Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 163

On Politics
The Cincinnati Enquirer hosted a foreign reporter for 10 days regarding the election. During his time here, he attended local speeches by President Obama, Mitt Romney, and the First Lady. The article he wrote following the election is an interesting perspective. Because of where the reporter’s home and given the election results, the comments are also interesting.

Meanwhile, those suffering from Election Distraught Syndrome are signing petitions to get their state to secede, which is the conservative equivalent of a losing liberal saying they are moving to Canada. I’m still waiting on the person to exercise their promise of saying they were moving out of the country if Barack Obama won in 2008. Of course, the people do forget they have the individual right to secede, which means move AND denounce your citizenship.

On a similar theme, here’s an article about 6 bizarre election reactions.

Last week I wondered if winners would shy away from declaring mandates. Two days later, I read this quote from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): We Republicans in the House and Senate think we have a voter mandate not to raise taxes. (Source)

Interesting, but to no surprise, Congressional Republican firm stance on no tax increases for the rich, which (to me) means they prefer to raise taxes on everyone. Although they are in a pickle, which could mean “It’s time to play Kick the Can.”

I like these words from conservative columnist Peggy Noonan: The Republicans worked hard but were less clear-eyed in their survey of the field. America has changed and is changing, culturally, ethnically—we all know this. Republican candidates and professionals will have to put aside their pride, lose their assumptions, and in the future work harder, better, go broader and deeper. (Source)

Gov. Romney’s recent account about blaming his loss serves as good evidence to support Peggy Noonan’s statement. Cheers to some as Gov. Jindal (R-LA) for  saying something sensible.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Needy Nation Breaks Down after First Full Week without being Pandered to by Politicians
  • Report: Majority of Americans Now Eating One Consecutive Meal a Day
  • 5-year-old Girl Feels like She Just Wasted Whole Carousel Ride Waving to Dad
  • Nation Horrified to Learn about War in Afghanistan While Reading Up on Petreaus Sex Scandal
  • Kim Jong-Un Named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
Thanksgiving is next week in America. My wine recommendations for the Thanksgiving meal are Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer because the flavors from green beans, sweet potatoes, and cranberries screw up wine pairings for this feast.

Cheers to my alma mater for making The Onion this week.

For those noticing the nested dolls in the first St. Petersburg post, this one made me laugh – plus, it could be a potential holiday gift for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life.

Thank you Viveka for this award!

There will be a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post this weekend.

More Ginger Ale Reviews
Thomas Kemper Ginger Ale: Smooth; ginger tasting not overpowering, but enough to linger; not spicy; creamy quality with a hint of vanilla to me; honey is an ingredient – I like it!

Blenheim Ginger Ale: With the initial taste, I thought sweetness with low ginger. The ginger taste is delayed and with a touch of spice – and lingered. Another good one!

Here’s a touch of jazz to send you into the weekend. Well, handbells and chimes jazz with a light touch of drums. Believe it or not, it works! Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Election Night 2012

It’s Election Night in America. I wrote this post several days ago with this night in mind so, at the time I publish this, the elections results are young and without a declared winner in the race for president.

While one party likes to walk around with the pocket Constitutions, all members of Congress swear to uphold it. The U.S. Constitution is an interesting document, but to me, the following are the three most important words: We the people.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People elect members to Congress to represent We the People in order to pass laws, control the budget, and exercise authorities granted by the Constitution.

We the People elect members to represent all people, which means not just the ones who voted for the elected; not an ideology; not a political party; not a religion, not a financial donor, not a special interest – but yes, to represent We the People.

We the People elect members to serve all people regardless of their faith, thus the elected are not to serve their religious preference. After all, the Constitution is quite clear regarding religion. Let the elected not forget that the Constitution lacks words as God, Creation, Christian, Jesus, and Lord (which only appears in the Signatory section).

Although Christian principles may have influenced the Founding Fathers, the Constitution does not declare the U.S. as a Christian nation. If the elected represent Christianity, what about the nonChristians? If the elected represents Christianity, which denomination will you represent? Then, what about the other Christians?

We the People are from all faiths and no faiths, therefore, our representatives should avoid submitting proposals on behalf of Christianity because what the church considers best for itself may not be in the best interest of We the People.

Representing We the People requires avoidance of firm ideology or a party each of these diverts attention from the needs of We the People. Adherence to a party or ideology silences We the People, and blocks the path to meaningful solutions.

Representing We the People requires conviction to represent the needs of the people who did not vote for the elected. After all, they too are We the People.

Representing We the People requires patience, the ability to listen, to desire to find the common good for all, to watch-out for and respond to human need that is beyond one’s self interests, party, or ideology.

Representing We the People requires discussing among yourselves to share ideas and concerns in order to work toward a solution for the common good – an idea that may be found in one side, the other, a compromise, or outside the grounds established by ideology, party, religion, self-interest, or special interest.

We the People need effective government to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, to provide a common defense, to promote general welfare, and to secure liberty for all of We the People. Especially during this time, we need our elected officials to make difficult decisions – the ones that test their gut against their party, their ideology, their religion, their self-interest, their donors, and special interests.

Along with a president, on this day we elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 33 members (approximately one-third) of the Senate. Their task seems simple, but I also know they will represent religion, a party, an ideology, self-interests, special interests, and donors over We the People – therefore, let me be the first to say the following about the newly elected, ‘Starting in 2014, throw the bums out. All of them! Clean house!” After all, We the People deserve better.

On Election Day

It’s finally here – Election Day in the United States of America. Many will go to the polls on Tuesday (including me), while many have already voted. Local board of elections will tally votes and declare winners – meanwhile, as winners cheer and mistakenly declare mandates, others will cry, feel remorse, and bitterly complain about something predictable.

Three things have stuck me about the 2012 campaign. First, either it takes far too long or the candidates and parties have purposefully made it an agonizing process.

Secondly, it is interesting how divided the American voters are these days. There is little doubt that Mitt Romney has not only repositioned himself throughout the election process – even contradicting himself on numerous occasions. Yet, many voters will ignore those missteps, not because they believe in Mitt Romney, but because they have a disdain for President Obama and Democrats.

Thirdly, parties and the people representing them on the ballot are willing to pay an enormous price to get what they want – power! Typically in life, there is the price to pay dishonesty, misrepresentations, distortions – but not for politicians because it’s their way of life -and sadly, one that the people blindly accept.

Columnists George Will compared this year’s campaign spending to the amount of money consumer giant Procter and Gamble’s (P&G) advertising expense. Once again, another bad example by Mr. Will as he tries to justify the benefits of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. I want to point out one big difference between product advertising and political ads: P&G is bound to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines stating that advertising claims must be true, non-deceptive, fair, and that advertisers must have evidence to support their claims.

Meanwhile, consider the following numbers:

  • President Obama’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • Mitt Romney’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • The Democratic party spent over $ 1 billion
  • The Republican party spent over $1 billion
  • Super PACs spent over $1 billion
  • House of Representatives races spending exceeded $1.3 billion
  • Senate races spending $750 million in 34 races

How many hungry would that money feed?

How many clothes would that money help clothe?

How many uninsured would become insured?

How many jobs would it create through investments in companies for expansion?

How many people could it educate?

How many research grants could it fund?

How many first responders could it rehire?

How many shelters could it help?

How much infrastructure could it improve?

… And, this list can easily go on and on, which speaks volumes.

On the Next “Debate”

Tuesday brings another presidential debate, which actually means more none answers and maneuvering the answer toward the scripted response. Unfortunately, because the event will not be using my rules, I doubt if I’ll watch. By the way, I’ll be making a special announcement during the debate, hopefully during the first 20-40 minutes!

Before we get started, here are good resources to fact-check the VP candidates and their answers.

I added another twist to this event with an independent Answer Rating Panel. Assuming I don’t banish the candidate to the Cone of Silence, each panelist will score the response from 1 (low) to 5 (high). However, the score is not if they agree/disagree, but how well the candidate answers the question. Given the rules, time will tell if the panelist will get a chance to rate an answer.

I diligently searched for independent minds to help inform American voters. Without any further adieu, here are your Answer Rating Panelists.

My questions for Gov. Romney
1) You have commonly referenced the United States being “On the road to Europe”. You have also mocked Europeans on numerous occasions by not waiting to drag America down to Europe’s standards Yet, when you were in Europe, we refused to answer what you meant by that and other similar comments. What’s good about Europe?

2) Given your statements on Afghanistan, what is the difference between your plan and the president’s?

3) How would you respond if Germany wanted to have a military base in the U.S.?

4) Forbid this would happen, but here’s a scenario. The U.S. military enters a new military conflict in country XYZ. Would your administration finance the operation on or off the books?

5) Shortly after crediting the military and intelligence professionals Shortly after crediting the military and intelligence professionals for their infliction on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including bin Laden’s death , you stated ” I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.” …. So I want to ask – While you are on your solo, covert mission as Mittbo the Nemisis, who will serve as president?”

6) Your tax cuts cost money. Your expansion in military spending costs money. Meanwhile, cutting funding to PBS and Planned Parenthood doesn’t put a dent in financing those ideas. You mention closing loopholes. In order to help the American people understand your position, I gave you a checklist of deductions and loopholes for individuals so you can check Yes or No regarding whether you favor or against removing this item. Let’s now show how you answered.

7) This is about the campaign. You accused the Obama campaign about its dishonest, deceptive, divisive, distorted, misleading, and out-of context information.

  • Please give 3 examples of this.
  • By making the previous accusation and supporting it with examples, are you also saying your campaign has not used dishonest, deceptive, divisive, distorted, misleading, and out-of-context information?
  • So, are you also saying that the independent fact-checking reports have not been truthful with their findings?

8) You previously stated, “The president has to spend three years working in business before he becomes president of the United States. Then he or she would understand that the policies they are putting into place have to encourage small business to grow.” Does your running mate meet these qualification?

9) Instead of the government bailout, you favored the banks helping the auto industry. What would you have done if the banks, for whatever reason, decided not to help the auto companies?

My Questions for President Obama
1) In your 2008 campaign, you strongly wanted to close Gitmo, and one of your first year acts was to start the closing process. Because Gitmo is still open, how did you underestimate the process?

2) How would you respond if Great Britain wanted to have a military base in the US?

3) Tax increases seem to be the focus of your plan to increase revenues. Respond to the nonpartisan economists that mention the additional need for other revenue streams.

4) In terms of federal revenues as a share of GDP, additional taxes from those making more than $250,000 is only a small revenue stream. With that in mind, how do you propose to increase federal revenue?

5) Congress enacted and you signed Dodd-Frank to tighten up the financial sector. Why was this needed because the actions from the industry were legal. After all, the Justice Department has did not prosecute anyone involved in the financial collapse.

6) Many voters want bipartisan cooperation. During your term to date, was your biggest mistake why this did not happen?

7) Should the U.S. Supreme have another independent swing-vote justice?

8) In order to increase the supply of doctors, should the U.S. encourage immigration of doctors?

9) With America greatly reducing pollution in the past 50+ years, should Americans face a carbon tax while the greatest polluters today are in other countries?

10) Who made the decision to have someone tickle VP Biden’s feet during his debate with Rep. Ryan?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 157

On Politics
This is a great line that is not only appropriate for this political season, it’s true for life: Think for yourself, don’t believe everything you hear, and look it up.

I find the late-night comics and their take on politics  to be funny, such as this pre-debate bit by Conan O’Brien.

I didn’t watch the debate, but did notice that top Google searches during the debate involved two of the questions on my list: Simpson-Bowles and Dodd-Frank. Even heard some morning commentators mention Glass-Steagall (another one of questions). For those who watched, could the moderator have used my rules? I note that some are criticizing Mr. Lehrer’s performance.

Debate Fact Checks

This article at National Journal provides a great graphic about the breakdown of voter preferences. Thanks Moe.

For those who enjoy The Onion, here are the voter guides (video) for the election: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

For anyone desiring a deep discussion of various global issues, consider visiting Intelligence Squared. Thanks Tim for mentioning this site.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Guy in Suit Handling Newspaper like a Pro
  • Florida to Experiment with New 600-Lever Voting Machine
  • Reporter Steps in to Replace Woman’s Missing Husband
  • Schwarzenegger Admits to Affair with Predator Costume
  • Texting While Fielding Causes Record Number of Outfield Collisions
  • Nauseating Precious NYC Couple to Walk Around in Rain

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
I will have a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon  post tomorrow.

I like this one. The race for Ohio’s senator involves Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown. When people search “Mandel Brown Ohio”, the commonly get the site for Mandell Brown, a Cincinnati plastic surgeon.

Here this weekend is the football battle that is the oldest non-league rivalry game in college football. Go Bearcats!

Baseball’s regular season ended on a Wednesday, thus another reason to hate Commissioner Bud Selig. The one-game playoff games are about to start, thus another reason to hate Commissioner Selig.

The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame may be a great idea, but their selection process may be one of the worst processes ever. All I have to ask is no Moody Blues again? Is Bud Selig also running the R&R HOF?

Have a good weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. Enjoy the video. (Here’s a higher quality video to the same song below that must be watched on YouTube.)