Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Friday, September 30, 2005

How To Get Good Gas Mileage With An SUV!

Want Better Mileage From Your SUV? Park It!

Bikes are healthy! They don't pollute! Most SUV's never get off the pavement. Why do people drive them? Are consumers slaves to Madison Avenue?
They are dangerous. Do you know what SUV really stands for? "Suddenly Upsidedown Vehicle!"
Where is Ralph Nader when we need him?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"The Hammer" Gets Slammed!

Texas Congressman and former majority whip Tom Delay says he is the victim of a partisan attack from a "vicious fanatic" in the person of District Attorney Ronnie Earle in Austin, Texas.
That's like the frog calling someone else "ugly!"
Delay is long overdue for a fall. No one in recent history has wielded power more ruthlessly or in such a self serving manner in Congress.
Delay was formerly an exterminator and got into politics in the first place because he resented EPA regulations against using certain poisons in the exterminating business. He described that agency as a "Gestapo."
His subsequent methods indicate he was familiar with Gestapo tactics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Delay Indicted!

U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Delay, (R, Sugarland, Tx.) was just indicted by District Attorney Ronnie Earle in Austin, Texas.
Delay's associates Joe Allbaugh and Jack Abrahamoff have already been indicted by the Grand Jury in Austin for charges related to political funds used illegally to finance the campaign for the redistricting of Texas Congressional districts which cost many sitting Democrats their seats in the next election.
Delay claims this is just a "political" action and that he will soon be vindicated. Let's hope not! He released a whining statement today denying the charges and saying this was a "vicious" act of retribution because of his political "victory" following his sordid actions in passing the redistricting of the Texas Congressional districts.
Delay has been forced to step down as House Majority Whip because of the House ethics rules. When it first became apparent that Delay might be indicted the rules, which required that any officer of the House who might be indicted should resign, were changed. This sparked a political firestorm and recently the rules were restored.
Delay has long been the biggest thug in Congress using intimidation, hyperbolic rhetoric and financial aid, or the witholding and blocking of it, to gain tremendous power in congress. His not too subtle tactics earned him the sobriquet "The Hammer." Delay was proud of this reputation and took full use of it.
In recent years Delay has tried to extend his reach into state affairs, which he did in the redistricting case and into such nationally watched events as the Terri Schiavo case.
It is about time for him to get his come uppance!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Memories of Celia, 1970


Memories of Celia, Aug. 3-4, 1970
By Dicky Neely
As July faded into August in Corpus Christi people went about their business as usual. Few paid much attention when a tropical depression formed in the Caribbean.
The system moved quickly and entered the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 31. The next day it was a tropical storm and became a hurricane by the afternoon.
In those days hurricane tracking technology was far behind what we enjoy today. Nevertheless, satellite pictures clearly showed great shots of cyclonic storms and all those living along the Gulf began to pay attention.
As the storm moved across the Gulf it headed straight for Corpus Christi. Still, few seemed worried because it was a small storm with winds reported less than 100 mph. Weather forecasters also indicated the storm would turn to the north and threaten Galveston. But that turn never came. It moved west-northwest directly towards Corpus Christi, moving inland on the 3rd.
Though caught somewhat flat footed, Corpus Christi residents quickly swung into action protecting windows and battening down for a storm.
I was living at the time in the Galaxy Apartments on SPID and Kosarek. They are still there, looking just as they did then. I worked just down the road at what was then Jerry Asher Auto Parts, now the Car Quest parts store. On the morning of the third, the day the storm was to come ashore, I got up early and threw my surfboard atop my ’69 black and white Karmann-Ghia. I quickly buzzed out to Padre-Island. Fortunately the tide wasn’t too high and the swing bridges were operable. A three foot difference in the tide, high or low, and the bridges couldn’t work. Soon I was in the parking lot at Bob Hall Pier. There was a handful of surfers out already. The waves were about six to eight feet and moving fast, closing out as they swept towards the beach. I watched awhile and saw one wipe out after another. I decided to leave to take care of business.
At this time winds were light and there had been a few showers, but ominous clouds were building as they swept in from the Gulf. All of the store employees were ordered to come in that morning to prepare for the storm. So we taped windows, sand bagged doors and walls. Once we had taken care of the store we were free to go and tend to our own affairs.
I drove to my apartment and loaded a few things, clothes, water and canned food. My girlfriend Marsha met me there. I had promised to help her work on her car so I hurriedly broke out my tools and replaced the cracked exhaust manifold on her 1964 Falcon. I then followed her over to her house in the Cullen area behind Alameda and Airline. Marsha’s family were all there, her dad, mom and little brother, and they were in the last legs of their preparations. It was now late in the afternoon and the winds had been picking up steadily and it began to rain. Marsha’s dad was a police detective and he had to report for duty.
Their home was a late 50’s era ranch house, with a low, hipped roof. The exterior was done in brick. It would prove to be a sturdy house. We all gathered around the table in the kitchen and talked, a bit
nervously. We played some cards and fervently watched TV for the latest reports. By now the wind was howling like nothing I had ever seen before.The noise was tremendous, a dull roar which rose and fell but always seemed to be building. The house made noises, creaks and groans and it made you wonder if it was going to come apart. I recall looking out the front door and checking on my car. I was parked with the nose of the car pointed towards the house, the rear of the car to the street. The angle of the driveway was very steep and the street was flooding and rising close to the engine compartment in my rear engined car. I went outside and felt the brunt of the wind. It was extremely difficult to resist and walking was near impossible but I made it to the car and turned it around and went back in the house right away.
In the brief time I was outside I got a glimpse of the debris that was everywhere. There were downed trees and limbs, fences blown down and roof damage on some houses. We still had a long time to go. I was soaking wet, but I had brought a change of clothes. We ate some sandwiches and chips but no one seemed to have much appetite.
As the sun went down we lost electricity. They were well prepared with Coleman lamps, flash lights and a powerful battery operated radio. We tuned in to an emergency station and followed what news we could get. The weather reports said wind gusts as high as 190 mph had been recorded until the anemometer had blown away!
The night seemed to crawl by and we just felt so helpless, at the mercy of the storm. Gusts were still shaking the house and you could hear them coming, even over the constant roar. Of course we were afraid. But you couldn’t tell it. Everybody stayed calm; it was amazing to witness the cool courage my companions displayed. The storm raged on. I managed to get some sleep—in those days I could sleep through anything!
Finally, you could tell the wind was subsiding. The rain had stopped. The street flooding hadn’t gotten much higher. As the wind continued to fall off we peeked outside. It was dark. I wanted to go to my apartment and check it out but I turned back quickly as I discovered the streets were filled with debris, and there were downed power lines showering sparks as they brushed the ground. Back inside we turned in. I slept on a couch and got some winks. Still no electricity.
In the morning I did make my way home, through the wreckage of what had been Corpus Christi! It was incredible. It looked as if we had been attacked by an unknown enemy. Others were out looking also. There were no traffic lights working or any sign of electricity. Every where you looked there was just destruction! Many buildings were just piles of rubble! More houses seemed to be missing roofs than had them. Trees and branches and all kinds of debris filled the streets and yards and lots.
My apartment was a wreck. The roof had come off my building. I had a roommate who had gone to Houston; he didn’t come back. My place was flooded and everything was soaked. I lived on the bottom floor and the ceiling was sagging down about foot. I poked a hole in the sheetrock and water just poured out and down onto my floor! The windows were shattered, the place was full of mud and debris blown into the rooms. My stereo was wrecked and all my records were soaked and some broken—all the covers fell apart. I spent a couple of nights at my girlfriend’s house until I got my place halfway clean so I could stay there, with no electricity or AC.
At work there was another disaster. The building had lost its roof and everything inside was in disarray and wet. We spent weeks cleaning it up and salvaging what we could as hurried construction went on to get the building into shape. It was like this all over town as people dug out their stuff and tried to carry on as close to a normal life as possible.
There was some looting reported. One friend and some of his fellow workers camped out at their place of employment and protected the property and inventory with firearms. Occasional shots were heard but I don’t know of any one shot for looting.
Some didn’t live through the storm and there were many injuries. I have heard varying estimates of fatalities from 17-20. It was disheartening but the will to survive and carry on was evident everywhere. In many cases people met their neighbors for the first time as they checked on each other. For the next several days the air was full of BBQ smoke as folks grilled the meat that had been in their refrigerators and freezers. There was no electricity so all that meat had to be cooked, and shared. People got to know each other.
One commodity soon proved to be the most sought after, ice! It was August and it was hot! Electricity was coming on slowly but many didn’t get it for over two weeks. I was one of these. With no AC ice was an irresistible treat. Soon trucks were coming down from San Antonio and other places loaded with ice. They would sell it on the roadside but their prices soon hit ridiculous levels.
Mayor Jack Blackmon confiscated the ice and gave it away and set a fixed price until the emergency was over, thus foiling the ice pirates!
Around town and the area there were many strange sights in the aftermath of the storm. The old drive-in theater was wrecked. Only the marquee remained. On it were the words “Gone With the Wind!”
Some of the other area towns were hit even harder. Aransas Pass was a scene of unbelievable wreckage. Port Aransas suffered too. On Padre Island there wasn’t much there to hurt. There was a lot of beach erosion and cuts through the island.
While waiting for the stores to be stocked with food and electricity to be turned on many had nothing to eat. The Army and the National Guard set up field kitchens and served food three times a day. It was really good and well appreciated. With no electricity for a while traffic signals and street lights didn’t work. So everybody had to treat every street as a four-way stop. It was hard at first but amazingly people soon got the hang of it and it wasn’t so bad.
There was a curfew and martial law imposed in the first days following the storm. Curfew was at dusk and that made it tricky to eat supper at the field kitchen and get home before dark. The curfew was enforced by the many military personnel here as well as the other law enforcement agencies. It was not uncommon to see Jeeps with .50 caliber machine guns mounted in the back. I was stopped once for curfew violation and they weren’t friendly, but they did let us go.
It took a long time to recover and at times I wanted to just go somewhere else but over time things came back to being even better than before. But those who stayed here then will never forget Hurricane Celia!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The President's New Clothes

By now it should be clear to even the most ardent supporters of President Bush that his is a hollow presidency, all show and no go.
He has been propped up by expert spin doctors who call things by impressive sounding names like the "Patriot Act" which is nothing of the kind, but is in fact the largest intrusion on the rule of law and civil liberties since the infamous "Alien and Sedition Acts" of the WWI era.
His vaunted "leadership" was a product of the spinmeisters and now in the wake of hurricane Katrina we may find the wreckage of the Bush presidency.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Right Wing Email Blames "Welfare State" For Katrina Aftermath

There is an email going around from the Washington Times, at least that was what it said in one of the ones I received, blaming the botched response in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina on the welfare state.
That article couldn't be more off the mark.
That was a right wing, racist analysis and fails to consider many facets of the disaster.
In one sense, one thing the article said is correct. The seeds of the disaster were sown for years in advance. Thousands of people have been living in poverty, with inadequate schools, health care and little job opportunity and have been mostly ignored. The article blames that situation on the welfare state, with no further explanation, as if that was enough to support such a warped thesis. The roots of poverty are more complex than that, but are fairly obvious to anyone who will really look closely at society. Simplistic, right wing or any other wing slogans and mantras don't serve as realistic causes or provide solutions.
Most of what we have seen on TV are people who could not leave because of infirmity or no car or no money.
There has been violence but in no way can it be said that it is more than a small percentage of the population doing that. Looting occurred after other hurricanes. In Galveston, after hurricane Carla in 1961, looters were hung with signs proclaiming "shot for looting."
In New Orleans most of this "looting" has been by people that take food and water for themselves and their families.
To say that people haven't risen to the occasion demonstrates a blind eye to what's been going on. There are hundreds of stories of heroic actions by folks of all walks of life, police, military and even some government officials performing magnificently. And countless stories of people helping in other states and cities.
One federal branch, the U.S. Coast Guard, went into action immediately and performed heroically putting in long, arduous days of search and rescue operations.
Texas cities, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and others have opened shelters and raised money, food, clothes and other supplies to help.
There is blame to go around and you can bet it will come out soon. One culprit are policies pursued for decades in Louisiana, and this state isn't alone in this, which have destroyed much of the environment, depleted wetlands and barrier islands and polluted waterways with industrial and residential wastes.
The diversion of the Mississippi and the creation of the levee system is a big culprit and has been known for years as a disaster in the making.
It is going to take a tremendous amount of money and will to recover from this but it will be done in one way or another.
Will it be done intelligently, with an eye to preventing future disaster or will it be, once again, left to greedy developers, industrialists and politicians?
If such a storm hit here(I live in Corpus Christi, Texas) with similar flooding we would be totally unprepared to deal with that. Many, are disabled and poor and could not leave.
It could happen. The worst storm I have been through, by far, was Celia, in 1970. It was totally destructive but we were spared the flooding because of factors to do with the size and strength of the storm, it wasn't that big or strong till it came ashore when it exploded. It didn't push a big storm surge. It only rained about 5 inches. It blew the water out of Corpus Christi Bay and down the Laguna Madre.
Torrential rains and a storm from another direction could flood the Nueces River and Nueces Bay, a big storm surge could submerge downtown Corpus Christ, Padre Island, Flour Bluff and other low lying areas.
Development on the barrier islands, loss of wetlands and a rising sea water level seriously threaten my city and other coastal areas. Unfortunately local, state and federal governments allow unchecked, unplanned development to run amok and they fail to recognize the problem. Future planning is dominated by the god of local politicians, more growth! This is a short term formula for huge profits for a few and a long term recipe for massive losses looming for the many.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bush Declares Disaster Area




News reports over the air at 12:30 p.m. CST indicate that Michael Brown, embattled FEMA director, has been sent back to Washington and replaced by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.
Brown had been the target of withering criticism for the slow response of FEMA to the disaster.
The Coast Guard had been on the scene instantly and has conducted thousands of rescues and has delivered supplies to victims.

FEMA Director, Michael Brown

Bush Says Katrina Response “Unacceptable!”

President Bush has said that emergency response to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina was ‘unacceptable.” Talk about the understatement of the year.
Many ask what would have been the response had the hurricane hit, say Cape Cod, or Martha’s Vineyard. Is there any doubt about that?
FEMA has, under this administration, been reduced in scope and all of the top positions in the agency have been doled out as political payoffs to big campaign contributors. News reports are indicating that FEMA director Michael Brown “padded” his resume. Brown was a contributor to the Bush campaign. Brown had no prior experience in emergency management.

Brown removed from Katrina Releif!
As of 12:30 CST embattled FEMA director Michael Brown has been removed as director of relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. This report came over the airways at this time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Delay Blames Dems


On Tuesday, Sept. 6, Majority House Whip Tom Delay blamed Democratic administrations in New Orleans and the governor’s house in Louisiana for all of the problems involving preparation for and the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
Keeping true to form Delay praised Republican officials from Haley Barbour to FEMA head Mike Brown and President Bush.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Texas State Government Fails School System

The state government in Texas has miserably failed its constituents with its failure to pass a new education bill.
Lack of courage is the biggest problem in the GOP leadership. While the lege spent its time debating gay marriages and cheerleader propriety the real, necessary business of revamping and increasing financing for education went ignored.
Subsequent special sessions were also failures and now here we are with another school year underway and no progress made.
The voters will not forget this.

Hurricane Disaster Affects All

Hurricane Katrina will probably be the worst disaster in US history.
The 1900 Galveston hurricane killed between 5,000 to 10,000 people and devastated the city. Katrina will possibly result in a death toll approaching that but the social, political and economic effects of Katrina will be in the order of nothing ever seen in peace time.
Political blame will be assessed but for the time being relief for victims is the most important thing to focus on.
Now is a time for citizens and businesses to bite the bullet and forego profiteering and pull together to overcome this tradgedy. Thus far the governmental response has been an embarrassment. This is no time for smugness.
This illustrates how thin is our veneer of civilization and how quickly all the technology, the law and order and all the things we take for granted can disappear. What's left are the same tools we have used to survive since the Neolithic age.
The world, our friends and enemies, is watching. What they are presently expressing is utter amazement that such misery and helplessness as occurred in the tsunami disaster, floods in Bangla Desh and other world wide disasters can strike here and cripple us too. It is interesting to note the offers of aid that have poured in from around the world, even from enemies.
Storm season is still with us and will be be for some time. It is amazing how soon complacency has crept into our consciousness in the wake of previous hurricanes. Perhaps it will be different this time.