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March 2010

Thoughts on Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu is indeed "lucky" the cops didn't show up for her St. Patrick's Day striptease at Dealey Plaza. Many can argue her video is a piece of exhibitionism and not art. However, she brings up a topic we don't discuss as often as we should. "Groupthink," and its close cousin "character assassination," is typically used by people hoping to destroy another person's credibility. We all know how it works, and many of us have been victims of this behavior. If you dare to speak out against abuse, unmitigated nosiness, and pettiness, then you too may find yourself in the "crosshairs" of some unimaginative character attack. I don't know if Erykah is really focusing on her own personal experiences, or if she is trying to communicate a larger societal problem. No matter what her motives were, she has certainly created some controversy. If you are different, then you are a potential target.

Unless you are well educated, or have been a target of "group think" yourself, you may not even realize you are participating in this act of ignorance and cruelty. If you are knowingly advocating an unfair and ganglike attack on an individual, then chances are you may never suffer a just punishment. We tend to overlook this social ill. But, from a larger perspective, this garden variety tool has been used by some pretty large players. Maybe I am referring to the tactics employed by Fox News and its personalities: Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, et al. The truth is I hate to single them out; almost everyone has been guilty during the health care debate.

We can never overlook the dangers of "groupthink" and the herd mentality. This is the same type of thinking that causes innocent people to get hurt: Salem witch trials, The Holocaust, and even small town shame and ignorance.

For a better understanding of "group think" do a little research.

Perfect Houston Weather

Gosh, it is so nice today; the weather is perfect. I get to sit out here on my pretty little deck, enjoy my dog, and use my neat little dryer rack from IKEA. The school bus is on its way to pick up my little Vince; I just watched it drive by. Drake is taking his usual nap in the warm sun; the trees already have most of their leaves; and the flowers are blooming everywhere. Garden boxes are all the rage for apartment dwellers like myself. My neighbor looked them up online, and made me one that would cost several hundred dollars in the store. We are planning a trip to the Houston Garden Center for dirt, plants, and clay pots. 

I have two covered carports. They are not attached, but they are in neat little locations. The one I am converting to a patio is protected from the hot evening sun. In the morning it gets lots of rays, so I think my garden box will do just fine. I already have a topsy-turvy hanging basket for tomatos. Gene helped me hang it up, and we put a jalapeno in with the tomato. Vinnie's Latin grandmother told me that if you plant your peppers and tomatos together, the tomatos will have extra zip.

In the summertime, my wooden deck gets hotter than Hades. You literally cannot stand it, and nothing will grow up here except cactus. But that's fine with me, I love cactus anyway. My little Tex Mex apartment is a lot of fun. My neighbors have some horses, and they ride by at night: a reminder of how country we really are out here. Gene lives across the street in a beautiful old home; my son and his friends borrow the family basketball goal.  

The sunlight is making it kind of hard to see my computer screen; so, I might be making quite a few mistakes. My grammar gets bad when the sunshine permeates my scalp; so I might not be making any sense. But one thing I am sure about...moving to Texas was a great idea!





Sarah Palin: True or False

All of us are wondering: what's in it for Fox News? Teaming up Sarah Palin with Glenn Beck, and going overboard to derail healthcare reform, is obviously an attempt to protect "big insurance." Whatever the reason, we have to ask ourselves, "Is it possible we have lost our way?" People are screaming hysterically because 31 million souls without healthcare insurance will now have a doctor. If Sarah Palin is indeed the Christian she claims she is, then why is she on this bus riding around as the Republican Party shill? Last night someone suggested that 30 percent of doctors were going to quit their practices. Why would people who have devoted their lives to an expensive education, and the health and well being of our society, just up and quit? Like the "lie of the year" that Sarah Palin told in 2009 about "death panels," this too is an effort to stoke hysteria. People and politicians with good health insurance plans like Medicare, are out screaming and yelling about the end of America because we are now going to have more equity and access. These same people claim they are pro-life, but they don't mind if someone who is out of the womb is denied healthcare and dies.

Palin has sold out to Fox News and "Big Insurance." And if you don't watch Fox with an open mind, then you too will be convinced that because of healthcare reform (which basically adds up to little more than insurance reform) the end is coming. We are all going to lose our jobs, pay horrendous taxes, and be prohibited from dining at McDonald's. It's true; a few greedy healthcare professionals are going to pay up. Maybe some of this equipment and technology that has been paid for by taxpayer subsidies will not cost the consumer as much. Sadly, for "Big Insurance" rates are eventually going to drop. Real competition is on the horizon…I know they don't want that.

Narcissism is the problem. People who have made lots of money don't really want to pay lots of taxes. So they believe the ongoing lies falling from the lips of shills like Sarah Palin. Starting the Tea Party/John McCain silliness in Nevada was rather symbolic of this kind of mainstream media herd mentality exploited by Fox News and "Big Insurance," who are backing the whole charade. Palin's more serious image problems will arrive later as the public begins to see through the "big news channel" manipulations. She will be exposed as a woman who had much to offer, and, instead, decided to sell out for quick fame and money. She will, over time, begin to appear very stupid and very used. Fox News is already starting to tip its hand just a little too much. And if the Republicans really want to win the next round of elections then the lies they are telling, and the hysteria they are causing, must stop. As for 2012, they had better find a "serious" candidate.

The nice folks on the "Tea Party" bus debacle need to think about the philosophy they are extolling.

"Is it possible we have lost our way?"

Around the world we are seen as too narcissistic. We sell beds for babies, and we make them lie there like dolls, and drink powdered milk out of a can. Later on we tell people that it is "completely up to them." Their failures, successes, health, and monetary wealth are all individual choices. We isolate our children almost from birth. When people get sick they are expected to own an expensive policy that should pay for whatever illness, or accident, they have suffered. If the policy doesn't pay, then people are expected to forfeit their home. In a country where "individualism" is everything, and failure is personal, we expect our citizens to rely on charity rather than a system. This creates a whole underclass of people who are undermined by the same society they have endeavored to contribute. Lately we have heard prominent people yelling confusing slogans, "Healthcare is not a right!" However, it is a "right" for the financially affluent. I don't understand that. All people suffer the same, as do all children. The pain, the loss of control, and the helplessness will bring us all to the same level. What has happened to our sense of decency?

I watched Sarah Palin slaughter the English language, and defile a perfectly nice motorcycle jacket on television. I was ashamed for her.

The problem with Palin is that her pants are on fire! If you don't believe me, then you can access this link and see for yourself. She doesn't even believe in herself.

Stephen Sudduth Pretrial Reset

The pretrial hearing for accused kiddie porn pervert, of Sealy, Texas, Stephen Sudduth, has been moved to July 6, 2010, according to the Austin County district attorney's office. Apparently the Texas Attorney General's office has made the request so they may acquire more testimony, and gather additional evidence. Also this week, an arrest was made in Florida in the murder, and sexual assault, of little seven-year old Somer Thompson. According to tonight's ABC Television newscast, the monster who allegedly killed and raped poor little Somer had been picked up by authorities in Mississippi on child pornography charges. He was in Somer's Florida neighborhood staying with his parents. The Thompson family may have never have suffered this nightmare had the Mississippi authorities not delayed the arrest of her attacker, or if his parent's had never allowed him into their home.

Also another kiddie porn pervert, Victor Bard Davidson of Orange, Florida, faces a 75 year sentence for 200 counts of child pornography.,0,7466250.story 

Alert: Child Rapists May Get Death Penalty

According to the online edition of the Daily Oklahoman, the Supreme Court may be willing to revisit their narrow 5-4 decision against the death penalty for child rapists. This is a much needed review, and it will apply to those who simply planned, or attempted, to murder their victims. As a parent, it is incomprehensible to me that our Supreme Court would not have cleared a path for this punishment on its first analysis; however, this is an idea that should set well with most Americans because "intent" will send a predator to death row. We can no longer afford to be soft on this kind of crime. We cannot pretend these predators are victims, or that they can be salvaged. Men, and women, who prey on little children for sex and profit (kiddie porn, prostitution etc.) have no place in society. If we can't afford to lock them up forever, then we need to send them to death row.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Republican Party and Healthcare(A Post I wrote about Mitch McConnell and the GOP in 2010, and it's Still TRUE)

Lamar Alexander, and his virtual twin Mitch McConnell, are, as we post this weblog, griping about the new changes signed into law today by our African American president. From my perspective this is nothing less than poetic justice in harmony with God and nature. Lamar and Mitch, virtual twins, have been sitting in government for so long they have forgotten about the struggles faced by everyday normal citizens who fight and wrangle with big insurance on a regular basis. Lamar, Mitch, and all of their colleagues sit in their fancy suits, in nice little Washington offices, on their posh little bottoms, already enjoying tax funded healthcare from little ole me, and little ole you.

Our country has been living with this immoral and inhumane healthcare system that has perpetuated this insensitive, disgusting, holier-than-thou attitude embracing everything from cancer, to obesity, to abortion, and beyond. Income and employment has dictated personal healthcare choices that should ethically have been placed within an outside realm rather than tied to employment and private industry. With other countries as a model, the United States has indeed not taken healthcare reform an inch far enough. There is something innately evil about profiting from human suffering. I do not say that healthcare should be completely socialized, I say let it be regulated to stop abuse. I do not deny doctors, researchers, and healthcare professionals a right to prosper; however, something must be done to stop greed from overtaking good sense, as it has proven itself in recent experience. This new healthcare bill does not really go far enough to protect the American consumer, but it is a great beginning.

Lamar, Mitch, and other people of similar mind, do not really care if you and I enjoy decent healthcare. This attitude has fallen out of style with most Americans, and we are sick of this insensitive nonsense. Having lived with socialized medicine myself, and having many friends who still enjoy that freedom, I say it is time for Americans to become more compassionate rather than less. Being in the position to compare social medicine to our own system, unlike Mitch and Lamar, I can tell you from firsthand experience that what we do is cruel, hinges on insanity, is greedy, and cannot sustain itself. As a society, we are living in immorality when we deny our sick people the power tools (access to health insurance and equality) that will help them achieve wellness. Not covering preventive care sets a low standard and creates failure for patients who, with help, could have lived healthier lives. From my point of view it is shocking, and murderous, that an insurance company would deny an authentically sick patient doctor ordered care. Hell has a special place for people who have done this kind of filthy work.

I do agree with something the republicans have argued. We do have a responsibility to maintain our own health and well-being. That is why, once you are kicked off your parent's plan, you need to go out and purchase your own insurance. You should be mandated to do so because if you are attacked, become sick, or drink yourself into oblivion, then I, and other taxpayers, should not have to pick up the tab. Just like driving, we are all at risk, and we risk everyone else, when we have no insurance. The republican attack on health insurance mandates is hypocritical, illogical, and has no useful purpose whatsoever. This action, undertaken by the attorney general's offices in a dozen states, just proves the leaders in these states have sold out to big insurance. I include my own state of Texas in this list.

Now that the United States is starting to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world, maybe we will look a little more humane, and decent, to countries who are snarling at us now. We can look forward to the day when selfish men like Lamar and Mitch are no longer part of the American landscape. Then we might, once again, achieve respect around the world.

Naturally Beautiful British Columbia


 Fall is a time of magic and profound beauty in Western Canada. In a child-like way I am in love with Mother Nature. It is as if she has thrown jewels into the world for me to admire. Like a precious gem clutched tightly in my hand, I cling to my memories of my travels from Vancouver, British Columbia, through the Frazier Canyon.

Imagine busy metropolitan Vancouver with its crowded housing and hilly narrow streets. The city is bustling at the seams with people of all ethnic backgrounds and occupations. Soon the narrow streets and crowded conditions blend into a super-highway flanked with massive evergreen trees, thick grass, and colorful leaves blowing in the wind. In the distance jagged mountaintops grace the skyline, and the road narrows. Suddenly, you are spilled into the gracious, and spectacular, Frazier Canyon.

As you drive along, the river winds around on your left side. The rapids are famous around the world for their challenge to whitewater rafters. On your right, is the canyon wall with hundreds of tiny waterfalls capturing the sunlight reflecting the colors back like bouncing crystals. You are nestled between the towering cliff and the raging river. The water is cold, soon freezing into a sapphire blue sheet of ice topped with swirling white snow.

Throughout the entire trip you will be entertained by the train track traveling along with you. Sometimes the train will be perched on a cliff high above struggling with all its might to climb even higher. Occasionally, it will disappear into a long mountain tunnel. It looks like a toy in a child's dream punctuated by the stunning beauty of the canyon backdrop, the sound of its horn lingering on the wind, a sad melody seeming to sing, "Goodbye summer, I love you." Enormous trees, fabulous in ruby and bronze, flaunt their windswept branches decked in royal splendor.

Bears can be seen along the highway foraging with herds of goats, and massive elk, struggling for food they know winter will bring a longing for. The piney smell of dewy fresh grass, and the pungent smoky odor of fresh meat will be absent until spring's grand return. Sleek coats are becoming shaggy and course, with a dull dry texture, to protect the animals from winter's wet frosty chill.

Memories of my canyon journeys are pleasant, and give me comfort in a world that is now too crowded and complicated to rejoice in. Something new and beautiful was mine to discover, and each mile a remarkable jewel. The education in glamour, and nature, is priceless and continues to inspire me after all of these years.

Uranium Mining in New Mexico

Other cultures can learn valuable lessons about life, happiness, nature, and family from Native Americans.

Poetry is the best way to answer the question, "How should we relate to the land and the communities of people residing on the land?"

Have you seen the Earth?

Red and brilliant sky,

Reflecting stars, cascading tiny drops of water,

glistening on shining blades of grass.

Warm breezes wrapping arms around brown shoulders,

the color of the Earth.

Heavy hearts and friends of life are sobbing,

children playing in the dirt.

Dark brown little bodies confined to beds,

shrouded in white,

sick and dying,

the Earth polluted.

L Eckert

 How have we related to the land and the communities of people residing on it?


Banking Fun

My kid opened his first savings account today. He has been hoarding his lawn mowing money, birthday money, his Christmas money, and any spare change he could find, in a faux leather chain drive wallet embossed with the skull and bones. He plans on buying a car when he "gets big" and getting a job at Sonic where he can roller skate his way to riches. He's onto something; he already has more money than I do, and when you compute my worth minus my debt, he is flusher than me and the average taxpaying adult.

Not only that, my kid is really tough with his funds. Even when someone gives him a few bucks to take to Dollar General, Vince sticks it in his chain drive and asks to use "other people's money." OPM is a way of life for my kid; he isn't about to spend his own cash.

He plans on making a LOT of deposits. His personal banker told him each time he makes one he is eligible to sign up on-line for a fun prize. Just so he could make another deposit before the end of the week, he telephoned his father and asked that all of his piggy banks be brought south.

He took his cash and deposit slip to the teller window while everyone watched and smiled. He clipped his tough little wallet back to his belt loop, crammed my Blackberry into his pocket, stuck his paperwork under his arm, and headed out to the car just like making big deposits are an everyday occurrence. I think they will.