“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"

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

we got yer SOTU right here

Official Panhandle Truth SquadTM SOTU transcript:

I won’t keep y’all very long, I only have about 911 things to say.

911-score and 911 years ago our founding fathers . . . uh . . .

I would like to announce my new tax cuts which will cut taxes by $911 for 911 of the richest Americans. I also wanted to reform Social Security, but 911 Democrats voted against my plan.

This year, 911 American soldiers will come home from Iraq. And I will commit to finding an alternative to fossil fuels within 911 years.

[GEORGE WILL, golf-announcer voice: That was the 911th standing ovation of the President’s State of the Union]

This is President George Bush, signing off from 911 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Self-Abuse or SOTU?

Anyone going to watch the Chimperor tonight?

Reasons to not watch; (Props to Rude Pundit)

- Because President Bush authorizes spying on Americans without a warrant.
- Because President Bush authorized torture by Americans and through renditioning.
- Because President Bush detains people without charge for an indefinite period.
- Because President Bush ignores whatever laws he wants, even if he signs them.
- Because President Bush lied about Iraq to get us into the war.
- Because the Army is stretched "to the breaking point."
- Because the reconstruction of Iraq is being fu**ed up, too.
- Because President Bush refuses to acknowledge what it's gonna take to help the people of the Gulf Coast.
- Because Ford is getting rid of 30,000 employees.
- Because Karl Rove still has a job.
- Because President Bush and the Republicans fail to fully fund the bullsh*t "No Child Left Behind" program.
- Because President Bush denies the existence of global warming.
- Because the Medicare prescription drug program is a clusterf**k that will end up in people dying because of its existence.
- Because President Bush denies any connection to Jack Abramoff.
- Because President Bush refuses to speak before any audience that doesn't adore him.
- Because Dick Cheney exists.
- Because Osama Bin Laden is either living free or died free.
- Because Donald Rumsfeld still has a job.
- Because the White House has stymied every investigation into its f**k-ups.
- Because President Bush calls spying "terrorist surveillance" and pollution "Clean Skies" and money to churches "Faith-Based Initiatives."
- Because Richard Scaife doesn't need another tax cut.
- Because there has to be a line in the sand, somewhere; otherwise, it's just one long desert until who-knows-when.

-Panhandle Truth Squad

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cake Walk?

Anybody have any scoop on whether or not Thornberry is going to have opposition this time around: Tx-13?

[Update: 01/30/06]: Looks like Thornberry will have competition after all:


Anyone know anything about this guy?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Filibuster Open Discussion

The grassroots are NOT letting the democrats fall down again.


Whadda ya think? Me? Better to die on your feet than begging.

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, January 26, 2006

has anyone seen sadee lately?

The following suspicious e-mail was sent out to the West Texas A&M community by Ty Lawrence, Assistant Professor of Animal Science:

We currently have a large stock of highly marbled beef cuts available for purchase at the WTAMU Meat Lab. Please feel free to stop by 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, or call ahead (2565) to place an order .. . Simply tell us what you prefer and when you would like to pick it up.
So has anyone seen the WTAMU mascot, Sadee?


we eat our own

On their Other Opinion page Wednesday morning, the Amarillo Globe-Republican called guest columnist Allen Finegold a "longtime Amarillo resident and Democratic Party activist."

Well, he's certainly a longtime resident.

And until I read his latest column, I would certainly have agreed about the other, too. Hell, I've seen Mr. Finegold at Democratic events for years.

But, while Democrats have widely-ranging views and are possessed of a Quite Big Tent, there are, there must be, certain values that unite us.

The most charitable thing I can say about Mr. Finegold's column is that it is very vaguely worded and, uh, "not up to his usual standards." It's quite possible that I completely misunderstand Finegold's backhanded prose. Maybe he's not advocating the effective dismantling of public education-- but it sure looks like it.

If I do understand this column, Finegold's joining with Texas Republicans to dis and destroy public education.

Here's where I should say: I'm sorry, but that's my line in the sand, my deal-breaker, my litmus test. Here's where I should say: I'm sorry, but if you don't support public education, you ain't one of us.

Except that I'm not sorry.

Because public education is, was, and remains What It's All About. In the world of symbolism, as well as the dirty and compromised Real World, public education remains Democracy's Last Hope.

You can give up on it if you want, Mr. Finegold, but that makes you one of Them. Tell Joe Lieberman we said hello.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Whatsa Up?

What's goin' on? OPEN DISCUSSION

-Panhandle Truth Squad

Monday, January 23, 2006

Connect the Dots

I remembered this Alternet piece from a few years ago when I read this article from this past weekend.

Tip O'Neill: “All politics is local.”

It’s all well and good to rail against the Globe-Snooze’s right-wing editorial stances and support of the Christian Taliban columnists, but keep your eye on the impact on local issues. It’s what makes the always-pro-capitalist local rag all the more hypocritical and lacking credibility.

Take note of the editorial in Monday’s issue that backed the City Commission’s restricting billboards. What self-serving clap-trap. Remember this the next time the Globe-Snooze calls for fair and even competition — like in political races or votes on Supreme Court justices.

And, woe betide Paul Harpole for standing in the way of the wishes of the Wares.

What this town needs is an alternative news source and people are working hard to bring it one.

Stay tuned.

Democrat Strategery

Your humble writer asks for American patriots to take a stand.

Will Pitt had a great idea, democrats should walk out of the SOTU.

I propose going one step further. . .

DON'T GO! Have a big rally outside the capitol. A press conference that makes Chimpy's speech have to go split-screen.

Following Topics for Press Conf. and presenters;

  • National security is too important to be left in the hands of republicans. (Plamegate, Rove still has security clearance) - Russ Feingold. MORE HERE
  • Demos will filibuster Sloppy Seconds Sammy Scalito. The bill of Rights is too important to be left in the hands of republicans. (Illegal wiretapping) - Chuck Schumer
  • Demos will hold hearings on OIL gouging, 'cause our economy should not be left in the hands of republicans. (Easy one, everyone is feeling the price, and we are at war riiiggght? War profiteering bad!) - Harry Reid MORE HERE

Pink TUTU democrats, the SOTU will be just more horsesheet. Show some spine! Get organized!

Standing up for what is right is not rocket science.

Your thoughts?

-Prodigal Son

(Cross Posted at DailyKOS)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Treadmill

Two or three months ago I noticed a new member at the health club who bore a striking resemblance to regular Globe-Republican guest columnist Virgil Van Camp. The racist overtones that typify Virgil's writing make him a frequent target of PTS criticism. Well, you can imagine that I felt a bit awkward when Virgil struck up a conversation with me a couple of days ago. We only spoke for a few minutes, just "how about that weather" stuff. Believe it or not he actually managed to take a small swipe at blacks during our brief visit. I debated whether or not to formally introduce myself. Would he recognize me as one of his liberal counterparts in Amarillo's political forum? If so, what would be his reaction? Some good natured ribbing over politics or that icy cold stare that makes me want to install security cameras at my house? You never know what your going to get. Ultimately no names were exchanged, though I'm sure they'll come up sooner or later.

If there is a lesson in this I suppose it would be that calling someone a racist in print is easier than looking them square in the eye and saying it. Or maybe that's just an observation. I'm not entirely sure what the lesson is. The truth, or at least personal conviction, shouldn't be sacrificed in the name of politeness. A spade should still be called a spade, but how does one do so in a civilized manner, especially in this day of venomous public debate?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

This morning (Saturday, 01/21) the Amarillo Globe Republican published an article by Morton Kondracke supporting, nay justifying, nay praising president bush's spying on any and all citizens he chooses to. He quotes Michael Chertoff time and again about how it is not only justified but legal to do so. The one Chertoff quote that is scary, introduced by Kondracke saying "Civil libertarians seem to fear the government is collecting huge quantities of data that it can use later politically" is, "I don't think anybody has an interest in accumulating a lot of information."

Gentlemen, I refer you back to the days of the Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover who collected dossiers on everyone from movie stars to waiters, and used them constantly. Who are you kidding?!

Incidently Kondracke's article was in the space that local writers can now use only once every three months! Why did the Globe Republican editorial board make that decision? I guess the paper needed more right wing space!

The Liberalator

Friday, January 20, 2006

"Do you know what it means, to miss New Orleans?"

"And miss it each night and day.
I know I'm not wrong, this feeling's getting stronger, the longer, I stay away.

Miss them moss-covered vines, the tall sugar pines,

Where mocking birds used to sing,

And I'd like to see that lazy Mississippi hurrying into spring."

-Louis Armstrong

Posted by Picasa

. . . "politics really aren't worth getting that enraged over. Chill!
-Curious Texan

It's just a game see, this politics thing.

War in Iraq? An exercise in PNAC theory.

So what if we put cronies like "Brownie" into cushy jobs. Everyone does it. Sheesh. What can happen?

Who cares what a Supreme court nominee might say to get his job (Or not say! Sorry Ted 'Mary Jo' Kennedy! Sucker!). What can a Supreme approve anyway?

And everyone knows Libruls don't support our troops.

But it's all just politics. Nothing personal.

It's just business.

Hell, national politics can't effect me! I live in Amarillo!

So, you darn Billary loving America hating traitors just take it easy, alright?

-Pariah Jenkins

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Raw Hate, Thy Name is Conservative

Reading the posts the last couple of days, I just don't get the hate from the right. . . Billary, Mary Jo Kopechne, Monica . . .

It's the same old shit time after time.

Clinton was eeeevil! Bush is the greatest! Carter was the worst ever! Reagan was God! Teddy Kennedy is eeevil!

It's interesting the way facts, evidence, truth, or mercy never seem to be uttered or demonstrated by conservatives who nevertheless never hesitate to let us all know how godly and how patriotic they are.

Dissenting against Bush is worthy of the swift boat liars, but it's liberals who denigrate our vets.

Radical clerics like Falwell, Dobson, and Robertson, who overwhelmingly back Republicans, spew lie after lie, and are as crooked as a dogs hind leg, but it's Liberals who are immoral.

Clinton did not tell the truth about having a girlfriend and Republicans screamed, "Rule of law! Rule of law! No President is above the law! Impeach!", but Bush violated the constitution he swore to uphold and broke the FISA law REPEATEDLY, and Repubs yawn.

Government is the source of all problems, but Republicans suck off the DOD tit for billions, engage in money laundering, have a 'k' street project, and engage in insider trading out of the taxpayer funded offices, and have massive deficits and pork spending.

Government is too intrusive, but Republicans are using it to tell you who to marry, what to consume, what to watch on TV, what they feel is immoral, that the uterus is state property, and what you can do with your wife in your own home.

On and on and on and FU**ING ON!

Republicans, are you alive? Can you think? Is a blind allegiance to ANYTHING the American way?

Has your hatred of Liberals led you to betray the American ideals of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

shooting fish in a barrel with a fully automatic submachine gun

Recently, the Amarillo Globe-Republican reprinted this piece by William Rusher claiming that "evolutionists" are "terrified" of Intelligent Design mythology. I could point out Rusher's "silly" oversimplication of contemporary cosmology. Or I could impugn Rusher himself by mentioning that he was a founding member of the now-infamous Concerned Alumni of Princeton who recently said the following (in a sympathetic interview by his own magazine):

Lopez: Was [CAP] racist and or sexist? Anti-gay? Ted Kennedy read a pretty bad-sounding quote from its publication today.

Rusher: CAP was none of the things Senator Kennedy is smearing it as being: anti-black, etc. . . My only regret is that CAP didn't have a bigger effect on Princeton. . . I will always remember fondly the Princeton I knew, and regret what has happened to it.
Or I could get really personal and point out that the photo usually attached to Rusher's columns does the time warp again. In this century, Rusher actually looks more like this. But at least the half-century old photo graphically shows us exactly what the Concerned Alumni want Princeton students to look like.

Or I could ignore Rusher completely, and simply say that another AP article reprinted by the AG-R documents which group is actually confrontational, negative, argumentative, and terrified.


Freepers have pointed out that one of the quotes cited by Kennedy ("In Defense of Elitism") was meant as satire. I'm not sure how that makes it better, since satire by definition seeks change, and it's obvious what change CAP seeks. Nevertheless, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one; that only leaves them about a dozen CAP quotes to "debunk."

Hit Back

Ever wanted to write several newspapers and traditional media at once?



Saturday, January 14, 2006

somebody's watching me II

Regarding the post below about Sheriff Shumate, I should make clear that I was commenting solely on the irony of his being turned in by neighbors after his Crime Stoppers commercials of old glorified such neighborly behavior. Shumate's not any more guilty before being proven so than anyone else.

The rumors I've heard for years around town, moreover, don't help. Shumate could be guilty, his wife could be crazy, Shumate could be crazy, his wife could be guilty, none of the above, all of the above, or some combination of the above. So I'll let the lawyers and judges (and good luck finding an impartial one) sort it out.

I write this only because I've thought about it for a couple of days and wanted to make clear that I wasn't posting out of schadenfreunde. I don't like Schumate's style: neither his law-enforcement style nor that ridiculous bozo-the-clown hairstyle he insisted on wearing well into the nineties. But I wish him and his wife the best in this difficult time. And I sincerely hope he's exonerated for the crime of domestic abuse.

Because if he didn't do it, my point will be even more germane: spying on citizens, and relying on meddling neighbors is no way to run a criminal-justice system.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

News, what news?

Here’s what’s interesting about the Globe-News:

The entire front page was wire copy — no local news. And the Today page ran another “progress report” on the Ware Tower at Baptist-St. Anthony’s Health Care System. How many stories is that on BSA with no recognition of Northwest?

It’s clear that personal agendas, politics God knows what else drives the news content, not news judgment.

So, isn’t it time for the community to have an alternative source that offers “Real News, Honest Journalism?”

There’s one being developed and looking for investors.

Stay tuned.


So the Amarillo Globe-Republican ran an AP story on the front page that claimed that people no longer find obesity unattractive. How do they know? Because the market research firm NPD group called people up and asked them.

I think we can all see what's wrong with this claim. A pollster calls you up and asks, "Do you think fat dudes/chicks are ugly or what?" Being an enlightened, P.C. citizen (and aren't we all?), you politely answer, "Why, no. I think everyone's beautiful in their own way."

But when you're looking through the postings at Match.com, and you see the description "a few extra pounds," you're not quite so enlightened and P.C.

We all know that there are better ways to determine peoples' values and morality than simply asking them.

All of us, that is, except the Amarillo Globe-Republican News page, and the Amarillo Globe-Republican Opinion page:

The Republicans need to find someone, such as, say, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, whose office said this past week had taken nothing from Abramoff.
So, Mr. Thornberry, how do you feel about fat people?


I always feel like somebody's watching me

Remember the old Crime Stoppers promos narrated by Mike Shumate? The idea was that wimpy P.C. libruhls were saying that Crime Stoppers used unfair and possibly unconstitutional tactics like spying on citizens and "airborne surveillance" to catch criminals. Shumate listed these tactics as he mockingly demonstrated himself using them. Finally, he concluded, those limp-wristed ACLU types were saying Crime Stoppers used the shocking tactic of

your own neighbors turning you in.
He grinned maniacally and then smirked
Well, maybe we do!
Officers had responded to the Shumates' home in the 6200 block of Adirondack Trail about 12:20 p.m. after receiving a call from a person who reported that a woman told him to call the police.
Mike, I don't know why people are complaining about NSA spying and all the other civil-rights abuses of the early 21st century. If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

they eat their own

I gotta say, if Swinford was behind the ruling that Anette Carlisle is ineligible to run against him, I totally understand. She's a serious threat to the dude.

More importantly, I totally get why the state Republican party doesn't want her to run. I don't think she's a real Republican.

For one thing, she supports public education. Spacedark, Jr. attended Bivins with one of her sons. She was quite dedicated to the PTA.

And the S.O. and I had a conversation with her at the Amarillo Little Theatre's production of Tommy right before she declared her candidacy. She complained about "those Republicans" down in Austin.

We also saw her at the movies Saturday night.

She has a Masters degree in zoology and named one of her sons "Darwin". We're not saying that means anything, but-- if she really wanted to be a Republican she'd change his name to Pat Robertson Dobson Phelps Carlisle.

I've listened to Anette in PTA meetings and other contexts. I respect her. I wish she had run as a Democrat.

But no Democrat will win this race this time. D's are only on Panhandle ballots to give the happy illusion of democracy. I'm hoping that Anette will win her court battle in time to run in the primary against Swinford.

The best Panhandlians can hope for is a Republican with a grudge against the Texas Republican Party.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Shorter Republican-News Re: Scalito

. . . "Bush said he would appoint a conservative so everyone should just fall over in fawning approval of Sloppy Seconds Sammy."

. . . "Also the ABA likes SSS."

OK . . . so if Bush had said during the election that he wanted to nominate Ted Kasczinski to SCOTUS that's OK? 'Cause he said it?

And just when did the ABA approval of appointees suddenly become important to the Bushistas?


Just a Question This AM

Should Liberals be publishing books titled, "Help! Mom! There are conservatives under the bed!"

A book for parents who want to share patriotic American values with their kids.

. . . or just indoctrinating hate speech from the right?

Repubs out there?


Monday, January 09, 2006

in which we leap to the defense of curious texan and bodacious

Guys, your president signed a bill into law that makes it a federal crime for you to annoy us without posting your real names.

We of course find this ridiculous, and won't press charges against you.

But this (yet again) brings up the serious question: How many times can this guy betray you before you will turn against him? How far is too damned far?


Sunday, January 08, 2006

broke culture

The S.O. and I saw Brokeback Mountain last night. It was the second night of the movie’s Amarillo engagement and the theater was about three-quarters full. Before the movie started, the S.O. pegged the first couple who would walk out: he was wearing a black cowboy hat and she looked a bit dowdy. We theorized and stereotyped about the couple. They probably drove in from Clarendon or something and just looked at the poster: hey, look it’s a western; I hain’t seen a good western in ages.

Of course, that small-townie cluelessness doesn’t really exist anymore in my real-life experience. It’s not really conceivable that they didn’t know, in the age of satellite television, satellite radio, the internet. Hell, if nothing else, they had to read Mallard Fillmore’s latest plotline. Last week Bruce Tinsley portrayed his stereotype of the liberal media, Mr. Noseworthy, as being a closet homophobe who was really “grossed out” by the sight of cowboys kissing. It was no more believable than our theory of the Clueless Clarendonians.

Frankly, I’m sick of stereotyping each other, but I don’t see the alternative. That’s why Brokeback was such a beautiful and devastating story and why it is such a beautiful and devastating movie. It doesn’t stereotype. At all. Some of the audience laughed inappropriately at the wrong times and for the wrong reasons, seeing stereotypes where none existed, but it was their own issues that provoked their laughter. Jack’s and Ennis’s love isn’t a bit stereotypical; it is completely new and incomprehensible to them. For that reason they are exactly like all other lovers, and for the same reason they are completely unique.

An example: in a mountain scene before the two men consummate their love, a blurred Ennis undresses behind Jack. The camera is focused on Jack. In some stereotypical gay-cowboy farce in some alternate universe, Jack—played by Carson from Queer Eye—peeks. He holds his hand in front of his eyes, and he turns his head slightly and he mugs and he peeks and he makes that lecherous Carson expression.

Our universe, for once, got a better deal. In Brokeback Mountain, Jack doesn’t look; the camera holds on the scene for an eternity, and the visual holds more sexual tension than a years' worth of the latest sitcom about two characters who love each other but won’t admit it.

But our universe is also stuck with stereotypes, from fag basher to fag hag. I suspect that the real continuum of attitudes is as complicated as the complex strata of human sexual desire itself. In both Rent and Brokeback, I’ve been baffled by the walkouts. Offended audience members stayed through relatively passionate early scenes, but left during tender later scenes. In Rent, they stayed when lesbians made out, but left when they were married. In Brokeback, they stayed through the first violent/passionate sex scene, but left when Jack and Ennis held each other and kissed. It was as if they could handle gay sex, but not gay love.

I don’t understand it, but I don’t understand homophobia so I’m forced to stereotype and ridicule it. Tinsley doesn’t understand the position of enlightened straights so he parodies us as hypocrites.

I’m on the verge of concluding that explaining myself one – more – time – won’t matter, but I’m not there, yet. And I’m outraged at being called a hypocrite, and, yes, I do take Tinsley’s cheap jokes personally. So, here goes: I’m not a hypocrite. I’m not even a well-meaning liberal of the “some of my best friends are gay” ilk. I have had gay friends all of my life; I’ve experienced their anguish at coming out with them. I've hung out, and partied, and gone to church with gay people. When I was younger and presumably cuter, I experienced the worst fear of some homophobes. I dealt with it, the same way I dealt with it when girls I wasn’t attracted to flirted with me. And the men involved remained my friends.

So, yeah, some of my best friends are gay. But I also know some gay people who are cliqueish, and insincere, and, worst of all, Republican. I’m way past being ashamed or proud or defensive of the fact that I am a straight man who has been and remains connected to gay culture and gay politics and, especially, to gay human beings.

I’m going to go way out on a limb here and predict that Jack and Ennis will join the ranks of literary history’s great tragic lovers. And someday the politics of the time that makes their story tragic will be as difficult for future students to comprehend as the socio-political backdrops of Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde are to us.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Question War Film Series

(from PazAmarillo)

Sunday January 8, 2006
2:00 pm
Downtown Library

PBS Frontline Documentary
A Company of Soldiers

Friday, January 06, 2006

Macho Man

Well, the policeman has been "pastored" to:

Okla. Pastor Arrested on Lewdness Charge

What right-wing, anti-gay crusader wants to handle the other five?

This is what a constitutional crises REALLY looks like

We cannot let the republicans get away with spinning their way out of the criminal spying scandal aided and abbetted by the Amarillo Republican-News.

PTS needs all good believers in democracy and in our republic to start hitting back fast and furious.

What do I mean? Letters to the editors and calls to local talk radio and local TV stations. To contact many at once use CLICK HERE and check off who you want to email.

For facts, the left coaster has done remarkable heavy lifting here. GO NOW

Bush BROKE THE LAW and violated FISA. Worse, he came out and confirmed he broke it in a "Whadda ya gonna do about it" speech.

I remember a lot of conservatives out there screaming, "Rule of law! Rule of law!" about Clinton. Where are those conservatives now? A few are around.

More important . . . are the rest willing to put country before party and join us in the fight to save the constitution?

Take five minutes today to at least write the Globe-Republican and support whats left of our country.

Monday, Abramoff. NOT a bi-partisan scandal.

-Prodigal Son

America 2020

You know the lords and ladies of America, Inc. look at news articles like this and smack their lips in anticipation of the day it will be possible here:

Microsoft Shuts Down Chinese Blog

Will they have PTS busting rocks in a forced labor camp, or will they simply shoot us in the head?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bush Administration Catch Phrases for 2006

1. Take my liberty and spare me death.
2. Better red than dead.
3. We have everything to fear, including fear itself.
4. Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country is going to do to you.
5. All of your privacy are belong to us.


"The Chosen One. The burnt-orange Messiah."

Best. Game. Ever.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dear Leader Loves Me, This I Know

Dear Leader loves me.

He loves me enough to protect my freedom.

"Give me your freedom", says Dear Leader, "and I will protect it for you. I will put it here, in my pocket, where it will be safe. There it will be safe from the Evil Doer."

"But, Dear Leader", I say, "I cannot be free without my freedom."

"The Evil Doer hates your freedom", Dear Leader states. "By letting me protect your freedom you will help me defeat him. When the Evil Doer is gone we will all be freer."

"Dear Leader, I am bothered by this. How does one gain freedom by giving it away?"

Dear Leader smiles. "You don't have anything to hide, do you?"

"No, Dear Leader", I reply, "nothing to hide."

"Good.", says Dear Leader. "Only those with something to hide will complain when I watch them. They are the enemy. But you are not the enemy are you? Only the enemy needs to worry."

"Dear Leader, you possess enormous power, more power than I can fathom. How will I know you will not use that power against people who are not the Evil Doer? How do I know you will not use that power against me?"

Dear Leader frowns. "You will know because you will trust me. Dear Leader has told you he will only watch the Evil Doer. You are not the Evil Doer, but you help him with your questions."

"Dear Leader", I say, "my freedom is what makes me different from the Evil Doer. I don't want to give it away, it is too precious a thing."

Dear Leader becomes stern. "You can give me your freedom, or I can take it. Either way I will have your freedom so I can protect it and defeat the Evil Doer. You will trust me because I told you to and you will stop helping the Evil Doer with your questions. And if I decide to watch you, you will let me, because my power is great and my authority is absolute...and there isn't a goddamn thing you can do to stop me."

Monday, January 02, 2006

signals from space

From firedoglake:

As a side note, anybody ever get stuck driving through like the West Texas panhandle where Jesus radio is the only thing besides the cattle futures you can get? I always start thinking about what kind of mindset you would have to be in where that shit actually starts to sound good and then I creep myself out. I'm fairly certain the idea for satellite radio was hatched somewhere between Amarillo and Lubbock.
Yup. The S.O. got me a satellite radio for Christmas this year, and terrestrial's now dead to me.

There's a little more variety than what firedoglake expresses, but not much. I mean, I like Jamey Karr as a person, but his station plays the same ten songs over&over&over&yougettheidea. Some people say that satellite doesn't have the local connection, but almost every commercial station other than Jamey's is owned by Wal-Radio. And almost all of their shows are off satellite, anyway. There's NPR, but my satellite unit gets three public radio stations. Which leaves college radio. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes you get a deadly blast of noise followed by a non-FCC-approved word and then thirty minutes of silence.

Yup, satellite radio's become the latest, greatest way to pretend I'm not living in the middle of an unihabitable cloud of dust.


onetoughgrandma to run as an independent

Carole Keeton R'ander Strayhorn MacInerney Shaw announces. Early reaction from Dems seems to be that any increased chaos is a good thing.


Removed from respirator

(We, the ever-prompt management of Panhandle Truth Squad, have been starting our new year by going through old mail and we found the following note that Iman sent along on 15 December. Sorry for the delay, Iman!)

I'm told this is what would happen if we ever move to national health care system. Removed from respirator.

Where are the protestors? Why are the culture warriors not fighting for the sanctity of life? When is Dr. Frist going to make a long distance diagnosis? What TV station is going to debate this 24/7? Will this even make a blip on the national radar?


The Redneck Liberal: Part One

True "Life Is Good" moments don't come around very often, so when they do I take notice. I had one last month. Standing on the edge of a field of winter wheat I found myself gazing straight up into the sky, watching a flock of sand cranes as they passed overhead. The long shadows of the winter afternoon were making their way across the ground, the air was perfectly still, and we were far from the sounds of traffic or industry. Though the cranes were far above me I could hear their wings beating, pushing them through the air, the sounds of their chatter echoing off the ground below. "This one moment makes the whole day worthwhile," I thought, "Life is good."

BLAM! One of my buddies saw a pheasant and took a shot. So much for my brief solitude.

It's been 10 years since I last saw this group of friends from Dimmitt. Even more than that since we all went hunting together, something that was a regular occurrence in our high school days. We have thinning hairlines and sagging guts now, families instead of girlfriends, but despite all that it seemed perfectly natural that we were together again. As if not a day had passed since the last time.

I don't consider myself to be a redneck, far from it these days, but my redneck roots are undeniable. A good part of that particular day could have come straight from a Jeff Foxworthy stand-up routine. Four guys riding around the remains of a sorghum field in a Polaris ATV, shotguns in the air, ready to blast any pheasant that decided to take flight. You know you're a redneck...

That excursion has given me a lot to think about in the weeks since, and I haven't really come to any conclusions, yet. "This is a conservative hunt, we don't allow liberals.", one of my friends joked earlier in the day. I just rolled my eyes as I shook his hand. They are conservatives. I am a liberal. What makes us so different? Are we really different from each other?

After a long day of hunting, I drove back to Amarillo. A rabbit ran out into the road in front of me. I swerved so I wouldn't hit it. Interesting...