Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 322

Many readers have enjoyed the previous two Al Stewart songs I’ve featured in previous OITS. Here’s one more, but this time as background music because the video is just the music (no performance). For those that chose, click here to enjoy Song on the Radio.

Embed from Getty Images

As I work morning news back into my routine, I recently developed a preference for CBS This Morning with Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, and Gayle King. They have more substance and less fluff than their NBC and ABC counterparts, plus more calming than CNN.

We recently saw two movies to recommend, so THUMBS UP to The Founder and Hidden Figures.

If the movie is accurate, McDonald’s Ray Kroc was both a visionary and an asshole who sorely lacked business acumen – but smart enough to surround himself with the right people. Props to actor Michael Keaton for his role as Mr. Kroc.

A toast to Mary Tyler Moore for what she gave us through her life.

January has been a different month for me, so I will explain very soon.

Last week I reminisced about moving. After all, several years ago we moved from our home of 27 years – a home we built, maintained, and improved. Packing and moving is quite the chore, but in the end, there is a sense of sadness when we depart for the last time. The Obamas occupied the White House a much shorter time (8 years), but on a much grander stage. I appreciated this article from Politico about their final moments.

Embed from Getty Images

I continue to worry about the potential lack of Congressional oversight, so this article from Politico was timely.

Democrats can thank their former Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for removing the 60-vote barrier. Just another reason for me not liking the man.

I met my goal of not watching the inauguration, but did see enough reports to be informed.

On his first full day, the way the new administration and their talking heads has treated the importance of something as irrelevant as the inauguration crowd size is both bizarre and telling. All they had to say was something like this: “While we acknowledge the in-person attendance was down from previous years, when also considering television and online viewing throughout the world, all indications point to this inaugural being the most-watched in history.” Oh no, instead they chose to make combative asses of themselves.

I have suggestions for the new administration who feels unloved by the media’s negative reporting.

  • Try a positive tone, not a negative, combative one.
  • Try truthfulness, not head-scratching absurdities.
  • Try portraying a positive image with a vision, not one focusing on doom and gloom.
  • Try respecting people, not humiliating them.
  • Try not making unsubstantiated facts on something meaningless.
  • Learn the difference between right vs. wrong and agree vs. disagree.

PS: Protectionism and isolationism doesn’t work.

Kathleen Parker is a columnist I appreciate. A closing of a recent column echoed the my feelings that I’ve stated here. “Donald Trump is our president. He deserves a chance to prove us doubters wrong; to create a government that he think will bring jobs and money back to the U.S.; to enhance educational opportunities for the less-privileged; to enhance our military defense without yearning to test it; to reform the tax and regulatory codes with deference to economic realities. Pray. Pray that our country survives these next few years and that the new president is both wiser and less impetuous that he seems. It’s the least and best we can do – for now.”

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Spreading of Fake News
The Packers and Steelers not making the Super Bowl
La La Land receiving a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations
California’s rain and snow
John Howell in final preparation of another book release

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides the pros and cons for early retirement.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Anger-bottling factory explodes
Compassionate fisherman doesn’t have heart to throw trout back into polluted lake
Cockroaches feeling optimistic about future of planet
Shrimp would be pissed if he could see the lame party he’s going to be served t
Car rolls up to stoplight blasting Google Maps directions
Spider sitting on shower wall can’t wait to see look on man’s face

Interesting Reads
An inspirational must-read story about a young girl
How to be wiser
Aging and urban divergence
The Oddies Museum
The geographic pivot
(An interactive) How much do you know about what police think

For those who prefer the song at the end of this post or those who want more Al Stewart, here’s On the Border to send you into the weekend. Enjoy the final days of January 2017 and get ready to bring on February. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Election Day

It’s finally here – Election Day in the United States of America. Many will go to the polls on Tuesday (including me), while many have already voted. Local board of elections will tally votes and declare winners – meanwhile, as winners cheer and mistakenly declare mandates, others will cry, feel remorse, and bitterly complain about something predictable.

Three things have stuck me about the 2012 campaign. First, either it takes far too long or the candidates and parties have purposefully made it an agonizing process.

Secondly, it is interesting how divided the American voters are these days. There is little doubt that Mitt Romney has not only repositioned himself throughout the election process – even contradicting himself on numerous occasions. Yet, many voters will ignore those missteps, not because they believe in Mitt Romney, but because they have a disdain for President Obama and Democrats.

Thirdly, parties and the people representing them on the ballot are willing to pay an enormous price to get what they want – power! Typically in life, there is the price to pay dishonesty, misrepresentations, distortions – but not for politicians because it’s their way of life -and sadly, one that the people blindly accept.

Columnists George Will compared this year’s campaign spending to the amount of money consumer giant Procter and Gamble’s (P&G) advertising expense. Once again, another bad example by Mr. Will as he tries to justify the benefits of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. I want to point out one big difference between product advertising and political ads: P&G is bound to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines stating that advertising claims must be true, non-deceptive, fair, and that advertisers must have evidence to support their claims.

Meanwhile, consider the following numbers:

  • President Obama’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • Mitt Romney’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • The Democratic party spent over $ 1 billion
  • The Republican party spent over $1 billion
  • Super PACs spent over $1 billion
  • House of Representatives races spending exceeded $1.3 billion
  • Senate races spending $750 million in 34 races

How many hungry would that money feed?

How many clothes would that money help clothe?

How many uninsured would become insured?

How many jobs would it create through investments in companies for expansion?

How many people could it educate?

How many research grants could it fund?

How many first responders could it rehire?

How many shelters could it help?

How much infrastructure could it improve?

… And, this list can easily go on and on, which speaks volumes.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 160

On Politics
Here are fact checks on the last 2012 presidential debate
Annenberg Fact Check
Washington Post Fact Checker
Associated Press
National Journal

By the way, Pulitzer Prizing winning PolitiFact issued two “Pants on Fire” false-statements ratings in the third debate.

A long-time friend of mine is a disrespectful, clueless, partisan hack. The other day he called, made a ridiculous comment, to which I responded, “Don’t go there.” He kept babbling, so I repeated, “Don’t go there.” Because he ignored my genuine request, I hung up the phone. We haven’t spoken since, I’ve “unfriended” him on Facebook, and I watch Caller ID on my phones.

I cannot justify any reason why law enforcement officials (sheriffs. prosecutors and judges) can run for office under a political party banner and/or endorsement.

The race for one of Ohio’s senate seats involves $30 million of outside-the-campaign money where donors do not have to be identified.

This is interesting: a scorecard of President Obama’s promises and a separate scorecard of promises by GOP Congressional leaders.

This is a wonderful 7-minute video about the Electoral College from CBS Sunday Morning.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Thriving Onion Puts Another Print Edition Out of Business
  • Town Hall Attendees Still Standing Patiently Waiting for Their Questions to be Answered
  • Backup Spatula Always Ready to go in case the Unthinkable Happens
  • Study: Human Imagination Capable of Magnificent Things during masturbation
  • Trump Announces He is a Very Sad Man

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
It’s World Series time. Anyone asking me about team I want to win, and I will answer, “The Reds.” The questioner will explain that the Reds aren’t playing as the series involves the Tigers and Giants, which leads to my answer, “Then I don’t care!”

Now that Blood of Nincompoop is off Dancing with the Stars, I am happily able to concentrate on watching the show.

With another milestone approaching, I wonder who will be the 100,000th visitor to my little corner of the world.

AFA’s Ginger Ale Report
Gosling’s Ginger Beer – On the sweet side, good ginger that lingers, a light cloudy color

Boylan’s Ginger Ale – Slightly better than the mass producers

Jamaica’s Finest Ginger Beer – Too spicy for my taste, but others may enjoy it

Gus Extra Dry Ginger Ale – Light taste all the way around with a pleasant aftertaste

There will be a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post this weekend.

Enjoy the music below of Lindsey Stirling. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

A Moderate’s Dilemma

The race for the presidency is inside 40 days. Although polls remain close, the independent undecided voters are going to determine the outcome. Some independents have a preference, but they also know that is subject to change. As the list below shows, the choice for independent moderates isn’t easy.

  • Too conservative vs. too liberal
  • One special interest group vs. another
  • One form of rhetoric vs. different rhetoric
  • Experienced vs. less experienced
  • Diplomacy vs. military
  • Less details vs. even fewer
  • Eloquent vs. straight talk
  • Multi-party government vs. single-party control
  • A history of partisanship vs. a hope of bipartisanship
  • A vision vs. a continuation
  • Charismatic vs. heroic
  • Spending too much vs. spending even more
  • Cool vs. quick hit
  • National security vs. national economy
  • Calculating vs. risk taking
  • One special interest conglomerate vs. another