Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sen. Manchin is making me crazy

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin seems to know how powerful he is, being an influential “moderate Democratic member” of the Senate.

He is flexing his political muscle with glee.

Manchin speaks in favor of the infrastructure plan that puts a gleam in President Biden’s eye … and now he says Congress and the president need to “pause” on the effort to spend $3.5 trillion to fix our nation’s roads, bridges, rails, airports, ship channels, Internet and other matters.

Why? Because it’s too costly. Manchin, the cagey West Virginian, now stands as the one senator who can put the whole damn thing into dire jeopardy.

Which it is, Sen. Manchin? It looks to me, sitting out here in the peanut gallery, that Manchin is using his muscle to satisfy a politician’s ego.

That would be his own.

Evac strategy is working

I want to share something on this blog that I just saw on another social media platform. It comes from someone who professes to have some knowledge about aviation-related matters.

This person writes:

I want people to think about this for a minute:
Pentagon: U.S. can get up to 30 C-17 evacuation flights out of Afghanistan each day.
16,000 people evacuated in the last 24 hours, about 11,000 of those on military flights.
Have you ever seen a C-17? I know most of my fellow aviation nuts have, but for my friends/family who have not, that is a HUGE aircraft. Absolutely immense. And the USAF is cranking out a full C-17 flight from Kabul every 45 minutes, using a SINGLE runway in enemy-controlled territory, non stop, 24 hours a day right now. This has literally never been done before in the entire history of aviation… the USAF is literally making history. They evacuated more than twice as many people YESTERDAY as we did in the entirety of the Saigon evacuation in 1975.
Anyone who wants to pop off about this being a failure needs to shut their piehole unless it’s to commend the incredibly hard working men and women of the US Air Force, and the ground forces supporting their mission. It started rough, no denying that, but in less than a week, the situation has been stabilized and the mission exponentially increased to a tempo never before seen, not even during WW2. The part that gets me is the logistics of supporting this mission – the ground crews are going full throttle right now, bringing in fuel, oil, fluids and servicing the aircraft as best and as fast as they can. What they are achieving right now is nothing short of incredible.
Thoughts to ponder. Yes?

Teachers deserve our honor and respect

My wife and I live one block from an elementary school in Princeton, Texas and each day when we take our stroll through the ‘hood, we see evidence of great things happening with the children who go there each day.

I want to salute the men and women who serve those children, their parents and, yes, the rest of us who don’t have kids attending that particular school or even in the school district where we live. What I witness often are teachers interacting joyfully with their students, who interact with equal amounts of joy with the teachers.

I know it’s a little thing. Then again, it’s not so little, particularly if the child gets too little joy when he or she goes home at the end of the day.

Some years ago I took a turn as a substitute teacher in Amarillo, where my wife and I lived before we relocated to Princeton. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I learned one thing about myself right away from that stint: I am not wired to teach children. 

More to the point is that I am not wired to take the abuse that kids dish out to subs who fill in for the regular teachers. Yes, I got a form of abuse from those kids. They were high schoolers. I won’t tell you which high school; just know that it was one of the public HS’s in Amarillo.

I am not casting aspersions on a particular generation of children, or on the community where we lived, or on the school system. It’s just the way it is and the way it has always been since the beginning of recorded human history. Kids look for ways to game the system in their favor. Their “victims” are their elders. I did some of it myself when I was that age.

My experience as a substitute teacher filled me with admiration for those who choose that profession. I also am amazed at those full-time substitute teachers who answer the call to report for work wherever the school district needs them.

The good ones are among the most special human beings I can imagine.

I salute you.

Will the riot stand as ‘1/6’?

By John Kanelis /

Here is my thought of the moment.

When you mention “9/11,” we know what you’re talking about. Same for when you say “Dec. 7,” as we all know what that date signifies.

My curiosity makes me wonder whether society will recall the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 simply as “1/6.”

I happen to believe that the insurrection ranks right up there with the events of 9/11 and Dec. 7, 1941. They all stand as “dates which will live … in infamy.” 

I will not accept — indeed, I never have accepted — the reluctance among some Americans to refer to the riot of 1/6 as an insurrection. It most certainly was all of that. I consider it a full-out frontal assault on our democratic form of government.

On that day, members of both congressional chambers — led by Vice President Mike Pence — were in the process of certifying the Electoral College totals that resulted in President Biden’s election. The terrorists who stormed the Capitol Building intended to prevent that certification from occurring. My goodness, we have them saying so in recordings taking in real time as the mob stormed the Capitol and killed and injured several individuals who were trying to stop them.

Few events can be identified merely as dates on a calendar.

Let it be noted that on this day moving forward, your friendly blogger will refer to the assault on our democracy as “1/6.” The worst assault on our nation’s Capitol since the War of 1812 ranks right alongside the violence that brought us the war against international terror and the attack that dragged us into the Second World War.

GOP has gone bonkers

By John Kanelis /

Just how wacky has the Republican Party become in the Age of Trump?

Well, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, one of Trump’s strongest allies, got booed when he stood to speak before the George Republican convention. Why were the goober Republicans angry with Kemp? Because the governor wouldn’t force the secretary of state to break the law and “find” enough votes to turn the state from a Joe Biden win to a Donald Trump win.

So, for that the nut jobs have taken their vengeance out on a governor who happens be a Trump ally … but who just couldn’t bring himself to break the law or violate the U.S. Constitution.

This is the kind of goofiness that Republicans are facing as they do battle among themselves, not to mention when they face Democrats in the upcoming midterm election.

Trump loyalists boo Kemp at Georgia’s GOP convention (

Of course, Trump is playing the GOP loyalists like the fools they are for following the dictates of the former Dipsh** in Chief. I mean, the ex-POTUS is even a real Republican, but he has fooled ’em into thinking he is one of them.

They are left now to boo and jeer actual Republican politicians — such as Gov. Kemp — only because they won’t follow Trump’s demands out the window.

Weird, man.

Memoir in the works

By John Kanelis /

The question comes with surprising frequency when I tell folks what I did for a living for nearly four decades.

It goes something like this: Are you going to write a book about it?

My answer is usually the same: Well … not exactly. However, I am renewing a commitment I made some years ago not long after my career in daily print journalism came to a sudden halt, which is that I am going to finish a memoir I intend to write for my sons and any other family members who are interested in reading it.

You see, my career enabled me as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Oregon and Texas to do many things not available to other human beings. It also allowed me to cross paths with people I admired and, yes, loathed from afar.

I was able to meet a future president of the United States, a former POTUS, someone who was running for the high office. I flew over an erupting volcano, I endured a landing and takeoff from a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. I stood in the presence of one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figure.

My wife has been nudging me to finish what I have started. Yes, I got started some time back on this memoir. I have let the effort lapse, much to my dismay.

Then we met recently with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He, too, likes to write and has paid marvelous tributes to his late wife. My friend encouraged me with affirmation that the highlights of my career are worth sharing with my sons.

It’s a project that needs finishing. My only “problem,” if you want to call it that, is that I am not sure I ever will be able to finish it, to tie a bow around it and present it. Why? I keep recalling individuals and occurrences that filled me with so much joy.

But … the work will commence.

‘Youthful indiscretion,’ anyone?

By John Kanelis /

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had a contentious Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, to be sure.

He argued that he shouldn’t be held totally responsible for how he might have acted as an irresponsible teenager.

What, then, does one make of a decision he signed off on that keeps a man in prison for life after he killed a grandparent when he was just 15 years of age?

Brett Kavanaugh Remains As Incorrigible as Ever | The Nation

The Nation magazine, a left-leaning publication, calls Kavanaugh “as incorrigible as ever” and criticizes him for the decision he rendered regarding the young murderer.

I know one cannot possibly compare the act of someone who kills another human being with what Kavanaugh was accused of doing — sexual assault and assorted other related activities.

Still, The Nation’s Ellie Mystal does pose an interesting question about how one can ask for leniency for his own behavior but can dig in so deeply when a young man commits a crime and is being forced to spend his life behind bars for a “youthful indiscretion.”

What’s good for the proverbial goose … you know?

What happened to GOP?

By John Kanelis /

This question needs asking: What in the world has happened to the Republican Party?

It was hijacked decades ago by conservatives who grew weary of the party’s longstanding tradition of liberal thinking, of outreach to racial minorities, even of reasonable fiscal restraint and limited government interference.

It now has become a cult of personality. A once-great party is driven by its belief in the lunacy of the Big Lie, that an election was stolen through something they call “rampant vote fraud.”

The cultist who leads this moronic notion is Donald Trump, a former one-term president who actually incited a mob of terrorist rioters to overturn an election he lost.

As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has noted in a special on his cable network, “Trump is gone” but his movement lives on.

Yes, this is the party that Trump once led even though he lacked any knowledge, let alone experience, in political life.

In an odd way, today’s GOP has switched places with what used to constitute the bulk of the Democratic Party. The old Democrats — particularly in the South — was populated by segregationists who resisted efforts to grant equal rights to black Americans. That version of the Democratic Party did not adhere to the loony notions of an individual, however, the way that the current Republican Party has glommed onto the imbecilic notions pitched by The Donald.

It is distressing for me to watch this devolution of a once-great political party. I say that as someone who hasn’t yet voted for a Republican for president. I go back a ways, having cast my first presidential vote in 1972.

Now that I am older, I could be persuaded to vote for a Republican for the nation’s highest office — except that the party is an extension of what is now being called “Trumpism.”

It is a horrible — and horrifying — fit, to be sure.

Let the recount begin; it will change nothing

By John Kanelis /

A ridiculous recount of votes is about to occur in the city where I once lived.

It is an appalling abuse of electoral prerogative. Not to mention time. I am glad to say it won’t be a waste of public money, as the candidate for mayor who wants the recount is going to foot the bill.

Claudette Smith finished far behind the winner of the Amarillo mayoral race on May 1. The winner was the incumbent, Mayor Ginger Nelson.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News: In unofficial combined election results from Potter and Randall counties, incumbent Ginger Nelson garnered 54% of the total with 10,922 combined votes. Smith, who got the second most votes in the race, was reported as getting 29% of the vote, with 5,861 combined votes. To trigger a runoff election, which would be hosted June 5, Nelson would have to lose 816 votes through the recount. 

Amarillo officials outline recount schedule for mayoral election

54 to 29 percent. That’s a 25-point spread between first and second. And yet … Claudette Smith thinks there could be an 816-vote swing in a recount to trigger a recount? A recount would occur if no one finished with 50 percent plus one vote in the election.

Oh, my. This is a fool’s errand being pushed by a foolish candidate who emerged from nowhere to challenge the mayor. Why? Well, I am not privy to any inside info on that one, other than Smith’s virtually nonexistent local public service record suggests she has a bone to pick over something the mayor allegedly did during her highly successful tenure in office.

I’m just baffled as to why this recount has to proceed, other than Smith meeting the requirements needed to launch such a goofy initiative.

The second-place candidate isn’t going to find anything wrong with the ballots. Of that I am absolutely certain.

Cheney vs. Stefanik? Weird, man

By John Kanelis /

I have done a little sniffing around about the individual who is likely to succeed U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as the House Republican Conference chair.

Rep. Elise Stefanik is campaigning hard for the post among her GOP colleagues. She wants to be a leader among House Republicans. She has gotten the endorsement of the ex-POTUS, Donald Trump.

But … why?

Here’s what I have found out. Stefanik is not a mainstream or a Trump conservative. Her sole qualification for the job apparently is that she stuck up for Trump when he got himself in trouble over trying to seek political favors from a foreign government and then for inciting the insurrection.

A quick look at Stefanik’s still-scant congressional record reveals some interesting things.

Conservative political action groups rate her pro-Trump voting record at around 77 percent; Cheney’s is at about 92 percent. You want more? Let’s try these:

Stefanik voted against the Trump tax cut proposal in 2017; she voted in favor of the Equality Act that stood for greater rights for gay Americans; Stefanik opposed Trump’s decision to ban entry into the United States of people coming from certain Muslim countries; Stefanik was one of 14 Republicans to vote with all House Democrats to override Trump’s veto of a measure unwinding the latter’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

Do you get where I’m going with this? She opposed Trump on several key Trump-supported initiatives. She was decidedly less conservative than Rep. Cheney.

Do you think for a nano-second that Donald Trump gives a rip about such mundane matters as, um, legislation and government policy? Hell no! All he wants is blind loyalty.

He isn’t getting it from Liz Cheney. Elise Stefanik has provided the requisite brown-nosing that the ex-POTUS demands.

A cult of personality? There you have it.