Tag Archives: Twitter

Lt. Gov. deletes tweet, but the damage is done


Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has demonstrated for the world just how immediate social media posts can become and how indelible they are once they are posted.

Patrick decided in the early hours after the Orlando, Fla., massacre to post something on Twitter that enraged some folks. It was New Testament passage, from Galatians 6:7 that declares: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Why the anger over the post?

Well, the massacre occurred at a night club called Pulse, which is a popular hangout for Orlando’s gay community. The madman/shooter killed 50 people before he was killed by the police.

Omar Mateen was an American who reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before committing the horrifying act of carnage.

However, Patrick’s tweet seemed aimed at the victims. Fifty innocent victims were gunned down and he chose that particular verse to post on social media.

He took it down shortly afterward.

However, the damage was done. That’s what happens with these social media posts. They get posted and then are sent around the world many times instantaneously. As a friend used to tell me, “You cannot unhonk a horn.” Same with these social media posts.

Patrick’s spokesman said the tweet had been planned this past week. Patrick posts comments from Twitter weekly, the spokesman said. The passage from Galatians had no relation to the tragedy at Pulse.

I don’t know what to believe here.


At minimum, we have a terrible coincidence at work. Patrick’s social media message just happened to sound to many folks like a crass criticism in the wake of a horrific national tragedy.

Talk about terrible timing.

I’m glad he took the message down. However, I think it would be best if the lieutenant governor himself — not through a spokesman — would stand before us to explain how it happened in the first place.


Right idea on council selection; just need more ‘vetting’

social-media two

Amarillo City Councilman Mark Nair is correct to favor a new way of filling vacancies on the body on which he serves.

It needs to be more open, more accessible to the public. Nair helped design the new process for filling those vacancies, which he said used to be done in secret.

The new process also requires a good bit of tinkering and tweaking to avoid the embarrassment that appears to have developed in the search for someone to replace Councilman Brian Eades, who’s leaving the council this summer.

At issue are weird Facebook comments attributed to Sandra McCartt, one of the finalists being considered for the Place 2 seat. There are some doozies out there. The council didn’t see them coming.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News: “’Nothing in the process said if someone said something goofy or bone-headed in the past,’ it would determine their worthiness,” (Nair) added.

“Nair said in the past, council would have appointed a candidate in a back room and none of the conversation would have been public. He said he designed the current process because he wanted the community to be a part of the conversation, and things such as McCartt’s — and other candidates — comments on social media will be part of the discussion.”

Social media platforms are everywhere. Facebook is just one of them. People have Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr accounts. They are likely to say just about anything using any of these social media outlets.

This push for openness has created an opportunity for the City Council to work even harder to ensure they find the right people either to fill vacancies on the body, or select a city manager — which is another task awaiting the council.

Indeed, the city manager selection ought to include a thorough vetting of the men and women who make the list of finalists for that job.

The council said it was intent on invoking “change” in the way the city did business. That’s fine. The change, though, also seems to require a bit more care and attention to detail from the folks who are seeking to reform the way City Hall does its business.

A more thorough vetting of social media accounts is a reasonable place to start.

‘Shame,’ ’embarrassment’ become campaign themes


Oh, for shame!

The remaining men vying for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination appear to have become embarrassments to the very people whose support they will need this fall when one of them square off against the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

What in the world has become of the process that selects major-party nominees seeking to become the most powerful officeholder in the whole world?

It has become a sideshow, a circus act, a schoolyard fight, a proverbial food fight.

Voters should demand better of the candidates. Then again, perhaps they secretly like what they’re hearing and seeing.

The Republican side of this carnival act has been particularly disgraceful. And that is coming from Republicans who’ve watched it.

GOP pollster Frank Luntz asked viewers who watched one of the Republican debates, the one in Detroit, to summarize what they saw. The Washington Post reported: “Sophomoric,” “embarrassment,” “disappointing,” “shameful,” “despicable,” “angering” and “schoolyard brawl” were some of the responses he received during a broadcast on Fox News Channel.

As one Republican told the Post — and this guy is a Ted Cruz supporter — the candidates need to be talking about ISIS and the “loss of freedom.”

Instead, he noted, they were engaging in the kind of talk one hears on junior high school playgrounds.

Who and/or what is the culprit?

Have social media become the communications vehicle of choice for too many Americans? We appear to be relying on Twitter feeds and Facebook posts to learn things — most of it irrelevant to actual policy — about these candidates.

Have their been too many of these Republican and Democratic primary debates? It might be that the candidates have run out of creative ways to argue the fine points of policy and have been left to resort to the kind of shameful name-calling and ridicule we’ve been hearing.

Do the candidates themselves deserve blame? Pundits keep talking about Donald J. Trump’s lack of depth and his mastery of media manipulation. Then there’s the belief among many that he is a barely closeted sexist, xenophobe and racist. The response from Ted Cruz to Trump’s insults has been, well, less than stellar as well.

The campaign should have been dignified. It has been everything except that.

These individuals are seeking to become commander in chief of the world’s greatest military machine. They want to become head of state of what many of us believe is the greatest nation ever created. They seek to lead a nation of 300-plus million citizens into a still-uncertain future.

And this is what we’re getting?


Social media have become a campaign curse

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I think I’ve discovered an undeniable truth.

Social media are to blame for the ghastly decline of intelligent political discourse in this great country of ours.

It’s not a big-time flash. Others likely have drawn similar conclusions and written about it.

I am now going to refer to the Twitter War that’s going on between Donald J. Trump and Rafael Edward Cruz. Donald vs. Ted. It’s getting childish in the extreme and it’s lending nothing whatsoever to any kind of intelligent discussion among Republicans over which of these men should be their party’s nominee for president of the United States.

The crux of the Twitter fight centers on their wives. Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz are now being kicked around like the proverbial footballs that they are not.

It’s sickening me.

A pro-Trump super-PAC put something out there about Mrs. Trump appearing in the nude. Trump tweeted some threats to Cruz about it, threatening to say something mean about Mrs. Cruz.

Ted Cruz denied having anything to do with the ad. Trump ain’t buying it. Now it’s Cruz calling Trump a “coward.”

Back and forth they go.

And voters are supposed to make intelligent decisions — based on this petulant patter — on which of them should carry the GOP banner forward against the Democratic nominee this fall?

Give me a break!

Maybe the mainstream media — and I don’t mean as the conservative epithet the term has come to mean — is responsible. By “mainstream,” I refer to the major broadcast and cable news networks and the print media who keep reporting this stuff.

Heck, bloggers all along the political spectrum have weighed in on it — as this blog is doing at this moment.

So … I’ll accept my share of the blame for this social media craze and its alleged “contribution” to the quality of our national political debate.

I’m not proud of myself.

My only recourse is to ignore this social media sniping.

Therefore, I will.


Social media: curse and a blessing

Magnified illustration with the word Social Media on white background.

Social media drive me nuts.

I’m having fun with some of it. Other media sometimes confuse me. I use several media platforms to promote this blog. I am not entirely sure how well they’re serving my self-interest.

I have used one of my favorite social media outlets — Facebook — perhaps more than any other. I use it for a couple of purposes: to keep up with friends, family members and acquaintances and to distribute musings from this blog.

There’s a third purpose, too, I suppose: to offer some goofy musings on occasions.

It’s the third purpose that makes me wonder whether Facebook somehow is addictive. I’m thinking it is.

One of those musings was to declare my consideration of creating a Last Word Contest.

Here’s how it might go … if I were to proceed with launching it.

I would post a blog item that generates comments from my social media network. Do I then intend to answer every one of them? Do I seek to wear those blog readers down? Do I have the patience, the intestinal fortitude to stay the course?

Most importantly: Do I have the time?

I guess I would have to say I have none of the above.

It’s the time that breaks the deal for me.

I’ve got a large number of social media contacts along the networks to which I belong. I’m guessing it’s something north of 1,000 folks. A lot of them love to spend large amounts of time responding to this or that comment.

I’d spend that kind of time, too, I suppose if something really hit my hot button. The older I get the more it takes to fire me up. I mean really get me riled up.

I’m likely to decide ultimately against entering a rhetorical shooting match with anyone out there in social media land. Don’t take it to the bank just yet.

I might change my mind, which everyone is able to do.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep firing blog entries out there via social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr. I might look for some others.

I encourage everyone to comment on the entries. I don’t mind criticism as long as it deals with the substance of whatever I say; the personal stuff is another matter. I’ve even owned up to an error in judgment on occasion and stated my error publicly, on this blog!

Back in the day when I worked for daily newspapers I’d get into arguments with individuals who would question my love of country or even my faith when they took me to task for something I wrote.

Don’t go there, OK?

Indeed, that might be another reason to forgo the Last Word Contest. Some folks just can’t help themselves.


Command decision: no-politics policy to be lifted …

trump and carson

… The day after Christmas.

I’ve made a call on the immediate future of High Plains Blogger. I can do that, because it’s my blog.

I had pondered whether to maintain the “no-politics zone” policy on the blog through the entire holiday season. I stated it publicly here. My hope initially was to keep presidential political commentary out of this blog through Christmas and through the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

I no longer can maintain my silence in this forum for that long.

We’ve only got 15 more days until Christmas. I believe I have the intestinal fortitude to keep presidential political commentary out of High Plains Blogger through Christmas.

After that? No can do.

There’s too much material out there. Too much low-hanging fruit. Too many fish in that barrel. Too many targets of opportunity. The environment is just too damn target-rich.

I won’t name names. You know who  I’m talking about.

For now, I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll keep offering brief commentary via Twitter, which feeds to my Facebook news feed.

High Plains Blogger, though, will remain a no-politics zone.

For now …


Entering the ‘no politics zone,’ more or less


Bill O’Reilly is fond of telling viewers to his talk show on Fox News that they’re entering the “no spin zone.”

Well, of course he’s wrong. He spins the news to his point of view every single night.

That’s his right to do so.

Accordingly, High Plains Blogger is entering — if only for the holiday season — what I’ll call a “no politics zone.” I’ll be truthful, though, on this point: I might not be totally faithful to that pledge.

My plan is to stay away from the presidential campaign at least through Christmas. I will give it my best possible shot to stay away from it through New Year’s Day. I cannot guarantee success.

Where might I fall short on my no politics pledge? A candidate running for the highest office in the land just might say something so outrageous, so beyond the pale, so ridiculous that I might be compelled to comment.

I’ll resist that temptation with every fiber of my being. I can promise that.

However, this bears repeating because some of my social media contacts didn’t get it the first time I announced this hiatus from politics: I will continue to write snarky comments on my Twitter account, which then will be fed automatically to my Facebook account.

It’s High Plains Blogger that’s taking the break. Got it, y’all?

The blog will continue to provide commentary on issues of the day. There is quite a lot going on out there that has little — if anything — to do with raw politics. My intent is to keep my eyes and ears open.

I am just tired of the sniping, lying, demagoguery, fear-mongering, name-calling, reputation-impugning, mud-slinging and whatever other negative term you want to hang on the nature of this campaign.

I do not expect any of it to cease during the holiday season. I’m just planning at this moment to tune most of it out while I celebrate (a) Thanksgiving and (b) Christmas with my family.

The way I look at it now, a rest from most of that bad political behavior I going to allow me to rest up for when the real campaign gets going after the first of the year.

I’ll need some good karma, though, to help me resist the temptation to weigh in.

I’m asking for it here. My true intention really is to maintain a no politics zone.

Meantime, let’s all enjoy the season that’s upon us.




Time to suspend politics


The business card I have been handing out for some time now talks about High Plains Blogger’s intent, which is to comment on “politics, current events and life experience.”

Well, dear reader, I’ve made a command decision regarding this blog.

I am suspending the “politics” part of this blog’s mission effective on Thanksgiving Day. My intention is to stay out of the political dialogue through Christmas. Heck, I might be inclined to wait until New Year’s Day before re-entering the fray.

Why the change?

I am weary of the anger and the nonsense that’s coming out of the mouths of all the presidential candidates … in both major political parties. What’s more — and this is even more to the point — I am weary of the back-and-forth that has ensued, not just among the candidates but also among their legions of supporters and opponents.

I’ve at times entered the fray with my own commentary, only to be sniped at by those who disagree with me. I don’t mind the disagreement. I’ve merely had it up to here with the anger that such commentary — not just from me — has engendered in partisans on both side of the aisle.

So, High Plains Blogger is going to take a breather from all of that.

Will this blog comment on current events as they occur? Certainly. It will not, though, engage in the political discourse that emanates from those events. And by all means the blog will comment on life experience, both personal and of things the author — that would be me — observes on his journey.

Rest assured on this point: I am not giving up totally on politics cold turkey. I will continue to comment on politics through my Twitter and Facebook feeds.

I do not intend to use this blog as a forum to state my own political bias. The way I figure it, Twitter only gives me 140 characters to make a statement. That’s efficient and doesn’t require too much emotional energy on my part; plus, my tweets are posted automatically to my Facebook feed, so — pow! just like that — I’m able to perform a two-fer.

But I’m also thinking of scaling back significantly the political commentary on those two social media outlets. Nor am I going to argue any point.

So, those of you who spend a lot of time engaging others in political debate and name-calling on social media are welcome to knock yourselves out; I will not join you in that exercise in futility.

Here’s my final thought on all of this.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that we have. I am grateful beyond measure for the many blessings in my life. Christmas? Well, that is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. What more can I say about that?

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, I hereby refuse to be dragged into the emotional gutter by politicians whose mission is to distort the other guys’ world view.

Thanksgiving is almost here. High Plains Blogger will stay in the game for a little while longer.

After that? I’ll see you on the other side.


They may be right


Someone once told me years ago that the Bard of Baltimore, Henry Louis Mencken, used to end arguments by telling the other person, “You may be right.”

Then, I suppose, he and his foe would go on to something else.

Well, in this new age of social media, I think I’ve discovered a 21st-century version of that old dodge.

Every now and then — and it’s becoming quite a frequent occurrence these days — I get into these snits with Facebook “friends,” and actual friends with whom I have a relationship on the social medium.

I like using Facebook — along with Twitter, Google and LinkedIn — to share my blog posts. Some folks like getting these musings on Facebook. Others, I reckon, do not, to which I only would say: Don’t read ’em.

But the individuals with whom I argue on Facebook sometimes get pretty relentless in their attacks. They cling stubbornly to the idea that they must have the last word. I don’t mind ceding that honor to these folks. I generally don’t have the time, not to mention the patience or the intestinal fortitude, to keep going back and forth on a topic.

Quite often, we end up talking past each other, with the point of the initial post getting lost when folks take the discussion down some blind alley.

So, when that happens and I grow tired of engaging individuals on endless — and seemingly pointless — discussions, I simply hit the “Like” button on my Facebook news feed.

Look, I know I’m not going to change their minds. They won’t change mine.

What, then, is the point of continuing?

When I get tired of the back-and-forth, I’ll tell my “friend”/friend/foe that I “Like” what they’ve said.

Then I’ll move on.

Mr. Mencken, wherever you are, I hope to have made you proud.

Blog totals climbing … rapidly


I’ve had fun sharing the good news about the progress of this blog.

It remains a big-time blast to share my world view with those who are good enough to read it. I even appreciate the disagreements that flare on occasion. I know as well as anyone that the world is full of opinions that differ from each other. As much as I would want the world to agree with my view, I know it won’t happen … not ever.

So, I want to share a bit of cheer regarding this blog.

Here it is, only the 12th day of the seventh month of 2015 and the page views logged on High Plains Blogger have surpassed all of 2014.

We’ve got more than five months to go before the year’s end. My sincere hope is that the blog traffic will continue to grow.

I owe this to the impact that social media have on vehicles such as this. Blog posts get shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google.

My heartfelt thanks go to those who take the time at least to open the links they see. I hope many of you will take even more time to read what’s in them.

Onward we shall go.