Tag Archives: social media

You go, Mme. First Lady!

Social media are chattering about first lady Michelle Obama.

No, she didn’t say anything worth noting. All she did was get off a plane in Saudi Arabia sans a scarf covering her hair, which is customary in the Sunni Muslim country.

Some, but not all, of her hosts were offended by the first lady. My own reaction? You go, Mrs. Obama!


The president and first lady stopped briefly in Saudi Arabia to pay their respects after the death of King Abdullah. Saudi custom dictates that women cover their heads; many Saudi women wear niqabs.

But here’s the deal. Saudi women do so to honor their Islamic faith. The Obamas aren’t Muslim. They are practicing Christians. Indeed, although the custom is followed generally in Saudi Arabia, it’s not a requirement, particularly if women are seen only in, shall we say, secular surroundings. Were she to enter a mosque? Yes, I can understand the requirement to cover her hair as required by Islamic teaching.

And as the Washington Post reported: “Exceptions are made for foreigners, however, and Michelle – who did wear loose clothing that fully covered her arms – appears to have been one of them. In photographs from the official events, other foreign female guests are also shown not wearing headscarves.”

That hasn’t stopped Saudi social media from chattering all over creation about the supposed “insult” perpetrated by the American first lady.

Let’s just get over it, shall we?

Vacation for first family; POTUS will need the rest

President Obama has jetted off to his home state of Hawaii for some R&R with his family.

I’ll be interested now for the next several days whether we’re going to hear any carping about the golf being played, or whether the first lady is spending a lot of money on shopping excursions, or whether the first daughters are behaving themselves.

This kind of carping goes with the territory, I guess, and I am hoping that now — six years into the job — that the president and his family have grown used to it.

Social media being what they are, criticism hits cyberspace in swarms. It’s immediate, quite often mistaken and misplaced and also quite cruel.

I recall a couple of other notable presidents who’d take lengthy vacations.

* President Ronald Reagan would get holed up in his ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., uttering hardly a peep in public. He’d come back down from his Rancho del Cielo refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the day. You’d hear the occasional gripes from the media about the president’s lengthy hiatus, but hardly none of the nitpicking one hears today.

* President George W. Bush liked to “clear brush” at his own ranch in Central Texas, near Crawford — which is near Waco. Again, the media would gripe about that time off, although my hunch is that they disliked hanging out in rural Texas, which I’m guessing lacks some of the creature comforts to which those big-city media hounds had grown accustomed.

In both instances — and regarding vacations other presidents have taken — such criticism is unfounded and ridiculous.

Barack Obama doesn’t have any planned public events while he’s enjoying Christmas with his clan in Hawaii. He’ll get his usual daily national security briefings and updates on other matters way back east in Washington.

For now, enjoy your time in the sunshine, Mr. President. A new Congress controlled by the “other party” awaits you when you return for the home stretch of your time in office. You’ll need all the rest you can get.


Facebook is a blast, but I prefer some decorum

I just posted this item on my Facebook timeline.

“Alert: I just ‘unfriended’ someone from my Facebook ‘friends’ list because of his liberal use of profanity. I am prone to speak with pithy tongue on occasion myself, but I do not like using it — or seeing it — on my timeline. Be forewarned. I’ll be on the lookout for gratuitous and patently nasty verbiage. A little here and there is OK, but watch it, folks.”

Now I shall explain in a bit of detail.

The “friend” I whacked from my list really isn’t a friend. I don’t know the individual. He sent a Facebook “friend request” a few months ago and I accepted. It turns out we’re of like minds politically, so I guess he read my blog posts that feed automatically to my Facebook news feed.

But this individual has a tart tongue — so to speak — when he lays his hands on a keyboard. He would lace his commentary with f-bombs, s-bombs and sexually explicit language.

I cut him off.

I enjoy using Facebook as a social medium for a couple of reasons. I use it as a platform to share my blog posts, along with several other social media sites. I also keep up with those with whom I have signed on as friends. Some of them are the real deal, actual friends I’ve known for years; the guy I’ve known the longest goes back to the seventh grade — that would be 1962. Others are acquaintances or folks I’ve known professionally over more than three decades in print journalism. And still others are individuals I do not know, but who have “mutual friends” on Facebook; when they request a spot on my “friends” roster, I’m likely to sign them up. And, of course, some family members belong to my list of friends.

A handful of my Facebook friends are young people, as in minors. They don’t need to read filth on my Facebook timeline. I have others on my friends roster who — I believe — might take offense at the foul language. So I try to honor their values as well.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not a saint. I pepper my own spoken words with some pithiness on occasion. I do so in the presence of people I know and who might be prone to the same verbal proclivity.

I just prefer at least a touch of decorum on these Facebook posts, if for no other reason than to offer some relief from the coarseness that has become the norm.



Social media produce a blessing

Various forms of social media often get a royal raspberry from those who dislike it.

I’ll admit to being a little late in the social media game, but I’ve found over the past 20 or so hours that it has at least one immense benefit. Social media allow friends and acquaintances to offer instant — and often heartfelt — expressions of sorrow on one’s behalf.

Last night I announced to my network of Facebook friends — who comprise actual friends, others I know only casually and even some folks I’ve never even met — the death of a beloved pet. Socks was our 12-year-old kitty who simply laid down and never woke up.

It’s been a very difficult past few hours for my wife and me. Pet owners understand all too well that these critters we bring into our homes become part of the family. In the case of Socks and his sister, Mittens, they became kin immediately after walking through the door more than a dozen years ago.

It’s gratifying to read the lovely statements of those who’ve had pets, and from those who’ve suffered a loss similar to what we’ve just experienced.

I can thank social media for that. To be honest, it’s difficult to talk about this just yet. So I won’t go on and on.

The purpose of this post actually is just to recognize that social media, if used in the right way, can provide a clear path to emotional healing.


Memo to Alec: Watch your foul mouth, young man

This has been a tough week for TV news personalities masquerading as broadcast journalists.

First, it was Lara Logan of CBS’s “60 Minutes” being forced to take “administrative leave” for a botched news segment on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya; four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, died in the firefight. Logan and her producer trotted out a security analyst who told “60 Minutes” he was there when it happened, except that he really didn’t get there until the next day. His credibility came into question after the report that was highly critical of the State Department’s reaction to the tragic event.

See ya, Lara.

Now it’s MSNBC’s turn to wipe the egg off its face. It had hired actor/comedian Alec Baldwin to do an hour-long show every Friday night. Baldwin is known for a lot of things. Yes, he’s a talented actor. He’s also capable of doing some great comedy sketches.

Baldwin also is a loudmouth with a hair-trigger temper.


Seems that that Baldwin got into an altercation with a photographer recently and spit out some highly inflammatory names to the fellow. He let loose with an anti-gay slur, preceded by an extremely vulgar adjective.

Hey Alec. You should know that the world is listening to every word you say. Dude, you’re a star and as such, you are not immune from prying eyes and ears. Two words need mentioning here, man: social media.

MSNBC has pulled Baldwin’s show. He says a leading gay-rights organization, GLAAD, and Andrew Sullivan, a noted columnist and author — who happens to be gay — had a hand in “killing” his show.

So what if they did?

He behaved reprehensibly and, as a symbol of a network devoted to news and commentary, he becomes one of the faces of the network.

Alec Baldwin had to go.

One final word of advice, although it will be ignored: Keep your mouth shut, Alec.

Social media reveal racists among us

I’ve discovered an unexpected plus about the advent of social media on modern society.

They reveal individuals’ character or their lack of it while identifying who these individuals are to the rest of the world.

Consider the reaction to last night’s crowning of the new Miss America, who is a young woman named Nina Davuluri. She hails from New York. She’s the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America. The reaction from some of her countrymen? Well, it was quite revealing.


The link attached here reveals the moronic attitudes of Americans toward people of certain ethnicities. I won’t detail here what some of the individuals said about Davuluri. You can access it by clicking on the link.

Suffice to say the young woman comes from a successful family. Her dad is a physician. Nina aspires to follow in his footsteps. She’s a young woman of considerable accomplishment. She is the latest in a long line of such women to own the title of Miss America.

As for social media’s influence on modern culture, we’re seeing by the reactions posted on Twitter to this event, there’s a certain value in allowing idiots to express themselves freely. They’ve exposed themselves to the rest of the world.

As an old friend once told me, it’s better to keep your enemy out front where you can see them rather than have them hiding in the bushes.

Tweeting can be hazardous to campaigns

Tweeting, twittering, twirling … whatever you want to call it, has become the new normal in modern American political campaigning.

Isn’t that right, Greg Abbott?

The Texas Tribune reports that Twitter has become a bane as well as a boon to campaigns, as Abbott is finding out.


A fan of Abbott tweeted something quite derogatory the other day about state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who might enter the Texas governor’s race that already features Abbott, the state’s Republican attorney general. The Abbott fan called Davis “a retard Barbie.” Abbott thanked the individual for his support, was blasted by Texas Democratic officials, and then said in a follow-up tweet that he cannot control the language that supporters use on his behalf.

But the fans of every candidate of every stripe are out there en masse — by the tens of millions — tossing thoughts into cyberspace. They might be reasonable and rational, or they might be idiotic and moronic.

These candidates are having to take the good with the bad in this Social Media Age.

Meanwhile, political strategists are having to come up with ways to defend their candidates against the nonsense spewed out and the reaction to it from their opponents.

Good luck with that.