Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 241

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On Politics
Earlier this week the Senate voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline, a bill that President Obama was against (one reason being the release of carbon dioxide when burned). The pipeline would have been the 76th oil pipeline between Canada and the US. Interestingly, the oil will still move – but by rail – a method that releases much more carbon dioxide than the pipeline.

Writing this before President Obama’s announcement about immigration, I’m remain against the executive action for the following reasons: 1) Poor timing coming off the recent election, 2) President Obama has had 6 years to do this, 3) An effective date of early January 2015 does put onus on the new Congress 4) Many, if not the majority, of nonpartisan Americans are tired of continual gamesmanship, 5) the majority of Americans want productivity, and 6) no matter how the courts decide if faced with the issue, the majority of American won’t be happy that it went that far.

A different way of doing business was an important aspect of the “Hope and change” mantra, but the executive action actually points to business-as-usual while reinforcing the notion that Congressional Republicans haven’t cornered the market on political obstinance. On the other hand, the House not acting on a Senate-passed bill and the overall Republican idea of shallow taglines is quite pathetic. In the words of Clara Peller ….

The White House mishandled the news around Jonathan Gruber. All they had to do was a) admit they used him, b) state that he’s a smart guy, c) and point to the fact he sometimes says stupid things, of which they don’t approve. Meanwhile, dancing around those facts attempts to play to what we aren’t … and that’s stupid.

By keeping their Congressional leaders in power, the Democrats have an early start in pushing away the 2016 independent’s vote.

Except among the partisans, there isn’t much confidence in either party. Yes, President Obama has a low approval rating, but that of Congress is much lower. Pew Research Center provides this interesting article about the challenges of bipartisanship.

As Washington stymies progress and avoid solutions, I appreciated these two articles (National Journal) about the smallness of Washington: Part 1 & Part 2

On a lighter note, this one made me laugh … If a tree falls in the forest and Fox News is not there to cover it, is it still President Obama’s fault?

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Mellowing Jihadist not as enraged by western culture as he used to be
Paleontologists determine dinosaurs killed by someone they trusted
10th grade math prodigy studying math at 10th grade level
New law to forgive student debt for college graduates once all their dreams are shattered
Chinese citizens gather in Beijing square to watch US National Debt Clock strike $18 trillion
Astronomers discover planet identical to Earth with orbital space mirror (I like this accompanying image)

Interesting Reads
The causes behind the mid-life crisis
Geography and terrorism
Malta: An ancient fortress and the modern world
Life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Converting Facebook Likes of NFL teams into a map
(Gallery) Wildlife photography winners
(Interactive) What the world eats (This is outstanding)

On Potpourri
The latest on Lauren Hill is that her weakness is her practice time with basketball team … and I wonder if she sees 2015. Earlier this week, Xavier University (the game’s host) and Mt. St. Joseph University (her school) presented a check (over $58,000) from the game’s receipts and merchandise in honor of her to her fund-raising effort. Being the game sold out in less than an hour, it’s too bad the price wasn’t doubled from the $5 charge.

These words stuck with me this week: “Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end.” (By the mother of the recently beheaded American)

This past Wednesday was World Toilet Day. When I announced to start the week, Vanessa provided this outstanding link from the BBC about the day … and it is worth seeing! Thanks Vanessa!

The On Perceptions post from earlier in the week is an idea that came to me more than a year ago … so it was good to finally post it.

Over 8 feet (240+ cm) of snow south of Buffalo … That seems unbelievable!

Life: The Musical has been running every other week starting on a Wednesday night into Thursday. With next week being Thanksgiving in the US, I will temporarily shift curtain time to Tuesday at 9:30 pm (US Eastern). Therefore, I will continue to step outside of normal protocol, thus announce right now ….. Act 13 will have much leeway, thus many choices because it’s about Positive Emotions, so all song titles must include a positive emotion in the song title, BUT, love is not acceptable.

With a series of busy weekends on the horizon, I’m unsure about the next Saturday Morning Cartoon post.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) World Hello Day, Stuffing Day, False Confessions Day, Alascattalo Day (Alaska & Humor), Beaujolais Nouveau Day, Television Day
  • (Sat) Start Your Own Country Day (Anglestan), Cranberry Relish Day, Go for a Ride Day, Humane Society Day, Family Volunteer Day, Adoption Day, Survivors of Suicide Day, Stop the Violence Day
  • (Sun) Fibonacci Day (a past post for your celebration), Doctor Who Day, Jukebox Day, Mother Goose Day, Eat a Cranberry Day, Buy Nothing Day, You’re Welcome-Giving Day, Aura Awareness Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s some high energy from a concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. (Look closely, we may spot Debra in the crowd) … It’s the Doobie Brothers with China Grove. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

55 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 241

  1. For once I actually [respectfully] disagree with your Politics piece… I’ve not yet decided how favorable I feel about the immigration action, but I don’t follow most of your reasoning for your unfavorableness. Congress delayed the bill long enough that Obama eventually gave up on them, and it’s highly unlikely the new Congress will be any different. Obama’s tried to play “nice” politics and gotten nowhere, so I don’t blame him for using Capitol Hill’s nastier-style tactics.

    What I’m more concerned about is how it will affect the families it’s aimed to help and the communities that they live in – the outcome of these things can make Obama either clever or crazy.

    On a completely different note, that Toilets piece was uniquely fascinating – and it’s given me a real winner when saying what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving!


    • Twixt,
      Woo hoo … the first person to read about the toilets! It does give a good perspective on something we take so much for granted.

      No problem disagreeing here because you know how to do it in a respectful way. I see all your points, but to me, much comes down to the timing. After all, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, even with the new Congress. I don’t know what effective date he issued in his speech, but March 15th would have given them a chance, and agree … odds are they would have screwed it up … but they still had a chance, and the nonpartisan public would be supportive (well, in my opinion.)


  2. I’ve been traveling all day. Had a delayed flight but managed to make my connection just as it was finishing boarding in Dallas. And miracle of miracles, my luggage made it home to Cleveland with me. Then I rushed to my freezing car in the airport lot (BRRR!) and hightailed it to Akron to see the Illusionists with my family. So this is a long way of saying I have no idea what President Obama said tonight, which is tough for a news junkie to admit. I have some news to catch up on, it appears. But at least I knew it was recently World Toilet Day thanks to Vanessa. Priorities. 😉


    • Carrie,
      Hooray for safe travels … and loud cheers for the baggage arriving after a hectic day!

      I didn’t watch the president last night, so I get more when I tune into the news in a bit … thus why I initially started I wrote that in advance of his talk. Oh well … on to a busy day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Politics what I hate and I am sure Politicians hate me too 🙂 They don’t need my vote! I am inefficient one (in both way, I mean negative and positive)…on the other hand, politics in our life and shapes our lives… Oh come on dear Frank, just I want to dance 🙂 Forgive me for this subject. I love your daily touches with music, humour, wisely touches, etc. Thank you, have a nice Friday and enjoyable weekendi love, nia


  4. Following President Obama’s speech last night about his Immigration plan, you didn’t disappoint by making sure the “On Politics” section of your Opinions 241 covered that, plus a host of other issues. I include “On the other hand, the House not acting on a Senate-passed bill and the overall Republican idea of shallow taglines is quite pathetic,” “Yes, President Obama has a low approval rating, but that of Congress is much lower,” and the Pew Research Center article about the challenges of bipartisanship, as points of agreement.

    I was hit by “The Life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky,” “What the world eats,” “Start Your Own Country Day,” and “Chinese citizens gather in Beijing square to watch US National Debt Clock strike $18 trillion.”


  5. From a Canadians point of view, I am on the fence with the Keystone Pipeline, I don’t know which is safer, rail or the pipeline? As for immigration, from what I understand Obama is giving all the illegal immigrants that have lived in the States for years the opportunity to be legal. Isn’t the States like Canada, a country of immigrants to begin with?


    • Catherine,
      We have a tendency to forget the Canadian view on the pipeline .. after all, much of the oil is on your side of the border, but more of the pipeline is on my side. Whether by pipeline or rail, the oil is going to move.

      President Obama’s action is NOT a path to citizenship, but more of an encouragement for illegals to register as a protection against deportation.


  6. “China Grove’ really took me back to the 70’s. 🙂 Kudos to Lauren Hill. I agree with you that the tickets were way to cheap. Thanks for the toilet link. Growing up, we had an outside loo until I was eleven. I hated going there because of the spiders, and one day had the neighbours come running, as I screamed so loud when one dropped down from the ceiling right in front of me. I was like ‘Little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet’. 😀 I’m so grateful for my en suite bathrooms. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Frank.


    • Sylvia,
      Glad to take you back to the 70s with the Doobie Brothers … after all, they were a great band in the day … and one with staying power!

      Thanks for sharing your loo story. Oh how we take the toilet so much for granted, thus a reason why the BBC story stuck me.

      Meanwhile, Lauren Hills story is big here, so we get the updates and tidbits that the rest of the country probably doesn’t get. Hopefully I can get a post done soon around her situation. After all, it could tie to Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m in agreement with Abtwixt, Frank. I respectfully disagree with you, as well. You are a rational and gracious human being, and if the Republican leaders in Congress had treated our President as you would have, your assessment would be right on the money. But when those leaders met the night of the President’s inauguration (would it have killed them to celebrate the historical moment one night and salute with respect the Office of the Presidency?) to plot to make him a one-term president and to make their raison d’etre one of obstruction, obstruction, obstruction, after six-years it’s bound to make one bone weary and spirit zapped. Not to mention, making the Republican leadership untrustworthy. And now that the Republicans have the majority, one has the strong sense that no matter what their mouths say, they will diddle and dawdle for the next two years . . . dragging their feet until the clock runs out on this president. They will not be satisfied until every signature move he has promised or actually gotten through is undermined (especially the ACA) and an asterisk for “impeached” is by his photo in the history books, even if it means shutting down the government, financially crippling the poor, and destroying the future and families of the immigrants that deserve a chance.

    My main criticism of President Obama is that he was hopelessly naïve the first six years of his administration. I think he thought that if he just gave more, tried a little harder, smiled a little wider, his political enemies would meet him halfway. I think it has finally sunk in that their goal to undermine him and his presidency means more to them than anything–including any bipartisanship law-making. I heard his speech on immigration, thought it was excellent, and very strategic. If the Republicans really care a rat’s behind about immigration then let them pass the bipartisan bill that has been floating around the House for a year which will overturn the President’s Executive Action. Although hope does spring eternal, it’s waning . . .

    P.S. Loved the food chart. Now that I’m a vegetarian, it was fascinating. Kind of freaky! 🙂


    • E-Tom,
      There is no question about GOP resistance to anything productive in the past 6 years. However, I am not confidence that rigidness is limited to the Republicans. I have been very patient, and if you noticed, I took a bite out of all of them, thus no partisanship here. I want productivity, so given November’s results, he actually had a chance to set a new tone and to actually put the responsibility square on the GOP. Nope … he chose another way … and time will tell whether it works or not. Meanwhile, I continue to believe in a “throw the bums out” …. all of them … no one spared & because if one isn’t not of the solution, they must be the problem.

      BTW … I would be equally defiant to a GOP partisan coming to their defense explaining their position.

      PS: Thanks for your thoughtful response … some of which I agree, and some disagree. BTW … I voted for President Obama in 2012.


  8. Can’t understand why we just don’t refine our own filthy oil!
    Can’t understand why we didn’t start building windmills and solar panels up north where the space is endless instead of this tar insandity. In 25 years of building and learning, we’d be contenders in clean energy now.
    Other than that, I totally prefer you guys getting our dirty oil over the Chinese, which I’m sure is what Harper has his eyes on!


    • Resa,
      In terms of the oil, once cleaned it can be sold on the global market, thus as we know … it’s all about money. As much open space & wind that Canada has, your question is more than valid!


  9. Frank, I think I’ve spent way too long on this post, as both the cat and dog have walked out and headed to the neighbor’s house to find dinner, and still, I’ve not finished with all the great links. I could spend all day long looking at the eye-popping and heart-breaking charts of what we as a nation eat and how we measure up to others in the world. Oh, it’s beyond shocking.
    And of course, once I get started on one Onion article, I’m off to the next and lose track of time. This one was worthy. You’re right. Priceless photo.
    A terrific post–on all accounts. Cheers!


    • Peak,
      Welcome first-time commenter. For whatever reason, this OITS addition was a bit longer than normal, but I try to do a bit of everything in this ongoing series. Because you enjoy The Onion, I’m guessing you will enjoy midweek’s Satire Bits (Wednesdays) … but not this Wednesday.


    • Kay,
      No problem with listening twice. As a matter of fact, I saw them in concert several weeks before they released the album with China Grove on it … which means I may have heard it at that concert (that was oh so long ago).


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