Don’t let the e-mail mystery build, Mr. FBI Director


The question of the moment — if you’re Hillary Rodham Clinton — is this: Do the recently uncovered e-mails contain damaging information or are they, well, harmless?

Clinton doesn’t know what FBI Director James Comey has uncovered.

Neither do the rest of us. Not me, or you, or Donald J. Trump — Clinton’s opponent in this race for the presidency of the United States.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped Trump from asserting — without a shred of proof, Clinton has committed a crime while using her personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

Comey, though, has fed the rumor-mongers among us to pre-suppose and pre-judge what’s in those supposedly “missing” e-mail messages.

And that brings me to the point I’ve made already, but which needs to be made once more.

Comey needs to release the details of those e-mails immediately — if not sooner.

Moreover, it now becomes apparent that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch — Comey’s boss — said the FBI director’s decision to announce some mysterious findings are not in keeping with Justice Department policy.

This e-mail¬†controversy — and it is not a “scandal” — has become (and pardon the sanitized version of this term) a big-league cluster-fudge.

It is of James Comey’s making. He needs to clean it up.

Come clean, now, on e-mail issue

FBI Director James Comey has told only part of an on-going story regarding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He has left the most important part of it out. Comey¬†very well might be¬†keeping secrets from the public. He needs — immediately! — to finish telling this tale.

Comey announced today that he has uncovered more e-mails that Clinton sent out on her personal server while she was secretary of state. Perhaps you’ve heard about these e-mails.

Comey then said they might amount to nothing, or they might be important.

Which is it, Mr. Director?

Eleven days before a presidential election, Comey has tossed a serious pile of goo into this contest.

Clinton happens to be correct to demand that he let the public know all the facts regarding the e-mails. No delay. No hanging cloud. No suspicion.

He has determined once already that he had no grounds to seek a criminal indictment. Now this?

Let’s clear the air. Now.

No thank you on wind turbines


SANDHILL COUNTRY, Neb. — They love their sandhills in northwest Nebraska.

They love them so much that one sees signs that read “Save the Sandhills” as you tool along U.S. Highway 83 northbound into South Dakota.

“I wonder from what or whom they’re wanting to save the sandhills,” I asked my wife.

Then it became evident.

We noticed another set of signs: “Say ‘no’ to wind turbines.”

There you have it. They don’t want no stinkin’ wind turbines polluting the landscape in Sandhill Country.

Interestingly, as we noticed campaign signs for all manner of political candidates on the eve of the election, we didn’t see evidence of a ballot measure calling for construction of wind turbines. I guess, therefore, that the good folks here are launching a pre-emptive strike against anyone who might want to install the big-bladed turbines that have become part of the landscape in, say, West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, the Oklahoma Panhandle and even parts of Kansas.

This more or less cuts to another question: Do the folks in northwest Nebraska — what few of them one can spot — not care about national energy policy, or about whether wind power could help us develop cleaner, safer, non-foreign sources of energy?

I’m guessing they do.

Just don’t put the big ol’ blades in their territory.

No way in the world I’m voting early


Some of my friends and family are boasting about having voted early for president of the United States.

Good for them.

It’s not for me.

You know my feelings about early voting. I hate doing it. I’ve done so before, but only because I was going to be “absent” on Election Day from my polling place.

This election has demonstrated in stark terms the risk one takes in voting early, especially if you’re a fan of that scoundrel aka the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.

Had you lived in one of those state that already had allowed early voting, you might have cast your vote for Trump — and then learned about that hideous “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump boasting about how he treats women.

Then again, even that might have rolled off your snout — as have so many other things that Trump has said and done while campaigning for the presidency.

My wife and I will be available to vote on Nov. 8. I’ll wait as long as I can on that day.


Do you speak Hindi?


GUTHRIE, Okla. — I need to brush up on my Hindi.

That’s surely a requirement if I ever return to a certain fueling station on the east side of Interstate 35.

We stopped for fuel. Given that my wife and I were hauling our 28-foot fifth wheel behind our big ol’ Dodge Ram truck, we needed lots of room.

The Valero station we spotted had plenty of it. We pulled the rig next to the pump.

Then it started.

The pump didn’t have a card-swipe or even a meter to read how much fuel we took or how much it would cost.

I went inside. A nice lady was at the cash register. I told her I needed to fill my truck with fuel. She looked, virtually clueless as to what I had just said. She said something in return. I didn’t understand a word she said.

She appeared to be of Indian or Pakistani origin. We exchanged a few more sentences, neither one of us knowing what the other was saying. She gave up and signaled a gentleman to come over.

He was of the same ethnic origin. We talked to each other. Our understanding of what the other said rivaled my first encounter.

He came outside and rigged the pump so that I could pump my fuel, which I did. I went inside to pay the man.

My point? It is this: English is the primary language in the U.S. of A. I am as liberated and progressive as anyone on the issue of immigration. I love immigrants. I welcome them. I do not believe it is necessary to make English the “official language” of this great nation.

My grandparents, all four of them, were immigrants. They learned how to speak the language that rolls off the tongues of most Americans. They weren’t exactly fluent, but they could converse in the language of their adopted home.

My wish is that when employers hire immigrants to work in service industries — such as at fueling stations — that they ensure that their employees can communicate effectively and efficiently¬†with their customers.

There. That’s out of my system.

Take care, Cubs fan(atic)s


I am perhaps a bit paranoid, but I’m going to express this concern anyway.

The Chicago Cubs are playing in their first World Series since 1945. They haven’t won the Fall Classic since 1908.

That’s 108 years since the City with Big Shoulders has had a chance to cheer. That means to me that Cubs fans have a lot of pent-up anxiety.

My concern is what might happen in Chicago if the Cubs manage to beat the Cleveland Indians — who haven’t won a World Series since 1948.

Chicago has developed a reputation in recent years as a rough-and-tough city. Lots of violent crime occurs there. Republicans are fond of blaming the city’s Democratic leadership — led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel — for the big uptick in crime violence in the Windy City.

So, what awaits the city if the Cubs win this thing?

About the worst possible outcome might be if the Indians were to win on a last-inning controversial call by a field umpire that costs the Cubs the victory.

Too many cities over the years have erupted into violence when their teams win, be it the Super Bowl, the NBA championship, the Stanley Cup … and the World Series.

Chicago fans have been waiting a long, long time for a chance to cheer the Cubs’ biggest victory.

I’m holding my breath. I am hoping for the best. If the Cubs win, then I hope the fans can celebrate … without someone getting killed!

Humans tinker with ballots, not machines


Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner has put the kibosh on a social media rumor about ballot integrity.

“There is nothing wrong with any of the machines we use for voting,‚ÄĚ Tanner said in¬†a statement. ‚ÄúThey do not flip your vote. They do not flip parties. Humans do that.”

At issue is a complaint filed by a voter in Randall County who said that after voting for a straight Republican ticket her ballot showed a vote for the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine Democratic ticket for president and vice president.

Tanner said it didn’t happen, apparently consulting with her colleagues in Randall County.

The maddening aspect of this episode is that it comes in the wake of repeated allegations by GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump about “rigged elections” at the precinct polling level. Quite naturally — and this is of zero surprise — Trump hasn’t provided a single snippet of evidence to back up his specious contention.

That hasn’t stopped — in my mind, at least — the Internet trolls from promoting such nonsense in the GOP-friendly Texas Panhandle.

I’m glad to hear Judge Tanner weighing in with her assertion that her county’s election system is working as promised.

Indeed, about the only way to suspect actual voter fraud would be if the Clinton-Kaine ticket actually won in Randall County.


Amarillo voters reporting, uh, fraud … seriously?


Well, wouldn’t you know it’s happening in this election cycle¬†— amid allegations from Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump about “rigged” elections.

An Amarillo radio station reports that at least two Amarillo voters are reporting incidents of “vote changing.”

As Popeye would say, “What a coinck-i-dinck.”

The issue reportedly occurred when voters hit the “straight Republican” option on their electronic ballots. They reported that their votes were recorded for the Clinton-Kaine presidential ticket. They supposedly asked election officials to correct the ballot, but that they couldn’t.

You’ll note on the link that there’s no reaction from Potter or Randall County election officials. Did it happen or didn’t it?

The radio station went with the story told it by the voters.

Hmmm. Imagine that this complaint would occur this year — for the first time since the introduction of the electronic balloting.

Whoever posted the item for the radio station’s link noted that it’s always wise to check your ballot if you vote for either party’s straight ticket.

Me? I hate straight-ticket voting. I prefer to make that call race by race, candidate by candidate, issue by issue.

But that’s just me.

Do I believe the stories being told in this first day of early voting?

No, not until I hear from the election officials in both counties who heretofore have operated first-cabin voting systems.

Sarah Palin: MIA


Here we are, 15 days from the presidential election and the question is burning in my gut …

Where on Earth is Sarah Palin?

You recall her, yes? The former half-term Alaska governor who long ago announced her support for fellow Republican Donald J. Trump. The former GOP vice-presidential nominee campaigned actively on behalf of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s primary opponent, who lost to the speaker by a million percentage points; she wanted to stick it to Ryan for his initial refusal to back Trump’s presidential campaign.

She’s disappeared from view.

Her Fox News gig has ended. Her reality TV show ended. Some of her children¬†have been in¬†“in the news” for less-than-flattering reasons.

Palin’s former 2008 running mate — U.S. Sen. John McCain — is in a tough re-election fight in Arizona. She hasn’t even campaigned for him, for crying out loud. Oh, wait! McCain has gotten into a terrible public spat with Palin’s pal Trump. OK, so that’s out.

In a perverse sort of way, I kind of miss listening to Sarah Barracuda making a fool of herself.

Oh well. This hideous campaign is nearly over.

Sarah, just know that at least one of us out here has missed you … more or less.

If you have to … do it, just don’t tell me


WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Drinking potty water isn’t exactly to my liking.

But that’s what they’re doing in this Wichita County community. They’re processing waste water and turning it into potable water … the stuff you can swill with allegedly no discernible after taste.

The officials in Wichita Falls swear by what they’re doing.

For one thing, it is reducing by a considerable amount the volume of fresh water the city’s 100,000 or so residents are consuming.

The city had to do it back when so much of Texas was enduring the punishing drought. They developed technology to turn — pardon the intentional pun — crappy water into fresh drinking water. It’s my understanding that the locals aren’t complaining about it.

Given that Wichita Falls has a limited supply of drinking water — with it all coming from surface-water reservoirs — the city felt it had no choice but to find a way to convert the waste water into the drinkable liquid.

When I first got wind of this initiative, I approached then-Amarillo City Manager Jarret Atkinson — a well-known expert on water development and conservation — and said the following:

If you have to develop this kind of technology for Amarillo, fine! Go for it! Just don’t tell me.