Summer might be as nasty as winter

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Goodness, I wasn’t ready to hear about this predicament from the folks who manage our electric grid.

Our summer might be as miserable as the winter we endured in North Texas and throughout the rest of the state. That is, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — our electrical grid managers — might suffer more power outages on the scale of what occurred when the snow and ice ravaged us.

Hmm. How “reliable” is that? Not very.

The Texas Tribune reports: “This summer, I am as worried right now [about the grid] as I was coming into this winter,” said Curt Morgan, CEO of Vistra Corp., an Irving-based power company. “Sounds like I’m the boy that cries wolf, but I’m not. I’ve seen this stuff repeat itself. We can have the same event happen if we don’t fix this.”

More from the Tribune: As state lawmakers continue debating how to improve the grid after February’s storm nearly caused its collapse, on Tuesday Texans were asked to conserve electricity because the supply of power could barely keep up with demand. A significant chunk of the grid’s power plants were offline due to maintenance this week, some a result of damage from the winter storm.

ERCOT messed up royally in February with the way it shut down power supply while temperatures hovered at zero or below. Millions of us lost power and water. It’s not as though Texas is a total stranger to this kind of winter savagery. Still, power plants froze; they weren’t properly winterized. Natural gas lines were rendered inoperable.

Texas could face ERCOT power crisis, blackouts during extreme summer heat | The Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature is meeting at this moment seeking to strengthen the grid. Its regular session ends on May 31. Legislators will need to return in special session if they don’t have a grid repair strategy on the books. They had better prepare for a long and tiring summer of work on our behalf if they can’t get it done when they gavel the regular session adjourned.

It looks as though whatever the Legislature comes with must include a plan to deal with our long, hot summer.

ERCOT’s warning about potential power outages brought about expressions of anger across the state, the Tribune reported: The warning triggered a torrent of outrage from residents and political leaders across the state who questioned why the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the grid, allowed it to come so close to emergency conditions on a relatively mild spring day. “I appreciate the increased effort toward transparency, but wow this is nervewracking to see in April,” state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, tweeted Tuesday.

C’mon, ERCOT. None of us wants to see a repeat while we are sweltering of what happened when we were freezing.

This POTUS listens to experts

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump famously told us that he “watched the shows” to learn about threats to national security and that he didn’t need to be bored to sleep with endless recitations of what he already knew.

Along came Joe Biden to succeed Trump as president of the United States. The latest president has reverted to the traditional script: The National Security Council prepares the “daily presidential brief” and presents it daily to the commander in chief, who then reads it and listens — apparently with keen interest — at what they have to say about this and that threat.

This is one of the many returns to “normal” presidential behavior that I have welcomed while watching President Biden handle the affairs of state.

Whereas the 45th president spent his entire adult life barking orders and never seeming to take advice from anyone, the 46th president has been schooled in the nuance and complexity of government. He spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president of the United States. All along the way, Joe Biden sought to play by rules written by all the men and women who preceded him.

Is he the perfect politician? Will he be immune from mistakes that all human beings make? No and no! However, it looks for all the world to me that President Joe Biden will be able to own his mistakes when he makes them. That, too, is a welcome restoration of what has become “normal” in the U.S. presidency.

Home rule charter anyone?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My wife and I love the city where we chose to settle in Collin County.

Princeton, Texas, is a rapidly growing community that appears to have great things in store for it. However, it needs to accomplish something that most cities its size have done: It needs a home-rule charter to govern its affairs.

It appears the City Council might be on its way toward making its fifth — yes, its fifth — try to persuade voters that home rule is better than being governed by the dictates of the state.

Now if I were to advise the city, I would make sure that it tells voters one key point above all others, given that this point apparently sunk previous attempts at approving a home rule charter. It would be that the Texas Legislature made sure that the city cannot annex property without the property owners’ consent.

Annexation appears to have been the deal breaker in previous attempts at approving a home rule charter. Some residents — led by a gentleman who doesn’t live within the city limits — got scared away from approving the charter over fear that the city could just grab their land and pull it inside its corporate limits. The 2017 Legislature wrote a law that prohibits such ham-handed annexation. It said cities need to ask permission. If they don’t get it, cities cannot annex the land.

Princeton’s population, which was recorded at 6,807 after the 2010 Census, will at least double when they count heads effective with the 2020 Census. That would make Princeton the largest city in Texas without a home rule charter, according to a story in the Princeton Herald.

We hear it said that “local control is best.” I believe that to be true. So, when someone espouses “local control” of municipal affairs, the city needs to govern itself, not allow it to be governed by “general law” set by the state.

The Princeton Herald reported this week that the council has decided to appoint a charter commission that will draft a proposed home rule charter, discuss it openly and publicly, then ask the City Council to refer it to voters. State law prohibits the city from campaigning actively in favor of any political issue. However, a citizens committee can carry that water for the city.

It’s time, folks. Great things await if Princeton’s residents are willing to take command of their city’s future.

Fauci hits back at blowhard

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s one thing to be hectored by a peer, a fellow expert who has a different opinion on matters with which you both are experts.

It’s quite another to be badgered by a bloviating blowhard whose only apparent mission in life is to make an ass of himself.

So it was when U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio decided to wield the hammer on Dr. Anthony Fauci. What does Jordan know about infection disease, or the treatments of them, or how to protect ourselves against its potentially lethal effects? Nothing!

There he was at a House committee yapping and yammering at Fauci, refusing to give the nation’s most respected infectious disease expert a chance to answer. They argued over whether mask-wearing violates Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Fauci finally had heard enough and accused Jordan of making it all “personal,” to which Jordan said he wasn’t, to which Fauci said he most certainly was personalizing the matter.

Dr. Fauci Hits Back At Jim Jordan: ‘We’re Talking About a Pandemic that Has Killed 560,000 Americans’ (msn.com)

I am one American patriot who is going to stand with Dr. Fauci over the partisan nonsense that flies out of certain politicians’ pie holes. Jim Jordan has “distinguished” himself only in demonstrating his boorishness in ways that sicken me.

Biden to scold Putin?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The days of Vladimir Putin getting a pass from the president of the United States appear to be over.

That said, I would pay real American money if I could become a “fly on the wall” in the room where President Biden and the Russian strongman/spook/tyrant/dictator hold their first summit … when it occurs.

They don’t have one scheduled yet, but the wheels are turning to get the two men together to talk about, oh, differences over policy.

Putin got all snuggly with Donald Trump during Trump’s four years in the White House. He interfered in two of our elections, Trump said nothing. Putin reportedly paid Taliban terrorists bounties for every American they killed on the Afghan fields of battle, but again Trump said not a word. He has sought to subvert Ukraine in an ongoing war with the former Soviet republic, but Trump kept quiet about that, too.

Joe Biden wants to look into Putin’s flinty eyes and and give him the what-for, to which I say, “You go, Joe!”

If only I could eavesdrop. Dang!

‘Endless war’ sees an end

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

An astonishing thought occurred to me today as I listened to President Biden’s announcement that he is ordering our troops home from Afghanistan.

Are you sitting down for this? Joe Biden is invoking a policy that mirrors one espoused by Donald John Trump!

Recall that Trump bellowed during the 2020 campaign, and before, about he wanted to cease getting this country involved in “endless wars.” Well, his successor has followed that course. President Biden today announced our final contingent of troops will be out of Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11.

So, this thought also occurs to me: Will there be a statement endorsing this policy decision announced by Joe Biden coming from his immediate predecessor?

I know. You’re laughing out loud! In a way, I am snickering under my breath as I type these words. Hell, how can Trump endorse anything that President Biden does without ever even acknowledging that he was elected to the nation’s highest office?

We might just have seen the weirdest joining of strange political bedfellows in memory.

Good riddance, Bernie Madoff

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

You know how it goes … that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.

Hmm. Bernie Madoff is dead. He was 82 years of age. Madoff was the perpetrator of one of the world’s most notorious Ponzi schemes. He bilked Americans out of billions of dollars.

Madoff got caught. He was sent to prison. That’s where he died.

What, then, does one say about this truly nasty individual if we are going to avoid speaking ill of the dead?

Not a damn thing.

Declaring victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President George W. Bush responded with strength and resolve nearly 20 years ago when terrorists declared war on this country.

He ordered the military into Afghanistan  to overthrow the government that had given the monsters safe haven. The war against international terror had begun.

I said at the time that I wondered how in the world we could declare victory. How could we ever know when we have defeated this enemy? I likened it a bit to the semi-cavalier approach espoused by the late, great Republican U.S. Sen. George Aiken of Vermont who said during the Vietnam War that we should “just declare victory and go home.”

President Biden has in a sense declared victory against the terrorists. He is bringing home the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, the 20th year since the beginning of the longest war in U.S. history.

We didn’t start this conflict, but today Biden declared that we are about to finish this particular phase of it.

My fervent hope is that we remain on the highest alert possible for any future evil intent. I heard the president say that it is time for us to look forward, that the terrorist movement has “metastasized” and moved into many other areas of the world. It is time, he said, for us to focus our efforts beyond the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden is not wild-eyed. He does not strike me as being prone to making decisions based on hunches and gut feelings. The president is a studied creature of the government he now leads.

I do hope with all that I can muster that he can remove the relative handful of troops from the field of battle while ensuring that we can remain focused sharply on danger when it presents itself. That we can take a proactive posture against threats to our nation.

We do possess the nation’s strongest military apparatus. A first-rate intelligence service complements that force with seasoned and dedicated professionals. We also have a commander in chief who listens and acts on the advice and counsel he receives from the pros who are trained to deliver it.

Can we truly declare victory on the Afghan killing fields? I hope that is the case.

Biden: Bring troops home

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.

The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”

Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.

Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.

I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.

I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.

I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.

Take the offer, Mr. POTUS

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Joe Biden has received an offer he cannot in good conscience refuse.

It came from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has invited Biden to speak to a joint session of Congress on April 28. Accept the invitation, Mr. President.

The speech won’t be a State of the Union address, per se. It would give the president a chance to speak to the nation all at once, seeking to lay out his legislative agenda and to keep a pledge he made to tell us “Help is On the Way.”

And it is.

The president has scored one key legislative triumph in the form of the COVID-19 relief bill. He wants more victories that he says will benefit Americans.

The Hill reported: “Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Pelosi wrote in a letter inviting Biden to address both chambers.

“In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi added.

Pelosi invites Biden to address Congress on April 28 | TheHill

Joe Biden has a full plate of “challenges and opportunities” as he seizes control of our government’s executive branch.

My fervent hope is that he accepts the offer, agrees to speak to us directly, candidly and honestly. We keep hearing about the progress we are making in eliminating the pandemic. We see job creation accelerating after the battering our economy took in 2020 when the pandemic shut the nation down.

There’s more to do, to be sure.

Talk to us, Mr. President. Say “yes” to the speaker’s offer.

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