Friday, September 25, 2009

Too little...Too late

Remember back in December of last year I commented on the damage that had been done to the oyster beds in Galveston Bay by Hurricane Ike? Remember when I said that the spawning season was on or about May first and that if the larvae could not find a hard substrate to attach to within 15 days that they would die? So therefore the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had until then to clean and or prepare the oyster beds or the oyster harvest would be damaged for years to come? Remember that I said that I really didn't expect TPWD to get off their duff and do anything in that time frame because of lack of money and lack of desire? And that if they DID do anything it would take forever and that it would be too little, too late by then? I was apparently right...

"The $810,000 project by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department eventually will lead to the reopening of public oyster reefs to commercial fishing, experts say."

"Crews have put a layer of reef-building materials, called clutch, on about 20 acres of oyster habitat. The river rock and crushed concrete will provide habitat for oyster larvae.

The restoration project, which began this month, has forced closure of the area to commercial fishermen for the next two years to allow the oysters to recover, according to Rohrer.

The department is working to restore two acres of habitat in San Leon through "oyster gardening." Mesh bags filled with oyster larvae are being hung from piers. Oysters that grow in the mesh bags then will be scattered on reefs constructed near Eagle Point."

I hope you don't like oysters, because it is going to be a good long time before the oyster reefs come back. By that time, I expect most of the commercial oyster men to be gone. They were already hurting before the storm. If they can't haul in any oysters for however many years it takes for the reefs to rebound, they'll be forced to close their doors. This delay was the straw the broke the camel's back.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ahmadinejad has an Oopsie!

In a giant sendoff for Thug in Chief Ahmadinejad, before he left for the UN meeting in New York, Iran held a giant military review parade, much like dictatorial thugs have had for as long as there have been armies. Long lines of Shehab-3 missiles and other military hardware rumbled past the podium. The parade was to end with a flyby of Iran's newest shiny bit of kit, a homegrown AWACS aircraft using an Iranian designed and built (supposedly) radar installed in a converted Russian Ilyushin 76MD, formerly of Saddam Hussein's air force, that was turned over to Iran in 1991 in order to keep it out of Coalition forces hands. Iran contracted with Russian technicians to install an upgraded radar in the aircraft (which is why I question whether the radar was actually Iranian in origin. If it was truly Iranian, why did they need Russian technicians to install it?). The aircraft, the only one of it's kind, dubbed "Simorgh", which is a flying creature of Iranian fable, was being escorted by two F-5E fighters when one of the fighters and the Ilyushin had a mid-air collision in front of the podium. The fiery remains of the Ilyushin crashed into the mausoleum where former Ayatollah Khomeini is interred. The crew of both aircraft perished in the crash.

(Image copyright M. Razzazan,


Friday, September 18, 2009

Humane Society of Montgomery County closing CONFIRMED

I have received an unconfirmed report that The Humane Society of Montgomery County must close as of Sept. 21. In order to clear out their inventory of animals, I am told that they are waiving all adoption fees. Any animals still remaining will have to be euthanized. I have attempted to contact them to verify this information, but nobody is answering the phone and there is nothing on the website indicates that the above is true. So at this juncture I can only list this as unconfirmed. If I am able to confirm it, I will update.

Update: I am informed that this is confirmed. Channel 2 ran a story about this last night. As of the time of the story posting, they had about 30 cats and a dog left to adopt out. Saturday is the last day to adopt them. Further, about 80 dogs who had been placed temporarily with rescue groups are available for adoption as well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The school speech that almost was

Two weeks ago, the current Occupant of The White House informed America that he was going to take half an hour of instructional time away from every student in America and address them via a live internet feed. He was going to do this, on what would be the first day of school in many parts of the country.

The hue and cry was deafening, parents all accross the country had an absolute cow. Of course all the Liberals at first talked about how it was a historic first, when that didn't help in the least, they finally admitted that other presidents had also addressed schoolchildren, and how this could not possibly be any worse than any of the other times presidents had done so. Of course the White House had not released the contents of this speech so nobody knew exactly what was to be said, but The White House HAD released the "suggested curriculum" that was to be taught both before and after the address. The curriculum gave a number of clues that the speech would not be the banal pablum of previous school addresses (anybody remember GW Bush reading "My Pet Goat"?), but instead it implied that there was a strong current of proselytizing and "cult of personality" building inherent in the planned speech. Exercises like "Discuss what you can do to help Obama." were in the curriculum. This of course smacked of some of the things Josef Goebbels did in Germany during WWII. This scared and infuriated people all the more.

By Thursday, September third, people were calling and e-mailing the schools demanding that the speech not be broadcast, or barring that, that their child be allowed to be exempted from being brainwashed and politicized. Some libtard moron in the Katy school district actually had the unmitigated gall to write that "Allowing parents to opt their children out of listening to our president or any other elected official will be honored as we honor requests of those who desire to opt out of saluting our nation’s flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.” which did not help matters one iota either. By Friday, probably 1/2 to 2/3 of all the kids, at least in the Houston area, had been exempted. At least those who had the opportunity to exempt them. Remember that this was to be the first day of school for many schools in the country. Most of those parents didn't get the opportunity to exempt their children.

By Saturday the fifth, the "proposed curriculum" was scrapped, but we still had not seen the text of the speech. Many people still believed that it was heavy on indoctrination based on the "I Pledge" video that had been released a few months earlier. So the scrapping of the curriculum was at best a footnote in all this. It wasn't just the curriculum that was the issue, it was the entire idea that Obama could take time out of our kid's schoolday to indoctrinate them. TV news pundits, and even our own hometown fishwrap was asking "How can we be so damned angry about a speech we haven't even heard yet?", which of course was a straw man argument, we were angry, precisely because we didn't know what was in the speech, but we had seen evidence that would imply that it was not a harmless address. In fact many of us, myself among them, figured that the speech he eventually would give would bear little resemblance to the speech he originally intended to give. Finally, on Sunday evening, the text of the speech was released to the public, two days before he was to give it, and late on a sunday evening over a long weekend. A time calculated to draw as little attention as possible. But the Conservative blogosphere ripped into it to find out just what was in this speech. As it turned out, other than mentioning himself something like 36 times, the speech was relatively benign. All the TV pundits said "See! This is much ado about nothing! Aren't you ashamed of yourselves?" All we could say was that we didn't know what was in it but we did not trust the man as far as we could chuck his lousy ass.

Well, now we can definitively say that had we not raised one heluva fuss, things would not have worked out quite the same way
. As it turns out, the speech he eventually gave was not the speech he had intended to give. His intended speech was much less innocent and much more damning, but when the hue and cry became deafening, THAT speech was filed in the circular file and a new speech drafted, the one that we eventually read/heard.

It was reported in the Washington Post today that in light of the outcry over the speech, White House speechwriters rewrote the entire speech in an effort to strip out everything that could be interpreted as indoctrination. That admission can logically be assumed to mean that the speech WAS an indoctrination speech, or at least could have been interpreted to be.

H/T Larwyn and Ace

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest Commentary: A Republic - If You Can Keep It

(The following is a guest commentary from Belanne Pibal of the Liberty Features Syndicate)

Those were the words of Benjamin Franklin upon being asked what kind of government the new nation had after the vote was taken to approve the Constitution. Yet, there is very little mention in the mainstream media these days about our republic. Schools for decades have taught that the USA is a democracy so maybe the media and so many of the adults who believe the same thing can be forgiven. However, it is imperative that Americans, as a nation know the difference between a democracy and a republic if we wish to keep our republic.

In a democracy, the majority rules. The majority can vote each other out of house, home and freedom. The majority can vote in sharia law if they want. In a democracy, individuals have very little recourse if they want to go against the will of the majority. That's one of the reasons our founding fathers declined to make this nation into a democracy. In the words of James Madison, "Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."

How many times have Americans been bombarded by the notion of spreading freedom and democracy to other nations? In reality, we can only spread one, because freedom is incompatible with democracy. You can have one or the other, but not both. If we could spread the American form of government abroad, that would be spreading freedom, but democracy?, no.

So what is a republic? If democracy is so unstable and violent, what is a republic and why is it more desirable than a democracy? The Oxford American dictionary defines a republic as " A country in which the supreme power is held by the people or their elected representatives or by an elected or nominated president." That may sound the same as a democracy, but it is not.

In the case of America, it means that the people have approved a Constitution to define the powers of the government. This is one of the reasons why many Americans are upset about the president's speech to our children. The president is elected to serve America, not to turn our youngest Americans into government servants. In the debate to approve the Constitution in Pennsylvania, one of the delegates, Mr. Wilson stated that the supreme power of the uniquely American form of government resides in the people.

"The truth is, that, in our governments, the supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power remains in the people. As our constitutions are superior to our legislatures, so the people are superior to our constitutions. Indeed, the superiority, in this last instance, is much greater; for the people possess over our constitutions control in act, as well as right.

The consequence is, that the people may change the constitutions whenever and however they please. This is a right of which no positive institution can ever deprive them."

In a republic, we each have a personal responsibility to oversee and correct the government when it infringes on individual rights. In America, we are to do that by electing people of good character to office - regardless of their party affiliation. And "We the People" retain the right to change those legislators and even the Constitution itself. The supreme power of our government resides with the people, but not in such a way that the majority can run roughshod over the rights of the individual. That is the essential difference between a democracy and a republic. The question before Americans now is still "Can we keep it?"

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated Writer.

A little context in the local transportation debate

It has come to my attention that Christof Spieler, formerly an engineer with Matrix Structural, and board member of the Citizen's Transportation Coalition, and blogger at Intermodality, now works for Morris Architects as Technology Director. The vice president of Morris Architects is one, Doug Childers who is a President of the Richmond Rail group. It is widely speculated that MA is going to be one of the companies sub-contracted to do much of the design work for METRO's expansion. It is important to keep an eye on the back room connections of these groups, it is often quite incestuous. Often the public face of activism is also the private connection to a interest group with a financial stake in the outcome of the debate. It is always a good question to ask yourself "who benefits". Because often you will find that the bouncing buck has bounced into the pocket of the activist in question. Follow the money and you'll rarely go wrong.

That is not to say that his statements are false, they may in fact be valid arguments, but they must be tempered by his financial connections as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ACP has it's first candidate!

Ladies and Gents, I would like to announce that the American Conservative Party has it's first candidate for congress. Eugene Moon is running for the Ninth Congressional District in Georgia. He could certainly use your support.

I have not forgotten, Have you?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

How to weasel out of your responsibilities and make it sound like you are doing people a favor.

President Obama has issued a new set of edicts today that is purportedly supposed to help people save for retirement. A few of his proposals are good, some are good intentioned while infringing on people's right to self-determination, and one is blatantly self-serving. The self-serving one is the one I would like to talk about. One of his edicts is to require the IRS to allow people to take their tax refunds as treasury bonds. First off, treasury bonds aren't paying jack for interest, so they ar not exactly great investments. Secondly, the US Government has gone and printed so much worthless money that not even our biggest investors, China chief among them, want to take on any more of our debt. We are frankly bankrupt and our spending is out of control, but nobody has cut up the credit cards yet, which brings me to the self-serving part of the proposal.

What this really does is allow the IRS to hang on to the money and prop up all of the spending that Obama is doing while making the people think they are getting a good investment. You can do better investing in the lottery or three card monte than investing in the worthless paper of the US Government.

Coming out of the Closet

Ladies and gents, I'm about to make an announcement. Some of you already know, but many of you do not; I have been working on a project for the last several months in conjunction with a good friend of mine, Charlie Domino. That project is The American Conservative Party. I am one of the board members of the Texas Chapter and a member of the Leadership Committee. Some of you may know that I am a precinct chair and executive committee member of the Harris County Republican party. I want it known that, at least at this juncture, I do not see those two as being in conflict with each other. The ACP exists because the national GOP, and to a lesser extent, the state GOP has abandoned it's core beliefs and has become "Democrat lite" in many instances. We have not left the party, it has left us! And if the party no longer wishes to represent the will of the people, then the people will replace it with a party that will. Our hope is that the ACP will be that party. We have not embarked on this task lightly, nor do we hold any illusions that it will be easy. I would hope that my fellow rank and file Republicans will support us, at least in spirit, if not in deed, for we really want the same things that the rank and file Republican does. We have simply come to the realization that our party infrastructure has been hijacked by those who would undermine conservatism. I took this step knowing that I may at some point be burning bridges. I would hope that is not the case and that my Republican brethren would see it from my point of view, but I know, and you know, that there will be those who will see this as a betrayal. I am saddened by that because I know I am working for the same true cause that they are, the furthering of conservative ideals. Does it really matter if the person espousing the ideal has an R or an ACP behind their name? I would hope not, but I'm sure that for some that will be an important detail. I can only beg their forgiveness, because I cannot abandon conservative ideals at the feet of party loyalty.

My goal is simple. Promote conservatism, regardless of what hat I may be wearing at the time. I personally do not care whether it is a Republican or a Libertarian, or a Constitution Party member, or an ACP member that does it, only that it gets done. If a truly conservative Republican gains office, I will be as ecstatic as I would be if an ACP member did. I am not a party fanatic, the name of the party means nothing, it is the goals and ideals that the politician espouses that are important. Our party platforms are quite similar, with only a few notable exceptions, those exceptions being mainly ones of silence. There are some issues that we as a party have decided to not take a position on, for or against. Not because we have no opinion, but that we have too many opinions, not all of them are in agreement, so on those issues we have agreed to disagree. We may revisit those issues at a later date, or leave them for the individual to decide on their own. But the agreement far outweighs the disagreement.

The Creed of the ACP is a belief system of how we feel a just government and its citizens should interact.

The ACP Creed

We Believe:

  • the legitimacy of government exists only as long as it defends human liberty.
  • the origin of human liberty predates government, and therefore liberty cannot be repealed by government.
  • the existence of human liberty presupposes the right to defend it, and the basic right to live begets the rights of self-defense and free expression.
  • the self-ownership evident in human liberty begets basic rights over one’s self and time, and that the right to pursue happiness and self-fulfillment originate here.
  • the boundary of human liberty ends where it transgresses the rights of another. Jurisprudence exists to mediate disputes where the boundaries of more than one individual intersect.
  • the armed forces and law enforcement exist to bolster private defense, not to supplant it.
  • that the American Experiment was born out of these beliefs and that it has resulted in a bountiful gain for the human condition.
Our organization, especially here in Texas is still nacient. We are not, to a man, party hacks. We are regular people with jobs and families and mortgages and car payments. It has been a long and bumpy road, but the American Experiment is too important to let it die by a thousand papercuts. I would hope that my readers would take a moment out of their day and think long and hard about whether the current two party structure is serving the American people well. If you come to the conclusion, as I have, that somehow, somewhere, we, the American people, have lost our way, that our party is no longer OUR party, but is instead bought and paid for by those with enough money and influence to command allegiance by the party leadership, despite the wishes of the people, then I would encourage you to consider joining me in my endeavor.

I and my fellow ACP members harbor no illusions, we are, at least at this juncture, a small third party, trying to make our way in a world that has not historically been kind to third parties. The powers arrayed against us are powerful indeed. We will somehow soldier on. Because freedom and liberty are too important to let die. Remember, at one time the Republican party was a weak and disorganized third party too. Now it is merely weak, abandoned by the people because it's leadership stopped listening to them. Our goal is to be the flag around which those who have been abandoned by the GOP rally around. Conservatism is not dead, far from it. There just has not been a political entity actually espousing conservatism for a long time. That has now changed.

What? You thought I was going to say I was gay or something? Puhleeze! Everybody is gay these days. What is so unique about that?