George Schwarz, the publisher of The Amarillo Independent, will appear on the John Terry Show ay 9 a.m. Friday on KGNC, 710 AM or streaming live at www.kgncam.com
After a long drought comes the flood, or at least what passes for the flood, of criticism in the Amarillo Globe-News against Virgil Van Camp. We now have one column and –two, count them, TWO – letters critical of another of Camp’s fallacious essays.
My God people, where will this stop? What is the editorial staff thinking? Did someone forget to raise the drawbridge against the hail of arrows letting these few slender reeds pass inside the battlements? Or is it that instead of the usual route to the shredder these remarkable dispatches are offered as proof against the heinous charge Van Camp is shielded from criticism? Let all citizens witness this testimony, if even for a flickering moment, that Virgil Van Camp may indeed be countered and disputed within the pages of the AGN!
But oh how our courageous aeronaut must suffer these slings and, er, arrows of outrageous fortune. His indignant fans shall come to his defense, touting how godly and moral a man is he, expert and respected. How dare cruel and vindictive authors think to trouble his saintly brow.
The high priests of prejudice will sing his hymns however thick the arrows fly. Let the feeble sticks lie spent and o’er top the crenellated walls. None shall unsettle the golden halo round Virgil’s vacant crown.
Posted by calamus venenum at 6:38 PM
Sunday’s lily white dawn brings a countercharge against "For black Americans, moving on is not easy" by Iris Lawrence. We must remember that writers intent on being published in the Amarillo Globe-News, like Lawrence, must stick to issues, not matters of character.
So what issues does our champion of Van Camp rebut, what topics does our guardian defend? Why his character of course: Virgil Van Camp is a “loyal American veteran and . . . has helped countless underprivileged schoolchildren and homeless adults.”
Lawrence has dared attack this humble patriot by suggesting racial issues still exist. Couldn’t we all just move on if we weren’t still victimized by “segregating ourselves with useless labels created by our government and exploited by our media?”
Glenn invokes Dr. Martin Luther King’s “we should be judged by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin,” but it sounds more like people of character should not be judged by people of color.
So we’re not allowed to judge Virgil Van Camp’s character, are we?
Typical. Make a nod to cultural diversity as long as you don’t have to live with them, pooh pooh the banana incident because others are just too sensitive, and get back to living in that White American Christian World of yours.
Posted by calamus venenum at 12:57 PM
Write your Senator about the National Debt?
Write your Congressman about the Iraq War?
Write your Senator or Congressman and Free the Dog?
Side note: For those of you not familiar with our little corner of the world, that is indeed a brown sky. The wind is blowing so hard today I had to prop myself against a light pole while taking the picture.
Posted by blogarillo at 4:41 PM
If I may bring this discussion back to the Globe-News:
Spacedark wrote a very nice piece that entertained an elucidated. But it raises some questions and prompted me to add more to this blog about the AGN.
And on that score, Spacedark is right about the inconsistency between Les’ scorn of blogs and his paper’s TalkAmarillo Forum. And while much of it is puerile and vapid, it’s also an interesting place to get story ideas. The other thing about it is to me interesting: unlike a blog, it seems to be a community of people who need one another. Are they homebound? Lonely? I won’t go there, but I have some charity for them.
When Spacedark writes that “(Les Simpson’s) newspaper’s relationship with at least one local hospital is cozier than objectivity would demand, if such a thing existed. And, as a consequence, we know that any Globe-Republican reportage regarding health care is inherently suspect,” does that mean anything The Amarillo Independent writes about health care suspect, too?
When I was at the AGN, I went into ORs at Northwest, BSA and the
And, looking back on the charity care story we did on BSA, was that inherently slanted because of the content or because we reported it at all? Was it slanted because part of the issue was BSA’s obligation under state law to meet its nonprofit status was to provide charity care, but as a for-profit, Northwest wasn’t under those same rule?
What does the Indy’s candor on bias do for our credibility? Does it affect all our stories or only those on health care? Or, on politics?
Now, I’ve always wondered why the cozy relationship between BSA and Les Sensational. The obvious answer is the million of dollars BSA throws at the AGN. And since Morris Communications cares for little but the bottom-line (in others words, journalism be damned, fill up the paper with ads), that might be part of the story. But there is something deeper than that, which I suspect revolves more about being Baptist and fundamentalist than golf and martinis. Trying to label it is hard, and the closes I can come to it is those little self-satisfied smirks we get from the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Howie Batson.
As for the comment I made earlier about John being on vacation, that’s the M.O. You get put on paid leave and then you come back to get fired or demoted. That give Les time to cover his ass with corporate — which if we could be flies on the wall here and in
But, there’s more. Let’s see, is anyone at Morris asking about all the turnover, especially of those over age 50. There are people in the newsroom who either chose to leave, were given a clear message and left or were fired. I won’t differentiate to preserve the privacy of those involved, but going back to 2003, here are some of those over 50: Garett Van Netzer, Kathy Martindale, Ralph Routon, Beth Duke, Vivian Salazar, Jim Crawford, Greg Rohloff, Dwayne Harnett and me. (Disclosure: I left on my own when the new executive editor, Dawn Dressler, started to harass me.) These people also had in common some fair amount of seniority. And consider, too, Jon Mark’s demotion and add John to the list.
As for process and procedures, Les the Brave gets copies of the editorial and op-ed page. At least, they get on his desk so he has the chance to read them. I know this because the editorial department (John, Dave Henry and Debbie) would walk right by me desk to get down the stairwell to the publisher’s office. Now I’ve been away for well over a year, so I don’t know what may have happened, but I have to wonder. The editorial department doesn’t work on weekends, so that Monday page might have gone over on a Friday. Whether it did this time or not, I don’t know except to say I have a source who told me the page went down.
How Les treats his people, of course, is up to him. So you can draw your own conclusions about if he made/is making John the fall guy.
What also interests me in Les the Slick’s piece last Sunday would be how, with three people in that department, they will vet every op-ed piece and letter. I mean, how else you can interpret what the Sunday thing said. Will they check all the facts in Van Camp’s copy? Or Greg Sagan? Or William Sewald’s? And what about the fact-checking the big national columnists?
I hope this information helps folks understand more of the print landscape in
Posted by George Schwarz at 11:29 PM
In response to the outrageous fraud perpetrated against the people of Amarillo by Mr. Virgil Van Camp in his column “The mists of inequity and confessions of an OWM” (Amarillo Globe-News February 9, 2007) the following letter was submitted to the Amarillo Globe-News on February 16 for publication. It was summarily rejected. We as a community have demonstrated that we stand against racism, that we confront bigotry and denounce prejudice. Yet at the center of our public square, on the very pages of our forum, we leave unchallenged the master of quiet loathing, gentle denigration and smiling contempt: Mr. Virgil Van Camp.
Every thinking, conscientious person in Amarillo believes Mr. Van Camp, regular columnist for the Amarillo Globe-News, to be a racist bigot. Not everyone requires vulgar slurs or racial epithets to know ignorance and prejudice when they see it.
Now Mr. Van Camp has had the audacity to masquerade as a champion of civil rights (February 9, 2007), to pose as a friend of the African-American he vilifies in his true life. Only an utter hypocrite and cynic would dare such an imposture.
We can debate politics and other matters in the public forum, but in our public affairs we must choose between prejudice and human decency, between racism and justice. A civilized society cannot have both.
It is time that people of conscience request, no – demand – that this outrage, this fraud and constant affront to our community be dismissed from the newspaper.
This is not a call for Mr. Van Camp to be banned from the newspaper. It is a demand that he be dismissed from his post, that his privilege of writing a bi-weekly column be removed, that the stature he and his prejudiced opinions receive because of his position be reduced to that of the grumblings of the ordinary curmudgeonly citizen.
However much the Amarillo Globe-News may claim the opinions of others are not its own, the privilege of being a regular columnist cannot avoid the perception of the paper’s approval and the opinions expressed reflect on both the newspaper and the larger community. We can only imagine what the intolerant and bigoted of our city think when they see their prejudices so often confirmed and legitimated. We know that our civilized citizenry are appalled when an intolerant throwback is paraded before all as the voice of Amarillo.
What is more troubling is that while the Globe-News denounces racism and bigotry elsewhere in the strongest possible terms, it has adamantly refused to admit that it has published intolerant and prejudiced work, this despite allegations against Virgil Van Camp printed on its own pages.
Such accusations have been few and far between considering the record of his outrages. It is no inference, but evident, that Van Camp enjoys a privilege enjoyed by few others: protection from criticism. He has advocated the commission of war crimes, called for the murder of innocent children, labeled our own children prostitutes, deceived and misled, committed the journalist’s cardinal sin of plagiarism, and instead of him receiving censure we are expected to bow with civility and respect, to pay honor to this charlatan, this moral bankrupt, this untouchable abject creature of the Amarillo Globe-News.
Our community should no longer submit to this stain upon its character. Just as we stood together against racism last year let us join together again in demanding that Mr. Van Camp be dismissed from the Amarillo Globe-News. Please write a letter to the editor and publisher at the following:
P.O. Box 2091
Amarillo, TX 79166
Les Simpson, Publisher
John Kanelis, Editor
To guarantee your voice will be heard please send a copy to:
620 S. Taylor Street
Amarillo, Texas 79101
It will be posted online at Panhandle Truth Squad
We as a community have demonstrated that we stand against racism, that we confront bigotry and denounce prejudice. Yet at the center of our public square, on the very pages of our forum, we leave unchallenged the master of quiet loathing, gentle denigration and smiling contempt: Mr. Virgil Van Camp.
Posted by calamus venenum at 2:20 PM
Posted by Barry Cochran at 1:07 PM
Genesis 2:8-17 (NAS) describes the beginning in Mesopotamia . . . Using the ages mentioned in the Bible and counting backwards, biblical scholars have dated this as about 6000 years ago, or about 4000 B.C. This is about 500 years before our earliest record of ancient writings.
The biblical account of the Flood is at Genesis 5-8, describing an ark having reasonable dimensions similar to modern ocean steamships. . . . Recently two scientists at Columbia University published a widely praised book that proved that the Flood did occur, entitled "Noah's Flood," . . . Yet no public school textbook ever mentions a massive flood.The American Civil War is explained in depth:
The American Civil War was a war in the United States of America between the North and the South. The North wanted the South to give up its slaves. The South wanted to keep its slaves and lower tariffs. The South had the upper hand at the beginning of the war, but the North came out the winner. Slavery was abolished for the most part and reconstruction took over. One key battle and a bloody one was the Battle of Gettysburg, following which Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.spacedark
Posted by Barry Cochran at 10:37 AM
I’m going to Jump into the Fray.
I found the second-ever retraction by the Amarillo Globe-Republican alluded to in George’s piece below to be bizarre in the extreme. For one thing, Les “Trial of the Century” Simpson’s strange notion that the newspaper doesn’t print complaints about businesses or “how [people] were treated by someone” isn’t even remotely true. Today’s Other Opinion page features a letter implying that Hooters girls are slutty Jezebels who corrupt young boys at Amarillo Gorillas games. I once published a screed in the paper in which I ranted about my health insurance company and called my district’s accountant a “bean counter”. The column was entirely anecdotal and, I suppose, unverifiable but that didn’t make it untrue. Dave the Wingnut’s weekly kicks in pants are exercises in petty complaints and borderline conflicts of interest.
And so on. Does Les “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” Simpson even read his own paper?
His claim that the newspaper doesn’t or shouldn’t publish anecdotes is similarly batcrap crazy. What on earth are the pit-bull-attack-of-the-day features if not anecdote? What are Jon Mark Beilue’s weekly columns about old men drinking coffee? What are Baxter Black’s ramblings about livestock? The newspaper doesn’t do any reporting. Cut out the opinionated rants and the anecdotal portions of the Globe-Republican and all you’d have are recycled wire stories.
Les “If I Did It” Simpson also takes the opportunity to bash bloggers:
But it is our job as a newspaper to produce information that is reliable and correct. You depend on us for that. That's why we are different from a blog on the Internet. We provide additional layers of fact-checking and verifying information.Good media elitist! Here’s a biscuit!
Posted by Barry Cochran at 11:05 AM
An Independent Attitude, Feb. 22, 2007
Medical and health care issues have been much in
Unfortunately, Ballew’s’ stinging essay painted the entire system with a broad brush without naming the hospital. And, she told me, no one at the Globe-News asked her in what emergency room her unfortunate incident occurred:
In this issue I chose to run a column by Frank Lopez, the chief executive at Northwest Texas Healthcare System, because Ballew’s piece might give the community the impression it can’t get good emergency care and because the community deserved his take on the situation.
Ballew’s piece also opened the door to address some facts about newspapering in
A few weeks ago, a colleague told me he perceived The Amarillo Independent was pro-Northwest and anti-BSA. I realized he was right.
And, because transparency makes sense, I thought I should be clear about some of the reasons.
As this is written, the Globe- News has chosen not to provide its readers with Lopez’s response, even after telling Lopez it would do so.
Instead, Les Simpson, the Globe- News publisher, wrote a column in the Sunday, Feb. 18, issue essentially retracting Ballew’s piece and spinning the idea that his large daily provides fair and trustworthy journalism.
Simpson also wrote that the Globe-News failed to substantiate Ballew’s assertions and the paper doesn’t get into the middle of private disputes. So, even if “private disputes” shine light on public policy, consumer protection or how local nonprofit agencies that get donations from the public are run, it’s not really news.
One reason I started the Indy was because I didn’t think the community was getting fair and trustworthy — or fair and balanced — news.
I still don’t.
I was at the Globe-News as the health and medicine reporter. I have a master’s in hospital administration, so I know something about the health care system. I worked on stories that would have shown BSA isn’t the kind, Christian hospital it wants the community to think it is.
One of those stories raised questions about BSA’s level of charity care. That was the story the Indy reported in the Oct. 5, 2006, issue. I had that story at the Globe- News, but Simpson never could find time to meet with me to discuss it.
I concluded he was ducking the issue and had I stayed at the Globe News until the 22nd century, that story wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
The editors also killed one other story and twisted another so badly that my sense of fairness and ethics made me realize I ultimately could no longer work there.
It is well known that doctors, and others, fear BSA’s retribution against anyone who speaks against it. So it took courage for the two doctors who contacted me to go on the record that BSA had ordered a surgical stapling system and another brand of suturing material these physicians believed were inferior to more expensive name-brand products.
The editors killed the story because we couldn’t find some “standard” for staples and sutures. How convenient — because there is none.
The other story had to do with the orthopedic surgeons’ “boycott” of BSA’s emergency room. I did some of the research but Marty Primeau, who is a fine reporter, wrote the story.
The article ignored about 600 words of notes I provided. Those notes explained it’s not good patient care to demand an orthopedic surgeon, who has specialized in hand surgery for the past 15 years, come in on a night call to care for a broken leg; instead many times the patient can be stabilized and an appropriate specialist could come in later. The published article was so slanted that BSA may as well have written Primeau’s story for her.
The Globe-News didn’t hesitate when I had a story about strife at Northwest’s ambulance service, including layoffs. And it quite gratuitously added to a wire story on a hospital in
It was a subtle and effective smear of UHS and Northwest.
The Globe-News is biased for BSA and Simpson’s disingenuous and inaccurate portrayal of his newspaper’s reporting doesn’t change that fact nor does it give credence that his newspaper is hard on anyone.
Spinning the situation instead of giving the community Lopez’s rebuttal makes the Globe-News’ bias as obvious as the long nose on Pinocchio’s face.
There are things going on in this medical community that would never see the light of day if
Meanwhile, it turned out, Ballew told me, that, months later, she still hasn’t heard from a BSA representative about her problems — despite asking for help.
I agree with Lopez’s assessment that problems can occur in any ER. But the public should know that in a tough situation it is well known that outcomes are better at a hospital with full-time board-certified emergency physicians and residency programs. Northwest has those. BSA has no such qualified doctors in its ER on a comparable schedule and only one residency program.
The point of this editorial is also to emphasize that if Amarilloans want a fully balanced picture, they will have to read both newspapers. If they want, for example, to read only about Republican candidates and what they say, they should stick with the Augusta, Ga.-owned Globe-News. If they want a broader and progressive view with real reporting, they’ll find that in the Amarillo-owned Indy.
There. Full disclosure.
Let the games begin.
Posted by George Schwarz at 9:21 PM
I have been told in no uncertain terms that work attacking Virgil Van Camp will simply not be published in the Amarillo Globe-News. One is supposed to stick to issues, like:
“Molly Ivins’ . . . hate-filled diatribes . . . were mean-spirited and rude.” “hers was a venom I did not care to drink.” “any day without Molly is a great day.” “Her hatred for President Bush . . . was without doubt borderline insanity.” “Why publish an idiot like Molly Ivins?” “She is a complete bleeding-heart liberal, not to mention a complete nitwit.” “I still wish that the section reserved for Molly Ivins could be shipped to Timbuktu or somewhere.” “Consider dropping Ivins' column and find someone who can at least write a sensible column.” “If enough of us complain, maybe we can get the Globe-Times to drop Ms. Ivins.”
Or an issue like global warming: “Allen Finegold, in his single-minded Gorebezoic approach, is riding the same magic carpet.”
Or an issue like politics: “Sagan's continued battering of our president during time of war is idiotic and deserves the condemnation of every loyal American.” “There's no point in reading a column by Molly Ivins or Greg Sagan once you've read the first one. They hate George W. Bush with all their being.” “Sagan is a liberal bomb-thrower, and such drivel should be expected from the like.” “I rarely read anything our local Marxist pundit writes.” “Sagan and his ilk are puzzling on one hand; disgustingly vile on the other.” “The problem is . . . his hypocrisy, his arrogance, his disingenuousness.” “His reasoning is as faulty as his grammar.” “Sagan's specious conjectures [are] maliciously inaccurate and deserving of public scorn!”
Or another issue related to politics: “The opinion pages have been . . . infested by a preponderance of pundits from the left . . . who hate President Bush, indeed, all Republicans: William H. Seewald, Jim Perkins and Tony Tackitt, among others.” "My suggestion to Tony Tackitt . . . is to move to Italy and see how he likes its form of government.” “Tony Tackitt and the rest of the "extreme" liberals bash the president.” “I would implore Tackitt to give up on us and leave.”
Apparently the AGN finds it perfectly acceptable for conservatives to make vituperative personal attacks on liberals, but to have a liberal heap scorn on a conservative, especially one of their conservatives, is considered completely out of bounds. To call a racist bigot a racist bigot just isn’t the civil thing to do.
Now before anyone leaps to the conclusion that the Amarillo Globe-News is exercising some kind of double standard the Amarillo Globe-News has assured me they do not exercise a double standard, and in fact take great umbrage at the very idea, so put that idea completely out of your head.
So since we’re supposed to be civil toward bigots, and stick to the issues and not call them names and the like, how does the Amarillo Globe-News deal with them? Let’s see the AGN tackle the issue of Holocaust denial:
“At times, even the most obvious lunatics need to be shouted down.” “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, and one-time Klansman David Duke . . . Crazy, ignorant or as consumed by hatred as these men may be, they are also dangerous men.” “Duke's danger lies in the oh-so-smooth veneer he has applied to the hate he continues to spew years after he sought to become governor of Louisiana.” “Of course, this nutcase never has renounced the Klan's hate mongering.” “The civilized world, however, has a quick answer to these two crackpots.”
No personal attacks here. Certainly Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and David Duke deserve all the opprobrium that can be heaped upon them. But when it comes to our own hometown crackpot Virgil Van Camp, a man who reviles non-whites and non-Christians, who spews hate from beneath his “oh-so-smooth veneer” we are told to be civil. When it comes to a man who denies a people’s history, demands the commission of war crimes, the barbarous murder of children and now pretends to be a humanitarian, a time when “even the most obvious lunatics need to be shouted down” we are told to stifle our outcry. Why damn it? Where is our civilized world?
Posted by calamus venenum at 6:35 PM
Empowering Veterans has released their list of the Worst Ten Senators -- unpatriotic dirty frakking hippie Senators who spit in soldiers' faces when they return home from war.
One of them is well-known to us.
And, for the record, the extinguished gentlemen from Mississippi is not related to me.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 3:27 PM
We've long taken issue with the Amarillo Globe-Republican's Ghostly VoiceTM and the only justification we've ever heard for its presence on the editorial page is that it provides the "historical position" of the newspaper. So it's always appropriate to compare the Ghost with its own ectoplasmic history.
Today we learned that, although the Ghost thinks that Gubmint should "butt out" of the rights of private business regarding public health issues, the Ghost also believes that-- when such butting out contributes to public health catastrophes-- Gubmint should also pony up some cash.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 2:26 PM
Iris Lawrence made history Sunday (February 18, 2007) with her piece “For black Americans, moving on is not easy” becoming only the second person in the conflicted and contradictory history of the Amarillo Globe-News to devote an entire column to criticism of Virgil Van Camp, Amarillo’s devoted racist bigot.
Over the years Mr. Van Camp's bi-weekly rants have been taken to task for ignorance and prejudice by a only a few stray letters, carefully watered down to condemn bigotry but not its source. In contrast other columnists have been deluged with personal attacks out of all proportion to their singular contributions. One could make the alarming assumption that few disagree with Van Camp, but having seen rebukes actually quashed it may not be far-fetched to think there are many Van Camp critics who are never published because he enjoys the charm of immunity.
This is what makes Iris Lawrence’s column even more extraordinary. She has broken through that wall to declare that “the ‘mission is not accomplished.’" She is on point in rebutting each of Van Camp’s “random thoughts” about race. With thoughtfulness and grace she has made a shambles of his narrow and insensitive views.
The only regret is that the bigoted bastard will be back, held high on the shoulders of the AGN this Friday.
Kudos to Iris Lawrence!
Posted by calamus venenum at 1:52 PM
Blogarillo informs us that Pampa wingnut Warren Chisum's latest wingnuttery has attracted kos's attention. Josh Marshall has also weighed in with a less sensationalistic, more truth-based post than kos's. Kos's post, titled "Texas Republicans are anti-Copernicus," claims that Chisum, who "doesn't even believe that the earth revolves around the sun" may be "the craziest winger in all of elected politics".
Marshall, on the other hand, also includes Chisum's guilty thrashing about after he gets caught with his hand down the anti-Semetic fundies' pants:
The ADL caught wind of the Bridges memo and now Chisum says he's "willing to apologize if I've offended anyone" if anyone got their big nose bent out of shape.
Reports the Dallas Morning News: "Mr. Chisum said he hadn't looked at the Web site and didn't realize that he was distributing that type of material. He expressed chagrin that he didn't vet the material more carefully."
To understand the full extent of the problem with kos's post, we need to look no further than the Daily Kos FAQ. Under Controversial Diary Topics, the FAQ read:
The rule for posting such diaries is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". The more extreme the claim, the higher the burden of proof that commenters will demand. If you can't provide evidence to back up your claim, it is best not to post the diary. This guideline also applies to recommending extraordinary-claims diaries. If a diary makes an extreme claim with little or no evidence to back up that claim, it shouldn't be recommended, no matter what that claim is.
You see, I've lived an hour away from Chisum's home town of Pampa for some time. I've known a number of Texas Panhandle fundies and wingnuts. You can't throw a rock down here without hitting a half-dozen creationists, an experiment which I have tried many times. But the claim that an elected official "doesn't even believe that the earth revolves around the sun" is an extraordinary claim.
There are several possibilities here, only one of which is "Warren Chisum is a savagely racist flat-earther who believes that evolution is a Jewish conspiracy". It is possible that Chisum is being truthful when he says that he passed along this memo as a favor to a friend. It's possible that he didn't really review it. Chisum-- unlike most Texas state Representatives and Senators-- doesn't maintain a staff of handlers, which is why so many of his idiot opinions get out unfiltered. Maybe this is just another example why politicians need people to tell them when they're about to do something stupid. Maybe Chisum's just the legislative equivalent of my co-workers who forward all those unSnopsed e-mails.
Word on the Panhandle street has always been that Chisum's a W-esque incurious dim bulb, so it's entirely possible that he really hasn't thought all that deeply about cosmology at all, as suggested by my post.
Maybe Chisum really does believe that it's turtles all the way down. But we should be sure of that before we accuse. None of the possibilities here look good for Chisum. It would be a shame to let an opportunity to humiliate a Texas Republican go to waste just because an A-list blogger wants to score a cheap shot.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 11:56 AM
I just got my Texas Observer commerating Mollie, and boy, it's a tough but wonderful read! What a gal and what a loss.
The Globe Republican had some more Ivins hate mail Friday about what an evil person she was, etc., etc. (plus an excellent editorial praising Mollie I must add). The right wing female counterparts to Mollie are Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, who advocate assassinations and murders of liberals, lie and distort and are just mean-spirited in all their writings. Internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII was the right thing to do? Come on Michelle! And they have no sense of humor. Bless Mollie's heart, she was honest, loved and fought for the common man, and what a sense of humor! Thank you Mollie. You're irreplaceable.
Two quick items. Today (Saturday) the Globe Republican reported Mac, the common man voted against the minimum wage bill (surprise, surprise!), and Mr. Goodhair is still trying to sell our Texas Lottery, getting advice from UBS Investment Bank. who just hired - get ready - his son! The guv has no conscience and hubris as big as the shrub's!
Posted by The Liberalator at 12:26 PM
One quick note - I searched in vain for Mac Thornberry's military service on his congressional web-site and in wikipedia. He joins the ranks of the long list of republican chickenhawks who talk about "enduring the 'long war'" but have no clue about how horrible war is. He said in his editorial in the Amarillo Globe Republican Thursday, February 15th "Our brave military men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are on the front lines, but we at home are participating in the war, too." [my bold] How in the world is Thornberry participating? By writing escalation editorials and making speeches on the floor of congress? Come on Mac - let's support our troops by bringing them home now and saving their lives! Anna Quindlen said in her Newsweek column this week "There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders." Amen!
Posted by The Liberalator at 10:00 AM
As we approach the 4th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq I think it's worth looking back at the pimping the Globe-Republican did for their Leader and His Glorious War. Following are editorials going back about two months prior to the invasion. Notice the themes that develop: "war is our last and only option", "shut up and sing", "Saddam = bin Laden", and keep in mind how wrong, how dead wrong, they were about everything. I've only included excerpts from the editorials (the bolds are mine), you should read them in their entirety.
Editorial: Iraqi weapons scientists can't go home again (01/23/03)
One of the components of the list is a perfect example of the futility of dealing with the Iraqi regime.
After refusing previously to allow private interviews between U.N. weapons inspectors and Iraqi weapons scientists, Saddam finally relented.
It is becoming apparent concessions and agreements with Iraq are as empty as the chemical warheads U.N. weapons inspectors recently uncovered.
Ultimately, Saddam will have to meet a legitimate international standard, and as yet there appears to be none in sight.
President Bush will stand before the country tonight to deliver his State of the Union speech. He will do so with the drums of war beating ever so steadily in the background.
Although the president has performed magnificently in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he needs now to start explaining in detail to Americans why they should send their treasured sons and daughters into battle.
And this page will be at the head of the line in declaring its support for the president and the troops he orders into battle.
While Blix provided no "smoking gun," the term that has come to signify verifiable evidence of Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, Blix did say that Saddam's regime "appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance" of the international agreement that it prove and maintain a policy of disarmament.
What Saddam is accomplishing by continuing to delay, deceive, lie and interfere with international policy is to make it easier to proceed with a final option no one wants - war - even without a "smoking gun."
The president and his administration have made it perfectly clear almost to the point of monotony - either Saddam disarms willingly or by force.
Bush impressively reiterated this stance and laid out an extensive list of atrocities committed under Saddam's regime.
There has to some sort of legitimate consequence, supported by the international community, for Saddam's refusal to comply with international regulations.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, war is and should remain a last resort, an opinion echoed by the president and reinforced during his speech.
While the president vowed to use the "full force and might of the U.S. military" to disarm Saddam, this is only an option, not a final decision.
Military force seems to be the only response that gets Saddam's attention.
The international community saw firsthand the violations of Saddam Hussein and his regime Wednesday as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered a damning and forceful presentation to the U.N. Security Council documenting the vastness of Iraq's defiance.
Powell offered satellite photos showing materials and equipment being conveniently moved from inspection sites before the arrival of U.N. weapons inspectors and audiotape of Iraqi military officials discussing plans to thwart the discovery of prohibited weapons.
Powell included dates, times and locations.
Iraq feebly countered by describing Powell's presentation as consisting of "stunts" and "special effects."
Other than rhetoric, Iraq provided no definitive response to refute what was a conclusive and concise assessment of Saddam's disregard for international policy.
Opponents of a possible war with Iraq cite the need for a "smoking gun" before military action is taken to disarm or remove Saddam Hussein.
The best refutation to date of this off-the-mark "smoking gun" policy is offered by Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In last week's Los Angeles Times, Boot shot holes in the "smoking gun" standard rather simply, stating, "the problem is that a gun doesn't smoke until after it's been fired."
This bit of logic eludes the "smoking gun" pundits.
Once again, as if the world needed reminding, Osama bin Laden has demonstrated why the United States must continue its fight against him - and terrorists like him.
This is the same bin Laden who has vilified Saddam for running what bin Laden and his followers say is a "secular state" that is unfaithful to the tenets of Islam.
This struggle is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, as bin Laden and his new best friend, Saddam, would have the world believe.
All he has done is draw himself closer to Saddam and made it more imperative than ever to eradicate them both.
A potential war with Iraq has members of Tinseltown's elite banding together to form a coalition of the willing whose media bombardment is almost as annoying and irritating, and about as substantial, as Saddam Hussein propaganda.
Hollywood actors have the right, as does any American, to voice their opinions. It is the audacity and arrogance of many of these celebrities that make us wish they had more scripts to read.
The opinions of Martin Sheen (who may be taking his television role as president a bit too seriously), Kim Basinger and Mike Farrell give no more credence to the war opposition than any of the thousands who participated in the recent anti-war rallies.
Hopefully, it will not take bombs falling on Baghdad to force Saddam to meet his international obligations.
Time will tell.
However, those who assert the U.S. is rushing headlong into a war without exhausting every available alternative are either misguided or doing so for political advantage.
Saddam would be a casualty of war, a war months in preparation.
It is time for Saddam's shenanigans to cease, and for the threat he represents to the United States and democratic countries around the world to be removed.
A war in Iraq, which could prove more costly in terms of lives and money in the aftermath than in the actual removal of Saddam, is a gamble.
But considering the cost of doing nothing, the alternative is unthinkable.
U.N. weapons inspectors contend their mission can be completed within a few more months. But what then?
Should this monotony go on endlessly as long as Saddam remains in power and therefore remains a threat?
It is not a war America wants, but a war it must fight to protect not only American lives, but security and freedom.
This is a war no one, including those in the Bush administration, wants.
Saddam Hussein is a threat to America and its allies.
The financial cost of war, while secondary to the loss of human life, will have to borne by a nation already saddled with a struggling economy.
Will the Iraqi people regard war as liberation?
Will the occupation of Iraq prove more deadly than the war itself?
How will the United Nations be regarded in the future, and will its role diminish?
These are all risks.
But there is the risk also of permitting a bloodthirsty dictator with the capacity to commit atrocities against others and his own people to continue to thwart the rest of the international community.
War is a risk we must take.
This is an important message. It is a message of solidarity. No matter how strongly one feels against war, the time for protesting has passed, if only temporarily.
Our men and women have a difficult and deadly job to do. They need to be focused on the mission at hand without the distractions - and potential drain on their morale - of anti-war protesters.
The debate can resume once our warriors finish the job they are being ordered to undertake.
Saddam is a significant threat to America and its allies.
It has been proved Saddam has access to weapons of mass destruction and no doubt would employ them, especially to exact revenge.
A war in Iraq must be swift, thorough and extensive, and that includes making sure we know without a doubt the fate of Saddam Hussein.
Now is not the time for anti-war rallies. Now is not the time to criticize a decision that already has been made. Now is the time for a nation to unite despite deep political differences when American lives are on the line.
Posted by blogarillo at 6:30 AM
So Pampa wingnut Warren Chisum circulates this fundie, creationist, vaguely anti-Semetic memo.
Then he makes this confusingly-worded statement that he doesn't really believe the memo, but he does believe in creationism, but evolution is a "fact," but creationism should be taught in school alongside the "fact," but "all of those kinds of sciences have holes in them," but he just passed around the memo as a "courtesy."
I'd call this ass-covering, but that would mean that Chisum has about seven asses.
The guy should stick to gay-bashing.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 3:03 PM
Remember, guys: if you give your S.O. her1 V-Day gift in a gift bag-- which I wholeheartedly recommend, being too lazy to wrap and all-- do not, under any circumstances actually write her name on the little card that comes attached to the bag.
Y'see, she wants to reuse that bag. Maybe even to give you a gift sometime.
It's a form of recycling we all can live with!
1Or his. Guys can be gay-- but attempts at nonsexist lingo seriously impeded the flow of this post.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 11:19 AM
“My generation and our kids, the baby boomers, took up the fight for equality and explored ways to make amends.” (Amarillo Globe-News, February 9, 2007)
Yes, we all remember Virgil Van Camp in that crowd of 200,000 civil rights supporters applauding Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that August day before the Lincoln Memorial. We remember Virgil marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma as he began that long trek to Montgomery in March 1965. We remember his long-standing advocacy of affirmative action and his condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan’s visit to Amarillo last year. Remember?
No? Have our memories grown dim, unable to recollect this champion of the black man’s civil rights? Why do we seem only to recall another Virgil Van Camp, an old white man who regularly denigrates blacks, Latinos, indeed every minority group he sets his hateful gaze upon?
One Virgil Van Camp confesses a history of a man who survived the evils of segregation, who stood up and fought for racial equality, but now expresses a few criticisms about African-Americans. Another Virgil Van Camp, the one every thinking person in Amarillo knows, is and always has been an ignorant racist bigot.
His is no petty masquerade. Like an S. S. officer escaped from Auschwitz by pretending to be a prisoner, he now pretends to have always been a friend of the Jews, praising himself for how much he has done for them, but now chides the Jews for being hung-up on the Holocaust and not moving on.
Despite his sham sympathies, he still betrays his racism. Do we really need Black History Month and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Boulevard? Aren’t racial incidents overblown? “American blacks are no more African than I am Dutch” is his canny deceit, for Van Camp thinks American blacks still have one foot in the jungle. Behind every line is the stench of bigotry.
Van Camp pretends the mere trifles of today’s inequality to be nearly over. Like so many bigots he simply wants the struggle for equality to go away, to declare “Mission Accomplished” (did he miss something?) and have non-whites put back in their place as society’s underclass.
This grotesque fraud is an insult to us all. It makes a mockery of the struggle for civil rights and the equality of all peoples, the struggle against racism and prejudice, the struggle that continues to this day. Only an utter hypocrite and cynic would write such an imposture. Only his ethically compromised apologists and enablers would publish it.
Posted by calamus venenum at 9:54 PM
A. The Symphony, since moving to the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, is no longer accessible to many but season ticket holders; therefore, I don't have the access to really care who is the conductor.
B. The first thing The Powers That Be do whenever anyone moves here from anywhere else is dress them up in a ridiculous Cowboy hat despite the fact that the vast majority of citizens of Amarillo haven't dressed that way in three-quarters of a century.
C. Many short-time residents (for example, Shearle Furnish, English Department Chair at WTAMU, who is orginally from Kentucky) participate in this charade by willingly dressing up in cowboy hats and cowboy boots despite the fact that these costumes do not fit their personalities.
There. Impossible to misunderstand.
But boring as hell.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 9:20 AM
Global warming is a major issue that could hold profound ramifications for every man, woman and child on Earth, but if you want to know why it's so difficult to have a serious discussion about it, look no further than this morning's emotionally retarded Globe-Republican Morning Briefing.
Posted by blogarillo at 6:30 AM
Chris Bell sent the following out to his e-mail list. I totally agree, and am disappointed that some Texas progressives are so caught up in Perry-hatred that they find ways to be against this executive order just because it was Perry who did the right thing. The trumped-up concerns about safety and role of government are just that-- trumped up1, and would have been viciously condemned by the same people had they been spouted by the fundies. Sure, Perry probably did it because he stands to make a buck, but frak it.
Dear Fellow Texans,
You have undoubtedly heard and read a lot about Rick Perry's executive order requiring that Texas schoolgirls get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Last September, I promised to do the very same thing if elected governor. While I continue to be very disappointed in the overall direction he is taking our state, in this particular instance Rick Perry has done the right thing. This is about protecting women's health, not about politics. I fully support his action and am asking you to do the same.
If young women don't get this vaccine now, hundreds of them will get cervical cancer and die. HPV causes cervical cancer, and the FDA has approved this vaccine and says it can prevent about 70% of cervical cancers that led to 391 deaths in Texas in 2006 alone. This is why the Center for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society recommend that all young women aged 11-12 get vaccinated, and it's why I called for this same action during the campaign.
Some of our libertarian-leaning Republican friends argue that vaccinating school children is not a proper function of government, and some of their socially conservative allies argue that protecting girls from a sexually transmitted virus will encourage promiscuity. Hogwash. I would answer both of these political factions by saying that punishing women for having pre-marital sex is not a proper role of government. In fact, protecting women from unknowingly contracting a cancer-causing virus protects their lives, not to mention their liberty. That is a proper role of government.
The fact that Rick Perry consciously opposed his own party in doing the right thing is, while quite surprising, to his credit. Now it's our responsibility as Texans to put politics aside and support the choice he made. The voices of support for the vaccination and the executive order are remaining awfully quiet. For years, Rick Perry has earned our opposition. Right now, with women's health at stake, he has earned our support, and without sacrificing the right to oppose him in the future, we must offer that support. If we don't, then we're the ones putting politics ahead of women's health.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 12:49 PM
Let me be more specific. There is a war, a meta-war1 it has been called in progress in the progressive blogosphere. It would look by turns absurd, petty, incomprehensible and juvenile to the outside world (if it were noticed at all, which I very much doubt), but it is there, and it's inevitable unfolding reveals the naked truth behind the left's long inability to get much done in this country despite the fact that we are correct.
The great debates at Big Orange and elsewhere have involved such weighty issues as Who Links to Whom, and Are Posters Really Who They Say They Are? These issues may seem petty, but translated into meatspace they are among the biggest questions of all. The former covers human interactions, from hookups to b.f.f.s to marriages to six degrees of Kevin Bacon. The latter asks about trust and honesty. We are seven posts past post-modern, but we remain human. We are days away from hardwiring quantum CPUs into our brains, but our instincts remain steps away from Australopithecus. We've interacted digitally for most of our lives now, but our hearts remain ancient and analog.
The problem for us-- and, gods, how I don't want to overstate this-- is that we as liberals filter everything through our common humanity. One would think that would be true for all humans, but conservatives seem to have convinced themselves that Something Else subsumes and trumps people. For fiscal conservatives the Something Else is what the Scriptures and the Sex Pistols called "filthy lucre"-- what the prophet Douglas Adams called "the movements of small green pieces of paper". For religious conservatives that Something Else is Jeeee-zus. For neoconservatives it is raw American power. For paleoconservatives it is Old White Male hegemony. And so on.
For us, it is different. As my Dear Old Dad used to say before he jumped off the cliff into the ocean of Bush Awe, what is the purpose of an economy if not to support people? To his words, I would add, what is the purpose of a religion, if not to sustain and console people? This is the curse of our Big Fat Brains: we can assign value to things outside ourselves. We can move beyond the survival instinct. This can unquestionably be good: we can-- although we too rarely are-- be caretakers of the environment and it many species. But it also means that we can worship, and worship can be dangerous.
If there is a difference between us and them, it is this: liberals tend to turn that religious awe back inwards, to believe in humanity and its possibilities, while conservatives look elsewhere. You can see it in our terms: populism, people-powered, demos. But by focusing on people, we implicitly accept that there can be as many truths as there are people to see them. By placing faith in outside agencies, more authoritarian conservatives are able to believe that absolutes exist. This is why their talking-points, their think-tanks, their echo chamber works. As long as they can conflate all the Something Elses into one GodMoneyPowerAmericaWhiteHeterosexualMan, they can act as one mass speaking unarguable Truth.
Or, this is the way it has been. Perhaps the dual-axis liberal-conservative / authoritarian-libertarian Political Compass works better. And the problem with that is the no-brainer truism that power is always-- left or right-- authoritarian. The current blog meta-warriors fight like divorcing spouses over titles and names. Who are the True Liberals? The authoritarian troll-hunters, grammar cops, and political correctors of Big Orange? Or the left-libertarians of My Left Wing?
We have been through this before, the old-timers tell us, when SDS factionalized2 in the late sixties, or when the socialist groups of the thirties fragmented.
Time and again in the country we are offered up a third party as a panacea. But maybe that's not enough. Maybe we need four. At least.
1 Which, unfortunately and don't say you weren't warned before you go a-clicking, shares many emotionally retarded characteristics with this place.
2 My spell-checker informs me that this word should be "fictionalized". I don't know about SDS, but perhaps that is an apt description for the process the blogs are going through now. We are fictionalizing. On the internet, the old saw runs, no one knows you're a dog. I get the feeling that a number of dogs in the blogosphere have themselves forgotten their caninity.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 7:06 AM
A commenter asks where we all are. For myself, I could offer the excuse that I have been moving, without internet access, and sick with this Captain Trips nonsense that has been closing schools across
No, the real reason, the made-up reason, we have disappeared recently is that we all all dead. I am, in fact, blogging this from Hell. I'd blog more, but the access down here sucks. That, and I have to use a freaking Pentium, fer chrissakes.The end, when it came, was sudden and random. We were collatorial damage in the recent blogger wars. We were hit by a stray comment and never had a chance. It was, it goes without saying, friendly fire, but isn't it all when the progressive netroots turns on itself and starts eating? What really hurts is that we weren't even important enough for someone to try to kill us.
Posted by Barry Cochran at 12:42 PM