Monday, June 30, 2008

Joe Horn - Just Got Away With Murder (Like We Knew He Would)

It's official. Joe Horn got away with cold-blooded, premeditated murder today when a Harris County grand jury decided not to file any charges against him for shooting to death two men who had just burglarized his neighbors house. But I'm not surprised.

When writing about this case
back in December I said

...Despite these facts, we're still waiting to hear from the Harris County DA regarding charges against Mr. Horn. Suffice it to say, no one's holding their breath.

...when he went outside. He (Joe Horn) just saw two Black dudes. And in the eyes of many of my fellow Texans, despite the fact that burglary has NEVER been deemed a capital offense, and that a man is supposedly innocent until proven guilty; that is justification enough to get away with murder.

Sometimes I hate it when I'm right. To recap, they weren't robbing his house, a 911 operator told him to stay inside because police were on the way, and as it turns out, were already on the scene but had to duck to avoid getting shot.

"It was over within seconds. The detective never had time to say anything before the shots were fired," (Pasadena police Capt. A.H. "Bud") Corbett said. "At first, the officer was assessing the situation. Then he was worried Horn might mistake him for the 'wheel man' (getaway driver). He ducked at one point.

Did I mention that both men were shot in the back? I know this is Texas and all, but even back in the wild west shooting somebody in the back was considered a cowardly act. What's different here?

Well at least we know that Good ol' Joe feels so bad about what he did now.

Horn's attorney, Tom Lambright, said recently that Horn regrets his decision to confront the men.

"Was it a mistake from a legal standpoint? No. But a mistake in his life? Yes," Lambright said. "Because it's affected him terribly. And if he had it to do over again, he would stay inside.

...Lambright said Horn didn't expect to be involved in a shooting, but rather expected to see the two men running or driving away.

"He thought he was gathering evidence for the police department," Lambright said.

Sure Mr. Lambright. None of of us heard the 911 tape where Good ol' Joe told the operator he was going out there to kill those men. I'm sure it's really had an effect on him, but I guarantee it hasn't affected his life like it did the men he murdered.

There are a lot of folks asking now what the makeup of that grand jury was. C'mon, do you really have to ask. This is after all Harris County, TX. But like I said, I'm not surprised.
just wonder what the outcome would have been if the victims weren't Black, Hispanic, and in the country illegally from Columbia.

Well, Good ol' Joe, you got away with it.

Everybody - Into The Pool!

When we're able to afford a nice vacation, my wife and I usually go somewhere tropical. Stop - I know what you're thinking already. "Y'all live in Houston, how much more tropical do you need?"

Well let me rephrase that. We usually go somewhere tropical with nice beaches. And boats. And invariably I end up jumping off that boat into deep water for a swim or to snorkel.

The first time it happened she thought I was crazy, and I didn't understand her reaction. I've been swimming since forever and am quite comfortable in the water, whether it's a pool or the ocean.
She on the other hand didn't know how to swim and would not get near the water with anything less than a lifejacket on and a couple of lifeguards on standby. After a summer of swim lessons a few years back, she's much more comfortable now, but I've discovered there are a lot more people out there like her.

Especially Black folks.
I learned to swim when I was in the 1st grade, but for various reasons, too many of our kids don't learn to swim early in life. That puts a damper on water borne activities for a lifetime, but that's not the worst of it however. From the excellent Black Gives Back blog:

Not long ago, I read a study that stated nearly 60% of black children ages 6-16 can't swim. Various reasons I've seen cited are historical and cultural factors, such as the lack of swimming pools in urban communities and lower income families not being able to afford swimming lessons. In addition, studies show that Black children drown at a rate almost three times the overall rate.

That's some kind of disparity, and I'm willing to bet that almost all of those drowning deaths could be prevented by ensuring that kids know how to swim and practice proper water safety. There have already been at least two drowning deaths of
children here in Houston so far this summer. Thankfully, there are several initiatives coming on line that help to address this need, some of which are highlighted in this post and in this article.

My daughter is not the best swimmer, yet, but she will be because we are making her do it. Same goes for the nieces and nephews. Lessons can be expensive, but I think you have to weigh it against the costs of not providing them. Teach them while they're young.

It's shouldn't really even be a question.

Korea to U.S. - We Don't Want Your Food!

As I watch my Sunday dose of the old glube tube, I get a quick glance of people rioting, and screaming at the police in South Korea. I see fires burning, pipes swinging, people yelling and screaming. I eagerly wait for the main topic of the story to return, and the two minute commercial break to end.

Then my mind begins to wonder. Did one of their officers shoot an innocent man 50 times and kill him, or did something even worse happen?

Well as the story unfolded, I learned that thousands of
South Korean protesters (15,000 to be exact), were rioting against their governments decision to resume importing beef from the United States after a five year ban was imposed due to Mad Cow disease. And have been doing so for weeks.

Scary, yes? In fact this instantly gave me a dose of
deja vu. I'm not talking about last weeks tomato scare, or the fact that the US used to be the third largest supplier of beef to South Korea and lost a $754 million annual market when it was closed. No, what's more scary is the fact that the Koreans seem to be paying attention to something we've forgotten. After all, it was just only last September that Cargill Inc. recalled 1 million pounds of beef for the second time in a month due to E. coli bacteria contamination.

Here, silence after the initial furor died down, while over there, mass social action.

Kim Eun-joo
, promoter of an online petition against the decision which has already collected more than 100,000 signatures explains: "The treaty is unjust because it endangers the health of my fellow citizens. It does not mention safety controls, and permits any kind of meat to be exported to our country.

This is truly amazing and if nothing else, one would think it provides an eye opening opportunity for many Americans to think about the quality of our food. But unfortunately most of us just don't seem to get it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Kid Groups

Happy Old School Friday! I'm back at the wheel this week since I had to grab the OSF keys back from That Girl Boo before she posted another Whitney Houston video. Today's theme is "Kids Groups." This was kind of a hard topic because the Jackson Five and New Edition immediately came to mind, so they're out. Then I remembered this group of one hit wonders from England who were hot, hot, hot for one summer back in 1982.

Here's the Musical Youth, with Pass the Dutchie.

Oh yeah, that was the groove. Hope you enjoyed it and don't forget to check out the rest of the Old School Friday crew.

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp - Wonderland or Not

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama: Black Power! I'se runnin' for Pres-o-dent!

Did you know that Ralph Nader is running for president? Again. I didn't, but I do now. Just goes to show that no publicity is bad publicity, and Nader is proving it. He's all over the news for his asinine statements in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News.

"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson?

Where to even start. Well, how about pointing out the fact that Barack Obama is running for the position of the President of the United States. Last I heard, there were a lot more than just Black folks living here, and actually, the majority of people don't live in the ghetto. But wait there's more.

"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

Don't worry Ralph, I've got the solution and I hope the Obama campaign is listening. I think that maybe Obama should incorporate something like this in his stump speech.

Sup? I'm Barack Obama and I'se runnin' for Pres-o-dent.

We gotsta do sumpin' bout payday loans and predatory lending, and sh*t. The interest on them muthaf*ckas is too high. I mean got damn. Don't even git me started on lead and asbestos
and crime and all that ol' bullsh*t. Y'all know this county is f*cked up right now, and ima fix it. Nyahmean?

So git yo punk ass out and vote for me in November, else I'll f*ck you the f*ck up. Muthaf*ckas.

That should help him regain his street credibility, and be suitably threatening enough to white people, don't you think? If not, he can always throw a Black Power or two in for good measure.

Would that be Black enough for you Ralph?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's Wrong With I.T.?

Here's an interesting piece regarding the shortage of IT workers in this country from eSchoolNews (free registration required for full article).

Continuing a recent trend that has many business leaders worried, the Computing Research Association's annual survey of universities with Ph.D.-granting programs found a 20-percent drop this year in students completing bachelors degrees in professional IT fields.

The trend--which comes at a time when demand for computer-related skills is increasing, and thousands of baby boomers are retiring from technical jobs--has many business leaders concerned that they won't find enough workers to maintain expected growth.

I'm really not surprised by this. With our school systems not graduating half of the students who start 9th grade, and with the lack of emphasis on actual learning rather than test-taking, is it any wonder that of those who do graduate, few are actually prepared for college? And of that few, what incentive do they have to choose the IT field when IT is always the first budget item cut or outsourced? It is a problem though, and will likely get worse before it gets better.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 854,000 professional IT jobs will be added between 2006 and 2016, an increase of about 24 percent. When replacement jobs are added in, total IT job openings in the 10-year period is estimated at 1.6 million.

The bureau estimates that one in 19 new jobs created during the 10-year period will be professional IT positions.

Technology is central to everything these days, and it's really unfathomable that this country is not doing more to help fill the IT pipeline. There is no data that anyone can show me that can conclusively prove that American kids of all backgrounds just don't want to, or can't compete in this field. I've worked with hundreds of them that do, especially the ones introduced to the information technology field early in their school lives. However most of those kids are "from the wrong side of the tracks," and there are not many resources allocated towards the curriculum and programs that sparks their interest and places them on a higher education path in the information technology field.

But the bottom line in industry is profit, and the corporate world seems to be awakening to the reality they've helped to create.

Microsoft has begun working with teachers to hold annual math camps and has launched programs such as DigiGirlz High Tech Camps, designed to provide girls in the ninth to 12th grades a better understanding of technology careers. Girls listen to executive speakers, participate in technology tours and demonstrations, network, and learn with hands-on experience in workshops.

Microsoft also has lobbied state lawmakers to boost math requirements in schools and has promoted a Math Matters program to raise awareness in schools about raising the level of math understanding

In many respects we have been squandering our greatest resource, our kids, and leaving them dependent on others to meet the future needs of this society. And not just in the IT field. The story is the same for nurses, petroleum engineers, and even teachers.

What will they be able to do for a living if all of the essential jobs are filled by people from outside the country? Sell each other hamburgers? We've got to do better than that.

Punch'em Back

This story gives me additional confidence in Barack Obama’s ability to withstand the withering attacks that are already starting to come, and demonstrate he has no intention of running a campaign remotely close to those run by recent Democratic standard bearers. From MSNBC.

Barack Obama said Tuesday that evangelical leader James Dobson was "making stuff up" when he accused the presumed Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible.

Dobson used his Focus on the Family radio program to highlight excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

…Obama said the speech made the argument that people of faith, like himself, "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."

Obama added, "I think you'll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes."

Now that’s what I’m talking about. For years this type of religious bullying has been an integral part of national politics, and the typical Democratic response has been to offer some sort of mealy mouth response, or cower in fear. I’m glad that Obama is calling this out for what it is. Politics. And Obama is not the only one calling Dobson and his ilk on their nonsense.

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist pastor from Texas and longtime supporter of President Bush who has endorsed Obama, said Tuesday he belongs to a group of religious leaders who, working independently of Obama's campaign, launched a Web site to counter Dobson.

Caldwell said he has great respect for Dobson's advocacy for families, but said the criticism of Obama was "a bit over the top" and "crossed the line."

"There has been a call for a higher level of politics and politicking," Caldwell said. "So to attack at this level is inappropriate and I think unacceptable and we at least want to hold everybody accountable."

Over the top indeed, as it always is. That, by the way, is the same Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell who performed the nuptials for Jenna Bush a few weeks ago.

At any rate, I don’t expect this to be the end of attempts to portray Obama as the ultimate boogeyman; a Muslim- Radical Christian-Communist-Liberal and Black to boot.

I’m glad to see that the Obama campaign continues to not allow him to be painted as something he’s not. In so doing, the fear mongering so prevalent in recent campaigns just comes across looking like what it is; silly and ignorant.

Monday, June 23, 2008

C.O. Bradford For Harris County D.A.

Sorry for getting the word out so late.

The following is not a paid political advertisement; rather it's posted here at the request of my friend's Mike Jones and Odell Winn. Come on out and support the Democratic candidate for the Harris County D.A. race.

You are cordially invited to attend a Fundraising Reception



Candidate for Harris County District Attorney

Hosted by

Odell Winn & Laurence Humphries

Co-hosted by Derrick Mitchell, Billy Briscoe, Damon Mattox, Ernesto Simon, Esq., LaRence Snowden, Mike Jones, and Brooklyn Guillory

At the home of




Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6:00 PM ‐8:00 PM

Suggested contribution level - $50.00 Please make your checks payable to: C.O. Bradford Campaign

Also contributions can be made online at

To RSVP or for further information please contact Wendy Richard at 713-621-1161 or

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On The Road Again

I'm headed up to Big "D" for the next couple of days to handle some family business, so posting will be a little light around here.

That is unless one of my co-bloggers decides to jump in and fill the void (hint, hint) .

If you're already here, why not take a stroll through the archives, or click on some of the great sites on our blogroll.

See y'all next week!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Garden Part 3

Hi everyone, it's time for another garden update. Click on the pictures for bigger images.

For the past few days it's been raining pretty good, yet my heirloom plants in my new unestablished (or poor quality) soil are still growing extremely slow. But they aren't dead.

My guess is that they won't do much this time around until I can get enough compost in the soil.

As you can see my yellow watermelon is growing out of control.
But where are the bananas this year?

I've dug up my garlic, and jarred many of my red beans,I've also manage to create a couple jars of pickles so far.

So far I've received two nice big tomatoes, (and two nice big horn worms) and you can see another getting ready to turn red. The first one the birds ate, so my 10 year old helped me to create a scarecrow. I hope it works.

I'm getting ready to add a bit more compost to the new boxes in hopes to have a healthy happy fall garden.
I'll keep you posted.

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Gospel/Inspirational Songs

Some of you know a little bit better than others but this has been a looong week for me, and I consider this weeks theme as my personal gift from God. Hearing all of these wonderful inspirational songs is a blessing. However I wouldn't be truthful if I told you that every religious song inspired me, in fact many positive songs just move my heart and make me feel humble and human.

So I have to go for two of my favorite inspirational songs one religious, and one none religious.

So have a wonderful weekend everyone and don't forget to check out the rest of the Old School Crew

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp - Wonderland or Not

Thursday, June 19, 2008

163 Years Ago Today - Commemorating Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth! For those who don't know, Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 date that slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation by Union General Gordon Granger, who read these words from Gen. Order No. 3:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

In other words, two years after its issuance, the slaves of Texas learned of their freedom. That's worth celebrating, especially if you're a descendant of those slaves.

I had originally planned to do more of a scholarly type post in commemoration of Juneteenth, but time precludes me from doing so at this exact moment. If that's more your thing, you can read my entry from last year;
Know Your History, (And Their's Too). Instead, here's a few thoughts on Juneteenth in general, and it's place in our history.

I have a couple of friends who always ask me, "Why should we celebrate people being late?" The implication being that because it took two years for the news to reach Texas, the slaves themselves were somehow negligent for not knowing that they were free. I always answer that "hey, there was a war going on, and they weren't exactly living in the internet age of instant communications." Besides, the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863, itself didn't free many slaves due to the fact that it originally applied only to those states in a state of rebellion against the Union, i.e. those not under Union control. It did however lay the legal foundation for slavery's abolition after the arrival of the Union army in those areas.

Juneteenth is a holiday here in Texas, and is celebrated unofficially all around the country. It's the only acknowledgment on the holiday schedule that recognizes this pivotal event in our history. Yet it's celebrated primarily by Blacks. I understand that, we were the direct beneficiaries of the Proclamation's purpose, but I've always wondered why the Emancipation Proclamation, is not celebrated universally in this country. I believe it's issuance should strike a chord with all Americans, since it marks the beginning of this country's recognizance that "all men are created equal," and set the country on a path towards achieving that goal. True freedom in other words.

This quest for true freedom and equality by Blacks in this country has shaped the character of this nation more than anything else, positively and negatively, in my opinion. As such, I think it should be recognized as an official U.S. holiday.

I grew up in East Texas, where Juneteenth was a pretty big deal. I also lived in Denver for a while, which didn't have a large Black population at all. Yet Denver annually stages one of the biggest Juneteenth celebrations in the U.S. , founded by Texans who had moved to Colorado. There are many other such celebrations around the country as well, particularly here in the Houston/Galveston metro area, Juneteenth's epicenter.

Do you celebrate Juneteenth? If so, how? I'll be updating this post a little later with Juneteenth postings from around the web, and if you see any good ones or have one up yourself, please leave a link in the comments.

Happy Juneteenth y'all.

UPDATED: Here are links to some other posts around the Afrosphere so far.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Are You Here...

...when you could be reading these posts from a few of my Texas blog buddies.

I get a little too busy every now and again and miss some out on the great stuff these guys write. Here are a few examples.

Big Tex has a fascinating post up concerning this years Presidential election.
Or is it a Minstrel Show?

Nobody has actually donned blackface yet, although SNL has come close with white Fred Armisen handling the Obama impersonations for the show. But it seems obvious to me that there is an obvious and ongoing attempt being made to frame Obama as an "uppity n*gg*r," and I wonder how far we are from crossing that threshold where all of the code words and insinuations are dropped, and naked, unadulterated, 200-proof racism is allowed to infest our political discourse. Perhaps it sounds a bit absurd to some to think that we might get to that point, but look at all of the other previously unthinkable thresholds that have been crossed during the Bush era.

Read the rest, it's worth it.

Shawn comments on Barack Obama's Father's Day speech over at the Dallas South Blog.

One of the gross misunderstandings during the whole “black church/black pastor ” flap was that black folks don’t preach or teach responsibility. The senator’s stance on the role of black father’s is not foreign to black pulpits. Family values are taught right along side equal justice.

Indeed. Even after 400 years of existence in this land, it seems that America still has a lot to learn about it's Black folks.
Thank goodness for the Obama campaign.

Speaking on the recent "Islam flap" in Friendswood, TX (details here), Neil at Texas Liberal wrote:

I’ve no way of knowing for sure, but I bet the great majority of students in Freindswood were not offended to learn about Islam.

Sometimes it seems that a job of parents is to make sure their kids acquire the same fears and prejudices they were left with by their parents.

In any case, some of the good people in Friendswood did speak up. And I believe many young people in this country grasp that a new day of greater acceptance of others is ahead.

Well, we can hope can't we?

Jobsanger has Guantanamo Bay and Bush's legacy on his mind. Bush seems to think that history will vindicate him in the long-run. I think just the opposite will happen. I think as more and more of the truth comes out, future generations will revile him and wonder how our generation could have allowed him to do such terrible things. In fact, I wonder that myself. This generation tried to impeach one president for getting a "blow-job" in the White House, but let another get away with starting an unnecessary war that killed thousand of innocents and tortured and imprisoned many others. I was going to ask where are our values, but I think a better question may be -- do we have any values other than fear and greed?

No doubt. I've ofter wondered the same thing myself.

Menopausal Mick and Llamacorey are leaving the great state of Texas for the Missouri Ozarks, and plan to stop blogging politically and focus of environmental issues. Their farewell post in part reads:

You people do important work. I hope now that the nomination process is finished that some of you will begin to focus on things that will make everything else trivial if not addressed. Democracy has to be reclaimed in order to have the tools needed to facilitate a real change. There is absolutely NOTHING to stop another stolen election. Voting machines will be used this November. The same machines that have been proven by Princeton and other universities to be entirely hackable and untrustworthy will be used to decide the presidential race. In addition to the voting machines, unless free and open media is reclaimed, there is very little hope of any real reform happening. MSM is corporate owned and sells a product that has little resemblance to news coverage of any value.

How does Democracy fail? Make the people afraid. Control the news. Make a free election into a sham. Done.

I hear you guys. But remember all things, including environmental issues are political, especially these days. You'll be missed around here.

Thanks everybody for all of your great writing which allowed me to create this post.

Ah... (Fire) Foxy!

Mozilla has released it's Firefox 3.0 web browser.

I've been a big fan of Firefox since version 1.0 back in 2004, so of course I'm taking the new version for a test drive right now. So far, so good. The program loads a LOT faster than the prior version, and there are some pretty cool new features.

For example, the Awesome Bar, formerly known as the address bar. Except now when you type in any portion of a previously visited site, it automatically compiles a list in a drop down menu of cached sites and your bookmarks to help you locate it quicker. You can add a bookmark to any site by clicking the star in the Awesome Bar.

I'm disappointed that the Google Browser Sync add on is no longer functional (yet) in this new version. I used that tool a lot to keep my favorites organized across different computers. Hopefully somebody is hard at work on an updated version.

There's more but you can see it for yourself at their download site. And sorry, I'm just too busy (lazy) to create screenshots right now, but as a consolation prize you can visit this site for a history of Firefox, including the latest version in screenshots.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Selective Amber Alert - Again

UPDATED 6/25: Children's bodies found and the Father is in custody.

If he actually killed and burned the bodies of his own children there's a special place in hell waiting for him. I can't think of anything that could lead any person to do what was done to these kids.

Oh, and maybe the police had a reason not to issue an Amber Alert in this case, but I still don't see it.

Still No Amber Alert. Father is now the prime suspect in their disappearance.

There are certain times you just have to call bullsh*t on something. This is another one of those times. Once again, Black children go missing, and the authorities don't even bother to put out an Amber Alert. There is simply
no excuse for this.

As local police and the FBI continued their search today for two children who vanished from a Pasadena apartment complex two days ago, the youngsters' mother questioned why an Amber Alert has not been issued.

"I think if an Amber Alert had been issued, my children would have been found already," said Jerilynn St. Cyr.

Police persisted through the night in the search for 7-year-old Randy Sylvester Jr. and his 3-year-old sister, Denim Sylvester, but no new leads were uncovered, a Pasadena police spokesman said.

So why was an alert not issued? For two days so far? Well...

Capt. Bud Corbett said an Amber Alert has not been issued because (Justice Department) criteria required to initiate an alert have not been met.

Here are those criteria.

• There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
• The law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
• There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction to assist in the recovery of the child.
• The abduction is of a child age 17 years or younger.
• The child's name and other critical data elements have been entered into the National Crime Information Center system.

How about if kids are missing, issue the darn alert. Every hour is precious and the more time that goes by, the less likely it is that the children will be found safely.

Now, I'm not going to jump all over the policemen because I have ultimate respect for the work they do, but I will say that the old "just following the rules excuse is getting a little bit old. Especially when the rules are usually most stringently followed when the missing kids are Black or brown.

Their photos are at the end of the video below, their physical descriptions are below that.

The boy, who is 4 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 55 pounds, was wearing a blue-and-orange University of Florida Gators shirt, blue denim shorts and blue-and-white tennis shoes.

The 3-year-old is about 2 feet, 5 inches tall and was wearing pink shorts, pink flip-flop sandals and a pink T-shirt with brown trim. Her hair was braided and pulled back in a ponytail, police said.


Gas Woes (or Whoas) - Texas Style

Yet another wrinkle of the never ending upward spiral of gasoline prices. Texans living along the Mexican border are crossing over to buy gasoline because it's dramatically cheaper in Mexico.

Nothing new there right? Consumers are going to find the products they want or need for the cheapest possible prices. Well, apparently the gas Americans are buying there, is refined here.
From the Chronicle.

With his sales down 40 percent and talk of border residents filling up in Mexico, Laredo Shell station owner Manuel Arechiga took his diesel pickup across the border to see what the story was.

Sure enough, he was able to fill his tank for about $70, as opposed to about $145 at his own station in Texas.

The kick is that the fuel is being refined in the United States and trucked across the border to Mexico, only to be sold at prices subsidized by the government there to protect the Mexican consumer prices that are now cutting into his business.

That's right, gas exported to Mexico from the U.S. is being consumed by U.S. citizens driving to Mexico. It's enough to make your head spin. But don't get to happy South Texas drivers, it might not last as the subsidies cost the Mexican government up to $20 billion annually, and there are calls for them to end.

"It is best to gradually reduce the subsidy of these products to salvage the population's standard of living," Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel said in a news conference.

If they can figure out a way to do it without throwing their country into chaos that is. Heck, ours too. With prices as high as they are, folks in Laredo and Brownsville might just join in any riots if their access to the cheap stuff is curtailed.

An interesting dilemma indeed. In a related story, there are still no suspects under arrest in the killing of a fuel tanker truck driver in an apparent robbery attempt. The reward for information has been increased.

The possible reward has been boosted by $10,000 in the effort to find the man who killed a fuel truck driver on June 8 at a north Houston gas station.

Crime Stoppers already had offered up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and charges in the slaying of Jorge Hernandez.

Hernandez's employer, Petroleum Wholesale, has added to the amount so that the total reward could be as much as $15,000, Crime Stoppers officials said today.

It's a shame that fuel truck drivers may be required to have armed protection sooner rather than later. Gasoline has been elevated to the level of precious commodity that I'm sure brings a premium price on the black market. I suppose it's just a sign of the times.

There... Already on NPR - The Link

Here's the link to my latest appearance on NPR News and Notes Bloggers Roundtable.

Appearing also were
Eric Brown of the Detroit News; and Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine, and the actual topics were:

1) R. Kelly being found not guilty on all counts in his child molestation trial.

Barack Obama's Father's Day Message in Detroit.

Barack Obama’s use of the internet to raise incredible amounts of money to get his message out and combat smear against tactics.

Have a listen and let me know what you think. I'm open to constructive criticism!

The Bloggers Roundtable can be heard
in Houston at 12:00 noon CST on KTSU-FM 90.9, every Monday and Wednesday during the News and Notes with Farai Chideya program. The whole show is always worth a listen.

You can hear my previous segment from May 5th here.

Thanks again to NPR for extending the invitation, and to you for listening.

Infant Primates Given Vaccines, Develop Autism Symptoms

The following was sent to me by a friend named John. Interesting stuff, and thanks John

-That Girl Boo

Infant Primates Given Vaccines On U.S. Children's Immunization Schedule Develop Behavioral Symptoms Of Autism

20 May 2008

A primate model for autism using the U.S. children's immunization schedule was unveiled at the International Meeting For Autism Research (IMFAR) this weekend. The research underscores the critical need for studies into vaccine safety and the immune and mitochondrial dysfunction of autistic children.

The National Autism Association (NAA) questions why the government hasn't undertaken these vital studies and why researchers have had to depend on private money to perform this critical science that will surely impact the health of millions of children worldwide.

While the authors and organizations associated with this study are withholding comment until p! ublication, University of Pittsburgh's Dr. Laura Hewitson, Ph.D., described at the IMFAR meeting how vaccinated animals, when compared to unvaccinated animals, showed significant
neurodevelopmental deficits and "significant associations between specific aberrant social and non-social behaviors, isotope binding, and vaccine exposure."

Researchers also reported at the scientific meeting that "vaccinated animals exhibited progressively severe chronic active inflammation whereas unexposed animals did not" and found "many significant differences in the GI tissue gene expression profiles between vaccinated and unvaccinated animals."

Gastrointestinal issues are a common symptom of children with regressive autism. NAA calls for the NIH to conduct large scale, non-epidemiological studies into the biomedical symptoms surrounding young children and all vaccines, including those containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal and other additives like aluminum.

This request for further research echoes that of Dr. Bernadine Healy, Former NIH Director in a CBS interview earlier this week. "I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis as 'irrational,' without sufficient studies of causation... without studying the
population that got sick," Healy said. "I have not seen major studies that focus on 300 kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of the vaccines."

Recently the government's vaccine court conceded the case of Hannah Poling, admitting that vaccines triggered her regression into autism by exacerbating mitochondrial dysfunction. "The recent Poling case and this new research provide further evidence that the CDC has fallen down on their job to protect children from harm. The biomedical research to date suggests that parental reports of regression following vaccination is not only plausible, but likely in certain individuals," said Scott Bono, NAA Chairman. "To date, the CDC has conducted no safety testing on the possible harmful effects of simultaneously administering multiple vaccines to infants, and has steadfastly refused to state a preference for mercury-free vaccines to be given to children and pregnant women. It's time for HHS and Congress to step in and take vaccine safety away from the CDC."

On June 4th, parents of vaccine-injured children will rally for toxin-free immunizations in Washington, DC. For more information visit

National Autism Association

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's and single Mom's out there!

My Father is no longer with us, but I'm lucky to have a great father-in-law. That's him and one of my nephews in the picture, helping out in the yard last summer.

I still remember most of what my Dad taught me though. In fact, I sound more and more like him every day. It's funny how the same things you were told as a child, you now repeat them to your own children.

For example, "Because I said so."

That was like the nuclear option for my parents when it came to ending a discussion with us kids. Hearing my Dad or Mom say that would annoy me to know end, but it would eliminate any and all dissent instantly. Once the "Because I said so" bomb was dropped, it was obey or face the consequences. And those consequences tended to be severe when I was coming up.

Now I find myself saying the same thing with my own daughter, and it still works just the same. I'm sure she gets just as annoyed when I use it too. Truly words of wisdom, and there are plenty more where those came from.

Happy Father's Day everybody.

There... Already on NPR, Monday, June 16th

On Monday at approximately 12:15 CST, I'll be making a second appearance on NPR's News and Notes with Farai Chideya, during the Bloggers Roundtable segment.

I'm told the topics will include:

1) R. Kelly being found not guilty on all counts in his child molestation trial.

2) Barack Obama’s use of the internet to raise incredible amounts of money to get his message out and combat smear
against tactics.

3) The alleged Clinton hit list comprised of people they feel betrayed them by siding with Barack Obama. Think Bill Richardson.

It should be interesting, and I should note that the topics are subject to change. Hopefully we don't have to spend too much time on the R.Kelly issue. Celebrity news is just not my thing.

You can catch the show on KTSU-FM 90.9 in Houston, or check your local listings.

Hope you can tune in. You can listen to the previous segment from May 5th here.

You Might As Well Move To Texas

It's official. For those of you who aren't already here, you might as well move to Texas. MSNBC ranks the Top 10 Best Places To Live in the U.S. last week, and three Texas cities landed on the list: No. 8 Austin, No. 7 San Antonio, and No. 4 Houston.

Hey, it's good to get a little positive press, and the economy on this end does seem to be doing a little better than in other cities. The article says about Houston

“Back with a roar after the oil bust of the 1980s, Houston has reclaimed its title as energy capital of the U.S. and added aerospace, technology and medical companies to the mix, generating more than 100,000 jobs in 2007,” gushes Kiplinger, which puts Houston, Texas, as its No. 1 best place (it was Forbes’ No. 40 this year and was Money’s No. 3 in 2007).

However, one of the things I like best about this city is the skyscraper architecture, and I thought I'd post a few pictures I've taken from around town.

The picture displayed in the banner of this blog was taken from the roof of the Hotel Magnolia in downtown Houston, and the skyline view at the top of this post was taken from a park in the Heights area.

The photo on the top left is of the old and new Harris County Courthouses, with the county offices (and jail) between them.

The shot on the top right was taken during this years International Festival and shows Heritage Plaza on the right corner.

Finally, on the bottom left is probably Houston's most distinctive skyscraper, the Bank of America Center.

On the bottom right is Minute Maid Park with the roof closed, where I watched the Astros get destroyed by the Yankees 8-4 yesterday.

This of course doesn't begin to cover all of the skyscraper architecture in this city. In fact, it only covers the downtown area. There are at least 5 other major business district concentrations in the city and others in the suburbs. I'll leave those pictures for another post, or you can go here, or here, for more information and pictures.

So y'all come on down. There's plenty to do and see, and maybe next time, we'll include a few of those things.

And to the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, just drop the check in the mail.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Favorite Female Singers

This was so very difficult, I love so many styles it just depends of my mode, but growing up as a child and even now Whitney Houston's voice still gives me chills.

UPDATED: DP here. That Girl Boo's been doing a great job with the Old School Friday's for the past couple of weeks, but I've gotta jump in here because she made such a good choice. Whitney Houston can definitely blow and had a string of pop hits, but do y'all remember when the whole world figured that out? Yep, the 1991 Super Bowl and her rendition of the national anthem.

And since the theme is "Favorite," rather than "Greatest" female singers, I had to throw in one of my all time favorites N'Dea Davenport. Here's she is with the Brand New Heavies doing Never Stop.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Old School Friday crew.

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp - Wonderland or Not