If only I could tell her …

The more time that passes from the worst day of my life to the here and now, the fewer times I am tied up in emotional knots seeking to tell my bride something that I notice along the way.

That’s normal, I understand, as I progress along this journey without Kathy Anne by my side. But … I drive around Princeton, Texas, these days and I see things I know with absolute certainty she would want me to tell her.

I lost Kathy Anne to cancer on Feb. 3 and my life — to put it mildly — has been changed forever.

The city has completed a big street improvement project just south of the house we purchased in Arcadia Farms. Myrick Lane is now complete from Beauchamp Boulevard to Farm to Market Road 982. It’s a wide, divided thoroughfare and is much less rough of a ride than it was just six month ago. Kathy Anne would be pleased.

I keep seeing this new breakfast and lunch eatery on US 380, which Kathy Anne wished we had. I want to tell her that our son and I have eaten there several times and the chow is pretty good. That, too, would bring a smile to her face.

I notice construction continuing apace at the site of a proposed supermarket complex at the corner of Beauchamp and US 380. That would make her smile broadly.

And the city has built a park just south of our house on land donated to it by a local family. She wanted a fresh place to take Toby the Puppy for his walks. He’ll visit the park once it cools off enough for him to take it.

Hey, I get that the journey will continue to be difficult at times. There will be more of those commemorative dates I will mark without her presence by my side. However, I always have cherished the 52 years we had as a couple, 51 of them as husband and wife.

Time only will make those memories even more vivid. It also will enable me to experience the here and now with less pain at being unable to share it with her.

Then again … she knows.

DeSantis had me … then he lost me

Just as I was feeling pretty good about Florida Gov. Ron  DeSantis’s ability to do the job to which he was elected, he then stiffs me with a petulant slap at the Biden administration’s effort to help ease the pain of Floridians suffering from the effects of Hurricane Idalia.

DeSantis wants to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. He took time off from the campaign trail to inform Florida residents of the things his state’s government is trying to do to protect them against the hurricane. That’s what he was elected to do, yes? Of course!

Then the GOP governor says “no dice” to President Biden’s relief effort — part of the Inflation Reduction Act — that totaled $350 million. The feds can keep the money, DeSantis said. What? But … shoot, governor, it’s money that aims to help your residents, your constituents, the people to whom you are responsible!

As Politico reports: “It’s unfortunate that some officials are putting politics ahead of delivering meaningful progress for hard working Americans,” said White House spokesman Michael Kikukawa. “Despite this, President Biden and his administration are working with cities, counties, businesses, nonprofits, and other entities in the Sunshine State to ensure Floridians benefit from the lower costs and stronger economy delivered by his agenda.”

Yeah, it’s “unfortunate.” It’s also disgusting and petulant.

The IRA contains several energy-savings provisions in it. As Politico reports: The Biden administration has explored ways around the energy rebate blockade but has come up empty so far, according to federal and state officials. The IRA was written in a way that requires the rebates to go through a state energy office. Unlike many federal laws, there is no federal fallback option or way to circumvent an obstinate governor.

Gov. DeSantis, though, will have none of it, given that it just might reflect positively on President Biden.

Trump won’t testify … ever!

All this chatter I keep hearing from TV news talking heads about the possibility of Donald Trump testifying in any of the criminal trials awaiting him makes me want to laugh out loud.

Let’s settle the issue once and for all: Donald Trump will not testify in any of these trials. Why not? Because he cannot tell the truth. Thus, he becomes a candidate for perjury.

Trump cannot tell the truth about his involvement with the Jan. 6 assault on our government. He cannot speak truthfully about how he squirreled away those classified documents from the White House. He cannot speak truthfully about the co-defendants who also have been indicted.

Imagine him putting his hand on a holy book and swearing to tell the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

It won’t happen. No judge worth a damn is going to summon Trump to court and demand that he tell the truth.

Donald Trump cannot comply with a judge’s order.

Senators exhibit wear and tear

Recent episodes involving two prominent U.S. senators have thrust me into a serious quandary.

I do not believe in term limits for members of Congress, but I do believe that those members should exercise proper judgment when it becomes apparent — if not obvious — that they are unable to fulfill all the complicated aspects of their job.

Perhaps you have seen the recent video of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell freezing, unable to answer a question about his re-election plans in 2026. It is the second such episode we have seen of the Kentucky senator in recent weeks.

Then we have Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California missing several months because she was battling shingles and assorted other ailments. She has returned to her post, but she clearly — according to observers — is nowhere near at the top of her game.

Feinstein 90 years of age; McConnell is 81.

You hear it said in recent times about the need for age limits for senators and House members. Not necessary, any more than slapping term limits on these individuals. Nor is it necessary for the presidency, which does have a two-term limit for anyone elected to that office. I remain somewhat conflicted about whether we need term limits for the presidency.

Over the course of history of our Congress and our presidency we have seen multiple examples of individuals who have stayed in office for far too long. Perhaps the most prominent among them is Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the senator who served as a Democrat, an independent and a Republican. At the end of his lengthy stint in office, Thurmond was hardly able to communicate, let alone speak cogently about public policy.

There comes a time when all of us should realize when we no longer have the snap required to do our jobs. When you are an elected official representing the interests of millions of other people, such self-awareness becomes even more critical. You must have all your faculties and must be in full command of your wits to make decisions based on (a) your own principles or (b) the will of those you represent.

It looks to me that Sens. McConnell and Feinstein — two of the Senate’s heaviest hitters — are no longer able to fulfill the obligations of their high offices.

Therein lies a stern — but essential — lesson for people in public life at all levels of government.

Why the big payout?

A whole array of things fly over my noggin, and the news out of Amarillo about the dismissal of City Manager Jared Miller happens to be one of them.

The Amarillo City Council effectively terminated Miller, citing some sort of lack of cohesion between the council and the city administration. Translation: Miller wasn’t leading the city in the direction mandated by the council.

So, what does the council do? It pays the former manager a ton of money as a severance.

Let’s back up for just a second. If a chief municipal executive isn’t doing the job in accordance with City Council policy, does that mean he then is being let go for cause? If that is the case, how does the justify paying him a high six-figure severance?

The money reportedly is coming from a source other than the general fund; I understand it to be a sort of rainy day fund.

Miller spoke kindly of the council and wished it and his former City Hall colleagues well as they embark down some new path that was supposed to be led by the former city manager. It wasn’t. So … he was dismissed, let go, effectively fired.

The council surely softened his landing with a payout that, to my way of reasoning, seems to lack any sense.

No moral equivalence

The “whataboutism gang” is alive and functioning fully in this age of deflection and distraction.

I wrote to a critic of my blog who challenged my assertion that the Republican Party has become the “party of rage.” He said Democrats and progressives remained silent when rioters burned office buildings and marched in city streets to protect government policies.

I wrote this: I have condemned the rioting that occurred. Let me be clear on this point: There can be no possible moral equivalence between what the street rioters did and what the traitorous mob did on Jan. 6. The Jan. 6 mob launched a full-on frontal assault on our nation’s government at the behest of the POTUS. Do not equate the events. Therein lies the reason for my description of the GOP as the “party of rage.”

My critic no doubt will respond. That’s his right and I welcome the exchange. I just have lost patience, though, with those who use the “whataboutism” dodge as a justification for what their guy says or does. They seek to point fingers away from their own heroes and toward those on the other side. It’s a distraction, pure and simple.

The whataboutism strategy generally comes from those who are desperate to make a case — any case! — in favor of their guy. That’s what I can surmise in this instance. Absent any credible defense against the charges leveled against their hero, the Donald Trump MAGA moron crowd is left to hurl epithets at those who demonstrate their own anger.

Except that in the instance to which I have referred, they aren’t even close to the same thing.

GOP: Party of rage

Donald John Trump telegraphed the message on Jan. 20, 2017 during his astonishing inaugural speech to a nation that waited to hear what kind of president he would become.

The only memorable line from that speech came when he declared that “the American carnage ends right here, right now.”

Well, it didn’t end. However, it did signal an element of rage that Trump has used to foment throughout many Americans’ hearts. He spoke like an angry man, never mind that he had pulled off one of the great American political upsets in U.S. history.

The Republican Party that nominated Trump in 2016, and again in 2020 — and is possibly going to do so in 2024 — is now the party of rage. It feeds on some Americans’ anger at … well, you name it.

At the federal government, at “woke policy,” at immigrants, at Black people, at gay people, at the media, at local elections officials, at medical experts who mandated vaccines against a killer virus … for God’s sake!

I am thinking at this moment of President Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign theme, that “morning in America” had dawned over the country. The president parlayed that warm-and-fuzzy feeling into a 49-state landslide over his opponent that year, Walter Mondale.

Morning in America has become a thing of the increasingly distant past, if you listen — and heed — the rhetoric coming from the MAGA morons who now run the Republican Party.

I won’t suggest that a new morning has dawned over the United States. We still have plenty of issues and problems with which the current president, Joe Biden, is trying to deal.

However, this should be a nation far removed from the rage that dominated the four-year term of his immediate predecessor. Therein lies — except for the obvious criminality for which he soon will stand trial — Donald John Trump’s lasting legacy.

A trial for the ages?

Let’s not pussyfoot around the obvious, which is that any of the four trials awaiting Donald J. Trump can be categorized as the “most significant legal proceeding in U.S. history.”

Every one of them will make history. They will become trials for the ages. They likely will be included in the first line of the obituary written for the individual who will stand trial.

Donald J. Trump is the first former president of the United States to be indicted for allegedly committing felony crimes against the government he swore an oath to defend and protect.

He is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. My sense, though, is that state and federal prosecutors have done their jobs well enough to secure convictions perhaps on all the charges leveled against Trump. How many of them are there? Ninety-one!

Did any of us ever imagine seeing a former POTUS stand trial for seeking to overturn an election and obstructing the peaceful transfer of power after he lost that election? I damn sure never imagined it.

The trials that have been set constitute the most meaningful court proceedings this country ever has witnessed. We cannot possibly overstate what they will mean to the future of our democratic republic.

Date set, let justice rule

Mark down the date of March 4, 2024, which is what I intend to do.

That is the date set by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan for the start of a trial to determine whether Donald J. Trump is guilty of trying to overturn the results of a free, fair and legal presidential election.

Judge Chutkan has declared her intention to proceed with a “speedy trial” for the former president of the United States. Interestingly, for a man who says he did “nothing wrong,” Trump has been trying to delay this proceeding until sometime in 2026.

That prompts me to wonder: If Donald Trump is as innocent of the serious felonies for which he has been indicted as he insists he is, why delay the trial?

OK, we’re a long way from the start of the trial. There will be lots of “discovery” to be made. Lots of motions to consider. Chutkan, though, appears set to proceed with a trial that will begin one day prior to the Super Tuesday Republican Party presidential primary election in which several states will decide whom to nominate for POTUS.

Even more remarkable has been the statements from Fulton County (Ga.) District Attorney Fani Willis, who says she is ready to go to trial as early as October … in 2023, just a couple of months from today.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump for violating state law in seeking to overturn those election results. Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of the 19 defendants indicted by the panel, is seeking to move the state trial to federal court, claiming he was acting as an agent of the federal government when he was doing the then-president’s bidding. Good luck with that, chief.

To be honest, all this maneuvering in all four courts has me a bit befuddled. I just hope all the judges who are hearing these cases — in New York, Atlanta, in Florida and in DC — can keep everything straight.

However this all plays out, it is looking for all the world to me that Donald John Trump is a world of some serious hurt.

Impeachment inquiry … of what?

Congressional Republicans are getting ready to launch what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calls the next logical step toward an impeachment inquiry into President Biden’s conduct.

Which begs the question: What in the hell are they seeking to learn?

President Biden’s conduct as president, as VP and as a senator has been investigated beyond all that is reasonable. The man’s been at or near the political center stage almost from the day he assumed his Senate office in January 1973. That’s 50 years worth of digging and scratching for dirt on the guy.

Have they come up with anything? No! They haven’t!

Now he’s president of the United States and is running for re-election. The GOP is desperate to find something — anything! — they can hang round POTUS’s neck.

An impeachment inquiry is going to end up in the trash bin along with the other allegations of wrongdoing that have been the subject of social media chatter. However, it won’t stop the MAGA clowns who populate House committee chairs from continuing their futile search.

And so … much of the rest of the work that Congress must tend to will remain undone.