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August 5, 2002

Off to Texas

The cab driver and I got talking as we headed for the airport and I learned that he came from Somalia ten years ago. What a place! No government to speak of, just thuggish warlords funded by opium sales shooting each other over territory. The driver had 11 kids and a wife and made his way out of there. Three of the kids are in college now and none of them, he was proud to say, ever got into drugs, crime, gangs, or "sagging of their pants". That last thing is a special accomplishment since Somalis are typically so skinny that their pants sag even if they're not trying. It was good to start the day hearing the American Dream playing out again for another generation.

The rest of the day was downhill. The plane from San Diego left an hour late, which meant I missed my connection in Dallas, and the plane from there to Houston was another hour late. Then, on the 90 minute drive through East Texas, I got pulled over twice by the Highway patrol: once for changing lanes too often and once for doing 62 in a 55 zone. No tickets, no blemish on my permanent record. I think they were disappointed to discover I wasn't drunk.