We’re in good hands

An interview I had with a young man reminded me of what I have known intellectually for a very long time, but at times gets lost in the melee of the moment.

I have known in my heart and my head that the next generation that will succeed us as we pass from the scene will do a stellar job of taking care of the world we leave behind. Indeed, it likely will make it better.

The young man is a Farmersville High School senior. He is a straight-A student. I asked him whether his good grades put him in the running for valedictorian or salutatorian. He scoffed at the suggestion. “Oh no,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who are doing better than I am.”

This young man, Matthew Day, built a trailer from scratch as part of a Future Farmers of America project. It is magnificent vehicle he will use to haul equipment.

I mentioned this young man’s accomplishment to someone, who said, “It gives me hope.” Me, too.

I am reminded of the temptation we all have to denigrate the younger generation. I hear it all the time from those who say, “Kids today … ” don’t do this or that. Or that “kids today” are — pick the epithet you want — spoiled, entitled, lazy, shiftless.


The younger generation is just like all those who preceded them throughout all of human history. They will rise to meet whatever challenge rises up to confront them.

I reminded my friend, the one who said she has “hope” that the future is in good hands, of something that Plato said about four centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. Plato lamented that young people possessed bad manners, that they lacked respect for their elders and worried that the world was heading straight for hell. The Greek philosopher was a smart man, to be sure, but he missed the boat on that one.

I met a wonderful young man the other day and I remain as committed as ever to the notion that he merely symbolizes the best of his generation … and that our world will be just fine once we old folks check out.


GOP = insanity

The Republican Party has gone insane. It should be declared incompetent to stand up to public scrutiny. It needs to be stripped down, dismantled, reassembled and reintroduced to the American political mainstream.

I say this as a good-government progressive who tilts toward the Democratic Party. I want the Republican Party to become the Grand Old Party, the Party of Lincoln and the party of inclusion and the so-called “big tent.”

Goodness, the party’s big tent now has become a haven for fruitcakes, insurrectionists, dangerous demagogues and, yes, those with treasonous instincts.

To think that the Republican Party would continue to align itself with a twice-impeached POTUS who continues to foment The Big Lie about alleged voter fraud is to consign the once-great political party to the scrap heap of history. I hope that is where the former POTUS is headed as well. Time will determine his Earthly fate.

The reason for my wanting a strong Republican Party is simple. I want the party to exist as a legitimate, viable political institution to challenge Democrats intelligently and with sane reason. What we have now is a party wedded to the fallacy that an insurrection that occurred in January 2021 was nothing more than a protest that got out of control. Oh, no. It was much worse than that. Republican congressional leaders keep denying what the entire world witnessed on 1/6.

This is the stuff of insanity. It must be excised from the Republican Party. If it takes a total dismembering of the party, then so be it.


Puppy Tales, Part 93: He dresses himself

It’s been far too long since I have bragged about Toby the Puppy.

So … here comes another tidbit about our smart puppy. He has learned to virtually dress himself. Yep, that’s right. Here’s what I mean.

We like putting shirts and/or sweaters on him during these cold snaps. His fur is light and he is a bit prone to the shivers when the temperature drops too significantly.

What do we do? We fetch his sweater, slip it over his head and one front leg at a time, he lifts the leg so we can slip it through the opening in his garment; we do the same thing with the other front leg.

There you go.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we had to struggle to get Toby to cooperate with us as we sought to keep him warm from the cold weather. Those of us who have raised children know what I’m talking about. If a kid doesn’t want to wear something, it’s a serious chore getting him or her to comply. Same can be said about puppies.

Toby the Puppy was one of those problem “children.” Until now.


Biden down, far from out

Listen up, Joe Biden haters. The president is down, to be sure. Do not, though, start ringing the death knell over the presidency of the man who fought for more than 30 years to attain the highest office in the land.

I acknowledge fully that President Biden has endured a rough first year. Let me remind everyone of a couple of recent historical events.

Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 and also had a bad first year. Yes, he was shot and nearly killed three months into the presidency. Then the Republican Party got drubbed in the 1982 midterm election. President Reagan, though, got re-elected in 1984 in a smashing 49-state landslide. That’s one.

Bill Clinton became president in 1993. He, too, suffered a rough first year. Republicans seized control of Congress in 1994. Ah, but then President Clinton cruised to re-election in 1996. That’s two.

Barack Obama assumed office in 2009. He set out to pass the Affordable Care Act; Congress obliged. Then Democrats got what Obama described as a “shellacking” in the 2010 midterm election. President Obama then went on to win re-election in 2012.

I know we have had plenty of one-term presidents who never got it together. George H.W. Bush fell from a 90% approval rating to losing his re-election effort in 1992; Jimmy Carter endured inflation and a general feeling of disgust and lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in 1980; Donald Trump … well, you know what happened there.

President Biden is only in the “first quarter” of a long game, writes Paul Brandus in USA Today. There’s a way out of the morass, Brandus writes: The president’s biggest mistake has surprised me. He hasn’t spent enough time talking up last year’s economic achievements. “America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years,” Bloomberg reported last month, “notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.”

Joe Biden has had a rocky year in office. But, folks, this is only the first quarter. (yahoo.com)

And so it might go moving ahead into the next year and the year after that. We still have that pandemic. It still is making people sick. We keep hearing that the end is in sight. Maybe. We hope.

I am going to stand with the president as he keeps fighting for the country.


Impeach the justice!

Here’s a thought for you to ponder. It doesn’t come from me exclusively, but I read about it and have embraced it as a potential game-changer for the American judicial system.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could be impeached by Congress because of his wife’s right-wing activism and the justice’s refusal to recuse himself from cases in which she is involved directly.

Ginni Thomas is a right-wing zealot. She has written scathing essays excoriating the 1/6 House committee examining the insurrection that sought to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

She and her hubby talk openly with each other about their jobs and their duties. So, how in the world does Justice Thomas vote on matters involving Ginni Thomas’s political activism?

Case in point: The court voted recently 8-1 to require Donald Trump to turn over documents to the House select committee looking into Trump’s role in inciting the riot. The lone dissent? It came from Clarence Thomas.

Good grief, man. Justice Thomas has no business sitting in on arguments involving anything regarding this issue. His wife has disqualified him in the eyes of many millions of Americans, including mine.


Michael Tomasky, editor of The New Republic, makes the case that Clarence Thomas is ripe for an impeachment action. What’s more, there needs to be ethical rules set up to govern the Supreme Court, the only court in America that doesn’t have any such regulatory authority watching over its conduct.

I happen to agree with him, that Clarence Thomas has disgraced himself and the nation’s highest court.


DA gets new grand jury … yes!

Fani Willis is emerging as potentially my newest political hero. She is the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney who sought — and then received — permission to seat a special grand jury that is going to examine whether Donald J. Trump interfered with the 2020 presidential election.

Hmm. Let’s see. What do we have here?

We have a recorded conversation featuring Trump telling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to “find” 11,780 votes that can be credited to the ex-POTUS and possibly keep him in power. Oh, Joe Biden won Georgia’s electoral votes, but Trump harangued the chief elections officer in Georgia to find enough votes to swing it to Trump’s list of winning states.

Where I come from, that sounds for all the world like intimidation. You see, Trump told Raffensberger — a Republican who voted for Trump — to break the law. To his great credit, Raffensberger said no can do, Mr. President. Trump then threatened Raffensberger with prosecution if he didn’t comply with the Insurrectionist in Chief’s demand.

It’s all recorded, man. Raffensberger had the good sense to memorialize it for posterity. Is it legal for Trump to badger a state elections official in that manner? Is it moral? Does it make sense for Trump to, in effect, hand a prosecuting attorney — in this case, DA Willis — the proverbial smoking gun in a criminal investigation?

Willis sought the special grand jury that is going to look exclusively at the allegation of election interference. It didn’t take the state court system long to decide that a special panel is necessary to get to the truth behind Donald Trump’s effort to rig an election he said is … um, rigged.

I believe the prosecutor is onto something huge.


Will Super Bowl match these games?

Whichever teams emerge next weekend from the NFL’s conference championship games will have a mighty steep hill to climb to match the excitement the football-watching public enjoyed this past weekend in the divisional playoff games.

This is my way of saying the Super Bowl, to be played two weeks later in Los Angeles, will have to go some to give us the same level of thrill.

Think of this: The Cincinnati Bengals beat the top seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans with a game-winning field goal; the San Francisco 49ers went to Green Bay to defeat the favored Packers after trailing the entire game — until the end; the LA Rams went to Tampa Bay and knocked the defending Super Bowl champs, the Buccaneers, with a game-ending field goal; then came the capper, with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Buffalo Bills in overtime with a touchdown pass in what many call the “greatest game in NFL history.” 

The conference championships will have plenty of drama. My favorite story line belongs to the Bengals. They hadn’t won a road playoff game in the franchise’s history, yet they beat the Titans in Nashville. They haven’t played in a Super Bowl since 1989, when they lost a thriller to the 49ers.

Whether it’s the Rams vs. the Bengals, or the 49ers vs. the Bengals, or the Rams vs. the Chiefs or the 49ers vs. the Chiefs in the Big Game, know this: The players will take the field knowing they are capable of delivering a Super Bowl for the ages.

Here’s hoping they don’t disappoint.


In defense of 1/6 panel

I feel this overwhelming need to defend the work being pursued by U.S. House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and his band of truth-seekers.

The Mississippi Democrat is at the forefront of a probe into the 1/6 insurrection that sought to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election. None other than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, has said the panel has “run amok” and faces prosecution on criminal charges if Republicans take control of Congress after the midterm election.

Gingrich is spouting nothing less than pure horsesh**.

The panel wants to know several key things about the terrible events that occurred a little more than a year ago.

What did Donald Trump know in advance of what the insurrectionist rioters would do? Why didn’t he stop them from ransacking the Capitol Building? Why didn’t he summon troops to protect Vice President Pence, who was being targeted by chants to hang him?  What are the details of the fake elector plot that has been revealed, with electors pledged to the defeated POTUS casting their votes to support him and throw the election in his favor?

This is complicated and tricky stuff, folks! To suggest, as Newtie has done, that the 1/6 committee could be “jailed” if the GOP takes over Congress is beyond despicable. The committee is doing precisely what the duly designated speaker of the House asked it to do.

Let us remember, too, that Donald Trump brought several members of his family into his inner circle while he was pretending to be POTUS. Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric Trump all were key players in this drama as it unfolded before our eyes on 1/6. If the committee wants them to testify to what they know, then they should be compelled to tell us all the truth behind that horrible event.

Chairman Thompson doesn’t need little ol’ me to defend him. Still, I cannot sit by while the enemies of the truth are maligning the work he and his committee are doing to protect our very government.


Pipe down, Newtie!

Newt Gingrich, the one-time Republican congressional bomb-thrower and former speaker of the House, needs to settle down and take a quick look back at a little Capitol Hill history.

“I think it’s clear that these are people who are literally just running over the law, pursuing innocent people, causing them to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees for no justification and it’s basically a lynch mob and unfortunately the attorney general of the United States has joined the lynch mob and is totally misusing the FBI,” Gingrich said over the weekend.

He is projecting that if the GOP takes control of Congress after the midterm election that Democrats on the 1/6 select committee could face criminal prosecution over the way they have conducted the committee’s probe into the insurrection that occurred on Capitol Hill.

What balderdash!

If we flash back to around 2016, when the GOP last controlled Congress, we can find evidence of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee badgering, tormenting and hectoring witnesses as it sought to find something for which it could blame for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Benghazi, Libya crisis. Remember that one? Terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and four Americans — including our ambassador to Libya — died in the melee. What did the House panel do? It launched a years-long probe into, subjecting Clinton, for example, to 11 hours of testimony before the committee.

That panel ran far more amok than the 1/6 committee that is trying to get the truth behind Donald Trump’s effort to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election result.

So, with that I’ll just demand that the ex-speaker shut his trap.


NFLers come to play

My football-watching tastes have evolved over the years, in that I usually watch little pro football and concentrate my attention on college ball.

However, this weekend has been one for the ages for those who love to watch the National Football League.

Three visiting teams won the first three divisional playoff games. They all were underdogs. Oh, and all three games were decided by field goals.

Cincinnati beat the AFC’s No. 1 seed, Tennessee, in Nashville; the San Francisco 49ers ventured to frigid Green Bay to beat the Packers after trailing them the entire game; Los Angeles traveled to Tampa to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers and won that game as time ran out.

What’s more, Cincy won its first road playoff game in the history of the franchise.

As I type this brief post, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills are playing for the final conference championship spot. It’s still early, but my hunch is that this one could down to the wire, too.

Yep, these high-priced millionaire athletes do have a way of stepping up to provide the kind of entertainment we all love to see.

Update: The Chiefs and the Bills put a wrap on the most exciting football playoff weekend I can remember. KC won with a touchdown in overtime; the game ended 42-36. So help me, that was among the best football games I ever have seen.


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