Nothing wrong with note cards

As Republicans continue to make President Biden’s alleged intellectual slippage an issue, I am intrigued by a recent criticism that has emerged.

The president uses note cards to conduct meetings with public officials. My response? Big fu**ing deal! There is nothing wrong with an individual who happens to be president of the world’s most powerful nation relying on written notes to help guide him through sensitive discussions.

I recall that President Reagan relied on note cards when he met with individuals. I also recall that Democrats took pot shots at Reagan for what they implied was a sign that he had slipped a bit, too.

One of my favorite critics happened to be the congressman who represented me in the House of Representatives, Democrat Jack Brooks of Beaumont, Texas. Brooks routinely would come to visit us at the Beaumont Enterprise and usually took time to swipe at Reagan. He actually once criticized Reagan’s use of note cards as a crutch.

But … guess what! Brooks did the very same thing! He, too, would meet with our editorial board and would glance at note cards to remind him of points he intended to make.

I am not the least bit concerned about President Biden’s mental acuity. He slips up occasionally, misstating people’s names or saying he’s been somewhere when he hasn’t. BFD, man!

As for the note cards, let the man scribble a note or two on them to remind him of the topic at hand. It’s part of doing business in a highly complicated world.

Death of ‘local news’?

I am going to salute a young man I have known for some time, as we were colleagues in the Texas Panhandle … I worked for the newspaper and he worked for a local broadcast outlet.

Here is what Kelly James posted today: I’m calling it. Time of death for local news was 2/27/2024 at 5pm, 6pm, 9pm and 10pm. While homes were literally being lost to fire in Fritch and surrounding communities, all of the local stations were not doing their jobs. If there’s even a hint of severe weather, their coverage is wall-to-wall. But people actually losing their homes and possibly their lives is not important enough to interrupt Wheel of Fortune or Entertainment Tonight. Before anyone offers any excuses, let me just say, I’ve been there before. It can be done. It just takes guts and integrity to do the job. They should all be embarrassed. I am for them.

Guts and integrity? It doesn’t even require either of those traits. How about a commitment to the craft they chose to pursue?

Kelly James is rightfully angry and indignant, however.

The wildfires in the Texas Panhandle have been astonishing in their scope. Last I heard, a fire that was burning northeast of Amarillo had consumed 300,000 acres of grassland was “zero percent contained!”

I spoke today with a former colleague of mine and she reported that air quality had gone from fair to intolerable. “There were ashes falling from the sky,” she told me. The smoke is burning people’s eyes. I mentioned something about “65 mph wind gusts.” Her response? “They weren’t ‘gusts.’ The wind was constant.”

According to my friend, Kelly James, the TV news outlets were asleep on the job. They were derelict in their duty to report the news to a public that needed to know what in the world is happening to its communities.

James didn’t mention the Globe-News. Hmm. I guess it’s a given that a once-substantial newspaper — that has become a mere shadow of itself — is unable to do the job of reporting local news.

What we have here is the demise of what used to be a staple of every community in the land.

Good bye, local news.

Perverts preaching Christian doctrine

Jesus Christ would be appalled at what passes these days for teaching in his name.

There. I said out loud what has been gnawing at me for decades.

OK, I have to acknowledge that as a Christian, I must assume that Jesus knows what is happening. After all, the son of God, is … well, God, right? So he knows.

This notion of Christian nationalism, though, is beginning to bother me in the extreme. It presumes the nation’s founders created a nation steeped in Christian teaching, that the nation adheres to Christianity and that it ignores or dismisses the faith of others who happen to be devoted to a deity other than Jesus Christ.

I have read the New Testament since, oh, I was a little boy. That is more than 70 years! I don’t profess to know what every chapter and verse says. But I have learned that I am entitled to interpret it as narrowly or broadly as I choose.

On most matters, I take a broad view of what the Bible tells us.

These so-called Christian nationalists also seem to take an overly broad view of what Jesus taught us while he walked the Earth. He said his way was the only way to heaven. I get that part. What I cannot swallow is the notion of condemning others who do not follow Jesus’s teaching. That is what I hear the Christian nationalists doing.

Is that in keeping with what Jesus taught the world? No. It isn’t. Those who purport that it is have perverted the holy word to a level I do not — and cannot — recognize.

They inject their version of Christianity into our secular politics where, in my ever-so-humble view, it does not belong. I believe strongly that religion belongs exclusively in houses of worship, not on street corners or in campaign rallies.

Age = experience

So, the talking point now on the 2024 election appears to be that Joe Biden is “too old” to continue as president of the United States.

What … utter … pig … dookie!

President Biden met earlier this week with four congressional leaders of both parties in the White House. Present were Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The word coming out of the meeting? The fear of a government shutdown effective on Saturday appears to have waned … significantly! How’s that?

Well, it appears that Biden brought his 36 years of experience as a U.S. senator to bear. Oh, he also had those eight years as VP prior to being elected president in 2020.

The man’s experience in working through these knotty matters is invaluable. He knows the language of the Senate; he’s fluent in it, given that he spoke it for so long.

I am not going to accept any notion that POTUS’s mental acuity is in decline. Yes, he’s got lots of miles piled onto his 81-year-old body. However, he is continuing to demonstrate an ability to work through the gritty details of government.

He knows the complexities of working with such a cumbersome form of government that we have in this constitutional republic of ours. I am now thinking of the probable alternative to a president who has devoted his entire professional life to public service.

I will settle any day of the week for the experience that Joe Biden brings to work every day over the chaos that no doubt will accompany the idiot who wants the job that President Biden continues to do well.

Yes on DST!

My man cave wall calendar caught my eye this morning as I was getting my day started.

It told me that on March 10 we return to Daylight Saving Time. My first reaction? Why can’t we just make it a permanent feature of our calendar? No need to switch to Standard Time in the fall and then back to DST in the spring.

We go through this drill every year. We switch back and forth and every … single … year we hear the same gripes from those who bitch about their body clocks needing adjustment. How they cannot get used to the extra hour of daylight in the evening or having to “fall back” in the autumn.

Personally, I never have had a problem with switching to Daylight Time and then back to Standard Time. However, if we’re going to keep bitching about doing it, my own preference would be to keep the Daylight Saving Time as a permanent fixture.

I like the extended daylight in the late spring and summer months. As for the fall and winter months, well … I wouldn’t care. It gets darker earlier in that time of the year.

The Texas Legislature a couple of sessions ago toyed with the idea of asking Texans what they preferred. The proposed resolution would have placed three issues on the ballot: Keep it as it is; permanent DST; or permanent Standard Time. I was prepared to vote for permanent Daylight Saving Time … but then the Legislature couldn’t get its crap together in time to put the issue on the ballot.

Maybe the 2025 Legislature can get organized early enough when it convenes in January to enable us to decide what we want to do. I know that’s a big ask, given the nature of our Legislature and the idiocy that seems to govern the legislative flow at times.

I’ll hope for the best. Meantime, I am going to enjoy Daylight Saving Time when it arrives in a couple of weeks.

Interim manager shows, um, chutzpah

Andrew Freeman is the interim city manager in Amarillo, Texas, a city I know pretty well, having lived there for 23 years before moving with my wife to the Metroplex to be closer to our granddaughter.

I have been stewing about this story for a little bit and I am trying to wrap my arms around the notion of an interim head of a municipal staff enacting the huge managerial changes he sought for the city.

The City Council drummed Jared Miller out of the manager’s job a few months ago, apparently dissatisfied with the leadership he was providing. They elevated Freeman to the interim post, pending the council’s decision on who to hire for the permanent job.

I guess Freeman just couldn’t wait to get the nod, so he acted on his own. He shifted a number of folks around in senior management posts — apparently without checking first with the council members for whom he works.

What might be the fallout from this decision. The council met the other day in executive session to discuss the interim guy’s job performance. Then the city issued a statement rescinding all the appointments that Freeman made. The council said the interim manager violated city policy that is spelled out in the charter; it says the manager cannot do anything of that sort without consulting with the council.

It would be one thing, I suppose, for a city manager who’s been appointed to the job on a full-time — or permanent –basis to get ahead of himself. Andrew Freeman is on the job technically on a temporary basis. For an interim manager to be so bold strikes me as a bit of a brassy move.

It makes me wonder how the council is going to look on that when they get around to deciding whom to select as the next permanent — and I use the term guardedly — chief municipal administrator.

Stay tuned … eh?

Rein this guy in … now!

A story reported in a city I once called home had me laughing out loud this morning as I checked my email … which I do every morning.

Amarillo has an interim city manager, Andrew Freeman, who apparently got way too far ahead of himself — and ahead of his bosses on the City Council — when he announced several key management appointments and promotions. Freeman, who succeeded former City Manager Jared Miller, who was canned late this past year by the council, had announced several key management promotions. Some of them involved people I know fairly well when I lived in Amarillo. Well, Freeman had to rescind the appointments. Why? Because he failed to consult with the council prior to announcing them to the public. Steve Pair, the fellow I quoted recently as publisher of a weekly newsletter he posts from Amarillo, said he asked Mayor Cole Stanley why the city rescinded the appointments. “City Charter requires that the council be advised of all needs of the city and then give consent before staff can take action,” Stanley said. The manager, Stanley said, is able to “appoint all appointive officers or employees of the city with the advice and consent of the council … and remove all officers and employees appointed by the manager.” So, there you have it. The interim city manager, it appears to me, got a little too full of himself and acted without consulting with the folks who appointed him to the job. The council met in closed session to discuss the city manager’s job performance. Hmm. Do you think they might’ve frowned a bit on the manager’s actions regarding these appointments? I am not a betting man, but my trick knee suggests that Andrew Freeman might have erred enough to deny an appointment to the permanent city manager’s post … presuming he wants it. Oh, and where was the city’s legal counsel when all of this was occurring? Someone needs to call that individual on the carpet, too.

No truer words …

I don’t normally trust Facebook memes’ as being authentic, given their nature and the fact that so many of them prove to be phony.

But this one really strikes me as funny … and so spot-on true.

I cannot vouch for whether Dave Letterman actually said it, but it could come from damn near anyone with a brain and it certainly fits the situation and the context it is addressing.

Were it not for the fact that the former Moron in Chief was spotted tens of millions of bucks by his father to get into business, he would be dismissed as an abject failure at damn near every venture he has tackled.

And to think he stands ready to be nominated by a once-great political party to run for the U.S. presidency … yet again!

Turn out the lights, Nikki

Dandy Don Meredith, the late Dallas Cowboys quarterback who gained additional fame as an NFL broadcaster, used to sing the lyrics of a song during a blowout game on TV.

“Turn out the lights,” the pride of Mount Vernon, Texas, would sing, “the party’s over.”

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, had hoped for a breakthrough in her home state that had its Republican Party presidential primary this weekend. It didn’t occur. Instead, the breakthrough began for the former Idiot in Chief, whose crushing primary victory over Haley all but assures him the party’s presidential nomination.

Haley had said she would be in the hunt for the duration, win or lose at home. After the votes were counted, she changed her tune, saying she would stay in “at least through Super Tuesday.”

Super Tuesday occurs March 5. A lot of states are conducting their primaries that day. Texas is one of them. The last Texas poll I saw showed the former POTUS is swamping Haley by more than 30 points.

Where am I going with this? Haley will have to pack it in after Super Tuesday. She cannot win the party’s nomination. The bottom line is that the Republican Party will become the party of the ex-POTUS for the third consecutive general election.

The moron managed to win the 2016 election. He lost it in 2020. Both times he garnered far fewer actual votes than either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. A lot of wise men and women suggest now that the former Liar in Chief is in position to recapture the White House.

For the ever-lovin’ life of me I cannot fathom how this can happen. We have an enormous body of evidence to suggest that the chaos and confusion that occurred during this idiot’s term in office will be multiplied manyfold if a second term occurs. He vows to be his supporters’ “retribution.”

This person is a frightening — and, yes, evil — threat to our democracy. After Super Tuesday, it appears he will be the last man standing in one of the weirdest political primaries in memory.

Were he still among us, Dandy Don would be getting ready to sing.

Frustration builds with each mention of his name

My frustration level is being tested by the news media that keeps reporting on the status of the Republican Party campaign for president of the United States.

It ratchets up a little with each mention of the GOP frontrunner’s name. I know the media talking heads cannot refuse to mention him — by name. It is left, therefore, for chump bloggers like me to boycott any mention of him. So … that’s what I am doing. If you’re OK with that, thanks; if not, that’s too damn bad.

My frustration stems from this guy’s position as the frontrunner. That he’s even leading the remaining challenger at all is enough to send me into orbit. He is unfit for public office, but you’ve heard me say that many times already on High Plains Blogger.

This clown, though, is not unfit in what passes for the minds of his MAGA cult followers. They continue to whoop and holler at the lies that pour of his pie hole and he continues to believe that most Americans are buying into them. Earth to The Former Guy: Most of us out here know all about the fraudulent nature of your career.

One of the options I am employing to put a curb on my frustration level is to turn off the TV news channels. I don’t watch much national news these days; I do watch the local folks who do a good job telling us what is happening in North Texas.

By all that is normal — or what we used to define as normal — the former Moron in Chief has no business leading a formerly great political party’s race for the White House.

But not a damn thing in this whacked-out political world of ours is normal these days.