Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts 2/8/24

You are probably getting tired of my repeating a favorite quote from Edward R. Murrow.  “The obscure we see eventually.  The completely obvious, it seems take longer.”  This adage. however, is more apt than ever in the past 48 hours.


It is 10:03 am on February 8, 2024.  The U.S. Supreme Court has just begun oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson, by which Donald Trump is asking the Court to overturn the ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court making him ineligible to be on the state’s primary ballot for having engaged in an insurrection in accordance with Amendment 14, Section 3 of the Constitution.  This morning, there was a lot of handwringing by legal scholars and political pundits about the outcome, but equally important, the impact on a Supreme Court that has lost favor with an increasing majority of Americans. 

University of Alabama law professor Joyce Vance explained the Court will likely further alienate half the population regardless of which course they choose.  Referring to removing Trump from the Colorado ballot and likely other states, she said, “You’re damned if you do; damned if you don’t.  In these cases, your best bet is to do the right thing.”  

But sometime RIGHT can also be EXPEDIANT.  There is, I believe, a simple solution.  Although the justices are hearing oral arguments today, I am sure they are already well versed in both sides’ claims and could issue an opinion this afternoon.  But I suggest they wait until Wednesday and give the nation a Valentine.  Here is why.

The 11th District Court of Appeals, which unanimously ruled Trump has no immunity as a citizen to criminal prosecution, gave Trump’s legal counsel until Monday to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.  No doubt “last minute Donald” will have his attorney’s file the appeal at 4:59 pm on 4/12.  The Supremes will likely give Jack Smith the same five days to respond.  The already completed appeal will be filed at 10:00 am on 2/13.  The justices will take the rest of Tuesday to have clerks review the filings for any surprises and to prepare a final draft of the Colorado decision.

On 2/14 the Supreme Court announces it has made two decisions.  In the case of Trump v. Anderson, they rule in Trump’s favor on a technicality which I have always said is a hurdle. Lacking a conviction of engaging in or providing aid and comfort to an insurrection, the Court unanimously rules the Amendment 14-3 is not self executing.  However, the Court does believe that the American public has a right to know if a candidate has conspired to overthrow a fair and secure election of the nation’s chief executive.  Therefore, the Court, based on the unimpeachable opinion issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, denies certiorari in the immunity case.  Furthermore, the original stay in this case is permanently lifted and Judge Tanya Chutkan is authorized to proceed with scheduling and conducting the United States v. Trump trial with all deliberate speed.

Happy Valentines Day!  Here is half of a candy “I LUV U” heart for everyone.


This morning, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass laid out Iran’s motives for backing and funding numerous terrorist militias in the Middle East.  Haass claimed the Israel/Hamas conflict offered a window for Iran to solidify its influence in several Middle East countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.  The broadcast also included an interview with Kurdistan prime minister Masrour Barzani who feared if the Iran government forces a U.S. retreat from the region, the Kurds, who have been an American ally in the fight against ISIS, will pay the price.

If only we had a nation that could counterbalance Iran’s position in the region.  Oh wait!  We did!  It was Iraq until George W. Bush and Dick Cheney preemptively overthrew the government on false pretenses.  And we, as well as our Kurdish allies, are stilling paying the price.


In a recent blog, I mentioned that, at one time, I was a member of my local Rotary Club along with Congressman Aaron Bean (R-FL 4).  At the heart of membership is the motto “Service Above Self” and the Rotary Four Way Test.

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Too bad Aaron does not believe the Four Way Test applies to his service in the House of Representatives.  He supports Trump and “the big lie.”  In August 2023, the Jacksonville NBC affiliate reported Bean called Trump’s indictments unfair.  He is quoted as saying, “We always took pride in that there was a blind justice in our country, but it appears that Lady Justice now is peeking from her blindfold, and checking, what’s the letter behind your name before I take, I seek justice?” If justice was blind, Trump would have been treated exactly like Reality Winner, the NSA translator who spent four years in prison for leaking a single document. So much for the TRUTH.

On Tuesday, he voted to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas although the resolution drafted by Majorie Taylor Greene identifies no high crimes or misdemeanors as required by the U.S. Constitution.  When someone does not play by the rules, how FAIR is that?

Finally. this week he joined House Speaker Mike Johnson and an overwhelming majority of GOP senators and representatives who killed a bipartisan national security bill, despite support by the Border Patrol Union.  Why?  Because Joe Biden and Democrats might get some credit for addressing the issue.  And that would hurt Trump’s chances of re-election.  I guess Aaron thinks the ALL in the four-way test is not Americans who say immigration is a major concern, Ukrainians who are fighting to save their democracy, Israelis trying to crush Hamas, humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinians in Gaza or our Pacific allies who face a growing military threat from China and North Korea.  In this case, Aaron’s definition of ALL is Donald Trump and his standing in his own political party.

For what it’s worth.

The Answer to Some of Your Questions Is…

Don Ohlmeyer, former NBC president and the original producer of Monday Night Football, when asked to explain irrational choices in business, sports and politics, wisely opined, “The answer to all your questions is…MONEY.” Consider the opening week of the college football season when second tier college teams travel to Power Five Conference stadiums to be served up as human sacrifices.  Just this year, in return for a $1.5 million payday, Miami University (Oxford, OH) jetted to South Florida to be on the short-end of a 38-3 shellacking by the University of Miami.

This past week proved Ohlmeyer’s maxim to be less iron-clad than I once believed.  Two events, Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel and the congressional logjam resulting from the inability of Republicans to elect a House Speaker had little to do with money.  If not money, what is the primary factor which explains these events?  In both cases, the answer is…GERRYMANDERING.

I’ll begin with Hamas.  Comedian Dana Gould opens his “I Know It’s Wrong” album with a routine in which he claims anything, in the right context, can be funny.  You can feel the audience’s tension when he announces he will prove his point with three jokes.  One about AIDS.  One about rape.  And one about 9/11.  It is the third topic which illuminates the horror of 10/7/23 on the Gaza border.

I think my favorite part of 9/11 (pause as the audience laughs nervously) was the Muslim terrorists when they went to Muslim heaven, which we all know isn’t true.  They can’t be in Muslim heaven because they’re in Christian hell.  Unless they go back and forth which you can do because they’re both pretend.

~Dana Gould/I Know It’s Wrong

Exactly!  Muslim extremists who self-associate with one of the world’s three major religions have gerrymandered heaven.  In the territorial afterlife they control, the greatest rewards come from jihad and martyrdom. Likewise, many Christian fundamentalists have walled off their heavenly enclave, depriving entry to those who do not share their beliefs or deviate from their standards of behavior. As we learn over and over again, apartheid applied to an imaginary afterlife does little to support the prospects for peace and amity in this one.

Which brings me to the more traditional definition of gerrymandering, manipulating the boundaries of legislative districts to either create safe seats for the party in power or dilute representation of various classes of voters, both of which give disproportional weight to a percentage of the electorate. Perhaps the best example is my home state of Florida where the GOP holds 20 of 28 congressional seats although party affiliation is relatively even (GOP 36.35 percent versus Democrats 34.48 percent.)  Keep in mind the state legislature originally approved a somewhat more equitable map which Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed and then arm-twisted the legislature to approve his version.

However, as is so often said, be careful what you wish for.  Florida’s 2022 redistricting assured Matt Gaitz a safe seat which freed him up to be the chaos agent on display during the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.  The same is true of the other seven firebrands who sealed McCarthy’s fate.  This is what happens when a representative no longer needs the backing of House leadership to support his or her reelection.

In other words, while the Republican Party thought gerrymandering would be the path to electoral heaven, they now find themselves corralled behind the Gaitz of hell.  Unlike the 9/11 terrorists, the GOP can actually go back and forth between the benefits and costs of gerrymandering because both are real.

For what it’s worth.


15 Minutes of Infamy

Blogger’s NOTE:  Today’s post is my third attempt at trying to say something meaningful (or at least entertaining) about the media debut of one Emily Kohrs.  It has been a week; so you may have already forgotten she was the chairperson of the Georgia special grand jury looking into interference in the 2020 presidential election.  Ms. Kohrs is a human car wreck.  You know you should not be rubber-necking to watch her but you simply cannot turn away.

In Version #1, I suggested her remarks were more like those of someone who had successfully completed a college seminar titled, “Making a Fool of Yourself on National TV.”  And how lucky she was to have such distinguished, experienced instructors such as Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham and Sydney Powell.

In Version #2, I gave the story the Rotten Apples treatment. Kohrs’ appearance on NBC News received a “5”. Most critics agreed with former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman who characterized her as “a tease.”  Or former DOJ inspector general Michael Bromwich who called her “a reckless idiot.”  Legal analyst Lisa Rubin was somewhat kinder.  “Kohrs reminded me of an overconfident gymnast on the balance beam.” Who was the dissenting vote? You guessed it. The Donald loved her performance.

Now you have an extremely energetic young woman, the (get this!) ‘foreperson’ of the Racist D.A.’s Special Grand Jury, going around and doing a Media Tour revealing, incredibly, the Grand Jury’s inner workings & thoughts.

He could not have personally handpicked someone more likely to toss a wrench into Fani Willis’ well-oiled indictment machine. Most legal analysts believe Kohrs did not totally derail Willis’ case. But it sure did not help. The kicker being how ironic it was that the person he bashed was the exact type that makes up the MAGA base (previously apolitical and uninformed). According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), she had NEVER voted and had no knowledge of Trump’s infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger prior to hearing it in the grand jury room.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about. Which brings me to Version #3, Kohrs’ motive for submitting to myriad interviews. Certainly, she wanted to take advantage of her 15 minutes (and hopefully the last) of fame. Though, I believe she had a more practical motive, hoping someone would give her a second opportunity. She did not want to go back to what she was doing before being seated on the grand jury. Which, by the way, was nothing since she was (as reported by AJC) between jobs.

Imagine, if you will, a potential employer invites Kohrs to interview for an opening. The company or job is of little consequence. She brings the same knowledge and demeanor she honed with NBC News political reporter Blaine Alexander and AJC reporters Tamar Hallerman and Bill Rankin.

HR: Welcome, Ms. Kohrs. I understand you’ve had a hard time finding employment. How many unsuccessful attempts have you had?
EK: I will tell you it is not a short list.
HR: Can you tell me where you’ve applied?
EK: There are certainly names you would recognize. There are names you would expect.
HR: Do you have any idea why you didn’t get the jobs?
EK: I’m not going to speak on exact indictments. (smirks)
HR: If we hire you, could you tell me what we might expect?
EK: I don’t think there are any giant plot twists coming.
HR: Do you think you’ll fit in here?
EK: (laughs) Probably not.
HR: One of your references wrote that at times you acted immaturely.
EK: (rolls eyes and bursts out laughing) Did he really say that? Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s phenomenal. I love it.
HR: Why would he say that about you?
EK: I invoke my Fifth Amendment right. That’s what I have to say to that.
HR: Don’t you want to defend yourself. He said he caught you listening to phone conversations when he was talking to important clients.
EK: It is amazing how many hours of footage you find of that man on the phone.
HR: You made videos? By the way, I understand you ran into our CEO on the elevator.
EK: That was really cool for me. I made a point of stopping him.
HR: I guess he recognized you from TV. You are pretty famous these days. He doesn’t stop what he is doing for just anyone.
EK: I told my boyfriend, “Do you know that if I was in a room with Donald Trump and Joe Biden and they knew who I was, they would both want to speak to me.”
HR: I think I’ve heard enough. Well, thank you for coming.

If any of the above dialogue sounds familiar, maybe it is because all of Kohrs’ answers are direct quotes from her NBC and AJC interviews. You should not be surprised at the vague responses which provided little information of consequence. After all, she had just spent several months observing how to do that from some of the best in the business.

For what it’s worth.


These are two people I never thought I would associate with one another, but there is a comparison that cannot be overlooked. But that is where any similarity ends as you will soon see.

In 1964, the “great mentioner,” a euphomism Washington insiders once used to refer to unnamed sources, focused on whether Lyndon Johnson would consider Robert Kennedy to be his running mate. To sidestep the issue of his relationship with the late president’s brother, LBJ indirectly informed RFK he would not be the choice by announcing, “No current member of my cabinet will be considered for vice-president this fall.”

At the time, Kennedy was still attorney general. He responded to the Oval Office declaration by apologizing to all the other cabinet members eliminated from consideration. “I’m sorry I took so many nice fellows over the side with me. “

My memory of this July 1964 event was triggered by yesterday’s Buckingham Palace directive invitations to Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral would be limited to current heads of state. Was this the royal family’s way of telling “the former guy” he was not welcome? The last thing they needed was a repeat of the July 14, 2018 social faux pas when the seditionist-in-chief stepped in front of Her Royal Majesty.

Should we expect an RFK-like response? Will TFG apologize to the hundreds of former presidents and premiers who were swiped to the left of the guest list on his account? He is more likely to claim he was deprived of one more honor because the 2020 election was stolen. Especially, since according to NewsMax anchor Greg Kelly, “Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II had real chemistry. This was the most genuine relationship with an American president that she had.” I guess Kelly did not notice when she met with Trump, the Queen chose to wear a broach given to her by none other than Barack Obama.

I have no doubt the late monarch had genuine feelings about Trump. But as she so often did, she put aside those personal feelings in the interest of her realm. Too bad someone else did not get the message.

For what it’s worth.

Six Degrees of Dr. ESP

This week I was reminded the parlor game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” also works in reverse. To prove it, I will demonstrate there are six or less connections by which Kevin Bacon is linked to me.

This memory was triggered by news of Thursday’s passing of actor Lenny Von Dohlen at the age of 63. Von Dohlen was best know for his portrayal of the agoraphobic horticulturist in Twin Peaks. In 1988, I was hired by his father Leonard Von Dohlen to prepare an enterprise zone application for a business he and his brother Tim planned for their home town of Goliad, Texas. The project would convert La Bahia, the quarter horse oval at the Goliad County fairgrounds, into a pari-mutuel racetrack.

My contract with the Von Dohlens was the by-product of two intersecting pieces of legislation enacted in 1987. The first, the Texas Enterprise Zone Act, authorized tax breaks for new businesses created in lower income regions of the state. While serving as deputy director of the Texas Economic Development Commission, I helped state senator Hector Uribe (D-Brownsville) draft the legislation. That same year the state legislature passed authorization for pari-mutuel betting and creation of the Texas Racing Commission.

Goliad had a long tradition of quarter horse breeding which included annual sweepstake races at the county fair. Leonard and brother Tim immediately applied for a pari-mutuel license and contacted Senator Uribe about taking advantage of the enterprise zone incentives. I got involved when Senator Uribe referred them to me as someone who knew the requirements having worked on the draft bill.

Sadly the project was never completed largely because the only racing dates the Commission offered the Von Dohlens were Friday nights in September and October. If you have ever spent a Friday night in any Texas city or town, you know horse racing is not the first thing any true Lone Star resident thinks about on an autumn Friday evening. That honor goes to high school football. Despite repeated efforts, the Von Dohlens were unable to convince the Racing Commissioners those dates were economically unfeasible.

So what does this have to do with Kevin Bacon and me? To find out, simply play the new parlor game “Six Degrees of Dr. ESP.”

  • Kevin Bacon and Laura Dern appeared together in the 2001 movie Novacaine.
  • Laura Dern appeared with Kyle MacLachlin, Sherlyn Fenn and others in the 2017 reboot of Twin Peaks.
  • All of whom costarred with Lenny Von Dohlen in the original 1990-91 Twin Peaks.
  • Lenny’s father was Leonard Von Dohlen III and his uncle was Tim Von Dohlen of Goliad, Texas.
  • Who contracted with Dr. ESP to figure out how to make their pari-mutuel quarter horse racetrack eligible for state enterprise zone benefits.

And no, you do not get extra credit for needing only five degrees of separation to make the connection. After all, this was just one more trip down memory lane, as so often occurs, when a news story brings back a long-forgotten recollection of a moment in time.


If you have ever watched the 1988 remake of DOA with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, there is a scene when Daniel Stern’s character falls from a third story window. The scene was shot in Senator Uribe’s office in the Texas State Capitol after replacing the real window with panes made of candy glass.

For what it’s worth.