Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 87

On David Broder
On Wednesday, we lost Washington Post columnist David Broder to complications with diabetes. I will miss him because of his sensible approach to the problems and issues that he addressed in his columns. Given the crazy atmosphere of the current state of US politics, I (and many others) will miss him. Thank you David Broder for practical view!
Here are two columns about Mr. Broder: one and two.

On a Few GOP Shorts
Is it too much time on their hands, or stupidity? Why else would Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin intensify attacks on First Lady Michelle Obama?

Columnist George Will recently had this interesting column about the GOP presidential nominees.

On the Public Union Debates
The news about public employee unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana has been front page for a few weeks. Regardless what the governors and legislators say about budgets and even school reform, these actions center on union busting. Meanwhile, the number of misinformed inaccuracies I read from the public is staggering. One thing for sure, although commonalities exist, each state is different.

On those Flood Waters
At the moment, the Ohio River is at flood stage. Of course, that has a different meaning to those living in river communities. I grew up in one, so dealing with floodwaters was a spring event that interrupted life in our small town. Hmmm … an idea for a future post.

On Women’s History Month
Until I read this post from fellow blogger (and good guy) Al, I didn’t realized that March is Women’s History Month. I encourage everyone to read this.

On Sports Shorts
Something just isn’t right that Ohio State football players received a stiffer suspension that the coach. Isn’t the coach supposed to know better? Although the NCAA may change that, time will tell if the NCAA also sanctions the university. I think they should, but don’t think they will.

Sports polls are such joke. Unlike football and its debacle known as the BCS, basketball fans roll with the polls because in the end, the one left standing in the March Madness brackets is the undisputed champion.

Baseball season is approaching, thus for me, the return of fantasy baseball. I play for fun. The version I play is free, owners don’t deal with one another, and there is no time-consuming draft. Let me know if you would like to play.

On a Different Event for the Weekend
This weekend we (along with the rest of our handbell choir) will attend a handbell convention for a five-state region. This will be our first time at an event as this, so we don’t know what to expect – plus who knows how many ringers will be there. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to the event.

Here’s a wonderful video of two combined choirs in Korea. They are talented and the piece is fun. You should notice bells, chimes, mallets, and a variety of techniques – so I encourage you to watch and enjoy. Have a good weekend everyone!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 82

On Two Arizona Hurts
Most Americans are rooting and cheering for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the more I learn about her, how could one not.

Another hurt is that of the shooter’s parents. As they understandably stay secluded within their home, the media remains camped on the outside. They must feel a wide range of emotions as shame, rage, shock, bewilderment, and countless other adjectives. Personally, I would like to see three things for them: all media leave, someone close to the tragedy reach out their hand of forgiveness, and hope that they accept those who reach out – and the sooner the better on all counts.

Note: NBC reported that one of the injured went to the parent’s home for grant forgiveness, but he couldn’t get access.

On Mindless Finger Pointing
Sarah Palin is right in saying, “We are better than the mindless finger pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.” However, is she is capable of mindless finger pointing?

Oh Rush for saying, “What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.” Are any conservatives out there going to challenge him?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently sent a letter seeking campaign funds while also mentioning the recent shootings in Arizona and the Republican far right. What were you thinking?

On the Two Speeches
President Obama delivered a magnificent speech Wednesday night in Tucson. Honest, genuine, compassionate, eloquent, realistic, inspirational, graceful, and many more adjectives can describe the speech. Anyone denying so is simply lost wondering adrift in the woods of partisanship.

After the speech, out of curiosity, I tuned to Fox News to hear their comments, which were all positive. Now compare that speech with the video released from Alaska earlier in the day.

Of the Tucson speech, I don’t recall seeing Speaker Boehner (R-OH) or Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) in the crowd. If that was the case, not a good decision because one of them should have been there.

On an Upcoming Speech
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will deliver the 2011 State of the Union address. Hey members of Capitol Hill. Consider standing and clapping only after Mr. President is introduced and at his conclusion. In between, sit and listen with dignity.

As a side note, I suggested this in a comment on CNN yesterday in a comment to a good letter by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

On a PBS Series
Sometime ago I recorded God in America, a 6-hour PBS series about the role religious faith has played in shaping life, politics, and culture in America. Both my wife and I found it to be enjoyable and enlightening. Not only can anyone view each segment online, the series’ website also provides transcripts, interviews, a study guide, and other resources about the topic.

On the BCS Championship
Congratulations to Auburn and their fans for winning the the game, but not the true national championship because there isn’t one to win.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock recently said the “old system” is more likely to return than a playoff system. Then so be it! Break up the cartel!

On Rushing Waters
Our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the horrifying waters in Brisbane, Australia and most recently in Brazil. Please consider donating to the International Red Cross or your favorite international relief agency.

On an Approaching Day
Monday is Martin Luther King Day, and these words from Bill Tammeus’s Faith Matter’s blog stuck me: The progress we’ve made as a nation has been by fits and starts and, in the end, has left much unaccomplished. Each of us, no matter our ethnic origin, no doubt has a list of what has been left undone and needs to be tackled. (Source post)

Have a safe weekend.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 79

On the BCS
The BCS announced their bowl pairings, and the non-BCS affiliated bowls did the same. Blah blah blah. Regardless what BSC head Bill Hancock states, the BCS system has little to nothing to do with determining a national champion, and everything to do with revenue. The BCS is a cartel working to protect the financial interest of its members by locking in a significant portion of the bowl venue to the members. It is that simple.

On the Palin Wonder
Part of me has always thought that Sarah Palin stays in the news because of the money gained – thus nothing to do with running for the White House. Now that Kate + 8 Gosslin is to appear on the TLC show, that helps solidify that thought – thus Mama Grizzly and all her anger continue to smile all the way to the bank.

On Capitol Hill Shorts

  • Congress is currently in their lame duck session. At least in January they can return to just lame.
  • Alas – the Republicans extending unemployment benefits must mean they are socialists.
  • Speaking of the latest news from Washington, I appreciate this New York Times article.

On the Latest Theme Park
The Cincinnati area had Big Butter Jesus, which burnt to the ground in minutes after a lightning strike; BUT the church will replace it with something bigger. (My take on the burning.) On the other side of the Ohio River offers the Creation Museum, whose parent organization recently announced its intention to build a creation theme park with a huge ark. Oh boy … and in the spirit of Sonny and Cher, the beat goes on.

An addendum: Just discovered this free program at Evolutionary Christianity.

On Just Imagine
This past Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Wow – to think he would now be 70. I invite you to stimulate your brain with this post by Al at 2012.

On a Classic Exit
Thank you Elizabeth Edwards for showing death with dignity – and you are at peace.

On a Simple Gifts of Handbells
Many of us associated Simple Gifts, the classic Shaker tune, with the current holiday season. Obviously, many arrangements exist Here is the one our handbell choir is playing this weekend, which includes a lively section.

On a Classic Angle
I must admit that one of my secret dreams is to be a traffic cop at a grocery store. Oh no, not in the parking lot, but inside the store because too many shoppers do not know how to operate a shopping card! Since this is the shopping season, this archived post is about a trip to the grocery store.

Have a safe weekend!

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2 2010

Two weeks into the season and a few surprises have notched knots on the heads of many pundits. Meanwhile, I continue to base rankings on the old fashion way – they earn it by playing someone noteworthy and winning.

From Last Week

  • Up – Michigan
  • Down – LSU, Utah
  • Out – Boise State, TCU, Maryland, BYU, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Kansas State
  • New – most of the list

What? How can Boise State be out? It’s simple: last weekend they did not play and Va. Tech lost to James Madison. Maybe they’ll return in a few weeks.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2

  1. Michigan (2-0) (UMass)
  2. South Carolina (2-0) (Furman)
  3. LSU (2-0) (Mississippi St)
  4. Ohio State (2-0) (Ohio U)
  5. Oklahoma (2-0) (Air Force)
  6. Utah (2-0) (@ New Mexico)
  7. Alabama (2-0) (@ Duke)
  8. Oregon (2-0) (Portland St)
  9. Auburn (2-0) (Clemson)
  10. Texas (2-0) (@ Texas Tech)

Good news for the week 3 weekend as only five games involves non-D1 teams. The games below are some of the more interesting out-of-conference games.

  • Cincinnati @ NC State
  • Maryland @ West Virginia
  • Air Force @ Oklahoma
  • USC @ Minnesota
  • Nebraska @ Washington
  • Tulsa @ Oklahoma State
  • Clemson @ Auburn
  • Iowa @ Arizona
  • Houston @ UCLA
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State

On College Football 2010 Preseason Poll

The start of college football is upon us, meanwhile the pundits are proclaiming a lot with their preseason predictions and preseason polls. I must say this, and not necessarily to brag,  but I’ve been doing preseason polls for the past four years and I seem to have the knack for hitting the nail on the head every time. But before the pre-season rankings, let’s establish the criteria.

Ranking Criteria

  • Last year doesn’t count
  • Nor does the year before that
  • Nor any other year
  • Traditions don’t count
  • Expectations don’t count
  • Power Conference membership doesn’t count
  • Band program doesn’t count
  • Hosting ESPN Game Day doesn’t count
  • Storied history doesn’t count
  • Home attendance doesn’t count
  • Number of times on TV doesn’t count
  • National Anthem singers don’t count
  • Number of alumni doesn’t count
  • Famous mascots don’t count
  • Fight and spirit songs don’t count
  • Number of issued press passes doesn’t count
  • Played in fabled game doesn’t count
  • Hype doesn’t count
  • Famous alumni don’t count
  • Media market doesn’t count
  • Bowl history doesn’t count
  • Number of 5-star recruits doesn’t count
  • Famous celebs in the stands don’t count
  • Amount of school clothing sold doesn’t count
  • Past legendary coaches don’t count
  • Number of players in the NFL doesn’t count
  • Loving or hating Notre Dame doesn’t count
  • Preseason predictions don’t count
  • What ESPN says doesn’t count
  • Preseason predictions by magazines don’t count
  • Number of returning lettermen doesn’t count
  • Tailgating attendance doesn’t count
  • Number of research grants doesn’t count
  • Number of past and current All-Americans doesn’t count
  • Number of televised games doesn’t count

PreSeason College Football Top 10

The only thing that matters is who the team played and did they win or lose. Nothing else and nothing more – and no games have been played.