Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 215

On Politics
I find it interesting how former Florida Governor. Jeb Bush’s name has been receiving much attention of late as the frontrunner-for-the-moment regarding the Republican presidential candidacy in 2016.

Recent comparisons of President Obama to President Johnson (LBJ) confuses me.

This Pew Research Center poll provides interesting data about feelings regarding the Affordable Care Act. Although many citizens may have concerns about the law, while one party focuses on its repeal, the other party defends it – thus there doesn’t seem to be much interest in Congress to improve it.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Forbes release 2014 list of most-punchable CEOs
Spider invasion leads to Mazda recall
Alcohol unfairly blamed for local man’s impaired judgment
FedEx confirms more than 600,000 people try to mail themselves each year
Landmark Supreme Court decision lets American cram cash directly into politicians’ mouths

This is not from The Onion, but because Friday is Barbershop Quartet Day, here’s a mid-post dash of humor that’s not for the easier offended. As a time saver, start at 50 seconds.

Interesting Reads
Sweden, Finland, Russia, and NATO
Geopolitics of Energy
Brain waves and tango dancers (Thanks Elyse)
Extinct musical instruments
An LA native spent 4 days in Cincinnati and posted about it
The USS Thresher
Trent’s post about bloggers losing followers

On Potpourri
This week we get an old office chair out with the garbage. Once I heard the garbage truck outside, I looked out the window to see if they took the chair. To my surprise, it was in the street, but in front of my neighbor – so I watched … and then discovered that one of the two workers would sit in the chair and hold on to the truck as the other drove to the next building.

This post by Khamillion is very moving. It’s a short read with awesome images, so I encourage you to visit. Thanks to Cayman (@Drinks Well with Others) for directing me there.

For those who enjoy unique architecture, Cathy (@LargeSelf) shared this link featuring images of the expansion at the Denver Art Museum.

If I can get my act together, I’m hoping Life: The Musical returns next week.

Get ready! … The next post marks the return of Saturday Morning Classic Cartoons!

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Youth Service Days
  • (Fri) Barbershop Quartet Day, Day of Silence, Education & Sharing Day, Louie Louie Day, Pet day, Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day, Eight-track Tape Day
  • (Sat) Licorice Day, Big Wind Day, Walk on the Walk Side Day, Slow Art Day, Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, Human Space Flight Day, Drop Everything and Read Day, Look Up in the Sky Day
  • (Sun) Scrabble Day, Baby Massage Day, Peach Cobbler Day

Given the celebrations, two classic songs equally qualify as worthy to send you into the weekend. Because both are worthy of high praise, I will put them in chronological order. Enjoy, have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Louie, Louie (The Kingsmen, 1963)

.
Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed, 1972)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 214

On Politics
Cincinnati is in the final six for hosting the 2016 Republican convention. Given Ohio’s swing-state status and the fact that no Republican has never won the White House without winning Ohio, odds are good that the GOP will reward either my city or Cleveland.

Here’s one thing I find in common with the four Congressional leaders (Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid). Whenever they have a new conference, I change the channel – which is what I also do with White House spokesperson Jay Carney’s daily briefings.

At the time of the passing the law, I told a friend (and reader here) that the abortion clause in the Affordable Care Act should have been something Democrats gave up. Now, we await word from the US Supreme Court regarding the Hobby Lobby challenge.

This week the US Supreme Court ruled (McCutcheon v. FEC) that money is a form of free speech regarding campaign contributions. I can accept this under two conditions: 1) No tax-exempt status for Political Action Groups, and 2) Identification/disclosure of donors and amounts – thus increasing transparency.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Parents reminisce to children about dating algorithm that brought them together
Lowly mortal opens portal to Hell
Mom leaves sweet little note for sixth grader in ADD prescription bottle
Levi’s factory implicated in cruel treatment of denim cows
Study finds majority of non-shark-related fears completely unjustified
New law requires Richard Gere to personally inform residents when he moves into a new neighborhood

Bonus Onions

Interesting Reads
Reforming political polarization from Brookings Institute (Link to abstract with download)
Columnist Ruth Marcus on a budget item
A view about dealing with Russia
Map animation of Europe between the two World Wars
Learning and pseudoscience

On Potpourri
This past Wednesday was Autism Awareness Day; and April is Autism Awareness Month. Here’s an article about the brains of autistic children.

I wonder this question about Vladimir Putin’s move regarding Crimea and Ukraine: Is he a good chess player or are his actions out of political necessity?

As the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of Northwestern University athletes being able to unionize, I wonder if colleges should offer “Sports” as a major.

Erin Andrews, the new Dancing with the Stars co-host, does much better than previous host Brooke Burke-Charvet.

My wife and I celebrated our 37th anniversary this week with a wonderful dinner at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

I moved a few bloggers to my sidebar, and several onto the More Bloggers page. From the sidebar, checkout Claudine, Cindy, Dreamwalker, Hudson, List, Mind Margins, Pauline, and Trent. I hope to move a few more very soon.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Mule Days
  • (Fri) Walk to Work Day, Stray Animals Day, Vitamin C Day, Rat Day, Blame Someone Else Day, Chocolate Milk Powder Day, Cordon Bleu Day, Square Root Day
  • (Sat) Deep Dish Pizza Day, Pillow Fight Day, Tangible Karma Day, Every Day is Tag Day, Rubber Eraser Day, Dandelion Day, Caramel Day, and Raisin & Spice Day
  • (Sun) New Beers Eve, Hostess Twinkie Day, Tartan Day, Teflon Day, Caramel Popcorn Day, Free Tomato Day, Sorry Charlie Day

Here’s a classic gold song from the past to send you into the weekend – Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (The Hollies). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 211

On Politics
Cheers to the Congressional Republicans who voted with the Democrats to extend the debt ceiling. Then again, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of the day when Congress abandons the debt ceiling, which is nothing more than a political tool.

The White House recently delayed the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate on certain-sized business. Besides that this is a prime example that size matters, I don’t like the employer mandate.

As Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) attacks former President Bill Clinton to excite his base, he does so at the expense of alienating the ideological center. Meanwhile, so now he’s suing the White House. He’s very much about positioning himself.

I put Sen. Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the same category … “Keep Them Talking.”

Here’s an interesting comment from a conservative: GOP reform efforts must aim to restrain government, not immobilize it.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Report: It’s too soon to glance back at attractive person
Exhuming mom for one last hug: A privilege of the wealthy?
Renovations force Yosemite National Park to temporarily relocate in Sacramento
Live cow lowered onto floor of US House of Representatives (visual proof)
Couple never dreamed they would be able to talk so openly and honestly about kitchen cabinets

Interesting Reads
Norway’s Winter Olympics success 
The wonders of curling shoes
Is the jobless rate a questionable statistic?
Resisting the Social Media Revolution
Remember Baghdad Bob
A great collection of wine infographics by The Wine Wankers
Aurora borealis slideshow

On Potpourri
Hooray … it’s time spring training baseball!

College football player Michael Sam public announcement about his sexuality was interesting, but (to me) the most remarkable news was that he told his college teammates August – which means his teammates, coaching staff, and others kept it quiet. This is another example of how the younger generation (as a whole) is much more accepting of gays than other generations. Cheers to them for leading the way.

With the Winter Olympics in process, I want to see a snowboarder go off the tall ski jump. Guapo: Would you be willing to try?

We are scheduled for more snow on Friday … but after that, a warming trend!

Given the publicity of last week’s evolution-creationism debate, I wonder how many pastors took advantage of the opportunity to address it from the pulpit. I know mine did not.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Backyard Bird-Count Weekend
  • (Fri) Valentine’s Day, Ferris Wheel Day, Cream-Filled Chocolates Day, Read to Your Child Day, Have a Heart Day, Call in Single Day, Race Relations Day, Quirky Alone Day, Library Lovers Day, Condom Day, Women’s Heart Day, Donor’s Day, Pet Theft Awareness Day
  • (Sat) National Gumdrop Day. Whale Day, Hippo Day
  • (Sun) Do a Grouch a Favor Day, Almond Day, Innovation Day

Given Friday’s special nature, a 1977 flashback will lead you into the weekend, so enjoy Heart with Crazy on You. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 210

On Politics
When listening to the party-spin about the recently released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, it’s easy to get the impression that there were two reports … not one.

Lyle Denniston, a respected writer about the US Supreme Court, provides this interesting piece about executive orders.

Lee Hamilton, the respected former Congressman from southeastern Indiana, wrote this interesting op-ed regarding Congress and budgets.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Super Bowl packs up, leaves town in 40-wagon train
Man on vacation suddenly realizes no one feeding his hostages
New chip snack evades digestive system, burrows straight to heart
Area woman said “Sorry” 118 times yesterday
Nation terrified after millions lose consciousness for 8 hours last night

Interesting Reads
Columnist David Brooks on what machines cannot do
Shapes and names
How to talk about evolution with family
The first battle of Isonzo in WW I
Darwin’s Pigeons slideshow
Physics of freezing rain
Interesting graph of US labor force demographics

On Potpourri
Bad News: Punxsutawney Phil prognosticates 6 more weeks of winter.

Good News: Buckeye Chuck says spring is around the corner.

TBD News: Who is right? So far, and with the 7-day forecast, it’s Phil.

A tip of the cap to Jay Leno, who after 4,600 shows and almost 44,000 jokes, leaves the Tonight Show. Interesting, his number one joke target (by far) is Bill Clinton.

Last week I wrote the following: The anticipated debate between science advocate Bill Nye and Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham is approaching, and no doubt will deliver a narrow view, thus providing a false choice. Several days later, the Cincinnati Enquirer supported my point with the following headline on its Sunday front page: Bible! Science! Who Will Win? : It’s creationism vs. evolution as Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham debates Bill Nye, TV’s Science Guy.

I did not watch the debate, but I trust this review from the team at BioLogos.

Given any unforeseen circumstances, the opening act of Life: The Musical will be next Thursday Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). I will announce the theme on Monday.

It’s a handbell Sunday for us. The director moved me to the biggest bells for this tune, which are quite heavy. Because I didn’t find a good video of this song, enjoy this quality recording.

Thanks to everyone who visits here knowing my time for reciprocating is currently very limited.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Wear Red Day, Bubblegum Day, Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day, Ballet Day, Girl Scout Cookie Day, Cordova Ice Worm Day, Pinocchio Day, Send a Card to a Friend Day
  • (Sat) Laugh and Get Rich Day, Opera Day, Fly a Kite Day
  • (Sun) Man Day, Autism Day, Read in the Bathtub Day, Stop Bullying Day, Toothache Day, Hershey Chocolate Day

Here’s another throwback from the 80s to lead us into the weekend. It’s not about the weather, but the title is fitting for many of us in the central and eastern US. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 209

On Politics
Here are my key reasons why I did not watch the State of the Union (SOTU):

  • It’s a collection of applause lines over many topics with little substance
  • Congressional behavior is predictably pathetic (Suggestion: Stand and clap at the beginning; sit, listen, and be quiet; stand and clap at the end, then leave to run to the cameras)
  • The SOTU is a Constitutional requirement, but the opposing party’s response is nothing more than political grandstanding
  • I’m unhappy with the both parties

Given the predictable responses by both sides in Congress, I ask them this question about their legislative prowess: Which is worse: Sending a bill to the other chamber knowing they won’t act or not acting on a bill that was sent?

Here are a few fact checks on the speech: Fact Check, PolitFact, Fact Checker, Politico, and ABC News.

The Onion took this great picture during the SOTU.

The past week delivered Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) declaring President Obama started the war on women, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blaming Democrats (again) on the government shutdown, Mike Huckabee (R-AK) making a ridiculous statement about libido, and the Arizona Republican Party censuring their senior senator from their own party, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

I said it before and it’s time to say it again: China carrying the bulk of US debt is a common misconception. Here’s the breakdown.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Dad Delivers State of the Union Rebuttal Directly into Television Screen
  • Increasingly Worried Man Hasn’t Yet Come Across any Guacamole in Burrito
  • Area Grandma Enjoys Flourishing Correspondence with Mailer-Daemon
  • Best, Most-Original Idea Man Ever Had Returns 14,000 Google Search Results
  • Spookiest Sound Effect Grammy Goes to Lord Chillingsworth

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
The anticipated debate between science advocate Bill Nye and Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham is approaching, and no doubt will deliver a narrow view, thus providing a false choice. Here’s an article.

The recent Grammy Awards were big news. The show now focuses on performances and promotion over the awards. After all, there are over 80 categories, and how many did they broadcast? 10?

The AFA musical production for 2014 will be …. (click here for the drum roll) …. Life: The Musical. The production date TBA.

The Explorer of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship in the news with the recent norovirus, is the ship we were on this fall in Canada …. and no, the news doesn’t discourage me from cruising with Royal Caribbean in the future.

FYI for those living in/near metropolitan areas: When needing a new appliance, don’t forget the local independent dealer. We went to one and discovered the big-box stores were NOT close on price!

Here are your weekend celebrations

(Fri) Brandy Alexander Day, Fun at Work Day, Backward Day, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Hell Freezes Over Day, Baked Alaska Day, Working Naked Day

(Sat) Serpent Day, Freedom Day, Hula in the Coola Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Change Your Password Day, Decorating with Candy Day, GI Joe Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, Face and Body Day

(Sun) Crepe Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Job Shadow Day, Hedgehog Day, Sled Dog Day, Play Your Ukulele Day, Wetlands Day

Let’s use a dose of the 80s to whip everyone into the weekend with Ohio’s own Devo. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.