Wednesday, March 27, 2024

TIL: My Texas State Senator is a Puppet of a Billionaire Christian Nationalist


Look at that map. The red line is the outline of Texas Senate District 2. The yellow and orange and purple and bluish colored areas are the cities. You can see that Senate District 2 mostly excludes the cities. It is mostly rural, except for one spear point in the northwest of the district, stabbing Richardson, my home, in the heart. Richardson is trending Democratic in recent elections. With the latest gerrymander by the Republican state legislature, Richardson is the sacrificial victim to be absorbed by safely rural, conservative, Republican Senate District 2. And that's how I ended up with Bob Hall as my Senator, representing me despite the fact that he isn't, in any way, representative of Richardson, Texas. Today I learned something else about Bob Hall. I learned it from Bob Deuell, "a staunch conservative with an independent streak," according to Russell Gold of Texas Monthly. Gold tells the story.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Masters of the Air (TV 2024)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Masters of the Air (TV 2024): Despite the horrific death toll suffered by the bomber crews of WWII, this show is about a few survivors. Based on real people, it plays like fiction: aerial adventures of handsome, daring flyboys. We've seen this war movie before. Cramming WWII into one series makes it feel rushed. Production value is excellent. B-

#Apple TV+

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Problem with RISD's School Closures

"Don't tax you.
Don't tax me.
Tax that fellow behind the tree."

— Louisiana Senator Russell B. Long

In local school politics, that political adage might be:

Don't close your school.
Don't close my own.
Close that school way across town.

With votes Thursday evening, March 21, 2024, the Richardson ISD officially moved to close four elementary schools all over town. In December, I called school closures the "third rail of local school politics. Touch it and you die." I knew that no matter how long RISD dragged out the community discussions, the community would never reach agreement on which schools to close. So just two months later in February, when I first heard of Project RightSize, I said, "Bold. Quick. Decisive. Well done." Now, a month later it's official. And I was wrong (again).

Sunday, March 24, 2024

POTD: Torre de Belém

"Waves lap at its feet,
Stories of conquest and feat,
Belém Tower reigns."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 09 06 Portugal

Now for somewhere completely different. Today's photo-of-the-day is of Torre de Belém (Bethlehem Tower) in Lisbon, Portugal, "a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers."

Saturday, March 23, 2024

POTD: Selamat Malam, Jakarta

"Skyline stretches out,
A modern metropolis,
Jakarta shines bright."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 04 09 Jakarta

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Jakarta, Indonesia. It was taken on the last night of our month-long vacation in New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia. Jakarta is a modern megalopolis. Situated just south of the equator, its climate is warm year-round. I say warm instead of hot because Texans experience hotter summers than Jakarta does. Jakarta is one of those cities where the expression "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" was made for.

The photo was taken on the umpteenth floor of an apartment building. I say umpteenth because it's hard to know for sure. There are levels for parking, for a mall, for a large outdoor deck, for a swimming pool and community rooms, all before you get up to the residential floors, for which the numbering starts all over. Let's just say we had a magnificent view of central Jakarta from our son's apartment high above Jakarta's streets.

Good night and goodbye, Jakarta. Selamat malam.