Tag Archives: social media

Get a grip, Mr. POTUS; these guys are entertainers!

Now the president is going after late-night comedians, as if he wasn’t satisfied to vent his anger at pro football players and certain cable news networks.

Donald John Trump thinks he and his fellow Republicans deserve “equal time” because so many late-night comics are scorching the president and his policies.

In one tweet, Trump wrote — and forgive the sloppy grammar: Late Night host are dealing with the Democrats for their very “unfunny” & repetitive material, always anti-Trump! Should we get Equal Time?

Then, in another one, with another grammatical misstep: More and more people are suggesting that Republicans (and me) should be given Equal Time on T.V. when you look at the one-sided coverage?

Eek! Yikes! Aack!

Would this guy, the president, please stop this nonsense?

He’s not going to listen to a schmuck blogger from out here in Trump Country. Hell, he won’t even heed the advice of his White House chief of staff, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, who I am absolutely certain would prefer that the president cease the Twitter tirades.

He uses the tweeting device to cut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson off at the knees as he seeks a diplomatic solution to this North Korea missile-firing matter. Trump rakes fellow Republicans over the coals for their failure to approve any aspect of what passes for the president’s legislative agenda. He surprises his military high command with a Twitter-originated directive that bans transgender Americans from serving in the military. He bullies and blusters against news media outlets for their coverage of his administration, calling media reports he deems negative to be “fake news.” And, lest we forget, he defames former President Obama by alleging that he wiretapped the Trump campaign office in Trump Tower.

And he does all this while making a serious federal case — again via Twitter — out of a football-field protest by pro athletes over police tactics used against African-American citizens.

This is so very — and I’ll borrow a made up by none other than Donald Trump himself — “unpresidented.”

When will Trump start acting presidential? My best guess? Probably … never.

‘Only one thing will work’? Really?

Donald J. Trump sounds like a man intent on leading the United States of America to war.

At any cost.

The tweeter in chief blasted out yet another warning to North Korea today, suggesting that 25 years of negotiation with the communist dictatorship has been so futile, so fraught with frustration that there’s no other diplomatic channel left to explore.

He tweeted this: Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid…… …hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!

There you have it. The president of the United States, the commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military machine has all but said that there’s no more talking to be done.

“Only one thing will work!” he said. One thing. What do you suppose that might be?

Let’s presume he means the “military option.” What happens when we strike North Korea’s missile launchers, but don’t get all of them? What happens when we hit their thousands of artillery pieces lined up and aimed straight at Seoul, South Korea — but don’t get them all? Does North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un make good on his threat to strike? Gosh, I would think he would do precisely that.

Then comes the consequence. Many thousands of deaths. Perhaps millions. Many of them will be civilians. And yes, we’ve got those 28,000 American troops sitting right in the middle of it all, along with tens of thousands more American civilians.

We are witnessing first hand the dangers of conducting foreign policy by Twitter. The president of the United States needs to weigh his words carefully, no matter how he delivers his message.

Then again, a president cast from the same mold of others would understand that. Not this guy, Donald Trump. He “tells it like it is.”

I believe Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s widely reported description of the president as a “moron” is looking more accurate with each passing day.

Facebook becomes den of negativity

I am going to come clean on something that doesn’t fill me with much pride.

Facebook has become a negative place. I must admit to contributing to that negativity. I regret that, but I won’t apologize for it.

I use that social medium to distribute posts on High Plains Blogger, along with Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. I seek maximum exposure for these musings/spewage. It’s improving. Indeed, I just passed the total number of page views and unique visitors year to date that I garnered in all of 2016, and we still have nearly three months to go in the current year.

I’m proud of that growth in readership.

However, I am not proud of the negativity that erupts on Facebook occasionally as a result.

Here’s what I witness with distressing regularity: I’ll post something on the blog; it goes to Facebook; my network of friends and acquaintances read this stuff; some of them comment. Then the back-and-forth commences.

I have an out-of-body experience of sorts reading these jabs and snipes and insults tossed among people who, for the most part, are total strangers. I have friends in the Hill Country who take umbrage at a comment from someone in the Panhandle. Some of my West Coast friends get riled up at something said by someone on the East Coast. One of my Gulf Coast peeps fires off a critique of a comment from someone in, oh, the Pacific Northwest. One friend who lives in Germany got involved in a mini-snit recently with one of my fellow Americans over gun violence.

The more they exchange barbs, the more heated it gets. It devolves into actual name-calling.

And what is the cause of all this nastiness? Something that came from little ol’ me. I choose to stay out of these disputes, unless someone misinterprets something I posted in the blog that precipitates the fight. Short of that, I feel like an intruder.

Arguably the most fascinating aspect of this involves individuals with whom I am not connected via Facebook or any other social media. They, too, get involved in some of this name-calling. It’s all quite strange, man.

A part of me wishes I could curtail this negativity. Another part of me welcomes the give and take, although I’d prefer to see a bit more “give” than “take” in some of these exchanges.

Now that I’ve come clean on my contribution to the Facebook negativity, I want to declare my intention to keep doing what I’m doing. The blog posts will continue to go out along my Facebook network.

If those who take serious offense at something that someone else says about whatever, well, that’s on you.

Enjoy.

‘New low’ for Trump? Yes, but only for now

James Fallows, a journalist of some renown, says Donald J. Trump’s tweet tirades relating to the criticism he’s taking over the government’s response to Hurricane Maria have taken the president to a “new low.”

I agree. I’ll add this caveat, though. It’s a bad news/worse news scenario. The bad news is that Trump’s criticism of local Puerto Rico officials does constitute a “new low” for the president; the worse news is that he quite likely is capable of taking this presidential petulance to an even lower level.

Fallows wrote this in The Atlantic: But his Twitter outburst this morning — as he has left Washington on another trip to one of his golf courses, as millions of U.S. citizens are without water or electricity after the historic devastation of Hurricane Maria, as by chance it is also Yom Kippur — deserves note. It is a significant step downward for him, and perhaps the first thing he has done in office that, in its coarseness, has actually surprised me.

Donald Trump has taken his presidency to a level none of us has ever seen. He’s dragged it to a point that absolutely nothing this guy says or does publicly henceforth would surprise me. Nothing.

He once boasted that he could “shoot someone” and his voters would still support him. I don’t believe he actually would do such a thing, but he’s demonstrating an astonishing knack for doing anything short of that while still engendering support among his Republican voter “base.”

Hurricane Maria has all but destroyed Puerto Rico. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz criticized the president and the federal government’s response to the island’s pleas for help. What does Trump do? He fires off tweets over the weekend — while hobnobbing at his posh New Jersey resort. Let that sink in for a moment: 3.5 million U.S. citizens are without food, potable water and other supplies and the president criticizes Puerto Ricans for wanting the feds “to do everything for them.”

His Twitter tirades have become a virtual staple of the president’s daily activities.

As Fallows writes: I can think of no other example of a president publicly demeaning American officials in the middle of coping with disaster. There were nasty “God’s punishment!” remarks about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, but they did not come from the White House or George W. Bush.

I wish I could believe that there’s no way this president can drag his conduct any farther downward. I am left to wait for the next “new low” to slap us in the face.

‘Texting’ becomes second nature … more or less!

I am going to brag just a little.

I’ve been quite dismissive and downright derisive of many aspects of “social media” over the years. Texting is one of those aspects that has drawn my most serious level of scorn. Some members of my family have heard me declare that I cannot say the word “text” in its verb form without adding a certain level of derision in my voice.

Indeed, I pepper this blog with such references when I use the term in that form.

Why the boast? Well, it’s that I am getting fairly proficient these days at texting. I once imposed a six-word limit on messages sent via this medium. I must confess here and now that I routinely go beyond that limit, but not by much.

I do, though, find that I’ve achieved a certain comfort level in communicating in that fashion when I have something of importance I want to say to someone. For instance, I sent a message to a gentleman informing him that my wife and I will be taking our fifth wheel RV on an extended trip soon. This fellow pulls it out of its parking slot in the garage where we store our RV. I needed 12 whole words to convey the message.

Also, I want to stipulate that I will never, not ever, converse with someone using this medium. At my advancing age, I find myself still relying on more conventional methods of conversation, such as picking up the telephone and calling someone. I also have been known to go to someone’s place of employment or even their home to converse with them, face to face. I do know individuals who like to “chat” with someone using their texting device.

No conversational ‘texting’ will be done, promise

I suppose this is my way of acknowledging that I am advancing farther into the 21st century, along with my sons, my daughter-in-law and my grandkids. I hear jokes all the time about how smart others’ pre-school grandkids know more about modern technology than their elders do. My wife and I are rapidly approaching the realm of those who have such technological wunderkinds in their family; little Emma — our 4-year-old granddaughter — is showing the faint first signs of being able to solve technology problems for us when they occur.

As long as I stay within my comfort zone, though, I’ll be all right. I plan to cling tightly to it as I text friends and family members.

Here’s the deal, though: That comfort zone seems to be expanding.

Who knew?

Trump continues to show his lack of humanity

What in the name of human decency is Donald John Trump trying to accomplish with this latest Twitter tirade?

San Juan, P.R., Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is desperate. She is imploring the federal government to expedite aid to her stricken city, which was pummeled by Hurricane Maria. Yes, she’s been critical of the federal response.

So, what does the president do? He fires off tweets that accuse the mayor of wanting the feds to “do everything.” He praises the federal response, while criticizing the mayor’s leadership. He wrote, according to The Hill: “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” Trump tweeted. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

Put the Twitter device away

Why cannot this individual, the president, simply do the job to which he was elected? He took an oath to protect Americans. He pledged to care for us and to be there during good times and bad. I get that it’s all an unwritten pledge, but that’s what presidents traditionally have done.

They have avoided being openly critical of fellow Americans during times of peril and strife. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been ravaged and savaged by Mother Nature’s immense power. The citizens — all of whom are just as American as the president — want their leader to concentrate fully on their well-being. The president is failing that test.

His attack on the embattled mayor is unbecoming — once again — of the high office this man occupies.

Stick to matters of state, Mr. President

I won’t spend a lot of blog space commenting on this, so here goes.

Mr. President, stop tweeting about the National Football League, its ratings, the players who are protesting peacefully about what they perceive to be problems with policing in African-American communities.

You’ve spent far too much time commenting on these matters and far too little time concentrating on issues of much more vital importance.

Focus, for once, Mr. President.

There’s North Korea. You’ve got tax reform. Oh, and there’s hurricane relief for our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico.

You’ve instead decided to devote many of your waking hours via Twitter blasting those so-called “SOBs” who have decided to “take a knee” while listening to the “Star Spangled Banner” before pro football games.

Get off it, Mr. President. You’ve got much, much more important matters to occupy your time, not to mention your Twitter finger.

Trump shows more juvenile petulance

The nation’s juvenile delinquent in chief just keeps demonstrating his unfitness for a job that requires a huge measure of dignity.

Donald John Trump Sr. fired up his Twitter finger to retweet an animated image of the president hitting Hillary Rodham Clinton with a golf ball.

Pretty funny, huh? Oh, not at all!

But that’s the president of the United States of America for you. He just cannot stop insulting his political foes and critics. He just cannot resist the temptation to illustrate why so many of his fellow Americans detest the notion of his occupying the White House.

It goes without saying that heads of state need to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum. Trump doesn’t understand the tradition that accompanies the office he won in 2016, defeating Clinton in one of the most raucous and divisive elections in our nation’s history.

Trump’s Twitter tirades need to stop. They won’t, of course. The president will continue to denigrate others through this social medium for as long as his base of supporters keep cheering him on.

What the heck. He’s pandering to his base on many levels, forsaking the rest of the country that didn’t support his election in the first place.

Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, calls it “distressing that we have a president who will tweet and retweet things as juvenile as that.”

I’ll add another word: disgraceful.

However, the president is going to “make America great again.”

Aren’t you proud of him? Neither am I.

Happy Trails, Part 36

I’m staring a big anniversary — if you want to call it such — in the face. It’s two days away, but I thought I would share a thought or two today and then call it good.

First, I wish to make this declaration: Separation anxiety from a professional career is vastly overrated. I am living, breathing proof of that reality. It’s true and I’ll tell you why.

I won’t belabor you with many details of my sudden departure from daily journalism, which occurred on Aug. 30, 2012. Two days short of five years ago, I was told — in the midst of a “company reorganization” — that I no longer would be doing my job at the Amarillo Globe-News, which was to edit the paper’s opinion pages. Someone else — a colleague who formerly worked under my supervision — would do that job. We competed for my job and my employer decided to go with him.

Thus, a career that produced untold joy and satisfaction for yours truly for nearly 37 years came to screeching halt. I worked at the Globe-News for nearly 18 years and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. Silly me.

I walked out of my office, went home, came back the next day, cleared out my office — and was gone. I decided to quit immediately.

But I moved on. I stayed in the game, more or less, over the next few years. I was able to land part-time freelance gigs: writing a blog for Panhandle PBS; writing news features for KFDA NewsChannel 10’s website; helping edit a weekly newspaper in Tucumcari, N.M. I worked for six months as a juvenile supervision officer at the Randall County Youth Center of the High Plains. I worked as a customer service greeter at Street Toyota for about three years.

One by one those jobs went away. The Street Toyota job was the last one. Then in March, I decided to walk away from that.

I’ve been a full-time retiree ever since.

I also have spent little time looking back on the career that in many ways defined me. I have many more pleasant memories of those many years than negative ones. I got to travel around the world. I was honored to meet and interact with the most fascinating characters imaginable. I helped chronicle the stories that make communities tick. I got to help shape public opinion on pressing issues of the day.

I used to joke that I had the “best job in town, because I am allowed to foist my opinion on thousands of people every day.”

That was then. My final years as a journalist became a lot less fun than the earlier times. The Globe-News fell victim to the changing pressures being put on print publications. The top management didn’t do nearly enough to salvage employees’ morale as the paper struggled to build a new business model in this changing climate.

I’ve discovered this truth, too. It is that full-time retirement is all that it’s cracked up to be. My wife and I have been able to continue traveling. We’ll do much more of it in our fifth wheel RV — while we prepare to relocate to another community so we can live closer to our adorable granddaughter.

The Globe-News has been purchased by another corporate media company. Morris Communications, which owned the paper for more than four decades has decided to get out of newspaper publishing. They’re saying all the correct things publicly about how sad they are, and how GateHouse Media will continue its commitment to “community journalism.”

We’ll see about that.

I’m left, then, to offer a word of backhanded thanks to the company that told me five years ago that its plans to enact — in Globe-News publisher Lester Simpson’s words — “radical change” wouldn’t include me. It dawned on me some time ago that he spared me from the misery many of my former colleagues have endured.

I appreciate the freedom — and the time — to write this blog. I’m unfettered, unchained, unrestricted, unleashed, unencumbered … you name it. I can speak my mind.

Separation anxiety from daily journalism? Pfftt!

Life is great, man!

Hating the feeling of utter helplessness

You know the feeling, I’m sure.

Mother Nature levels her immense power onto a region of this great country and you are left only to wish the very best for those who are being affected.

I won’t suggest that “All I can do is pray.” A clergy friend of mine has reminded us many times over the years that “Prayer isn’t the least we can do; it’s the most we can do.”

So we are left to pray and hope for the very best for those being devastated by Hurricane Harvey’s unthinkable rage.

Social media have offered a pretty good device for those in harm’s way to tell the rest of us that they’re safe and sound. My Facebook news feed is full of such assurances and for that I am grateful on behalf of our many friends throughout the Houston and Golden Triangle areas of Southeast Texas.

Here we sit, though, a good distance away from the havoc. We’re perched way up yonder on the Caprock, high and dry and enjoying the sunshine at nearly 3,700 feet above sea level. The Texas Department of Transportation is advising motorists to avoid travel to the Gulf Coast. If only we could transport ourselves into the storm to lend a hand to the friends we have retained many years after leaving Beaumont for a new life in Amarillo.

And, no, I don’t intend to ignore the misery that has befallen all the good folks who are coping with the storm’s wrath.

So … what is there to do? Except pray.

I can do that. However, it does nothing to assuage my feeling of helplessness.