Thanks, Sen. Sessions, for taking impeachment away

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., says the Senate won’t impeach President Obama over his use of executive authority.

That’s awfully big of the senator.

Except for one thing: Impeachment doesn’t originate in the Senate.

Impeachment begins in the House of Representatives. If the loons in the House have their way, the Senate gets to put the president on trial for whatever charges the House decides to bring against the president.

The Huffington Post reported Sessions’s remarks this way: “No, we’re not going to impeach President Obama. Or have a move to impeach,’ Sessions said at a Heritage Foundation event and then added, ‘The president has certain powers and we truly believe — and I think it’s accurate to say that he abused those powers.’”

Clear as mud, yes?

Actually, the president didn’t “abuse” his power as chief executive of the federal government. He acted within his constitutional authority. He merely riled his Republican “friends” to the point of apoplexy — which isn’t all that surprising, given the political climate that hovers over the nation’s capital.

I hope the idiotic fringe element of the House of Reps — along with their allies in the conservative mainstream media — takes Sessions’s declaration seriously and ends this nonsensical talk about impeachment. The new majority in both houses of Congress needs to demonstrate an ability to govern.



Gov.-elect Abbott saying (far) right things

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, once upon a time, was considered a mainstream Republican. Reasoned, cautious, yet dedicated to basic conservative principles of smaller government and low taxes.

Then he got bit by the tea party bug.

The state’s next governor now declares he plans to sue President Obama over that executive order issued this week that delays deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants, more than 1 million of whom live in Texas.

The Texas Tribune reports: “In a statement, Abbott said Obama’s order ‘circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed the will of the American people. I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it was intended under the Constitution,’ Abbott added.”

Well, consider this for just a moment. President George H.W. Bush in 1990 issued an executive order that did the very same thing for 1.5 million illegal immigrants. Bush, a Republican, did it for compassionate reasons. Didn’t the current president cite compassion for families in issuing his own order?

Where, dare I ask, were the calls of indignation when President Bush issued the executive order? It was done quietly, with little fanfare.

That was then. Today’s climate seems to require fanfare, blustering, posturing, finger-pointing, threats and challenges.

Therein perhaps lies the crux of what’s going on here.

Greg Abbott, the once reflective and deliberative man of the bench, has become just as shrill as the rest of what has become the “mainstream” Texas Republican Party.


How dare Obama quote Scripture!

You know, if I had given it a moment’s worth of thought, I might have been able to predict that one conservative mainstream media outlet would criticize the president of the United States for quoting Scripture.

The thought didn’t cross my mind. Then I saw this item from Media Matters, an acknowledged liberal watchdog organization.

(Check out the link where Elizabeth Hasselbeck says she “got goosebumps” when President Reagan cited Scripture back in 1981.)

They chided “Fox and Friends” for criticizing President Obama for having the utter gall to quote the Bible when talking about his executive order regarding immigration reform. Why, those “Fox and Friends” talking heads just couldn’t understand how the president — whom they have criticized in the past for his alleged failure to acknowledge his Christian faith — could do such a thing in this context.

I need to stop hyperventilating.


Let’s understand something about the 44th president. He’s declared time and again that he believes Jesus Christ is his savior. He reads the Bible and has been a Church of Christ member for, oh, a long time. Barack Obama also uses Scripture passages frequently when making some point, just as all of his predecessors — from both political parties — have done since the beginning of the Republic.

May we stop applying these ridiculous double standards when analyzing the president’s statements on public policy?

OK. I’ve made the request for fairness in covering these things. I’m quite sure no one at Fox News will give it any consideration.



Emotion has taken over … for now

Emotion is such an undefinable trait, or perhaps it has too many definitions to be pigeonholed.

It’s persistent, treacherous, tender, strong, fragile, tricky, elusive, simple, complicated.

How do you define it? I cannot. All of the above? I’ll settle for that.

Know this. My emotions in the past week have gripped me tightly because we lost a furry pet. Our 12-year-old cat died suddenly and apparently without trauma in my study. Socks was his name. He had several favorite sleeping places and one of them was atop a table next to my desk. That’s where he died.

I told my wife just this morning that I still have difficulty – one week later — talking about him. I cannot do so without choking up. But I can write about losing him.

Pets have this way of taking over your heart. Cats and dogs are inherently different, but they share a common ability to capture your heart. Socks and his sister, Mittens did that when we brought them home in the summer of 2002. Little Toby, our pooch, did it more recently when he came into our lives just a few months ago.

I know that losing a pet isn’t quite like losing a member of one’s human family. That’s happened, too, of course.

At many levels, though, pets do become part of the family. Socks was a big part of ours. He had a dominant personality, which he exhibited with extreme affection whenever and wherever possible — which means all … the … time. He was lovable and sweet. He loved to be kissed and he absolutely relished human contact. Aren’t cats supposed to be aloof and snooty? Not this one. Not by a long shot.

To be honest, he was unlike any other pet I’ve ever “owned.” I qualify the term because in that strange sense that no one can quite define, Socks and Mittens in fact have owned my wife and me. In the past couple of months, ever since Toby’s arrival, Mittens has begun to assert herself. She’s coming out of her scaredy-cat shell. Good for her.

Well, we shall go on. My wife and are full-fledged adults equipped with all the requisite adult emotions. We’ll get through this loss.

It’s just going to take a little while.



When in doubt, House, sue

Congress is going to court with the president of the United States.

The House of Representatives filed its long-awaited lawsuit against Barack Obama, contending the president misused his executive authority to “rewrite the law” regarding the Affordable Care Act.

I’ll stipulate that I’m no constitutional lawyer, but I’ll bet the farm that Obama didn’t break the law.

He did what the Constitution empowers him to do.

It’s curious, too, that Congress filed the suit the day after Obama delivered that long awaited executive order on immigration, although the lawsuit deals with the ACA exclusively. I guess Speaker John Boehner just couldn’t take it any longer.

The lawsuit, along with the talk of impeachment, is utter nonsense.

Boehner is grandstanding in the worst possible way. It’s not even clear the court will hear the lawsuit, let alone allow to go to trial and be decided by a jury.

The most hilarious aspect of this lawsuit are the claims by Republicans that the president is “overusing” the executive authority granted to him. It’s funny because Obama has signed fewer executive orders than almost any of his immediate predecessors. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, the most recent two-term Republican presidents, signed more. Where was the outcry then?

We’ll now get to see how this circus plays out.

Meanwhile, some serious legislating needs to get done. How about seeing the GOP craft a bill on, say, immigration and health care? They say they can do better. Let’s have it.


House intel panel dismisses Benghazi myths

Well, shut my mouth and dip me in sesame seeds. A key congressional committee has determined that the CIA officials who responded to the terror attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya were “heroes,” and not goats.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Benghazi.” It’s become a mantra for those interested in condemning the State Department over its action relating to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in the Libyan city. Four men were killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Congressional Republicans have wanted to tar then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over what happened at the compound.

Now we have the House Select Committee on Intelligence dispelling some of the myths associated with the attack and the criticism of the U.S. response to it.

The committee, chaired by Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan, said this, according to Politico: “The committee … found the U.S. government didn’t fail to send assistance to the Americans under siege by Islamic militants and there was no ‘stand down order’ from the State Department. The committee also dismissed the notion that there was an ‘intelligence failure’ the allowed the attacks to occur.

Imagine that. The panel charged with investigating intelligence operations within the government says the attack was what the administration said it was: a chaotic event brought on by a group of terrorists looking to kill Americans.

Will that dissuade the persistent critics who are hell bent on damaging the presidential prospects of the former secretary of state? Don’t hold your breath.

Chairman Rogers, though, has done a service for those around the country — such as yours truly — who have grown weary of congressional witch hunters looking for a scenario that matches the outcome they’ve already determined.



Long live conspiracy theories?

Conspiracy theories cannot die. They live forever. No matter how much evidence one provides to debunk them, someone else comes along with another notion that breathes new life into these theories.

Assassinations seem to be the most common target — please pardon the poor pun — of conspiracy theorists.

Who killed Lincoln? Or JFK? Or Martin Luther King Jr.? Or RFK?

Let’s throw in whether FDR actually encouraged the attack on Pearl Harbor or whether the feds blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hey, I’ll even mention whether LBJ closed the Amarillo air base simply because he hated the Texas Panhandle.

Well, tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder. Guess what? A former Mafia hit man says he — not Lee Harvey Oswald — shot the president to death in Dallas.

The goon’s name is James Files. He told Newsmax TV that he worked with other Mafia guys and actually fired the fatal shot.’s link attached to this blog post supports the Files-did-it notion.

That’s a new one. He’s been quiet for more than five decades. Now he tells us.

I’ve never been a conspiracy theory addict. Maybe it’s a now-naïve belief that when you assign someone with a serious task, such as determining who killed the Leader of the Free World, that the person or people tasked with that duty will perform all their due diligence and get to the truth.

I believe the commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren did the job it was asked to do. It pored over all the evidence it had and determined Oswald was the lone gunman.

I’m betting there is no mention of James Files anywhere to be found.