Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 222

On Politics
In his initial campaign, President Obama pledged to get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan … and he has moved accordingly. Therefore, the stress on the Veterans Administration (VA) should not be a surprise.

On the other side of the coin, as Congressional Republicans aim to politicize the VA situation, let us not forget they are the ones who wouldn’t expand VA funding without cutting other programs to pay for the expansion.

I said this after the 2008 election, and it’s a good time for it again. I wish President Obama would appoint Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to lead the VA … and then overhaul the organization.

Here’s is an interesting article by columnist George Will regarding the 2016 presidential election.

The Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate” continues to bother me, thus maybe why I found this article interesting.

Although Cincinnati is in Ohio, Kentucky is across the river … which means Cincinnati television stations broadcasts into Kentucky. The senate race between Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) may be the most expensive senate campaign in history (which means the Ohio side of the river will get to see many campaign ads.) According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, most of the campaign money (to date) has come from outside Kentucky: 86% (McConnell), 75% (Grimes).

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Wise oracle proclaims at barbecue that he felt a raindrop
Elderly man hailed as alert
Study: Human ability to cooperate most strongly exhibited when ordering pizza
Woman confusingly tells man she’s not interested in him
Modernized space camp allows kinds to simulate frustration over lack of funding

Interesting Reads
China and its rare-earth elements
Quack medical devices
Pew Research Center about views of evolution
A book review: James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney
Video about bacon’s smell

Two from Bloggers
Dark Side of a Kiss
Who Owns the North Pole

On Potpourri
I got so behind on replying to comments, Wednesday morning I responded to almost 50 overdue comments. Shame on me!

GrailvilleLast weekend we stopped by Local Fest, a festival featuring locally grown and made products by local vendors. It was at Grailville, a retreat and educational center … and amazingly, they have over 300 acres of land. (What a peaceful view in the midst of suburbia.) Their mission statement states, Called by our spiritual values, The Grail envisions a world of peace, justice and renewal of the earth, brought about by women working together as catalysts for change.

Being this is Vol. 222 of this Friday series, I’m reminded of a television show from the early 1970s. Does anyone remember Room 222? Of course, I do because I had a crush on Karen Valentine – click for a video.

No Saturday Classic Cartoon post this weekend, but I may have a Saturday post (if I complete it).

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Mint Julep Day, My Bucket has a Hole in It Day
  • (Sat) What You Think Upon Grows Day, Macaroon Day, No Tobacco Day
  • (Sun) Heimlich Maneuver Day, Say Something Nice Day, Go Barefoot Day, Oscar the Grouch Day, Global Day of Parents, Children’s Awareness Memorial Day, Stand for Children Day, Cancer Survivors Day, Hazelnut Cake Day, Fisherman’s Memorial Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s The Alan Parsons Project with Games People Play. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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43 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 222

  1. Well, there was not a “love” button, so I settled for the “like” button. Bacon still smells delightful, even knowing the chemistry behind the aroma. And I do remember Room 222–in fact, stayed in a hotel room labeled 222 and felt very lucky. . . and old. Have a great weekend.

  2. I am personally hoping that the earth opens up and swallows Sen. John McCain. And his little dog, Lindsay Graham, too.

    But I remember loving Room 222.

    • Bulldog,
      With your experience managing the grounds at a golf course, I imagine you have seen more than one hole in a bucket. Meanwhile, I hope you account for that in your software. ;)

  3. I think back in 2008 John McCain might have been a good choice to head up the VA, now? No, he is to embroiled in the politics of finger pointing, blame and bitterness. It is unfortunate.

    Loved your read picks on this one! All very interesting.

    The week is very boring Frank, nothing I can really latch onto and call it my day! Well possibly Mint Julep day, I think I have the ingredients in my bar, what good southern hostess doesn’t afterall.

    Love the music selection.

    • Val,
      Odds are that whenever politicians speak, the do so with the idea of finger pointing. Meanwhile, the government doesn’t run anything efficiently, it needs a reformation.

      Cheers to the Alan Parsons Project with a mint julep!

  4. Your opinions on the VA are all right-on, especially that John McCain would have been a good head of the VA. My guess is that he wouldn’t presently be wasting his time comparing VA medical care with Obamacare, but instead would be hard at work exposing to the American People members of Congress who for political gain oppose VA funding for the country’s wounded and aging soldiers.

    After several failed attempts to get through Ralph Ketcham’s grindingly dry biography of James Madison, I plan to give Lynne Cheney’s attempt a chance. My hope is to find out if in fact Madison stood against everything that is favored by today’s Democratic Party, or not.

    I’m glad you included the article by George Will. I’m guessing you liked it.

    • Tim.
      In terms of George Will’s column … as you know, I used to enjoy him very much, but his cranky nature got old – but occasionally his thoughts jive with mine.

      Regarding the VA, the department is a giant bureaucratic slug with tons of red tape, thus a systemic problem. But that’s nothing new in government … and on this issue, I hold both parties responsible.

      I look forward to your review of Lynn Cheney’s book.

    • Resa,
      Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby … and given Kentucky, that means Bourbon is the key alcoholic ingredient … but it also includes water, sugar, and mint leaves. Very tasting I must say.

  5. A slightly delayed response to this as I hadn’t seen it (we’ve escaped to our little country house for a quiet weekend and mobile connection can be really slow!) I loved your Saturday post! Happy remaining Satyrday and Sunday, my friend. :-)

  6. The VA needs help, not politicization. As for Obama, he got troops out of Iraq (Hurrah!), and they are slowly getting out of Afghanistan (Hurrah!), but it wasn’t through any fault if his that they weren’t just being shipped into Syria (Boooo!)

    • Fasab,
      A solution for the VA outside of politics is the right thing to do. However, that’s not what politicians do. After all, as one party complains about the other, both carry a lot of blame on this issue.

  7. Frank, I find your reading recommendations consistently interesting. You do a good job of it, the link to the George Will column being a good example. I have had an aversion to the Pedantic Partisan of late, but am glad I read this one. Clearly tongue in cheek in advocating presidents without “delusions of adequacy”, he nevertheless makes some good points. People would do well to expect less of the President than they do, but nature does abhor a vacuum. If they were unable to hold the President accountable for the whimsical conditions of life, I have to wonder what other outlet(s) they might seek? Surely not their own congress creatures?

    Conservatives are always bemoaning the lack of “leadership” in Democrat presidents, something I have come to interpret as ennui from not starting wars. Thus political leadership appears to be a very contextual concept.

    What if the style of George’s hypothetical president had always been acceptable to the body politic? One wonders how history might have been different. Pure speculation on my part, but . . .

    No civil war and the CSA growing wealthy on slavery.
    Slavery morphs over the years into its financial avatar, indentured servitude.
    No Civil Rights movement.
    The same Great Depression.
    The Rough Riders lose the Spanish American War from lack of Army support.
    Nazi Germany triumphs over Europe and Japan over Asia as America clings to isolationism.
    No Korean War or VietNam war, nor Iraq and Afghanistan wars either.
    No interstate highway system.
    No nation of Israel because the Arabs would have overrun them without massive American aid.
    No EPA. Leaded gas still sold, lakes and rivers still catch fire.
    Cancer rates soar as people continue to smoke.
    The Great Recession, lacking stimulus, becomes the Second Great Depression.
    Doctors continue to practice competitively in the absence of Medicare and Medicaid and still sometimes accept chickens in place of cash.
    No polio or other vaccines, due to lack of government R&D spending.
    No NASA, and no American moon trips.

    That’s enough on this topic, my brain’s sucking fumes here.

    The link on employer-based health care was also interesting. To your concern that the ACA might be killing that, I submit that it would have died anyway because the value of human labor itself has diminished below the point of any scarcity.

    Finally, I too would absolutely love to see the president offer McCain the VA job, but if he did, I predict he would quickly decline it. It’s way more fun to criticize than to try to reform one of the world’s largest moribund bureaucracies just as it’s being beset by new mental-health, obesity and antibiotic-resistant challenges that stubbornly resist treatment. But I could be wrong. You should write John an encouraging letter, Frank.

    Your fan as always,

    Jim the Skeptic

    • Jim,
      Besides thanks for the kind words, I thank you for your thought-stimulated response. Life and events are a set of dominoes, so the what-ifs are countless … but still worthy of thought and discussion. Nonetheless, yes … George Will could have been a bit tongue-and-check in this thoughts, thus stimulating thought and discussion.

      In terms of the readings I select, I try to get a variety. … and fortunately, I have some good resources to help. When it comes to columnists, I tend to limit my reading of the partisans. George Will is a fantastic writer, but he’s turned into too much of a crank … but occasionally he comes through for people like me.

      As far as Sen McCain leading the VA, even if President Obama offered him the job, I think he would pass.

      Thanks again for the kind words and thoughtful response.

  8. P.S.
    I thought I would add one more item to my hypothetical list of consequences under George Will’s disengaged presidents:

    Forget Social Security. FDR was a meddling, nosy busybody. Everybody knows it’s their own responsibility to save for their old age and if they haven’t, starving is their problem, not society’s.

    • Jim,
      Love the PS regarding FDR … especially because I’m one who believes that since most of the FDR haters have passed on, the anti-Clinton folks have graciously taken their place. Meanwhile, I appreciate your tongue-and-check comment about saving for retirement.

  9. I like that you’ve added some blogger submissions to your list of “good reads.” I am struggling with keeping up…there is more to read than I have time, but I do look forward to your lists! I see several article titles that pull me in!

    • Debra,
      I know what you mean about being behind because I’m way behind on my blog reading … and as a person who believes in reciprocating, this isn’t a good feeling. Enjoy reading what you can!

  10. LMAO at “Wise oracle proclaims at barbecue that he felt a raindrop.”
    Interesting tid-bit regarding Who Owns the North Pole.

    I missed all weekend events due to a busy (but fun-filled) schedule. Still dancing to some polka tunes though from a couple of weeks ago. :)
    On a second look – I don’t smoke. So- I celebrate no tobacco day every day. ;)

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