Tag Archives: COVID

U.S. still stands in dubious infamy

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The worldwide death count from the COVID-19 virus has surpassed 3 million human beings.

Of that total, more than 560,000 deaths have been among Americans.

OK, so what? Here’s what.

The United States comprises less than 5 percent of the world population of 7 billion people. However, our COVID-19 death count totals more than 20 percent of the worldwide total.

Five percent vs. 20 percent.

Hmm. What do we make of that? I’ll offer this brief bit of spewage/wisdom. The United States failed to respond in a timely manner during the pandemic’s early stages. Our president at the time, Donald Trump, did not sound the alarm. He lied to us about the severity of the pandemic and he withheld what he knew about what would happen, that the virus would spread and would become a worldwide threat to human health and well-being.

Trump got beat in the 2020 election. President Joe Biden is calling for a ramped-up effort to fight the disease. Vaccines have been approved and humans are being vaccinated at an accelerating pace.

However, dammit to hell anyway! We never should have been subjected to this level of misery and pain. If only we had been quicker on the trigger in this fight against a killer.

Waters is right: Shut your mouth, Jim Jordan

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me Almighty God in Heaven … I want to slap Jim Jordan bald-headed.

The Republican congressman/blowhard from Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District took it upon himself this week to scold, badger, hector and seek to intimidate the nation’s pre-eminent infectious disease doctor.

Jordan decided that he knows more about the nature of the COVID pandemic than Dr. Anthony Fauci. All he did, though, was demonstrate that he is a cheap, craven, loudmouthed political hack who — on matters of public health — can’t find his a** with both hands.

He bellowed and blustered over Dr. Fauci’s efforts to answer when the nation might be able to return to some semblance of normal living. Along the way, he felt the need to remind Fauci that he is elected by his congressional district constituents to represent their interests, while Fauci isn’t elected to anything.

Brilliant, Rep. Jordan.

You ought to take a few minutes to watch it here. It’s a hoot! Only you won’t want to laugh.

Rep. Jim Jordan yells at Dr. Fauci during heated exchange – Bing video

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters was right to tell Jordan to “shut his mouth.” Then again, the more he blathers the more revealing he becomes to those of us who detest his conduct.

Masks are … everywhere!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As long as we’re still politicizing the issue of mask-wearing and keeping our distance from each other, I feel the need to offer a good word about what I am seeing in my neighborhood.

Look, I live in a conservative, Republican-leaning county in North Texas. They make jokes about our part of the nation, about how Texans don’t like being dictated to by the federal government.

OK, as long as we’re clear about that, I want to say that I continue to be pleasantly surprised/impressed that so many folks I see in the city of Princeton where I live still wearing their masks, still observing social distancing, still doing the things that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us to do to avoid getting sickened — or killed — by the COVID-19 virus.

Yep, I see it when I venture out among the masses. At the grocery store. At the convenience store. When I fill my truck with fuel. When I stop for an occasional egg roll at the truck stop west of us on the highway toward McKinney.

I find myself wondering what in the world happened to that myth that Texans bristle at government mandates. Perhaps it’s because it is a myth. That it doesn’t really exist. That we’re just as concerned as other Americans that the danger of the virus is real and that we need to do what we can to protect ourselves.

Imagine that, eh?

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.

Politics: the ‘other contagion’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This must be said: The killer coronavirus isn’t the only disease that needs Americans’ attention.

We need to focus to a certain extent on what I consider to be the “other contagion” sweeping through the nation. That is the political battle that just won’t subside over the preventative measures we must take.

This needless and frankly stupid fight had its beginning during the final full year of Donald Trump’s term as president. It arose when Trump downplayed the severity of the illness that had sickened us. He hurled racial epithets at the disease, making reference to its alleged origin in China. He told us the virus would disappear when the temperatures rose in the spring and summer of 2020.

Trump poked fun at political foes, such as Joe Biden, who chose to wear a mask. He didn’t speak to us in terms that defined the COVID-19 virus what it turned out to be: a relentless and highly efficient killer.

Those Trumpkins followed their band director’s lead. We have become infected as well by the politics of what for the life of me I cannot grasp should never have devolved to that level.

Trump said he would adopt a “wartime” footing, only to denigrate the scientists who advised him of the dangers that lurked out there. And again, those followers took him seriously.

They, too, have become part of the problem and not the solution.

The political infection of what should be a united national fight is a disgraceful example of pettiness and petulance. It should have no place in a fight that should transcend partisanship.

President Biden calls mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing the “patriotic” thing to do. If we are going to whip this common enemy, we need to push aside the politics that infects us.

One contagion is enough.

Mixed messaging on COVID?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If you are confused about the status of the war against the coronavirus pandemic, join the proverbial club.

I am, too.

President Biden now says he intends to declare that all adults will be eligible for a vaccine by April 19; he moved the all-eligible deadline up from May 1. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, talks about the nation “on the verge” of a fourth surge in infections. Variants from the virus are infecting more of us. Hospital emergency rooms are filling up with COVID patients.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stands by his decision to lift the mask mandate he ordered a year ago. Texas Rangers fans jammed into the Arlington ballpark to cheer for the  home team.

The government proclaims further success that the millions of Americans are being vaccinated daily, inching the nation toward that state of “herd immunity” that officials hope will squash the pandemic.

So, where in the world are we?

I am going to make a presumption. It is that I have no intention of forgoing my mask when I venture into public places. Nor do my wife and I intend to frequent restaurants, movie theaters or any other venue that puts us in close proximity to total strangers.

I want to remain hopeful that we are on the cusp of eliminating the pandemic. I also want the politicization of mask-wearing and social distancing to become a thing of the past. It annoys me in the extreme to hear so-called “conservatives” bitch and moan about government mandates that aim to keep them and others safe from deadly infection.

All of this does not lessen the confusion I am sensing from those on whom we rely for information about the pandemic. I suppose my option is to believe — and act on — the worst and hope for the best outcome.

Proud of ‘Ike’s park’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

EISENHOWER STATE PARK, Texas – Every so often I feel the need to extol the virtues of enjoying the great outdoors in our great state.

That urge has overtaken me yet again.

I offer this brief missive aiming to entice fellow North and Northeast Texas to enjoy the state park system that I continue to believe is one of the major accomplishments of our state government which occasionally draws barbs from me.

My wife and I ventured to Eisenhower State Park, just outside of Denison, right on the Red River and in this region the local news media refer to as “Texoma.” This place is a jewel. It’s clean, well-managed, with well-marked hiking and biking trails. We did pick up an empty Coke can on one of our hikes through the park, prompting my wife to wonder out loud how someone who ventures to one of these places to “enjoy nature” could possibly toss an aluminum can into the bushes.

Summer break is coming up for students all across Texas. That means, of course, that demand on these parks will increase dramatically during the summer. Listen up: If you intend to camp at nearby Eisenhower State Park, you’d be wise to book your campsite soon, perhaps even right now!

Gov. Greg Abbott has lifted many of the mandated restrictions brought to us by the COVID pandemic. That doesn’t mean you can ignore safety measures recommended by infectious disease experts, a point that Abbott has sought to make. Texas Parks & Wildlife officials continue to disallow public use of office. TP&W staffers are still masked up and keeping their distance from those of us who venture to the park.

I want to make another point about Eisenhower State Park. It is named in honor of a great American, the nation’s 34th president, Dwight Eisenhower, who was born in a modest home in nearby Denison. Ike went on to do a couple of pretty big things. He helped defeat the 20th century’s most evil tyrant during World War II and then got elected to two terms as president of the United States. He famously warned us during his farewell address in 1960 to guard against the “military-industrial complex,” which even at the time was an amazing admonition from a man who bore the title of general of the Army.

The National Park Service has put together a wonderful exhibit at Ike’s boyhood home. That, too, is worth seeing … along with the state park that bears his name.

Take my word for it: spending time away from the hubbub and hassle of today’s news provides great therapy for the soul. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has answered that need with this – and many other – wonderful parks.

NOTE: This blog post was published originally on KETR-FM’s website, ketr.org.

Gov. Abbott needs to settle down

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Did I read this right?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is so angry with President Biden that he is banning state agencies from issuing vaccine passports to prove Texans have been vaccinated against the killer virus. Is that right?

What in the world has gotten into the governor? Oh, I forgot. The pandemic has become a political talking point, with Republicans (such as Abbott) staking our positions that differ from Democrats (such as Joe Biden).

Oh, but the governor’s executive order dovetails off a popular GOP mantra, that the vaccine passports infringe on Americans’ personal liberty. Hey, what about the consequences of Americans infecting their fellow Americans? The documents are intended to provide proof that we have received both vaccine shots.

Spoiler alert: My wife and I are fully vaccinated and if the government wants to issue us a document that forces us to prove it, I have no problem at all with it. You got that?

The Texas Tribune reports: A handful of GOP-backed bills have been introduced in states across the U.S. aiming to restrict entities from requiring vaccines for their employees, including in Texas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also prohibited state agencies from using vaccine passports but went a step further and said no business can require their customers to display them.

… “Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a video announcing the executive order. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal health information just to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an executive order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans state agencies from requiring “vaccine passports” | The Texas Tribune

Vaccine passports aren’t intrusive. They help safeguard communities that have been ravaged by a disease that continues to kill too many of us.

Greg Abbott ought to get over his anger at Joe Biden. We’re all fighting the same enemy.


Are we ready for a packed house?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com


That is the sound of me swallowing hard in anticipation of what I hope doesn’t happen … if that makes sense.

They’re going to play some hardball tonight down the road a piece from us in Collin County. The Texas Rangers are staging their American League home opener at their brand new ballpark in Arlington, which they built right next to the park where they played for about 20 years.

Why am I gulping? Because the Rangers are going to play before a full house. Fans will be packed in there, about 40,000-plus of them. Sitting shoulder to shoulder. Yelling for their guys to win a game. They’ll be high-fiving each other, slapping each on the back, yelling their brains out!

Oh, did I mention that we’re still in the grip of a killer pandemic? I just did. Which makes me very nervous.

The Texas Rangers are the only Major League Baseball organization to open their venue up to everyone who can squeeze into it. The other teams are limiting ticket sales. Same thing for minor-league organizations — such as the Amarillo Sod Poodles up yonder in the Panhandle; Hodgetown will be three-quarters full when the Soddies open their home season soon.

To be clear, the Rangers are going to require fans to wear masks. I presume they’ll have hand sanitizer available.

However, social distancing is not at all possible when you jam fans together in a venue where they’re sitting right next to each other. We’ve had these spikes in infection rates and hospitalization, in case you hadn’t heard. They have occurred just as states and local governments lift restrictions created by the outbreak of the COVID virus which has killed more than 550,000 Americans — and that number is still climbing, albeit at a slower rate.

My goodness, I hope this isn’t a mistake.

Anxious to look ahead

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I know I am not the only human being who feels this way, but I want to express this brief thought as a symbol for what likely is in a lot of people’s hearts.

This still new year fills me with a sense of renewal after the year we all have endured. 2020 was the pits, man! The pandemic forced us to stay away from our fellow human beings, many of whom were getting sick and were dying from the killer pandemic. We have changed our habits, our normal routine has been tossed into the crapper. We wear masks, hiding our smiles, winces, grimaces and looks of bemusement.

Yes, we’re still doing many of the things we were advised to do in order to stem the pandemic. However, we appear to be turning the corner, albeit ever so slowly.

Am I concerned about the spike in virus detection? Sure I am. I want the virus to vanish as much as anyone else.

However, as I go about my daily routine, I still am taking precautions but I do so with the sense — call it a hunch — that we may be nearing an end to the turmoil.

Communities in Texas, where we live, and elsewhere are being flooded with vaccines. States and local governments are opening up the eligibility for those who can become fully vaccinated. I saw today that 14 percent of Texans are now inoculated against the virus. That number will rise. We will inch our way toward “herd immunity.”

I say all this with the hope that the worst is behind us. For my money, the worst was as bad as anything I can remember in my 71 years of life on this good Earth.

And our Earth, as good as it is, just might be getting better as we look forward more and spend less time looking back at a time we all would rather forget.