“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"

Friday, February 29, 2008

Disillusioned in Amarillo

I was planning on supporting Sen. Obama in the upcoming Texas primary, but then I read this LTE in today's Globe-Republican:

What an insult to the American people for Barack Obama's name to be on the ballot for president.

Remember the Pied Piper? Obama is playing his flute, smiling all the way to the river.

Don't expect any life rafts thrown to you from patriotic Americans.

God bless America.

Sandy Lofgren
Wow, how can I defend my position against such a detailed and poignant smack-down? In fact, how can I believe in anything at this point? All I can do now is write a letter of my own. I'm sure it will get printed:
Dear Globe-Republican,

What an insult to the American people for John McCain's name to be on the ballot for president. He is going to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. Go USA!


Amarillo Respects

It was great meeting so many PTS bloggers in person at the drinking liberally a week ago at the fancy dancy wine place. The spouses of same and new faces all around, and an old high school associate.

It was also great to see brother of spacedark, still with an unchanged tiny evil glint in his eye.

I also went with my Pop to the democratic meeting on Monday. over 100+ people showed up, and by passing the hat around they raised $186 to pay the library for a meeting room. $40 per get-together so $160 month. They had some poli-sci profs speak. One called dubya Forest Gump!

But what made me most proud was how organized the party was. New people coming to see what this democratic surge is all about did not wander into a cluster!@#$, but a well-organized, well-lead organization where they could be sent into the trenches with full support.

I could not have been prouder. Now on to defeating Mac Thornwhittenmarshbivins! And get your a**es and $$ to them a-meetins'.

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Celibating Education: Part Too

In an earlier critique of the Amarillo Globe-News the term “moranification” was offered as an alternative to “stupidification” to describe the process by which the newspaper was idiofying the local populace. While moranification would certainly appear apropos given that the brainless are making a public effort to dim-witticize themselves further and definitely has cultural and political resonance, I have been advised that academically speaking it is imprecise. In clinical use moranification cannot be a legitimate development because “moran” is a state of intellectual and social impairment, whereas “stupidification” is a process under which individuals may achieve stupidity, or as the German philosophers called it deweisenheimerherstellung, to make (to do) or think stupid things, thus validating the term stupidification.

With due apologies to prodigal son, I must therefore continue to use the technical term in straight scholarly discourse, leaving “moranification” to more satiric work.

Turning now to the object at hand, previous disparagement of the Amarillo Globe-News as hostile to science, objective facts, intelligence, Constitutional law and exceedingly large cats may have given some readers the impression the paper’s assortment of boobs and contributing half-wits were America’s single source of stupidification. Now a new book by Susan Jacoby contends our entire nation is in the throes of the phenomenon.

Excerpted from
“Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?”, The New York Times, February 14, 2008

A popular video on YouTube shows Kellie Pickler, the adorable platinum blonde from “American Idol,” appearing on the Fox game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” during celebrity week. Selected from a third-grade geography curriculum, the $25,000 question asked: “Budapest is the capital of what European country?”

Ms. Pickler threw up both hands and looked at the large blackboard perplexed. “I thought Europe was a country,” she said. Playing it safe, she chose to copy the answer offered by one of the genuine fifth graders: Hungary. “Hungry?” she said, eyes widening in disbelief. “That’s a country? I’ve heard of Turkey. But Hungry? I’ve never heard of it.”

Such, uh, lack of global awareness is the kind of thing that drives Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason,” up a wall. Ms. Jacoby is one of a number of writers with new books that bemoan the state of American culture.

[. . .]

Ms. Jacoby, whose book came out on Tuesday, doesn’t zero in on a particular technology or emotion, but rather on what she feels is a generalized hostility to knowledge. She is well aware that some may tag her a crank. “I expect to get bashed,” said Ms. Jacoby, 62, either as an older person who upbraids the young for plummeting standards and values, or as a secularist whose defense of scientific rationalism is a way to disparage religion.

Ms. Jacoby, however, is quick to point out that her indictment is not limited by age or ideology. Yes, she knows that eggheads, nerds, bookworms, longhairs, pointy heads, highbrows and know-it-alls have been mocked and dismissed throughout American history. And liberal and conservative writers, from Richard Hofstadter to Allan Bloom, have regularly analyzed the phenomenon and offered advice.

[. . .]

But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.

She pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map.

[. . .] The author of seven other books, she was a fellow at the [New York Public Library] when she first got the idea for this book back in 2001, on 9/11.

Walking home to her Upper East Side apartment, she said, overwhelmed and confused, she stopped at a bar. As she sipped her bloody mary, she quietly listened to two men, neatly dressed in suits. For a second she thought they were going to compare that day’s horrifying attack to the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II:

“This is just like Pearl Harbor,” one of the men said.

The other asked, “What is Pearl Harbor?”

“That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,” the first man replied.

At that moment, Ms. Jacoby said, “I decided to write this book.”

Ms. Jacoby doesn’t expect to revolutionize the nation’s educational system or cause millions of Americans to switch off “American Idol” and pick up Schopenhauer. But she would like to start a conversation about why the United States seems particularly vulnerable to such a virulent strain of anti-intellectualism. After all, “the empire of infotainment doesn’t stop at the American border,” she said, yet students in many other countries consistently outperform American students in science, math and reading on comparative tests.

In part, she lays the blame on a failing educational system. “Although people are going to school more and more years, there’s no evidence that they know more,” she said.

Ms. Jacoby also blames religious fundamentalism’s antipathy toward science, as she grieves over surveys that show that nearly two-thirds of Americans want creationism to be taught along with evolution.

[. . .]

I am unable to answer Jacoby’s thesis directly, having not yet read the book because I am currently studying a Georgian underground classic on the British-Islamic clash-of-civilizations and its dramatic socio-political ramifications explicated in “Penelope and the Swarthy Barbary Pirates.” Any remarks then must be confined to the book review, however much Penelope enjoyed Captain Alhurkan’s scimitar.

A minor quibble with Jacoby is the implication that the stupidization of the country may be accounted for by recent failures in education. A perusal of the Globe-News, from its old farting dolts to its young whippersnappering chowderheads, would indicate our educational system has been failing throughout the entire 20th century. Either that or the system has successfully matriculated generation after generation of prating morans.1

Obviously ignorance and anti-intellectualism is not just a local predicament. What is troubling is how fervently the proponents of unabashed ignorance and unbridled anti-intellectualism are dedicated to the cause. Thanks to the Amarillo Globe-News students will believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, George W. Bush ran a surplus and D*ve H*nry won the Nobel Prize for literature, another generation sadly, irretrievably Simpsonized.2

1Dr. Berliner argues in an upcoming monograph in “Philosophie in Wirklich Schlechtem Deutsch” that these dunces have filled American provincial journalism with “speichellecker schwachköpfe.”

2Less, not Homer.

This week from the RNC

President Bush held a press conference this week. Along with his usual rhetoric about the success of the surge and the weakness of Democrats, he got pointy headed about legislation regarding liability for phone companies and his illegal wiretapping scheme. Never mind that such invasions of privacy are unconstitutional. Who cares about the constitution when you're so busy decidin' stuff.

Bulls*&t You Might be Hearing From Republicans Soon

To read this article from the RNC newsletter you might think that Bush is really king of Africa. While I will admit Bush has done some positive things in Africa, namely his AIDS relief package (part of the ONE initiative, you know Bono) and the rather paltry AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), he failed to address the horrific ethnic cleansings in Sudan and even encouraged the seperatist movement now growing in S. Africa. In addition the general elitist policies of big oil and the Bush agenda continue to exacerbate issues of poverty throughout the world. As gleaming skyscrapers rise in Dubai, and wealthy oilmen party around gleaming pools, stuffing themselves with caviar and pheasant, millions starve or are slaughtered in central, western, and southern Africa.

Don't be surprised in an attempt to drum up black voters, Republican blurbsmiths regurgitate beaucoups of information about all the great stuff Bush has done for the colored folks on dat po continent a' Africa.

Obama just a shallow fool

Finally it's clear Republican strategy regarding Obama will be to portray him as a shallow fool incapable of handling the complexities of the presidency. Never mind that when they gaze into the black mirror of their own, they must see that Bush is either a disembling devil, or a slobbering idiot. Perhaps worse than Bush, though is the war mongering dog McCain. Should Obama be chosen to represent the Democratic party in the next election cycle we can expect tons of overblown reportage about any miniscule remark Obama might make that can be woven into their truth distorting web. For example, view this flyer meant to be printed and posted or spammed out telling us all about a remark Barack made about becoming president. I guess they haven't found this video yet of Barack busting a move with Ellen Degeneres. Or maybe they're worried we'll pull out the videos of MC Rove. Whatever the case may be, these guys learned their lessons from spinmeister Karl and will never stop with the nastiness.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Alex Gibney does it again

I'm gonna break away from the scintillating analysis of our honorable local politicos and media to congratulate film director Alex Gibney(Enron:The Smartest Guys in the Room) for his Oscar win for his new film Taxi to the Dark Side. The newest Democracy Now podcast not only has a great interview with Gibney but has a fascinating speech by Noam Chomsky. Ivory Dome readers don't bother looking unless you want another chance to dismiss some hard truth as liberal bias.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Drinking the Kool-Aid

A backlash to former President Clinton’s visit to Amarillo was to be expected from the Amarillo Globe-News, and had the requisite vitriol come from the likes of Chumbly, H*nry, Henson, Holland, McMurray or any other loony from its Augean stable of right-wingnut twaddle meisters few would have been surprised, but to see Greg Sagan take moral umbrage in the most tawdry of screeds leaves little doubt that his surviving the pogrom was no mere oversight but a willingness to become another tool in the Ministry of Information’s arsenal against cognitive thought.

For all of his libertarian bona fides, Sagan pitches the most priggish of histrionic fits, dredging up the Monica Lewinski affair to label Bill Clinton’s visit to Amarillo an insult.

But against that single stain are we not insulted by an Oval Office awash in blood and oil? Are we not insulted by a tarnished administration that holds the Constitution in contempt, which violates our laws and international laws with impunity? Are we not insulted by a White House tainted by torture, human rights violations, moral hypocrisy, and falsehoods?

Oh, right, in Amarillo these things are not an insult because they are done by a Republican. It would be perfectly acceptable for George W. Bush to beat a nun to death with a tire iron in the Oval Office broadcast live on Fox because Less Simpson and his subscribers worship him as the anointed one.

How perfect to get Sagan, one of the more intelligent columnists and cogent critics, to turn away from the chalice of reason and stoop to drink deep from the AGN’s dixie cup of pond scum. Had Hillary Clinton visited he would have declared it an insult because the Ice Queen shot Vince Foster.

SPOTTED: Greg Sagan and friend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

it was one of those weeks

IN A DIVE BAR on Tenth Street, between shots of Wild Turkey and bouts of uncontrollable sobbing, Lester Simpson and the Amarillo Globe-Republican Ghostly VoiceTM stared increasingly desperately into one another’s eyes. The Ghost thought that Lester was whining a bit much, but he put up with it. He knew on which side his spectral bread was buttered.

Simpson was fretting and fuming and more than occasionally fulminating about his bosses, the Morrises, down in Georgia. Ma Morris and Pa Morris and especially little James Earl Morris were giving poor Lester a difficult time. They didn’t understand how difficult it was to run a newspaper that maintained the lofty journalistic standards of the Globe-Republican, while simultaneously propagandizing in favor of the farthest reaches of the right wing. Fox News does it, no problem, Lee Harvey Morris kept saying, but Lee Harvey just didn’t understand the pressures Simpson was under. There were, for example, those damned bloggers.

And that muckraker, George Schwarz! Lester had heard that the Amarillo Independent was going to report that the “anonymous donor” who had paid for the new Clock Tower at West Texas A&M was actually 7,000 students who were anonymous even to themselves; unbeknownst to any of them, the $62.57 “Advising and Activity Fee” they had paid last semester had built the timekeeping behemoth. How could the Globe-Republican compete with such journalism? No one would like Lester if he went around reporting stuff like that. Besides, how could he fit it on the page? There were stories about two-headed cats to print.

The Newsroom Ghost patted Lester on the hand sycophantically. He knew on which side his chip was hot-sauced and he would kiss whatever he had to. He tried to cheer Lester up. “It’s not so bad,” he simpered. “We’ve had some good times. Remember the time we gave Kanelis that old TG&Y four-banger calculator and told him it was his new cell phone?”

Lester smiled at that. “He still doesn’t know why he hasn’t gotten any calls.” Suddenly, behind a table in the corner two barstools fell to the ground. Jon Mark Beilue, Former Sportswriter, and Michael Schumacher had leapt to their feet. Beilue was babbling excitedly into his phone. Then scribe and photog raced out of the bar. As they passed Lester and the Ghost they shouted something about a chupacabra sighting. And early enough in the day to meet deadline!

“There,” said the Ghost to Lester, “are two men who know on which side their quesadillas are cheesed. John Wilkes Morris will love that story.” Lester was gazing longingly after them. He wanted to chase chupacabras, but he had loaned his machete to a friend.

It was one of those weeks.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

say a word out of line / and you find that the friends you had / are gone forever ... say goodbye to hollywood

(Amarillo) As this primary season has worn on, it has become clear that the alliance that has held for the better part of the last eight years will not last much longer. For most of the decade now, Union members and Hollywood libs, Commies and DINOs, Greens and Kennedy nostalgists, gay people and aging Depression babies, have all been united in Fear & Loathing of the Emperor W. But as the Emperor’s approval rating plummets into the teens, and viable Democratic candidates rise, our differences begin to come into focus.

I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that. I don’t think I’m alone among PTSers when I say that, the minute a Democrat is elected, I will turn on him or her faster than a Middle School best friend.

Nor do I think we’re unanimous in this treachery. And it’s wonderful to be in disagreement; I long for the days when there will be no Democratic or Liberal party line, when we will fight amongst ourselves like…like Americans. According to lequino, who is on the mailing list for some Republican think tank, it’s amazing how fast the Republican party talking points get into the local paper.

Conservatives may be comfortable letting the group do their thinking for them. I never have been. And I’ll be glad when it’s over.


hodger the dodger wants a candidate who can unite the country

"I'm not here to support anybody," said Jerry Hodge of Clarendon. "None of them are impressive for this campaign."
You know, like he impressed in the Amarillo mayoral race a coupla years ago.


Quck visual identification of a Conservative...

Thanks for posting details about the upcoming Drinking Liberally meeting Spacedark. I'm looking forward to an evening of no stress relaxation out of the lion's den. I don't know about you guys but I enjoy spending time with a bunch of long haired unwashed hippie types. The very thought of communal discourse with like minded individuals got me to thinking about something though. Maybe Democrats are easy to identify. Our slouching, comfortably clothed bookishness does seem to stand out in a world full of belly overhanging splay kneed spitters. Just to let the Ivory Dome crowd in on a little secret though. They're pretty easy to identify at a glance as well.

American Conservatives are chronically unhappy about immigration, the notion that radical Islam represents the whole and not a miniscule fraction of the Muslim faith, the perception that taxes are just eating them alive, the fact that Al Gore scooped them on Global Warming, the general need to do violence to some other nation, sect, or race they dislike, etc... You name it, they hate it. This anger at everything other than upper class white America, combined with pent up sexual energy because they feel guilty whenever they even think about sex, translates into a scowling facial distortion some call Asterisk (first made famous by Kurt Vonnegut) Stress Syndrome or ASS. So the first ID mark of a Neocom...look for the scowl.

Side note: Neocon ASS may not be used as a synonym for the Democratic Party Symbol, the proud American Donkey.

But on to the second quick visual trait of a Republican.

If a Neocon isn't displaying his ASS(holiness) he has only one other mode of self expression. This state I like to call Condescending Orotund Noxiousness or CON. Notice the three letters match the firt three letters in the word conservative. This state is marked by a pursed lip preachieness if they're talking, but can also manifest itself in the raised eyebrow, down the nose sighting facial distortion sometimes called the Church Lady stare.

ASS and CON, when filtered through public discourse, result in humorless myopic style of rhetoric used by all Republicans and embodied by their probable presidential candidate, John McCain.

BTW ASSCONS like to believe they are actually humble souls who have suffered greatly in service of the land they love. This false meekness might occasional manifest itself, generally on Sunday mornings only, in an grim humorless Hangdog Expression (HE)

So to sum up...

If HE looks like an ASS he must be a CON.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the best reason yet why clinton's campaign should stop dreaming & scheming about superdelegates

This is how such a victory would be painted by the far right wing:

This is so laughable, so full of irony. The frothing Elitist of the far left will now bring reality to the lies they slobbered and wailed about, during the Bush V. Gore election in Florida. Only now their rabid lies will fall on their own self admitted, unknowing and, illiterate underlings.
It gets worse:

After all, only they can decide suitability for the Presidency. Seems there might be a tad more racism among the leftist Kings and Queen of the grand ol’ ass party, than ever has been dared to be thunk! Just as with Bush v. Gore the majority is irrelevant.
Worst of all,

celtictexan (ugh) has (urrgghh) a (unnggh) point. (AAUURRRNNNGGHHH!)

So no more freaking talk about any more freaking superdelegates.

I never want to have to say that again.


formerly known as...

Calling all progressives! The Organization Formerly Known As Drinking Liberally Amarillo will be meeting on Saturday the 23rd of February at:

Vineyard Wines
1619 S Kentucky St
Wellington Square
7:00 pm
the 23rd of February

We will be in the "cigar room". Look for our mascot, Howard the Star-Spangled Donkey (pictured in beautiful downtown Amarillo in 1955. The new construction of the Panhandle Truth Squad offices is visible in rear.)

Come prepared to relax and talk politics with friends of a similar mindset in a
Low Stress Environment.


Amarillo Globe-Republican on red-light cameras

It's not about the money...except when it's about the money.


overheard in amarillo

Maybe this is all a ruse so they can finally get the last people in town who would even think about voting Democratic into one line so they can lead us into the showers.
(the line for Bill Clinton’s Solutions for America meeting at the Civic Center on Saturday)

Up against the wall!
(some guy with a megaphone, same event, a few minutes later)

Can you speak up, young man?
(shouted at John LaRue by an attendee at an Obama for President meetup at the Southwest Branch Library)


Monday, February 18, 2008

Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here

This weekend saw a new era dawn in Amarillo. For those who bore witness the landscape was utterly changed and a beckoning future embraced.

Democrats and Independents drove for miles and stood in line for hours, not by the tens or hundreds but by the thousands. Even Republicans tired of fear mongering and divisiveness came to hear a new message.

In an extraordinary turn former President Clinton came to speak in the Yellow City, a city so flaming red it is openly thought John McCain is a wimp, that Muslim men, women and children should be tortured, the Islamic world nuked, illegal immigrants drowned, blacks be kept in their place and Democrats live in burrows.

Yet to this singular Republican strong-hold, immobile and forbidding, revolution did storm and tear asunder ancient convention.

Progress, once scorned and elusive, did arrive. It was brilliant. It was captivating. It was magisterial. We chosen had lived to see recorded the most momentous event in Amarillo history: Kanelis had purchased a
cell phone.

SPOTTED: blogarillo and friend

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Good Job, Righties...

Depression risk might force U.S. to buy assets

Good thing we've got King Decider and his MBA in charge. Oh wait, did I say "good thing?" What I meant to say was, "Oh, shit...."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

lifting daniel

PTS blogger lequino with former President Bill Clinton, in rear.

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
(Daniel 6:23-24)

(Amarillo) Former President Bill Clinton must've rued the day he let Hillary talk him into wearing this particular hair shirt as he stared at the smattering of supporters who eked into the lion's den on this frigid Panhandle Saturday afternoon. "Lion's den"-- that's what the paper edition of the Amarillo Globe-Republican had called it, and perhaps Mr. Clinton heard one of the lions roaring in the audience as he was introduced by one of those endless state legislators. This particular gentleman engaged in a little Bush bashing and the lion in the audience roared: "Be careful!!!" Perhaps Bill felt a little fear, perhaps he shook a little in his size-umpteen wing-tips as he faced the hostile and bloodthirsty audience, the Amarillo Globe-Republican had--

Hm. Make that "...as he faced the hostil and bloodthirsting audience the Pultzer-prizewinning Amarillo Globe-Republican had predicated." You have to, after all, throw in some self-aggrandizement and more than a few misspellings when you're writing the Cheryl Berzanskis-penned version of Lester Simpson's wet dreams. In reality, Clinton managed to eke out such a large audience that the line extended out into the icy air outside the Civic Center, the chairs in the Grand Ballroom had to be removed so more people could fit, and even the one heckler's attempted roar sounded more like a housecat's hiss. And even he didn't have the guts to heckle the former President.

Maybe that lone heckler felt more like he was the one in the lion's den, and maybe he was the one who was more than a little frightened as he looked around the Grand Ballroom and realized that Clinton had summoned a remarkably good-sized crowd-- with less than two days notice-- into this Belly of the Beast, into this Longtime GOP Stronghold. Maybe his heart sank into his size-umpteen cowboy boots as he finally realized what his hero, the Shrunken Would-Be Oil Emperor, had wrought.

Or maybe it was just Bill Clinton's truly formidable political skills, which caused one more than one normally cynical PTS blogger to comment that the former President seemed to be speaking directly to him the whole time. Indeed, what is that eye-contact thing? Is it some skill learned over four decades in politics? Is it a facial mutation of some sort? Is it black magic? How can the man look into a crowd hundreds or thousands strong and appear to be gazing straight into the eyes of Every - Single - Listener - ?

Still and all, it didn't seem to be just Clinton's politickin' that summoned this afternoon out of thin air. Local Democratic leaders were carrying around clipboards filled with names; many local Democratic activists, used to being rebuffed and even insulted by the local hoi polloi, arrived late, assuming1 that few would show and that it would be easy to get a seat. They took their place at the end of the line, and fretted that they wouldn't get in.

And, while there, they heard Things. Things about how the current administration, built on Fear, would die with Fear; having scared the Holy Living Shit out of people for eight long years, the People were finally ready to drive them with pitchforks into their Holy Living Shitpile.

And there it was. The people-- even here, even now-- were ready, and they got what they came for. From Most Americans Think They've Already Been In a Recession For Awhile, to Replicate Excellence to the classic Clinton hit The Country Works Best When It Looks Like This Room. And of course the Plans: Universal Free Kindergarten, Get Rid of No Child Left Behind, Raise Pell Grants and Hope Scholarships, Give All Americans the Option of Keeping Their Own Insurance or of Buying Into Elected Official's Health Care. There were some great analogies. On Iraq, for example: If your neighbor's house burns down, you'd of course let him stay with you, sleep on the floor, whatever. But if he's still there after five years, "It's not about the fire, anymore."

And everywhere there was cheering.

And that lone heckler?

He tasted like chicken.


1 Assuming the same thing in the same way, they later realized bitterly, that the Globe-Republican had. But assumin' makes an ass out of you and me.

Bill Clinton, center in white hair, "ekes out" a few supporters on Saturday afternoon in Ama-freaking-rillo.

Friday, February 15, 2008

but will he wear the stetson, or the john deere cap?

Former President Bill Clinton will be speaking tomorrow, 2:30 p.m. in the Grand Plaza at the Civic Center.

it was one of those weeks

(Amarillo) Even while her supporters accused Obama supporters of believing in and saying nothing but “...change…change…change...,” Hillary Clinton was repeating her own mantra as she gazed toward Texas this week “...firewall…firewall…firewall…” As the Clintons understood it, one tried-and-true method of fighting fires was to set a controlled blaze ahead of the fire. But as Hillary and Bill-- of all people-- should have known, there is no such thing as a controlled burn in politics. So it was that fire truck sirens began blaring across Amarillo Wednesday afternoon, soon to spill out into the larger Panhandle.

The Panhandle was ablaze, and Bill Clinton, smelling of gasoline, was trying on a pair of Tony Lamas and some borrowed Wrangler jeans. He might soon have to visit the Panhandle officially, and he wanted to look like the natives. “What do you think,” he asked his daughter, “should I go with the Stetson or the John Deere trucker's cap?” Chelsea laughed out loud, and told him he looked like a German tourist.

Meanwhile, an individual who was looking more and more like a German from seventy years earlier had returned. The headline in the Amarillo Globe-Republican read “Pickens files for PGCD directorship” but most Amaristas no doubt read that last word as “dictatorship” as they spewed a good portion of their morning Sanka, their Roasters lattes, or their Route 44 Dr. Peppers from Sonic across Thursday’s paper. Pickens for his part was sleeping late. He had been up late the previous evening picketing (or, as he called it “Pickensitting”) Fire Station #4 on East Hastings. He carried a sign reading, “Rising demand must be met by higher prices!” and periodically stopped to wave his grouchy old man’s fist at the station. “Stop throwing away this water!” he would yell. “You’re throwing my money on this fire!”

It was one of those weeks.


show me the way to obamarillo

Panhandle Truth Squad just received an e-mail from John La Rue, area Field Organizer for Obama for America. There will be a meeting tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Carter Chapel, on the corner of Second and Jackson. John says,

I'll be going over the role of Precinct Captains and training volunteers on all the things we need to do to make sure that Barack wins the panhandle. All are welcome, but it's probably not the greatest event for your undecided voter, since I plan to get straight to business.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

obamarillo by morning

There were a surprisingly large number of people at the Obameeting at a far-flung brunch of the Amarillo Public Library tonight. The crowd of about forty to fifty included a number of the usual suspects as well as new faces.

I was impressed by the organization of the campaign. This organization was tremendously reassuring, as I had formed an opinion early on that the candidate was getting some bad advice at the national level.

But that's an advantage that comes from this long of a campaign, I guess. Four years ago, the primary season was a distant fading memory. Four years ago the organizers went to Iowa and... well, Iowa, basically. I guess they half-heartedly went on to New Hampshire. But then candidates starting screaming and Democratic powers-that-be started demanding that we all get "John Kerry for President" tattooed on our foreheads. By this time in 2004 the Oaths of Eternal Allegiance has all been signed and notarized and Dean, Gephardt and the rest had been sealed in a time capsule, only to be released after the election.

The fact that this one has been a fight seems to have given the organizers some practice and positively influenced their ability to organize.

Veronica Fuentes, a local leader of Amarillo for Obama organizer and the President of West Texas A&M University Democrats1, and George Norrell, and John Larue, who had most recently worked for the campaign in Kansas, weren't completely of one voice. One topic they spoke of in slightly different terms, was something we have mentioned here-- the possibility of the candidate appearing in the Panhandle.

None, however, said it was beyond the realm of possibility. In a conversation after the meeting, more of the story also emerged regarding the possibility of WTAMU as a possible venue. It turns out that the campaign would have required a window of seven days-- which did in fact conflict with a U.I.L. basketball tournament.

If enough support exists here that the unimaginable happens and a major political candidate decides to speak here, other venues will emerge. WT built the Event Center to replace The Box, anyway, and, in my experience, the place hasn't shown much utility for anything other than basketball. Henry Rollins ranted from a soapbox in the corner of the room, Elie Wiesel was nearly unintelligible on a crappy sound system, and Willie Nelson and Pat Green played under blaring fluorescent lights because the freakin' Event Center staff didn't think the freakin' lights needed to be turned down at a freakin' concert. Obama doesn't need that, anyway.

The Senator doesn't need WT's infrastructure, but Amarillo could be helpful. And here's my plan:

Amarillo has been Republican even longer than Texas has. And they've stayed Republican all of these years over a perceived slight a thousand years ago. Amarillistas claim that President Lyndon Johnson closed the Amarillo Air Force Base in 1964 after Potter and Randall county voted for Goldwater. In reality Potter-- where the base was actually located-- voted for Johnson; only Randall went for the guy who wanted to bomb countries back into the stone age. Even so, the two counties added together went for Goldwater by less than 500 votes.

But Republicans, in the years that followed used the myth that LBJ closed the base as payback to increase that 500 vote advantage tenfold...and then a hundredfold.

One perceived slight...by one guy...that happened before many of us were born. How petty.

But Obama can use this pettiness. The myth betrays Amarillo's dirty little secret-- her seething inferiority complex. I've seen the pictures of business leaders shaking Governor George W Bush's hand in offices all across this burning prairie. To win the Ciudad Yellow's undying loyalty, all any candidate would need to do is give her a little attention.

Senator Obama, show up at the Civic Center-- or wherever-- and just say "Gosh, that's the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen." You'll win here by a landslide.


1 Yeah, seriously.

year of the underdog

By the time that Plaxico Burress caught Eli Manning’s 13-yard pass into the end zone, most Americans understood what was going on. It wasn’t just that the play that had set it up was a frantic throw by Manning under so much pressure that he had appeared to be down seven or eight times before David Tyree leapt into the stratosphere to catch his toss—and it wasn’t that Manning himself was an underappreciated younger brother—and it wasn’t even the upset itself, the New York Giants beating a team that was favored by a score differential so massive that most sportswriters had given up and used scientific notation to represent the numbers. There was so much more to it than the game itself; most people had begun to understand that.

It was a year, you must understand, that had already seen Juno, a weird little indyish film about a weird little indyish girl, come out of limited release to become the number-one film in the country and be nominated for several hundred awards.

And then, finally, there was the Strange and Beautiful Case of Uno. On the 13th of February the world awoke to headlines screaming that a beagle, for the first time ever, had won the Westminster Dog Show. For a century, common wisdom had maintained that the plenitude and variety of smells in New York City alone would guarantee that no beagle would ever be able to stay focused enough to even stay in the show ring. But somehow Uno rose above his natural instincts and, when he was named Best in Show, he let out a howl that was every bit as affecting as Burress’ tears.

Yes, it was the Year of the Underdog all over America, but nowhere more than in the City. And none there were more aware of the underdogginess of the times than the group of former Hillary Clinton advisors, who huddled underneath a Cross Bronx Expressway bridge, homeless and penniless, passing around cheap vodka in a plastic bottle and wondering what the hell had happened to their once-sure thing.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

it's close to midnight / and something evil's lurking in the dark

It was not immediately clear exactly when bin Laden had made the video, or where it was recorded. He also hinted that he's not through recording music.
Making music????

Oh. Actually it says
It was not immediately clear exactly when [Michael] Jackson had made the video, or where it was recorded. He also hinted that he's not through recording music.
But you gotta admit there's some similarity to the M.O. here.


overheard in amarillo

It’s definitely broken. But the office is full of people with the flu. You’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Are they going to hire bodyguards for the Osama and Billary supporters? Or will Obama finally learn to become a Christian...and learn use a Bible for taking an oath of office...and learn to show proper allegiance respect for the American flag? :o

Fortunately...non-Christian candidates...need not apply...still applies in this country.

And candidates who use the terrorist handbook...the Koran...for an oath of office...are not Christian enough for the rest of us.

Don't be too surprised to see signs in businesses that say...We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone bearing the name of a Democratic presidential candidate.

I gonna start randomly shank people my thumb, dude.

America 1776-2008: A Brief Experiment in Liberty

We just turned the page today. The gutless, cowardly, oath of office violaters in the senate passed retroactive immunity for the telecoms, and gave a blanket pass to Junior. The funeral for the constitution will take place immediately following the Harry Reid/Jay Rockefeller leadership luncheon.

Welcome to the New America, here are some posters for you to hang up so the children can see. (Must be posted by 9pm tomorrow, by order of President Bush, the "Friendly Despot"(tm)

-Prodigal Son

Sunday, February 10, 2008

but seriously, folks

Mark Lazar sends the following:

Following summarizes events during and after the Obama campaign rally this afternoon. By the way, I have no intention of turning this mail list into an Obama-only site, but I do intend to forward any information I'm aware of regarding the presidential candidates and their supporters as they make their way through Texas, and especially locally, so if those of you who support Sen. Clinton want to see reports about her, please make them available to me. I'll be happy to forward those as well.

Now to the news. The rally was enjoyable for the dozen or so of us Potter-Randall Dems who went, and met up with a like number of mostly younger people who had generated the rally. There were about equal numbers of positive and negative reactions from passing motorists during the 2-3 hours we were out by Memorial Park. The young volunteers have established a blog presence on the Obama web site (if you go to www.barackobama.com and type in your zip code you can find all sorts of info). They were uploading pictures and accounts of the event to news media, and apparently CNN called back and talked to organizer Veronica Fuentes for over an hour. They may use some of this video on air--if anyone notices this, please let me know asap.

Now the urgent info--the Obama camp has apparently made a decision to open an office in Amarillo as early as the middle of this week. They are sending professional campaign staff here (to Amarillo, Texas!), and these field organizers need housing. We do not know at this time how many might be coming, but if you have a spare bedroom or a spare bed, and are willing to host a nice young person or a couple (they are almost always nice) for all or part of the time between this week and March 4, please respond immediately. We need to be able to tell them the maximum number we could host, and we need to do this asap. Keep in mind that you can set the ground rules for anyone you host. Thanks in advance.


p.s. The state office also is saying there is a good chance they may arrange to have the candidate appear here, so get ready. This is going to be interesting. [hmmm... -ed.]
Having canvassed in other states , I can assure you that participating in this sort of thing is rewarding for everyone. Mrs. Spacedark and I have volunteered to host. If you'd like to as well, e-mail panhandletruthtruthsquad (at) yahoo.com and we'll put you in touch with Mark.


Friday, February 08, 2008

it was one of those weeks

(Amarillo) Despite living some 1,708 miles from Gillette Stadium, a clear majority of Amarillistas looked at the point spread and at recent Super Bowl history on Sunday afternoon and suddenly decided that they were New England Patriots fans. What is a Super Bowl for after all, if not watching the score run up, and then strutting around gloating about how “we” stomped the opposition despite the fact that “we” were nowhere near the field of play? Even the fact that Massachusetts was rumored to be friendly to liberals made little difference. “We” were all Patriots and that New York team hardly need bother to show up.

That bandwagon was to crash, however, as all bandwagons should. Still, there are those who will take the most dilapidated of bandwagons down off cinder blocks and parade the thing around to see who jumps aboard. And so John McCain’s almost-forgotten Straight-Talk Express was being shined up and jumped upon this week by a growing number of Republicans. Most clear-thinking citizens enjoyed the spectacle of watching that particular vehicle run over the religious right, but some Republicans began to talk of placating the fundamentalists by running Mike Huckabee for Vice President. It’s difficult to imagine that religious fundies would want a job so openly identified with Vice. It’s also difficult, of course, to imagine Huckabee describing the job in the colorful terms employed by Cactus Jack Garner—but surely, under McCain, the sentiment (or is that sediment?) would be the same. Two days after the Super Bowl, all Amarillo Democrats gathered, as was their custom, in an old Volkswagon Bug parked outside of town. They joined other Texas Democrats in celebration of the fact that they might now actually have a voice in the selection of this year’s Democratic candidate. Democrats across the nation glanced in the direction of Pennsylvania Avenue and shuddered in horror to think that Texans might have a voice in the selection of this year’s Democratic candidate.

Meanwhile, two hours to the south, Bobby Knight noticed that a prominent sports figure was getting bad press for throwing a hissy fit - and it wasn't him. If he couldn’t out fit-throw Bill Bellicose, or whatever his name was, it was time to go. So he quickly threw his (or so he claimed) final chair and turned in his badge and his gun. Bobby defenders, as usual, stated loudly that he had always run a clean program. And they were right, if by “clean” you mean meeting the minimal standard of not having major NCAA violations and getting a handful of players to graduate. Cynics, however, pointed out that a large percentage of those sheepskins were returned to the school. It turns out that the players thought the name of their alma mater was misspelled. Wasn’t it supposed to be “Texas Teck”?

It was one of those weeks.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Blowing Smoke: Prelude

Our old friend Rusty Hawkins appeared recently on the local news, regurgitating thirty-year old conservative talking points in praise of the latest economic stimulus package. It appears he is on furlough from Triple I (Institute for the Ideologically Insane) and is kicking around his old dogma stomping grounds.

Emboldened by his stimulus package celebrity the anti-smoking ordinance has caught his expert attention, and he has
stuck his flaming butt in on the controversy by settling once and for all that southern urban Texans are Francophile Castroists.

Just as Van Camp’s Americans of 1776 learned their revolution from the French of 1789, Hawkins has the escargot slurpers and Gloria Cubana tokers leading the world in smoking bans well after Arizona banned smoking in 1973 and Ireland did so in 1994. But what nicotine-doped wingnut needs to check his facts when writing for the fact-checkered Amarillo Globe-News?

Choke on it, Amarillo, the AGN and their cats’ paws are perpetrating another rank con job and it won’t even crinkle the stink sniffer’s sensitive little nose.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Set your faces to stunned...

...and have a look at this morning's editorial from the Ghostly Voice of the Globe-Republican. I've been reading the editorial page daily for many years now and I honestly can't recall anything other than mindless fealty to King Decider and his policies. There's even a bit of a swipe at Saint Thornberry. By Globe-Republican standards that's the equivalent of taking a dump on the President's desk.

Maybe the editorial board got their latest 401k statements in the mail and just aren't waving that flag as hard as they used to?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

overheard in the texas panhandle

(pointing at a mass of potatoes at the Happy, Texas Wild Game Feed) “Is that for vegetarians?”

“I was for the Giants because Tom Brady is a bad dad.”

(in a high-school hallway) “Who is Tom Pesty?”


5 Years Ago

I know, we are all waiting on the results of super scrumptious duper day, but take a second to remember . . .

5 years ago today, Colin Powell lied to the world. HERE

He could not have done it without the AGR's own non-fact checking Slobbery Wet Kiss

The AGR has yet to come clean. Remember the movie animal house when the gang takes flounder's brother's new lincoln out but ends up crashing it? The line, "You f**ked up. You trusted us." worked in a fictional portrayal of a frat house, but Iraq is no movie.

And when America is dazed, angry, and broke, the AGR are still loyal Bushies and are trusting them to fix the mess. . . .

Why does the Amarillo Globe News hate our troops?

-Prodigal Son

Monday, February 04, 2008

War of the Penguins

“March of the Penguins” was on again the other night. For those of you who have not seen it the film depicts the yearly breeding cycle of a group of Emperor penguins in the Antarctic. Conservatives glommed onto the movie as revealing American family values, advocating monogamy and dedicated parenthood. Obviously they were not aware of the fact that penguins are monogamous only for the season, that they practice infanticide, and some are “gay” (at least when in New York). This demonstrates the pitfalls of imposing one’s ideology and agenda on a film.

We had already seen these cute tuxedoed tools of the patricians so instead we watched “War of the Worlds” (Tom Cruise version) where an alien machine erupts out of the ground in a blue-collar neighborhood and proceeds to vaporize the proletariat as they run screaming down the street. It was, for the most part, indistinguishable from the Dick Cheney Health Care Plan for America, except at the end there were working class survivors.

Strangely one of the aliens reminded me of Chimpy. I know it’s hard to believe, especially as they are super-intelligent. It was the one at the very end of the movie, crawling out of the crashed tripod who snarls and dies. It was something about the dull expression and empty, vacant eyes.

Back to “March of the Penguins.” There was a scene where the penguins huddled together against a howling blizzard. The penguins would take turns being exposed to the storm on the outside of the cluster, then move to the inside of the group to get warm again. In this way they all had a chance of surviving.

This was democracy in action. Where was the conservative commentary on this, where everyone shares the burden, where everyone shares the risk? Had those penguins been Republicans the warm snuggly center would have gone to the highest bidder and the poor stuck on the outside to freeze to death. Ring after ring of bodies would have fallen, and after the storm had passed the Emperors would have marched out and kicked them and squawked “Up you lazy stiffs, time to get us some fish!”

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Gannett Republican News

My hometown paper is owned by Gannett, someone remind me who pulls the strings at AGR?

Anyh0o, two things struck me this am. First:
Gannett 4th-quarter profit falls 31 percent
Newspaper advertising revenue fell 12.2%, while broadcasting revenue declined 21.7%. Advertising revenue at USA Today fell 16.7%. Gannett's fiscal fourth quarter consisted of one less week this year than in the year-earlier period.

And second this great analysis by Jon Talton at his blog on why newspapers are in decline. It's good reading. What's really wrong with newspapers

For myself, South Carolina consistently votes 40-45% democratic, but you would never know it reading the Greenville Republican News.

When I am not getting what I need from something I am paying to get, I . . . you know. . . drop it.

If these papers would come back toward us libs on the opinion page, and provide more NEWS that is not slanted or written by Nedra Pickler (R) from the AP, maybe more people would subscribe.

Start by put Doonesbury on the editorial page again dumbasses.


-Prodigal Son

Friday, February 01, 2008

it was one of those weeks

(Amarillo) Many of the hapless citizens of La Ciudad Yellow were reminded of the great and catastrophic Thursdays of history—Black Thursday, Maundy Thursday, the “terrible, stupid Thursday” of Douglas Adams’ classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—when they awoke on the morning of 30 January. No one had gone to bed the previous evening planning on being buried in snow—and therefore no one awoke early enough to do all of the things you are meant to do on such mornings. No one was able to adequately warm up their cars, for example, or scrape their windows, or leave themselves plenty of time to get to work. Consequently, the roads were filled with cars, pick-em-up trucks and SUVs hurtling out of control at their usual morning speed—about five to ten miles per hour over the limit—but doing it on ice, and with drivers who were cold, unable to see, and attempting desperately to call their bosses on their cell phones. In a house not far off Hillside and Bell, a city employee was pulling on his coveralls, spilling coffee and yelling at his wife: “What did you do with that dang ole snow plow?!”

“You said you weren’t going to need it any more this year and put it in the garage, under the grass seed!” she screamed back. Fifteen minutes later, the snow plow fishtailed out onto Bell Street and headed for the expressway—but by then it was far too late. That evening, trying to excuse the carnage and his profession’s role in it, beloved folksinger/weathercaster Doppler “Dave” Oliver broke down into a disturbing rant that was none too helpful. He variously blamed the weather on “God,” on “goldernit-we-done- fergot-it-was-winter,” and on “if-you-don’t-like- the-weather-in-the-Panhandle- wait-five-minutes-it’ll-change” and then started calling up viewers randomly selected from a hopper and asking them if they had a church home. NewsChannel 10 viewers were soon treated to the sad spectacle of “Walt” Howard gently escorting the confused weatherguesser off-camera.

Once away from the lights and cameras, Walt shoved Doppler into the teleprompter. The producer rolled his eyes. He had better things to do. Potter County Tax Assessor-Collector Robert Miller had lost it during a press conference the day before, scowling and demanding to know why the county was funding the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. He had a better, cheaper plan to redevelop downtown, he insisted. He had had an epiphany. Real cities, he harangued the local media, world-class cities like New York and San Francisco, when they wanted to improve their downtowns, why they just tore down a landmark! Outside the Santa Fe building a wrecking crew waited. Miller stormed out and led them off toward the old Colbert's Harry Holland building in Wolflin Village. Nevermind that Wolflin wasn’t downtown. Already in the Village, Amaristas were lining up to be the first inside the doors of the combination convenience store/ bank branch/ nondenominational church that would soon be built on the location.

As his entourage passed the County Courthouse, Miller high-fived Deputy Ken Farren, who was just then having his electronic ankle bracelet removed. Farren had just been declared Not Guilty With Hearty Congratulations and A Cold Six-Pack of Bud by a jury of his peers (six indicted officers of the law having been found relatively easily in West Texas), and he was loudly conducting his own press conference. He would, he insisted, devote the rest of his life to tracking down the real users of prisoners for yardwork. Oh, and he was still running for sheriff. It was awkward and confusing, as vows on courtroom steps go, and no one really knew what he was talking about, but it was one of those weeks.