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Shutting The Pandora’s Box Of Travis County
Thursday, August 28, 2014
To be honest, it’s not hard to find a bit of the ridiculous coming out of Travis County, after all it hosts among other things the Texas State Legislature… and what is arguably the most liberal population in the Lone Star State.

But recent events involving Gov. Rick Perry and his indictment alleging abuse of power steps beyond ridiculous and lands smack in the middle of absurdity.

From what we gather from the related news stories it’s the citizens of Travis County, and not the governor who should be ashamed by the events in Travis County, after all they are the ones who have not followed up Dist. Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s April 2013 DWI arrest with impeachment proceedings.

Even the suggestion that a sitting governor could be charged with “abuse of power” over his use or the threatened use of his power to veto or disapprove a bill either in part or the whole flies in the face of the Texas Constitution.

While Article 4, Sections 14 and 15, of the constitution lists the requirement that the governor lists his objections to legislation presented for his signature, it does not restrict what those objections may be.

If the elected governor — whether he or she be a Republican, Democrat or Socialist — chooses to disapprove funding for a government agency because its appointed administrator wears a purple hat every third Tuesday of the month… that is the governor’s prerogative.

Based upon that listed objection, the combined houses of the state legislature then must decide whether to override that veto with a two-thirds vote.

For a special prosecutor or a Travis County grand jury to kiss the district attorney’s Democratic donkey with the intent of circumventing the state constitution, and by all appearances attempt to derail the governor’s future political aspirations, is the true abuse of power.

Undoubtedly, this case against the governor will be headed to the supreme court for review. In fact, if there were ever a case deserved judicial review before district court action began, this is it.

Such an indictment as this from Travis County opens a Pandora’s box for the state’s legislative process that should be slammed shut before a whirlwind of similar allegations and actions escape.

Full Story
Bluegrass Jam Is Down The Road
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I’ve got another confession to make… one that won’t surprise my family, and probably some church members, but could cause a few of the Journal’s “more progressive” readers to roll their eyes.

You see… I like bluegrass music, with or without the vocal twang of some of the genre’s more famous performers — and more than a few who are not so famous.

I wouldn’t mind in the least, and have on occasion even suggested, if the Muleshoe Day or the Independence Day festivities included a bit of bluegrass — whether formal performances or just an open jam session.

You might say that I have a rather eclectic listening year, because my CDs range from classical and opera, to gospel and the music of my teenage years… I’m also a big fan of the Mommas and the Poppas, John Fogerty, and Kansas.

And while I like country and western, I tend toward a lot of the the “old time” tunes, many of which were the basis of what developed into the high speed tunes of bluegrass music.

This probably would have surprised my recently departed father, whom I teased about his love for such musical stylings many years ago, but as with favorite smacks, musical interests change.

For a few years I’ve considered making the drive to a bluegrass jam in Lubbock, refraining primarily because of the long drive back afterward, but then a couple of months ago I learned of a group meeting at the community center in Farwell on Thursday evenings.

While the jam session has reportedly been going on for 25 years, it only recently came to my attention.

Unfortunately work, previous engagements, and some recent health issues have prevented my attendance, but this past Thursday my wife and I dropped by the gathering… and were thrilled by both the group’s music and acceptance of visitors from Bailey County.

It’s rare for me to tout the activities in another community — after all this is Muleshoe’s newspaper, and I try very hard to keep the newspaper’s focus on the events of this immediate area — but if you’d like an evening of “old time” music, with a few bluegrass numbers tossed in, take a ride over to Farwell.

Full Story
Public Works Employees Deserve Recognition
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
While the City of Muleshoe has a lot of hard working employees, we can’t help but pay a little extra attention to the workers who have been extending the concrete walking or jogging trail — depending upon your level of energy, in the West City Park.

To be honest, we thought the existence of the trail in its former condition was pretty neat, but as we drive by the park on West Ave. D, we can’t help but think that ribbon of concrete that’s been put in looks “really” sharp.

The city has put a lot of effort in the park, and it’s become one of the “happening places to be” in Muleshoe, but this five-year trail project — which according to Public Works Director Ramon Sanchez at the last city council meeting is ahead of schedule, is a bit of icing on the cake.

And, not only is it ahead of schedule, according to Sanchez, with our city employees doing the work — section by section, it’s being put in at much lower expense than if the city had contracted the project out.

Basically, the city employees assigned to the project gather in the early morning hours to prepare and pour the concrete before going back to their daily chores.

If by chance you happen to be out early and catch the crew working on a section of the trail, be sure to give them a cheer… and of course, a tip of your hat.

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‘Your Call Is Very Important To Us’
Thursday, June 12, 2014
“The Nine Circles of Customer Service Hell.” That’s an article by Jay Steinfield, CEO of Blinds.com, who, with apologies to Dante and his original “nine circles of…” asked the question for phone-holding customers everywhere: “Your customers are the cornerstone of your success. So why offend them?”

I had time to scan the article as I was stuck in Hades in what Steinfield calls the third circle: “Hold, hold, hold.”

After three tries, I’d made it past the “never-ending voice mail phone tree” (the first circle) and had my account number ready (second circle: repeat same number three times).

I had my recorder ready. When they said, “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes,” I’d respond, “It not only might be recorded, Bucko, it IS being recorded. Feel free to record on your end, too.”

For the quality of this column, I wanted to record the idiocy.

I was told that the wait time for the next “Customer Service Specialist” would be 6-10 minutes. Wondering if more special specialists would be especially faster, I almost hung up. But my curiosity trumped six minutes of annoying music.

I was thanked for my (nonexistent) patience and was surprised not to hear the cheery voice give the usual lie: “Your call is very important to us.”

No, it’s not. If it was, you’d be darn sure a human, and one of your best and happiest and most proficient ones, always answered your company’s phone and put your best foot forward. Always. Can’t afford to? Really? Can you afford not to?

The company that had me basting on the hook in the third circle is not a real company that has to care about real customers and worry about really going out of business. They’re a governmentally-created “authority” crammed full of bureaucrats and minions.

If you have a toll road, somebody has to collect tolls. And some folks have to live and work where tolls are regularly collected. I’m sorry. And I’m glad I don’t.

I got a bill for $2.86 a few weeks ago. $1.43 to get on. $1.43 to get off. I’d not been in that city for months, maybe years. But my license plate (at least) was there for about 10 minutes. Two years ago.

The ancient bill came in an envelope proclaiming, “Prompt Payment Required.” Bureaucratic humor? No such thing.

It’s what we’ve come to expect, but it always surprises me. A real business with customers with a real choice would go broke, and a better business would fill its place. But no.

I’m paying the $2.86. Plus $10 for being a month slow while I laughed at them for being two years slow.

When I finally did get a human on the line, I just said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” But I felt sorry for her, a really nice kid.

She explained the software change that now makes it possible to go back and bill visitors like me infinitesimal amounts for old travel.

She could have said, “I work for idiots who spend fortunes for PR and image consultants and shoot themselves in the foot for $2.86 a pop as they tick off non-customer customers.”

In God’s kingdom, you can expect better service. Your prayers to our Creator go right to the top. No waiting. Your prayers really are “very important to him” because you are. He’s your Father. Not a bone-headed bureaucrat lost somewhere in the nine circles of…

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Muleshoe Journal
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