Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas children roped into Islamic training

Class by CAIR teaches: 'There is one god, Allah'

Posted: May 30, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Friendswood Junior High

Public school students at Friendswood Junior High in the Houston area have been roped into Islamic training by representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations during class time, prompting religious leaders to protest over Principal Robin Lowe's actions.

Pastor Dave Welch, spokesman for the Houston Area Pastor Council, confirmed the indoctrination had taken place and called it "unacceptable."

"The failure of the principal of Friendswood Junior High to respect simple procedures requiring parental notification for such a potentially controversial subject, to not only approve but participate personally in a religious indoctrination session led by representatives of a group with well-known links to terrorist organizations and her cavalier response when confronted, raises serious questions about her fitness to serve in that role," the pastors' organization said.

According to a parent, whose name was withheld, the children were given the Islamic indoctrination during time that was supposed to be used for a physical education class.

"I am simply trying to get the word out to those whose kids may not have told them about an Islamic presentation that all kids were required to attend," wrote the parent, who was working to assemble protests to the school board.

WND previously has reported how public school textbooks used across the nation have begun promoting Islam, teaching even the religious doctrines.

WND also has reported on several other schools that have taught Islam as a required subject.

In the Texas case, a school e-mail to parents provided only a half-hearted acknowledgement that such mandatory religious indoctrination might not have been the best decision.

(Story continues below)

"In hindsight, a note should have been sent home to parents indicating the purpose and content of the presentation in time for parents to contact me with questions or concerns or requests to exempt their child," the school note from Lowe said. "This will be our practice in the future, should we ever have another presentation of a similar nature."

School officials also said the "Islamic Awareness" presentation was "to increase understanding of the Islamic culture in response to racially motivated comments that have been made to students on campus."

The pastors said in a statement: "According to students who were forced to attend these sessions, these Islamic evangelists taught them:

Adam, Noah and Jesus are prophets

There is one god, his name is Allah

The 5 Pillars of Islam

How to pray five times a day

Islamic religious garb"
The pastors noted that the principal's claim there were "comments" to students on campus was unverified. Nor does that excuse or justify "this infringement upon the religious beliefs of students and parents of the community nor the violation of school policy and possibly state and/or federal law," they said.

"We do not believe that this unapproved action by Principal Robin Lowe represents the school district and certainly not the majority of students or parents in the Friendswood community. Our commitment is to support all appropriate administrative, legal and political remedies to assure that this will not happen again and these Islamic activist organizations are kept out of our schools," the pastors said.

The parent reported the presentation was 30 to 40 minutes long and handled by two Muslim women from CAIR's Houston office. CAIR, as WND has reported, is spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Among the convicted CAIR staffers are former communications specialist Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges he trained in Virginia for holy war against the U.S. and sent several members to Pakistan to join a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida; and Bassem Khafagi, who was arrested in January 2003 while serving as CAIR's director of community relations and convicted on fraud and terrorism charges in connection with a probe of the Islamic Assembly of North America, an organization suspected of aiding Saudi sheiks tied to Osama bin Laden. In October 2006, Ghassan Elashi, a member of the founding board of directors of the Texas branch of CAIR, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking terrorist.

The parent reported Lowe told students her sister, niece and nephew were Muslim.

But the parent complained the Muslims "were given full attention of our kids, during academic school time, to present their religious beliefs. … This was put right at the end of the school year … which will most likely prevent a Christian response."

There also was no parental notification, and students were required to attend.

"The kids did not even know they were having an assembly or what topic it pertained to until they entered the gym," the parent wrote. "I send my kids to school for academics. … I teach them religion at home."

Bob Unruh is a news editor for



Sphere: Related Content

Wal-Mart puts the squeeze on food costs

Wally World does it again:

The retailer is using its clout with vendors to hold onto its everyday low prices.
By Suzanne Kapner, writer

More from Fortune
Cost-cutting pays off for Dell

The funny thing about your set-top TV box

Blowing the whistle on unethical lawyers

Current Issue
Subscribe to Fortune

(Fortune Magazine) -- With gas, grain, and dairy prices exploding, you'd think the biggest seller of corn flakes and Cocoa Puffs would be getting hit by rising food costs. But Wal-Mart has temporarily rolled back prices on hundreds of food items by as much as 30% this year. How? By pressuring vendors to take costs out of the supply chain.

"When our grocery suppliers bring price increases, we don't just accept them," says Pamela Kohn, Wal-Mart's general merchandise manager for perishables. To be sure, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) isn't the only retailer working to cut fat from the food chain, but as the largest grocer - Wal-Mart's food and consumables revenue is nearly $100 billion - it has a disproportionate amount of leverage. Here's how the retailer is throwing its weight around.

Shrink the goods. Ever wonder why that cereal box is only two-thirds full? Foodmakers love big boxes because they serve as billboards on store shelves. Wal-Mart has been working to change that by promising suppliers that their shelf space won't shrink even if their boxes do. As a result, some of its vendors have reengineered their packaging. General Mills' (GIS, Fortune 500) Hamburger Helper is now made with denser pasta shapes, allowing the same amount of food to fit into a 20% smaller box at the same price. The change has saved 890,000 pounds of paper fiber and eliminated 500 trucks from the road, giving General Mills a cushion to absorb some of the rising costs.

Cut out the middleman. Wal-Mart typically buys its brand-name coffee from a supplier, which buys from a cooperative of growers, which works with a roaster - which means "there are a whole bunch of people muddled in the middle," says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl. In April the chain began buying directly from a cooperative of Brazilian coffee farmers for its Sam's Choice brand, cutting three or four steps out of the supply chain.

Go locovore. Wal-Mart has been going green, but not entirely for the reasons you might think. By sourcing more produce locally - it now sells Wisconsin-grown yellow corn in 56 stores in or near Wisconsin - it is able to cut shipping costs. "We are looking at how to reduce the number of miles our suppliers' trucks travel," says Kohn. Marc Turner, whose Bushwick Potato Co. supplies Wal-Mart stores in the Northeast, says the cost of shipping one truck of spuds from his farm in Maine to local Wal-Mart stores costs less than $1,000, compared with several thousand dollars for a big rig from Idaho. Last year his shipments to Wal-Mart grew 13%.

In fact, it's the small suppliers that are feeling the pain from Wal-Mart's pushback the most. Bushwick has seen its costs rise 10% over the past year, but has passed only half that amount on to Wal-Mart and its other retailers. For consumers who are having a hard time paying $3.80 for a gallon of milk, however, without those measures that sticker shock would be a lot worse.

Sphere: Related Content

Texas teen charged in fatal stabbing of infant daughter

What's with our visitors from south of the border, seems they are getting in the news more and more lately, relating to murder, theft, assault and just about anything your can name. This little sweetheart should get the needle, but due to her being only 19, and being illegal well we will see.

Texas teen charged in fatal stabbing of infant daughter

Associated Press

MCALLEN — A teenage mother who sparked a frantic citywide search Thursday when she told police her infant daughter was kidnapped in broad daylight is now accused of stabbing the baby girl to death.

Angelica Gutierrez, 19, was arrested Thursday on a charge of capital murder in the fatal stabbing of her 15-day-old daughter, Gabriella Corona. She remained in the city jail Thursday night and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning. A jail official said she did not yet have an attorney.

Gutierrez, a Mexican national, initially claimed that her daughter was ripped from the arms of her aunt during a robbery Thursday morning, police said. Dozens of officers locked down area elementary schools and cordoned off the area in search of Gabriella and the kidnapping suspect.

About 20 minutes after Gutierrez's initial call, Gabriella's body was found hidden in some shrubs about a block from the location where officers first responded, police said in a story on The Monitor's Web site.

"We had our suspicions from the onset," McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said at an afternoon news conference.

Others could be charged in the girl's death, Rodriguez said.

Family members who attended the news conference learned at the same time as reporters that Gutierrez had been arrested. Raquel Acosta, Gabriella's grandmother, burst into tears and wailed while police answered questions about the case, the newspaper reported.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Posting Problems

It is getting to the point that it is almost not worth posting a new blog or reading anymore. I run a top of the line Dell, plenty of ram etc, all the bells etc, but if I want to post anything after arount 1900 hours, it takes forever. If I want to read a blog, and I do have my favorites, once I read it and then click the back arrow to get back to my favorites, it may take 10 or more minutes at times. I have attempted to post lately, and it just hangs, and I just have to exit windows. I have checked for viruses and found none. I called and had a technician from my local cable provider come out. He changed out all of my connectiors, of course this was during the day, when all the kids and parents are at work, and not much bandwidth is being used, and it works great. But then the nighttime rolls around and its katy bar the door, signal drops to nothing. I am at the end of my rope and don't know what to do. I guess I could try satilite, but not sure what to do.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Trip To See Mama In Louisana Was A Wash Out

Well we didn't get to go for the Memorial day weekend after all. My sister called me at work on Thursday and said that Mama was pretty sick. She is 85 years old. She has a severe kidney infection and her blood pressure is kind of unstable. The docs changed her meds and got the pressure down. My Mama is a very strong lady, still lives alone and still drives. I guess after being a military wife all your life you tend to be that way. I called her, and she cried a little at all of the things that have been going wrong with her the past month. I guess when numerious things go wrong over a short period of time it can get you down. We taked for a while and she was ok after that. I worry about her. I live 163 miles from her, but fortunately my sister lives in the same town, and she babies Mama like an old mother hen. I thank God for her efforts. Well I hope to make it down within the next couple of weeks. I am gonna give her a call now to see how she is doing.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bulge in baby's diaper turns out to be $10,000 in cash

Talk about some dirty money.

PHARR — Of all the things that could make a baby fuss, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers weren't expecting this: $10,000 found stuffed into the diaper of a crying 15-month-old at the Pharr International Bridge.

Border officials say unusual bulges that turned out to be cash on two women traveling with the baby led inspectors to check the crying baby as well. Altogether, inspectors found $43,317 in undeclared cash on the women, baby girl and a man traveling with them.

The group was crossing into Mexico on Tuesday morning when they were stopped.

Authorities say the man, Esteban Soto Yanez, a Mexican citizen, was arrested on illegal entry charges. One woman, a resident alien, was released, and the infant and her mother were deported to Mexico.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Son Put Cams in His SRT-4

I drove this little piece of dynamite. Damn, did a quarter mile in 12 seconds. Sad thing is he is now getting about 9 mpg.

Sphere: Related Content

'Squawk Box' Guest Warns of $12-15-a-Gallon Gas

If this happens, and it probably will, what is it going to do to our economy? Hell a gallon of milk now cost about the same as a gallon of gas. Guess I a going to have to park my Dodge truck. Hell I may get into better shape by climbing on my old bike.

Robert Hirsch, an energy advisor, says CNBC morning show prediction was a citation of the 'Dean of Oil Analysts.'

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
5/21/2008 3:38:13 PM

It may be the mother of all doom and gloom gas price predictions: $12 for a gallon of gas is “inevitable.”

Robert Hirsch, Management Information Services Senior Energy Advisor, gave a dire warning about the potential future of gas prices on CNBC’s May 20 “Squawk Box”. He told host Becky Quick there was no single thing that would solve the problem, due to the enormity of the problem.

“[T]he prices that we’re paying at the pump today are, I think, going to be ‘the good old days,’ because others who watch this very closely forecast that we’re going to be hitting $12 and $15 per gallon,” Hirsch said. “And then, after that, when oil – world oil production goes into decline, we’re going to talk about rationing. In other words, not only are we going to be paying high prices and have considerable economic problems, but in addition to that, we’re not going to be able to get the fuel when we want it.”

Hirsch told the Business & Media Institute the $12-$15 a gallon wasn’t his prediction, but that he was citing Charles T. Maxwell, described as the “Dean of Oil Analysts” and the senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co. Still, Hirsch admitted the high price was inevitable in his view.

“I don’t attempt to predict oil prices because it’s been impossible in the past,” Hirsch said in an e-mail. “We’re into a new era now, and over the next roughly five years the trend will be up significantly. However, there may be dips and bumps that no one can forecast; I wouldn’t be at all surprised. To me the multi-year upswing is inevitable.”

Maxwell’s original $12-15-a-gallon prediction came in a February 5 interview with, a Web site run by two former Wall Street Journal staffers.

“[Maxwell] expects an oil-induced financial crisis to start somewhere in the 2010 to 2015 timeframe,” reported. “He said that, unlike the recession the U.S. appears to be in today, ‘This will not be six months of hell and then we come out of it.’ Rather, Maxwell expects this financial crisis to last at least 10 or 12 years, as the world goes through a prolonged period of price-induced rationing (eg, oil up to $300 a barrel and U.S. pump prices up to $15 a gallon).”

According to associate of Maxwell at Weeden & Co., Maxwell is out of the country and currently unavailable for comment.

Maxwell’s biography on the Weeden & Co. Web site said he “has been ranked by the U.S. financial institutions as the No. 1 oil analyst for the years 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1981-1986,” according to polls taken by Institutional Investor magazine.

“In addition, for the last 17 years he has been an active member of an Oxford-based organization comprised of OPEC and other industry executives from 30 countries who meet twice a year to discuss trends within the energy industry.”

Although Maxwell’s prediction is for the long-term, not everyone supports high-end predictions, even in the short-term. CNBC contributor and the vice president of risk management for MF Global (NYSE:MF) John Kilduff said on “The Call” May 7that he expected gas prices to drop following the Chinese Olympics, as China’s economic boom slows down.

Related Links
Pressure Builds on Oil Companies - from Lawmakers, Media and Candidates
'Big Oil' Faces 'the Same Game Plan that Brought Down Big Tobacco'
Senators Warn Bill Could Spike Gas $1.50 to $5 a Gallon

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mom watched as girl, 3, fatally beaten, CPS says

There isn't much I can say about this. The man was illegal from Mexico.

When 3-year-old Catherine wet her pants on Monday afternoon, her stepfather got so frustrated that he made her stand in a corner for an hour, soaked in urine.
But after the hour was up, police say, Camilo Garza was still angry. So he started spanking her. His anger turned to rage as he began to hit and kick her tiny frame for nearly an hour, authorities said.
His patience short-circuited by cocaine, Garza beat his young stepdaughter to death over a potty-training accident, police said.
A judge this morning denied bail for Garza, 41, who was charged Tuesday with capital murder in Catherine Martinez's death. The child — beaten until she was black and blue — was pronounced dead Monday at Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital.
State District Judge Brock Thomas said he will appoint an attorney for Garza because he is indigent.
The girl's mother told Child Protective Services workers that after the toddler stood in the corner for an hour on Monday, Garza, who had been using cocaine and taking pills, started to spank her. He then made her stand on a rail about four feet off the floor in their one-room shack, CPS officials said.
The little girl tried to sit down. He made her stand up. She fell off the rail.
He started slapping her on the back of the head, according to the mother's report. His fury built with every blow.
"The mother described everything from grabbing her by the neck and smashing her head into the wall to kicking her while she was down," said CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin.
The beating lasted for about 45 minutes, police said. When it ended, the girl was turning blue. Her mother tried CPR, then called 911.
"That's when the mother realized it had gone further than she had originally thought," said Officer L.K. Lovelace, a homicide investigator who is working the case.
At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, the mother was denied custody of her two other children: a 6-year-old girl and a 10-month-old boy. They are in foster care and will be kept from seeing their mother and other relatives, for now, Olguin said.
Catherine's mother and grandmother declined to comment Tuesday, on an attorney's advice. At the custody hearing, the mother pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. Police are considering possible charges against the mother, Lovelace said.
An affidavit filed with CPS after Catherine's death told of bruises from head to toe, in various stages of healing.
"When they examined her she had old and new injuries," Olguin said. "Bruises on her forehead, back of the head and behind the ear, on the clavicle, back, thighs, shins, feet ... "
There was also bruising that could signify sexual abuse, Olguin said. The other two children will also be examined for possible abuse.
Home visit in AprilCatherine's death came in the midst of a CPS investigation into the family, following an anonymous report of child abuse last month.
A report filed in November had not led to any disciplinary action. At the time, Garza and the mother had separated but were seeking counseling and working toward reconciliation.
The last time a case worker visited the home, on April 25, she reported no visible injuries on any of the children.
"She didn't see any signs of abuse, but she still wanted to follow up and talk to family members," Olguin said. "That case had not been completed when this happened."
CPS officials will review the case to make sure workers didn't overlook signs of abuse or miss any steps that could have prevented the girl's death.
In the rural community, south of Hobby Airport, where Catherine and her family lived, 92-year-old Paul E. Paulson wondered Tuesday whether there was anything he could have done differently.
Paulson had let the family stay in the 20-by-20 foot shack in the pasture behind his house after they showed up on his doorstep in February. He said he's a minister who takes in families like this one, who find themselves in dire straits. They paid a token rent.
Garza did odd jobs, as a plumber and electrician, and the mother stayed home with her children, Paulson said.
The shack had basic amenities — water, electricity, air conditioning, a bathroom. The family of five had a queen-sized mattress that everyone slept on, Paulson said.
Paulson and his wife got along well with the mother and adored the children, but found Garza abrasive, he said. Garza complained often about the difficulties of potty-training the toddler.
"He'd say, 'That 3-year-old is really tearing me up,' " Paulson said.
Still, he had no idea about the alleged child abuse or drug use, Paulson said.
"I wish I'd have known he was on drugs. They wouldn't have been here," he said. "I thought I was helping them."

Sphere: Related Content

It Dosen't Pay to Break Into An Occupied Home in Houston.

MISSOURI CITY — A man watching television in his home grabbed a pistol and wounded one of two armed men who forced their way into the house in what appears to be a robbery attempt, police said today.
The wounded man, a 41-year-old ex-convict, collapsed across the street from the home in the 1600 block of Grand Park near Quail Feather.
He was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital and his wound does not appear to be life-threatening, said Missouri City police Capt. John Bailey.
The other intruder fled and is being sought.
The shooting will be referred to a Fort Bend County grand jury without charges, Bailey said.
"It was very clear that the suspects illegally entered the residence," he said. "It is very obvious the shooting occurred inside the residence. There is no question about that."
Bailey said Quentin Durisseau, 27, was in the living room about 11 p.m. Tuesday when two men kicked in the back door.
"(Durisseau) grabs his gun and as the suspects enter the residence he starts shooting at them," Bailey said. "There was an exchange of gunfire from the suspects and the resident."
Both men fled. Paramedics found the wounded man, identified as Darrall Earl Houston, on the curb. He has not yet been charged.
Public records show that Houston, a resident of Houston, was convicted of aggravated robbery in Harris County in 1987 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was paroled in 1992.
Bailey said that, before the ambulance arrived, witnesses saw the wounded man put something into the storm sewer.
"We looked and we found a gun, we found a black ski mask and we found gloves," Bailey said.
Officers found that the .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol had been stolen in Houston.
The wounded man has given police different stories about what happened, Bailey said.
"At first, he said somebody drove by and shot him in the park. He is not being cooperative," Bailey said.
Police have no description of the second intruder. It was not immediately clear why the men targeted that house.
Durisseau, who lives there with his mother, told police he did not know the intruders.
"This guy (Durisseau) who shot at them was scared half to death," Bailey said. "But I think he scared the other guys just as much, because they shot both their rounds into the air. I guess they didn't expect they were going to be fired upon."

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 19, 2008

Going to Louisiana over the next weekend

Well I guess we will all saddle up and head over to Leesville Louisiana next Saturday and spend the weekend with my Mama. My youngest sister and her heard will also be there. It's been almost a year since we all got together. Everyone will be on hand except my brother who lives in Provo Utah. Gonna get in some fishing for sure. I hope to get some good pictures. My oldest son and his wife will also be going. This will be the first time my sister has seen her new relatives (my grandsons). Gonna be in the 90's all week, so it will be even hotter there. I love summer.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lonsome Dove

I just finished watching this classic again. I usually break out the CD's about every year or so. Everytime I watch it I get to wondering what has happened to this great country of ours. Men like Gus and the captain and the tough bread of men that our country was built buy are all gone. We are their ancestors and what has happened to us. I feel a lot of shame at what we have let happen to us. How it happened I don't really know. I guess it started during the Viet Nam war or just after it. Now a lot of our men are getting married to each other and our women are doing the same, and what is so hard is that a lot of us seem to think it's ok, or normal now a days. I guess I was born in the wrong time, I don't know. Our politicians are selling us down the river, and we can't do a damn thing about it. People who rape and kill our children are put in mental institutions instead of hanged. Hell we even have to be humane while killing a killer. We put them to sleep then stick them with a needle so they don't feel any pain. Yep we have lost the plot. Something needs to happen in America and it needs to happen pretty soon, or else there won't be any America. I could go on and on about this shit, but I won't because I will only get my blood pressure up, and it's to late at night to do that. All I can say, is it's time to cowboy up and get things right before it's to late. i.e Obama, Clinton, and Mack.. We are in trouble.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teens accuse North Shore teacher of exposing himself

I worry sometime who is in the classroom with my daughter. There may be a lot of perverts in our school system, and how are we to know untill it is to late.

What this dosen't say is that he was observed by several students in his classroom sitting in front of his laptop watching porn and masterbating. Now how sick is that.

A North Shore High School teacher is in jail this morning, charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

Authorities said Fernando Gonzalez was alone in his classroom Wednesday during a conference period at the ninth- and 10th-grade campus when several students allege that they saw him exposing himself, said Craig Eichhorn, a spokesman for the Galena Park school district.

Gonzalez, who teaches math, has worked for the district for 10 years, Eichhorn said. He has been suspended with pay.

The 33-year-old teacher was arrested by Harris County Precinct 3 constable's deputies and remains in the Harris County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail on each charge, according to court records.

Sphere: Related Content

'Crazy' ants wreaking havoc in Houston-area households

We are being invaded:

You won't be able to hear them.

Don't even try.

But somewhere out there, maybe as near as your backyard, the crazy Rasberry ants are marching. Hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of them are coming in a near-unstoppable zig-zagging insect army intent on making your home, yard and life a living hill.

First spotted in 2002 in Pasadena by Tom Rasberry, the exterminator for whom the rice-grain-sized insects are named, the ants now have spread through much of the greater Houston area. May through September is their peak period — a time when billions of the critters with a reluctance to sting and a habit of chewing up electrical wiring may infest a single acre. Homeowners daily sweep up dust bins of their dead and maimed.

"They're just running wild. You know how racehorses run down the track? They go both ways. They have nowhere to go, just running crazy wild," complained Patsy Morphew of Pearland. "They crawl through the eaves of the house and go into the bathroom. You know what it's like to sit down on the commode with crazy ants running everywhere?"

Morphew said she and her husband, Kenneth, have called exterminators to their home on three occasions. "It seems to help for two or three months," she said, but the ants always return. Each morning the Morphews sweep up cups of the ants from their patio and dredge still more from their pool.

Jason Meyers, a Texas A&M University entomology doctoral candidate who has studied the ants, said no one is certain where they came from. What is known, though, is that their range rapidly is expanding. Two poisons — Termidor and Top Choice — are available to exterminators, but unless a sufficient "buffer zone" is established around an infested property, additional ants simply will crawl over the bodies of their fallen comrades.

Rasberry said he treated a half-acre plot with insecticide, returning months later to find the area covered thickly with two inches of dead ants. Living insects teemed on the top layer of insect corpses.

Meyers said an untreated acre of grassland in the Houston area might contain billions of the insects, which create multi-queen nests in damp areas beneath rocks and debris.

Unlike imported fire ants, which the Rasberry ants tend to displace, the new invading insects rarely bite. An unwitting human lounging in the backyard, though, easily might find hundreds of the insects swarming up his legs.

"For humans, they're mainly an annoyance," Meyers said. The researcher said he's received reports of pet dogs refusing to go into yards infested with the ants. The ants do pose potentially serious problems, though, Meyers said. Ants indirectly can damage plants by establishing a symbiotic relationship with sap-sucking aphids. Ants feed on a sugary aphid excretion called honeydew and, therefore, protect the aphids from predators.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bad Boys Make Better Soldiers

May 12, 2008: Recently, there were a number of media stories about how the U.S. Army has been recruiting more men with criminal records. When pressed about this, the army released a report showing that recruits let in via "moral waivers" made better combat soldiers. That is, they got promoted faster, re-enlisted at a higher rate, got more awards for valor and were noted for superior combat performance. They were also better educated, and more likely to talk back. A slightly higher percentage of them got punished for that.

All this is nothing new. It was noted as far back as World War II, when detailed records of troop performance were first compiled and analyzed. A disproportionate number of troops that excelled in combat, also had disciplinary problems when off the battlefield. The conventional wisdom was that someone with a "taste for combat" also lacked respect for authority. Research since World War II has shown that risk-taking behavior is the basis of brave acts, as well as criminal ones, drug use, and addiction to things like gambling and dangerous sports.

The U.S. Army has, for the last sixty years, turned down most recruits with a criminal record. The reason was that, since an army (especially in peacetime) depended on discipline to function, anyone who broke the law had already demonstrated problems with following orders. Before September 11, 2001, the army found that 27 percent of recruits with criminal records (and given a "moral waiver" to enlist), didn't finish their enlistment because of misconduct (refusing to obey orders, or just a bad attitude). This was twice the rate of troops who did not need a moral waiver. Back then, less than four percent of recruits got moral waivers. That usually required references from teachers, clergy or employers attesting to how the applicant had shaped up, and was worthy of acceptance. But since 2004, the percentage of recruit getting in with moral waivers has tripled to 13 percent. Yet there has not been a noticeable decline in troops quality. There is still a higher percentage of moral waiver recruits getting discharged early, but not double the rate of those without moral waivers.

The army has found ways to lower its traditional admission standards, yet still get people who can perform well in a professional force. This is not just the case with those who do poorly on written tests, or did not finish high school. It's especially the case with those allowed in on waivers. The most common items waived are medical conditions, criminal records or drug use, in that order. Last year, most of the moral waivers were for juvenile offenses. Less than one percent (511) of last years recruits (80,407) received moral waivers for adult criminal records. Keep in mind that the numbers were talking about here are small, and that the negative impact of recruits with moral waivers is basically non-existent.

Most waivers are for medical problems. For example, many urban recruits have asthma problems. If the recruit is headed for a job that does not require the kind of physical effort that low grade asthma would interfere with, a waiver would be granted. If a prospect has a low grade (no felonies) criminal record, and appears to have moved on from that sort of thing, a waiver is possible. Same with prior drug use. Prospects are made aware of the regular, unannounced, drug tests for troops on active duty. Asking for testimonials from responsible adults helps deal with those seeking moral waivers. The army also has new psychological tests that indicate those that have put their bad behavior behind them, and which haven't.

Sphere: Related Content

W Virginia keeps distance from Obama

By Andrew Ward

Published: May 11 2008 20:13 | Last updated: May 11 2008 20:13

Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican.

“I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.

Editorial comment: Obama profits not from Jeremiah - Mar-23Obama wins support from Richardson - Mar-21Editorial Comment: Democrats’ dirty tricks - Mar-12Obama under fire over Nafta memo - Mar-03Obama feted in ‘Clinton country’ - Feb-06Obama secures early win in the glamour stakes - Feb-05Mr Simpson’s remarks help explain why Mr Obama is trailing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, by 40 percentage points ahead of Tuesday’s primary election in the heavily white and rural state, according to recent opinion polls.

A landslide victory for Mrs Clinton in West Virginia will do little to improve her fading hopes of winning the Democratic nomination, because Mr Obama has an almost insurmountable lead in the overall race.

But Tuesday’s contest is likely to reinforce Mrs Clinton’s argument that she would be the stronger opponent for Mr McCain in November, and raise fresh doubts about whether the US is ready to elect its first black president.

Occupying a swathe of the Appalachian Mountains on the threshold between the Bible Belt and the Rust Belt, West Virginia is a swing state that voted twice for George W. Bush but backed Democrats in six of the eight prior presidential elections.

No Democrat has been elected to the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916, yet Mr Obama appears to have little chance of winning there in November. Recent opinion polls indicate that Mrs Clinton would narrowly beat Mr McCain in the state but Mr Obama would lose by nearly 20 percentage points.

West Virginia is hostile territory for Mr Obama because it has few of the African-Americans and affluent, college-educated whites who provide his strongest support. The state has the lowest college graduation rate in the US, the second lowest median household income, and one of the highest proportions of white residents, at 96 per cent.

A visit to Mingo County, a Democratic stronghold in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, reveals the scale of Mr Obama’s challenge – not only in West Virginia but in white, working-class communities across the US. With a gun shop on its main street and churches dotted throughout the town, Williamson is the kind of community evoked by Mr Obama’s controversial comments last month about “bitter” small-town voters who “cling to guns or religion”.

“If he is the nominee, the Democrats have no chance of winning West Virginia,” said Missy Endicott, a 40- year-old school administrator. “He doesn’t understand ordinary Americans.”

Ms Endicott was among roughly 500 people who crammed into the Williamson Fire Department building on Friday to attend a rally by Bill Clinton, the former president. He told them his wife represented “people like you, in places like this”, and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the “higher-type people” who were trying to force her out of the race.

Local leaders said Mr Clinton was the most important visitor to Williamson since John F. Kennedy passed through during the 1960 election campaign. Mr Kennedy’s victory in the West Virginia primary that year was a crucial step towards proving his electability as the first Catholic president. Nearly five decades later, the state appears less willing to help Mr Obama break down barriers to the White House.

None of the 22 Democrats interviewed by the Financial Times at the Clinton rally would commit themselves to voting for Mr Obama if he became the nominee, and half said they definitely would not. The depth of opposition is particularly striking considering that Mingo County is one of the most Democratic places in West Virginia, having cast about 85 per cent of its votes for the party in the 2006 midterm elections. If Mr Obama cannot win there in November, he has little chance of carrying the state.

Most people questioned said they mistrusted Mr Obama because of doubts about his patriotism and “values”, stemming from his cosmopolitan background, his exotic name and the controversy surrounding “anti-American” sermons by Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor. Several people said they believed he was a Muslim – an unfounded rumour that has circulated on the internet for months – despite the contradiction with his 20-year membership of Mr Wright’s church in Chicago. Others mentioned his refusal to wear a Stars and Stripes badge and controversial remarks by his wife, Mich­elle, who des­cribed America as “mean” and implied that she had never been proud of the US until her husband ran for president.

Conservative commentators have questioned Mr Obama’s patriotism for months and the issue is expected to be one of the Republicans’ main lines of attack if he wins the nomination. “The American people want a president who loves their country as much as they do,” said Whit Ayres, a Rep­ub­lican strategist. Obama supporters believe patriotism is being used as code to harness racist sentiment.

Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. “I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president,” he said.

Sphere: Related Content

53 illegal immigrants held against will in Phoenix

I guess now they will be turned over to Social Services.

PHOENIX (AP) - Fifty-three illegal immigrants found Sunday had been held against their will in a fortified home by suspected smugglers demanding more money, authorities said.
The group of rescued immigrants included two 13-year-old girls, three women and a mentally disabled man. The rest were men, Department of Public Safety spokesman Harold Sanders said.

Authorities began investigating Saturday after getting a tip that immigrants were being held captive. Sanders said the smugglers wanted an average of $2,500 for each person's release.

The single-family home where they were kept had been fortified to prevent escape and weapons were seized at the location. The suspected smugglers also took away the immigrants' shoes so they couldn't run off.

Sanders said five people, all residents of Mexico, were being jailed on charges of extortion, kidnapping, aggravated assault and human smuggling.

Authorities on the scene said the immigrants had little food and water and it was unclear how long they had been held inside the house.

"Because the undocumented aliens are held in fortified rooms and do not have access to watches, clocks, telephones, televisions, etc, so when they are interviewed, many do not have a true sense of time and whether hours, days or weeks have passed." Sanders said.

The rescued immigrants were turned over to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, May 9, 2008

This is where I called home for 8 years

I lived here for 8 years after I retired from the USAF. My daughter was born here, and my two sons spent their youth learning the Aussie way. I love the Australian people. You have one for a mate, and your mates for life. I still get letters and emails from my mates downunder. Enjoy this video. I walked these beaches for a long time. Oh and what you don't see in the videos is that these beaches are topless. I had a painful neck for the first couple of weeks after I was there. But after a while, it is just common, and you don't really pay it any mind. Enjoy.

Sphere: Related Content

Looking for a little getaway in Australia

As some of you may know, I retired from the USAF to Australia. I was fortunate to be hired as the Security Manager of this little resort. I started after construction had been going on for a couple of years. You can't really appreciate it unless your are their, but this little video shows you the type of homes there. This particular home belongs to a mate of mine. Enjoy.

Sphere: Related Content

Things are really bigger in Texas

Sphere: Related Content

Woman Pregnant With 18th Child

Just Damn. Hello oooooooo.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- It will be a happy Mother's Day for an Arkansas woman: She's pregnant with her 18th child.
Michelle Duggar, 41, is due on New Year's Day, and the latest addition will join seven sisters and 10 brothers. There are two sets of twins. "We've had three in January, three in December. Those two months are a busy time for us," she said, laughing.

The Duggars' oldest child, Josh, is 20, and the youngest, Jennifer, is 9 months old.

The fast-growing family, which has a Web site, lives in Tontitown in northwest Arkansas in a 7,000-square-foot home. All the children, whose names start with the letter J, are home-schooled.

Duggar has been pregnant for more than 11 years of her life, and the family is in the process of filming another series for Discovery Health.

The new show looks at life inside the Duggar home, where chores -- or "jurisdictions" -- are assigned to each child. One episode of the new show involves a "jurisdiction swap," where the boys do chores traditionally assigned to the girls, and vice versa, Duggar said.

"The girls swapped jurisdictions, changing tires, working in the garages, mowing the grass," she said. "The boys got to cook supper from start to finish, clean the bathrooms," among other chores.

Duggar said she's six weeks along and the pregnancy is going well. She and her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, said they'll keep having children as long as God wills it.

"The success in a family is first off, a love for God, and secondly, treating each other like you want to be treated," Jim Bob Duggar said. "Our goal is for each one of our children to be best friends, and everybody working together to serve each other makes that happen."

The other Duggar children, in between Joshua and Jennifer, are Jana, 18; John-David, 18; Jill, 16; Jessa, 15; Jinger, 14; Joseph, 13; Josiah, 11; Joy-Anna, 10; Jeremiah, 9; Jedidiah, 9; Jason, 7; James, 6; Justin, 5; Jackson, 3; and Johannah, 2.

Sphere: Related Content

Thank the good Lord it's Friday

Folks, I haven't had time to squat this week. As I posted earlier, our network administrator got down sized. Now I am working a two or three man job by myself. Not complaining mind you, but damn. I am suppose to get off at 1700, and have for the past 10 years, but now I am lucky if I get home by 1800 or later. I have a lot to learn, and am in a must learn situation. This old 61 year old brain is getting kickstarted for sure. But at the end of the day, I feel like I have done something worth doing. Thus the reason I have not posted anything lately. Usually I can get on during the day and do a little something, but not this week. Plus my service provider is not providing. I am waiting on their MAJOR UPGRADE, but I may be waiting a long time. I can't even load my whole blog after about 1900. I am really getting pissed off. Any how howdy to all of ya'll from Houston.
And to the Mom's out there Happy Mother's Day.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Long Range Shooting (nothing like being a smart ass)

Sphere: Related Content

Cut cannabis use by selling it at the post office: expert

I spent 8 years down under, and loved it, but I think if they go ahead with this it will turn an energetic fun loving country into a lazy, stay at home and veg out people. But on the other had, it would generate big $$$ for the government and more control over bent minds which this would create.

Erik Jensen
CANNABIS would be sold legally in post offices in packets that warn against its effects under a proposal outlined by the head of a Sydney drug and alcohol clinic.
The director of the alcohol and drug service at St Vincent's Hospital, Alex Wodak, said Australia needed to learn from the tobacco industry and the US Prohibition era in coming to terms with his belief that cannabis use would replace cigarette consumption over the next decade. "The general principal is that it's not sustainable that we continue to give criminals and corrupt police a monopoly to sell a drug that is soon going to be consumed by more people than tobacco," he said.
"I don't want to see that [industry] fall into the hands of tobacco companies or rapacious businessmen.
"I'd like to see it fall into the hands of the failed business people Australia seems so good at producing or the Australia Post that seems so successful in driving away customers."
He made the proposal for taxed and legalised cannabis at the Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin on Sunday, but said he would be happy to express his opinion to the Federal Government. A spokesman for the Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, said the proposal would not be considered.
Experts in the fields of drug and law enforcement yesterday opposed the suggestion, saying there was insufficient evidence that legalisation would not increase harmful use or lead to other law enforcement issues.
"It's really going beyond the evidence to say regulatory control would effectively reduce adverse effects," said a deputy director of the National Drug Research Institute, Simon Lenton. "We don't know what the effects would be."
Dr Wodak believed his idea could reduce cannabis consumption, based on comparisons between consumption in Amsterdam and San Francisco. He said regulated availability would also reduce people's exposure to other illicit drugs when buying the product. His model would make cannabis advertising illegal, ban political donations from the cannabis industry, and demand proof of age on purchase.
He chose Australia Post for distribution as it could be regulated and had branches across the country. "What I'm talking about is not pro-cannabis … it's about reducing cannabis harm."

Sphere: Related Content

Families becoming strangers

This is an interisting article from Australia, and it hits kind of close to home for a lot of hard working Americans. Times are tough all around. Parents aren't around enough to bond and influence their kids like they should be, with working 6 and 7 days a week, the young are left to fend for themselves. I wonder if this has anything to do with all of the trouble our youth seem to be getting into these days. Hummm.

Anna Patty Education Editor

PARENTS can go almost a year without seeing their children at boarding school, relying on the internet and phone calls to stay in touch, says the principal of a leading Sydney girls school.

William McKeith, who heads PLC School in Croydon, says lack of quality time spent with children - largely the fault of parents' long working hours - is corroding family values.

Writing in the opinion pages of today's Herald, Dr McKeith says some high school students from overseas could go years without seeing their families.

"We are tired, stressed, irritable much of the time," he writes. "Some parents will seek out ways of avoiding contact with their children in order to minimise their exposure to these feelings … Some parents think the contact with their sons and daughters, gained through the telephone, the internet and Skype, is sufficient. A little bit like video conferencing between offices. It isn't."

The problem was not PLC's alone but shared among schools throughout Sydney and around the world, he said. "To earn enough money to make it, we haven't stopped to think what we are losing to do that," he writes. "If we are losing family values and community welfare, something needs to be done about that."

Dr McKeith calls for a community and government rethink on regulating employment and trading hours.

"Are we prepared to allow increasingly deregulated employment and hours of opening to determine how our families function and what happens to our children? Is it essential for hotels and other retail and business outlets to open seven days a week? Could there be a NSW referendum to determine public opinion on opening hours? Would there be support for a closure of shops on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings or afternoons?"

Elene Saville, of Strathfield, said she and her husband, Rod, who works for an IT company in North Sydney, juggled long working hours with raising two children, Isabella, 4, and Elyssa, 8.

Mrs Saville, who works for a major bank, said she was torn between her job and wanting to pick up her children each day from school. She manages to work from home one day a week so she can pick up the girls from Meriden School in Strathfield.

"It is very important that we spend time together and have meals together. It is important for us to catch up with family on the weekends."

Four days a week, she works in the city from 9am until 6pm, then picks up the children from after-school activities or their grandparents' house before heading home to feed them and help with their homework.

From about 8.30pm until 11pm, she is on the home computer to finish her day's work. "I am working hard because I am trying to put my kids through a good school and to pay off a large mortgage."

Sphere: Related Content

McCain woos Hispanics and launches Spanish web site

This is a major cop out by the only one left to vote for, and it looks like we need to usher in a 4th canidate.. I guess Old John is running scared, Hitlerie is looking better I am afraid.

PHOENIX (Reuters) - John McCain reached out to Hispanic voters on Monday as he sought to win over a constituency that has moved away from his Republican Party but could prove key in swing states in a close U.S. presidential election in November.

The Arizona senator's campaign launched a Spanish language Web site to mark the Mexican Cinco de Mayo festival and McCain told reporters that "everything about our Hispanic voters is tailor-made to the Republican message."

"I am confident that I will do very well," he said. "I know their patriotism, I know the respect for the family, the advocacy for pro-life, I know the small business aspect of our Hispanic voters."

Hispanic support for the Republican Party has ebbed in recent months, following a bruising battle over illegal immigration.

Republican lawmakers sank a comprehensive immigration bill last June that would have created a path to citizenship for many of the 12 million mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants living in the shadows in the United States.

McCain's support for a broad immigration overhaul that would also have put some illegal workers on a path toward U.S. citizenship angered many conservatives in his party. He later said Congress should focus on border security first.

A report by the Pew Hispanic Center in December found that 57 percent of Hispanic registered voters called themselves Democrats, while just 23 percent considered themselves Republicans.

That was a 34-point gap in partisan affiliation, compared with 21 points in July 2006.

The Hispanic vote may prove crucial in November's election against the Democratic candidate, either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton, particularly in battleground states such as California, Florida and Colorado with large Latino populations.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 5, 2008

We are getting hammered in Houston

It has been raining very hard with massaive lightening and thunder for about 6 hours now, with no signs of letting up. No flooding in my are yet. Seems like it has just settled right over us and is not moving.

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Well We Made It Back From The Big Girls Scout Event

This has been a day to remember for us. This was the Annual Girl Scout Gold Award event and I am very glad that I attended. Usually my wife is the one to go with our daughter to these Girl Scout things, but this one was special, so I went, and am glad I did. There were approximately 250 Girl Scouts from all over the Houston and sourounding areas, all members of the San Jacinto Counsel. Today was to honor and present awards to girls for having been in scouting for 10 years, Seniors and Gold Award reciepents. My girl got her 10 year pin and she is now 16. Each girl who was awarded the Gold worked on their projects from 2 to 4 years, and that is a lot of work. Most of the girls were on A honor roll list and also in the top 10% of their class, smart young ladies. All in all it was a good way to end a weekend. Hopefully mine will finish up her Gold Award project this year. I took some pics, but they didn't come out very well.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another Houston Area Hero comes home to rest

The body of a 101st Airborne Division soldier from Alvin returned home to its final resting place, KPRC Local 2 reported Wednesday.First Lt. Timothy W. Cunningham, 26, an infantry officer, died on April 23 from wounds suffered when his vehicle rolled into a canal in Golden Hills, Iraq.At least 100 members of the Patriot Guard lined the streets to salute and honor Cunningham.

Cunningham entered the Army in May 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2007.He is survived by his wife, Samantha, and 18-month-old daughter, Abigail, of Fort Campbell, Ky., as well as his father, John, and mother, Cindy, both of Alvin.Cunningham's older brother also serves in Iraq.He graduated Alvin High School in 2000.Visitation services will be held Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a funeral service will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. at the chapel of South Park Funeral Home in Pearland.He will be buried Friday at the Veteran's Houston National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.Cunningham's awards and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab.A memorial service for Cunningham will also be held in Iraq. Fort Campbell holds a monthly Eagle Remembrance Ceremony the second Wednesday of each month.

Sphere: Related Content