Tag Archives: NY Times

Happy Trails, Part 91

This segment of the “Happy Trails” series perhaps offers you a clue as to what it’s all about. I’ll tell you anyway. I get asked occasionally about retirement and if we have any “bucket list” destinations we want to see before we, um, kick it.

I’ll speak only for myself on this one, because of the two of us — that would be wife and me — I am the one who is most interested in doing a Beatles tour of England.

I know a couple in Amarillo who have done this kind of tour. Mike and Kathy Haynes took a tour of England years ago to visit the places where four young men came of age, got their musical start and eventually changed popular culture … forever and ever!

You know their names: John, Paul, Ringo and George (from left to right in the picture).

When I get asked the bucket list question, I usually say something like going to Australia, which has fascinated me since I was a little boy and my Dad pondered whether to pursue a career opportunity Down Under.

I keep forgetting to mention a tour of The Beatles’ home country! What is the matter with me?

A New York Times article, which one of my sons posted on Twitter — noting that “my dad would love this” — tells how Liz and Ricky Robbins did what my friends Mike and Kathy did.

Read the NY Times piece here.

Hey, I still mourn the deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison. I am proud that the Queen knighted Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Richard (Ringo Starr) Starkey.

I still know most of the words to most of the songs The Beatles recorded. Yes, even some of the more obscure tunes. I do quite well answering Beatles questions on “Jeopardy!”

I actually got caught up in that nonsense about Paul being “dead” in 1969. However, I my wife and I were able to see a very much alive Sir Paul perform in The Astrodome in 1993 and we saw Ringo’s “All-Starr Band” show at the Cal Farley Coliseum in Amarillo some years after that.

One more thing: The very first rock ‘n roll concert I ever attended was in August 1965, in my hometown of Portland, Ore., happened to be The Beatles. Mom scored two front-row-center seats for my sister and me.

There you have it. This is my ultimate “bucket list” destination in retirement. I have no worries that I’ll outlive worldwide interest in The Beatles.

I just need to get there. Sooner, rather than later. As I’ve noted many times over the years: Those four lads helped raise me.

Listen up, Mr. President

I ran across a compilation of quotes from the late Stephen Hawking, who died this week at the age of 76.

The New York Times published the quotes to illustrate the immense range and intellect of the famed physicist.

One of them caught my eye.

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

Check out all the quotations here.

The Times didn’t attach dates to the quotations, so I do not know if Hawking had anyone in particular in mind when he said it.

I clearly had someone in mind as I read it.

Pay attention to this guy, Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump. He well might have been talking about you.

The Mooch is wrong: Mueller ‘firing’ story is relevant

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci has delivered a sparkling example of why he lasted only a few days as White House communications director.

His spinning skills are seriously deficient.

Let’s look for a moment at what he told CNN newsman Chris Cuomo. The Mooch told Cuomo that the New York Times story about how Donald John Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller was “irrelevant” because Trump never actually fired Mueller.

It made me go, “Huh?”

The Times cited four sources in detailing how the president ordered White House counsel Donald McGahn to get Mueller fired from his probe into the “Russia thing.” McGahn said he would quit if the president pushed any harder. Trump then backed off.

The Mooch doesn’t seem to understand, or is ignoring, this basic fact: Trump has said many times he never discussed firing Mueller; he has said the thought never crossed his mind.

The Times story has revealed yet another presidential prevarication, an outright lie. And it’s a doozy, man! Not only did Trump discuss firing Mueller, he actually came within a whisker of acting on it.

To what end? To torpedo Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 election.

From my perch, that looks for all the world like “obstruction of justice.”

Yep. The story is quite relevant.

Damage may have been done

Donald John Trump is fending off yet another self-inflicted controversy.

The New York Times has lobbed a live grenade into the president’s lap by reporting that the president this past summer ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller. The Times cites four sources with knowledge of the situation.

Trump, quite naturally, calls it “fake news” and has denied what the Times is reporting.

Mueller is still on the job, according to the Times, because White House counsel Donald McGahn told Trump he would quit rather than carry out the order. The president backed down.

OK. Here’s my query: McGahn reportedly told Trump that firing Mueller would do irreparable damage to the presidency. Although the president didn’t actually fire Mueller, has the damage been done by the reporting of the order not carried out.

Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in our 2016 election very well might have been handed even more obstruction of justice grist with this report.

Mueller isn’t talking. That won’t stop the president from blabbing until he runs out of breath.

I believe it’s more imperative than ever for the president to spend a day — or longer — telling the special counsel all that he knows about the “Russia thing.”

Oh, and be sure, Mr. President, to do so under oath.

Trump just might be right about this

If Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump gets away with this latest mega-prevarication, I’m likely to concede that he is right about a bold statement he made on the campaign trail back in 2016.

The New York Times is reporting that Trump actually ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, but backed off when White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit rather than carry out the order. This report comes after Trump said repeatedly that he had never considered firing Mueller, who is up to his eyeballs investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons who hacked into our electoral system.

And the president’s bold statement?

Do you remember when he bragged about how he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose votes”?

If he gets past this stunning development with little or no damage, I am inclined to believe what Trump said about how he could “shoot someone.”

‘The Post’ reminds one of how it used to be

I saw “The Post.” This won’t be a review of the film, except that I simply want to say it was gripping to the maximum degree.

It reminds me of how it used to be in daily print journalism.

I had some trepidation about seeing it. Some of my fellow travelers in the journalism craft had expressed dismay at seeing the film and lamenting what has become of a proud profession. I had a glint of fear that I might share their gloom. I mean, look at what has happened to newspapers all across the nation. They’re shrinking and withering before our eyes as publishers grapple against forces that are overwhelming them: the Internet, the plethora of “news” sources, cable television.

That fear never hit me. Instead, I reveled in the story it told and rejoiced in the victory that The Washington Post scored in the effort to censor it, preventing the government from invoking a prior restraint on a free and unfettered press.

“The Post” tells the story of the paper’s effort to publish the Pentagon Papers, a report written during the Vietnam War. The Papers told of the deception perpetrated on the public by several presidential administrations: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Officials all told of supposed “progress” in the fight against the communists in Vietnam. They lied to the nation. The Pentagon Papers revealed the lie.

The New York Times obtained the papers from Daniel Ellsberg. It got the story out first, then the Nixon administration persuaded a judge to prohibit further publication of the Papers, citing national security concerns.

Post editor Ben Bradlee didn’t see it that way. He eventually guaranteed publisher Katherine Graham that no American fighting man would be harmed if the Post published the rest of the damning document.

The matter ended up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which then ruled 6-3 against the Nixon administration — and in favor of the First Amendment guarantee of a free press.

The film tells that story in gripping fashion.

In a larger sense, though, the film reminds us of the value of press freedom and the good that the freedom brings to a public that needs to know the truth about the government that works for us.

It also reminds us of journalism’s value to a nation that promotes liberty. Indeed, given the current climate and the fomenting of hatred against the press that’s coming from the current presidential administration, “The Post” comes across as profoundly topical and relevant.

I cheered during the film when Graham gave the go-ahead to publish the Pentagon Papers in The Washington Post. The sight of presses turning over brought a lump to my throat.

I worked proudly in that craft for nearly 37 years. I never had the opportunity to cover a story of the magnitude of the Pentagon Papers. I did, though, have my share of thrills about getting a story into print and feeling the impact of that story on the community our newspaper served. I would derive the same satisfaction as I gravitated to opinion journalism and wrote editorials or signed columns that challenged the sources of power in our community.

“The Post,” therefore, didn’t sadden me.

It made me proud to have taken the career path I chose.

Good question: Who cares about Omarosa?

Who on earth actually cares whether Omarosa quit or was fired it’s the dumbest story eve

This tweet came from CNBC correspondent and New York Times contributor John Harwood.

Oh, I have to agree wholeheartedly with this fellow. Yet the media are all agog over the departure of Omarosa Manigault Newman from Donald John Trump Sr.’s White House staff.

The White House announced that she quit. Then sources reported she and chief of staff John Kelly had an argument; Kelly canned her. Then she was shown the door by unnamed White House personnel.

So, why the big deal, indeed over this individual’s departure? As near as I can tell, she didn’t even have a real job in the White House. Her title was a convoluted string of words: director of the Office of Public Liaison for the White House.

Someone needs to explain to me: What in the world did she do?

She drew a $180,000 annual salary for doing … what?

Omarosa was a three-time “Apprentice” contestant who was fired three times by the show’s host, Donald John Trump Sr.

OK. She’s now off the public payroll. May she now disappear, never to be heard from again. I know. It won’t happen that way. I am just hoping she does just go … away.

Yep, Donald J. Trump said it

That didn’t take long.

Just days after reports surfaced that Donald J. Trump sought to slither his way out of remarks he made a dozen years ago to a TV entertainment reporter, we find out that the man who would be president made the hideous remarks.

Billy Bush, the disgraced “Access Hollywood” host to whom Trump bragged about grabbing women by their private parts, has written a New York Times essay that shoots down the assertions that Trump has made in private.

Trump reportedly told associates in the White House that the audio recording heard around the world in the waning weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign were made up. The voice wasn’t his, he said.

It makes me wonder: Who in the world does the president think he’s kidding with that ridiculous assertion?

Bush writes in the Times: Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.

It damn sure was real, man.

Read the rest of the Times essay here.

The revelation that Trump made those remarks in 2005 and Bush’s reaction to it in the moment cost the host his gig as a co-host of “Today.” He was let go by NBC and was thoroughly disgraced.

So it appeared that Trump sought to persuade White House aides that Bush was canned for no reason.

Ridiculous … in the extreme.

Mr. President, you are not president of a nation inhabited by 300 million-plus rubes.

What? Flynn is turning on Trump? Who knew?

While many of us were eating turkey and getting prepped for today’s shopping mayhem, a bit of news came to light back east.

It seems that former national security adviser Michael Flynn might be turning “state’s witness” in the ongoing probe into whether Donald John Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn held his national security job for 24 whole days at the start of the Trump administration. Then he got canned because he didn’t tell the truth about what he said to whom about meeting with Russian government officials during the campaign.

The New York Times is reporting that Flynn — a retired U.S. Army three-star general — is no longer talking with the Trump legal team and well might be starting to cooperate with the legal eagles working with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Read the Times story here.

The Flynn story sickens me at a couple of levels. First of all, I didn’t like that he had been appointed national security adviser in the first place. He assumed a highly political role during the Trump campaign. In my mind, he sullied and soiled a brilliant military career by standing in front the GOP convention two summers ago leading the “Lock her up!” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The man clearly knows plenty about what the Trump campaign did in regard to the Russian hackers. Mueller is pursuing the truth methodically and meticulously. Will the former national security boss provide him with the silver bullet that pierces the armor surrounding the president and his inner circle?

I don’t expect this investigation to accelerate in speed. Mueller’s reputation as a patient prosecutor likely will preclude any rush to judgment.

However, it’s hard — for me — to disbelieve the notion that if Gen. Flynn is working with Mueller’s team that a major development in this probe is likely to explode.

Media getting the lashing they deserve

It hurts a bit to say this, but the so-called “mainstream media” are getting trashed — for the right reasons.

The media have been criticized for the slant of their coverage of news events, of politicians. Conservatives have labeled the MSM as tools of the liberal political establishment. I haven’t bought into that argument.

What’s happening now to the media, though, is an examination of a culture that seems to pervade it. We are witnessing the toppling of media heavyweights because of the way they behave toward women … allegedly.

Bill O’Reilly at Fox News: gone; Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS; he’s toast; Mark Halperin of MSNBC: he’s outta there; Glenn Thrush of the New York Times and MSNBC: he, too, is gone; Michael Oreskes of National Public Radio: see ya later.

What do these men have in common? They all were accused by women of making sexual advances on them, of committing acts of sexual harassment, of sexual abuse. The allegations include groping, prancing around in the nude, making inappropriate remarks … and some things I probably shouldn’t mention here because they’re in poor taste.

The word now is that media outlets are soul-searching. They are schooling their employees — the males at least — on how to behave, how to treat their female colleagues.

What gives this story its extra legs quite arguably is that the media have been covering the sexual misdeeds of others, namely politicians and entertainment tycoons. That coverage has exposed media companies — and the men who report and comment on others’ conduct — to the very revelations we have learned about their own behavior.

As Politico has reported: “We have robust policies in place and have become more focused on communicating those policies across the organization,” said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha in an email. “In recent weeks, we’ve reminded employees of our Anti-Harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Non-Discrimination policies and we’ve highlighted the many ways an employee can raise an issue or file a complaint, including through an anonymous hotline.”

That’s fine. Now it’s time for the Times and other media outlets to root out the bad actors within their ranks immediately.