Piece of Mind

Piece of Mind: AG Paxton To Get Primary Challenge?

Apr 9, 2021
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Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush says the state’s attorney general must be “approve 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
File photo

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
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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
File art

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!

Piece of Mind: Disaster Declaration Seems Incomplete

Feb 21, 2021
ABC News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wanted all 254 Texas counties to qualify for “major disaster” relief from the U.S. government.

President Biden granted that status to 77 of them, or a just a bit less than one-third of what Abbott had sought in the wake of the terrible Texas snow and ice storm.

Piece of Mind: Time To Examine What Went Wrong

Feb 19, 2021
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Is it too early to start crafting after-action reports on what the hell just happened to us in Texas?

Not at all!

Piece of Mind: A Word Of Thanks

Feb 17, 2021

A lot of us have been griping lately about the status of the power we use to heat our homes, shed light onto the dark and even light the flame in our fireplaces.

I saw the attached picture on my Facebook news feed this morning and I want to echo the thoughts that came with it.

Piece of Mind: When Does It End For AG Paxton?

Feb 16, 2021
Texas Tribune

Will it ever end for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton? I mean, will this guy ever be able to wiggle his way from under the piling on of legal and political woes?

I prefer to think the best way for him wriggle free of the political trouble would be for him to quit his public office. The legal tangle is another matter.

Piece of Mind: Is This A Bipartisan Choice?

Feb 9, 2021
Texas Tribune

Hang on a second, Mr. Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

Speaker Dade Phelan talked a good game about working across the aisle when he took the gavel at the start of the current Texas Legislature. Then he makes what I consider to be a peculiar committee chair appointment that seems to run counter to his hopeful bipartisan talk.

Piece of Mind: COVID Shot? No Sweat!

Feb 4, 2021
Courtesy photo: North Texas VA Health Care Center

I consider it a “pre-paid benefit,” and I use it whenever and wherever possible.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stands ready to assist 18 million American veterans for whatever needs arise. So with that, I will tell you that I got a phone call the other day from the VA. The automated voice informed me that I could call a number and make an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the VA North Texas Medical Center in Dallas. I jumped all over it.

Austin American-Statesman

A couple of North Texas freshmen legislators dislike like the idea of allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.

I believe they are mistaken if they think the state is going to reap a reward by making it difficult for young Texas residents to achieve higher education degrees.

Piece of Mind: Secession Is Illegal!

Feb 1, 2021
File art

Is it OK to presume that every state legislative body has a wacky caucus in its ranks? If so, then Texas isn't alone in the legislative wackiness that presents itself from time to time.

Consider this from a Republican state representative, Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg, who has pitched a resolution calling for a statewide election to determine whether Texas can secede from the Union.

Piece of Mind: Bring Back Helmet Law

Jan 27, 2021
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I know this won’t happen, but it won’t deter me from saying it anyway.

It is that I would hope the 2021 Texas Legislature would rethink a decision that an earlier Legislature made. It rescinded a law that required motorcycle riders – such as those who drive them – to wear helmets.

Piece of Mind: Do We Also 'Safeguard' Corruption?

Jan 18, 2021
John Lott/Newsweek

Gov. Greg Abbott just couldn't contain his joy at learning that the National Rifle Association has announced plans to relocate to Texas.

Why, Texas "safeguards the Second Amendment," the governor proclaimed after the bankruptcy-bound gun rights group made its announcement.

Piece of Mind: Good Luck, Speaker Phelan

Jan 14, 2021
Texas Tribune

The Dade Phelan Era has commenced in the Texas House of Representatives and — wouldn’t you know it — he already is taking some incoming fire from those on the far right wing of his Republican Party.

Phelan is the newly elected speaker of the House. He is a Beaumont Republican who had the temerity to suggest he wants to work well with Democrats who comprise a substantial minority of the 150-member legislative body.

Piece of Mind: What Went Wrong in D.C.?

Jan 11, 2021
File photo

Those of us who were old enough to remember it likely would provide the same answer to this question: What is the most serious security breach in our nation’s history?

I would answer: 9/11. Terrorists flew three passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and could have crashed a fourth jetliner into the Capitol Building were it not for the bravery of the passengers who fought them for control of the jet and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.

James Gilliam Gee served as president of E.T. from 1947 to 1966.
Northeast Texas Digital Collections / TAMUC

James William Gee isn’t around to feel the heat, but it has been coming his way in recent months.

Texas A&M University-Commerce, an institution he used to lead as president when it was known as East Texas State University, has changed the name of its library and a lake on campus. Both places had Gee’s name on them. They’re now going to carry the names of two African-American students who played key roles in the desegregation of the university.

Piece of Mind: Texans Contribute to Riot

Jan 6, 2021
Steven Voss/Politico

We have witnessed today a shameful chapter in our nation’s otherwise (mostly) glorious story.

Rioters stormed Capitol Hill, and traipsed into the Senate chamber to disrupt what Congress was doing today. Congress was gathered to ratify an Electoral College tally that named Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.

Piece of Mind: Paxton Is Real Bum Steer Of The Year

Dec 29, 2020
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My favorite issue each year of Texas Monthly arrived in the mail this week and I saw something on the cover that made me wince in disappointment.

TM named the Texas Democratic Party as its Bum Steer of the Year in its annual Bum Steer edition that comes out at the end of every calendar year. The magazine has hit many home runs with its Bum Steer "honor," and it also has whiffed. I fear that the magazine's publishing deadline created a missed opportunity.

Rochester Beacon

It’s just me, I suppose. Then again, there might be billions of other human beings who share my view about what is going to transpire in just a few days.

They’re going to drop that ball in Times Square and we’re going to welcome 2021. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am prepared fully to embrace the new year in a manner I have never done in my life. Not ever!

Piece of Mind: Sanity Rules in Senate District 30

Dec 21, 2020
Wichita Falls Times-Record News

Texas Senate District 30 voters seem to have retained some sanity in what otherwise is a largely insane political climate.

They chose over the weekend to send someone to the Texas Senate with actual government experience rather than select a candidate who was running for office – and this is just my humble opinion – for the purpose of making a spectacle of herself.

Piece of Mind: Let's Call Biden the POTUS-elect!

Dec 16, 2020
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"Our Constitution defines the process for electing the president. Today, the Electoral College voted and on January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Anne and I extend our prayers and well wishes to the Biden and Harris families as they prepare for this momentous undertaking."

-- U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of Plano