Mayor pitches for a private business?

I might be the only person on God’s good Earth to feel this way, but I’ll express it anyway.

I was driving around Amarillo in Big Jake, my big ol’ pickup, when I heard a voice on the radio; I am going to paraphrase what I heard. “I’m Ginger Nelson,” the voice intoned, “and if you’re going to receive friends and family here, I recommend that they stay” at a certain hotel.

The ad took me aback. Why? Well, Ginger Nelson is Amarillo’s mayor. She never revealed that she occupies that highly visible public office in the commercial. But … c’mon! Everyone in Amarillo knows she is the mayor. It struck me as a bit odd that a mayor would serve as a pitch person for a private business, particularly a business in the midst of heavy competition with other private businesses providing the same service. In this case, it’s the hospitality industry.

This might not stick in anyone else’s craw, but it sure stuck in mine. It runs afoul of my perception of fair play, that the political leader of a community would play favorites, selecting one private business over all the others that do business within that city.

It’s worth wondering out loud: How would the owner of a competing hotel feel about the head the city’s governing council soliciting business for a competitor? My guess: He or she probably wouldn’t like it one little bit.

Admittedly, I haven’t done any research into the matter. I am merely reacting to something I heard on my vehicle radio.

I mentioned it to my wife and she reminded me that former Mayor (and City Commissioner) Trent Sisemore did some pitch work while he held public office for his own business, which happened to be an RV dealership … which since has been taken over by new owners. That seemed wildly different from what I heard from the current mayor.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t know Mayor Nelson well. However, I believe she has done a good job as mayor of the city she loves. The economy is thriving and (oh brother!) there is work being done on streets and highways all over the city.

Someone might have to explain to me that this really is OK. To my ears, it just doesn’t sound right — or proper.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Why not honor this good man?

A return to Amarillo — our first since the death of a good friend of mine — brought to mind something that I noticed is missing from a couple of prominent edifices around town.

It is the name of Ernie Houdashell, the late Randall County judge who in my humble view needs to be honored by having his name highly visible to anyone visiting a prominent public place.

What might that include? Two places come immediately to mind.

One of them is the Randall County Annex on Western Street. The other is the Texas Panhandle War Memorial next to where the Annex used to be located.

Why these two sites? For starters, they both have Houdashell’s fingerprints all over them.

Ernie Houdashell recognized the need to relocate the Annex from its cozy little site on South Georgia Street. He worked out a deal for the county to acquire the site that it would renovate and turn into a spacious office complex.

As for the Texas Panhandle War Memorial, I want to point out three attractions that Houdashell worked long and hard to bring to the site: the F-100 jet fighter; the UH-1 Huey helicopter (similar to one that Houdashell served on during the Vietnam War); and the piece of USS Arizona, the battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor.

I’ll admit some bias here. Houdashell was a dear friend. He and I were able to develop our professional relationship into a strong personal friendship after I no longer worked as a journalist for the Amarillo Globe-News. I saw how hard he worked as a passionate advocate for Randall County.

Ernie Houdashell loved serving as county judge, just as he loved working for state Rep. John Smithee and former Congressman Beau Boulter.

This is just a suggestion, but my sincere hope is that the county that Ernie Houdashell loved and served with honor can reciprocate by honoring his memory in a tangible fashion.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Contempt of Congress: what now?

Steve Bannon, a one-time key aide to the former president of U.S., is facing contempt of Congress charges from the panel that has summoned him to testify about what he knows regarding 1/6.

Bannon has refused to testify until the courts weigh in on Donald Trump’s contention that he is entitled to presidential executive privilege.

Here is the question I am pondering: What can Congress do to enforce the contempt charge? Answer, as near as I can tell: Not much … just yet.

The Justice Department has to determine whether to bring criminal charges against Bannon, or against any other of the former Trumpkins who are likely to resist the subpoenas that the House select committee has issued.

The panel wants to know the truth behind what occurred within the White House on 1/6. So do many millions of Americans want to know. I am one of them.

Explainer-What’s at stake for Trump allies facing ‘contempt of Congress’? (msn.com)

Bannon is the keeper of plenty of secrets, I am certain. He needs to share them with the nation and the world.

Let me be clear about one more thing. What happened on 1/6 posed a dire threat to the very government we all cherish. The riot on Capitol Hill could have ended far differently than it did had the terrorists been allowed to achieve their mission to “Hang Mike Pence!” and to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election result.

Bannon and his former boss have no right to invoke executive privilege. I hope the DOJ sees it that way, too.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Abbott pushed rightward

Don Huffines is taking credit he might — or might not — deserve in his effort to unseat fellow Republican Greg Abbott from the Texas governor’s office.

I tend to believe that he deserves at least part of the credit he is taking.

You see, Huffines is running in the Texas GOP primary next year against Abbott. He’s been hectoring Abbott over policy matters. Abbott is responding by, hmm, marching to the cadence that Huffines is calling.

The Texas Tribune reports: Abbott’s decision Monday to prohibit private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees marked a stark reversal for the governor — and came after Huffines hounded him over it. Abbott justified the reversal as necessary pushback against the federal government, but Huffines declared victory — and it is far from the only issue where he contends he has pushed Abbott to the right.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s rightward push tracks challenge from Don Huffines | The Texas Tribune

Indeed, Abbott has disappointed me ever since he got elected governor in 2014. I knew him as Texas attorney general and before that when he served on the state Supreme Court. He swilled the right-wing Kool-Aid when he took office as governor.

But now he has tilted even farther rightward as he faces a primary challenge from Huffines as well as from former Texas GOP chair Allen West, who’s a radical right-winger.

Is Huffines driving Abbott toward the cliff on the rightward edge? Yeah, more than likely.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘No’ on executive privilege

Imagine my (non)surprise at news that the Biden administration said “no way” to a request to grant executive privilege stipulations to his immediate predecessor.

POTUS No. 45 asked No. 46’s administration to grant those privileges as the House select committee summons key aides to 45 to testify on what they knew about the events of 1/6.

President Biden’s team said “no way” to the request. Biden said in a statement that the nation needs to know the whole truth behind what happened on the day Donald Trump incited the riot that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election … which Biden won!

There’s no argument here as to what the House panel seeks. It wants all the information it get obtain. My sense is that the best place to look is into the records of those who worked most closely with the former Insurrectionist in Chief.

Go for it, House select committee!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Trump might ‘primary’ Texas speaker? Huh?

 REUTERS/Octavio Jones

Did I hear this correctly … that the 45th president of the U.S. might want to “primary” Texas House speaker Dade Phelan because of the way he is running the state House of Representatives?

Phelan is a Beaumont Republican serving his first term as the Man of the House. He succeeded another GOP speaker, Dennis Bonnen, who got himself into a jam after he lied about whether he would sacrifice fellow GOP lawmakers in the 2020 legislative campaign.

Donald Trump just needs to butt the hell out of Texas politics. We’ve got more than our fair share of nut jobs, fruit cakes and yahoos. We don’t need the former Yahoo in Chief meddling in our state’s business.

Phelan isn’t my kind of pol, but he is working under extreme pressure, given Democrats’ willingness and ability to stop the Legislature from doing its business, which they did already this year … and deservedly so.

I am just weary in the extreme of seeing the 45th POTUS’s name attached to this and/or that political skirmish.

He annoys me in the extreme.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This is ‘pro-business’?

How in the name of sound policy does a “conservative” Republican governor who touts his state’s “business-friendly” climate issue an executive order that demands private businesses refrain from issuing mandates that could save the lives of employees and customers?

That is what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done in his ongoing fight to defy President Biden’s effort to get businesses and government agencies to do their part to rid the nation and the world of the COVID-19 virus.

So help me, I don’t get it. Then again, there are a lot of things about GOP governing strategy that go beyond my ability to understand. This is just one of them.

Abbott issued an executive order that prohibits private business owners from taking steps that could prevent the spread of a killer virus. Where I come from, I call that “government intrusion.” Oh sure, Abbott and his minions say that Biden and his supporters are intruding into private business affairs through their vaccine and mask mandates. I am going to side with the president on this one. Big surprise … huh?

Gov. Abbott’s order actually is inviting businesses to join him in defying a national effort aimed at protecting us against the virus. Let’s see, the virus has killed more than 700,000 Americans already. Right? So the president wants to incentivize Americans into getting vaccinated and to take measures to protect themselves — and others — against a deadly infection.

Gov. Greg Abbott has just tossed the state’s pro-business playbook into the crapper. Good luck trying to retrieve it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How can this loser actually win?

A whole array of political brainiacs are offering a chilling bit of news that foreshadows the 2024 Republican Party primary contest.

It is that Donald John Trump, the twice-impeached loser, is the odds-on favorite — as of this moment — to win the GOP nomination.

Let’s ponder that one for just a moment.

For starters, I am not yet convinced he is going to run for POTUS. He might find his sorry rear end indicted on felony charges relating to the 2020 election and his attempts to subvert the results that produced a victory for President Biden.

Setting that aside, are the GOP faithful actually so committed to this idiot to nominate him for a third consecutive election cycle to the presidency? He failed in his single term.

He lied incessantly. He botched the nation’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic; he kept secret from the public information he had learned privately about the severity of the illness. Time and time and time again he said things that contradicted the experts he brought aboard ostensibly to help him do battle against the pandemic.

Trump spoke correctly about becoming a “wartime president,” but then didn’t act on it.

Literally dozens of this guy’s inner circle have been indicted and some have been convicted of illegal activity. Yes, these were among the “best people” he pledged to help him govern.

Are we really going to head down that path yet again with a Republican nominee who cannot tell the truth, who cannot negotiate, who cannot strike deals, who doesn’t know the first thing about governance?

Man, I hope the political intelligentsia is all wrong as it examines the possible future of a once-great and viable political party.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Is our grumpiness terminal?

The thought just occurred to me.

Could it be that we have entered a period of terminal grumpiness, that our dissatisfaction with government is a carryover that cannot be shaken loose no matter how well our politicians are functioning in the moment?

I see that President Biden’s job approval rating stands at just a bit north of 43%. It’s about 9 points less than his disapproval rating.

Voters’ opinion of Congress is worse than that. We are feeling testy toward the speaker of the House, the minority leader of the House, both party leaders in the Senate.

What’s going on? We well might be turning the corner on the pandemic; we’re still adding jobs to an economy battered by the disease, albeit at a too-slow rate; joblessness is down. Yes, we have immigration issues that need to be resolved. Our lawmakers cannot get our nation’s budgeting process figured out.

But damn! I just get this nagging notion that public opinion polling suggests a restiveness that might be carrying over from years past, or from months past.

I don’t see data that examines what is driving Americans’ distrust in government. I hear plenty of anecdotal stuff stemming from the previous administration’s tenure, about how the ex-POTUS was constantly railing against the “deep state” and those who collected all that power. Voters bought into a lot of what he was saying. I wasn’t one of them. My faith in government remains quite strong as does my belief that government can — and eventually will — right itself.

I don’t want there to be a state of terminal anger. There are too many good things waiting to occur. At least that’s my hope.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Abbott has lost his mind

Greg Abbott has lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

He is off his rocker. His butter has slipped off its noodles. He’s gone ’round the proverbial bend.

The Texas governor has decided that no entity — private or public — should require vaccine mandates for employees or for the public.

Weird, huh? Well, I think it is.

Gov. Abbott once more is wielding his heavy hand, telling locals they can take no extraordinary measures to protect the public from a killer virus.

“In yet another instance of federal government overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said in his executive order.

“Causing workforce disruptions?” Seriously, governor?

The Biden administration is trying to save lives, for God’s sake! Abbott, meanwhile, is seeking to cozy up to those who are resisting the government’s efforts to protect them against a virus that is still killing us.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans any COVID-19 vaccine mandates | The Texas Tribune

I grew weary long ago of Greg Abbott’s insistence that he knows better than local government officials on how their communities should cope with this crisis. Yet he persists. Meanwhile, school districts issue mandates of their own, such as Dallas’s decision to require masks for students and faculty members.

Gov. Abbott appears to have adopted Donald John Trump’s view that “I, alone” can fight the COVID virus.

Bullsh**!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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