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Should I proclaim my political allegiance?

I have been pondering a dilemma I have been facing during this election season, which is to what extent to what extent do I want to wear my political allegiance.

For decades I have forgone the displaying of yard signs at my home and bumper stickers on my vehicles. The answer is obvious: I was a journalist, and my craft presumes that its practitioners take an unsigned oath to keep our allegiance to ourselves.

I honored that pledge religiously for nearly four decades. To be frank, even though I am no longer employed by a media company, I am inclined to keep my pledge intact. I will stipulate that I do contribute freelance articles for a group of weekly newspapers in Collin County, but I am not on any payrolls. That means I am free to speak my mind … if I so choose.

I do write on this blog about my political leanings. You know, for instance, that I support President Joe Biden’s re-election. I oppose vehemently and viscerally the election of the presumed Republican presidential nominee, whose name I have been boycotting any mention on this blog.

I’ll need to stipulate that I know emotions run high on both sides of the chasm. Except that I never — not ever! — would damage anyone’s property if they decided to display a sign supporting the former Liar/Philanderer/Idiot in Chief.

Therefore, my angst at displaying my own allegiance has everything to do with how those on the other side might react.

To be candid, I dislike surrendering my First Amendment right to speak freely and peaceably about my government and the politics that produce our elected leadership. Yes, I am able to do so on this forum and for that I am grateful the founders granted us all that right. I just cannot take that expression to the next level, which would be to display a sign at my home or on my vehicle.

It’s just too weird out there … you know?

Highway crew goes over the line

As a general rule I am not inclined to gripe about the Texas highway department’s construction crews.

I am making an exception based on an experience I had today.

I was returning home from a quick trip to Beaumont, where I paid my respects at the funeral of a dear friend. I was driving north along U.S. Highway 69 through the Piney Woods; I veered onto a toll road and got back onto U.S. 69 south of Greenville.

That’s when it happened. A highway repair crew had stopped traffic because it had become a one-lane right-of-way. I pulled in at the end of a long line of northbound traffic. I could peer toward the head of the line to see the end of the southbound traffic. I noticed the last vehicle.

Our line started to move About a dozen vehicles got through. Then the flagger put the “STOP” sign up. We waited — hold on for this one — for roughly 40 minutes. No one moved through the site. Our line behind me backed up maybe more than a mile. I imagined that the southbound line of vehicles was just as long. Finally, the crew let the southbound vehicles through.

Finally, the end of that flow appeared, and we got through the site. The flagger was waving at us as we drove through. To be brutally candid, I was tempted to give that person the finger … but I didn’t.

I didn’t check my watch, but I am certain I was stopped dead on the highway for an hour.

Holy cow, man! I was beat from the drive from Beaumont. The last thing in this entire world I wanted to do was sit in stopped traffic because a Texas highway department road crew couldn’t manage the flow properly.

There. I’m done. Yes, I feel better now.

What is MTG trying to do?

No need to answer the question I have posed in the headline … I believe I know what she is up to.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is trying to make as much noise as possible, to disrupt the legislative flow in the People’s House and to prevent Congress from actually governing, which the Constitution allows it to do as a co-equal partner in the federal government.

MTG is a two-term congresswoman from Georgia who has managed to elbow her way to Americans’ attention simply because she is a certifiable nut job. I am left to wonder: How in the world did she get elected in the first place and then re-elected two years later?

She is calling for a motion to vacate the speakership held by fellow Republican Mike Johnson. Greene isn’t likely to succeed in the motion. It’s not that I really give a damn about Johnson. He is a MAGA cultist, just like Greene. His “sin” is that he has shown a desire to work with Democrats to actually legislate.

MTG will keep yammering, bellowing and carrying on. She will continue to obstruct in that bellicose manner she employs.

She also will continue to garner attention from folks like me who wonder: How does the House fulfill its constitutional duty to govern when it contains wackos like this?

POTUS to debate … him?

Joe Biden kinda/sorta put it on the record, which is that he will debate the likely Republican Party presidential nominee before we cast ballots this coming November.

No date, place or format has been decided, President Biden told Howard Stern. OK. Fine.

Work it out. Do I want the president to debate POTUS No. 45? I guess so, but I am not thrilled about it.

It’s not so much that I worry about the president’s ability to exchange views with the ex-Liar in Chief. It’s that Americans aren’t likely to learn anything new about (a) why POTUS 45 is unqualified and unfit for office or (b) what policies Biden will articulate.

Joe Biden is making the case for his re-election. His immediate predecessor, though, is making the case that he shouldn’t be found anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.

I fear that a one-on-one debate between these men will be an exercise in futility.

Peeking back in time

CESKY KRUMLOV, Czech Republic — My friends Martin and Alena invited me to visit them shortly after I lost my bride, Kathy Anne.

I had intended to see them in their house and get reacquainted with their children. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared to see the sights Martin and I saw over the past two days in this marvelous community tucked in the heart of the region known as Bohemia.

Church steeples reach into the sky. Apartment buildings reek with charm. The Moldava River courses through the city. And castles are, well … they’re damn near everywhere.

I got a look back at a community that still bristles with life long after its so-called heyday in the 15th century. Tourists come here now with cameras in hand. Martin informed me that by summer, say in July and August, the streets become virtually impassable as they will be clogged with tourists.

Driving is not allowed in the market area. You have to park in a lot outside the city on the other side of a moat that surrounds one of the castles.

I am thrilled to have gotten a look at this place. I had a bowl of pho — which is a sort of hearty soup served in Vietnam., We ate well. Maybe a bit too well, if you get what I mean.

We had a great time walking along the stone streets and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a community that knows no end to its existence.

Eiffel Tower looms large

PARIS — Mission accomplished, but it took some doing.

My large Airbus 330 jetliner landed at Charles de Gaulle International Airport right on time. The task that lay before me, though, proved daunting in the extreme.

I had to find my way out of the airport. It was my first time visiting this terminal. I didn’t know my way. I saw countless “Exit” and “Sortie” signs guiding me ostensibly out of the airport. I must’ve walked many miles before I finally found an exit sign that actually pointed directly to the outdoors.

I found a cab stand. I told the cabbie “Eiffel Tower, sie vous plais.” Yes, he agreed.

I’ll need to stipulate that I do not speak French and he didn’t speak English. I asked him as plainly as I knew how if he could bring me back to the airport once I took a look at the Tower. He thought I asked him to return directly to the airport. So … he did.

I had tell him, “No, Eiffel Tower.” He sighed and returned to taking me to the one-time manmade wonder of the world.

The traffic, to say the very least, was unbearable. But we got there. I snapped a selfie … which I’ll post later.

But I am proud to say that I have actually visited Paris, France — if only briefly,

What a thrill!

One more thing: the cabbie couldn’t wait for me. He left after I paid him and I hailed another taxi for the ride back to de Gaulle Airport. The trip back was far less stressful than the one I took out of there.

Battle was so ‘beautiful’?

Jon Stewart said it so well I cannot possibly improve on it.

The comedian critiqued magnificently the 45th POTUS’s description of the Battle of Gettysburg, arguably the most decisive battle of the Civil War.

The former Orator in Chief launched into a flood of ignorant platitudes. I will leave it at that.

Take a look here at what Stewart had to say about it.

Jon Stewart Tears Donald Trump Apart Over Civil War Speech (msn.com)

 

Courts have become political

Our nation’s founders, the men who crafted a federal judiciary they intended to remain “above politics,” surely are doing somersaults in their graves.

The nation’s federal judiciary has become a third political branch of government, not a branch intended only to determine the constitutionality of laws enacted by Congress and signed by the president.

Democratic senators have signed a petition that aims to stop “judge shopping” by conservative activists seeking judges who they believe will rule in their favor. Of particular concern is the federal court based in Amarillo and which is presided over by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was nominated for that seat by the 45th POTUS. Kacszmaryk succeeded a judicial legend in the Texas Panhandle, the late Mary Lou Robinson, of whom no one ever complained was being “too political” in her rulings.

Robinson was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and served with distinction and high honor. Now comes Kaczmaryk, whom conservatives seek to overturn policies enacted by Democratic and progressive members of Congress and presidents.

Schumer, McConnell introduce judge shopping bills | The Texas Tribune

The founders couldn’t possibly have envisioned this kind of mess developing within a judicial system they created.

Judge goes political … shamefully

Judges are supposed to stay above and apart from political battles, at least that’s what I always have thought.

Oops. Not so fast. A Texas Supreme Court associate justice said the other day he believes Democrats are going to rig the 2024 election to keep the presumed Republican nominee from being elected president.

Justice John Devine needs to have his mouth washed out with soap. According to the Texas Tribune: “Do you really think the Democrats are going to roll over and let Trump be president again?” Devine asked in a keynote speech at the Texas Tea Party Republican Women’s 2023 Christmas event. “You think they’re just going to go away, all of a sudden find Jesus and [there will] be an honest election? I don’t think so.”

What is he saying? Is he implying crookedness in the election? Looks like it to me! It’s also totally inappropriate for a judge — who well might hear a case involving a two-party political dispute — to shoot off his mouth in such a fashion.

SCOTX Justice implies Democrats will cheat in 2024 election | The Texas Tribune

This is crap! The judge ought to know it, too.

“Judges should be honestly evaluating and applying our state’s laws, not giving partisan speeches baselessly accusing members of a different political party of ‘cheating’ in elections,” Houston County Attorney Christian Menefee said.

Justice John Devine needs to step away from the political fight.

Heading for the ‘inferno’

Just kidding with the headline on the top of the blog post.

Although I am driving tomorrow to the scene of where more than 1 million acres of grassland burned in what has been described as the worst wildfire in Texas history.

Amarillo is my destination, where I will attend Easter services and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in more than a year. The massive fire didn’t encroach the city limits, but it brought plenty of misery and tragedy to communities nearby.

The Fritch fire chief perished as he sought to save someone trapped by the blaze. Thousands of livestock died in the fire, along with several other human victims.

I haven’t yet heard if the fires have been extinguished, although I do know they’ve been contained.

I hear snippets of good news. The grass is recovering nicely from the charred remains of what the fire did to our good Earth. I look forward to seeing it in person in short order.

it’s always good to go back to where my wife and I called home for more than 20 years. Amarillo was the longest stay during our 51 years of marriage.

Friends await and I look forward to feeling the love.