1/6 is no 9/11, but still …

A critic of this blog recently suggested in response to a post I made that I was equating the events of 1/6 to 9/11. I feel the need to respond to him publicly with another post setting the record straight for those who might believe the same thing as my critic.

For the record …

I never have suggested that that Jan. 6 insurrection/riot rose to the level of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on this nation. 9/11 will stand alone as a heinous and horrific attack that killed thousands of innocent people from all walks of life, from many nations; they were young and old. We went to war against the terrorists who planned the attack and have killed many of the villains along the way — including the mastermind Osama bin Laden.

The 1/6 attack on our democracy was an attack of an entirely different type. It was an act of what I consider to be domestic terrorism. It was provoked by the then president of the United States, who encouraged the angry mob to “take back our government.” From whom remains a mystery.

The mob smashed into our Capitol Building; some of the mobsters were carrying “Hang Mike Pence!” signs in a direct threat to the vice president of the United States. VP Pence was presiding at that moment over a congressional certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count that produced a victory for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

Trump would have none of it. He continues to this very moment to foment The Big Lie about a phony rash of “widespread vote fraud” that produced a victory for President Biden.

My aforementioned critic doesn’t like that I refer to the riot on that day as “1/6,” suggesting that doing so elevates that event to the same degree of violence as 9/11.

It does nothing of the sort!

My reference to 1/6 only establishes that event as a singular and dastardly attack on our system of government.

Furthermore, I will continue to refer to it in that fashion for as long as I damn well feel like it.


1/6: no ‘anniversary’

I want to offer a word of advice to media types who are going to commemorate the year that has passed since the 1/6 insurrection.

Do not call the year an “anniversary.” Please.

Why? Because my understanding of the word usually implies a happy event. An event that makes one smile. An anniversary is something to remember with fondness.

I recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of my marriage to my wife. We had a joyous celebration that day with family members who came to share it with us.

I cannot use that word to describe the events of 1/6. I do not have a word to replace the term “anniversary.” I’ll look to come up with one.

Just don’t look for that word to appear in this blog whenever I choose to discuss the events of that hideous day in our nation’s history.


Kinzinger calls out Trump lies

Adam Kinzinger’s lame-duck status in the U.S. House of Representatives gives him a shield against the attacks that are sure to come at him from Donald Trump and his cabal of cultists.

Why would they attack the Illinois Republican lawmaker? Because he is calling Trump out for what he is: a liar.

Kinzinger is one of two GOP members of a House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection. He said recently he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2022. So he is in his final term in the House. That means Trump cannot do him any political harm.

Trump recently blasted the 1/6 committee, declaring it is intent on “smearing him.” Kinzinger is having none of it. Nor should he.

If only other Republicans in Congress would grow the stones they shouldn’t have to grow simply to speak the truth about the former Liar in Chief, who is trying to prevent the select committee from obtaining White House documents it needs to get to the truth behind the 1/6 insurrection.

Let us keep in mind: Donald Trump fomented that riot.

Thus, the House panel needs to know the truth behind what happened on 1/6.

Adam Kinzinger is speaking the truth by calling out Trump’s lies.


Year ‘without form’ comes to end

New York Times columnist David Brooks has this way of offering unique perspectives on issues and moments that make me think: Dang, I wish I had thought of that!

PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff asked Brooks this past Friday to sum up the year that’s about to pass into history. He called 2021 a “year without form.” I guess that was his way of saying he has difficulty describing it in a concise manner.

It was a year of continued suffering around the world from the pandemic that has taken on a new, unpredictable and potentially dangerous new life.

A new president took office in January and in the spring, Joe Biden promised we would be celebrating our “independence” from the pandemic by the Fourth of July. It didn’t happen. We are farther today than we were then from that independence.

Then again, maybe we are closer than we think. Vaccines are coming out. More Americans are partaking of them. Just maybe we can turn the corner for good soon on the virus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans.

Six days into 2021 we witnessed an insurrection. The House has convened a select panel to get at the root cause of it and find solutions to prevent a recurrence. That work remains to be finished. It has been ongoing for most of the year.

Meanwhile, the immediate past president continues spewing The Big Lie. His followers continue to swallow the swill that pours out of his pie hole.

All this went on during the year.

I am going to hope that 2022 takes on a form, let alone a positive form, as we continue down along journey together.


Smooth drive into downtown Dallas

I made a trek Tuesday morning from my home in Collin County to downtown Dallas.

Along the way I was struck by a couple of thoughts.

One was that, “Dang, it’s nice to drive along the Central Expressway during morning rush hour and not have to slow down.” Previous trips along U.S. 75 from Princeton to the heart of Big D would last as long as 90 minutes; the trip includes plenty of serious slowdowns and occasional traffic stoppages. I made this particular trek in less than an hour.

OK, I get that it was just the second workday between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which means a lot of traffic was, shall we say, elsewhere. School is out. Kids are with Grandma and Grandpa, along with their parents.

The second thought was whether it is a precursor for what might lie ahead if businesses have to shut down — again! — in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re in the midst of another spike in infections from the Omicron variant. The first business shutdown in early 2021 was no picnic for businesses that had to close their doors and keep employees at home. It was a picnic, though, for those who had to travel through the Metroplex during that time.

Our highway network often is choked with traffic during rush hours — morning and evening. I relished the drive this week. I don’t expect to relish it very much in the future.



Verdict: Maxwell is a sex trafficker too!

Just about the time you think we might have a hung jury unable to deliver a verdict in a high-profile trial … we get a verdict in a high-profile trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the one-time girlfriend and accomplice to the late millionaire sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, is now a convicted sex trafficker herself.

A jury delivered the news to Maxwell today after five days of deliberation.

Is this the right verdict? Based on what I know — which admittedly isn’t much — it looks as though justice has been delivered. Jurors accepted the testimony that Maxwell assisted Epstein in his quest for young girls with whom he had sex or who he peddled for sex with others.

It was ghastly and gruesome testimony to be sure. As USA Today reported: The verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Epstein, who was jailed a couple of years ago on sex charges, hanged himself in his New York City jail cell. The world is better off without him staining it with his presence.

Maxwell faces a lengthy prison sentence. My hope is that she gets the maximum.

Oh, and unlike the reaction delivered by Donald Trump when he heard about her arrest in 2019, I do not “wish her well.” I wish her nothing but misery.


Legislative turnover on tap

Personnel turnover either freshens governing bodies or it poisons them, depending on who succeeds the members who are exiting the stage.

The Texas Legislature is on the cusp of seeing an astonishing turnover of veteran senators and House members. At last count, 28 House members are either retiring from public life or are surrendering their seats to seek another public office. Five Texas senators aren’t seeking re-election. As the story by Gromer Jeffers Jr. points out in the Tuesday Dallas Morning News, several “moderate Republicans” are among those who are leaving the Senate. They include, Jeffers wrote, my old pal Kel Seliger of Amarillo and Larry Taylor of Friendswood, as well as Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, who was described in the Dallas Morning News story as the “fifth-most centrist Republican in the Senate.”

Who will replace these individuals? Given the huge partisan divide in both legislative chambers and the radical elements in both major parties, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for the future of good government.

Retiring state Rep. John Turner, a moderate Dallas Democrat, said the significant turnover in the Legislature “just heightens the polarization.” He talked about Republicans becoming more conservative and Democrats “losing some of their moderates” and how the vacancies could be filled by those with more radical agendas.

Will there be a bipartisan battle between culture warriors as a result? Time will tell. Suffice to say that we remain concerned that the 2023 Texas Legislature is going to become an even more divided and divisive body than its 2021 version. That version was quite divided, indeed. Let us recall how House Democrats fled the state to prevent House Republicans from enacting a controversial bill that sought to restrict voter access for many Texans. Democrats called it “voter suppression,” but Republicans called it “voter protection” against possible future fraud.

Redistricting has played a part in the turnover. Some legislators are leaving because their colleagues created legislative districts that favored candidates from the other party. Some lawmakers are seeking higher office. Democratic state Rep. Michelle Beckley of Carrollton, for example, is now running for her party’s nomination for lieutenant governor; her House district now favors the Republican candidate. State Rep. Scott Sanford of McKinney is retiring for the same reason, as his newly redrawn Collin County district favors the Democratic Party candidate.

Legislative turnover isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing by itself. If the newly constituted Legislature takes over in 2023 with the state’s best interests in mind, then we well might benefit from an electoral cleansing. If we welcome more rigid ideologues into the Legislature, then we are in for a rough ride.


New digs in sight!

I took the liberty a little while ago to send a message to Princeton (Texas) City Manager Derek Borg, asking when the city will move its operations into the “new digs” it is building east of where the current city hall operates.

He responded with a single word: “February!!!”

The multiple exclamation points suggest that Borg is quite excited about what lies ahead for his staff, the city council and the public that comes to city hall to conduct its business.

The city financed construction of the new municipal complex through certificates of obligation. An architect drew up plans for the building being erected on donated land just east of Princeton High School. All told, the project costs around $20 million.

Mayor Brianna Chacon told me a while back she had hoped to put a Christmas tree on the site. I guess those plans went away.

I drive by the site frequently and I am impressed with the finishing work that is now underway. The city deserves to present its taxpaying residents with a structure worthy of a growing community … and Princeton is growing — rapidly!

Borg told me the new complex will give employees about seven or eight times more room to operate. They have erected a “For Sale or Lease” sign in front of the soon-to-be-vacated city hall.

The city manager isn’t intimidated by the pending move. He told me he managed the move into the current site. This next move will bring plenty of smiles … when it’s all done.


Turning the COVID corner … again?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new rule that shortens the quarantine time for those who have the COVID virus. It’s now down to just five days.

Well … what does that mean?

It used to be for two weeks; then it went to 10 days; now it’s just five days.

I get that the Omicron variant isn’t as deadly as previous variants. It’s just far more contagious. It is why I am masking up — again! — when I enter indoor venues populated by people I do not know. It’s also why I am washing my hands frequently — again! — with soap and water. It’s also why I am more mindful of social distancing — yes, again!

I hope the new CDC rule bodes more promising for how Omicron is going to progress.

I also want an end to the constant stream of COVID-related news.


Anti-immigrant rhetoric has been around

For as long as I can recall, the talk we hear about closing our borders to immigrants has been an ongoing topic of discussion, debate and demagoguery.

I can recall writing a column for the Beaumont Enterprise in the 1980s about those who wanted to slam the door shut on immigration. Hey, they got in, or their ancestors got into the country. Now that they were citizens of the world’s greatest nation, let’s just slam the door shut. Toss the key. Build a moat; fill it with filthy water and gators.

The anti-immigrant rhetoric isn’t uniquely American, either. Europeans from east to west, north to south have been yammering for decades about the unwashed masses pouring into their countries from, say, the Middle East. Political parties in Europe have emerged to challenge the status quo.

Let us not forget, too, that Europe gave the world the National Socialist Party — aka the Nazis. Their aim was to promote the “master race” and rid the world of people who worshiped the Jewish faith.

Today, though, the anti-immigrants have many more media weapons at their disposal to spew their rubbish. They contend that non-native-born Americans are “invading” the country, that they are going to push us native-born Americans out of the way. What nonsense. There cannot possibly be a more un-American policy than that. The government we honor today was created by individuals are the direct descendants of those who “invaded” the country in the 17th century. We are a nation built by immigrants. Thus, for our founders’ descendants to seek to ban more immigrants borders on treason … in my humble view.

Perhaps in a perverse and perverted way, that the anti-immigrant rhetoric would be gathering steam these days is merely a continuation of a scourge with which our nation has been dealing all along.