Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blog #37: Still More Texas CPS madness

Wednesday, May 22, 2008: According to CNN, agents of the Texas CPS have gone back to the religious compound in west Texas on the strength of rumors that there were children in the compound that they had missed the first time around. Although the agents were accompanied by a sheriff’s deputy, evidently they had neglected to get a valid search warrant, and were turned away without gaining entry. What kind of CPS and law enforcement officers would go warrantless to a compound where they had previously forcibly removed 463 children, and expect to be greeted by open gates and smiles? These people who are pretending to look out for the children in Texas are a really weird bunch. What school of social work did they attend? What, if any, educational qualifications do they possess? Thank god my own children are grown and well out of their reach. The audacity of Texas CPS workers’ is downright scary.

Thursday, May 23, 2008: HOORAY!!! Law and order still exists in the State of Texas, if only hanging by a thread. Reason and fairness haven’t as yet gone down the drain with the bathwater. Justice in Texas is not just a word that sounds good, but one which might actually have a modicum of meaning in the Lone Star state. Of course you may have to go up a legal level or two to find it, but it is reassuring to know that it is still there if you go high enough. An AP dispatch at 12:44 pm gave us the word: A Texas appeals court has ruled that a San Angelo judge exceeded her discretion when she ordered the state to take custody of more than 460 children from a polygamous sect.

The order by the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin stated that State District Judge Barbara Walther abused her discretion when she ordered the children seized and gave her 10 days to vacate her order. It was not immediately clear whether the order means the children will be immediately returned to the custody of their parents, followers of a breakaway Mormon sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"We’re extremely happy with the ruling," said Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, which represented 48 mothers in its custody suit against the state. Martinez said she was not certain how soon the children might be returned to the 1,700-acre ranch

A spokesman for Child Protective Services said attorneys were reviewing the order (as if that was somehow magically going to make everything alright and the decision go away.) "Any decision regarding an appeal will be made later," Patrick Crimmins said. Mr. Crimmins obviously has not a clue for he went on, "We are trying to assess the impact that this may have on our case." The three-judge panel had written, "Even if one views the FLDS belief system as creating a danger of sexual abuse by grooming boys to be perpetrators of sexual abuse and raising girls to be victims, . . . . there is no evidence that this danger is 'immediate' or 'urgent' . . . with respect to every child in the community." How much clearer did the appellate judges need to be to enter the thick skulls of the CPS legal team? The appeals court judges clearly directed the lower court to vacate the orders that had granted the mothers' children to the custody of the state. Period. Not question mark!

That supposition of the CPS that the sect is “grooming the boys to be perpetrators of sexual abuse and raising girls to be victims of sexual abuse” is so bizarre and paranoid that only a Texas CPS trained mind can fully fathom it. In our society boys are raised to be husbands and fathers and girls are groomed to be wives and mothers. It’s called procreation, it fosters the propogation of our species, and it is a sin only in the eyes of perverted bureaucrats like those of the Texas Children’s Protective Services. Mr. Crimmins is obviously whistling Dixie in an attempt to save the CPS’s face, however the Appeals Court ruling is crystal clear, the CPS HAS NO CASE. I have never seen a legal opinion more clearly written than the one handed down by that appeals court. A complete text of the court’s ruling in PDF form may be found here:

"The way that the courts have ignored the legal rights of these mothers is ridiculous," said TRLA attorney Julie Balovich. "It was about time a court stood up and said that was has been happening to these families is wrong."

So how many of you reading this would like to be in Judge Walther’s shoes right now? I dearly hope this investigation progresses to the point where whoever it was in the hierarchy of the Texas GPS that called the shots for this travesty is fully credited (or if you prefer, discredited) and the lady or gentlemen is immediately retired without compensation or at the very least is placed in a position where he or she can do no further harm to the community. Perhaps he or she could be further honored by being the first to be installed in a yet to be created Texas Child Protective Services HALL OF SHAME. And one can’t help but feel that Judge Walther should also be represented in such a facility for her complicity and her complete disregard of statutes of law and rules of evidence. Would someone please tell me what kind of law judge Walther and the attorneys for the GPS practice? Law based on hearsay? Law without benefit of evidence? Fascist law or communist law? Did they study under Hitler or Stalin? Take your choice.

If there was a shred of decency left among the bureaucratic perpetrators of this travesty the GPS would have the judge immediately vacate her order and have those children reunited with their rightful parents as quickly as humanly possible. Why do I think that is not going to happen? That the powers that inflicted this grotesque miscarriage will attempt to hang onto their misdeed for as long as possible, all the while pretending that their initial decision was the proper one?

Friday May 23, 2008: And did my prophecy play out, you might ask? You can bet your sweet bippy it did. The lawyers of the CPS appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to stay the Appeal’s Court verdict requiring Judge Walther to vacate her order within ten days. At the same time using a magician’s slight-of-hand the CPS attempted to lessen the sting of the overturning of the ruling by agreeing to reunite 12 of the children with their families. "CPS agreed to allow the parents of 12 children to live with their parents in the San Antonio area under state supervision, said Teresa Kelly, a spokeswoman for Rene Haas, an attorney for the parents. The CPS did not say how they arrived at the magic number of 12 out of 463. And the families cannot return to the Yearning For Zion ranch, where they lived before the raid. Aside from mothers staying with their infants in foster care, no other parents from the west Texas ranch have been allowed to stay with their children until now.

12 children out of 463 allowed to live with their natural, god given parents. The generosity of the Texas CPS knows no bounds. And now we’ll all have to just wait to see if the Supreme legal minds agree with the Appealing legal minds, or if instead they will buy that twisted bill of goods being peddled by the Texas CPS. One can only hope that the high justices give it the priority the Appeals court did. And that they all read from the same law books.

When this farce finally ends profound apologies to all concerned would be in order, to all of the children so brutally removed from their families, to their parents, and to all of the citizens of the State of Texas whose money and patience has been thoroughly taxed through this perverse debacle. Although I’m sure apologies are the last thing in the CPS mind and saying one would stick in every CPS craw, they are due anyway. And until we can activate that HALL OF SHAME this situation calls for every one responsible for this mockery to be ordered to stand in the corner facing the wall with dunce caps rakishly affixed. And their hindquarters exposed to a teacher’s stinging ruler.
– • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • –
And it looks like Karl Rove’s charmed life is about to become uncharmed. The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the former White House adviser as part of its inquiry into whether the Bush administration politically meddled at the Justice Department. Accusations of politics governing decisions at the agency led to the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The subpoena issued Thursday orders Rove to testify before the House panel on July 10. He is expected to face questions about the White House's role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove's attorneys for more than a year over whether the former top political adviser to President Bush would testify voluntarily. That having failed, the committee proceeded with the subpoena. Of course, Mr. Rove can always plead the fifth and offer nothing of interest. However, thanks to right wingers like he the fifth has long been seen as synonymous with a guilty plea, and the committee will at least be able to bring out all of the rumors surrounding Rove, and pin the tail on the monkey where appropriate, so to speak.
– • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • –
And in Switzerland last week the head honcho of Microsoft, Steve Balmer, joined Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, on the receiving end of a food fight. Gates had received a cream pie in his face in Brussels on February 4th, 1998. (video: And thanks to what else? the miracle of YouTube, we can show you video of last week’s event affecting Ballmer.

After taking cover behind a desk, a clearly surprised Ballmer recovered and resumed his presentation as the protester was led out of the room. "It was a friendly disruption," he said, pacing around and grinning. "That broke my train of thought." I guess he was lucky his face didn’t break an egg or two. The protester seemed to lack proper aim, but his task was made difficult by Ballmer’s ducking behind protective c0ver.

However there is more to this incident that meets the eye on first glance. The resentment against Microsoft among many of the world’s computer users is a very real. They resent the compromises MS has put into their products, and they resent the strong arm methods used by MS which propelled it to become a monopoly in the first place. In American courts Microsoft came very near being required to split up its company into two parts, it was saved in the nick of time by an appeals court. The breaking up had been ordered as punishment for the way it had killed off Netscape, the first real internet browser, and using the American courts as an example, the European Union is presently fining Microsoft record amounts as it attempts to quietly continue some of the practices which had led to the demise of Netscape. And hackers throughout the world are targeting Microsoft’s Windows operating system with all kinds of malware. Meantime Microsoft is doubled over in Google envy, having lost its place as the leader of the computing world, and for the life of them they can’t think of a way to regain their relevance. After failing to annex Yahoo (which would have combined their search engines and at least put Microsoft into #2) their latest idea is to pay users of their search engine when said user buys a product through their search engine, an idea that was met with tepid enthusiasm.
– • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • –
Speaking of Microsoft, its founder and spiritual leader Bill Gates came in as number three in a list of 50 Tech visionaries compiled by Christopher Null and published by PC World. He is followed closely by Apple founder Steve Jobs who is number four on the list. First on the list are Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby, two men who didn’t work together but who separately came up with the idea of integrated circuits, upon which the entire modern tech generation is based. Second on the list are Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, undeniably the web’s most powerful company and the founders of the web’s most used search engine. A chap named Gary Kildall called by BusinessWeek, "The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates," came in at number 49. Kildall was the guy Gates beat out in the bidding to supply IBM with the operating system for the original PC, which has generally been credited with beginning Gate’s and Microsoft’s dominance in the software industry. According to legend, Kildall blew off the meeting with IBM to "go flying," though Kildall denied that rumor, posthumously, in his unpublished memoirs.
– • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • –
On Thursday the NY Times posted a long article (10 screens) called Blog Post Confidential, or as it appears when you read it, Exposed. Written by Emily Gould, it documents her blogging of her life. She tells about an evening when blogging about her boy friend, he objected to her posting his story and insisted that she withdraw it. She describes h0w he watched as she deleted the post, as she describes it “grudgingly making the keystrokes necessary to delete what I’d written. As I sat there staring into the screen at the reflection of Henry standing behind me, I burst into tears. And then we were pacing, screaming at each other, through every room of our apartment, facing off with wild eyes and clenched jaws.

“My blog post was ridiculous and petty and small — and, suddenly, incredibly important. At some point I’d grown accustomed to the idea that there was a public place where I would always be allowed to write, without supervision, about how I felt. Even having to take into account someone else’s feelings about being written about felt like being stifled in some essential way. As Henry and I fought, I kept coming back to the idea that I had a right to say whatever I wanted. I don’t think I understood then that I could be right about being free to express myself but wrong about my right to make that self-expression public in a permanent way.”

It is a fascinating look into the motivation behind a certain kind of blogger today, and I read all ten screens in total fascination. I think it makes a fascinating read whether or not you are into blogging yourself for it is an honest look at expressing your feelings and ideas freely and publicly on the web. The complete article may be found at:

Of course Emily’s Magazine (the name of her first blog) has virtually no relation to this blog. For one thing, she wrote for a small community who responded to her articles with comments, which further inspired comments from her. Even though we have been blogging for 36 weeks, we have yet to get our first comment. Heavens knows I try, I make one outrageous statement or comment after another. And there are people who visit, or at least so the page counter insists. Not enough, perhaps, but there is traffic. I wish someone would add a comment, even a negative one questioning my sanity would be welcome as it would be an indication that somebody is actually reading and cares one way or the other about something written here.

In last week’s blog I talked about my radio program which I have turned into a podcast. I presently have ten one hour episodes of the program and last week I wrote about how I intend to put together a home page from which to offer the podcasts for download. Somebody must have read my blog, for I got an email from Deepac, which describes itself as a web development firm and whose communication apprised me of its services. Reading their email it turns out, “We are based in India and with our best and 24 hours customer support we serve our clients Web Design and Development Services across the globe.”

It would be tempting to engage their services, if only I could afford to pay for some expert help. However business models are beyond my meager comprehension. So I guess I’ll just have to go it alone. Incidentally good old Google announced today that it has opened it’s web posting facility Google Sites to all comers. Now that is something I can afford, for it is FREE! The announcement says they have all of the tools on hand. I’ll have to go to Google Sites and look into the possibilities sooner rather than later.
– • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • – – • –
Well, it’s beginning to look like KBR (Kellog, Brown & Root) the Houston company that is doing virtually everything in Iraq (at American taxpayers expense) is having their monopoly broken up. The company, originally an adjunct of Halliburton (of which vice president Dick Cheney was CEO of before the 2000 election, wink, wink) is having it’s monopoly ripped apart. The army which secured it’s contract with KPR without open bidding, has finally decided to share the wealth, and has broken up the contracts to allow two other companies to share. Good news for the American taxpayer. Right? Wrong, the new arrangement will likely cost the taxpayer more money.

“This new contract sounds good, they are splitting it up, but there are serious flaws, including what looks like outsourcing oversight,” said Dina Rasor, an investigator and co-author of a book about contracting in Iraq. “And the size of the contract is enormous. When you think of these big, multibillion-dollar defense contracts and contractors, you think of companies like Lockheed, and you can see their big airplane plants. But what is KBR doing for all this money? They are slinging hash, washing laundry.”

Army officials said that they would not be able to actually shift work from KBR to the other companies until late this year, meaning that the change would be under way just as Americans are choosing a new president. The Army officials said the huge new multiyear contract for Iraq would not commit any new presidential administration to paying billions of dollars to defense contractors for services in Iraq if the new president decided to withdraw American troops.

It is not clear how the Pentagon will try to untangle KBR’s operations in Iraq to share them with DynCorp and Fluor. Lee Thompson, the executive director of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, wouldn't you know the program would be called something like that, said the Army would first try to split work in Kuwait among the three companies, and would then move on to Afghanistan and Iraq.

When all is said and done, I hope some ruling entity takes a serious and prolonged look at how this war in Iraq has been waged. In the second world war, with which I fortunately had only a fleeting acquaintance, services for the troops were done by the troops. Kitchen staff and truck drivers were paid the same low salary the rest of the GI’s got. And diplomats were guarded by US Marines, also woefully underpaid. The rationale for having civilians doing it this time around (at high civilian prices) was that the Army and other military was too understaffed to be bothered with feeding itself or doing its own laundry. But if they are too understaffed to take care of their basic services, why are they not too understaffed to go to war in the first place? At any rate, civilian contractors making hundreds of times the salary of soldiers, have been doing their jobs for them.

This is an idea that only a kind of super corporate capitalist like Dick Cheney would come up with. So let's call it the Dick Cheney way of making war, as he somehow managed to get his old company Halliburton, and it’s then subsidary Kellogg, Brown & Root, exclusive contracts which in itself was against the military code, which used to call for open bidding on all contracts until Cheney. And so while the Iraq war may tax the rest of us, our children, and their children, it has been nothing if not a blessing for the Haliburtons and KBRs of the world. Not to forget the cowboys of Blackwater who daily drive through the streets of Iraq with their guns a-blazing. What do you think the chances are for some kind of restitution somewhere down the line? I thought so. I should go back to cultivating grass and mushrooms and forget all this fantasy dreaming. Ah, well, maybe next week everything will come together.

The Real Little Eddy

No comments: