Friday, August 31, 2012

When you are in the Devil’s house, you will know it

by Peter Stern

Chapter 1:  Knowing yourself… and where you are

When you are in the Devil’s house, you will know it.  There is no doubt.
There are no telltale signs posted, but there is no doubt where you are and you are woefully alone.  Your preceding life is a faint glimmer and the house is dark… pitch black, so that you may not even see your own thoughts or recall who you are.

You are in the present only.  A thought from your past is noticed as a rapid glance, as quick as an express freight train blurs by a local station.  You see it, or you think you see it.  You don’t dare turn your head for a look back because you are in the Devil’s house and he is playing with your head.  He wants to see what you’ve got inside… what you are made of and what is left that he can toy with.

That you lost control is evident when you bump into a phantom table or trip over the edge of an imagined rug.  Just keep searching because there has to be a way out before you lose any hope or recall.  Where are your loved ones?  Did you ever have any loved ones… a wife, a lover, children, a best friend?  The Devil doesn’t care.  You are his.  You may lose everything.  You must find your way or you will be his forever.

You can’t see him but you know the Devil is all around you.  You can feel him.  There is no hiding.  You are in his house, perhaps to pay for some transgression in your past, or it may simply be that he’s been watching you and wants to see if you can handle yourself… alone in his blind house.

Your eyes adjust somewhat to the darkness, or what the Devil wants you to see.  It may be nothing or it could be crammed with symbolic pieces to test what you are and where you will go next.  How much can you handle?  Time is lost.  It is an hour, or a day.  It slips by unnoticed, or it crawls along like a tiny snail in the sand until you scream with frustration.

You are in his house.  How did you get here?  How long are you staying?  Are you sitting or standing?  How do you get out of here?  Questions floating by are lost in space.  There are lots of questions, but no answers.  You don’t care.  You just want out, but you are not going anywhere because the Devil is in charge and it’s his house.  He knows where everything is and what everything means.  You have to make sense of it… enough to escape.  He knows you are trying.  He’s played at it before with an endless progression of wretched, frightened souls… and now you are one of them.  How are you doing?

You don’t know yet and to make things worse… you have been drugged.  The clouds in your mind haze over your thoughts and you are trying to see through them, but it’s tough because the Devil wants it to be.  The doubts are forming, as you move on.

Chapter 2:  Wading through the Devil’s swamp

Shaking your mind from the cob webs isn’t easy.  Is this a dream or reality?  You don’t know, but you have no time to think about it.  You stagger past your options as you stumbled through your life.  Try to make sense of what is.  Grab onto something.  There is no stability.  No apparent safe place.  It is lost, much as you are now.  Exhausted and scared, you finally fall down where you are to sleep, a brief escape from consciousness, a respite from feeling and making decisions.  It doesn’t last.

You awaken, stressed.  Has it been an hour or a day?  Time is lost, as lost as you are for the moment.  After all, you are in the Devil’s house.  Lost souls float by now and then.  Some stop to speak, others glide along some obscure path that is hidden in the darkness, just like the one you are on, searching.  You try not to stop or be deterred by all of it.  Sometimes you succeed.

You must keep faith in God, Yourself and Love to make it through the darkness and the maze of clutter.  The dark house seems endless.  These are the tools you must use against the Devil and his house.  Little else matters.

Frequently, you doubt yourself.  Your mind may not be your own.  It’s easy to get paranoid.  Your thoughts may scatter and your actions reactionary.  You keep juggling what you can.  Whatever may happen, you are in it for the long haul.  You are in and out of consciousness.  The drugs carry you along, even when you are missing.  Your reality is a dream and the illusions are your reality.  The Devil’s house is a mixed bag of nuts that you must sort through, usually without thinking and more often with a price to pay.  You must struggle through it. 

Chapter 3:  You are what you are… and you are lost.

Hard to tell… are you awake or asleep?  In many ways it doesn’t matter.  The struggle knows no time.  You need to buy a map of the place, but you have no money on you and there is no map anyway.  Bearings!  You need to find them, but there are no signs or stars to follow.  You are on your own.  You strain in the darkness to see, to make some sense of it.  The Devil has you in his clutches and you are alone, scared and lost.  He is chuckling at your dilemma, but you can’t hear him.

Periodically, he sends some disciples to ask you questions that you don’t understand.  You try your best to respond and to ask some questions of your own, but the answers are not what you are looking for and the clouds remain.  You force yourself to plod on.

The sounds you hear are varied.  The whirs and clicks of machinery distort your mind and progress.  Sounds are of a toy train moving along some tracks and also there is some sort of clicking or ticking, much like a clock.  Whatever they may be, they are hidden from your view and after stopping for a minute or a day, you move on.  You realize the sounds are to get your attention and to divert your thoughts.  So you try not listening too long, but just enough to keep you safe from any potential danger.  After all, you are in the Devil’s house and you are very lost and confused.  Still, you hang on to your faith in God, Yourself and Love because they are the only way you can hold onto your life and find a way out of this hell you are in.  It continues…

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Terrible Toll Tax Mentality

While a handful of us fought and still fight against toll roads, the majority allows the governor, legislature, TxDOT and the various toll authorities to go ahead and make toll roads the “creative” plan to resolve our traffic problems.  The clowns took over.

TxDOT continues to whine it has no money to build and maintain our roadways, but as soon as the plan for MoPac toll lanes was approved the run-amok agency said it “found” $130 MILLION to put into the toll lanes. Does anyone else smell a skunk?

TxDOT should be dismantled and rebuilt, but Texas legislators would probably charge Texans a toll to do it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Texas Toll Road Scam... paying taxes down the road a.k.a., Piracy

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is defrauding hard-working and hardly working Texans. TxDOT and CAMPO are supported by Governor Rick Perry and the majority of Texas Legislators. Both agencies are lobbied by wealthy special interests who ensure that they will reap vast profits that do not necessarily ensure that the Texas public is being served in the best interests of the community good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

State’s Rights vs. Individual Rights

According to the latest anti-abortion news, the Appeals Court has determined that “Texas can cut off Planned Parenthood funding"
I am a long time Republican who has grown weary of the Party's current platform of right-wing extremism in too many areas of our daily lives.
I believe as Gov. Rick Perry does that the Federal Government should stay out of our daily personal lives and state affairs.
I believe as Perry does NOT, that State Government should stay out of our personal lives. During his tenure as Governor of Texas, Perry has shown time after time that he and the state want to control more aspects of our daily lives, especially those of women.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Letter of formal complaint against the Texas Dept. of Transportation

To The Honorable Senator John Carona, Chair Senate Committee on Transportation:
copy to our district State Senator Jeff Wentworth and Representative Jason Isaac:
Several years ago as Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation you led an investigation into the actions of TxDOT and its ongoing belligerence and questionable if not corruptive and illegal misuse of taxpayer dollars. The committee considered more oversight and restructuring of the runaway agency and yet it seems that little has been done since that time to curb the agency’s irresponsibility and misuse of funds. 
I am hereby formally filing a complaint with you and the Senate Committee on Transportation against TxDOT’s administration, its ongoing questionable alleged illegal actions and the agency’s special interest agendas that enable the TxDOT to act arrogantly, illegally and inappropriately and certainly NOT in the best interests of the Texas community.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rick Perry up to his old tricks...

Part time Governor
In response to Aug 6 article "Perry to speak at Iowa gathering"
We know that more than 15 percent of Texans are unemployed (the real stats, not gov't stats), a large majority of Texas children have no health care insurance, property taxes continue to increase dramatically... and yet, Governor Rick Perry is in Iowa playing national politics again [poorly] instead of being here in Texas trying to resolve these and other of our urgent issues with Legislators.
It is clear that Perry's thoughts are more outside of Texas than here where they should be. As the highest paid governor in the US, Perry should either step down from Governor or cut his pay to half, since he is a half time Governor.

Texas Merit Program for Educators --- a Joke!

The Merit Pay Program for Educators is an absurd program that gives bonuses to teachers and administrators for doing the job that they are supposed to do without the bonuses. It prepares our kids to pass State exams. 
The legislators devised a plan that is contrary to educators who are hired to educate our children to the best of their ability. 
Offering bonuses is a slap in the face of education itself. 
The Merit Bonus Program makes the education system more like a factory program that gives bonuses like factory workers who to complete more parts. Our children are NOT piece-work products.
Educators need to do the job they were hired to do and the State needs to provide better professional salaries for them to do so. 
Next will be students paid to learn programs. Whatever happened to learning for learning's sake?

More on Health Care Changes

In response to 7/27: “Health Care Changes in Progress” printed in the Austin Chronicle...
We are being told that Texans will receive “millions” in health care rebates and that this is such a great thing that is happening. While it’s nice to finally get something back from the health care industry it’s not that big a deal when looking at the industry as a whole during the past decade.
The rebate may sound like a lot, but the amount per person is merely 1 month's cost of a health care plan premium. In truth, we've been getting ripped off for years by the health care industry. The "millions" in rebates don't even put a dent in the absurdly high costs.

Add to that the fact that the special interest legislature enabled health care companies to increase their premiums for ANY reason and in less than the previously normal "every 6 months" and we can see that little has changed for Texans in getting quality and AFFORDABLE health care.

The majority of Texans and Texas children remain WITHOUT real health care coverage because it is still unaffordable. In addition, most health plans do NOT totally cover the insured. Thousands of dollars more may be the patient's responsibility.

Today, the major cause of individual bankruptcy is due to unaffordable health care bills.

This token gesture rebate does little to change the facts re: unaffordable health care costs in Texas.

Supremes Ruled on Obama's Health Care

Now what?

The volatility of the health care market is shown here in TX, but it is the same everywhere. A person can blink, be put in a hospital situation and be forced into bankruptcy and virtually lose everything.
Deregulation is the worst thing for the health care industry because it is a runaway, but the industry and states are clamoring for it, especially here in TX. 
I never thought I would say this, but I am for the federal government as oversight of state health care. We need to be protected. The Feds are certainly not a panacea, but at least it is something, a wall for the industry to hit before it drives away with all our money.

Government's Unemployment Stats Lie

In response to the State [Texas] saying that "Seasonal trends push Austin unemployment rate up to 6.4 percent"
It is tiresome and frustrating for us to read over and over again the latest monthly absurd stats on the unemployment rate. Any moron (including media reporters) must know by now that the statistics are wrong.
With millions of Texans out of work for years now and who may have stopped looking for work, the statistics don't cover those long-time unemployed.
The real numbers must be closer to 15 percent unemployed.
So, please, stop insulting our intelligence by regurgitated the stale undercut government unemployment statistics.

Texas economy $ucks!

Texas needs to create jobs
Rick Perry earns $240,000 per year as Governor of Texas, yet millions of Texans are unemployed and can not pay their daily living expenses. 
Why aren’t the governor, state legislators and Texas businesses creating public works jobs that would rebuild our ailing infrastructures and create thousands of jobs for Texans who need them?

The endless push for Texas toll roads...

No matter what Texans want or say TxDOT and its special interests continue to push big plans for toll roads in Central Texas and beyond.
While the ruling GOP always say "No New Taxes" what are tolls if not new taxes?
Furthermore, toll roads seldom fix the traffic problems we are told they will and they consistently provide long term debt to Texas taxpayers and drivers.
In addition, once toll roads are established they generally remain forever, even after the roadways are paid for.
Texans need to speak up against toll roads. If top level TxDOT administrators would not be getting astronomical salaries and if legislators would stop diverting the gasoline tax for special interest whims, there would be enough tax dollars to build and repair our roadways without tolls.

Texas Education Refinancing Law Suit Continues

The state and the courts continue to play a 1 decade long game with our children's public education.
The State Constitution says that the State must provide a quality education for Texas children and that includes paying for it with tax dollars and not to continue to divert education dollars for other special interest whims.
The Governor, House Reps and Senators are little more than criminals who have diverted their constitutional responsibility onto local governments who in turn have overburdened homeowners who must pay 80 percent of their property taxes for public education.
Even then the state sends money collected in one district to another if the districts are termed rich or poor districts. These days EVERY district is poor and the Robin Hood Clause should be thrown out of the system.
The State is guilty of irresponsibly and criminally destroying the public education system in Texas. The GOP in Texas simply doesn't want Public Education to succeed and it certainly doesn't want to provide the tax dollars for financing it.

GOP too stupid and self-destructive to win National Election?

Perhaps being too arrogant, waving a red-neck mentality and blatantly not caring about the majority of Americans will seal the GOP’s doom in the upcoming November National Election. After all, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
The GOP doesn’t even have the sensibility to pretend it gives a damn about the majority of Americans. Just say you care and then after you win go on with the usual idiotic platforms and policies that will alienate more Americans from the once proud party of Dwight Eisenhower through the modern time of Ronald Reagan. The GOP today doesn’t have a clue on any meaningful direction to improve an ailing America. 
The GOP doesn’t care about public education, improving economic times for all Americans and providing affordable and quality health care to Americans who need and want it. How could such an out-of-touch party win the 2012 Presidential Election? It could win only if the majority of Americans are as stupid and mean-spirited as the leaders of the current GOP are.
The GOP is a proven no-winner and it will continue to lose in November 2012.

Texas Searches for a New Public Education Leader

Good luck with that

After spending 1/4 of my work life in public education I learned that it takes much more than one leader to move education into the 21st Century.
The problem usually stems from the fact that the wrong people are in control of public education and they try to run it like a business, which it isn't. They usually fail and apparently, they want it to fail.
In this state we have a governor and school board that do not care a hill o’ beans about real education and learning for learning's sake. Test scores are the obelisks of our educational learning outcomes.
Politics and mismanagement have ruined public education and will continue to do so until angry Texans run a collective giant-size Texas boot up state government's butt, demanding that it finally "let our children go!"
In response to the Austin American Statesman article, "Study calls for hiring 250 police personnel over next five years" 
Texans need to secure their cities and towns to ensure healthy growth, providing safe future homes for our children's children. One way we can do so is to use a small part of the Rainy Day Fund that Gov. Rick Perry and his merry band of legislators continue to guard from use, apparently presuming that one day it will all be needed to rebuild Noah's Ark when the great flood returns. 
Use some common sense. Austin property taxes rose 38 percent in the past decade. We can't keep adding taxes for homeowners to bear.
A smart way to provide the police and fire security we need over time is to use a small part of the Rainy Day Fund and stop politicians from hanging the slush fund threateningly over our heads and the heads of opposing forces whenever it works for them to do so.

More False Unemployment Information

In response to the article in the Austin American Statesman, "Better job numbers for Texas means decrease in benefits for unemployed"...
Texans are being scammed again by state government, this time it is in their unemployed wallets, in which cob webs now replace the dollar bills once held inside.
Government job statistics have marred the realities of market. The stats show unemployment down, BUT IN TRUTH, the job market is in much worse health. Millions of Texans have been without work for several years now. They are NOT counted in the Government's Unemployment Totals.
Job statistics lie and manipulate the system, which supports government and NOT the unemployed.
Case in point is that those most recently unemployed will soon have no benefits.
A good question is that what will Texas do with all the unemployed who can't find employment roaming its streets?

Republicans become indignant to Obama's immigration policy

In response to the indignation, "Texas Republicans decry Obama order, call it 'amnesty'"...
It's nice to see that the Texas GOP has a sense of humor. Here in Texas our own beloved Governor Rick Perry has for many years been offering amnesty and free education to sons and daughters of illegal immigrants.
Now that President Obama is planning amnesty via free education on a national level it sets off the whining of the Texas GOP.
Americans should not add free education to the long list of what we taxpayers are shelling out to illegals and their children, e.g., health and social services, etc. If we Americans tried to get the same services in Mexico illegally we would be thrown in jail and/or sent back to the US. Both Democrats AND Republicans are guilty of doing the same thing and it is a huge cost to taxpayers.