Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 289

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Yep – playing handbells is so easy, ___.

Our handbell choir plays this weekend, which will be my first since returning. The song is interesting … slow, a touch of haunting and passion. For those interested, here’s another choir doing the song.

I didn’t have a good week of visiting other blogs. 😦

This is Super-Bowl weekend. It’s been awhile since we haven’t attended a party for the game, but we’ll sit back, watch the game, and enjoy the commercials. Without a preference, I think Carolina is the better team, but I would like to see Peyton Manning go into retirement with a win.

Colors: The Musical returns next week. Act 2 features Red, so all songs must have Red in the title. However, no compound words contain red (redbird, redbud, etc) and no shades of red (crimson, scarlet, maroon, etc). Show time is Tuesday night at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing.

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Hooray … Iowa is over! I’ve heard multiple Republicans complain about the Democrats’ results, My independent research discovered the following: (Jim in Iowa – Is my capsule close?)

  1. The political party determines the rules. (They can be different)
  2. Just because the opposing party uses a different method does not mean the other method is incorrect.
  3. Since the first statewide caucus in 1972, Democrats do NOT report the number of votes, but on-location caucus leaders determine the number of delegates based on a weighted vote calculation.
  4. Caucus leaders submit the final weighted calculation results and the subsequently elected delegates to the Iowa Democratic Party. (Read about the process here)
  5. aFa conclusion: Complaining Republicans shouldn’t care, thus complain to discredit a particular candidate – in this case, Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

New Hampshire is next. No matter the results, the race is not a sprint. On the other hand, I wonder about the next candidate(s) leaving the fray … but I continue to point to the pivot dates of March 1st (Republicans) and March 15th (Democrats).

There is a bit of a lag after New Hampshire, which will cause some angst to some candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has withdrawn. Republican party rules in Kentucky were that a candidate could not appear on the ballot for two different positions. Because 2016 is election year for his Senate seat, Sen. Paul convinced the state’s party leaders to change the way the state determines the Republican presidential delegates from a primary to a caucus. (thus allowing him to run for president and senator.) Now, the caucus is in March while the primary is in May. I imagine many Kentuckians are confused while others will be surprised when they get their ballot in May. Stay tuned. NOTE: Republicans complaining about the Democrats in Iowa are not complaining about this bit of craziness within their own party.

A good question for the candidates. Governing is much easier when one party controls all facets. If the opposite party controlled the Senate, and other than inviting them to join your ideas, how would you handle your legislative agenda?

Hillary Clinton’s explanation defending her progressive label was very weak.

I decided not to include several fact checks from recent debates. Let me know if you want them.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion identifies the biggest campaign gaffes of this current election season.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Car windows rolled down to let out shitty music
Chiquita introduces easy-grip banana (See for yourself)
Back of library smells like weed
Car alarm turned off just as it was starting to get good
Researchers announce they don’t have heart to reveal what will happen to 1 In 5 women

Interesting Reads
The crumbling of one of Africa’s biggest dams
A BiPartisan Policy Center’s report about improving the Affordable Care Act
18th Century smugglers and the tea cartel
Communicating with only yes and no no
Recognizing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
(Photos) Winter in northern Whales

To sent you into the weekend, enjoy a touch of high-level ballroom to a Michael Buble song. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

54 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 289

  1. The way we elect a President, in what is the greatest country in the world, is bizarre enough with the Electorial College. Watching the wall-to-wall Iowa coverage the other night…I now realize the “College” makes perfect sense in comparison.


    • I forgot to put quotes around “Electorial”…that was to be a subtle statement within itself…vote to enjoy the weekend Frank!


        • They certainly did Frank. I would only say Carolina certainly helped them along to victory. The Panthers prepared as if they thought they’d have a traditional pocket to pass from. Mistake 1 – bad game plan. Mistake 2 – no adjustment at halftime. With a specimen like Newton he had the best chance for success rolling either side and threatening to run or pass from the snap. That all aside, Denver’s defense was spectacular and was all year!


        • I look the game this way. The Carolina defense played very well, unfortunately for them, Denver’s D played better … The Denver offense didn’t do very much, but they made less mistakes than Carolina’s offense – and most of those mistakes were defensively driven.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes and No. 🙂 Here is what happened in our precinct #3. We expected maybe 50-75 Democrats to show up from our precinct. But 201 showed up not counting kids and other ineligibles. You have to be a registered voter. You could register on site, too. We checked in and each got an index card with a # on it as we entered the room. The room was barely able to hold us all. We voted to stay together. HC supporters went to one end. BS to the other. One O’Malley supporter was along a wall to one side. Precinct #7 met on a different floor of the same building.

    Various directions were read to describe what to expect. The process is meant to eliminate candidates who are not-viable. You needed 15% of those attending to be viable, 30 people in our case. The one O’Malley didn’t make it. That person chose to move to the BS camp.

    Time was given to persuade supporters to move to the other side. No one was interested. The index cards were collected from the two camps and counted. 104 for BS and 95 for HC. Based on that and our number of 201, two delegates to the county Democratic convention from each camp were allowed. We spent some time in our two groups deciding who wanted to be a delegate and alternate.

    Most people were ready to go home. We all were in good spirits. No one yelled. No one called for bombing the s**t out of anyone. We talked to our neighbors and friends in peaceful tones. The selected delegates stayed longer to see what they needed to do next.

    The republicans met in the same building on a different floor. They voted on their choices and went home. Boring.

    After the county Democratic convention, other delegates will be selected to the state convention from it. More will be known about our candidate because a lot of primaries will have taken place. Final numbers of national convention delegates will be determined after that.


    • It is a very grass-roots process. People talked to each other, discussed issues, and chose the best way to proceed. Candidates with enough support continue. Those without are eliminated. I think that is a democratic way of doing things. Democracy is messy. It beats the alternatives.


    • Jim,
      It seems I was spot on because a) I knew the process you described, including the round 2 voting (as per O’Malley) and b) my description of the results (the focus of my points in the post). … plus you clarified points about the delegates. Glad to know you participated (I had no doubt), and thanks for your in-person description.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline,
      The US process is different from the rest of the Democracies throughout the world as per our Founding Fathers. Nonetheless, it’s too damn long!!!! Cheers to you enjoying Michael Buble.


  3. Lord have mercy this election stuff is long… 😉 Lovely dancers but she really should control her mouth! (Makes me think of guitarists who grimace as they play!)
    Researchers announce banana smells like weed, reveal shitty music starting to get good


    • Lenora,
      No opinions on my opinions” made me laugh. The handbell piece is very intriguing. To fill you in a bit more … Some context for you, I’ve been away from the choir for about a year and a half. I invite you to visit the sidebar > Categories > Handbells for more selections, which will include a piece our choir premiered.


  4. For starters, “Car alarm turned off just as it was starting to get good” scored a direct splat.

    Glad to see you’ve completed your rehabbing assignment and are now back with the varsity bell choir. The piece “Into the Wilderness: The Temptation of Jesus” composed by Jason Krug is excellent. I especially like the jarring suspension (a 2-3, I think) at 1:14.

    The read: “Cuppa Thugs: These Brutal Smugglers Ran An 18th Century Tea Cartel” from NPR’s ‘The Salt – What’s On Your Plate?’ has been saved to my computer desktop, awaiting its fate of whether to go to my golf bag, my refrigerator, the filing cabinet, or the Select All delete button.

    I’m predicting Carolina will lose 27-17 to Denver in Superbowl L tomorrow due to Cam Newton getting intercepted four times, thus sending you into the angst of next week’s New Hampshire Primary on a happy note.


    • Tim,
      Your last point first … The angst of NH will not fall upon me.

      That’s a bold Super Bowl prediction – of course that has nothing to do with your family ties to the Mile High City.

      My time with the JV was good as it gave me additional reps (twice a week) … but it was done at the expense of missing my ballroom time with the Down Syndrome group.

      Glad you enjoyed the Krug piece. My part is the lady in front of the door (Exit sign). He’s an interesting composer, and the last I knew, he resides in the city to the northwest of us where you have relatives.


  5. I read the “interesting read” on the bipartisan study’s ACA recommendations, but not being a lawyer, I admit I’m not really sure what they’re up to. For what it’s worth, here’s my translation of them:

    1. Have a huge meeting of 50 governors and political experts to brainstorm ways to change each state’s rules for healthcare while making sure that no change costs the federal government any more money.

    2. Make sure that the confusing mix of private and employer insurance does not cost the federal government any more money.

    3. Permit big insurers in adjoining states to conspire on health insurance rules as long as this doesn’t cost the federal government any more money.

    4. Change the arbitrary rule requiring employer-insurance pricing to be based on individual coverage to figuring in family coverage too, but making sure this does not cost the federal government any more money.


    • Jim,
      Thanks for reading the report and trying to capsulize it. Here’s a bit of the background of why I posted it. As a whole, I have been critical of Congress and their lack of effort of trying to improve the ACA. Of course I want to slap the Republicans around for concentrating their effort on trying to repeal something that wouldn’t get appealed – thus avoiding improving the law.

      Secondly, the spark for finding this post was an op-ed in the (I think) NY Times that was written by Newt Gingrich and Tom Dashle – in which they referenced this report.


  6. I still don’t really understand how caucuses work, but I’m glad it’s over. Now let’s just get past New Hampshire so some of the hubbub can quiet down. Then again, with the bloviator, it might never do so.


    • Carrie,
      Two things about caucuses. Each state can be different, and so can each party within a state … in other words, one size doesn’t fit all.For instance, the GOP participants in Iowa vote once (I believe) … but the Dems this time votes twice (two rounds). In round 1, Gov O’Malloy got votes, but not the threshold, so he didn’t make it to Round 2 … thus O’Malloy voters voted for someone else.

      Meanwhile, although a voting lull after NH, I doubt that means a lull in the coverage – thus more bloviations to come.


  7. Another blogger friend described her participation in the Iowa caucuses, and she described it much as Jim above did. Did you see this article on the word “caucus?” http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/what-is-a-caucus

    I had already seen the article on the 18th century tea cartels and shared it on my FB page. Great minds, Frank. 🙂 But The Onion title about the weed smell at the library, I’m sure it happens. Did you see the recent news item about the man defecating in the library stairwell–caught on camera? (It’s actually a library I’ve been in.) That sparked an article by librarians saying this is not unusual, and there are all sorts of weird and icky things librarians find in libraries.

    Enjoy your handbell concert and the Super Bowl. My husband will watch it. I’ll sit with him for a few minutes, but really cannot watch it. I just have no interest in football. Downton Abbey will be calling me at 9.


    • Merril,
      I knew how the caucus worked, and Jim confirmed that. My comment is about how the votes are tallied as the Dems & GOP do it very different. A friend sparked my comment as he was babbling about the Dems (typical), so I searched how the tallying is done … and he was (as I thought) off base and full of hot air.

      I didn’t see the news about the guy in the stairway. That’s ridiculous … but getting caught in camera did make me laugh.

      Enjoy Downton, and I imagine I may shirt to another TV to watch the game because my wife is a big fan of that show. Meanwhile, the handbell piece will be at a church service, actually at the beginning … so each of us get one chance to get it right.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you have special commercials during Super Bowl, Frank? I’ve heard that the advertising rates were a lot higher for these commercials (but where from exactly baffles me…!)
    I don’t think we have anything like that in the UK – although I could be wrong.

    Researchers announce easy-grip windows to get good. I’d never make it in advertising…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hand Bells choirs are much more melodious use of time than the election mess. At least candidates are beginning to thin out. Thought both party processes were interesting – although seriously? Coin toss? That doesn’t seem right – lock everyone in a room like they do with the pope elections until it get clearly settled. I still wish all the caucuses and primaries were all in the same week. Cut the noise/waste of energy down tremendously.
    Cheers for the weekend, Frank . Enjoy!


  10. The pictures in Winter in Wales, wonderful. Truly wonderful. The Cuppa Thugs, how interesting. All of the articles, as always interesting but those two were the best this week.

    Loved the Bells and the Dancing, oh my the dancing.


    • Val,
      Glad you enjoyed this week’s assortment .. and your two favorites were two of mine! Those two dancers were a bit to the good side 😉 … definitely not what I normally see in my circle of dance friends.


  11. Love that song and the dancing just enhances it. It also makes me forget the political bonfire that’s being played out inborn parties.
    Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and wake up in mid November so I don’t have to turn in TV, open an article or newspaper and hear the same thing regurgitated I. Different ways.
    Now I’ll go watch that video again..:)


    • George,
      Our process is so painful …. and getting more so. Heck, there was a day when Iowa didn’t get much play …. and debates weren’t part of the process many months before the first votes. We are ripe for change, thus a reason why it won’t happen … then again, I doubt if the parties would even allow it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m finding the American election season painful. A lot of that is due to what someone called “press malpractice”. I just change channels. Loved watching the dancers.


    • Resa,
      The election season on my side of the border is painful on several fronts … the length, the money spent, continual coverage as if nothing else is happening in the world, poor non-answers to good questions, and the list can go on. Personally, I wonder if the press would be a tad less without the Trump influence. … and I feel sorry for my northern neighbors getting such a unnecessary mega-dose of drivel.


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