Three cheers for public TV

Some readers of this blog might know that I am a big fan of public television. I worked for a time as a freelance blogger for a public TV station in Amarillo — Panhandle PBS, based at Amarillo College — not long after my print journalism career ended.

Whenever I hear the name Ken Burns attached to a public TV special, I perk up instantly and commit to watching whatever Burns assembles for the public air waves.

I just finished binge-watching a four-part special on The Greatest, aka “Muhammad Ali.”

Wow! What a special! What a man Ali became.

Ali died in 2016 at age 74 of complications from the Parkinson’s disease with which he had been diagnosed since 1984.

Burns and his staff of colleagues, producers, editors and writers assembled a fantastic broadcast journey that took viewers through Ali’s childhood in Louisville, Ky., to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, to his professional boxing career, his wins and losses, his exile for following his religious objection to the Vietnam War, his becoming a Muslim, his troubled marriages to four women (and his relentless womanizing along the way), his status as a cultural icon and how he became the Most Famous Man in the World and finally to his death.

You are reading the words of a longtime fan of Muhammad Ali. I cannot watch without crying his 1996 appearance at the Atlanta Olympics when he lit the torch. It was a seminal moment in Ali’s journey from world-class athlete to world-class human being.

Public TV brought all this to viewers. It was a stunning bit of television. Then again, none of us should be surprised that Ken Burns — arguably the world’s foremost documentary filmmaker — could deliver such epic TV programming to our living rooms.

If you get a chance, check out this latest contribution from Ken Burns. You will learn something about The Greatest.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who seeks to ‘rig’ election?

Oh, how I want to take the findings of an audit in Arizona seriously.

It’s hard when the audit of the 2020 presidential election in that state is done by an outfit with no experience conducting such an audit. They were brought in to find fraud that didn’t exist.

Now we hear from Cyber Ninjas that the Maricopa County, Ariz., returns were legitimate and that Joe Biden won that state’s electoral votes while winning the presidency.

Which brings me to this point, which is that the 45th POTUS keeps yammering about the 2020 election being “rigged.” It wasn’t. The Cyber Ninjas finding illustrates it nicely. The only “rigging” being done is by the 45th POTUS who keeps yapping about vote fraud. He is trying to overturn a legitimate election that he lost by more than 7 million ballots.

It all points to yet another irony of this individual’s brief stint as POTUS. He bellowed about “fake news” while pulling fake news out of his rear end almost daily. Now he is hollering about a rigged election while seeking to rig it all by himself.

How does anyone on this good Earth possibly take this clown seriously?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Catch your breath, Texas Democrats

(Bob Daemmrich/Pool Photo via AP)

Texas Democrats no doubt are having trouble catching their breath over recent polling news regarding the state’s top Republican: Gov. Greg Abbott.

I word of caution: Don’t get ahead of yourselves.

Recent Texas Tribune polling shows significant slippage among Texas independents regarding the governor. Abbott now trails film star Matthew McConaughey by 9%. Then there’s former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who is sounding more and more like a Texas candidate for governor; O’Rourke is within spitting distance of Abbott … pollwise.

I am going to shake my head on all of this.

I also shall stipulate that I hope Abbott can be beaten next year when we elect the vast bulk of our state’s constitutional officeholders. Abbott is one of them. I am profoundly angry at the way he has governed since he first was elected in 2014.

He is tacking to the hard right. Abbott is facing Republican primary foes, such as former Texas GOP chair Allen West, the one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas to further his political aspirations. We have former state Sen. Don Huffines, too, in the GOP primary contest.

I don’t know whether Matthew McConaughey will run as a Democrat or a Republican. He is being coy about his political orientation. Indeed, he is bobbing and weaving on plenty of specific issues as well.

As for the heavy breathing among Democrats that Abbott is on the ropes, it is way too premature to start ringing the death knell on the governor’s political career.

Texas is to this day a heavily Republican state, no matter the demographic changes that are turning this state into more of a political battleground. Let us not forget that GOP voters in Texas are capable of electing some serious losers to serious public offices.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘Fraudit’ proves Biden won after all

Stop the presses!

The so-called audit of Arizona’s election returns in 2020 have delivered a stunning blow to the former Liar in Chief: The Cyber Ninjas have determined that Joe Biden won Arizona’s electoral votes in a fair-and-square vote.

The Cyber Ninjas is the civilian group charged with combing through the Maricopa County returns to find enough votes to overturn the Arizona results, which Biden carried narrowly in November 2020.

GOP-backed Arizona election review confirms Biden 2020 win | TheHill

But … what do you know? Cyber Ninjas — with zero election audit training in its background has determined there was no fraud in 2020 and that President Biden’s vote totals hold up.

To be fair, I cannot imagine what my response would be had the Cyber Ninjas had reached another conclusion. I might go bonkers, bananas. I might be bumfuzzled, bamboozled and bombarded with emotion.

I am left now to wonder if the Cyber Ninjas had taken the criticism of its lack of credentials to heart. Might it have just tossed in the towel and delivered a summary that it knew would be palatable to those of who knew what was obvious from the get-go? That President Biden’s victory in Arizona, while not overwhelming, was sufficient to stand up under close scrutiny.

I won’t offer a full-throated cheer to what the Cyber Ninjas have decided about the returns in Arizona. Its effort to overturn an election was a monumental waste of time and money. Perhaps, too, these findings will fill officials elsewhere with courage to stand up against The Big Lie.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

That’s only part of it, Rep. McCarthy

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is only partly right about the mission awaiting the House select committee’s probe into the 1/6 insurrection.

McCarthy today said the panel should concern itself only with why the Capitol security was so lacking and “how to prevent” such a riot from recurring.

Wrong, leader McCarthy!

There’s also this thing about what the 45th president knew at the time of the riot, what he didn’t do to call a halt to it and did he really have that conversation with McCarthy in which he told him that the rioters cared more about the Constitution than McCarthy did.

The terrorists who marched onto Capitol Hill on 1/6 to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election committed an insurrection against the government. House members and senators were doing their constitutional duty in certifying the election.

The House select panel is tasked with finding out all there is to learn about what happened, why it happened and, yes, how to prevent it from recurring.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy needs to stop obstructing the panel from doing its job and adhere to the oath he took to “defend and protect the Constitution,” which the insurrectionists sought on 1/6 to destroy.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Government applies medical pressure?

Ron Paul, a former member of Congress from Texas — and one-time Republican presidential candidate — has made an intriguing and likely unintended case against a hideous Texas law that essentially outlaws abortion.

Paul is a physician and is the father of a sitting U.S. senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky. This item showed up on my Facebook news feed.

I’ll venture a presumption that the statement is intended to refer to President Biden’s mandates to require vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus. Think, though, about the overarching message contained in the statement attributed to Dr. Paul.

“Freedom over one’s physical person is the most basic freedom of all and people in a free society should be sovereign over their own bodies.”

Therein lies the most essential argument possible against that Texas law that has become the subject of lawsuits seeking to overturn it. The Legislature passed the law that Gov. Greg Abbott signed that prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after being pregnant for six weeks. Many women — arguably most women — don’t even know they are pregnant six weeks after conception. The law’s intent is to take the teeth out of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in January 1973.

Let’s be clear about something. This law will not prevent abortion. Women will continue to terminate pregnancies. Many of them might seek “back-alley” procedures that could do them terrible physical harm. The law is ghastly and it is the product of ham-handed legislative tyrants who seek to exert control over women and the decisions they make regarding their own bodies.

Ultraconservative legislators have seized the moment in Texas with this legislation. They have gotten their way, at least for the time being. The state, however, does not “own our bodies.”

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ex-POTUS brings Big Lie to Texas

Donald Trump said what?

That he wants Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to add a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election in Texas to the Legislature’s special session agenda? Good ever-lovin’ grief!

The Texas Tribune reported:

Despite his victory in Texas and no credible evidence of widespread fraud, Donald Trump calls for election audit legislation | The Texas Tribune

The only Texans who “have big questions about the … election” are the loons who have swilled The Big Lie being served up by the 45th POTUS. And it is a lie. The 2020 presidential election was secure in Texas. It was done legally. It resulted in POTUS 45 earning the state’s electoral votes.

What in the world is the former Numbskull in Chief seeking to do here? Don’t answer that. I know.

He is seeking to sow more doubt about an election that President Biden won fairly and squarely. He has alleged the election was “rigged” to defeat him. In truth, the only “rigging” being sought is by the ex-POTUS and his cult followers. It reminds me of how the then-Liar in Chief kept accusing the media and his foes of fomenting “fake news” while he was promoting phony stories about, oh, Barack Obama’s citizenship.

Now he wants Gov. Abbott — one of his minions — to order an audit of an election where there was no fraud?

Give me a break!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What happened to Meghan?

Hey, I swear I remember Meghan McCain — the former “The View” co-host who’s taken on a new gig as a columnist for a British newspaper — saying how she “loves” President Biden and would be hard-pressed to say anything negative about him.

Now she writes in The Daily Mail that Joe Biden is on track to be a “worse” president than Jimmy Carter.

Whoa, Meghan McCain! Hold the phone!

MEGHAN McCAIN: Joe Biden is shaping up to be a worse president than Jimmy Carter  | Daily Mail Online

McCain is the daughter, let’s recall, of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, one of Joe Biden’s best friends in the Senate. McCain was a Republican; Biden is a Democrat. Their friendship was forged shortly after McCain joined a Senate staff as a military adviser to a committee on which Biden served.

Now the young woman who said she “loves” the president has turned on him, calling him feckless, unreliable and cantankerous.

Look, she’s entitled to change her mind about politicians, even those who hold occupy a special place in her heart. I am just waiting, though, for an explanation from Meghan McCain on the dramatic change in her feelings toward the president of the United States.

As for President Biden being “worse” than President Carter, I need to remind McCain that Jimmy Carter did manage to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Egypt … which has held firm and solid through thick and thin.

So, let’s stop with the Carter-bashing. Hmmm?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

POTUS dons legislator’s hat

This thought occurs to me, so I’ll share it briefly.

President Biden is trying to negotiated a legislative deal with moderate and progressive congressional Democrats. Then the following dawned on me.

Biden spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate. He then spent eight years as vice president. That’s 44 years negotiating experience with lawmakers.

The way I figure it, President Biden is the most experienced legislator in the meetings he is having with congressional Democrats. He knows how to cajole, coddle and convince legislators to do what’s right.

If only he could work his legislative skill on congressional Republicans who — sad to say — just won’t wheel and deal with a master of wheeling and dealing.

This is the value of having a POTUS who knows how government works. Let’s see if it pays off.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

McConnell said … what?

(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell said it, but I still cannot believe I heard it with my own ears. The U.S. Senate Republican leader spoke about the need to raise the national debt limit, that it is essential for the nation to maintain its standing with creditors.

Then he said that it’s a “Democrat problem,” and that he wouldn’t support to raise the debt limit.

I heard it. I shook my noggin. I cannot believe that the Kentucky Republican would actually such a thing. But … he damn sure did.

McConnell is leading the Senate Republican caucus in its effort to obstruct anything and everything his Democratic colleagues want to do legislatively. He also has become something of a sworn enemy of President Biden, his one-time Senate friend and occasional ally.

Now he is playing craven politics with what should be a bipartisan effort. Democrats want to enact an infrastructure rebuilding plan. It costs trillions of dollars. Republicans are having none of it. They contend that it’s too costly, that it would pile on more debt.

Strange, yes? Yes, given that Biden’s immediate predecessor — a Republican — rang up the biggest annual budget deficits in history and piled on more debt than any president who came before him. The GOP caucus had no problem with that. Now, it does.

Except that the Senate GOP leader recognizes that the debt ceiling is an essential part of governing. However, he will not — or cannot — commit to doing what he knows he should do.

Mitch McConnell has become, without question (in my mind), the master of hypocrisy, duplicity and covering his own backside … to the detriment of the greater good.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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