Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 298

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

Greetings! Good to see you again. My blog break went well, but not as planned because I didn’t write much. However, I helped my wife ease into retirement mode.

A national handbell organization had a regional convention about an hour away, so the choir went. Two days of a lot of standing on a concrete floor means tired legs. Our choir had an individual coaching session. We didn’t play our piece well with foreign bells, but we got something out of the session. Meanwhile, we attended a concert where we heard this piece by the Purdue Bells, which is a wonderful way to usher in a new header.

Because of my fascination with images of deep space, this image of the Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant is from the Hubble Heritage Collection at the Hubble Gallery. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers page/tab above the header.

I considered resuming Colors: The Musical immediately upon my return, but common sense prevailed because I value my guests. I’ll announce more here next week, but for those who need to know, see the Hear Ye page.

I seldom reblog my own or anyone else post, but I’m considering doing that with old posts – well, assuming I find something appropriate.

The death of pop music star Prince shocked us. Here’s an article about a secret concert he played in Cincinnati in 1984.

Competitors completed the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Although the news focused on the dominant presence of Ethiopians in the top places, the women’s wheelchair division caught my attention. For the fourth consecutive year, Tatyana McFadden – a Russian-born American won the division. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage without receiving physical therapy and without a wheelchair. Now that’s an amazing courage and determination!

Baseball season is underway and I have the following goals for my Cincinnati Reds:

  1. Win more games than the ‘62 Mets (40)
  2. Not finishing with the worst record in baseball
  3. Have at a team below them in the standings
  4. Finish closer to the team above them in the standing than below them
  5. Beyond this list would be a tremendous success

Because I’m easing my way back into my normal rhythm, no Explore post this weekend.

My wife received this pillow as a retirement gift – and I find it interesting.

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Columnist David Ignatius wrote this interesting column about the Saudis.

At this point, I can listen to a news conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) – which is an improved from predecessors John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican senators meeting with the Supreme Court nominee while continuing to block the confirmation process infuriates me even more than the block.

The 2016 primary has been quite bizarre, and to me, the title of this Ruth Marcus column is quite profound – An unpopularity content for the ages.

I find it interesting that the #2 contender in each party have this quality in common: an inability to work across the aisle. According to the Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index at Georgetown University, not only do Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the lowest scores in 2015, each of them are in the bottom 11 of all senators since 1993. Here’s a good question for them: Have do you plan to get Congress to act on your ideas when you have a poor history of working within Congress?

Consider this possibility – Donald Trump (R-NY) and Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) walk out of the Republican convention together to embrace a third-party run.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for having your own vegetable garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sixth beer steps in to speak for area man
Universe feels zero connection with guy tripping out on mushrooms
Breeze plays kick-ass riff on wind chimes
Pope Francis worried about job security after butting heads with new God
New study finds humans experience greatest joy when pushing “Skip Ad” button

Interesting Reads
Life-long learning and technology
A century of flight
Animal neat freaks
Augustine of Hippo
(Animation) Battle of Shiloh
(Video) Explaining burning ping-pong balls

To send you into this weekend, here’s a throwback in time with a touch of Bobby Darin and a dose of Prince. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 294

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This weekend our handbell choir is playing a nontraditional, beautiful arrangement of a traditional hymn – Amazing Grace. A piano is also involved, which for us is our director – so we will play without a director. For those who want to hear a recording, click here … besides, it could be the background as you read this post.

ABC announced the new cast of Dancing With The Stars … and the thought of Edyta rejoining the cast that includes Sharna and Peta has me smiling.

We enjoyed last weekend’s Grand Tasting at the Cincinnati International Wine Festival. We attended one event and volunteered at another. Total attendance for the three Grand Tastings was about 4,000 … and yes, my unofficial observation is that more millennials attended than baby boomers – thus affirming the statistic I recently provided that millennials have become the largest demographic group purchasing wine.

Act 4 of Colors: The Musical has — songs featuring green in the title. Cheers for another great effort.

I will have an Explore post this weekend.

I watched (last week) the first of a six-part series Race for the White House (on CNN). I enjoyed Part 1 about the Kennedy-Nixon race (1960). CNN replays Part 1 Saturday night, and Part 2 airs Sunday night, which featuring the Lincoln-Douglas campaign of 1860. Here’s the trailer for the series.

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Next Tuesday gives us major primaries in Ohio and Florida. Votes are anyone other that the favorite son in each of those states is a vote for Donald Trump (R-NY). Rubio and Kasich wins would greatly increase the odds of a brokered convention.

I will NOT be voting in the Ohio primary. Ohio’s voting laws require voters to declare as a party member (at the polls), which remains in effect until the next primary … and I do not want to be associated with either party at this time … so I will be voting only on issues.

Recent polls indicate Mr. Trump losing head-to-head with the other Republican candidates. By staying in the race, the other candidates (Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich) are playing a game of chicken against each other.

A question for House of Cards fans: How would Frank Underwood deal with Donald Trump? Meanwhile, are you watching Season 4? (We’ve only seen Episode 1.)

I heard this quote myself … and listened several times to make sure … Senator Rubio: “I didn’t say what he was saying as I said it one time.” Huh?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) winning the Michigan primary surprised me. After all, the six polls I saw had Hillary Clinton (D-NY) winning by double digits (11-to-23 point margin).

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how to meditate. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Horrified investigators find unresponsive legislative body in Capitol building
Zoo hosts contest to name baby of pregnant gift-shop worker
Prima donna species just has to have every part of natural habitat intact
Antique store celebrates 750,000th ‘Oh, Just Looking’
Alien parasite can’t find way out of fat astronaut
Report: More women losing weight with elective bone-shaving surgery

Interesting Reads
Winston Churchill’s spectacles
WW II American airmen
Meat and the brain
Downton going green
(Pictures) Award-winning science photos
(Podcast) A brief history of school discipline

Here’s 2-fer to lead you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 4 and a unique version of a Beatles classic done by a strings duet. Thanks to Cathy (@Large Self) for introducing me to Acoustic Eidolon. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 293

One of my favorite events is this weekend: The Grand Tasting at the Cincinnati Wine Festival. Here’s the setting: an empty glass, a room with over 600 wines, and 2 ½ hours.

I regularly see 3 types of wine corks: natural, plastic, and composite (my term). Interestingly, recycling programs around any of the 3 types are (at best) minimal.

All normal in our life with dance, handbells, and volunteering leading the way. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to my wife’s upcoming retirement, so we’re also planning future travel. A few other things got in my way this week. 😦

Thanks for the great response on the previous post (On an Inspiring Edit).

Colors: The Musical continues on this coming Tuesday with Act 4 featuring songs with Green in the title. Tips: No compound words with green, no shades of green, and no duplicates. On an important note, Dale (the musical’s official Maitre d’) will probably not be present to protect visitors from The Producer. Curtain time is Tuesday, March 8th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

No Explore post this weekend.

Many recall that former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) represented the district to the west of mine. In the upcoming primary, 15 Republican candidates are vying to become the next representative.

Super Tuesday delivered interesting results for Republicans. The thought of a Donald Trump (R-NY) nomination is making it interesting … and Thursday was loads of fun. Got to love the circus!

As some of the Republican candidates and their surrogates have now turned to attacking Donald Trump, where were they when Jeb Bush (R-FL), Carly Fiorina (R-CA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were the only ones attempting to challenge Mr. Trump?

Watching Sen. Rubio and Mr. Trump the past 2 week reminded me of the middle school encounter between the obnoxious brat challenging the boisterous bully … and I find this demeaning, embarrassing and unpresidential.

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) continues to be the adult in the room, which doesn’t seem to be working to his advantage. Because he speaks and behaves in a sensible manner while focusing on issues, that does not mean he is a moderate. As resident of Ohio, Gov. Kasich is unquestionably a conservative.

The Ohio primary is in 10 days. Television ads are now appearing, but we haven’t been swamped with them or mailings. I think they are giving us a break until August.conservative.

I previously stated that March 15th would be pivotal for the Democrats. The rationale was simple – the Super Tuesday states were stacked for Hillary Clinton (D-NY) with a few openings for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). I see Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois as the last stand for Senator Sanders – thus where the Bern goes to a flicker.

In a political campaign (especially the presidential nomination process), I notice individual endorsements. For instance, I have very low regard for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and his endorsement is an unquestionable negative for me.

Two questions to ponder for each side of the aisle.

  1. If the your party could only win one, which of the following would you chose: winning the presidency or having a majority in the Senate?
  2. If Democrats won the Senate, who would you rather have as president: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or Donald Trump?

This tidbit from The Onion about Sen. Cruz made me laugh … and what a great image.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Area tweet not exactly lighting the world on fire
Bored God tries to fit all of Jupiter in mouth
Banana bought, carried around, thrown out
Area man walking around in his underwear again
Breaking News: Some bullshit happening somewhere
Cirque Du Soleil’s new ‘Travelique’ examines the movements and mystery of public transit

Interesting Reads
Conservative media and the GOP
Radioactive reindeer
First users of geometry
The curious story about China and the mango
(Interactive) How religious is your state?
(Photos) An astronaut’s year in space

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a classic hit from the ‘70s. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 292

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Last Saturday I watched much of Justice Scalia’s funeral. I’m amazed by the strength of his son – Paul, a Catholic priest – in leading service and delivering the homily at the funeral for his father. He brilliantly wove theology and life together … a WOW … what a beautiful church! (Click for Google Images.)

That once-every-four-years day is approaching. Here’s an explanation of why February gets the extra day in a leap year.

This blog passed on odd milestone earlier this week … 66,666 comments.

Here’s is your chance to make Cincinnati Chili.

Last weekend I saw a great video segment on HLN (CNN companion station) presenting both sides of the argument regarding Apple unlocking the iPhone of a deceased terrorist. Unfortunately, I can’t find it!

Last Friday I took my wife and her sister to the airport so they could begin their week of cruising for the fifth consecutive year. Yep – my Bachelor Week is nearing the end. For my week, I had three things to accomplish: 1) Takes them to the airport, 2) pick them up at the airport, and 3) have the house cleaned when they return.

Some wonder, want did you do? I ballroom danced, wrote a few blog posts, stayed up later but not sleeping as well, did my volunteering (dancing with seniors, dancing with Downs, and ESL tutoring), danced again, attended handbell rehearsal, had a dance lesson, participated in our Lenten journey small group, painted walls in one area, danced some more, attended a group dance class, did the usual Wednesday laundry, prepared the tax materials to our accountant (delivery is based on his schedule), cleaned the house, worked on designing a wall project, and squeezed in  some time to dance … so I can work on leading.

For Act 3: Yellow of Colors: The Musical, readers brought forth quite the array of over 30 songs! A tip of the cap to all! Special thanks to Dale for excellent Maitre D’ work … plus keep your eye on the Hear Ye page.

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing …

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Interesting time – Data out of California indicates a growing number of registered independents.

A question for Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). How do you implement your vision if Republicans control one or both of the Capitol Hill chambers?

My post (On the Court) earlier in the week regarding a forthcoming nominee to the US Supreme Court created interesting comments – and some were very predictable. Therefore, I pose these questions: How different would my post have been if a conservative justice other than Justice Scalia died? How different would the post have been if a liberal justice died?

Whereas Republicans as Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) use past quotes by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-NY) to justify delaying the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee, these are prime examples of the positions politicians take is a matter, place, and convenience – thus they are willing to wear the others shoes when it fits the narrative that meets their needs at that time. I take the contrary view – I oppose McConnell and Grassley today as much as Schumer and Biden then. As a matter of fact, I can say they are flat-out wrong.

My senator (Rob Portman, R-OH)  responded to my contact with a form letter containing an unacceptable answer. Good job at working to lose a supporter during an election year.

The candidate from my state, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) , made a faux pas comment on the campaign trail this week. A big deal to some, no more than a blip for me. Personally, his signature to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio was much bigger news.

Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is declaring himself the alternative to Mr. Trump, his road to the nomination is the most difficult.

I enjoy when the morning news recaps comedic comments from the late-night hosts regarding the presidential candidates. After all, laughing is so important.

Although the Republican field is dwindling, one aspect that is important to me is noticing who supports each of the candidates … especially when the field was larger.

Oh my … The Onion reported a leather-clad Ted Cruz campaigned at a fetish club. (Beware of image)

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides timely tips for hosting an Oscars party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pizza slice has only one pepperoni
Caffeine bracelet acts as coffee substitute
Takeout burrito shielded from cold as though it were week-old newborn
Nation’s elderly hit hard by closing automatic doors
Vatican City residents rally to save St. Peter’s Basilica from development

Interesting Reads
Global smartphone ownership and Internet use
The GOP nomination and the party rules
Columnist David Ignatius on a high-tech military (Thanks Tim)
Another reason for the Easter Island mystery
Naming elements
Design plans after the Great Fire of 1666
(Pictures) Corners

It’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and one with an appropriate title for the upcoming night to celebrate Oscar. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor – Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 259

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Got to wonder why I selected that opening image.

Love the fact Congressional Democrats are having a public family fight over trade.

Congress continues to shamefully ignore infrastructure.

Interesting that to be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton signed of statement about separating herself from the Clinton Foundation – but would it have been prudent for her to have a similar written statement with the Clinton Foundation?

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nominee for president. Here’s The Onion’s introducing us to Senator Sanders.

The headline is interesting: South Carolina Republican Refused Obamacare, Now Going Blind, Blames Barack Obama (see for yourself)

Because there was no need, the events around the Tom Brady, the New England Patriots, and deflating footballs reminds me of the Nixon administration and Watergate.

The current season of Dancing with the Stars has been better than I thought it would be when it started. From Noah’s inspiration to the Nastia’s (now eliminated) athleticism to Riker’s full-speed approach to Rumer’s artistry, a tip of the cap to them.

Earlier this week I posted about my journey as one of the Cincinnati Burger Guys. Love the banner below that I found on a blog. Meanwhile, I hope to join them for a burger in the future.
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Speaking of hamburgers, here’s one of my favorite burger places in Cincinnati. Come on now – click here to see the menu … so, what would you order?

A shout out to AbyssBrain for this brilliant problem-solving flowchart. It’s worth the visit.

I enjoyed this post by Ocean Bream about the internet, brain activity, and behaviors.

Act 4 (Meats) of Meals: The Musical seemed to throw many for a loop. As I write this, acceptable songs that haven’t appeared from artists like Alan Jackson, Roy Orbison, Uncle Kracker, Les Paul, Manhattan Transfer, Fats Waller, Doors, Andrew Sisters, Neil Young, Ike & Tina Turner, and more. As always, quite the musical selection has been gathered.

It’s spring in Cincinnati, and summer is approaching – but, this video is for my southern hemisphere friends.

There will be a Saturday post as the Explore series resumes.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here’s their explanation of Super PACS.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Anthropologists discover Ancient Greek Super PAC that helped shape first democracy
One year old still waiting for father’s first words
God realizes he forgot to put souls in humans
Child visits Ellis Island to see where grandparents once toured
McDonald’s reintroduces Hamburgler as attractive suburban dad

Interesting Reads
Books about evolution published before Darwin
Berlin: Compared to 70 years ago
Generations and partisanship
Columnist David Brooks on the center-right
The bacteria at Yellowstone
A personal look at Ukraine

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Weekend) Art on the Square Days, Calaveras County Frog Jumping Days

(Fri) Straw Hat Day, Day of Families, Nylon Stockings Day, Peace Officer Memorial Day, Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day, Endangered Species Day, O. Henry Pun-Off Day, NASCAR Day, Bike to Work Day, Pizza Party Day, MPS Awareness Day, Defense Transportation Day, Tuberous Sclerosis Day, Chocolate Chip Day, Sauvignon Blanc Day, Dinosaur Day, Over-the-Rainbow Day, Kangaroo Care Day

(Sat) Mike the Headless Chicken Day, Do-Dah Day, Mimosa Day, Piercing Day, Sea Monkey Day, Biographer’s Day, Learn to Swim Day, Armed Forces Day, Love a Tree Day, Coquilles Saint Jacques Day, Wear Purple for Peace Day, Pickle Day, Spaghetti-O Day

(Sun) Morel Mushroom Day, Neighbor Day, Hypertension Day, Information Society Day, Telecommunications Day, Neurofibromatosis Day, Pack Rat Day, Cherry Cobbler Day, Walnut Day, Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, Merry-Go-Round Day

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend – one questionable leftover from the latest Meals: The Musical Act and one for Dale who recently saw him in concert. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

On Opinions in the Short: Vol. 34

On PeteAnniversary
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of MLB’s banishment of Pete Rose from baseball. It must be the reason for the uptick of readings of this archived post.

On More Misinformation
As I stated in this recent post, health care debacle continues to be an ever-flowing fountain of misinformation. Here are a couple of more.

Rep Roy Blunt (R-Mo)
“I’m 59. In either Canada or Great Britain, if I broke my hip, I couldn’t get it replaced.”
PolitiFact Rating: Pants on Fire – PolitiFact Explanation

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)
“We spend twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation on Earth.”
PolitiFact Rating: False – PolitiFact Comment: As long as Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Austria and others aren’t “nations on Earth” – PolitiFact Explanation

President Obama (D)
“If we went back to the obesity rates that existed back in the 1980s, the Medicare system over several years could save as much as a trillion dollars.”

PolitiFact Rating: False – PolitiFact Explanation

On Insurance Companies
Who do insurance companies represent: doctors, hospitals, or patients? The answer is none of them because their prime concern is to the shareholders via Wall Street. Dropping insurers, limiting coverage, and raising premiums are actions they do to maintain profits.

On the Economy
Now this is quite the paradox of 2 lives As Wall Street continues to be on a roll, the Americans continue to lose jobs and jobs remain difficult to find.

On the Pan Am Bomber’s Release
Last week’s release of the Pam Am bomber brought out the full range of emotions. On one hand I had a difficult time understanding the response by the Libyan people at the airport. On the other hand I understood Scotland’s compassion and the anger from many family members of victims. Given the different emotions, I kept thinking about the concept of forgiveness. It’s easy to seek, but difficult to grant. As a Christian I continually reminded of Pope John Paul II going to the prison to forgive the person who tried to kill him.

On Social Security Reduction
Recent news seems to indicate an upcoming reduction in social security payments. Not a surprise when considering the current number of unemployed. Let us remember that withholding only occurs on salaries up to $106,800; that’s approximately 25% of the minimum salary of a Major League Baseball player.