Wanting traffic relief

I have decided my next crusade is going to involve improving traffic flow along U.S. Highway 380 from Denton through Princeton in Texas.

I am weary to the point of exhaustion over having to deal with the slowdown, outright traffic-flow stoppage and the assorted headaches associated with sharing the highway with others.

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to build highway bypasses through McKinney, Princeton (where I live with my wife and puppy) and Farmersville.

The work cannot commence a moment too soon, Which means it will be completed not a moment too soon … either.

The idea is to build freeway bypasses around these rapidly growing communities, enabling motorists to scoot past them en route to destinations farther to the east and west.

My patience wears out, I suppose, the older I get. The clock keeps ticking. My patience might have a limit, although I don’t yet know where it is. I hope I have more in the tank than I appear to believe I have at this moment.


Election denial: Issue No. 1

Whether your candidate for public office takes the correct stand on abortion or gun violence might not matter if the wrong candidates win contests that would allow them to control future elections.

I refer to election deniers and their presence on many state ballots in the 2022 midterm election.

These are the dipsh**s who need to be stopped.

In Texas, we have an election denier running for re-election as attorney general. Yes, that’s Republican Ken Paxton, the idiot who has filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Some of these cretins are running for other powerful public offices. Republican nominee for the Texas’s Third Congressional District, which represents my wife and me in Congress, is one of them: I refer to former Collin County Judge Keith Self, who is as hard-core a MAGA-loving conservative as they come. Spoiler alert: He won’t get my vote.

The nation’s once-revered election system is under siege by those candidates who have swallowed the swill offered by Donald J. Trump and his cadre of cultists who insist the 2020 election was stolen. They have offered not a single shred of proof of “widespread voter fraud” that would have decided the latest presidential election.

Yet the gullible among the masses have signed on to their lying, deceit and outright treasonous assertions about vote fraud. They stand ready to cast their votes for those candidates who endorse their political perversion.

I have spoken before of my eternal optimism about the future of our country and the strength of our Constitution. I will have to rely on my belief that the founders crafted a governing document that will withstand this all-out assault on our government.

I also must extend my hope to the wisdom of voters who — I hope — recognize evil intent when they see it.


Changing reading habits

Once upon a time, when I was a full-time journalist working to improve my performance at my craft, I would travel to here and there and pick up newspapers along the way.

My goal was to read them, to glean some ideas I could take back with me to the newspaper where I worked.

Man, those days have disappeared. So has the habit of reading newspapers around the country.

My wife and I just returned from a two-week journey to the Pacific Coast. I didn’t pick up a single newspaper. Heck, I barely saw a single newspaper.

We ventured through cities with strong newspaper traditions: Albuquerque, Phoenix, Bakersfield, Sacramento to name just four. We stayed for a few nights in Santa Cruz, Calif., which has a paper I would read when we visited my sister and her family; not this time! I had no interest in seeing the San Jose Mercury-News, or the San Francisco Chronicle.

I did pick up one newspaper along our nearly 3,800-mile trek. We stopped for a bite in Memphis, Texas on our way home. I saw a copy of the Red River Sun, which I believe has replaced the Childress Index as the paper of the region. It contained a lot of community news: reunions, award ceremonies, city and school news. Hey, it’s the kind of thing I am writing these days for the Princeton Herald!

But I am a freelance writer these days, which kind of frees me of the responsibility of looking for ways to improve the newspaper for which I write; that task belongs to my bosses.

It’s not that I miss the opportunity to see what other newspapers are doing to present their news and commentary. It’s just that I am still getting accustomed to the idea that I no longer have to worry about the hassles associated with persuading my bosses to implement the changes I pick up along the way.

Yep. Life continues to be very good.


Trump: quiet on Pelosi attack

Imagine my (non)surprise that Donald J. Trump hasn’t said a damn thing about the brutal attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A moron attacked Paul Pelosi in the couple’s home in San Francisco, inflicting serious injuries, including a skull fracture.

The assailant entered the house asking, “Where’s Nancy?”

Although the SF police — who took the assailant into custody — haven’t established a motive, it appears clear the moron was acting on his political instincts.

Donald Trump’s Silence on Paul Pelosi Attack Sparks Anger (msn.com)

Of course, Speaker Pelosi and the former POTUS have been longtime foes. Trump would consider her “the enemy.”

Still, the ex-president should show some decency in expressing publicly his sorrow over the attack on Paul Pelosi. Oh, wait! I almost forgot!

Donald J. Trump doesn’t possess a single decency gene in his overfed body.


Is this the nature of our politics?

What are we to surmise about the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of the U.S. House speaker?

An assailant broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home, asking, “Where’s Nancy?” Then he and Paul Pelosi started struggling and the assailant beat his victim brutally, fracturing his skull and inflicting assorted other injuries.

The police came while the fight was underway and arrested the suspect.

The motive for the attack hasn’t been established officially, so I am left to offer a bit of conjecture that I believe is on point.

It is that the assailant was looking to harm the speaker of the House for political reasons.

I have put two and two together and have come up with four. My strong hunch is that the idiotic assailant is a MAGA-loving adherent to the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

Is this the nature of disagreement these days? That those who believe in a different world view are going to physically assault their foes?

I am acutely aware that violence has existed in the American political system since the beginning of the Republic. Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton to death in 1804 while settling some sort of political dispute.

But … that was then. We’re supposed to be a more “civilized society” these days. Now, though, we have instances of violence erupting, such as what occurred in the home of Paul and Nancy Pelosi.

I’ll conclude with this observation. I believe this sort of insanity should give all voters pause as they ponder for whom to vote during the midterm election. Do they really want to endorse the candidacies of politicians who espouse the idiocy that appears to have motivated the assailant to damn near kill the husband of a powerful politician?


Stop the lies!

The current political climate is giving me pause, forcing me to rethink a pledge I made on this blog many years ago, which was that censor or block anyone on my social media network because of their politics.

You know, of course, that I consider myself to be a “center-left” blogger. I extol what I call “good government progressivism.” That’s another way of saying that I do not accept some of the wacky progressive notions being tossed around. Free college for everyone? A non-starter, man.

But wait! There are a ton of individuals on the MAGA right wing of the great divide who keep telling lies. They use my blog to foment those lies when I comment on them. They will respond to a comment I offer about why I consider The Big Lie – the one about alleged theft of the 2020 presidential election – to be a threat to democracy. They say there was widespread fraud. Yet they provide the same amount of evidence of such fraud as the Godfather of The Big Lie, Donald Trump: none!

I am not going to be a pansy about criticism of my comments. I don’t mind receiving barbs. Seriously. It’s OK with me. What troubles me are the lies that critics use to buttress their shameful responses.

They contend that President Biden is suffering from a lack of cognition. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They continue to insist that Biden wasn’t elected POTUS legitimately. Texas has a congressman, first-term Republican Ronny Jackson, who insists that Democrats are seeking to destroy the nation’s democratic process. He is full of sh**!

All of this leads to ponder whether I want to renege on my pledge to allow this blog to be an open forum for discussion. Well, I won’t take it back. I am not going to allow the fomenting of lies.


Protecting all civil liberties

“Well, the radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion. But it’s nothing the American founders ever thought of or generations of Americans fought to defend.”

The comment here is attributed to former Vice President Mike Pence, as if that’s any surprise.

I want to take a brief moment to challenge the ex-VPOTUS’s assertion.

When I took my oath upon being inducted into the U.S. Army in 1968, I presumed in the moment that I was going to protect the U.S. Constitution. That means all of the civil liberties enshrined in the document. One of those liberties includes the First Amendment’s protection against the government imposing a state religion.

Pence to revisit religious freedom act – High Plains Blogger (wordpress.com)

The amendment does in fact guarantee citizens the right to avoid religion if that is their choice. It isn’t mine, but I have no right to presume that every American should follow my lead. They are free to worship whatever or not worship any religious deity.

Are we clear? Good!


Candidate victimized by snickers

By any reasonable measure, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman should be elected U.S. senator from Pennsylvania in a few days.

His opponent in the midterm election is a former physician, Mehmet Oz, who boasts not one moment of public policy experience. Furthermore, Oz doesn’t even live in the state he allegedly wants to represent in the Senate.

As I write this brief blog post, Fetterman is running slightly ahead of Oz in the polling. Why is that? Because Oz and his Republican allies — led by Donald J. Trump — have made a stroke that Fetterman suffered a few months ago a campaign issue.

Has Fetterman lost any mental acuity? Is he less smart now than he was before the stroke? No and no. However, he has suffered what he admits to are “auditory” issues. He has trouble stringing sentences together.

I want to mention all this because of the nastiness that permeates the campaign to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. The result of this election well could determine which parties controls the Senate in January; the Senate now is split 50 to 50. It’s a big deal, man!

I would hate for this campaign to turn on one side’s tittering over a serious man’s cognitive ability … which hasn’t diminished because of a stroke.

However, the cheapness of debate is exemplified in this contest and others featuring campaigns that include election denying/MAGA-loving Republicans and their Democratic foes.

That is what is playing out in Pennsylvania. It should not have come to this, with the result of a contest between a tested public policy veteran and a fraudulent carpetbagger now being too close to call.


We are free from religion!

I want to express my outrage at politicians who continue to insist that the United States is a Christian nation and that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee that we are guaranteed to free ourselves from religion of any stripe.

There. I just did express my intense anger.

Too many pols keep insisting that their Christian devotion is good enough for everyone. Therefore, they advocate foisting Christian beliefs on students in public schools.

There can be no greater perversion of what the Constitution lays out there than the idiocy being pitched by the likes of, oh, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

She recently declared that this country is a Christian nation. It is nothing of the sort. The First Amendment to the Constitution spells out in clear, concise language that “Congress shall make no law” that establishes a state religion. As I have noted already on this blog, I cannot find a single mention of the words “Christian,” “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ.”

Boebert’s congressional wing woman, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, called herself a “Christian nationalist.” Thus, she is proud to foist her religious beliefs on every other American simply because she was elected to Congress.

The Constitution makes it abundantly clear — and the courts have affirmed it — that Americans are free to rely on the faith of their choice and that they also are free to be religion free.

It is not illegal in this country to be an atheist, or an agnostic.

Politicians who imply that it is illegal are as un-American as anyone in public life … and they should be tossed out of office.


Puppy Tales, Part 98: Toby expands his BFF list

What you see in this picture are Toby the Puppy — he’s the one in the Superman shirt — and his newest best friend, Dolly.

I want to highlight this new friendship to illustrate how sociable Toby the Puppy can be, and how others of his, um, species relate to his sociability.

Dolly is a member of the Ed and Colleen Loos family in their home in the Phoenix, Ariz., suburbs. We visited the family and got acquainted immediately with Dolly, who took a few moments to, shall we say, sniff her way into Puppy’s good graces.

She nipped at him a couple of times as Toby got a little too familiar. But then? It was all good.

The two of them pranced around the house together. One would follow the other one. They chased each other around the back yard. They shared water bowls, Dolly even let Toby the Puppy eat some of her food.

We never worry about Toby the Puppy’s interaction with others of his type. He is among the most sociable beings we’ve ever encountered.

The best news is that he found another pooch who shares his desire to get acquainted.