Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 93

On the Most Important
Thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the tornadoes across the south.

On Political Shorts
Count me in as one of the disappointed when President Obama released his birth certificate. I enjoyed watching people make fools of themselves, but alas – at least they can still do that. Meanwhile, birthers may be a new low point in US politics.

Congratulations to Mr. Trump on achieving a “will definitely not vote for” rating in the range of Sarah Palin. (USA Today/Gallup poll) Donald the Ronald McDonald loves the spotlight and will milk it for all that it’s worth. Politically, he is a buffoon, yet he should be proud of reaching the level of the nincompoop.

Speaking of the nincompoop, she recently mocked Katie Couric. The nincompoop must still be bitter about her own inability to answer simple questions.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) seeming is leaving the door open to ceasing government subsidies to oil companies. I wonder, with their profits, why do they receive subsidies? Oh, I forgot – it is effective lobbying!

David Brooks had this interesting column about disconnection and the current political climate. Remember all the comments about political discourse after the Gifford’s shooting? Ah yes, nothing like a short memory.

Former Democratic candidate Gary Hart writes why he is a republican.

Last Sunday’s This Week (ABC) devoted the entire show to “God and Government”. It was an enlightening hour, of which I may write about in the future.

I’m just about to the point of saying it’s time to remove ourselves from Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

On Short Shorts
This season of Dancing with the Stars has been a pleasant surprise. After all, most of the cast is likable and their abilities are close.

New York State deems Red Rover, Freeze Tag, and other kids games as dangerous, thus a need for regulation. What?

Ohio State football fans are defending Coach Tressell (for lying to the NCAA investigators).What if the university fires him AND the NCAA bans him from coaching for the number of years remaining on his OSU contract? Wouldn’t that be an interesting message! (I must be dreaming.)

We Cincinnatians have not only had the wettest April on record; and it may become our wettest month ever on record! Come on rain!

Congratulations to me. April 2011 was the blogs best month ever! On the other hand,  this week’s numbers are trending downward.

How could I forget this – but congratulations to Prince William and Kate. This gift of a short bit of British humor is a fitting. Hope everyone as a safe weekend.

On POWs in America

We baby boomers grew up in a time when many televised movies were westerns or World War II films. I also loved Hogan Heroes, the television series about allied POWs who were operating an espionage unit within Stalag 13, a POW camp run by bumbling Germans. Yet, it was not until 2010 that I learned that the allies had POW camps here in America.

Although over 400,000 WWII POWs were in America. The camps were small and scattered across the country. Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, and that is where I first learned about not only all the German POWs, but also the ones held at what was then known as Wright Field.

These prisoners worked on the base in base mess halls and warehouses, as well as maintaining the grounds. Apparently, since some of them had artistic abilities, they painted several murals on mess hall walls depicting German folklore. Evidence indicates that the German POWs painted three murals, yet only one remains today – standing quietly in an unsuspecting building as a part of the base’s history. I’m glad I got to see them, otherwise I may have never known about WWII POWs in America – even those not all that far away.

On the Vast Universe

The earth is a very small stage in a vast comic arena. (Carl Sagan)

I know I asked the following more than once to a room of teenagers: “Although there is no scientific evidence to support your belief, raise your hand if you believe life can be found elsewhere in the universe.”

A third to a half of the students would respond to the affirmative, along with me. The general thought being since the universe is so big, the odds are in our favor. Then again, I imagine some are influenced by their Star Trek images of other civilizations.

A friend (Bill) enjoys reading about science and will occasionally philosophize. I recall (years ago) asking him the same question, and his answer has not only stuck with me, but I occasionally think about it. Bill simply said (and I paraphrase), “Nope, this is it because God gave all of this to us to enjoy and marvel.”

Over the past several years, I have read much about the science and theology relationship – and yes – I still wonder about that question and Bill’s answer. One thing is for sure; my opinion/thought isn’t as firm as when I first asked the question to the teenagers.

So what do you think? Do you believe life exists elsewhere in the universe, or is this just it just here for us to stand in awe? Please respond … and enjoy the video (one of my favorites).

On Trickle-Down Ryan

Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and any other bandwagon Republican want to cut corporate taxes in order to stimulate investment. Why not? Profits go up, thus companies can invest more. News Flash: Hey … Trickle Down does not Work!

Hope about a few reality checkpoints on the matter.

Profits go up, and the shareholders are happier. Corporations are first accountable to their shareholders. Yep, the shareholders get preferential treatment over the community, over the state, and over the country. You see, capitalism is not patriotic.

Profits go up, and the executives get more (thus cutting into investment). As if people in these positions don’t already get enough. Then again, more means more.

Cash reserves increase, which then allows one company to purchase another – thus a loss of jobs.

Let’s say the company is willing to invest, thus increase employment. What is the guarantee that they do so within US borders? For those in the GOP who down know, the answer is, There is no guarantee!

Bottom line: You want to stimulate companies to invest in America, don’t give them a tax break to do something – give them a tax credit for doing something.

On a Smile for Human Engenuity

In my mind, there there are several “no doubts” about humans. No doubt that humans, as one of the living things on our planet, have similarities and differences with all other living things. Also, no doubt that so many of our differences is due to the brain.

Yep – the human brain gives humans a greater range of communication, a wide range of emotions and behaviors, and a greater depth in critical thinking and problem solving. With all this in mind, this Monday Morning Entertainment is cheers to a variety of aspects of the human brain that you can appreciate in your own way.

Not all that long ago, Maxi (my favorite Filipino living in Sweden) gave me an idea for a post, which I used, but forgot to credit her. Not this time – many thanks Maxi for this delightful video, which I take as a tribute to the human brain – thus a great way to start the week.

Enjoy the video and have a great week.

On the Highest Days

Although society’s behaviors point to Christmas as the pinnacle to the church year, Christianity’s foundation is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – therefore the highest of all holy days are Good Friday and Easter.

Today, Good Friday, the focus is the cross – the fact that God sent his only son to die for our sins. On Sunday, the focus shifts to the empty tomb – the sign that the resurrection points to our eternal life. Thus, it is with these two days in mind that Christians gather to celebrate throughout the year.

The next three days are special to many, thus with good reason, this is not my normal Friday post of Opinions in the Shorts – but they will return next week. Our handbell choir will play at our Easter Vigil service. This service is much longer than normal, but it is an interesting transition for the liturgical season. From the lighting of the outside fire, to the Old Testament readings in a dim sanctuary, to our walk down the hall into a brightly lit temporary sanctuary for the glories of Easter, this service helps me with my Christian identity.

Happy Easter to make Christian friends, and Happy Passover to my Jewish friend. Yet to all, have a good weekend, be safe, and enjoy the lively tune we will play – Now the Greenblade Riseth – by the way, which the video’s large, youth choir does well.

On a Philosophical Washington

With the recent budget discussion in our rear-view mirror and with seemingly more difficult budget discussions in the days ahead, political pundits on both sides are making their case about who won the last round, who has the upper hand for future discussion, and so on.

Hmmm. President Obama appoints a budget commission that releases a report that he neither endorsed or condemned. Then, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) releases a budget that is probably from a conservative think-tank that promotes the GOP. Of course, we also have the Gang of Six believing they can develop a compromising budget in a partisan atmosphere.

President Obama wants Congress to raise the debt ceiling, something that he voted against as a senator. As the GOP continues to portray itself as budget hawks, they continue to fail to accept the responsibility for the 2000-2006 deficit growth. Yet the Democrats attempt to be rational cutters while failing to own up to their spending habits.

I say – blah, blah, blah. As Washington attempts to give the public the impression they are working toward finding a solution, let us remember that their primary concern is their re-election bids and their party’s bankroll.  The majority of Americans want our national government to seek meaningful solution, yet Washington continues to be all about the party  – thus delivering the message that playing politics is paramount to delivering solution.

What if they made an effort to think, discuss, listen, and work toward meaningful solutions? What if Washington took a philosopher’s approach to problem solving? Then again, just as in this gathering of famous philosophers, the outcome still produced winners, losers, and disputes.