Tag Archives: Dan Patrick

Will miss Sen. Seliger

Kel Seliger called me today, saying he had “no reason at all” other than just to catch up.

The Republican Texas state senator and I had a nice chat. I won’t reveal the content of our conversation, but I do want to offer a comment, which I more or less shared with Seliger this morning.

It is that I will miss his service in the Texas Senate, where he has served with distinction and honor for the past 18 years. He is bowing out of political life and returning to what many of us would consider to be a more “normal” lifestyle. That is, he will do what his wife asks of him and will spend a lot more time with his sons, their wives and his new granddaughter.

Seliger’s Senate District 31 seat stretches a long way through West Texas, from the Panhandle’s border with Oklahoma to the Permian Basin more than 250 miles away. Kevin Sparks will be elected to the seat in November. Sparks lives in Midland, representing the oil and natural gas industries.

One of the many things I admired about Seliger was his fluency in Permian Basin-speak, which equaled his fluency in Panhandle-speak. Seliger knows the Panhandle — from grange halls to feedlots. He also became well-versed in fossil fuel issues down yonder in Midland and Odessa.

Sparks will face a challenge in equaling Seliger’s knowledge of the vast district. From what I can gather, though, Sparks is a right-wing toadie who is going to do every single thing that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants him to do; Seliger resisted that pressure. It got him in trouble with Patrick, which leads me to another reason I grew to admire Seliger’s service to the state. He wouldn’t be pushed around by a vengeful pol who doesn’t know the first thing about issues affecting West Texans.

Seliger popped off about one of Patrick’s key aides and Patrick responded by stripping Seliger, a former Amarillo mayor, of chairmanships and key committee assignments.

Seliger’s political career is winding down. I will hope for the best for my former neighbors and my many friends in the Panhandle that the new guy will step up and represent their interests with as much vigor as he will represent the Permian Basin.

At this moment, I am doubtful.

Still, it was good to catch up with my friend.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Empower Texans tightens its grip

A right-wing political action group has lusted after legislative districts in Texas since the beginning of time, or so it seems. Empower Texans has tried to oust Texas Republicans from their seats by offering GOP primary opponents more to its liking.

It’s had a mixed record in that regard. However, the group led by a fellow named Michael Quinn Sullivan has scored some victories that for my money should cause concern across the great state.

I want to look specifically at a West Texas Senate district that will have a newbie representing it for the first time since 2004. Kel Seliger, a former Amarillo mayor, got elected to that seat after Teel Bivins vacated it to become the U.S. ambassador to Sweden. He has done well representing the entire district. His occasional beefs with conservatives in the Texas Senate pissed off Sullivan, who sought to “primary” Seliger over several election cycles. He had no luck in getting Seliger defeated.

Seliger, for his part, spoke badly of Sullivan and Empower Texans.

The veteran politician is leaving office at the end of the year. Kevin Sparks is the GOP nominee to succeed him. He will win the election this fall; I think he’s unopposed.

Sparks is another Empower Texans stalking horse. He will make very nice with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer and an individual with whom Seliger had plenty of beefs over the years. Patrick got so angry with Seliger over comments Kel made about a key Patrick aide that he stripped Seliger of his committee chairmanships and sent him to the back bench.

My trick knee is telling me that Sparks will cozy up to Patrick and do whatever the hell Patrick wants him to do. That will suit Empower Texans just fine, because Sparks is its guy in Austin.

I should add that Sparks hails from Midland, which is where Empower Texans is based. Get it? Sparks is an Empower Texans homey.

Thus, the right-wingers have tightened their grip on the Texas Senate. So very sad.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Patrick goes to war … against higher ed

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, no shrinking violet to be sure, has decided the latest “enemy” of the public are the educators who lecture our students attending public universities.

Patrick wants to restructure the tenure status granted to professors, making tenure subject to annual review rather than every six years. He wants public college and universities to stop teaching “nutty” notions. He said, according to the Texas Tribune: “I will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory,” Patrick wrote on Twitter. “We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed … “

Let’s hold on a minute, shall we?

https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/18/dan-patrick-texas-tenure-critical-race-theory/

I have been critical of universities that ban conservatives from speaking at, say, convocations or commencement ceremonies. Our institutions of higher learning are supposed to be open to all ideas, to all principles, all perspectives, all world views. Why not, then, let students decide which of them they embrace? Why not expose these young people — and, frankly, some students who aren’t so young — to all ideas?

Patrick favors only those ideas that comport with his own rigid conservative view of the world.

He targets “critical race theory” because, according to Patrick, it promotes a hatred of the country. Why? Because professors would dare to tell students about the nation’s original sin, the enslavement of African Americans. Uh, Dan? It happened, man! Telling our students of that sad chapter in our history is no “looney Marxist” theory.

As for the frontal assault on tenure, Patrick needs to stop politicizing a policy that grants academic freedom in a place where it should be honored, not vilified for political gain.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Tenure war in Texas?

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has found a topic on which he wants to run for re-election. He wants to demonize college professors who dare teach their students about elements of U.S. history that include slavery and racist efforts to subjugate American citizens on the basis of their skin color.

He vows to eliminate tenure for those professors who teach what is called “critical race theory.” His first target will be new hires at Texas public colleges and universities. He also threatens to broaden his fight to include tenured professors; he might seek to strip them of their tenure status.

All of this hysteria makes me shake my noggin.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Conservatives over the past year have used “critical race theory” as a broad label to attack progressive teachings and books in college and K-12 schools that address race and gender.

Tenure is an indefinite appointment for university faculty that can only be terminated under extraordinary circumstances. Academics said Friday that tenure is intended to protect faculty and academic freedom from exactly the kind of politicization being waged by Patrick.

https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/18/dan-patrick-texas-tenure-critical-race-theory/

CRT is a red herring. Pure and simple. I find nothing wrong with teaching students about the aspects of our history that include the inhumane treatment our government leveled against Americans only because they were black, or brown, or anyone who isn’t white.

Yet such curricula have been labeled by conservatives — such as Dan Patrick — as being “anti-American,” or that it teaches young students to “hate America.”

Good grief! It doesn’t do anything of the sort.

Patrick, thus, has become the latest demagogue to seek to make political hay out of a legitimate field of academic study.

Disgraceful.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Patrick’s ‘bounty’ payoff affirms refusal to give money

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has affirmed for me why I generally do not give money to political candidates.

Campaign finance law allows them to spend it foolishly, as Patrick has just done by shelling out $25,000 to a Pennsylvania poll watcher who caught a single individual voting illegally in that state in 2020.

Patrick had promised to pay as much as $1 million to anyone who could prove “widespread voter fraud” in the 2020 election. He has sent just one check, though, totaling 25K to the poll watcher.

You see, there isn’t any “widespread vote fraud” to be found. Not in Texas. Not in Pennsylvania. Nowhere, man!

Which brings me back to my point. The money came from Patrick’s campaign stash. If I had given money to Patrick’s campaign, I would be damn angry that he is spending a dime of his campaign money for this kind of foolishness. It comes from the pockets of those who believe in a candidate.

It boggles my noggin to think that anyone who gave to this blowhard’s campaign would actually endorse his writing a check for a single case of someone voting illegally … in another state!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Legislature stiffs voters ‘of color’

Well, here we go.

Texas will gain two congressional seats as a result of the 2020 census. Who drove the state’s stunning population increase? Black and Latino residents, that’s who.

Are they going to reap any of the political reward for choosing to make Texas their home? Oh, no. The Texas Senate has hammered out a congressional redistricting map that does a fine job of protecting Republican (and overwhelmingly white) incumbents. There isn’t likely to be any majority African-American or Latino districts when all is finished.

That’s representative democracy at among its worst.

To be fair, it is important to note the bipartisan nature of this exercise that occurs every decade when they take the census. Democrats did the same thing to protect their own when they ran things in Austin. Now it’s Republicans’ turn. They have perfected gerrymandering, turning it into an art form.

However, it is galling to me to watch the Legislature stiff the ethnic and racial minorities who came to Texas voluntarily, to make it their home and for them to be denied any sort of political reward.

The Texas Tribune reports: In anticipation of federal challenges to the map, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presides over the Senate, said in a statement Friday that the proposal approved by the chamber was “legal and fair” and represented a “commitment to making sure every Texan’s voice is heard in Washington, D.C.”

Texas Senate approves new congressional map protecting GOP incumbents | The Texas Tribune

Actually, Lt. Gov. Patrick, “every Texan’s voice” is not going to be heard equally when all is done.

He should just get ready for the lawsuits that are sure to follow.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas AG under the gun

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is a disgrace to the office he occupies.

Thus, it is no surprise that he would lash out at the Texas State Bar’s decision to investigate his specious lawsuit that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in four states that Joe Biden won over Donald J. Trump.

Paxton makes me sick. There. I got that off my chest.

Two of the AG’s pals, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, came to his defense in their criticism of the Bar’s probe.

As the Texas Tribune reported:

Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick defend Ken Paxton over Texas bar investigation | The Texas Tribune

This Texan, meaning me, knows as well that Paxton is awaiting trial for securities fraud after being indicted by a Collin County grand jury. I also know that several of his top legal eagles quit the AG’s office and filed a whistleblower complaint that Paxton has engaged in criminal activity while serving as attorney general; the FBI is looking into that complaint.

Now the Bar has come forward with a complaint of its own, contesting the legitimacy of the lawsuit that Paxton filed with the U.S. Supreme Court over the results in other states. The court tossed the lawsuit out, saying that Paxton didn’t have standing.

The man is a disgrace. He needs to go. I do hope the Republican primary challenge he faces next spring can bring about the much-needed result … which would be his ouster.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Where’s the fraud … Dan?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me, I cannot get my noggin past that idiotic offer Texas Lt. Gov.  Dan Patrick made some months ago to his fellow Texans.

He offered to pay anyone a million bucks if they produced evidence of widespread vote fraud in Texas during the 2020 presidential election. The offer has become part of the Republican legislative mantra as legislators seek to make it more difficult for Texans to vote.

The link between the offer and the GOP legislative effort is clear: Republicans insist there was fraud; no one has produced a shred of proof of fraud in Texas or anywhere else for that matter.

Patrick — who came into this world with the name of Dannie Scott Goeb (and I don’t know why I mentioned that, other than perhaps to illustrate this clown’s phoniness) — has made vote fraud an issue as he pushes the Texas Senate over which he presides to enact these restrictions.

Why, though, hasn’t Patrick produced proof? Why is he relying on some unknown Texan to provide the Legislature with proof — where none exists — of vote fraud?

The reason the lieutenant governor hasn’t delivered the goods is because there are no goods to deliver. It’s also why he hasn’t been forced to shell out the dough to anyone else who has proof of vote fraud.

It is another version of The Big Lie.

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s offer remains on the table. I do not expect anyone to come forward with proof of vote fraud. Which begs the question: Has the Texas lieutenant governor committed an act of treason — along with the former Nitwit in Chief — by challenging a free and fair election?

What’s the rush, Lt. Gov. Patrick?

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Dan Patrick continues to exhibit traits that just pi** me off royally.

The Texas lieutenant governor is trying to pressure another fairly loathsome politician — Gov. Greg Abbott — into calling a special legislative session in June. Why? Because the lieutenant governor wants the Legislature to enact some conservative bills that aren’t going to make it to Abbott’s desk when the regular session ends in a few days.

Dan Patrick calls for special session of the Texas Legislature | The Texas Tribune

Left undone are bills, for instance, that would ban transgender students from competing in high school sports activities, would prohibit local governments from using taxpayer funds to pay for lobbyists and punish social media companies for “censoring” Texans based on their political viewpoints.

Abbott calls Patrick’s demand “premature” and has urged legislators to get “conservative legislation to my desk” before the regular session adjourns.

Good grief! The Legislature is coming back to work later in the fall to work on redistricting and reapportionment — which is required under the U.S. Constitution. Special legislative sessions happen to cost a lot of money. That doesn’t bother Patrick in the least or so it would appear. It does bother me, given that they do all this work on my dime, as well as on yours.

I suppose if the Legislature is intent on getting this “conservative” agenda enacted, it could wait until after it finishes the redistricting work it is required to do. Although if I had my druthers, I would hope the Legislature would leave these issues alone.

Listen to us, legislators!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What gives with our elected representation in Austin?

They are charting legislative courses that, according to public opinion surveys, go directly against the wishes of the people for whom they work. That us, folks! You and me! And perhaps even our neighbors and family members.

Here’s a case in point.

The Texas Legislature is moving toward enacting a law that allows Texans to pack heat on their hips — a pistol in the open — without having to undergo a simple course and exam to prove they know how to handle the shootin’ iron.

Legislators, led by the Republican majority, call it “constitutional carry.” So, what do rank-and-file Texans think of it? They are opposed to letting our neighbors pack heat into the grocery store, or to park, or the gasoline service station.

The latest poll from the Texas Tribune/University of Texas says that 59 percent of Texans oppose “constitutional carry” of firearms. According to the Tribune: A solid majority of Texas voters don’t think adults should be allowed to carry handguns in public places without permits or licenses, though the idea is popular with a 56% majority of Republicans. Overall, 59% oppose unlicensed carry — a number driven up by the 85% of Democrats who oppose it. On the Republican side, the gun questions revealed a gender gap. Among Republican men, 70% said they support unlicensed carry; 49% of Republican women oppose that position.

So, my question is this: Who in the hell are the 181 state senators and House members, plus Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who runs the Senate — listening to?

Texas voters on “constitutional carry,” abortion bans and more in UT/TT Poll | The Texas Tribune

If we are to believe the Tribune/UT poll, they ain’t listening to their bosses, those of us who have to live with the laws they approve.

Shameful. Just shameful.