All posts by kanelis2012

Good intentions come out wrong … perhaps?

I was sitting this morning in the terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston when I witnessed and overheard the following:

An airport employee pushed a woman to the gate in a wheelchair. The woman in the chair appeared to be of Muslim faith, as she was wearing a scarf that covered her hair. The airport employee parked the woman at the end of a row of seats and then bid her goodbye by saying the following: “God bless you, even though you’re a Muslim. God bless you.”

I looked up … and laughed out loud. I don’t believe the airport employee heard me, as she just kept on walking away. But a fellow across the way did. We exchanged smiles and head shakes. I asked him, “Did I just hear what I thought I heard?” He nodded yes.

I believe I witnessed a well-intended remark jump seriously off the rails.

Nice try, Mme. Airport Employee … but you missed the mark.

This represents GOP outreach?

E.W. Jackson is running to become lieutenant governor of the 12th-most populous state in the United States of America.

He’s the nominee of a party dominated by white males. He’s an African-American clergyman.

I submit that if this the GOP’s idea of outreach in an effort to broaden its base, it has just taken a gigantic step – make that many gigantic steps – backward.

The stuff that’s pouring out of this gentleman’s mouth is simply stunning, as the attached link illustrates.

I’m rendered virtually speechless by the rants put out by this individual.

Here’s another link that explains how Jackson believes yoga leads to satanic possession:

Jackson also has said President Obama views the world through a “Muslim perspective,” and has compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan.

This, folks, represents precisely the wrong kind of outreach for a once-great political party.

Is POTUS getting his dander up?

President Obama has just announced two of the more interesting appointments I’ve seen for as long as I can remember.

What interests me about them is that they come at the same time and they both seem to be the president’s response to critics’ scathing commentary on two simmering controversies.

Susan Rice is leaving her job as United Nations ambassador to become head of the National Security Council. Samantha Power will succeed Rice as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Rice donned the bulls-eye when she began reciting the Obama administration’s talking points after the Benghazi, Libya fire fight in September 2012 that resulted in the deaths of four American diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Never mind that Rice, as U.N. ambassador, wasn’t privy to all the details leading up to the event. She spoke badly about the events and was left, to borrow a Watergate phrase, to “twist slowly on the wind.” She’s become a target – along with the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – of congressional Republican critics ever since.

Her appointment as national security adviser does not need U.S. Senate approval.

Power is a writer and an academic who began her professional career as a journalist, covering the war in Yugoslavia. Why is this so interesting? Because the president and Attorney General Eric Holder are in hot water with the media over the Justice Department’s seizing of Associated Press reporters’ and editors’ phone records. Media executives are still steamed over that one. Power’s appointment appears possibly to be an attempt to head off some of that anger.

Power’s appointment does recover Senate confirmation and she’s expected to be confirmed.

My trick knee is telling that – with these appointments – Barack Obama is going to hunker down for a long and bruising battle with congressional Republicans at least through the 2014 mid-term elections. More than likely, the battle won’t end there, but will end on the day the president’s time in the hot seat concludes.

A-Rod to Hall of Fame? Probably not

It looks as though Alex Rodriguez’s ticket to the Baseball Hall of Fame has just been canceled.

Or it’s about to be, if Major League Baseball does what it is threatening to do, which is suspend the tainted New York Yankees superstar for using performance enhancing drugs.

A-Rod, once thought to be baseball’s new home run king – once he passed Barry Bond’s total of 762 career home runs – well could be finished as a professional baseball player. He’s been hurt and hasn’t yet played this year. He has 647 HRs so far in his career. That could be where it ends.

He’s not the only superstar who’s facing suspension. Another one is Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, a one-time National League most valuable player who once was cleared of an earlier allegation of PED use.

Where does all this go? Straight to the tabloids if these suspensions come through.

For me – who once used to follow baseball intently long before the advent of free agency, zillion-dollar contracts and suspicions of cheating – I’ve just about had enough of reading about these clowns.

Bonds left the game under a seriously dark cloud. He hit more home runs than anyone else, but there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he cheated his way to the top of the HR ladder. Those suspicions among knowledgeable baseball observers kept him far short of Hall of Fame entry when they counted the ballots earlier this year.

What’s more, Henry Aaron is still the home run king in my eyes.

Well, that explains it, yes? Not entirely

A Texas tea party “patriot” says he misspoke about Republicans’ desire to keep African Americans from voting.

Just when I thought the tea party crowd was revealing its true colors …

Ken Emanuelson admitted that he made a mistake when he said the GOP doesn’t want African Americans to vote because they usually vote overwhelmingly Democratic, according to the Texas Tribune.

The Tribune reported it this way: “That was a mistake,” he said in an email. “I hold no position of authority within the Republican Party and it wasn’t my place to opine on behalf of the desires of the Republican Party.”

Emanuelson’s initial comment drew a strong rebuke from Texas Democrats and state Republican leaders sought to distance themselves from his remarks.

I truly want to believe him when he says he misspoke. But something deep down makes me wonder if the tea party wing of the Republican Party actually harbors some kind of desire to inhibit voting among demographic groups that favor those dreaded Democrats.

African Americans aren’t the only such group. Labor unions lean Democrat; so do Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority in the country and in Texas potentially the most powerful group of voters. Suburban women? Sure thing.

I’m struck by the struggles that the late Sen. Barry Goldwater’s press flack used to wage whenever the fiery Arizona Republican would spew some of his more passionate rhetoric. “What the senator meant to say” became something of a mantra for Goldwater’s PR team.

In most cases, it’s not that the person who says such things disavows precisely what he or she has said, it’s that he or she simply regrets being careless enough to say it.

Strange sight in a grocery store parking lot

I saw something strange this morning that deserves a short commentary.

Walking out of a United Supermarket in southwest Amarillo, my eye was drawn to a flashy Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But it was parked in a space reserved for “handicapped” shoppers.

The gentleman walking from the hog to the front door of the store was walking slowly. But I couldn’t tell precisely if he was physically impaired. Yes, I get that not every motorist who parks in one of those reserved spots has an ailment that’s visible to the casual observer.

Still, it did seem odd to me that someone who is fit enough to handle a motorcycle – which I presume requires a good bit of physical dexterity – would park in a spot reserved for others who require some level of assistance.

Yes, the vehicle in question did have a handicapped license plate.

Just wondering …

Barfield Building’s future remains cloudy

I saw the newspaper story this morning about the Barfield Building, the hulk of a structure that sits at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Polk Street in downtown Amarillo.

The story said Todd Harmon, the “developer” who owns the structure, has avoided foreclosure on the building. He lives in Stephenville these days and was unavailable for comment. Imagine that.

The guy tore the guts out of the first floor of the building in 2004 only to watch his loan fall through. And for the past nine years, the building has continued to rot.

I’m not privy to all the nitty-gritty of what’s going on here, but it’s beginning to smell as though Harmon might be in over his head on these grand plans to turn the Barfield Building into a mixed-use structure that would include retail outlets, business offices and residential units.

Good idea, for sure. The question now becomes – as I see it – whether this individual has the chops to pull it off.

A group of local investors had sought to foreclose on the structure. A couple of those investors happen to be friends of mine and I know them to be serious-minded business people and professionals who know what they’re doing. I don’t know Harmon and I’ve only watched his fits and starts from a distance.

I do know what I have witnessed: a once-grand building is now going nowhere.

Amarillo City Hall’s grand plan for downtown redevelopment is going to remain struck in neutral for as long as that old structure keeps crumbling.

RIP, ‘Deacon’ Jones

Once in a generation or two, athletes come along who break certain molds.

David “Deacon” Jones broke one of them when he emerged as a member of the Los Angeles Rams’s “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line. Jones, who has died at age 74, wasn’t just a great football player. He almost always had something interesting to say.

He didn’t speak to us in football cliches. He was entertaining, occasionally provocative and insightful in whatever topic was on his mind.

Deacon was one-fourth of a line that featured the likes of Roosevelt Grier, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy. He wasn’t overly huge, not by today’s standards. Then again, none of those guys really measured up to today’s monstrous proportions. But they were smart, savvy and agile defensive performers. Rosey Grier is the last one still living.

I saw a link today about how Twitter is full of comments on Jones’s death. The tweets are full of sadness. I’m sad, too, but not because his death marked some kind of tragedy. He lived a full life and while Deacon was among us, he delivered plenty of smiles and joy.

Well done, Deacon Jones.

Indeed, Issa must apologize

Robert Gibbs has it exactly right in demanding that U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa say he’s sorry to Jay Carney, the fellow who succeeded Gibbs as White House press secretary.

Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Government Oversight Committee, called Carney a “paid liar” the other day, suggesting something quite nefarious in the way Carney has been answering questions about the Internal Revenue Service controversy that still swirls around the White House.

Recently, one of Issa’s GOP colleagues – Sen. Mike Lee of Utah – suggested that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should apologize to Sen. Ted Cruz for calling him a “schoolyard bully.” For my money, calling someone a liar is a good bit more defamatory than labeling someone a “bully.”

Carney’s been on the hot seat for sure trying to explain the mess that’s developed over the IRS’s screening of conservative non-profit groups seeking tax-exempt status. He’s doing what press secretaries of both parties always have done – and continue to do. He’s looking out for the best interests of his boss.

That’s precisely what Chairman Issa’s own press flack does on his behalf.

Issa has not conducted himself – or allowed his committee to conduct itself – with much dignity in the hunt for something, indeed anything, they can find to hang on the White House and on President Obama.

Yes, an apology is in order, Mr. Chairman.

Who’s he to call someone a ‘liar’?

I hate it when politicians toss derogatory terms at others without a hint of self-awareness.

U.S. House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is just the latest to commit such an offense.

Issa this weekend called White House press spokesman Jay Carney a “paid liar” because of Carney’s responses to questions about the Internal Revenue Service controversy and whether the tax agency bullied conservative non-profit groups unfairly.

Who does this clown, Issa, think he’s kidding with such talk? Does he believe his own spokesperson or the individual who speaks for his committee, or any flack who’s hired to spin answers to suit his or her employer don’t use the same slippery tactics that he accuses Carney?

Indeed, Issa needs to take great care when talking so badly about others. He’s been sitting tall on some high horse trying to find answers to the Benghazi tragedy that resulted in the deaths of four U.S. foreign service officers. Meanwhile, the nation has learned that Republicans on his committee – may have been Issa himself, for all we know – edited email communications coming out of the State Department to make people in the Obama administration look bad.

Is that fair? Is that honest? Is that, shall we say, the conduct of individuals who themselves aren’t “paid liars’?

Issa needs to tone it down. Granted, the IRS matter needs to be resolved … but without the name-calling.