“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, 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 fiancĂ©e 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.