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It's no bull

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IMG 0408COURTESY PHOTO | PHILIP SCHMITTEN Kayla Garcia prepares coffee for the customers at the Bull Pen Café.

Restaurant hits the comfort notes

By Philip Schmitten
TCNS correspondent

TRINITY — There's some good eating opening up regularly in Trinity.

Stop by the newly opened Bull Pen Café at 515 Prospect Drive for great service and excellent food.

The Bull Pen Café opened for business on the March 16 and is growing daily with new customers for lunch and dinner.

The favorite seems to be the chicken fried steak and the fish & shrimp platter, according to co-owner, Sharon Snyder.

“People love our fresh food, especially our fried green tomatoes,” she said. "It's been my sister, Mary Ann Carrica, and my dream for a long time to open a café here in Trinity."

Snyder said the sisters are Texas natives and love their hometown of Trinity, and it’s especially exciting to help build up the city.

They offer a party room where they can privately serve events of up to 60 people; Snyder said that as soon as they acquire more employees they will be offering a catering service.

The restaurant serves its good, old-fashioned, down-home cooking for lunch and dinner.

IMG 0412COURTESY PHOTO | PHILIP SCHMITTENDana Sexton prepares a salad while James Beavers awaits an incoming lunch order.

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The liberal agenda has nothing to do with liberty

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tony farkasFILE PHOTO Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas

I remember with pride the first time I was able to vote.

Like most first-timers, I was pretty scared going into the booth, as back then, it was the old-timey lever models that looked like a mad scientist’s workstation. (Although it wasn’t too awful long before they were replaced by fill-in-the-blank style cards.)

It wasn’t so much that I was powerful, but that I was actually participating in a process that truly made our country unique. I wasn’t too naïve to believe that my one vote made all that much difference, but I did believe that mine, along with a whole lot of others, sent a message to our officials.

There actually wasn’t any resemblance to “Swing Vote,” a silly little movie starring Kevin Costner. (I’m fond of this movie it because it was set in a town that was 8 miles from where I lived — Texico, N.M.)

In that movie, the future of the presidency came down to one vote needing to be recast, and the hilarity that ensues when the press, the candidates and the world turns its attention to this sleepy little border town.

While dumb in the extreme, and incredibly implausible, it did serve to highlight the importance of voting.

Our republic was founded on a principle: of the people, by the people, for the people. We get that from the ballots we cast. Somewhere along the way, though, our officials, particularly at the federal level (as well as plenty of states), have determined that we are governed by consent, not ruled by edict, fiat, or executive order.

That’s what the vote protects, and serves, and now, it’s coming under fire — wrapped up in the guise of making elections safe and fair and wholesome and puppies and such.

H.R. 1, which has been passed by the House and is being considered in the Senate, and is monumentally misnamed the For the People Act, is supposed to correct voting irregularities and make things uniform across the country.

Instead, it will for all intents and purposes give the federal government control of what is enshrined in the constitution as something that belongs to the states. This is accomplished by oversight committees, and require states to comply with regulations designed to allow more people to vote.

Certain things, like not requiring signatures, same-day voter registration, internet registration, curbside voting, and other ridiculous ideas will be required. Given the federal government’s history, once it gets its claws into something, it never lets it go. Ever.

And since the government thinks that it is entitled to all the money, it also thinks that money is a club, and so states will lose funding for things because the government will hold up payments unless its edicts are followed.

This has happened with just about everything; the one that sticks out in my mind is during the Clinton administration. States had to adopt a .08 BAC presumption of intoxication or risk losing highway construction funds.

These are our rights , and this is our money, and our government threatens them regularly and with gusto, and it is done under the guise of doing what’s right (or, if you prefer, what’s best for us).

Whether there was any immediate and glaring proof of election fraud or inequality, there was enough credible, albeit anecdotal, evidence that a full-scale investigation should have been done. Only now is one of many states reporting irregularities conducting an audit — Arizona — which is facing stiff opposition by the feds to leave things be.

By extension, if that turns out to be the case, then it is imperative that signatures and ID be required during elections, since, as Scotty says, the more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain (meaning, technology is easy to tamper with.)

The upshot is, the government needs to follow, not lead, and not try to rig the game in its favor, and there’s only one way to correct the ship.

Vote.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Entertainment replaced with McCarthyesque lecturing

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N1511P12003CFILE PHOTO

By Tony Farkas

I grew up as a dependent of a man who spent 20 years in the military, and as such, bounced around the world a bit.

Part of that time, I lived in an area that had no television, and that was during some (or most, depending how you count) of my most formative years. What I did have, though, was an Air Force Base where movies cost 75 cents to get in (50 cents for the matinee).

While school was in, my viewing was limited to the weekends, but summer was a free-for-all.

Mind you, this was in the dark ages when there were no VCRs, DVDs, DVRs, iPads or Pods, or anything that was handheld. You physically attended a screening in a theater.

(Another benefit of the dark ages, though, was the serials and cartoons that were shown before the main feature. That, and the Star-Spangled Banner played before each movie, and Lord help you if you didn’t stand and remove any caps you were wearing.)

There were many movies consumed, and all were enjoyed, even by someone as young as me, who didn’t quite understand a lot of the adult themes, but all of them were appreciated for one thing — they were transportative.

I was Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon.” I was Joe Kidd in Eastwood’s movie of the same name. Kier Dullea and myself were one and the same in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I still know all the lyrics and parts to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Who didn’t want to be Billy Jack, fighting oppressive jerks like Bert Freed?

The thing about the movies I saw, and oh so many others, is they were enjoyable precisely because they told me a story, one that could absorb me into it. Some of them even had a moral, like in the case of Billy Jack, but the story was crafted well enough that I came away feeling that something did need to be done about the oppression of people who were different, but I wanted to be Billy.

Hollywood in its heyday did that for everyone. In the early part of the 20th century, Hollywood helped people deal with the stress of two world wars, countless battles, poverty, the Depression, you name it, in the same manner it did me — by telling a story.

People could be Fred Astaire dancing, or Errol Flynn swinging through Sherwood Forest, or Clint Eastwood chasing down Scorpio, or any number of things.

Nowadays, though, Hollywood doesn’t tell stories. Hollywood lectures, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes blatantly, but all the time pushing an agenda.

Evildoers such as Scorpio, a madman, have been replaced by corporations who exist only to exploit the masses, or police officers who hope to bring about their own brand of justice on either the poor, the African American, or the alphabet people.

In an effort to promote equality (assuming, of course, that there’s massive inequality), instead of telling a compelling story to show us why things were right, we’re clubbed over the head about how we’re wrong.

(That, of course, usually means middle class white people, because we’re always wrong.)

Television, the little brother to the movies, is the same. Entire stations are dedicated to pushing a social agenda (watch Bravo or The CW sometime). The difference remains; we’re not changing minds with compelling drama and thought-provoking stories. We’re clubbing people with an endless stream of ham-fisted “truths” that, frankly, accomplish the opposite. I’ve stopped watch shows that care more about the message than the story or characters (“Supergirl” is a prime example).

This is not to say that those issues don’t deserve attention. They do. We as a country are entirely too fractured to not take things seriously. That can be done through the media of television and movies, but as long as there’s the club, and not the carrot, all that’s accomplished is the loss of viewers.

Besides, Bruce Lee and Harry Callahan can make things happen.

Tony Farkas is the editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The jihad against the truth continues unabated

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tony farkasFILE PHOTO Tony Farkas

“It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday (…) it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. …” — George Orwell, “1984”

It’s long been understood by tinpot dictators, socialists and pretty much everybody that if you control information, you control society.

Propaganda was a key ingredient in Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. He even had a director that made sure the precise message was delivered.

I’m not at this point equating this country to pre-World War II Germany, nor am I calling anyone fascists.

I am, however, expressing my dismay at the state of the news media, especially at the national level. There are many times, and it’s growing in frequency, that I lament my chosen profession has become a parody of itself, choosing to embrace access instead of objectivity and celebrity instead of credibility.

But I led off with the Orwell quote because something alarming came across my radar last week, and it frankly chilled me. I wouldn’t even deny being gobsmacked.

According to numerous outlets, as well as the paper itself, the Boston Globe is starting what it calls the Fresh Start Initiative. It will allow people to petition the paper to have stories published by the newspaper and placed on the website edited to remove names, add updated information or have it removed from Google searches.

The reasoning is to allow people to craft a future without the baggage of the past interfering.

Other outlets, such as the Washington Post and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, are doing the very same things.

Now let’s be clear here. It’s not like the newspapers are changing the events — yet. What’s happening is supposedly designed to help people move on without the baggage of a past arrest. Yet that’s not what happened in the case of Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Post heavily edited a story in which Harris made a quote — which was not incorrect or wrongly reported — that portrayed the then-candidate for president in a bad light. The Post waved its magic wand and changed the story.

It wasn’t until it was noticed and written about in Reason Magazine that the Post put the original story back up. However, the edited version remained, and the reader was given a choice of which way to go.

As with the stories and posts about arrests, what Harris did was news, and was reported correctly. That is not up for dispute. But much as Winston Smith was changing headlines to make a news piece about chocolate rations positive, so is this trend.

In the cases of arrests, I fully believe that finishing the story is right, and if a suspect is exonerated, it should be written about. That’s just good, responsible journalism, and that’s following the story to its conclusion.

But changing the original should never be done, for one simple reason — it’s still the truth.

This profession, or trade if you will, at its core is about the truth. We present the information, and it’s up to the reader to decide what to think about it. Sure, we have opinion pages (like where this column is), but that is clearly marked and its clearly understood that a column is the opinion of the writer.

When that creeps into a story, or when stories and events in those stories are erased or changed based on nothing more than it hurts someone’s feelings, that’s really not how journalism works.

Most parents will agree that children are taught that actions have consequences. If the action is egregious enough, it’s a distinct possibility it will end up in a news report, and that is assuredly a consequence.

But whitewashing a truth is no benefit. And it’s not journalism.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Opinion - It was the insanest of times, or something

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tony farkasTony Farkas file photo

Having been through quite a lot of elections in my decades of newspaper work, I have to say that this year’s was without a doubt the strangest.

Only one other time that I can recall has an election been held where a winner wasn’t immediately known was the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. You know, the one that ended a month later after a series of lawsuits.

(If you don’t recall, look up “hanging chads” on the interweb.)

So here we are 20 years later, and it was, as Aerosmith sez, “same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.”

For purposes of this column, though, I’m not about the winner. I’m talking about the process, and what seems to be the new same old story.

If you noticed anything about the election this year, you noticed that there was very little substance provided by the candidates — for every race. There was no discussion about plans, no debate about the future, not one idea or way of thinking was put forth to give us an indication of what the future would hold.

My sister-in-law, who is liberal as the day is long, and myself, who really really is not, agree on this, which is rare as hens’ teeth.

I see it like this: Politics nowadays is like NFL teams, with the presidential election being like the Super Bowl. However, it’s become about the teams deciding who should be the quarterback, talking about stats and the big game from years ago.

What’s missing from this show is a game plan and, well, the actual gameplay. It’s just the two teams hollering at each other and their own teams, completely caught up in their own world.

The other thing that’s missing from this equation is the fans. Or, in the world of politics, the people.

These two bantamweights were arguing about who did what when, how they could have done it better, pointing out scandals and missed opportunities, and generally being disagreeable for months. There was nothing about things that need to matter — like actually playing and winning the game.

I didn’t hear how either of the candidates would fix the nation’s problems that they’re actually supposed to care about. They’re supposed to do things about the pesky $20 trillion debt that’s handing over the heads of the taxpayers for centuries. They’re supposed to care about trillion-dollar deficits, about the borders, about, well, the people they’re pretending to represent.

Us fans, or constituents, if you will, are mostly if not all to blame for this, because we let this happen. The difference here, though, is that if we were only NFL fans, we can leave the stadium and never come back, never buy another ticket or a piece of swag.

With this country, though, it really doesn’t matter who is the winner; both teams will have their hands in our pockets and take more and more, all the while telling us it’s our patriotic duty to fund every scheme and plan that will just make our lives rosy and unicorns and puppies. It’s government that being done to us, not of, by or for us.

See, we’ve become, in the manifest destiny of our country, the cardboard cutouts filling the stands, there only to give the players, our elected representatives, something to provide a sense of why they’re competing.

We need to be more than that. We need to take back control, since that’s how this country was supposed to work. It’s gonna be tough, and will take a lot of time — it took decades to get to this point — but I truly believe that we need to be the ones in charge, not the elite few in Washington, D.C.

We’re near a tipping point, and if we get a government that controls — not just regulates — all the aspects of our lives, it will mean the end of the American dream, in my view, since once a government gets power, it never gives it back, and since it has the power to give it to you, it has the power to take it away.

I hope this election, if nothing else, opened a few eyes to the trap we’re about to step in.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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