Friday, October 31, 2014

Is the city of Amarillo being honest about fixing animal control?

The city of Amarillo and its city councilors continue to assure the public that all is well and the city is making great progress on cleaning up problems what was formerly called the Animal Control Department.

But that isn’t true, according to two former officers at that department. Those officers spoke exclusively to ProNews 7 and, in a report that aired at 10 p.m. Oct. 30, these former city workers discounted the city management’s contention that things are better. Niki Niimi and Brittainy Hall did something rare in Amarillo. They bravely came forward to and spoke out against the powerful city government.

The city knew this report was coming and at 5:39 p.m. Oct. 30 issued a press release that was the city’s attempt at a pre-emptive strike against the truths to come from ProNews 7. The extensive release tries to put lipstick on a pig; other than the two top managers being gone, the below-par employees remain. And the two top managers were, disgracefully, allowed to retire instead of being fired.

And, ProNews 7’s David Grasso-Ortega, one of ProNews 7’s investigative reporters, has promised to probe the news release further. Stay tuned.

City press release 2014-10-30

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Close enough for government work?

A few days ago, I was floating around on Facebook when I saw a logo for the Alliance Defending Freedom for Faith and Justice. This is inarguably a fundamentalist oriented Christian organization that — with cleverly vague language — advocates for its views to be pushed into our secular society.

But, what interested me about the Alliance’s logo is how it struck me as similar to the City of Amarillo’s logo. You know, the second logo after the city learned the first one proposed was plagiarized from a firm in the Middle East. You know, the logo the city chose after a contest it held during one of the city’s many rolls in the hay with the Amarillo Globe-News.

So, tell me, folks, it the “A” too close for comfort?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Amarillo animal control still flawed

This is the first of two reports on the City of Amarillo's animal control department. It would seem the city is not only having trouble making the positive changes needed at the shelter but also having trouble controlling the message. Kudos to KVII Pronews 7 and David Grasso-Ortega for not backing off on this story.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Amarillo Globe-News pick for guv insults decent Texans

The countdown to the mid-term elections continues and, with it, the editorial endorsements for candidates by the legacy media — newspapers. Those endorsements usually come after visits with the “editorial board.”

So, the Amarillo Globe-News, a tired vestige of what was once a newspaper, backs the Republican candidate for governor, Greg Abbott, the current Texas Attorney General. The Globe-News did so with the title of its endorsement “Editorial: Abbott best reflects Texas values.” The basis of the endorsement is this, from the editorial: “Voters choosing the next governor of the state of Texas have a simple question to ponder: Which of the two major party candidates best reflects their values and beliefs related to government?”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How Not to Handle a Crisis -- Hospital Style

About 47 years ago, I sat a University of Iowa classroom and listened to, Gerhard Hartman, the head of the Graduate Program in Hospital and Health Administration snidely criticize a story on a local health issue in the Iowa City newspaper. In the five decades that have passed since earning my Master’s, I’ve often thought about that classroom experience; and, more so, in the past 18 years as a professional journalist — reporter, editor and publisher.

Working Against Another Corporate Screw Job

I’ve always loved to travel, as much for the journey as for the destination. As a kid, I fell in love with trains and planes — less so with automobiles, owing (perhaps) to the interminable two-hour rides to my grandmother’s house.

My first plane ride was at age 9, when we flew from New Orleans to Montpelier, Vermont to visit my uncle and his family. I still remember the smell of the DC-3 from what was then Moisant International Airport to Atlanta.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's the Cure for a Self-Serving Congress?

My good friend, Bill, sent me a link to a long and very interesting story from Esquire. My friend is not only well-read but also smart and discerning. When he sends me a something to look at, it behooves me to do so. I say this because, with so much noise in cyberspace, getting to the signal is hard but extremely important. So it is with this story.

The extensive interviews with members of Congress give insight to why that institution has become so dysfunctional. It’s also an attempt to explain why Congress can’t fix itself, although I find that part of this story perplexing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pastors on wrong side of issue, can't have it both ways

The Ebola crisis has taken some of the focus away from other stories, although one issue a rising above the noise about the deadly disease. (By the way, I am working on the medical discussion.)

The right-wing cackling crowd and pundit classes have launched a campaign against the Houston officials who have subpoenaed sermons from pastors who opposed, and from their pulpits lobbied against, a failed attempt to overturn a human rights ordinance in Houston. The Texas Tribune reports on the situation and ABC News reported on it Thursday evening.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Is BigPharma Corrupt? 60 Minutes Shows It Is

If you have followed my work as a health care journalist, you will remember that I have asserted that the global pharmaceutical industry’s capitalistic, free market model is antithetical to good health care. In fact, I have gone as far as calling “BigPharma” out for being corrupt — for artificially holding up prices, buying off congress and lying about the costs of research and development. Almost all of the writing if have done on this topic is no longer on The Amarillo Independent website, but any enterprising person seeking the information about this topic will find it well-documented in legitimate literature, including medical literature as well as the mass media.

The latest — and I mean Oct. 5, 2014 — piece of journalism on this topic comes from CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” The story’s revelations about the unmitigated gall of the industry are clear. The video from the CBS website isn’t long and well worth the time to listen and digest it. Click Read More to see the story.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Is Amarillo ISD Teaching Hearing Impaired Students Properly?

On Wednesday and Thursday, KVII - ProNews 7 took a look at how the Amarillo Independent School District teaches sign language to its hearing-impaired students. I call your attention to this story because I believe it needs the widest possible distribution. Given what I know about AISD, it is unclear to me how much the school board understands what goes on in the trenches. As for this particular issue, I have consolidated the two-part story into a single video which you can watch by clicking on the “Read More.”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lubbock state senator spews lies and hate

I have waited a full 24 hours before posting this. That is longer than usual but I wanted to see if my ire and my fire would cool after reading the remarks of the newly sworn in state senator from Lubbock and his fundamentalist clergy friend. My ire and fire remain, despite trying to “chill” more. So here goes:

An Open Letter to Sen. Charles Perry with copies to Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. Four Price: