All posts by kanelis2012

Rep. Jackson: MAGA fool

Ronny Jackson has me scratching my noggin bloody. The newly re-elected freshman U.S. representative from Amarillo has emerged as one of the nation’s premier MAGA election denying nut jobs in Congress.

And to think he represents what used to be my congressional district, where my wife and I lived for 23 years before we moved to the Metroplex.

What drives me just this side of the funny farm are his incessant Twitter messages questioning President Biden’s fitness for office. Indeed, I have wondered about Jackson’s fitness for the office he occupies.

It staggers me as well to believe the residents of the13th Congressional District would re-elect this guy, let alone elect him in the first place in 2020.

The 13th District was represented for the entire length of my journalism career in Amarillo by Republican Mac Thornberry of Clarendon. Thornberry was a back bencher for much of his time in Congress. Then he earned the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee. For a time, Thornberry occupied a ringside seat of military policy, and he did his job with a huge measure of dignity and decorum I do not see in the individual who succeeded him.

What I continue to see in Jackson are the antics of a raving lunatic. I know that sounds strange to say, given that Jackson is a retired Navy admiral and is a former physician who served two presidents: Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Since being elected to Congress after moving into the 13th District, though, Jackson has gone mad. He is a frequent guest on the Fox Propaganda Network, spouting the trash about Joe Biden –without, of course, ever being challenged by his interviewers.

Whenever I read a tweet from Jackson that accuses the president of being everything but the spawn of Satan, I cannot stop wondering: What in the world would Jackson do if the 13th Congressional District needed a presidential declaration in the case of dire emergency? Would he ask for it?

It is as if Jackson is burning every bridge there is between the congressional district he represents and the White House.

I just don’t get it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Lt. Gov. proposes mainstream agenda … who knew?

Hardly ever do I have a good word to say about Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but today I am going to veer into virtually unknown territory.

I want to offer a word of cautious praise for the agenda he is proposing for the Texas Senate as it prepares for the start of the next Legislature which opens for business in early January.

Patrick is pitching several key issues as his top priority items.

They are: fixing the electrical grid; reducing property taxes; and shoring up our border security.

None of that sounds particularly alarming to me. Nor should it to anyone else. There might be a socially conservative issue or two hidden in Patrick’s sleeve. You might recall how he sought to impose the “bathroom bill” on Texans in the 2017 Legislature. That was the bill that sought to require transgender Texans to use the public bathroom that coincided with their “gender at birth.” That attempt at homophobic legislation died in the House, thanks to the will of then-Speaker Joe Straus, another Republican legislator.

I don’t want Patrick to try more of that kind of funny business the 2023 legislative session.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lays out 2023 legislative priorities | The Texas Tribune

The electrical grid needs repair, even though Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick said it had been fixed after the disaster that came to the state in February 2021, when hundreds of Texans froze to death.

As for property tax relief, I am unsure what kind of authority the state has over a matter that is decided by county commissioners’ courts, school boards, city councils and assorted other local governing bodies. However, as a taxpaying Texas resident of long standing, I welcome the effort.

Patrick cruised to re-election this year and is likely filled with plenty of political capital as he prepares the Senate — over which he presides — for the work that lies ahead.

I wish him — and the Senate — well as they get busy. I just want to offer a word of caution to the occasionally fiery and abrasive lieutenant governor: Keep your eye on the ball and let’s not try to legislate our moral behavior.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP might lose seat in House? Really?

Did I hear this correctly, that a rural Arizona county’s refusal to certify the 2022 midterm election result could cost the Republican Party a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?

That’s what might be playing out in Cochise County, Ariz., where officials are declining to certify the results on the basis of phony vote fraud allegations.

The payoff could be, well, staggering!

According to Bloomberg News: That would flip the results of the race for Arizona’s Sixth Congressional District, where Republican Juan Ciscomani holds a 5,232-vote lead over Democrat Kirsten Engel in unofficial results, as well as the race for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, where the Republican candidate has a narrow lead.

An Arizona County’s Refusal to Certify Election Results Could Cost GOP a House Seat (msn.com)

There you go. The MAGA cultists are so intent on proving a discredited allegation of election corruption that they are willing to sacrifice a Republican candidate for Congress.

Fine. Let ’em proceed! Let the rest of us laugh out butts off, too!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Kari Lake: newest Big Liar

Kari Lake is trying to supplant Donald J. Trump as the nation’s most vocal proponent of some version of The Big Lie.

Lake, the failed Republican candidate for Arizona governor, is refusing to concede that she lost to Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs. Lake also is accusing county elections officials of fraud, incompetence and being crooks.

That’s right. If you don’t win, then hurl derogatory labels at professional election officials and hope that something sticks.

It’s not going to work.

Lake is a Donald Trump acolyte who has challenged the validity of the 2020 presidential election. She is an election denier! She vowed to overturn — were she elected governor — the Arizona presidential vote total that went for Joe Biden over Trump.

Kari Lake is exhibiting a profound case of political idiocy.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Pleading for an end to this labor dispute

I won’t sugarcoat this matter: The most difficult story for me to cover as a reporter and as an opinion writer and editor over the course of my nearly four-decade-long career was labor negotiation.

Thus, I am grateful to be on the sidelines as railroad unions and rail companies are battling head-to-head over a new contract. A strike might occur in one week. Or, the government might intervene to prevent what some observers are predicting would be a virtual economic collapse.

I want an end to this dispute. Now! I want the trains to keep hauling goods and commodities to their intended destinations.

As difficult as it was to cover these negotiations, it appears to me that the unions are making a relatively simple demand of the employers. They want paid sick leave, which is what employers all over the country give to those who work for them.

I am not sure how the rail companies deny what appears to be this basic demand from the unions. They want to be able to take time off to tend to their own health, or to the health of their family members … and get paid for it!

Congress is preparing legislation that would prevent a strike. Indeed, the stakes are huge, man. We could see the cessation of shipments, making even worse the “supply chain” issues that have plagued the economy. Oh, and inflation? That, too, likely could explode if we cannot get the goods to customers.

Economists say a strike would cost the economy $2 billion each day.

Do the union and rail company negotiators really want to be held accountable for the possible collapse of our economy? I do doubt it.

Get busy, folks. Settle this dispute!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Feeling pain for Iranian team

Rarely do I ever comment on matters involving soccer, as I am not a fan of the sport. Hey, it’s just me … or maybe it’s an American thing.

Still, I am left with a feeling of empathy and dread for what might await the members of Iran’s national soccer team, which lost to the U.S. team 1-0. The loss eliminated the Iranians from the World Cup.

What now? Well, members of the Iranian team refused to sing their country’s national anthem the other day, drawing scorn from the ayatollahs who run the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian soccer team now must return home.

What will they face? Imprisonment? Or worse, for God’s sake?

The athletes were expressing their support for the demonstrators who are rebelling in Iran against the government’s treatment of women. The only way they believed they could make their feelings known would be to remain silent when they played the Iranian anthem at a World Cup soccer match.

Do you recall when sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 during the playing of our national anthem to protest the plight of Black Americans? The public response in that moment wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, but the government took no action against these men. The sprinters are now considered heroes for the courage they demonstrated at the time.

Not so for the Iranians. The potential reaction from their government is frightening.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Enjoying the after life

No, I am not dead. Not by the longest shot imaginable. I am delighted to report that there once was a time — long ago — that I wondered whether I would enjoy my life once I quit working full time.

I am even more delighted to tell you that the answer is yes. Not just yes, but hell yes. I am enjoying myself more than I could have imagined when I was full of piss and vinegar.

Time has this way of tempering one’s passions. It tempered mine, to a degree, particularly the passion I had every day as I prepared to go to work as a newspaper journalist. It did temper my passion, though, for commenting on issues of the day. I remain dedicated to that proposition more than ever … or so it seems. The difference now is that my commentaries are solely my own and I do not answer to an editor of a publisher.

That is not to say that I am free of restraints. Good taste and societal norms do keep me reined in a bit … but it’s only just a bit.

I remain delighted and full of energy to keep writing this blog and keep my head in the game.

One of the things I learned a decade ago when my career ended that there surely is a post-journalism after life. I am living proof that it exists. Unlike the big after life, I am still around to tell you about it.

I just wanted to share the good news with you.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s all about ‘equal protection’

Let’s set the record straight on a key constitutional point: the nation’s founders didn’t get it entirely correct when they drafted the U.S. Constitution in the late 18th century; it has needed amendments designed to provide for a “more perfect Union.”

The 14th Amendment, enacted in 1868, states, “nor shall any State … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Equal Protection Clause contained in the first part of that amendment, therefore, means that no one shall be denied the right to marry the person they love. Period. Full stop.

That also means the U.S. Senate acted correctly this week when it cast a bipartisan vote to codify that same-sex and interracial marriage shall be part of the federal statutes.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Equal Protection Clause when it endorsed same-sex marriage in 2015. That protection, though, is in jeopardy, given the court’s recent ruling to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion. Conservative justices have hinted they might be inclined to strike down the Equal Protection Clause, too, the benchmark for the ruling that allowed same-sex and interracial marriage.

That cannot be allowed to happen.

It’s also instructive that two of the “no” votes in the Senate came from Texas’s two Republican senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both of whom profess to be legal scholars. They, instead, are revealing their partisan stripes, appealing to the wild-eyed base within the GOP’s lunatic voters.

I could have predicted that Ted Cruz would have voted that way. Cornyn’s “no” vote is deeply disappointing. At least, though, they’re both on the record saying that they are unwilling to offer protection to all Americans, giving them the constitutional right to marry the person they love.

Next comes the House of Representatives. May that body show the wisdom demonstrated by most of their Senate colleagues and then send this legislation to President Biden’s desk for his signature that makes it the law of this great land.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Slammer awaits Oath Keepers’ boss

Well, what are we to make of the verdict that figures to send a disbarred Yale-educated lawyer to prison for a long time after being convicted of conspiring to commit sedition against the United States of America?

Stewart Rhodes has been convicted in federal court of seditious conspiracy for his role in organizing and launching the attack on the U.S. government on Jan. 6, 2021.

This is — to borrow a phrase — a big fu**ing deal!

Rhodes happens to lead the Oath Keepers, a vicious right-wing “militia” group that conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. They were among the traitors who beat Capitol Police officers nearly to death as they stormed into the Capitol Building. They were chanting “Hang Mike Pence!,” they sought House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, some of them defecated on the floor of the nation’s government.

They call themselves “patriots.” They are traitors!

This is the group that led the frontal assault on our government, the traitors that Donald J. Trump termed “very special people” who he said he “loves.”

The verdict today now takes the chief Oath Keeper out of the game. It effectively decapitates this dangerous organization. Will there be someone to step forward? Oh … maybe, but the Oath Keepers now ought to be on notice that they face future prosecution if they take part in the kind of hideous treachery that occurred on 1/6.

My hope now is that Stewart Rhodes gets the lengthiest prison sentence available under the law.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

These kids have come a long way

I got treated to a demonstration this morning that, to be brutally blunt, simply blew my mind.

Our Farmersville Rotary Club met today at the Farmersville Independent School District’s Engineering Lab, which is a repurposed grocery store site that Farmersville ISD outfitted to become a state-of-the-art technical learning center for students.

Suffice to say that these young people are doing things and conducting experiments that are eons removed from the days when I was attending shop class and learning how to operate a lathe.

FISD’s Engineering Lab features high-tech robotics and electronics that go so far over my noggin I cannot even begin to explain it. One demonstration, provided by a Farmersville High School student, featured machines that picked up discs and tossed them into mini-basketball hoops; you got more points if the discs landed inside the hoops, rather than just on the tray under the basket.

I could not believe my eyes.

The center — which opened this school year — is run by a young teacher, Marcus Edwards, who the FISD Superintendent Micheal French said was “anointed” to lead this effort for the school system. The students compete in international competitions, known as “The Worlds.” First-year FHS principal David Warren said the competition, held this year in Dallas, actually included students from overseas. The Farmersville students more than held their own while competing against students Europe and Asia.

I want to share this bit of good news with you here as my way of saying that our young folks are doing just fine as they learn the technical –and technological — skills they will need to succeed in life.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com