As you may have heard (for all we know, you may be among his more than 33 million followers), President Donald Trump enjoys expressing his opinions through the social media service known as Twitter. The president apparently believes that his numerous tweets allow him to speak directly to his base of core supporters without having to deal with that pesky news media.
Many of Trump's tweets are newsworthy, because — well, because he's president of the United States. Nevertheless, Trump critics have frequently argued that Twitter should be more aggressive about policing the president's tweets and possibly even banning or suspending his account. They have a point: It's not unusual for a Trump tweet to violate Twitter's rules of conduct.
But those calls for Twitter to be more aggressive about policing Trump's tweets were renewed this past week after the president posted this missive on Saturday: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" North Korean diplomats said Trump's tweet amounted to a declaration of war, which seems to be stretching the point. (And, as we understand the U.S. Constitution, it would require at least a tweet from Congress to actually declare war.) Nevertheless, critics once again roasted Twitter officials for not removing Trump's tweet. Twitter officials, properly, responded that the tweet was newsworthy and declined to remove it.
Many (possibly most) Americans probably would agree with the proposition that it would be best if Trump just stopped tweeting altogether. (Trump, obviously, sees it otherwise: In July, he tweeted that "My use of social media is not Presidential — it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!" And Trump likely was pleased to see reports that Twitter officials are considering doubling the 140-character limit of tweets to 280 characters.)
Leaving aside for now the question of what conduct is presidential, or even MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL, the fact remains that it is a matter of considerable public interest to know what the president of the United States is posting on a very public social media platform. Twitter shouldn't be put in a position to judge which Trump missives it should be blocking or even whether to suspend his account. Does this mean Trump gets a break that ordinary citizens wouldn't get from Twitter? Yes, it does — but most Twitter users aren't in a position where they can make news every time they open their mouths.
Of course, to use one of Trump's favorite turns of phrase, the fact that we're having this conversation at all is sad. (mm)
Busy season at Chintimini
The Chintimini Wildlife Center north of Corvallis has shattered a record that it likely wasn't keen to break: The center, which works with sick, injured or orphaned animals, already has treated more than 1,500 animals, the mark it set last year. And three months remain in this year.
The increase this year came in part because of the temporary closure of the Willamette Rehabilitation Center in Eugene. The Eugene center now is partially open, which to some extent eases the burden on Chintimini. And we've reached the time of year when the flow of injured or sick animals begins to slow. It's sad that Chintimini has been stretched so thin, but it's good that the center was available to help. (The extra caseload has strained the center's budget, so donations are welcome.)
And it's always fun to witness a success story such as the one the center scored last weekend, when it released a red-tailed hawk back into the wild. The big raptor was hurt when it collided with a car-top kayak rack. Now it's back in the skies, gliding over the mid-valley and presumably steering clear of vehicles. (mm)