“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, June 29, 2005

Lone Star Democracy Builders Association

A useful blogroll, on which we are listed under "Blogs by Women". That's interesting, since any female posters around here tend to disappear about as quickly as . . . well, maybe that sentence is best left unended.


Republican Leadership Phrasebook

A PTS Scoop:

We all know how Republican "leaders" deliver such on-message, cookie cutter presentations, complete with their own focus-group-tested language. A high-level white horse souse, whom I will identify only as "Deep Doodoo" has passed on a half-page ripped out of the Republican Leadership Phrasebook, and translations, which he/she was able to smuggle out of Dick Cheney's bunker. While it would have been too dangerous to keep the originals, photocopies have been independently verified and are reprinted here for the first time.

"A" is doing a superb job: "A" agrees with me.

You can't put a number on that: The number would be embarrassing to me, so I won't tell you.

We should respect the public: The public are gullible ignoramuses.

The ownership society: What do you care? You'll never get into my country club.

I say exactly what I mean: Sometime in the middle of the night, you'll get tired and drop your wallet.

We know exactly what is happening: We have no earthly idea which end is up.

I don't discuss classified reports: Somebody else leaked it for me.

We should promote democracy everywhere: Do as I say, not as I do.

Family values: How much you would pay me to keep grandma out of GITMO.

All we want is an up or down vote: We want our way all the time.

It's your money: see "I say exactly what I mean".

All they know how to do is hate: They disagree with me and I hate them for it.

We don't make policy based upon polls: We haven't figured out how to steal a poll.

If Deep Doodoo and I are able to remain out of GITMO, there could be more. It is hoped that the press will find these translations useful.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Look Who's Talking

So, who will be watching the Chimporer tonight? Document the atrocities by clicking 'Comment' and let 'er rip!

-Prodigal Son

bizarre love triangle

When I participated in the latest conference call with Chris Bell, one of the bloggers (not me) asked about military base closings. I didn't address Bell's response in my posting at the time because I didn't fully understand it and I wasn't sure what to say about it.

I still don't know what to say about Bell's response, but I think there's a specific issue we need to consider.

I hate to admit to fuzzy-mindedednes and lack of attention and focus, but I called in to the conference from the S.O.'s house and her beagle Clyde was freaking out during the back-and-forth about military bases. But to unfairly paraphrase something I didn't fully catch, I definitely got the impression that Chris was focusing on Texas base closings in his answer to the question. As well he should. He’s running—sorry, exploring—for Texas governor, after all.

But, Houston, we have a problem.

I also know from previous calls when I was more focused that Bell doesn’t want to write off this part of the state. He’s already visited the Panhandle, did so very early on, and has worked up here. He refers to this area as his “old stomping grounds.” So it may not be news to him that folx up here couldn’t, for the most part, care less about Texas base closings.

They’re worried about the closing of Clovis, New Mexico’s base. A recent study by a Texas Tech professor (no link yet; the study was reported by Kelly James on KXGL-FM, but I’ll keep looking for the specific data) suggested that Potter and Randall counties could lose 600-700 jobs from the closing. That's what panhandlians are freaked out about.

This isn't a critique so much as a grappling for a light switch in a darkened, unfamiliar room. The Panhandle has always been at the center of a perverse ménage-à-trois: married to Austin, but hopping into bed with eastern New Mexico at every opportunity. How does Bell— or any gubernatorial candidate, but preferably one we could support as progressives— address the concerns of this area while remaining Texan? Is there a way to make the urban centers down state happy while keeping the interest of the desert people with the wandering eyes? Or does it matter? Do we matter?


Monday, June 27, 2005

high fire hazard this fourth of july due to multiple straw men

This morning, the Amarillo Globe-Republican Ghost— aw, hell, let's just call him by his real name— David Henry the Wingnut shot rubber bullets at a fave Republican target: the ACLU. And like all rubber/glue situations, Dave, your bullets

bounced off the ACLU
and stuck to you.
Dave sez:
The American Civil Liberties Union continues to pick and choose what liberties it considers worth a fight. After ACLU legal pressure, the Webb City R-7 School District in Missouri decided Thursday to revoke its ban on T-shirts with pro-gay messages. One student, with the message "I'm gay and I'm proud" on his T-shirt, said he was glad he could now express himself. That's fine, but we wonder if the ACLU would have involved itself in a lawsuit against the school district had the student wanted to wear a T-shirt with the message, "I'm Christian and I'm proud." Doubtful. If anything, the ACLU would have sued to prevent the student from "expressing himself." It seems there are rights that must be protected, and then there are those that must be restricted. How uncivil.
Hm. See, Dave, it's really not a good debate tactic to just make up your opponent's position. It's called debating a straw man, but usually people at least ascribe straw man arguments to a more vague opponent like "Democrats" or "libruhls". Putting words in mouths of specific people or groups is ungentlepersonly and possibly libelous, not to mention piss-poor journalism. But while we're at it:

The Amarillo Globe-Republican continues to lie and distort the positions of the newspaper's political opponents. After corporate pressure, the AG-R Opinion page editor John Kanelis decided Thursday to turn over all editorial chores to Dave Henry, the rightmost member of the editorial staff. Dave the Wingnut, with the message "I'm against civil liberties and I'm proud" on his T-shirt, said he was glad he could now express himself but even more glad that no one else could; he proceeded to print anti-ACLU diatribes sourced only by the ouija board the Wingnut keeps under his desk. "ACLU Killed Jimmy Hoffa!" Dave the Wingnut fumed on the Opinion page.

That's fine, but we wonder if Dave would have printed such invective directed against the ACLU had the union been engaged in one of its battles supporting the right of the Ku Klux Klan to march. Doubtful. If anything, the Wingnut would joined in the ACLU's suit supporting the right of the KKK to "express itself." It seems there are rights that Dave the Wingnut wants to protect, and then there are those that he wants to restrict. How uncivil.

See how that works, Dave? Not so fun being the straw man is it?


Friday, June 24, 2005

Today is Kick the Sheeet Out of Liberals Day

Today at the AG-R it's "BASH THE LIBERALS!" day. . . (again)

Today's paper has a column titled "21st Century Democrats Resemble an Old Joke".

Steve Holland, serial Republican hate spewer HERE and HERE , Terry Schiavo vampire HERE, and tired meme "Democrats are old and tired" stenographer HERE pens yet another column about . . . wait for it . . . Democrats being old and tired. HERE

Hey Steve. We get it. You hate Democrats. You hate Liberals. Go back in your shack and finish your manifesto already. You are beginning to repeat yourself.

Today we also have another serial RNC stenographer James Fluegel penning yet another anti-liberal screed in a LTE called, "Goebbels would see possibilities in PBS" HERE

So it's OK to make nazi comparisons, just as long as you are a damn Republican.

No mention today of Karl Rove's vileness HERE, no liberal columns to counteract this horsesheet, just plain good 'ol fashioned liberal hatin'!

Peeps, have you had enough yet?

Did you call your senator yesterday?

What, you didn't know you hate our troops and want them to die? HERE. Hate America? Have no morals? Don't sacrifice for your country? ARE you a joke?

Are you ready to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore"? HERE

I am. As Fanny Lou Hamer said, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

We are Liberals. We have died on battlefields foreign and domestic. It was a Democrat who brought this country out of a Republican inspired depression and saw us through WWII. We have fought for the rights of everday folks our whole lives. We have fought for civil rights for all, and died for that cause. We died on 9-11 and sucked in anthrax in that horrible month almost four years ago.

We love this country too much to let these hateful bastards sell it off to their friends for a campaign contribution, or a hot lobbying job.

If someone can give me an example where polite discussion has gotten humans progressive rights, I would appreciate it. But this is a barfight now IMO.

Ever been in a bar fight? I have. It was in this tiny hellhole in North Platte, NE. Went something like this. . .

A man approaches you with a broken beer bottle, muttering. He swings and hits you on the head. You see, you told him to play nice and relax. That you did not want trouble.

You get a towel from the bartender and put it on your head to sop up the blood, you pick up a pool cue, and you jab it in his face. You smash it on his head, you push it in his guts. You throw it away and punch the bastard in the face, you break teeth, you use your elbow in his eyes. You pummel him into the ground.

Then when he is down on the ground, you don't walk away saying, "I guess that taught him a lesson" you kick him in the ribs, you kneel down and punch. You punch until your knuckles are flayed open and bleeding. You stand back up and kick him in the balls, and guts.

Repeat until he does not move. You look around at his friends. You have blood running down your face and neck and into your shirt from under the towel on your head. Your hands have yours and his blood on 'em.

It is unsaid but explicit. You are next if you step up. They just watched you mercilessly beat their loudmouth leader, who they never liked anyway, but he said he'd beat THEM up, so they don't.

You were hit first. You never wanted this fight, but you damn well finished it.

You see, you are a fighter of last measure, and you fight to win. Every time.

We as Democrats need to RIGHT NOW say to ourselves that the Repubs are so devoid of integrity that they are going to say and do anything to bash us. They will swift boat, and hillary tell-all us to pieces unless we realize this fight for our country is real, and that if we don't trade punches one-for-one, the America we learned about at Caprock/Palo Duro/AHS/Tascosa will be a quaint notion.

Bush Republicans are killing America with Iraq war lies, Patriot Acts, and "economic" initiatives.

I'm not saying go out and put a Republican in the hospital.

Write the paper. Stand up. Be Heard. Be loud. Be furious. Smash the liars where they stand. Don't EVER back down anymore.

If politics come up at work, you tell 'em like it is. With a smile on your face.

Hey, if we can't show that we can stand up for ourselves, how can Americans believe we will stand up for them?

'Scuse me while I go take my blood pressure meds . . .

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Karl Rove says that Liberals Want Our Troops to Die

Americablog has the lowdown. CLICK HERE

More importantly . . . Does Sen. Hutchison and Sen. Cornyn agree with Rove?



284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4304

Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510


Ask them if they will publicly denounce Rove or ask for his resignation. Be nice, but firm.

Don't know about you, but we have had enough of that sheeet about Liberals.

-Panhandle Truth Squad

Governor Good Hair Update

The Guv, who likes to sign legislation in churches, who goes on and on and on about morality signs off on an interview with "Adios MoFo" CLICK HERE
(Crooks and Liars gets the catch)

Guv's office: 1-800-843-5789

-Panhandle Truth Squad

AG-R Gets One Right

In this editorial today, the Globe-Republican gets it right. CLICK HERE

There are many unseen heroes out there. They don't get noticed in today's "missing white person of the week" media.

They struggle, and have tremendous ups and downs.

We hit the AG-R pretty hard for it's wingnut bias, but last Sunday's column is a don't miss. CLICK HERE.

It would be a logical follow-up to see how Mr. compassionate conservative Bush's cuts in funding effects those who need it the most.

But this IS the AG-R after all . . .

That said, well done Karen Smith, Steaven Dearinger, and AG-R.

-Prodigal Son

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hey, Ms. McCartt / What a coup! / You got us a party. / Now how 'bout something new?

The new mayor won her first battle.

Several weeks ago, Debra McCartt announced plans to hold a public swearing-in, free for the entire city. It was to be a festive occasion—with entertainment that represented the alleged “diversity” of Amarillo—as well as a unifying event, taking the time to honor previous city officials.

What was left of the last city commission—Robert Keys—expressed skepticism that anyone would show up.

"It would be pretty neat with respect to the old commissioners and mayors coming back," he said. "But I don't know how well it would be attended. You'd hate for something like that to be planned and not very many people show up."
New commissioner but old-guard power-broker Jim "What a Coup!" Simms was also hostile to the idea:

"I'm not real big on ceremonies," said Jim Simms, elected to Commissioner Place 4. "Let me take the oath, swear me in, and I'll go to work."
Tonight, the swearing-in was held. 400 seats were set up in the Grand Ballroom of the Civic Center. I found one of the last seats available, and when I quietly tiptoed out just before the “Tribute to Trent Sisemore,” I had to force my way through a SRO mass of people gathered in the back of the ballroom. I’d already watched Trent “It’s all about me!!!” Sisemore pressing the flesh before the event, and didn’t think I could stomach much more of the now-thankfully-former mayor.

The ceremony itself was a microcosm of my hopes and fears for this mayor and her new commission. Points for good intentions: entertainers performed who represented the Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Old Codger communities. But the city’s Community Relations Coordinator, Lyndy Ohayon, who played at being Master of Ceremonies, announced the various entertainers in a how-white-can-I-be chirp that laid waste to the best of intentions. The Lao dancers were from the “Lay-YO” community. The Hispanic dancers were “performing the Ballet Folkloria”.

Am I being overly picky, an English teacher and writer who quaintly thinks words matter?

I don’t think so. Pronouncing a name correctly is a sign of respect—and even Old White Men can get prickly about it. Just ask the Globe-Republican what happens when they print a news item about “Stanley Marsh III”.

So, two points: When it comes to diversity, you have to talk the talk and walk the walk. City Parents are starting to talk the talk . . . but they haven’t even got that completely right, yet.

Secondly, Robert Keys and Jim "What a coup!" Simms suffered the indignity of being sworn in before a lot of people they had dismissed as being uninterested in city government. We’ve turned out to vote. We’ve come to your party. We’ve written letters. What else do we have to do? Mayor McCartt and new commissioners: it’s time to make the city commission meetings accessible to average working citizens, as you promised you would. Any time other than weekdays between nine and five will do just fine. We’ve demonstrated that we’ll show up. You have no excuses left.


what about bob?

The S.O. and I travelled to Denver this weekend to attend a Jewish wedding. I'd never had to wear a yarmulke and I learned "Havah Nagila" in a Presbyterian Vacation Bible School, so it was a cultural experience for me. Especially since the bride (one of the S.O.'s closest friends) was in the eye of a storm that might be referred to by unimaginative Hollywood writers as "My Big Fat Jewish Wedding."

The night before the wedding we talked with "Uncle Bob" at a dinner for the out-of-town guests. When Uncle Bob learned we were from Amarillo, he all but said "Oy!" Bob knew a little about Amarillo. He had travelled there on weekends when he was a young serviceman stationed in Clovis in the 1950s. What he remembered—and was still shocked by—was that Amarillo had separate black and white drinking fountains.

Not that Clovis had been any better. Bob told us a story about how he and his friend, a black serviceman, had gone out one night to go to a movie at the theater in Clovis. The usher had informed them that Bob's friend would have to sit upstairs in the back. Bob was appalled and demanded their money back. He went straight back to the base and told his C.O. about the incident.

Bob's C.O. sent out a memo to the base the next day: no one serving in Clovis would be allowed to attend movies at that theater so long as the policy stood.

Giving Bob a story to tell at weddings half a century later.

He smiled as he advised us that the theater's racist policy was changed immediately.

I repeat the story here because sometimes, in times like these when we struggle under the oppression of the dark Emperor, it's good to take a moment to remember the fights, small and large, that were won a long time ago.


Dear Amarillo Globe Republican

We here at PTS know you 'heart' Kay Bailey Hutchison, and you are all a-quiver in anticipation of the year long make-out session as she re-runs for Senate, but . . .


It has been one week since she has refused to sign on to the anti-lynching bill. Are you gonna mention it even one time? Like ya normally do, on page A18? Remember James Byrd?

BTW, where was the mention of a Democrat in this snotty editorial today? CLICK HERE
The editorial states, "So, Texans will get a chance in March 2006 to choose between Perry and Strayhorn, who have been sniping at each other for months."

Yes fellow PTS'ers, it's tough to decide between two Republicans (sigh).

Then the AG-R says, "As for the probability of a Democratic candidate emerging to sneak in ahead of either Republican candidate, that isn't likely either. The Texas Democratic Party, to put it bluntly, remains in tatters."

Really? That must be a big surprise to CHRIS BELL. Go there friends.

Give Money.

Give some time.

Chris is a great American, Texan and Democrat.

And, if you are so moved, please email a LTE to the AG-R and let them know we would appreciate them showing an eeensie bit 'o' journalistic integrity and keep the door open for an impartial look at our Democratic candidate whoever that might be.

Email your letter (keep it under 200 characters) to: john.kanelis@amarillo.com

-Prodigal Son

UPDATE: I did not know this, but Carole Strayhorn is simple Scotty McClellan, accomplished white house liar's, momma. CLICK HERE.

That ought to disqualify her for Guv right there.

Monday, June 20, 2005

AG-R Gangs Up on Feingold

The AGN had two people slamming Allen Feingold's very good column on abstinence. No supporting column.

Kenja Purkey, Exec. Dir. of "Worth the Wait" HERE and Faye O'Brien-Usala HERE (Who throws out a bunch of stats with no sourcing)

To be fair, I think Ms. O'Brien-Usala's great point about abstinence being one response to an overall issue got lost by some wandering thoughts. Getting your point across in a limited column is not easy under the best of circumstances.

A quick search of the Amarillo Globe Republican's archives found MULTIPLE pro-abstinence articles, and a handful of opposing opinion darn their liberal bias! CLICK HERE

Ok, Abstinence. Cool if it actually worked. CLICK HERE
(user: dailykos/pass:dailykos)

This study was of 20k teens from 1997-2002 and found that the rate of sex from pro-abstinence and those who did not take a pledge of abstinence was essentially the same. The virginity pledges did not work.

The big issue is one of teen pregnancy, unmarried moms, and STD's right? We all agree that these are bad for the kids and society.

THE REAL ISSUE is . . . why are abstinence programs AGAINST talking about condoms and birth control?

Two points:
1. If, "Knowledge is power. . ." as Kenja Purkey says then why not explain it ALL?
2. If MY TAX MONEY is going to abstinence-only folks, to the tune of 1 BILLION BUCKS, why can't we the people have a say in the messaging the peeps who spend this $$ use.

60 minutes did a great segment on the abstinence pledges. onegoodmove has the video (scroll down and click on the pic of the girl and guy)

-Virginity Pledgers 1/3 less likely to use condoms when having sex. 1/3 more STD's 1/3 more pregnancy.
-Virginity Pledgers more likely to engage in oral and anal sex to "preserve" virginity. They do not get STD tests because they did not really have sex in their minds.
-88% of Virginity Pledgers break their oaths, and have sex before marriage.

The abstinence only dude, Denny Patton, founder of the "silver ring thing" has gotten 1 million of your tax dollars.

Watch the 60 minutes segment. He clearly LIES to kids about condoms. He states that they do not work. Not that abstinence is better, but that CONDOMS ARE NOT SAFE. He talks about telling his own daughter not to use a condom AT ALL if she wants to engage in pre-marital sex.

Do the abstinence-only folks think that these confusing messages help our kids? Why not tell kids, "Wait until marriage because you cannot get pregnant or a disease that way. There are bad diseases out there. Getting pregnant as a teen will make the rest of your life tough. If you do have sex, use a condom EVERY TIME."

What do you think? Click "Comment" below

-Prodigal Son

Friday, June 17, 2005

Dr. Frist Should Lose his License

Dr. Sen. Bill Frist yesterday on the Today Show;

LAUER: But when you stood on the floor and you said, She does respond, are you at all worried that you led some senators…

FRIST: I never said, She responded. I said I reviewed the court videotapes – the same ones the other doctors reviewed – and I questioned, Is her diagnosis correct?
Ummm . . . not quite Senator Liar.

Frist on Senate Floor, 3/17/05:
I have looked at the video footage. Based on the footage provided to me, which was part of the facts of the case, she does respond.
More from Frist, 3/17/05:
She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli.

To complain to the State of Tennessee call 1-800-852-2187

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, June 16, 2005

being carole whatever

She’s party-switchin', Perry-bitchin', daughter of U.T. Law.
She's comptrollin',
road-tollin', but all she does is jaw.
She’s Carole Keeton R'ander Strayhorn MacInerney Shaw
And she says she's onetoughgrandmaw.

freshwater anglin', teacher-raise danglin', collecting cash from chaw.
She's budget wranglin', money-janglin',
can't remember what she saw.
She's Carole Keeton R'ander Strayhorn next-Mrs. Jude Law.
And she claims she's onetoughgrandmaw.

Chisum-scoldin', Unitarian-foldin', raidin' Antones with the Law.
She's Anti-moldin', money-holdin', even Enron gave to Grandmaw.
She's Carole Keeton R'ander Strayhorn Palomino Shell.
But she won't beat
Mr. Bell.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lazy Days

Seeing how few posts we've had here at PTS over the past couple of weeks I would argue that the doldrums of summer must already be upon us. The months since the presidential election have left me feeling politically burned out and unmotivated to write. As such, I thought I would try something different and start a thread for people to offer up suggestions for things to do with family and friends in our neck of the woods this summer. It is easy to think of the Amarillo area as being rather dull, but the fact is there are quite a few things to do around here...if you know about them. So, let me start off the thread by recommending El Tropico, a paleteria (ice cream shop) at 1111 E. Amarillo Blvd. They make the best ice cream and sherbets I've had anywhere and a stop there is well worth the time it takes us to drive half-way across town, especially at the end of a hot summer day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

magic to do just for you

Despite the Lege's failure to finance schools, my district has managed to scrape together enough funds to send me to some summer teacher training. So far I've been working harder this summer than I do during the year; hence the long absence from posting. And I've missed y'all.

But I took a break from learning new! and innovative! teaching methods, to participate in a conference call with Chris Bell, potential Democratic candidiate for governor, which took place last night with a number of bloggers from around the state participating. So far I've taken part in two of these things. This one was hosted directly by the exploratory committee, and I heard several new voices over the phone.

Because of the new people, a number of questions and issues were repeated from the previous calls. And although we've called Bell on his "exploratory" bluff since at least April, he still claims that he doesn't have any "bombshells" to drop. He still says that he's waiting until the end of July to decide, and that he wants to see if the Dems are ready to try to win since it will be "one hell of a fight."

I wanted to hear more about education, and to his credit, Bell's been thinking about it. And he's been consulting the right sources, reminding us last night that

Panhandle Truth Squad has brought up some points about testing.
Yes, Chris, we have. And thanks for remembering us.

Since Bell mocked that Rick Perry's 11th-hour attempts to strongarm the Lege into doing . . . uh . . . something! anything!, I asked how Bell would have proceeded differently to get schools financed. He advised us to "draw a bigger circle" and remember that the tax system in Texas is "antiquated." In particular he thinks that loopholes on certain businesses need to be closed, and he doesn't accept "assigning winners and losers based on lobbying." Bell threw out the fact that beer manufacturers have been successful in staving off new taxes, while bottled water manufacturers have not. Because the beer makers have better lobbyists.

Not that there's anything wrong with beer.

Bell was convinced, however, that the "people of Texas are fair-minded" and can be convinced to buy in to a better tax system. To accomplish this, Bell suggests starting much earlier and putting together a representative commission that would devise a better system. I had to hold the phone away from my ear when Chris almost shouted the "start early" part.
Don't just wait for something magical to occur!
he demanded, and I'm pretty sure he was slamming his phone against his table as he screamed the words.

Okay, I exaggerate. Some.


Kay Bailey pro lynching?

In case you missed it during the media sh*tstorm over Michael Jackson, the Senate on Monday formally apologized for having rejected decades of pleas to make lynching a federal crime.

Atrios has the scoop on some of the folks who did not sign on to the bill opposing the lynching of African Americans. CLICK HERE

Guess what?

One of them is the Amarillo Globe-Republican's fav possible candidate for Governor HERE and HERE and HERE (Who needs to know about her policy positions? She's Republicanerriffic! Love, Amarillo Globe News)

Before the AG-R falls too madly in love with still unannounced candidate for Guv Kay Bailey Hutchinson, anyone want to ask Sen. "She ain't no rocket scientist" Hutchinson what exactly was objectionable to her about OPPOSING lynching?! (remember James Byrd Senator?)

It's called journalism people.

KOS has More so does Chris Geidner

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

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

Thank the gods for John Conyers and Lynn Woolsey.

Conyer's investigation into voting disenfrachisement in Ohio cast doubt on Bush's unreelection. He has tried to break through the media indifference surrounding the Downing Street memo, the still warm gun that lays out grounds for a bill of impeachment against Bush. Conyer's letter to Bush, signed by 88 House members, directly asks the questions that few others in power have the cojones to ask:

As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:

1)Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

Conyers has been getting so many emails that his website was overwhelmed. If you want to join the movement to demand answers, go to the website and sign the letter, like 160,000 others have done.

Another strong voice to stop the war comes from Rep. Lynn Woolsey. Her House resolution to bring the troops home from the Iraq Crusade garnered 128 votes, about 2/3 of the House Democrats and 5 brave Republicans (including Walter "They're American Fries" Jones). From her speech to the House:

“My amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the President must develop a plan to bring our troops home, and that he must submit this plan to the appropriate committees in Congress.

“We can truly support our troops, by bringing them home. At the same time, withdrawing U.S. troops must not result in abandoning a country that has been devastated. We must assist Iraq, not through our military, but through international humanitarian efforts to rebuild their war-torn economic and physical infrastructure.

Our man Conyers said this about the vote on withdrawal:

“Yet, here are the members of the House of Representative who, under Article I Section 8 of this great Constitution, are the only ones who can declare war, and they’re saying we don’t even want to talk about a plan. … Congress can talk about this. Please, summon up your courage, that’s your job.”

Noticeably absent from these latest efforts to stop the war, and displaying distinct symptoms of a softening of the spine, are supposed leaders of the Democratic party. Three in particular seem unable to challenge the War Party.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi voted against the Woolsey resolution and managed some saber rattling against Iran in a fawning speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that could have been taken from neocon talking points on the virtues of Zionism.

Howard Dean has lost his anti-war fervor, shrugging his shoulders and lamenting in RummmySpeak "Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out." No, Howard, it's really quite simple. Declare victory and get the hell out. Find your voice. Scream it out, in California and Texas and New York...Yehhhhahhhhhahhh!

But the prize for weaseling goes to Hilllary Rodham Clinton in a CNN interview quoted by Arianna Huffington:

"You know, I am not one who feels comfortable setting exit strategies. We don't know what we're exiting from. We don't know what the situation is moving toward…. How do we know where we're headed, when we don't know where we are?"

Senator Clinton, we are in a brutal, illegal, immoral quagmire of a war that is murdering Iraqis and Americans, draining our treasury, staining our reputation, and endangering us more every day. We are headed toward disaster. And you don't feel comfortable? You can't see what's going on? You want to be president? The Dems threw up a candidate like this already. They don't need another.

So, give thanks for folks like Conyers and Woolsey and Jones. We need more of them. And shake your head in sad dismay at the pathetic pronouncements of wafflers and War Party supporters like Pelosi, Dean and Clinton. They've chosen complicity, not leadership, and the bloody responsibility that comes with it.

It CAN Happen Here . . .

This is a poster put up by MARC, the light passenger rail between Baltimore and D.C.

CLICK HERE for a bigger view.

What do you think?

-Prodigal Son

(Thanks to KOS for the catch)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Question War Film Series - Sunday

Tomorrow we will screen the last 4 short documentaries from a collection called "Shocking and Awful" by Deep Dish TV Network. They are fascinating, angering, even sometimes funny perspectives on the Iraq Crusade that you won't find in the mainstream media.

Empire and Oil
Channels of War - The Media is the Military
Resistance at Home

Question War Film Series
Sunday, June 5, 2 pm
Downtown Library, 2nd floor

Refreshments, discussion, and inspiration.
Always free.

Friday, June 03, 2005

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

My partner remembers, as a child in Baghdad, when they moved mattresses to the roof on hot summer nights to watch the stars, to talk and giggle, and finally sleep in the cooling breeze. It's one of her fondest memories from that long-ago time, a time whose innocence seems almost magical to her now.

Today I read from a Knight-Ridder report by Nancy A. Youssef, September 24, 2004:

At the Baghdad morgue, Dr. Quasis Hassan Salem said he saw a family of eight brought in: three women, three men and two children. They were sleeping on their roof last month because it was hot inside. A military helicopter shot at them and killed them: "I don't know why."

Some will pass this off as an unfortunate byproduct of war, what the manglers of words (the “dissassemblers”) call collateral damage. Some will claim that maybe they deserved it, this sleeping family thankful to escape the heat, that they were surely guilty of something. Some, and this is the most pathetic group, won't bother to know; and if they do, won't care. Such a tragedy will not disturb their beautiful minds.

But if you have a heart or a soul or any measure of compassion you will be appalled, shamed, sickened, and angered. Multiply this tragedy of eight by 1500 and you get the 12,000 Iraqis murdered the past 18 months, according to Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, two-thirds of them directly by the U.S. military.

As Middle East expert and blogger Juan Cole explained today:

The figure of 12,000 killed in guerrilla violence in the past 18 months tracks generally with the figures arrived at by Iraq Body Count, which gives between about 22,000 and 25,000 civilian deaths for the two years since the beginning of the war.
These are confirmed deaths and don't include those not dug from the rubble of a bombed house, those sent to their graves unreported except by the grief of the living, those who died a lonely unknown death and simply didn't come home, or the tens of thousands struck down by disease or malnutrition.

Even more telling, Cole goes on to show that the current violent death rate in Iraq under American occupation is comparable to what it was under Saddam and his Baathists. Who's better off with the tyrant gone? Or as a popular saying in Iraq goes, "The student is gone; the master has arrived."

Think of it. A powerful, relentless force invades your country, your town. Your life is turned upside down – food, medical care, clean water, electricity, sanitation – all become uncertain variables. Friends, neighbors, family are indiscriminatly wounded or killed (Saddam's brutality was systematic and predictable compared with the chaotic shock and awe of occupation). Would you welcome these liberators? These crusaders? These purveyors of random violence?

Try to imagine all this tonight, as you enjoy the night breeze, the few stars, maybe a beer on the patio, as you flick lights on and off and brush your teeth and flush your toilet. And as you kiss your kids good night, think of that family on their roof doing the same. Then, imagine the thump of helicopter rotors, in the distance, drawing closer and closer and closer...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Republican Right Taking Women "Down" ......With God's Help

by Claudia Stravato

Panhandle Truth Squad is honored to have Claudia Stravato join us as our newest columnist. Ms. Stravato is currently CEO of Planned Parenthood of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle; a part-time Political Science Instructor at WT A&M University; a former Chief of Staff to Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock; and a former Deputy Comptroller of Texas for Comptroller Bob Bullock. She earned her BS and MA in Political Science from West Texas A&M.

The 40th anniversary of "The Pill" was last week. You would think women would have a lot to celebrate in their release from the constraints of "anatomy," but when looking at recent Congressional actions, you will find that just the opposite is the case! The religious right appear to have declared war on women and are calling on God to help them stamp out gains made by women in the last 40 years. Their arguments harken back to a time when women had limited roles to play and few opportunities to explore. The times have changed, but these moss-backs have not. More frightening are their ardent claims that God is on their side.

Today, almost 17 million women need publicly supported contraceptive care - a number which grew by 400,000 alone between 2000 and 2002 due to a rising uninsured population with the majority living in Texas. The Texas Panhandle has 32,000 women qualified for federally funded family planning services. Yet, the country's Title X family planning program has had few increases in over 20 years. The costs to provide these services have risen dramatically but the funding levels have remained flat. The result is that funding for only 8,000 women is available each year in the Panhandle. This year Rep. Weldon (R-FL) added a federal refusal clause to the Title X funding bill that states pharmacists don't have to fill prescriptions for contraceptives if they feel it violates their conscience. Title X is a vital health care safety net and is more important than ever in meeting the family planning needs of low-income women. If you want to write a letter, send a quick one to Mac Thornberry asking him to increase Title X funding and to reject the Weldon Amendment.

Priscilla Owen was confirmed this week to a federal judgeship after 4-years of stiff opposition by Democrats and moderate Republicans. She is an avowed opponent of women's reproductive rights and will now be in a position to influence reproductive rights decisions on the 5th Circuit Court which includes Texas.

Administration officials announced that they will create an advisory panel (to be appointed by the head of HHS who was appointed by the President) to make recommendations on the future of Medicaid. By September 1st, the Commission is charged with recommending ways to cut $10 billion, and by December 31st it will make longer-term recommendations on the future of Medicaid. The Administration rejected a bipartisan Congressional request for having the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) make the recommendations. This move can only hurt women and children who are the largest recipients of Medicaid.

Something is wrong when attempts to expand access to preventive health services for poor women are blocked, but sex offenders can use public funds to obtain Viagra. At the same time, economically disadvantaged women are denied access to medical care that could save their lives. It is disturbing that while lawmakers may successfully block the use of Medicaid funds for Viagra for sex offenders, they do little to limit coverage for sex-enhancing medication for non-sex offenders in group health insurance policies while most of these same group policies do NOT cover contraceptives for women. Legislation for contraceptive equity has languished in Congress for four terms.

David Hager, M.D, a conservative evangelical OB-GYN and an administration appointee to the FDA advisory committee, influenced the FDA to make an unprecedented decision to ignore it's own advisory committee's recommendation and deny an application to make Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter (OTC). Supporters of the OTC application have long-argued that the FDA decision to reject the application was not scientifically based. Hager was one of only four members of an FDA Advisory Committee that voted against making Plan B available OTC to all women. According to the press reports, Hager claimed that after the 23-4 advisory committee vote in December 2003, he was asked to write a memo to the FDA commissioner arguing against the application. In a public sermon Hager claimed that his memo played a central role in the FDA rejection of the Plan B application. He said, "I argued from a scientific perspective, and God took that information, and he used it through this minority report to influence the decision. Once again, what Satan meant for evil, God turned into good." Sen. Clinton has asked for an investigation into the decision made by Dr. Lester Crawford, acting chair of the FDA, who is up for confirmation to be head of the FDA.

Current law prohibits military personnel and their families from accessing abortion services at military health facilities even if they pay for these services with their own private funds. This ban threatens the health and lives of women serving overseas, forcing them to leave base hospitals in order to access abortion services. An amendment to restore access to privately funded abortion services for US military women and women dependents was defeated last week, depriving military of their constitutionally-protected right to choose.

Tucked into the $388 billion budget measure is a sweeping provision that has nothing to do with providing money for the government. In essence, it tells health care companies, hospitals and insurance companies they are free to ignore Roe v. Wade when it comes to informing women about access to reproductive health services including access to abortion. The intention, plainly, is to further curtail already dwindling access to abortion and even to counseling that mentions abortion as a legal option.

While this is an affront to women's rights, it should not obscure the serious threat to the First Amendment involved in enacting what is likely to evolve into a domestic "gag rule" as, one by one, health care providers order doctors they employ not to provide patients with information about the abortion option. President Bush reimposed a blanket Reagan-era "gag rule" for providers of reproductive health services abroad on his first full day in office back
in 2001.

On May 25, women's rights advocates and military leaders beat back an effort by some conservative Republican members to deny servicewomen assignments in combat support companies. House Armed Services Committee Chair Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., dropped language in his committee-adopted amendment to incorporate into federal law a 1994 military rule against women serving in direct ground combat units below the brigade level. They will try it again even though the military now supports having women in these companies. And, since all areas of Iraq are combat zones, they would have to pull out women out if they followed their own rules.

If any reader finds these actions and lack of actions anything to celebrate, I challenge them to a debate. These recent activities of Congress can be called only one thing: regressive and anti-woman.

Claudia Stravato

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

throat clearing

Once in a while, some or another progressive or Democrat falls prey to a strange belief that Republican leaders were once honorable citizens who merely believed differently than us, but have only recently embarked on the road to Hell. I’ve bloviated such stuff-and-nonsense myself. My own fave candidate for honorable Republican leader has been Barry Goldwater - but I tend to forget that AUH2O was only somewhat honorable when he disavowed, late in life, Republican positions against choice, gays, and the environment. On these and other positions Mr. Conservative died a good liberal, and it’s his honest willingness to embrace these positions that demonstrated some honor.

But, for the most part, Republican leadership has a relationship to The Right Thing to Do that can only be compared to Roadrunner's relationship to Wile E. Coyote. When Republican leaders see The Right Thing coming they beep-beep and run away and take measures to see that The Right Thing gets smashed with an anvil. Only they make sure that the anvil was constructed under contract with Halliburton instead of ACME.

Case in point: Republican leadership reaction to Deep Throat coming out of the shadows.

The lede from “Felt Had Personal Motivation Then and Now, Reports Suggest” by “Susan Jones” from CNSNews.com summarizes the talking points pretty well, even as it aspires to heights of dramatic irony unseen since Sophocles put down his stylus. CNS News is produced by the Media Research Center, a “conservative watchdog group.” I can’t find any independent information on “Susan Jones”; given the way these folx work, the name is probably a pseudonym. But “Susan Jones” is horrified by the heretofore anonymity of Deep Throat:

(CNSNews.com) -- In its extensive coverage of "Deep Throat's" identity, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that former Deputy FBI Director Mark Felt has been conflicted all along - about his major, anonymous and possibly criminal role in leaking confidential details of the Watergate scandal to the Washington Post in the early 1970s.

As the Post put it on Wednesday, Felt wondered if he was a "hero for helping the truth come out" - or a "turncoat who betrayed his government, his president, and the FBI he revered."

The Washington Post reported that Felt "may have had a personal motivation" in leaking details of a criminal investigation to two young Washington Post reporters: Felt was passed over as FBI director when J. Edgar Hoover died.


According to the Vanity Fair article, Felt's daughter Joan remembers saying, "Bob Woodward's going to get all the glory for this (revealing Deep Throat's identity), but we could make at least enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the kids' education. Let's do it for the family."

(Joan Felt and other relatives on Tuesday refused to let Felt answer reporters' questions, possibly waiting for the big-bucks book deal.)

Oh, my. Felt is an old, old man, apparently suffering the aftereffects of multiple strokes. Would you let a relative in such condition talk to a fictional journalist created by a hostile GOP? Other reactions, with a consolation: this may well be - finally, mercifully - the very last time we hear from some of these people.

Charles Colson, Nixon's former White House
Counsel and pretend televangelist, who pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice in the Watergate affair and served seven months in prison:
"He had the trust of America's leaders and to think that he betrayed that trust is hard for me to fathom."

Patrick J. Buchanan,
Nixon Speechwriter and adviser, now a conservative commentator devoted to the middle school gossip tactic I-Know-Something-You-Don’t: "I've always thought it was Mark Felt. I've told people that privately for a number of years. But I have not mentioned it publicly because I think Deep Throat is a dishonorable man . . . I think Mark Felt behaved treacherously."

Jeb Stuart Magruder,
Nixon's deputy campaign manager, spent seven months in prison for perjury and conspiracy in the Watergate case; now a retired minister apparently obsessed with pornography: "I think in some ways it completes it, and that's good. It sort of ends the mystery of this person that was named after the greatest porn queen of all time."

Goodbye, farewell, and amen.


Bush Lied People Died

Whenever I hear Pumpkinhead Russert, or Chris the Screamer Mathews, hammer at guests with questions like, "OK, (smugly) just when did Bush say Iraq was an immediate danger? (snicker, snicker)" I, first take two deep breaths, then I go listen to Bush lie this nation into war, IN HIS OWN WORDS CLICK HERE.

BTW, did anyone else watch MTP this last weekend? Did the panel actually ALL AGREE that we are in danger of a nuclear strike? Holy Sheeet! What do ya'll think? Did Iraq make us more secure?

Click "Comment" below, and chat away . . .

-Prodigal Son