Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 424

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Welcome to the next-to-the last edition of OITS.

As a baseball fan, the baseball trilogy of beach walks was a lot of fun. I actually wrote the drafts last February as Spring Training was starting. I knew that non-baseball fans may not like them as much, but I felt the fans would love them.

The conclusion is officially mapped. Note the following:

  • Saturday (early) – My last attempt at fiction – and definitely something different
  • Sunday (evening) – The last Beach Walk (and a seemingly odd topic)
  • Tuesday (evening) – Agenda for the finale series
  • Thursday (evening) – The last OITS

After months of scrounging through my blog closet, being on the homestretch is starting to sink in to me.

In 2019 the top golf tour for aspiring golf professional was the Web.com Tour. I friend of mine asked me about the new tour name – Korn Ferry Tour. Being unfamiliar with the name, I pictured Corn Fairy.

I’m enjoying the book I’m reading: Leadership in Turbulent Times (Doris Kearns Goodwin), which focuses on Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

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I know this will be hard to believe, but I missed another debate. Maybe I’ll catch the next one …. NOT!

Appears the impeachment trial will begin next week. I’ll pass in order to look for reruns of old TV westerns.

I have read past oaths regarding senators and an impeachment trial, but I am curious to see this oath because I know the vast majority of senators are lying under oath.

Last week I criticized Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) for making extra stupid remarks and then doubling down on them. Since then, he apologized. Sorry Rep. Collins, I don’t accept because your true colors clearly demonstrates you are a partisan hack and that you meant your foul words. After all, if you meant them, you would change your behavior.

To lead you into The Onion headlines, here’s one that left me speechless. For those who dare, click for yourself. https://www.theonion.com/excited-park-rangers-announce-lincoln-memorial-actually-1840896775

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

US plagued by widespread Website crashes after mouse gets into Internet
Area woman’s baseless hatred of Anne Hathaway reciprocated
Archeologists discover cave with earliest built-in shelves
Nation gathers around area man trying to parallel park
Landlord figures he can pass off uninhabitable shithole as ‘great for students’
Cereal too crispy, needs to soak

Interesting Reads

Thoughts about genetic engineering
Polarization in the media
Something to think about regarding Free Shipping
Visual Capitalist’s 20 best graphics of 2019
The decline of cash
(Pictures) The Nature Conservatory Photo Contest winners
(Graphic) 20 years of Internet giants 
(Graphic) The apathy vote in the US

To send you into the weekend, here’s a classic made famous at Woodstock. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 423

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The final Weekend Concert was unbelievable! Thanks to all, and an extra thanks from the bottom of my heart to Dale for her energy and kindness.

Looking at the remaining posts, I finally started charting my departure. I will say that if all goes as planned, I will be around into early February.

Obligations this past week have put me behind – but I’m trying to catch up.

Cincinnati was named after Roman leader Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was known for good governance. Because he saw himself as a modern day Cincinnatus, Benito Mussolini donated a statue (in 1931) to Cincinnati (as well as Rome, New Year and Rome, Georgia). That statue has resided in a city park ever since. A Cincinnati council member is considering the statue’s removal. Like any place, the city has its share of issues – but sorry – that is not worth the time and effort.

Although young by European standards, the Cincinnati Symphony will celebrate its 125th year at next weekend’s concert.

The Ohio Medical Board received a submission that being a Browns or Bengals fan in Ohio is a condition that should qualify for medical marijuana treatment.

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The January 5th Meet the Press episode was (for me) one of the best ever. After the opening segment about Iraq, most of the show focused on lies, fake news, biases, and more.

Forgot to mention this last week. I observed this in one home I visited during the holidays. These items were clearly visible: Trump – Make America Great sticker on the outside front door, Trump wall calendar, Trump bobblehead, Trump ashtrays, framed pic of the First Couple, and Trump stickers for holiday cards.

The killing of an Iranian general was significant news. It was also a prime example of how can one believe a president who routinely lies and distorts? If there was a national disaster/event that requires the president to make a national address, who would the listener know if they are receiving the truth?

Until the impeachment proceedings, I have never heard of Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). The man is a piece of work. Whew. Now he states Democrats “in love with terrorists” and they “mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani.” I yield to a great American orator for my brief response.

I seldom read the columnists from the left or the right, but a recent one by Mark Thiessen (conservative, Washington Post) caught my attention. Personally, it gave me new-found respect for him and provided a faint glimmer of hope. If you are interested, click here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man still can’t believe he’s not a virgin
Report: Only 2% of internet worth sitting through 15-second ad
Man doesn’t want to put too much effort into fixing up house he just going to burn down
Study finds comparing yourself to others actually a pretty good way to gauge success
Woman ties reading shampoo bottle directions in French first to test if she’s secretly smart
Las Vegas residents worried that proposed construction of new casino will bring in riff-raff

Interesting Reads

Advertisers tracking people
The first humans to the Americas
Who was Buddah?
Art of decision making
Differences in snowflakes
Wines around the world
(Graphic) Changing demographics of China and India
(Pictures) An ice festival in China
(Pictures) Culturally important sites in Iran

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Van Morrison song I’ve always enjoyed. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 422

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Happy 2020! Welcome to the first OITS of 2020. On the other hand, I still don’t know how many more OITS there will be – but I know at least one! … but I’m guessing two.

The last Weekend Concert Series is this Saturday featuring Duets – two people together who normally are not together. The Producer says Simon & Garfunkel is not a duet for this concert – but Willie Nelson with Luiciano Pavarotti would be. Duets take the stage this Saturday 4 January at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Why Duets as the theme? Easy – This is a tribute to those who have interacted with me here at my little corner of the world. We have been a duet – and this is a way for me to say thank you!

My holiday period has been too hectic – and to the point of no fun. Plus, I missed many of your posts.

Being that I am on the final leg of my blog journal, the Q&A page/tab is an opportunity to ask questions. Not much activity. Hmmm …. wondering …. Should I take it down?

The Benevolent Impalers won the consolation game – therefore securing third place – but a disappointment after being the top seed. The Yahoo algorithms are a bit screwy. They rated my draft as a C and predicted my final record to be 5-7 in the regular season. After finishing 12-2, they gave me a C+ for the season. An odd analysis.

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Impeachment and the people involved continue to embarrass me.

The impeachment process continues to be a political spectacle while delivering a severe black eye onto the Founding Fathers. This article explains why 88 of the 100 senators should be disqualified as jurors.

This link made me laugh – 9 things President Trump says all the time.

I keep thinking about that America is more divided than in a long time, and we have a group saying “Keep America Great: …. Which to me means Keep America Divided.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for displaying artwork in your home.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Miracle dumbbell found in proper place on rack
Woman knows husband just acting affectionate because he wants food
All of area man’s positive qualities stolen from past friends
Man watches video about habits of effective artists so he too can be effective artist
Town hag getting in pretty good day of shaking jangly bell-covered stick while pointing and screaming ‘You Will Die!’
Fox News condemns 2020 election as partisan witch hunt orchestrated by Democrats to unseat President

Interesting Reads

A gene-editing experiment
Mistakes by science fiction
Can science rule out God?
Event that changed the course of Saudi history
The transition of St. Nick to Santa: A brief history
(Graphic) Space-Race History
(Pictures) BBC Readers’ Picks of the Year
(Pictures) National Geographic: Favorite Space Pics of 2019
(Pictures) BBC: Best space images of 2019

To send you into the weekend, let’s start 2020 with a bit of Lindsey Stirling. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 421

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Welcome to the last OITS of 2019 … so I’ve included a few extras!

Thanks to everyone for participating in Weekend Concert Series saluting Broadway. It was maddening because it was the first time I’ve done something like that. Plus, it turned out not to be the best weekend for me in terms of timing. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time and I enjoyed listening to all the songs. The next concert will be after the first of the year, and the finale to the series.

Next concert: Tentatively Saturday 4 January – Duets – (Two performers not normally paired together)

With the December holidays upon us, I will abbreviate my posting schedule. Below is a probable schedule that is subject to change (Times are based on Eastern US).

  • (Sunday afternoon) 22 December) A beach walk
  • (Tuesday 24 Dec – or late 23rd) Christmas post
  • (Friday 27 Dec) A caption challenge for an image
  • (Sun 29 Dec) – A food review
  • (Tuesday 31 Dec) New Years post
  • (Thursday night 2 January) – Opinions in the Shorts
  • (Saturday 4 January) – Weekend Concert – Duets

We recently spent an afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We the Omnimax movies. Fortunately, for us, we saw two! After visiting the vert-well-done Apollo 11 exhibit, we went into the theater for the Apollo 11 movie. Interesting, no narration – just a story told through a string of actual film footage from the time. After the movie, we stayed in our seats for Superpower Dogs, an uplifting film about rescue dogs who work to save lives – and a must for dog lovers!

Readers may remember Fiona, the baby hippo that the Cincinnati Zoo cared from birth. Fiona, 29 pounds (13 kg) at birth, will have her 3rd birthday on January 2020. This 30-second video will make you smile.

Joe Barrow, the LSU quarterback not only won the Heisman Award (college football’s best player), he won the hearts of many. In his acceptance speech, he talked about the poverty of many people of Athens County Ohio. The nation has responded with well over $500K! But there is something lost in the story. Athens County is not an island. It’s one county in a region of 15 or so counties that are very poor – worse than Athens County – let alone additional counties in adjacent West Virginia and Kentucky. How do I know? I grew up one county south of Athens.

For those who need this and dare to reach into a grab-bag, here are some holiday classics: Dominick the Donkey, a classic Santa Norelco commercial, a clean naughty Santa, the infamous Carol of the Belts, and a crazy fast holiday song with handbells (the ending is frantic). Did you watch any? If so, let me know.

I admit, The Masked Singer is a fun show. Congratulations to The Fox – Wayne Brady.

Sadly, my Benevolent Impalers experienced the agony of defeat in the tournament semifinals. It was close, but my worthy opponent had an unexpected monster game from a player and big points from the New England defense against my hometown Bengals. Ouch!

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I’m not a Trump supporter – never have, never will be. Then again, after he won the election, I was willing to give him a chance. To me, he has miserably failed – yet, I see impeachment as a sad day. Congress has not upheld its Constitutional obligation of oversight and the behaviors have been pathetic at best. I’m officially embarrassed to be an American.

If I was single, I would consider moving to another country. Yes, I am that embarrassed and concerned.

I truly believe the polls, pundits, politicians, and citizens that America is a divided nation – and possibly the most divided in my lifetime and beyond. Two strongly divided camps with shrinking common ground – each with vitrole for the other – each with disdain for moderates – each with drums beating fervently in the echo chamber – one explains, the other not listening. A divided nation with a president wearing a hat stating, “Keep America Great” – a statement reinforcing the division. A friend asked me, “How do we solve this problem?” My answer is simple. “Unless the collective of elected officials lead the change, we can’t. Otherwise, we will need a national emergency. I hope I don’t live long enough to see the next US Civil War.”

In a discussion about the current impeachment, a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed unbiased source) told me that he wasn’t sure if President Trump warranted an investigation, let alone impeachment – but President Obama should have been impeached.

For those who forgot and didn’t know, the impeachment is Obama’s fault.

Here’s a recent report on polarization from Pew Research Center.

Darn … I’m missing another Democratic debate!

As we end the year, here’s how I see the 2020 election at this time:

  • Chances of President Trump nomination: 99.9%
  • Chances of President Trump’s re-election: 65%
  • Chances of me voting for President Trump: 0%
  • Chances of me voting for the Democratic nominee: 20%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion separates facts and fiction about recycling.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Woman not as fun-loving and carefree as pom-pom on winter hat suggests
Hungover coworker a little too functional morning after holiday party not to be alcoholic
Boyfriend ready to take relationship to previous level
Man checking if chicken wings got hot enough in microwave like first responder searching for pulse
Mom holds knife to throat of dinner guest who offered to help with dishes
Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail
Ant flees across state line carrying big crumb

Interesting Reads

The Ottomans: Their rise and fall
A bit of barcode history
Mysteries of pain
The most important battles of WW2
Bridging differences by seeing good
(Graphic) World debt by country
(Graphics) A series of climate change charts
(Photos) Murals of women in Iraq
(Photos) Winners of a National Geographic Photo contest

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys with a song of the season. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 420

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Only one more concert remaining for 2019. Coming to the stage this weekend, Songs of Broadway. Note:

  1. Only one song per musical, so include the musical’s name and the song title.
  2. The Producer will allow other songs from the musical only as a reply in the original string of the musical. The concert begins this Saturday (14 December) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Thanks to an upset in another game, the Benevolent Impalers (my fantasy football team) finished the regular season in first place. It’s onto the playoffs as the #1 seed in the semifinals of the championship bracket.

November and December are busy times for the handbell choir. We normally play at a service once a month, but last weekend was your third time in the past four weeks – and two songs at that. (Christmas services are next on the schedule.) One piece – Cathedral Windows – was very interesting. Very easy in terms of the notes – but the nuances make the difference. Listeners will notice the switches from bells to chimes to bells. Hope you listen here.

The other song we played is a more lively piece, again with handbells and chimes.

This we we saw Dark Waters at the movie theater. A good drama about a battle between members of a community and a large chemical company. For those who will see the movie, I grew up in a town on the Ohio River about 65 miles (105 km) downstream from the chemical company. As for the movie, Thumbs Up!

Kennedy Center Honors is one of my favorite shows of the year – so for me, the pre-recorded telecast is a holiday tradition. The actual event this year honoring Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas happened last weekend. CBS is televising it this Sunday night. Check your local listings.

I recently mentioned the situation of a young child falling to her death from her grandfather’s arm while on a cruise ship. I shake my head at the news of charges against the grandfather, and I shake my head again at the this week’s news of the family filing suit against the cruise line citing negligence.

To lead you into the political section, I like this headline from The Onion that is perfect for the season and the situation. Click here to see the headline.

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I fearfully wonder if America is heading into a new presidential era – one where presidents will be impeached if the opposing party controls the House of Representatives.

I would find it interesting IF after the House Judiciary Committee draws up and approves the articles of impeachment, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) holds back an official vote until the key people that President Trump is blocking from testifying actually testify. Personally, that would increase public approval for impeachment. Therefore, I don’t think that will happen.

On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert made me laugh with this one. (IMO, it’s worth the one minute)

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline to the first president impeachment – one of Andrew Johnson (1868).

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Terrifying New Therapist Asks Why You Chose That Chair
Invasive restaurant franchise spreads to third state
Free-thinking cat shits outside the box
Summarians look on in confusion as God create world
Washboard Player In Jug Band Tired Of Spoons Guy Getting All The Chicks
World Wildlife Fund Apologizes After Years Of Working With Well-Known Whale Pedophile

Interesting Reads

Wondering about apostrophes
Thoughts about the future of work
World War II: A costly, unproductive battle
Gene editing and evolution
The dark side of recycling
(Graphic) The Jeff Bezos empire
(Photos) What warmth looks like
(Photos) British Ecological Society photo competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song about Tuesday (which isn’t on a weekend). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 419

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The James Brown concert went better than I expected. Next for the stage will be Latin sounds of Gloria Estefan. She takes to the stage this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

After an initial glitch, Q&A page is up and running. Feel free to participate.

Beach walks return to their normal posting slot (my Sunday night)

In the Danube Cruise series, I mentioned the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge. I initially stated it is along the Romania-Bulgaria border, which is incorrect – it’s Romania-Serbia. A duh-moment in my head. I invite readers to watch this 3-minute video of this natural wonder taken by a person on a river cruise ship.

I keep thinking about the child who fell to her death from her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship – and he is charged with her death. In my opinion, the charges are unwarranted. After all, he is already has a life sentence of dealing with the incident for the rest of his life. On the other hand, I don’t think Royal Caribbean was negligent. Simply a tragic accident.

We recently saw Knives Out in the theater. It’s a good who-done-it movie. Well done with interesting twists and turns. Not worthy of Oscars, but entertaining. Here’s the trailer.

My wife purchased an Advent calendar of teas – that’s a different tea for 25 days. So far, they’ve been good.

The winning way of my fantasy Benevolent Impalers continue, and are now 11-2. However, it took the greatest comeback in franchise history to win. It wasn’t pretty and the lowest point total of the season, but a win is a win. Meanwhile, I’m still in shock that the Bengals actually won a game!

Thanks to The Onion, this headline and picture made me laugh.

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One would think Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy would excite me. Nope … I won’t be voting in Ohio’s Democratic Primary, so my assessment of the Democratic field is worthless. They can nominate whoever they want. Just because I unquestionably won’t be voting for President Trump, that has no influence on whether or not I will vote for the Democratic candidate. Besides, the Democratic and Republican parties want the same thing from me – my money and my vote – plus they could care less about my thoughts.

An idea for any of the older Democratic candidates. Announce running as a one-term transitional president in order to stabilize America and then pass the baton to the next generation.

For me, the 2020 election offers a big dilemma. I know there are other possibilities, but these options bother me. Four more years of a Trump presidency or Democrats having control of the White House and both sides of Congress.

Have you noticed that Congressional Republicans favor criticizing the process over defending the president’s actions.

In my opinion, what President Trump has been accused of doing is worse than what President Nixon did. Sadly, the public doesn’t buy it – in part, because a) the more partisan nature of the public today versus then and 2) the poor job Democrats are doing in delivering a good civics lesson to the public – although the first day of the Judiciary hearing offers hope. Then again, the public will yield to it’s partisan side.

Congress is responsible for oversight. It’s has done of poor job of doing so over the past 20+ years, and the current Congress has plunged below the poor level.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides information about the ten worst snowstorms in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologists recommend trees put aside a little phosphorous for unexpected emergencies
Facial Recognition Software Knows It Has Seen Man Before But Can’t Remember His Name
Child decides to become vegetarian after forming close friendship with roasted turkey leg
Veterinarian Wishes Owner Would Just Let Dog Answer One Goddamn Question
Flu outbreak reducing class size to level appropriate for learning
Child Wondering Why Older Brother Only One To Get Funeral

Interesting Reads

Automation improving jobs
Extraordinary talented: why?
A big cat problem: captivity and the wild
Historical view of gin
Why no glasses?
(Graphic) 670 years of interest rates
(Photos) Garden wildlife
(Photos) Cincinnati Zoo animals

To send you into the weekend, here’s a bit of Ed Sheeran. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol 418

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James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is ready to take the weekend concert stage! Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

As part of my exit plan, I’ve added a new page/tab. Q&A page is a place for my audience to ask me questions.

The ending to last week’s Steelers-Browns game was embarrassing. And to think that some people are blaming the Steeler QB. Not that he’s totally innocent, but only one player intentionally swung the helmet.

Speaking of football, the Benevolent Impalers continue to roll. Besides steamrolling the third consecutive opponent, we’ve clinched a playoff spot with three weeks remaining in the season.

Long-time readers know I enjoy milestones. Cheers to Akismet catching over 100,000 spam comments.

For moviegoers, thumbs up to The Good Liar.

Odd are very few readers here have heard of Serpent Mound. It’s an Ohio historic site, and has even applied for status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A local TV station did this drone flyover with a short report. For those wanting to know more, here are three short (less than 5 minute) videos.

Zion National Park, a beautiful natural wonder, is turning 100. A new film is made for the park’s Visitors Center and for global distribution. Oh, now that would be great on an IMAX screen. Although the information I found was limited, I did find this trailer.

Typically, November and December are busy for the handbell choir – meaning many more songs to prepare for the various holidays. Our normal playing schedule is once a month, but this week we return after 2 weeks, then play again 2 weeks later, then again for Christmas Eve. To hear a recording of our next piece, click here to enjoy.

Because next week is Thanksgiving here in the US, no OITS next week – and maybe no Beach Walk …. but I’ll be featuring a series of travel posts.

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An Associated Press article was about a study stating Americans struggle differentiating fact vs. fiction. Whereas I continue to proclaim the people are just as biased than the media, and perhaps more so, several quotes in the article got to me.

  • “It is difficult to get the facts. You have to read between the lines. I rely on like-minded friends and family to help sort through conflicting information.”
  • “When I hear him on Fox News – that’s where I get all my information – Trump is the easiest way to cut through confusing information.”

With the hearing on one day, I switched the channel to watch a rerun of Laramie (an old western 1959-1963). … and nope, I didn’t watch the most recent Democratic debate (which keeps my streak intact).

Why have Republicans complained about the closed hearings when they intentionally chose to limit their attendance? Oh yes – they rely on the public’s ignorance and partisan bias. Meanwhile, on the public hearing, they only hear what they want to hear.

Part of the Republican defense of President Trump begins with statements like, “No judge in America, no trial in America, no jury in America, blah blah blah … To which I respond, In America any juror with a preconceived opinion – especially those stating their views before the hearing the evidence, would be excluded from the jury – including those that have dinner with the defendant before the trial. 

Because they prefer being a political hack favoring their party instead of following the law, the Ethics Committee should expel any member of Congress who demands or releases the whistleblower’s identity. Then again, Congressional Ethics is an oxymoron.

If Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016, would the Republicans (at the time, a majority in the House and Senate) have sought her impeachment over the private server? I confidently say, Yes! After all, it’s not about the evidence – it’s about what they want to believe.

An idea for Congressional Republicans: Seek to amend the Constitution – suggest removing “high crimes and misdemeanors” with something like “proven illegal activity” …. but you won’t … bwak bwak bwak … Chickens!

Bottom line about Congressional Republicans: The vast majority (if not all) are shallow, pathetic, selfish, spineless cowards who are more concerned about their party and self-preservation than about the country. Sadly, their voting constituents may be even worse.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion explains how political ads are made.

(Bonus Onion lead) President Trump visited the hospital earlier this week. Click here if you dare.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Pope Francis Bags 6-Winged Trophy Angel During Vatican’s Annual Seraphim Hunt
Area Man Loads Up On Half-Priced Armistice Day Candy
Girlfriend must have been drinking when she texted picture of knitted scarf at midnight
Man Starting To Think He Didn’t Win 1995 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Sweepstakes For Free Trip To Australian Outback
Report: Looks Like Ex Gained Some Weight Ever Since They Started Dating Someone Better
Spider panics after losing track of human it noticed scurry across floor

Interesting Reads

Report: marriage v living together in the US
Looking for oxygen on Mars
Farming edible snails
5 facts about illegal immigration in Europe
Relating fictional plots to economic history
About the making of Ford v Ferrari movie
(Graphic) Broadband and cellphone service costs by country
(Photos) Comedy in the wild

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song that I like. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.