Jim Hightower | GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Even over here in Texas the word is getting out and people are noticing the policies of the Bush gang in Washington. Mountaintop Removal Mining has to be stopped and it will take the efforts of all of us to do it. I have made the point to switch my electric supplier to a company that only supplies green power…No more will I support the coal companies when I turn on the lights.

GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Posted by Jim Hightower

Listen to this Commentary

Boy, things are hectic inside the Bush regime these days! The clock is ticking, and Corporate America is rushing to get all the favors it can before Bush & Company closes down in 2009. Sure enough, the Bushites are delivering.

It received little media attention, but the giant coal operators (which have been reliable funders for George and the GOP) recently got a huge goodie handed to them: Bush gave them Appalachia! His office of surface mining quietly issued a new regulation that would allow King Coal to ravage the ancient mountains, glorious forests, and pure streams of Central Appalachia at will.

Source: Jim Hightower | GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Jim Hightower | GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Even over here in Texas the word is getting out and people are noticing the policies of the Bush gang in Washington. Mountaintop Removal Mining has to be stopped and it will take the efforts of all of us to do it. I have made the point to switch my electric supplier to a company that only supplies green power…No more will I support the coal companies when I turn on the lights.

GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Posted by Jim Hightower

Listen to this Commentary

Boy, things are hectic inside the Bush regime these days! The clock is ticking, and Corporate America is rushing to get all the favors it can before Bush & Company closes down in 2009. Sure enough, the Bushites are delivering.

It received little media attention, but the giant coal operators (which have been reliable funders for George and the GOP) recently got a huge goodie handed to them: Bush gave them Appalachia! His office of surface mining quietly issued a new regulation that would allow King Coal to ravage the ancient mountains, glorious forests, and pure streams of Central Appalachia at will.

Source: Jim Hightower | GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA

Thursday Morning – June 7, 20 O’Seven

What a difference a day makes…Yesterday morning I was in Medical Mode and not hurrying out the door, so I drew my first cup and glanced up at the “Weather Station”. The outside temperature was 68 and the humidity was lower than normal, just in the 80% vicinity, so I took my cup and myself out into the backyard to sit and enjoy (which is part of the reason for no post yesterday, I enjoyed it immensely). Today, I grabbed so garbage bags for the trip to the curb while the laptop loaded up. The minute I stepped out the door for the trek to the curb, I felt like I should be paying for a spa treatment. 6:00 am and the heat and the humidity were in your face. Once I was back in the kitchen for that first cup I read the truth…79 degrees and 89%. What a change.

Yesterday was still with a light layer of dew on the world. But the air was clean and clear, the mockingbird was singing loud and cheerful above my head, and the sun was bright on the trees in the yard and woods. The dew on the sunlit cypress tree gave it a kind of green jewel quality, but softened in a way.

I was reading US News this week and I see the secret is out as Boone makes the top 10 in budget retirement locations…I would say congratulation but I was hoping the secret would stay hidden (at least until we moved to the mountains). I was happy to see that one of our earlier retirement hopes was on the list also…Fredericksburg, Tx is where we go many years for our anniversary runaway from the kids weekend. It is also about as close to the Houston area as you can go and find what passes for mountains.

Garrison Keillor takes a long look at the state of the world in Salon and brings back this look of the future for thee…

You look at the Amish and you see the past but you might also be looking at the future. Our great-grandchildren, faced with facts their ancestors were able to ignore, might have to do without the internal-combustion engine and figure out how to live the subsistence life. Maybe someone will invent a car that runs on hydrogen, or horse manure, or maybe people will travel on beams of light like in old radio serials, but the realist in you thinks otherwise.

Source: Amish like me | Salon.com

Mr. Bush must have done Harvard Business School about like he has done everything else in his life…

The White House said it would hold firm against concrete long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a major priority for Merkel, the host of the Group of 8 meeting.

At some point in his college career they must have mentioned that in oder to set goals they have to be achievable and measurable. Setting goals without actual…well, you know…goals is like…cheating. Oh (slap my forehead) that’s right…We are talking about George W Bush aren’t we…
Source: U.S. rejects greenhouse gas initiative at G8 summit | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Time to run…catch you later.

Friday Morning Muse

For all who came by looking for these musings yesterday, I am sorry for the lack of focus. I find myself in a position of having other things on my mind at the moment. Right now I am still processing. I am sure I will figure this out shortly, until then I’ll try to at least put something out here so you will know I haven’t dropped completely of the edge of the earth.

I did notice yesterday that Kate over at Cider Press Hill is thinking of taking on a new challenge. I do not envy her if she does. Living in Texas we seem to have big commutes, not so much because we try but more because they just happen. The 50 gallons of gas per person per year part of the challenge…Not gonna happen here unless I give up the job and go to hanging around and growing all of my own food. I am going to mull this challenge over a while and try to formulate a plan(?) of attack…

Back to my regularly schedule weather muse…The temperature this morning is a rather mild 69 degrees and the humidity is in the soupy 95% range. Texas mornings are great for showers…oops, there goes my daily water allotment. Speaking of water I see this weeks US News has their cover story on the subject. I have to say the headline is grim but probably true…”Why You Should Worry About Water…How this diminishing resource will determine the future of where and how we live.” I haven’t read the article yet, and they are speaking to the choir here, but I’ll be checking it out this weekend.

It’s getting late so I better go check the morning’s emails…I’ll let you know if anything is interesting…

I always find Eugene Robinson’s columns interesting but the following paragraph from today’s just sings…

When I look at what the next president will have to deal with, I don’t see much that can be solved with just a winning smile, a firm handshake and a ton of resolve. I see conundrums, dilemmas, quandaries, impasses, gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out. Iraq is the obvious place he or she will have to start; I want a president smart enough to figure out how to minimize the damage. – Eugene Robinson

“Gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out.” Now isn’t that one of the most descriptive sentences of world conditions you have ever read? If you have a moment, go read the rest…But, after 8 years of dumbed down expectations I don’t hold out much hope for Eugene’s ideal President.

Happy Birthday Norma Jean…

Well, it’s time to head to work…Catch ya later…

Thursday Morning Coffee Muse

As I wander into the kitchen each morning to pour that first cup I glance above the coffee maker to the weather station and check the outside conditions. At 6am this morning the outside temperature was already at 73 and the humidity was at 92%. By my definition summer has arrived. Given those conditions outside, even with the ac running in this old house the humidity almost never falls into the 50% range. Which I find surprising because in my reading somewhere in the last week I remember reading that a pleasant humidity was in the 40%-50% range. I remember thinking at the time that the person writing that must be from the west somewhere, because I don’t ever recall a reading like that here.

Oh well, emails are calling…

You have to love the Texas Legislature, the Houston Chronicle is reporting today that the “Senate OKs bill for school Bible classes”. You have to wonder what they are thinking, this is the state that keeps fighting the courts on school prayer, so now we want to teach the Bible. Or, are they planning a comparative religion course. For some reason I can’t see the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita on the shelves and being taught in a Texas schoolroom, though I wish a class of that nature was taught when I was in high school. Picture if you can, the track coach who gets assigned the new class of Bible Study 101…

AUSTIN — The Senate easily passed and sent to the governor a bill Wednesday to teach Bible classes to high school students, but lawmakers immediately disagreed on whether the measure would make the courses mandatory.

Legislative leaders differed on whether school districts may offer the religion studies course, or whether they are obligated to do so if 15 or more students sign up for it. Both “may” and “shall” show up in different sections of the House bill that the Senate passed 28-2 without changing.

I see now why we will be missing the wit of Molly Ivins, only she could see the humor of this kind of “Lawmaking”. I guess the real problem I have with this issue is that every quote and even the headline of the article call it “Bible class” not religion class. It seems to me it is starting off biased toward Christianity, not a great way to teach religious equality or separation. Even with a requirement for a curriculum and a “textbook” and not the Bible to teach the course, I see too much of a chance for local schools to do another end run around the constitutional separation of church and state.

Source: Senate OKs bill for school Bible classes | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service. – Bhagavad Gita

You really have to give the Texas Legislature credit for creative taxation. Just when you thought there couldn’t be another sin to tax…They found one.

AUSTIN — Strip clubs would have to peel off $5 per customer for a new state sex assault prevention fund under legislation approved by the state Senate Wednesday.

The measure, pushed through the House earlier by Rep. Ellen Cohen, would require the clubs to take a daily count of patrons and pay the state $5 for each one. Those records would be subject to audits from the state comptroller.

I guess what floored me about this was the estimated revenue they expect to collect…

The fee is expected to raise $87 million over the next biennium — $25 million of which would go toward a sex assault prevention fund. The rest would go to the Texas health opportunity pool, which is used to provide assistance to low-income people.

A sinner here a sinner there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. Which sinner out there is going to stand up and say “don’t tax my perversion”?

Source: Law adds $5 strip-club fee to prevent sex attacks | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

I see Charles Manson it still kicking at 72. The newspaper is reporting a 11th denial of parole. I once sat and talked with a man who had the same intensity about him that came through the news photos of Manson. Needless to say, the man I spoke with scared the s–t out of me. I found myself staying aware of where he was in the room at all times. I thought at the time he could be another of the family of Manson and I really did not want to find out if I was right. I haven’t recalled that night in 30 plus years.

Time to take the youngest to her last day of school for this session…see y’all down the road.

TGIF – Computer Blues

When I tried to put together this mornings post before I left home the laptop decided to lock up and laugh at me…So it was shutdown and hit the road with my post peculating in the back of my mind. The very first thing I heard on PBS as I was headed down the street I live on was about a major traffic backup two exits past the closest cross street to work. That told me right there not to hurry…so it was off through the country instead of down the freeway. Sadly, my back road trek still got me to within a couple of blocks of the office by 8am, and that’s where I spent 25 minutes trying to finish the trip. You really have to love Houston traffic…Or move.

The weather this morning was really what I consider springlike. It was 61 degrees when I hit the kitchen, so doors open and first cup of the morning while being serenaded by birdsong. The predominant player this morning, as on most here, was our state bird. When you get a half dozen Mockingbirds singing their hearts out to mark their territories, you really have a full chorus going.

I try not to let my political rants get out here very often, but this story in the Washington Post really got me .

The lawyers said any conversations Cheney and the officials had about Plame with one another or with reporters were part of their normal duties because they were discussing foreign policy and engaging in an appropriate “policy dispute.” Cheney’s attorney went further, arguing that Cheney is legally akin to the president because of his unique government role and has absolute immunity from any lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates asked: “So you’re arguing there is nothing — absolutely nothing — these officials could have said to reporters that would have been beyond the scope of their employment,” whether the statements were true or false?

“That’s true, Your Honor. Mr. Wilson was criticizing government policy,” said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department‘s civil division. “These officials were responding to that criticism.”

So there America, as far as your government is concerned, if you criticize this administration they have an inherent right to lie about you or break the law and you, dear citizen, have no recourse. Welcome to Mr. Bush’s Compassionate Conservative America, land of the rich and liars…

Source: Judge Told Leak Was Part of ‘Policy Dispute’ – washingtonpost.com

Here is a photo I took earlier in the week of a moth sitting on the outside of the window beside my seat at the computer…The photo was taken from the inside with the outside lighting showing through.

Have a great day…

Sunday Thoughts

If my posting slows down a bit in the coming weeks, chances are it’s due to a bit of a family crisis coming to a head. Nothing life threatening (at least for now), just parental control running up against teenaged thoughts of adulthood. Youngest daughter has taken the opportunity of her 17th birthday to remove herself from the family household. Seems in Texas even though the law says children don’t become adults until 18, the police do not consider them runaways at 17 unless you suspect foul play. So now we wait to see where this goes…

On a more positive note, it appears the question of what’s happening to the bees is moving into everyday Americans living rooms this week. I heard on the TV this morning that the prime time evening news is making the disappearance the “Disaster of the Week”. That will either move it into the attention span of the average American or make it old news before anyone even has a clue as o what is causing the problem. I must say the possibilities I have seen so far seem a bit far fetched but anything is possible.

The only news out of the Republican “Debate” that really caught by eye was that three of the candidates actually did raise their hands when asked how many did not believe in evolution…How do you feel about these three controlling the budgets for the different departments scientific research? The Department of Education? Just asking…

I better get up and do something…Even if it’s not “the” right thing.

From “Decider” to “Commander Guy”…

Where did all of the phone booths go? What’s a super president supposed to do?

President Bush now says that even after “success” in Iraq — after more American and Iraqi deaths — there will still be sectarian violence and there will still be suicide bombers killing innocent civilians. Which is the situation right now. So why stay in Iraq even one more day, except to validate the unwise decisions of our ineloquent Commander Guy?

Source: Eugene Robinson – Lost in the Fog With Commander Guy – washingtonpost.com

That’s all I have for today…Home troubles brewing. Later.

Again with the Thursday Morning Muses

The night was filled with distant rumbles of thunder…Well, it was the time I woke up, anyway. The steps outside the back door show signs of rain having fallen, just not very much. The weather prognosticators on the evening rumor and propaganda shows were literally glowing over the possibility of rolling masses of thunderous precipitation, both overnight and throughout the unsunny, cloud covered, non-night hours today…We shall wait to be convinced.

Just for the record, outside it is a springlike 65 degrees this pre-daybreak am. The interesting number, and the one that keeps the skin so smooth here in SE Texas is the 96% humidity. One would think, with those kind of numbers, one could look out the window and see fish swimming or at least some foggy type of water droplets floating around. One would be mistaken, this is one of the clearest mornings of the past couple of weeks…

I see in the NY Times they are all ado about Alberto…They can’t seem to come to a conclusion about what to do about the affair of the President’s shield though (does the AG carry a brass shield like a police officer?). Some are of the opinion he should be impeached for lying to congress. Personally, I think this whole administration has reached the point of tragic comedy. No one in their worst nightmare would wish this kind of incompetence on the country. I thought this quote said it very well…

Changes in the occupant of the White House should not affect the way justice is administered. If the Gonzales mess ends up giving us an apolitical Department of Justice, the American people will be well served.

Arnold I. Burns was the deputy attorney general in the second Reagan administration.

See ya down the road…

Spring – It was nice to have met you.

Well, it’s official summer has arrived to SE Texas. The temperature when I came into the kitchen for coffee this morning is at 70 degrees and the humidity is above 90%. By my definition, summer has slunk in and it wont be leaving for a while. Luckily for us, we are just south of the storm line that has been dumping rain, lightning, and street flooding on the folks just a county or two away. For two days now heavy rains have fallen just a bit north of where we live here without a drop falling at our house.

I see from the morning emails that Tom Poston has died at the age of 85. I never really thought a whole lot about Tom but when I read the announcement his image immediately popped into my mind from the old Newhart Show. There are a lot of actors out there whose name I know but who I couldn’t picture on a dare, so I guess Tom made an impact o me at some level. Rest in Peace, Tom.

The President made this comment yesterday after he Vetoed the Iraq War Funding Bill…”Many Democrats saw this bill as an opportunity to make a political statement about their opposition to the war. They’ve sent their message.”

I suppose the real question is, did he hear the message and understand that it came from the American people and not just their Democratic representatives in Congress? I really doubt it.

While David Ignatius’ column is about Paul Wolfowitz, I think his insight is valid. Though I don’t know that it’s totally about the “we know best” as much as it’s about “you don’t know nothing”.

This disdain for career staff officers — whether at the Pentagon, the CIA, the Justice Department or an international agency such as the World Bank — is a defining characteristic of the Bush administration and a big reason for its undoing. Administration officials are arrogant — no other way to put it. They ignore the advice of the professionals, whom they regard as obstacles to their agenda of transformation. In their impetuous self-confidence, they become wreckers.

This hubris recurs again and again. We saw it in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s high-handed management style, in Vice President Cheney’s continuous pressure on CIA analysts to bolster the administration’s message on Iraq, in CIA Director Porter Goss’s purge of agency officers suspected of disloyalty, in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s treatment of career attorneys at Justice.

Or maybe they are accomplishing exactly what they set out to do…

Source: David Ignatius – The Price Of ‘We Know Best’ – washingtonpost.com

Time to run…later