“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 30, 2007

the best of the worst

As I understand it, today is the last day to hack the Amarillo Globe-Republican's "Best of Amarillo" survey. I submitted a mix of "real" and smart-ass choices. (My vote for Panhandle Truth Squad as "Best local news web site" was real.)

I'm posting my choices in the comments. If y'all hack the "Best of"-- or even if you take it seriously-- post some or all of your choices as well.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dave "WHA?" Henry continues

A couple of days late with this but Davy boy remains consistent. Talking about the farm bill congress is working on he wrote "Under the ""fairness admendment,"" there are 26 congressional districts in Texas that would receive more farm money in 2008-2012 totals than under the current bill. Interestingly, 11 are Democratic districts."

Did he leave out "just" before "11," or did he just forget 26 minus 11 is 16 for the Repubs! Dave, Dave, Dave!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Your Kid Better Love Jesus with all his Heart

And he/she better be the right KIND of Christian at school. None of this liberal peacenik love your neighbor crappo.

Part of your childs public school curriculum THIS year thanks to the ever more wingnut Texas Extremist Leg.

One interesting requirement: "It requires public school districts to adopt policies specifically allowing spontaneous religious expression by students. A so-called model policy included in the law states that upperclassmen who are student leaders — such as student council officers, class officers or the captain of the football team — should be designated as speakers."

I bet the school districts will enjoy paying ever greater attorney fees as well.

-Prodigal Son

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fox Attacks

I'm guessing some or maybe even all of you are aware this site, but I thought it might be worthwhile to post it here as well. Bill O' Liarly has launched a campaign against JetBlue, a sponsor of the DailyKos.
I think it's fair game to respond, so take a look at this site, if you're unaware of it. I think it's a great idea.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Republicans Don't Surge Into Iraq

Letters to the Editor, Amarillo Globe-News, Monday, July 23, 2007

If our right-wing advocates, the president and vice president insist on keeping these brave young people in peril, I suggest that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, and Rep. Mac Thornberry go to Iraq and fight with them side by side. That would show real support.

Roberta Hicks, Amarillo

Bravo Roberta, bravo! I think you may be a tad shy 24,999,995 Republicans, but bravo!

(You don’t disapprove of her "tone" Mr. K.?)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Blog

Fanfare of trumpets, blast and sparkle of fireworks, blaring flatulence of bovine animals, IT'S A NEW BLOG....YIPPEE. I'd like to invite all of my friends here on Panhandle Truth Squad to join my conversation on "The Mote" where I'll be exploring the relationship between politics and religion. I know most of you don't feel religion and politics should mix, but ...well they mix...be honest now.
Come on over and help me debunk the Evangelical Pharisees that have usurped the Republican party.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Red State Update

Spacedark is officially hitched! Congrats SD!

Here is Dunlap and Jackie Broyle singing a special song just for you and the SO.

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nose Held Hostage?

Despite an interrogative post standing for over a week and inquiring e-mail (see “Can Kanelis Keep His Nose?", PTS July 2, 2007), Mr. Kanelis’ nose has failed to respond. As a prominent and protuberant member of the Fourth Estate it has shown little hesitation sticking itself into people’s business, but now tweaked we hear not a snort, not a sniff, nor a snuffle.

At first it was suspected the nose had been put out of joint and was spurning our inquiry. Could a simple question turn up the nose with contempt? Was the nose looking down itself in disdain? Had this little feather gotten up his nose? It all seemed quite uncharacteristic for the nose to run from such a minor challenge.

Knowing how hard-nosed Kanelis’ probative proboscis can be, there seemed only one other explanation as to why the nose had taken a powder. It was not that it was unwilling to respond, but that it was unable to reply.

Had Kanelis’ nose gone missing? Were nose prints taken to identify it? If he didn’t have a nose how does he smell? Badly?

No, no, no, we are on the wrong scent.

My theory, which is mine, as to why we have not heard from Kanelis is that Less Simpson is holding his nose. You may laugh, but I do not think this theory is something to be sneezed at. I believe the nose has been muzzled.

As long as Less Simpson keeps Kanelis’ nose to the grindstone he can’t perform his “smell test” on the mayor and city commissioners so that they will keep their noses clean. It’s as plain as the beak on Dav* H*nry’s face.

Does this mean the end of Kanelis’ nose as we know it? Will he never smell again, cut off despite his face? Let us hope not. But who knows what is paid through the nose right under our noses.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Indy Says: What Must Change

It’s never too soon to think about the future and with a little more than 15 months until the next national election, it’s time to consider some of the key issues.

And while many would say it’s the war in Iraq, or what might happen in Iran, or energy policy and oil prices, or national health care, the issues facing the American electorate are far broader and deeper than those.

Far more is at stake than the presidency, one-third of the 100 Senate seats and 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

At stake are the direction and moral fiber of this nation and whether a nation based on laws and integrity can continue to endure with a system so riddled with corruption, greed and indecency — in the corporate word and in all levels of government.

It is time for a New Contract with Americans. Notice I didn’t say “Contract with America.” The new contract is with the people of this country, not the country itself, a distinction that was lost on voters so many years ago.

Here are some, perhaps a beginning list, of provisions for the “New Contract with Americans:”

· Congress would eliminate the perquisites and insider benefits of office, including reduced-rate haircuts, charging users the going market rate for the use of any federal facility (the gyms come to mind) and special treatment at airports.

· Members of Congress would be required to fly commercially in coach seats and barred from the use of private aircraft as part of campaign contributions without paying for the going rate for those planes. This doesn’t bar candidates from owning and flying their own planes.

· All federal officials and employees would be subject to all the laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Freedom of Information Act and similar laws.

· The executive branch would no longer be allowed to invoke executive privilege in the face of a congressional inquiry.

· Election laws would be revised to require paper ballots for all elections, with the ability to have an audit trail for vote-counting, and no purveyor of voting equipment would be permitted to make any campaign contributions.

· Term limits would be imposed on Congress, by constitutional amendment if necessary, reducing the Senate term from six to four years and limiting senators to two terms and representatives to four two-year terms. In no case shall a member of Congress serve for more than eight years total in either the Senate or House.

· Congressional pensions would be capped at one-half the officeholder’s salary.

· No pay raise for any elected official may occur without an affirmative on-the-record, or recorded, vote.

· Election laws should be revised to cap the total amount of money any candidate may receive at $2 million, with no corporate or individual contributions permitted in excess of $1,000.

· Voters should be required to show identification and a voter registration card, with no poll taxes imposed.

· All campaign contribution reports and personal tax returns for any elected official (federal, state and local) and the president’s cabinet would become public records posted on an easily accessible Web site.

· All lobbyists at all levels of government would be required to register with the Federal Election Commission and all the personal and corporate tax returns of all lobbyists and lobbying firms would become public record.

· All private certifying or accrediting agencies, such as The Joint Commission, which inspects and accredits health care organizations, the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which certifies newspaper circulation, and all the agencies that oversee universities and other educational institutions, should be subject to audits and oversight by the General Accountability Office.

· Political appointees to federal agencies should be limited to cabinet secretaries and three deputy positions. The remaining positions would become subject to civil service rules, with the exception that whistleblower legislation should be strengthened to protect employees and take the advantage away from upper management.

· Legislation must be passed to reduce if not eliminate outsourcing. Such legislation would include provisions that require any firm that outsources such services as technical support to pay the difference between the prevailing wage for an American worker and the outsourced worker into a fund to pay for unemployment benefits for American workers who have lost jobs to outsourcing.

· Congress must repeal NAFTA and CAFTA.

· The federal government must enforce the borders. This goes far beyond a “fence” and must apply to all nationalities.

· Pardons and commutation of sentences would be barred for any conviction of perjury or obstruction of justice at any level.

However, these provisions of a New Contract with Americans are actually the second step.

The first step, which must occur on Election Day 2008: No incumbent senator or representative should be returned to office. I know in some cases it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but this is the first step for us to take back our government.

Americans deserve no less.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dave Henry Gives Aid and Comfort to Our Enemies by Criticizing the President in a Time of War!

A Republican (King Decider, no less) makes a rare appearance in Dave's weekly "kick in the pants" section:

and a kick in the pants.
To President Bush: The president just gave Democrats political ammo by voiding the prison term for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Any grown man who willfully accepts the nickname "Scooter" deserves time behind bars for a gross lack of judgment, not to mention reported perjury in a CIA leak scandal. The general public could not care less about Libby or the outed Valerie Plame, who will now have to live as a liberal hero/celebrity rather than the top secret double-not spy she claimed to be. Why take the political hit for a supposed scandal that makes most people flip the channel for the latest on Paris Hilton's prison ordeal?
Goodness, Dave, what guarded language. It wasn't "reported perjury", it was straight-up perjury. To quote Glenn Greenwald:

The Plame investigation was urged by the Bush CIA and commenced by the Bush DOJ, Libby's conviction pursued by a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor, his jail sentence imposed by a Bush-appointed "tough-on-crime" federal judge, all pursuant to harsh and merciless criminal laws urged on by the "tough-on-crime/no-mercy" GOP. Lewis Libby was sent to prison by the system constructed and desired by the very Republican movement protesting his plight.
I'm not convinced that "the general public could not care less" about this matter, but for the sake of argument, let's say they don't. The general public can't always be counted on to vote, either. That doesn't mean it isn't important.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm sure I'll get plenty of mediocre cheese enchiladas with red sauce when they send me to a black prison in kabul

Where are we going to eat today? It's one of the eternal questions, and one that never quite gets answered satisfactorily. Amarillo, they tell us has one of the highest per capita rates of restaurants around. But we never seem to be able to find a good place to eat. By "good" I mean "not part of the hypercapitalized, homogenized global empire."

There are actually a number of good, locally-run restaurants in Amarillo. Last night, the Significant Other and I had dinner at Bijan's Persian restaurant at 34th and Georgia. The place is run by an Iranian refugee and his family, and they actually act genuinely appreciative that you've come in. The dinner menu isn't extensive, but it's good, and apparently they also have a lunch buffet.

Look: I'd recommend this place even if it sucked. We've lost Greek restaurants, Indian restaurants, and Vietnamese restaurants in this town due to the inability of the zombified Panhandlians to try anything even slightly different. And how many freaking Tex-Mex restaurants do we need? Frankly, I'm sick of Tex-Mex.

There: I said it. Just do something different for a change, and support variety in Amarillo cuisine, okay?

Or, if you have no humanity left in your shrunken, commoditized soul, you can go ahead and eat at Applebee's again.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth of July Pop Quiz

(Amarillo, Texas)

1. George W. Bush stated in his commutation of “Scooter” Libby’s sentence that a prison sentence was just too harsh. The actions that led to Libby's conviction-- exposure of an undercover federal agent—undoubtedly “gave aid and comfort” to the enemies of the United States. What is the name given to the crime of “adhering to [the United States’] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort” in Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution?

B. What was the punishment for this crime under 18th century common law (when the Constitution was written).

C. Judging this punishment to be slightly-- harsh -- how did the U.S. Congress “commute” it in 1790?

2. Does the writer of this story-- reprinted in the Amarillo Globe-Republican with a similar headlie-- know that Cindy Sheehan vowed yesterday to continue to be politically active?

3. How many stories about pit bull attacks has the Globe-Republican printed since last July 4?

4. The bald eagle—“America’s symbol”—whose resurgence from endangered species status is trumpeted on the Opinion page of the Amarillo Globe-Republican was saved by the Endangered Species Act. Has the Endangered Species Act been primarily supported by a) conservatives or b) liberals?

5. Has the Globe-Republican given its subscribers a price break since they fired most of their reporters and started using primarily wire stories?

(see comments for answers)


your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore (repeat by request)

(Amarillo, Texas) 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.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bush Pardons Caspar Weinberger

. . . er, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (R, Lying piece 'o' shit). Like father, like son. Use the Presidency to cover your ass.

Scootie gets his get out of jail free card, sorry Paris!

You should have violated national security to cover up for Cheney, and your ass would have been sprung pronto.

Why not the full pardon? I think Bush will actually do that the day before he leaves. And Scoot's $250k fine? Rumor has it that the "Save Scooter" fund has about $5 million sitting in it.

Interestingly, Fred Thompson runs the "save scooter" fund.

-Prodigal Son

Monday, July 02, 2007

Can Kanelis Keep His Nose?

On the eve of the May 12 city election I was witness to an interesting exchange. Erik Williams, candidate for Commissioner Place 4, ran into a former coworker at a non-political fundraiser. The coworker suggested to the candidate that if he won he would have to recuse himself from any votes that might benefit his architecture firm. Mr. Williams responded that he would not only recuse himself from votes involving his firm, but also those which might benefit his friends, associates, acquaintances, their hairdressers or their hairdresser’s poodles.

If only our elected officials had such ethics. Joe Kirkwood, Potter County Commissioner, has earned rebuke from editor John Q. Kanelis (
Amarillo Globe-News, Sunday, July 1, 2007) for failing to recuse himself from votes which, while permissible according to the letter of the law, nevertheless benefited him and thus violated the spirit of the law.

Thus ends the saga of county crews performing work on private property, a criminal investigation, the hiring of an outside legal defense team, and the wrangling over who should foot the bill. For Mr. Kanelis Joe Kirkwood’s votes on these matters did not pass the "smell test."

Invoking the “smell test” as the principle by which elected officials should absent themselves certainly allows Mr. Kanelis to chide an official after the fact. But having done so, it now creates an interesting situation for our city commission and Mr. Kanelis in the future.

Should any issues regarding downtown revitalization come before the commission, by Kanelis’ own “smell test” over half the commissioners will have to recuse themselves as they directly or indirectly own property or control investments that would benefit from their votes. To complicate matters the Amarillo Globe-News has endorsed and supports each commissioner and the mayor.

Mr. Kanelis has made a challenge for himself. He has set out a principle which demands he continue to hold our elected officials accountable. He must remind political favorites in advance to recuse themselves, and rebuke them if they do not. Silence and editorial omission is not an option.

But there remains a simple question: will you Mr. Kanelis? As a frequent reader of this blog only you can provide the answer. What shall it be?

7/10/07 UPDATE:

HINT: John, click on "Comments" below to leave your answer.