Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 400

 

Welcome to the 400th volume of Opinion in the Shorts (aka OITS). I published the first on November 25, 2008 – about 3 months after starting my little corner of the world. To celebrate the occasion, I’ve included a short self-perspective in each section.

Next milestone – Only 5 to go to post #2,200.

This section evolved into a potpourri of thoughts. Because it is more applicable and interest to wider readership, I moved this section so it can serve as a lighter opener.

The lengthy stretch of rain, storms, tornadoes, and record flooding in the central US has been devastating. For those who are able and willing to donate, I urge you to do so to the charity of your choice. Here’s a link to Charity Navigator a site rating organizations on performance, financial health, accountability, and transparency.

A few days ago, at least 18 tornadoes hit Ohio – the closest about 40 miles from me. Fortunately, the people we know in that area are OK, but others lost their homes or suffered repairable damage. FYI: Ohio typically averages 3 for the entire month of May.

After seeing images of a long line of people on the final ascent of Mount Everest, I said, “I don’t get it.”

Last week ended with a 3-day weekend for Memorial Day. The Sunday sermon by one of my pastors was one of the best I’ve ever heard about this holiday. For those interested (and having 18 minutes), click here.

I recently learned that my state (Ohio) is ranked #6 in most Bigfoot sightings. Stephen Colbert recently asked a very pertinent question – What is the plural of Bigfoot?

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This blog initially focused on sports and politics – so this section was an extension of the initial roots. For a long time, this section opened OITS.

Emphasizing improving the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was one of the reasons Democrats gained control of the House this past December. I’m still waiting, and failing to pass such a bill through the legit process (as opposed to force feeding) will work against Democrats in the 2020 election.

For the second time in a week, a House Republican blocked the passing of a disaster funding bill. One person having the ability to block a bill is one reason Congress has a low approval rating.

Bottom Line: Special Counsel Robert Mueller explained he was the fact finder, and Congress is the jury. In that light, while Democrats are foaming at the mouth aiming for political gain. Republicans are spineless, protectionists of their own kind. Then again, if the situation were reversed, the roles would be reversed. Members of both sides of the aisle march to their party-first mantra, followed by preserving their own seat. Contrary to popular opinion, “country” is no higher than third on their priority list.

Earlier this week the news reported President Trump contradicting the National Security Advisor. Hello – he not only frequently does this to his advisors and experts, he also frequently contradicts himself. No wonder he is “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.” (Jon Voight) … but a great American orator responds

I just watched a report on CBS citing three studies/organizations supporting what I about to state.To those citing the current tornado activity as proof of climate change, to those condemning President Trump for ignoring climate change, and to those blaming Obama for everything & anything, current research shows there is currently no link between increased tornadic activity and climate change. That doesn’t mean the existence of an undiscovered link or the absence of any link. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (an “independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change”), states in their opening sentence on their page about tornadoes and climate change: The link between tornadoes and climate change is currently unclear.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a history of robocalls.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

The Onion has had a place on this blog for a long time. Long-time readers probably remember The Onion’s Satire Bits – a midweek dose of satire that ran for 134 weeks. That’s where the combo challenge started.

Showerhead self-conscious about single jet that sprays sideways
Boss encourages employees to take short mental breakdowns for every hour of work
World populace actually fine with rich people dying on Mount Everest
Businessman mortified to discover he’s been wearing suit backwards all day
Lowe’s reveals new table saw with attached ice chest for storing cut-off fingers (Click for the image)
Struggling single mother seriously considering putting baby up for audition

(My Combo) Mortified boss struggling putting self-conscious rich people on table saw

Interesting Reads

I’m not sure when this section first appeared. However, early OITS editions occasionally contained linked articles. Over time, articles switched from politics and economics to a collection of wide-ranging topics.

Linking democracy and dissatisfaction
Descartes laws of nature and theology
Getting pandas from China
About Portuguese citizenship and Jews
Virgin birth by an anaconda
(Photos) Waterfalls in black-and-white
(Photos) A collection from a river and streams theme

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from Bonnie Raitt (since many appreciated her appearance last week). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Book Review – Fascism: A Warning

I recall seeing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on various talk shows promoting this book. Once I decided to use the public library during my stay in Alabama, this book was at the top of my list – especially after reading Prague Winter a few months earlier.

Fascism: A Warning was not available on my first trip to the library, so that’s when I read Albright’s The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs. Not long thereafter, I reserved the book I wanted.

Published by Harper-Collins in 2018, Fascism: A Warning contains 254 pages within 17 chapters, plus acknowledgments, endnotes, bibliography, and an index.

Throughout the book, she shares her personal experiences with Fascism that started as a child during WWII in her native Czechoslovakia – a country for who her father served as a diplomat – a country with a proud democracy – a country later controlled by Nazis – a country that would become part of the Communist bloc – a country that would regain democracy as part of the Velvet Revolution in late 1989.

Her personal history involves being born in Czechoslovakia, living in Serbia, living in exile in England during WWII, returning to Czechoslovakia, and fleeing to the United States. Reading Prague Winter helped me understand life during the 1930s and 1940s – as well as the loss of family members in the Holocaust.

To introduce the topic (Fascism), Albright shares discussions with and thoughts by students in her classes at Georgetown University. Because of my past-life as a teacher, I know the importance of this by dealing with prior knowledge and misconceptions very early in the learning process. Her definition of a Fascist is the following:

Fascist: Someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, someone who is utterly unconcerned with the Rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.

After the introduction, the next four chapters center around Adolf Hitler (Germany) and Benito Mussolini (Italy) – their rise to power, their styles, their relationship, and their demise. General Francisco Franco (Spain) is embedded. If you recall this post past I did as a Final Jeopardy question (about Fascism), I based the list primarily on the first five chapters of this book.

The Chapters 6-14 focuses on past leaders as Joseph Stalin (USSR) and Slobodan Milosevic (former Yugoslavia); plus modern leaders as Hugo Chavez & Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela) with past leaders Juan & Eva Peron (Argentina) and Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines) are integrated into the chapter. Vladimir Putin (Russia), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), Viktor Orban (Hungary), and the three generations of Kims in North Korea (DPRK) have dedicated chapters. Jaroslav Kaczynski (Poland) is integrated in the chapter about Hungary.

While a separate chapter focuses on President Trump, different US Presidents (starting with FDR) appear throughout the book. Madeleine Albright is perfectly clear that she is not a fan of President Trump, his agenda, and his tactics. She continues to believe in the strong light of liberty and democracy along with having a strong faith in the United States. (For the record, President Trump has praised at least four of the leaders listed in the previous paragraph.)

Chapter 16 examines if Fascism could become dominant in the US. After all, aspects of US history have events paralleling Europe. For instance, a Nazi movement in the US existed in the 1930s and 1940s.

In Chapter 17 (the final chapter), Albright focuses on connecting the dots by looking at the present world through the lens of the past and her experiences as a diplomat and a human. She unquestionably sees the growth in modern-day Fascism as a threat to international peace.

This is the third book I’ve read by Madeleine Albright, and like the others, it’s an easy read and meant for the general public. As with her other books, the reader’s political view will impact her words and their conclusions. Bill Woodward co-authors all three books with Albright.

For me, this book has a scary side – but I also see a hope. Then again, humanity as a way of not learning from its mistakes. Thumbs up to Fascism: A Warning.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 399

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I did not see the rollover, but my little corner of the world reached reached 400,000 views late Sunday night/early Monday morning … and the next OITS is #400! Thanks to all!

Before I start posting about the recent cruise, my notes suggest I still have a three tidbit posts left about Eastern Europe – so there will be a post this Saturday.

I’ve been a St. Louis Blues (hockey) fan since their first season (1967-68). Needless to say, I’m thrilled that they made the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since the 1969-1970 season. Go Blues!

Last week I mentioned the latest seasonal ice cream flavor from Graeter’s: Malted Pretzel Ball. Here’s the scoop. (Response) It is an ice cream with malted milk balls within it. My one scoop had about 5 balls. Each ball was crunchy with a hint of pretzel. The ice cream itself was very creamy – typically Graeter’s – but the flavor was very basic and not malty. It was good and I’m glad I tried it – but on my next trip to Graeter’s, I will be having something else.

Although John Dickerson and Norah O’Donnell have moved on to different assignments within the network and a new morning team is in place, I still prefer CBS This Morning as my morning news show. I enjoyed the tributes the show did for each of them. I’ve linked the video to each name: John and Norah.

For the record, I did not watch the Game of Thrones finale. Then again, I haven’t the first or any episode.

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For a person who claims to be the most transparent administration in US history and that he has nothing to hide, so Mr. President – Why do you prevent the release of information and block people from testifying?

Given the craziness in current politics, I yield to a great American orator who provides a simple, perfect explanation. Click here for a short explanation if and only if you are curious.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion explains the top reasons to consider a road-trip for your next family vacation.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologists capture rare photo of two mutually beneficial species exchanging business cards
Breaking News: You still have to go to work in Heaven
Random uncle’s wife crying a bunch throughout Grandma’s funeral
Horrified authorities discover one-day-old funnel cake abandoned in dumpster
Bugs Bunny explains how LeBron helped him get sober for role in Space Jam sequel
Excited archeologists hit mass grave jackpot

(My Combo) Excited Bugs Bunny explains how Heaven works to crying LeBron abandoned in dumpster

Interesting Reads

Social media and political discourse
Bridging the religious-secular divide
Therapeutics and Cannabis
Same-sex marriage across the world
Palestinian cuisine
Murals and the Sudanese revolution
(Photos) World Beard and Moustache Championships

To send you into the weekend, here’s the great Bonnie Raitt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 397

woman s face with color splatters

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No weekend concert series this weekend. I have no definite timetable for their return, but I’m thinking June.

On the plus side, the beach walk series returns Sunday evening.

Regulars may remember my love for the Flora-Bama – a great roadhouse on the Florida side of the border with Alabama. Last week, Kenny Chesney made this surprise appearance in the room we frequent.

Several blog milestones are approaching: Views #400,000, OITS #400, and Post #2,200.

Golf League started earlier this week. With only one day of playing in 2019, I didn’t expect much of myself – so I accepted a wide range of inconsistency.

We recently saw an interesting production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Instead of the normal assortment of cast and orchestra, the cast doubled as the musicians – therefore, each person displayed a variety of talents.

We recently attended an enjoyable concert by the Ambassadors, a select group of the Cincinnati Boys Choir. And to think these young people sang many of the songs in foreign languages!

My journey with the Quickstep routine has been interesting – especially working around 6 weeks down south plus the recent cruise adventure of almost 3 weeks. With one week to go, we are finally to the polish stage … but I can’t wait until it is over.

Have you ever played Singo? We stumbled across it one evening at a local establishment. Interesting and fun. Here’s a short video about it.

For me, this local story would seem to be from The Onion – but oh no – it’s real. Seems a group of adults started fighting at Chuck E Cheeze.

Warning: Those with low tolerance and being easily offended should not read The Onion headlines and my combo.

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The recent Senate Hearing involving Attorney General Barr was all about political theater – not fact-finding – not what is best for the country – but pure party-first political theater. This partisan public spectacle provided clarity for those viewing the situation through their partisan lens- not trying to get to the crux of an important public issue. This party-first event serves as a prime example why concerned citizens have low regard for government officials, and serve as a reason for withdrawing from the voting process. Pathetic …. simply pathetic.

My views on impeachment

  • Congress (not the public) determines the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors”
  • Does significant grounds for impeachment exist? Unquestionably yes
  • Should the House Dems initiate impeachment? Unquestionably no – After all, successful impeachment requires a significant number of Senate Republicans to go against President Trump (and that won’t happen with the current crop of enablers)
  • To House Dems – Be careful not to waste your time and political capital

Now that Joe Biden (D-De) is in the race for the Democratic nomination, I have established the Biden Dilemma.

  • His age
  • Voters may be looking for a fresh face (as they did with Jimmy Carter (1976), Bill Clinton (1992), George W Bush (2000), Barack Obama (2008), and Donald Trump (2016)
  • Not Left enough
  • If nominated, the party will force him left, that is forcing him to be who he isn’t (Similar to what happened to Hilliary Clinton (2016), John McCain (2004), and Mitt Romney (2008)
  • His tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time
  • Kate Smith Syndrome – Anything in the past can be placed into today’s standards and context
  • (New) Link to the Republican Boogie Man

I not only foresee President Trump dumping Mike Pence, but adding Nikki Halley to the ticket would regain the confidence of many of the GOP wafflers and some independents.

My latest odds on the 2020 election

  • 100% chance GOP nominates President Trump
  • 0% chance President Trump gets my vote
  • 20 % chance Dem nominee gets my vote
  • 65% chance President Trump re-elected

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion’s this suggestion about corporate sponsors of a national park made me laugh.

business businessmen career colorful

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Humiliated baboon unable to keep ass swollen in front of mate
Woman jealous of horse’s eyelashes
Priest cursed with incredible penis
Dog sitting at grave where owner buried alive
Elderly man feeling useless in retirement wishes he could go back to feeling useless at work
Religious conservatives argue Adam and Eve would never have been banished if they’d had guns

(My Combo) Adam feeling useless and cursed with Eve unable to keep incredible swollen penis at work

Interesting Reads

A rare language
The most anti-science documentaries on Netflix
10 best national parks outside the US
Global views on diversity, family, and religion
Buddhism, science, and the universe
(Photos) Association of Photographers Awards

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 395

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US) with Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul!!!!

What timing! This Sunday night (9 PM Eastern US), CBS is broadcasting a special tribute to Aretha!

Five more OITS until number 400.

Sad to hear the news about baseball great Tom Seaver having dementia. When he played in Cincinnati, he lived in a condo on a golf course I worked at in the summer. He was very appreciative when I told him that when people asked me where he lived, I always lied. The man was a great pitcher. Wishing him and his family much strength.

Thanks to Holly @ House of Heart for leading me to this awesome poem about Tango.

Ever ask yourself this question: “Why did I agree to do that?” Well, our dance instructor asked me if I would do a showcase dance with another partner. (My wife doesn’t dance performances). With my wife’s approval, I agreed – but of all things – Quickstep! Fast and not only of my better dances. YIKES! … OK – head to the grindstone.

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With more and more Democrats seeking to be the 2020 party nominee for president, I wonder who will be the first to leave the race. Too bad Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) decided not to enter the fray.

I have mixed feelings about the Democrats decision to bypass FOX News for their debates.

This remains my best explanation of President Trump: He’s a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of problems onto himself.

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion has a guide to blockchain technology.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man in rental car spends 20 minutes trying to find the steering wheel
Demonic spirit claws way out of Hell to flicker lights, throw some silverware around
Sperm can’t remember why it came into womb
Cursed ghost ship offers free room and board to anyone willing to join their eternally damned crew
God purges millions of souls from heaven now that sexual assault taken more seriously

Interesting Reads

Americans and Germans diverging thoughts
Travel pattern of text messages
Finding aliens
Politics and Dr. Seuss
Daring WW II raids
(Video) 5-minute history of the Internet in China
(Photos) Cherry blossoms
(Photos) Finalists Smithsonian Magazine photo contest

To send you into the weekend, the great response last week means another one from Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.