Saturday, October 15, 2016

Learn it and love it, not love it or leave it

Often in the bitterness of political debate, we expose our provincialism. Sometimes it comes in the form of: If you like the way things are in (fill in the blank), just move there. It’s the old “America, love it or leave it” routine.
George Santayana wrote in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And perhaps we can add: Those who live with blinders on are also sure to repeat their and our mistakes or make new errors. And one of the best ways for Americans to remove those blinders is international travel. By experiencing what other countries do, we can learn that there are better ways to do things — if we’re open to them, of course.

I’ve alluded to this observation before, especially after a 2013 visit to England and Paris where I rode intercity and local public transit. While many of the Brits think their rail service could be vastly improved, compared to what’s happened in the United States, intercity rail travel is excellent. On the continent, France, Spain and Germany showcase high-speed rail. None of those countries have military budgets as large at the U.S. war machine. Changing our priorities will be a long time coming, but being aware of how we could be better should provide some motivation and national soul-searching.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A mighty news outlet hits bottom - updated

The New Orleans times-Picayune had a wondrous and honorable history. Started in 1837, the newspaper flourished and was my first taste of being a news junkie in 1954. That’s when I started reading it on a daily basis. The Wikipedia entry provides a good summary of the T-P’s storied history.

According to that entry, Samuel Newhouse, Jr., bought the T-P  in 1962, but an article on reported that Ashton Phelps, Jr., a scion of the T-P's ower family for many decades, retired in 2012. With the local publisher out of the way, the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications installed its own hitman and thus began Advance's gutting of the newsroom and much of the rest of the newspaper’s operation.

Friday, August 19, 2016

'Opinion' without facts is blather - thanks AGN

Anyone who knows me knows I love the adage often attributed to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but certainly used by others before him: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

I’ve often stated that a journalist’s stocks in trade are research and facts. Even opinion writers should base their conclusions on research and facts. Once again, however, the Amarillo Globe-News — or as a friend of mine puts it, “The Amarillo Daily Disappointment,” publishes an editorial without any regard for facts. Essentially, the city’s “newspaper” of record claims that the federal government’s decision to stop using private prisons is based on flawed information. And, that the government can’t do a credible job of making such an assessment. That kind of writing is right out of the Rush Limbaugh playbook.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Gary Johnson: A wolf in sheep's clothing

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are wedging their way into the 2016 presidential race by asserting they are viable alternatives to the major party candidates. While it is doubtful either of these outsiders can muster enough votes to overcome the big party machines, it seems Johnson’s use of social media to tout his qualifications makes him more visible.

But, Johnson has also been coy about all his positions, advancing mostly his Libertarian views on social issues to attract progressives or liberals in hopes of luring them away from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Those social issue positions include decriminalizing marijuana, ending the “war on drugs” and supporting gay marriage — all posited on social media. However, there are other issues with this election and the Seattle Times has outlined them here. And, in providing that information, the Times shows Johnson to be far more dangerous to progressives than he want them to know.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tee time and the 19th hole

Thursday, the ABC7 Amarillo investigative team reported on the high on the hog travel that former Amarillo Economic Development Corp. president Buzz David’s and Senior VP Brian Jennings enjoyed in their hob-knobbing at conferences, trade shows and client meetings all over the United States. But that wasn’t the whole story, tonight the team told viewers about playing at golf clubs and buy golf clubs.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

High on the hog, or traveling in style

Last night, Niccole Caan and Kendra Hall of the ABC7 Amarillo investigative team told viewers watching the 10 p.m. broadcast the reimbursements to former CEO Richard “Buzz” David, and current Senior VP of Business Development Brian Jennings for their miscellaneous expenses. On tonight’s Nightside, ABC7 Amarillo reported on how these top two executives traveled high on the hog, spending for top-of-the-line booze, lavish meals, swanky hotel rooms, golf outings and more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shirts, shoes and golfing news for Amarillo taxpayers

On ABC7 Amarillo’s investigative team members Niccole Caan and Kendra Hall found Amarillo Economic Development Corp. top executives living high on the taxpayers’ hog with extravagant expenditures for entertainment, meals, hotels and four-figure golf outings. But that’s not all.

On the ABC7 Amarillo Nightside broadcast earlier tonight, the team reported that, after going through thousands of pages of documents, it found personal clothing and more.