“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, January 30, 2009

Waaayyy off topic

Hey, it's cool to branch out. My firms national conference might go to Vegas next year, economy allowing, and I always wanted to go to Star Trek the Experience in Vegas, have a drink at Quark's bar. Nope . . . it's closed! Kaaaahhhhnnn !

Prob was better than this oldie SNL skit might imply, LOL

It would have been cool, but maybe robot chicken was right . . .

The ride part looked fun . . .

It lasted 11 years, back then there was 2 series on TV, First Contact was a hit. Know what is amazing? That all of the videos on youtube exist. Historians will have more than they know what to do with 200 years from now. Imagine if we could have seen George Washingtons first steps? Heard his voice?

That's Trekkie not Trekker you motherless son of a Targ! Qua Plah!

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Globe-News' owner hires bankruptcy experts

Morris Communications turns to the big guns for help with its money troubles By Greg Rohloff The Amarillo Independent Financially troubled Morris Communications, owner of the Amarillo Globe-News, announced on Monday that it had hired financial adviser Lazard Freres & Co. and Chicago law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg to help it sort out its financial mess.

Morris Communications is hardly alone in the corporate newspaper world with declining revenues and debts it may not be able to pay.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rooting for the Cards

Superbowl is coming, and that means eating brisket, enchiladas, fresh guac, cheese quesadillas for the kids, and good bourbon at casa Prodigal Son.

I am cheering for the cardinals because of their quarterback, former grocery store stocker and old man at 37 KURT WARNER: More from Snopes

His special needs adopted son Zachary gave Kurt a home made card in 2000 after the rams won the NFC. It said, "You are as a good a dad as you are a quarterback."

Zach, I hear ya . . .

Oh, and this is a blog for liberals, so how did Brenda, former marine, mom, and pregnant with one child and raising a special needs kid, put herself through nursing school? Food stamps and student loans. Suck it righties.

And . . . GO CARDS!

-Prodigal Son

Monday, January 26, 2009


You are cordially invited to attend

The Potter-Randall Democrats Meeting

Monday, January 26, 2009

6:45 PM Refreshments and Fellowship

Amarillo Public Library

Southwest Branch

6801 SW 45th

Program: David Rausch, Prof. Political Science

West Texas A&M University

"Review of Election Day Surveys"

Club Dues for 2009 are due

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Big Bad John

Texas Senator John "The Waterboy" Cornyn has signaled that he will do virtually anything to protect the backside of his patrons, the Bushes. Rather than admit that elections have consequences, and that he has no real reason to oppose the nomination of Atty. General nominee Eric Holder, Cornyn instead is leading the charge to place a "hold" on this nomination which is critical to the incoming administration in numerous ways. Unless his little fishing expedition turns up something unexpected, he can only succeed in delaying the nomination for about a week. Still, he is playing the "tough guy" and pretending to be greatly concerned that the justice department will now treat waterboarding as torture, and that Holder states that "no one is above the law." Cornyn wants us to believe that his concern is for "intelligence professionals" who could be legally liable. In fact, of course, if those professionals were ordered to do what they did by a presidential directive, it is not the CIA guys who would be at most risk. That is transparently the real reason behind Cornyn's gambit. It really makes you wonder what, exactly, Cornyn had to do to get his job.

RecantAmarillo's Map o' Sins

RecantAmarillo's Map o' Sins has been updated! Keep reporting your friends and neighbors who are sinful sinners! If you've made a suggestion below that has not yet been added, we'll probably get to it just as soon as we regain sobriety.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Two Pins For The Price Of One

You can get two TalibanAmarillo pins for the price of one tonight.

After the Avenue 10 theater (red pin - "gay theater") was shut down under suspicious circumstances, the Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (green pin, "idol worship") offered use of their church so that Avenue 10 could continue staging Bent.

Bent is a Pulitzer-prize winning play by Martin Sherman about the persecution of gay men in Nazi Germany. The original West End production starred Ian McKellen (Gandalf for you Hobbitses). The Broadway production starred Richard Gere.

Amarillo's production of Bent is directed by Jessica Burton and stars Tommy Toliver as Max, Ronnie Nanos as Horst and Bobby Hallmark as Rudy.

The show will sell out, so be sure to make reservations. Call 444-2637.

tonight, Jan. 23, Saturday, Jan. 24 and Fri. Jan 30
Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
4901 Cornell
8 pm curtain time

New description for AUUF's pin:

They also host on thier campus a gay theater
that premots homosexuality in our youth through
theatrical influences. The group calls themselfs

Do you have a pin yet?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

crawford, ranch, circa 2013

(partial draft of a future wikipedia entry) This "ranch" was used as a propaganda device by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It was permanently abandoned in January, 2009. Recent debate had centered on how to construct a long-lasting structure around the ranch to warn off future generations, similar to those built around nuclear waste dumps.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The End Of An Error

This isn't really about Dubya. It really hasn't been for a long time now.

Yes, it was too bad that the whole country had to suffer for eight long years. Yes, it's too bad that some still don't understand that the planet cannot afford to be run by a self-important imbecile. And, yes, it will be important for those who ran the ship of state aground be held to account.

But this is not that time quite yet.

It is time for a sober look forward to the new opportunities that await following the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. That is not to say that there are not significant challenges. Oh, boy, are there. The incoming administration is well aware of them, but in case you've forgotten, we are engaged in two wars, at least one of which was entered upon on demonstrably false pretenses. We have a massive economic crisis at a time when the government is already bleeding red ink to the tune of trillions of formerly valuable dollars. We are running low on fossil fuels, which is none too soon since they are largely responsible for a looming climate catastrophe if we don't act quickly and boldly. We have turned the world's oldest democracy into a worldwide laughing stock for arrogantly abandoning our precious principles because 19 Islamic morons managed to fly a couple of planes into downtown Manhattan. We have turned our schools into corporate profit centers that cherry pick the best students and then claim "progress." Oh, and then there's the run-of-the-mill messes like health insurance, Palestine, ozone depletion and gang warfare.

So, what "opportunities" am I talking about? Well, curiously, the very bad situation we find ourselves in is a form of opportunity. It means that President Obama will have a great deal of running room to "try things" and figure out what works. Obama's greatest asset is his charm, which he will use to generate the support he needs for implementing some strong medicine. His first moves will be designed to demonstrate that the new sherriff in town is truly a "uniter, not a divider." He can quickly reverse the culture in the administration, restoring respect for rule of law and the value of science. His shrewd praise for his recent political opponents is not designed to embrace their ideology, but to defang them. He will borrow a few ideas, and keep a few of the best people, and that will make it tough on them to stab him in the back. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the package of economic investments that was announced last week is just the first of several big changes that will pass Congress. He'll need to demonstrate that unifying talk and bold decisions are not incompatible. He'll need public buy-in for the concept of national dialogue that leads to important decisions. It's sort of the cyberage version of a constitutional convention.

The key will be getting that kind of conversation going, because, as I said at the top, it's not about Dubya. It's about having the public engaged in a politics that is about rational, need-based problem-solving. Once that's in place, there will no longer be room for a national political party that cynically preys upon fear and replaces problem-solving with comfortable ideology. Yes, that's a truly ambitious agenda, but it's the real agenda here. We are after nothing less than the remaking of our political system into one whose primary question isn't "what do we believe", but rather, "how do we solve our problems?"


New Troll Warning

It looks like Mr. Troll doesn't like to be called out as I did in my column. Here is the first of two e-mails he sent me at the Indy:

Since you like publishing half truths and emails. I published yours and some half truths about you on a few choice sites. I will make sure you and your paper will never be trusted.

The second e-mail said this: Private boards that are watched like a hawk. All 3 very small due to that. Again half truths and lies. I will make sure people around here cannot trust you.

One place for trolls to wreak their havoc is on the posting boards like AmarilloTalk or Wolfman's Hideaway or on blogs like Panhandle Truth Squad.

I thought a heads up would be appropriate. This kind of trolling is getting out of hand. It shows a dark side to the Internet.

Frankly, I don’t care if he tries to attack me or the Indy. His credibility will never be as good as mine because people know who I am. Hiding behind a screen name is cowardice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


My column in this week's Indy discussed the problem of trolling.

I outlined some of the background and then pointed out that someone was posting to the AGN Web site under a false name — pretending to be the head of RepentAmarillo, David H. Grisham.

I explain in the column that someone e-mailed me at the Indy and admitted it. Funny, too, that it was "normrock2112@yahoo.com," who didn’t answer my e-mail when I wrote him asking him to unmask himself.

The last time I wrote about the Internet and local boards and blogs, I got kicked off another board. I doubt that will happen here.

I’d like to thank Spacedark for helping me with the column, by pointing me to the New York Times Magazine story on trolling and for the moral support.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sinners in the hands of an angry blogger

The first draft of Panhandle Truth Squad's RecantAmarillo Map o' Sins is now live. This is our attempt to help repentamarillo.com identify the 67,000 sinners in Amarillo who are traveling on that proverbial I-40 to Hell. This is a work-in-progress, and you, too, can help! Let us know where the sinners are in Amarillo, and we'll add them to the map.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christian Taliban

‘Christian’ Taliban targets Amarillo

The Amarillo Independent’s management and staff have historically taken a live-and let- live approach to people’s religious beliefs. But a group in Amarillo has reared its head, and an ugly head it is.

RepentAmarillo, a group that on New Year’s Eve stood outside an alleged swingers club and claimed it was “witnessing” not “protesting,” can only be described as a true example of “Christian” Taliban. They refer to themselves as the Marines of spiritual warfare.

So far, the “witnessing” in front of the swingers club hasn’t resulted in much mayhem.

But a look at RepentAmarillo’s Web site (www.repentamarillo. com) is chilling for its aggression, for what it deems worthy of its attention and for its range of targets that include mainstream Christian churches and organizations in this city that do great good.

Their mission is to target Earth Day events as Earth worship or breast cancer events like Race for the Cure “to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.” Organizations targeted as sites for “occult witchcraft” include the Masonic Lodge and Khiva Shrine. They condemn Wildcat Bluff, First Church of Christ Scientist and Metropolitan Community Church as places of idol worship. And they call Polk Street United Methodist and St. Andrew’s Episcopal churches “compromised” because these mainline Christian places of worship are “gay friendly.” All these are plotted on an interactive Google map.

If all this makes this bunch sound so much like Ayatollah Khomeini with a slightly different rhetoric, you’re right.

Amarillo prides itself on its friendliness and tolerance and being a great place for business.

But if sophisticated businesspeople get wind of this group’s insanity, economic growth will stall and we will be perceived as being in the Middle Ages.

That’s where RepentAmarillo belongs.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

There's Hope!

I keep hearing over and over that we should be looking forward to the Obama administration and the 111th Congress and not be concerned by looking backward at the last eight years. I can't help but think if no-one is taken to task for the disaster created by the Bush years we're doomed to keep repeating it at some point in the future. Eschaton had a link to Glenn Greenwald in Salon that has got to be heartening news to us worriers. Greenwald introduces us to the new appointment to the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen who sounds exactly like the person we need in the office. Take a look. Click here. Hopefully Obama is thinking about "looking back."

How to be the Majority Party: Part 5623

Good GAWD, this morning;

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges."

Anytime the phrase, "yielded to Republican threats" is mentioned in the lazy press concerning our supposed leadership, I yell out F@#*! Scares the cats on the couch in my office, though.

Are we the majority party now, or what?! And seriously . . . can someone give me an example of when Democrats were nice to Rethugs, and they responded back with kindness . . . anyone? anyone?

-Prodigal Son

Just Laugh

Sometimes ya gotta chuckle, so here ya go;

Proposition 8, THE MUSICAL! Starring Jack Black as Jesus.

-Prodigal Son

Take That! Slack Jaw, Hippy, New York Liberal, ACLU-lovin', Pinko Professors!

building a bridge to the 19th century, Texas to pass 2 new laws sponsored by and written by the NRA. h/t to rackjite.com

"The first new law allows Texans to carry what weaponry they wish in the open; hips, belts, across their backs or waving madly above their heads. After all, open or concealed, what's the difference?

The second law - to go with that first one - follows the NRA logic that if everyone on campus had a gun, then the Virginia Tech massacre would not have happened. So law two is that anyone 21 or older can carry concealed or unconcealed weapons where they please on all Texas University campuses. Touchy feelie college presidents or liberal deans have nothing to say about it anymore. It's our right."

-Prodigal Son

Sunday, January 04, 2009

ding dong the 'dick is dead

Change comes to Texas: Craddick is gone.


State of Neglect

The Dallas Morning News today launched an investigative series about how the Republican web of intrigue has gutted the public safety net for the most weak and vulnerable in Texas. The importance of this series in our civic life can not be over-emphasized. Please take the time to read it.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

morning news: what's with the shoes?

Bush attempts to travel incognito through Miami (looking for more retirement property?) But someone found out he was there as his motorcade drove down the Palmetto Expressway.

At least that's my theory.


What? Smoking bans save lives, too?

Here's another thing that John Kanelis is certainly not going to like.

He has hung his much-discussed fanatical support of red-light cameras on the fact that the cameras "save lives."

At the same time, he has railed against smoking bans. "Let the free market decide," he has said, doing his best Grover Norquist. "[Businesses] don't need City Hall breathing down their necks."

Now, comes the obvious punch line. Multiple studies have shown that heart attack hospitalizations drop sharply after a smoking ban is enacted.

So, uh, John?

Should we enact a smoking ban to save lives, or should we let the free market decide about the red-light cameras?


Friday, January 02, 2009

Quantum of Intelligence

In this second adventure into why stupid people believe stupid things it seems fitting to return to the Filbert Islands, land of the fantastical fatu-liva bird and its fabulous square eggs, and refer to the discoverer of the islands, the leader of the Kawa Expedition, Captain Walter E. Traprock himself. In his interview with the New York Times published on August 21, 1921 he described some of his previous travels and published works, including “Around Russia on Roller Skates”, and some of his Filbert Island discoveries, including, of course, the “unforgettable” cry of the fatu-liva bird as it lays its square eggs. That he was a fictional character and the interview an obvious send-up was apparently lost on most.

We should therefore keep Captain Traprock (think about it) and his “experiences” in mind as we examine a letter to the Amarillo Globe-News. As will become clear, the Kawa Expedition seems most suited to this investigation, particularly in view of what has become known, in the Captain’s own inimitable style, as Traprock’s Conundrum: when is a thing, though it be called a thing, not a thing?

First, a preamble. At the risk of rattling the inhabitants of the Amarillo Globe-News chat cage and drawing even more trolls to this tranquil idyll of Panhandle Truth Squad (blogspot.com), this writer will make some observations on a letter that appeared last Friday and the responses to it by said chat cage inhabitants. That said, who are we kidding? Confined to their pitifully circumscribed little world they’re certain to have never heard of Panhandle Truth Squad, and judging by how intellectually feeble many of them are they would have to be led by their snotty little noses just to get here. Not that that is being suggested. Far be it from this author to have innocent little conservative baby seals led from their snug little cage over to Panhandle Truth Squad where, snapping their sharp little teeth and yelping their nasty little words against us affable liberals, they’d be clubbed without mercy by yours truly. No.

Now to the
letter in question, it was from a Mr. Billy Glenn of Lubbock (Lubbock apparently having no newspapers of its own), who fretted that America is now like Germany’s Weimar Republic, crushed by debt and “excessive government spending,” rampant inflation and government bail outs and stimulus money. Despite the partly faux parallels he asks “Do we have to repeat history?” implying there is a Hitler in our future.

The chat cage denizens are able enough to pick up on the clue. Barack Obama is the fascist who will repeat history. So according to arch-conservatives Obama, besides being a communist, is also a Nazi. Then things get bizarre.

According to Right-Wing-Nut #1 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, no friend of conservatives, is Obama’s hero and a fascist worse than Mussolini. Yet according to Right-Wing-Nut #2, who thinks liberals misuse the word, “the term fits no American president especially George W. Bush who has been accused of being fascist for the past 8 years.” Since #1 and #2 do not believe they are contradicting each other either FDR was not an American president or Right-Wing-Nut #1 is a liberal. The latter is highly unlikely.

Further, Right-Wing-Nut #2 observes “the truth to [sic] the matter is that fascism is the domain of the left.” That will be news to political historians, who wouldn’t classify Hitler and Mussolini as “left wing fascist dictators.” As additional evidence that Right-Wing-Nut #2 is muddling the political spectrum he adds totalitarian communists to his list, including Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, which are legitimately on the left – but not fascist.

Right-Wing-Nut #2 then issues a challenge: find a right-wing fascist. He doesn’t think it will be easy. This is the danger of a little knowledge reducing complexity to the overly simplified and thinking you know everything. Answer (without resorting to Hitler or Mussolini): Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Now things get even more bizarre.

Right-Wing-Nut #3 believes FDR began our decline into socialism and that we are “sinking even lower into National Socialism,” that is Nazism. He gives a brief synopsis of the origin and ideology of Nazism which, ironically, is flatly contrary to current reality:

“It rejected liberalism, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, stressing instead the subordination of the individual to the state and the necessity of strict obedience to leaders. It emphasized the inequality of individuals . . . and the right of the strong to rule the weak.”

Remember, this is an accusation being made against liberals, that liberals are currently rejecting liberalism, democracy, the rule of law, etc. With all due respect, which is very little now, if Right-Wing-Nut #3 was referring to the Bush regime he’d be on to something, but that would contradict himself and Right-Wing-Nut #2’s belief that Bush does not deserve to be called a fascist (not killing anyone for throwing shoes is offered as proof, but those in rendition and denied trial have yet to respond). And we already know Right-Wing-Nut #2 has contradicted Right-Wing-Nut #1 (or vice versa, it’s hard to keep the nit-wits straight sometimes). And these are the huckleberries that claim liberals make “themselves look like idiots by incorrectly throwing around the term fascist”? Idiots indeed.

All this prattling is, of course, not an attempt to define fascism as they make out but to make it imprecise enough to smear liberals in general and Obama in particular, with no connection to any real evidence to support such accusations. Not only do we not have fake square eggs, we don’t even have the photograph, yet these loonies are going to believe a thing must be a thing because they call it a thing. Stupid fascists.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

One Red Light Camera Study Flawed

Here are the opening paragraphs from a Houston Chronicle story.

Was red-light camera study flawed?

One expert cites lack of control group; city plans for more research

Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

Dec. 31, 2008, 11:27PM

The results of a red-light camera study released this week by the city have puzzled the researchers who conducted it and others around the country.

At a ratio of 10 to 1, study after study on the effect of red-light cameras from Oxnard, Calif., to Philadelphia, Pa., (and all the way to the United Kingdom, where they have been used for years) have found that they drastically reduce crashes.

But according to the Houston study, the red-light program here had no clear impact. Accidents remained relatively flat at the lanes of intersections where cameras were installed and increased by three times in some cases in approaching lanes without cameras.

Why such different results?

Researchers say there are numerous possibilities, all of which need further analysis. The studies may have been conducted differently, or the cameras may have set up differently. Houston driving trends may differ compared to other cities, or the cameras may be less effective in urban areas.

One specialist from a renowned traffic research organization who reviewed the study for the Houston Chronicle said the methodology was "flawed" and has serious "limitations."

The main problem is a statistical one, said Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute has conducted several studies that were published in peer-reviewed journals on traffic research.