Biden plays into GOP attack strategy

What does one say about President Biden’s squirreling away of classified documents? Well, here’s what I have so far.

Joe Biden is playing directly into the Republicans’ strategy of attacking the president for anything at any time or for any political purpose.

It is particularly unsettling for those of us who continue to support Joe Biden to see this tempest erupt as Justice Department officials are examining a much-worse situation involving documents taken from the White House by Biden’s immediate presidential predecessor.

The Biden team is making a hash out of this story, giving their foes ammunition to fire at him. They are attempting to attach moral equivalence to the men’s actions. They aren’t remotely similar, other than they represent the presence of classified documents in unsecure places.

The White House communications outfit has to get a handle on this matter, in a major hurry. Any further bumbling by the White House “commo team” only heightens the political peril that Biden faces.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

On the road … safely

I am delighted to report that my bride and I drove 360 (or so) miles from Princeton, Texas to Amarillo.

Furthermore, I am even more delighted to report that there was nothing out of the ordinary occurring on that trek. Why gloat about that? Because my dear wife is recovering from brain surgery and I have been sharing the start of her journey back to good health with you on this blog.

Our son, who lives in Amarillo, is going to mark a landmark birthday very soon. We are thrilled to be able to help him celebrate.

Indeed, we had planned to make this trip even if her treatments for cancer had begun. The rehab doctor had all but insisted we make the trip even if her radiation and chemotherapy had begun. “She’ll get as much good from that trip as she would from the treatment,” he told us.

The treatment hasn’t yet commenced. It will begin soon … I hope.

She continues to show remarkable improvement in her strength, equilibrium and coordination as she continues to recover from the four-plus-hour procedure to remove a cancerous tumor.

We’ll enjoy our time with our son then skedaddle back to Collin County, where we will continue to prepare for the next leg on our journey.

She makes me so very proud.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Get a grip, Mr. POTUS!

My head is likely to explode the next time I hear anyone equate two cases of classified documents showing up in private residences of men who hold high public office.

Still, I am about to pull my hair out over the revelations that keep dripping out over the discovery of such documents in President Biden’s home.

Get a grip, will you, Mr. President?

Meanwhile, we have the document scandal that continues to swirl around Donald J. Trump. The ex-POTUS took those documents with him to Florida as he was leaving office in January 2021. Biden’s stash showed up at his home after he served as vice president, leaving that office in 2017.

Biden continues to insist he is cooperating with Justice Department officials … and I believe him; Trump, meanwhile, continues to stonewall as best he can.

Still, I just wish the current president would pull his sh** together and give us a full, complete and transparent explanation into how the hell those documents got into his garage.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Post-journalism ‘career’ did hit a bump

I have regaled readers of this blog with occasional tales of the triumphs I have scored since my daily journalism career came to an end more than a decade ago.

However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. I signed on to a job that didn’t go well, and I want to share that experience with you here.

The Randall County Youth Center of the High Plains hired me as a juvenile supervision officer in 2013. I lasted six months in that job.

The center is what we used to call “detention” or “reform school” in the old days. It’s for children who run afoul of the law. Some of them are in there because of dumbass mistakes. Others are in there because they’re, well, deeply troubled youngsters.

It’s a tension-filled job.

The JSOs are trained to do many things and they have many specific procedures they must follow. If a kid gets sick, you must administer medicine by the book … or else. JSOs must fill out reams of paperwork to chronicle every single incident that occurs on their watch.

I worked with some fine officers. Most of them treated me with respect, given that I was by far the oldest among them.

One guy, though, the second in command at the youth center, apparently opposed my hiring. He would bristle visibly when I entered a room. He didn’t like me. It might have been that I am a “media guy” and many in law enforcement distrust those who pursue my craft.

One night, a teenager was acting up; he was one of the older kids, around 17 years of age. I started to discipline him, by sending him to “time out.” The kid decided he wanted to fight me. He untucked his shirt and called me a series of obscenities.

I froze. I didn’t respond the way I was supposed to respond. I called for assistance. Other JSOs rushed in. One of them wrestled with the kid, seeking to restrain him. I stood over the kid and tried to talk him down. He yelled, “F*** you, old man!”

The kid was restrained. He was sent to isolation to cool off. My shift ended and I went home, but after being lectured by my supervisor.

Two days later, I got called into the No. 2 guy’s office. He read me the riot act … and then fired me. All I said was, “Well, so it’s one strike and I’m out, right?” Then I left. I figure the guy who didn’t want me there was looking for a reason to fire me — and I gave it to him.

As I look back on that gig, I am grateful that he canned me. Every aspect of life teaches us lessons. I learned from that experience that am not cut out for the task for which I had been hired. It takes a special person to do that kind of work; I am not one of ’em. For one thing, I was too old to be fighting a strapping teenager; hey, I didn’t want to get my butt kicked … you know?

I hope my former colleagues are well and have retained their sanity. As for the kid who wanted to fight me that night … I hope he’s still among us and has grown into a productive adult.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

MAGA cult = political arsonists

The MAGA cult that has seized control of the Republican agenda in the U.S. House should really think long and so very hard about what it intends to do regarding the national debt.

The right-wing cabal within the GOP caucus wants to insist on spending cuts if the government seeks to increase its debt ceiling. What the right-wingers seemingly want is to cut Social Security and Medicare.

If they do not get their way and the nation defaults on its debts — for the first time in U.S. history — then all hell (and then some!) is going to break loose.

Americans’ retirement accounts well could vanish. Investors will bail out of the stock market en masse, driving stock portfolios into the dumper. The economy will collapse.

The national debt ceiling must be increased. Period, full stop and all that crap! Yet the MAGA crowd is insisting on something that’s never been considered, let alone been done … which is to cut spending as a tradeoff for doing what should be a routine matter.

Our nation’s founders enshrined our “full faith and credit” into Article IV of the Constitution, declaring that it must be honored — or else! The cultists who strong-armed concessions from Kevin McCarthy in exchange for their votes to make him speaker of the House, are ignorant of the founders’ intent. Then again, they’re ignorant about how to govern.

That is not dissuading them from making demands that are unreasonable, immoral and perhaps even unconstitutional.

They are hellbent on torching our system of government.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Why the interest in the liar?

Why are so many Americans continuing to be interested in the happenings of U.S. Rep. George Santos, the individual who lied his way into public office?

By all rights, it shouldn’t really matter how a piss ante politician from New York got elected. I, for instance, live far away from the Republican’s district.

But … it does matter! Why? Because this fraud is now able to propose and vote on laws that have a direct impact on you and me, regardless of whether we are his constituents.

The dude has become a laughingstock. He is the subject of hilarious social media memes and late-night comedians’ jokes. Santos lied about damn near every aspect of his professional, educational and personal life. No one on this good Earth can believe a single word that flies out of the liar’s mouth.

That’s just part of it. Now comes word that he is under investigation for defrauding charities, stealing money from GoFundMe accounts.

How does this guy govern, even if he is just one of 435 members of the House of Representatives? The answer: He cannot!

Republicans are turning on him, which is good. Democrats, for their part, cannot take this idiot seriously at any level.

He will continue to be a major-league distraction every minute he sits in Congress, drawing his six-figure salary and making policy statements that impact our lives.

Therein lies the reason for the interest in this moronic liar.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Team is ready for fight

My wife’s medical challenge is being met with a stellar team of doctors and I want to sing their praises in this brief post.

You know about the tumor the surgeon dug out of her brain two days after Christmas. It was cancerous. He sent the tissue sample off to be tested, then it went to the Mayo Clinic — yes, that Mayor Clinic — for further analysis; we have yet to hear back from the brainiacs in Rochester, Minn.

But we now have a team of oncologists assembled here in North Texas and they assure us they are ready to wage all-out war against the tumor that remains inside her brain.

We have a medical oncologist who will administer the chemotherapy treatment, which will come in pill form. Then there is the radiation oncologist who will develop the strategy to burn the daylights out of what’s left of the tumor. We also have a neuro-oncologist who will oversee the chemo and radiation treatments.

The past few days have been hectic as we have visited doctors throughout McKinney and Plano. To be brutally honest, my head at times feels as though it will explode. We are seeking to process a lot of information as we await the final pathology report on the tissue being analyzed.

Then the radiation will commence simultaneously with the chemo pills my bride will consume daily.

There will be more MRIs, CAT scans and seemingly countless other tests to take along the way. I’ll be candid about one more point: My lovely bride is as ready to commence this fight as the team of docs that is surrounding her.

I have never been as proud of her over the course of our nearly 52 years together as I am at this moment.

She is ready for the fight.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas GOP turns on one of its own

The late Texas state Sen. Teel Bivins of Amarillo once lamented how Republicans have this way of “eating their own.”

I didn’t quite understand what he meant when he said that to me. Now I am beginning to get it.

The Texas Republican Party has sanctioned a radio ad lambasting GOP Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan for continuing a longstanding Texas legislative tradition, which is to appoint legislators of the minority party to committee chairmanships.

What the hell?

Phelan is a Beaumont Republican serving his second term as the Man of the Texas House. Is he doing something radical? Something so completely out of the ordinary? Is he capitulating to those dreaded Democrats on policy? No, no and hell no!

He is doing what speakers of both parties have done for a lot longer than any of the whippersnappers who oppose this concept have been alive.

The Texas Tribune reports: In the minute-long ad, a narrator says the speaker is “teaming up with Democrats to kill our Republican priorities.” 

What in the name of good government is that narrator talking about?

I spoke this week with one of the GOP insurgents, state Rep. Bryan Slaton of Royse City, about his vote against Phelan’s bid to retain the speakership. He said Phelan is rewarding Democrats unduly with legislative power they didn’t earn at the ballot box. Slaton is one of the fiery members of the Texas Freedom Caucus who seemingly doesn’t understand the longstanding Texas political culture.

Republican Gov. George W. Bush forged a tremendous relationship with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and Democratic House Speaker Pete Laney when he took office in January 1995. Their cooperation with the governor continued a hallowed Texas tradition of good-government compromise between the parties. Laney made sure to appoint Republican legislators to committee chairs, as did his GOP successors appoint Democrats to chairmanships.

The current GOP caucus seemingly wants to change all that. Many of them believe Democrats should be ostracized. Not all of them share that view, according to the Texas Tribune, which reported:

Texas GOP launches radio attack ads against Republican state House speaker | The Texas Tribune

That takes me back to an earlier point, which is that Phelan isn’t a closet progressive masquerading as a conservative Republican.

The Texas Republican Party has lost its mind.

Wherever he is, Teel Bivins is laughing out loud.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Culture war is brewing?

Well now, might there be a culture war brewing in the school district where my wife and I reside and where we pay taxes?

If it erupts into what I fear, then we are heading for some mighty rough times in a growing public education system.

The Princeton (Texas) Independent School District board met last night to discuss whether to prohibit all outside groups from using school venues for activities not related to the school system. The board voted unanimously, as I understand it, to refer the matter to legal counsel for guidance.

The catalyst for this discussion appears to be a request from a local gay group to stage an LGBT Pride event this summer at Princeton High School. So, what did the school do in reaction? It came up with a notion to ban all outside groups from using school facilities.

Princeton ISD school board considers not letting public rent facilities (yahoo.com)

Hmm. Let’s ponder that for a brief moment. If the school board opposes using the high school to play host to an LGBT event, why does it want to punish, say, the local Scout organization, or a 4-H club, or even a veterans’ group by denying them use of the school system’s venues?

Is that fair? Doesn’t it punish all taxpayers who, after all, finance these structures with their hard-earned income?

To be clear, I don’t have any children enrolled in Princeton ISD. So, by all rights, my voice is muted a bit. However, our property taxes do pay for these facilities. Therefore, I have some proverbial “skin in the game.”

Oh, brother. Princeton ISD needs to tread very carefully around this matter. I am one red-blooded, patriotic American taxpayer who does not want to see my school district torn apart by a culture war.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Her independent streak is alive and well!

Pssst … I want to let you in on a little secret, so here goes.

The therapists at Medical City/McKinney (Texas) Hospital prepared me thoroughly to be at my wife’s side every step on her recovery from brain surgery. She came home early this week, and I was ready, willing and oh, so very able to be there as she took her baby steps back to full speed.

The secret? She doesn’t need me to be there to the extent the therapists had prepared me.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I still flinch and get the nervous jerks when she gets up to walk from one room to another in our house. She insists that she’s doing just fine. I believe her. I do not, though, want to get complacent about it … you know?

The surgery that the doctor performed to remove part of a cancerous tumor was successful in this important regard: It restored her balance and her ability to walk without the constant fear of falling. It was the series of falls she took that prompted our son and daughter-in-law to insist that she visit the hospital ER the day after Christmas.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Now the rest of the journey is about to begin. We are seeing doctors and are getting a full rundown of what lies ahead for my bride.

She fancies herself as an independent sort, and she is all of that. What I am learning in real time is that not even the kind of surgery she endured will change that aspect of her character.

She is truly amazing.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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