“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"

Monday, July 31, 2006

wake me up before you go-go / 'cause I'm not plannin' on going solo

So me and the S.O. were in Dallas a coupla weeks ago for a concert and, after sharing an order of The Best Cheese Fries on Earth at Snuffers on Lower Greenville, we picked up a copy of the Dallas Voice. In Which she and I read an article about Kenny Goss, a Dallas gallery owner who also happens to be George Michael's partner. The article described the Goss gallery's collection of creepy First Lady1 portraits, but the real meat2 of the article gets saved for the gossipy final two paragraphs, In Which Goss describes the Emperor's post-White House plans:

"The Bushes are moving back to Highland Park," Goss says. They're actually looking to build a house across the street from where George and I had just bought."
So, um, what was the Crawford ranch, after all those brush-clearing photo ops of the past six years? Bought a day or so before Bush declared his candicacy, only to be abandoned (if this deliciously queeny Oak Lawn gossip is true) in the last days of January, 2009?

Oh, ye gods. Don't tell me it was all a lie.


1 Insert gay joke here. It's O.K.-- the Dallas Voice did.
2 Don't insert3 gay joke here. If you don't understand why that would be inappropriate, you haven't been paying attention.
3And, for gods' sake, don't riff on the word "insert," Beavis.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Morning Tomato Blogging

HEY! Get the hell out of my garden!

This morning I have a question, completely unrelated to the photo above, for dear old Dave Henry. From your 7/20 "kick in the pants":

TO CABLE TELEVISION: The Globe-News has received a few letters to the editor bemoaning the demise of The Golf Channel in Amarillo. Here's what should get people teed off - the communistic nature of cable TV. Consumers should pay only for the channels they want and not be forced to subsidize 60 some-odd channels just to get the five or six they watch on a regular basis. Let the free market pull the plug on channels nobody wants.
So what is the Dave Henry conservative going to do about it, other than gripe? What would conservative activism look like? That isn't a snide, rhetorical question. I'd actually like to know. If I were to put a plan together it would go something like this:

1. Define the goal, which would be paying only for the channels we want.
2. Define what I'm willing to do to achieve that goal. I'm willing to dump my cable service.
3. Set a reasonable timeline for the cable company to comply or get dumped.
4. Circulate petitions to gather signatures of like-minded people who are also willing to dump cable service. They can't just trade out for satellite, either. The satellite providers will just be sitting around rubbing the hands together in anticipation of giving the same crappy deal to new customers.
5. If enough people are involved, and they cable companies don't comply, then have hundreds or maybe even thousands of people show up at a designated time to cancel their service.

Of course, I'm a liberal and if I put something like that together I'd be accused of being everything from a communist to an economic terrorist.

So, What Would Dave Henry Do?

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Israeli-Lebanese War is Damn Good News

Israel’s retaliatory attack on Lebanon is the best thing to have happened since the invasion of Iraq – oh happy days for the media.

Instead of the same dull routine of suicide car bombings killing forty Iraqis at a time and the slowly mounting American casualties, now you have a real shooting war to cover, with tanks firing their thundering guns and spectacular explosions blasting hill tops and city blocks. You’ve got unscarred virgin buildings and city quarters blown to smithereens, not the same old crappy rubble blown up over and over again.

Correspondents are no longer holed up in the Green Zone. You can go wherever you want knowing you’ll get fair warning to put on your flak jacket before the camera begins to roll. You can stay in a hotel that always has hot water and electricity. You can have an ice cold Gold Star beer after the next rocket attack while you file your report on the dead and screaming wounded.

You’re finally away from that stinking green sewer of a Euphrates River and its bobbing headless corpses. You can go for a cool swim in the blue waters of the Mediterranean between bombardments. The blasted waste of Iraq is a distant memory as you sip tea in your hotel’s quiet garden in Jerusalem and talk with natives who know decent English.

Ratings are up as headlines tout news of World War III. Or is it IV? Studio pundits in their comfy chairs warn Armageddon could be days away. Tell your television audience they might not survive long enough to see film at 11:00. Larry King will have an exclusive interview with the Messiah.

As the Israeli-Lebanese border descends into stay-the-course progress, bringing true Bush democracy to the peoples of the region, we can only hope and pray that another administration success will emerge from it: a newly minted anchor for MSNBC.

Web Roundup, get along little dogies

Debunking "A Mathematicians View of Evolution"

Buckley: Bush Not a True Conservative IMO, it's not a Bush failure, but the inevitability of conservatism.

Why does the ABA hate Bu...America!

Ah, the joys of deregulating monopolies.

CuriousTexan and I had a discussion where I explained how egos get in the way of executing wars correctly. I ran across a much better explanation of it, Sunk Cost Effect. Thanks to this Kos article: We're far too deep in this snow.

More bonddad
College Graduates' Wages Drop 5.2% since 2000
Economics Talking Points for Dem Leaders, pt. 2

On the lighter side:
blogarillo, did you notice this: Headline for Superbowl Halftime Act
What would happen if BattleStar Galactica Crashed Landed on Lost

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the national anthem . . .



. . . of the U.S. occupation of the Middle East.

"If I stay, there will be trouble / If I go, it will be double."



Just F***in Stop. Now.

Wow. . . the chickenhawk pantload brigades and 101st fighting keyboarders are everywhere on CNN and FAUX news, etc. cheering on . . . a world f**king war. Ahhh. . . good times.

The world war II = WOT despicable marketing plan for the upcoming elections is in full force.

Rummy was out there the other day, but for some reason media ain't buyin' what they's sellin'.

Boston Globe: Loose lips sink history, the latest effort -- transparent as it is inaccurate -- tries to draw parallels between Iraq and World War II.

LA Times: Pipe Down, RummyRumsfeld's cranky outburst mangles a historical analogy, bad-mouths legitimate critics.

Seattle PI: Iraq War: The false specter the defense secretary now deals with questioning of the mismanaged campaign by raising the false specter of World War II style appeasement.

Dubya is blathering this theme in political speeches, and then excoriated the press by saying they are not political.

Peeps, America is not in WWII, WWIII, or WWIV.

OK, rightwing goosesteppers, if this is a world war . . .

Where is the draft? Where are the tax hikes? War bonds? Retooling manufacturing industry? Sheeet, where are the nukes?

Just askin . . .

-Prodigal Son

Godspeed Scotty . . .

Scotty's ashes are being sent into orbit this fall. HERE. Very cool, except for the falling back to earth and burning up in the atmosphere part.

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

reaching out

(The following is the text of a speech I made to the Potter-Randall Democratic Club, 24 July 2006.)

The other day, my son, my fiancée, and I took something called an Authentic Happiness inventory. It was an online psychological test, and, like most such tests, maddeningly easy to figure out. You mark the statements you agree with on a list:

A. I feel like a failure.
B. I do not feel like a winner.
C. I feel like I have succeeded more than most people.
D. As I look back on my life, all I see are victories.
E. I feel I am extraordinarily successful.
I figured out fairly quickly that, in every single list, the “E” option means you are happy and the “A” option means you are depressed. Presumably, happiness is a worthy goal, and so all people should strive to be able to honestly answer “E” to the items on the Authentic Happiness Inventory.

The problem lies in statements like this:
A. I feel cut off from other people.
B. I feel neither close to nor cut off from other people.
C. I feel close to friends and family members.
D. I feel close to most people, even if I do not know them well.
E. I feel close to everyone in the world.
And this:
A. In the grand scheme of things, my existence may hurt the world.
B. My existence neither helps nor hurts the world.
C. My existence has a small but positive effect on the world.
D. My existence makes the world a better place.
E. My existence has a lasting, large, and positive impact on the world.
And this:
A. My skills are never challenged by the situations I encounter.
B. My skills are occasionally challenged by the situations I encounter.
C. My skills are sometimes challenged by the situations I encounter.
D. My skills are often challenged by the situations I encounter.
E. My skills are always challenged by the situations I encounter.
So a happy person who could answer “E” to all of these statements would feel close to all living human beings, believe that s/he was tremendously important in world history, and yet somehow manage to be challenged by all situations encountered during the normal walk through a single human life. I have met people who would describe themselves in this manner (at least part of the time); they invariably pass through therapist's offices where they hear words like "narcissistic," and "bipolar," and ''disconnected with reality" and, finally, "medication." They generally decide the therapist is an idiot and ignore these words; and that ignoring is one more small step on their inevitable march toward a clueless loss of sobriety, or spouse, or freedom, and even in that loss they continue to blame all the Others of the world.

You may have heard of the Netroots: those of us who write weblogs (online diaries) or blogs, who leverage our collective power to build a 50-state strategy by contributing $10.99 at a time to our favorite candidates even (or especially) if they live in Connecticut, and who have begun to gather in what the old cyberpunk science-fiction writers called “meatspace” (formerly known as the "real world") at meetups and the now famous Yearly Kos where national politicians recognized the Netroots burgeoning power by throwing parties for them and giving them t-shirts. For awhile now the "Netroots" have been expressing the sense that the Democratic Party, as an institution, would pass the Authentic Happiness Inventory with flying colors. The Democratic Party feels close to everyone in the world. The Democratic Party still believes that it has a lasting, large, and positive impact on the world. And yet somehow the Democratic Party's skills are in every election challenged by the situations it encounters.

The Netroots along with many of the OG - Original Grassroots - are frustrated with the lack of success of the party that so obviously represents all the people. The national Democratic Party is disconnected with reality, and we have begun to stage an intervention.

That intervention is known by different names. Markos Zuniga- Kos- perhaps the most famous blogger- calls it "Crashing the Gate". Howard Dean called it ''you have the power." But it is an intervention, and, like all interventions, it is motivated by love. We intervene because we love the Democratic Party.

For better or worse, our local blog, Panhandle Truth Squad, right here right now, these pixels on this screen, this is the Amarillo Netroots. And from our perspective as bloggers we see the same issues that plague the national party acted out in microcosm on this local stage. We have begun holding Drinking Liberally meetups in local bars on the third Friday of the month. Some local Democrats have complained that we are advocating immoral activities but we are only trying to attract a different, younger group into the party. When we go to events like Chris Bell's recent fundraiser, we are let in, because our money is green, but few people there have heard of the Panhandle Truth Squad. This, despite the fact that our readership is several times the size of the crowd at that event. Some fret that our methods - endless discussion and unserious events like Drinking Liberally - are excessively social (“Demented and sad,” as Bender the thug in The Breakfast Club says. “But social.”). Some complain that we never get away from our keyboards and a larger number complain when we do.

This past Thursday, I heard, Kinky Friedman was in Amarillo. He will probably return before the election. He will entertain, and there will be music and the beer will flow, and there will be one-liners and in America in 2006 it won't matter much that his policies are retrograde at best, lunatic at worst, and invariably half-baked. He will entertain, and that will be enough for some people. He will be passionate, and that will be enough for some. He will steal votes from us and from the Republicans and no one knows who he will steal more from. He will do it by networking with people in new and different ways.

We are the new and different way for the Democratic Party. The passion, the heart, and the soul of the Democrats today lie in the Netroots. There are too many in this aging party-especially, unfortunately, in red areas like Potter County- who are content simply to have tea parties, run a sacrificial lamb against the Republican Candidate, and lose honorably. We are not. And we are not going away.

There have been many and varied recent debates in the overheated media about Whether the Netroots are Good for the Democrats. These debates—like so many such debates—miss the point. What we are now calling the Netroots have, always and ever, hovered behind Democratic success or failure. We are better organized, now. But we were there, in 1988, refusing to vote at all in that lesser-of-evils election. The Democrats lost. We were there, in 2000, and a sad contingent of us made the misguided choice to vote for Nader. The Democrats did not place their candidate in the White House. Many of us come from extremely liberal or libertarian backgrounds and tiltled, once upon a time, at green candidates, third parties and independents. Many of us were entirely apolitical. We gravitate now toward Democrats because we recognize the horror of the path our land and world are on, and we believe that only Democrats are positioned to stop it. We are the growth in the Democratic Party. It sounds like a threat, but it is not: The Democrats may or may not win with us, but they will undoubtedly lose-and possibly die- without us. So at Panhandle Truth Squad and Drinking Liberally let's get the Netroots, the Grass Roots and the party Democrats together. We'll need all of us to fight the real enemy.

Thank you for your time.


Condi visits Lebanon

Condi Rice is on her way to the Middle-East spreading the usual rhetoric about creating Democracy and spreading peace. Of course no mention will be made of the increasing numbers of dissents in that region. Orginizations like Hizbollah and Hamas have never been more powerful and dislike of U.S. policy seems almost universal.

Do you think Condi will accomplish anything? The author of the article I've posted, a noted journalist, who also happens to be a Muslim calls her trip to Lebanon a "fantasy ride." He also notes that the US and Bush policy must share part of the blame for the current situation in Lebanon. Is he right or is there hope this mess can be settled.

Here is a photo of some of the destruction wrought by the Israeli bombing of Southern Lebanon. Seems they are determined to destroy Hizbollah at any cost and the taking of the two soldiers gave them a good excuse. Question is will it further polarize the region or will it lead to better relations. God what a mess.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Unity Day Celebration

Get out and support our brothers and sisters at the NAACP Unity Celebration!

Floyd Anthony, President of Amarillo's chapter was kind enough to email us the details:

August 5th, 3-5 PM, at Dr. MLK park on Amarillo Blvd.

I encourage you to reach out and help. Give 'em a call. 806.352.9492. We want a big crowd there.

There is another side of Amarillo other than the Virgil VCamp . . . er. . . republican base . . . er . . . KKK marchers.


PS: Someone please help Greg Sagan at the AGR understand that, "We're far more likely to refuse service to someone who is a liberal than to someone who is merely black." is sort of a whimpering, "I'm a good little democrat who knows his place" sorta thing.

. . . on second thought, WTF IS he saying?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Morning Tomato Blogging

I'm sitting in our backyard this morning, working on this week's Sunday Morning Tomato Blog and pondering global warming. The Discovery Channel produced a good special on the topic (global warming, not the tomato blog) that aired last week and it seems the issue finally gaining some traction with the public. It's just getting too big to ignore. What's got me thinking about global warming is the compost heap off to the side of the garden that's provided some of the soil for this year's crop. I've been patting myself on the back for being a good tree hugger and composting my leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps and other plant refuse, but now I'm wondering if that is really such a good thing?

The gist of global warming is this: over millions of years carbon was captured and stored as plants and bacteria. Said plants and bacteria lived, died and collected into massive amounts of organic material which would later be converted by geological processes into coal, oil and natural gas. Human beings discovered these ready made energy warehouses and we spent the past hundred years or so burning them for everything from warming the homes of Dickensian England to fueling my car. In the process, all that carbon, which had been stored under ground for unfathomable amounts of time, is released once again into the atmosphere as C02. Increasing levels of C02 in the atmosphere convert more solar radiation to heat, the air warms up, etc. etc. etc. The process as a whole isn't terribly difficult to understand. It's real, it's happening and the two big questions seem to be: "What are the consequences going to be?" and "What can we do about it?"

It seems our strategy should be a two-pronged attack: prevention and reclamation. We need to cut back on C02 emissions, but we also need to deal with what is already there. I'm not going to address prevention much. Wind and solar power and low-emission vehicles shouldn't be unfamiliar to anyone. What really has me thinking is reclamation. One of the prosposed solutions to global warming is called 'carbon sequestering', where C02 is taken from the atmosphere by some means and then stuck back underground where we found it. It seems to this environmental layman that sequestering is probably the most viable solution.

This is where my composting efforts come into the picture. The compost, much like the plants and bacteria from ages past, is a store of carbon. Unlike the ancient organic material which was covered with sediment and rock, the compost gets a good stir once or twice a week to provide aeration. Insects, bacteria and fungi are busy breaking it down, and releasing C02 in the process. What if instead of composting I tossed all that into the dumpster to be hauled off and buried in a landfill, effectively putting the carbon back into the ground? What if the simplest solution available to us was to take the current global warming system and put it in reverse? For all these years we've had centralized production points for fossil fuels that distributed to the consumers who then used it in comparatively small amounts. What if, instead of some single massive effort at carbon reclamtion (such as Iron Fertilization), we as individuals were to make a concerted effort at capturing C02 in the same small amounts we released it? Everything from grass clippings to sewage could be collected and sent to centralized collection points to be processed and buried underground, the same way our trash is now? If power plants were equipped with some kind of C02 scrubbing technology we might even be able to burn the refuse as fuel and then collect the carbon there. Would this be enought to offset our C02 producing activities? Is it even technically possible? Economics and politics complicate things even further.

This is a political blog, so it should be mentioned that there is one ideology that looks to the future and asks the tough questions like this, while another simply defends the status quo. We lefties need to support candidates who are willing to explore real solutions to this most serious of problems. Any of you centrists/moderates out there better think long hard about this sort of thing when you're standing in the voting booth this fall. The Republican oil-whores currently running ruining our country certainly aren't going to do jack about it and the Christmastians are just sitting around praying for the world to end.

For now, I'll wait for my tomatoes to grow and hope that the horribly dry year we are having is an anomoly and not a sign of things to come.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Physician, heal thyself...

From this morning's Globe-Republican (bolds mine):

I am tired of listening to people say we could stop terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere if we would stop fighting and negotiate.

I suggest we load up all the people who think diplomacy will work with terrorists, send them to the Middle East, and let them try negotiating face to face with these guys.

When all of their heads have been severed and their bodies mutilated, maybe the ones who just talked about solving problems and stayed behind might change their point of view.

I would donate gladly money to anyone interested in going over there and trying to talk to these animals face to face.

People need to know these terrorists will kill you just because you are an American; they could care less what political party you are affiliated with.

The sooner we "all" know with whom we are dealing, the sooner our country can unite and stop terrorism all over the world!

We need to stop pointing fingers in America and find a way to stop all this hatred.

John L. Faulkner
Perhaps would could load up Faulkner and send him off to fight the war he believes in so strongly? Put your lives where mouths are Bushbots. I'll send you a pair of socks when you get there.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Web Roundup, yeehaw!

Just a roundup of interesting articles I've read this week. I'll try to post a web roundup every friday.

Vote in elections win the lottery

Never let a tragedy keep you from making a buck

Never let the facts get in the way of policy

The following are from a blogger bonddad. I would recommend going back through his archives, very informative.
Stagnent Wages starting to tick off the employees
Economic talking points for Democratic leaders

Thursday, July 20, 2006

James Robinson is a No-Nothing Dipsh**: Part 1356 of an Ongoing Series

Our boy James Robinson, a freeper, an Anti-Social Security advocate, and interestingly an AC Surgical Tech grad steps up AGAIN and proves that he has no f**kin' idea of what he speaks, but is determined to say something anyway.

Let us say, and why not, that James is one of those conservatives who remembers he once read something back in high school econ 101, and then has it all come rushing back (A name . . . Adam Smith! YES! that's it!) as he furiously . . . whatever. . . to his fav Ann Coulter pic.

You know, before he went into a career that does not have a god-da** thing to do with exploring modern economic theory.

He has been here before, trying to explain to those french loving liberals all about how socialistic social security is so socially socialistic for society.

He has even tried to explain capitalism by using a bizarrely imagined conversation between an unknown prosecutor and capitalism that made ol' Prodigal Son want to reach out, despite his disgust at all things Republican, and ask James for a case of that righteously hallucinatin' . . . whatever it is James is smokin'.

And you just KNOW that those those liberal socialist european english frenchy lovin' . . . er . . . whatever are the number one threat to America, and that they should just leave .

If there is a subject I am uninformed about, and before I imagine I know anything about it, I study, I read, I think. Then again we are talking about conservatives here. Free thinkers they ain't.

Mrs. Brasell, Prodigal Son's english teacher at Caprock said, "Open your mouth and display your ignorance." just before she made an example out of him for bad behavior. (but BEFORE his good friend Spacedark was given swats for torturing some member of the choir)

So, James, tell ya what. I won't pretend I know about washing blood off of instruments, the best sterilizing equipment, and which Amarillo doctors are so Republican dreamy, dreamy . . . and you will stop pretending to know anything about economics. It's embarrasing how little you know AND understand man.

Then again, our former mayor could not distinguish the difference between Keynsian and any other form of economics, so Jamsey is in good company.

-Prodigal Son


This flash animation came out in the lead up to the invasion/occupation of Vietraq. It hasn't been completely accurate (yet), but the creators got close.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The War Tapes: They do what they're told in their Nintendo world

The brainwashing campaign is going nicely. I wonder when the bestseller examining the ways our armed forces indoctrinate soldiers into the right wing fold will be coming out.

Chris Bell's statewide ad

Chris is huge. . . and notice where he's standing in that last scene.


Monday, July 17, 2006

what they need to do is get Mayor McCartt to stop this shit

OMG, open mic!

Sorry to be a bummer, dude, but Amarillo doesn't look so great in Money magazines 2006 Best Places to Live survey.

Median family income here is a meager $45,896 per year, compared to an average of $62,555. Well, sure, but cost-of-living is lower, right? Apparently not: Our purchasing power, adjusted for cost-of-living is a mere $58,917, compared to $66,848. Our sales tax and auto insurance premiums are both higher than average. And don't bother looking for a better job so you can afford those expenses: our job growth rate is half the national average.1

Well, legal job growth, anyway. Happy days are here again for the crooks. Personal crime risk is 1282, considerably more than twice the national average. There were 785 personal crime incidents per 100,000 compared to 268 nationally. Property crime risk is 150; almost twice the national average. 6,377 property crime incidents per 100,000 compared to 3,302 nationally.

Those of us who have been saying for decades that there's nothing to do in Amarillo . . . well, sadly, we were right. Literally. No, literally. I know what it means; it's there in .25 dot pitch (black and white if you're reading Money magazine the old-fashioned way): There is nothing to do in Amarillo. The survey says: Zero sports, concert and family/arts events in Amarillo. Friggin' zero, compared to an average of three nationally.3 We have fewer movie theaters, fewer restaurants, fewer public golf courses, fewer libraries, and way, way, way fewer museums. Yeah, but we're close to the mountains? Depends on what you call close and depends on what you call mountains: the average city surveyed managed at least one ski resort within 100 miles; Amarillo has none. Well, geezus Billy Bob, they must be making an unfair comparison to much larger cities? Possibly, but keep in mind that we did manage to come in above average in one area of leisure and culture. Churches, gotta be churches? You may be right. The survey doesn't compare numbers of churches. But I wouldn't brag too much about Amarillo's piousness: the sole leisure and culture category in which we beat the average is . . .

. . . number of bars. Guess it really is like we said when we were sixteen; if there's nothing else to do . . .

About the same percentage of us are married, but we beat the national divorce average by almost three percent. Our hottest day is hotter and our coldest day is colder than average. It rains half as much as average.

Don't even get me started on education.

So what are the results of being poor, overcharged for insurance, uneducated, with no prospects and nothing to do, in a crime-ridden city, hot, cold, dry, drunk, and divorced? The obvious, apparently: we want to die early. Saddest of all, and notwithstanding the medical center in which we take such pride, our health stats look like crap. Only 74.7 of us have health insurance, a fact that was alluded to when Chris Bell visited. We're about as fat as most Americans, and we die of cancer at about the same rate, but despite that fancy new heart hospital our cardiac mortality rate is over 150-percent the national average. I'd blame the 72-ounce steak at the Big Texan, but only tourists try to eat that mofo.

So what's the good news? Precious little. The air quality is better here and there are more clear days. So, no clouds or smog to obscure a clear vision of how crappy your miserable life is.

At least housing is cheap. But of course it would be, in a place that sucks this much.


1 And despite popular local mythology, we only commute about six minutes less than the national average to the jobs we have. (My commute is almost an hour.)

2100 is the national average; lower is better.

3Obviously, both numbers are low. From the FAQ:

Number of arts and leisure activities (including museums, restaurants, hiking and camping spots, golf courses and professional sports teams) within proximity of each city is calculated by OnBoard. Data sources: InfoUSA, MRI and InSource marketing survey data, Trails.com, American Public Gardens Association, American Hiking Society, American Association of Museums, Symphony.org, Reserve America, Ticketmaster, American Zoo and Aquarium Assocation, GoSki.com.
I attend some arts and leisure activities, so they do exist, and should perhaps do a better job of promotion. This cross-section of sources does show a significantly lower-than-average number, however.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Liberal Colleges?

A recent study found that over 70% of all college professors are liberal. This is an area that is supremely frightening to the average conservative. How could such bias exists in such an important field?

Are they now going to begin to form their own colleges, a sort of dumbed down version of education equal to the dumbed down version of news they get on Fox?

Is it possible there are more liberal college professors because those who are more disciplined and insightful when studying their subject are also more disciplined and insightful when it comes to analyzing political situations?

God Forbid....Ack... Republicans are saying. VE MUST EXPLAIN...

Here are a couple of examples of how Think Tank Egogtistical Republican Demigogic Shitforbrains (TTURDS)...sorry about the goofy Acronym... have mobilized to once again falsely define our party and possibly even drive the best qualified instructors out of our universities in favor of dimwitted college dropouts who also happen to be Republicans.

Here is an article in which the writer say he suspects most college professors just have a Messiah complex and think education is more important than it really is. I guess he figures downplaying the importance of education is better than anyone thinking that often when people become more well educated they also become more liberal.

TTURDS (Republican think tank guru David Horowitz and his team of extremely well funded cronies) have even published a book about these "Dangerous Professors" Take a look at some of the commentary by readers of this book. Many five star ratings and comments like...'This tome is overdue but necessary for parents of and all new undergraduates." In other words the reader here is saying one should choose a university based upon whether the professors there agree with your political opinion...GAAAAAAA

UH....duh...maybe we should choose our news that way too...hu huh. I uh...duh...mean...uh ...what is truth anyway...hu huh?

Here is a nice article from Mother Jones that pinpoints exactly how dumb and dangerous this notion that we should examine academia for liberalism really is.

Leaving Las Vegas, Too

The Missus and I just got back from the other Las Vegas. If you've never been there you definitely need to witness it at least once. The city's only real reason for existence is to take people's money, and truckloads of it. When you consider the fact that all these casino-hotels, which are massive (the picture above was taken from the 64th floor of thehotel at Mandalay Bay), have enough people coming to them to keep them going is amazing. They all have one or more shows (which aren't cheap). Many have mall-sized shopping areas that are filled with high-end stores. Expensive restaurants owned by celebrity chefs have flourished in recent years. The gambling seems almost like a side business these days, and it's all growing. We saw several large construction projects while we were there, some were hotels, others were residential. One evening I sat on the balcony outside our room watching the planes land at the airport, which was only a few miles away. It was almost like a parade. They'd line up way off in the distance, then come in one after the other. Vegas is proof of how much wealth there is in this country. It's simply astonishing.

Friday, July 14, 2006

leaving las vegas

I've always wondered how I would react if I saw an honest-to-god UFO in the sky some dark night. Maybe I know now. Maybe to my shame.

As we drove around Las Vegas, New Mexico yesterday afternoon, I saw something extremely strange on I-25. Since no one else in the car mentioned it, I ignored it. I assumed I coudn't possibly have seen what I saw. So I suppose I'd treat an actual flying saucer hanging in the air in front of me the same way. I'd pretend it wasn't there, at least until it abducted me and took me to the planet the conservatives live on.

As for the strange Thing I saw in Las Vegas, the rest of the people in the car saw it a few minutes later. So: Now It Can Be Told.

We were driving back to Amarillo from Santa Fe. As we passed through Las Vegas, one of our traveling companions wanted to show the S.O. and me some of the historical sites of that town. We turned off the highway past a sign (which we totally ignored) that read "XX Base Camp." Our friend drove us around the plaza, showed us the Victorian homes, and pointed out the adobe huts along the Santa Fe Trail.

Then something very odd happened.

When we tried to get back on the highway, we found that the entrance opposite the "XX Base Camp" sign was blocked by orange pylons. And the highway beyond the pylons was (seemingly permanently) gated. The sign over the gate read "United States Border Patrol" and underneath that, a sign read "Mexico" and displayed an arrow that pointed toward Texas. These were official signs. It looked much like the bridge over the Rio Grande leading from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez. We had to detour back through town to get on the highway, and as we detoured we realized that the "XX Base Camp" sign pointed toward this installation.

So what the hell was going on?


Thanks to calamus venenum for clearing up the mystery. We hadda coupla theories:

1) While we were in vacation mode and ignoring world events, Mexican conservatives, eager to prove Felipe Calderón's "win" legitimate, invaded Nuevo México and attempted to retake the ancient city La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís. By Wednesday the army de la National Action Party had reached Las Vegas.

2) Arkansan National Guardspeople, appointed by the Emperor W to patrol the border, got confused. The distinction between Mexico and New Mexico has ever and always been confusing-- witness New Mexico magazine's perennial favorite feature "One of Our Fifty is Missing"-- and the Guardspeople set up their checkpoint on the wrong border.

3) We'd had a few more margaritas than we thought at the bar in La Fonda.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Help meeee. . .

Can one of our technology guru posters help fix the right side? I'm stumped.


Conservatives ARE the Problem

Great article over on Tom Paine by Paul Waldman, and he has it exactly right. Use this everyday . . .

"Ask a conservative what the biggest problem in America is today, and you’ll get answers like overtaxation, a sexualized culture, lack of respect for authority, insufficient church-going or big government running amok. But if you then asked the conservative what the real source of the problem was—the beating heart pumping blood to each and all of these socio-politico-cultural wounds—you’d get the same answer: liberalism."

"On the other hand, you could ask a liberal a hundred questions about the problems facing our country before you’d get to an answer that placed conservatism at the heart of the nation’s ills."

. . . snip

"1. Conservatism has failed. The overwhelming majority of the American public now sees the Bush administration as a failure. They failed in Iraq, they failed after Hurricane Katrina, they failed on health care, they failed to deliver rising wages, they failed on the deficit, they failed, they failed, they failed. Why? Liberals need to argue that it wasn’t a product of incompetence, it was a failure of conservative governance. As Alan Wolfe put it in a recent Washington Monthly article, “Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.”
Conservatives had their chance: a Republican president, a Republican Congress, Republican-appointed courts—in short, the perfect environment for enacting their vision with little to stand in their way—and they failed. Should we be surprised at the level of corruption? Of course not; they don’t think government is there to serve the people, so why shouldn’t they raid it for whatever they can grab?
In short, progressives should start talking about the Bush administration’s failures not as those of a president, but of an ideology.

2. Conservatism is the ideology of the past—a past we don’t want to return to. Liberals need to embrace the culture war, because we’re winning. The story of American history is that of conservative ideas and prejudices falling away as our society grows more progressive and thus more true to our nation’s founding ideals. Conservatives supported slavery, conservatives opposed women’s suffrage, conservatives supported Jim Crow, conservatives opposed the 40-hour work week and the abolishment of child labor, and conservatives supported McCarthyism. In short, all the major advancements of freedom and justice in our history were pushed by liberals and opposed by conservatives, no matter the party they inhabited at the time.
Conservatism is Bill Bennett lecturing you about self-denial, then rushing off to feed his slot habit at the casino. It’s James Dobson telling you that children need regular beatings to stay in line. It’s a superannuated nun rapping you on the knuckles so you won’t think about your dirty parts. It’s Jerry Falwell watching “Teletubbies” frame by frame to see if Tinky Winky is trying to turn him gay. Conservatism is everyone you never wanted to grow up to be.

3. Conservatives are cowards, and they hope you are, too. We’re afraid, they shout. We’re so afraid of terrorists, we have to become more like the things we hate. We’re so afraid, we have to let our government sanction torture. We’re so afraid, we have to let the government spy on us. We’re so afraid, we have to give the president dictatorial powers. We’re so afraid, we just want to rush to the arms of politicians who say they’ll protect us.
Progressives need to frame their rejection of the fear campaign as an act of courage: Al-Qaida does not scare us, and we will not dismantle our democratic system because we are afraid. The America we love does not cower in fear, as the conservatives want it to. "

-Prodigal Son

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Treason, it's a floor wax and a dessert topping

A recent discussion about the NYT's "treason" has erupted in our comments section. The right slings this charge around anytime anyone disagrees with their policy decisions, embarrasses them by making pubic their foibles, or demonstrates how they willfully ignore the rule of law. I went googling to find out just what has constituted treason in the past.

The first thing I did was find how treason is defined in the constitution.

Article III Section 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid an comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

Two types of actions can be looked upon as treason. The first, fighting in a war against the US. The second giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I am unaware of anyone making the charge that the NYT's has fought against the US on the battlefield (I'm sure it's coming). For this reason, I will focus on the second act of treason. Notice, one must give aid AND comfort for treason to apply. One without the other does not rise to the level of treason.

What does aid and comfort mean? The dictionary defines aid as The act or result of helping; assistance. It has several other definitions, but this one relates more to treason than the others. Comfort also has several definitions, one being Help; assistance. Since that is also the definition of aid, I think some of the other definitions must come into play, otherwise it would be redundant. If you scroll down a bit you will see the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction. There is also the definition give moral or emotional strength. So one must not only help the enemy, but also support them morally and emotionally.

Next, I looked at the history of court cases that involved treason. I was suprised to find that the first conviction occurred in 1945 (Cramer vs United States). This case was followed by seven others. The courts ended up with four criteria that must be met to be convicted of treason: (1) An Overt Act, (2)testified by two witnesses, (3) manifesting an intent to betray the U.S. and (4) providing aid and comfort to the enemy (reference).

Even if you could construe NYT's act as giving aid (I don't), it is implausible to say their reporting was an overt act manifesting an intent to betray the U.S.. It can't even be seen as a moral or emotional support of our enemies. Not only does it not meet the four criteria for conviction, it doesn't even meet the two listed in the constitution. We should keep the following in mind the next time some right wingnut shrilly accuses their opponents of treason. Did they help the enemy? If so, did they provide moral and emotional support, and did the overt act manifest an intent to betray the U.S.? The right will confabulate any action it wants as helping the enemy, but moral support and intent will always be missing when they accuse their political enemies of treason. We now have a rational reason to ignore their ravings of "treason", and maybe a bit of ammo to shoot holes in the argument.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Perchance hee for whom the Bell tolls, may be so ill, as that he knowes not it tolls for him"

Notes from Chris Bell's speech Saturday night at River Breaks Ranch:

  • You "can never leave Amarillo," and he has found his experiences when he lived here to be invaluable as he has campaigned for Governor. He understands how "ignored" many Texans feel by Austin.
  • He also understands how "beaten down" many Democrats feel. When he lived here, he felt like the only Democrat in the world. Back then he was angry and would often rant and rave about politics. People ask him why he is no longer so angry. (Are you listening, John Kanelis?) He tells them that, since then, he has experienced victory, and victory is "salve for what ails the soul". He wants a new generation to experience victory.
  • Fundraising is looking good. His campaign will announce that they raised 1.2 million this quarter.
  • Strayhorn is a Republican and has supported Republican initiatives for two decades. "You can call a dog a horse, but at the end of the day it is still a dog."
  • Kinky is funny, but, just as "we don't need a joke for governor, we don't need a governor just to tell jokes."
  • Even though we get rid of TAKS, students will still be accountable. How? "Teachers."
  • Health care is a major issue. 40 percent of Amarilloans are uninsured.


local Bell coverage

So I was going to say that the media coverage of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell's visit to Amarillo was surprisingly good. All three networks covered it as a headline story. It was featured on the front page of the Today section of the Globe-News. A visit from a Republican candidate would undoubtably be on the front page of the entire paper, but the Today section is probably the best we can expect for a Democrat. The quotes were reasonably good. Bell's former employer, KVII (Channel 7), and KFDA (Channel 10) focused on Bell's opposition to the TAKS, though KFDA did a better job of clarifying that getting rid of the abysmal and pointless TAKS would not abolish accountability. Last week John Kanelis of the Globe-News had stuck a laughably obvious Republican talking point in his column by stating that Bell was "angry," and that it probably had something to do with Tom Delay. KAMR (Channel 4) built on that position by claiming that Bell spent most of his time attacking Rick Perry.

I was actually prepared to compliment this morning's Globe-News for this morning's coverage, however. A flattering picture showed Bell speaking to Iris Lawrence and Alphonso Vaughn, and the Globe-News didn't find a way to position the picture next to a story about child molesters or murderers. The headline didn't contain any snide double-entendres. The story was chock-full of quotes from the speech. It was featured as the "Top Story" on amarillo.com this morning (stuck underneath an obnoxious pop-up ad for Midway Chevrolet, but that always happens to the top story). All in all, pretty good coverage . . . but then, at the very end of the piece, I came to this quote:

Jim Otto was one of about 20 who attended Bell's speech.
Poor, poor Chris Bell. Hardly nobody attended his widdle speech.

Of course, what the Globe-News didn't tell you was that Bell spent the whole day in Amarillo, meeting with various groups. The speech they covered was an unpublicized event attended by the media and local Democratic insiders. Later that evening, Bell spoke at a fundraiser at River Breaks Ranch. I suck at estimating crowd numbers, but I do know that at least several hundred people paid at least $25 to attend that event. I was there.

Several other PTS bloggers also attended. It was an excellent event. And I know there were more than twenty people there because they ran out of seating.


Sunday Morning Tomato Blogging

Other have done the tomato blog, but this is the PTS version.

Grow my pretties, grow...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

So, your job sucks?

You need the money? Things could be worse. . .

Yes, that's nimoy singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

It made me laugh, hadda share.

-Prodigal Son

Conservatism Is Dead

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: 2conservative
Function: noun
1 a : an adherent or advocate of political conservatism b capitalized : a member or supporter of a conservative political party
2 a : one who adheres to traditional methods or views b : a cautious or discreet person

Main Entry: con·ser·va·tism
Function: noun
1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party b : the Conservative party
2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change
3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

Does this sound like anyone you know? It does to me. Want to know who? Me. It's sounds a bit like me. Does it sound at all like you? Could one consider Social Security and public schools to be established institutions? I think so. Well established institutions at that, and I'm very much interested in preserving them. At the latest Potter-Randall Democrats meeting someone stated, in regard to the club's finances, something like, "We are the true fiscal conservatives." In a lot of ways, he's right. I'm a fiscal conservative. I'm a conservative spender and a conservative investor. I can't afford to not be.

There's a problem here, though. I'm a liberal. Again from Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: 2liberal
Function: noun
: a person who is liberal: as a : one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways b capitalized : a member or supporter of a liberal political party c : an advocate or adherent of liberalism especially in individual rights

Main Entry: lib·er·al·ism
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being liberal
2 a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party
I'm not so sure about the notion of a "self-regulating market", but other than than this sounds a great deal like me as well. So there is a difference between an individual conservative/liberal belief and a conservative/liberal belief system.

I started working on this post about a week ago and wound up putting it aside. Ironically this guest column by frequent contributing wingnut Steve Holland appeared in the Globe-Republican after that time: Conservatives hold sincere belief in personal responsibility. It's the typical, self-congratulatory piece that we've seen rewritten dozens of different ways by whatever-conservatives-are-now. To paraphrase, "I went to college blah blah blah. Government can suck because I donate to charities blah blah blah." He does make one point I agree with though: "Today's American version of political conservatism doesn't remotely resemble the dictionary definition of conservatism." Yes, very true, because conservatism is dead.

Five and half years of Bush policies have blown conservative talking points out of the water left and right. Reductions in taxes and social spending are about the only classic conservative pet causes where Bush has held true. Other than that, the deficit is out of control, the national debt is over $8 trillion, we've invaded and occupied two nations, the government has greatly expanded it's ability to spy on all of us and the private and public sectors have been rife with corruption, just to name a few issues. Does any of this sound like the definition at the top of this post? There's nothing conservative about any of it.

So who has taken the place of the conservative? The authoritarian cultist? The corporatist? The theocrat? All of the above? It seems that those-who-call-themselves-conservative are having a bit of an identity crisis. They try to reconcile their supposed beliefs with what is happening in the world around them and either wind up watering themselves down to little more than middle of the road moderates or exposing themselves as true radicals. There is little conservatism either way. Conservatism is dead.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

no more words

Mr. David H. Henry, that renowned "intelleckshul, Biblikal skolar, and Constitooshunal theerist," educates us that the First Amendment does not imply a right to read:

It was a 6-2 ruling with Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting, saying that the First Amendment includes "rights to receive, to read and to think."

(I looked and can't find this phrase in the First Amendment. Stevens and Ginsburg must be among the ever-growing number of people who think they know more about the U.S. Constitution than the people who wrote it. . .)


A thought experiment: David H. Henry writes a column admitting that he thinks David Duke is a better rapper than Ice Cube, suggesting that liberals be tattooed to identify their ideology to friends and neighbors and demanding the permanent incarceration of all non-Christians.

David's one fan removes his white hood and sits down in his own living room to read the column. Almost immediately, a group of jackbooted government thugs burst in and arrest Dave's fan. The Amarillo Globe-News, it turns out, has just been declared to be contraband; possession of the paper is punishable by law.

The Supreme Court upheld this law only last week. Turns out that "freedom of the press" doesn't mean that you can actually read what the press writes. Pastors, ministers and messiahs can establish churches, synagogues, or mosques, but that doesn't mean anyone has the right to attend services. You can speak, but no one better try to listen! Citizens can assemble, but no one look at them!

And folks can, of course, petition the Government for a redress of grievances, but . . .

From embryonic idea in Dave's head to column on the Opinion page: What a long, strange trip.


And you say Republicans have no sense of humor

In today's Amarillo Republican News, a letter:

"People can read all the Internet blogs they want, but I will stay with Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I like the truth."

Kenneth Standley

LOL! . . . oh, man . . . make them stop! . . . lol.

Oh, and Kenneth . . . Fred Phelps is a Fundamentalist Christian. Who do the fundies back overwhelmingly? Republicans, vato. You.

Nice try associating Phelps with the left. He is your base.

-Prodigal Son

Press Freedom from The Amarillo Independent

Certain political forces have hijacked the federal government of the United States and declared war on a free press. The Bush administration’s — and its congressional cohorts’ — lack of respect for the history of this nation and the role of the free press in keeping Americans free from tyranny deserves a reciprocal lack of respect.

Forfeiting this respect came last week when a variety of elected minions launched another attack on newspapers, this time focused on the New York Times story about tracking terrorist funds using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

The person who claims the office of the President of the United States and an idiot Republican congressman from New York, one Peter T. King, have called the publication of the revelations treason, calling for charging The New York Times publisher, editors and reporters with treason.
According to The Associated Press article in the June 26 issue of The Washington Post, this tin-pot king also wants other newspapers prosecuted for revealing state secrets — we have those in America now, according to the current Bush regime.

Just days later, on June 29, the House of Representatives passed Ohio Republican sycophant Michael G. Oxley’s House Resolution 895, “condemning the disclosure and publication of classified information that impairs the international fight against terrorism and needlessly exposes Americans to the threat of further terror attacks by revealing a crucial method by which terrorists are traced through their finances.”

What makes the move in Congress worthy of so little respect and disdain for the representatives’ dishonesty is that, slightly more than two weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the person who claims the office of the President of the United States openly announced the “war on terror” would follow the money. The revelation in the Times got the GOP angry, but the administration’s darling, The Wall Street Journal, also published stories on the money trail.

Our little-minded Rep. Mac Thornberry, backed the resolution following in lock-step the wishes of the GOP leadership without regard to the independent thought lawmakers with courage or intellect about press freedom should display.

We aren’t the first to note that the Republican administration is trying to repeal the First Amendment.

Now, let’s review, as these holier-than-you-or-me so-called leaders beat their drums of morality: Randy Cunningham on his way to jail for bribery; indicted Tom Delay on the skids in Texas retreating to Virginia; an Ohio newspaper reporting Rep. Bob Ney has lost staffers to the Jack Abramoff scandal; and then there’s Democrat William Jefferson from Louisiana, the focus of a criminal probe.

Folks, here’s the citizen’s take-home message: These congressional scallywags are dishonest and cynically bamboozling you, wrapping themselves in the Bible and flag to take your votes so they can continue to suckle at the teat of your tax money. Come November, turn them all out. Every damned one of them. And then push for terms limits, no seniority and rules that eliminate the lobbying industry to take back our government.

And here’s the journalists’ take-to-heart message: Citizens deserve to know as much as possible about their elected officials. Who lobbies them? How much money is lavished on them by special interest groups such as political action committees, or PACs? How many junkets did our elected officials take and on whose tab? Who gave how much to their campaigns?

The Bush Administration’s declaration of war on journalism is a war on holding these elected officials accountable.

The media’s response should be to push back and embrace investigative journalism as never seen before. As a democracy, we deserve no less.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ask not for whom the Bell doth toll

Chris Bell will be here in Amarillo Saturday, and I've been trying to construct a scenario whereby he could win.

So here goes.

We are facing an entrenched incumbent who remains the frontrunner, not because anyone anywhere thinks he is doing a good job, but due to his party. Like many of the other candidates in the race, Perry switched, some time ago, from the Democratic to the Republican party because he felt the switch would better his political prospects. He was right. Despite mind-numbing mediocrity, the governor has managed to distinguish himself as the incumbent in the race. This looks easy. All you have to do is serve out a term in your office and you get to be the incumbent next time ‘round. But, when you’re Rick Perry, nothing is as easy as it looks . . .

Since Democrats are the opposition party in a crushingly one-party state, our task would ordinarily be to throw up an increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb and pray that he doesn’t get hurt too bad. But the two “independent” candidates this year throw a monkey wrench into the race.

As the increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb, we would ordinarily be expected to a) try desperately to hang on to our base, and b) attempt to attract media attention through crackpot press conferences. The first is good positive politics but it can’t possibly win a race. If we had the numbers to win a race by holding on to our base we wouldn’t be increasingly desperate sacrificial lambs in the first place.

The second tactic invariably seems necessary, usually in the apocalyptic last days of an election, but generally ends up driving voters away.

This time around, however, things are different. It’s almost as if the role of increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb has been divided up. Kinky and, to an even greater extent, the-one-who-would-be-Grandma have already been attempting to attract media attention through crackpot press conferences.

Leaving Chris Bell to quietly travel around the state, making sure that the Democratic base turns out and votes for him. It’s not a bad strategy. It could work. Anything’s possible—so long as Bell leave the crackpot press conferences to Kinky and the-one-who-would-be-Grandma.

Because, mark my words, if Bell calls a tinfoil hat press conference about anything, the election’s over and we lost.


Amarillo vs. Gaza

Amarillo rates better than Iraq, but rivals the gaza strip according to the American Chronicle

"It’s hot over there, and these boys are wandering around a country that looks more like wasted scrubland than Amarillo (a place in Texas, in case my international audience is not familiar with the one of the garden spots of American—a blasted heath of ugliness called The Panhandle, it rivals the Gaza Strip for picturesqueness . . . "

Hey, why the bit*hin'? We got press!

-Prodigal Son

American High School 2012

After the dissolving of our treasonous congress in 2007, America finally became a Christian majority nation . . . er . . . wait

Have a look at Republicans' ideal America of the future if Democrats don't win big in November.

A story about a high school in the Indian River School District in Delaware in 2004.

"A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."

On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeting. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."

A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby."

The Dobrich family is in fact being represented by a Wilmington law firm rather than the ACLU, but this did not prevent the Stop the ACLU Coalition from deciding to publicise the Dobriches’ home address and phone number, as part of an “Expose the ACLU Plaintiff” campaign.

Jesus' General has MORE:

-Prodigal Son

Freedom of speech as long as you agree with us.

Yesterday I read yet another idea squelching column in the Globe Republican. This article written by a member of one of the legion of mega funded Republican think tanks argued that Democrats lack a cohesive set of ideas about how to solve the situation in Iraq. In other words its the old flip-flop arguement.

Has it occured to anyone that complete homogeniety of ideas is a terribly dangerous thing? I can't tell you how many times I've seen our party criticized for lacking a completely homogenous opinion about a given issue. It's as if the Republican think tanks recognized that many people can't handle it when someone falls outside of their ridgid ideal of what is right and wrong and struck upon the perfect arguement to combat such behavior.

Every time a Republican accuses anyone of flip flopping, or of lacking a cohesives opinion they are not really offering a valid criticism. Is it better to analyze all of the opitions, change one's mind if necessary, and maybe even posit multiple solution? Or should we all fixate upon one opinion emailed to us by tbe party?

Bottom line, with the think-tank produced flip flop critique the Repubs have destroyed free thought for their entire party, and are trying to do it to the Democratic party as well. They are searching for that perfect place where everyone feels exactly the same about every issue, and they are trying to force us into that place with the flip flop arguement. Republicans have become like a pack of zombies all sitting back waiting for the next Ann Coulter book or Rush Limbaugh commentary(Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Bill O Reilly, Oliver North etc... etc... etc... all products of big money Republican think tank logic) so they can get into a comfortable place where everyone is just like they are.

We must begin to attack this notion that it is a bad idea to have differing ideas within our own or our opponents own party. The damage is already done, but calling a facist a facist is a good way to combat this thinking.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Old Navy Day!

your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore

Nevertheless, I will wear my flag pin today. It's a harmless enough symbol of love and appreciation of the United States of America and her potential, even as the political, social, and actual landscape is blasted nearly beyond recognition.

However, this is not a holiday of blind patriotism. My son and fiancée laughed yesterday when they saw the songs I was putting on a disc for a holiday compilation. Mojo Nixon's version of "This Land is Your Land" was one of them. Also, "American Idiot". I explained that political protest is what this holiday is about. We're celebrating what was at the time an act of treason, for god's sake.

So, in that spirit, I'd like to state what my flag pin doesn't mean:

☺ It doesn't mean that I think that George Bush is a good Christian man.
☺ It doesn't mean that I think that Mac Thornberry is smart.
☺ It doesn't mean that Kay Bailey Hutchison should have advanced further in life than U.T. cheerleader.
☺ It doesn't mean that I even know who John Cornyn is.
☺ It doesn't mean that I support the war.
☺ It doesn't mean that I shop at Wal-Mart.
☺ It doesn't have anything to do with my religion.
☺ It doesn't mean that my goal in life is to get rich but still drive a pick-em-up truck.
☺ It doesn't mean that I'm white, straight, and male.
☺ It sure doesn't mean that I want to hear that Toby Keith song.
☺ It doesn't mean that I want to go shoot automatic weapons in an empty field in Oklahoma.
☺ It doesn't mean that I hate hate hate the Dixie Chicks.

So, perhaps, to pledge allegiance to the meaning behind the pretty piece of cloth, I will also wear this pin:

Remember that one? Those big words at the top say "We the People". That's kind of important, too.


Independence Day

Update: Excert from FDR's "4 Freedoms" Speech

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look 
forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in
the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own
way - everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want - which, translated into world
terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every
nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants -everywhere
in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear - which, translated into world
terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point
and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a
position to commit an act of physical aggression against any
neighbor - anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite
basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and
generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the
so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to
create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception - the moral
order. A good society is able to face schemes of world
domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged
in change - in a perpetual peaceful revolution - a revolution
which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing
conditions - without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in
the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of
free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized

This nation has place its destiny in the hands and heads and
hearts of its million of free men and women; and its faith in
freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy
of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who
struggle to gain those right or keep them. Our strength is in
our unity of purpose.

To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
More of my own thoughts about today later, but here is John Quincy Adams' speech to the supreme court in 1841 (He was 74) regarding the Amistad case:

"Yet, if the South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, "The Declaration of Independence?" What of its conceits? "All men...created equal," "inalienable rights," "life," "liberty," and so on and so forth? What on earth are we to do with this?

I have a modest suggestion. . . (He tears up a copy of the DOI)

. . . James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams: We've long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we have feared in doing so we might acknowledge that our individuality which we so revere is not entirely our own. Perhaps we've feared an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But, we've come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We understand now, we've been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding that who we are is who we were.

We desperately need your strength and wisdom to triumph over our fears, our prejudices, ourselves. Give us the courage to do what is right. And if it means civil war, then let it come. And when it does, may it be, finally, the last battle of the American Revolution."


Monday, July 03, 2006

Repub Retort

Just thinking of some good one liners to use against filthy republicans, who are always trying to out-patriotism, out-old timey religion, out-success everyone they talk with.

Start with this (I am in the south, so . . .):

If you are asked, "Why are you against the 10 commandments being shown in public bldgs?" you say, " Posting them wouldn't be so bad if only the Republicans would follow them."

Help me out here:

1. Must be slightly or very humorous/witty
2. Must be able to be said with a grin.
3. Can contain, satire or irony.

OK, here ya go . .

"Why don't you support the troops?"
"Why don't you trust the 'free market.?"
"Why are you for the terrorists, and not against the NYTimes?"

Run with it PTS'ers, YOUR favs!

-Prodigal Son

Cross-posted at Dailykos

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rocket Man Meets Burning Man

I took my kids out to Wayside for the Large Dangerous Rocket Ships Silver Anniversary festival. We were only there for about an hour and a half before they closed the course, but it was pretty much non-stop launching the entire time. There were rockets big and small and a few spectacular crashes. It was hands-down one of the coolest things I've seen around here in some time and I highly recommend you head out that way to watch some launches. The Globe-Republican has some more details: Super Bowl of rocketry.

I shot the video clip below with my digital camera, so the quality ain't all that great. If I recall correctly this particular rocket was about 20 ft. tall, weighed a couple hundred pounds and was built by a college student. The video clip doesn't do it justice.