Piece of Mind

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
Courtesy photo

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
Courtesy photo

"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

Piece of Mind: Lights Bring Plenty of Cheer

Dec 12, 2020
John Kanelis

The newly elected mayor of Farmersville had this idea to bring smiles to the residents of the city he was elected to lead. He called it Farmersville Lights.

Mayor Bryon Wiebold’s notion was to light up a parkway leading into downtown with an array of Christmas lights and displays.

Piece of Mind: New Mayor Blazing a Trail

Dec 7, 2020
John Kanelis

Brianna Chacon is blazing a new trail in a growing Collin County community.

She has just been elected mayor of Princeton. She expects the city population to effectively triple in size from the previous census when they post the next census; that means the population of 6,807 posted in 2010 could exceed 18,000 when the 2020 census is announced.

Piece of Mind: Reform the Police, Don't Defund Them

Dec 5, 2020
File photo

I didn't come up with this theory, but I am going to endorse it.

It goes like this: Democrats didn't do as well on down-ballot races during the 2020 election because voters might have been alarmed at the slogan "defund the police" that many progressive candidates appeared to support.

Piece of Mind: Good Government is Alive!

Nov 30, 2020
Public Domain

I consider myself to be a “good government progressive,” which I interpret to mean that I believe good government requires both parties to forge consensus when possible.

With that in mind, I am heartened to read a story in the Dallas Morning News about two freshman congressmen who have crafted a friendship along with a political relationship across the aisle. They happen to be from the Metroplex – Democrat Colin Allred from Dallas and Republican Van Taylor from Plano.

Piece of Mind: Slow Down on U.S. 380

Nov 28, 2020
John Kanelis

Princeton City Councilman Mike Robertson is a man after my own heart … speedwise.

He wants to slow motorists down as they travel along U.S. Highway 380, at least while they’re traveling within the city limits.

Piece of Mind: End the Partisanship

Nov 23, 2020
File art

I was chatting the other day with someone about the new mayor of Princeton, a young woman named Brianna Chacon. My friend asked: Is that a non-partisan office?

I answered “yes, thank goodness.” My friend agreed before launching into a brief tirade about the partisan nature of all the county offices we elect in Texas.

Piece of Mind: What Happened to 'Blue Wave'?

Nov 12, 2020
Houston Chronicle

Did someone suggest that Texas would be inundated by a “blue wave” of Democratic politicians seek public office in the just completed 2020 presidential election?

Wasn’t there a huge surge of anticipation that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would win the state’s 38 electoral votes on his way to a landslide win over Donald J. Trump?

Piece of Mind: Cities Linked By NE Texan's Heroism

Nov 3, 2020
John Kanelis

The late Audie Murphy is revered on two continents for performing a single act of extraordinary heroism.

He has been dead now for nearly 50 years, but two communities – one in eastern France and the other in Northeast Texas – have linked up in a relationship intending to honor the heroism that Murphy performed in January 1945, near the end of the world’s bloodiest conflict.

Piece of Mind: Big Early Vote ... But Wait

Oct 28, 2020
Public domain

Here is some good news and some, oh, wait-and-see news.

The Texas Tribune reports that as of Monday, 46 percent of Texas registered voters had cast their ballots. Early voting ends on Friday. The good news is that the tally so far exceeds the total percentage of early votes cast in Texas during the 2016 presidential election.

Piece of Mind: Farmersville to Light 'em Up

Oct 19, 2020
Courtesy photo

The newly elected mayor of a Northeast Texas community isn't about to let a pandemic spoil his  Christmas spirit.

Baseball's Joe Morgan Dies At 77

Oct 12, 2020
Joe Morgan began his major league career in Houston.
Baseball Hall of Fame

I suppose you could say that no one survives the March of Time, which takes no prisoners.

We all will exit this good Earth. Today, we lost a son of Northeast Texas, a fellow who went on to achieve a considerable amount of fame and glory on the field of play.

Piece of Mind: Princeton Charter Fight Might Resume

Oct 8, 2020
John Kanelis

Princeton is in serious growth mode, with a population set to virtually triple in size from the 2010 census to the 2020 count of residents.

A Wolfe City man is dead and citizens are trying to find answers to the death of a community pillar.
Mark Haslett

By John Kanelis

Northeast Texas now has been swept up in the maelstrom of police violence and the death of an African-American at the hands of a white cop who, it will be argued, deployed his weapon prematurely.

At issue is the death of Jonathan Price, 31, in Wolfe City as he was allegedly breaking up a domestic disturbance in the middle of a convenience store. Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas has been charged with murder and was taken into custody and placed in the Hunt County Detention Center.

Piece of Mind: Texas AG Faces New Allegations

Oct 4, 2020
Austin Chronicle

By John Kanelis

The hits just keep coming for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Think of it. The AG is awaiting trial on allegations that he committed securities fraud. A Collin County grand jury indicted the former McKinney-based legislator on felony charges. That was in 2015 and he still hasn’t stood for trial.

Piece of Mind: What a Choice for Senate District 30

Oct 1, 2020
Texas Tribune

By John Kanelis

The race for Texas Senate District 30 is going to feature a most interesting tandem of candidates who finished at the top of a bipartisan primary.

One of them is Shelly Luther, a Dallas salon owner who rose to meteoric notoriety by refusing to close her business at the height – or depth – of the coronavirus pandemic. The cops arrested her and she spent some time in the slammer before coming out and declaring her candidacy for the Texas Senate.

Public Domain

Shelly Luther might be a wonderful hair stylist.

Piece of Mind: Vote Early, But Surely Not Often

Sep 15, 2020
File photo

By John Kanelis

Readers of the blog I write for my own pleasure know of my longstanding preference for voting on Election Day.

Well, I am going to say it here – and say it loudly – that I intend to vote as early as possible in this election. It is the “new normal” brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic and by specious assertions of corrupt voting consequences brought about by all-mail-in balloting.

Piece of Mind: Come Clean, Mr. DNI?

Sep 5, 2020
Garbriella Demczuk / New York Times/AP pool

By John Kanelis

Surely, I am not the only observer who sees the irony in Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's decision to forgo direct briefings to Congress on foreign government election interference.

Ratcliffe, who formerly represented a Northeast Texas congressional district once served by the late, great Rep. Sam Rayburn, has declared that from now on all briefings will be submitted to Congress in written form. Ratcliffe said he wants to prevent leaks. Hah! As if they won't occur anyway?

Piece of Mind: Courthouse Restoration Back On Track

Sep 1, 2020
John Kanelis

By John Kanelis

Fannin County got a historical preservation grant to restore its 19th-century courthouse.

The county hit a pothole or two along the way. Work had to stop for a time. Then it resumed.

And then … the coronavirus pandemic struck. It swept into the nation. It helped slam the brakes on work such as what had commenced on the Fannin County Courthouse in downtown Bonham.

Piece of Mind: Abbott Reaches Too Far

Aug 24, 2020
Texas Tribune

By John Kanelis

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is angry with the Austin City Council.

He is so angry that he is threatening to meddle into a level of government that is none of the governor's business. He said the city's decision to "defund" its police department might result in the state imposing a property tax freeze, which would deprive the city of any sort of budgeting flexibility, which is essential to the governing body.


By John Kanelis

School is about to commence at Texas colleges and universities very soon.

This will be the most unusual start of an academic year in anyone’s memory, with a pandemic continuing to sicken and kill Americans.

Is the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus ready to go? Is it set to welcome students back on Aug. 24, when it plans to resume classes on the campus. TAMUC officials say “yes.”

Hmm. Well, let’s hold on to that for a moment.