Monday, October 31, 2005

Texans Squeak Out a Win

The Chronicle on Taxes

I was skimming through the Sunday Houston Chronicle, having just finished the funnies and working quickly toward the sports section, when my attention was caught by a section column headline: "Republican retiree favors income tax." Curious, I had to stop and see what this was all about.

Chronicle columnist Rick Casey provides two "case studies" on the current tax situation in Texas. Setting up case study #1:
A friend of mine is a Republican precinct chairman and a skilled engineer who retired as a high-level executive with one of the big oil companies.

He is a very smart man with a very sharp analysis of his tax situation.

Like the rest of us, he has watched taxes on his home rise at a rate higher than inflation, and certainly higher than his income from pensions, Social Security and investments.

Waitaminit! I had to reread that passage a few times to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me. Did a Chronicle regular actually just admit that property taxes are rising?!? This is getting interesting...
Yet he knows that the appraisals of his home that lead to the higher taxes are accurate. Houses in his neighborhood keep selling for more and more.

He could sell his house and net a nice profit. But it's his neighborhood, his home, with room for his children and grandchildren when they come to town for happy visits.

So he won't cash in. He just gets taxed as though he did.

"They're taxing me on my unrealized capital gains," he says of the property tax.

Okay, so I'm still in shock over the admission of the tax increase by way of rising, compounding property appraisals. But I think I know where this is heading. State income tax. Let's move on to case study #2, which involves Houston City Councilman Mark Ellis, who is now running for state Senate.
With his candidacy in mind, he negotiated and won from Mayor Bill White an amendment this week to an ordinance setting the tax rate.

...Ellis' amendment lowered the rate by a token quarter of a cent, resulting in about a $2 annual savings on a $100,000 home, which fell well short of making up for the higher appraisals.

In a press release taking credit for the rate reduction, Ellis expressed sympathy for "the frustration taxpayers face with rising property values and skyrocketing property taxes."

Both Ellis and the Republican precinct chairman have solutions.

According to Mr. Casey, Mark Ellis' solution is a convoluted one involving adding restrictions on large commercial property owners (most especially oil refineries) and increasing the homestead exemption. Then this Republican friend of Casey's put forth a different and, in Casey's estimate, better solution...
...a solution that actually would work.

You guessed it, the dreaded state income tax.

Now, I do not claim to be a tax expert by any means. And I cannot honestly say that I am utterly opposed to a state income tax. I simply do not know the answer. But the only way it could possibly work (that is, help all of us who are not-so-slowly being taxed out of our homes) is if it completely replaces the current residential property tax system. Unfortunately, most often any mention of imposing a Texas state income tax involves some sort of "compromise" or mix of the two, which will never work! Once the state legislature has the ability to use both means, not a single citizen will be safe from their reaches.

But of course, the biggest problem with this entire article is that it misses the best and most obvious solution to the tax issue, and that is not surprising at all. With his analyses of the various legislative options for offering relief to homeowners, Mr. Casey never once calls on the Texas state legislatures to REFORM THE BUDGET. As with most fiscal liberals and (apparently) all current politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, Casey merely seeks a way to shift the current taxes around.

It's a shell game. The ball goes under the shell, gets shuffled around a few times as the taxpayers' attention is cleverly averted, and suddenly it appears the problem has vanished. No more ball. No more high taxes. And yet state and local budgets continue to rise steadily, year after year.
What we need is true tax AND BUDGET reform. Yes, lower the cap on residential property tax appraisals. Yes, lower the current tax rate. But let's get the shears out and do a little job on the budget while we are at it! Cut some of that pork, and maybe we can feed our families again on the trimmings.

Rosa Parks Lies in State

In a show of honor normally reserved for Presidents and other political dignitaries, the body of Rosa Park lies in state in the rotunda of the US Capitol Building. Go here for a full set of pictures from Yahoo! News.

click here for full slideshow
An honor guard carries the casket of Rosa Parks into the Rotunda of the US Capitol 30 October, 2005.

Tens of thousands of people, including top politicians, filed by the casket of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in the US Capitol, as she was hailed for her role in the battle for racial equality.

Nicholas McCauley, grand nephew of Rosa Parks, right, stands with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush (not pictured here) as they pay their respects in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Weekly Birthdays

Okay, so I've fallen behind for an entire week on the daily birthday list. My apologies, mea culpa, etc.! Real life has been intervening all too often of late. Here is a (somewhat) brief recap of the birthday celebrators from the past week.

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

The Daily Birthdays - October 31

The Daily Birthdays - October 30

The Daily Birthdays - October 29

The Daily Birthdays - October 28

The Daily Birthdays - October 27

The Daily Birthdays - October 26

The Daily Birthdays - October 25

The Daily Birthdays - October 24

The Daily Birthdays - October 23

The Daily Birthdays - October 22

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rosa Parks Honored in DC

The AP reports that Rosa Parks will be honored in the Capitol Building next week:
In death, Rosa Parks is joining a select few, including presidents and war heroes, accorded a public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda. It's the place where, six years ago, President Clinton and congressional leaders lauded the former seamstress for a simple act of defiance that changed the course of race relations.

On Sunday, Parks becomes the first woman to lie in honor in the vast circular room under the Capitol dome.

The House on Friday agreed by voice vote that the body of Parks will lie in honor in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American." The Senate approved the resolution Thursday night.
Mrs. Parks passed away earlier this week at the age of 92.

PETA Goes to the Dogs

I'll bet you couldn't make it through the weekend without reading this vital bit of news.

(So if they can't test their product on dogs, who do they use?)

The Smell of the City

You know there's something wrong when NYC smells this good.
New York City has many odors, but when the city began to smell a little too good, New Yorkers became alarmed.

Residents from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Upper West Side nearly 10 miles north called a city hot line to report a strong odor Thursday night that most compared to maple syrup, The New York Times reported Friday.

There were so many calls that the city's Office of Emergency Management coordinated efforts with the Police and Fire Departments, the Coast Guard and the City Department of Environmental Protection to find the source of the mysterious smell.

Photo Caption Contest

click for original photo and news article link

An Arkansas Halloween

Only in Arkansas could you expect to find a news report that opens,
Police say something bad was bound to happen when a butcher knife, the movie "Halloween" and a group of drinking men came together at a Rogers motel room.

Turning the lights back on...

I apologize for the extended absence this week as I attended a two-day seminar in the far reaches of the frozen northern wastelands. (You would think in today's modern world that a nice hotel in Dallas would actually have computers and internet access available for its patrons!)

Anyway, it may take a day or two to get the place powered back up and running at full power, but I just wanted to let everyone know I'm back. I'll be spending most of the weekend with the family (gotta give the beautiful Lady Shebird a little breather, and the entire household needs some good family time), but I'll try to get caught up with the daily birthdays and other current and relevant happenings.

And in case I forget to say it, have a heavenly weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Houston, We Have a Problem

Homemade Frito pie, "dome" dogs, and a large pitcher of freshly brewed iced tea. Sounded like a recipe for fun as we sat down to cheer the Astros on to their first victory of the Series.

Waking up this morning, all I feel is heartburn and heartbreak, as the White Sox pulled out a 14-inning win over the hometown boys.

By the by, Songbird will be pretty scarce today, but not because of the game. (Not sure whether he even stayed up to watch the entire thing, although I have my suspicions he did.) He has some kind of all day class or seminar today.

Have a good morning! I'm off to drown my sorrows in coffee.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

End of Day Musings

Okay, so it's not quite the end of the day, but soon we'll be ensconced in front of the television screaming for the Astros (and being shushed by Shebird so we don't wake the kids)... So I just had to share something that's been on my mind since last week.

My oldest had just finished reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy for school, and as a bonus (since he finished the books and his assigned essay a week before they were due) we rented the video of The Fellowship of the Ring and watched it together last Thursday night. For some unknown reason it struck me during this viewing that the Shire, home of the hobbits, had an uncanny resemblance to the valley of the Teletubbies.

Now luckily, none of my kids ever got into the Teletubbies (the youngest tried them once, but ran screaming to her room when she saw the sun that looked and giggled like a giant baby). But I've seen enough to have that horrible image burned into my mind ever since, so I did a little research to see if my memory was correct:

The Teletubbies' Hill

Bag End, Hobbiton, The Shire

Close enough to make you wonder...

Okay, now on to the World Series!

Not a Milestone

According to the official Associated Press death count, the number of U.S. military personnel that have died in the Iraq war reached 2,000 with today's announcement of three more fatalities.

The Pentagon announced that Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, died Saturday in San Antonio of injuries sustained Oct. 17.

Alexander was wounded in Samarra, a town 60 miles north of the Iraqi capital. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of two unidentified Marines in fighting with insurgents last week in a village west of Baghdad. The deaths raised the Associated Press tally of military fatalities to 2,000 in the Iraq war, which began in March 2003.
Our heartfelt prayers go out to the families (both blood and military) of these servicemen.

This evening's newscasts should all be full of tearful cries from the MSM talking heads and any politician wanting to gain some press time, wringing their hands over the latest bloodshed and calling for the capitulation or, better yet, resignation of the Commander-in-Chief who has sent these innocent souls to their deaths for no reason other than greed and oil.

And any minute now (if it hasn't already started), we should be able to see "live breaking news" coverage from in front of the White House featuring the left's glamour girl herself, Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan has been looking forward in morbid glee to the 2,000-death "milestone" so she can take her anti-war, anti-Bush protest to the next stage.

"I'm going to go to Washington, D.C. and I'm going to give a speech at the White House, and after I do, I'm going to tie myself to the fence and refuse to leave until they agree to bring our troops home," Sheehan said in a telephone interview last week as the milestone approached.

However, these new deaths should not be considered a milestone:
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, described the number as an "artificial mark on the wall."

"I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq," Boylan said in an e-mail. "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
"The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations," Boylan wrote.

He complained that the true milestones of the war were "rarely covered or discussed," and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country.

Boylan said they included Iraqis who sought to join the security forces and had became daily targets for insurgent attacks at recruiting centers, those who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum, and those who chose to risk their lives by joining the government.

"Celebrate the daily milestones, the accomplishments they have secured and look to the future of a free and democratic Iraq and to the day that all of our troops return home to the heroes welcome they deserve," Boylan wrote.
While I mourn for the loss of Ms. Sheehan's son Casey, and for all the brothers and sister in arms that have lost their lives overseas in the last four years, I respectfully submit that Ms. Sheehan and her ilk –– in their fervent hatred for this country –– will never understand the reasons these brave young men and women have given their lives. It is a love and devotion to this nation, its people and its freedoms that inspire them to give so unselfishly. As Pericles once said of the Athenian soldier, "others are brave out of ignorance, but the man who can most truly be accounted brave is he who best knows the meaning of what is sweet in life and of what if terrible, and then goes out undeterred to meet what is to come."

Astros Families Harrassed in Chicago

I find this almost unbelievable, but according to the Houston Comical several family members of the Astros players were harrassed by the Chicago fans at Sunday night's World Series Game #2:
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen issued a public apology on behalf of his organization to Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, whose wife was slapped by a fan in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I feel like it's our fault, and I talked to (Biggio) about it, and he knows we're sorry," Guillen said. "He knows it was something we couldn't control. It wasn't like a fight. (The fan) hit the lady and left."

The incident occurred on Sunday night during Game 2 of the 101st World Series at Chicago's ballpark, where several members of the Astros' traveling party were harassed.

"He slapped her and ran," Biggio said of the fan who struck his wife, Patty. "She ran after him. My brother-in-law ended up putting him against the wall. That's pretty sorry."

Unfortunately, this wasn't the only incident that took place that night, although it seemingly was the worst.
Ausmus said his wife, Liz, endured some vulgar taunts and a few vulgar hand gestures throughout the night.

"Some of the treatment that the Astros families received at U.S. Cellular Field was a huge black eye for the city of Chicago," Ausmus said. "Now, I understand that's not indicative of all the people in the Chicago area, because I have friends and relatives there.

"I know the people of Chicago are overwhelmingly good people. But if I was from Chicago, I'd be embarrassed by the way the Astros' families were treated by the White Sox fans. My wife didn't get hit or anything, but people flipped her off and were screaming at her."

While you would expect fans to be energetic and even a little boisterous during such a game, there is just no excuse for this type of treatment. I can only pray that no such incidents will occur here in Houston this week!

In Defense of Marriage, Some Links

I found some excellent arguments for Prop 2, the Texas Marriage Amendment, at Voice in the Wilderness, a "conservative blog serving Austin and Central Texas." (A great blog to visit, by the way!) Some of his recent posts:

Texas Tommy also gives a very good analysis (from a conservative point of view) of all nine state constitutional amendments being brought before Texas voters on November 8. I'm not quite sure I agree with his "For" vote on Prop 7 (authorizing "reverse mortgage" loans), but I'll admit I need to do a lot more research on this issue before voting.

In Memory of Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, whose simple refusal to give up her seat on a public bus so many years ago eventually led to the much-needed civil rights reform in this country, passed away yesterday at the venerable age of 92.

As reported by Fox News:
Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."

At that time, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs and neighborhoods in the North.

The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.

Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.

Speaking in 1992, Mrs. Parks said history too often maintains "that my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."

Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little-known Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Parks. The nation thanks you for your service.

UPDATE: I'm a little hesitant to add this here, but Laurence Simon has posted some pictures from one of our local Metro buses that are a little questionable. Innocent in intent, but with only a little reflection one can surely imagine what the racially oversensitive would see in these pictures of "a black woman giving up her seat to some Archie Bunker type," as Mr. Simon so accurately puts it. I didn't think it possible, but Metro has surprised me yet again.

UPDATE #2: The Detroit Free Press has an excellent article on the life of Mrs. Parks. (Hat-tip: Michelle Malkin)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tuskegee Airmen Deployed to Iraq

From the Associated Press:
Lt. Col. Herbert Carter is 86 years old and ready for deployment. More than 60 years after his World War II tour with the pioneering black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, Carter's new mission will be shorter, though no less courageous.

Carter is one of seven aging Tuskegee Airmen traveling this weekend to Balad, Iraq – a city ravaged by roadside bombs and insurgent activity – to inspire a younger generation of airmen who carry on the traditions of the storied 332nd Fighter Group.

The retired Airmen who will make the trip – five pilots, a mechanic and a supply officer – shrugged off the dangers of Iraq, saying they have stared down the enemy before. Some fought in Korea and Vietnam as well as World War II.
A tip of the old hat to Brainster for pointing out this article.

Houston Protest Rally Draws Big Numbers

According to the Revolutionary Worker Online, the online mouthpiece of the American Revolutionary Communist Party, last Saturday marked the tenth anniversary of...
...the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. In cities across the country people marched and rallied to say "No more" to police murder and brutality.
You would expect such a momentous occasion to be met with large crowds of disenchanted citizens in this, the nation's fourth largest city. And you would be right. According to Peter, commenter at the Lone Star Times:
Extremely reliable sources put the turnout at two. Yes, you read that correct. In a city with a population of more than 4 million, the sponsor (Revolutionary Communist Party) was able to muster a turnout of two. A far cry from last year's crowd of 50.

I wonder what the [Houston] Chronicle reported as the turnout?

Why Blacks Are Having Difficulty with Democrats

This is a very interesting op-ed piece by columnist Ron Walters. However, I disagree entirely with his conclusions.

Mr. Walters opines that Democrats are "dismissing the interests of Blacks, Hispanics and women, the base of the party," and are instead becoming "more tolerant of conservative values." I would argue that the Democratic Party is moving more and more to the leftmost fringes of their liberal base, ignoring the interests of minority voters simply because they expect to always have those votes no matter what they do.

With leaders like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, how can anyone assert that the party is moving toward the center? And if that is true, then why have the percentages of the black vote going to Republican candidates grown so in the last two major elections?

Civil Rights Activist Passes Away

Long time political and social activist Cynthia DeLores Tucker died earlier this month at the age of 78. Funeral services were held in Philadelphia last Friday for this respected community leader.

Mrs. Tucker was an active participant in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, and continued to promote the causes of equal rights for minorities and for women throughout her life. She was active in Pennsylvania state and national politics, serving in several appointed positions in the state government during her career.

In an article by Zenitha Prince of the NNPA, Mrs. Tucker's many accomplishments and distinctions are listed, including:
* The first female vice president of the state NAACP.
* First Black woman to be named vice chair of the state Democratic Party.
* Convening founder and chairwoman of the National Congress of Black Women.
* Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Black Caucus.
* First African-American to serve as president of the National Federation of Democratic Women.
But in spite of her lifelong backing of the Democratic party, Mrs. Tucker gained the admiration and respect of many conservatives in the 1990s by her stand against the obscenities and hatred dominating the rap culture.
Though always controversial, Tucker ignited public attention when she launched a vociferous protest against obscene lyrics in rap music. She picketed in front of music stores and even picketed the NAACP in 1994 when it nominated rapper Tupac Shakur for one of its Image Awards. Shakur and other rappers retaliated by taunting and ridiculing Tucker in their songs, leading to a legal maelstrom involving Tucker, artists, song labels and news publications.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Tucker.

Ode to the Texans, Part 1

Well, we knew the Houston Texans were destined for great things when they came to town, and they have not disappointed us. With Sunday's loss to the Colts, the Texans hold a new NFL record of sixteen consecutive losses. Way to go, fellas!

Of course, they almost blew it in the first half of the game, when an actual professional football team seemed to have taken over the field. Luckily, our beloved Texans showed up in time to throw the game away in the second half.

Sorry folks, but this Houstonian is still rooting for the Cowboys (like I've done since the day Bud Adams fired Bum Phillips). But in honor of your amazing show on Sunday, I've got a few Texan-themed laughs to share:
Q: What do the Astros and the Texans have in common?
A: Neither one of them can play football!

(More to follow...)

Ode to the Texans, Part 2

Houston, Texas - October 24, 2005

A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a courtroom drama today when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Houston Texans, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Ode to the Texans, Part 3

Anthrax Scare At Reliant Stadium Houston
Houston, TX - Thursday, October 24, 2005

Texans football practice was delayed nearly two hours today after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field.

The Texans head coach immediately suspended practice while police and federal investigators were called to investigate.

After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance unknown to the players was the goal line.

Practice was resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

In Defense of Marriage

For those of you who are living in other parts of the world (not in Texas, that is) or who just don't keep up with what is happening in the world today, Texas ballots on November 8th will include several proposed amendments to the state constitution. And one in particular has the attention of Christians across the state.

It always amazes me how many of the religious leaders in the black community join forces with the liberal political machine, especially when the majority of Christians (whether black, white or otherwise) share fairly conservative moral and social values. However, I am happy to say, many Texas churches are stepping up to the battle about this election's Proposition 2, which will legally define marriage as being solely between one man and one woman, preventing civil unions or other forms of homosexual marriage from taking place or being recognized in Texas.

For the third week in a row, our ministerial staff spoke from the pulpit about Prop 2 in this morning's service. And as they have put forth such good points to the congregation, I wanted to share from my notes right here:

1. Prop 2 is necessary. It takes the decision away from the courts, eliminating the situation encountered recently in Massachusetts when a group of judges required decided what the entire state should and would do. This is a decision that should be made by the citizens of Texas, not by a small group of activist judges. The role of the courts is to enforce the law, not to reinterpret or create the law.

In recent years, homosexual activists have been unable to change public opinion of same-sex marriage through debate and the democratic process, and so they have turned to using judges in state courts to redefine the well-established, traditional definition of marriage and create legal chaos across the nation. It is time to put the decision back in the hands of the people.

2. Prop 2 protects children. It is widely documented and accepted that children need the influence of a loving mother and father and a healthy, loving home environment in order to have the greatest chance of developing into a healthy, responsible adult. All too often we hear of young men in trouble with the law, or young women dropping out of school pregnant, and in so many cases one of the key reasons given for their trouble is the absence of a father in their home. And yet the socially liberals of society would have us believe that the break-up of the traditional family, and the introduction of same-sex couples as heads of households, would have no negative impact on the family. While Prop 2 would not eliminate the problems caused by absent fathers, it would avoid putting children in a home where they would have no chance at the stability offered by the traditional parental structure of one man, one woman.

Marriage is defined in the Bible. As stated in brochures by Texans for Marriage:
It is not difficult to find biblical references of the two sexes being made for each other and providing a unique fit. This fit produces life and propagates society. Gender is relevant. As Jesus Christ says in Matthew 19, "Haven't you read that in the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female'... For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife." Marriage unites the sexes in a relationship which can produce life and provide a stable environment where children can be raised with a mom and dad.
Failure to pass a state constitutional amendment defining marriage would leave this important decision in the hands of judges, probably end the movement for a Federal Marriage Amendment and ultimately put Texas families in the middle of a dangerous social experiment.

For more information on Proposition 2 and the One Man, One Woman issue, you can visit the Concerned Women for America website, or go to Texans for Marriage.

Please pray about this issue, and plan on voting FOR Proposition 2 in the November 8 election!

A Report from East Texas

Well, the kids are in bed and the big kids (Thomas and Pops) are in the den screaming at the umpires, so it's finally Momma's time to play.

He may not mention it, so I'll toot his horn a little. Thomas and several of the other men from the church spent the weekend in East Texas again. This time they took a lot more wood and supplies than they did to New Orleans, and they came back looking exultant but exhausted.

Apparently the folks in East Texas, from Vidor up to Jasper, are putting everything they have into rebuilding, picking themselves up and refusing to let Hurricane Rita get the best of them. And while most of the Katrina evacuees that we have hosted and helped through the Houston area over the last six or seven weeks have been much more interested in blaming the government for all of their troubles than in doing anything for themselves, the people in East Texas are thanking God for the relatively low loss of life, and are busying themselves in putting their lives back together, unbroken and unbeaten.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cup o' Joe

Pops always said he couldn't start his day without his morning coffee, but I always thought it was the caffeine he needed so badly.

Off the Deep End

That's all I can say about Dr. Kamau Kambon, who announced to the world (or at least to the half dozen people who actually watch C-SPAN on a regular basis) last week that:
...the solution to many of the problems faced by black people is the extermination of "white people off the face of the planet."

He said that white people had set up an "international plantation" for blacks, which made "every white person on earth a plantation master." He said that, "You're either supporting white people in their process of death, or you're for African liberation."

He stressed one point in particular. "White people want to kill us. I want you to understand that. They want to kill you," he said. "They want to kill you because that is part of their plan."

Interestingly enough, according to the article, Kambon is opposed to the death penalty. Uh-huh.

The Carolina Journal article, dated Thursday, 21 Oct, notes that Kambon was (at the time of writing) still listed on the NCSU Africana Studies faculty web page. As of today, it appears his name has been removed from that faculty list. I certainly hope any other lingering ties the university may have had with this man have been as quickly severed. Our youth get too much racial propaganda thrown at them by Louis Farrakhan, Quanell X, "Reverends" Jackson and Sharpton and others, without pure hate like this being spewed into their minds.

A tip of the hat to the Lone Star Times for pointing us to this item.

Millions More, Rehashed

I missed Michelle Malkin's blog from Saturday, and it's a good one. She was writing as she watched the Millions More Movement happenings on C-SPAN, and in usual Malkin fashion she penned the festivities quite accurately as "a lot of angry bloviating and blaming."

Ms. Malkin also points out some excellent history of several of the key MMM bloviators. Very much worth reading, even if we're a few days late.

For my own day-of-the-event musings, go to Not Quite a Million Man March ... Again.

Democracy vs. Islamic Law

Barbara Stock of PHX News has an interesting op-ed on the issue of Islamic Sharia Law and the attempt by some Muslim communities to supplant the "laws of the land" with their own religious edicts:
Both Australia and Canada have had to fend off Islamic attempts to remove Muslim communities from the laws of the land and allow Sharia Law to govern the Muslim population in matters of divorce, marriage, and inheritance.

Australian officials rather emphatically told Muslims recently that extremists should "clear off," hinting that...
...some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.
The dhimmi movement has spread almost unopposed through much of Europe. In France, not surprisingly, officials are waking up to discover they are under siege by radical Islamist groups, whose "strategy is to "take control of Muslims within the workforce" and then "challenge the rules in order to impose Islamic values." In Great Britain, all images, likeness and references to pigs (including Winnie the Pooh's pal Piglet) have been banned from some workplaces in case they might offend Muslim co-workers or clients.

Even in America, some communities have been assaulted by Muslim fundamentalists who want to impose their own religious tenets on the rest of the neighborhood. In several communities in Michigan, including Detroit and nearby Dearborn, the Muslim call to prayer is broadcast in Arabic to entire neighborhoods via loudspeakers, five times per day. This has been enforced by some local governments even when the majority of the community is opposed to the noisome protrusion.

Stock continues:
In America, Islam has had trouble gaining a real foothold. But Islam’s dictation to American Muslims is the same as illustrated by Omar Ahmad, the Council on American/Islamic Relation’s spokesman, when he publicly stated: "Those {Muslims} who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam...Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth."

In an effort to keep American Muslims under the total control of Islam, the Saudi Arabians have spent billions of dollars building mosques and Islamic schools so that Muslim children can be instructed in the strict laws of Islam. For decades, no one paid much attention to what was being taught in those Saudi-funded schools. Perhaps two generations of American Muslims were taught that Muslims are to be loyal to no country, only Islam. These children were taught that Christians and Jews were the enemy. They were taught that only Islam will dictate how they will live their lives. American children were being brainwashed right under our collective noses.

Because of that, American Muslims are often torn between country and Islam and there is no way to know which force will win in the end.

The Daily Birthdays - October 21

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!
Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie
As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Earle Is At It Again!

Now that he has Congressman Tom DeLay out of the way and practically behind bars, Ronnie Earle has set his sights even higher:
Travis County, Texas Prosecutor Ronnie Earle issued a press release earlier today stating that he had sought and obtained an indictment against millions of Texas residents on charges of "Conspiracy to Elect Republicans." He also charged them all as "Accessories to Murder" in the case of Casey Sheehan, son of professional protester and media-whore, Cindy Sheehan. Earle stated that he will seek the death penalty against all of the defendants, cutting Texas' population roughly in half.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has failed to report this latest development. Luckily, Mr. Right from The Right Place has vowed to stay on top of the story...

The Daily Birthdays - October 20

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!
William Christopher as Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*HAs always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Every Dog Has Its Day

Also known as The Boxer Rebellion.

This story from New Mexico makes you wonder if perhaps dogs are a little smarter than we give them credit for:
The author of a new state law that allows felony charges against owners of dangerous dogs was hospitalized over the weekend after his own dog attacked him.

Bob Schwartz, who also is Gov. Bill Richardson's crime adviser, ... was instrumental in getting a law passed during this year's regular legislative session that would allow felony charges to be filed against owners of dogs deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous and that seriously injure or kill another animal or person.

Now that's sweet revenge. Not only do you maim the guy, but you make sure that he will go to jail for your dirty work. Maybe next time he'll take that dog out when he needs to go, instead of waiting for the next commercial.

(Somewhat) RELATED ITEM: The movie industry has gone to the dogs. Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander released a new DVD, Doggy Daycare, which is aimed at a new target audience:
Filled with engaging sights and sounds, doggy daycare DVD is designed to keep your dog company when you can't. From comforting belly rubs and running along the beach, to "good dog" affirmations and lots of joyful play, it’s "must see TV" for your four-legged best friend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Daily Birthdays - October 19

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Murder Dying Down

Frank J at IMAO has this humorous look at the latest violent crime statistics report:
Murder is at a forty year low, the lowest since the 60's - you know, the decade of love that led to surge in violent crime.

Well, this is a good thing. I think the credit goes to all the people out there who didn't murder... or didn't murder as many people as they originally planned. To all those people who decided to punch the person they hate instead of strangling him, to all those who decided on marital counseling instead of murdering his or her spouse for the insurance money, to all those who decided on stamp collecting instead of serial killing - this achievement belongs to you. As for me, last year ranks among my top years of not killing people.

...[T]he low murder rate could mean one of two things: we've gotten less violent, or we've gotten dumber

The FOX News report that Frank links to has some interesting statistics, including this little comment that caught my attention:
The South — with 36 percent of the nation's population but 43 percent of its murders — saw larger murder declines than any other region. The Southern regional murder rate declined 5 percent to 6.6 per 100,000.

Blumstein said that might have been driven by declines in Atlanta; Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, each with over 100 murders in 2003, or "it might mean the South is becoming more like the rest of the country."
So we're becoming more like a bunch of civilized Yankees? Heaven forbid! That's worth killing over!*

* For the terminally clueless, I'm being facetious.

Giving Up on Sudan?

There was an interesting op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News over the weekend about recent happenings (or lack thereof) at the United Nations regarding the situation in Sudan.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, caused quite a little dust-up the other day by expressing disinterest in hearing a parade of reports on the deteriorating situation in Darfur. His point, he said, was not that the U.S. doesn't care, but that it cares enough to insist that it's time for action, not just talk.

Recent events in Darfur show how terribly right he is.
Just as they have done countless times in the past (as with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and so many other potential and actual crises), the U.N. is much more interested in talking about the problem than in doing anything to help resolve the issues. Bolton, on the other hand, suggests that a crackdown on the flow of weapons into the country is needed. A recent report from the World Market Research Centre states that without "an expanded international input in Darfur, it will be all the more difficult to reverse the recent renewed violence and lawlessness."
“Action,” that’s the key. An action is worth a million words.
Hmmm. An op-ed piece agreeing with Bush's UN ambassador pick and urging for action? Makes you wonder how this article ever made it past the editor's desk!

The Daily Birthdays - October 18

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Government Takes Control of the Borders

In a recent report, there are finally some promising signs on the subject of border security. A new government facility, the Department of Border Enforcement Academy, is reportedly complete and ready to begin training federal agents to protect the nation’s borders.

A high ranking official stated that controlling the borders is now a top priority, and...
...the construction and equipping of 254 new border forts and fielding an effective, nationwide command and control system, will substantially help to carry out this goal.

And on top of the boost in security, there are other advantages with the new academy:
This academy will generate new jobs for the local economy. The facility will employ numerous officers, teachers, more than 800 trainees, and several civilians working as cooks and maintenance personnel. ... During the construction, over three hundred local workers were employed.

The bad news? This is all happening not in Texas, or anywhere in the United States of America. The report came from the US Army Corps of Engineers currently stationed in Mosul, Iraq.

Houston Paper Chronicles the Future

Click to see full-size version of imageWhile browsing through the weekend news stories this morning, I made an incredible discovery! The Houston Comical ... er, Chronicle, that is ... is now in the business of reporting the news BEFORE IT HAPPENS!

As you can see in this screen print, they have already archived stories on Iraq through the end of the month, predicting a myriad of killings, murders and scandals.

Perhaps someone should point the military leadership to this page. With a little intelligence like this, maybe we can actually turn this war around and bring it out of the quagmire in which the Chronicle delights in telling us we are currently mired.

Another Victory in Iraq

Sources indicate that somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of eligible voters participated in Iraq over the weekend in the referendum to accept or reject the new Iraqi constitution. Regardless of whether the constitution is approved by the voters, I have to think that such a high voter turnout for the second election in a row, in a country that until recently was ruled by the iron fist of dictatorship, is an overwhelming victory!

And yet to look at the reports files by the mainstream American media, you would think things were hopeless, with the entire country bathed in a bloody quagmire of insurgency and terrorism. Recent headlines lament:

Here in Texas, we could only wish for a 60% turnout in the November election, where several amendments to the Texas State Constitution – such as the definition of marriage (one man, one woman) – will be put to vote. Instead, local officials and talking heads are predicting around five to eight percent of registered voters to participate next month.

Faith on the Diamond

What better way to end a beautiful weekend than with another win by the boys of summer! Just one more win will send the Astros to the World Series for the first time ever.

But I was just as happy to see this report on the local news this morning:
“I consider myself a Christian, and I want to be at church,” Pettitte said. “I want to live my life for the Lord, and that’s the way that I choose to live it.”

It's not often enough that you hear professional athletes publicly profess their faith, and seem to live that faith in their public and private lives as well.

Way to go, 'Stros!

The Daily Birthdays - October 17

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Daily Birthdays - October 16

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Not Quite a Million Man March ... Again

The Millions (Plus or Minus) More Movement kicked off today on the National Mall in Washington, DC, celebrating the tenth anniversary of its predecessor, the (Not Quote a) Million Man March. And as might be expected, it lived down to expectations.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there weren’t some good things to come out of the original march – I’m just not really sure what they might have been. And according to Linda Boyd, a march spokeswoman, seems to agree.
“We did the march in 1995 and it was wonderful, but we see that our people are still in the same position we were in 10 years ago – and in some cases worse off,” Boyd said. “So while a march is important, we’d like to see a movement.”
Hence the name change from 95's Million Man March to this year's Millions More Movement. Pretty impressive, eh?

Just as the original march fell somewhat short of the much-hyped million man milestone, it appears at first glance that today’s much-heralded reincarnation of that event may not have made the mark. Even CNN, not known to be overly conservative in its reporting, admitted that:
...the gathering was significantly smaller than that of 1995, when Boston University researchers estimated between 600,000 and 1 million participants. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said subway ridership by 7 p.m. was 367,000, compared with a Saturday average of 275,000 to 300,000.
This reduction in numbers may come as a shock to the planners, who strategized to enlarge this year’s attendance:
Women, whites and other minorities had not been invited back then, but men and women of all ethnicities were welcome to the new gathering...
So the turnout might not have been quite what they expected, but what about the message? Organizer Louis Farrakhan promoted this year’s march as reaching across “political boundaries, religious differences, cultural differences.” And yet, in his speech to attendees today, the Nation of Islam leader cried that...
the federal government should be charged with "criminal neglect of the people of New Orleans."
"For five days, the government did not act. Lives were lost," Farrakhan said... "We charge America with criminal neglect."

Farrakhan appears to be broadening his message beyond those of concern specifically to black Americans and the poor. He denounced President Bush, the war in Iraq and Muslims who kill "innocent life for political purposes." He also called for unity with Africa, reparations for slavery, inclusion of undocumented immigrants and a government apology to American Indians.
According to the movement’s website, today’s program was to include speeches by former Washington DC Mayor (and ex-con) Marion Barry, Houston’s own Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Malik Shabazz (National President of the New Black Panther Party), Harry Belafonte, Kanye West (who recently remarked during a live nationwide telethon that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”), and other politically divisive figures. Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that...
There were political statements from civil right activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, with criticism of President Bush woven into many of the speeches and signs displayed among the crowd.
Hardly an attempt to reach beyond political and social differences. As always, this so-called minister endeavors to drive his flock away from the fields of harmony and brotherly love, and into the chasm of racial and political divisiveness.

As a black man, and one who tries daily to look beyond the artificial boundaries of prejudice and intolerance, all I see in this march is an attempt by a group of tired old men to drive a further wedge of hatred and fear between the good people of this nation. It is time to reach across the various “cultural identities” so valued by the liberals of society and return to the melting pot mentality that helped to meld this nation into a world super-power. This is the future of America, the only one that may save America from itself.

The Daily Birthdays - October 15

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Friday, October 14, 2005

Picture of the Day

The fashion industry began to fold today as professional models, fed up with the gruesome attire forced on them by designers, began slitting their own throats in protest. Industry exerts were quick to point out that the movement was just a fad, and is expected to die out soon.

The Daily Birthdays - October 14

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Back in the Hills...

I always thought that "Momma" Mia, one of the blessed matrons of our church, had a lot of mouths to feed with six kids and a niece living under her roof. Well, move over, Momma, 'cause you've got nothing on this woman. Sixteen kids, and still going. I loved the bit about their new home, which is still "in progress":
... a 7,000-square foot house that should be finished before Christmas. The home ... will have nine bathrooms, dormitory-style bedrooms for the girls and boys, a commercial kitchen, four washing machines and four dryers.

All sixteen of their kids have names starting with the letter "J," from Joshua, Josiah and Jeremiah down to the newborn Johanna. I guess maybe they'll stop having children when they run out of names.

Kennedy's Been Drinking Again

Or so it appears.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, liberal imbiber and sometimes legislator Teddy (hic) Kennedy has announced that he will support fellow Senator John Kerry for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008,
... even if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also pursues a White House bid.

"If he runs, I would support him," Kennedy told The Associated Press in an interview at his Boston office.

While Kennedy has frequently entertained the New York senator and her husband, former President Clinton, he said his loyalty is to Kerry. Early polling shows Clinton and Kerry among the favorites for their party's nomination in 2008, but neither has said for sure whether they'll run.

Kennedy called Kerry, the 2004 nominee, an "able, gifted and talented political leader."

Yup, he’s definitely been drinking again!

Thanks to favorite blogger Brainster for the picture and the associated links.

Civil Rights Pioneer in Critical Condition

Vivian Malone Jones has been admitted to the intensive care unit of the Atlanta Medical Center this morning, reportedly suffering from a stroke.

Ms. Jones was one of the two black students whose 1963 enrollment at the University of Alabama led Governor George Wallace’s infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door” in defiance of federal orders to admit black students. As remembered in a story by the Associated Press, Ms. Jones
...had enrolled at historically black Alabama A&M University in Huntsville when she transferred to the University of Alabama in 1963. The move led to then-Gov. Wallace’s infamous stand in defiance of orders to admit black students. Jones and James Hood, accompanied by then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenback, enrolled after Wallace finished his statement and left.

Ms. Jones endured to become, in 1965, the first black graduate of the university. She then went to work for the U.S. Department of Justice in the civil rights division, and enjoyed over thirty years of public service before retiring to Atlanta, Georgia. As reported in a recent feature from the University of Alabama, Ms. Jones has maintained her link with the school.
Jones now concentrates on "reaching back to help others" as she was helped during her own undergraduate education. As a testament to the power of the individual to effect change, she's still a role model for African-Americans attending the University.

The Daily Birthdays - October 13

When I was growing up, Pops always challenged us to "learn something new every day, and you will never stop growing." I pass that challenge on to you, along with this birthday list. Some are just for fun, some are intriguing, and some are actually worth learning about. Find someone you know little or nothing about, follow the link, and learn something new today!

As always, give me a shout in the comments section if you know of someone who should be added (for next year).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Getting Political in Tomball

Yesterday afternoon I took a leisurely drive out to the northwest side of town to the community of Tomball, Texas. Well, perhaps “leisurely” is not quite the right term – I actually crept for almost two hours through the afternoon “rush hour” of Houston to get there. But the destination was worth the trip.

Yesterday evening I attended my first political rally ever. I have been an active voter since I was old enough to register, even voting absentee from oversees during the last presidential election, but that had always been the extent of my involvement. (Other than the occasional issue blog, of course.) Yesterday I took the next step in becoming active in government, one which will undoubtedly lead to more and more active involvement.

Dan PatrickYesterday in Tomball, conservative radio talk show host Dan Patrick made his official announcement that he is running for election for the Texas Senate, District 7. Dan, who is also the owner of KSEV Radio (700 AM in the Houston metropolitan area), would most likely be best remembered by most of my local readers as the sports guy on KHOU Channel 11 from the early 1980s. Dan has been an active member of the Houston community since he arrived in the fall of ’79, and can even be credited (or blamed, depending on your point of view) for bringing conservative talk radio to Houston. But back to Tomball...

I will admit that I was a bit nervous when I first walked into the Main Street Crossing, where the event was being hosted. I noticed right away that mine seemed to be the darkest skin in the place, but I quickly realized that no one else seemed to notice the same thing. While I was greeted warmly at the door with a handshake and a campaign sticker, most everyone else had their eyes focused on the platform at the front of the hall where Dan Patrick, fellow radio host Edd Hendee and our Harris County Tax Collector Paul Bettencourt were holding court.

As those who know me would expect, I first made my way straight to the food. (Chips, sandwiches and some of the best pepperoni pizza I’ve had in a while were the main offerings.) Next I found an empty spot (standing room only) and started listening as Dan talked about why he decided to join the political fray.

As outlined in his “Patrick Pact with Texas,” Dan’s campaign platform is simple. And it parallels what he has been preaching over the airwaves for several years now. And despite your political leanings, I cannot help but think that most of those reading this would agree with these goals:

1. Reduce the financial burden on Texas homeowners caused by uninhibited tax growth. Too many in our community have seen their taxes increase each year until they can no longer afford to live in the home that has housed their families for years.

2. Secure the Texas border and stem the flood of illegal immigration. The financial burden and increase in crime caused by the increasing flow of illegal immigrates through our southern border threatens to overwhelm our entire state. According to Dan, “Until we stop the illegal flow of people coming in this country, our property taxes will continue to go up, our school taxes will go up, the cost of health care will go up.” And when you add to that the ability of foreign terrorists to steal into the country due to the same lack of enforcement of current laws, we must all be concerned about the border situation.

3. Reform education funding to concentrate more of the money on actually educating our children. The local school budgets, administration and building expenses have grown exponentially, while less and less attention and funding are being given to the teachers and the education of our young people.

4. Put the people before the legislative payroll. In the last state legislative session, absolutely nothing was done to ease the tax burden on the people, despite the urgings of grassroots efforts like CLOUT Texas (Citizens for Lowering Our Unfair Taxes), or to pass meaningful education reform. Yet at the same time, the Texas House and Senate managed to pass legislation to increase their own pensions by approximately 22 percent to almost three times that earned by veteran Texas teachers, and four to five times that received by the members of the United States military who have devoted their lives to protected our lives and our freedom.

As you can see, it is time to get involved in local politics. I’m not saying you have to vote for Dan Patrick. But get involved. Vote! Contact your own elected representatives. Let them know how you feel about the issues that are plaguing our city, state and nation today. And encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. Get political, and get active. I know I will.

To check your current voter’s registration information and get a list of your current elected representatives, click here. To get information about registering to vote, click here. And for a list of contact information on elected officials, from the President all the way down to Texas state representatives, click here.