The New Texan

Why George Bush is scared of Ron Kirk:

“This is our Colin Powell,” says Rufus Shaw, who worried that Kirk was too conservative as mayor of Dallas. “This is as close as a black politician can come to being inoffensive to the Anglo community, without becoming a Republican. If Texas doesn’t vote for him, it’s going to say something about Texas, and it will not be very good.” The New Yorker

Life as a Blackman

‘Tired of Playing those same old boring Board Games? Well, the folks at Underground Games, Inc., a black owned game company, have come up with the most fun and interesting board game concept too ever hit the Market. Life As A BlackMan the Game is the first and only board game to depict life from the perspective of a minority. “This is the party game for the next millennium,” says Chuck Sawyer, C.E.O. Underground Games, Inc. ‘

Has the War on Iraq Already Begun?

Incredible speculation found at

According to DEBKAfile :

“Tuesday August 6, at 0800 hours Middle East time, US and British air bombers went into action and destroyed the Iraqi air command and control center at al-Nukhaib in the desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

If that was all, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance, as stuff like that has been going on for a few years now. But the following is what caught my eye:

“Turkey Seizes Critical Bamerni Airport in North Iraq – Hurriyet. Strategic Airfield Now Occupied by Turkish 5,000-Strong Force With US Special Forces Troops”

Now, admittedly DEBKAfile is far from being impartial or unbiased, so read it with ‘a pinch of salt’, or a handful if you like. But their military analyses have proved to be mostly correct on a number of occasions in the past – they seem to have several excellect sources in the international intelligence community. Also their layout is rather counter-intuitive, but that’s besides the point.

Blogging for Dollars:

Meg Hourihan: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger:

“During that weekend, I came to a realization that I’ve been mulling over ever since: a lack of money is hindering the growth and potential of blogging. Free–or personal–blogging can only take us so far.

Most financial discussions focus on blog content and explore donations, advertising, or some type of sponsorship/patronage model as the means to compensate bloggers. Very little progress has been made towards finding viable economic models because people still think of Weblogs as personal sites. If you aren’t Andrew Sullivan (who purportedly makes $6,000 per month on his site through donations), it’s hard to imagine how you’d get the traffic and donations to generate such revenue…

What I propose is slightly different: make it a commercial endeavor and hire an experienced blogger. Engage someone who’s already proven they can filter, condense, and write. Work with someone who can blog day in and day out for more than a month or two. The idea here is to find an enthusiast, empower them, and fund them, not to dump blogging onto someone’s day job, or it’s not likely to succeed.

Think of what some of the best bloggers could do if they were financially able to do focused, full-time blogging? Pick a topic you’re interested in, now imagine someone had 40 hours per week to cover everything related to that topic, and you get the idea. ” O’Reilly Network

In Search of Moon Trees:

‘Scattered around our planet are hundreds of creatures that have been to the Moon and back again. None of them are human. They outnumber active astronauts 3:1. And most are missing.

They’re trees. “Moon Trees.”

NASA scientist Dave Williams has found 40 of them and he’s looking for more. “They were just seeds when they left Earth in 1971 onboard Apollo 14,” explains Williams. “Now they’re fully grown. They look like ordinary trees–but they’re special because they’ve been to the Moon.” ‘ NASA

Reproductive ‘Extortion’

Reproductive Freedom:

“In June 2001, The Nation reported on the case of Dr. James Scott Pendergraft, an African-American abortion provider in Florida who had been convicted on federal charges of attempted extortion. A hero of reproductive rights advocates, who ran five clinics in the state, Pendergraft felt his case had clearly been about abortion, not extortion. The Nation fully agreed.

To recap: After Pendergraft threatened to sue the city of Ocala for inadequate protection of his clinic during a meeting with local officials, the feds accused him of trying to squeeze money out of the county commission, and stuck him with the extortion charge. Facing a predominately white, conservative jury and tricky prosecution, Pendergraft was found guilty and sentenced to forty-six months in a federal penitentiary in January 2001.” [thanks to David Walker]

"..a cross between Sir Edmund Hilary and Ansel Adams…"

[Galen and Barbara Rowell]R.I.P. Galen Rowell, 62, the renowned climber and wilderness photographer whose pictures have been an important source of inspiration and solace to me for many years. He and his wife were kiled in a private plane crash in California as they returned from the Bering Sea where he had just taught a workshop. “The view of those places is the same to all of us, but the picture will never be the same as the ones he took.” Boston Globe

A Comic Book Gets Serious on Gay Issues

‘For all the violence, the story will not end on a low note. “Our first inclination was that he die,” Mr. Winick said. “Then within 24 hours Bob and I both came back and said: I don’t think we can kill him off. That’s the cliché in all mediums. Who dies in movies? Gay people, people of color. Killing him seemed like too much. We wanted a little bit of hope.” ‘ NY Times

"…more like part of the problem than the solution…"

The Cheney Factor: “Mr. Cheney says his service as vice president is the most rewarding experience of his professional life and he would be happy to run for a second term if Mr. Bush wishes. But Mr. Cheney does not serve Mr. Bush well by dodging questions about Halliburton, or repeatedly declining to identify the people who were consulted by his energy task force last year. At a moment when Americans are looking to the government to help remedy the nation’s economic ills, Mr. Cheney looks more like part of the problem than the solution.” NY Times editorial

The Hobohemians

‘ “We need to have a country all our own,” Rocco decides. “It would be like this, all the time.” ‘ On the rails with the new freedom riders:

We’re heading to Dunsmuir to explore this curiously American phenomenon, which, despite rumors of its death dating back at least a half-century, seems to be catching on again. Men (and until recently, it has been largely men) began riding freight trains after the Civil War, when enough track had been laid to make it worthwhile, and enough dislocated veterans had become averse to staying still. Since then every major war and economic downturn has seen a return to the rails, providing a sort of shadow history of America, a constantly mobile underground of migrant workers, radicals, dreamers and thieves, misfits of all kinds who didn’t mesh with the societal weave. During the depressions of the 1890s and 1930s, it was a common if not entirely acceptable way for working-class men to get around in search of wages. In the ’30s, Frank Czerwanka, one of Studs Terkel’s sources in Hard Times, recalled, “When a train would stop in a small town and the bums got off, the population tripled.”

… The world looks different from a freight train. There’s no heat and no a/c. No meals are served. The restroom is wherever you find it. There are no buttons to push or cords to pull when you want off. The train goes where it wants when it wants to, and sometimes doesn’t go at all. It doesn’t care about your wishes. It doesn’t like or want you, doesn’t even know you’re there. It can kill you without a thought, can leave you behind, maimed and bleeding, without a moment of remorse. There’s no getting around it — it’s ridiculously romantic.LA Weekly

Related: Here is an online gallery by Virginia Lee Hunter, a trainhopping photographer.