Terrorist threat comes from within

All this chatter about Islamic terrorists and the “threat” they supposedly pose to Americans ignores a key point made in 2019 by the director of the FBI.

Christopher Wray, appointed to his post by Donald J. Trump, told Congress that the “biggest threat” to Americans’ security and safety comes not from foreign terrorists, but from the home-grown, corn-fed variety of domestic terrorist.

Wray offered that analysis, of course, prior to the events of 1/6 and the domestic terror attack launched against Capitol Hill, where Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the Electoral College vote certification from the 2020 presidential election.

All of those yahoos were from right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Yet we hear from nut jobs such as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., say that one of her colleagues, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is cozy with terrorist groups. Indeed, Boebert implied that Omar might be a terrorist herself, given that she’s a Muslim who emigrated to this country from Somalia.

Let’s keep our eye on the ball, shall we? FBI Director Wray is correct to suggest that the larger threat comes from within.


Big Lie gets even weirder

I never thought it was possible to embellish The Big Lie but the Republican nut cases who occupy public offices have managed to do so.

It goes like this …

There are those within the GOP who contend now that Democrats are fabricating the impact of various COVID-19 variants to “cheat” their way to winning future elections. One of the Republican nut jobs in Congress, Rep. Ronny Jackson of Amarillo, went on Fox News to suggest that very thing. The hosts on “Fox and Friends” let the moronic physician-turned-politician mutter that trash without challenging him.

One of the hosts said Jackson is “probably right.” Umm, no! He’s not right! He is wrong. So are those who suggest that the impact of the latest variant, called Omicron, is made up, that it’s a fabrication.

The Big Lie was born out of Donald Trump’s phony claim of “widespread voter fraud” in the 2020 election. It has now grown more legs and to my utter horror it is beginning to take root in the gullible mindlessness of Republican cultists’ noggins.

Good grief. Is there no end to this idiocy?


POTUS tells us: do not panic

Message received, Mr. President.

Joe Biden went on TV this morning to tell us the Omicron variant that began in southern Africa but which is working its way around the world provides no reason to panic.

He said we have to do the same things we have done to suppress the original COVID-19 virus and the assorted variants of the virus that have sprung up. Omicron is no different, President Biden said.

I hear ya, Mr. POTUS. My hope is that we all hear the president. That we all do the things we need to do to keep the virus variant from spreading. You know what they are, so I won’t belabor the point here.

I remain an eternal optimist that we are going to weather this matter. The timing of when we get the all-clear signal remains an open question.

No worries as far as my family and I are concerned. We aren’t waiting with bated breath for someone to tell us we’re in the clear from the virus. We are going to stay with the good-practices recommendations and do our part to put this virus — and the variants — down for keeps.


What about the debt, lawmakers?

Congressional Republicans have this bizarre habit of backing themselves into corners from which they have difficulty exiting.

They are digging in once again on the issue of increasing the nation’s debt ceiling. U.S. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell — yeah, that guy — is threatening to shut ‘er down. He won’t back any effort by Democrats to increase the debt ceiling.

What does that mean? Total calamity, according to every serious economist on Earth. It would mark the first time the U.S. of A. has defaulted on its debt. It would throw the markets into total free fall. It would send a signal around the world that the United States no longer can be trusted to make good on its obligations.

Hey, is this what they call an “America first” priority?

It’s an “America last” notion, if you want my opinion on it. You didn’t ask for it, but I offered it anyway.

What are we going to do when the nation’s government funding expires at the end of the week? We had better beat some reason into the thick skulls of GOP lawmakers who don’t want to make many millions of Americans angry over their stubbornness.


Yes on new Mall memorial!

Maggie Hassan and Joni Ernst are providing proof that U.S. senators from opposing political parties can work toward a common goal.

Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Ernst, an Iowa Republican (who also served in combat in Afghanistan), have teamed up to push toward construction of a new memorial on the D.C. Mall to honor the men and women who fought and sacrificed during our nation’s longest war.

I applaud their effort and hope that the new memorial can be built sooner rather than later.

There once was a time when I thought the Mall had enough memorials on it. Then the Afghan War came to an end earlier this year when President Biden ordered our troops off the battlefield. The fallout from that decision has been fierce. However, that does not diminish the need to honor the heroism displayed there for 20 years.

President Bush sent our troops into battle after 9/11. Then he expanded that fight into Iraq, which — candidly — was a mistake. However, more than 7,000 Americans died in the Iraq War.

The Mall already has a lot of memorials. The World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War memorials all are worth seeing. So is the MLK Jr. memorial, along with those built to honor Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington.

Our nation’s longest war produced plenty of heroism, sacrifice, tragedy and triumph. It needs to be memorialized on the National Mall.

Thank you, Sens. Ernst and Hassan, for pushing this issue forward.


One huge surprise!

You’ve heard it said that “life is full of surprises,” or at least it ought to contain a surprise or two as we move on through our time on this good Earth.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the retirement journey my wife and I began some years ago has taken a most astounding turn. Where it goes … let me explain.

We were camping in our RV the other day when I received an e-mail from the acting editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News. He said he wanted to discuss something with me. I read the message and told my wife what it said. I thought, “What in the world … ?”

I called him. Rudy Bush, the acting EPE at the Morning News, informed me he had been reading my blog and had seen some of the work I had done for KETR-FM radio at Texas A&:M-Commerce. He then told me he needed help at the DMN, that he was working with a short-handed staff; that his staff is burning out and that he wanted little ol’ me to lend a hand writing editorials for the newspaper.

Now, you have to understand something about yours truly. When I got into journalism in the 1970s, I had aspired to write for a major metro newspaper. I sought many times over the course of my career to achieve that goal. I ended up writing during the bulk of my career for two mid-sized dailies. I had a nice career. I believe I did my job well.

What happened at the RV park in Northeast Texas, though, caught me by complete surprise.

The result is that at the age of nearly 72, I am going to see my dream come true … if only for a limited period of time. I phone him back the next morning to tell him “yes,” that I would like to help him out. It will be, as they called it in the Army, a TDY assignment … temporary duty.

I will continue to cover city council, school district issues and write occasional features for the Farmersville Times; I also will continue to cover water resource development in Fannin County for KETR-FM radio. On top of that I will write editorials for the Dallas Morning News.

And just to be crystal clear, my bride and I will continue to haul our RV around behind our pickup for a little R&R.

I found myself grappling with competing thoughts in my noggin. One thought was, “Why don’t you just toss it all aside, sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your retirement?” The other thought was, “Why would you want to pass up this opportunity, which you strived to find, and accept the challenge that awaits you?”

I decided to heed the latter thought.

So … off we go, racing toward a new challenge.


Why can’t they fix this electrical grid?

The Texas Tribune has written a story with a frightening lead paragraph, which states …

Electricity outages in Texas could occur this winter if the state experiences a cold snap that forces many power plants offline at the same time as demand for power is high, according to an analysis by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The outages could occur despite better preparations by power plants to operate in cold weather.

What the hell? I thought the Texas Legislature was going to repair those problems, that it was going to “invest” lots of money to ensure that ERCOT’s electrical system was winterized sufficiently to protect us against the misery that befell us this past February.

I am one Texas resident — who I am sure speaks for millions of others — who does not want to endure what we went through early this year. Our homes went dark. Many of our water pipes froze. Our water supply went down for a time.

ERCOT estimates show Texas grid vulnerable this winter, despite preparations | The Texas Tribune

I am not going to predict we’ll have sub-zero temperatures again this winter. I saw a forecast that suggested the La Nina current is going to create a warmer, drier winter for Texas in 2021-22. I hope it’s true.

If it isn’t, then that Legislature of ours ought to have hell to pay if ERCOT’s grid shuts down.


Now that was some pooch!

Things you see while taking in the holiday sights near your house can at times take your breath away.

Such as the sight of the largest dog I have ever, ever laid my eyes on.

We were strolling through Historic Downtown McKinney, Texas today gawking at all the Christmas displays and enjoying the sight of all those people and the sound of their laughter. It is chilly today, but it certainly didn’t chill the holiday spirit in the air.

Then I noticed this dog. Or was it a horse? My goodness, he was, um … huge!

I asked the fellow holding the puppy’s leash: What kind of dog is that?

“He’s a wolfhound,” the fellow said. “An Irish wolfhound?” I asked. Yes, came his reply. He then told me the pooch is of a breed known to be the “tallest dog in the world.” Meaning that when he stood up on his hind legs, he was, oh I don’t know, 6 or 7 feet tall.

He was gigantic. And friendly. And utterly gorgeous.

I didn’t dare ask him what it costs him and his family to feed him. I stroked the puppy’s head a couple of times, then walked on with my wife and one of our sons.

As we walked away, I heard a young woman ask the fellow the same question about the dog’s breed. Then she said she intends to get one just like him. Merry Christmas!


Texas to check elections in random counties

Texas, in its bid to fight nonexistent widespread voter fraud, has a new law on the books that allows the state to audit the results of every November election in four randomly selected counties.

The state already is coming after the phony fraud in Collin County, where I live, along with Harris, Dallas and Tarrant counties. Good luck finding anything untoward in any of those counties.

I also suspect the state will come up empty no matter where it looks in its hunt for widespread vote fraud that — and I know I am repeating myself, so bear with me — does not exist!


All of this effort is a trumped-up hunt (pardon the use of that adjective) for vote fraud emanating from the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump carried Texas by about 5 percentage points, yet he insisted that Gov. Greg Abbott call for a “forensic audit” of the four large Texas counties. Abbott bowed to his good buddy Trump and got it done.



Wanting to shed politics

Those who know me only through my blog or from what I used to do for a living, which was write and edit opinion pieces for newspapers, seem to believe I am wedded to politics.

That I cannot live a day without talking politics with … someone, anyone.

Not true. There are days, such as today, when I want to set all that aside. So, I am going to do that very thing for the rest of the day.

I plan to spend the day with my wife, sons, our daughter-in-law and our granddaughter. We are going to yuk it up in the house and carry on without a worry in the world.

Then I suppose I’ll get back to the regular stuff in the morning. However, I won’t guarantee it. You see, I ain’t addicted to politics.