“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"

Saturday, December 31, 2005

peace on earth, goodwill to men

In an extraordinary act of contrition and holiday season goodwill, Virgil Van KKKamp's column of Friday the 30th says Islam is

the greatest[!]

Okay, actually he says the religion is
the greatest threat to civilization and our way of life since Hitler, Mao and Stalin
but, hey, it's a start, right? Virgil also brags that his church had two services on Christmas Day. Virgil and I actually go to the same church, but we won't the day Virgil's hate becomes church doctrine. And not to nitpick, but our church only had one service on Christmas Day, so I'm guessing that Virgil was the same place I was on Christmas morning: home with family. Which is just one of many reasons I didn't join the throngs harassing churches for cancelling Christmas morning services. In a word, hypocrisy. Not theirs; mine.

A little below Virgil's letter, Lance McCown seems to suggest that "Islamoloonies" be hanged.

Glad to see things are back to normal after the holiday season. Nothing left but to name Virgil & Lance Amarillo Globe-Republican Man and Other Man of the Year and call 2005 a wrap.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

some day we'll live in kansas / men will walk in dover / but we will still be monkeys / down deep inside

I try to blog on widely-discussed issues only when I have something specific of my own to add, and in this case I do:

Take that, Jay Richards!


spacedark finally gets it

The SO and I have been obsessing on The Emperor W's brilliant three-point plan for Iraq. If you missed the speech, the plan went something like this:

  1. Go on the offensive in Iraq.
  2. Establish Democracy in Iraq.
  3. Rebuild Iraq.
Dare I call it genius? Man, when I heard that speech I just hung my head in shame. To think of all the time I've wasted naysaying and being one of the nattering nabobs of negativism. While I was "protesting" and "blogging," The Emperor was calmly solving the problems. It just goes to show you why he was elected. I mean, Kerry's plan was what, ninety-eight points?

Go on the offensive, establish democracy, rebuild. Such elegant simplicity. [shakes head] Why didn't we think of this?


Victory - Again!

The ghostwriters at the Amarillo Globe-Republican have once again claimed Victory for the U.S. in this morning's paper, and I quote: "Victory comes in the form of more than 10 million Iraqis who voted Thursday for 275 members of the country's new national assembly." There you have it - Victory! - let's see - how many victories is that? The aircraft carrier speech; the January 2005 elections; capturing Saddam (by the way, I saw on a blog that it has been 1,550 days since the prez said we'd get Osama "dead or alive," just as an aside!), voting for the constitution; well, you get the idea.

We keep getting the "victories" that the preznit and his mouthpieces keep saying would signal - victory? - so we can begin bringing our troops home. Well, it certainly is a moving target, isn't it! Thanks Globe-Republican for another Victory!

The Liberalator

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Real Men Love Real Men

Leave it to a right-wing radio preacher to come up with one of the gayest things ever: Mr. Hetero

U.S. Corporations: Bah, humbug!

Merry Christmas.

If corporations were really people, we'd never invite them to our holiday parties.


sexual abuse of the mentally handicapped? bring it on, sez Alito

I've told y'all before that I have a relative with a learning disability who has had a hard time finding and keeping work, despite the fact that she is very willing to work. It's so important our family that be able to work that I've even been willing to give Wal-Mart a conditional, half-hearted pass because a local store has employed her and treats her well, so far.

You'll also notice that I haven't written anything about Judge Alito. I've been sure that he was quite dreadful, but hadn't seen anything to convince me that he was any worse than anyone else the Bush administration would create in their dark labs from the collected body parts of the dead.

So I've remained an Alito agnostic. Until now.


Monday, December 12, 2005

this provincial life redux

Remember 4 November 2005, when the Globe-Republican sang the praises of Don Powell who had just been tapped to run the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort?

Word is he isn't doing such a good job.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Support The Troops

Hey righties. . .

Is transporting our fallen soldiers as regular freight without an honor guard or flag drapped coffin OK with you?

I look forward to your criticism of the Bush admin. on the editorial pages of the Republican-News!

-Prodigal Son

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Give A Listen

There is an interesting phenomenon going on in the Panhandle - a fair and balanced talk show right here in Amarillo!

Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. on 710 AM - KGNC Radio - the John Terry Show is on, and I'm daily amazed that the powers that be have kept him on. He is well read, obviously explores many sources beyond the Amarillo Globe Republican for information and listens to more than FOX and Rush Limbrain (even though his station requires a promo for Rush periodically).

He doesn't hesitate to constantly stir the pot on the Republican debacle going on (and rightly gets after errant Democrats as well!). It's fun to hear the few conservative callers trying to defend the indefensible - in that this is blood red country he doesn't get many right wing call-ins. And - he puts the lefties on the air also - imagine that!

What is really good though, is the fact that Mr. Terry is unfailingly polite to all callers (except the most outrageous), and treats all discourse with respect. What a pleasure to listen to a real fair and balanced talk show!

Give him a listen.

The Liberalator

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ghost's editorial just part of Republican mess

The Amarillo Globe-Republican Ghostly VoiceTM offered up a huge load of contrition to the newspaper's readers just before loosing Virgil Van Camp and the dogs of hellish racism.

The former Republican specter quit being such a jerk Monday after pleading guilty to several counts of conspiracy to commit perjury, mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud by newspaper subscription, and truth evasion.

He had to go. And now he has to face the consequences, which could include a 10-year reassignment as admin of TalkAmarillo.

But the Opinion page he leaves behind has some serious work to do, namely in repairing its image.

Most outrageous of all is that Republicans, who won control of the Amarillo newspaper on a program of staff “housecleaning,” now seem to be at least as guilty of sleazy conduct as the Amarillo National Bank and Mesa Petroleum employees who used to run the place.

Republicans took command of the Amarillo Globe-News with a noble goal: to rid the place of any semblance of journalistic integrity. They vowed to set higher ethnical standards and to make government that instills pride in white folks instead of making them laugh at Dave Chappelle’s jokes.

It hasn't turned out that way.

The Republicans who now control the Amarillo media have some serious housecleaning to do.

If they don't, then the citizens of this city just might decide to do the job themselves.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

speaking of hypocrisy . . .

Holy crap. Didn't Republicans throw a wild-eyed fit over Clinton's travel expenses? (Lockhart's comment in the last line has aged as well as good wine.)


don’t move here (unless you really wanna live here)

I’ve had a bit of fun at the expense of TalkAmarillo, the bulletin board run by the Amarillo Globe-Republican and recently publicized on the front page of that newspaper. I call TA “Freeperville West” because its Talksters have a misbegotten tendency to post violent rants similar to those posted by the “Freepers” on Free Republic, the infamous right-wing hate site. And although this particular practice seems to have abated some in recent months, I know from personal experience that liberal posters have been banned repeatedly from TA for no crime other than that of expressing liberal opinions. This has happened to me more than once; it has happened to my friends.

Recently, I quoted a post by someone epically misnamed “GroovyOne” who called for massive amounts of gun violence against the peace-loving citizens of San Francisco. GroovyOne also threatened to shoot police officers of the city by the bay. The post was quickly removed from TalkAmarillo after I quoted it here. But the damage was done. The administrator of TA had already left GroovyOne’s post up long enough for the comment to acquire a fairly long thread. And many—if not most—of the commenters sang along with GroovyOne’s violent siren song.

Meanwhile, Curious Texan, a self-styled conservative gadfly who frequents these here parts, has had quite a bit of fun at the expense of Panhandle Truth Squad. Recently, he pointed to a book about liberal hypocrisy called Do As I Say. If you can judge a book by its cover, this one—with Usual Suspects Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand, and Hillary plastered across the cover—has all the credibility of Fox News.

But CT’s point is valid: liberals are imperfect, and, at this Strange juncture, appear to be becoming even more so. Even as the practice of banning liberals wanes in isolated sectors of the conservative blogosphere, the largest liberal blog has become infested with thought police. Lately, questioning comments or divergences from party line on the Daily Kos are sure to be rewarded with at least a few “troll” ratings. On another leftish site, a call for (Republican talking-points disseminator) Michelle Malkin to be “gang-raped by the entire left” was quickly removed.

It wasn’t always thus. It is a secret point of pride for me that even Curious Texan has admitted that he was attracted to the Panhandle Truth Squad because of the “level of the discourse”. Such discourse has ever been one of the pleasures of being on the liberal side of the blogosphere. Free Republic can’t begin to compete with the discussions on Kos even today, and a couple of years ago the difference was even more pronounced. Liberal bloggers actually attempted to spell correctly! They thought about what they were typing! And—most importantly—they corrected each other and themselves when they were wrong!

So why are liberal sites suddenly plagued with troglodytes, bad-spellers, rude jerks, dull-normal poseurs and violent haters? Here’s my theory: it’s gotten easier to be a liberal. It used to be hard work. In a weird parody of the standard right-wing line about gay people, DNA didn’t make you a liberal. It was a choice made because you had thought about the issues. And it wasn’t a choice made lightly. In the sharp relief of the world immediately post-9/11, openly admitting to being a liberal was like wearing a turban in an airport. In the early naughties, only True Believers would put up with the abuse. Idiots didn’t care enough. Poseurs didn’t see the point. The rude jerks and the violent haters were too busy abusing the French.

But now as we hurtle toward 2006, the zeitgeist is moving in a different direction. Bush’s popularity has plummeted. People—even congresspeople—openly talk of withdrawing from Iraq. Now, it’s safe for dumbasses and assholes to be liberals, too. And just as the Daily Kos has learned the price of having tens of thousands of subscribers instead of hundreds, so liberals are beginning to learn how much all this new blood will cost us.

So: Happy Holidays. Give thanks for all the steps toward victory we've taken, oh my yes, give thanks. But also remember fondly the more Darwinian times of the recent past, when only the best and brightest of progressives survived. And try to imagine a future where we bring the idiots up to our level instead of so rapidly sinking to theirs.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

yesterday / all our troubles seemed so far away

Via Demophoenix, this tidbit from a Center for American Progress summary of the Cunningham affair:

One would think the resignation of a powerful member of Congress who serves on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Intelligence Committee would be big news, but not according to the producers at Fox News and MSNBC. According to analysis from Media Matters, Fox News devoted only three minutes to the story yesterday, MSNBC spent only four minutes on it, while CNN covered the resignation for seventeen minutes.
Y'know, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there was an incident referred to as ABSCAM. I don't remember much about it because I was just a kid at the time, far more concerned (obviously) with Star Wars than with FBI agents disguised as sheiks.

But that's kind of the point. I don't remember much, but I remember something. So ABSCAM must have been all over the news to have made an impression on a disinterested 12-year-old.


what would freud say?

Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner says that the Emperor W has crossed some names off his list. Kuhner's claims are interesting in a couple of ways. Regarding the eternal question "Is the Emperor Evil or Stupid?," Kuhner's story suggests "stupid" since he makes the dubious claim that W had believed Rove's claim that he played no part in leaking Valerie Plame's identity. And Kuhner claims that the Emperor now "maintains daily contact with only four people." The list is fascinating:

1. His wife
2. His mother
3. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
4. Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes.
Underestimate the role of Freudian psychology on the millennial Presidency at your own peril! Clinton famously learned that a cigar was never just a cigar. And now this.


fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la

Holiday greetings from the folks at Freeperville West:

I'd be more than happy to break the toe of my Christmas cowboy boot off in a gay liberal queer's butt.

A good butt-kicking appears to be just what all the Gay Anti-American Anti-Christian Queer Liberals need.

If you beat the crap out of an Anti-Christian liberal's clothes, there probably wouldn't be anything left, but the queer's clothes in a dirty pile on the ground.

Believe me....if the Christmas Tree had something to do with stupid Islam, all the GAY LIBERALS would just love it.

I do realize that my constant nagging of these lost souls may seem like flogging a tube of Elmer's glue. I understand that I'm fighting the losing battle fought by all angels who hover over shoulders. I also know that somehave protested that the Talksters aren't representative of all conservatives. This I believe to be true, but there are unfortunate numbers of haters.

STRAWMAN: Hey! You're no angel! And there are haters on both sides of the aisle!
Thanks, Straw. You helped Curious Texan and Bodacious stave off the ole carpel tunnel. Of course, we're not here to damn the haters of the left but those of the right (though I do have some thoughts on that issue, which I will hopefully post tonight.) Not only that, but the local paper has now explicitly endorsed the ugliness of its bulletin board through the new feature "What You're Saying". By elevating the denizens of Freeperville West into print, the Globe-Republican takes ownership not of their opinions but of their language and their methods. So I think it's fair to hold them accountable.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Over the river dry creek bed and through the woods prarie...

Roasted or deep fried?

Home made or store bought?

Ham, too?

Whatever...it's all good.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Ghostly Voice speaks, through its blistered, chapped lips

A gift idea for the Ghostly Voice

I was about to give the Ghostly Voice of the Globe-Republican some props for doling out rare criticism of a Republican today. The Ghost takes Rep. Jean Schmidt to task for calling Rep. Jack Murtha a coward, but then does an about-face and uses the rest of the column to so thoroughly kiss Rep. Mac Thornberry's ass that the Ghost's lips were surely left cracked and dry.

The Ghost chides Schmidt for her ill-conceived remarks, yet praises Thornberry for his comments, which are equally baseless and inflammatory. Thornberry states that Murtha's words "encourages the bad guys and discourages our side" and "are dangerous to the cause of freedom in the Middle East." Thornberry argues that withdrawing from Iraq "dishonors" the memories of fallen troops. Were our dead dishonored when we withdrew from Vietnam? Or from Mogadishu? "We must honor the sacrifice with more sacrifice" seems to be the message.

Look, if someone invaded our country, even under the pretense of liberating us from Dear Leader, we would resist. We'd hide IED along roads, take pot shots from rooftops and any Americans who collaborated with the enemy would be fair game. How would you feel if your spouse or child was killed by the invaders, regardless of the invaders' intentions? Put yourself in that scenario and you'll see we why shouldn't try to wait this out. The people our troops are fighting are also the same people we supposedly care enough about to liberate. The Iraqis don't want us there. Not only do they want us out, they have also stated "resisting" our forces is acceptable.

The war is becoming increasingly unpopular. More and more people are starting to ask the tough questions about why we are really there. It doesn't dishonor our military to ask these questions, nor does it put them in harm's way. We owe it to the troops to have an honest public debate, but for Thornberry and the Ghostly Voice, nothing but blind, unwavering support for Dear Leader is acceptable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

rock and a hard place. scylla and charybdis. devil and the deep blue sea.

This morning, the Amarillo Globe-Republican asks of an incident that took place at the Taco Bell near Tascosa:

Do you believe the teens or the police?
I'm thinking, I'm thinking.


Friday, November 18, 2005

who said it?

As for Africa, nothing there will work. Democracy is not the answer. They are incapable of self-government. The only pragmatic solution might be the installation of a benevolent dictator.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

AGR + GWB = ♥4E

non-conspiracy theory

This morning the wise words of the Ghostly VoiceTM of the Amarillo Globe-Republican appeared online beside what initially appeared to be a giant eye in a pyramid! I smiled with liberal intellectual self-satisfaction at the realization that the Editors were finally implicitly admitting that their rantings were as reality-based as the space aliens and Bigfeet of the Weekly World News.

Unfortunately, I quickly realized that the Giant Flashing Eye was merely an ad for The Laser Center for Vision. There was nothing new. It was not Truth that I had found on the Opinion page, but Capitalism.

Still, the effect remained. The words of the VoiceTM were certainly no less-- I'm looking for a word here1-- than the tabloid reality of the Weekly World News. The Ghost claimed that there is

no proof [that] Bush lied about Iraq, WMD.
Okay, that's technically true, and I'll buy it in the same way that I bought the following, many years ago:
[inhaling noise from direction of college roommate]
Roommate: Dude, what if we're all imagining all of this, man? What if, like, this whole freaking world is like a dream in the head of some supernatural being, man? What if we're all just laboratory rats in some alien civilization's maze? How do you know you really even exist, man? Dude, you just freaked me out. I mean, I freaked me out. You don't even exist.
[gales of giggles]
See, conspiracy theories have gotten a bad name from association with all the wackos that make them into a religion. If you study history, conspiracies have been the modus operandi for civilizations, governments, and wanna-be governments from Brutus to Boris and beyond. So this belief that somehow conspiracies don't exist in this relatively small place and time is truly wacky. And usually self-serving on the part of the people who perpetuate the notion.

The Ghost maintains that the president made a mistake-- certainly a big step for a Ghost who has previously elevated W to near-godhood. But it takes a quite a leap to believe that all the vast technological and human intelligence resources of the world's only superpower simply mistakenly created something that wasn't there. Not missed seeing something. Created something. Out of the blue. Totally by accident.

No, it's much easier to believe that we're not all that exceptional, that our leaders lie to get what they want and then lie when they get caught. The elephant is standing in the living room with a bright pink bow and the face of Nixon, and the Ghost still refuses to see it. It's the Ghost's non-conspiracy theory, and it's about as fuzzy as the face on Mars.


The word means "totally made the hell up". You'll have to forgive my inarticulateness. I'm at home battling a stomach virus.

Monday, November 14, 2005

if you're going to A-MAH-RILLO (be sure to wave your handgun in the air)

Checking in on Freeperville West, spelling and grammar intact:

Topic: Please Let The Crime Rate GO UP In San Fransisco!!


Gay City Bans Handguns

Another One.....

Oh how I hope this backfires on the 57.9% of Liberal Loser Voters who voted for this ban.

Tell you what, if I lived in San Fran (Yeah, right..........) and some Liberal Government official told me to turn in, or came to my house to confiscate my handguns, I'd make NATIONAL news.


quote:"Several San Francisco Officials Gunned Down By Former Texan"

Yep, come to my house and try to strip me of my constitutional rights and we'll have a little party.
Wow. Hate speech, brought to you by the Amarillo Globe-Republican.


Friday, November 11, 2005

PTS Guest Blogger: Pat Robertson

Dover Sleeps With the Fishes
by Pat Robertson

I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city, and don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there.1

Oh, yeah, and them are some real nice houses ya got there, Dover. I'd hate to see them all burned to the ground. I'm not saying it will happen or nuthin. I'd hate to see it happen if it did, though. Because God won't be there to protect ya. Ya know what I'm sayin'?

And, say Dover, them are some real cute kids ya got there. It would be a darn shame if somebody, oh, I don't know, ran them over on the way to school some day. I'm not saying it will happen. Just that it would just be a shame if it did. God won't be there to watch over the kiddies. Ya gettin' me Dover?

So you be careful out there, Dover. The world's a dangerous place. I'd hate for something bad to happen to ya now that God ain't around no more. Capeesh? See ya 'round, Dover...

1This is an actual quote from Robertson. The rest of the post is satirical b.s. I shouldn't have to point that out, but you never know what some idiot might be thinking...

Dear . . .

. . . Rev Stan Coffey,

When someone tries to defend the homosexual agenda, like civil rights and other sissy Democrap stuff, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states that faggotry is an abomination. End of debate for those slack-jaw, gold lamee' shorts wearin', commie pinkos!

But since you are a holy man, I do need some advice from you regarding some of the other specific biblical laws and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. Taking into account 2000 years of inflation, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking women at work, but most take offence.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Should I kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play touch football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

Lovingly heterosexually yours in Jesus,
Prodigal Son

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What's Good for the Goose...

The IRS is threatening to revoke the tax-exempt status of a liberal church because the minister gave an anti-war sermon in 2004.

I'm sure they'll be investigating San Jacinto Baptist Church after Rev. Stan Coffey used the pulpit to influence people's votes on Proposition 2.

Yeah, yeah, I know, IOKIYAR.

vote early, vote often

As a former resident of University Park and a person who had to stand in a long line myself, I found this interesting. At this point, I can only find this guy's word for what happened. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone has seen any accounts of similar experiences, in the Park Cities or elsewhere.


1I was a student on scholarship; otherwise I had no business living there.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Aggier than the Aggies, more Baptist than Baylor, West Texas A&M University in Canyon acts as the intellectual underbelly for the upper Panhandle’s conservative culture. But The- Hallway- Formerly- Known- as- the- T.- Boone- Pickens- School- of- Business and other equally seedy and equally regressive corners of the school have had limited success in fomenting the loony rightist ideas bubbling up from the students and faculty. One factor has been the perennial inability of incoming 1st-year students to read or write a complete sentence.

So last year WTAMU instituted a readership program that requires all 1st-year students to read a core book before they come in off the ranch. (In a related program, they’re required to kick the manure off their boots before they come inside Old Main, but that program has had much less success.)

As a current graduate student at WT, I received an e-mail requesting that I vote for next year’s core book. The choices include Rick Bragg ‘s All over but the Shoutin' and Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man, among others.

There are several worthy books on the list, but I’m going to vote for Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. When I was an incoming 1st-year student at SMU I participated in a similar program which greatly broadened my horizons. Hopefully students who read Nickel and Dimed will kick some of the provincial mythology they have been sold about Hard Work and Making It in America off their boots before they enter college. And, hopefully, at least some of them will be motivated to work to find lives—for themselves and for us all—outside of the exploitative hypercapitalistic machine that threatens to plow all of us under.


Texas Hates Fags

A rather stubborn case of strep throat is holding back sleep, so here I sit doing some middle of the night blogging. I looked up the results of today's voting and I'm shocked. I was certain Proposition 2 would pass, but the margin by which it did is appalling. Almost 9 to 1 here in Randall county. I thought there would be more opposition to it out of simple human decency if nothing else. Nope. Texas hates fags. Amarillo hates fags. The hatred is masked with cherry-picked Bible verses and flowery statements about protecting marriage, but make no mistake about it, Prop. 2 was nothing more than fag bashing.

Prop. 2 was both meaningless and profound. On one hand, gay marriage was already illegal. Making it really, really illegal doesn't change much. On the other hand, Texans have turned to a small group of their fellow citizens and stated, "You are a lesser person." Our gay and lesbian friends lost this one. We lost. But the defeat is not total. An anti-gay initiative in Maine failed. There are places in this country where you can be treated with a modicum of respect, if it means enough to you. Of course, just picking up and leaving isn't that easy. Not when your job is here. Your family. Your roots.

The wedge issue is off the table now, although another will undoubtedly take it's place. In the mean time dysfunctional families will persist. Marriages will still fail.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

freedom's just another word

I was not born in Texas, and, God willing, I will not die here. But tonight I have to say that I am ashamed to have ever lived here.

I mean that in a couple of different ways. Some PTSers know that I recently became engaged to a beautiful woman. Because of the specific combinations of bodily organs involved, my marriage will presumably be allowed by the state of Texas. While many of my friends will remain unable to ever marry their soul mates.

I have to say, I'm suffering from a little survivor's guilt here. I'm ashamed to be allowed to go on living my life while friends are denied that right.

Why? Why, in this proudly huge state, under this massive sky, in these ginormous sprawling cities, on those endless roads, why does it matter whom people love? Why?


unfair & pointless ultimatum

I just spent 45 minutes in line to vote. If it's at least close, I'll apologize for all the snotty things I've said about the mean rednecks that live here. But if Prop 2 passes by a huge margin, the fact that so many turned out and stood in such long lines just for an opportunity to bash fags will pretty much prove that my harshest condemnations were too nice by half.


I’m not a part of a redneck agenda

It’s 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. I took personal leave from work this afternoon to take care of some business. In about two hours, I will have a conference with my son’s math teacher, and then we will go to vote against the nightmare travesty that is Proposition 2.

We will go to vote. Call my son Sancho Panza. I’ll drag him along, I’ll make him watch me tilt at this particular windmill in this last and most desperate civil rights battle. He should see what it looks like to do the right thing, to back up your friends and support the legions of Americans who have become the last untouchables, through no fault of their own and by no choice that they made.

There’s a Straw Man in the corner. He’s wearing a red and blue Lacoste and that self-righteous Regressive sneer. Oh, he sneers, you’re going to take your twelve-year-old son to the polls? Are you going to discuss the issue with him? Will you address his concerns? Will you be a sensitive, enlightened parent? And he laughs that Regressive laugh.

Yeah, I say, and we’re gonna crank Green Day’s American Idiot all the way there. The Straw Man gasps.

He carries a still of Wally and the Beav in his wallet, and he thinks kids should be sheltered from realities like gay people, and bad words on a Parental-Advisory-stamped CD, and especially gay people. But that train left the station a long time ago; it’s simply impossible to shelter kids in this world. I once knew some parents who tried. Their adult children were without exception the most difficult, self-absorbed, judgmental, medicated, disappointed, trendy-disorder-diagnosed and addicted people I knew.

My son and I listen to American Idiot together because we like the music, but also because the CD gives me a forum to discuss my values with my son. Green Day portrays the new “subliminal mind fuck America,” filled with the “sound(s) of hysteria,” paranoia, and propaganda; a “city of the damned,” with a “hurricane of lies”; where the “representative of California” shouts “zieg heil,” demands that the “Eiffel Towers” be “pulverize[d],” and wants to “kill all the fags who don’t agree.” Inappropriate for a twelve-year-old? Whatever, Strawman. You created this world, you and your hysterical, paranoid, propagandizing kind. You’re the ones who put people’s sex lives on the ballot, and you expect me to shut up and not explain to my kid why that’s wrong?

That’s right. I’d be more than happy to keep all this stuff private and let my son go back to his skateboarding, his guitar, his homework, and his cartoons. Prodigal Son and I have been friends for almost three decades and I can’t remember ever discussing our sex lives. You think I want other friends’ sex lives plastered across a polling place just because they have the DNA that causes them to be attracted to people of the same gender? You think I want to discuss this issue with them, or with you, or with my son, or anyone? I don’t. Some things are between my fiancée and me; some things are between Prodigal and Mrs. Prodigal; some things are between Strawman and the Significant Other Straw; and some things are between the people you snicker and point at and call “Adam and Steve.”

You know what? I want you to leave my friends alone. You think they’re perverse? Who’s sniffing his Straw nose around their bedrooms demanding to know what they’re doing in there?

Green Day envisions a future where we who are now “outlaws . . . beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies,” when “this is the dawning of the rest of our lives.” Those are the values I want to pass on. Billie Joe Armstrong sings that he doesn’t want to be an “American idiot.” Neither do I, and neither should my son. So, until you chill out, we’ll be standing as far from you as possible.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

If only I could write

I read this on the Harvey Kronberg's The Quorum Report yesterday, and chuckled all day. If only I were clever enough to write like this (dealing with DeLay and the corporations in the stew with him):

"If you were listening closely at the moment Tom Delay was indicted by two Travis Grand Jury panels you’d have heard a collective squeaking sound as the sphincters of corporate powerhouses all over Texas gained uncomfortable purchase on their leather executive chairs. While that moment may in no way diminish the importance of cash in Texas politics, it sure as hell will make matters of campaign finance more uncomfortable, complex and fraught with pitfalls for major corporate players in Texas politics."


The Liberalator

Friday, November 04, 2005

what else should I write? / I don't have the right / what else should I be? / all apologies

You know, we at the Panhandle Truth Squad give the Amarillo Globe-Republican a pass on a lots of stuff. We understand that the newspaper's staff may not be perfect, but, like the Emperor W, they have a difficult job. It's hard work. And so we overlook many transgressions. Because, you know, they are trying.

But yesterday's headline over the Letters section can't be overlooked. An individual named Irma Heras wrote a letter criticizing the tactics of the Westboro “Baptist Church”, an organization that is protesting homosexuality at soldier’s funerals. I don’t know why “Reverend” Fred Phelps’ organization is protesting at soldiers’ funerals. I understand neither their motives nor their message.

But I do know this: They were protesting homosexuality. They were not protesting the war.

And yet the AG-R headline read 'War protesters' disrespect the people who died for them’.

This headline was misleading. And I have to believe it was deliberately misleading since a letter by Reverend Charles Kiker directly below Ms. Heras’ clarified the distinction:

[I]t is erroneous to call these picketers "anti-war protesters." Westboro Baptist is a virulently anti-homosexual group looking for any opportunity to vent their hatred. On their Web site, they praise God for the 2,010 (at their last count) soldiers killed.

I know of no anti-war group that would do that. We support the troops. We want to bring them home - alive.

The association of Westboro “Baptist Church” with anti-war people is a deliberate muddying of the issues. Regressives don’t like it when we point out that the Ku Klux Klan agitates in favor of pet regressive causes like Proposition 2—but that connection is far more clear. Fred Phelps’ hate group and progressive anti-war organizations differ completely in motives, goals, means, and tactics. I know that staff members of the Amarillo Globe-Republican read this blog, so let me just address them directly: You guys apologize about as often as George W. Bush. But you really owe one for deliberately misleading your readers yesterday.


there must be more than this provincial life

When I won the Good Citizen award in fifth grade, my grandmother wrote a notice and sent it in to the Caldwell Kansas Messenger. Similarly, the Amarillo Globe-Republican has sung the praises of Don Powell ever since the Emperor W tapped him for FDIC Chair. They’re so proud of their hometown boys! The AG-R praise of Powell and Swedish ambassador Teel Bivins has been so over-the-top that you’d think they got their jobs on merit.

Of course, both men are Bush “Pioneers”, meaning that they raised at least $100,000 for the Emperor during the Presidential campaigns. While Bush was governor, Powell also served as head of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service external advisory board. The Bush school has been notorious for mafia-style loyalty demands of its faculty and researchers (“School for Scandal”). So Powell has been a loyal Bush family soldier for a while.

And we all know how this works. But yesterday’s hagiography was a bit much. The Ghostly VoiceTM claims that Powell will be a “calm, steady and responsible hand” at his new job overseeing the federal government's disaster recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast. The headline reads Bush cronies not all phonies”. Not everyone agrees. Some legislators have pointed out that Powell has less experience in disaster recovery than anyone since, oh, Michael Brown. And you know, given the AG-R’s puppy-like worship of both Bush and Powell, the Ghost itself might be accused of cronyism.

It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle white.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

the last, most difficult, battle

As expected, the State Rednecks from this area were all aglow and all atwitter over Proposition 2 on Tuesday night at West Texas A&M University. State Redneck Warren Chisum, who wrote the nightmarish mishmash of hatred and opaque prose, bubbled over with enthusiasm for the manner in which the amendment would constitutionally enshrine the bigotry already extant under state law. Meanwhile, State Redneck David Swin(e)ford giggled and swooned and said, “I’d say ‘I do’ to Proposition 2.”

Heh. Narrow-minded and short-sighted and bone-crushingly stupid, but not surprising. Mayor Debra McCartt’s reaction was more disappointing, however.

An audience member asked Mayor McCartt for her opinion, and she stated:
"I have been sitting here listening and learning about this. I really didn't know a lot about this before. I am going to pass on telling you. This is something I'm going to vote on just myself."
Not only is that answer a transparent lie—“didn't know a lot about this before”—it is also backstabbing. McCartt has received quite a bit of support from the gay community in Amarillo. During the city elections, she sat down for an interview with the local GLBT newsletter, and she received some fundraising help from prominent members of the community. It’s disappointing that she can’t return their support. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Debra pulled the “no” lever when she votes on Proposition 2 “just [her]self.” But that’s not enough. As a public leader, she should use her bully pulpit.

The silences of McCartt and outgoing WTAMU President Russell Long are perfect examples of why this is the last and most difficult civil rights battle. The only possible explanation for the sudden muteness of the two local leaders is that they both know in their hearts that Proposition 2 is wrong. If they know it is wrong, but support it anyway, it’s easy to see why words would catch in their throats. But I want to believe that both mayor and university president are against this outrageous amendment. If so, they’re simply too weak-willed to publicly stand up against the legions of Panhandlians who privilege the inscrutable words of a several-thousand-year-old book above their own friends and neighbors.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

no two ways about it

In the thread below, Curious Texan, for perhaps the 10-brazillionth time in human intellectual history, argues from Pascal’s Wager. The Wager is the thinking man’s version of the conundrum posed by the dudes who periodically bang on my door, Jack Chick pamphlets in hand, and demand to know: If you died today would you go to Heaven or Hell?

There are many problems with Pascal’s Wager, but the most obvious and most comprehensive is this: it’s a false dichotomy. In an infinite universe, there are many, many more possibilities than the two presented by this viewpoint. You could choose to believe in a Christian God only to find out that the Almighty was named Allah. You could worship Vishnu and wind up facing the Great Green Arkleseizure. In our multicultural world, Pascal’s Wager sends you down the rabbit hole fairly quickly.

Another false dichotomy holds that science and religion stand in opposition. They do not. I am by no means anti- or even a-religious; but I also cannot accept a worldview that ultimately asks me to believe that dinosaurs rode on a wooden boat during a worldwide deluge and wore saddles.

Now, I'd like to believe that CT is rational enough not to believe in saurian rodeos, and-- at the risk of being presumptious-- I'll guess that he's going to tell me that Intelligent Design adherents aren't that sort of Creationists but, so long as we're "divid[ing ] the world into two groups," that's the argument we're stuck with.

Not that there shouldn't be a division of labor. Both science and religion have something to offer a well-balanced person, and the key is in the balance. At the height of early-twentieth-century scientific hubris, a physician attempted to determine the weight of the soul by weighing patients just before and just after death. This attempt to make religion into science seems silly to us in the harsh light of the twenty-first century, but ID attempts to make science into religion are equally silly. Rest assured, the human soul will ever be the domain of metaphysics and religion and the human body will ever fall under biology. Attempts to mix the two-- by Dr. MacDougall, by Christian Scientists, by millennialists who believe in literal resurrections of bodies at a literal End of Time-- can only end in tears.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Teaching and Preaching

The debate over including intelligent design in public school science curricula continued in today's Globe-Republican opinion pages. I've seen all manner of twisted logic used to argue against the teaching of evolution, but today's LTE from Jerry Lytle is the first I've seen to bring Hitler into the mix. Lytle claims that intelligent design should be brought into the classroom "to balance the scales" with evolution. His argument is flawed, because evolution, in and of itself, says nothing about the existence of God and as such can't truly be considered a polar opposite to I.D. In fact, whether or not a student believes God is involved in the process is already a matter of personal opinion. Bringing I.D. into the classroom would change that dramatically.

The basis behind I.D. is that life is too complex and seems to well thought-out to have simply just happened. There must be a divine, intelligence (i.e. God) behind it all. Proponents of I.D. want a teacher (or text book) explicitly telling students the driving force behind evolution is God. "Give the students all the options and let them decide for themselves.", state supporters of I.D. OK, fair enough. How about that same group of students being told explicitly by a teacher (or text book) that the origins of life are completely random and God is imaginary, and then backing up that claim with real world observation. Is that a debate I.D. supporters want playing out in public school science classroom? We're giving students ALL the options and letting them decide for themselves, after all.

I.D. in the classroom also brings up the sticky issue of how much God is too much? Where would the line be drawn between teaching and preaching? Who will make that determination, the state or the local school boards? It is a Pandora's box of issues that will very likely blow up in the faces of its supporters.

Friday, October 28, 2005

can't wait to see how the amarillo globe-republican blames this on clinton

going boldly

I learned my earliest progressive ideals as a second grader watching the self-consciously diverse crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise battle hostile aliens that would later be inevitably assimilated into the Federation's high-tech melting pot. It was an optimistic, if naïve, future. It was also, apparently, even more diverse than we could have known at the time.

I never know exactly what to say when someone comes out. “Congratulations”? “You have my support”? Over the years, many friends have gone through that strange ritual, and they all needed support and deserved congratulations for doing something that remains difficult in this culture.

But, ideally, there would be no support necessary and no congratulations because none of this would matter. The Federation, which could easily accept asexual life forms and species with far more than two genders into its big tent, wouldn’t have cared if Takei’s character, Sulu, were gay. The über-masculine James T. Kirk wouldn’t have ever considered fag-bashing in the manner of 20th-century jocks1. He would have been calculating his odds: Let’s see, Sulu’s a raging queen, and Spock only has sex once every seven years, that leaves all the sexy alien females for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

How long must we sing this song? How long must people “come out”? How long must gay people sit their families down, hearts pounding, and say what everyone has long known in their heart? How long must people join support groups and read self-help books to try to understand? How long must mothers say Just don’t tell your father? How long must siblings keep secrets? How long must we face this contrived “issue”? Until the 23rd century?

We can vote on "issues." We can disagree on "issues." Warren Chisum can write an amendment to the Texas Constitution that deals with the “issue” of gay marriage and still be an essentially decent person who just happens to disagree with the Panhandle Truth Squad.

But it’s not an issue. It’s people. People who are who they are, and Chisum and all the Texans who support Proposition 2 support laws that deny family rights to some people. If you’re straight and planning to vote for Proposition 2, take a picture of your closest gay friend2 into the voting booth with you. Personalize the issue. Can you vote to make your friend an untouchable? Can you vote to make Sulu a pariah?


1 I know what century it is. It’s just that we’re only five years into it, and I’m hoping that narrow-minded bigotry doesn’t characterize the whole century.

2 If you don’t think you know any gay people, I’m not worried about your vote. You won’t be able to make it to the polls with that blindfold on.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Never Say Die

Oops, sorry Globe-Republican. Looks like Harriet Miers won't be heading to the Supreme Court, after all. She was eaten by her own. Poor thing. She just seemed like the bestest ever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

bouncing happy faces?

Supposedly, Wal-Mart is improving its employees' health care benefits, attempting to be a "good steward" for the environment, even calling for a higher minimum wage. So what's up? Has the paradigmatic hypercorporate megachain found Jesus? Have we won one?

I have to admit to mixed feelings upon reading these reports. I hate Wal-Mart politically, philosophically, spiritually, culturally, and spatially. They could make all of these changes and more and it wouldn't change the fact that those Gawd-awful stores are a butt-ugly fluorescent blight across 98.4% of North America, and it's going to take me twice as long to creep my car down Georgia Street as soon as the latest one opens.

I avoid shopping there. Like the freaking plague.

But I also have relatives who work for the company. One has worked a number of jobs that I wouldn't touch, but he is also an essentially decent person in extremis and seems quite happy. The other Wal-employed relative is learning disabled and has had significant trouble finding work. The local Wal-Mart actually pays and (so far) treats her better than any other job has.

So far. Ah, there's the rub. Right now, in the microcosm of my family life and the macrocosm of national and global corporate politics, Wal-Mart seems to be doing some things right, maybe.

Like Hamlet, I know not seems. But I am old enough to remember that it used to be quite hip, in the 1980s, to Buy American. You see where I'm going with this: all those red-white-and-blue stickers on all those products under all those fluorescent lights in all those Wal-Marts. And every single one a cynical lie.

So is Wal-Mart really going to start treating its employees, my relatives, and the world better?

We'll see.


2000 Too Many

Another black line crossed.

Question War Amarillo asks you to come honor the dead and support the living.

Help us end the war on Iraq and bring our troops home now, alive and whole.

Wednesday, October 26th
5:15 Meet at the Gazebo in Memorial Park
5:30 Washington Street overpass at I-40 to display banners
6:00 March back to the Gazebo along Washington St.
6:30 Flashlight/candle vigil at Gazebo

World Shaker

Rosa Parks


"The only thing we did wrong,
Stayed in the wilderness a day too long.
But the one thing we did right,
Was the day we started to fight.
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on."

Give our regards to Dr. King, Rosa.

-Panhandle Truth Squad
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005

Question War: If you don't, who will?

2000/Too Many

There's nothing magical about the 2000th American to die in the Iraq War. Each of the 1999 before are just as precious, tragic and missed. And we become lost in numbers and uncounted tragedy when we consider the tens of thousands of Iraqis murdered in this war of choice waged by the Bush cabal.

Here's why it's important.

This is a teachable moment. People who don't usually pay attention just may notice. It may dawn on them that something is wrong, that 2000 is just too damn many, that there doesn't seem to be an end to the black counting of the dead, that this war just goes on and on for no damn good reason.

And that's why we do something.

Right now, as I write this late Monday night, the American death toll is at 1997 (check here). Either Tuesday or Wednesday (or hopefully longer), the number of heart-broken families will most likely reach or exceed 2000. The day following that sad day, Question War Amarillo will hold a march and vigil to honor those who have died and focus attention once again on the need to end the war on Iraq and get our troops home now, whole and alive.

I'll post a notice with the day of the action. That day, we'll meet at 5:15 at the Gazebo in Memorial Park on South Washington by Amarillo College. We will walk to the Washington Street overpass at I-40 and fly banners that say "Iraq Dead 2000 Too Many". If you prefer, you can meet us at the overpass at 5:30. At 6:00 we'll march back to the Gazebo for a vigil at 6:30. Bring a flashlight. If it's calm, bring a candle too.

Remember - we are the majority now. Most people (Americans and Iraqis) want our troops home and this tragedy of a war to end. We end it by changing one heart at a time. Come and help do that. We need you.

déjà voodoo

You know, we at the Panhandle Truth Squad have been demanding the Amarillo Globe-Republican newsroom Ghostly VoiceTM's head since way back. And we know the Ghost reads us and takes to heart all we have to say-- and maybe that Ghost really wants to change.

But, really, Ghost, get a clue. Adopting PTS's ethical demands for your corner of the Opinion page means a hella lot more than just stealing our bad jokes. (scroll down to "the ugly")


while we were living in a dream world, clouds got in the way

Monday morning: As I write journal assignments on Ye Olde Chalk Board, teenagers walk by in the hall eagerly discussing their weekend carousing. I sit at my desk for a minute to scan the local newspaper for the small town I teach in. A front page article details the misadventures of a school board member who was the lone vote against implementing the Worth the Wait abstinence education program in our district. Apparently, he wants to preserve the “innocence of hundreds of kiddos” by not having any sex education at all. I recall taking up a note from a student in which she bemoaned the difficulty of “get[ing] ‘er done” when her boyfriend was a virgin. I have to say, this school board member may not actually have been in a school in a while.

Not that I’m all that crazy about Worth the Wait. My own sixth-grade son attends a school that has implemented the curriculum, and I have mixed feelings about that. But my objections to Worth the Wait stem from the program’s fantastical abstinence-only message. In the county where I teach—where eighth-graders are sexually active and many seniors have two children—Worth the Wait struggles to close the barn door when the horse is several hundred miles away, partying like a Las Vegas hooker.

So I guess we’re all living in a dream world. School board members imagine that their sixth graders are innocent young babes frolicking with talking vegetables on a green green playground. I happily fantasize that fundies may someday accept reality-based education. The quaint old Age of Reason dream of liberal democracy would maintain therefore that the compromise, midway position of the Worth the Wait program is the Best of All Possible Worlds. Is it?


Friday, October 21, 2005

welcome to hell

From majickthise, I really dig this guy's sign.


fall colors

Apparently, the TExterminator's wife wore a dress to court that matched her husband's tie. The color? Orange. Tom must read GQ. I think that's where I read that you should try out new colors before you suddenly wear a whole-- say-- jumpsuit in that color. In the Pink has the picture and the fashion critique.

And, um, a new judge?! Just because Perkins had supposedly donated money to moveon.org? Delay's lawyer claims that MoveOn is selling DeLay mugshot t-shirts, but, if they are, I haven't got the e-mail. And-- how shall we put this?-- MoveOn is usually quite good at publicizing their initiatives.

Maybe Kinky's campaign manager had MoveOn confused with this organization?

The whole thing sounds like a DeLaying tactic to me.


tom the muggle

Well, there are always a few.

Some isolated members of the Hand-Wringing Liberal crowd are disappointed in the Tom Delay mugshot. It does't even look like a mugshot, they whine. It looks like a yearbook photo, like he had it taken for the fraternity reunion. He's smiling, for Chrisssakes! He had the whole state of Texas to choose from; he must've gone to a friendly sheriff to turn himself in. Someone who would cooperate with his desire to have a photo his opponent couldn't use against him. He must have been coached to smile like that.

And worst of all: if Tom Delay can have such a purty mugshot released, what reason do we have to believe that Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Dick Cheney will have to face justice for the Plame Game?

While I don't dispute most of the facts and interpretation of the HWL plaint, I disagree with the tone. I just don't dig whiners, and I see no reason for it now. Because, as zenbowl pointed out on Daily Kos,

what sort of a party has a Mugshot Strategy?
The sort of party that needs one, obviously.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

I fought the law and the law won

Posted on The Daily Delay.

Apparently, the Texterminator can check in anywhere in the state. Apparently, he wants to avoid the "media circus" that he would face in his own bugstomping grounds of Sugarland. Apparently, he'd like to go somewhere far, far away in the hopes that no one will see him get fingerprinted and mugshot.

Hey, Tom! Come up here to the Panhandle! We hear it's a very nice place to get arrested!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

jorj boosh noo

I've never been able to shake the image of the first Presidential debate of 2004, the one where W whined about all the hard work that was involved in being Emperor. Mostly what still stands out is the utter vacuousness and emptiness of the man that stood cluelessly on stage. Watching that debate, it was hard to believe that he was aware of his immediate surroundings, not to mention the larger pictures of national and global politics.

But perhaps we should be less horrified by that ignorant W and more grateful for it. Because there's a two-word meme that keeps bubbling to the surface. Rather than clueless, this particular short clause portrays the emperor as an aware participant.

The implications are always horrifying when you hear it: Bush knew.


hell isn’t just for children

For some reason, I’m hearing Elizabeth Hurley as Mrs. Kensington, saying, “you have to understand, in Britain in the Sixties you could be a sex symbol and still have bad teeth.” So curl up, children, and I’ll assert this: my own misspent youth was also a different time. In Amarillo in the Eighties, even Caprock students could throw eggs.

In the fall of 2005, our unFair City has just lurched through another Hell Week. Kids from Amarillo High and Tascosa spent all of last week egging and paintballing the holy living crap out of each other. At the same time, the goodwill fostered throughout the city by Mayor Debra McCartt’s omnipresence at Charity Runs, Musician-infested Fundraisers, and Nothing But Noodles also lurches to a crashing end as the city finally faces the long-threatened lawsuit advocating single-member districts.

In the fall of 1985, me and my friend and some kid named Billy climbed into a huge red Impala and headed over to the west side of town. We were Caprock kids and used to being blamed for everything. Just a few years before, John McKissack had run a muckraking story on Channel Seven about low-riders at Bowie Junior High. John thought low-riders were gangsters; we knew low-riders were cars and were only a little afraid of the cholos McKissack was actually fretting about. We knew they were semi-violent potheads, but by junior year they had mostly dropped out of school, and usually left people like us alone anyway. We were new-wavish preppie wanna-bes and tended to hang out in places where we encountered super-violent cokeheads from Amarillo High and Tascosa. In short, our Hell often came from Polos, not cholos.

So when the Amarillo High-Tascosa rivalry week rolled around, we saw the opportunity to raise some Hell of the sort that would get blamed on our natural enemies. Who can resist that? So we piled into my friend’s Impala and drove over to Amarillo High. A school dance was taking place and the parking lot was filled with Mazda RX-7’s, B-mers, and the odd Mercedes. Billy hopped out of the car while it was still in motion; he had seen a new ‘vette that belonged to someone he kind of knew. He grabbed the egg, his arm pulled back, his mullet flapped in the autumn wind. . .

The thing about egging cars is that it seems so much less destructive than it actually is. An egg left on a car can destroy a new paint job. And, we found out, an egg thrown by an angry failed athlete named Billy can dent the door of a 1980s vintage Corvette pretty seriously. We hurried Billy back into the Impala and raced the Hell out of there, laughing in the knowledge that the whole thing would get blamed on some poor sap from Tascosa.

By junior year, we were already tired, tired as Hell of being stigmatized as east-siders. We fancied ourselves upwardly mobile and often ended up in social situations where people would talk about Caprock students as if we all carried knives and dime-bags to class. So when Billy’s egg dented some Amarillo High Corvette’s door; well, that was just things evening out.

It happens. Things Even Out. In a world where most people have either a four-year-old (“that’s not fair!”) or an Old Testament (“an eye for an eye!”) sense of justice, things will find a way to even out. And when AHS and THS students run around like Visigoths trashing each others’ neighborhoods, well, there will always be some CHS student tired of getting shat on, who'll take advantage of the opportunity.

In 2005, I live in Bivins, in Tascosa. And from the stories and sirens I’ve heard, it looks to me like most of this year's Hell Week violence was in Tascosa’s area. And since people don’t trash their own neighborhoods, I have to assume that Amarillo High does most of the trashing these days. At least, that’s what it looks like from here.

Of course, I’m probably wrong about that. If I lived in Amarillo High’s district, I’m sure I'd hear sirens during Hell Week and talk to neighbors who were similarly kept awake all night by amok teenagers. But this is what I’m not wrong about, and what the Amarillo Globe-Republican doesn’t understand: people don’t trash their own neighborhoods.

You’re a Republican, a racist, a regressive, a curious Texan, you’ll say I’m wrong. You’ll cite anecdotal evidence and crime statistics. You’ll point maybe to the Los Angeles riots of the first Bush administration. Of course, people trash their own neighborhoods, you’ll say. Bad people. Poor people. Black people. Mexicans. Caprock students.

And I’ll say: we didn’t. We were poor, and from Caprock, and pretty bad most of the time. But we didn’t trash our own neighborhood because we were smart and we knew it and we were going somewhere. We felt ownership in our own lives and when people stepped on us we stepped back.

But we only had three of the strikes I mentioned against us. Some people have more. Some people are elderly poor black Mexicans from the east-side who work sixty hours a week at Wal-Mart for minimum wage and they’re freaking tired and probably sick because they got no health care. Some people get stepped on everyday and have nothing to step back with. And that’s when they start fouling their own nest.

This has been a divided city for a long as anyone can remember, and nothing has changed so far. The Amarillo-Globe Republican Ghostly Voice says that the elderly poor black Mexicans should just vote. Well, I’m afraid that’s a cruel joke.

Because after you steal everything from someone, they own nothing. And if you’re the thief, you really shouldn’t complain if they show no pride of ownership. Even if your teeth are rotted to the core, you could have been a sex symbol once upon a time, according to Mrs. Kensington, who should know. And even poor, black, Hispanic, whatever Amarilloans ought to be enfranchised in this rotten city. Single-member districts might accomplish that. Nothing else has.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

what an interesting time. . .

. . . Prodigal Son picked to turn over the keys to the asylum to the inmates. Rumors are flying that Prodigal's file is one of the 22 and that he will have to lay low for awhile.

We are, of course, kidding. The rest of us wish Prodigal Son well on his attempts to convert the savages in Dixie. Good night, as they say, and good luck.

And speaking of inmates, I remember asking, a thousand years ago, during the darkest and headiest Days of Monica: Do we really want to have a President of the United States sitting in jail?

The answer to my question, I now realize, is yes.



S'long y'all !

As a few of you PTS'ers know, I post remote from an undisclosed location located somewhere in the heart of dixie.

This blog has been an unbelievable success to this point. (21,000 visitors in just a year and a half. 'nuff said) and it's still gaining speed. Because of you, not the staff at PTS.

Next year are the mid-term elections, Chris Bell will be a strong opponent for Guv Godhair, and this blog will be right in the thick of things. So will you.

That said, we need something like PTS where I live.


The righties are making a frakkin' (battlestar galactica dude!) mess of things, and liberals need a campfire to gather 'round and start the fight to make those damn republicans go the way of the WHIG party.

I am stepping out to start up something local, and I need something from you . . .

Spacedark, Blogarillo, PazAmarillo, Ain'tgoinaway, Liberalator, and demophoenix, etc. will be leading the charge here at PTS., but you readers are crucial.

  • Send people our way, we have grown through word of mouth.
  • Respond to our email alerts and write a letter to the editor of the Amarillo-Republican News.
  • Get mad. Fanny Lou Hamer said, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." That you? Speak up.
It's been fun here. Texas can be made better for our kids. So can my new hometown.


-Prodigal Son

Friday, October 14, 2005

write your own headline

You always think that you couldn't lose any more respect for the Emperor W. After all, he's the Worst. President. Ever. A drunken frat-boy. A smirking monkey. A sniggering snob. A moronic simpleton. An acultural fleshwaste. A sock-puppet. A lost tabula rasa in a position of ultimate power, wandering confusedly through the onslaught of history.

In short, what is there to like? What is there not to hate? And how could it ever be worse?

But it always, inevitably, relentlessly, gets worse. An aside revelation, barely noticed on The Smoking Gun. Speedreading towards Bethlehem, slouching down the information dirt roads, you see it. A post script at the bottom of a note from the Emperor to his newest Judge. And somehow, though you never thought it possible, you lose a little more respect for George W. Bush.

As you ponder what it could possibly mean: "No more public scatology"???


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Punchin' Judy

Interesting things happening for the Bushistas this week . . . pull out the comfy chair . . . nobody expects the spanish inquisition!

What high level indictments might come from Plamegate? I am taking 10-1 odds that Bush WILL pardon anyone involved.

How come the Globe-Republican does not write about a spy caught in the White House?

NYTimes, please fire Judith "Pravda" Miller already.

Oh, and John Kanelis, when you have the "ghost" write an editorial about the FEDERAL guvmint doing things to states rights, just who exactly IS the fed?

Or to be more precise . . . remind me just who has control of all three branches up there in D.C.? I noticed you left that out. Hacks.

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Question War Film Series

Question War Film Series
Sunday, October 9, 2 pm
Amarillo Public Library, 2nd floor
4th and Buchannon, downtown

Our 2nd Sunday of the month film will be Voices In Wartime, a "74-minute documentary that delves into the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets – unknown and world-famous. Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat interviewed in Voices in Wartime add diverse perspectives on war’s effects on soldiers, civilians and society."

Poets featured in the film are Chris Abani, Marilyn Nelson, Sinan Antoon, Wilfred Owen, W.H. Auden, Sherman Pearl, Rachel Bentham, Peter Levitt, Sampurna Chattarji, Alexandra Indira Sanyal, David Connolly, Siegfried Sassoon, Emily Dickinson, Alan Seeger, Ali Habash, Hashim Shafiq, Pamela Talene Hale, Shoda Shinoe, Sam Hamill, Enheduanna,Seamus Heaney, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Homer, Antonieta Villamil, Langston Hughes, Emily Warn, Walt Whitman, Randall Jarrell, Todd Swift, Cameron Penny.

For more information, visit the Voices In Wartime website.


A poem from the movie

I Saw His Round Mouth's Crimson
by Wilfred Owen

I saw his round mouth's crimson deepen as it fell,
Like a Sun, in his last deep hour;
Watched the magnificent recession of farewell,
Clouding, half gleam, half glower,
And a last splendour burn the heavens of his cheek.
And in his eyes
The cold stars lighting, very old and bleak,
In different skies.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

. . . "no, your worship, it's bin laden-- b-i-n, not b-e-n-- as in "bargain bin", not "gentle ben" . . .

A picture from a different time, as seen on dkos.

August 6, 2001, to be exact. The day the Emperor W glanced at the memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US" and then went outside to play.

Did the newest SCOTUS nominee also handle that infamous document?


Monday, October 03, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-changes . . .

On the right side, check out the Texas Blog Wire. It shows recent posts from other lefty blogs in the lone star state.

It is updated every 15 minutes or so, and since PTS is now part of the feed to other blogs . . . who knows who might read your posts!

Also got rid of two ads. Bush's social security dismantling plan is DOA for now, so is the plan to crush PBS. For now.

Whadda ya thinkin' bout today?

-Panhandle Truth Squad

Thursday, September 29, 2005

David Murphrey, Amnesty International delegate, sends the following notice to PTS:

There will be a special planning meeting on this Saturday, September 30, 2005 at Amarillo Public Library, SW branch, from 1:00 - 3:00 PM in preparation for our lobby visitto the district office of Congressman Mac Thornberry. During this meeting, members of our delegation will have a chance to get to know one another and discuss how we want to structure our lobby meeting. I hope you will be able to attend the meeting. Please RSVP by emailing me at davidmurph [at] nts-online [dot] net

David Murphrey,
Amarillo, TX

UPDATE: Please e-mail David Murphrey with any questions

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

shit, meet fan

Bugman indicted on conspiracy charges. Could get up to two years in prison.

Have a martini on us.


Question War - If you don't, who will?

The numbers are so large they almost become meaningless. Dollars, deaths, and destruction rush by us in a cacophony of abacus clacks as God's fingers dance across the beads, as Kali bends down multi-armed and flicks us around like little toy soldiers.

It's too easy to go glassy-eyed over the numbers, the metrics of war as Herr Rumsfeld calls them. One jumped out at me the other day, though: 1.8 billion.

Not the visible galaxies in our corner of the universe. Not the nucleotide sequences in our DNA. Not the years since a ball of protein rolled itself into a sac of fat and called itself life.

No. That's 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition now blasted every year into the world by the US military.

Try to imagine it. The stutter of the guns, all those bullets ripping apart the air, the acrid bite of cordite, happiness as a warm gun... So many bullets seeking out the futile resistance of soft flesh that the Masters of War cannot produce them fast enough from the three ammo factories that the US government owns.

Here's another number: 250,000. That's a quarter of a million bullets exploded for every terrorist, insurgent, or guerilla killed in the with-us-or-against-us global war on decency waged by the Bush criminals. If you want the kill efficiency to go up, simply factor in the innocents and civilians who happened to sit, step, sleep or wander into the path of one of the 6 billion bullets the US military set loose in the world since 2002.

But there's a problem. We're running out of ammo. Too many targets, not enough production. Like oil, have we entered the brave new world of peak ammunition?

Not to worry. We turn to a dependable outside vendor, Occupations Are Us, the professionals in Israel, who know the value of a bullet and are more than willing to supply us with what we need: 313 million rounds of 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, and 50-calibre slugs to make up the shortfall. Thanks fellas, we owe you one. How about Iran? Syria?

The numbers are getting too big, the irony almost more than one can bear. Somewhere a little boy amputates a daddy long legs spider, giggling with joy just to watch us twitch and dance.