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Posts published in “Day: July 1, 2003

Drugs from Canada…

Been reading about the cheap prices of medical drugs available in Canada so I asked my licensed and degreed pill pushing friend from Georgia what he thought of it; he’s a straight shooter with me and holds no punches.

Basically he thinks it is a good thing for the consumer as he is one also. Said you can ask any pharmacist and they will tell you that the US drug companies gouge the US public. He said the cost of name brand drugs increase 8 to 12% yearly while inflation is 2 – 4%; go figure. Additionally he said, the cost of an average of $8B to bring one drug to market while it appears the drug companies are trying to recoup all their expenses from the US while only nominally charging other countries.

He also mentioned the mucho much cheaper prices of Mexican drugs and no prescription is needed for most of them. HOWEVER there are almost no controls so you may buy out of date or contaminated drugs. In Canada the controls are much better than Mexico (but not as good as in the USA) so safety is not as big a concern.

I went to school with this Georgia boy and had no idea he could spell so many big words.

Anyway buyers beware and I’ll be the first one to say I told you so.

Did another first for me this morning by making or putting up pickled tomatoes. After reading numerous ways to put them up, I ended up doing it my way anyway. Never bought or used cider vinegar before and boy howdy does that stuff stink when heated.

I used very little cider vinegar in the pickled tomato produce and added some olive oil with whole Pearl onions and sliced Vidalia onions along with some cubed red bell pepper.

Started out with intentions of making one pint and ended up with a quart full by adding a little of this and a little of that. Did not want to make a lot because if it ain’t good, it’ll go to waste. I’ll let it sit in the cupboard until about November then break it open and sample it out with some speckled butter beans, boiled okra, cream corn, dead chicken and cornbread.

Some of the recipes I read would take up to four days to finish making pickled tomatoes but I ain’t got time to mess with all that; so hope I didn’t mess this one up too bad.

Also put up a pint of pepper sauce with the cider vinegar and one pint with white vinegar.

Managed to scrounge up a few green tomatoes and had enough for a small batch of chowchow. This has got to be the mildest batch ever made by me. Would you believe I only used three pods of cayenne pepper? I have made some with 751 pods and that was so hot I could not eat it. Even the Mrs. complained about that batch being so hot.

My green tomato crop has all but dried up now but with this little mess, it’ll make do for now.

This hot weather sure makes the hot pepper produce as I have plenty and some is hotter than a firecracker too.

Open letter to Congressman Green: Dems are “Weenies”, not Heroes…

Dear Editor:

I will do what I know to be the right thing, and respond directly to Congressman Gene Green’s Letter to the Editor dated June 11, 2003.

First, let me say that Mr. Green has evidently become a “Beltway Insider” because he has certainly lost touch with reality and, I believe, with regular Texans who have to work for a living.

I, along with most true Texans, are highly, indeed, tremendously insulted by Mr. Green calling the “Weenie Democrats” who ran away from their responsibilities at the regular session of the recent Legislature, “True Heroes”.

Shame on you Mr. Green!!! You have demonstrated that you either don’t know, or worse, don’t care, about the meaning of HERO to Texans. A HERO is someone who STANDS, and doesn’t run away from adversity, like at the Alamo. My ancestor, The Honorable David Crockett came to Texas to stand for what he believed to be right. He didn’t run, even though he could have. He stood his ground. The men who fought and died at the Alamo and Goliad were HEROES, Mr. Green. The WEENIE DEMOCRATS were NOT heroes, by any definition. There were just the opposite, COWARDS.

By the way congressman, the reason you all chose not to allow redistricting was for “purely political reasons”. Grow up, Gene. It’s all for political reasons, and you darn well know it. Don’t insult us by claiming you Liberals are in it for any other reason and then try and sound holier that thou.

However, let’s look at your argument that the WEENIES were right in what they did.

You said, “redistricting is a serious constitutional matter”, and you are right. However, you use the old liberal ploy of distorting the truth. Redistricting is a matter set out in our State Constitution. It is the responsibility of the Legislature to draw the lines for the Congressional Districts. It is not the responsibility of a “bipartisan three-judge panel”.

The Democratically controlled Legislature in 2001 would not follow their Constitutional responsibilities and redistrict the State. They abdicated their responsibility and left it to the court, which did the job until the next Legislature could do the job, as is set out in the state constitution. It is interesting to note that Liberal/Democrats cannot get their agendas through legislative channels almost anywhere, so they try and use the courts to implement laws that elected representatives would not, or could not pass.

Your own Letter to the Editor proves my point. “While the districts created by the court elected 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans in 2002, statewide Republican candidates carried 20 of 32 Congressional districts”. That means that the state of Texas is 63% Republican and only 27% Democrat. By that formula, Texas is primarily a conservative state, yet it is represented by Liberals, like yourself. Texas should have almost 20 Republican representatives in Washington and only about 12 Democrats. Yet you somehow figure, “there is no compelling reason to redraw Congressional lines at this time”?

And since you speak of fining someone, we voters think the WEENIES should have to pay for the time they left, as well as the special session, which was necessitated because they would not do their job!

Congressman Green, sir, you have lost your ability to reason logically. Heroes stand for something and fight to defend that idea. The 51 WEENIES are not heroes, so do not insult my ancestors by misuse of that word. You will have a fight if you continue with that BS, sir!

I think it’s time for you to come back and work for a livin’, like most Texans. How about you resign? After reading your shameful diatribe, you ought to give it serious thought, especially since that decision may be made for you by the voters.

You have ripped the wrong cowboy this time, sir. I am not impressed by your mis-information, or by your defense of the WEENIES. Remember, Gene, you are judged by the company you keep. You may want to find some new friends!

Lloyd Shelby
Texan and Taxpayer

Perry’s Special Re-redistricting Session brings out strong voices on both sides

PHOTO: DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS AND CONGRESSMEN held an Anti Redistricting Rally on Saturday, June 28th at TSU to protest the calling of a Special Session in Austin by Governor Perry, the only agenda item being the redistricting of Congressional boundaries. In photo Legislator Kevin Bailey speaks, beside Garnet Coleman, Rick Noriega, Gene Green, Nick Lampson, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Chris Bell. (NorthEast News Photo/Hoffman)

HOUSTON– Democratic politicians, representing the Legislature in Austin and Congress in Washington, joined in a rally this Saturday on the TSU campus.

The event was held just outside the meeting room where the State Legislature was holding public hearings to get opinions on the proposed Redistricting bill that will be the subject of the Special Session of the Legislature when it reconvenes on June 30th in Austin.

The issue which is dividing both the voters and the politicians is whether the Legislature has a need or a mandate to redraw the voting district boundaries based on the new 2000 Census. When the last Legislature failed to do this in 2001, the courts drew the lines. Now, the argument is that if they are redrawn for the next election, the Republican party will win about 5 more seats in the Texas delegation at the expense of the Democrats that now hold office, and the 25th district held by Chris Bell will disappear and reappear as a new district in South Texas. The Texas Attorney General has ruled that the constitution does not require the present Legislature to redraw the lines, prior to 2010. However, powerful politicians led by Sugarland Congressman Tom DeLay want the changes now, to win the seats in the next election and solidify the majority that the Republicans hold in Congress.

Speakers at the TSU rally included Garnett Coleman, Jessica Farrar, Joe Moreno, Rick Noliega, Kevin Bailey, Congressman Gene Green, Chris Bell, Nick Lampson and Sheila Jackson Lee. Their messages were similar, that DeLay and the Republicans, including Governor Rick Perry, were attempting to force a redistricting only for the purposes of a partisan victory and to gain more seats, and that this was in the worst interests of democracy and the constitutional process.

A sampling of comments from the Speakers:

Bailey: “We all have to work together to stop them.”

Green: “These Democrats that went to Oklahoma to break the quorum are Texas Heroes.”

Lampson: “This redistricting issue is changing the atmosphere in Washington, making it more partisan. It is creating chaos and division.”

Noriega: “This is an attempted Republican coup. I say, Don’t Mess with Texas.”

Meanwhile, both the House and the Senate of the Legislature are holding hearings around the state prior to the special session, to get citizen output on the desire for redistricting.

At the present time, it is thought that the Democrats will not walk out of the session this time, but will lose the vote on the redrawn map. However, it will then go to the Senate, where by the rules of the Senate, the Republicans do not have a 2/3 majority, and the will will die without action.

(Also be sure to read this week’s Horsefeathers for Lloyd Shelby’s column about the redistricting.)


Variety of Activities Planned for July 4th

From magnificent firework displays and patriotic tunes performed by the Houston Symphony to Amazon Parrots and hands-on forensic crime solving, Houston offers something for everyone on July 4th.

So, make plans now with friends and family to celebrate the holiday and experience the exciting attractions and events in your own backyard in SpaceCity USA.

• BP Power of Freedom provides an evening of live musical entertainment ranging from blues, pop and Latino to the tunes of two-time Grammy winner Kenny Loggins. Sky Freedom Houston’s largest July 4th fireworks spectacular, highlights the evening with specially choreographed music paired with pyrotechnic artistry. And kids will have fun in the All-American Kids Zone, complete with rides and games. BP Power of Freedom takes place at Eleanor Tinsley Park at Buffalo Bayou (along Allen Parkway) Gates open at 4 p.m. Admission is $6 per person. Children under ten years are free.

• The Houston Symphony performs a patriotic musical extravaganza at Miller Outdoor Theatre on July 4th. Under the Direction of Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski, the Symphony will entertain Houstonians with such All-American favorites as the Star-Spangled Banner, Texas Sing-Along Medley, God Bless America and the 1812 Overture. The evening will culminate with a fireworks display. The Star-Spangled Salute begins at 8:30 p.m. Admission to Miller Outdoor Theatre is free. Tickets for seats in the covered area are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the day of the performance

• The entire family will enjoy a day at the Houston Zoo. Don’t miss the zoo’s recently renovated spectacled bear exhibit as well as the H-E-B World of Birds’ show which features macaws, a Bateleur eagle and Amazon Parrots. Admission is free on July 4th. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for children ages 3-12 and free for children 2 and under. The Houston Zoo is located at 1513 North MacGregor

• Six Flags AstroWorld Fourth Fest salutes Independence Day with one of the largest displays of pyrotechnic power in Houston starting at approximately 9:30 p.m.

• Catch dinner and a great fireworks display on the water at the Kemah Boardwalk. While in Kemah, enjoy the rhythm and blues/rock n’ roll band Collaboration from 9-11 p.m. on the Plaza located in front of Boardwalk Inn. In addition to a variety of wonderful restaurants, there are midway games, a ferris wheel and amusement rides

• At Sam Houston Race Park: Foley’s & the Fourth of July sends up a late-night light show accompanied by music after the last race of the evening on July 4th.

• The Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular over Clear Lake delivers dazzling views to those on shore, on the water or at lakeside restaurants.

• At the Children’s Museum of Houston kids can celebrate the 4th by creating fireworks using colorful red, white and blue ribbon, designing an eagle decoration using paper and crayons and creating a patriotic windsock using colorful paper streamers. Museum hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with Independence Day activities taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and $4 for seniors 65 years and older. Children under 2 and Museum Members are admitted free of charge.

• The Menil Collection presents JAMES ROSENQUIST, eye-popping Pop Art retrospective by an American master (major exhibition, NYC-bound, In conjunction with the MFAH), and highlights of SURREALISM, featuring world-renowned works by such artists as Max Ernst, Rene Magritte. Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta: dreamscapes, humorous juxtapositions, day-for-night surrealistic visions of the world. Plus fluorescent light installation by DAN FLAVIN, a carnivalesque environment of multi-colored light and it’s all FREE!

• Saint Peter and the Vatican The Legacy of the Popes is on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science through July 27. This exclusive exhibition showcases the history and beauty of the Vatican through a once-in-a-lifetime collection of historical artifacts

• Are you a sleuth at heart? If so, the McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science has just the exhibit for you! Whodunit? The Science of Solving Crime, is an exciting hands-on forensic mystery exhibit on display through September 6 Museum-goers can explore the scientific methods and technologies used to solve crimes, including DNA evidence, fingerprints, ballistics, pathology and odontology. Museum hours are 9 a.m until 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 4-12 and $2 for seniors 65 years and older. Children under 4 years are free. The McGovern Museum of Health & Science is located at 1515 Hermann Drive

• Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is highlighting Perspectives 138 Russell Crotty. The exhibit, on display through October 5, displays a selection of works by Crotty including the fascinating cosmic drawings for which the artist/astronomer is known. Museum hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free.

• Enjoy an old-fashioned July 4th celebration at George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond as memories of the 19th century are revisited. Children’s games include 3-legged races and spoon races as well as a Victorian-style baseball game.

And, since the 1890s were characterized by political debates on progressive issues, costumed re-enactors will recreate the era by debating such topics as women’s rights and political races including Charles Culberson’s re-election as Texas governor. Park hours are 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 years and older, $5 for children 5-15 and children under four are free.

• Cool off on this sizzling summer day at Splashtown Waterpark. In celebration of Independence Day, the water park will showcase fireworks at dusk

• Fun for the entire family, The Woodlands Town Center, hosts the “Red, Hot and Blue Festival”. Activities begin at 5 p.m. with fireworks at 9:20 p.m.