Speak up, Mac!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is no way on God’s good Earth that this will happen, but I am going to ask it anyway of a man I know fairly well.

Mac Thornberry no longer serves in Congress; he retired at the end of 2020 after serving for 25 years as a congressman representing the 13th District in the House of Representatives. He hails from Clarendon and represented the Texas Panhandle.

He was succeeded — certainly not replaced — by a blowhard right-winger, Ronny Jackson, who now says that President Biden should resign because he doesn’t have the mental acuity to do the job.

My request of Mac Thornberry is this: Will you issue a statement condemning the antics of the moron who succeeded you?

I have no direct contact these days with Thornberry. I don’t even know where he lives. Some of his key former congressional aides and allies do read this blog. Perhaps they will forward this request to him. I got to know Thornberry well, working for 18 years as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. Mac and I started our new gigs on the same week in January 1995: he as a congressman and me at the AGN.

I am simply astonished and appalled at Jackson’s conduct since taking office. He has become a Twitter troll who models his public pronouncements after the 45th POTUS, a fellow he served for a time as White House physician. The ex-POTUS wanted Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, but then pulled his nomination when it was alleged that the retired Navy admiral drank on the job and issued prescriptions to individuals whom, um, didn’t need them. He earned the nickname “Candy Man,” if you get my drift.

Now he’s in Congress and has become a favorite of right-wing media talk-show hosts because of his incessant criticism of President Biden. He has launched a senseless, mindless, brainless, thoughtless campaign against the COVID vaccine campaign, declaring as recently as this past week that the “pandemic is over.” Well, it ain’t over … doc!

As for Thornberry, he is enjoying retired life somewhere these days. I just wish he could expend some of the political capital he acquired by condemning the blather that keeps pouring forth from the guy who took his seat in Congress.

Ex-POTUS builds legacy of turmoil

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The 45th president of the United States took office more than four years ago vowing to be an “unconventional” POTUS.

He didn’t deliver on many of his campaign promises, but he surely did on that one.

The man I refuse these days to ID by name on this blog has morphed into without question the most “unconventional” former president in U.S. history. He is building a legacy of mistrust, disbelief, deceit, self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement and, oh yes, all those lies — including the Big Lie about the outcome of the 2020 election.

Just as I refused to attach the term “President” directly to the former POTUS’s name while he occupied the nation’s highest office, I have taken to refusing even to type his name in any form. I cannot do it. The sight of his name — not to mention the sound of his voice — simply sickens me to the max.

I vowed not to dwell too much on POTUS 45 now that he has left office. I intend to look forward. I am doing so even as I bang out these few words about the former Insurrectionist in Chief.

This individual’s legacy is important to ponder as well. President Biden is seeking to craft a legacy of his own even this early in his term in office. He must do so against the backdrop of the legacy that his immediate predecessor left and which he is building now even as a private citizen.

I had harbored a hope that there might be a reckoning coming from POTUS 45, that he might decide to give up his idiotic pursuit of being “reinstated” as president. That he might call President Biden and say, “You know, Joe, I thought I had a shot at all this. It’s clear that I do not. Therefore, I am going to summon reporters tomorrow to my resort in Florida and tell them — and the world — that you are the legitimately elected president of the United States. I wish you success.” 

That won’t happen. His legacy will be built on the lies he’ll keep telling and on the idiocy that will continue to spew forth.

He still has a chance to turn the corner on an election he lost. Sadly, I fear he won’t take it.

GOP now joins the vaccine bandwagon

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There can be no excusing or even forgiving many prominent Republican U.S. politicians’ shameful denigration of the effort to vaccinate Americans against the COVID-19 virus.

Still, it is with a qualified feeling of gratitude that I welcome their insistence now that it is time for all Americans to get vaccinated.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell arguably is the most prominent GOP pol to climb aboard the vaccine bandwagon. Others are singing from that song sheet: U.S. House whip Steve Scalise, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, even Kevin McCarthy, the embattled House GOP leader. They’re on board, too.

It wasn’t that many weeks ago in which some GOP politicians were dismissing the vaccine. Some of the nut jobs among the Republican congressional caucus — namely the QAnon and Freedom Caucus cabal — continue to actually applaud Americans’ decision to forgo vaccination.

They are the loony birds among the politically powerful elite who hold tremendous sway among too many American voters.

President Biden laments the “pandemic among the unvaccinated” that is driving up infection/hospitalization/mortality rates in the country. Biden is fighting a GOP contingent in Congress and in statehouses across the nation that are arguing an opposite message. The sad truth is that the anti-vaxxers are winning the argument … at least for the time being.

A glimmer of good news, though, is surfacing among many Republican politicians who have decided that the more of their followers who get sick and possibly die from the virus, the less strong their political power base remains.

If they can persuade enough Americans to turn the tide against the variant that is sickening so many of us, then I might be willing to forgive them for their utter irresponsibility.

This clown is certifiable

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Good ever-lovin’ grief!

What in the world has become of our political discourse? Get a load of this piece of sh** commentary from a rookie congressman from the Texas Panhandle.

Ronny Jackson, a Republican, predicts President Biden will quit his office because he cannot pass a test of his mental acuity.

That is what this clown, a one-time physician, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity, who I suppose is in league with the fire-breathing loudmouth congressman.

The Hill reports:

“Donald Trump took a cognitive test. He got 30 out of 30 right. I hear it’s a very difficult test. I do not think Joe Biden would do well on that test. Is that a fair assessment based on what I’m observing?” Hannity asked Jackson.

“Absolutely, Sean, and I’ve been saying this from the very beginning. I’ve been saying that something’s going on here. I was saying this when he was candidate Joe Biden, and I’ve been saying that it’s only going to get worse, and guess what. We’re watching that happen right before our eyes right now,” Jackson said.

“There’s something seriously going on with this man right now, and, you know, I think that he’s either going to resign, they’re going to convince him to resign from office at some point in the near future for medical issues or they’re going to have to use the 25th Amendment to get rid of this man right now,” Jackson later added.

The Bozo doctor was White House physician when POTUS 45 lived there.

Ronny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign (msn.com)

He once pronounced Biden’s predecessor to be the most fit man ever to serve as president. Now he is issuing diagnoses without ever consulting with the patient — Joe Biden?

Jackson also is offering half-baked, hare-brained “predictions” on the future of President Biden’s public career?

This clown is a disgrace to the office he occupies. I hope it’s a brief tenure in Congress.

Fauci gets his dander up

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When someone who is in the public eye gets riled at a congressional hearing, then you have to suspect he or she has ample reason to step out of what we see as “normal behavior.”

So it was this week as Dr. Anthony Fauci took down another physician, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who accused Fauci of lying to Congress about the status of the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the delta variant that is wreaking so much havoc.

Let me be clear on this point. Sen. Paul is a medical doctor, but his specialty is ophthalmologyThat is the study of disease involving one’s eyes. Dr. Fauci’s specialty involves infectious diseases of many stripes. Fauci is the expert on the COVID pandemic; Dr. Paul is not.

So … when Paul accused Fauci of lying to Congress, it fell on Fauci to fight back, to deliver a blistering retort, telling Paul that “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” and said that if “anyone is lying, it is you.”

Fauci took dead aim at the disinformation coming from the right wing of the political spectrum, where Sen. Paul sits.

Anthony Fauci took center stage when the 45th president appointed him to be part of the White House pandemic response team. He offered his advice and opinion on the state of play, only to be cast aside by the POTUS, who has called Fauci an “idiot.” He now serves as chief medical adviser to President Biden, who is letting the good doctor speak his mind without interference from the Oval Office.

Yes, Fauci has changed his tune a time or two about the virus. However, I continue to believe that he has learned about it as the world has learned more about the virus and its impact.

He has sought to de-politicize the argument about mask-wearing and other efforts to stem the infection, hospitalization and death rates caused by the virus. Yet when I hear cheap pols like Sen. Paul accuse him of lying while spewing the same fear-mongering nonsense that comes from the likes of the former Numbskull in Chief, it makes my blood boil.

I totally get why Dr. Fauci went off on Sen. Paul.

Pelosi picks Kinzinger for select panel … yes!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Adam Kinzinger is going to join another courageous Republican on a select congressional committee with the aim of finding out what the heck happened on Jan. 6 when the Insurrectionist in Chief egged on a mob to storm the Capitol Building.

Kinzinger is one of a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach the ex-POTUS for that act. Another Republican House member, Liz Cheney, also is serving on the committee selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy blames Pelosi for politicizing the process. Hah! McCarthy needs to check his defiance at the door and ponder something.

Congress had the chance to select an independent bipartisan commission to examine the Jan. 6 riot. Republicans in both legislative chambers balked. They refused to appoint the commission. So this is what we get: a select panel chosen by a Democratic House speaker.

Pelosi vetoed two of five GOP House members McCarthy selected: Jim Jordan and Jim Banks. McCarthy’s response then was to yank the three who made the cut from the committee.

So … Pelosi is now moving ahead. She has a bipartisan select committee getting ready to do its work.

The insurrection of Jan. 6 was an unprecedented event. The mob of terrorists sought to overturn the results of a legal, free and fair presidential election. The committee will want to get at the root of what caused the riot and presumably seek ways to prevent a recurrence.

Reps. Kinzinger and Cheney believe in the rule of law. They are faithful to their oath to protect the Constitution, unlike most of their GOP colleagues, who proclaim their fealty to the ex-Moron in Chief.

I am looking forward to watching this committee slog through its task to reach a conclusion based on the evidence it will receive.

Soddies have firm grip on fans

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Amarillo’s Central League baseball team, the Sod Poodles, are struggling a bit on the field this year. They are in last place in their division.

But … there’s some good news to report on the team that won the Texas League pennant in their first year of existence in 2019.

The fans are still flocking to Hodgetown, the shiny new ballpark that sits along Buchanan Street in downtown Amarillo. How do I know that, given I now live in Princeton, a suburb of Dallas?

I get the Sunday Dallas Morning News each week. I went out this morning to pick it up off my driveway. I opened the sports page and turned to the Central League box scores. I saw that the Sod Poodles had lost a game Saturday night at home to the Frisco Roughriders. However, they played before a packed house at Hodgetown.

This is good news on at least one important level. It tells me that the Sod Squad — a social media group — isn’t just a gaggle of fair-weather fans who cheer the Sod Poodles on only when they win. They’re with ’em through thick and thin. Let’s face it, they’ve hit a “thin” patch this season after sitting out all of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

I remain proud of the baseball community in Amarillo, where my wife and I lived for 23 years before relocating to the Dallas ‘burbs.

Retired Amarillo College President Paul Matney, a vocal proponent of bringing minor-league ball back to Amarillo, once referred to his hometown as a “baseball city.”

That means they’re in it for the long haul with the team that many folks fought hard to bring to the High Plains.

Climate change: It’s here!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We have reached critical mass, it appears to me, on the issue of climate change.

There should be no more debate on what to do “when the time comes.” It has come. We’re there. Earth’s climate, I fear, has changed to the point that it might be too late to stop the effect we human beings are having on the planet we call home.

That, however, shouldn’t preclude our efforts to try to do something. Anything! We need to find solutions to stop what is happening to us in real time.

That Bootleg Fire in Oregon? It’s now creating its own weather system as it scorches more than 600 square miles of my home state. Icebergs the size of small U.S. states continue to break off Antarctica, drifting into the Southern Ocean and continuing to contribute to the rising sea levels around the world. We continue to emit too many carbon gases, diminishing the oxygen supply that is supposed to help cool our dear planet.

Oh, and this story needs to be covered more intently: Third World countries continue to destroy millions of acres of forestland, depriving animals of their habitat and, of course, depriving the atmosphere its primary source for oxygen.

The fire seasons are raging out of control. They are arriving sooner, it seems, each year. They are burning more intensely.

What is the world’s most indispensable to do about it? Our Congress is tying itself up in knots over climate change. Republicans still don’t want to confront it. Democrats see the urgency but are fighting among themselves over the scope and breadth of what to do legislatively.

Meanwhile, President Biden is trying to include climate change into an infrastructure package he wants enacted as soon as humanly possible.

This dithering, dawdling and debating isn’t helping us deal with a problem that is destroying our planet in real time.

Let’s get busy.

‘Fraudit’ proves nothing

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s call the Arizona “audit” of the 2020 presidential election what it is: a fraud.

Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, has declared her intense desire for the 45th POTUS to “accept the results” of the election — which he lost — and “move on.”

Well, good luck with that, Mme. Secretary. He won’t “move on,” at least not in the immediate or even long-term future.

What this whole exercise has demonstrated to those of us peering in from the outside is that the ex-Insurrectionist in Chief will stop at utterly nothing to hold onto the reins of power.

Reports are surfacing now that the “fraudit” that is concluding has found no demonstrable vote irregularity in Maricopa County, which helped deliver Arizona’s electoral votes to President Biden. The organization, which has zero experience with auditing elections, calls itself Cyber Ninjas. These goofballs have done nothing to advance the cause of voter integrity … because there is nothing to advance. The Arizona election was conducted fairly, cleanly, legally and was corruption-free.

So, the fraudulent exercise goes on. It appears to be nearing an end.

As The Hill reported: “The bottom line is that Arizonians are tired of being led by conspiracy theorists. They don’t support this fake audit, and they’re ready for leaders who are going to put those partisan games aside and deal with real issues,” Hobbs continued.

Arizona secretary of state to Trump before rally: ‘Take your loss and accept it and move on’ (msn.com)

President Biden has plenty of work to do. He need not be distracted for a single moment as he seeks to repair the wreckage left by his predecessor — who continues to deliver more wreckage by his idiotic quest for vote fraud that does not exist.

Cleveland … Guardians?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

OK. I am fine with the Washington Football Team of the National Football League jettisoning the name it used to call itself: the Redskins.

But, something inside my old man’s body tells me the Cleveland Indians’ decision to change its name to Guardians is a step too far into the realm of political correctness.

The Washington Football Team’s former name clearly had been interpreted as a slur against Native Americans. Old-time western cowboys would use the term as an epithet against Indians.

However, to change the name of one of Major League Baseball’s more storied franchises to the Guardians? I don’t get where this is going or where it might go.

As a friend of mine noted earlier today on social media, a Native American suited up for the Cleveland team many decades, becoming the first indigenous American to play big-league baseball. Thus, it is believed the Indians named the team in his honor.

Maybe I shouldn’t tread onto this ground, given that I am the grandson of immigrants from southern Europe. I don’t understand how a Native American might feel about an MLB team named the Indians. It’s just that to my eyes and ears the team nickname has a decidedly neutral sound to it, unlike the former name of the NFL team that plays tackle football in Washington, D.C.

How many more teams are going to succumb to the pressure that continues to mount?

Sigh …