SocraticGadfly: 3/11/07 - 3/18/07

March 17, 2007

Exactly why we are still in Iraq

For political reasons, to play to "the base," if you're Karl Rove.

For psychological reasons, because Dick Cheney simply cannot admit he's wrong. CLASSIC Type A American male.

For religious reasons. George Bush's Freudian slip of "crusade" reflects what his mindset actually is.

THAT's why we keep pounding sand down a rathole.

Since I wasn’t at an in-person antiwar protest this year …

Consider this my online protest against the invasion of Iraq, the screw-up it has become, the violations of international law inside Iraq since then by trying to turn its economy into a privatized oil fiefdom, Abu Ghraib and other violations of law and morals against torture, all the lies told by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney about the war, and the Democrats’ continued milquetoast behavior.

March 15, 2007

This inactive of a Sierra Club group ain’t good

I thought that one way of meeting some like-minded people in the general area of “Far South Metroplex” would be to get involved with the regional Sierra Club group.

So, I Googled “College Station” + “Sierra Club. Got the Brazos Valley Group’s website as one of the top Google hits.

All well and good, so far.

Info about the next meeting at the top of the webpage. Also well and good.

The next listed meeting? March 1, 2000!

THAT ain’t good at all. Turns out it apparently was folded into the Houston chapter. BUT, because College Station has a few things going for it, my hopes were that this would be one of them and I wouldn’t have to go into Hell-town too often.

Besides, unlike in Dallas, the Houston group apparently doesn't have singles' gatherings.

Heck, there’s a Central Texas chapter centered on Waco, an area no more liberal and no more heavily populated.

I also saw something on City-Data’s webpage about College Station. (City-Data is a great resource, by the way.)

It has links with various community bulletin board comments for registered users. One is about dating. Among comments was this:
If your looking for someone open minded or a little unique, you MIGHT find them at a&m, but it would be hard. i managed to live there 4 years without meeting a single person i would have liked to date.

Lowered expectations … while trying to continue to water hope.

Now official: Lancaster has a Nixonian city manager

I CANNOT believe the city actually hired this Ricky Childers, given this background:

When you’re getting called “Ricky Childish” and “City Mangler,” you ain’t universally popular, or close to it, and probably with good reason

First, isn't it a step down to go from a city the size of Longview to one the size of Lancaster? Of course it is, and, Mayor Tillotson and Childers, let's not lie about that or otherwise spin it?

But, if it a step down, then why is Childers "stepping down"?

First of all, this HUGE and "Nixonian" OOOOPPPPS! Fingerprinting your own city staff in Longview???
Sources say in March of 2000, while serving as the city manager of Longview, Childers ordered a number of city employees and department heads to undergo fingerprinting by the Longview police department. Why? Childers reportedly received a letter critical of his administration. He called the police who found a fingerprint on the letter. Childers then ordered certain city employees be fingerprinted to see if they had written the letter. Reached by phone, Childers refused to comment.

What the hell are you doing??

At about 55 years old, he sounds like he would want to remain a consultant; if he wanted to move to Dallas, I would think he could pick up consulting gigs.

If it walks, talks and quacks like a duck slumming downward, it probably is. That is proof No. 1.

Also, according to this online newspaper/bulletin board, several people thought he was stiffing Longview police on pay scale/salary. The Longview City Council also allegedly hired him as a consultant, plus gave him six months’ severance, rather than go through the work of firing him.

Given the above, this doesn’t AT ALL sound surprising.

A selected comment:
Rickey Childish and A.J. "Gomer" Key abolished the Community Policing program because of the political power the citizen groups possessed. If it wasn't the brainchild of Childish or Gomer, it wasn't going to exist in this City. If it meant answering to the citizens, Childish wasn't going to stand for it. Now we're all paying for it!

Joe, Carol, anybody else on the Lancaster City Council want to comment?

NO, THEY DON'T. At least not Carol. I e-mailed her a week ago when I first heard about this possibility. No response yet.

I wonder who else was on the list of finalists, too. Were they even worse?

March 14, 2007

An apology of sorts to someone

If anything I posted here around the end of January upset someone, and that person is still reading, I’m sorry. Obviously, I don’t know if that’s the case; I’m not a mind-reader. Nor do I know exactly why, if that’s the case. Anyway, it’s probably water under the bridge and in the Gulf of Mexico by now.

Loneliness vs. aloneness

Definitely for the first time since I moved to Far South Metroplex in January, I really felt not just “aloneness” but “loneliness,” for a couple of minutes earlier tonight.

It wasn’t triggered by any memories or reminisces on childhood life, either. Just my adult self.

A friend of mine, a veteran of the newspaper biz himself, once wrote a column about being older and single, and it got results. Of course, he was in a metropolitan area when he wrote that!

Nonetheless, the idea is percolating in my head — I may continue to mull it over.

Nuke plants for Dallas, and the TXU deal in trouble

TXU’s buyout by leveraged buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts sounds like its in some trouble. The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an insider-trading lawui

insider trading lawsuit against the deal.

TXU has also announced plans to buy two nuclear reactors from Mitsubishi and erect them in the general vicinity of Dallas.

Now, as long as we address the nuclear wastes issue, I’m OK with nuclear power. The insider trading allegations … hmm, wonder how Environmental Defense, the environmental group that helped broker this deal, is going to deal with this. And, are any of its actions a party to the suit?

As the housing bubble bursts: another Greenspan legacy

The Dow crashed below 12,000, due in large part to worries about subprime mortgages.

The problem soured even good news from GM, as its residential mortgage arm reported problems with subprime loans.

So, Tommy Tompkins, Steve Topletz I really feel your pain now.

D.R. Horton probably won’t be building a lot of new houses anywhere, not just Lancaster, Texas, for the rest of 2007.

Joking aside about Steve Topletz’s pain, or Tommy Tompkins’, this could turn out to be the top economic story of 2007. Former Federal Reserve chair (Saint) Alan Greenspan either blithely ignored the housing bubble or else willfully encouraged it to get us out of one recession, only to possibly plunge us into another that may be worse. (Of course, this is the same Saint Alan that allowed the bubble to build up in the first place in the late 1990s.)

American Historical Association condemns BushCo policies

Among the complained violations:
exclusion of foreign scholars, the reclassification of previously unclassified documents, the suspension of habeas corpus in certain cases, and the use of unacceptable interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, and elsewhere.

A vote of just under 15 percent of AHA membership supported the resolution by a 3-1 margin.

No word if neoconservative historian Victor Davis Hanson, of the “clash of cultures unto Armageddon” take on modern Islam, is an AHA member.

Congressional Democrats, it’s spelled B-A-C-K-B-O-N-E

They first get cold feet on Iraq, then Iran, now Gitmo

After Congressional Democrats said they would not defund Iraq as of the end of 2007 in a Defense Department supplemental appropriation, they also said they would not (at this time, as if they will in the future) tie President Bush’s hands in advance on Iran.

Now? They won’t try to close the illegal detainee center at Guantanamo Bay, either.

Well, look ahead to the Green Party in 2008.

March 13, 2007

Smokey Joe Barton worries NOT about TXU buyout itself, but about campaign dinero

Barton sent letters to state and federal regulatory agencies expressing his concerns about whether this was the best for Texas consumers.

Sure, Joe.

Good thing this was TXU and not TXI or we’d have Alberto Gonzales getting some federal district attorneys on the sale, under pain of firing.

March 11, 2007

THIS could change the Lancaster housing market

Due in part to “encouragement” from the Federal Reserve, more lenders are refusing to issue zero-down home loans.
On March 2, reacting to the distress in the mortgage market, a throng of regulators, including the Federal Reserve Board, asked lenders to tighten their policies on lending to those with questionable credit. Late last week, WMC Mortgage, General Electric’s subprime mortgage arm, said it would no longer make loans with no down payments.

It’s way past time. Now, will this then affect the size, vs. the quality, of big-box homes?