Right Thing for the Wrong Reason

  Photo property of: Hogs555 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/GunnisonRvr.JPG    It was reported on June 9, 2020, that Congress may pass a federal lands bill which will fund the chronically shortchanged Land & Water Conservation Fund. The Fund, among other things, pays for maintenance of our national parks, which are in dire need of […]

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Who You Know – What You Know

  Michael Flynn is a retired high-ranking military officer. His military service gained him fame which enabled him to create a public relations company that specialized in lobbying the United State government and politicians on behalf of foreign governments and monied individuals and advising those same clients about their relations with the United States. His […]

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Evil or Cynical (Does it Make a Difference?)

Image property of Medium.com   On June 5, 2020, Trump announced in Maine to a group of commercial fishing representatives that he was opening by executive order a marine conservation area off the New England coast (the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts) to commercial fishing.  This area lies east of Cape Cod. It is one of […]

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What If…

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay On Saturday, June 6, 2020, CBS News and other news sources reported that Trump had demanded that 10,000 active duty military troops be deployed in Washington, D.C. to “dominate the streets and overwhelm protestors.”  According to the report, there was enough push back from Defense Secretary Esper and military leaders […]

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Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball

Current events such as the Coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests rightfully demand our attention, but we should not lose sight of our over-arching problem:  global warming. I am in no way trying to minimize the horrible human and economic consequences of the pandemic or suggest that we can or should delay […]

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Do You Remember?

Photo: Ellsworth Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images   Do you remember when the America people were capable of being shocked, disappointed, disgusted, righteously indignant and downright angry at official misconduct?  It seems like a lifetime ago.     I was reminded recently of the Watergate scandal when my wife and I watched a rerun […]

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The Flynn Case

DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/Flickr    Attorney General William Barr recently took the unprecedented step of trying to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn who had been convicted of lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians.  He had also been fired by Trump for lying to Vice President Pence about […]

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Are We a Third World Country Now?

Image by Zelandia from Pixabay   It has always been a bedrock principle of our country that everyone is equal before the law and that we are a nation of laws and not of men.  True, there have been innumerable instances in our history of falling short of this lofty goal, but our national conscience, our national sense […]

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Another Blow to the U.S. Economy

Trump is at it again.  Trump is like one of those long past his prime comedians retelling an old joke that always gets a laugh or a band from the 60s or 70s playing their most favorite song over and over.  Using the pandemic as an excuse (cover), he has issued an executive order suspending […]

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A Sower of Chaos

Trump says he “calls the shots” and that he will soon decide when he will reopen the country.  As some comedians used to say, “Not so fast…” or, as the old line in western movies went, “Just hold on there a minute pardner…”  When Trump was called out by reporters on whether he had the […]

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Why Let the Facts Stand in the Way?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay   Most careful, intelligent people make important decisions by first gathering the facts. Decisions, rules, regulations and laws must be based upon the facts. Not so in the Trump administration. Trump starts with his desired policy and then tries to do whatever is necessary to make the facts appear […]

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A 500 Year Flood?

Image by leo2014 from Pixabay   I am writing this the day after Easter.  As of today, the United States has 557,663 cases of COVID 19 and 22,116 deaths.  Globally, there are 1,864,829 reported cases and 115,286 deaths.  It is obvious that the U.S. has a disproportionately high number of cases and deaths.  Why? The […]

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Audition

  Image Caption: Emergency hospital during influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas. Emergency hospital during influenza epidemic (NCP 1603), National Museum of Health and Medicine. Description: Beds with patients in an emergency hospital in Camp Funston, Kansas, in the midst of the influenza epidemic. The flu struck while America was at war, and was transported across […]

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Who Would Have Thought It?

Four or five years ago, who would have thought (predicted) that a President of the United States would be considered the least credible and least helpful leader in the world during a worldwide health crisis?  The steady erosion of credibility began before election and has only increased over time.  The pettiness, mendacity, churlishness and vindictiveness […]

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Quaratine

Image by Oleg Gamulinskiy from Pixabay Greetings from a self-imposed quarantine.  I say self-imposed only because legal services were considered essential, so it was technically possible to keep the office open without violating the City and County Orders, but that seemed like the wrong decision for the safety and peace of mind of our clients and staff.  We […]

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More Bad Policy

  Image property of Jim Young/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images / NYtimes.com The COVID-19 pandemic is very serious, but it is temporary.  On the other hand, the rollback of environmental regulations has a lasting effect, particularly if Trump is re-elected. On Tuesday, March 31, the Trump administration announced its final rule rolling back the Obama-era […]

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Our Test

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay  We are being watched.  Our adversaries are observing how we respond to the COVID-19 crisis, which in a sense is a test of our ability and willingness to defend ourselves in biological and conventional warfare.  It would be naïve to believe our enemies are not paying attention.  What lessons have they […]

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Monkey See, Monkey Do

An editorial opinion by Jennifer Latson, an editor at Rice Business, which appeared in the Houston Chronicle on March 5, 2020, caught my eye.  The title, “Rudeness, and Kindness, trickle down from above,” seemed like just plain ‘ol common sense, but there is science to back this up.  Researchers at UCLA conducted an experiment which […]

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Such a Pity – and Stupid too.

Original image property of: KOJI HIRANO / GETTY IMAGES / Earthjustice.org An opinion piece by John Leshy in The New York Times of March 4, 2020 returned my attention to Trump’s mismanagement of national parks, national monuments and federal lands in general. Leshy is a member of the board of the Grand Canyon Trust. Trump […]

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Supreme Court Strikes Again

Image by KERBSTONE from Pixabay  On 3/11/2020, the United States Supreme Court entered an order “staying” the earlier ruling of the Ninth Court of Appeals in San Francisco which had stopped the enforcement of Trump’s “wait in Mexico” policy.  This ruling does not mean the case is over.  The appeal will go on.  However, it does mean that […]

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The Anti-Science President

When I started to write this blog the first thought that came into my head was:  the only person that hates science more than me is Trump.  But, that isn’t really true.  The truth is that I was really poor in science and math, but I have great respect for science and scientists.  How could […]

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Climate Change Poll

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay   I had a very interesting experience in a jury trial recently.  One of the lawyers in the case asked the jury panel during jury selection whether they believed climate change was real or a hoax.  This is a highly unusual question, but how a juror answers is revealing.  […]

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Teflon Don

Original image property of 3D4MEDICAL / 3D4MEDICAL For the last 3 plus years we have been treated to photo-ops of Trump seated at the head of a long conference table while those in attendance take turns flattering him.  Those who are blowing kisses and throwing flowers have got to be sick to their stomachs before, […]

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Disinformation

  On March 2, 2020, The New York Times reported that an official at the Interior Department is forcing the inclusion of intentionally misleading language about climate change into the agency’s scientific reports.  This includes debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial.  According to the Times, the misleading language appears in […]

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Proud to be an American

National crises have always provided the opportunity for our best to be at their best.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Like you, I’ve been watching television and reading newspapers trying to find out about the coronavirus and trying to figure out how this pandemic will affect me, my family, my business, my community, my […]

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Is There a Difference?

Original Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay You may have read or heard that Vladimir Putin is making arrangements for his future.  Russia has, at least in theory, a constitution and term limits.  To stay in power Putin will have to put his country through some constitutional, legislative and political machinations.  Needless to say, he […]

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Assuming the Worst

Original image property of Wikipedia / ABI image captured by NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite A criminal trial is underway in Houston against Arkema Inc. and Arkema senior level employees arising out of an explosion at Arkema’s plant during Hurricane Harvey.  Arkema is in the plastics business.  Arkema uses organic peroxides in its manufacturing process.  Organic peroxides […]

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The Oath

Many Republican commentators, elected officials and Trump surrogates are denouncing Senator Mitt Romney’s vote to convict Trump.  He is reviled by the Republicans as a traitor and applauded by the Democrats.  I was touched by Romney’s emotional speech explaining his vote because he emphasized the importance of his sworn oath before God to exercise impartial […]

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More about Natural Gas Flaring

On 2/19/20, the Houston Chronicle reported that Ryan Sitton, one of the members of the Texas Railroad Commission, had issued a report concerning the burning of natural gas from oil wells.  Interestingly, Sitton, a Republican, issued the report separately from the agency and without the joinder of the other two commissioners.  According to Sitton, his […]

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Character is Destiny

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay  I’m definitely not the only one that spends far more time than I should truly anguishing over Trump and this is exactly the point.  We might have a high-minded, constructive, intelligent disagreement about ideas, political philosophy and policy, but we shouldn’t be having a volatile disagreement over whether a person is morally, temperamentally, […]

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The Rest of the Story

Image property of the New York Times/ NYTimes.com/ Mohammed Salem / Reuters If you read this blog you may recall I posted a Report From The Border.  That story is about what my wife and I personally witnessed when we visited Brownsville and Matamoros where refugees are waiting in Mexico for their opportunity to plead […]

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Racing Backwards

Image by Ralf Vetterle from Pixabay  The Trump administration is moving quickly to finalize dozens of regulatory rollbacks and other actions to weaken environmental protections.  This includes eliminating protection for birds.  Henceforth, the Trump administration will not enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1917, which makes it illegal “by any means or in any manner” to hunt, […]

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A Different Take on Mideast Peace

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay  When Trump announced he and son-in-law Jared Kushner had a plan for peace in the Middle East, it was no surprise Benjamin Netanyahu was all in favor of it and that the Palestinians rejected it out of hand.  They were looking at the plan from a conventional geopolitical point of view and, of […]

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Shameful

I have refrained from writing about impeachment, but the farcial, shameful character of the proceedings can’t be allowed to seem normal or acceptable.  It is always good to start by looking closely at the Constitution.  (Please note that in some instances the spelling and capitalization are not modern.)  Article I, Section 2[5], states:  The House […]

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Plastic

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay  Chris Tomlinson writes an always interesting and informative column for the Business section of the Houston Chronicle.  On January 29, 2020, Mr. Tomlinson wrote about the war on plastic and the probable effect it will have upon producers of natural gas.  China is banning single-use, disposable plastic products such as straws, utensils […]

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The List

Political advertising, particularly advertising during the primary season, is probably a pretty good indicator of the issues that the politicians think will motivate their base.  Bearing in mind that the primaries are elections contested within a political party, in this day and time you can rest assured that every politician who has enough money to […]

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Musical Chairs

I’m sure you know and have played this children’s game: a group of people walk around a set of chairs until the music stops, then scramble to find a seat; the person left standing is eliminated; when the music begins again, a chair is removed and so on and so on until two (2) people […]

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Big, Dirty Secret

I recently commented on a federal court case involving the claims of thousands of homeowners who lost their homes due to flooding during Hurricane Harvey.  The claimants accused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of “taking” their private property for a public purpose without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. […]

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Scattershooting…

On January 23, 2020, it was announced that Trump’s EPA had “rolled back” clean water rules.  A better description would be “gutted”.  When environmental protections are removed, the proponents of removing them always invoke the imagery of innocent small landowners, struggling family farmers and small business owners being maliciously harassed by an arbitrary, unreasonable, capricious […]

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The Cost of Ignoring Reality

On 1/17/2020, the Houston Chronicle ran a story (see below) on a report issued by McKinsey & Company, one of the largest and probably best known business consulting firms in the world, regarding climate change. The report concluded that absent major preparation climate change will do substantial damage to the world’s economies and wreak havoc […]

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Humpty Dumpty

One has to wonder whether nature can survive the Trump presidency and, if so, how long it will take to recover if it can recover. On December 24, 2019, The New York Times ran a depressing story about how the Trump administration is failing to enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the […]

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Meddling in Elections

I got a big surprise in my mail recently.  Among the letters, bills and fliers was what appeared to be a full-sized newspaper.  At first I thought the newspaper delivery person had mistakenly crammed the paper in my mailbox, but it turned out to be a “newspaper” called The Epoch Times.  As I looked it […]

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It’s Not Just the Ukraine

Above: Newly elected President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele Image Credit: Associated Press/ AP/ Gulfnews.com   On Sunday, December 15, 2019, the CBS program Sixty Minutes interviewed the newly elected President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele.  The subject of the interview was primarily immigration.  Recall that Trump created a policy that required refugees to wait […]

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Zero Faith

“I had zero faith in the justice system, but I thought we should give it a try.”  Those are the words of Elizabeth Burnham, a homeowner who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey flooding after she was informed she had won her lawsuit against the U.S. Corps of Engineers.  Ms. Burham and other homeowners were flooded […]

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Get Out and Stay Out

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on December 12, 2019 about how the Trump administration is making it very hard for persons of “extraordinary ability” to obtain visas to enter the U.S. The approval rate for petitions based on “extraordinary ability” filed by professional athletes, scientists, professors and industry executives has fallen from […]

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Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

  The United Nations Conference of Parties 25th annual negotiation on climate change, which was  held in Madrid this year, has ended with no discernible progress being made on global warming.  With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the result was entirely predictable.  It is as if the leading actor simply vanished […]

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Scattershooting

The NCAA president, Mark Emmert, has said Congress is likely to pass federal legislation regarding the compensation of student athletes for use of their name, likeness and image.  In fact, although the NCAA is usually proud of its autonomy, Emmert seemed to welcome the prospect of Congress doing this.  California and 20 other states have […]

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The Riddle of Climate Science Deniers

The latest figures compiled by the Pew Research Center show that 90% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans (2/3 of Americans overall) think the government is doing too little to combat climate change.  When I read this figure my immediate reaction was to be amazed that there could be such a wide disagreement about scientific […]

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Flaring of Gas

I was recently travelling south of San Antonio on Highway 16 through the Eagle Ford Shale oilfield.  Rising out of the brush country arose a very tall tower with an enormous flame on top.  Obviously, some company was flaring gas from many wells at the same facility.  It was by far the largest gas flare […]

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Are Judges Political?

The question of whether judges are political, i.e., whether their decisions are potentially influenced by political beliefs and political doctrine, has been around forever.  This question may now be before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case arising out of Delaware.  The facts are that the Delaware Constitution mandates that the state’s 3 highest courts […]

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