Tag Archives: NY Times

Year ‘without form’ comes to end

New York Times columnist David Brooks has this way of offering unique perspectives on issues and moments that make me think: Dang, I wish I had thought of that!

PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff asked Brooks this past Friday to sum up the year that’s about to pass into history. He called 2021 a “year without form.” I guess that was his way of saying he has difficulty describing it in a concise manner.

It was a year of continued suffering around the world from the pandemic that has taken on a new, unpredictable and potentially dangerous new life.

A new president took office in January and in the spring, Joe Biden promised we would be celebrating our “independence” from the pandemic by the Fourth of July. It didn’t happen. We are farther today than we were then from that independence.

Then again, maybe we are closer than we think. Vaccines are coming out. More Americans are partaking of them. Just maybe we can turn the corner for good soon on the virus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans.

Six days into 2021 we witnessed an insurrection. The House has convened a select panel to get at the root cause of it and find solutions to prevent a recurrence. That work remains to be finished. It has been ongoing for most of the year.

Meanwhile, the immediate past president continues spewing The Big Lie. His followers continue to swallow the swill that pours out of his pie hole.

All this went on during the year.

I am going to hope that 2022 takes on a form, let alone a positive form, as we continue down along journey together.


‘Missing white woman syndrome’?

The late Gwen Ifill once lamented the double standard the media apply to missing-person cases.

Pretty white women get lots of media attention, the esteemed journalist noted, while women “of color” get, well, passed over. The stories are good for a day, maybe two or three … then they vanish.

The media now are obsessed with whoever killed Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman whose body was found in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo., where she had been traveling with her boyfriend.

The cops have declared the boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, a “person of interest” and are now search high and low for him in Florida, where he returned several days ago … without Petito.

Ifill’s observation about the media makes an important point. Yes, Petito deserves the coverage she is getting. Then again, so do all the missing women, and men, and children — regardless of their race or ethnicity — deserve the attention that’s being leveled at the fate of one young woman.

Charles Blow wrote this in the New York Times:

In 2004, at the Unity journalists of color convention in Washington, Gwen Ifill coined the phrase “missing white woman syndrome,” joking that “if there is a missing white woman you’re going to cover that every day.”

It is not that these white women should matter less, but rather that all missing people should matter equally. Race should not determine how newsroom leaders assign coverage, especially because those decisions often lead to disproportionate allocation of government resources, as investigators try to solve the highest-profile cases.

Opinion | Gabrielle Petito and America’s Obsession With Missing White Women – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

It speaks quite graphically at how far we still have to travel to reach some sense of balance in the way the media handle certain stories.


Liz Cheney: no martyr

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Frank Bruni is a superb columnist for the New York Times.

He is passionate about many issues dear to progressives, especially marriage equality; I mean, he is a gay man who writes frequently about the issue … and does so with superb rhetoric.

That all said, I believe he is mistaken when he implies in his latest column that Rep. Liz Cheney is positioning herself as a martyr of some sort. I don’t believe that’s happening.

Cheney is likely to lose her House Republican caucus chairmanship because she voted to impeach Donald Trump in January for inciting the infamous riot at the Capitol Building.

She remains what she always has been: a conservative Republican who voted overwhelmingly in favor of Trump’s agenda. That isn’t good enough to save her leadership post. The Trump cult that comprises most GOP House members want her gone.

So she’s going to keep harping against Trump. Good for her! Is she pretending to be something other than a conservative GOP lawmaker? I don’t see it.

Opinion | Is Liz Cheney a Martyr — or Just a Hack in Holy Drag? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Is this true? Really?

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

In the realm of a “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” category of reports, this one really blows my mind.

U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and staunch culture warrior along with being a strident supporter of Donald John Trump, is now being investigated for engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage girl. What’s more, Gaetz is being looked at in a case of sex trafficking.

This is according to the New York Times. Other media have picked up the story.

Gaetz denies the accusation. That’s to be expected.

What is astonishing in the extreme is that this case involves a loudmouth TEA Party/Freedom Caucus conservative who holds himself up as a champion of old-fashioned cultural standards.

This guy is a standard, run-of-the-mill chump. Pure and simple. Now he might be a criminal … allegedly.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Texas feels the shame

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas continues to take its lumps over the near-disaster we experienced a week ago.

You see, a state that has prided itself on its ruggedness, its independence and its know-how is being pounded over the failure of an electrical grid that was supposed to carry the state through the worst weather imaginable.

It sure didn’t do the job.

Indeed, now we hear that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas was about four minutes away from a total collapse.

As Ezra Klein wrote in the New York Times: Second, it could have been so much worse. Bill Magness, the president and chief executive of ERCOT, said Texas was “seconds and minutes” from complete energy system collapse — the kind where the system needs to be rebuilt, not just rebooted. “If we had allowed a catastrophic blackout to happen, we wouldn’t be talking today about hopefully getting most customers their power back,” Mr. Magness said. “We’d be talking about how many months it might be before you get your power back.”

How does Texas save its face? How does it recover from this mess, which darkened electrical output for 4 million Texans?

One thought might be to join the two other major electrical grids and give up this notion of Texas running its own grid. ERCOT already is suffering from resignations of seven board members, all of whom quit in the wake of the power failure.

It doesn’t make me feel at all good about my adopted home state.

As Klein writes: It wasn’t even the worst cold Texas experienced in living memory: in 1989 temperatures and electricity generation (as a percentage of peak demand) dropped even further than they did in 2011. Texas hadn’t just failed to prepare for the far future. It failed to prepare for the recent past.

Opinion | Texas Is a Rich State in a Rich Country, and Look What Happened – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Let us demand some actual leadership from our, um, leaders on this matter.

Yes, we’re a rich state. However, we seem to suffer from a poverty-level absence of bright ideas on how to prevent a recurrence of what we all endured. No one likes freezing.

Trump gives us all the shaft

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s no surprise to anyone on Earth to know that I am not a wealthy man.

I made a nice living for many years and was able to provide for my family, but I certainly never acquired great heaps of material wealth, a la … Donald J. Trump.

However, I damn sure paid a whole lot more in federal income taxes than the Trumpkin in Chief paid over the course of the past 15 years, as revealed by The New York Times.

What am I supposed to think of this? Well, first of all, it’s no surprise to learn any of this, given Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Am I angry? Sure I am! However, I fall into the “never Trump” category of voters, so my anger is tempered a bit by what I have long suspected about the president of the United States, that is a fraud.

Here’s the question of the day: How should the Trumpkins out there, those who have paid their fair share of taxes, feel about their guy’s tax dodge?

I will shake my head violently if we hear from them that they’re OK with this. The guy who purports to speak for the masses of Americans disgruntled and angry with government now has been revealed to be someone who cheated the government out of revenue while understanding that his fervent, ardent and occasionally rabid followers are paying through their noses.

How many more lies is he going to concoct to persuade those among us that what he has done is OK, that it simply makes him “smart”?

This is what the cult of personality has produced, ladies and gentlemen. Go figure.

Trump has failed

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There should be no doubt over what the New York Times has reported to the world.

It is that Donald Trump is not the business wizard he told voters he was when he was elected president of the United States.

He has failed as a businessman. He has squandered the huge stake his father gave him when he began purchasing commercial real estate. Trump has acquired a debt load that would disqualify anyone seeking a national security job; and yet, here is the president lugging around a $400 million debt load.

To whom does he owe the money?

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, warned us in 2016 when he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Now we know what he meant. Mitt nailed it.

So, where do we go from here? We collect our thoughts and then prepare to replace the phony fraud with a man who vows to reshape our national soul, who vows to work to heal the deep wounds inflicted by the pathological liar who masquerades as our commander in chief.

Joe Biden needs to win the Nov. 3 election. He needs to win big. Biden needs to establish a clear mandate defined by a landslide victory. I cannot predict he will do that. I only can express the hope that he will.

We now can see through the New York Times’ exquisite reporting that Donald Trump laid the predicate for the disaster he brought to the nation through his failure as a businessman.

What about all that debt?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald “The King of Debt” Trump has some serious explaining to do in the wake of the smashing New York Times story detailing his financial records.

He called himself the debt king during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now we have a glimpse into what he might have meant. The NY Times reports that Trump owes about $400 million to … someone, or some country, or some business empire.

We need to know to whom Trump owes all that money. Many of us are wondering whether any of those creditors happen to be, oh, heads of state with whom Trump has shown remarkable friendliness.

Let’s see, Russia comes to mind. Same with Turkey. Trump has boasted about his business dealings and it is known he wanted to build a hotel/resort complex in Russia. Meanwhile, he keeps giving Russian strongman Vladimir Putin a pass on some seriously hideous conduct: election interference and the placing of bounties on American service personnel, to name just two.

So, to the King of Debt, we American voters need to know to whom he owes the money.

And spare us the nonsense about the audit crap, Mr. President. The Internal Revenue Service places no audit-based restrictions on telling us the whole story about the debt.

We are waiting on you.

Mini-strokes? Huh? What?

Let’s try to unpack this bit of prose.

New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt has just published a book, “Donald Trump v. The United States.” He writes in the book that on Nov. 16, 2019, Trump was taken to Walter Reed Military Hospital for an unscheduled visit. The White House informed Vice President Pence to stand by in case the president would be incapacitated by heavy sedation.

Schmidt writes that Pence never assumed the presidency in a temporary fashion. He writes only that Trump was treated for a “mystery” ailment.

What, then, is up with this Twitter message from Trump. He denied in a tweet that he suffered any “mini-strokes” or a “stroke.”

Hey, wait a second! No one reported a thing about mini-strokes! Donald Trump today broke that bit of news all by himself, without prompting, without any reason on Earth to issue a denial!

Has the president just opened the door to open speculation about his physical health?

One man mocked; the other man helped

It was a moment during the Democratic National (virtual) Convention that to me spoke volumes about the differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Biden featured a young man, Brayden Harrington, who had a terrible stuttering problem. The former vice president also conquered a stuttering handicap he had a child. Biden reached out to the youngster, lent him his emotional support and helped him fight off the debilitating handicap.

On Thursday, the youngster appeared in a brief video that meant to call attention to the empathy and compassion that is part of Joe Biden’s makeup, part of what drives him daily. “About a  few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire and he told me we are members of the same club. We stutter,” Brayden said, stumbling over his words.

The other picture you see here is taken from a 2016 campaign appearance in which Trump mocked a disability suffered by a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski. He mimicked the reporter in hideous fashion. The social media image has gone viral and it speaks to the ghastly impulse that too often overtakes Trump, who has no discernible empathy or compassion bone in his body.

I thought I would share these thoughts just to remind you of the choice we all get to make this fall as we elect the president of the United States.