VISIT LUBBOCK - FOR ALL REASONS
So read the billboard on US 27 back when I lived in Lubbock - teaching English and then going to law school at Texas Tech University, clerking for a federal judge, and beginning my legal career there. Lubbock had (and still has, I go back from time to time) its charms. I don't regret my years in the Hub City.
I had the pleasure of teaching writing and literature for a living. I got a pretty good legal education even if Tech's wasn't a top-tier law school. I developed a taste for good barbeque. I made good and lasting friends. And my kids were born there.
On the other hand, we're talking a place that the National Weather Service once identified as having the dustiest air in the 48 contiguous states. A place where the editor of the local newspaper (or maybe it was the publisher) used to take annual trips to South Africa and return to write pieces about the wonders of Apartheid. A place that didn't see the problem with shutting down an inner-city, minority-focused middle school while opening an elementary school in the burbs and naming it "Whiteside." A place where a member of the school board once urged its lawyers to argue in court that it was OK for the schools to distribute bibles to the students because while the Constitution may have required the separation of church and state, it didn't say a thing about the separation of church and Independent School District. A place where . . . . Ah, you get the idea.
Lubbock isn't without it's problems. But then, no place is.
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The Political news cycle has its own dynamic. There's only so much data that can be devoted to the latest idiocy before the next one arrives, driving the old to the shoulder of the information superhighway. (How 'bout that image!)
On the national stage (switching metaphors now), the Todd Akin dramedy will likely be with us for a while yet. (See, for instance, Gail Collins's column in today's Times.) If you're in Prague, Oklahoma, where the high school's teams are the Red Devils but the principle won't give valedictorian Kaitlin Nootbaar her diploma because she used the word hell (did I mention that the school teams are the Red Devils?) in her speech at graduation, you know the hot new topic.*
But if you happen to find yourself in Lubbock, well, you've got this guy.
He's County Judge Tom Head, and he's worried. Good, decent man that he is, he doesn't pretend to objectivity, to following the facts and the law wherever they should take him. (The good news is that as County Judge, he doesn't actually do a whole lot of judging. The bad new is that he's an elected official who presides over the Commissioner's Court which governs the county and that he does get to do some real judging.) As Andrea Sinclair wrote in the city's paper, the Avalanche-Journal (don't ask how you have an avalanche in a place so flat it makes my kitchen counter seem mountainous), he said
I cannot divorce my theology and my philosophy from my office.
OK, so when Head says the county needs a property tax increase, and explains that a good Republican is taking that unlikely opinion because Obama might win another term, you know he isn't just out to scare people. He's speaking from this theology and philosophy. Here's the story as Sinclair (accurately, I should add) reported it.
Head and County Commissioner Mark Heinrich appeared Tuesday night on a local television news broadcast to promote the tax increase, when the judge expressed concerns civil unrest of the worst proportions would break out if Obama wins a second term.
“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked.
“I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.
“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here’."
I'm not being altogether fair. Head explained yesterday that the UN probably won't send its troops to Lubbock to put down the invasion.
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Lubbock is, as I indicated above, the home of Texas Tech University. The entire Texas Tech System, which includes the medical school and other bits and pieces, is led by Chancellor Kent Hance, himself a graduate of TTU. When I moved to Lubbock in 1977, I learned that Hance was my congressman. A few years later, while he was still in Congress, Hance switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party. That led Jim Hightower to observe that Hance thereby raised the IQs of both parties.
h/t Paul Kennedy and also Dictators Maritza & Nick
*Patrick, from Popehat, responded with a guest post at TheAgitator, captioned "What The Fuck Is Wrong With Prague Oklahoma School Superintendent Dr. Rick Martin?" It's worthy of reproducing in its entirety, something I've never done before with someone else's blog post.
You pig-fucking coward. You shit-eating child born from a buggered arsehole. You piss-colored pile of carrion. You dung-fly. You prickless and ball-lacking catamite. You son of a street-walking widow who never had a man except for money. You cock-sucking arse-licking defiler of sacred shrines, you brainless heartless gutless cockless offspring of an imbecile and a deformed cow, you flea-bitten child-robber who poisoned your father and raped your mother and sold your sisters to the Dutch and carved up your brothers for sale in a butcher’s shop, you gutter-hugging trader in second-hand excrement, why won’t you give this girl her high school diploma?
Scott Greenfield, who also reproduces the whole thing, has a less vitriolic but more analytical response to the story making much the same point.