Take that, Vlad!

Vladimir Putin appears to be learning a lesson that carries over from the beginning of recorded history, which is that an invading power cannot conquer another country’s national soul, no matter how much military hardware it throws at its intended victim.

The Russian thug decided two months ago to invade Ukraine. He expected it to be a stroll into Kyiv. His invading forces were met with ferocious resistance from a military establishment that was far from defenseless. It received volunteers who sought to join the fight and, oh my goodness, they have fought back with a vengeance!

Putin’s public-relations stock has plummeted worldwide. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s standing only has grown. He now towers over Putin in the realm of worldwide public opinion standing. Zelenskyy could have fled Ukraine when Putin issued the order to roll the tanks out; he didn’t. He has stayed to rally his people, who have responded valiantly and heroically.

I have been stunned as I travel through North Texas to see the Ukrainian flags flying from ranchers’ fence lines, from front porches, to see local broadcast media proclaim themselves to be “Ukraine strong.”

Ah, yes. Ukraine is delivering a lesson that many of us on this good Earth have known all along. Tyrants such as Vladimir Putin cannot subvert a nation’s identity with bombs and bullets. They give their supposed “victims” the strength to fight.


First of many portable classrooms?

This is no surprise, given the rapid and frantic growth occurring in the community where my wife and I live. I watched construction crews assembling a portable classroom module on the campus of a brand new elementary school in Princeton, Texas.

Dorothy Lowe Elementary School opened for the 2020-21 academic year. Then the COVID-19 pandemic closed in-class learning for most of that school year. Students and teachers returned. Boy, howdy! Did they ever!

I live in a subdivision that is growing practically daily. We live a block from the school and we watch the traffic jam up at the beginning of the school day and then at the end of it when moms and dads deliver and then pick up their children.

The portable classroom, it looks to me, will be one of many to be erected while the Princeton Independent School District decides what to do about the burgeoning student population. Indeed, Princeton ISD predicted growth would explode, saying this on its website: Demographers predict that the District will add over 6,700 new students over the next 10 years. The District could either build a new campus to house more students or purchase over 40 portables to accommodate the growth. 

We are witnessing the cost of growth. Families with young children are looking for a place to live and for their children to be educated. The school system will need more classrooms and more teachers. How does it pay for all that? Hmm. Let me think. Oh … you know the answer to that one.

I understand PISD will open a new elementary school next academic year. I am unclear about what that might mean for the students who attend Lowe Elementary or their parents.

What does strike me initially is that the temporary classroom is being erected so soon after the doors opened at an elementary school.

Then again, I am not terribly surprised. I could have predicted it would happen as I watch homes spring up like weeds on the prairie.


Hey, Vlad … how about the Bidens?

Donald J. Trump surely believes his Kremlin pal Vladimir Putin can multi-task with the best of ’em. I mean, dude’s fighting a war with Ukraine, trying to fend off the effects of punishing economic sanctions brought on as a result of his unprovoked invasion and is arresting domestic protesters who oppose the Russian tyrant’s illegal war.

What does Trump seek from his buddy? He wants Vlad to dredge up dirt on President Biden, the man who defeated him in 2020 and the POTUS’s son, Hunter.

We have this laptop issue that keeps coming back. Hunter Biden has this electronic device on which he reportedly stored information related to his work with an energy company. His dad, the president, is being implicated by the right-wing smear machine.

So, while Putin is fighting a war, seeking a diplomatic solution to it and trying to keep his nation’s economy from collapsing, he’s being asked to do Trump’s bidding.

Good grief! Narcissism and sociopathy are contained in the overfed body of the 45th president of the United States.


SCOTUS needs ethics rules

The United States Supreme Court has existed since the founding of the Republic and it has functioned — more or less seamlessly — without needing a policy that lays down ethics requirements for the individuals who interpret the constitutionality of our federal laws.

It damn sure needs one. Justice Clarence Thomas clear and unequivocal conflict of interest involving his participation in decisions involving the 1/6 insurrection have demonstrated the need for the high court to set forth ethics boundaries that justices should never cross.

The Supreme Court is the only federal judicial panel that doesn’t have an ethics policy on the books.

Thomas’s wife, Virginia, is a right-wing political activist who reportedly lobbied the White House chief of staff to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Mrs. Thomas believes the election was “stolen” from Donald J. Trump and has made no effort to conceal her belief in the nut-job conspiracies that continue to thrash around over The Big Lie.

Justice Thomas, meanwhile, has continued to hear cases involving The Big Lie, refusing to recuse himself from any discussion, deliberation and decision-making involving 1/6.

The SCOTUS has no rule prohibiting the justice — the longest-serving member of the court — from taking part. Good grief, man! Is there no clearer demonstration of Justice Thomas’s bias on this matter? The court voted 8 to 1 to require The Donald to turn his presidential papers over to the 1/6 House committee; Justice Thomas cast the only vote in dissent.

Justice Thomas simply needs to resign. Short of a resignation, he needs to recuse himself from anything to do with the insurrection.

And the court should establish a hard-and-fast policy regarding ethical conduct. It can start by demanding that no justice can participate in decisions on cases involving their spouse!


Will Smith: exhibitionist

Count me as one of millions of Americans who was disgusted at the petulant display by the actor Will Smith the other evening at the Oscar ceremony.

You no doubt know what happened. Comic Chris Rock made some snarky joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, about her shaved head, saying something about “GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Smith got out of his chair, strode across the stage and smacked Rock in the puss.

Will Smith has been hailed as a loving husband and pilloried as a show off.

Count me among the latter group of Americans. I didn’t see it happen in real time. I didn’t watch the ceremony. I heard about it the next morning.

Will Smith demonstrated an exhibitionist streak that is, well, quite unflattering.

I can think of a dozen better ways to handle such a matter. Smith was seen laughing initially at Rock’s quip, while Jada was seen rolling her eyes and acting disgusted. Maybe it’s just me, but it looks to me that Will picked up on the cue Jada was flashing and acted according to her reaction, not his own.

One way he could have handled it would have been to sit there, scowling; I would bet real money the TV cameras would have picked up on that and flashed it around the world. After the ceremony, he and Chris Rock could have had a private moment backstage, whereby Smith could have told him what he yelled in public, which was to “keep my wife’s name out of your fu**ing mouth!”

He didn’t do that. He chose instead to make a spectacle of himself.

I guess it’ll take a while but at this moment I cannot see Will Smith in any context in the future without thinking of what he did that night at the Oscars.


Let the AG do his job

Congressional Democrats are grumbling about the pace that Attorney General Merrick Garland is setting as he considers whether to indict The Donald for alleged crimes committed during the transfer of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration.

And whether The Donald committed crimes by, oh, inciting the insurrection and blocking efforts to allow the winner of the 2020 presidential election to take power as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution … the document that The Donald has never read, nor understands.

I believe we ought to let the AG do his job at the pace he determines is fitting for what he intends to accomplish.

Garland has pledged — and I believe he is an honorable man — to follow the law wherever it leads him. If he has enough to prosecute the former POTUS, he is going to do it. He won’t be swayed, he said, by political favor or by public opinion.

The grumbling among Democrats is intended, I believe, to push Garland to speed the process along.

Give it a rest, eh? The attorney general is a seasoned, experienced and fair-minded legal pro. Do I want there to be enough to prosecute Donald J. Trump? Absolutely, I do.

It’s not my call. Nor is it anyone else’s call.


Vietnam analogy taking shape?

There appears to be a sort of Vietnam analogy possibly taking shape on the battlefields in Ukraine. I can’t quite get my arms completely around it, but I do sense a certain similarity coming into focus.

More than 50 years ago, the United States was engaged in a death struggle with Vietnamese forces over control of South Vietnam. The United States won virtually every military engagement against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army. We did not win the hearts and minds of the people.

So, U.S. and North Vietnamese negotiators ventured to Paris to work out an agreement to end hostilities. The agreement came to pass in January 1973. We pulled our forces out but by April 1975, North Vietnam was able to roll its tanks into Saigon and rename the city after Ho Chi Minh.

Fast forward to the present day.

Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Russians are unable to win over Ukrainians’ hearts and souls. Ukraine is waging a hell of a fight to save their country, much as the Vietnamese did against our forces in the1960s and 1970s. The Russian advance has been stalled. Ukraine is taking back some of the territory it lost in the initial combat.

Now we hear that Russia is beginning to give a little in talks with Ukraine. Might there be an agreement reached that could end this senseless slaughter? Might the Ukrainians be able to declare some form of “victory” against a vastly superior military force?

OK, so the Vietnam-Ukraine analogy isn’t aligned perfectly. I do see enough similarity, though, to suggest that Ukraine might have been able to “win the war” while losing all the “battles” on its way to ending the Russian onslaught.

Let us not forget, either, that the U.S.-led economic sanctions are crippling the Russians to the point of disabling them from continuing the fight.


That was no ‘gaffe’

Allow me this dissent on the notion that President Biden committed some sort of “gaffe” when he said Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in office.”

Critics and even some Biden supporters keep bloviating about the president’s remarks in Warsaw the other day in which he said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

They refer to them as “those nine unscripted words” that got Biden into trouble.

I disagree. I didn’t read into those words that Biden was calling specifically for regime change. He was offering his opinion on the thuggish behavior coming from the Kremlin. Joe Biden knows better than to contradict decades of U.S. foreign policy. He knows that the United States is not going to seek to remove the Russian despot from his perch.

He was speaking the truth. Indeed, Putin — the architect of the brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine — “cannot remain in power.” Whether he gets ousted depends on whether Russians are willing to make that move.

I am going to give President Biden a pass on what he said in Warsaw. His remarks only tightened the screws on Putin. What is wrong with that?


Contempt charges piling up

Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino are the two latest Donald Trump advisers to be charged with contempt of Congress for their failure to respond to orders from the House 1/6 committee to tell Congress what it knew about the insurrection.

Imagine that, eh?

Navarro served as trade adviser to Donald Trump; Scavino was The Donald’s former deputy communications chief. The subpoenas issued by the House select panel had nothing to do with the jobs they performed for The Donald, but instead had everything to do with what they knew about Trump’s preparation for the remarks he delivered to rioters on 1/6 and for how he responded to the insurrection as it was developing on Capitol Hill.

Trump continues to obstruct. He continues to throw up roadblocks. He keeps telling us that he “did nothing wrong” but his lieutenants won’t talk to the duly appointed congressional investigators.

I am so damn weary of commenting on this idiotic ex-POTUS’s efforts to overturn a free, fair and legal election in 2020. However, I must comment on them while The Donald continues to foster The Big Lie.


OK, doc … define a woman for us

The dumbass who masquerades as a congressman from the Texas Panhandle believes that defining a woman is a prerequisite for serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

So it was that Ronny Jackson, the Republican who lives in Amarillo, put a Twitter message out there that says “anyone cannot define a woman does not belong” on the nation’s highest court. He refers, naturally, to President Biden’s selection of Ketanji Brown Jackson to join the SCOTUS as soon as she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The reality is that Tennessee GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked the question of Judge Jackson during her Senate confirmation hearing and for my money engraved the question as the dumbest query ever posed to a nominee to any office.

My question for Rep. Jackson — the former physician — is this: How would he define a woman? I am all ears as to how he would have answered that question given the context of its asking and the idiotic turn of the questioning from the GOP senators who are going to vote “no” on recommending her confirmation.

This clown just needs to shut his trap.