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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Tuesday, March 9, 1999

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Good medicine

tastes bad

My grandmother had a theory good medicine tastes bad or hurts. Medicine that both tastes bad and hurts was even better. Granny was pretty smart. I think that this year I'm going to pick my political candidates with the same criteria.  I want to vote for someone who tells me that he has some solutions but the cure is going to hurt.

You don't have to have a degree in economics to figure out that our nation is not in perfect health. The plight of Social Security is a regular subject for politicians and political thinkers. Medicare is not in any better shape. Each year, despite the twisted words meant to make us think we are making progress, the actual amount of money the government owes grows larger. When politicians speak of reducing the national debt what they mean is that it didn't grow as much as it could have. Each year more of each tax dollar goes toward servicing this debt rather than something concrete.

This list goes on and each election year, speeches ring across the nation about how these issues need to be addressed. Of course, no smart politician ever puts forth a plan on how to fix these problems. That would be political suicide. Because the solution is going to hurt. The illness is simple more money is being spent than is being collected.

There are only two possible solutions: tax more or spend less. After decades of increasing taxes I don't think another tax hike will do the trick. My pay check already looks like Jesse James was guarding the cash box by the time I get down to the take-home figure. The only reasonable solution is to spend less money and that is going to hurt.

Of course it is easy to talk about it, but the actual doing will not be popular. Everybody always thinks that the cuts need to take place somewhere else. It's like a pig farm. Most of us like to eat ham but that pig farm needs to be in Nebraska or Oklahoma. Any place but upwind of my house. Well, I'm ready to live next to the pig farm. The longer this gets put off the worse it is going to hurt.

I want to vote for someone who will say, "Smokey, guys your age will never see a dime from Social Security so you better make other plans, although we are going to continue to deduct that eight percent from your pay check."  I want to vote for someone with the guts to say that the general standard of living is probably going to decline. Someone who will admit that the government's current money management techniques will only work so long as the population and economy continue to expand. And that both are going to contract in the near future.

I want to vote for someone who will say, "Yes, these programs are really nice and well intentioned but there isn't any money pay for them so we can't do that." Of course, he wouldn't get elected. That is the fatal flaw of a democracy. Everybody gets to vote, and generally, people vote with their own, short-term, best interest in mind.

Like children who don't want to take their medicine.

Fortunately for children, there are stern willed grandmothers who know that despite the taste, the medicine has to go down. They know that it is for the best.

So this time around, I'm picking my candidates like grandma picked cold remedies. I want somebody whose message smells like a mad skunk, has the consistency of tar, and tastes like boiled turpentine. It's medicine time. It won't taste good going down, but it might cure some of what ails this country.

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:

Our View

Independent Counsel Law is good idea

The Clinton Administration has recently withdrawn its support for the independent counsel law. The law provides for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate allegations of wrongdoing when the president or certain members of his administration are implicated.

Without the law, any such allegations would be investigated by the Justice Department, just like allegations against other government officials are.

Five years ago President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno both urged Congress to renew the law. Considering the events of the last few years the administration's about-face on this law is not surprising. Abandoning the law, however, is a bad idea. Without the law, it would be up to the attorney general to appoint a special counsel when there might be a conflict of interest.

The attorney general is appointed by the president. Obviously, the attorney general owes political allegiance to the president that appoints him. Just as obviously, the situations where there would be a conflict of interest are those where a guilty president would have the most interest in maintaining the investigation in the Department of Justice where he would have some influence.

To leave the decision to appoint a special counsel in the hands of a person who owes their political life to the president all but guarantees that no special counsel will be appointed by the attorney general. Rather, the attorney general will announce that, after long and thoughtful investigation and soul searching, it has been decided that the Justice Department is perfectly capable of handling the investigation fairly. Of course, the Justice Department attorneys who will then investigate the matter owe their jobs to the attorney general, who owes his position to the president, who doesn't want any of his dirty laundry aired in public.

The outcome of such an investigation is not hard to predict.

The independent counsel law is a better alternative and provides some guarantee that there will at least be a serious investigation. America will be better served by keeping this law despite the wishes of the current administration.

Your Views

Indepedence Day promises lots of fun, food

I like that reminder of the Texas Independance Day recognition, or lack thereof.

We celebrate in Dallas, but, it's towards the end of March. A lot of the businesses here sponsor a huge party out at South Fork, and they have a whole bunch of Texas Country bands, barbeque and buckets of beer and iced tea. If anyone's interested, it's March 21st. Tickets are purchased through Ticketmaster. It's a fantastic party, it lasts all day long, and has a web site for any questions about accomodations, times, etc...

If anyone's interested. I went two times prior, and it's really nice!!

Bring the kids!


Former Pecosite praises on-line link to hometown

Thank you! You provide a wonderful service to those of use who have left home. I am Celina Acosta-Taylor, my parents Lupe and Tino Acosta still live in Pecos as do my brother and sister-in-law, Tino and Elisa Acosta.

By going to this web site, I am able to read, for myself, what is going in Pecos. When my aunt died, I was able to go on-line and read her obiturary. Because my brother is one of the coaches, I also read the sports pages and the going-ons of the Pecos Eagles. I clicked onto the Gab line and posted my hello. I still go in and read all the postings.

Once again, thank you, the Pecos Enterprise and the sponsors who help to provide this link. Even though I have been gone for almost 20 years, Pecos is still my home.


Story depicts life of great Pecos resident

Peggy: Thank you for your nice article on Wendell Faulkner. I've been reading Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation, and Mr. Faulkner's story could easily have been taken from the pages of that book. He had a distinguished military career during WW II then came home and built most of the enduring landmarks of Pecos. He raised a family and contributed to the life of Pecos during some of its best days.

Though many of us have gone on to other places, we still love Pecos and the people that we know there and have known. My thoughts and prayers will be with the Faulkner family and my appreciation for all the good things Wendell Sr. leaves behind.

Ben Meek
Oklahoma City

Grass not always greener on other side of fence

In the March 2, 1999 edition of the Pecos Enterprise, a letter was printed from a Nancy Salazar on the subject of discipline and pay about the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and "some" its employees. I would like to voice my opinion about this matter.

For 20 years I have been an educator, all here in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district. Comments that Ms. Salazar made in her letter are really starting to get me upset. Yes, students did get sent to OCS for such minor things as she put it "just kidding around." But when they are sent to OCS, the majority of the time it is not for their first infraction of the rules. We have a student handbook that we as educators must go by. It has different steps to follow for different infractions of the rules. The handbook was not only developed by the school district, but with input from community members as well. So usually when a student is sent to OCS, they have had many chances before this step was enforced. So Ms. Salazar, please read the handbook and you can see what it takes to get sent to OCS. Every student in this district was given a handbook, even yours.

Now on the subject that many educators here within our district are in it for as you put in "only for the money." As I stated earlier, I have been teaching 20 years. Next year my last step for a pay raise is over from the state. Many educators here in this district are already on or beyond their last step. So unless the district or the state authorizes a pay raise for teachers, many teachers for about the last 1/3 of their teaching career will not see a raise. What other degreed profession has a wage limit like ours. Lawyers? Doctors? I think not! If a teacher wants to relocate, good luck. Some school districts shy away from the experienced teacher because they can hire two straight out of college for what they pay an experienced teacher. So don't tell educators that all they are in it "for the money."

If you are not happy with the school district, go check out some others. I have. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Yes we do have problems but so does everyone else. I have two children in this school district and I believe that they are getting a good education here in Pecos. If you don't like something that is going on, go see that teacher or principal at that school and 99.9% of the time the problem can be worked out with very little effort.

Thank you,

Zavala Middle School

Bomber training will affect everyone in area

The Pecos public hearing for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative will be held on Friday, April 9, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is the proposal that wants to fly B-1 and B-52 Bombers in very low-level combat training flights over West Texas in two of its alternatives.

We feel that the government has not fully addressed the horrific impact these "Realistic" bombing runs will have on the environment, the economy and the culture of our unique area.

The 488,000 pound B-52 bombers which will fly 550 mph just 200 feet above the ground level have already caused destruction to buildings. The 477,000 pound B-1 bombers which will fly 600 mph just 200 feet above the ground have already had near-misses with private aircraft. These planes have a devastating effect on ranching and tourist operations. The exhaust from the four engines on these bombers is driven into the ground polluting grasses and surface water and eventually our ground water. Wildlife and the hunting industry will be greatly harmed. The peace and tranquility of the Trans-Pecos, one of our biggest assets, will be gone forever.

Because they have been so secretive, it has taken us over two years to finally get a idea of how the military has illegally gotten us into this mess of flying these massive, dirty, noisy war machines over private property. We have not been able to find any overseeing entity that the military is accountable to other than citizen's complaints through the courts.

We urge everyone who is concerned for the future of West Texas to attend this meeting.

For more information call the Trans-Pecos Protection Group at 915-364-2323. We will be attending all five of the Texas public hearings.

P.O. Box 605
Alpine, Tx. 79831

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