“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"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Woo Hoo!!!

Here is the link to today's (2/28/09) presidential address. It is by far his best so far, and is the rallying cry we have been waiting for. This is no modest assessment. It is "damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!" As of today, I have great confidence we will succeed.

Les Simpson calls blog "laughable;" Morris filing with feds explains more fully



Washington, D.C. 20549


(Mark One)

For the quarterly period ended September 30, 2008


For the transition period from to

Commission File Number: 333-112246

Morris Publishing Group, LLC

Morris Publishing Finance Co.*

(Exact name of Registrants as specified in their charters)

"We have purchased a software license agreement to replace the print edition newspaper in education (“NIE”) copies at all of our newspapers with electronic editions in order to reduce our net production costs. In addition, we anticipate marketing electronic edition only copies to new subscribers and providing print subscribers free access to these electronic editions during the first six months of 2009," p. 23.

Les Simpson corrects spelling on blog entry; Panhandle Truth Squad claims responsibility

Sunrise In America

Here are the top two headlines from today's Roanoke Times:

Obama sets firm date to end Iraq war he inherited

Blacksburg wins case against superstore

The times, they are a'changin'! It has been a long, dark night, and the morning is still cold, but sunrise is unmistakable. Not to stretch the metaphor beyond its limits, but we do know that there will be another night. We need to build our shelter while there is still daylight. If you have the sense that the last eight years dragged on interminably, and that the past month has just flown by, that is the result of having much to do in a limited time.

It is not enough just to change policy that can be changed back later. We need to be about the business of building both a legal and a political infrastructure that will make the next night less cold and dangerous. That means (a) writing as much of our agenda into law as possible, rather than relying upon executive order, and (b) making as clear as possible to as many as possible that the past eight years were not the result of one rogue administration, but of the consistent application by that administration of a set of philosophical principles that simply do not work. And, as I have written before, that work demands that, at least for a while longer, we put less emphasis on whatever disagreements we may have among ourselves, because we cannot afford to be distracted from the objectives I've laid out.

Meanwhile, this is a time to be proud of the United States. By tradition and by law, we have set the example of a nation that can dramatically revise its priorities and goals without resort to violence.


Friday, February 27, 2009

on second thought, we were pretty stupid to think Les would know news

I agree with Spacedark. I think a newspaper person should be held to a higher standard, but by the same token we are human and typing may not be our strongest suit. That isn’t as important as my real beef. (Oh, Les, do read this. ) He and Morris Communications are part of a corporate machine that has sold America's birthright down the drain in the service of corporate stupidity and greed.

I have it on good authority that when Les went into the departments to announce layoffs, there was no “Thank you for your 20, 25 or 30 or 35 years of service.” It was, “You are no longer employed at the Amarillo Globe-News.”

That reflects a corporate callousness that I find counter to his widely professed Christianity. Further, before Les closed his Facebook page to the public, around the time of the layoffs, he asked people to pray for him. I think if I were in that position, I might have also asked people to pray for the employees who were to be laid off.

Further, if you look at Les’ blog, there really are very few comments there. I don't think most people in the community really care what Les has to say or write. His credibility and the credibility of the Globe-News is pretty much in the toilet. Fact is, so many times Les has said one thing to his own employees and done something else that his own people don’t believe or trust him.

As for the rolls of newsprint, it’s possible that there were only three left right before a just-in-time delivery. After the new truck gets unloaded, he sends one of his crack “investigative” photographers to take nice pictures and -- bingo! -- he has a another way to spin his spin. There are other scenarios, too, but the point is, why should anyone believe him?

By the way, what’s an “investigative” photographer? This implied disdain for investigative reporting -- well, Les can’t escape from showing his disdain for real journalism. How is that statement backed up?

A few years ago, the AGN did a Franklin Covey program, one part of which was to come up with “Wow!” stories -- articles that people would talk about around the water cooler. He told the newsroom that there were no “sacred cows.” Most of the staff just rolled their eyes and knew that was total BS.

Want more? Let’s try this one: In the PTS blog Les cites, he labels it “reporting.” But the very blog post he linked to in order to criticize it slugged it as “rumor” and acknowledged, “I'm publishing this because we're a blog with no standards of verification. And we've heard it from multiple sources.” So why does Les call it “reporting” when it was clearly stated it wasn’t?

Maybe he’ll tell us in his next blog post. Or not.

The fact is that the big Billy and the little Willy have a callow kid running the Amarillo Globe-News. And the workers and the community pay the price.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

on second thought, we were pretty stupid to think they could handle an online-only publication

Less-is-more Simpson has both given us backhanded compliments and accused us of not being "so good in [sic] giving you the truth" in his 13-day-old blog. So we weren't surprised to see our good friend Reyne Telles mentioned by Simpson in his post about Panhandle Days in Austin:

Also present were some former Amarilloans, including Emily Klein (formerly of Leadership Amarillo/Canyon) and Reyne Telles (former of Cal Farley's), who is now Media Relations Manger with the City of Austin.
Except that we weren't aware that Reyne was a "Manger." Born in one, maybe.

See, Les, when you blog, there are no flunkies out there in the ether beyond your office who will correct your grammar and spelling before you embarrass yourself.

But we will, after you embarrass yourself.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Language of Looting

The Language of Looting

Gas, Liquor, and Ammo

Geithner as Spock?

This is an economic post, so I wanted to make you laugh first, 'cause it's bleak. And after talking with a bunch of analysts, whom I trust implicitly to give me info to base my own families future hopes on, I gotta be honest . . .

I got pink-slipped last Thursday.
Out on my ass in the worst economy in 25 years. In an industry that is on life-support. More in a minute . . .

First, I believe that life is about keeping our promises, and I made promises to my family . . . that my wife and I would retire with dignity. A promise to help my kids with their undergrad. Wedding for my daughter? Gratis. All of this was based upon the fact that for the last 80 years or so, the markets went generally up. The most plain vanilla mutual fund, left alone, grew around 11% for the last 25 years before fees. Bond funds around 6%. Market timers generally made 3%.

Until last year.

All correlations that I can get technical research on have been reset to zero. I have been reading until late just about every night. This is a meltdown where we have to find a new way, 'cause we are in a dark alley. You know this already . . .

As a good little capitalist-American, I bought the "social security won't be there" argument, that business needs some oversight, but that smart people start companies that make it, and investment banks propel the economy forward through smart loans as a result of serious due diligence, and not a handshake.

I also had faith that regulators in the financial world were not as revolving door as I thought. I was wrong.

I was wrong about so much . . . why shouldn't hedge funds be allowed to make $$ on the way down as well as up through short sells? Why shouldn't seeking alpha (or greater than average returns) be the holy grail?

Hedge funds manipulated market research, brokerage firms became the largest oil companies in the world through futures, banks made up highly complex fiction, and rating agencies who get paid by said banks put an "Aaa" stamp of approval on that fiction. All lies.

Back to my prospects. . .

I am luckier than others, because the family is healthy, and I have a few months salary in a money market. Three months, by our budget. Many, many, many, many others are dealing with choosing between meds and food. Or a house and food. I can use my industry knowledge to buy temporary high deductible health insurance rather than rip-off COBRA, and that will help some.

But here is the thing . . . I was kicking ass for for my company. Me and one other guy represented 50% of all departmental sales out of 10 people. I added $1.6 MM in yearly recurring revenues to the firms bottom line in a failing economy. Budgets have to be cut in bad times, Prodigal Son, C U.

Being a great performing, loyal, w2 employee does not mean anything anymore other than you are one day away from being shit-canned. These at-will work laws, union suppression, the total belief in unfettered free markets that police themselves. . . brother and sisters, there has to be another way.

I have one, and will post it later . . . but now, please excuse me. I am going to go wrestle around with the kids, kiss them, and get them ready for bed.

One last thought . . . in the end, a house is a house, car is just a car, but is a promise made to our kids for a better life than their folks, and then broken when they are too young to understand just one of life's hard lessons?

-Prodigal Son

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Off the Deep End

Right Wing Radio hosts have been allowed to mouth off the most extremist views imaginable over the past thirty some odd years. Their work has created a group of people riddled with views so moronic and far fetched that even their own party is embarrased to put them on the news. In her documentary Right America: Feeling Wronged Alexandra Pelosi shows one Republican after another spouting lies about Obama...

Things like
Obama is a Socialist
Obama is a Muslim
Obama is the AntiChrist
Obama will take away your guns
Obama will abort babies right and left
and the biggest lie of all
All media is a left wing lie and everyone on the left is brainwashed by it. This despite Fox News and the literal domination of radio by Right Wing nutjobs like Rush Limbaugh.
These people, I believe, have come to make up the majority of all Republicans and that is horrifying. We have a nation filled with people who believe lies.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Current Events!

Maybe you or someone you know is a current-event-interested, young, democratic, student, citizen, liberal? If so, please behold and/or forward, a schedule:

Panhandle Young Democrats (PYDs) Chartering Meeting Feb 22, 2009
Day: Sun
Date: Feb 22
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Location: Cadillac Joe's
Address: 4111 Wolflin Avenue, Amarillo, TX
Contact: Brandon Dix, amarilloyoungdemocrats@gmail.com
Meeting and celebration to charter with the Texas Young Democrats, and to ratify our club constitution and by-laws. Food, drink and fun! Come be a Charter member!

Potter-Randall Democratic Club (PRDC) Monthly Meeting Feb 23, 2009
Day: Mon
Date: Feb 23
Time: 6:45pm
Location: Amarillo United Citizen Forum’s Black Historical Cultural Center
Address: 901 N Hayden, Amarillo, TX
Contact: Gentry Powell, Jr, 381-2012, pres@amarilloareademocrats.org
Prenis Williams speaks on “Black History Journeys Then and Now”. Refreshments and fellowship!

West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) Democrats Club Meeting Feb 25, 2009
Day: Wed
Date: Feb 25
Time: noon-12:45pm
Location: Jack B Kelley (JBK) Student Center, Room 13
Address/Map Hyper-link: WTAMU Campus, see building 2, Canyon, TX
Contact: Wes Condray, wcondray@wtamu.edu; Donna Raef, draef1@buffs.wtamu.edu; or Lisa Caid, lcaid@wtamu.edu
Free pizza! Membership is open to all WTAMU students, faculty, staff and alumni. Membership drive is now underway!

Amarillo United Citizens Forum (AUCF) Banquet Feb 28, 2009
Day: Sat
Date: Feb 28
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Black Historical Cultural Center
Address: 901 N. Hayden, Amarillo, TX
Cost: $15 per person, or table of eight for $12.50 per person (J Stein and B Dix have reserved tables)
Contact: AUCF; Jerry Stein, 351-2744, cletus@arn.net; Brandon Dix, amarilloyoungdemocrats@gmail.com
Volunteers wanted (contact B Dix) to help cook for and support the AUCF Banquet!

Liberals Welcome the Texas Observer “Opening the Eyes of Texas Since 1954” to the Conservative Texas Panhandle Feb 28, 2009
Day: Sat
Date: Feb 28
Time: 6:30-9:30pm
Location: Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building
Address: 4901 Cornell (Across from Bonham Jr High), Amarillo, TX
Contact: 359-4473; or 626-2452
Call for story suggestions about the Texas Panhandle: can be investigative, ironic or humorous. Submit on letter-sized paper with suggested title, 2 - 3 sentences about the story and your contact information!
Find out what is really going on in the Lege, meet Editor Bob Moser and Publisher Carlton Carl, plus tamales, beer, wine, music and SPEECHES!

globe-news headlie of the day

"Okla. Senate defeats alternatives to evolution"

So, um, they now have to evolve, even in Oklahoma?


"Thinking Republican" Has Become An Oxymoron

I have written before about how regrettable it is that we have such a divided politics in this country. It would be nice if we could have discussions about which of several reasonable ideas is most likely to produce a desired outcome. This would make our politics more worthy of a civilized nation, and more likely to result in some generally positive course of action, even if at the same time our political structure became rather less clear cut.

For better or worse, we do not have that luxury. The national Republican Party is dominated by people whose election depends upon building and maintaining convenient fictions for the consumption of voters who do not recognize the fictional nature of their preferences. Until these fictions can be completely blown up, and those who hold them relegated to the fringes of politics, we have no choice but to make common cause with everyone who will fight them. The Democratic Party, while certainly not perfect, is at least dominated by those with a willingness to be guided by fact and reason. That is why our politics remain very polarized, and explains the outcome of a new evaluation of members of Congress, based upon their voting patterns. In it, those Democrats rated least progressive outdistance the most progressive Republicans by considerable margins. While such analyses are necessarily imperfect, because they involve someone's estimation of the meaning and weight to give to individual votes that are, at least superficially, much more complicated, they do provide some insight. Specifically, as I have suggested previously, our objective must be not to quarrel too much among ourselves until we have induced a major change in the construction of the Republican Party. Until that party either disappears as a major force or restructures itself as a party willing to succumb to evidence and reasoning, they will be an unacceptable alternative that cannot be given any breathing room. In other words, if there is an opportunity to replace a generally less progressive Democrat with a more progressive one, then fine. But when the choice is between a Ben Nelson or a Mary Landrieu and a generic Republican, we are indeed well served to support the Democrat whole-heartedly.

President Obama's Weekly Address - 2/21/09


First came word of renewed activity in the case of the Tylenol killer. Now, we hear that an arrest may be impending in the Candra Levy case. Locally, we've even seen sudden resolutions of cold cases.

What is this all about? Trying to tie up all the loose ends before the end of our civilization?


problem: the horse has already left the barn solution: stuff the barn with public money

............................Piles of unread newspapers. (Michigan Daily)

I have way mixed feelings about this (also here). Both articles are a bit vague on where the endowment ($5 billion for the New York Times alone) would come from, but, in the current economy, it's hard to imagine it coming from anywhere but the federal government. On the one hand, call me Grover (Norquist, not the muppet), but my knee jerks against the idea of the U.S. government having a state-owned media, its own personal Pravda.1 On the other hand, the news media hasn't really been independent anyway since the newspapers and the television stations all became subsidiaries of the corporate megaliths. On the third hand, I'm dubious whether the newspapers are worth saving. For example, Kamiya makes a big deal about field reporting-- but field reporting has been dying since the eighties. The world is already the "less known place" he fears. On the fourth hand, the partially publicly-funded media that already exist-- PBS and NPR-- do actually do a better job of reporting (with fewer resources) than the mainstream media. On the fifth hand, I barely read newsprint anymore. I read even the Amarillo Indy online (though I do pick up a couple of copies at Market Street, figuring that will somehow help George with his advertisers. I promptly drop them in the recycling bins.) On the sixth hand, I...uh...do the crosswords. When I'm really bored.


1Yes, I wrote that. This isn't the fake Spacedark. Here, maybe this comment will help: didn't we bitch about excessive government control of Fox News throughout the Bush years?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snoop Dawg Steele n da G 2da O 2da P

Uh I'm not sure what to say about this but ... lol.

What exactly is an "urban-suburban hip-hop setting" anyway?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"The system failed."

"And why is that?", the Globe-Republican asks. Could it have anything to do with the laissez-faire policies espoused by your paper throughout the Bush years? The same hands-off attitude that allowed our financial system to go rocketing out of control? Let the markets decide? Well, the markets decided. Whether it's peanuts or credit default swaps the market decided it's best to look the other way, ultimately putting us all at risk.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fresh From The Crime Lab

The PTS forensic lab, from an undisclosed, secure location, releases the following evidence in support of the Karl Rove-Heinrich Himmler association previously revealed by Lequino. It had previously been thought that Rove more resembled Nazi master propagandist Freidrich Goebbels, but the following DNA fingerprint evidence firmly establishes that Rove is none other than Himmler, or his more evil twin. Starting on the left, lane 1 is Rove, followed by lane 2, Goebbels; lane 3, Joseph Stalin; lane 4, Pol Pot; lane 5, Himmler; lane 6 Dick Cheney.

Food for thought, indeed.

Family matters

Karl Rove is hoping we'll buy into his notion that the economic stimulus is just the Democrats taking a page from the Republican handbook of trickle down economics. Touche Karl, you've really put a poinard in our ass with your commentary. Ouch babe!

Of course in usual Republican style you argue for more corporate handouts and less in the way of health care and education. Wait that kinda sounds like... let's see more money for corporations... uh money to the wealthy... you mean you're arguing that we need to give money to the rich to trickle down to the poor but that giving money to the poor to educate them is actually trickle down economics... I ... uh... did I misunderstand you? Ah well no matter.
For you see (CQTH (chuckles quietly to himself) )I'm afraid (for your sake) that the scientists here at PTS have got you this time.

New DNA evidence uncovered in the Panhandle Truth Squad science lab located at Polk and Burr, proves (at least as far as I'm concerned) that Rove is a more well fed but just as shifty clone of famous Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler. Ha ha charade you are!!!

Hey, You Repub Idiots . . .

Remember when Darth Cheney said, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

Was he a lying sack then, or are you Rethugs lying sacks now?

Oh, and Jim DeMint (R, Confederacy), when you out and out LIE about the stimulus, you do not have a pot to piss in.

Just sayin . . .

-Prodigal Son

Monday, February 16, 2009

Couldn't have said it better myself

Begala points out that S. Carolina already gets more back from federal spending than it pays in taxes. So I say let's let Governor Sanford's state off the hook completely. They don't have to pay any federal taxes but don't get any federal money either. Nothing...not from the stimulus package and not from current programs. We'll save a lot of cash.

There you go Sanford...happy now?

You might also notice that Begala rightly points out that Sanford made no new suggestions on how to solve the crisis, just the same old Republican stuff that got us where we are today. I'll go ahead and paste in Sanford's solutions (from Begala's article) for the crisis...see if they don't look familiar.

"... cutting the payroll tax, opening foreign markets through an expansion of our trade agreements, and reducing our corporate tax, which is among the highest worldwide."

It's the same, pump up supply side, economic policy that has put us in a situation where we're swimming in supply and no one can buy anything. I'm not an economist but come on, you can't keep building supply when there is no demand.

Republican solutions according to Sanford

Cutting payroll tax -- Why so these guys can make more product and remodel their offices?

Open Foreign markets -- I'd say they're pretty well open now...especially where our manufacturing jobs are concerned.

Expand Trade Agreements -- Do you think we can build cheaper products than countries where they have slave labor...duh I don't think so.

Reduce Corporate Tax -- See "cutting Payroll Tax" except add golden parachutes.

It's the highest in the world -- Yeah but we also have the highest salaries in the world, by far -- think other things factor into our corporate tax rate? -- think corporate tax lawyers haven't got about a million other loopholes they can jump through to avoid paying taxes-- Haven't seen the statistics showing the number of corporations that pay nothing in taxes? -- think it might just be another way for greedy business jerks to rip taxpayers off?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Amarillo United Citizens Forum

It's coming up real quick.......

The Amarillo United Citizens Forum banquet is set for Saturday, February 28,
2009 at 6:30 PM at the Black Historical Cultural Center, 901 N. Hayden. The
price is $15.00 per person but if we get a table of eight, the price is
$12.50 per person.

As Democrats, let's at least get one table. Jerry Stein is in charge of
making up the table(or tables). Please let him know by Monday, February 16,
2009. Jerry's number is 351-2744 or E-Mail Address is cletus@arn.net.

Sylvia Perkins
HQ Executive Cmt. Chair

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thank God for those reminders for fiscal responsibility

Republican Mark Sanford reminds us all that we shouldn't mortgage the futures of our children. Guess he and his fellow Republicans didn't think about that when they set record deficits every year of Bush's two terms.

Monday, February 09, 2009

nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

We hear that David H. Henry, Dave-the-wingnut, occasional Ghostly VoiceTM of the Amarillo Globe-Republican, will no longer be cutting-and-pasting text from the Limbaugh Letter to the Opinion Page. Apparently, he's been transferred back to the Sports Desk. (Rest easy, though, Globe-Republican fans. , at this writing, is still on the Old-Men-Drinking-Coffee beat.)

We know. The Ghostly VoiceTM was supposed to be the "hysterical historical voice" of the Globe-Republican and not Dave Henry's personal opinions gleaned from an overdose of Fox News and cheap vodka from a plastic bottle, but if you believe that you probably also believe that the Canadian "River" is actually a body of water and not just a ditch running through the northern Panhandle. So, we have to ask, whither the Ghostly VoiceTM? Will the mythical spectral journo be able to maintain the fa├žade of party-line wingnuttery without Mr. Henry's distinctive perspective? What, in the bigger picture, will happen to Globe-Republican conservatism in the Post-Partisan Era of Obama? (What will happen to PTS? the CTs will ask. But we'll take care of ourselves, thank you very much.) Virgil's long gone. Without Dave, the Globe-Republican Opinion page is reduced to John Kanelis' nanny-stateism, which to be perfectly honest annoys conservatives just as much as it does us. I know. I've talked to them. They shudder blame Kanelips on us.

I guess there's always Sagan. (Is there?) If you know what he believes, you should send him an email and let him know.

Are you there, our Once and Future Sportswriter? Dave? Listen to us: we're being honest. We'll miss you, man. And we're glad genuinely glad that the reprehensible neocon policies that have cost so many their jobs policies, honesty compels us to add, that you mouthed have not cost you yours. At least not completely. At least not yet.

We honestly hope you can hold on at the paper1, in some capacity. We don't want anyone causing you any grief, any hurt, or any pain.

Well, besides us, I mean.


1 Though to refer to it as a "paper" seems a bit quaint, dunnit?

President Obama's Weekly Address - 2/7/09

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Flies In The Stall

I have recently been reading The Tipping Point, by journalist Malcolm Gladwell. The basic premise is that large social changes can be catalyzed by seemingly small efforts, if done in the right way. While, as an academic exercise, the book reeks of typically sloppy journalistic style, it nevertheless hits on a vitally important, if not new idea. Anthropologist Margaret Mead is credited with the quotation, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." So, the idea has a long history. Still, the collection of examples that Gladwell puts together, many of which are not intuitive, is quite instructive.

It turns out that while we humans often act irrationally, our group behavior can still be predicted if we understand what motivates most of us. A lot of the time, we are not considering the logical or long-term consequences of our actions, but are merely responding to the cues in our environment and applying our preferences to them. A great summary of that is work described by two economists, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, regarding the principle of "nudging", how to induce people to act in our own best interest or in society's best interest by providing us with small cues that respond to our irrational impulses. A particularly intriguing, if silly, example, is provided in Thaler's work on male urination behavior. Seems that if images of flies are placed in urinal bowls, we "aim" at them, and the result is less stray urine to clean up.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Sunstein is President Obama's choice to lead the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, where he might become "nudger in chief." Expect these principles to also be applied to Obama's legislative priorities.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Carrion Picker complains

Corporate crow Carly Fiorini calls out to her fellow bone pickers to tell us all that she has the right to earn as much in a day as the average guy earns in a year.
Thanks Reagan for starting us down this "free market is God Almighty" path thirty years ago. We almost had the swamp drained but you refilled it and now we're so overstocked with greedy gators like Fiorini we'll need more than a few shotguns to take care of the problem.

Bravo Obama, your plan to limit corporate pay in exchange for my tax dollars will go some distance in quelling some of the behavior of these corporate lizards. Fiorini and other corporate crocs have fattened themselves on the plate laid before them by their Republican slaves for so long they don't even realize their day is coming.

My only regret is that the plan could not be comprehensive. We need to put a gigantic pump squarly in the middle of the reptilian brained, greed addled, culture that is our investment/ banking/ lending/ insurance/ medical/ weapons foundering, overdriven cesspool of a swamp. We need to drain that muggy mosquito ridden lowland and like ranchers slaughtering disease ridden cattle in a pit systematically destroy every Fioriniesque Gila Monster crawling around in the muddy remains.

Where's my rifle goddammit!!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Send in the Clowns

Speaking truth to power in Amarillo tends to fall on deaf ears.

Fact: Amarillo’s leadership at the Chamber of Commerce, the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. and City Hall are in denial about the amount of poverty in Amarillo, how good the business climate is and how strong the economy is.

The credibility of those in leadership goes to the heart of “Amarillo: The State of the Economy” presentation that Mayor Debra McCartt substituted for a State of the City address. McCartt chose Gary Molberg, president of the Chamber, and Richard “Buzz” David, AEDC chief executive, two of the biggest business boosters, to conspire with her to spin how good the economy is in Amarillo. That presentation on KACV-TV Tuesday evening bears repeated watching and viewers should do so with an extremely critical eye.

First, no panelist spoke the “unvarnished truth” as they promised. Few of their responses were direct answers to the questions from moderator Ellen Robertson Green, who made clear that the show was McCartt’s and that the two cheerleaders were the mayor’s choice. McCartt could have shown more respect for the truth had she invited someone paid to be objective, like an economist or business professor. Instead, she revealed more about herself than she realized. She gave the public a choice between the “unvarnished truth” and a verbal dance and the public got the soft shoe.

Other “leaders” are part of the spin. Marc Gilmour, general manager of KVII-Channel 7, recently ran promotions about our “strong local economy” just days after laying off staff. In an e-mail to Green, Gilmour argued the layoffs were the result of weakness elsewhere in Barrington Broadcasting Co. But, it still doesn’t change the fact that the layoffs occurred in Amarillo and Barrington and KVII are contributing to economic difficulties in this city rather than helping by telling the truth. And they have, last we looked, a news department.

Molberg and David each provided flawed information. Molberg claimed that he thinks a lot about the small business community in Amarillo. But, talk to several of the small businesspeople in town and they will tell you that the Chamber is not responsive to them. It is run by representatives of the large businesses and small businesses receive short shrift.

And David characterized the data on subsidized or free school lunches, a reflection of poverty in the community, as “typical” of the United States and Texas. However, according to the Texas Education Agency, AISD’s students are more beset by poverty than elsewhere. The state average for subsidized or free lunches in schools is 55 percent of students, while the percentage in AISD is 62 percent.

Amarillo deserves honesty from its leadership and it is well past time we get it.

How Obama Gets His Groove back

The media have bought into the Rethug line on the stimulus bill, The rethugs are extracting favors like Senate picks when they should be groveling for forgiveness for the past 8 years.

The perception is Obama is faltering. The Rethugs, villagers, and establishment Washington want to "Take Him Down a Peg."

Well, he is the President, and here's how he can win, and get this stimulus bill wrapped and shut the critics up.

I respectfully suggest that the President co-op 5 minutes at the beginning of the evening news. Tonight. Every channel, even cable.

Just take 5 minutes, and use a power point to show us how the bill will help. Say directly who is holding up the train (republican bastards) and a specific example of how this is hurting America. That they are hurting your family to make a political point.

At the end, ask for our help and flash the switchboard number to congress. Tell us to call in the morning at 9 AM and ask our congress critter/senator to put America first and support the stim bill now!

We need an FDR moment here. Simple. Direct. Bypasses the Broder/Scarborough/Will/Dowd/ crowd.

BTW, when I have called the white house switchboard (202-456-1414) to suggest this, I have asked to be connected to:

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel

Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina

Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen

Senior Adviser David Axelrod

Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett

Senior Adviser Pete Rouse

I was always put moved to general comments. Can anyone pass this message on from a regular guy?

-Prodigal Son

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

rumor has it...

I'm publishing this because we're a blog with no standards of verification. And we've heard it from multiple sources.

Word around town is that the Globe-News will stop publishing a print edition this fall and go online only.

If this is true, the Independent will be excited because they'll be the only general-interest newsprint in town.

We'll be excited because the Globe-News will have no more credibility than the Panhandle Truth Squad. But we'll miss the crossword puzzles.

Again, this may be just a rumor, one the Globe-News should nip in the bud if untrue. But with the bankruptcy and the cutting back to two sections...



Tom Daschle Withdraws Nomination For HHS Secretary

What's To Be Done?

I've followed the development of the +$800 billion stimulus bill and its debate in the House and now the Senate. It doesn't take long to fall behind in understanding this complex legislation, to become frustrated at it all. Some of it will do what is intended - generate activity in the economy; and some of it probably won't. I sense though, that it will fall far short of what we need.

So, what needs to be done?

There are at least three interrelated challenges we face.

First, we must arrest the increase of greenhouse gases and stabilize carbon dioxide at less than 350 ppm (we're currently at 385 ppm and increasing almost 2 ppm/year). If we achieved that, global warming would probably be held to less than 3.6 deg F, which would avert the most catastrophic effects of planetary warming. If we don't, humans are in for a scale of change that our current 'civilization' hasn't ever faced. I'm talking major hard times for us and the ecosystems we depend on.

Second, we must eliminate our dependence on imported oil. The major mission of our global military imperium is to protect and ensure a reliable supply of oil. It's why we maintain hundreds of military installations around the world projecting American power, why we invaded Iraq, why we coddle Arab dictators and kings, why our balance of trade is so out of whack. It's an addiction that could hit us cold turkey when we slide down the backside of the peak oil curve not long from now.

Third, we must create new jobs - jobs that afford a decent living wage, jobs that will stay in America - dignified, productive, socially valuable jobs that contribute to making this a better place.

The key to these three challenges is that we must transition, as quickly as possible, to a non-fossil fuel based energy economy. It took a World War to pull us out of the Great Depression. And it will take a similar, probably even greater, effort to transform our economy and society and get us out of the descending, steadily warming handbasket we find ourselves in now.

Instead of bombers and battleships, we build wind generators and solar collectors and smart grids. Instead of tanks and jeeps, we build light rail and electric cars. Instead of victory gardens, we embrace community supported agriculture and become localvores. Instead of a military draft, we employ an army of experts to retrofit our buildings to be energy efficient. Instead of debt to China, we sell Renew Bonds to invest in our transformation here at home.

If we can do these, we could build a low carbon, sustainable, renewable energy economy that reduces global warming and its negative impacts, that eliminates our dependency on foreign energy sources and the need to protect them, and that creates new jobs for a sustainable economy that plugs the leaks that drain our wealth.

Nothing less is going to save us from a world of hurt.

The change I believe in would have President Obama call on the American people to rise to meet these challenges. We don't need a new New Deal that tinkers around the edges, but a Great Transformation that will create an economy and society that will give us a fighting chance to pass on a better world. That's the speech I want to hear, the direction I want to pull in, and the hope and change I want President Obama to articulate and lead us toward.

What do you think? Will we hear that speech?