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Silly me!

I thought the Supreme Court Justices were supposed to be examples for the rest of us.  Sure, no one is perfect.  And I don’t expect anyone to put the members of the court on a pedestal.  But, come on Clarence Thomas!  You profess to be just a regular guy who has unbiased opinions that affect laws in our great country.  Justice Thomas once said, “I prefer traveling by RV and staying in RV parks.”  And by RV he must mean private jets and yachts.  And by RV parks he must mean luxury resorts.

I see how you could easily make that mistake.

Honestly, I never believed any of that “man of the people” stuff.  And what we learned recently about Supreme Court Justice Thomas is something that needs explaining. 

ProPublica, an independent, non-profit investigative journalism organization, released a report that claims Justice Thomas has spent more than 20 years accepting gifts and high-dollar trips from a megadonor in the Republican Party, real estate billionaire Harlan Crow.  According to the report, Justice Thomas failed to divulge details of the gifts and trips.  That would be a “no-no.”

ProPublica reports, according to two ethics law experts, “His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress, and federal officials to disclose most gifts.”

It doesn’t take a Supreme Court Justice to recognize, on the surface, this is a bad look. 

Some Democrats are quickly calling for his impeachment.  As expected, GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are saying, “Nothing to see here.  Move along.”

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat, wrote, “Today’s report demonstrates, yet again, that Supreme Court Justices must be held to an enforceable code of conduct, just like every other federal judge. The ProPublica report is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”

Durbin chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So, what happens next?  Probably nothing more than an email to all Supreme Court Justices that says, “Hey guys, don’t forget to fill out the proper forms if a megadonor pays for your private jet and luxury hotel stays.  We don’t want our citizens to believe these donors are buying your court opinions. Have a good weekend!”

— Guest columnist Anthony Pittman

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.