to climb up to the 3rd floor using the stairs instead of the elevators, in the dark. The power came on not long after we were seated in the waiting room. Thank goodness. I would have been bored silly if I couldn't read while I waited for him.

Did I mention it is in the 90's here? It's only April. It was 100 in Dallas yesterday. Crazy.

For the previously mentioned confetti eggs from Easter, all you have to do to make them yourself is to hollow out raw eggs by making a hole in both ends of the egg. Blow out the egg itself. Try not to make the holes any bigger than you must. Wash, dry, then fill with confetti. Presto, confetti eggs. Definately an outdoors activity!

Waiting to hear if hubby is going out into the Gulf tomorrow or the next day. I'm watching a shopping channel selling scrapbooking supplies. I have been collecting stuff and intend to make this the year I begin doing it myself.

Jane Fonda has decided to take a pass on doing a tour of the country with her anti-war speeches. She decided she has too much baggage from her previous days and that Cindy Sheehan is a better person to do it. Yeah, ok. That karma thing is a bear, isn't it.

Son just called, no art class after school so I better get moving to pick him up at regular time. I have been enjoying the quiet.

"Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries." - Corita Kent

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter! Been without computer time this weekend. Our main computer is acting up, the new one isn't here yet.

We went to Easter Brunch today at a German restaurant. It was good but the best part was no cooking for me! Son has been enjoying his Easter basket and the goodies in it all day.

I saw an article in the newspaper about confetti eggs that brought back memories. The school Son used to attend in earlier days had a family festival every year. The Mexican custom calls for hollowed-out eggs to be stuffed with confetti. The Spanish word is cascarones. The person with the egg in hand smashes it on the head of someone else. With love, of course. In the old world custom, the confetti represents the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It symbolizes new birth, new life and new opportunity. Kinda like pinatas without the blindfold and stick. These confetti eggs, as we called them, were the most popular item at the school festival. Nothing like smashing your friends with egg shells and confetti.

Cindy Sheehan and posse are back in Crawford this weekend. President Bush is at Camp David. Fourteen were arrested Friday evening. Not Cindy, though. She has risen above the standing in the ditch level and now camps out on private property provided by a supporter.

Remember the young man who stole the school bus in New Orleans and drove 60 people to Houston to evacuate Hurricane Katrina? He was lauded as a hero, even made the Oprah show. Well, apparently he went back to New Orleans even though he had FEMA provided housing here. He was arrested after being charged by a grand jury for trafficking cocaine and heroin and possession of a gun while dealing guns. This young man, Jabar Gibson, who is 21 years old, was offered a movie deal and had coast to coast media attention after the evacuation. It's a shame he made the wrong choice.

"Failure is a stepping-stone to greatness." - Oprah Winfrey

Friday, April 14, 2006

Fool of the Week

This week the Fool of the Week is an unnamed teacher at Bellevue Community College in Washington state.

This teacher is in the math department of the college. Several students complained in March about the wording of a question on a practice test for a math final. The question read: "Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300 foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second." The question asked when the watermelon would hit the ground based on the formula provided.

The question is bringing cries of racial insensitivity. As soon as the name in the question is read, Secretary of State Rice is brought up in one's mind. And the students mentioned if it is claimed that she was not the person in mind, how many people are there with that name and that spelling of it? And how many people named Condoleezza are associated with a Federal Building? When the students felt they were not taken seriously with their complaint, they met eith the chairman of the math department who agreed to remove the question from the department's files. Rev. Wayne Perryman, a Mercer Island civil rights activist sent out e-mails to friends across the country asking for support. It created a snowball effect and the college has received hundreds of e-mails.

The president of the college, Jean Floten, held an open campus meeting and emotionally apologized for the offensive math question. She praised the courage of the students to come forward with their concerns towards attitudes behind the question. President Floten did not mention the teacher's name.

Floten sent an e-mail to students, faculty and staff saying she took "personal ownership that this act of institutional racism could happen despite a collegewide initiative pursued over many years to establish a safe and tolerant place for all to learn."

She did the right thing.

You may notice this is my second post on a Friday. I must be feeling it today.

Little Kendrick is still missing.

Reminder: The time is running out to submit a question for my blog interview with Basil. Go to and ask away. He will send me the questions Sunday evening. When I respond and he puts them up on his site, I'll let you know.

Happy Passover.

Happy Good Friday.


Ah, Friday. Enjoying some Starbucks Breakfast Blend and a little C-Span this morning. As you are well aware, Brian Lamb is my hero. It's all good.

I am taking son to the Galleria later this morning for a couple of hours so he can meet some friends and hang a bit. This is not the norm for him as I refuse to raise a mall rat. I pray it is not too crazy there today with all the kiddos out of school.

An interesting story is beginning to get a little notice of the media these past few days. It is the story of Congressman Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Rep. Mollohan is the ranking member of the House Ethics committee on the Democrat side. He is the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee.

Mr. Mollohan's personal net worth has grown from about $100,000 in 2000 to about $11.4 million in his filing last year. This is according to his required disclosure forms. Mr. Mollohan has steered at least $178 million to nonprofit groups in his district over the past five years using earmarks. A former staffer is the head of a non-profit foundation back home in West Virginia financed by earmarks put into the budget by Rep. Mollohan. He has set up his own family foundation and employs members of his family on the payroll. He buys real estate with a group of friends and they have done very well in these developments.

These friends donate to his campaigns, run non-profits set up by guidance from Rep. Mollohan, and the are paid quite handsomely. Again, Rep. Mollohan is the senior Democrat on the House Ethics Committee.

This is why the battle cry previously relished by the campaigning Democrats of "climate of corruption" within the Republican party and their leadership is going nowhere with the American people. The Democrats are going to have to bit the bullet and actually come up with some policies and how to execute them instead of just name calling like school kids and being the party of no. Their constituents deserve better.

"When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard," I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?" - Sydney J. Harris

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

Didn't get to the computer yesterday. That throws me off. Hubby came home after a couple of hours at the office to wait for the telephone repair person to come but we made the mistake of going out to lunch - Vietnamese - and of course that is when he came. So this morning someone came and hubby was back at office. Problem still not fixed.

Hubby ordered a new computer. This one we are using is about 6 years old, not counting all the updates of stuff he has put the main structure through, so I guess it's time. We have been having problems. He ordered it last night - another Alien Ware to replace this one- and then he called this morning to say he got his profit sharing check at a meeting today. That was excellent timing.

Anyway, looking forward to a long Easter weekend. No school tomorrow but hubby has to go to the office. We have Easter Brunch reservations. Son's Easter basket is ready. Yes, he still gets one. I like to put it together and of course he likes the treats and little stuff. What can I say, he's an only child!

Still no good news on the little 3 year old missing now for 6 days. His name is Kendrick. The prosecutors charged the father Tuesday so he wouldn't make bail on the misdeamnor of filing a false report that they brought him in on Sunday. Now he is charged with injury to a child. They say the father hit the child and left bruises on different parts of the child's body two days before reporting the child missing. Texas EquuSearch is searching for him again. They are concentrating along the San Jacinto River.

Did anyone see the coverage the press gave to President Bush yesterday meeting with the President of Guana? He was praising Bush for the Millenium Fund to fight AIDS in Africa and for the leadership his administration has provided for the people of Africa concerning this disease running rampant on the continent. I didn't think you did. The President of Guana also praised Laura Bush for her visit and work on their behalf.

William Brownfield, the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, is having difficulties with the people of Venezuela encouraged by the nutbag of a dictator they have, Hugo Chavez. Brownfield's car was pelted with rocks and eggs as he was leaving a soccer field after giving the children athletic equipment. Chavez is accusing Brownfield of provoking the incident and threatening to kick him out of the country.

Chavez, a protege of Fidel Castro, is feeling emboldened by recent events like the Massachusetts Democrats from the House of Rep William Delahunt and Ed Markey, who accepted lower priced oil over the winter for the residents of the state from Chavez. So did Senators Reed and Chaffee from Rhode Island. And New York Congressman Jose Serrano. This was a stick in the eye to President Bush and Chavez relished it. Nothing like propping up a Socialist dictator in a third world country for your own political benefit. Nice job.

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." - Dorothy

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

And Then There's This

Some updates on subjects I've recently blogged about:

The little 3 year old's father was arrested yesterday. The charge is a misdeamnor - filing a false police report - as he has told police 4 different stories and can't seem to make one stick. The search, conducted by Texas EquuiSearch (of Natalee Holloway fame) is concentrated on the east side. The mother lives on the east side, the father lives on the west side. Searches will begin again today as yesterday police leads were being checked out. The father is expected to bond out today.

Rudy Rios, the ESL and jr varsity coach at Chavez High School, is fighting his dismissal from coaching after he was disciplined for printing and distributing a flyer to students encouraging them to participate in the immigration rallies and school walk-outs. He says he must fight the school board, even though he is allowed to continue his teaching position, because he must be an example to the students about standing up to authority. He hasn't apologized. But, he did use his own paper for the fliers, after all!

Husband and I went to son's acting class play last night. It was an interesting play as an inside look at a group of teens putting on an except of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The part where Jean Valjean is invited to sleep at the Bishop's house then steals the silver candlestick. Our son was the Bishop. Afterwards, we all went to a burger/bbq place nearby. The parents sat amongst themselves so the kids could hang out together. Parents can't get too close, you know. It's not cool.

Reminder: Head on over to Basil's Blog ( and submit a question for my upcoming interview. Thank you kindly.

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday Thoughts

Not a good morning. It just isn't.

Did you see the illegal immigrants and their promoters marching in different cities yesterday? How could you not, right. I still am just blown away at the audascity of those here demanding citizenship when the very first step that was taken was to enter this country illegally. It's a huge slap in the face to those who worked within the system and met the requirements legally. What other country on earth would even entertain the thought of just looking the other way and justifying blanket amnesty?

It's a difficult issue. The situation is so far out of hand that no one solution will be acceptable to everyone. The amnesty granted by Ronald Reagan was a dismal failure and we are reaping the results today. Look at what happens in Mexico when those from Central American countries try to cross into Mexico without documentation. They are thrown in jail, no questions asked.

The Hispanic population, not just Mexicans, are so emboldened by the lack of teeth in the current immigration laws that they have taken to crossing over the border into Texas in places like Neuvo Larado and made it into a war zone with the drug kingpins overriding the local police. Shots fired in the street are not uncommon.

What seems to be missing in most of the arguments I hear is that yes, our country is a nation of immigrants. However, we demand legal immigration. Previous generations of immigrants entered through Ellis Island or other ports of entry. Immigration is good. Illegal immigration is bad. We have to know who is here, especially in the current dangerous times in which we live.

The politicans trolling for votes are the worst. Everyone from Teddy Kennedy to George W. Bush. All through the rallies here in Texas stood Democrats signing up people for voting. How are they being checked? "Today we march, Tomorrow we vote" was the slogan du jour. I see massive voter fraud issues in our future.

There are some savvy organizers for the rallies. They got the message loud and clear after the first marches and discouraged the waving of Mexican flags and replaced them with more American flags. Don't want to be so blatant with their disdain of assimilation. This wave of immigrants don't feel the need to assimilate. What is the incentive? Everything is published in Spanish, want ads ask for bi-lingual applicants. They feel no need to become "American".

It's a slap in the face to all Americans. We are not having a bright and shining moment.

Monday, April 10, 2006

If It Was Any More Monday...

If it was any more Monday around here, I'd be a lump in the corner of the room. And it is not even noon. This is my second attempt of blogging today. I was finishing up with my last sentence and anticipating hitting the publish key and the computer froze. Wouldn't budge. Nothing. So, I had to re-boot and lost it all.

This morning after backtracking home to collect son's forgotten student id, we were in horrendous morning traffic. Stop light at a big intersection on the fritz, broken down car in the left lane, etc. The place was a parking lot. Son has meltdown thinking he would be late. Good times.

My guys hogged the computer all weekend so I was forced to concentrate on household chores. I prefer the distraction of the computer, if you don't mind. I spent an hour on the master bath and I must say it is organized and sparkly. I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

A national Amber Alert was issued Friday afternoon and it concerns a 3 year old boy who was visiting his father at an apartment complex just a few blocks away from where I live. Helicopters circling in the sky all Friday afternoon and early evening. News crews everywhere. The police questioned the mother, who doesn't live with the father, and the father. The mother was cleared but not the father yet. He says he went upstairs to put in a load of laundry and the little boy vanished. He was in his pj bottoms watching tv when the father last saw him. I don't feel good about this story.

I enjoyed cooking this weekend. I made catfish on Friday, New York strip steaks on Saturday and a small standing rib roast Sunday night. My husband had tons of fish in Bolivia so he is craving Texas beef now. I aim to please.

One of my favorite sections in the Houston Chronicle, of which there are few, is the Sunday Travel section. They regularly feature hot spots not found by many tourists yet and this week they named the "Stans". That made me chuckle. My husband was in one of the Stans for almost 2 months, from December to thru January, and it was the coldest place he has ever been. The Stans are countries formerly of the Soviet Union and that is the ending of their new names. You have to be quite bored and really making a stretch on where you are willing to go for a good time.

I have a request of you, dear reader, and hope you will take the time to fulfill it for me. Go on over to Basil's Blog ( and send in a question to be used in my interview. This is the last week for question submissions and the sky is the limit. Ask anything you want and it is anonymous. I won't know who asked what. It'll be fun. I promise.

And now I face the afternoon. Is it Friday yet?

"There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fool of the Week

This week the Fool of the Week is Rudy Rios of Houston, Texas.

Rudy Rios is an English-as-a-second-language teacher and a junior varsity baseball coach at Chavez High School. He "used a district copying machine to make a flier encouraging Lation students to attend a rally protesting restrictions on illegal immigration", according to the Houston Chronicle. So, he was stripped of his duties as the junior varsity baseball coach. He was not stripped of his duties as a teacher.

The flier read: " We gots 2 stay together and protest against the new law that wants 2 be passed against all immigrants. We gots 2 show the U.S. that they aint (expletive) with out us (sic)", according to a district official. Not only is this an unethical action from a teacher, the language is inexcusable from someone educating teenagers. He's an English teacher.

Rios is paid $42,000 a year from the school district. He has been employed with HISD since August, 2002.

This afternoon in the mail we received a letter from the Superintendent of Schools at HISD explaining a planned citywide demonstration is scheduled for Monday and he wants us as parents to make sure our child stays in school instead of leaving campus to participate in the demonstration. Abelardo Saavedra, the Superintendent, claims organizers of the demonstration are encouraging students to stay in school.

Wonder what Mr. Rios told his students today.

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Ah, almost Friday. I am foggy headed today. I have to go vote in the early voting of our primary today. I know I will forget if I wait until tomorrow and early voting ends tomorrow so I need to get it done today. May wait until I pick up son at school this afternoon and drag him with me. Give him a refresher course on the electronic voting machines. He has gone with me since birth so it is nothing new to him. He is indoctrinated into the fact that elections matter. Of course, in his teen rebellion phase, if he were of voting age his vote would cancel mine.

Do you watch Dateline on NBC? Perhaps you should know, if you do watch, that they have been caught staging a potential upcoming report. I guess there isn't enough real news out there to report on so they'll continue on with the new version of journalism. Just make it up for the ratings and don't worry about reality.

Dateline NBC is looking for Muslim males to do a piece on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination in this country. They want some Muslim males to go to non-Muslim gatherings and see if they attract any discriminatory comments or actions while the cameras are rolling. They are particularly interesting in sending someone to NASCAR races.

Because, you know, that redneck NASCAR audience is full of conservative minded folks and so they are just stoopid. Surely they would be ignorant around Muslim men in headdresses and that there Arab stuff.


The scheduled filming is set to happen on April 8 here in Texas. Yesterday, Michelle Malkin spoke with Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications at NASCAR. She asked him for a response to the upcoming sting operation against NASCAR and he said, "This is ourtrageous for a news organization with the reputation of NBC to stoop to the level of attempting to create instead of reporting it. Any legitimate journalist should be ashamed."

Further proof that the old alphabet networks are no longer worthy of viewer loyalty or support.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Off in the Wasteland

Having not heard anything to the contrary, I assume my husband is winging his way home today. His travel schedule shows him arriving late tonight. Probably won't get to the house until close to midnight. Tomorrow morning we'll be bleary eyed around here.

When I was eight months pregnant with our son, hubby and I decided it would be fun to travel the Natchez Trail in our automobile. We were driving from our home in Lafayette, LA to hubby's childhood town of Bloomington, Indiana to visit his mother and some of our old friends. It would be our last chance to travel before we became parents.

It was July, 1989 and our automobile did not have air-conditioning. We began the journey along the Natchez Trail in Mississippi and took it as far as it would go. It was very interesting and I can say I have seen a lifetime's worth of Indian mounds. We stopped at almost every place with a marker or historical reference.

But it was hot. It was so hot. When we stopped for the night all I could do was rush from the car into the hotel and take off my clothes and stand in front of the air conditioner. I am a child of the Deep South, but that was a whole new level of hot.

The month before I had celebrated my 34th birthday. I was old enough to know better. Some days I still think of that trip and that level of discomfort. Today was one of those days. Funny how out of nowhere something will pop into your mind and distract you.

Today, as the mother of a now 16 year old child, I am struggling to remain sane. To say that this school year has been difficult is an understatement. I mentioned it to a friend after she asked how son was doing and she said he is going through this a year early. Like it is all normal. He's a little ahead of schedule but he's always been a bit precocious.

Why didn't someone tell me we would go through this patch? How was I to know that he would become unmotivated and surly about going to school and making good grades for future college admission? Last year he had perfect attendance. This year he has an upset stomach, or his head hurts, or he has an emotional breakdown. It's hard to keep up.

He's a very intellegent human being. He has always been a good student and yet never felt the need to do his very best. It's like he doesn't want to shine his brightest. He has tested gifted since the age of 3. That was the year his Montessori teacher taught him to read, too. I didn't tell him about testing results as he was growing up as I didn't want him to think he was any different than others or special in that way. We didn't make a big deal out of it and he thrived in school.

We kept him in private schools until high school. Most kids in private school are bright and achievers by nature. And only children are not unusual. My son never had to study much to make grades he was happy with, which is unfortunate now that he is older and needs that skill. He is in pre-AP and one AP course this year which require effort. He needs the challenge, though, so he is learning how to handle it all.

He is talking with a therapist he likes. I am hoping it'll help him figure things out. I remember teenage angst and the hormonal surges. I've just never dealt with it on this end before. Not to mention I am peri-menopausal with hormone surges of my own! My poor husband.

I know one day we will look back and laugh. Just not today.

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us." - Ashley Montagu

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ah, Tuesday

Thinking about the folks in the tornado struck areas. Out of nowhere and so suddenly these monsters come and destroy lives. So scary.

With better news, hubby e-mailed late last night and is safely in Santa Cruz and will be in meetings today, reporting on his work there to the company guys. So that's a relief. Now I just hope he gets out of La Paz without problems tomorrow.

Thank you all who have shown kindness to me with your support and thoughts. It is the greatest of comfort when I have these tense episodes. Usually hubby doesn't tell me what's going on until he gets home and has an exciting story to tell. It is nothing new in his line of work but it really never gets any easier to push bad thoughts out of the old brain.

Is it Friday yet?

Anyway, how about that Tom DeLay resignation. It was time. His numbers are down in his district for the re-election race. At least this way the district probably won't go to the other party. He is not my congressman; we don't live in his district but I know he brought a lot of projects to the state.

And Cynthia McKinney. What an embarrassment she is to her district. Unless maybe they think she's normal. I guess they do since she's been in office a while. They did vote her out but then turned around and put her back in office. The current incident in the news with her and the Capitol security police is her 5th dust up with them. Fifth.

Bill Cosby needs to have a chat with her and explain that the victim/race card no longer plays. It's time she put on the big girl panties and be an adult. Maybe even conduct herself like the person of responsibility she is to her district. She leads a life of priviledge and should be grateful for life's blessings. Let the security people do their jobs.

"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." - Elizabeth Foley

Monday, April 03, 2006


It's just Monday. That's all I can say.

I know very little about the country of Bolivia. Hubby did a little research on Bolivia before heading down there for a work assignment. He learned it is the poorest of the South American countries so he figured the situation on the ground might be a little dicey. Hubby has been there working for two weeks. Due home this week. Yesterday, however, I received three e-mails from him and they were rather disturbing.

The first e-mail, written Saturday night, said the oil drilling rig problem he was sent to heal was not yet completely fixed but better. He said talk of political unrest and talk of blocading the oil rigs countrywide had lead the top guys to put plans into place to evacuate expats Sunday morning to Santa Cruz by air. He was working all night to get things done and would e-mail Sunday. He said there was no sign of trouble and everyone was being careful. He wanted to know if I had heard anything in the news.

The second e-mail, written early Sunday morning, said he was delayed at the rig and not able to travel to airport. Too much rain and the mountain roads were too dangerous under those weather conditions. He was hearing of trouble in other small cities. He reminded me he still had tickets to travel back 4/5, maybe sooner.

The third and last e-mail, written about an hour later Sunday morning said the rain had stopped but the road was washed out between the rig and town. The drive to the town to get the charter flight to Santa Cruz is 20 - 30 miles and takes 3 hours in good weather due to the dirt roads through the mountains. He said it looked like it may be days for the road to be passable.

He goes to Santa Cruz, flies to La Paz, then on to Miami and Houston.

Haven't heard from him since. Communication is rough there. So, all I can do is monitor my e-mail and wait. I don't like this part of my job.

I googled Bolivia and found an article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer dated Friday that said military and police took control of Bolivia's major airports Friday. Hundreds of striking airline workers blocked runways and disrupted flights to three airports the day before, according to the article. Seems the government intervened to maintain public safety and avoid accidents. The airline troubles began in February. An earlier strike was ended by the government several weeks ago but last week the Constitutional Court declared the intervention illegal so new walkouts resumed.

My hubby is a field engineer for oil drilling rigs. He works his magic and makes them run when they have problems.

Welcome to my world.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Shining Ray of Hope

Humid, humid, humid. I've had the air conditioning on for 2 days now. First our temperatures were 10 degrees below normal, now they are 10 degrees above normal.

And I lost an hour of sleep last night.

In the newspaper yesterday was a great article on an intelligent young woman, 17 years old, who attends the Alternative Learning and Transition Academy, a charter school here in Houston. Geraldine Mares was upset about pending immigration legislation and was looking for the best way to voice her concerns. Instead of walking out of class last week as so many of her peers in other schools did, she initiated an hour long talk with leaders of her school and decided afterwards to read the bills and write lawmakers.

Now we're thinking.

She said she knew walkouts only reflected poorly on the school and that a letter-writing campaign would get the attention of elected representatives.

She was right.

Two Houston Democrats representing the district, one U.S. Rep and one state Rep, came to the school Friday and spoke to the students about the legislative process and their views. This leads teachers to incorporate civics lessons into just about every subject in school.

Good idea.

The lack of civics class in today's education, as opposed to the actual civics classes required when I was a girl in school back in the dark ages, has produced a generation of young people without basic knowledge of what it takes to be a productive, involved citizen in today's world. Now they are called "teachable moments" and I applaud teachers taking the time to apply current events to real life for the students.

Hats off to this bright young woman who made a difference in her school. I'm guessing it won't be the last we hear of her.

"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four peices with your bare hands -- and then just eat one of the pieces." - Judith Viorst