“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ghosts of halloweens past

Think I must be cursed. I'd love to have trick-or-treaters but never do-- despite the fact that I've decorated, have candy, have the door wide open and have old Ministry and The Cure playing on the stereo. No kids ever show.

Think it must have something to do with that longago Halloween in college. I assumed no one would trick-or-treat my apartment right by the college in University Park, Dallas, so I bought no candy. I was studying for a Poly Sci class when the knock on the door with the eager faces came. I had nothing. So I shrugged, dropped the copy of the Communist Manifesto I was reading into an outstretched plastic pumpkin, smiled maniacally, and closed the door.


pierce bush: what you would've seen on W's facebook page if the google and the internets had existed in '69

Yeah, and it gets worse.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Of October and Surprises

OK, for the record, since some folks seem to think they know what was going on in my/our heads at The Amarillo Independent, I note that the endorsements came from the editorial board, with the mentioned exception of the judiciary races. And the three reporters on the board are senior ones — years of newspaper experience, not some lightweight newbie fresh from j-school.

Further, the more I read SD’s and the other posts, and the more I think about it, the more I come to see it was a petulant, knee-jerk reaction for us not endorsing Bell. We get no credit for the other endorsements. You guys want Mac again?

And Hutchison? That she didn’t talk to us was her choice. That we felt she had an obligation to is our choice. That it drove part of the rationale for our endorsement, our choice. It’s not quid pro quo. It’s about the accountability of those whose salaries are paid by you and me and about how the media represents you and me.

Perhaps the thing that pissed me off most about the original post was how it was an example of what Panhandle folks call “All Hat and No Cattle.” How many times did I come to the liberal and progressive part of the community and ask for support? Tell your friends about us? Tell your friends in business to consider advertising with us? Help us find additional distribution points? And how about that offer how many months ago to put our ad on the PTS site? Not there yet, is it?

Maybe, as “the self-appointed ombudsmen of the local media,” the bloggers criticizing The Amarillo Independent should learn more about how the media works, how journalistic standards work and the implications and significance of The Amarillo Independent being started and — so far — succeeding. It’s easy to sit back in your self-satisfaction and throw stones. I don’t see any of you stepping up to the plate. I’m proud of the journalism we — and I mean the entire staff — do, and it’s a lot more important than some damn endorsement that, frankly, no one gives a shit about.

You want another voice in the town? You want progressive media? You want institutions and public officials held accountable?

Then don’t eat your young.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

october surprise

"There will be some surprises," newsguygeorge intoned solemnly, and indeed there were. When Spacedark, Jr. read the Amarillo Independent's endorsements, he sputtered, "I thought that was a Democratic paper!" His strict demands that people adhere to the party line can perhaps be forgiven; he is, after all, in middle school. Iman's more adult response was no less livid for its maturity:

Unfrakinbelievable!! You guys really didn't endorse Kinky!?!! Did you watch the debate? He has no grasp of the issues, makes funny one liners and says he'll hire the best to figure it all out. I've had enough of voting for likable characters, hoping they hire the best. You should have just said no to whatever he was smoking during his campaign tour.
When I read Iman's comment, I at first thought he was joking. When I realized he wasn't, I like a codependent relative tried to come up with an excuse for the Amarillo Independent's aberrant behavior. Perhaps, I thought, they were merely reacting to the attitude implicit in Spacedark, Jr.'s comment. Maybe they just wanted to prove, in their first set of endorsements, that they were truly "independent".

Frankly, though, I hate that sort of thing. It reminds me of all the pseudo-intellectual alt freaks I knew down in Austin who hated popular music just because it was popular. If you react against the mob by predictably hating the tastes of the masses, you are still being controlled by them. If you can't think for yourself, just stay in the mainstream where we can see you. We're all safer that way.

Unfortunately, even that excuse gave newsguygeorge and the Indy way too much credit. Listen to them explain why they didn't endorse Chris Bell:
Bell has electoral experience, serving as a representative from Houston in the U.S. House. His seat was gerrymandered out of existence, an unfortunate event and a loss for the Houston area.

We like Bell and we like some of his stances. But Bell’s Web site is obtuse and connecting up with the candidate to get a real bead on him, even for a friendly media outlet, is difficult. It’s also too bad that this candidate lacks charisma, something needed for the bully pulpit, because Texas governors don’t have much else to offer in the way of power.
We can't figure out his web site and can't get in touch with him. Maybe I can shed some light on this inscrutable stance from the Indy. Back in July, George e-mailed me asking if I knew how to get in touch with Bell, and saying his web site was "useless". I assume he wanted to interview Bell or something. I sent him the e-mail for Jason Stanford, Bell's media contact, which I found on his . . . uh . . . website.

But you know what? I have Chris Bell's private e-mail— I just didn't give it to George. In the early days of his candidacy, Bell and I corresponded a bit after the blogger conference calls in which Chris was very accessible and forthcoming. I am quite certain that Chris reflected on this correspondence as he molded his positions during the early campaign. I didn't give the e-mail to George because I promised Chris I'd keep our e-mails between us. For the same reason, I won't detail them here, but obviously I found him in the conference calls and in the e-mails to be neither obtuse nor difficult to connect with.

I have probably, in fact, said too much here, but I believe it necessary to defend the candidate.

Chris Bell demonstrates his lack of charisma and access.

I also hate "brutal honesty": too often it is merely brutal and not particularly honest. But just that, to my dismay, is necessary now. It looks from here like the editorial board of the Amarillo Independent is exercising the Kim Jong-il option. Insecure of their status, they are throwing a nuclear hissy fit because someone hasn't paid them the proper respect. Jeez-- what would the local progressive community, too small already by far, be like if everyone exhibited such two-year-old behavior? Maybe we'd all make endorsements like the Indy's endorsement of Barbara Ann Radnofsky:
Incumbent Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, meanwhile, has not responded to a request in July to meet with the Indy . . . Our endorsement of Radnofsky reflects not only our agreement with her positions and what we believe she can do for her constituents but also is a condemnation of the arrogant self-satisfaction of the worst kind by Hutchison, whose salary all of us pay and from whom we get little in return.
Again, there's plenty to recommend Radnofsky without stooping to petty complaints about lack of access to Hutchison.

Two observations are of note here: First, we're just lowly bloggers, slogging away at this part time. But we acquired enough access to Bell to write decent commentary and to unequivocally endorse him, for what it's worth. George is a professional reporter who should just stop whining and do his job.

Secondly, the quid pro quo or else! attitude implicit in the Indy's non-endorsement is one of the things that is wrong with the mainstream press. If the "Amarillo Globe-No-News" had endorsed on such a basis George would have been the first to condemn them. It's sad, but mortifyingly predictable, that the Indy chose to so quickly become the enemy.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Those of you following the Amarillo Globe-No-News know that the right-wing rag went right down the party line to endorse Republican candidates. No surprise there.

The Amarillo Independent, on the other hand, will devote its entire editorial page to endorsements — and there will be some surprises.

As most of you know, the Indy hits the streets at selected locations Wednesday evening and the remainder of its 80-plus distribution points Thursday. The posting of the week’s content to the www.amarilloindy.com occurs Thursday mornings.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gaming the system

Chris Bowers at DailyKos and MyDD has an innovative idea to point googlers to web pages of Congress Critters, other than thier homepage. You can read about it here. I'm posting the links for each congress critter. If you are inclined, post these links on your personal page(s) or at another blog. Also take one of the links from here and place it in each comment you post. I wish we had thought of this for the Texas elections. If anyone finds suitable links for any Texan politicians post them in the comments and I'll update our links.

Here are the links:

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Monday, October 23, 2006

wtamu exit polls

If you're interested, Dr. Rausch, who teaches political science at WTAMU, will be conducting an online exit poll on election day. Here's the full text of the press release:

WTAMU Professor Seeks Help with Exit Polls

CANYON, Texas—Dr. Dave Rausch is a psephologist, and he needs help.
A psephologist is a person who studies current elections, and Rausch, associate professor of political science at West Texas A&M University, is doing just that.

“I think the Nov. 7 election would be an interesting one on which to collect data,” he said. “I’ve decided to run an online exit poll and need some help from the people in Potter and Randall counties.”

An exit poll is a survey of sorts taken soon after selected voters leave their voting place. This type of poll differs from an opinion poll by asking who the voter actually voted for. Rausch is asking voters to visit his web site at http://www.wtamu.edu/~jrausch. The site will have a series of exit poll links with different surveys for Randall and Potter counties, Amarillo, Canyon and for people outside of Randall and Potter counties. The surveys will include questions about property tax freeze initiatives and the changes to the Amarillo City Commissionas well as questions about the Texas gubernatorial elections.

“The links will be active the first day of early voting on Oct. 23,” Rausch said. “I don’t expect to be able to tell who is winning before the election is over. I’m doing this largely to have data to analyze in my statistics classes and to learn more about who voted and for whom they voted.”

Early voting runs Oct. 23-Nov. 3, and election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. The ballot includes the candidates for the gubernatorial race as well as several state and local elections.

For more information about Rausch’s exit polls, call 806-651-2423 or visit his web site at www.wtamu.edu/~jrausch.

Web Roundup - holy colliding galaxies, Batman!

Some interesting watches: Odd Watches

Creative advertising around the world. I wonder how the aroma of those coffee cups affect sales?

You need to login to read Can you tell Sunni from Shiite?, but it is worth it. Gives some insight into why our administration has been so inept in the middle east.

Try bugmenot for easy temp logins.

One of the coolest pictures you'll see today

see more here: www.spacetelescope.org

Monday Debriefing

Don't forget, there is an author a publisher trying to sell a book newspaper.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

but, just in case, beware of any tall, balding bullies you meet in Second Life

So the Embarrassment to Irishmen Everywhere wants to blow up the blogosphere with a "hand grenade," does he?


It's worth mentioning that it would be a hella lot easier to blow up a television studio than something that doesn't exist in physical space.

Just sayin'.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"twoubles, twoubles, twoubles": with friends like these, redux

The Ghostly VoiceTM of the Amarillo Globe-News should change his word processor's name to "Lucille".

The most outstanding feature of this year's crop of endorsements was the half-assed quality of the writing. The text under each Republican's name read like it had been cut-and-pasted from a middle school current events report-- or perhaps like the forced platitudes of a hostage writing with a gun held to her temple. The Ghost could barely bring itself to even write down a reason Globe-News readers should vote for these Republicans. The text supporting gun nut Jerry Patterson was typical:

Republican Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has earned re-election. His office has worked hard to protect veterans [sic] benefits. The Land Office has begun construction on the new Ussery-Roan Veterans Home in Amarillo. Patterson has been ambitious in his pursuit of the use of state land.

Patterson - who is running against Democrat VaLinda Hathcox and Libertarian Michael French - deserves a second term.
Rick Perry's endorsement this morning is no better. The Ghost struggles mightily to come up with a reason to endorse Perry, finally spitting out the highly questionable claim that he appoints good people. But even the Ghost has to note the Texas-sized messes under Perry misleadership: the CHIP fiasco and the gerrymandering. In this putative "endorsement" the negatives outweigh the positives by at least two-to-one.

The Ghost phones in the assessments of the other candidates, like this nonsense about Chris Bell:
Democrat Chris Bell - a one-time Amarillo television newsman - was barely on anyone's radar before a Houston trial lawyer plunked millions into his campaign. Bell now seems to be a player only for that reason, not because of his qualifications or his stance on the issues.
Self-fulfilling prophecy, much? We and others have badgered the Globe-News all year to give Chris, a candidate with a local connection, some ink, but they were totally unresponsive. So it's a bit disingenuous for them to now fault the candidate for being "off the radar."

'Spose if they actually gave a fair look at the other candidates-- any of the other candidates, honestly-- their case for voting for Perry would evaporate. But, Jesus Christ, they could at least try.

The Thrill is Gone for the Ghost-- as it is, perhaps, for all Bush Republicans-- and he should rename his word processor "Lucille."


(reposted) I am Sam. Sam I am. Sam are we all.

(yesterday, the person I, now with depleted irony, call The Emperor W signed into law the so-called "Military Commissions Act of 2006" authorizing torture and effectively ending United States adherence to the writ of Habeas Corpus. I have nothing else to say, so I'll say it again.)

My name is Samuel, Samuel.

My name is Samuel, Samuel.

My name is Samuel, an' I'll see you all in hell.

An' I'll see you all in hell,

Damn your eyes.

The graphic novel from which the above picture is taken—Uncle Sam, by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross—portrays a homeless, indigent and schizophrenic Uncle Sam who, like Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, has come “unstuck in time.” He drifts in and out of American history, always seeming to land on our ugliest moments: the Black Hawk War of 1832, the riots at the Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan in 1932, Shay’s Rebellion.

It was soothing in a guilt-ridden sort of way to re-read Uncle Sam last night, after our elected officials had sanctioned torture and chipped a good-sized chunk off the thousand-year-old marble monument known as habeas corpus. It was a reminder that America has never lived up to her ideals, that we have always and ever aimed for far more than we were willing to achieve. Yesterday was particularly ugly. Habeas corpus was settled practice and law before the Magna Charta. It’s not ours to revoke, and it’s not only for our citizens. Satanic historical figures whose pitchforks W isn’t fit to carry have paid lip service to the writ through the centuries—and though it was often only lip service, we no longer even pay that much.

Still, the hope remains that—somehow—this, too, shall pass, that the great words written on the yellowed parchment will yank at our souls and our consciences until we cut and rip and tear the cancer from our own bodies. It will be as painful and as difficult to achieve as liquid fire, but we have done it before.

Every great artist seems to have a specific theme that runs through their life’s work. The late Johnny Cash, who sang the traditional lyrics quoted above on his American IV: The Man Comes Around album, produced an oeuvre largely about the eternal battle within all our souls between the repentant and the unrepentant sinner. The songs “Sam Hall” and “I Hung My Head” from that same album are both about murderers facing the gallows. “Sam Hall” tells the crowd gathered to watch his execution that he hates them “one and all.” He faces death with no remorse whatsoever. Cash sounds great, and real, and true singing the song.

But he sounds equally great, and real, and true in “I Hung My Head” when he sings
I prayed for God's mercy
For soon I'd be dead.
I hung my head.
I hung my head.
The conflict Cash presents rages in all our souls. There are so many questions that rose into so many newly-minted minds as humanity endured its eons-long march up from the swamps and down from the trees and away from animal instinct and into thought. One of those questions is Just how much should we care about the crimes we commit? Animals kill with impunity—with immunity from moral considerations. Thou shalt not kill, along with the Code of Hammurabi and Hittite Law made us something more.

We grew even more with further refinement of moral codes as the centuries wore on. One of those refinements was eventually termed habeas corpus.

We don’t always want to follow our own rules. Johnny Cash was the consummate American, and by that I mean the consummate human. His conflict is as American as—as what? Apple Pie?Similes fail. What on Earth could ever be as American as that simple conflict between penitence and remorselessness, between ideals and base desires, between the hairshirt self-denial of the Puritans and the hedonistic self-indulgence of the Baby Boomers?

Like Johnny Cash, we sometimes recognize that the things we do—torturing Arab people, wiping out Native American races, enslaving black people—are wrong, and we hang our heads. We repent. We promise to try—and sometimes we succeed, a little, just a little—to improve.

And sometimes—and this is what we did yesterday—we look at the rest of humanity, one and all, and we sneer, and we smirk, and we say We’ll see you all in Hell. Damn your eyes.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

in the year 12,025 . . .

. . . in a winking nod at ancient history, the taller sub-species referred to themselves as "Blues" and their "dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like" cousins as "Reds".

The so-called "Reds", meanwhile, continued-- even after all these long centuries-- to deny that evolution even occurred at all.


Chris Bell - "Sacrifice"

Check out the new Chris Bell ad:


Monday, October 16, 2006

Web Roundup - floccinaucinihilipilification edition

I probably misspelled the title.

We need something like this at West Gate Mall.

SD, you think your kids would be for abolishing homework? I know my oldest son hates doing math because of all the repetition.

They write letters: Civilian and military leaders waging cold war

BondDad: Why fiscal conservatives should vote democrat.

More proof that we have the best legal system money can buy. Too bad if you don't have any money.

Nobel winners for economics call for minimum wage hike

Find Bush:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

force the globe-republican to endorse Bell

I usually don't see much point in freeping unscientific polls. It doesn't prove much beyond whose side of the blogosphere is more organized at any given moment.

But the Globe-Republican claims they'll print the results of this poll on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Right now, the results are a thing of beauty:

Chris Bell (Democrat)
Richard "Kinky" Friedman (Independent)
Carole Keeton Strayhorn (Independent)
Rick Perry (Republican)
James Werner (Libertarian)

418 total votes
See poll results each Tues., Thurs. AND Sunday in The Amarillo Globe-News
Wouldn't it be nice to make the Globe-Republican print results showing that Amarillo loves them some Chris Bell?

Go to the top left of the screen.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Stein’s Ultimate Solution

From Mr. Elwood N. Stein’s letter to the Amarillo Globe-News, October 7, 2006:

How much longer are we going to let the conflict in the Middle East go on?

Let's drop a few bombs we have in reserve.

With the power we have in storage . . .

We may wind up in a Christian world.

So Elwood, you propose we not only nuke the Muslims, but the Jews, the Hindus and the Buddhists? Christian world indeed.

Web Roundup - the procrastinator's edition

On with the show!

I used to consider myself a Libertarian. Markos Moulitsas pretty much hits the nail on the head with: The Case for the Libertarian Democrat

Is this real irony or Alanis Morissette irony? Man wants to ban Fahrenheit 451 from classroom.

The Daily Show is as substantive as the "real" news. Shouldn 't that be the real news is as insubstantial as The Daily Show?

Another blast from the past:

A - B - C - D(uck and Cover)

I thought that no legislator anywhere would ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever exceed Texas Land Commissioner, formerly State Senator, Jerry Patterson's unblemished record of gun nuttery.

I was wrong. Never underestimate the abilty of a Republican state legislator to come up with batcrap crazy proposals related to guns.

Here's some teacher-generated snark about the proposal.

(Apologies to liberal gun nuts in our midst.)


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Support Chris Bell

There was one progressive in last night's gubernatorial debate and it wasn't Kinky I-Just-Came-Off-Like-A-Total-Ass Friedman, it wasn't Grandma and it sure wasn't Gov. Bobby Ewing Rick Perry. Chris Bell was polished and on message through the whole debate. If Democrats/liberals/progressives unite in their support for Bell he will win this race. Send him some love. Cha-ching.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Conservative Class Envy

Recent posts on this blog have discussed how otherwise reliable conservatives are taking exception to the Good Ol' Boys and their various enterprises. As if on cue, Mansel Phillips, another frequent Cranky Old Conservative Guest Columnist to the Globe-Republican, casts his gaze upon the AEDC:

By the way, for those of you who have not been paying attention, the AEDC gets its millions of dollars from your sales tax. One person described it as a "slush fund" for the local movers and shakers.

In pure economic and business terms, the nuclear plant in the "vicinity of Amarillo" would be a non-starter without federal government and city subsidies, also known as "candy."
"Corporate welfare" would be another way to describe it.


Lack of regulation, oversight has statewide implications

Embargoed until noon, Oct. 5, 2006

Contact: George Schwarz, publisher/editor

Voice: (806)331-5066

Mobile: (806)570-7172

The Amarillo Independent, in a copyright story for its Oct. 5 edition, reports that Baptist St. Anthony's Health System in Amarillo has filed questionable reports with Texas’ Department of State Health Services.

The story package, which runs about 3,300 words, includes a sidebar outlining the tax implications for the public entities covered by the Potter-Randall Appraisal District, a By-the-Numbers that compares key financial indicators for the two hospitals serving Amarillo and its surrounding communities and an editorial calling for more state oversight and transparency of nonprofit hospitals.

The story will also be published in The Hereford Brand Oct. 5 and carboned to The Associated Press.

The investigation, which began more than two years ago, found that BSA likely failed to meet its responsibility to provide the amount of charity care Texas requires for a nonprofit hospital to maintain its tax-free status.

Those analyses studied the link between two official submissions ¾ each to a different state agency. One filing, a form called the Annual Statement of Community Benefits Standard, goes to the Department of State Health Services, formerly known as the Texas Department of Health. The second filing is the electronic billing files sent to Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The two analyses reveal a major discrepancy between what BSA has told DSHS its charity care costs were and what its billing data told the HHSC.

The investigation by the Independent also found little, if any, state oversight of what nonprofit hospitals submit to authorities.

These discrepancies have broad implications for nonprofit hospitals filing with the state, including whether a hospital might lose its tax exempt status:

· The information submitted in the Annual Statement of Community Benefits Standard filing with DSHS is not audited by outside sources.

· No other state agency routinely reviews the accuracy of the Annual Statement of Community Benefits Standard.

· The only time a hospital’s submission is investigated by DSHS is if someone complains.

· The Attorney General’s Office has no clear answer about how and why it does oversight of nonprofit hospital filings.

· No state agency routinely links the information from the Annual Statement of Community Benefits Standard with filings with the HHSC to see if the state’s own data, electronically collected directly from hospital billings, match the hospitals’ charity care claims.

· The Potter-Randall Appraisal District does not examine the Annual Statement of Community Benefits Standard filings, raising questions about whether local government entities are getting their fair share of tax money.

The story is based on two legal analyses, a May 10, 2006, internal memo the Independent obtained from a confidential source. That memo demonstrated that BSA would “comply with the minimum requirements of community benefits in Texas,” but that’s not where the problems occurred. The same attorneys did a similar analysis in a memo dated Feb. 13, 2004.

The story reports that the problems with BSA’s filings — either the ones originally submitted or a correction submitted on Jan. 10, 2006 comes from a discrepancy between the benefit statement filings and the information the state collects through electronic filings of hospital bills.

“Most significantly, BSA annually reports two to three times the amount of Medicaid unreimbursed costs as the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (‘HHSC’) records for the hospital,” the May 10 memo states. “If the HHSC’s reported figures are materially correct, BSA is not eligible for tax exempt status and has not been eligible for the past five years.”

The story goes on to report the details of those analyses, including comments and explanations by a certified public accountant who is knowledgably about health care finance and has experience with hospitals in Texas. The story also reports BSA’s response and the responses of state agencies that one would think had oversight: DSHS, HHSC, the Office of the Attorney General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Potter-Randall Appraisal District.

Further information about the story can be obtained by calling The Amarillo Independent or get the full story at http://www.amarilloindy.com

Glen Greenwald Offers Up A Righteous Rant

Mark Foley and the unmasked Republican Party

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

with friends like these . . .

We've bashed Steve Holland in the past. He's shown himself to be a conservative of the accuse-liberals-of-your-own-sins school. And we never shy away from calling out such folks on their b.s.

Nevertheless, he was mostly right in his column Sunday in which he accurately described the "two Amarillos" (shades of John Edwards!) In his Amarillo, Holland says

Sidewalks are a rarity . . . Dogs (not just pit bulls) run loose, frequently in packs. Junk cars and trash are allowed to accumulate in yards and, in some cases, on the streets.
In fact, there's only one problem with Holland's column: he just can't bring himself to extrapolate a truly progressive understanding from his own experience. Although he can see the classist structure right in front of his face, he refuses to believe that one exists elsewhere:
Rarely can I buy the class envy argument, but in this particular case, this one particular time, I will.
So the only place in the entire country where rich white people use their money and power to exclude others is in Potter-Randall county? Bizarre.

In one sense, Holland's column is good news. If a "self-proclaimed partisan Republican" and say, me, can agree on this issue, than the at-large voting system is probably dead.

But, I'd like to ask Mr. Holland to apply his personal experience to the world at large and come over to the dark side with those of us who can see beyond the ends of our own noses.


Dear Ghostly Voice of the Globe-Republican,

The Ghostly Voice

I was impressed with this morning's editorial regarding the Foley scandal. You pretty much took Foley and the Congressional leadership to the proverbial wood shed. I was impressed until I read this, that is:

This type of memory loss reminds us of former President Clinton's forgetfulness regarding his draft notice during the Vietnam War.
Oh, did it now? The GOP's covering up the actions of a pedophile made you think of that? I realize your bosses at Morris Communications have probably made criticizing Clinton one of your job requirements, but of all the things you could have chosen, you chose draft dodging? With all the GOP chickenhawks currently running ruining our country? I was expecting a snide remark about Monica Lewinsky, but maybe that was too obvious.

Congratulations on screwing up what would have otherwise been a perfectly respectable editorial.

Monday, October 02, 2006


This will sound familiar to many of you in the audience.

When I enrolled in Bowie Junior High as a seventh-grader, I heard many horror stories. Gangs ran amuck in the school, everyone carried a knife, blah. Blah. Blah.

By the time that John McKissack, then-anchor of Channel 7, ran a hysterical hit piece about these gangs—which he called “low-riders,” as did most uniformed Anglos in those days—I was a two-year veteran of the school, and knew the truth. By then, I regarded those gangsters as rather silly posers in khakis and watch chains; walking down the hall, I half expected them to break out into song:

When you’re a cholo,
You’re a cholo all the way,
From your very first hair net
To your last “¿’Sup, esé?”
Don’t get me wrong; I avoided them in the halls, especially when they were traveling in packs. But McKissack—an adult, who should have known better—cluelessly took them rather more seriously than that.

McKissack, of course, was so beloved an anchor that he went on to the City Commission and then to even greater glory.

I couldn’t help but think of him when I read these words in Steve Holland’s column yesterday:
Don't misunderstand me; I have no problem with folks who live in southwest Amarillo. I have some good friends there, or at least I did until this was printed. I do have a problem with a city commission that ignores half of the city. It's not that the commissioners don't like us; it's more that they have no clue who or even where we are.
Remember this cluelessness when you read or hear commissioners and the Mayor—however well-intentioned they may be—trying to convince you that they care, they really do care, and that they treat (they really do!) all areas of town the same. Remember this cluelessness on November 7.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kanelis: Blacks, Hispanics, Poor are "trouble"

The single most rambling, incoherent, poorly-sourced, and plain old batcrap-crazy harangue I have ever seen from John Kanelis’ tripewriter was plastered across this mornings’ Opinion page. The picture attached to the column was the newly-updated “Smilin’ John” 2.0, as Bud, one of our commenters, recently called it-- but the column itself spewed vintage “Angry John.” John’s thesis was that Amarillo was risking “commissioners engaging openly in raging turf battles” if we switch to a single-member district plan. As evidence for this contention he offered . . . Lubbock.

Lubbock , Angry John reminds us, elects six council members from single-member districts. So, John the Revelator, has Lubbock suffered these apocalyptic “raging turf battles” of which you speak?

Nope, sez John. They actually cast a “relatively few split votes.” And, only a few commissioners have “popped off,” whatever the hell that means. The literate and semi-literate population of Amarillo stares at the editorial page: We skipped church for this? You wastin’ our time, John?

Angry John scratches his head angrily: Uh, he offers, well, they could have problems.

Right. Okay, okay, okay, John says, get this. The Texas Lege is elected from districts, right? Well, back in the late ‘80s there was this feud between some legislators. John Smithee sez turf battles “happen all the time” in the Lege.

Okay, I get the point, John. But are you saying the Texas Lege should also be elected at-large? 181 members on whom all of Texas votes? Somehow I doubt your corporate masters, way up here in the underpopulated Panhandle, would approve of that idea. But you go ahead and keep pushing it.

Finally, at the butt-end of the column Kanelis simply runs out of steam. Unable to summon anything even semi-lucid for the local bankers and RV salesmen waiting impatiently on the other side of his desk, Kanelis utters the most racist and classist sentiments ever uttered on the Opinion page (and that includes Dave Henry’s column). The moment was reminiscent of the time in 1981 when a frustrated and angry Charles Rocket, looking to get fired, blasted out the f-word during a live episode of Saturday Night Live. And Kanelis spake thus:

A single member district plan doesn't guarantee trouble among elected officials. It just opens the door enough for trouble to sneak in.
What are you sayin’ there, John?