On my 8-ball, you constantly see, "Reply hazy. Try again."


Nothing in particular is sticking in my craw this week, because pretty much everything is. But I have been reminded once again that my powers of prediction are on a par with that puppet in a glass box deal at the state fair.

For a quarter I'll tell you who will win Iowa.

A few months back I went out on a limb and predicted that we wouldn't ultimately be voting on Biden and Trump in 2024, but DeSantis and Newsom, the governors of two of the sillier states in the union, Florida and California. And I'm saying silly as a resident of Texas, for crying out loud.

Want to know how silly? California is on the verge of passing a law that might allow authorities to remove children from a home if their parents don't sufficiently support their youngster's gender identity. And Florida has passed one that allows the kids to be taken if the parents do support the kid's gender identity and have taken him or her to a doctor to determine a course of action. It's getting confusing out there, folks. Can't tell the players without a scorecard.

My thinking was, and to some extent, still is, that somewhere along the way it would occur to President Biden that he is 80-years-old and it might be time to hand over the reins. Judging by his interview Sunday with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, that realization hasn't registered yet. He said there was a lot to finish and the next 6 years should be enough to get it done. I admire the optimism, but despite all the undeserved nitpicking on Fox, it is obvious he has lost a step or three. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a slower Biden over an energetic Trump any day, but polling does show the public is a bit concerned. Despite economic numbers that are actually quite good, Biden's approval ratings are middling at best.

Brylcreem, a little dab'll do ya.

But Newsom has been a  loyal party guy and despite raising money, visiting all the right places for a candidate, and keeping up with his artful hairstyling regimen, he has said he won't challenge Biden for the nod. So, until the President is ready to hang it up, he will stay dutifully on the sidelines, and try to find a better answer for why his ex is engaged to Donald Trump Jr. Perhaps a rare Botox side-effect.

But if and when that happens, it leaves the sticky issue of Vice-President Harris. By all accounts an extremely capable woman, she does suffer from that strange political affliction that impels the spewing of indecipherable word salad whenever asked a relatively simple question. This verbiage vomit is confusing and has made her an object of derision on the right, though to be fair, she would have been for those folks anyway.  

The headsets under your seat will provide simultaneous translation. 

She has also been the object of vulgar cracks from commentators about the fact that when single, she once dated Willie Brown, the former Mayor of San Francisco and California Assemblyman who was considered quite the force in the state's Democratic political machine. He no doubt helped her career, but to hear some radio and Fox News types tell it, she slept her way to the top. That shows an astonishing amount of sexism, for starters, and a cavalier disregard for the guy they endorse, who cheated on all his wives, and boinked a porn star when the last one was giving birth to his son. The hypocrisy here is as thick as a Florida mangrove swamp.

Which brings me to my other prediction. I apparently overestimated the political skill of Ron DeSantis in that I attributed any actual political skill at all. His Presidential campaign rollout has hit pothole after pothole and his personal warmth is somewhere near Fudgsicle levels. He has bet the farm on the culture wars, Critical Race Theory, the overuse of "woke", the apparently huge issue of transgender folks, who are around .006% of the population, and flying illegal immigrants to wherever his dart hit the map.

He has what would seem a great backstory, military, Ivy League, but his speaking style makes Biden look like JFK. Granted, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney never really lit up a room but they were honorable men with common sense political instincts. I'm afraid DeSantis has learned that when it comes to riling up the faithful, you can't out-Trump Trump.

And I was so looking forward to a contest between two good heads of hair. You know, where you didn't need hair plugs or a combover visible from low earth orbit?

Mr. Hobson presents your choice for 2024.

But former President Trump seems to go from strength to strength in the Republican race, and despite all the evidence of wrongdoing and seemingly more to come, he continues to prove he could indeed shoot someone on 5th Avenue and gain support. And if that person is Special Counsel Jack Smith, win the nomination by acclamation. But, since he suffers the same verbal diarrhea as the VP, and consequently sheds lawyers like a human cicada, he may well talk himself into a conviction and then we face a real constitutional crisis. Do Republicans really want to risk that? It seems, so far, the answer is yes.

So my Newsom/DeSantis race will have to wait, I guess. But four years will allow both of them to polish their stump speeches, assemble a campaign crew, and sign more insane bills passed by their respective legislative wacky gang of pranksters.    

Now, to some other ephemera from around this fair nation.

An Idaho TV meteorologist was harassed and threatened for talking about climate change on the air, during a week that saw two of the hottest days in human recorded history. One of the threats got a man arrested. So of course, his bosses said to dial it back. You know, ratings and, well, Idaho. So, he quit and works for a climate organization now. Idaho is on its own.

Here in the Lone Star State, we are off and running on another summer in Hades. Wind and solar energy, and apparently Stan and Ollie, are keeping the laughable state electric grid running by providing fully a quarter of the juice we need to keep the AC on. In fact, solar energy is now officially cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear. And yet, as explained by the group Environment Texas...

"The state Senate approved on Wednesday a package of anti-renewable energy bills, including SB 7, which would make wind and solar energy companies pay “ancillary services” fees, SB 6, which would allocate $10 billion to build new natural gas power plants and SB 2012 and SB 2015, which would require renewable energy companies to subsidize the construction of new fossil fuel plants, and SB 1287, which establishes a new transmission fee."

All this is because we are  "...just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know...morons."

And because of that, we can't conceive of two kinds of energy existing side by side. We can't comprehend that some folks will want gas-powered vehicles, and some will want electric. It is a zero-sum game and one has to win and one has to lose. There's a word for that. Oh, come on, I'll think of it. Give me a moment.

Meanwhile, just over the Red River, the Oklahoma State School Superintendent was talking about the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, wherein rampaging white mobs killed 50 black citizens and wounded many more, and burned to the ground one of the most economically vibrant black business districts in the nation. Now, I say infamous, but it seems most kids in Oklahoma, or anywhere else for that matter, were not taught about it in school. But Supt. Ryan Walters says they can now, but be careful and don't emphasize the race part. It might make some kids feel guilty.

Let's just say some guys got mad at some other guys and leave it at that. 

Ryan says the media made him look bad by misquoting him with that old trick of printing what he actually said. We are a wily lot. If you are a teacher, you will need medication to keep your head from spinning, but don't ask your union for it. Ryan says the teacher unions are all communist. I predict contract negotiations will go swimmingly.

And we found out this week that Rosanne Barr, who as you probably know, is Jewish, is also a Holocaust denier. I interviewed her years ago on my TV morning show and found her immensely unpleasant then. I am somewhat gratified to find there are some constants in this world.

Now, there were plenty more loony hijinks this week, but it's getting late.

Let me just leave you with this gem to get you thinking about things beyond our pedantic, earthly plane. Because, he's out there, and looking for a phone booth.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.