Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 345

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Because this is a holiday week, this edition of Opinion in the Shorts is a bit earlier than normal.

I’m overdue for a new header – so welcome another image from the Hubble Telescope – the Horsehead Nebula within the Orion constellation about 1500 light years from Earth. You can see my past headers on the Past Headers tab or by clicking here.

The latest Star Wars film: A quick review – Good vs. evil, a group of eclectic characters from across the universe, numerous special effects battle scenes, and advanced weapon technology that isn’t efficient at hitting a target.

2,000th post is the next statistical milestone for my little corner of the world. I imagine it happening sometime in early 2018 (January or February). 300,000th visit should happen sometime late December or January – but I don’t foresee them happening together

The next post will be a Christmas post (posted either on the 23rd or 24th).

I drafted the beach walks while at the beach. Cincinnati is a long way from the beach, so I only have one more – which I may publish next week.

The Creation Museum (from Answers in Genesis) is located in the Cincinnati area. Although I have more than a passing interest in the interrelationship between religion and science, I’ve never had the urge to visit the museum – and probably never will. After all, it does not represent my view of religion or my view of science. Therefore, I appreciated this closing statement Ted Davis gives his recent post at Biologos. … in engaging culture with Christian truth is a holy duty, but it goes awry when Christians approach culture in an aggressive and combative manner, oversimplify complex issues, and delegitimize any approach that starts with an open question instead of an assumed answer.

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With all the talk about the new tax plan, I wonder what happened to President Trump’s idea of (I paraphrase) “a tax cut not for rich guys like me.”

The new tax bill eliminates the wrong mandate regarding health care insurance – the individual mandate, whereas I say it should eliminate the insurance mandate on businesses – but that would involve guts and creative problem solving.

Other than saying No, Democrats missed the opportunity of providing an alternative tax-cut proposal to the public.

Remember Simpson-Bowles; the 2012 bipartisan effort examining deficit reduction and reform? Five years have passed and Congress and both parties continue to ignore it while kicking the can down the road.

It’s been a long time since I thought about the brilliant George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on TV, but it immediately came to my mind when hearing the report about the Trump Administration directive to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Reports say that the CDC cannot use 7 words in the budget preparation documents: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based. Although just another odd Trumpian effect, Chuck Todd’s closing segment on Meet the Press was perfect.

I smiled when I heard conservative columnist George Will say he believes the country would be better off with a divided Congress. I also enjoyed this recent column of his about washing machines.

Columnist Kathleen Parker recently offered timely reminder: … effectively convinced voters that what is true is false and what is false is true.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a guide for interpreting dreams.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Unidentified wooden pole leaning against wall in garage
God gets Celtic Cross tattoo on back
Unpatriotic man does not maintain erection during National Anthem
92% of area woman’s recipes involving pulverizing bag of Oreos
Overworked pajama bottoms pray owner gets job soon
Study finds chickens would have no qualms about caging, eating humans

Interesting Reads
Has the high school diploma lost meaning?
Public trust and science
A guide for pessimists for the days ahead
History of Star Wars
What if Greenland had no ice?
(Pictures) The most beautiful pictures of 2017
(Video) A relaxing two minutes of sights from the Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico

To lead you toward the holiday, here’s a 1963 clip of The Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

40 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 345

  1. The Fordham article is a remarkable exposition on the diminishing value of diplomas. I believe it applies not only to high-schools but to the entire educational system. It is now common for parents to dress up their kids in caps and gowns for graduation from kindergarten to first grade!

    In talking to a friend of mine, a retired college history professor, I remarked that almost exactly one third of my entering class at the Naval Academy washed out before graduation. He observed that about the same fraction applies to civilian colleges. The implication is clear: grades do not reflect objective measures of competence but are relative to desired graduation rates. Also, colleges are quite content to keep low talent enrolled because, after all, they pay for the privilege.

    I am reminded of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, Brave New World. Even in 1931, he saw this coming, a society of coddled couch potatoes blissfully unaware of reality in an automated world run by a few elite minds. It has happened. (Test-tube babies too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim,
      As I’ve always said, I get a great feeling when you find an article in the stack that is a real good one. Thanks for reading.

      I’ve been a long-time advocate of educational reform – so much so, I’m willing to gut it to start over. Then again, I know all the obstacles that would prevent reform from ever taking place. Also, keep in mind this point, has the public ever run anything that is effective and efficient?

      Thanks for sharing your insight!


      • . . . has the public ever run anything that is effective and efficient?

        Although the public sector can be horribly bad, your question has been bothering me. Actually, Frank, I think the answer is yes. Several things come to mind. The Interstate Highway System, the Golden State bridge, Hoover dam, the TVA and other rural electrification projects, the Navy’s nuclear submarine propulsion program.


        • I agree with those projects. My statement is more about continual operations. As I like to say, the public commonly complains about government and schools – which are run by the public.


        • If “effective” means “fulfilling its stated purpose”, then I’d say they’re effective. Efficient vs. inefficient is a more complicated question, because to my knowledge, no private company ever attempted to provide universal pension coverage or putting a man on the moon, so it’s hard to compare whether the private business would do the same job more efficiently than the government. But Medicare has 2-3% in administrative costs (including Medicare fraud) versus 15%-20% overhead for the private health insurance companies. So, amazingly, Medicare makes more efficient use of its money than private companies.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Whew! Love the new header. It’s my fave so far. The lime flavor quality appeals to my taste buds.
    Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you….. a big Christmas Kiss! Adore that song.
    I listened to the Chuck Todd piece. Excellent, and now I’m off to hear the original George piece. I’ll head over to the washing machine piece later! Fab post, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of food for thought here, Frank, and frankly, many of those links give me indigestion. Not your fault, the ‘kick the can down the road’ philosophy fault. But re the religion/science thing, I recommend Dan Brown’s last book, Origin, to you. I just finished it, along with some good friends, and we all sat down over a 3-hour dinner and discussed the many fascinating theological/scientific/nature/nurture/good vs evil/technology aspects of the main character’s search here. Entertaining and thought-provoking.
    Like your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I propose a diptych combining your new monochromatic header with my previous favorite: the June 2011 – September 2011: Supernova Remnant N63A, which utilizes the same green tone.

    I submit that your upcoming 2,000th post and 300,000th visit will/have made the world a better place.

    I bemoan columnist Kathleen Parker’s recently offered timely reminder: “. . effectively convinced voters that what is true is false and what is false is true” – which, by the way, screams out loudly from quite a few of your comments and reads today.

    I declare that “Unidentified wooden pole leaning against wall in garage” was a splat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      Green fits well into this layout, so I’m happy to know that it works for others. … and hooray for another splat.

      Meanwhile, and unfortunately, the world is what it is. As a believer that the majority of humanity is good, it is still not all … and the loud won’t let the majority live the good life. So I wait for the arrival of the Vulcans, those who instilling the value of problem-solving with our minds.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t believe there’s another creation museum like that – there’s one in TX near an area of bunch of dinosaur fossils. Never been there, but seen parts of it on TV’s travel show of odds/strange/bizarre places to visit in TX. Oh, well, diversity lives HAHA
    Always enjoy Kathleen Parker’s writing (schools would do well to start teaching how to recognize frequently used marketing/brain washing/slanting information techniques…and teaching vocabulary and word choice – connotations/denotations – again)
    Merry on, Frank – hope all your bells and jingles hit just the right notes.


  6. Once again, Frank, you’re criticizing Democrats for not spending enough time to try to do something pointless. 🙂 I mean, sure, they could spend a ton of time crafting an alternative tax reform which the Republican leadership will simply drop into a shredder without even reading it.
    Democrats have a better chance of passing the legislation giving the Cincinnati Bengals the 2018 Super Bowl championship.

    Liked by 2 people

    • X,
      Yep – once again I criticize Democrats because it matters in the court of public opinion. I criticized Republicans for the same thing and I will continue to criticize whichever party I desire because I don’t have a partisan dog in the fight.


  7. I am glad you referenced the words eliminated from the CDC’s current lexicon. Prior to this year I would have thought this occurrence impossible. When I first heard the report I waited to hear more, certain I’d misunderstood. Madness! I look forward to hearing Chuck Todd’s remarks. I will certainly read the “Guide for Pessimists,” and see what I may glean. I’ve been an optimist for all of my 65 years, however, my resilience has taken a huge hit this year. I think I’ll try pessimism in 2018 and see if I don’t emotionally fare better! It’s a thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s been a long couple of weeks, and I can’t get started on politics or Creationists.
    BUT–I like your new header–and All My Loving! 🙂

    I did read that the CDC thing was not actually a ban, but a way to get funding approved with this government, which is horrible, too. None of those words should even be controversial for a place called Centers for Disease Control. UGHHHHH! OK. I need to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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