“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"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tea Party Protest Should Focus on Local Govts

The Amarillo Tea Party will host a rally July 4 to protest high taxes. The last Tea Parties turned into anti-Obama-anti-federal government rallies as much as a complaint against taxes.

And while the Tea Party’s manifesto calls for limited government, limited spending and lower taxes at all levels of government, taking to the streets, even peacefully, isn’t the way to deal with lowering local taxes. The way to lower the burden of government in Potter and Randall counties is to look at two areas.

First, citizens must pay more attention to the costs of local government, especially salaries. The Amarillo Independent did a story some months ago about city salaries and the amounts the staffers are paid is staggering. Of course, questioning those salaries leads to a huge effort in bureaucratic justification, with claims that to get “good” people to work here means paying higher salaries. Then, they’ll trot out all kinds of little studies of comparable salaries from other jurisdictions — studies that are paid for by the city’s consultant and not reviewed independently by an objective observer. C’mon, we know how this game is played.

But the second, and more insidious, form of taxation and tax increases has to do with the Potter-Randall Appraisal District. With caps on tax rates, the only way PRAD can generate the income for the governments it serves is to inflate the values of properties. PRAD doesn’t question how much those governmental entities need. One of the dirty secrets is that the jurisdictions tell PRAD how much they need, PRAD adds up the bill and then sticks it to property owners.

And it does so with outrageous impunity. In a down market, these arrogant bureaucrats inflate the appraisal of homes by knowingly faulty statistical methods. Even worse, the protest board backs the bureaucrats. Homeowners don’t have a chance because these senile old beasts are buddy-buddy with the staffers and have their minds made up before the hearing even begins.

If the Amarillo Tea Party people want to mount a protest, they may have more of an impact if they packet and protest at local government offices and at PRAD at 5701 Hollywood Road.

Coleman Concedes .... (finally!)

In settlement, Republicans cede all future rights to "Sore-Loserman" bumper stickers.


Tom Schieffer



WEDNESDAY NIGHT - JULY 1, 2009, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Ambassador Hotel - Ballroom


Tom Schieffer – Democratic Candidate for Governor

· Lifelong Democrat – Only Current Candidate for Governor

· Former 3-Term Texas St. Rep. From Ft. Worth

· Former Owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Team

· Former Ambassador to Australia and to Japan

· Brother of Bob Schieffer


Abel Bosquez, Robert & Carol Forrester, Selden Hale, Roberta Hicks, Jim & Theresa Otto,

Gina & Dr. Howard Podolsky, Jim & Sylvia Perkins, William H. Seewald, Claudia Stravato

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iran, what can you do?

One small thing:

I have been told that twitter users should set your location to Tehran and your time zone to GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone searches. The more people at this location, the more of a logjam it creates for forces trying to shut Iranians' access to the internet down. Cut & paste & please pass it on.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the flyswat heard round the world

I've said before that I like PETA-- although I don't subscribe to their ethic-- because, unlike too much of the far left for the last quarter-century, they have a sense of humor. Twisted, maybe, but so is mine. Also, they have the ability to drive Amarilloans up a tree, which is never a bad thing.

But, um, seriously?

I mean, he told the fly "Get out of here." The fly's choice not to listen led to its demise, right? I mean, if the President told me to "Get out of here," I think I would do so.

Hopefully, future flies, especially North Korean flies will think twice before they ignore President Obama's polite but strongly worded ultimatums.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pigs Fly: My letter to Rep. Thornberry

The Honorable Mac Thornberry
Member of Congress,13th District of Texas

Dear Congressman Thornberry,

Thank you, Congressman Thornberry, for your vote against HR2346, the Supplemental Appropriation for FY2009 that continues funding of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

I applaud your courageous stand and welcome you to the majority of Americans who oppose these wars. It must not have been easy to change your position from supporting war for six years to realizing that we must disengage from these wars and get our troops home. You have rightly utilized Congress' power of the purse to press for ending the wars.

I look forward to your further leadership, along with Representatives Kucinich and Woolsey, in seeking an end to the disastrous war of choice in Iraq and the quagmire of Afghanistan. Let me know how Question War Amarillo can assist you - especially in countering those unreasonable but inevitable claims that those like you and I who advocate not funding war don't "support the troops".

With regards,

Richard Todd
Organizer, Question War Amarillo

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Healthy Economy

OK . . . conservative talking points in quotations . . .

1. "There is plenty of healthcare competition already"- Really? Every job I have had has had one choice . . . the companies pre-selected health company. There was no other choice unless you consider none an option. Cobra? $1600/month.

2. "You don't want some beau-ro-crat overriding your doctor!"- Really? As opposed to the person at Blue Cross telling you your bypass surgery is not medically necessary?

3. "We need health savings accounts!"- Can you save up enough to pay for a heart transplant? (The costs for the surgery and first year of care are estimated to be about $350,000. The medical tests and medications after the first year cost about $27,000 per year.)

4. "Guvment run health care is not as efficient as the private sector!"- America was last on the list of six 1st world countries on quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives according to the commonwealth fund.

Like most people, I do not mind paying for something good, but what exactly are we getting for our $$ with private insurers?

Let's run the numbers down . . . let's say you have to pay $600/month for healthcare. 40% is profit and admin costs to Kaiser Perm or $240.

Take that 40% out and you are paying $360/month.


Here is my 4 step plan for fixing the entire USA healthcare system.

1. Buy out every publicly-traded health care company: Cost? $70 billion. Wanna stay as a rich man's value-added ins company a la' AXA europe.? Go right ahead.

2. Single payer is the way: In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in the U.S. was $6,714, in Canada for example, $3,678. That's just $306 a month. I was paying $700/month at my last gig. Roll it out in 8 quadrants starting somewhere small like the Dakotas to test.

3. A two-fer: No more pharmaceutical company ads. They spend more on marketing than on research. Stop it, and keep your previous marketing budget as profit.

Also, now we can negotiate with the drug companies on price.

4. Malpractice insurance through the gov.-Stop your bitching Docs, gonna cost you a third of what you are paying now.

Problems . . .

Healthcare company employees: This one is tough. . . there will be a lot of laid off people. What to do? Hire some for the new USA Healthcare, we need a solution for the rest.

Patient record security

What kind of tech CRM tool will be used?

How do Docs get paid?

What are the dems doing to help? See below . . . . . . . . . .

-Prodigal Son

Friday, June 12, 2009

enough is enough

Good lord, didn't the poor Ukrainians have enough to cope with over the years with the Soviets and Chernobyl and all of that?

Now they have to deal with Les Simpson's patronizing "help"?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Amarillo A-hole of the Week -- Max Hudson

In Hudson's recent letter to the editor, he unleashes a muddled and sarcastic attempt to restore some semblance of competence to the utterly incompetent Dubyah presidency. He implies that Bush has been unfairly blamed for problems he had no hand in creating. He then lists several instances of unfair Bush bashing, most of which are clearly ridiculous. He lists none of (and indeed may have mentally equivocated away) the bad decisions Bush made that ended in disastrous consequences for our nation. In a pattern of fallacious and vindictive misdirection, Hudson rants nastily only to indict any who would dare suggest Bush's incompetence.

I wouldn't normally nominate a Republican for mere vague misdirection, an inability to discern fantasy from reality, or the failure to provide solid research to back one's arguement as Amarillo A-hole of the week. But in Hudson's case, he not only does all three regularly, he is also employed as an educational consultant for Region 16. This is a man who has been given the task of devising ways for teachers to do their jobs more competently, and yet he cannot even devise a well supported arguement himself.

Take for example his guest column regarding the "Click it or Ticket" campaign devised by Texas law enforcement leaders to promote seat belt use. He argues in the column that "Click it or Ticket" was a means to earn state revenue and had nothing to do with safety. His flaw in logic appears when he offers up statistics related to highway deaths, stating that around half of those dying behind the wheel were wearing safety belts. While I've no doubt his numbers are accurate, he leaves out the more vital statistic showing that mandantory safety belt use has effectively reduced highway deaths overall. Is he purposefully deleting this more important statistic or being disingenuous by removing the more pertinent facts because they don't support his arguement? It's hard to say but fallacious misuse of facts does seem to be a pattern with Hudson.

For example, in a letter to the editor from Jan of 2005 titled "Sharp eye needed for pertinent perjury info" Hudson defends Tulia bad-cop Tom Coleman, implying that Coleman's only real offense was the theft of some gasoline. This letter was written (Jan 2005)nearly two years after Coleman was convicted of perjury for sending several innocent people to jail. Again was Hudson simply lazy in his research or purposefully misdirecting the truth knowing that a few locals would be duped by his vague accusations.

It is hard to know for sure in Hudson's case if he is truly dishonest, or merely blindly opportunistic in his desire to spin truth to fit his personal opinions. However, the examples I've listed, and others I found in the Globe News records, provided me ample evidence to declare Max Hudson Amarillo A-hole of the week.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Some interesting observations on the employment front. At many of the networking events I attend, there are so many people going to try and look for employment it would be funny if not so grim. The talent and experience on display is amazing. A lot of them are 15 years or so older than me, and this AM it occurred to me that the boomers are really stunned at how their old philosophical view of employment has imploded. The GenX'ers have lived this economy our adult lives, and the GenY's are thrown in the mix too.

I now feel like we GenX'ers and the boomers have a lot more in common, economy-wise. Many Boomers complain to me that they are being interviewed by 28 year olds (GenY'ers) that will be their boss, asking questions like, "Do you feel you can be coached?" and in the back of their minds thoughts that this kid is sitting there because the company only wants to pay half for what it used to pay an older experienced person pop up.

We had a presenter this morning who talked about "Brand You", about how to reduce your life experience to a 30 second blip, and all the folks in their 50's were scribbling furiously. Afterward the speaker went around the room, and asked for thoughts. I had an epiphany while listening. (From my notes)

"We employees have been branded, co-branded, up-branded, we have been given the "Right To Work", gotten to "Yes", told to swim with the sharks, been downsized, rightsized, best-sized, and generally had our Goddamn cheese moved so many times that it is second nature now to update your resume and hop online 1 month after being hired. An employee's job can now be tied to a 1/4% stock drop . . . or gain . . ."

My "brand" for the last 24 years? "EMPLOYED". Maybe that was too limiting. Probably.

A greater question is . . . how can an economy be considered fully functioning when so much of a person's energy is focused on worry about health insurance, getting pink-slipped for being older, or mgmnt says you are paid too much, or no reason at all via the "right to work" stuff? Why precisely should a person go up to their boss and bust their rear end to show them how they provide value, when in the end the BOSS is playing CYA to save their jobs? And your employers do not have to provide any reason for a cut in bad times? Or good times?"

After this AM I am more determined than ever to push harder to get my small business deal done. Mr Corporation . . . go Cheney yourself. If I have to work a corp job temporarily, I will, but the second I can work for myself . . . well, I don't have to give two weeks do I?

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dear Bill O'Fu*king Reilly

On your lie-infested babbling "show" on FOX "news" channel, you have stated over and over that Dr. Tiller aborted 60,000 fetus' in 35 years.

OK O'Reilly, I know you are not a numbers guy, or one of those "Smart thinkers", but . . .

365 for full year
366 for every leap year (every 4 years)
8.75 leap years in 35 years
35 - 8.75 = 26.25 years with no leap years (.25 of a year is 91.25 days)

So . . . in 26.25 years there are 9581.25 days
add in the 8.75 leap years which is 3202.5 days
9581.25 + 3202.5 = 12783.75 consecutive days in 35 years

60,000 abortions in 35 years is 4.7 abortions performed every day including all weekends and all holidays.

Just some reality, jackass . . .

Sweet Jesus, I hate Bill O'Reilly . . .

-Prodigal Son

Monday, June 01, 2009

A-Ha Moment

No . . . not talking about these oldies, LOL.

Being in the financial world, I get asked, "Explain what went wrong last year?"

Watch this video, it explains the whole Gods-darned mess better than I ever could.

-Prodigal Son