John Kanelis

Piece of Mind: Casinos Die A Needed Death

Jun 17, 2021
Texas Tribune

You can count me as one Texan who is glad that the Legislature fell short in a plan to put a measure on the ballot that would determine whether we should allow big-time gambling at casinos in the state.

I need to stipulate that when the Texas Lottery came into being in 1991, I argued on behalf of the newspaper where I worked at the time against the creation of the lottery; it was approved by something around 70 percent of the vote.

Public Domain

It’s not every day that Northeast Texas gets a new lake, providing potable water and assorted recreational opportunities to thousands of residents and visitors to the region.

That’s what the region is getting, though, with the creation of Bois d’Arc Lake, which is filling up rapidly in Fannin County just north of Bonham.

Piece of Mind: Gohmert Goes Goofy

Jun 10, 2021
The Hill

This question deserves to be asked: Is Louie Gohmert really as stupid as he sounds?

The Republican congressman from Tyler actually wondered aloud during a House committee hearing whether the U.S. Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service could — get ready for it — change the moon’s orbit around Earth or Earth’s orbit around the sun. 

Piece of Mind: Texas AG Gets Primary Challenge

Jun 7, 2021
Texarkana Gazette

Texas needs an attorney general who:

  • Isn't under indictment and is awaiting trial in state court for securities fraud.
  • Isn't being investigated by the FBI on complaints leveled by former highly placed legal staffers that he is breaking federal law.
  • Doesn't file lawsuits alleging that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from a crooked president who promotes the Big Lie about election fraud.

Piece of Mind: 'Assault On Democracy' Explained

Jun 2, 2021
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A critic of my personal blog – High Plains Blogger -- wants to know how Texas’s efforts to restrict voting is an “assault on democracy,” as President Biden has described it.

I’ll take the bait and offer what I believe is an explanation for all to read.

Piece of Mind: What's The Rush, Lt. Gov. Patrick?

May 28, 2021

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.

Piece of Mind: Stop 'Cooking' Inmates

May 17, 2021

Not long after I reported for work at the Amarillo Globe-News, I got an invitation to tour the William P. Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

It was, um, an edifying experience. I learned a lot about how TDCJ treats the 3,000-plus men who are serving some seriously hard time for felony crimes.

Piece of Mind: Redistricting Hassle Awaits

May 11, 2021
Texas Tribune

Show me a legislator from any state in the Union who enjoys a particular task that awaits them and I will show you a certifiable masochist.

That task has to do with redrawing the boundaries of the congressional districts that lie within that state as well as the state senate and house seats.

Piece of Mind: 'No' On Abortion Ban

May 10, 2021
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If I were to declare my opposition to a strict anti-abortion bill headed for approval in the Texas Legislature, would you consider me to be “pro-abortion”?

If you say “yes,” you would be wrong.

Piece of Mind: A Charter For Princeton?

May 7, 2021
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Will the fifth time be the charm for Princeton, Texas, to establish a home rule charter?

The City Council has decided to call an election for this coming November that will be the first of a two-step process that officials hope will produce a home rule charter for the rapidly growing Collin County community.

Piece of Mind: A Photo Changed The Nation

May 4, 2021
John Filo

Does the name Mary Ann Vecchio ring a bell with you? Does it strike a familiar note? Hmmm … ?

It didn’t hit me, either, until I opened up a story online from the Washington Post Magazine. I read about Mary Ann Vecchio, who as the author of the Post piece described her, was the most well-known mystery person on Earth.

Piece of Mind: Masks Look 'Normal'

Apr 30, 2021
Masks have become so very normal these days.
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This isn't an original thought from me, but I want to share it anyway.

It's that I am feeling kinda/sorta "normal" wearing my mask when I venture out there, mingling with total strangers.

Piece of Mind: From Suck-Up To Critic?

Apr 29, 2021
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In the highly unlikely event that Donald J. Trump decides to try once again to be elected president of the United States in 2024, I am left to wonder about how a potential foe might react to the idea of running — once more — against The Donald.

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to become president. The Texas Republican made an effort toward that end in 2016. Along the way he and the eventual GOP nominee Trump clashed repeatedly and harshly.

Piece of Mind: Teacher Makes Serious Error

Apr 24, 2021
Provided photo

Allow me this bit of unsolicited advice to educators everywhere: Do not engage in “jokes” that seem to mirror hideous news events.

So it is, then, that a Greenville Independent School District teacher has resigned after being suspended over a picture of her placing her foot on the back of a Lamar Elementary School student’s neck. Sound familiar?

Piece of Mind: Happy Earth Day!

Apr 22, 2021
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We celebrate this day every year. We say the right things. We actually try to do the right things.

And yet …

Our precious, precarious planet continues to be threatened by policies and behavior that places it in dire peril. What’s going on?

Piece of Mind: Slow 'Em Down On Highway

Apr 19, 2021
John Kanelis

Princeton City Councilman Mike Robertson wants to slow ‘em down along U.S. Highway 380. He professes patience as he works with his City Council colleagues and the Texas Department of Transportation.

However, given his own experience as the victim of a serious auto accident while he was living in Irving, it appears that his patience might have its limits.

Piece of Mind: Lock 'n Load, All Texans?

Apr 16, 2021

They’re calling it “constitutional carry” legislation.

I will call it foolishness that carries some dire peril for many Texans.

Piece of Mind: Let This Probe Commence

Apr 13, 2021

Kim Potter and Tim Gannon have just joined the ranks of former police officers caught up in a hideous law enforcement incident.

Potter quit the Brooklyn Center, Minn., Police Department after shooting a young motorist after allegedly thinking she was going to fire her taser at him. Gannon, the police chief of the small department, quit as well. Both of them are white. The victim of the shooting, Daunte Wright, was black.

Piece of Mind: AG Paxton To Get Primary Challenge?

Apr 9, 2021
Courtesy photo

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush says the state’s attorney general must be “above reproach.”

So … with that the nephew and grandson of two presidents has declared for all the world that he is giving serious thought to running to become the state’s next top legal eagle.

Piece of Mind: TP&W Offers An Escape

Apr 7, 2021
John Kanelis

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.

Piece of Mind: 'No' On Paying Student-Athletes

Mar 25, 2021
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You are welcome, I suppose, to call me an old fogey. That’s OK. After all, I am 71 years of age and while I like to believe I am a liberated American male, some things remain fixed in my set of values.

Such as this notion of playing college student-athletes. I oppose this nonsense. There you go. I’m on the record regarding this notion of paying scholarship athletes – who are getting an essentially free college education – money to perform in front of fans.

Piece of Mind: Dissent Is Essential

Mar 19, 2021

Benjamin Franklin well might be my favorite Founding Father.

He was an inventor, a diplomat, a writer, a statesman, a scientist and a man of impeccable vision. He was 70 years old and in poor health when he put his name on the Declaration of Independence.

Piece of Mind: Stay The Course On Pandemic

Mar 15, 2021
Yahoo News

When does a year seem like a lifetime, or even several lifetimes?

When it has been consumed by disease, death and dysfunction.

Piece of Mind: Elect The PUC?

Mar 8, 2021
Courtesy photo

A young Texas state legislator with whom I recently became acquainted has pitched a fascinating notion that needs some discussion. Heck, it might even need to become law.

Freshman state Rep. Bryan Slaton, a Royse City Republican, says we need to elect the Public Utility Commission of Texas, making its members “accountable” to the voters when they make mistakes. Hmm. Do you think the PUC made a blunder or three as the state struggled against Mother Nature’s winter wrath in February? To be sure, this proposal carries plenty of risk along with the reward that Slaton seems to think it also carries.

Piece of Mind: Legislature Seeks Storm Solutions

Mar 5, 2021
The Street

What do you suppose is on the minds of the 181 men and women meeting in the State Capitol for the next few weeks? I think I know.

Piece of Mind: Abbott Stiffs His Medical Team

Mar 4, 2021
Dallas Morning News

So … Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pledged a year ago to let “science” dictate his decisions regarding the strategy he would employ to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that, right? Yes. He did.


Texas media are abuzz with comment and reaction to Gov. Greg Abbott’s big announcement Tuesday that he was declaring the state open “100 percent” for business and is rescinding the mask-wearing order in light of the pandemic.

I am dubious of the governor’s action. I am not going to change a single thing in my house; my wife and I intend to do precisely what we have been doing to avoid getting infected by the COVID virus. It has worked so far.

Piece of Mind: Abbott Plays With Fire?

Mar 2, 2021

OK, I listened to most of Gov. Greg Abbott's talk today at the Lubbock restaurant.

The Texas governor has rescinded a statewide mask mandate and told all business owners who cater to all clientele that they are now free to open "100 percent," despite the presence of COVID-19 virus that is still infecting Texans and other Americans.

Piece of Mind: Special Session On Tap?

Feb 28, 2021
Dallas Observer

I am not a huge fan of special legislative sessions in Texas.

We send our legislators to Austin for 140 days every other year to take care of legislative business. We don’t pay ’em very much money; I mean, they’re “citizen legislators” and we pay them a pittance to do our work.

Piece of Mind: New Normal Looks 'Normal'

Feb 25, 2021
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As I go about my day, which at times includes running an errand or two around town, I am beginning to conclude something about the state of affairs.

It is that they aren’t going to change much in the next year … or maybe two!