Thursday, October 31, 2013

New developer for convention center hotel

Amarillo’s Local Government Corp. announced a revised deal for the development of a downtown convention center hotel Thursday.

In an orchestrated presentation, Chuck Patel from NewcrestImage and Costa Bajjali, of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, told the ALGC and gathered guests that Patel’s firm will take over the financing and development of a new hotel. NewcrestImage’s predecessor firm developed the Courtyard by Marriott in the Historic Fisk Building.

But, while the soil sampling and site work is going on now, the financing isn’t completely nailed down, according to Patel, who gave a short interview here. Bajjali’s interview, in which he said the firm has met contractual requirement with the city of Amarillo and the ALGC, can be found here; and, city Manager Jarrett Atkinson’s clarification can be found here.

The full meeting is here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is another failure for downtown development coming? - corrected headline

One of the nice things about being retired is that I can blog — nor not — as I am so inclined. I posted a few things in the past two weeks, but nothing extensive. In part, it’s a conflict between maintaining a sense of peace and expressing an opinion or clarifying what is generally false information spread by the Amarillo Globe-News. The latter task lately would be a full-time job. I’ll pass on the critiques for the moment. Should I choose to pursue those more vigorously, I can do so at my own pace.

But, we do having something brewing for which I’d like to give my readers a “heads-up.” On Thursday (Oct. 31, 2013), the Amarillo Local Government Corp.’s agenda calls for a discussion of a co-developer for the convention center hotel. The financing for that hotel was to be in place by Nov. 1 as part of the $113 million deal that master developer Wallace Bajjali put together with the City Commission in November 2010. It’s not clear if The Amarillo Independent’s warning to the City Commission, which was kludged around through the panel’s own form of denial, will lead to an “I Told You So” column.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another business screw up

The next time someone bashes government and problems signing up for the Affordable Care Act, take note that business can screw up "better." From, "Yahoo Mail has been experiencing a major bug, following its revamp earlier this week.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

When will the Globe-News stop lying to readers?

Sometime in 2005, I don’t remember exactly when, I decided that I could no longer work at the Amarillo Globe-News. It wasn’t because I disagreed with the paper’s political stances on the editorial and op-ed pages. It was because it committed what I feel is the worst of ethical breaches — publishing a story in which known facts are excluded so as to change the story itself or (in the same vein) refusing to publish a story to suppress facts. It is now clear to me that slanting the news and spreading falsehoods on the editorial and op-ed pages are part of a concerted propaganda effort. Here is the story in the New York Times.

Politicians can't be allowed to backtrack on their stupidity

“Misspoke” and “out of context” have become the common excuse of politicians trying to make an excuse of being openly stupid. It is, in the jargon of people who think themselves Beltway
cognoscenti, an attempt to “walk back” remarks that clearly embarrass them. Or, maybe it’s that they’re so arrogant they don’t embarrass, so it’s them following the instructions of their handlers to retract remarks.

Two recent examples come to mind, one of which we’ve already mentioned on this blog. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, perhaps unknowingly because of his mental deficiencies, mistreated a National Park Service employee, trying to blame her for the government shutdown that he supported. The encounter, caught on video by the NBC station in Washington, was a stunning insight into the plutocratic yet deficient mentality of a Texas politician.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Analysis of shutdown requires looking at the big picture

On Friday, I blogged that my day started a little differently — veering toward a place of peace. I tried to stay away from politics until late in the day. Then, a thread on Facebook became active. I thought the comment I posted to the thread was more peaceful and neutral than an advocacy position I would normally hold.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Channeling peace this Friday

I started my day as I normally do: I checked my email, floated over to Facebook to see what is happening on my newsfeed and then over to the 15 or so news sites I normally peruse. But my direction shifted when my “Unapologetically Episcopalian” posting noted that Oct. 4 commemorates St. Francis of Assisi. Along with the text posting, Unapologetically Episcopalian linked to a video of “Make me a channel of your peace,” also known as the Prayer of St. Francis, sung by the Choir of Chester Cathedral, England from the album “Sing for Joy - Cathedral Praise 2.”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pure & Simple: Rep. Randy Neugebauer is a jerk

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Tea Party wannabe who sided with the rest of the right-wing crazies on the government shutdown, displayed such an egregious lack of class toward a federal employee who here.
was trying to do her job. The report of the the incident is on video

I guess I've gotten used to politicians being inveterate liars and mealy-mouthed jerks, but my blood pressure jumps to great heights when I see this kinds of hypocrisy. It's hard to get directly to politicians of Neugebauer's ilk, but I am putting a print out of my email to him in the snail mail as well. A photo of it is to the left.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Defense cuts should be targeted

A friend of mine in Los Alamos, NM makes an interesting point on Facebook. He wrote:

"Attached is a pie chart I put together of US Budget for 2010 (the most recent year for which I was
able to find complete data). The three big things that we spend money on are: social services, the military, and interest on the debt, which in total accounts for just over 80% of our national spending. Everything else that the government does (e.g. - NIH, NEA, DOE, NASA, NSF, FAA, DOI, etc...) falls under the remaining 20%. Now, let's compare this with our income: in 2010, our government had a revenue of $2.16 trillion, and they spent $3.45 trillion. Thus, even if we eliminated the 'Everything Else'category of our expenditures, we would still be overspent by $600 billion.

Guv race could be closer than you think

Democrats may not need to be so pessimistic about one of their taking the Texas governor race after all.
Abbott at AC with his
video crew.

According to a Texas Lyceum Poll as reported in the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Wendy Davis has is only 8 percentage points behind Greg Abbott, the putative Republican nominee, in a hypothetical race for Texas governor. Those 8 points are more significant when viewed in context. First, in the overall polling, fully half the respondents were undecided, meaning it could be anyone’s race. Then, there is the gender gap, and Abbott suffers from it.

High school students show kindness and class

Sometimes I have to take a break form the political fray and look at the brighter side of life. A story on this morning’s Houston Chronicle website gave me the chance to do so. And, it restored some faith in the younger generation.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stop Lying

In my previous post (below), I refer to the false balance that affects — or should I say, “infects” — journalism.

I must, for he sake of conscience and what truth there may be in public discourse these days, take my discussion a step further. In Amarillo, the Amarillo Globe-News goes far beyond false balance and peddles lies. Here is a quote from today’s editorial, “While a government shutdown is not going to help Republicans (and won’t derail the federal government’s takeover of health care), there is a simple but legitimate question we ran across recently related to Obamacare that puts the problem in perspective.”

Congressional Turds

Last night’s midnight deadline came and went without Congress agreeing on the budget and the debt
ceiling. Try as I might, I can’t think of a civil thing to say to the 435 United States House members who have allows this to happen.

Thanks, however, to the New York Daily News, I am aided in my communication to the right wingers who have visited this upon our nation and on the taxpayers. What is gratifying to me about the Daily News’ front page today is that it says (perhaps a bit more gently than I wish) what I feel and perhaps what many others feel today too. But because it’s the Daily News, it will be hard for those inhabiting the Beltway Bubble to avoid seeing the disdain we the people have for them. At this level of exposure, I suspect it’s difficult, if not impossible, for the members of Congress to miss this message.