Category Archives: media news

Keep looking forward

By John Kanelis /

Your humble blogger — that would be me — feels the need to affirm a vow from an earlier post.

It is that I will not become fixated on the blathering, bellowing, bloviating and bombast coming from the mouth of the 45th president of the U.S. of A.

He is going to make a lot of noise for the rest of this year and perhaps even part of next year. He is going to repeat The Big Lie — that the 2020 election was stolen from him — in the hopes of energizing that fanatical and gullible base of dipsh**s who continue to adhere to his irrational rants.

I do not intend to comment on each rant as if he were still the POTUS. He isn’t. I don’t expect him to ascend to the nation’s highest office ever again. Hell, I don’t even expect him to be a serious candidate for the White House.

My only reason for commenting on him today is because the lunatic/imbecile/moron/con man/fraud continues to hold considerable sway among a large minority of American voters. For the life of me I don’t know why or how … but he does.

My intent is to keep looking forward.

I am acutely aware that some critics of this blog are going to suggest that I remain “fixated” on the 45th POTUS’s pronouncements. I will answer them with a plain no … I am not. 

I’ve already declared that I continue to endorse the presidency of Joe Biden. He has restored a sense of dignity and decorum to the high and exalted office he occupies. We are recovering from the pandemic. Our economy is revving up nicely. President Biden is re-establishing our nation’s role as a world leader. We are re-engaging in vital international partnerships that his predecessor stripped away because he wanted to “put America first,” whatever that meant.

This American patriot wants President Biden to succeed. I intend to keep my focus aimed toward the future.

Be advised on one point: I will not remain silent if POTUS 45 gets himself into deep legal trouble or if his machinations gin up the fanatical base to do things that mirror, say, the Jan. 6 insurrection.

My keen interest will lie in where the current U.S. president intends to lead us.

These aren’t my ‘friends’

By John Kanelis /

I have just finished chuckling  under my breath at a “friend” request I received on my Facebook page.

Why am I chuckling?

I admit that I probably spend too much time on Facebook. I use the social medium to distribute my blog; I have plenty of actual friends and even more than a smattering of Facebook “friends” with whom I have a casual relationship. Many of them are kind enough to share my blog posts with those on their networks. To them I say “thank you.”

What about these “friend” requests I keep getting?

They usually are from individuals who present themselves as attractive females. I delete them immediately for a number of reasons.

None of them provides me any background info on them. No places of birth; no work history; no relationship information; no educational background info.

A word to the wise: Do not bother to send me these requests if you decline to tell me anything about yourself.

One more aspect of these “friend” requests gives me pause. If they do not send me any background info, then I immediately grow suspicious that the individual whose picture appears on the request is actually, um, that person. Do you get my drift? Is the young woman in fact an overweight knuckle-dragger with half his teeth missing?

If you’re going to solicit me for my “friendship” on social media, at least prove to me that you are who you say you are … not that I will accept the request, mind you.

Are we clear? Good!

He takes ownership

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

By John Kanelis /

A brash and loud former TV commentator deserves high praise for the slow and careful re-emergence into the public eye after disappearing with virtually no warning earlier this year.

Chris Matthews, the retired MSNBC commentator and host of “Hardball,” has been seen on TV in recent days talking about the state of politics (of course) and the event that led to his sudden retirement from TV news and opinion.

Matthews was accused by a fellow reporter of making untoward remarks in her presence while they were preparing for a broadcast. Matthews has admitted in recent days that her accusation was accurate and that he acted boorishly.

He resigned from his “Hardball” gig on the air and then disappeared.

Matthews just now is beginning to return to the public discussion of politics and policy. He has told interviewers that he doesn’t deserve to be defended by those who stand with him. Matthews admitted to messing up. “Don’t defend me,” he told late-night host Stephen Colbert on Monday night.

He has taken full ownership of his transgression. I admire that about him. I also have enjoyed listening to his take on politics and policy over the years.

Now, though, Chris Matthews has demonstrated a trait we don’t always see in grown men who are caught behaving badly.

More critics, please

By John Kanelis /

I don’t get nearly enough feedback from critics of this blog.

Yes, I enjoy the affirmation I get from those happen to agree with the points of view High Plains Blogger expresses. I don’t want that to end.

However, I do want more critics to see these blog posts, to share them with their friends and associates in social media land, and to respond to me with constructive criticism.

One such critic lauded me for the way I express myself but then said it would be “boring” to hear only from those who agree with me. He is right. Indeed, I once commented on that very subject back when I was writing columns and editorials for the Amarillo Globe-News.

My comment, as I recall it, came in response from a reader in Perryton who chided me for my “liberal” views. I responded in a column that I sought to offer a dissenting view to the readers of the solidly Republican Texas Panhandle. I reminded this fellow that it, indeed, would be boring to receive only affirming comments.

I continue to enjoy writing this blog. It gives me energy. It keeps me engaged in some of the things that required me to stay alert, given that I once got paid to comment on issues of the day. These days I do all this commentary on my own. It’s a labor of love … you know?

My social media acquaintance makes an excellent point, though, about those who comment on my musings/spewage. He weighs in regularly. I appreciate his comments.

I appreciate them so much I want more criticism … as long as it’s constructive.

Blog hits milestone

By John Kanelis /

This blog post represents a milestone for High Plains Blogger.

The moment I post this item it will mark the 700th consecutive day of blog commentaries from this platform.

I consider that a pretty big deal. So I thought I would pontificate briefly about what it means to me.

It means, simply, that I have been faithful to my boast that I although I cannot claim to be be an expert on anything, I have a lot to say about … oh, everything.

Some of my friends have called me “prolific.” I accept that description. I actually welcome it. I get that some posts sometimes do not measure up to what I would like to consider a high standard; perhaps this blog item qualifies as that kind of post.

The blog has kept me in “the game,” so to speak, since my daily journalism career came to a halt nearly nine years ago. I also have been able to write blogs for a public TV station, a network affiliate TV station, a public radio station and for the past couple of years a North Texas weekly newspaper.

So, while my daily print career crashed and burned, I have been able to keep my juices flowing through this blog and other media platforms.

Seven hundred consecutive days is a fairly big deal, the way I see it.

I now will try to add another 700 consecutive days, after which I intend to really brag.

Sanctions against Belarus? Uhh, yes!

By John Kanelis /

Think for just a moment how the immediate past president of the United States might respond to the act of state-sponsored thuggery that unfolded in Belarus the other day.

Donald Trump well might applaud the action that took a journalist into custody for — get this — criticizing the autocrat who runs his country.

President Biden is planning to invoke sanctions against Belarus and also has hinted that the audacious display of ham-handedness will be on the table when he and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin for their first summit.

Biden administration to reimpose sanctions on Belarus over diverted flight | TheHill

You know the story, yes? A jetliner took off from Athens en route to Lithuania the other day. When it crossed Belarus air space, air traffic controllers ordered the plane to land, contending it might have a bomb on board. The plane landed. Authorities found no bomb. Instead, they arrested Raman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist who also is active in the opposition movement against Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator who runs the country.

This act of repression borders on terrorism, in my humble view. This kind of aggression cannot be allowed to stand.

It is my fervent hope that President Biden follows through with his threat to deal strongly with the dictator who has demonstrated a callous disregard for basic human rights. Indeed, the entire issue of “human rights” has returned — thankfully — to the West Wing of the White House, where for the previous four years it was ignored by the Strongman Lover in Chief.

Fire him for keeps, Facebook

By John Kanelis /

I have an idea on how Facebook should resolve this matter with Donald J. Trump and whether he should ever return to the social medium.

Facebook just needs to ban him for keeps. Permanently. Never again should he be allowed to spew the ranting lies that fly out of his mouth and off his fingertips.

There. How’s that?

Facebook’s board of oversight has ruled that the social media giant should keep him off the platform but admonished the company for failing to set a definite timetable for his return, or declare that he is banned for keeps.

I say ban the ex-POTUS forever!

Facebook took his account down after the Jan. 6 insurrection/riot/terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol. You remember that, yes? It was a hideous display of inciting violence by the then-president who continues to this very hour to promote the Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him through rampant vote fraud. Well, it wasn’t stolen. Joe Biden was elected president freely, fairly and legally.

Here’s my version of the threshold question: Do you trust Donald Trump to stop promoting the Big Lie and to speak responsibly on Facebook? Here is my answer: I do not!

Donald Trump is arguably the most untrustworthy U.S. politician to come along since, oh, I don’t know if anyone else ever has approached this clown’s level of deceit, dissembling and duplicity. He cannot tell the truth. He is … a liar! 

Facebook has six months to decide whether to lift the ban or impose it permanently. Its oversight board said an “indefinite” ban wasn’t in keeping with Facebooks own criteria. It needs to get specific.

So, ban him for life!

No First Amendment problem

By John Kanelis /

A word to the right-wing wackos who are going bonkers over Facebook’s decision to keep Donald Trump off the social medium … for now: settle down and take a deep breath!

The Trump cultists in Congress are bitching about so-called First Amendment infringements because Facebook, a privately held media company, has decided it cannot allow someone to use its platform to call for an insurrection against the U.S. government.

That is what Trump did on Jan. 6. So it banned the former president. It decided to make a firm decision later on the extent of Trump’s banishment.

As for Trump’s First Amendment free speech guarantee, it is still there. Trump can yap, yammer and yeowl all he wants about the 2020 election being “stolen.” Of course that is just so much bullsh**. Trump knows it. I certainly do. So do you as well.

The First Amendment allows Trump to spew such nonsense. It doesn’t prohibit a private firm from exercising its own policy-making ability on who gets to speak out and who faces the muzzle.

So, right-wing blowards? You need to pipe down.

Facebook makes right call

By John Kanelis /

This won’t surprise anyone in the least, but I happen to believe Facebook’s oversight board made the right call in keeping Donald Trump away from the social medium.

The board made its decision known this morning, citing Trump’s incitement of the insurrection on The Sixth of January, the one that sought to overturn the results of a free and fair election that chose Joe Biden to be president and threw Trump out of office.

Trump used Facebook as a method of stirring up the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building, killing four individuals — including a police officer — threatened to “Hang Mike Pence!” and sought to hunt down other elected officials.

It was an insurrection against the government and it sought to destroy the democratic process.

The decision carries some stipulations, according to the New York Times, which reported: But the board also said that Facebook’s penalty of an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate,” and that the company should apply a “defined penalty.” The board gave Facebook six months to make its final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

“Our sole job is to hold this extremely powerful organization, Facebook, to be held accountable,” Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Oversight Board, said on a call with reporters. The decision “did not meet these standards,” he said.

Facebook’s Ban of Trump Upheld by Oversight Board (

I can hear the outcry building now. Conservatives are going to bitch about Facebook being too friendly to liberals, that the platform seeks to punish those who hold views that differ from their own. Baloney!

As I have followed this tempest, Facebook based its decision to ban Trump because the ex-POTUS keeps telling the Big Lie about the 2020 election being “stolen” from him and that his words had a demonstrable effect on the rioters who sought to pillage and plunder the seat of our federal government.

Is that really a partisan matter? No, it is not!

The overseers of Facebook have given the platform six months to decide on Trump’s status. Take all the time you need and have been given, Facebook. Donald John Trump is a menace, a disgrace and is the true “enemy of the people.”

About that girl …

By John Kanelis /

Does the name Mary Ann Vecchio ring a bell with you? Does it strike a familiar note? Hmmm … ?

It didn’t hit me, either, until I opened up a story online from the Washington Post Magazine. I read about Mary Ann Vecchio, who as the author of the Post piece described her, was the most well-known mystery person on Earth.

You’ve seen the picture, yes?

That’s her, kneeling over a young Kent State University student who had just been shot by National Guard troops on the Ohio campus. The students were protesting the Vietnam War on May 4, 1970. I had thought all along that Vecchio was one of those student protesters. She wasn’t.

She was just 14 years of age when a photographer — Kent State senior John Filo — captured this image for the ages. She had run away from her home in Florida to escape her continually quarreling and fighting parents. She ended up in Ohio and, as her very bad luck would have it, she found herself in one of the landmark occurrences of the 20th century.

I didn’t know that Vecchio was just a girl. I had thought all along she was one of the Kent State students who got caught up in that protest and who saw her friend gunned down in the melee.

She also found her image captured for eternity by a student photographer whose picture would win him a Pulitzer Prize.

The girl in the Kent State photo and the lifelong burden of being a national symbol – The Washington Post

I have attached the Post magazine article to this blog item. Take some time to read it. You will be mesmerized by the woman who tells her life story, about her failed marriage and her journey through a tumultuous life that has returned her home from where she fled all those decades ago.