CBS News’ Bob Schieffer “About the News” Places Me Further Into 21st Century

As I have mentioned to my Facebook friends this summer another step was taken which placed me in the 21st century when I obtained an iPad.   I love technology but use it smartly in that I do not allow it to remove the parts of the past which I find warm and pleasant.  As such I still read printed newspapers and books, play albums, and live in a home where our phone is a land line.  We have no cell phone and I am totally pleased that James agrees that we do not need to be always connected via social media with others.  That is what the message machine on the desk is for.  In fact, the rotating messages we create makes for some laughter as those who call fully know.  At present there is a Country Time lemonade opening—given all the nice weather we have experienced in Madison.

But I do love computers, and all the ways technology has allowed curious people–which I count myself as being among–to dive in and learn about a never-ending list of topics.  So the iPad is nothing short of a wonderful world of apps which provides weather data, maps galore, news from every source under the sun, crossword puzzles, video capabilities, and last but not least, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer on a podcast.

Today after  mowing and working on the lawn I showered and grabbed a cup of coffee to enjoy while sitting outside.  I took the iPad and it was there I listened to my first podcast.  Ever.  CBS News’ Bob Schieffer along with H. Andrew Schwartz,  conduct a wide variety of news and political conversations on  “About the News”.   I went back to March and heard one of my favorite columnists, The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Seib, speak about the era of Trump and how it impacts journalism.

Schieffer, as always, comes with decades of institutional memory from both broadcasting and a political perspective.  As I listened to the truly interesting and thoughtful conversation I wondered what the news veteran thinks of the speed with which news is now transmitted via various platforms and how that speed has affected governing.  After all, there was a time when an action happened and leaders had the ability to think and deliberate prior to being sought out for a reaction.   I strongly suspect he would agree that while we have made gains we also have paid a price.

I am more conscious than ever of how much information is available with a touch of the finger and how many curious pursuits can be easily followed.  The problem is technology has not added an extra day to the week.  And when I asked Siri–which I changed to a male voice–about such a quandary he offered web sites on the history of time.  Perhaps I just need a more artful way of asking him.  Until then I have many more ways to stay busy after taking this latest step into the 21st century.

Trump’s Time At His Golf Club Hurt Hurricane Response In Puerto Rico

Leadership is a 24/7 undertaking when President of the United States.    But then no one ever confused Donald Trump with a leader.

At first, the Trump administration seemed to be doing all the right things to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico.

As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

Trump did hold a meeting at his golf club that Friday with half a dozen Cabinet officials — including acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees disaster response — but the gathering was to discuss his new travel ban, not the hurricane. Duke and Trump spoke briefly about Puerto Rico but did not talk again until Tuesday, an administration official said.

“The Trump administration was slow off the mark,” said Rep. Darren Soto (D), the first Florida lawmaker of Puerto Rican descent elected to Congress. “. . . We’ve invaded small countries faster than we’ve been helping American citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

Trump’s public schedule Monday was devoid of any meetings related to the storm, but he was becoming frustrated by the coverage he was seeing on TV, the senior official said.

At a dinner Monday evening with conservative leaders at the White House, Trump opened the gathering by briefly lamenting the tragedy unfolding in Puerto Rico before launching into a lengthy diatribe against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his opposition to the Republicans’ failed health-care bill, according to one attendee.

Why Is Donald Trump Slow At Helping Puerto Rico?

There are questions being asked–and rightly so–as to why there has been such a slow response to aiding the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico from the Trump Administration.

Trump said today that ‘big decisions’ loom about the cost of rebuilding of Puerto Rico.  Two storms have devastated that country and there is no way the people there can wait for more praise about his stalled efforts as a means to encouraging him to act in a most decisive way.   The island’s governor was paying Trump lip service in the past days so to get the aid coming.  But even his words have only had limited impact.

Trump did not in any way elaborate what those ‘big decisions’ would be or how they would aid in the cost of its rebuilding.  No news when those “big decisions” would be made or how the price would factor into those decisions.   Most of the island is without power and many of its residents without shelter.  Flights in and out of the island have been limited and access to supplies, including clean drinking water, remains spotty.

This month PBS has aired 18 and 1/2 hours of the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam. Our nation was able to ferry men and resources to fight a war more than decade long on the other side of the world.   But now Trump is making it seem we can not get water, supplies, and resources to an island just a short distance from the United States!

Simply revolting!

One does have to ask if the color of the skin of those impacted are the reason for the slow and dreadful response.  There is an awful racial bias to the Trump base as has been noted in polls and data gathering.  So Trump may well feel by not acting in a forceful way as he did to hurricane victims in Houston that his voting base is fine with that lack of action.

Mold In Houston Does Not Equal Human Rights Abuses In Rohingya

Night after night our nation sees the damage from hurricanes.  I get the enormity of the matter both in places like Houston and the staggering damage in Puerto Rico.  I fully grasp how this is a major story and why Lester Holt reports from the scenes.  But let us also realize that an even larger and more colossal event is taking place in the world and the major evening news coverage does not report on it to the degree it requires.  Not even close.  After all, there is mold in homes in Houston!

Today the United Nations reported the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh since August has topped 500,000.

It also has been reported by the BBC–the only truly engaged news operation in the world that has the numbers of employees and the passion to inform– that Myanmar’s government will manage the redevelopment of villages torched during violence in Rakhine state.   The plan for the redevelopment of areas destroyed by fires, which the government has blamed on Rohingya insurgents, is likely to raise concern about the prospects for the return of the refugees, and compound fears of ethnic cleansing.

Meanwhile we are watching folks on the news from Houston with their terraces piled with ruined furniture that will be quickly replaced by insurance.   You might sense how I feel.   There is once again this notion of some people in the world being more equal than others–even when it comes to how world events are covered.

I get it that in this nation many of the voters have no idea where where Myanmar or Bangladesh are located and I strongly suspect that a fair share might even believe these are places in a far off galaxy.  And for many that is where the concern ends.  That is why it is most important for the evening news to pound these stories of mass human rights abuses to the same level that we know how Amy and Adam are faring on their once flooded street in Texas.  

Human rights groups using satellite images have said that about half of more than 400 Rohingya villages in the north of Rankine state have been burned in the violence.  At the same time refugees arriving in Bangladesh have accused the army and Buddhist vigilantes of mounting a campaign of violence and arson aimed at driving Rohingya out of Myanmar.  Buddhist-majority Myanmar has rejected UN accusations of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

President Trump Needs To Stop Dithering And Just Fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price

Exactly how much thinking does President Trump need to do before coming to the only conclusion there is that Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price needs to be fired?   And why is it that when it comes to matters such as Price he admits to needing to think–but when it comes to truly complex matters of immigration or military policy he has it all made up in his mind at the outset?

Price has used expensive private jets–26 times at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There is not much more to know.  Or think about!

Today when confronted by reporters Trump could only say in a less than convincing way that “I was looking into it and I will look into it. And I will tell you personally, I’m not happy about it.”  Perhaps now that health care was not at all aided with Price in the cabinet Trump might now finally find a way to stop the financial abuses.

It needs to be noted Price’s predecessors generally took commercial flights.

Quote Of The Day

“Tax reform is going to make health care look like a piece of cake.”

— Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), quoted by ABC News.

And lets be honest at this stage the GOP are only offering tax cuts for the wealthy and not tax reform.

Most Laughable Newspaper Headline Today

Unless he means premenstrual he is NOT ready.  Seriously, it is time for the Tory Party to grow up as Corbyn must never be allowed to serve at PM.  Imagine Bernie Sanders x2. (Yes, that bad.)

Thanks To Senator John McCain (Again!)–And Here Is Why

Republicans ran on Regular Order during the 2016 election season, and now are running away from it. Thanks to Sen. McCain they can not run far.

McCain is laying down the same marker on tax legislation as he did on health care, demanding regular order and support from both parties. McCain: “We need to do it in a bipartisan fashion. I am committed, as I’ve said before, to a bipartisan approach, such as we’ve been doing in the Armed Services Committee for the last 53 years.”

Amen, John!

One reason this is vital is due to Republicans wishing to pull a snow job on the nation if they are not required to undertake regular order.

“The tax plan being presented to GOP members over the next couple of days — as soon as this afternoon to senators — isn’t likely to include tough policy decisions about revenue raisers,” according to Axios.

Said one GOP lobbyist: “All of the goodies and none of the vegetables.”

“Although there’s disagreement about how much individual and corporate tax rates should be lowered, almost every Republican is going to be happy with tax cuts and lower rates. The painful decisions come in when members are forced to decide about revenue-raising policies — for example, whether to eliminate or reduce the state and local tax deduction, which Bloomberg reported this morning is already hitting blue-state Republican resistance.”