March 29, 2010

Dog eats police car

This is something new. A Chattanooga police car became the play toy for a seriously frisky dog. Read the story HERE, then watch the dashcam video HERE.

The cops showed a great deal of restraint.


Monday music

Living the Blues is the name of a book written by Blues/Rock drummer Adolpho “Fito” de la Parra. The subtitle tells much of the story; 

Canned Heat's Story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival.

This is Fito’s rendition of the story of hippie era blues and rock & roll band, Canned Heat

de la Parra is the lone survivor of the band’s original crew. The early chapters of his book tell the story of a group launched by two blues enthusiasts, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite. The band’s name from a 1928 Tommy Johnson tune, titled "Canned Heat Blues."

Canned Heat’s first wide exposure came at the 1967 Monterrey International Pop Festival.

Canned heat” was a slang term for Sterno, a product used sometimes by hard up alcoholics when no real booze could be found. The name suited the suicidal nature of a group that began life as a hard drinking, hard drugging, hippie jug band. Band members came and went over the years, with a variety of artists showing up alternately at different shows or recording sessions; disappearing for a bit then reappearing at a later show.

The following cut is from the band’s Woodstock performance.

The lead guitarist in the video is Henry Vestine, who was kicked off of Frank Zappa’s band, the Mothers of Invention, because of his over-the-top drug use. Think about that. Just how much of a druggie must one be to be kicked out of the Mothers of Invention?

Founding member Bob “the bear” Hite brought Vestine into the band. Hite himself died in 1981 at the age of 38, reportedly from a heart attack. This is the bearded Hite, also from a video also shot at Woodstock.

The band's founder, lead singer, mouth harp player, and author of many of Canned Heat's best tunes was Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 27. Speculation at the time indicated suicide. The band survived the deaths of both founding members, but was never again the powerhouse seen at Monterrey and Woodstock.

Time passed, hundreds of performances have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of fans, and Canned Heat still maintains a high level of popularity. In total, 47 different artists performed with the band at various venues for over 45 years. Some were one-time wonders, others came, went, and returned again. Dozens of famous, infamous or semi-famous artists have some attachment or another to the band.

During the summer of 2009, founding member Fito de la Parra toured with a couple of the early band members, guitarist Harvey Mandel and bassist Larry Taylor, on the Heroes of Woodstock Tour, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Also playing in this video are Barry Levenson (guitar), Greg Kage (drums), and Dale Spalding (mouth harp).

A bunch of today’s popular recording artists can trace roots to Canned Heat. They developed an almost cult-like following, but today the band mostly tours Europe and Australia. I'm not one of the cult members, but they were a good band and if they ever again make a North American tour with a stop anywhere nearby, I suspect I’ll find the means to get there.


March 28, 2010

Sunday Funnies


March 27, 2010

The week in Headlines

Smart guy behaving stupidly, now he pays the price

Other times it pays to act stupidly

Google finally pulls their head out, and gets out

From Resident Fellow to homeless – AEI don’t need no stinkin’ turncoats

Cantor isn’t just obnoxious – he lies!

We overreacted, and resistance builds quickly, but H1N1 still a problem

Gotta get that bust - Ethics still a problem for narco-police

Gotta get that boy? Ethics are a problem for Popes too. Maybe this one should move on

RIP: Robert Culp

"Offensive, crude, and irreverent, but the show will go on...

... or will it? So tell me again... we're different from the Muslims exactly how?

Is it possible one of the missing WASPS has been found?


March 26, 2010

Guilty plea in Texas ambulance health care fraud

Shamelessly stolen, verbatim, from The Associated Press
March 25, 2010, 12:38PM

DALLAS — An ex-supervisor with two Dallas-area ambulance services has pleaded guilty in a bogus claims investigation over transporting dialysis patients.

Shaun Outen of Aubrey faces sentencing June 16 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Prosecutors say the 32-year-old former employee of two companies, Royal Ambulance Services Inc. and First Choice EMS Inc., entered his plea Wednesday. Outen faces up to five years in prison, plus could be fined $250,000 and required to make restitution.

Investigators say Outen, who also was an emergency medical technician, was director of operations during parts of 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Outen acknowledged conspiring with two co-defendants, who face trial in April, to defraud Medicare and other federal programs. Prosecutors say nearly $1.6 million in fraudulent claims were submitted, resulting in payments of more than $500,000.

Nothing else to add...


Revisionism refuted

On Wednesday, March 24th, The Texas Freedom Network posted a fine essay on their online publication, the TFN Insider, completely refuting the Texas State Board of Education’s ill advised efforts to repeal recorded history in favor of their Christian revisionism.

In case you’ve missed it, the TxSBOE has recently issued social studies curriculum standards in which they amputated Thomas Jefferson in favor of Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir. William Blackstone, on the grounds that the Jeffersonian argument for separation of church and state was “misplaced” in the standard.

The original standard read:

explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.”

That was before Christian conservative boardmember Cynthia Dunbar, of the Houston area, convinced the board to alter the standard just a bit.

explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.”

The TxSBOE has sought no guidance from real historians, insisting instead that their own opinions are factual. TxSBOE Chairperson Gail Lowe, another Christian conservative from the Texas Hill Country town of Lampasas, said this about the earlier standard and the reason for the change: “This was inappropriate placement of Jefferson’s name. Jefferson was not himself an Enlightenment philosopher, although he was heavily influenced by the writings of these individuals.”

Jefferson not an enlightenment philosopher… hmmm…

So, since the Board was wont to seek the professional help they so desperately need, the TFN did it for them, posing the question of Jefferson’s enlightened status to an expert in colonial American history, SMU professor Dr. Edward Countryman. Dr. Countryman, who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt other than to care about truth in educational standards, completely strips the hide off of the revisionist’s argument.

Whether this intervention will manage to sway the Board or not is unknown, but perhaps the TFN’s efforts will help enlighten some of the more astute Texans on the efforts of a small, inbred tribe of cultists, and the damage revisionism will inevitably cause to our school kids. It does not matter if you are godded or godless, you should recognize the necessity of accuracy in curriculum standards.

Please read Dr. Countryman’s full reply, then please link to the TFN.

Help spread the word.


March 22, 2010

Finally doing it

The project that should have been started a long time ago is finally getting moved onto the front burner.

This is a 1976 Kawasaki 900 Z1B, better known simply as the LTD 900. Kawasaki produced the Z1 900 from 1973 to 1976. The 1976 LTD was a step in a slightly different direction. 

Designed on the same frame as the standard Z1 (unchanged since '73), the LTD offered handlebars with a slightly different sweep, custom Jardine pipes, and a two-step seat that gave the rider a lower to the ground feel. The bike was a bit more of a cruiser than the standard Z1A, yet was every bit as quick.

1976 was the only year the LTD 900 was produced. Although Kawasaki continued producing the style, and continued calling it the LTD, from 1977 forward the engine displacement was beefed up to 1,000 cc’s.

The ’76 had one more claim to uniqueness. It was the first Kawasaki motorcycle produced entirely in the United States.

I own one of these bikes. It was purchased from the original owner in November of 1976, with fewer than 600 miles on the odometer. Over the next 9 years I averaged over 3,000 miles a year on the bike. It might have been more except for the area of Colorado in which I lived in those days had snow on the roads about five months out of the year.

The old LTD got put in storage in 1985, where it has remained since. Every now and then I’d roll it into the shop and tinker with it until I could get it started. I even rode it into town and back a few years ago, with the 1985 Colorado tags still in place. Luckily I didn’t get pulled over.

Well, I’m tired of having the old gal just sitting there collecting dust. We had a lot of fun together back in the day, and I want her back on the road. Over the past year I have been searching for and collecting the needed parts, and I’ve located a paint and body guy who can recreate that unique, 5-layer candy red coating. The project I have threatened so many times in the past will begin this summer.

It is time to restore the old ’76.


Watching Rep. Mike Burgess (R TX) on CSPAN as he nitpicks the healthcare reform bill.

He has made point after point about fees embedded within the bill, most of which are charged to the supplier or provider. His point is that each of these fees will be paid by the consumer as the supplier or provider passes the cost down the line. Rep. Burgess calls this “taxing.”

Perhaps this is true, but it makes me wonder why the gentleman from Texas has never complained about red light cameras in his district. The 26th district includes the Cities of Denton and Lewisville, most of Denton County, a strip of Tarrant County that includes Fort Worth, Hurst, North Richland Hills and Keller, and a strip of Cooke County including the City of Gainesville. All of these cities have red light traps fleecing their citizens of millions in direct “taxing.”.

So maybe since the cameras impact the little guy directly, and don’t get passed through the big guy’s pockets first, Rep. Burgess can’t see any reason to get his shorts in a wad.

Just saying...


Is Nudity Harmful?

There is an interesting little controversy over nudity going on in Boulder, Colorado.

In brief, we have a woman in her young 50's living in public housing, doing her gardening, outdoors and in plain view, wearing only thong panties and gloves. The story, related by the University of Colorado online publication,, cites statements and complaints by witnesses. All but one of those quoted expressed offense. One even went so far as to suggest that children viewing nudity would be harmed. A police officer suggested she wear a shirt so as not to expose her nudity to nearby children. The housing authority has threatened eviction, and is planning on changing tenant rules to make such behavior a lease violation.

It is almost astounding that this is happening in Boulder, Colorado - the Haight-Ashbury of the West. To think that the hippies of the late 1960's, and their children, would allow such a stink over nudism is, frankly, disturbing (although I'd have to admit mixing yellow panties with pink gloves is rather gauche).

Where is reason? How does exposure to a nude human cause harm to another human? Where do these prudes come from?


Texas' education standards cause nationwide alarm

There are several news stories and opinion pieces published recently from around the country, indicating a real level of concern over the proposed, soon to become real, schoolbook standards in Texas.

Educators and legislators across the nation are baffled by the glaring inaccuracies proposed, and apparently accepted by the SBOE. The concern is such that one California legislator has proposed a bill that would keep those standards out of California schools.

Others are just laughing, saying Texans are proud of their ignorance.

The Texas State Board of Education is top-heavy with young-earth creationists who would rewrite history and science to fit an ignorant and myopic worldview.

Regardless of how it seems, not all Texans are that ignorant. These idiopathic zealots on the Board deny documented, verifiable evidence and force their own ignorance upon the rest of us.

Still, reasonable Texans seem powerless to stop the malignant devolvement from within, but there could be hope from outside the state. If enough school systems and state boards refused to buy books containing the Texas brand of revisionism, the publishers might be forced to print alternate versions of the same book to suit different markets. That would be costly.

Another possible solution would be for textbook publishers simply to reject the TxSBOE’s standards, simply refusing to print texts meeting the obviously inaccurate standards.

…but I guess we can figure that won’t happen.

So what do we do? As a first step we can all join Just Educate, a grassroots effort being pushed by the Texas Freedom Network with the goal of persuading politicians in Texas the future of our kids is being compromised by the politicized nature of SBOE actions, and to ensure that sound scholarship, not personal agenda, guides Texas public school curriculum.

Reasonable Texans are tired of our state being the laughingstock of the world.


Monday music

As noted in my headlines yesterday, Johnnie High died from complications of CHF on Wednesday, at the age of 80. Johnnie was a performer himself, but was known more as a nurturer of talent. He established his Country Music Revue in 1974, offering a live Saturday night, Grand Ole Opry style show in Grapevine, Texas. In 1994 the show moved to the Arlington Music Hall, where it remains today. If you're ever in the area looking for some good, wholesome entertainment, drop on by.

This past Saturday the show was cancelled for Johnnies funeral services, but next week, with Johnnie's granddaughter, Ashley Smith, as host, the show will go on. In his honor I thought I’d offer a few videos from the show, and others of Johnnie’s success stories.

This up-and-coming your artist, Casey Hardin, is being introduced by Johnnie’s co-host and granddaughter, Ashley Smith.

The Country Music Review hosted a regular “All About Kids” program. The little girl in this video is Presley Elise at age 6. The young fellow is 11 year-old Camron Dean, who performs as a regular on the show.

Steve Holy is a local kid (Dallas) made good. A talented pianist with a great voice.

This young artist is both beautiful and talented. Lea Ann Womack – what a set of lungs…

The Dixie Chicks pissed a bunch of people off with one little statement onstage, but the quality of their talent can’t be denied.

Two videos of Gary Morris, who proved to be a most versatile artist. The CMA award winner has recorded duets with some of country’s biggest stars, and sometimes steps slightly out of country music bounds. First the country, then a bit of the unusual…

To close out this episode of Monday Music with the respect Johnnie High richly deserves, here is LeAnn Rimes.


March 21, 2010

The Reading Room

If you take a glance over to my left sidebar you’ll notice something new. I’ve added an Amazon search box.

As I’ve played with this medium there are a few things I’ve learned. One is that I don’t particularly like advertising embedded in a blog. Even sidebar ads can be distracting. Of course I understand that some bloggers need to make a living, but folks like me do this as a hobby. Advertising income isn’t really necessary.

However, if I can make a few pennies from Amazon each time someone runs a search from my little search box, and it doesn’t cost you anything to do it, I didn’t figure it would hurt.

Another feature you’ll notice on the left sidebar is THE READING ROOM. This is a two-fold scheme. Primary is my recommendations for certain books I’ve read and enjoyed, and would like to encourage you to read. Doing this in the fashion I have also allows me to earn a few pennies from Amazon, while again not costing you anything extra. Just click on the book to visit the Amazon page and make your purchase.

Y’all let me know if this is out of line, and also use the email link at the top of the page to make reading suggestions for me. I’m always on the lookout for some new material.


Pass me some of that milk thistle, please


Traditional treatment not working?

Jump on the homeopathy bandwagon and get the Real Meal Deal, from folks like this...

...or this guy, who has treated "over 145 cases" of hepatitis C with his "very effective and absolutely safe" smoke and mirrors.

Somebody will bite. There will always be a market for these charlatans and the snake oil they peddle.

The world is full of suckers... and con artists...

H/T Orac

March 20, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Ashcroft liable for rights violation

The Courthouse New Network has an article on the most recent chapter in the trial of former Bush administration Attorney General, John Ashcroft, who was sued on 4A grounds by one of several individuals who were detained, without charge and without benefit of legal representation, under Ashcroft's extraordinary interpretations of the material witness statutes. The Ninth Circuit found the arguments of Ashcroft’s attorney unpersuasive and refused to rehear the case.

In the decision, Judge Milan A. Smith wrote, "The facts alleged in al-Kidd's complaint are chilling and serve as a cautionary tale to law-abiding citizens of the United States who fear the excesses of a powerful national government."

There was strong dissent by some other judges on the court, with Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain stating, "One shudders at the thought that this decision may deter the incumbent and future Attorney Generals from exercising the full range of their lawful authority to protect the security of the United States."

In response to O'scannlain's criticism, the majority offered the words of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in his famous dissent in Olmsted v. United States (1928):

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Read the whole article HERE.


March 19, 2010

The week in Headlines

Kreep is such an excellent name for a birther

Jenny is done with Mark, and 20 years go down the tubes

…the Dems are about fed up with Mitch

and the rest of us are just plain sick of Congress

The Repuglicans had Jack Abramoff, and it cost them

Now the Demorats will pay the price for Hassan Neemaze

Somebody stood up to helmet-head Phelps and his zombie god-squad

Looks like Glenn ain’t too popular at home no more…

Sarah is making more for the left than the right…

Michele is still full of it

but Dumb and Dumber are hoping to rake in the bucks anyway

Entertain me to death - Le jeu de la mort

RIP Alex Chilton, Johnny High, and Fes Parker - Its been a tough week for the arts

Maybe Cheeny will shut his yap now - Why couldn't we have done this eight years ago?


March 17, 2010

"A greedy government pig covered with some public safety lipstick"

The following was posted March 03, 2009, to the website of Dallas area attorney, Robert Guest.

Why We Don't Fight Red Light Camera Tickets

I hate red light cameras. These automated taxing agents are the wretched offspring of nanny state fascism and government greed. Google has placed my site near the top for red light camera searches. Many of you come here looking for help. I share your disgust for red lights cameras. However, I do not take red light tickets. I want to help, but the numbers don't make sense (for you or me).

This is not an accident. The government designed the system to induce massive give up among defendants. If the government was going to steal a million dollars from one person, you can bet that person would fight the case. It's much easier for the government to steal $1 from a million drivers.

Most red light ticket are between $50-$150. To fight a red light ticket case you have to waste at least one whole day at court in front of a unaccountable administrative judge whose primary duty is to raise money for the city. This judge is going to find you guilty even if you hire OJ's defense team. After your hearing (no jury trials allowed) you may have some limited right of appeal, but that takes more time and another court appearance. Can you afford to miss a day of work to save $100? How about two days?

I can't try a case for $100. I certainly can't appeal a case for that much. There are attorneys who offer discount ticket defense, but that requires a volume practice. I am allergic to massive amounts of cases.

The simple equation for most drivers is Cost of Paying Ticket < ticket=" Pay">

Throw in the fact that most red light tickets are not reported to DPS and do not result in any "points" or a DL suspension and you have a system designed for large scale petty theft. The penalties involved are not high enough for defendants to hire a lawyer or spend the time and energy required to assert their rights. Taking time away from work and obligations to fight the government in a ticket case is not an option.

If red light cameras are allowed to exist in Texas then defendants should have the protections afforded other defendants in ticket cases (jury trial etc). If this is really about "public safety" and not taxation, than a little due process won't hurt.

My advise to the public; find a traffic ticket lawyer to fight your case and vote against

the morons who allowed these cameras to invade our communities.

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Guest's description of the purpose of these bullshit cameras, but fighting them is nigh on to impossible even if you are part of City Hall.

The cities love the cameras because the $75 civil citations sent by mail to the registered owner of the car are virtually impossible to fight, as the burden has been shifted from the state to the citizen to prove he or she didn't run the light. At unmonitored intersections, running a traffic light is a Class C misdemeanor meaning the burden is on the prosecution to prove the citizen ran the light.

A City of Houston commissioned study intended to prove the cameras improved safety, did just the opposite. During the period studied, the number of rear-end collisions increased at camera-controlled intersections from 55 to 90, the number of side collisions increased from 220 to 427 and the number of sideswipe collisions increased from 72 to 167 (click graphic to gigantisize).

The Washington Post did a study that showed the number of accidents at monitored intersections in Washington, D.C., between 1999-2005, increased at a higher rate than at non-monitored intersections.

In spite of Police Department data proving that the number of accidents in the city has decreased every year since 2004, City of Houston camera apologists still claim that the cameras prevent accidents, and swear that the increased number of accidents at those intersections is not due to the cameras but, instead, to the increased number of accidents in the city.

The purpose of the cameras is increasing city revenues, not safety, and this latest data pretty much proves that. Between September 2006 and the end of 2008, more than 387,000 citations were issued and the city raked in over $20 million in fines.

Yet the accidents keep going up.


March 16, 2010

This ought to be a doozy

The political rally to bottom all political rallies.

The inanity will be deafening...

March 15, 2010

Monday music

Today is Sylvester “Sly” Stone’s birthday

We know the name because of the San Francisco based rock band, Sly and the Family Stone, which started life as a compilation of two bands. Sly started Sly and the Stoners in 1966, about the same time brother Freddie formed Freddie and the Stone Soul. The combined band included Stone sisters Rose and Vet, along with Larry Graham, Gregg Errico, Cynthia Robinson, and Jerry Martini. The band released it’s first album in 1967, a dud called A Whole New Thing.

In spite of a poor start, the band was good, and in 1968 won a talent contest and $10,000 prize.

The win gained Sly and the Family Stone the boost they needed, and when they released Dance to the Music, containing the near gold hit single of the same name, the album quickly hit Billboard’s top 100.

Woodstock propelled them higher yet.

In 1971 the band came to Dallas, playing a concert at Memorial Auditorium. They showed up late, some time after concert promoters announced they would cancel the show. The band played the gig, but not before the announcement riled an already restless crowd, resulting in a near riot. In November that same year they released their fifth album, ironically titled There’s a Riot Going On, containing their first Billboard number one hit, Family Affair.

Including a requisite Greatest Hits platter, the band released an even dozen albums before drifting apart in 1982. The breakup was due mostly to drug abuse, and the resulting unpredictable behavior. Several gigs were played with one member or another not showing up.

There have been multiple reunions featuring various combinations of the old band members and a variety of new artists. Here is Sly at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, along with sister Rose and Cynthia Robinson of the old crew, combining with Lisa Banks (Rose’s daughter), Anthony Stead, Mike Rinta, Jerry Martini, Spider Dubose, and Pete and Tony Yates.

Happy birthday, Sly, glad you came along.