Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Trump is writing a prescription for disaster

Donald John Trump is full of sh** if he thinks reopening the nation’s businesses by Easter is smart, given the still-accelerating rate of infection by the coronavirus.

That isn’t derailing the president’s rush to get the economy up and “rarin’ to go” by the time the Easter Bunny shows up.

Good grief.

Trump’s stated aim is coming in light of medical experts’ advice to the precise contrary. They want to keep the lid on business as usual for a while longer. Americans are still getting infected by the coronavirus. Oh, and they’re still dying.

What is Trump trying to do here?

He can count me as one who is far more interested in preserving human lives — and avoiding contamination — than in juicing up the economy.

Do I enjoy watching my retirement account disappear? Of course not. However, I also am enough of a realist to know that the fund will restore itself eventually.

Local officials here in North Texas are invoking shelter in place policies. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is imploring us to be careful, to put our health concerns first. Governors such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo are trying to beat some sense into us about the danger that still lurks with this disease.

Then we hear from the president of the United States urging us to get back to business. That pandemic response team that stands with him at those moronic White House briefings is quite likely telling Trump to slow down, dummy up on the “rarin’ to go” nonsense.

If only he would listen to someone who knows more about these risks than he does.

Pandemic crisis spurs renewed hope in our future

And now … for a healthy dose of uplifting news at a time when we all could use a bit of cheer.

If you’re worrying about the future of our nation — and, for that matter, our planet — consider all the stories we are hearing about the acts of kindness being performed by young people as they help their neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic.

I am struck and frankly a bit stunned at the stories we keep hearing, reading and grasping. Young people are running errands for their elderly neighbors, or even complete strangers. They grasp the notion that some Americans need a helping hand, but lack the mobility that others possess. So they step up, lend a hand — and they do with no strings attached. They realize, to borrow the phrase that’s sweeping the land, that “we’re all in this together.”

“Good Morning America” today featured an organization that sprung up as the pandemic began taking its toll; the organization is called “Invisible Hands.”

Liam Elkind is a 20-something New York City resident who co-founded Invisible Hands. He shops for food and other essentials for neighbors. He is on a state-ordered break from college. He can’t go to the beach or hang out in bars with his pals. So he is extending a helping “invisible hand” to those who need help.

That is just one example of young folks answering the call.

I want to mention this merely to convey what I believe is an example of our nation’s future is in good hands. Sure, the kindness and compassion isn’t limited to young folks. Many millions of Americans of all ages are responding with open hearts as well.

Let’s just be mindful of what is transpiring. It’s a national emergency. States are beginning to lock themselves down. California is the most notable example of the kind of drastic, but necessary, measures that we’re seeing implemented.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered every one of the state’s 40 million residents to “stay at home,” and to leave only if they have business that requires them to venture out. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered severe restrictions on the number of people who can gather indoors, a move that has closed restaurants, bars, gymnasiums. These decisions are occurring across the nation.

Young people and others who are physically able are stepping into the breach to lend a much-needed hand.

We’ll get through this. Yes, it might take a good bit of time. The response we’re seeing all over this great land tells me, though, that we’re going to be just fine … and that our future is in good hands.

This, I declare, provides incontrovertible proof of America’s longstanding greatness.

Life in our state is about to change

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that is going to change the lives of millions of Texans in ways they might not yet comprehend.

He issued an order that will limit indoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Think of that for a moment. It means that beginning Friday, there will be no congregating at barbecue joints, no swilling of cold ones at the end of a tough day at work, no working out at gymnasiums along with other fitness geeks.

I am working on a story for the Farmersville Times and in the midst of compiling some information about how businesses are coping with the coronavirus pandemic, the order came from Gov. Abbott.

Two local restaurants will suspend indoor dining; they will continue to serve “takeout” meals, and they will deliver meals ordered by their customers.

To his credit, Greg Abbott doesn’t view the pandemic as a “hoax.” He is taking it as seriously as he possibly can take anything. Indeed, so are governors, county officials, mayors and state legislators all across the country.

There might be pockets of individuals who disbelieve the seriousness of the virus that has killed thousands of human beings worldwide. They need to shut their pie holes and line up along with the rest of us who are taking these mandates seriously.

Public schools already are closed. The Princeton Independent School District, where we live, will be shuttered at least until May 4. Public colleges and universities in Texas are disallowing face-to-face study in classrooms, enabling students to study online, in their home; that response also is occurring throughout the nation.

My hope is this: The limiting of exposure will stem the outbreak of this illness around the world. Just maybe we can through this crisis sooner rather than later.

Of course, we cannot predict when “sooner” arrives. We’ll know it when it gets here.

And now, a word to the hoarders out there

It’s not easy to say this, but it appears that panic has set in among many Americans. What’s more, the panic is utterly needless.

And … it is thoughtless.

I’ve been to the neighborhood supermarket here in Princeton, Texas and have noticed empty shelves that are supposed to be full of certain paper products. But those products are gone, apparently scarfed up by shoppers who have pushed the panic button as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Judy Woodruff, the PBS NewsHour anchor, summed up nicely on Friday the senselessness of the hoarding. Other broadcast journalists have issued similar messages.

Woodruff implored viewers to avoid hoarding toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer. Why the message? Woodruff noted what should be obvious, but isn’t: Some of us are less able to go shopping; they need these items, too. So, her message was a simple one: Think of those who are physically unable to shop the way many others are able to do.

I’ll make this observation as well: Doctors tell us that soap and water cleans our hands just as efficiently as sanitizer; we’ve got plenty of soap and we damn sure have enough water to go around.

Princeton isn’t that big of a community; we’ve got roughly 12,000 to 15,000 residents, according to city officials’ estimates. So it boggles my mind that so many of these products would vanish at this moment.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for the state. The declaration is intended to mobilize first responders and health care providers to the potential for a dramatic increase in cases involving Texans afflicted by the coronavirus. County officials are limiting crowd sizes at public events. Officials at all levels are warning us to maintain proper “social distance” to avoid possible exposure to the virus.

The messages we are hearing from every level of government — even from the slow-responding feds — is that we need not panic. Should we be concerned? You bet. My family is concerned.

Panic-buying, though, results in unnecessary and thoughtless shortages of essential products.

Let’s all take a breather. Let us deal forthrightly with the pandemic. Panic won’t solve anything. It only worsens matters.

Gov. Abbott to the public: No need to hoard household supplies

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this morning went on the air to make a statewide disaster declaration in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

He issued a number of directives and said that state medical providers are going to ensure that testing equipment is available to those who need to be checked for the virus. It’s all worthwhile and needed under the current circumstance that has created a sense of international near-panic.

But …

The governor also urged us to avoid hoarding household items. My wife and I went to our neighborhood supermarket this morning. We glanced down the aisle where they peddle toilet tissue and paper towels. We saw empty shelf space. It was all gone! All of it!

So, I hope that the governor’s words do not fall on deaf ears all across Texas.

Still steamed over red-light cameras’ demise

I must admit that I am still angry with the 2019 Texas Legislature, which in itself is no great flash. A lot of Texans are angry with legislators for a lot of reasons.

My main source of anger stems from legislators’ decision to pull the plug on red-light cameras that cities have deployed to help police enforce traffic laws. I mean, too many motorists are none too inclined to obey red lights at intersections which are intended to order motorists to stop and not proceed until the light turns green.

The result has been serious automobile crashes. Motorists occasionally stop and then race through the intersections before the light changes from red to green. Or, they just keep on racing on through.

Dallas city traffic officials reported this past week that the red-light cameras had helped reduce auto accidents. They also generated revenue for the city to use on traffic infrastructure improvements, which the Legislature required of cities when it enacted the red-light camera law in the first place.

Then came the pronouncement from Gov. Greg Abbott, who signaled his willingness to sign legislation banning cameras when it got to his desk. The Legislature delivered it to him and, by golly, he kept his word. Dammit, anyway!

At least the Legislature had the good taste to allow cities to keep the cameras deployed until their vendor contracts had expired. Indeed, my wife and I recently visited Amarillo, where we lived for 23 years before moving to the Metroplex, and noticed that the city still has it cameras working. They’ll be unplugged in due course.

As a social media acquaintance of mine noted in reaction to an earlier blog post on the subject, driving on public streets is a “privilege” and not a right guaranteed for motorists, who all they have to do to avoid getting cited by cities is just follow the law.

Don’t run through the red lights!

What? Right-wing Amarillo bucks governor’s refugee ban?

How about that New York Times, for my money the greatest newspaper in the nation if not the world? It is reporting that Amarillo, Texas, the unofficial “capital city” of the right-wing Texas Panhandle is taking a dim view of Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to ban refugees from settling in Texas.

We used to live in Amarillo. We had a wonderful life there. We are forging a new wonderful life in the Metroplex. But I was fully aware of Amarillo’s reputation as a hotbed for far right-wing political thought. The NY Times article suggests a latent reservoir of good will. God bless Amarillo and the NY Times.

The article cites how Amarillo has been a magnet for refugees for many years. Many refugees have become part of the community. They contribute to the community’s life. They have been embraced by their neighbors. They call themselves Americans.

Abbott, though, has issued an order that declared that Texas would become the first state in the Union to opt out of a presidential edict that gives states the option of accepting or rejecting refugees; Abbott has shut the door on new refugees.

That ain’t the American — or the Texan — way, governor. The Times article spells out how Amarillo has opened its door — not to mention its heart — to those who have ventured to the Panhandle, which the Times article describes as a somewhat desolate, wind-swept, dusty place.

As the Times reports: Here in Amarillo, which for a time took in more refugees per capita than any other Texas city, few share the governor’s alarm over refugees, and those who do have a far more nuanced view. They have long lived with refugees, not as abstract political talking points, but as neighbors.

Refugee Services of Texas and Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle have taken on the refugee issue head-on, helping resettle 7,000 individuals from 2007 to 2017, the Times reports.

The article makes me proud of the city my wife and I called home for more than two decades.

Here is the full article in the New York Times.

Amarillo will remain a stronghold of support for Donald Trump and for Gov. Abbott. It is full of many fine individuals who understand that they live in a place that serves as a beacon for those who need a refuge from oppression and tyranny

Governor honors White Settlement hero

I’ll stipulate up front that I am not a fan of allowing guns in church sanctuaries.

With that out of the way, I want to offer a word of gratitude for a gentleman who was providing security at a White Settlement, Texas, church a couple of Sundays ago.

A gunman walked into the sanctuary and opened fire, killing two parishioners at West Freeway Church of Christ. He had six seconds to live.

That’s when Jack Wilson dropped the shooter with a single shot from his pistol. The crisis was over.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today presented Wilson with the Governor’s Medal of Courage. According to CBS/DFW: “This church had its own security team. They were well-trained,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on the day of the shooting. “The heroism today was unparalleled. The team responded quickly … ”

Wilson has said he doesn’t consider himself to be a hero.

Well, actually he is. His response in the moment of terror was quintessentially heroic, as is the humility he has exhibited in the days since the violence erupted at West Freeway Church of Christ.

Oh, the irony of Gov. Abbott’s refugee rejection

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, along with other governors, had the opportunity to “opt in” on an executive order issued by Donald Trump to allow refugees into our state.

He chose to opt out. Gov. Abbott has slammed the door on individuals and families who, by definition, are seeking refuge in Texas as they flee repression, violence, crime, corruption and physical harm in their home country.

I am trying to wrap my noodle around this decision. I am left only to ponder the profound irony of Abbott’s decision, making Texas the first state to opt out of Trump’s executive order.

The irony? Oh, well, we have this historical fact: Our nation came into being in the 18th century because men who had fled religious oppression in Europe had come across a vast ocean to form a republic that would become known as “the land of the free,” the “land of opportunity” and “a beacon of liberty” for the rest of the world.

It looks that in Texas at least, the door has been shut to those seeking freedom and opportunity and that the beacon has been turned off.

Abbott’s decision, quite naturally, has drawn plenty of criticism. As it should. To be honest, the governor’s refusal to opt in to the federal order is disappointing in the extreme. He has sought to say that the state should allow those who already are here to remain as refugees. But what about those who continue to suffer human rights abuses in nations south of us?

This is a very distressing decision by Gov. Abbott.

I cannot prove this, of course, but my hunch is that our nation’s founders would be unhappy beyond measure.

Texas won’t take refugees? Shameful decision!

Critics of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are understandably outraged over a decision by the state.

Abbott has decided that Texas will not participate in a federal refugee resettlement program, which around 40 other governors — from both political parties — have agreed to do.

I am profoundly disappointed in Gov. Abbott’s decision to opt out of the resettlement effort.

By definition, refugees are those who are fleeing terrible living conditions. They seek to enter the United States because, for varying reasons, they fear for their well-being in their native countries.

Many of those on the far right declare fealty to their religious faith. They are chiefly Christians who adhere to the Jesus Christ’s teachings.

Sigh.

I cannot find a single New Testament passage that suggests Jesus would approve of any effort to turn away the dispossessed, the downtrodden, those who are fleeing repression.

According to the Texas Tribune: Abbott said the state and nonprofit organizations should concentrate resources on those already here, according to a letter the governor sent to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

This is not the action of a compassionate government with leaders who proclaim themselves as caring about their fellow human beings.