Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 413

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this weekend with Journey taking to the stage. Concert time is this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Week 2 of Dancing With The Stars revealed a new way of eliminating contestants – which to me is a result of the trend of viewers making goofy choices. Meanwhile, even though one contestant is typically eliminated each week, those who need to go early are identified – therefore, gives others time to develop into contenders.

Because I just mentioned television, I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards, but from what I’ve seen, gotta love Zendaya Coleman fashion statement.

A Cincinnati Reds legend had his final game this afternoon. Marty Brennaman has been the play-by-play  radio broadcaster for 46 years. He’s not only a local legend, but is also enshrined in the broadcaster’s wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Maybe the first inning of his first game served as an omen. That’s when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth as the all-time homerun leader. Marty – thanks for all the memories!

About the game today. I didn’t watch on TV, I listened on a small, transistor-like radio beyond the final out through the post-game show. I turned on the television to watch the post-game ceremony. Yes – I shed a few tears.

Benevolent Impalers (my football fantasy team) lost it’s first game last week falling to 2-1. We got thumped. The opponents, the lowest scoring team in the league the first two weeks (and I the highest), achieved the highest scoring week of the season by far. My week was OK, but the opponents were on fire.

Did you know Popeyes is the official chicken of the Vatican? ( know Marc knows!)

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President Trump can no longer surprise me.

House Democrats have started an impeachment inquiry. This is the first step in the impeachment process, and it could also be the last step.

Although the US Constitution provides a mechanism for impeachment, there should not be any doubt that impeachment is a political process driven by party-first politics on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, what is best for the country cannot overcome tribalism.

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. (from Federalist Paper: No. 65, Alexander Hamilton, 7 March 1788)

The end of the third quarter is a time for my latest odds.

  • President Trump being nominated: 97%
  • President Trump receiving my vote: 0%
  • Democratic nominee receiving my vote: 10%
  • President Trump winning re-election: 55%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a glimpse of what is happening in a high school science class. I wonder who will look here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Every ingredient in recipe substituted for to avoid trip to store
Child concerned parents might never amount to anything
Nation perplexed by 16-year-old who doesn’t want the world to end
Obsessive-compulsive baseball player has to touch all 3 bases before going home
Man struggling to accept the fact that he’ll never move beyond medium salsa

Interesting Reads

Time with Turkish militants
Keeping working satellites safe
Death of Alexander the Great
Apps and the battle in Hong Kong
Mac & cheese and Mars
(Graphic) America’s political divide since 1994 (I love this one!)
(Photos) Milky Way photo contest winners
(Photos) Running of the wieners

To send you into the weekend, time for a bit of old school Frank style from Blue Man Group. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an Electoral Reflection

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This idea has festered in my mind long enough, so it’s time to get these thoughts of this true independent’s chest.

For about 5 weeks following the November 2016 election, a good thing happened. We heard a lot about the Electoral College – a system we learned about in school – a system we hear about every 4 years – a system many people know little about – let alone Federalist Paper No. 68 (and I say that with confidence).

Election 2016 was interesting in many ways. It was not only the third time in US history the candidate who won the presidency lost the popular vote, but 2016 marked the highest vote differential of the three (0.8%, 0.5%, 2.8%). What if Mr. Trump won the popular vote by 2.8% but Mrs. Clinton won the Electoral College? Surely the messages would be predictably reversed.

Since the election, we heard some voices declaring that it’s time to amend the Constitution to disband the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote. The losers were the complainers while the winners boosted about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.

Framing the US Constitution was not a meeting of wise men stroking their beards while contemplating decisions for a document to serve as the foundation of a new country. Discussions were fierce. Egos were bruised. Not every person got their way but, in the end, a collective wisdom prevailed – a wisdom guided by those seeking what would serve the common good for all and for a nation.

Although small states and slave states had issues with the popular vote, the Founding Fathers were skeptical about the voters especially if the popular vote yielded an unwise decision. So, the Founding Fathers wanted a system to act as a check-and-balance on the voters. After all, the Constitution provided of system of checks and balances within the government. The Electoral College was a way to do so other than using state legislatures or the House of Representatives.

In Federalist Paper No. 68, Alexander Hamilton explained the Electoral College was to, “ensure that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The best analogy I heard was the Electoral College being akin to a judge reviewing a jury’s decision (which they can do).

Was 2016 the time Alexander Hamilton had in mind? Maybe.

Is the Electoral College’s role as a check-and-balance against the people’s vote necessary in the 21st Century? Absolutely, so I unquestionably stand with the wisdom of the Founding Fathers supporting the existence of the Electoral College.

The Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College to be composed of people “selected by their fellow citizens from the general masses, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

The Founding Fathers also envisioned the members of the Electoral College to do the right thing. To be of independent mind in the face of adversity. To represent a nation, and then fulfill their Constitutional responsibility by doing what is right for the nation.

If it’s not the voters, not the Constitution, not the concept of the Electoral College, is there a problem? If so, where?

The problem obviously lies is the implementation because the Constitution left the selection process to the states, which would be state legislatures that are elected by the people. Although practical on paper, the adopted methods by the states are not the way to implement the desires stated Federalist Paper No. 68. States developed processes based on the political parties – therefore the political parties hijacked the check and balance to have a system that favors them.

Who picks the electors? The political parties.

Who do the political parties select? Loyalists, local party leaders, local officials, donors,etc.

If each party in a state has electors, who has the final vote? In most states, the party of the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in that state become the electors.

Can electors change their mind, thus go against the state’s result? In some states, yes – but in most states, No! Electors who do not follow their prescribed vote may face fines, legal charges, dismissal, and/or replacement.

Are these electors the ones “most likely to possess the information and requisite for such a complicated investigation” and “free from any sinister bias”?

Absolutely not! The electors are party hacks put in place by the party hooligans to follow the party’s self interest – NOT for the people and NOT for a nation as the Federalist Paper clearly explains. The electors are present for the party under the ruse of acting for the nation. The Electoral College is not even remotely close to what the Founding Fathers envisioned for the nation and its people.

The parties are interested in themselves. The parties are interested in adopting their preferences upon the people. The parties only see the world through a biased lens with the settings they prefer. In other words, the parties are not the unbiased, high-minded people who will look out after the best interest of a nation if and when the people make a mistake!

In the farewell address of this nation’s first president, George Washington was correct.

[Political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

George Washington
Saturday, September 17, 1796

Abolition of the Electoral College is not the answer. Giving power the popular vote is not the answer. Reforming the Electoral College process is the answer, but there is a problem because that requires those with power would have to relinquish the power – and we know that’s not going to happen.