Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 246

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This week’s terrorist attack in Paris was horrifying. Strength to the French, and peace to the many Muslims who condone condemn such brutality in the name of religion. Much of life is about two virtues that a few people lack: respect and tolerance.

Note: The previous paragraph shows an edit with the original word in place. Using that word was an honest mistake, and I apologize. A special thanks to Lame for pointing this out to me in private.

Congress is back in session … gag!

In his recent WSJ column, I appreciate these words by William Galston:

Although both the executive and judicial branches play a role in the legislative process, the people’s elected representatives are supposed to drive this process. When they fail to do so, the legitimacy of popular government is called into question. Along with partisan commitments, members of Congress have constitutional responsibilities, and it is time for members of both parties to start honoring them. …

For the most part, though, there are only two choices—continued gridlock or compromises in which each party gives ground on matters it cares about. …. Both sides would have to eat some crow, but the dish might still be palatable.

Cheers to the fact checker at the Washington Post, who also put together this list of the biggest Pinocchios of 2014. Then again, politicians do make it easy.

Act 15 of Life: The Musical is complete. Readers provided an outstanding collection, so many thanks to all participants. Only 2 acts to go in this musical – any ideas about the theme for Act 16?

I’m hoping to continue the Exploring series, thus will consider your suggestions. Think person, place, or thing.

Congratulations to Cindy for being the 50,000th comment here (which happened in the last post). She received a beautiful fireworks display!

If I can complete the work, I hope to celebrate the first Saturday in 2015 with a Saturday Morning Cartoon post!

To lead you into The Onion headlines, here’s their suggestions for fighting the winter blues.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Brutal cold doesn’t factor into man’s decision to stay inside for two straight days
Weird chair pressed into service at family’s holiday dinner
Copycat criminals continue to mimic liquor store robbery from 1882
Dirty-Slush machine provides children in Florida a taste of winter
Supreme Court releases young Scalia’s audition tape
Man who spent 300 hours playing fantasy football this year rewarded with $30 second-place prize

Interesting Reads
Connection between dirt and antibiotics
Science of the booty call
An excellent energy series from WSJ
(Interactive) Interesting oil graphic
(Graph) Inflation-adjusted gasoline prices since 1980
The link between bourbon biscuits and bourbon whiskey

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Nerd Day, Apricot Day, Clean Off Your Desk Day, Balloon Ascension Day, Cassoulet Day, Static Electricity Day, Dance Day, Organize Your Home Day
  • (Sat) Peculiar People Day, Bittersweet Chocolate Day, Cut Your Energy Costs Day, Save the Eagles Day
  • (Sun) No Pants Subway Ride Day, Milk Day, Step in a Puddle & Splash Your Friend Day, Secret Pal Day, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day, Hot Toddy Day, Thank You Day, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Health Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 2-fer from Life: The Musical – Act 15. The first is a song (thanks Narf) that didn’t fit the parameters, but the video was an excellent match to the theme – plus it make you smile. The second goes out to Debra because I was surprised she didn’t use it. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Flashbacks: On Politics

Sports and politics are the main topics when I started this blog. As the sidebar shows, I broadened my posting interest since the early days – however, politics as maintained a presence. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 136

On Politics
I’ve been shaking my head at Congress for some time. Oh my my! Just wait until the end of 2012 when Congress faces the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, expiration of the payroll tax holiday, debt ceiling extension, and the looming deadline of the automatic budgets cuts.

Speaking of Congress, which is worse: One chamber knowingly passing a bill that has no chance of passing the other chamber or not acting on a bill sent by the other chamber?

As a component of overall foreign policy, the US government this dilemma: what to do when promoting national values and national interests are in conflict with one another.

Given the scandal at the US General Services Administration, I would be tempted redistribute its most important duties, and then disband the entire organization.

Because people like Ted Nugget are totally irrelevant to a campaign, why does he keep getting press? Then again, he earned a Dork of the Year nomination.

A thought about the Secret Service scandal in Columbia: Because Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has never heard to this happening before, this must be the first time this has ever happened – therefore it must be President Obama’s fault; but I am not sure what Rep. Issa’s brothers think. (For that don’t know, that’s Larry and Darryl)

On Headlines from The Onion
Trusted Sistine Chapel Janitor Convicted of Sexually Abusing the Last 4 Popes
Depressed Ralph Lauren Releases New Wrinkled Shirt with Marinara Stain
Local Idiot to Post Comment on Internet
Every Potential 2040 President Already Unelectable due to Facebook
Scientists Discover Delicious New Species
Local Priest Grateful to FTD for Easter-Reminder Email
Study Shows 38% of People Not Entitled to Own Opinion

Interesting Reads
Maureen Dowd on Phony Mommy Wars 
A Mummified Kitten
Interesting graphic regarding a naval war with Iran
For those with an interest in style, Plastic in Fashion
Fact or Fiction: Debunking Rural Legends (Thanks Starla)
Companies that Lobby the Most and What They Get

On Potpourri
Tuesday provided wonder camera work of the space shuttle Discovery riding piggyback on a NASA 747 on its final journey from the Florida to DC. For anyone who missed it, see the takeoff and DC flyover + landing.

Jim Abbott has one hand, but pitched in Major League Baseball. Watch this several-minute interview from CNN.

Do you remember the pictures from The Wave by my friend Steve? See his new site, which includes a wonderful musical slide show on the front page.

Interestingly, recent research by the Public Religion Research Institute about Jewish values shows that more Jews have a more favorable rating of Mormons and Muslims than the Christian Right – and I imagine the Christian Right doesn’t really care about that!

As US gas prices continue to rise, let us not forget that US exports of gasoline lowers the US supply. Why export? – because the companies can get a higher price for their product elsewhere!

So far, I’ve enjoyed the current cast of Dancing with the Stars because the overall dancing is good and the cast is likeable. Meanwhile, Holy Menounos, have you seen opera singer Katherine Jenkins?

Blog numbers are down, so the surge was fun while it lasted. Meanwhile, with another classic cartoon salute tomorrow, post #900 should be sometime midweek. Woo hoo!

Have a good weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. Now I close with an interesting music and description from the video. Enjoy and thanks Xandi.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 133

On Politics
In the past month, Rick Santorum lead in the state he served as senator, has gone from +30 to +2.

Delusional? “We are reorganizing to execute the strategy we need to win the nomination.” (Joe DeSantis, Communications Director of the Newt Gingrich Campaign after the campaign lay-offs staff)

While in Cincinnati, Karl Rove (a Republican strategist) recently proclaimed President Obama “the most vulnerable Democratic president since Jimmy Carter.” Brilliant for the partisans, but weak for the pragmatic because President Obama is the second Democratic president since President Carter.

A quote by me on another blog, “Contradictions and politicians are a better match of words than macaroni and cheese.”

If there was ever a time to broadcast the US Supreme Court, the latest healthcare hearings was it. The Court’s decision to deny broadcast has nothing to do with tradition, privacy, or obstruction. After all, there was a time when the justices rode a horse to their job. (Thank you CNN viewer for the line.)

As Reuters reports two-thirds of Americans are unhappy how President Obama is handling something he cannot control, I say a high majority of that two-thirds needs to be educated about the factors depending gas prices.

Does anyone think that the US Supreme Court Justices haven’t already made up their mind before hearing the presentations about the Affordable Care Act?

On Headlines from The Onion
Small Town Mayor Steps Down Amidst Scandal over Forged Coupon
Procrastinating Catholic 20 Rosaries Behind
Jeff Beck Lured into Dark Alley with Old-Guitar-Pick-on-a-String Trick
Boss’s Going Away Party a Little Too Jubilant
Man Died in Sleep During Terrible Nightmare
Closing of State Aviary Facilities Puts Hundred of Mentally Ill Birds on the Streets

Interesting Reads
John Avlon about the Right and the Mandate
The Foulness of the “Activist Judges” Cry
Michel Tomasky on the Freedom Fetish
Thomas Friedman about Mid-East Policy
Kathleen Parker on Moderation

On Sports
Baseball season is about to start. Ah yes, I remember the days when Major League Baseball respected and honored Cincinnati with the traditional opener. Meanwhile, there is nothing like Opening Day in Cincinnati, which is this April 5th.

In the spirit of college basketball’s Final Four weekend, I propose that college who recruit a player and then that player leaves after one year, the college loses that scholarship for 3 years (and a similar progression for year 2). Oh I forgot that NCAA leadership are eunuchs and at least as bad as, and possibly worse, than Congress.

On Potpourri

Jonas Salk tested his polio vaccine on himself and his own family. It’s fun imagining what the FDA might make of that today. But Salk’s selflessness was genuine. For one thing, neither he, nor Albert Sabin, who developed the oral version of the vaccine, ever even patented their inventions.

But Jonas Salk was not some absent-minded science nerd. He had originally gone to college to study law, and what he cared about most intensely was his fellow man. In a 1991 interview, four years before he died, Salk explained that as a young man he was never drawn to science, per se. “I was merely interested in things human, the human side of nature, if you like,” he said. “That’s what motivates me. And, in a way, it’s the human dimension that has intrigued me.” (Carl Cannon, Editor, Real Clear Politics)

The latest sensation from Britain’s Got Talent brought a tear to my eye.

Congratulations Starla for being the 9000th comment on this blog (earlier this week).

I will have a post on Saturday.

I think the video below will send you into the weekend with a smile. Have a good weekend everyone, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 131

On Politics
America is such a great land of opportunity and freedom, we can elect a senator who recently said this about global warming, “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate is, to me, outrageous.” Meanwhile, he is also a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (From The Hill)

Directing faults to Bill Maher and his past comments does not clear Rush Limbaugh of any blame of his own doing.

I’m not sure which Romney comment caused a greater frown: The trees are the right height (Michigan), or his recent Mornin’ y’ll and grits reference (Alabama). Who is writing and approving his script?

Columnist Kathleen Parker had two good reads: One regarding the GOP and women, and the other about campaigning in the South.

I’ve seen several polls that over 50% of the public believes the US President is responsible for rising gas prices, which also means that many people need to read my past post about gas prices.

On Headlines from The Onion
Government Admits to Hiding Embarrassingly Lame 1973 ET Encounter
Border Agent Tossed Rocks Over Fences Separating Rock Family that have been Legally in this Country
Neighbor Apparently a Binocular Nut
Lying Asshole Fired for No Reason
Doctors Modify Beer Helmet to Deliver Intravenous Live Cirrhosis Medicine
Obama Waiting for Perfect Moment to Walk by White House Tour

Interesting Reads
How to be Creative
Good News about the Viruses in Your Genes
March Guide to Visible Planets
Congress member turned Lobbyist: How much is the pay raise?

On March Madness
The mania around the college basketball tournament has begun. My hopes for winning lies in ABK – Anybody But Kentucky.

I have my MA from the University of Cincinnati, so the more wins by the Bearcats, the better – but I don’t anticipate them surviving this weekend. Bowling Green, my alma mater, has not been in the tournament since 1968, which is the 13th longest dry spell in the country. Ouch!

Two suggestions for the committee that they won’t take: 1) At-large teams must have a record above .500 in their own league; 2) No First-Four play-in game for automatic qualifiers.

On Potpourri
Bowling alleys in churches are disappearing. Who would have thunk it?

Earlier this week marked the 70th anniversary about the penicillin’s first use. Here is a a reflection about the event and a story about the first survivor.

Cool pictures: World’s Coolest Staircases, Recent Solar Flares

I will have a post this weekend.

To send us into the weekend, (thanks to Xandi at World Music) here is a unique song from Egypt. I don’t know what they are saying, but this is creative. Have a good weekend everyone, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Gas Prices

With gas prices increasing and prognosticators anticipating many more increases, it’s time A Frank Angle about the situation. Here are a dozen points everyone should know.

1) Presidents do not sit in the Oval Office thinking of ways to increase gas prices.

2) Politicians saying they can control gas prices is verbal flatulence.

3) The oil drilled in the United States enters the global commodity market – thus not for the United States. In other words, the Keystone Pipeline and Drill Baby Drill do not lower prices at the pumps.

4) The world commodity market determines the price of oil

5) Speculation in both directions is how the commodities market works – which is one reason why it is also called the Futures Market.

6) The supply and demand for oil influences the commodity (oil) market. For those who don’t know, usage Asia and the emerging markets is growing.

7) World situations (as Iran, Syria, Libya, etc) affect the commodity market because commodity brokers do not like uncertainty.)

8] The number of refineries operating and the operating margin affects prices.

9) Prices differ state to state because of different amounts of state taxes.

10) The amount a person spends depends for gas on three factors: the price per gallon, the vehicle’s miles per gallon, and the miles driven. Which one is out of the control of the consumer?

11) Politicians saying they can control gas prices is verbal flatulence.

12) Presidents do not sit in the Oval Office thinking of ways to increase gas prices.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 103

On the Final Launch
The early days of the space program remain in my memory. I faintly remember seeing Sputnik move across the night sky yet, easily recall Uri Gagarin’s first flight. Images of watching the Mercury launches at elementary school remain, and yes, I even watched the shuttle’s first test flight as it was released from a Boeing 747 for its glide test – so of course I watched the its first launch. In other words, the upcoming final launch of the shuttle program saddens me yet; I can only hope that its end will lead to a new beginning.

On Potpourri
Here’s a healthy pasta side dish from a restaurant chain: 1230 cal, 46 g saturated fats, 1439 mg sodium. Thank for Cheesecake Factory for your overly healthy Mac n Cheese

As for the Casey Anthony verdict, it’s tough to delivery “guilty” on a case that is built on circumstantial evidence; therefore, no justice for the deceased little girl.

MLB’s method for selecting an All-Star team continues to be as much as a joke as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s tenure.

NASCAR makes its first stop in the Cincinnati area this weekend for the inaugural Quaker State 400. Although Cincinnati is in Ohio, the Kentucky race dawns a Pennsylvania sponsorship. Interestingly, the main event sold 120,000 tickets and ticket buyers represent all 50 states. Bottom line is that the impact on the local economy will be huge.

On the way to Detroit last weekend, I spotted the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile going in the opposite direction – but I cannot confirm that Anthony Weiner was driving.

On the trip home, I spotted a Girls Gone Wild bus going in the opposite direction – but I cannot confirm that Anthony Weiner was on the bus.

Columnist Maureen Dowd provides an interesting perspective about a Twilight Zone in this read.

On Dollars
I discovered this week that the banking industry has a record amount of capital available for investment – yet, banks continue to keep the keep on the sidelines. Is this a political decision or a political decision?

A special thanks to the monopolistic price-gauging gasoline industry (who does not collude on prices) for raising pump prices twice last week. The second, a 15-20 cents per gallon increase going into the holiday weekend, was suddenly dropped on July 5th.

On Politics
Debt ceiling talks in Washington are simply political theater. I ask both sides why they continue to downplay or selectively use the Deficit Commission (Simpson-Bowles) report. Since I am more than tired of the GOP broken record of it’s our-way-or-nothing approach, it’s time to call their bluff.

USA Today provided opposing view columns about the debt limit.

Time watch: 26 weeks into Speaker Boehner’s leadership and still no jobs bill from the one who regularly asked, “Where are the jobs?”

Meanwhile, I appreciate this Bob Schieffer commentary about our politicians. See or read it here.

With baseball’s All-Star Game approaching, enjoy this version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Have a safe weekend.