Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 318

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The recent attack on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus is another example of the warped nature of today’s world. OSU is less than a two-hour drive for us, and to think my nephew is employed at the OSU Medical Center and I also know a pastor who leads a campus ministry there.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) recently released their latest results regarding science and mathematics education. Interestingly, the Internet allows us to compare reactions by different countries. Here’s the TIMSS site with the results.

Now these 30 seconds will cause a smile.

We are enjoying The Crown on Netflix.

My wife and I recently took a local food tour, which was fun and interesting!

I’m craving Spumoni ice cream, so I hope a nearby grocery store has it! … and if I can’t, I know who is to blame.

The first Monday without Dancing With the Stars is always a bit weird for us.

Until this week, I’ve been aware of Fidel Castro my entire life. The BBC did his life in pictures, so click here to see it.

Seems like a French presidential candidate is taking a page out of the US election by promoting free-market reforms, cutting government spending, supporting traditional family values, cracking down on immigration and Islamic terrorism, and better relations with Putin.

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Advice for President-Elect Trump: You are your worst enemy, so you have a way of acting like an ass. Here are some suggestions. 1) Develop a very thick skin; 2) Learn to bite your tongue; 3) Control your use of Twitter.

Jill Stein and the Green Party’s request for recounts in a few states is a waste of time and money … and President-elect Trump’s response was almost as pathetic.

Anything wrong with this picture? Those complaining about racism and disrespectful behavior now are the ones who weren’t complaining about it before the election.

I still support the Electoral College system, and this article from Brookings makes a strong case for it. If anything, I may favor removing the actual vote by the delegates, but keeping the scoring system.

Here’s an interesting read co-authored by a Democrat and a Republican.

With Gallup reporting a slight majority of Americans disapproving the Affordable Care Act, I add that besides partisanship, a key reason can be traced back to the poor job the administration, the Congress, Democrats, and the government as a whole did a poor job educating the public. Interestingly, this is nothing new because I stated this position many years ago.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fidel Castro’s death
Donald Trump making ridiculous tweets
Fire in the Smoky Mountains
The Cincinnati Bengals continued winless streak
Fidel Castro taking power in Cuba

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips on having the perfect surprise party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Doggy in the window costs $1,500
Man to continue drifting into middle of restaurant until hostess redirects him
Siblings hoping the other one will take care of aging parents someday
Deep-sea Godiva rig taps world’s largest offshore ganache deposit
National Institute of Health finds obesity may be caused by too little sleep, too much sleep

Interesting Reads
The Learning Metrics Task Force
Pandas and their thumbs 
The myths behind Harry Potter
A life at sea
Sunflowers following the sun
The new power couple: grapefruit and salt
(Photos) 25 pictures from the People’s Choice Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from 1982. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

38 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 318

  1. I think that the one of the main reasons why Obamacare is unpopular is not because Democrats did a bad job selling it, but because the Republicans did a much better job of misinforming the public about the law – remember “death panels”? “Government takeover of Healthcare”? “Keep your government hands off my Medicare”? “American healthcare is already the best in the world”?

    Liked by 2 people

    • X,
      Although Republicans also get credit for their role in amplifying the situation, I stand by my claim of many years ago that the White House, Congress, the US Dept of Health and Human Services, the Democrats, and others did a poor job educating the public on the new law.


    • I agree, X, and would add this. The ACA is failing because it did not address the root problem: healthcare in the USA is treated as a commodity and is overpriced. And, to Frank, I can’t see any amount of education helping. Medical care is unnecessary until you need it and when you need it, there’s no time to shop around. Until this is remedied and healthcare becomes a service and not a business, no amount of “reform” is going to make it palatable.


      • Jim,
        I respectfully disagree about educating on the system. When I stated that 6-7 years ago, I recall several ACA supporters saying the same thing … so I stand by it … and I don’t expect the majority of partisans to agree.


        • I surely respect your opinion, Frank. It’s hard not to respect education in any form, I’m for it totally (big-league, as they say now). In health care, however, I can’t see that it helps to understand the role of insurance here. Insurance means putting everyone into one big pool where the participants all pay in, in effect betting that they will eventually get injured or sick and need it. But, if they feel fine and knowing that it costs a bundle, including high admin fees, it’s easy to gamble that they won’t need it any time soon. If they do, they can always just go to the ER and won’t be turned away. For people living paycheck to paycheck, this is not a hard problem.


  2. Frank, a wonderful potpourri this morning, especially beginning and ending with a dance! The tango video was priceless 🙂 Closely related to the mathematics study results is the lack of the study of logic and the subsequent ability to identify false arguments – something frighteningly apparent in this election cycle.

    On a positive note, thank you for posting the marvelous “Gypsy” video – I remember when that was released and what a stir is caused. I’ve always felt like it was a dance through Maxfield Parrish’s “Daybreak” painting – here’s a link to compare: http://www.scottmcd.net/artanalysis/?p=53 Maybe I’ll go dancing through the garden this morning, inspired by the incomparable Stevie Nicks 🙂


  3. Frank, I had never seen the Gypsy video before, but have always been a big fan of Fleetwood Mac, and especially Stevie Nick’s wonderful voice. So distinct! Thanks for the share this morning. I’ve mostly been away from the blogosphere, Facebook, etc. recently, so I was glad I dipped my toe back in. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy,
      Always glad to see your presence on WP … so cheers to you! Fleetwood Mac is a classic band, and Stevie’s voice is so distinct. Great music because it still sounds great today!


    • Kev,
      Welcome first-time commenter and thanks for dropping over from our Parfait friend. The animal tango is awesome – and I really enjoy it because we enjoy ballroom dance as a social activity. This post is typical for the end of the week – simply a potpourri of thoughts and other bits of information. As the Categories notes, I post about a wide variety of topics.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked your interesting read about A Life At Sea, Frank. You have a talent for finding these things, so, thanks! I was unable to get the video clips to work, maybe too busy, but the article was a great look at how the technology has evolved. Clearly, GPS and computer technology has revolutionized the business. One legacy I have from my Navy career is a recurring nightmare where I am on a large ship that begins, inexplicably, to travel over land.


    • Jim,
      So glad you saw the article because I had you in mind when I selected it … plus I knew if you saw it, you would add something .. which you did … thanks! Bummer on the videos, so I suggest coming back … especially for the animal tango!


  5. People don’t like Obamacare because like all health care in the USA it costs a lot with little return. Not exactly the affordable care it was supposed to be. It doesn’t address any of the issues causing healthcare in the USA to be so overpriced compared to the rest of the world. We pay the most for healthcare and are somewhere around #50 in care received so around 49 other countries pay less for better care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With respect, LB, the ACA does not set healthcare prices. It is still an overpriced marketplace and the reason costs have gone up is that not enough healthy people signed up, despite the small tax penalty designed to incentivize them. Originally, the Democratic Congress of 2009/10 wanted the public option instead, but the GOP senate shot that down. I submit that we should not expect to see any cost relief from the Trump administration’s policy, whatever it turns out to be. They will pretend they are increasing competition among insurance companies, but it’s already competitive and prices will continue to rise.

      (What is the most profitable business sector in the USA? Answer: Big Pharma.)


  6. Nice to read along to some “Gypsy” music. Stevie Nicks still going strong even after all these years. Was fortunate to see Fleetwood Mac at the old JFK Stadium where the Army-Navy game was once held (former bandmate Bob Welch was one of the opening acts)…as well as Nicks’ solo act (Joe Walsh opened for her) at the old Spectrum. The venues are gone but the memories remain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Much to learn from today’s AFA Fri. Shorts.

    First off, the term “Big Pharma,” as shorthand for the conspiracy theory of an abstract entity comprised of corporations, regulators, NGOs, politicians, and often physicians, all with a finger in the trillion-dollar prescription pharmaceutical pie, and all more or less operating for sinister purposes and against the public good.

    Knowing your longtime opposition to the Affordable Care Act, I’m wondering if you agree with the reader who responded” . . we should not expect to see any cost relief from the Trump administration’s policy, whatever it turns out to be. They will pretend they are increasing competition among insurance companies, but it’s already competitive and prices will continue to rise”?

    Thanks to the reader who pointed to “the lack of the study of logic and the subsequent ability to identify false arguments—something frighteningly apparent in this election cycle,” which led me to dive into the fascinating TIMSS 2015 AND TIMSS ADVANCED 2015 INTERNATIONAL RESULTS.

    Thanks for advising me not to go to last night’s UC vs. BGSU basketball game which you predicted would be a laugher.

    I shot 85 from the whites at Hickory Woods last week to reduce by one my Bucket List Top 25 Golfing Experiences.

    No splats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      First of all, I am not and have not been in long opposition to the ACA. I supported the concept of the mandate and not denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. On the other hand, I am often critical of Republicans who do too little in legislation and of Democrats who do too much. Therefore, I have favored improving the ACA, which is something neither party stepped up to accomplish.

      When it comes to individuals talking about “costs” related to the ACA, one must remember that the ACA is about insurance, not health care costs. In terms of what the new administration will do, we don’t know anything yet beyond their preference to “repeal and replace.”

      Congratulations on conquering Hickory Woods. I wonder if you followed my advice or your methodology was simply working that day.


      • You’re right and I apologize. Thinking back, you have indeed been consistent in crediting Obamacare for its vital role in covering people with pre-existing conditions (something the GOP previously refused to consider), while calling for improvements which by and large are consistent with those put forth by the Obama Administration since the law was passed in 2009 without a single GOP vote.

        I predict that on day-one of the Trump Administration the GOP controlled House and Senate will both pass bills to repeal Obamacare with the stipulation that the present bill remain intact for THREE YEARS while the administration “studies ways” to replace the job-killing, un-democratic, un-American, un-affordable, Affordable Care Act.

        Also thanks for your congrats on Hickory Woods, where IN DESPERATION I followed your (boring) See-the-ball, Hit-the-ball advice. P.S. And now I’m through playing that goat track!


        • Tim,
          Consistency is a personal trademark. Regarding the ACA, if the GOP repeals it, makes one change, thus replacing it with 99% of it, the people will perceive it to be better than the ACA because they think it’s different. Meanwhile, because of your love of goat tracks, it’s time for you to return to Eagles Nest and Reeves.


    • E-Tom,
      You enjoying The Crown is not a surprise … a toast to that! Not only is President Obama responsible for a snow storm in Hawaii, he is responsible for all bad weather events across the globe because policies and decisions carry consequences. Hope all is well with WW.


    • Resa,
      LOL … but I’m being very patient with our president-elect. Although I didn’t vote for him, I wish him well … although he makes me feel like I’m walking on egg shells. Meanwhile, cheers to our appreciation of the animal tango!


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