Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 358

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Cheers – the day has finally arrived – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Moody Blues this Saturday!

Did you watch the special musical event honoring Elton John? I enjoyed it!

Readers provide very interesting comments on the previous post about Lead and Follow. Thanks for the surprises!

It appears my invitation to the Royal Wedding got lost in the mail.

After playing for Easter services, no rest for the handbell choir as we are back playing at a service two weeks later. Here’s the next song on our agenda: Enjoy Song of Celebration (Arnold Sherman).

Need a laugh? This is a good read from a fellow blogger who occasionally visits my little corner of the world.

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I appreciate this comment by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright: “We should be awake to the assault on democratic values that has gathered strength in many countries abroad and that is dividing America at home.”

Count me in as one who thinks the latest use of chemical weapons in Syria was by the rebels who don’t want the US military to leave.

Interesting announcement by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WS) about leaving Congress at the end of his term this year. I noticed something important in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his comments about Speaker Ryan. … his speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference, his constituents in Wisconsin, as well as the American people.” Yes, I’m one who notices the order. Nonetheless, best wishes to Speaker Ryan for a positive future as he earn millions.

Congressional Republicans amuse me by pushing for a Balanced Budget Amendment after voting for the tax cut and a spending bill that increases the deficit and debt. What a hoot!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how trade wars work. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Fender introduces new line of sympathy and bereavement guitars
Oat farmer seriously thinking about getting into barley
Unstable couple playing with fire by organizing game night
Retired Pope Benedict promises to donate soul for ecclesiastic research
Cows go extinct

Interesting Reads
An interview with a retiring Republican Congressman
The era of fake video is now
Bots and Twitter
Molly Ringwald revisiting The Breakfast Club
Relating male organ size to extinction 
(Photos) A trip to Antarctica
(Photos) A story of Sri Lankan tea-making

To send you into induction weekend, here’s another Moody Blues classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 298

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Greetings! Good to see you again. My blog break went well, but not as planned because I didn’t write much. However, I helped my wife ease into retirement mode.

A national handbell organization had a regional convention about an hour away, so the choir went. Two days of a lot of standing on a concrete floor means tired legs. Our choir had an individual coaching session. We didn’t play our piece well with foreign bells, but we got something out of the session. Meanwhile, we attended a concert where we heard this piece by the Purdue Bells, which is a wonderful way to usher in a new header.

Because of my fascination with images of deep space, this image of the Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant is from the Hubble Heritage Collection at the Hubble Gallery. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers page/tab above the header.

I considered resuming Colors: The Musical immediately upon my return, but common sense prevailed because I value my guests. I’ll announce more here next week, but for those who need to know, see the Hear Ye page.

I seldom reblog my own or anyone else post, but I’m considering doing that with old posts – well, assuming I find something appropriate.

The death of pop music star Prince shocked us. Here’s an article about a secret concert he played in Cincinnati in 1984.

Competitors completed the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Although the news focused on the dominant presence of Ethiopians in the top places, the women’s wheelchair division caught my attention. For the fourth consecutive year, Tatyana McFadden – a Russian-born American won the division. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage without receiving physical therapy and without a wheelchair. Now that’s an amazing courage and determination!

Baseball season is underway and I have the following goals for my Cincinnati Reds:

  1. Win more games than the ‘62 Mets (40)
  2. Not finishing with the worst record in baseball
  3. Have at a team below them in the standings
  4. Finish closer to the team above them in the standing than below them
  5. Beyond this list would be a tremendous success

Because I’m easing my way back into my normal rhythm, no Explore post this weekend.

My wife received this pillow as a retirement gift – and I find it interesting.

PillowAdventure

Columnist David Ignatius wrote this interesting column about the Saudis.

At this point, I can listen to a news conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) – which is an improved from predecessors John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican senators meeting with the Supreme Court nominee while continuing to block the confirmation process infuriates me even more than the block.

The 2016 primary has been quite bizarre, and to me, the title of this Ruth Marcus column is quite profound – An unpopularity content for the ages.

I find it interesting that the #2 contender in each party have this quality in common: an inability to work across the aisle. According to the Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index at Georgetown University, not only do Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the lowest scores in 2015, each of them are in the bottom 11 of all senators since 1993. Here’s a good question for them: Have do you plan to get Congress to act on your ideas when you have a poor history of working within Congress?

Consider this possibility – Donald Trump (R-NY) and Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) walk out of the Republican convention together to embrace a third-party run.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for having your own vegetable garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sixth beer steps in to speak for area man
Universe feels zero connection with guy tripping out on mushrooms
Breeze plays kick-ass riff on wind chimes
Pope Francis worried about job security after butting heads with new God
New study finds humans experience greatest joy when pushing “Skip Ad” button

Interesting Reads
Life-long learning and technology
A century of flight
Animal neat freaks
Augustine of Hippo
(Animation) Battle of Shiloh
(Video) Explaining burning ping-pong balls

To send you into this weekend, here’s a throwback in time with a touch of Bobby Darin and a dose of Prince. 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. 218

On Politics
Nincompoop’s (aka Sarah Palin) comments about waterboarding at the recent NRA convention is just another example of most people blowing her off as she focuses on making money. I wonder about her popularity after President Obama leaves office./

Sean Hannity and others may have embraced Cliven Bundy, and LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling may have a lot of money – but while Bundy and Sterling got considerable air time, they represent a very small segment of Americans. The good thing about Sterling is that his headlines got Bundy out of the news.

As the White House and Congress continue their stalemate, here’s an interesting article about the active Supreme Court.

Will the Republican base embrace Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WIS) for his different stance toward the poor?

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Music in bar could stand to be louder, worse
New census report reveals US has over 360 million nobodies
Top theoretical physicists, R&B singers meet to debate the meaning of forever
Man has story for every stain on pants
Obama spends another night searching behind White House paintings for safe
Carlos Santana surprises wife with coupon for 45-minute guitar solo

Interesting Reads
Changing demographics in the US leading to the Next America
Saving Rosie the Riveter’s factory
The next Crimea: A place you may not know (from the Foreign Policy Research Institute)
The science of fat
Robert E Lee’s farewell address to the Army of Virginia (Smithsonian) l

On Potpourri
I’ve always support the US Postal Service (USPS). The fact that the US Postal Service loses money is no secret, but here’s an interesting tale of their inefficiency. Our recent move involved a change of address, but within the same suburban post office. When mail with the old address arrives, I thought the mail would switch from one carrier to another within the same post office. OH NO … that would be too easy. My post office sends the old mail downtown, which puts on a change of address label, and returns it to my post office for delivery to my new address.

Earlier this week I encountered this interesting question when completing a form: Which 3 were the most important factors in your decision to purchase this product? (Select 1)

Act 3 of Life: The Musical was a success. The act provide song titles with the following names: Abraham, Amy, Archie, Billie Jean, Billy, Boris, Catherine, Cathy, Daniel, Debra, Diane, Don, Eleanor, Elise, Elmo, Elsie, Elvis, Frank, Fred, Georgia, Holly,  Jack, James, Jane, Jesse, Joanna, John, Laura, Linda, Lola, Lucille, Mack, Marina, Mathew, Michelle, Nikita, Rachel, Rosalinda, Roxanne, Ruby, Sylvia, Sue, Tina Marie, Valentine, Valerie, Veronica, Victoria, Virginia, and Zorba.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic this weekend, but there will be something.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Toads Suck Daze
  • (Fri) No Pants Day, Tuba Day, Truffles Day, Play a Ukulele Day, Space Day, Roberts’ Rule of Order Day, Mollusk Day
  • (Sat) Beer Pong Day, Join Hands Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Garden Meditation Day, Bladder Cancer Awareness Day, Free Comic Book Day, Armed Forces Day, Scrapbooking Day, Two Different Colored Shoes Day, Public Radio Day, Paranormal Day, Homebrew Day, Lumpy Rag Day, Press Freedom Day, Kentucky Derby Day
  • (Sun) Intergalactic Star Wars Day, Firefighters Day, Respect for Chickens Day, Lemonade Day, Baby Lost Mothers Day, Infertility Survival Day, Motorcycles Mass & Blessing of the Bikes Day, Orange Juice Day, Petite and Proud Day, Give Day, Laughter Day, Candied Orange Peel Day, Mayday for Mutts Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s something from The Piano Guys that will make you smile.Enjoy, have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On “Debates” 2012

The first of the presidential debates starts this week. Well, there are not debates, but actually glorified new conferences with the parties setting the rules that give the candidates plenty of opportunities to continue there taglines.

Odds are very good that the candidates will provide an answer without answering the question. After all, Mr. Romney has previously stated to a moderator, “You have the right to ask the questions you want to, and I have the right to answer them in a way I want to.”

What if I was running the event? If so, here are the six rules in the A Frank Angle interview format.

  1. The moderator (me) is in charge; thus asks the questions, exercises any rule at any time, and can re-ask questions until answered.
  2. If the candidate does not answer the question, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  3. If the candidate strays from the question, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  4. If the candidate stresses the faults of the other candidate’s position over emphasizing their position, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  5. If a candidate cuts off the other, turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  6. When in doubt, see Rule 1.

Better yet, here are some questions that probably will not be asked on the televised events.

To Mr. Romney
Let’s assume you win, but face a divided Congress. How will you navigate the non-compromising segment of your party?

Was President Obama born in the United States? Is President Obama a Muslim? Besides some horseshit answer like “They are entitled to believe what they want to believe”, explain yourself to the people who do believe it.

If the US Supreme Court is for all Americans, would you favor one in the mold of the other conservatives or one of independent mind?

(Follow up) There are taxes, penalties, and fees. You repeatedly state that you want to lower tax rates After the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Affordable Car Act, you happily accepted the mantra that penalties are taxes. With that same thought, aren’t fees also taxes?

There are many in your party who advocate the teaching of various explanations of Biblical creationism in a science classroom. Why have you not taken the stance that the US Supreme Court ruled against that over 40 years ago?

To President Obama
One aspect of your 2008 message of hope and change focused on bringing the two parties together as much as possible. On the other hand,  a hard-driving Rahm Emmanuel’s (your chief of staff) is a direct contradiction to your message. How do you explain the difference between what you say and what you do?

Afghanistan continues to be a trouble spot. Although the American public supports the military, the majority does not favor this conflict. When are you going to make the decision to stop nation building and get the heck out?

Why did you not immediately embrace the recommendations from the bi-partisan Simpson-Bowles Commission?

The financial sector is the foundation for our economic system. Because Dodd-Frank continues to allow banking deregulation, why did you not support returning to the regulation established by Glass-Steagall?

Outside of the stimulus, the economy didn’t become the focus of your presidency until year three. Why?

To Both
Each of you frequently mentioned the importance of small businesses. What is your definition of small business?

(Follow-up) Why did you ignore the Federal Government’s own definition as per the Small Business Administration? Now, given statistics from the SBA and IRS, let’s examine your claims.

To Rep. Ryan
What is 1+1?
Good, you can add. Here’s a calculator, a pencil, scrap paper, and your budget. Because your numbers do not add up and need more explanation, go over to the side to work on this and we’ll get back to you.

To Vice-President Biden
How did you react to The Onion’s portrayals of you washing a sports car and offering guitar lessons?

Two Interesting Reads

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 153

On Politics
Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wis) did not surprise me. What has surprised me is the comparison by some partisan pundits of Rep. Ryan to Sarah Palin. He may be an ideologue, but he is not a nincompoop.

Selecting Gov. Chris Christie to deliver the keynote address at the Republican convention is a good choice.

As the Medicare rhetoric wars heat up, here are two interesting articles: one and two.

In his campaign for Congress, Joe the Plumber’s “Put a damn fence on the border going to Mexico and start shooting” is more than a goofy comment by someone who has no business being in Congress. It is a sign of the tone, tenor, and lack of sincerity in today’s political arena. Let’s hope that the majority of citizens in Ohio’s First District have enough sense. Sadly, even if he loses, he will receive too many votes.

Because VP Biden’s “chains” gaffe and the political aftermath received much media play, I sought and listened to the entire speech. (I wonder how many people did that.) Although it was a not the best metaphor, it still goes back to context – thus didn’t deserve the attention it got. Interestingly, Sen. McCain said the President Obama should replace Biden on the ticket. Senator, are you speaking as a partisan or from your experience?

Does anyone have friends who still believe President Obama was not born in the U.S.?

The Mute button on my TV remote is still working on the campaign ads and interviews with surrogates!

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Michael Phelps Returns to His Tank at Sea World
New Dating Site Matches Users with Partners They Deserve
Subway Introduces Pool-Water-Soaked Sandwich to Honor Michael Phelps
Long Jumper Imagines Transatlantic Flight as One Big, Long Jump
Herman Cain Lifts Suspension of Presidential Campaign

Interesting Reads
Disavowing Super PACS
Brush up on Your Fake Science
Washington Post graph of global temperatures since the late 1800s
Soul of the Olympics
The craft of ancient Belgian beer
An initial Christian response to Darwin

On Potpourri
As I wrote yesterday, the college football season is around the corner, which also means the bowl season is not far away. Given the number of teams required to fill the bowls, the NCAA standards for selections by the bowls, and the number of high-profile schools ineligible for bowls, the NCAA pathetically put their best foot forward by changing the standards.

These are for any enjoying Italy. Debra, an Australian who spends time in Italy, had this wonderful post from the area of both sides of my family. Earlier in this week, I posted about cruising into Portofino. On the same day, Margie also posted about this picturesque village.

William Shatner returns to Priceline ads, which means he survived the crash.

Sadly, I will not have a Saturday Morning Cartoon post this week. After all, it’s time for me to take a break. Although you may see me stopping by, I will return here in about 3 weeks. Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to visit the delightful bloggers I provide in the sidebar. Until my return, be safe, enjoy life, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch … and enjoy this fun video.

On Trickle-Down Ryan

Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and any other bandwagon Republican want to cut corporate taxes in order to stimulate investment. Why not? Profits go up, thus companies can invest more. News Flash: Hey … Trickle Down does not Work!

Hope about a few reality checkpoints on the matter.

Profits go up, and the shareholders are happier. Corporations are first accountable to their shareholders. Yep, the shareholders get preferential treatment over the community, over the state, and over the country. You see, capitalism is not patriotic.

Profits go up, and the executives get more (thus cutting into investment). As if people in these positions don’t already get enough. Then again, more means more.

Cash reserves increase, which then allows one company to purchase another – thus a loss of jobs.

Let’s say the company is willing to invest, thus increase employment. What is the guarantee that they do so within US borders? For those in the GOP who down know, the answer is, There is no guarantee!

Bottom line: You want to stimulate companies to invest in America, don’t give them a tax break to do something – give them a tax credit for doing something.