A report today of a motorcyclist injured critically in an accident in north Amarillo has me wondering — yet again — why the state repealed its law requiring helmets for people operating a motorcycle.
The man wasn’t wearing a helmet. Amarillo police say speed may have played a part in the wreck. His head injuries reportedly are quite severe. No one knows yet whether he’ll recover.
But I have to ask: What if he doesn’t recover fully? What happens if he has suffered permanent brain damage, meaning he cannot work? He then falls under the care of the state for the rest of his life. Suppose he lives a long time. How much money will the state spend on his care? Will it run into the millions of dollars over a long period of time?
It’s this possibility that has me wondering why the state decided in the 1990s to allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. Yes, the state requires casualty insurance. I believe the amount is $10,000. Anyone who’s spent more than 48 hours in an acute-care hospital knows that the 10 grand is eaten up almost the moment you check in.
But applying the time-honored — but nevertheless odd — Texas logic about independence and freedom of choice, the Legislature determined that it should not interfere with motorists’ desire to expose themselves to the kind of injuries apparently suffered this morning by that unfortunate motorist in Amarillo.
I pray for the man’s complete recovery.
I guess the folks who oppose health care reform are taking their defeat seriously.
Some of them are saying some hateful things to members of Congress who voted for the legislation promoted heavily by President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders. Oh, but it gets worse.
Some anti-reformists are actually threatening members of the House and Senate with physical harm.
Yep, it’s getting personal.
Democrats are blaming Republicans for failing to speak out against the threats. Republicans, meanwhile, are blaming Democrats for fomenting the outrage and using it as a campaign tool.
Meanwhile, back here at home, our congressman, Republican Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, hasn’t said much publicly about the anger being expressed. He ought to speak out — sooner rather than later.
Thornberry, to his great credit, hasn’t been a bomb-thrower since being elected to Congress in 1994. He’s a thoughtful guy who speaks intelligently about his opposition to the health reform legislation that has become law. But he has allied himself with others who aren’t so circumspect.
If congressional leaders of Thornberry’s ilk — including the veteran Panhandle lawmaker himself — were to speak out against the rage being expressed, then perhaps we can return to some semblance of civility.
Yes, I know. That’s a stretch. But it’s worth a try.
The culture warriors who comprise a majority of the Texas State Board of Education aren’t giving up their power without a fight.
The SBOE has enacted a social studies curriculum policy for Texas’ public schools that now favors conservative thought over liberal thought. There’s a vocal faction on the 15-member board that believes in the biblical version of earth’s creation — and want that version taught in our public schools along with the scientific theory of evolution. It doesn’t seem to dawn on them that matters of religious faith are better suited for study and reflection in places of worship.
What in the world happened to the notion that we ought to teach our children with zero regard to which end of the political spectrum gets favorable treatment?
The SBOE is undergoing serious change as a result of the March 2 primary election. At least two members of the arch conservative faction were defeated at the polls, giving many folks reason to believe that a more balanced approach to public education was returning to the elected board.
But that won’t happen until January when the new board members take office.
Until then, the culture warriors have more work to do.
Rush Limbaugh said what? That he would leave the country if Congress passes — and President Obama signs — health care reform legislation?
One of the many maddening aspects of guys like Limbaugh is that they can utter such nonsense and not have to be held accountable for their hyperbole.
He’s not alone in making such idiotic threats.
Alec Baldwin, the actor/comedian/political activist, said the same thing in 2000 if George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. I can’t recall Baldwin’s precise language, but he went on at some length about how the nation would be going to heck in a handbag if the Texas governor ascended to the White House. Baldwin didn’t want to be associated with the country if that were to occur.
Bush won — and won again four years later. But Baldwin’s still here, making a handsome living with a network TV show. And no one has said much in recent years about that pledge to leave the country.
I’m guessing Daddy Dittohead’s threat will draw a similarly silent response if health reform passes.
Communication is vital, especially when you’re dealing with people who are paying for a service.
I’ll have more to say on the subject in my column, to be published Sunday.
But it appears that chronic dummying-up by airline employees needs to be eradicated when things go wrong.
The weather brought some havoc to air travelers arriving at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport late Sunday. It was too foggy to land. The plane was diverted to Lubbock. One of the passengers on that flight was my wife. She wasn’t happy.
What got her so worked up? It wasn’t the diversion to Lubbock. It was the lack of explanation from anyone who might know something, and who might be able to tell her how the airline planned to get her home.
Talk to us.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry dismantled his two Republican gubernatorial rivals this past week, winning the GOP primary with an outright majority — garnering 52 percent to 30 percent for Kay Bailey Hutchison and 18 percent for Debra Medina.
But I cannot locate anyone who says they voted for him. Granted, I haven’t talked to every Republican in Amarillo. But I’ve talked to quite a few of them, many of whom are mainstream conservatives. One guy, a prominent Amarillo lawyer, said he never could vote for Sen. Hutchison “because she favors Roe v. Wade,” so he voted for Medina. Another friend, a strong supporter of Congressman Mac Thornberry and other leading Republicans, said he “held my nose and voted for Kay.” Others have said much the same thing: They just couldn’t vote for anyone with great enthusiasm. Medina, the Wharton County “tea party” activist who shot herself in both feet near the end of the campaign with that nutty talk about 9/11 possibly being an inside job, did well among the most ardent conservatives.
That was the vote Gov. Perry was targeting. The ballot totals suggest he did quite well, avoiding a runoff.
But where are they? The folks I’ve encountered in the days since the election aren’t fessing up to voting for the guy.
It’s reasonable to note that Perry doesn’t engender much warmth. He’s a tough dude, able to campaign as hard as anyone who’s come along in decades — as Hutchison learned.
Great politicians — like Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy — often have their names become political adjectives. I haven’t heard anyone yet declare himself to be a Perry Republican.