The dentist didn’t ‘take’ a lion

Jimmy Kimmel’s soliloquy about the death of Cecil the Lion is actually quite moving.

He blasts the Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer,¬†for shooting the beloved beast in Zimbabwe. Palmer said he didn’t know he was hunting an animal of Cecil’s stature. The lion was known throughout southern Africa as a tourist attraction. He was 13 years old and was wearing a GPS tracking device in a collar round his neck.

Palmer’s guides used a dead animal to bait the lion. They dragged the bait across a stretch of land to lure Cecil out of the park where he lived — and where hunting is prohibited. Once they got Cecil to follow the bait into hunting territory, Palmer shot Cecil with a crossbow. Cecil didn’t die right away.¬†Palmer and his guides had to track him down. They found Cecil, shot him with a gun, skinned him and took his head.

My favorite part, though, of Kimmel’s rant, dealt with Palmer’s statement, in which he said he didn’t know about Cecil’s status when he “took” the lion.

“You take an aspirin,” Kimmel said, wondering why Palmer didn’t say he simply “killed” the beloved beast.

This story is going to percolate for a while. As for Palmer, he’s in hiding. He’s shut down his dental practice.

Hoping that Mullah Omar is burning in hell

Can it be true?

Mullah Omar, the Taliban terrorist leader who harbored Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda thugs, is dead? Afghanistan officials say he’s a goner. U.S. officials aren’t confirming it — yet.–abc-news-topstories.html#

There’s no word yet on the possible cause of death.

As good as the news might turn out to be, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As we’ve known for some time since bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA commandos, one man’s death doesn’t mean the end of the fight against the organization he once led.

Make no mistake, though. Mullah Omar is — or was — a seriously bad actor.

The State Department had put a $10 million bounty on Mullah Omar’s head for information leading his capture.

Let’s all hope we can confirm this animal’s death so we can move on to getting rid of the individual who likely will emerge to take his place.

And, yes, even though the State Department declines to refer to the Taliban as a “terrorist organization,” the rest of the world knows better.

Huck stands by his fiery rhetoric … shocking!

Mike Huckabee could have used all kinds of strong language to condemn the nuclear arms deal hammered out by the United States and five world powers that seek to prevent Iran from developing an atomic bomb.

He didn’t. He instead decided to go all the way. He drew a direct comparison between President Barack Obama and the Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler.

Huckabee, one of the herd of Republicans running for president, said the nuclear deal will walk Israel “to the door of the oven.”

It was a direct reference to the Holocaust, the most heinous of the many heinous deeds authorized by Hitler.

Did Huckabee back down? Oh, no. He went full throttle forward. He stands by his use of that hideous language.

Huckabee chose instead to offer up a sound bite that will stand for a lot longer than the usual stuff that pours out of candidates’ mouths at election time.

This is what we can expect. Offensive sound bites.

It has worked for Donald Trump, yes? Well, Huck thinks it can work for him, too.

Convention expert says: Your downtown plan won’t work

I’ve got to hand it to those who are seeking to promote a comprehensive effort to rebuild, remake and revive downtown Amarillo.

They are unafraid to hear contrary views.

They got quite a few of them Monday night when Heywood Sanders came to Amarillo to speak to them about plans to build a convention hotel downtown. Sanders, an expert on these matters, said it’s a waste of time, money and effort.

Sanders spoke to the City Council, Downtown Amarillo Inc., and the Local Government Corporation. Two of those three entities have serious designs on pressing forward; the council, with its new majority, has been thrown into the “undecided” category, at least for now.

I believe it’s fair to pose a couple of thoughts about Professor Sanders’ visit.

One deals with how deeply he looked into the specifics of what’s being proposed for Amarillo. Was he relying chiefly on his extensive research into the general notion of convention centers. He’s written a book, “Convention Center Follies,” which I understand debunks the notion that convention hotels boost communities’ economy.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this visit centers on the organization that invited Professor Sanders. It came from the TEA Party Patriots of Amarillo. Readers of this blog know that I like to capitalize “TEA” as in TEA Party, because the letters comprise an acronym that stands for “taxed enough already.”

The TEA Party branches throughout the nation tend to stand strongly opposed to government-initiated or sponsored projects.

The three-pronged downtown project — the multipurpose event venue, the downtown hotel and the parking garage — is being billed as a private-enterprise endeavor. However, the government is involved, as the Amarillo EDC is providing incentives and the city intends to use hotel-motel tax to help maintain the MPEV and the downtown Embassy Suites hotel that’s being proposed.

Did the TEA Party hosts look for someone who’d back up their anti-government agenda?

I did not attend the meeting Monday night, so I won’t critique the specifics of what Professor Sanders said.

Still, it was instructive to hear from someone with knowledge of these things. I’m glad the various pro-downtown project principals were willing to hear what he had to say.

“Four more years!” for Obama?

There can be no doubt about this: Barack Obama’s critics went ballistic when the president said he could win a third term in the White House if he had the chance to seek it.

He reminded his hosts in Ethiopia today that the U.S. Constitution prohibits him from seeking another term. But then he said he’s been a “good president” and well might win in 2016.

Ah, yes. And he’d say anything about it if he thought he’d lose? Hardly.

The 22nd Amendment was enacted in 1947, spearheaded by a Republican congressional majority that was alarmed by the four elections won by Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They feared an “imperial presidency.” An earlier Democrat, Grover Cleveland, sought the office over the course of three consecutive elections, but lost his bid for re-election to a second consecutive term in 1888; he would come back four years later and be elected to a second term.

I am not at all thrilled about the term-limits provision for presidents, although I understand that the stress of the office has persuaded almost all the men who’ve held the office to bow out after a second term.

Still, Barack Obama isn’t the only recent president to look wistfully at the possibility of a third term.

Republican President Ronald Reagan said as much as his second term came to an end in January 1989. Twelve years after that, Democratic President Bill Clinton also mused aloud over whether he could win a third term.

I don’t recall President George W. Bush ever broaching the subject in public, given that the economy was collapsing when he left office in January 2009.

Whatever the motive for bringing it up this time, President Obama well might have been talking way past his audience in Africa and sticking it in the ear of his foes back home.

I’m quite sure they heard him … loud and clear.

Dentist in trouble over poaching allegation


I’ll admit¬†that I hadn’t heard of Cecil the Lion … until today.

That’s when I learned of the beast’s death, allegedly at the hands of an American dentist known for hunting big game in Africa.

Well, this was no ordinary hunt — allegedly!

Cecil was known throughout southern Africa. He was beloved by the people of Zimbabwe. He was a rare black-mane lion.

Cecil is now dead. Dr. Walter Palmer is facing possible charges of poaching.

Look, I’m not a hunter, although I’ve gone on a couple of hunting excursions in my life. I once went looking for black bear in the Olympic Mountains of Washington state. We didn’t find any, although I did spot a cougar running through the rain forest.

Dr. Palmer has been charged with doing something quite reprehensible. He has been accused of luring Cecil out of his protected area into a neighboring tract. He was baited with a carcass and then allegedly shot with a cross bow. But the arrow didn’t kill him. Palmer and his guides allegedly then looked for hours to find the wounded animal; they reportedly¬†killed, skinned¬†and beheaded the great beast.

This story makes me sick.

Palmer supposedly paid $50,000 for the hunt, which I reckon came from a whole lot of root canals, bridge work and tooth extractions back in Minnesota, where the dentist has his practice.

Palmer said he didn’t realize he shot a beloved animal and that he followed normal hunting procedures.

If this man is guilty, he deserves the maximum punishment that Zimbabwe law allows.

I’m not saying he deserves the same fate that Cecil met, but I feel strangely compelled to point out¬†that several African governments have enacted strict punishment for those caught poaching wildlife. They have ordered park rangers to shoot poachers on sight.

Yes, they take this crime seriously.

Texas AG faces possible indictment

This one seems cut-and-dried, but it’s probably not going to be determined that way.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has actually admitted to securities fraud. He was elected anyway in 2014 as the state’s top lawyer, its chief litigator. He should be above reproach. Isn’t that correct?

He’ll be investigated by a Collin County grand jury, which will get evidence presented by the Texas Rangers, the elite investigative arm of the Department of Public Safety.


The Republican attorney general admits to soliciting investment clients for a friend without notifying the state in accordance with state law.

So, is Paxton guilty as charged?

Let’s walk back a few years to around 1998.

President Bill Clinton took an oath to tell the truth while testifying before a federal grand jury. The panel asked the president some questions relating to his relationship with a young White House intern. The president didn’t tell the truth about that relationship.

What did the House of Representatives do? It impeached President Clinton.

Ostensibly, the impeachment really wasn’t about the inappropriate affair with the intern. It was about whether the president followed the law. The House said his lying to the grand jury constituted an impeachable offense.

The Senate, though, acquitted the president of the counts brought against him.

So, when a state constitutional officer — the attorney general — admits to breaking state securities law, does that constitute an indictable offense?

Cut … and … dried. Maybe.

Brady’s cover-up bites him in backside

Didn’t we all learn from the Watergate scandal that the cover-up almost always is worse than the crime?

Then again, the principal involved in a boiling sports controversy wasn’t even born yet when the Watergate scandal took down the president of the United States and sent several high-ranking government officials to prison.

Still, didn’t New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hear of such a thing when he was in high school or attending the University of Michigan?

Brady’s four-game suspension in this year’s upcoming NFL football season will stand. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had imposed it in the wake of the now-famed Deflate-gate controversy. Brady then appealed the suspension to, strange as it seems, to the same man who imposed it. Goodell decided to let the suspension stand.

And why is that? Well, it turns out that Brady destroyed the cell phone that contained text messages that supposedly implicated the QB in the issue of whether he knew anything about the deflated footballs used in the Patriots’ game in which they clobbered the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game this past year.

Good grief, man. All he had to do was turn over the cell phone. He didn’t do it, apparently knowing that he had done something wrong.

My strong hunch is that his destruction of the cell phone infuriated Goodell so much that he dared not lighten the suspension.

The cover-up, Tom, did you in.

This story likely isn’t over. The¬†NFL players union will appeal the suspension.

They’d better hurry. The season starts in just a few weeks.

Candidates looking like horses

horse race

Democrats’ symbol is the donkey.

Republicans’ is the elephant.

Both beasts are looking more like horses, especially as pundits discuss the upcoming 2016 presidential political campaign.

Since most of the chatter is on the GOP side, let’s focus on that one.

How much do we really know about all 16 people who are seeking the Republican nomination? My hunch is not much … at all, if anything. No, we’ve been hearing a lot about polls. Who’s up? Who’s down? Who’s on the move — up or down? What happened to the formerly formidable candidates? How can they get themselves back up again?

Horse-race politics is back with a vengeance.

We keep hearing about it and about how much of a negative influence it has on the nature of the campaign to become leader of the Free World, commander in chief of the greatest military in world history, chief executive of the federal government — all that stuff.

We get fixated on the leaders. Can they keep their lead?

Then we zero in on the statements they make in order to become one of the leaders. That’s been at the top of the discussion list of late. I admit to joining that pack. I’m not proud of it. I’ll try to mend my ways.

But the commentary today must focus on why the media keep covering these campaigns as if they’re races to the finish line.

I’ll blame two of the major news networks for feeding the 2016 version of this frenzy. Fox and CNN are going to be hosts for the first two GOP joint appearances. They set down some ground rules that include poll-driven data: Only the top dogs are allowed.

Don’t all the candidates deserve to be heard? Don’t all of them have something of value to say? Aren’t the media obligated to give them all a chance to state their case before as many people as possible?

Isn’t that what our political system is supposed to foster, a free exchange among all the individuals running for the most important political office in the land — if not on the planet?

That’s not happening. We’re focusing instead on the horse race, which has been the norm of political coverage perhaps since the advent of television as a major information source.

I want to hear more from and about the candidates and how each of them intends to fight the war against terror, keep the country’s economy moving forward … you know, the stuff that matters.

The sound bites that seek to elevate candidates’ polling standing? The analysis from the talking heads about whether so-and-so will be in the debate based on his or her polling?

Honestly, I find it boring to the max.

I might need to take a vow to ignore the polls and concentrate on the policy statements. I now will ponder precisely that. I’ll get back to you.





Rodman endorses Trump; the race is over!

Dennis Rodman has endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States.

That seals it! The contest is now officially over!

The cross-dressing former pro basketball star who once called Kim Jong Un — the North Korean fruitcake/nutcase/dictator — a “friend” of his, has now backed The Donald.

See? I told you this could be the most fun presidential campaign in the history of The Republic.

It looks as though it’s coming true.