Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 362

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Many thanks for the kind words about my writing in the latest beach walk (#24). I plan another beach walk to go up Sunday night (Eastern US).

The last handbell choir rehearsal of the season was earlier this week. After playing for a service this weekend, we break until August.

Our last ushering assignment of the season at the Playhouse was also this week. Murder For Two is a unique, enjoyable who-dunnit play with two actors: one playing the detective and the other all the suspects. Definitely not serious, it is very musical and a bit of Vaudeville. The actors were great, but it simply wasn’t my style.

As technology changes, devices also change or even replaced. The Museum of Endangered Sounds is an online place attempting to store replaced sounds. It’s a fun place to visit, so I’ll put the link in the Interesting Reads list.

My Cincinnati Reds were the first baseball team to lose 20 games this season. I wonder which will happen first: The last team to lose 20 or the Reds to win 20. The race is on!

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To reinforce a statement I made last week about Trump-Clinton-Obama, keep in mind that President Trump needs a villain in his messaging – a boogie man. As long as they continue to fill that role, he will continue to campaign against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Ohio had a primary election earlier this week. It’s sad that so few voters turn out for non-presidential year elections … and Ohio had primary races for governor and senator!

2016 was a presidential election year. In my county, 56,372 people voted in the primary – but 100,859 voted in the November general election. Meanwhile, 25,100 voted in this week’s primary.

My county is so Republican that Bozo the Clown could win an election if he was designed Republican on the ballot. However, I found this interesting: of the 139,110 registered voters, 8.3% are Democrats, 33.72% Republican, and 57.93% are Nonpartisan. On the other hand, in this county, are number of registered Nonpartisans must vote Republican – which also means that are NINOs – Nonpartisan in Name Only.

FYI: Individual states determine voter registration rolls. For primaries, Ohioans register as Democratic, Republican, Green, or Nonpartisan on Election Day. Nonpartisans can’t participate in party primaries, therefore receive ballots with containing on Issues for voting. (My ballot only had two issues on it, and no people.)

Advice for Democrats – Before the fall election, Leader Pelosi (D-CA) should announce that if the Dems gain control of the House in 2018, she will not seek or accept the Speaker’s chair.

Cheers to Saturday Night Live for last week’s outstanding skit that included many of the characters in President Trump’s news circle. For those that missed it, click here.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for treating bed bug infestation.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Amazon fires warehouse worker who took unauthorized breath
Construction crew arguing over who gets to use the fun tools
Kroger recalls 35,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain CEO
50,000 chicken breasts recalled after leaving factory without getting a little kiss goodbye
One-adventurous salmon can’t believe she ended up moving back to birthplace, having a bunch of kids

Interesting Reads
A perspective about infrastructure
Bulls, DNA, and beef
Baghdad: the new Partytown
Picasso, creativity, and genius
Why analog still exists despite digital
(Interactive) Museum of Endangered Sounds
(Photos) Awesome images of a stormy sky

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic by Cat Stevens. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 324

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Although we were at a dance event, we did get to see the Super Bowl ending. Plus, we recorded the game so we could watch the commercials and the halftime show.

It was great to see former president George HW Bush and Barbara at the game. The announcer got it right by describing Mr. Bush as “the strongest man on the field.”

Congratulations New England Patriots and your fans.

The Sweet Scarletts grapefruit we have had recently have been a step beyond outstanding!

Valentine’s Day is approaching … don’t forget your Valentine!

I will have a timely post this weekend – probably sometime during the last half of Saturday.

I am making progress on transforming the hand-written posts I did last month into electronic versions … and some even into drafts ready for posting here. It was interesting to read comments about writing posts with pen and paper.

Last week I mentioned Cincinnati’s mayor identifying Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. I mentioned the potential loss of federal funds. This week the White House says federal money to Cincinnati for roads, bridges, and other projects is officially in trouble. Now the mayor seems surprised. Hello … anybody home?

This one is so appropriate for the times: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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A Venezuelan recently told me that Donald Trump reminds him of Hugo Chavez.

President Trump can talk all he wants about “saying what I mean and meaning what I say” … but he’s forgetting an admirable and necessary trait  … tone!

As Republicans complain about a federal judge’s order to halt President Trump’s executive order on immigration, the same Republicans seem to have short memories about their approach of using the courts to stop various aspects of the Affordable Care Act … but I remember.

I like the White House’s continual point to the media because it is just a matter of time before that well dries up.

Cheers to columnist Kathleen Parker who ended a recent column with this rational words: “Whatever tiny ray of hope people held out in the belief that Trump ultimately would behave rationally — respectful of protocol, with caution and care, without haste and with wisdom — has been extinguished by a strategy of maximum chaos executed by shock and awe. With heads spinning, if they’re not rolling, most won’t know what hit them until it’s too late. It’s called distraction.”

I welcome a rollback of Dodd-Frank, but as long as they also repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley … and I said that way back when – but I doubt if the Republicans have the backbone to do that.

I’ve never been a fan of retired Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer (who I seldom read) hit the right tone for me in this recent column. Too bad the House Democrats stayed attached to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

For deep readers from a conservative think tank: The Government’s Bad Arguments in Defense of Discriminating Against Immigrants Based on Nationality.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
The comeback in the Super Bowl
The mundane nature of the Super Bowl’s advertising collective
The White House blaming the media
The need to rollback Dodd-Frank
Rising cost of cable and satellite television

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for maintaining composure (important for many Democrats at the moment).

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Trained pony saves Billy Bob Thornton from fire as planned
Area friendship just a series of missed calls
Pretty lady playing hard to follow
Kid security guard brought in to pat down kid passengers
Study: Majority of humans happiest when rest of family still asleep
God pursues the great grandchildren of unsavory merchants and turns them into pillars of salt

Interesting Reads
The high costs of protectionism
The painting that fought fascism
10 forgotten battles that shaped history
Visit the European Southern Observatory
Where Americans live and their ancestral genetics

To lead you into the weekend, here’s another song from Asia. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 221

On Politics
For those you think the Tea Party is dead because of its unsuccessful showing in Tuesday’s primary, think again because if nothing else, it has shifted the party to the right.

As Washington examines issues at the Veterans Administration (VA), comments by members of Congress demonstrate to me that they are more interested in political gain than solving the problem.

Speaker Boehner’s (R-OH) new conference came on the radio as I was listening today, and I changed the channel. Later, I returned to find Minority Leader Pelosi’s (D-CA) new conference, so I changed the channel again.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Congress reluctant to cut funding for tank that just spins around and self destructs
  • Revealing spring attire reminds man he’s nothing more than weak, hormonal ogre
  • High school student, teacher applying for same summer waitressing job
  • Paleontologists unearth earliest known dinosaur stickers
  • Experts recommend breaking down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures
  • Ohio replaces lethal injection with human new head-ripping-off machine

Interesting Reads
Leadership lessons from Dancing with the Stars
Columnist Ruth Marcus on politics and money
Interesting interactive sorting state (US) data
Learn to love your doppelgänger
The real Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Interesting infographic on man-made structures
Nutella in America

On Potpourri
Meryl and Maks were very deserving champions of Dancing with the Stars. Although some complained about co-host Erin Andrews in her debut season, but I say bring her back.

Taken April 22, 2014

Taken April 22, 2014

I took this picture about a month ago after getting some gas.

Thanks for the wonderful music in Act 4 of Life: The Musical. I love getting different genres of music!

With Monday being a national holiday (Memorial Day) in the USA, I will not have a Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic post this weekend. I know … this pattern is too frequent, but I’m still digging out of my hole from the move.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Mudbug Madness, Polka Weekend, Old-Time Player Piano Weekend
  • (Fri) Taffy Day, Wig Out Day, Turtle Day, Don’t Fry Day, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Day, Heat Awareness Day, Polka Day, Lucky Penny Day
  • (Sat) Military Appreciation Day, Brother’s Day, Jazz Day, Morse Code Day, Escargot Day, Scavenger Hunt Day, Mary had a Little Lamb Day
  • (Sun) Cookie Monster’s Birthday, Something Day, Wine Day, Tap Dance Day, Towel Day, Nerd Pride-Geek Pride Day

With Saturday being Lucky Penny Day, here’s a question to answer. If you see a penny on the ground with the tails side up, do you pick it up?

To send you into the weekend, let’s celebrate Morse Code Day (Saturday) with this hit from 1967 … Western Union by the Five Americans. (The song starts 1 minute in.) 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. 75

On those Gold Gloves
Cheers to my Cincinnati Reds as they recently won THREE Gold Glove Awards. Congratulations to Scott Rolen (3B), Brandon Phillips (2B), and Branson Arroyo (P)!

On the House of Dems
Speaker Pelosi just doesn’t get it. While proclaiming she wants to stay for the fight, her retaining leading the Democrats will work against the party because most people don’t trust her.

On a Description of Palin
Some believe that Sarah Palin’s main aims are herself and her pocket book. Russ Douthat, a conservative columnist at the New York Times, wrote the following about Sarah Palin.

… having watched Sarah Palin pretty closely over the last few years, first with great interest and sympathy and then with frustration and disillusionment, I can say with some degree of confidence that it’s the kind of response you’ll almost never hear from the former Alaska governor. Cultural authenticity may be her bread and butter, but politically she’s established a consistent identity as a strident and self-justifying base-flatterer who rarely strays from her go-for-the-jugular talking points. There’s a narrow slice of the electorate that loves that kind of thing, and a broader population that doesn’t — and given the choice between saying the thing that broadens her appeal and the thing that plays best with the narrower group that already loves her, Palin always, always seems choose the latter. Conservative writers have been giving her advice on how to break out of this box for more than two years now (this week it was Kevin Williamson, imagining how she might boost her credibility as a presidential candidate), and I think at a certain point we all just need to stop playing make-believe and acknowledge that she isn’t interested. The politician that Jonathan Last heard on Fox News on Tuesday, never giving an inch and blaming everything on the media, is the politician Sarah Palin has become, and wants to be, and seems likely to remain.

On Dancing with the Stars
The Bristol Palin’s continual presence has gotten to under my skin, so I purposely did not watch the show this past week. I said this would happen as I figured that her mother’s troop of fanatics would stuff the ballot box, and they have. How else can the lowest score survive?

Meanwhile, last season ESPN did a Sports Science segment about the athleticism of professional dancers. Here’s the link to the first 90 seconds of the awesome segment.

On Worth Checking

  • In the spirit of humor, someone at the Cincinnati Enquirer posted 14 images that President Bush rejected for his memoir.
  • Since the initial invasion of Iraq seems so long ago, it’s time to bring back a legend of that event – Baghdad Bob. How would be announce a Red Sox-Yankee game? Well, here’s a copy of the post that originally appeared on ESPN. What a hoot!
  • Here’s one of my past posts where I explain the existence of supersonic kangaroos. Yes, you read that right.

Have a safe weekend!

On Desired Leadership

There is no doubt in my mind that Americans currently desire one of two types of leaders: half of Americans want a leader based on their party affiliation, whereas the other half desires a leader who is willing to make difficult decision. While the first group cannot think beyond their respective ideology, the other tends to want what is best for the country.

Given his record to date, President Obama, despite his campaign rhetoric, has demonstrated to be an ideologue rallying on his party’s majority in both legislative chambers. Given that environment, he passed on opportunities to buck his own party. Granted, Republicans have intentionally been little to no help to President Obama, but that is still no excuse for following his own party.

With the possible control gain by Republicans in the upcoming mid-term election, President Obama seems to be set to shift his pattern. Whether or not he turns into a desired leader is for the future to decide.

Anyone thinking of Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) or Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH) as desirable leaders are operating more than a quart low. Both of these individuals have the same common concern: raise funds for the party and their leadership with the hopes of gaining power. Both are poster faces for what is wrong in Washington and why the public gives Congress low approval ratings. Both self-centered, ideological buffoons. Heck, we might as well include their lieutenants and their senate counterparts.

I appreciate this analogy from conservative columnist Cal Thomas:

Today’s Washington politician is like the guy who, after a one-night stand, tells the woman he’ll call her in the morning. He never does.

Anyone thinking that quasi-candidates as Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, or any other campaigner charmer are desired leaders are just as lost as Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Boehner, and their flock. These public figures are self-centered, polarizing individuals attempting to gain power at anyone’s expense.

Although our desired leader is lurking somewhere in the shadows, below are some desirable characteristics.

  • They practice what they preach
  • Do not focus on re-election
  • Do not make decisions based on pollsters
  • Challenge lobbyists in public
  • Refuse to be bound by special interest money
  • Go against their party
  • Challenge both parties in public
  • Distain polarized politics
  • Take the case to the people
  • Clear and honest communication with the people

In other words, our desired leader governs solely in the best interest of America. Wonder if I’ll ever see one.

On an Unconstitutioinal What If

These pages provide ample evidence that I’m not a big fan of the current Congress. These pages also show that I criticized both sides of the aisle, thus I suspect many people will agree with this post – then again, I know the partisans won’t because they are want they are – biased by definition. So let me set the stage for my proposal.

I’m tired of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, John Boehner, and Rick Cantor. I’m equally tired of Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and their lieutenants.

I’m tired of the bully pulpit approach used by the Congressional Democrats; yet I’m also tired of the Republican obstructionist approach.

I’m tired of the members of Congress who don’t have the guts to vote against their party’s position.

I’m tired of more effort going into finger pointing blame than going into finding solutions.

I’m tired of Congress attaching pork to bills.

I’m tired of Congress’s continual failure to attack big issues with a defined purpose.

I’m tired of the Party First attitude trumping the country’s needs.

I’m tired of the effect lobbyists have on Congress.

I’m tired of Congress attaching amendments to a bill that is unrelated to the bill’s premise.

I’m tired of members of Congress who withhold support until they get something for home.

I’m simply tired of Congress. Unfortunately, I can only vote for three of the 465 members: my one representative and my two senators.

I know my forthcoming question is unconstitutional, but it is worth asking. If there was a national referendum to vote every member of Congress out, how you vote?

Remember, every means everyone … not everyone but, or everyone except. Everyone, including those representing you and those that you respect.

On the President’s Biggest Mistake

With President Obama completing his first year, numerous political commentaries exist – although how many are nonpartisan? For a different type of post, I will use portions of past posts (dated) to make my point followed by a concluding statement

Nov 5, 2008 (Day after the Election)
Like all previous election winners, he (Barack Obama) campaigned about changing Washington. Can he transform his inclusive nature with the electorate onto a Washington establishment that resists change? Remember, the current economic conditions, financial systems, terrorist groups, and countries with anti-U.S. sentiments do not give time. Addressing the difficult force of time is about our country, not a political party. Therefore, I believe President Obama needs to govern from the center. Maybe he can. Hopefully, he will.

On Nov 13, 2008
In 2008 independent moderates wanted a change from Bush administration policies, but also saw Senator Obama as too liberal. Independents want fiscal restraint, but anticipate too much spending in a Democratic-controlled Washington.

On Nov 17, 2008
Pressure is on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to produce bipartisan results and Barack Obama to lead from the center.

On Dec 17, 2008
So, will change occur in Washington? Hmmmm, I doubt it – I do not think the political parties nor the obnoxiously-partisan media types will allow it.

On Jan 23, 2009 (2 days following the inauguration)
Candidate Obama repeatedly campaigned about working toward bipartisan solutions and setting a new tone in Washington – a noble thought. Now for the first major legislation, he relied on the legislative process to produce the bill known as the economic stimulus. Let me get this straight – relying on two partisan leaders with a dominating majority to produce a bipartisan effort sets a new tone?

On Feb 5, 2009
Speaker Pelosi is on a mission to achieve the party’s agenda. Unfortunately, her mission does not match the public’s wants and needs!

On Feb 11, 2009 (regarding the economic stimulus)
Since Congress continues to operate business as usual figuring the president will take the blame, it is time for President Obama to use his political capital by vetoing the bill and toss it back onto the lap of the problem. The people will love it and Congress will face the pressure to be constructive.

On April 8, 2009

  • Speaker Pelosi continues to lead in a partisan manner, thus foregoing a bipartisan response in favor of forcing an ideological agenda.
  • Democratic operatives are lining up at the pork buffet. Sure pork is actually a small portion of the total budget, but it is about principles.
  • Senate Leader Harry Reid’s focuses his effort to back the Pelosi-driven agenda by either limiting Democratic defectors to keep the majority or to gain GOP defectors to get the key 60.
  • Groups as MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future, and US Action are already targeting centrist Democrats for “standing in the way of the president’s programs.” In other words, the Democrats are using a bully pulpit.

Conclusion
How did I do? Candidate Obama repeatedly campaigned about working toward bipartisan solutions and setting a new tone in Washington – a noble thought, but far from practice. Since the first major legislation he relied on the legislative process to produce the bill known as the economic stimulus, and not much has changed ever since.

Although I do not approve of obstinate Republican tactics, the bully pulpit is also unacceptable. Does relying on two partisan leaders with a dominating majority to produce a bipartisan effort set a new tone? Nope, and now the Democratic is paying the price and giving Republicans upward momentum – and yes, I called that too.