Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

Another critic says ‘goodbye’

I have written on this blog and in other forums about the need to read and listen to opinions that differ from our own.

I’ll stand by that belief for as long as I write this blog.

That said, I got a scolding overnight from a (former) reader of High Plains Blogger. He didn’t like a post I published that stood up for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her ongoing battle with Donald Trump over funding for The Wall and, well, other matters.

My critic said he once thought I harbored some “common sense.” Now he is convinced I have none. He’s done reading the “crap” I post on the blog.

Dang it! That means he won’t read this item. Supposedly. That’s if he can resist the temptation to get his dander up all over again. I’ll assume he means what he said.

Here’s my point . . .

I welcome criticism of this blog. I make no apologies for my own political bias. You know where I stand regarding the president of the United States; you understand my partisan leaning; I make my political orientation clear.

Yes, I do read the opinions of other bloggers and commentators. Some of my favorite opinion writers happen to be folks with whom I have strong disagreements. They include folks such as Jonah Goldberg, Peggy Noonan, William Kristol, the late Charles Krauthammer.

I admire those who can express themselves as brilliantly as they do.

I do not begin to pretend I am in their league. I am just a schmuck blogger who fires off these posts when the spirit moves me. Since I am retired these days, I have plenty of time to devote to this blog. Which I do.

The world would be pretty damn boring if all we read were thoughts and beliefs that agreed with our own. Don’t you think?

I’ll keep on keepin’ on with this blog. I might lose some more readers along the way. Or . . . I might gain a few, too.

It’s all part of the process of learning about this great big world of ours and about this wonderful country that enables us to speak our minds, even when it angers others.

Time to brag about another record

Time for a bit of braggin’, if you don’t mind.

High Plains Blogger has just recorded a record month of page views and unique visitors — and we still have another week to go!

This blog was able to set a record for “hits” in 2018 on the strength of an extraordinary month. In February, the blog smashed through the ceiling by recording its greatest — by far! — single day of page views and visitors.

We started 2019 with another smashing month. January will give way to February in week, but already High Plains Blogger has registered its best-ever monthly performance.

What drove this latest record? Unquestionably it was the resignation of Kori Clements from her post as head girls volleyball coach at Amarillo High School in Texas. I commented on it over the course of about four days. Traffic zoomed!

I guess that speaks to the depth of feeling that the Amarillo athletic community feels about itself and about the principals who give it a special standing.

On the strength of this tremendous month of traffic, I am now on track to set another record by year’s end. Sure, I’ve got to keep the momentum going.

I’ll do my best. Hey, we still have a federal government that will give High Plains Blogger plenty of grist to throw out there for discussion.

Should awards shows become political events?

Variety magazine poses a question that is giving me fits, but I have reached a conclusion.

It asks whether televised awards shows that honor entertainers should become a forum for honorees to spout their political views.

I think not.

The Emmys, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes ceremonies have been most memorable for the political speeches that actors and others in the entertainment industry deliver while accepting their trophies.

Are their opinions of some value? Sure they are. Are these ceremonies the place for them to make those views known to the entire world? I don’t believe so.

I have long believed in the “There’s a time and place for everything” theory. I have this admittedly old-fashioned view that awards ceremonies are intended solely to honor those who get paid lots of money to, um, entertain us. That is why I watch them — on the rare occasion that I do.

Free speech is great, however . . .

You may spare me the rebuttal about “freedom of speech,” and “First Amendment guarantees” and this being a “free country.” Believe me, I get all of that. I understand the argument in favor of those who want entertainers to deliver us their political views on the issues of the day.

I also am acutely aware of the entertainment industry’s left-leaning bias. These folks, to be candid, are preaching to the choir if they are talking to me. I share their bias. Thus, I don’t need to hear points of view that merely affirm what I already believe.

All I want from entertainers is for them to perform up to the standards we all expect of them. Whether they think badly of the president of the United States or of certain members of Congress or of governors of certain states is irrelevant.

Good grief! We’re inundated with opinion 24/7 on cable TV shows, in various publications, and in blogs — such as this one.

Entertainment awards ceremonies need not be a forum to feed me more of the same.

‘One-sided opinion’? Is there any other kind?

This blog of mine features lots of opinion, most of it is mine. I don’t hide my political bias. It is out there for all to see. You either agree or disagree with it.

I received a comment on the blog from an occasional reader (I am going to presume) who disagreed with my view on how Donald J. Trump might be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. This critic finished the comment by saying:

I’m glad I’m not subjected to your one-sided opinion on a regular basis but, blessed to live in a country where you spew it I guess.

I appreciate the comment, but I am going to ask my critic through this forum: Is there any other kind of opinion than “one-sided opinion”? 

That’s the nature of High Plains Blogger. It “spews” opinion. I have some strong views, for instance, on the fellow who’s now our president. I am not happy that he’s there, so I gladly exercise my constitutional right to express my displeasure over his election and over the manner in which he attempts to govern this great country.

Back when I was toiling in my craft of daily opinion writing and editing, I occasionally would receive comments that came in the form of a compliment. They would allude to my “balanced” approach to opinion-writing. I never quite knew how to react to such a statement. By “balanced,” I wondered if the person implied I was wishy-washy.

I wrote regular signed columns for two Texas newspapers, in Beaumont and then in Amarillo, where my career ended. In both places, I wrote in two voices. When I wrote editorials for the newspaper, I recited the “company line.” I wrote editorials that comported with the consensus of the editorial board, which in Beaumont comprised me, the executive editor and the publisher; in Amarillo, the “ed board” included myself, an editorial staff writer and the publisher.

When I wrote my columns, the publishers and the executive editor to whom I reported (in Beaumont) allowed me to write in my own voice, which usually differed in varying degrees with the editorial policy espoused by the newspaper.

Perhaps that’s what they meant when they said my approach was “balanced.” I don’t know.

I do know that the description of “one-sided opinion” is, um, a redundant phrase. Of course it’s one-sided! It’s what I believe.

I’ll keep offering more one-sided opinions on a whole array of topics for as long as I’m able to string sentences together.

To the critic who doesn’t read my spewage regularly, thank you for your comment. I hope to hear more from you.

Trump Derangement Syndrome? Not here

A couple of critics of this blog have taken to blasting me because of what they believe is my obsession with criticizing Donald John Trump.

They say I’m afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, which I guess is a malady found in those who just cannot give the president of the United States a break on anything. That’s untrue where this blog is concerned, given that High Plains Blogger has given the president credit for acting smartly a couple of times.

The old year is about to pass into history or oblivion, depending on your point of view. The new year is nearly upon us. What will this blog do as it regards the president? Oh, let me think. OK, it’s going to stay the course.

My concern about the president lies in what I continue to believe is his unfitness for the office he occupies. And by “unfit,” I mean he has no moral compass, no ideology, no sense of service, no empathy, no understanding of the complexities of his office. I intend fully to keep harping on all those matters for as long as this man is president. I hope it’s not long.

One critic asked me if there are any policies he could enact that would make me feel differently. I answered him in a blog post. Yes, there are a number of policy reversals he could perform. Here is what I wrote the other day:

What ‘policy change’ could Trump enact? Let me think

I created this blog years ago as a forum to discuss politics, public policy and life experience. I will continue to emphasize the politics and policy stuff. There is so much to discuss, so much to analyze, so much to praise or criticize. The presidency is the one elected office where its occupant stands for election by the entire nation.

I believe voters made a mistake in 2016. It’s not an irreversible error. Donald Trump does not deserve to be re-elected. I intend to use this blog as a forum to insist that he be defeated in case he chooses to run for re-election; I am not yet entirely certain that’s going to be the case.

All that said, I stand by my assertion that I do not suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’ve got too many other good things to occupy my noggin than to be totally obsessed with the actions of this carnival barker who masquerades as our head of state and commander in chief.

However, I intend to keep firing away.

Blogging requires multi-tasking skills

For the first time — more than likely — since I started blogging full time I am left with too much to comment on.

Just today alone, the news exploded all over the place.

  • The U.S. House of Reps decided to put $5 billion to build a wall along our southern border into a stopgap funding bill, then got assurances from Donald Trump he wouldn’t sign the Senate version of a bill that would keep the government running.
  • The government is about to shut down partially.
  • Then to top it off, Defense Secretary James Mattis quit and told the president off in his letter of resignation. Man, he blistered the commander in chief’s rear end. He delivered the letter in person at the White House. And get this: He signed his letter without salutation; there was no “sincerely,” or “with great respect” or “God bless you, sir” at the end of Mattis’s resignation letter.

I’ve been focused this afternoon on the Mattis matter, as I consider it to be most critical at this moment. I believe his resignation and his reasons for quitting constitute a national security crisis . . . as if Donald Trump doesn’t have enough crises to keep him, um, occupied.

As for me, I now need to figure out what I can write about in the moment and what I can set aside for another day. This reminds me of the situation I faced as an opinion page editor after 9/11. We had more to write about than space would allow, meaning we had to decide which topics we could postpone for another time. It’s an editorial writer’s and editor’s ideal situation.

This blogger now has the same dream.

Blogging brings a particular joy

My calling as a full-time blogger gives me so much joy, it’s difficult to chronicle all of it.

It keeps me in the game of public policy and politics-watching; it allows me to have my voice heard and my “throat” cleared; it reaches a wide audience that includes those who like what I have to say and those who, well, dislike my message.

I want to speak to the particular joy I receive from those critics, the folks who take the time to give me grief.

They aren’t likely to comment on those matters with which they agree. I have some series going: I write about my Chihuahua mix dog, Toby; I comment on the retired life my wife and I enjoy; I now am writing about the joy that my career as a journalist gave me over nearly four decades.

When I turn my attention to issues relating to Donald Trump and my critical view of the man’s presidency, that brings out the critics. They dust off their weapons and fire away.

Yes, I enjoy getting ’em riled. Not because I want them fired up, that I want to cause them heartburn or cause anxiety attacks. My joy comes only in knowing they, too, are engaged at some level.

Bear in mind this important note, though: No one is required to read these musings. We’re all free to look the other way, to ignore whatever it is that is posted under the name of High Plains Blogger.

That these critics choose to read it and then to comment tells me that (a) they want their blood pressure to increase or (b) they cannot get enough of whatever anger they have pent up inside of them.

Whatever, man.

I know it’s too much to ask these critics to share these messages. I ask only one thing: Just keep reading.

Many thanks to you all. Some of you keep me humble. All of you, though, keep me energized.

Hooray! Blog sets page view/visitors record!

I am now going to use this forum of my very own making to boast just a bit. I’ll be brief.

High Plains Blogger has just set a record for yearly page views and unique visitors. The end of the year is still about three weeks away.

This blog has increased annual page views every year since its inception. Perhaps the news that it’s setting a record isn’t much to boast about.

Too bad. I’ll do it anyway.

I owe the good year for this blog to one tremendous month. February brought this blog its biggest single day of page views and unique visitors; the daily average for February was by far the best monthly average I’ve recorded. It carried me to the end of the year on put this blog on pace to set a record.

I want to thank those of you read the blog. Whether you agree with its world view is beside the point. I appreciate your readership very much. I also appreciate those who share my musings with your own social media networks, with the hope that those with whom you share are spreading the word even farther.

The next year allows me to turn the page, to start over. I hope 2019 is even better than the record-setting year we’ve just recorded.

Taking a break from the rough-and-tumble

This blog is taking a brief hiatus from feasting on its main menu of political prey, namely the president of the United States.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the absence of Donald Trump-bashing on High Plains Blogger. For those who believe as I do about the president, don’t give up on me; I’ll return to the feast in due course. For those who oppose my view about the president, I apologize in advance . . . for the same reason I have given to those on the other side of the great divide.

My focus the past couple of days has been on the death of a great American, the 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.

I am trying to imagine a major American public figure who has led a more full and enriching life than President Bush. Perhaps I need to think harder about it, but I keep coming up empty.

GHW Bush led the fullest of lives. I want to honor that life. I have discussed a bit of policy regarding his time in the Oval Office hot seat. Yes, I had issues with him as president. I didn’t vote for him either in 1988 or 1992. However, when someone as devoted to his country as President Bush was passes from the scene, I find it wholly appropriate to set aside those differences and honor a life well-lived.

I don’t know at this moment when I’ll get back into the battle over the current president’s mounting difficulties. I might wait until after President Bush is buried later this week. I might suit up before then.

For the time being, I’m enjoying the break I’m taking from the rough-and-tumble of what is unfolding before our eyes.

I’ll see you on the flip side soon.

Blogging streak hits a milestone

Congratulations to me!

High Plains Blogger has just reached a milestone of sorts. Today represents the 730th consecutive day of posts on this blog.

That means for two years I haven’t missed a day posting some sort of musing — or spewage, depending on your point of view — on High Plains Blogger.

I have no intention of slowing down. Now that I’ve hit the two-year mark, I am drawing a bead on Year No. 3 — and beyond.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing these posts. It means a lot to me to continue this pursuit.