On a Worthy Read

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Walls can surround to keep something out. Walls can also surround to keep something in. Either way, walls divide. Walls are barriers – and barriers can come in different forms.

Rick Steves is a respected travel guru in the U.S. – especially specializing in Europe. His shows and books are very well done, and one we appreciate for our travels. We have not taken any of his tours, but everyone that I know who has rave about them.

A new American president has made quite a splash in the news. Although he states his desire to be a president for all, his actions do not support his statement. After all, actions are more powerful than words – or as I like to say, behaviors and actions demonstrate one’s true value.

Rick Steves has a perspective about building a wall and actions that act like a wall. To me, this is a worthy and powerful read. Click here to read it.

 

 

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 322

Many readers have enjoyed the previous two Al Stewart songs I’ve featured in previous OITS. Here’s one more, but this time as background music because the video is just the music (no performance). For those that chose, click here to enjoy Song on the Radio.

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As I work morning news back into my routine, I recently developed a preference for CBS This Morning with Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, and Gayle King. They have more substance and less fluff than their NBC and ABC counterparts, plus more calming than CNN.

We recently saw two movies to recommend, so THUMBS UP to The Founder and Hidden Figures.

If the movie is accurate, McDonald’s Ray Kroc was both a visionary and an asshole who sorely lacked business acumen – but smart enough to surround himself with the right people. Props to actor Michael Keaton for his role as Mr. Kroc.

A toast to Mary Tyler Moore for what she gave us through her life.

January has been a different month for me, so I will explain very soon.

Last week I reminisced about moving. After all, several years ago we moved from our home of 27 years – a home we built, maintained, and improved. Packing and moving is quite the chore, but in the end, there is a sense of sadness when we depart for the last time. The Obamas occupied the White House a much shorter time (8 years), but on a much grander stage. I appreciated this article from Politico about their final moments.

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I continue to worry about the potential lack of Congressional oversight, so this article from Politico was timely.

Democrats can thank their former Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for removing the 60-vote barrier. Just another reason for me not liking the man.

I met my goal of not watching the inauguration, but did see enough reports to be informed.

On his first full day, the way the new administration and their talking heads has treated the importance of something as irrelevant as the inauguration crowd size is both bizarre and telling. All they had to say was something like this: “While we acknowledge the in-person attendance was down from previous years, when also considering television and online viewing throughout the world, all indications point to this inaugural being the most-watched in history.” Oh no, instead they chose to make combative asses of themselves.

I have suggestions for the new administration who feels unloved by the media’s negative reporting.

  • Try a positive tone, not a negative, combative one.
  • Try truthfulness, not head-scratching absurdities.
  • Try portraying a positive image with a vision, not one focusing on doom and gloom.
  • Try respecting people, not humiliating them.
  • Try not making unsubstantiated facts on something meaningless.
  • Learn the difference between right vs. wrong and agree vs. disagree.

PS: Protectionism and isolationism doesn’t work.

Kathleen Parker is a columnist I appreciate. A closing of a recent column echoed the my feelings that I’ve stated here. “Donald Trump is our president. He deserves a chance to prove us doubters wrong; to create a government that he think will bring jobs and money back to the U.S.; to enhance educational opportunities for the less-privileged; to enhance our military defense without yearning to test it; to reform the tax and regulatory codes with deference to economic realities. Pray. Pray that our country survives these next few years and that the new president is both wiser and less impetuous that he seems. It’s the least and best we can do – for now.”

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Spreading of Fake News
The Packers and Steelers not making the Super Bowl
La La Land receiving a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations
California’s rain and snow
John Howell in final preparation of another book release

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides the pros and cons for early retirement.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Anger-bottling factory explodes
Compassionate fisherman doesn’t have heart to throw trout back into polluted lake
Cockroaches feeling optimistic about future of planet
Shrimp would be pissed if he could see the lame party he’s going to be served t
Car rolls up to stoplight blasting Google Maps directions
Spider sitting on shower wall can’t wait to see look on man’s face

Interesting Reads
An inspirational must-read story about a young girl
How to be wiser
Aging and urban divergence
The Oddies Museum
The geographic pivot
(An interactive) How much do you know about what police think

For those who prefer the song at the end of this post or those who want more Al Stewart, here’s On the Border to send you into the weekend. Enjoy the final days of January 2017 and get ready to bring on February. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Inauguration 2017

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Because Inauguration Day of a new president coincides with my normal posting of Opinions in the Shorts, I decided to forego my normal OITS for a posting that is fitting for the day.

In a short moment of time, Barack Obama goes from the one with the title to a former occupant of the Oval Office. My view of President Obama is different from the many who follow partisan lines. At this moment I want to thank him for his service. Thank him for the way he handled himself in representing our nation. Thank him for the way he carried the extra burden of being the first non-white to serve in the most powerful office in the land. Thank him for taking us from where we were in January 20, 2009 to today. (A good read in USA Today.)

Inauguration Day marks the peaceful transition from one president to the next. A transition that is different than most of the world. A transition that is also an American tradition. A transition that is a light by the American version of democracy.

I enjoyed this 4-minute interesting perspective of past inaugurals done by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan for CBS News.

Presidents need a strong sense of humility – that is something Mr. Trump has yet to show on the campaign trail or in the time since Election Day.

Presidents describe in various ways in their inaugural speech their desire to be a president for all Americans. That trait alone require respect, something Mr. Trump continues to ignore.

Presidents need to be responsible for their actions and decisions. Of course politicians tend to step around problems – blame elsewhere. After all, finger-pointing is much easier. Mr. Trump has failed on many occasions to take responsibility for his own actions and words – thus continually favoring the low road of blame through insults.

Presidents respect the traditions of the land and the office. Mr. Trump regularly favors his way while damning those who think otherwise. Meanwhile the majority of the elected partisan minions we call Senators and Representatives are quiet as they revel in the glory of total control. Time will tell if they continue doing the same.

Presidents respect the nation’s laws and Constitutional requirements. Again, Mr. Trump favors his way of doing things. He says he can separate his business and the presidency. He actually believes he could successfully run both simultaneously. Conflicts of interest could very well be on the horizon, but time will tell.

Maybe if he changes his tone, practices humility, becomes respectful, and operates within the given framework, he may have successes – successes for the country. Besides, Washington is ripe for change – but his previous behaviors indicate this would be a tall order to fulfill.

Being a brilliant orator is not a presidential requirement, but those that were can frame a message by their tone. Mr. Trump is anything but a brilliant orator as he struggles delivering prepared statements – so I certainly don’t expect anything memorable for me. Perhaps he may surprise us with a start that includes a series of apologies to set a tone. Given his personality, the chances of that would be between slim and none.

Although I wish Mr. Trump success on this day, I won’t be watching the pomp and circumstances or listening to his first speech. I’m not boycotting as I simply have something else to do – something that I would rather do.

On a Forced Possession

People buy things on credit all the time. Credit cards are the natural way of buying now and paying later. This plastic money is actually a less-formal version of a loan. Then again, instant plastic money can also lead to an inability to pay the bill – especially with mounting interest – and then the credit card becomes what it always has been – a formal loan.

People also make big purchases with bank loans. Cars and houses are the biggest purchases, but not the only. An unfortunate aspect of most new motor vehicles is that they automatically decrease in value over time. That brand new car is worth less as soon as one drives off the dealer lot for the first time soon after signing the papers.

Many banks and credit cards departments of companies have their own collections department dedicated to getting the money owed to them. Other companies hire a collection services company to do the same. I can’t imagine the difficulty of having a job like that – but people do – and like all work positions, some people are very good at it.

This story is about a forced possession – a repossession. Seemingly a sad tale, but not this one because this story is about goodness – about kindness … a story worth the 2+ minutes to watch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 321

La La Land was the big winner at the Golden Globes. We saw it several days before the awards. Fun movie. Thumbs up! I hope to see Hidden Fences next.

Meryl Streep caused much stir at the Golden Globes. To me, wrong time, wrong place – especially because she got the stage for lifetime achievement.

Different things on my plate at the moment that is standing in the way of my visits. 😦

I continue to read about the interrelationship between science and religion. I’m enjoy examining the bibliographies to see if they list authors I’ve read. A smile verifies that I selected the right people in my self-guided journey.

College football’s national championship game was quite the encounter. Congratulations Clemson!

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Countdown is on toward Inauguration Day, and I am confident the partisans are thrilled.

David Brooks made the statement below in early September. In light of the election results and the post-election analysis of who voted for whom, Brooks was spot on.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

I’m against the waiver for James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. I see 3 Democrats were against granting the waiver. The difference between me and them is that they would vote for the waiver if it involved one of their own while I would stay the same.

Confirmation hearings of Cabinet members are predictably more about partisanship rather than fitness.

Some wonder how long will it take for Democrats today to adopt the behaviors of Republicans of yesterday. Others say one doesn’t have to wait because they already have.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
My Bengals not making the NFL playoffs
Snow when you don’t want it
The Dow not breaking 20,000
Alabama losing to Clemson
Trump-Putin bromance

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists the 2017 agenda for Congressional Republicans.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man Not Accepting Any More Television Recommendations At This Time
Exciting New App Allows Users To Be Pawns In 26-Year-Old CEO’s Little Game
5-Year-Old Stares Longingly Down Garbage Chute
Darkness Engulfs Man Who Brightened Touch Lamp One Tap Too Far
Pumpkin Seeds Saved, Dried, Roasted, Salted, Offered, Refused, Tossed
Fisher-Price release new utero fetal activity gym

Interesting Reads
Growing crops in cities
Hospital-borne infections
Chickens are smart
Camera technology and film-making
Fossils in the trees
The largest maritime evacuation ever (much larger than the Titanic)

Last week’s song received many kind words, so here’s one more from Al Stewart to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.