Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Slim finds a reason
I was out at the auction barn over the weekend. My buddy Slim was there.
He was bent over a saddle with a rag in one hand and can of neatsfoot oil
in the other.
As he worked he was whistling around the cigarette butt clamped between
I have never figured out how he does that _ the whistling part I mean.
I can't whistle without at cigarette, much less around one. I guess it is
Now Slim is not a man of overflowing emotion. He seems to think squinting
is a valid form of human communication. Whistle-while-you-work is not the
"What are you so happy about," I asked innocently.
"Justice, I reckon," he said between bars of the tune and puffs of smoke.
"Did you watch somebody get hung?" I asked having a fair idea of what
Slim considered justice.
"No, but last night I got to watch a bunch of tree-huggers in California
whine because they are cold and don't have enough electricity to make espressos
and all those other flu-flu drinks they make out of perfectly good coffee,"
he said. "That just put me in a good mood. Made me feel like God was still
taking a small hand in things down here."
"Now Slim, you can't really be happy that folks out there don't have enough
"You bet I can. They sewed the seed. Now let them reap the rewards. We
need more of that. Now if our new president will stand firm and keep the
feds out of it, those granola-eating nuts will have to face down a little
hard reality. It'll be good for them," he said.
"Well, I admit that California made a hash out of deregulation," I said.
"Yep. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you deregulate the wholesale
market and keep the price fixed for the consumers you are creating a problem.
Now the utility companies have to buy the stuff at a higher price than they
can charge for it." Slime looked up and pulled the cigarette from between
"You do not have to have a fancy degree to know that buying high and selling
low is a poor business practice," he said. "It's called reality."
"I'll agree with that. But still, the biggest problem is the energy shortage
Slim, not the price," I said.
"And there wouldn't be a shortage if all those lizard-kissing, yuppie,
electric car-driving environmentalist didn't scream to high heaven every
time somebody tried to build a power plant in their state," Slim said.
"Well Slim, you have to admit that protecting the environment is a good
idea," I protested.
"Sure it is. But if you don't want to live like a caveman you have to
make some compromises. These morons want to have their cake and eat it too.
They don't like coal because it makes pollution. They don't like hydro-electric
because the striped bottom feeder minnow might not like it, and they don't
like nuclear because it is nuclear," he said and arched an eyebrow. "Just
how do they expect to heat their little houses?"
I did not have an answer for that.
"I'll tell you how," Slim said. "They expected Arizona and Oregon and
Nevada and Texas and all the other western states to build more than their
share, take on more than their share of the pollution, and then sell electricity
to them. Then they could feel all good about the environment and still be
warm and drink frothy coffee drinks while they talk about what barbarians
Texans are because we don't care about the polka-dot mud bug and the rest
of the environment."
Slim spit and went back to work on the saddle.
"Somehow, I get the feeling that after a few days of watching their breath
fog the living room by candle light those folks are going to have a bit of
an attitude adjustment," he said with a near evil smile.
Then he went back to whistling. I stood there for a moment trying to think
of something witty to say.
That's when I recognized the tune Slim was whistling. The song was and
old Tom T. Hall tune about faster horses, younger women, older whiskey and
more money being the important things in life.
There is a line in that song about growing up and returning to the "comfort
That seemed to fit. California needs to grow up and find a little reality.
Then I picked up a rag and went to work on the saddle and started blowing
air across my lips in what I pass for a whistle.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
Pull the plug on PBS, NEA and NPR
The Enterprise got another bogus email this week.
This one was a petition warning of the impending doom of National Public
Radio (NPR), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Public Broadcasting
System (PBS), if proposed funding cuts were enacted by Congress.
This particular petition has taken on ghoulish characteristics similar
to some of the junk called art that the NEA pays so-called artists with your
taxes to create. This particular email cannot be killed with silver bullets
or wooden stakes.
A little research reveals that the petition dates back to 1995, the year
after the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
The perceived threat to publicly funded art and broadcasting is long gone.
PBS, NPR and NEA are all ideas that look good at first but end up being
the private domain of the socialist-leaning elite.
Make no mistake, all of these organizations consume large budgets every
year, and every year, the bureaucrats that depend on the government trough
to subsidize these operations go seeking private donations to flesh out their
These private donations do not come without a string attached. These donors
are the censors and directors of public supported art and broadcasting.
We are not talking about the $25 Aunt Pearl sent in during a phone-a-thon.
We are talking about contributions measured in the thousands and hundreds
of thousands of dollars.
Your tax dollars are taken for granted. NPR, NEA and PBS get your money
no matter what they do. So the real influence comes from the big private
This is elitism at its worst. They ought to call it radio, television
and art for the socially superior and the very rich.
If the content is as wonderfulo as the supporters of these organizations
think it is, somebody would be producing it for profit.
The majority of content produced by these organizations is not seen in
a for-profit setting because it is the politically charged swill of the radical
left, dressed up as art and information.
Common people with common sense flip the switch on it long before any
advertiser's product might have a chance at interrupting the program and
generating a little honest revenue.
It is time to pull the plug on publicly funded radio, television
and art. No segment of society should have its own media outlets funded
with tax dollars.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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