Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 238

On Politics

From WordPress

From WordPress … but I will vote on Tuesday

I encourage those in US states with Congressional races to use the three fact checkers I provide on the sidebar (under Resources): Annenberg FactCheck, PolitiFact, and The Fact Checker (@Washington Post). , ,

On the topic of fact checks, one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) ads mentions a factcheck regarding his opponent. Interestingly, Sen. McConnell’s has claims don’t clear the same bar.

Not surprisingly to me, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Sen. McConnell for the contested Senate seat. However, and sad to say, the last sentence in the endorsement caused me to laugh: We (the editorial board) just hope that, if re-elected, McConnell will remember that’s it’s Kentuckians first – not his party – whom he answers to first.

I find this scenario interesting: What if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, but their leader loses his re-election?

Mitt Romney says a GOP-controlled Senate would end gridlock in Washington. Sorry Mitt, I disagree. Did your Civics class leave out the White House’s role in legislation?

Last week I asked instead of disposing all four of the top Congressional leaders (Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi), and if you could keep just one, who would it be? … and who do you think I would keep. Surprise … for me it would be John Boehner (R-OH). Although he has to deal with a difficult caucus within his own party, as an individual, I believe he would be the one most willing to make a deal.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here a few about next week’s election:

  • Midterm candidates distancing themselves from the United States
  • 45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote
  • Traumatized nation terrified to make its voice heard in another election

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Two-year old never thought he would see the Giants win the World Series
Man’s heart stops as speaker asks audience to turn to person next to them
Four angels banished from heaven for attempting to unionize
Antidepressant can’t believe it’s expected it’s expected to fix this mess all on its own
Crowd outside White House hoping to catch glimpse of President naked

Bonus Graphic: How Ebola Quarantine Works

Interesting Reads
Shift college programs to 3 years?
Media habits of the partisans …. (and something I wrote in January 2009)
Keyless cars and thieves
Neil Young: Musician, artist, and painter
Denying science in politics
Interactive: Henry Hudson on the Hudson

On Potpourri
Happy Halloween. Here’s an interesting read wondering if adults have hijacked Halloween.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning baseball’s World Series … and special congrats to their fans who visit here that I know love their Giants … especially Lame and Amy.

Pope Francis’ support (this week) for science regarding evolution and creation not only does not surprise me, but it continues a trend going back to Pope Pius XII. Regardless the clamor of the noisy cranks, there is no question in my mind that when measured along denominational lines, this is the predominant view among Christians. Even in that light, much of the Atheist community is not willing to join in partnership against the conservative agenda of placing God-driven creationism based on Genesis in public schools.

To go along with the previous comment, I’ve been saving this one from Pew Research about attitudes about evolution by political party.

Dr. John Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. (I loved his book about Genesis that I reviewed here.) Recently, I read this worthy essay about right vs. wrong … and I think agree vs. disagree is also valid.

I continue to find a wonderful interest in Cynthia’s poems, Her audio versions add to my experience because she has an outstanding cadence. If you visit and comment, tell her I sent you … and a special thanks to Mary for directing me to Cynthia.

Lauren Hill, the college freshman from the Cincinnati area with an inoperable brain, is expected not to see 2016, yet this Sunday she will get her dream of playing in a college basketball game. It seems that various cable stations will be broadcasting the game in different parts of the country. I’m curious if this makes the local news (television, radio, or newspaper) in your area … so let me know. Here’s an article about her. PS: I’ve learned that she will be in the starting lineup, plus the last player introduced.

Cheers to everyone’s effort in yesterday’s Act 11 of Life: The Musical. In the history of musicals here, readers provided many songs that I didn’t know … and as one who appreciates a wide-variety of music, I say Many thanks!

This blog hit the 200,000 hits mark late Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the rollover, but my guess the celebratory moment occurred sometime between 11:40-11:55 AM (Eastern US).

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week because tomorrow is a special day! Do you remember why?

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Punkin Chunkin Champtionships (Video to learn about it)
  • (Fri) Happy Halloween!, Knock-Knock Jokes Day, Caramel Apples Day, Books for Treats Day, Day of the Seven Billion, Frankenstein Friday, Girl Scout Founder’s Day, Bandana Day, Breadsticks Day, Magic Day, Scare a Friend Day
  • (Sat) Fried Clams Day, Extra Mile Day, Give Up Your Shoulds Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, Games Day. Authors’ Day, Family Caregivers Day. Family Literacy Day, Go Cook for Your Pets Day, Prime Meridian Day, Kite Day, Games Day
  • (Sun) Deviled Eggs Day, Cookie Monster Day, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Zero Tasking Day, Name Your Car Day, Look for Circles Day

Here’s another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. With Saturday being Sadie Hawkins Day, the first takes you back to 1959 with Stubby Kaye in Lil Abner. If musicals of that era aren’t your thing, you are only going back to 1980 for Turn It On Again (Genesis). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

60 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 238

  1. What kind and lovely things you say, Frank, about my poetry blog. Thank you. I am also grateful to Mary, because now I’ve discovered and enjoyed aFrankangle!

    I’ll be voting this week, and am told, because I just moved back here, that I can register right then, at the polls, with some proof that I’m a resident.(!), not necessarily backed by a photo.(!).
    Also a tad apprehensive about all the “early voting”…..and this red/white/blue “I VOTED” button that has suddenly appeared on WordPress….what’s that about?


    • Cynthia,
      My pleasure … but I just love the audio versions.

      The WP badge is a promotion from WP to get people to vote. Instead of taking a partisan approach, I encouraged the use of various fact checks. Personally, I don’t like the “I voted” message, thus my disclaimer in the description. By the way, you can close the badge area on your dashboard. … Hooray to you voting this week … and hope the registration goes well.


    • X,
      The Northern Kentucky side of the river is one of the more populated parts of the state, thus the newspaper sells many papers there … so I get it. Kentucky is also a state that generally doesn’t have many contested big elections …. so the tidal wave of ads has been a bit numbing … but it’s almost over.


  2. Congrats on 200 K!
    And yes, I have cast my ballot. I voted for Mickey Mouse. Hey, the guy knows how to make money, he creates jobs, is big on education. And he lives in a castle with Snow White with nary a hint of scandal.


  3. NC is having a particularly bitter election season — but then, when hasn’t it? We are known as a ‘purple’ state — neither red nor blue. So who knows? As for the college terms, I think 3 years would be fantastic for those people really wanting to focus in on their major. And it would cut the cost by 25% hopefully.


    • Renee,
      The Senate race alone in your state would be enough to drive someone batty! Hang in there … it’s almost over! Regarding the college article … lowering total costs would be one of the goals.


  4. Lil Abner! Both my Grandfathers were Lil Abner fans and would read me the Lil Abner comics whenever I went to visit (my Italian grandfather could do it in seven languages). I remember those times fondly which is meaningful because I had very few fond memories of my childhood. I was blessed to have those men in my life and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. What a gift this video was. Thank you!


    • H.E.,
      The fact that such a simple video (from a simple time) can create such a wonderful reaction blows me away. …. so cheers to your grandfathers … (especially the Italian one, ;)) … and thanks for sharing!!!


  5. I’ve been struggling this week with computer problems related to “blocked plug-ins” which Apple messages say is because of an out-of-date Adobe Flash Player. My wife the computer expert claims to have finally found the cause of my inability to download the Flash Player update software Apple has sent me, so hopefully by this weekend I will have responses to your ALL-TIME RECORD variety of Opinions and Reads, ALL of which I wholeheartedly agree with (another all-time record).

    As to your reason for picking John Boehner to keep, it makes sense given the combination of your slightly right of center political philosophy, your liberalness on social issues, your fiscal conservatism, and your willingness to deal and make compromises to insure that the American form of democracy works. All lead me to recommend (except maybe for the fiscal conservatism thing) the book I’m reading now, “On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller” by Richard Norton.


    • Sylvia,
      Many thanks. Lauren’s story is unbelievable … such a personal mission she has taken upon herself. Given that her physical strength and stamina isn’t much, I’m curious to see how much she plays … plus, how the opponents will react. I’ve got the feeling they will be easy on her so she can score.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the tip! Now I shall plan to wear a bandana as part of my Frankenstein costume when I answer the door for trick-or-treaters, who will be scared to receive my magical breadsticks and caramel apples as I tell them knock-knock jokes.

    Also, the UK has 3-year undergraduate degree program[me]s, but this is only made possible by what is essentially a 2-year community college/general education prerequisite, taken during the years when American students are in their Junior and Senior years of high school. Not to say it’s a bad idea, but it is hardly as simple as just shaving a year off of our undergraduate degree programs.


  7. I’m at The Grind right now, Frank, so I shared this Onion headline with Godsend (who’s only 26): 45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote. She LOVED that. So today is caramel apple day?!? Fairway hasn’t had them this year! I feel robbed! Happy 200k milestone!


    • Lame,
      I’m glad that I continue to deliver amusement to Godsend’s youthful mind. Bummer of the lack of caramel apples. However, I recently discovered the there is a Caramel Apple flavor of Milky Ways … and they were a pleasant surprise!


  8. I’m glad you mentioned Pope Francis on science, Frank. I would disagree, however, that his comment is unsurprising, or at least, it surprised me. The statement seems to be an acceptance of deism, a creator who does not intervene, as opposed to theism, a creator who does.

    For a religion fundamentally (pun intended) based on prayer, this is a serious contradiction. Prayer implies an expectation of intervention, does it not? And perhaps even more significantly, the practice of priestly intercession through formal confession does the same. Intervention through these means has no evidence to support it, unless one accepts spontaneous remission of disease as evidence. That’s about the only crutch left, but science has answers for that too.


      • Fair enough, Frank. I can understand deism and deism means no intervention. It is beyond my comprehension that anything can exist without purpose, so maybe I’m a deist, but if so, there is nothing in that notion that endears me to whoever has created us. Free will may be real or it may be an illusion, but it is a function of wildly-varying cerebral capacities.

        I can not understand a one-way conversation with a supreme being who never answers, nor even comments. Forget a Big Butter Jesus, why no comment on human atrocities? Why restrict miracles to primitive times? Why is the resurrection not better documented? Why are human beings flawed, some with horrible genetic conditions? Why evil?

        “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
        Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
        Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
        Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus circa 300 BCE

        I don’t expect an answer. If you had one, you would have told me.


        • There is no satisfactory answer, once and for all, to those questions. The questions arise out of a need for secure, perfect, permanent answers….and permanent answers don’t exist in this world of impermanence despite our aching for them….still many people find great consolation in some of the tentative answers that have traditionally been put forth….as decent strategies for living a good life…


        • Love your use of “permanent answers” … thus I would add that permanent answers also depends on owns one perspective … so if one’s perspective disagrees with the answer, the answer must be wrong.


        • Regarding the statue, shortly thereafter a friend of mine said she believes that the lightning stuck was a sign of God’s disapproval of the statue … to which I responded to why wasn’t it a sign to build a bigger and better statue (which the they did with money from allover the world) … then again, I know it was a lightning strike according to the laws of nature.

          Otherwise, human atrocities, evil, flawed humans, genetic defects fall into the free will category.


  9. Already voted, too – it’s just all gotten so ugly. I tend to have a note pad where I jot down politician’s actions/saying/decisions as things go along (especially local judges where you find out so little about them at election time – only broad emotional generalities at that time) – then before elections review it. So few honorable public servants – too many career politicians – makes voting difficult. So agree with your leadership choice – works better if people actually try to compromise and work towards what it good for the country.
    Enjoyed the videos. Hope your Holler-Ring is howl-at-the-moon terrific!


  10. Lots of good stuff here, Frank. Congrats on the 200,000-hits mark.

    I’m looking forward to voting, but normally I go early to miss the lines. But I’m currently out of town and won’t fly back into Cleveland until late Monday night which means I won’t be too spry early Tuesday am. I fear I’ll be waiting for an hour or two at my voting place. I guess I can pass the time reading blog posts. 🙂


    • Christy,
      Welcome first-time commenter to my little corner of the world. 200K is a milestone, but hey … I’ve accomplished it more by longevity than swarms of visitors who flock to the site with every post. Nonetheless, it’s a friendly place with a wide variety of topics (see sidebar). Take a peek at the About page and its subpages to get a better feel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You make me smile Frank – thank you, Cynthia is one of the very best and I do appreciate your nod! A real nice surprise this Halloween evening! There is a story out there today on how Facebook is putting the voting button on the pages of members, they’ve several scientific studies in the past for 2010 and 2012 elections on how people vote and supposedly then directing people’s news stories, etc. etc. they will be publishing research and results in 2015 (just in time for presidential elections – some here smells funny which is one of the reasons why I don’t have a facebook page). I’m hoping wordpress isn’t connected to the same group.


  12. “45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote.” Thanks for this one! 🙂 🙂

    I’m afraid that there is one Conservative agenda: to make Liberal (and Obama) look bad. The welfare of the country is not a priority. Politics is killing our nation.


    • You’re right about the Conservative agenda being anti-Obama, Lorna. In my opinion, the root cause of this is racism, but the nation has gone too far past Strom Therman and his ilk for it to be displayed as overtly as it once was. However, it has become one of those single-issue goals that tends to override all else in some voters’ minds. Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine) from an interview with Mitch McConnell on October 23 of 2010 when the GOP foresaw looming victory in the polls:

      McConnell: After 1994, the public had the impression we Republicans overpromised and underdelivered. We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being reelected, and we were hanging on for our lives.
      NJ: What does this mean now?
      McConnell: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”
      NJ: What’s the job?
      McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
      NJ: Does that mean endless, or at least frequent, confrontation with the president?
      McConnell: If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.
      NJ: What are the big issues?
      McConnell: It is possible the president’s advisers will tell him he has to do something to get right with the public on his levels of spending and [on] lowering the national debt. If he were to heed that advice, he would, I imagine, find more support among our conference than he would among some in the Senate in his own party. I don’t want the president to fail; I want him to change. So, we’ll see. The next move is going to be up to him.

      ” . . . on some of the biggest issues.” Get that? I can think of some. Minimum wage, immigration, abortion and women’s reproductive health. Just reverse on those and then we can do business. Right.


      • Jim,
        Although there are some Republicans who are using their racism to fuel their disdain for the current administration. However, that’s definitely not true of all Republicans … that is their opposition to the president isn’t based on race. As for Senator McConnell, and for whatever reason, he never intended to cooperate with President Obama from Day 1.


    • Lorna,
      The conservative agenda was never to cooperate with President Obama, so even if they take control of the Senate, personally, I don’t expect that to change. After all, I expect them to speak of the voter’s mandate … which they will easily misread.Meanwhile, you are correct … politicians are party-first people.


  13. Not surprised by your selection, though I think with his contentious group he is limited and has been till now, in the deals he is able to make. It would not surprise me at all if he loses the speaker seat.

    The reads were great, I was especially interested in the Keyless Car read as I have just bought my first. Neil Young, loved this one!


  14. Another of your interesting reads I appreciated was the one on the trend of moving to three-years for college degrees. This was something I have read before, and now it’s happening. I find it disingenuous, the proposal itself that is, because it’s built on the assumption that a complete education is a definable thing. So far as I can tell, it is not. In fact, over the decades there has been an explosion of definitions of different kinds of degrees along with a sharp decline in what used to be a basic grounding in English, math, geography and civics. What we have now appears to be curricula defined by vague reputation. And if you happen to be a major college athlete at, say the University of North Carolina, then a degree can be just a piece of paper. No, a proper education to me must include a grounding in the basics sufficient to product a person who is autodidactic, i.e., self-taught and inspired to continue learning throughout life.

    From what I read, formal education is a business and in marketing it to the masses it has been cheapened to the point where it has become, at least in the liberal arts, a mere ticket-punch. There is a great deal of snob appeal in this marketing, the notion that higher prices equate to the quality of the product, and that just isn’t so. The student’s own perseverance is the principal criterion of quality.

    Degrees in STEM disciplines are an exception, I think, because those have objective performance criteria. For the rest, the emphasis is on recruiting the cream of brain talent and not on quality of teaching. One wonders if there is any limit to how far this can be carried, or will there be some kind of failure of credibility in the college education system, similar to what happened in the housing market when most mortgages were discovered to have none?


    • I agree with what you say here, Jim. STEM is fine, but the classic liberal arts education is a thing of the past. Having served on a so-called higher education faculty, I can vouch for the fact that disinterested inquiry has pretty much given way to populism and political correctness. I say “so-called” higher ed, because it’s not higher than anything, just more. I would favor calling it “tertiary education” (tertiary coming after secondary) as the Brits do.

      Liked by 1 person

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