“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"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


To Whom It May Concern:

It has come to our attention that someone, apparently in a fit of extreme, vitriolic flatulence, has deposited their entire brain on this blog. This brain, shown below under moderate magnification --


-- has shown itself to be inert and unresponsive to normal stimuli, though it occasionally recoils at the word “blacky” and “jeweler.”

If you recognize this brain, or know someone recently visiting this blog who has exhibited a sudden change in behavior, such as depression, lethargy or rigor mortis, please send a postcard with your name and address to:

Lost Brains
Small Red Matchbox on the Top Shelf
3rd Lost and Found on the Right, Lower Level
Grand Central Station
New York, New York

Please be precise in your identification, as the matchbox contains many, many lost conservative brains (you just won't believe how many are in there).

If you do not recognize this brain, or have not seen any changes of behavior in your friend, then this brain wasn’t being used to begin with.

Thank you for your attention.

The John Q. Kanelis Challenge

There is some debate over whether rhetorical hyperbole has inflated the result for how many Amarillo Christians approve of killing civilians (92%).

As we all know the poster child for this attitude is none other than Virgil Van Camp in the Amarillo Globe-News. If it were up to him the Geneva Conventions would be torn up and civilians would be slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands in the prosecution of this war. Ralph Hensen and Elwood Stein are among others in this city who would casually exterminate countless innocent lives.

And out of this city we have seen no rebuttal, no rebuke, only deafening silence. Mr. Van Camp, we are to believe, reflects the opinion of many. And so, it would seem, that must be true, that in a metropolis that claims itself most civilized and Christian, its people without qualm would unleash the most barbaric atrocities upon innocents.

In the Pew Research Center report "Muslim Americans, Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream", the following question (Q.H1 in the report) was asked of Muslims:

Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

1% Often justified
7% Sometimes justified
5% Rarely justified
78% Never justified
9% DK/Refused

I now challenge the Amarillo Globe-News to poll its readers with the following modified form of the question:

Some people think that bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Christianity from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Christianity, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

A reader response poll is not scientific, but it may provide a hint. Until then, Mr. John Q. Kanelis, your war criminals are the face of Amarillo.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Anti-Camp? How is this possible?

Shock and amazement! A letter critical of his Eminence Van Camp has been published in the Amarillo Globe-News! Was John on vacation again? Did dd have the day off?

We are witness to a rarity. Out of a constant hail of arrows against the fortress wall a single dart has found its way through a pin hole, an event happening but once or twice a decade.

It even dares mention “his hatred for minorities, BET and Muslims”! How could such a sting wind past the moat and guards and censors and gatekeeper?

Ah! From far Cambodia has this epistle sailed. Do they think at such a distance the writer will be safe from Camp’s white-sheeted partisans?

Monday, May 28, 2007

AGN's Hired Nut Job Rant

We all know what an incredible intellectual Malkin is. Just view her vid below.- Prodigal Son (Sorry for barging in, Calamus, your post reminded me of this)

In her May 26 column (as appearing in the Amarillo Globe-News) psychopath cum pundit Michelle Malkin accuses the Associated Press of spinning their poll results to downplay American Muslim’s feelings about killing civilians to protect their faith. Low and behold she is the one distorting and fabricating the numbers to support her paranoid rant.

But let us look at this in context, ascribing to the two opposing sides those unbiased Virgilian attributes:

Number of American Muslims, barbaric, savage, pagan, primitive, uncivilized, bloodthirsty, violent, murderous, cruel, sadistic, inhuman, who think it is rarely okay to kill civilians in defense of Islam: 13%

Number of Amarillo Christians, God-fearing, believing in Christ’s love, civilized, peace-loving, cultured, law-abiding, compassionate, educated, nonviolent, humane, who think it is always okay to kill civilians in defense of Christianity: 92%

Anything wrong with this picture?

* * *

Next week's Amarillo Globe-News poll:

Should the Amarillo Globe-News be awarded a long overdue Pulitzer Prize for its Chicken Apology story?

Yes, the Amarillo Globe-News always tells the truth, we are making progress in Iraq and our troops need our support.

No, the terrorists will win and damned secular humanists and atheists will take over our beloved nation.

Memorial Day, 2007

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Perfect Description

Attended the Drinking Liberally gathering Friday night (5/25) at the home of a PTSer and had a wonderful time! Outstanding company, good food and good drink. Of course at one point in the evening the conversation drifted to the presnit, and a psychtherapist in the group described the PERFECT diagnosis for the psych-in-chief. He is a sociopath. I looked the term up in Wikipedia, and here are the Characteristics of a person with antisocial personality disorder (APD):

Persistent lying or stealing
Recurring difficulties with the law
Tendency to violate the rights of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal)
Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
Inability to keep a job
A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
Inability to tolerate boredom
Disregard for the safety of self or others
A childhood diagnosis of conduct disorders
Lack of remorse for hurting others
Superficial charm
A sense of extreme entitlement
Inability to make or keep friends
Lack of guilt Recklessness, impulsivity

Is that not the exact description of "the decider?" We have a person with a severe mental disorder in charge of our country! (Of course we all knew that already!) We can only hope our beltway Democrats will get a backbone and start representing the majority in our country. I know we can in the grassroots. The last week was a disappointment, but it is no reason to give up. KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT!

The Liberalator

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Logic of Dav*

A. Albert Einstein was a genius.
B. Albert Einstein was a man.
C. All men are geniuses.

There has long been a suspicion that Dav* H*nry’s obvious disconnect from reality might be due to some earlier sports writing injury, but his column of
May 24, 2007 gives us an insight into his non-thinking processes. For brevity here are the pertinent excerpts:

“The problem with the government funding needle exchange programs - which are designed to reduce the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV by giving sterile syringes to drug users - is the logic behind such programs.”

“Study after study tout statistics that say syringe exchange programs - or SEPs - do not result in increased drug use, which more than likely means illegal drugs.”

“How is this possible?”

“There is no debate that SEPs probably result in a decrease in local rates of hepatitis and HIV, but no increase in drug use?”

“Before Texas jumps on the SEP bandwagon, these studies that contend there is no increase in drug use because of SEPs need to be looked at with a wary eye, otherwise taxpayers will get stuck.”

Mr. H*nry is fond of invoking logic, but apparently never learned the meaning of the word through five years of journalism school. If the object of the SEP program is to reduce the spread of disease, and there is “no debate that SEPs probably result in a decrease” in disease, then there is not a problem with the logic behind the program.

The real problem is Dav* H*nry’s assumption that providing the drug delivery system to users must therefore encourage more drug use. That his assumption is not borne out by the many studies, by the evidence and the conclusions, leads him – logically -- to question the studies, not his assumptions.

Here is our insight into his, and the conservative mind. Evidence contrary to belief is wrong. Belief trumps reality.

That is why the Don Imus scandal could be dismissed as a non-story because belief in repugnance trumps a firestorm. That is why the Alberto Gonzales imbroglio can be lied about as a non-issue because belief in the Bush administration trumps American law.

Not one week after H*nry again griped about the Attorney General scandal as much ado about nothing the Amarillo Globe-News issued an editorial calling for Gonzales to resign. H*nry was on the wrong side of an issue – again.

As often as Dav* H*nry has been wrong about an issue, calling them wrong, getting his facts wrong, you would think logic would dictate he would lose his credibility, that eventually this sportswriter become editorialist, so long out of his depth, would finally be dismissed.

But here I have erred in my logic. I assumed he began with credibility to lose.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dav*’s Titanic Theorem

Another downloaded file from the calamus venenum PDA. 05.19.07

* * *

Dav* H*nry once again presents us with a classic monumental analysis, this time of the Titanic disaster and why so many in First Class, including the captain and officers, managed to survive while Third Class and Steerage happened to drown in such disproportionate numbers.

We discover that the affluent, due to rank and privilege, were naturally assumed to have first access to the lifeboats, and therefore took their seats in greater number. The lower classes, due to indifference and apathy, disenfranchised themselves.

Of course the lower classes might have survived, but not being inherently good swimmers or floaters, they perished. Still, according to H*nry, had more of them turned out they could have turned the tide. One might ask how this could be done when there clearly is some advantage to be had by a wealthy passenger in her fur coat sitting on a bag of money in a dry boat over twenty poor people in their cotton skivvies treading freezing water.

The answer, according to H*nry logic, is that with enough poor, standing on one another’s shoulders, they can reach the bottom of the ocean and thus allow some few of them a little time above the chilling waves to head to the polls -- and get clobbered by an oar.

Thus we come to Dav*’s Dictum. Dav*, being the dictatorial type, is wont to show off his Dictum in public quite often. Even though many of us naturally think of Dav* in terms of a Big Dictum, even an Enormous Dictum, his actual Dictum is quite small. In fact, part of it is actually an idiom, so we have Dav*’s Dictum wrapped around an idiom, no mean trick, even for Dav* who is used to sticking his Dictum in other people’s idioms.

So for all you disenfranchised voters out there who Mr. Dav* H*nry has told to get off your butts and vote, remember who made it into the boat, whose hands are pulling on the oars, and are sculling off into the night:

“Telling others to sink or swim is best done from the deck of your yacht.”

Less Than Extraordinary Rendition

Nibon and Mitsu, LLP, have retained the services of Rex, Buddy, Bowser and Mr. Piddles, Attorneys at Law, to represent the legal affairs of calamus venenum in the State of New York. Even though the aforementioned attorneys specialize in veterinary malpractice and are currently engaged in defending a client against a class-action neutering lawsuit, Nibon and Mitsu have learned the following:

1) calamus venenum is somewhere in the United States
2) a photograph, purportedly of calamus venenum taken at Niagara Falls has appeared on the Al-Jazeera website (see picture, below right). Photo and story are by one Abdul Alhazred and though subjected to two CAT scans, untranslatable.

UPDATE: Partial translation "infidel calamus venenum [?] held/outraged in/by American van camp. Tortured by Malkin, Coulter book/reading [?]"

We could, however, translate the following advertisement posted by al Qaeda in Iraq:

WHITE SUPREMACISTS, ARYANS, CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS. Let us set aside our minor differences and combat our TRUE ENEMY: ATHEISTS & SECULARISTS! Together let us destroy IMMORAL LIBERALS. Together let us DESTROY DEGENERATE GODLESS UNBELIEVERS! JOIN AL QAEDA TODAY! We offer great medical and dental plan.

* * *

At this time we would like to apologize for some of the content in the previous post “you can BET on it.” Many editors act as “gatekeepers,” protecting the reading public from tasteless, rude, or offensive material. We live in a civilized society, and many of us will have found some of the words objectionable or offensive. Rather than completely censoring content, many editors have chosen to replace various letters with an asterisk so that the reader may infer the insensitive, vulgar, or offensive word that is being used. From this point on we shall adhere to this rule, and therefore the words "Dav* H*nry" will appear in this form in future.

A Greater Religious America

UPDATE: Let me broaden the discussion here. Meet Mark David Uhl. Student of a Christian school (Liberty University) who wanted to bomb people at Falwell's funeral. The press glanced over this story. (And ever hear of THESE examples?)

1. Is there such a thing as a Christian terrorist? We have seen Dobson and Robertson turn Muslim bashing into a cottage industry, pot meet kettle?

2. What are evangelicals main issues? The poor? The sick? Nope. . . boring. It's abortion and gays. Should Eric Rudolph been waterboarded?

2. What if this guy was Muslim? Gitmo? No lawyer?

Just sayin', I do not hear much out of fervent Christian Evangelicals other than "I hate gays", "Abortion should be illegal."

"You and I can bring the rule and reign
of the cross to America."

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of the 2,000-member Hope Christian Church in Bowie, Maryland, Justice Sunday II, August 14, 2005

Seen this? Caution, it is tough to watch. . .

The teenage girl in the video was stoned to death for being seen, SEEN, with a boy of a differing religion.

Her killers? Uncles and cousins, for Chrissakes!

I gotta tell ya, as a father to a beautiful and strong willed daughter, I would have been out swinging a baseball bat, family or no.

Or would I . . . ?

Where was this kids Dad? Held down in some warehouse against his will? The story does not say.

This is a horrifying example of what the theocratic movement of Falwell, Robertson, and Ted Haggard could bring. Liberty University, Bob Jones, Regent, are busily churning out good little soldiers for this glorious battle to save Christianity from . . . someone! (Monica Goodling)

But those people in the video are Islamofascists, you say? That could not happen here. We just want our Government to have old fashioned BIBLICAL values. Horseshit.

It's about mob rule. Institutionalized mob rule.

After watching that vid, I am even more grateful to the secularism our enlightened founders decided on. I mean, the policeman just STANDS there watching. Maybe he had a promotion or a job review coming up in front of his deeply religious boss?

Imagine a country where these evangelicals rule. You can't get a job because you are a Catholic, Methodist, or Jewish, or if you do, you will never get to the top unless you convert.

Think about a school system, where kids are taught, (with your tax money), that non-evangelicals are not to be trusted, that they are inferior and going to hell when they die? Think there might be some trouble? Yeah pretty much already happening.

How 'bout a biblical court system? Some dumbass with a grudge, or a competitor in your biz sector who has better "moral credibility", or "better values" or some such vaporware accuses you of coveting his wife at the Christmas party. You are found guilty, and are stoned or burned, the two capital punishments stated in old testament law.

Thinking aloud out here. That video really bothered me. Just speaking for me, I need to, as a Christian, be more aggressive toward those who are old testament punishers, new testament lip servicers.

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

you can BET on it

I cannot vouch for the veracity or origin of the quote in this downloaded PDA file, so I can only provide the reader with the disclaimer that it may be true or, like the Men In Black or Dave Henry’s brain, it may be a complete fabrication. You be the judge.

The editor

* * *
File dated 05.17.07

Once again Virgil hands us a
laundry list of his generation’s great achievements and how the baby boomers have screwed things up. He does at least offer expert solutions, such as neo-colonial puppet dictatorships, massacring civilians, imprisoning or deporting millions of undocumented immigrants and cutting Social Security and Medicare. He says we owe him for being a great American, so please don’t elect Hillary for his sake.

Not everything this great American writes makes it into his brilliant essays:


I have made a few changes to your otherwise
excellent column for this Friday’s edition. Know you’ll understand.

In the fifth paragraph “Islamofacist rag-headed camel-jockeys” has been changed to “radical Islam.”

In paragraph nine “millions of wet-back taco-bending beaners” has been shortened to “millions.”

“that Ice Queen Bitch Hillary” has been abbreviated to read simply “Hillary.”

Your line referring to Black Entertainment Television as “It’s just full of niggers and nappy-headed hos taking us back to the jungle” has also been cut due to length.

Will give your regards to CT.


Funny thing, dd, there was a little birdie in the gym.

I can’t keep up, you gotta wait on me

I hate to be dense here but if this is how it is now and Bin Laden was only just trying to start an "Iraq unit" in 2005, doesn't that mean he didn't have one when we went to war with Iraq because of 9/11?

Am I missing something?


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Calamus Venenum in Federal Custody

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, LLP, regret to inform readers of Panhandle Truth Squad that calamus venenum is currently being detained by the federal government, department of Homeland Security.

Details are necessarily sketchy, but we can tell you the following:

He was traveling with his wife who was attending the American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators in Buffalo, New York. Afterwards they went to Niagara Falls, but after crossing the Rainbow Bridge discovered that passports were now required to enter Canada. Crossing back over the bridge they were stopped on the American side and informed passports were required to enter the United States.

A Texas driver’s license being insufficient identity, a Google search by the border guard quickly turned up words like “treason” and “seditious writings about Barney in the White House” on Free Republic linked to calamus venenum. The words “batty,” “needing professional attention,” “pinko communist” and “criminally insane” also popped up repeatedly.

Calamus venenum was immediately detained by the authorities. Questioned on the above, a heavily redacted transcript shows that calamus venenum swore that Free Republic was a neo-fascist blog and that the latter quotes were part of a spoof or satire.

Calamus venenum was then informed that Free Republic was a "high value intelligence source" for the Pentagon’s war effort, and that satire, sarcasm and irony had been secretly outlawed by the Colbert Act.

Facing rendition to Syria for having equated President Bush’s intelligence to that of a hamster, calamus venenum was given a choice of either speaking French with a Texas accent or signing a paper admitting to acts of sarcasm, satire and irony, but on the less severe grounds that they were only “vaguely humorous.” Having signed the paper calamus venenum was then arrested and handed over to officers of Homeland Security as an “agent quite possibly provocateur.”

Informed of this Gonzalean outrage, the Law Offices of Mitsu and Nibon immediately flew to New York (in carriers, baggage class), only to then discover we are not licensed to practice law in New York. We were also put in quarantine because of some arcane New York law.

Employing the good services of a licensed lawyer specializing in defending veterinarians against malpractice, we sent a note to calamus venenum telling him that our water dish was running low. We learned that calamus venenum may be somewhere in the United States, Europe, the Middle-East, or elsewhere on the planet. Attorneys for Free Republic, the Amarillo Globe-News and Ladies Home Journal (all flew first class) have filed amicus briefs with the court asking that he be sent to a secret prison in Egypt.

Calamus venenum was working on some material for this blog right up until the time he went over the border line. His wife now has his PDA in her possession, and will edit and publish it as she can in the near future.

In the meantime, keep faith in freedom, and send liver treats.

Monday, May 21, 2007

drinking liberally, may

Drinking Liberally Amarillo will kick off the summer with its first house party at 7:30 pm on Friday the 25th of May at Casa Spacedark.

B.Y.O.B... (...ottle, ...rain, ...ig mouth)
R.S.V.P. and get address/directions.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Note: On the Use of the Royal We in Panhandle Truth Squad

(Amarillo) In the wake of the recent Linguistic Riots at the downtown offices of the Panhandle Truth Squad (rising high above the corner of 10th and Burr), I have been compelled to write this explanation, if only to get this band of scruffy hippies to remove themselves from my penthouse office.

The royal we, or Pluralis Majestatis, has a long and storied history. It is often said to be the first-person singular, spoken as the first-person plural, used when referring to kings, queens, bishops, monarchs, or other royalty. This is not the complete story, but will do as a starting point.

When we-- ouch!, sorry, I-- use the royal we on PTS, I am speaking for a fictional "group" that writes the "group blog" Panhandle Truth Squad. The complication arises from the fact that there is a "real" group that writes the group blog Panhandle Truth Squad. I do not speak for their opinions. They are difficult to divine and often contradictory.

You could say that I am speaking for the "management" of Panhandle Truth Squad, and not for the talent, who are expected to post their opinions but are allowed to have none. Of course, once I begin to write, I, in effect, demote to mere talent. Thus, in a Schrödingrian complication, the mere act of writing down the opinion causes it to lose any possibility of being true.

I certainly hope this clears up the matter.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Thinking Outer Louder

Pork - noun
1: The fresh or salted flesh of swine when dressed for food
2: Government funds spent outside of Texas Congressional District 13.


It may not be en vogue to say anything kind about Republicans on this blog, but Congressman Ron Paul is one of the few I still have any amount of respect for and his blunt talk in recent debates regarding our foreign and fiscal policy has been refreshing to say the least.

GOP Debate II: Fox Goes After Ron Paul
Ron Paul vs. Giuliani on the Root Causes of Terrorism
Ron Paul Schools Hannity on “Blowback”

Too bad that nothing but blind, unquestioning faith in Dear Leader and His Great Cause is acceptable. Paul will probably be shown the door soon enough.


And the angel broke the fourth seal, and there came forth a wingnut Attorney General for whom the NSA domestic spying program was just too extreme for even him to certify as legal. You know we're completely hosed when John "Let the Eagle Soar" Ashcroft comes off like the good guy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

the ill-information superhighway

FINAL UPDATE: We have eliminated the "quite possibly."
UPDATE: calamus venenum's description has been changed to "quite possibly criminally insane."
UPDATE: In our continuing effort to distance ourselves from the dangerous philosophies of calamus venenum we have altered the adjectival clause before his name to read "pinko communist."
UPDATE: We have again updated the description of calamus venenum to read "needing professional attention."
UPDATE: We have altered the description of calamus venenum to read "slightly batty."
UPDATE: We have changed the description of calamus venenum, below, previously "vaguely humorous" to read "edgy, and not everyone's taste."
UPDATE: We have changed the description of calamus venenum, below, previously "singular wit" to read "vaguely humorous."

(Amarillo) If I've learned anything in my three years in the blogosphere, it's this: If someone says you won't hear from them again, you'll always hear from them again. "I'll not respond" is a self-unfulfilling prophecy. Like Richard Nixon, internet trolls will be there to kick around, even unto the end of the world.

So an e-mail titled Your ill-informed blog that reads in part "So, go ahead and make a fool of yourself again.... I'll not respond" doth portend a veritable daisy-chain of related e-mails extending inevitably toward one titled Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your ill-informed blog. So spake Jim Brokenbek, who is every bit as convinced of our wrongness as he is wrong himself, and thus we find ourselves in Cyberia's equivalent of a Taurean hornlock.

Just two, only two, points, and then I'm (*wink) outta here, so over the issue, not gonna talk about it no more, you won't hear a word from me about it, I swear, I'm done wit it, I'm putting on my Republican-skin cowboy boots and riding off into the storied West Texas sunset never ever ever ever to be heard from again. But first our most recent exchange with Mr. Brokenbek:

Brokenbek: At no time did I "damn" downtown revitalization; I did say that the downtown crowd needs to politely get in line and wait teir [sic] turn until other long unmet needs have been addressed. Until you and Kanelis have taken a remedial reading course, there is no point in trying to communicate with either of you. So, go ahead and make a fool of yourself again.... I'll not respond.

PTS: The phrase was "damn with faint praise". Here's what it means. Thanks for reading.

Brokenbek: Had you been to all the forums, each of which had usually only 3 minutes to state one's case, you would have heard me say the downtown crowd has my blessing, but no blessing on my tax money for projects that have arisen of late while other LONG unmet needs have gone unaddressed. I've hammered this sentiment over, and over, and over, and over. Is nobody listening, or can nobody read?
Point numero uno: In the campaign we tended to like Mr. Brokenbek's pro single-member districts stance and disliked Mayor McCartt's. We liked McCartt's boosting of downtown and knew that Mr. Brokenbek would... uh... not promote it as vigorously. So those issues-- the two biggest in the recent campaign-- were a wash. But Debra McCartt's been such a good mayor. And only one candidate for any place was on the right side of both issues.

Point numero two-oh: Downtown revitalization would help the entire city. At one of the forums we apparently didn't attend... (Where were those places, with the smarmy pizza restaurant owners and the jewelry peddlers talking about themselves?) At one of the forums we apparently didn't attend, an audience member heckled the candidates, claiming that downtown development would only help southwest Amarillo. The reverse seems to be true, as southwest Amarillo is fairly far from downtown. Wouldn't downtown revitalization increase the value of the areas closest to it-- the funkycool Plemons-Eckle and Bivins areas, Wolflin (which admittedly needs little help), and, yes, even poor bedraggled San Jacinto.

Point numero three-oh: The phrase ill-informed blog is redundant.

Point numero four-oh: We can read, at a very high level. The oeuvre of Louis L'Amour is not beyond our capabilities. We can also write awful dang purty.

Point numero five-oh: Who are the "downtown crowd"? We think of gay club-goers or homeless winos in bus stations. Neither of which are represented on the current City Commission, to the best of our knowledge.

Point numero six-oh: Panhandle Truth Squad was represented at every single forum.

We'll concede one point. The nickname "Brokenbek Mountain," conceived in a late-night stupor, was very nearly pointless and too easily misunderstood by reactionary nutcases.

Given this e-mail exchange, we'll change it to "Brokenbek record".1


1 The singular wit vaguely humorous edgy, and not to everyone's taste slightly batty needing professional attention pinko communist quite possibly criminally insane calamus venenum proposed this nick.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Indy Web Site

As some may have noticed, The Amarillo Independent’s Web site has not been updated in several days.

I can’t go into details, but we’re undergoing some reorganization that includes our Web site. The current site is, for a variety of technical reasons, difficult to maintain. And we would like a more pleasing and perhaps more interactive site.

So along with the business functions being modified we’re undertaking a review of our Internet presence.

This may take a while, so please be patient.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Election Results, Final Tally

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, are pleased to announce the final results of the City Commissioner Place 4 election:

Erik Williams: 9,554 votes or 83.8%
Fransetta Mitchell Crow: 9,269 votes or 81.3%
D. C. Chamberlain: 8,721 votes or 73.6%
Jim Simms: 4,423 votes or 38.8%

It may be noted that there is some slight discrepancy between our results and those that the City of Amarillo and the Amarillo Globe-News are reporting. "They have their numbers and we have ours." This inconsistency may be partly due to the fact that even in this modern and enlightened era cats are disenfranchised and our votes are not counted.

As we have seen, however, dogs have the right to be licensed, and are allowed to run free in our streets, parks and for public office. Uncouth animals that they are, they take dumps in the public square without burying them.

We hiss at this inequality; we hiss at Simpson’s lapdogs; we hiss at Simms’ poodles. We remain un-cornered; we remain un-treed! And after a quick trip to the litter box we are going to sharpen our claws on their old scratchin' post, the one with the dingalings on it.

equivocation nation

It's kind of a moot point now, but PTS received an e-mail from Jim Brokenbek on Friday titled "Misrepresentation" and reading as follows:

Like John Kanelis, you have misrepresented my position regarding downtown revitalization. I didn't say I'm opposed to it. I said I'm opposed to spending tax money on it, unless and until, other long-unmet needs are addressed. Those with "obsessive downtownitis disorder" should be expected to go to the tail end of the line and wait their turn like other taxpayers have had to do -- in some cases for at least 81 years.

Jim Brokenbek
Mayoral Candidate
For the record, here's what we said regarding Brokenbek's position:
Jim Brokenbek: Exceeded Expectations. I expected "Brokenbek Mountain" to be another vanity candidate, bleeting his way to the altar to be sacrificed, so when I say he exceeded expectations that's not saying much. He took John Kanelis to task for misrepresenting his position. I'm always in favor of taking Kanelis to task. If I understand correctly, he thinks Kanelis said he didn't support downtown revitatilization, and he claims that characterization's not completely accurate. He's not against it, he says, he just thinks the money should be spent in other neighborhoods. Um, I hate to agree with Kanelis, but how, exactly, is that position supportive of downtown? Maybe I'm not getting something here . . .

Brokenbek Mountain supports single-member districts, which is good, but his damning of downtown with faint praise, his crotchety-old-man demands for noise ordinances everywhere and his wacky idea for an "I-40 visitors center" won't win my vote away from Debra.
From the Amarillo Independent's transcript of the debate, here's what Brokenbek said:
I wanted to speak quickly to the downtown revitalization. I am for the revitalization of the entire city of Amarillo and I want to respond to John Kanelis’ article in (the April 22 Amarillo Globe-News) that misrepresented my position.
I am for downtown revitalization as far as tax money is concerned only until and unless we meet some other needs of our city. And I can tell you a lot of those.
I just don't see how my characterization of Brokenbek's downtown position ("He's not against it, he says, he just thinks the money should be spent in other neighborhoods") differs from his own statement ("I am for downtown revitalization as far as tax money is concerned only until and unless we meet some other needs of our city. And I can tell you a lot of those") . But, whatever. He didn't complain about us calling him "Brokenbek Mountain." So maybe he wasn't all bad.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

electile dysfunction

One shouldn't make political deals based upon chicken-counting before chicken-hatching.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

the buffaloes scream for banshee meat: our Yellow City endorsements, 2007

Panhandle Truth Squad’s attempt to endorse candidates in the Amarillo city election evoked the cliché that organizing Democrats was akin to herding cats. Or the famous Will Rogers quote that he didn’t belong to an organized political party. But, of course, some of us are Yellow Dogs, and some of us currently belong to the Democratic Party out of a convenient, lesser-of-two-evils sort of thing. And some of us vote-Democratic-but… and all of that complicates things even further.

So this is not so much an endorsement as a set of apologiae. Here goes...

The Mayoral race was one of the easiest for us and validated the conviction expressed previously in these pixels that our Mayor could show the Emperor W a thing or two about Uniting. Our eyes are not starry. We don’t doubt that Ms. McCartt’s husband will profit financially from her pet issue, downtown revitalization. But we also accept that there are worse things that politicians can profit from, and the hipper among us look forward to hanging out in ever-cooler downtown bars and restaurants, and, perhaps, to even living downtown.

Meanwhile, we admire the fact that “Debra”—as everyone in town is allowed to call her— has demonstrated leadership by speaking at GLBT events. We believe that we owe her our votes for not being scared of the bullies that have traditionally populated this city and the city commission. Debra has done a great job, and let us never forget her defeating "the good ole boy", (Hodger the Dodger) who thought he would simply ascend to the mayorship 'cause of who he was. Like all great politicians Debra may even inspire us to grow beyond her. She has been the most inclusive of mayors to hold the office here in Yellow City, but has been unable to take the next step and support single-member districts. We’ll take the next step with or without her . . . but for now we—along with damn near everyone else in town—are with Debra McCartt.

Place 1 was, not surprisingly, our most difficult choice. Our votes were evenly divided and no one seemed enthusiastic about their choice: Some among us voted for Sumerford because the other guy seems like a tool. We wanted anyone but Scotty Mad… or Mad Scot… or....we don't know, check with the AG-R for the correct name of his opponent. We demanded anybody but Madison Scott!

Those of us who would vote for Scott didn’t doubt that he was a tool, but took issue with Sumerford’s support of the tax freeze. We swore that we didn't care, but if one of them was against the tax freeze than we were for them.

In the end we divided evenly on Place 1, and will endorse neither o’ them idiots.

Place 2
, Wanda Marie Sanner got one “I know her. She’s cool.” Our vote total: 1.

Brian J. Eades, M.D. received one “Not Eades” vote. Our vote total: -1.

The rest went to Prenis Williams. Our endorsement: Prenis Williams.

Place 3, Ron Boyd also earned a coupla of “anyone but—” votes, and Daniel Martinez got some lukewarm “I think I know him too and I liked his comments printed in the Indy” sorta support. So we’ll go with (really, who else is there?) Daniel Martinez.

For Place 4 we unanimously support Erik Williams, often with an exclamation point. One of us pointed out that Erik once saved a newborn from the jaws of a pit-bull and claims to have seen the event. If this eyewitness report proves true, it will go a long way toward explaining why the Amarillo Globe-Republican has taken a consistently anti-Erik position. If Erik is truly committed to solving Amarillo’s pit bull problem, he will create serious financial problems for the AG-R. Since, you know, their current subscription base depends on their weekly front-page pit bull attack stories.

Epilogue: Our survey didn’t ask for votes on Constitutional Amendment Proposition 1. However, two PTS’ers expressed an unsolicited “no” vote. We can’t express an opinion on this in the first person plural. But it's always possible that R. Spacedark has an opinion on the matter and will find time to write about it in the near future.

Panhandle Truth Squad

Election Forecast Now

Amarillo’s early voters have cast 6,946.27 ballots. Exit polling conducted by employees of the Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP (not certified by the board of Polling Specialization), now permits the Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, to present a fair and balanced forecast of the likely outcome of the Commissioner Place 4 race:

Erik Williams: 4 bird nests
Fransetta Mitchell Crow: 3 butterflies
D. C. Chamberlain: 2 bits of string
Jim Simms: 1 desiccated vole
Dave Henry: 1 nit*

*It should be noted that Mr. Henry is not actually in the Commissioner 4 race, but is supremely dedicated to his own race.
At this time the Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, would like to endorse Mr. Jim Brokenbek for his outspoken position against noise, as we believe this should apply to barking dogs that annoy and distract cats, particularly when leaving the McCartt’s backyard.

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, would also like to announce that we are considering a lawsuit over fair and equal representation in Amarillo. This law firm believes the small proportion of village idiots in this city are over-represented on the editorial staff and letters section of the Amarillo Globe-News. This law firm is prepared to take them to the pound -- as soon as our rabies and other vaccinations are up to date.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A movement in four part harmony

I just go back from the Arlo Guthrie Family Jamboree (I think it was a jamboree). What a great show. Luckily I was able to convince my parents to go with me, I would have skipped it otherwise.

A Lot of refrains that don't mean a thing

The show started off with covers of Woody Guthrie songs, with more sprinkled throughout the performace. Simple, straight forward songs that celebrate the "common man". No cynicism, lots of humor and lyrics that speak directly to you. I could have sat for the whole show listening to Arlo tell stories about his dad and sing his songs. One song 1913 Massacre just about had my mom in tears. Another song had lyrics by Woody and music by Wilco (evidently from Mermaid Avenue) . The last Woody song was My Peace. The music and words reminded me of the old time hymns I sang growing up. IMO, Woody Guthrie was the highlight of the show.

Having a good time with Group W

Of course we got to hear Alice's Restaurant, and A Train They call the City of New Orleans. They also performed several other songs that were familiar. Unfortunately I have not been a huge fan, but it looks like I need to revisit his music.

We've been throwing horseshoes on the flowers

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion supplied songs for the current generation. Their music is a mixed blues, country, and folk. Several songs revealed a inspiration found in having a family. One that has really stuck with me is Mornin's Over. It can be found on their myspace page http://www.myspace.com/sarahleeandjohnny

Over all I really enjoyed the show. Anyone that didn't make it missed out.

Hill 'N' Me

Hillary came here to speak at the last minute after the debate in Orangeburg, SC, and I was lucky enough to get a ticket without coughing up $200 thanks to my buddy/lawyer/chairman of the county demos.

It was at an African American AME church, the secret service did a GREAT job of getting us checked in quickly. Mara Liason from NPR was running around with a microphone (That's her in the background of the pic), and little did I know it, but I sat next to a reporter from the Denver Post. He said that he hates sitting in the press pool. Groupthink he said. Hmmmm.

Overall she was very personable. Just me, but she sometimes appears a little stern in the MSM, because you just know they love to veer off and discuss the most important topics of the day. Like $400 haircuts.

She joked with some guy who had to be 100 years old in a wheelchair, who said, "The best day of my life is when your husband sent me an autographed picture." She laughed, and went over hugged him and kissed his face. She said, "Believe me, Bill is jealous he is not here, but he is in Indonesia giving a speech." She warmed up and seemed very relaxed after that.

She spoke for about 40 minutes about healthcare, a little about the economy and a disappearing middle class, yada, yada. No Iraq except for the poll tested, Mom approved, "If I'm president in 2009 I will bring the troops home." Everyone cheered, I clapped. IMO that's a cop out. No one knows what they will do in the big chair once arrived. This is Junior's f-up. Defund the war. Then impeach the Cheney administration.

Then questions, a softball about being a woman candidate, another about social security privatization, and then a blue-haired lady stood up and hit below the belt.

"How can you continue to support the killing of millions of babies a year after the 40 million already murdered. Abortion is murder." (paraphrasing here)
Arggghhhh. Just an FYI, the rethugs here in SC are trying to pass a bill to force all women considering abortion to view an ultrasound. More in a sec.

Hillary knocked it out of the park. Again paraphrasing here, "We are on the same side. I want fewer abortions. You achieve that by offering more education about sex, and birth control, and more resources for young parents. The math shows that when you have all of those, abortion rates go down. Help me support you by voting for me."

Blue-hair sat down in the midst of loud applause. Shocker, there is more to the abortion issue than Faux news style talking points and questionable statistics.

After that it was over, Hillary thanked us, most folks filed out to get back to work, and then a few of us went up to the front to snap a few pics, and try to shake hands.

I got a few pics like the one above, shook her hand and said, "Senator, why do you need to come to a compromise on Iraq with a guy who has 28% approval."
She said, "No one compromises on supporting our troops, but we want some accountability." Then she moved on to the lady on my left.

Well, what would you ask?

Just one point about the ultrasound boolsheet. If the woman turns her head to avoid looking, do you have cop force her head forward? How about if she closes her eyes, does a security guard prop them open with toothpicks?

-Prodigal Son

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

someone needs a hug

(Amarillo) Panhandle Truth Squad is nothing if not perverse, and in the interest of perversity, I have added a link to Pink Dome to our blogroll. We recently exchanged links (is it just me, or does that sound kinky?) with Texas Liberal and now TL has gone off and started a blog war with PD. Personally, we only start blog wars with conservative bloggers, but hey! that's easy for us to say; we live in the Pan-freaking-handle.

Anyhoo, at various points during this six-day blog war, either Texas Liberal or Pink Dome has issued edicts banning 1) cussin', 2) the term "netroots", 3) the word "stupid", 4) something called an "anti-woman attitude", 5) referring to oneself in the third person, 6) the word “snark”, 7) the word “edge” 8) the word “buzz”, 9) Wonkette, and 10) civility. As an occasional violator of all of the above (I mean, not Wonkette; I've never violated Wonkette), I decided to throw kisses to both blogs and, additionally, to start this paragraph with the with "anyhoo," which just may piss them both off.

We (how do TL and PD feel about the Pretentious Royal "We"? How do they feel about Gratuitous Capital Letters?) cuss when we need to but not all the time. Sometimes the tamed form of a profanity is funnier, and when it is, we use that. Sometimes the actual naughty word is more effective, and when it is we're not afraid to use it.

But, in the spirit of inter-blog hyper-wired trans-pajama connectivity, we offer the remainder of this post, surely acceptable to both Texas Liberal and Pink Dome:

We like puppies!


Candidate, Silly Party, Party

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, are pleased to announce the following:

Candidate for
Commissioner Place 4 Erik Williams

Election Night Party
at the Residence of

Mr. Pete Elkins
2000 S. Julian Boulevard
(corner of Julian and Fannin)

May 12, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Click here for further details

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, would also like to issue the following press release:

Due to numerous rumors swirling around the current election, some attached to this law firm, we would like to take this opportunity to dispel some of the onerous charges that have been made. This law office completely and utterly denies the following:

1. That this law office or any of its employees had anything to do with Madison Scott’s new Mr. Gatti’s menu item Pineapple and Micemeat Pizza.

2. That this law office or any of its employees had anything to do with Dr. Brian Eades sending Mrs. Elwood home with a six pound bouncing baby rabbit.

3. That this law office or any of its employees had anything to do with Ron Boyd selling a rhinestone cat collar made in China to Mrs. Pool as a $40,000 diamond bracelet.

4. That this law office or any of its employees had anything to do with a hairball in Mr. Simms’ coffee.

5. That this law office or any of its employees had anything to do with the toy rubber snake in Debra McCartt’s undie drawer.

The Law Offices of Nibon and Mitsu, Sunbeam Napsters and Feather Toy Chasers, LLP, hopes these vicious rumors are finally laid to rest. We will, however, admit to taunting Les Simpson's lapdog in public, but that is another story.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thinking Outer Louder

Pampa wingnut Dennis Palmitier (hmmm, that name sounds French) laments in today's Globe-Republican:

Far-left liberal interference in America's military decisions came into full bloom with the Vietnam War.
Richard Nixon was a liberal?


Four years into the Iraq calamity and there still have been few, if any, major public calls for people to serve their country in the military. All we seem to get is a lot of apocalyptic talk from Bush's neoconservative sycophants who cheer the war from the safety of their keyboards:
Bush's congressional supporters, such as U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, have it exactly right: that opponents of the war need to present the president a "clean" funding bill that doesn't contain withdrawal language that our enemies can - and most assuredly will - use against us. They also point out that if Bush's congressional opponents are so dead set against continuing this conflict, they need to cut off all money for the war right now.

That won't happen, of course, because to do so would be to surrender to an enemy who has made his ultimate aim as clear as Bush's veto: You abandon Iraq and we'll follow you onto your shores.
Oh, really now? It seems the least a war supporter could do is help keep that from happening. Boots on ground, Dave, boots on ground...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

a wing(nut) and a prayer

(Note: No longer satisfied with simply humiliating the Amarillo Globe-Republican's Dave the Wingnut by demonstrating that his intellect is vastly inferior to that of your average Guy With a Website, I have elected to further make fun of him by parodying the tired format of his weekly columns. This piece comes complete with a "Psyched Out," a "Another Weekly Sign America is Headed Downhill," a "Pat on the Back," and a "Kick in the Pants." Yay!)

In the spirit of the National Day of Prayer, let me just say: Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ.

Dave the Wingnut wrote a very pious column yesterday sarcastically chiding "misguided guardians" of the "treasured" U.S. Constitution who worry that the National Day of Prayer "has been converted by the religious right, or more specifically, the Christian right." Dave's prose is ever difficult to parse, but I have to assume by his tone that he is ridiculing those who treasure the Constitution.

I'm proud to say that Dave ridicules me when he ridicules such folks. Hell, last July 4, I wore a U.S. Constitution pin recycled from my old Webelos colors along with my flag pin. Webelos colors ... y'know that means I used to wear that pin on my sleeve. Ironically, the very same place that Dave Henry wears his religion.1

As usual, Dave debates so many straw men in this column that he ought to change his name to Dorothy and put on his ruby slippers. But along his own amarillo Brick Road to his own bizarre Emerald City, Dave the Wingnut assures us that the Day of Prayer doesn't mean any specific prayer to any specific idea of any specific deity. To back up his point, he quotes the most objective source he can find: a Baptist preacher.

"(The NDP) is not a political event in any way. It is not designed to push one agenda over another agenda," said Paul Nachtigall, pastor of Pampa's Highland Baptist Church.
Forgive me if I'm not consoled by those assurances.

Especially when the National Day of Prayer is chaired by Shirley Dobson, wife of James Dobson, and former winner of the Eagle Forum's Full-time Homemaker of the Year Award.

Psyched Out

Also yesterday, there was this:
Bush's congressional supporters, such as U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, have it exactly right: that opponents of the war need to present the president a "clean" funding bill that doesn't contain withdrawal language that our enemies can - and most assuredly will - use against us. They also point out that if Bush's congressional opponents are so dead set against continuing this conflict, they need to cut off all money for the war right now.

That won't happen, of course, because to do so would be to surrender to an enemy who has made his ultimate aim as clear as Bush's veto: You abandon Iraq and we'll follow you onto your shores.
How does Kanelis keep a straight face when he claims to be a "liberal Democrat at heart"?

Another Weekly Sign America is Headed Downhill

A Pat on the Back ...

... to the Ghostly VoiceTM of the Amarillo Globe-Republican. In a brave, brave move the Ghost risked the ridicule of Dave the Wingnut and stood up for the First Amendment! The Ghost reminds us that the Globe-Republican has been honored with a Pulitzer Gold Medal Award, the "highest prize in journalism," in 1960 (for those keeping score, that's twelve years before Morris Communications took over the paper in 1972 and-- oh, I don't know-- a thousand years or so before Les "Bloody Glove" Simpson took over as publisher. )

The Globe-Republican certainly deserves a Pat on the Back for this half-century old award! But they also deserve kudos for defending the
confidentiality pledge journalists give whistleblowers who otherwise might fear for their jobs or even their lives for revealing wrongdoing in government and business.
Truly, the Globe-Republican is one newspaper that understands that its primary obligation is to the people of the community-- and not to government or business!

Give me a freaking break. How stupid do they think we are?

Kick in the Pants ...

To (who else?) Virgil Van Camp, who today used the "Some Say" propaganda technique to propagate a nightmarish mishmash of rightest-of-all-wings conspiracy theory and paranoia:
Far right-wing blogs and publications routinely promote the idea that there is a conspiracy among one-world government elitists to erase national borders ... Now their sights have been lowered to create the North American Union, similar to the European Union. Some blogs suggest that this shadowy group also is responsible for the EU.
Virgil, dear, put down the Weekly World News, turn off Art Bell, and take your meds.


1 Although I am leading the charge to change the expression to the more contemporary "wearing it on their bumper".

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

at least they didn't call him "Billy Madison"

When the Amarillo Globe-Republican published a letter from Manny Perez Hilton this morning referring to Madison Scott, place 1 candidate, as "Scott Madison" I assumed it was Perez's mistake, left uncaught by AG-R "factcheckers."

But, as of now, the front page of Amarillo.com, refers to the dude as "Scott Madison." Understand what this means: the Amarillo Globe-Republican doesn't even know the correct names of the candidates they endorsed.

(click to enlarge)

The more important question, does this mean we'll be treated to yet another apology?


This Week in the Indy - May 3

In The Amarillo Independent this week-May 3, 2007:

On April 23, the Potter-Randall Democratic Club hosted a candidate forum for the mayoral and City Commission candidates. We have transcribed that forum, and I have published the first part of it in this week’s Indy.

Also, in cooperation with NewsChannel10, we get Marissa Bagg’s insight and feelings on covering an execution by lethal injection.

We hope Marissa’s observations about witnessing such an event will help our readers get a feel for what it was like to be there. And, perhaps it will stimulate some discussion about the death penalty.

Due to some personnel changes, it is possible that activating this week’s Web site might be a little bit slow. Please be patient.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So what became of rebels / Who sang for you and me? / Grapplin' with their demons / In the seach for liberty

This race pits two fine men vying for the seat being vacated by Debra McCartt.

Jim Simms, however, deserves the nod over Prenis Williams, the other leading contender.
Amarillo Globe-News, April 17, 2005

[D]on't be surprised if the upcoming May elections prove a point... There is at least one minority candidate. . . [whose] qualifications are impressive... no matter whether an at-large or single-member district setup is used. A [Prenis] Williams win this time wouldn't be a shocker.

Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe-News, February 22, 2007

[T]he legal battle over single-member districts and at-large districts in Amarillo's election system has been put on hold... There are at least two minority candidates... - Prenis Williams in Place 2 and Daniel Martinez in Place 3... If one or both candidates win or even make it a close race, which wouldn't be a shocker, that sort of refutes the basis for the single-member argument...
Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe-News, April 26, 2007

2010: The next odyssey: It seems the legal odyssey that is the dispute between single-member districts and at-large districts in Amarillo's election system will wait until the 2010 Census...
Amarillo Globe-News, April 30, 2007

The current at-large system works well for the city.
Amarillo Globe-News, May 1, 2007

Eades' primary opponent is civic activist Prenis Williams, who serves on the Amarillo College Board of Regents. Williams is an admirable man who should stay active in our city's affairs.

But for this contest at this time, Brian Eades is the better fit.

Amarillo Globe-News, April 29, 2007

I hate to agree with Dave Henry about anything at all, but the damned weasel's right about one thing: this May election will prove a point about single-member districts.

The point, however, will be just how badly such a system is needed to enfranchise southeast and north Amarillo, and that point was painfully clear as the candidates struggled tonight to stay awake through a League of United Latin American Citizens forum in the basement of Our Lady of Guadalupe School. This election, like the last one, is largely about single-member districts-- to everyone but the establishment, who wish the issue would just go away.

The problem is this: those who were leading the fight are playing into the hands of that establishment. They're helping to make the issue go away. According to interviews and the press release below, J.E. Sauseda and Friends are, variously, dropping the lawsuit, putting the lawsuit on a back burner, and/or waiting until after the election. Even in the seemingly unlikely event that they still want single-member districts, they've done a great job of making those still advocating for the issue look silly and irrelevant.

Not that it's easy to divine what J.E. Sauseda and Friends want at this point. I've tried asking directly. At the PRDC forum last week, Daniel Martinez equivocated as masterly as the gravedigger in Hamlet. Before tonight's forum, when I began posing questions to Mr. Sauseda, he suddenly needed to talk to the Father.

I'm not going to speculate on how badly Mr. Sauseda may need to speak to a priest. I do know that Pride and Greed are endemic to politics-- and are two of the deadliest of sins.

Persistent rumors-- rumors that began circulating long before any motions were made to drop the suit-- maintain that a devil's bargain was struck. In exchange for the dropped suit, the rumors run, Paul Harpole and Robert "Batcrap Crazy" Keys would step down from places 2 and 3. Prenis Williams and Daniel Martinez would run for those slots. When they won, the city would be divided and they would be allowed to rule as viceroys of the southeastern and northern provinces.

It probably would've sounded good to Prenis Williams and Daniel Martinez, who would be assured an easy race to win a position both have coveted. It would've sounded good to Sauseda, who would get out of a difficult fight he wasn't assured of winning and which he wasn't being paid for. And, in place of fighting Power, he would have access to Power.

Once the deal was struck they would have waited until the most advantageous time for their candidates and then announced that they were dropping the suit.

It's not what I'd like to believe, but it's the simplest explanation, the one that makes the most sense, the one that Occam's Razor instructs us to believe.

But what if yet another Old White Amarillo Male ran for one of those seats and a boyish Ob-Gyn ran for the other? And what if J.E. Sauseda and Friends opened their Sunday papers to read that those candidates were supported by a smattering of the old guard-- Wares and Bivinses and Hodger the Dodger, oh, my! And even the mayor's brother.

At worst, it would have felt like a betrayal. And when they turned to see the newspaper's endorsement of the Old White Amarillo Male and the boyish Ob-Gyn, the most positive emotion they could summoned would surely have been sinking fear.

What would they have done, in that event?

Easy: they would have Hedged their Bets. They would have drafted a press release that "clarified" their position, while backing ever-so-slightly away from dropping the suit. They would have made it clear-- not to the people of Amarillo, that's where the Globe-News misparses the words, but to the current Commission-- that the dropped suit was contingent on the victories of certain candidates.

It didn't matter that the air was so close in the basement of the Our Lady of Guadalupe School. No one will be breathing until May 12.


Press Release from Plaintiffs in Single Member District Litigation

Here is the press release alluded to in today's Amarillo Globe-Republican opinion piece
"At-large system works for city" (though, interestingly, not reported on by the paper). Since the way in which the Globe-Republican read the release is only one of several ways it can be read-- and since this issue is too important to rely on the reading comprehension skills of Dave Henry and John Kanelis-- we'll post it here and let you deconstruct it yourself. For now.

April 23, 2007

Press Release

The Plaintiffs in the federal litigation pending against the City of Amarillo, are very pleased with the slate of candidates seeking election to the city commission on May 12th. Our minority communities need leaders to fight for their interests.

We do not wish for the ongoing federal lawsuit to become a distraction to the excellent leadership this community would certainly gain from the successful election of any one of these qualified civic leaders. To the best of our information on their views, these candidates have been consistent on the need for diversity on our City’s representative body. Furthermore, our optimism is bolstered by our belief that the electorate of the City of Amarillo also desires diversity.

The decennial census is crucial in any determination of whether a district could be drawn within a four-member commission to address the constitutional concerns of voter dilution. Therefore, we will be discussing with our attorneys whether or not it makes sense to abate the pending litigation and await the results of the 2010 census, which is just around the corner.

We will be watching with keen interest the outcome of the May 12th elections. It has always been our hope and desire to work together as a community and achieve diverse representation for our City. But whatever the outcome, we will not rest until the dialogue of inclusion becomes a reality and not just an illusion.
I know how I read that, and I'll so have more on the subject later.