Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 314

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I haven’t done an OITS since my return from vacation, so it’s about time.

Now that vacation is over, the fall means returning to volunteering with English Second Language adults, ushering at plays, and ballroom dancing with seniors and with adults with Down Syndrome … plus playing handbells.

Speaking of handbells, here’s the piece we’re playing this weekend. Click to watch and listen.

It’s been another good season for Dancing with the Stars. Amazing how that show keeps chugging along. They are down to the final 6: two whose time it is to go, and 4 worthy of making the final 3.

Italians love picking their own mushrooms.

I’ve been spending significant time researching and writing on my religion and science project. I must say that it has been quite the learning journey, and one that may lead to self-publishing.

All of us know that there is more to a person we know than we think. Rich works at the golf course, but he’s in carts. This weekend he is officiating his last high school football game … after 40 years! Impressive!

Some may be wondering about the next musical. The ideas are in my head, but it is important for me to be as available as possible during musicals. Therefore, no announcement is in the near future.

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Hooray … presumably, the U.S. presidential election will be over soon! Regardless of the outcome, no more campaign commercials on Wednesday … actually Tuesday evening. Woo hoo!!!

This past Friday I waited in the doctor’s office, where a cable news channel is always on. During the 90 minutes I waited, the election was the only topic covered. Isn’t anything else happening in this country and the world?

Regardless if I agree or disagree with the statement, I enjoyed this comment: Americans are facing a choice between a crook and a creep.

From the warped side of the political spectrum, read this … and this clown is my state senator.

Regardless of the final outcome for the presidency, I’m hoping another four years of divided government. That is, the White House, control of the Senate, and control of the House of Representatives is not controlled by one party. Divided government has been ineffective and inefficient the past 6 years. However, in the current political climate, divided government prevents one party shoving their preferences down everyone’s throat.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Earthquakes in Italy
Donald Trump’s popularity
The rotten season of my favorite football teams (2 college and 1 pro)
Too many campaign commercials on television
Samsung’s problems with the Galaxy 7 and washing machines

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists the most-ignored issues in the US Presidential campaign.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man who stopped dieting already seeing results
Grandmother doesn’t care for new priest
Pope Francis hosts feathered serpent god as part of deity exchange program
Each member of family on edge as vacation has gone without one blowout fight
Non-dominant hand completely botches nail clipping job
Anthropologists discover isolated tribe of joyful Americans living in remote village untouched by 2016 election

Interesting Reads
A Medal of Honor story
A story about drilling holes in skulls
Chinese glass walkway
Some of the world’s most boring jobs
History of drywall
The religious reacting to medical advances
An interactive: Henry Hudson’s travels
(Photos) National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

For your weekend, here’s the latest from The Piano Guys. Enjoy the trip! Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 239

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On Politics
I offer these two points about Tuesday’s resounding victory for Republicans

  • Republicans didn’t have a collection of candidates who said stupid things (e.g – Todd Aiken, Christine O’Donnell, Richard Murdock, and Sharon Angle)
  • Democrats spent too much time running for away from themselves

Looking ahead, I see some questions:

For Republicans

  1. Now that you won a campaign without stating what you stand for, so what’s it going to be?
  2. Can you govern?
  3. Will you give Democrats something in order to get something done (get votes) in order to bypass the obstinate in your ranks?

For Democrats

  1. Will you do what you should have done long ago – dispose the Congressional leaders?
  2. Will you become the party of no?
  3. What will the White House do?

President Obama’s proclamation of moving ahead on immigration via executive order by the end of the year is not a good idea.

Congratulations to Sarah Palin (aka The Nincompoop) for saying something reasonably intelligent. Now, new Republican Congressional majority in the House and Senate, please realize that Americans were not necessarily voting FOR any party; they were voting AGAINST the continued dysfunction and corruption in D.C. … although odds are high that she surrounded his phrase with bountiful rhetoric.

Hooray … no more ridiculous campaign ads … well, at least for now.

Some election notes from The Onion

  • Single strip of “I Voted” stickers more than enough for midterm polling station
  • Morbidly curious nation wondering how far Obama’s appearance will deteriorate in 2 years

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Ovulation calendar just the ticket for rekindling couple’s lagging sex life
Clothing company releases gender-neutral underwear
Fire-Ninja Inferno becomes first openly gay fatal melee fighter
Laid-back company allows employees to work from home after 6 pm
Farmers’ Almanac predicting short season for prime-time dramas

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Interesting Reads
Politicians saying “I am not a scientist”
Bumpifying politics
An interview with John Glenn
Nelson Rockefeller: A book review
The day the shortest player played baseball
Dogs – Their belly scratch-leg kick reflex

On Potpourri
For those aware of the Lauren Hill story, Wheaties announced that they will feature her on a cereal boxes in our area soon. Also, her school’s conference selected her as the Player of the Week and an Inspiration Award.

After two weeks away, it was good to rejoin the Down Syndrome group for dancing this week.

My busy week limited reading many of your latest posts. 😦

Life: The Musical returns next week with Act 12 … well, as long as I announce the theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week, but I am working on the next one.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, Hug a Stuffed Bear Day, Magazine Day
  • (Sat) Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day, X-Ray Day, Abet & Aid Punsters Day, Ample Time Day, Harvey Wallbanger Day, Try a New Recipe Day, Time Management Day
  • (Sun) World Freedom Day, Scrapple Day, Chaos Never Dies Day, Parade Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a trip by to the 1980s. Those remembering the early days of M-TV will know Down Under (Men at Work). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Election Results from Conservatives

As Election Day 2010 is a week past, Democrats are trying to keep their wounded head high while many Republicans are thumping their chest. On the other hand, I see the results as a warning to both sides as a mandate for sensible governance over both the bully pulpit and intentional obstructionism.

Instead of focusing on the partisan rhetoric delivered by various GOP leaders and self-anointed spokespersons, here are the words of notable conservative columnists to support my point.

Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people’s proxy in saying no to Obama’s overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn’t an election so much as a restraining order. The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant.

Charles Krauthhamer

Mr. Obama has a far better product to sell than Tea Partiers like Mr. DeMint. But Mr. Obama needs to connect better with American voters. He needs to lose the cool and start sweating — and slugging. If he can do that, and if the economy comes back over the next couple of years, he can still be remembered as one of our great presidents. One who served two terms.

Nicholas Kristof

On many of these fronts, Congressional Republicans will protest that there’s nothing to be done so long as Barack Obama occupies the White House. Hence Boehner’s calculated attempt to lower expectations; hence Mitch McConnell’s insistence that the most important thing Republicans can do is work toward the president’s defeat in 2012.

But even if they’re right, that’s all the more reason to spend the next two years getting serious about policy. It will profit neither conservatism nor the country if Republicans take the White House two Novembers hence, and find themselves as unprepared to govern as they are today.

Russ Douthat

The point is not “He (Ronald Reagan) was a great man and you (Sarah Palin) are a nincompoop,” though that is true. The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world.

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

Americans don’t want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They’ll vote no on that. It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger.

Peggy Noonan

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 8

I usually do this post on Fridays and on a variety of topics. Given the historic inauguration, these shorts focus on the new president and associated events.

President Obama, please restore the balance of power between the branches of government.

I still hope that neither the Obama administration nor a Democratic-controlled Congress decides to investigate the Bush administration.

About a year and half ago, a friend (and self-declared political pundit) said to me, “America will never elect a person with a name like Barack Obama.”

My father-in-law, a lifelong Republican, said on Inauguration Day, “I didn’t vote for him, but how can I not root for this guy. I really like him.”

I’m amazed how many people continue to proclaim that CNN’s bias toward President Obama won the election. Of course these same people don’t realize the FOX News is the ratings leader in all timeslots and their viewership is relatively equivalent to CNN and MSNBC combined.

An interesting comment on presidential campaigns: Campaign promises function as guideposts, not promises.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS’s Bob Schieffer that he senses a bipartisan cooperative center in Congress. I hope he’s right, thus the heck with the far right and the far left. To Senator Graham I respectfully say, “Talk is cheap.”

Here’s an interesting post from Bush staff member Mark McKinnon about the trip from Washington.

This Cincinnati Enquirer editorial looked back at its previous Inauguration Day comments, which I found interesting.

From Peggy Noonan

This was not the sound of candidate Barack Obama but President Obama, not the sound of the man who appealed to the left wing of his party but one attempting to appeal to the center of the nation. It was not a joyous, audacious document, not a call to arms, but a reasoned statement by a Young Sobersides.

From George Will: Summoning the U.S. Up from Childishness

Obama, whose trumpet never sounds retreat, overstated the scale of our difficulties with his comparison of them with those the nation faced in the almost extinguishing winter of 1776-77. Still, the lyrics of cultural traditionalism with which he ended — the apostle of “change we can believe in” urging the nation to believe in “old” values — reinforced his theme of responsibility, summoning the nation up from childishness.

And from Dick Morris

So Obama’s name will be mud by 2012 and probably by 2010 as well. And the Republican Party will make big gains and regain much of its lost power. But it will be too late to reverse the socialism of much of the economy, the demographic change in the electorate, the rationing of healthcare by the government, the surge of unionization and the crippling of talk radio.

As a postscript addition (1 hr later), I have to add this. As Raul Castro says President Obama seems like a good man and wishes him luck, Rush Limbaugh proudly and loudly proclaims, “I hope he fails.”

Reasons Why I Can’t

I’m an independent voter in a swing state (Ohio). Independent meaning I don’t automatically vote for any particular party. For primary election purposes, I am a registered Republican. In the Ohio primary I stayed on the Republican side and voted for John McCain. The GOP was over when Ohio’s turn came around, but I didn’t crossover (as many Republicans did) to vote for Senator Clinton because they thought she was more beatable. Although within their right, I deplore such behavior.

As an independent moderate, I watch the process and continually reflect on my stance and for whom I would vote in November. That’s right – I’m not a rubber-stamp voter.

John McCain is a good, honorable, man. I applaud his military service and his public service. I loudly applaud his stance on pork barrel spending, as well as his maverick side and history of crossing the aisle. Once the race got down to two, I was leaning his way. With that said, I now know that I cannot vote for McCain-Palin in November for the following reasons.

1) Choosing a VP is the first major decision the perspective nominee makes, and (to me) this was a major disappointment. Although some come with the territory, the feeding frenzy regarding her daughter’s pregnancy and general muckraking are unfortunate and unnecessary. On the other hand, her public experience does allow examination of her record. I want to judge her on how she stands as a public servant and what she brings to the table.

Granted, at the convention she delivered a good political speech and energized the base. Considering Senator McCain’s age, I simply expect more of the one who would be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Someday she may be ready, but not yet – and her few interviews have reinforced that point for me. Although the upcoming VP debate may soften my opinion of her, the change won’t be enough.

I’m insulted by the use of “experience” to justify Governor Palin’s selection while mocking the opponents. Although I have my issues with Congress as a whole, I place value on legislative experience and where one serves on the public-service hierarchy. I will not stoop low enough to submit Senator McCain to the same standards because the GOP’s experience argument is for the weak, the shallow, and the partisan.

To top it all off, Senator McCain proclaims Country First; yet Politics First served as the premise of his first decision

2) I commend Senator McCain’s attempts of reaching the moderates; however, this is contradictory to his pandering to the far right. Endorsements from the Limbaugh-Dobson types identifies where the McCain-Palin ticket stands. The fear mongering and inflexible nature of that ideology is not acceptable to a moderate like me. It’s possible that he is using Governor Palin to appease the right so he can work on the center. If so, that’s both commendable and risky – but too risky for me.

3) Senator McCain is in a tough spot: distancing himself from an unpopular president to gain support at the risk of losing some in his party, or attempting a subtle way to keep the party faithful and the expense of possibly gaining others. The current credit crisis has given him a little more room to do so.

Senator McCain honor and being a good soldier are parts of his fabric; so he won’t slam the current White House. Without a doubt, he is unquestionably different in terms of fiscal responsibility, energy, the environment, and serving with dignity. With economic, health care, and foreign policy issues, I haven’t seen enough to convince me that Senator McCain is different enough from President Bush. Believing it is a roll of the dice.

I rewatched Senator McCain’s speech at the 2004 convention. Although his Michael Moore line was very good, his unquestionable praise and support for the current administration is obvious. That’s a direction I cannot support; and I voted for President Bush in 2000! This administration’s failures directly relate to many of our nation’s problems; and I’ve had enough!

4) I believe the Supreme Court is a court for all Americans and an important aspect of our society. An effective court should have diverse views. For instance, Justice Scalia is a view, but not the view. At the other end of the spectrum, Justice Ginsberg is a view, but not the view. To me, having a majority of Scalias is just as bad as a court with a majority of Ginsbergs. Each view is important and should be heard so the court centrists can lead to fair decisions for all. John McCain clearly favors a one-sided court that I cannot support. Then again, his nominee has to pass through the Senate, which is a story in itself.

6) I’ve been looking for additional substance beyond the campaign rhetoric; so I sought additional information from the each candidate’s Web sites, various respected columnists, and independent resources. This campaign is between thin-on-details and the thinner-on-details. Senator McCain is the thinner. He prefers continually using punch lines to excite the partisan masses over reaching out to win my vote.

Agree or disagree, these fundamentals are important to me, therefore reasons why I cannot vote for McCain-Palin in November. But be careful jumping to conclusions.

Since I’m not impressed with the alternative parties, my vote is at this point: Democratic or leaving the ballot blank. The Obama-Biden ticket has work to do during the closing month to get my vote. Because I’ve done it before, I do not have a problem leaving my presidential ballot blank on Election Day. Our system allows such. As a voter, it’s very important to vote my convictions. And please, do not confuse a blank with not voting at all.

If Senator McCain wins, I hope he has a successful presidency. His success and the country’s success are directly related; therefore I wish the same for Senator Obama. You see – once the presidential election is over, I can’t wish the winner harm, hope for their disaster, or immediately jump on the negative bandwagon as many partisan voters. Why not? – Because I know the meaning of and how to demonstrate Country First.