Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 329

This past week has been cold in Cincinnati and across the eastern half of the country. At least that big snowstorm missed us.

Last weekend our handbell choir attended a regional festival with almost 400 ringers. The event starts late afternoon Friday and goes until late afternoon Saturday. Given so much time there, a time change, and our prepared song for church not quite ready, our director cancelled us playing on Sunday – which was a big relief to all of us. We will continue to work on the piece as we will try to work it into a service before we break for the summer.

Because we wanted to see it before it closes sometime in April, this week we visited the Vikings: Beyond the Legend travelling exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Thumbs up – but I don’t know the exhibits future schedule. I didn’t know they spoke Vikinese, invented Vicodin, and knew to blame Obama. Here’s the link to the Cincinnati exhibit; plus, I hope to post about it in the future.

Have you considered banana pancakes for your weekend? Watch to see what I mean.

At the last weekend’s festival, a guest choir played a concert where I heard this beautiful piece of a popular song that you probably know. I invite you to listen.

My wife gets to celebrate her birthday on a holiday – and St. Patrick’s Day is here. Happy Birthday!

Some readers enjoyed the timeline link from The Atlantic. In honor of my wife’s birthday, here’s the link again.

Reminder: Sunday is Buzzard Day – the day the buzzards return to Hinckley.

I will have a Saturday post – which will be one for Resa’s month-long dedication to kids.

Not only do I want answers to the charges of wiretapping at Trump Tower, I want some heads to roll – whomever it may be.

Predictable statements from the White House and each political party followed the report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The interpretations are different enough causing one to wonder if they read the same report. Then again, they love to make a nonpartisan report partisan. In their attempt to appease the partisans, I say “Happy cherry picking, jackasses.”

Readings about the health care bill

One would think that our elected officials could find some common group to solve a problem – but that would require listening, not walking with tugging sacred cows, thinking outside the box, and seeking for the common good of constituents. Yep – old colloquialism “fat chance” is very applicable.

Did anyone notice there is a new party-of-no in town?

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
A stretch of cold weather after a very mild winter
The Congressional Budget Office being nonpartisan
Fig tree problems in Italy
Behavior of TSA agents
My attitude toward our politicians

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a public service by providing tips to keep your personal information secure.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation Leery Of Very Odd Little Boy
Area man thinks he’s better than uneducated wife beater
Police satisfied when local drunk man assures them there is no problem
Happily married, 100 percent heterosexual father of three had that doggone dream again
Scientists discover existence of Homo Sapien subspecies which enjoys and is influenced by Red Bull ads

Interesting Reads
Issues holding back driverless cars
FDR’s floating White House
Police chiefs, sanctuary cities, and decreasing crime
Brain activity and those who don’t like music
Debunking 9 myths about Hinduism
(Photo essay) Geometry and architecture
(Photos with brief descriptions) The beauty of Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains

This past Wednesday was the Ides of March, so this is the only way to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 325

Welcome to the post number 1,901. I enjoy milestones. Given Friday’s timely post temporarily bumping OITS from its slot, I present OITS: The Weekend Edition.

Anything wrong with this sentence? “Rodriguez was involved in a deadly car crash last month and will reportedly miss several months due to shoulder surgery.”

Now compare the above sentence to this one. “Rodriguez needs left shoulder surgery thanks to a January car crash and will not play for three to five months.”

Here’s a throwback to the days of Monday Morning Entertainment. I love it … and had to watch to the end because I wanted to know how it ends. For those who chose to watch, enjoy.

I have long maintained that the viewer is more biased than the news source. Consider these points about the morning shows. CBS This Morning is more about news than entertainment, and its ratings are last in the race between the big 3 networks. The highly biased Fox & Friends has by far more viewers among the cable morning shows.

I was surprised that the recent post about Charles Darwin’s faith created little reaction.

Baseball teams are starting spring training this week. My Cincinnati Reds will be preparing to defend last place in the division.

Not only did Americans voted in Donald Trump, people across the globe voted out an iconic Monopoly piece – the Thimble.

Regarding President Trump’s latest press conference, these two comments say it best. First, from Scott Pelley at CBS News: “President Trump called a hasty news conference and reached for the familiar tools that built his career: bluster, bravado, exaggeration and a few loose facts.” Second, from one of the greatest American orators.

The lack of vetting of cabinet members by Republican senators is pathetic.

Many Democrats are looking ahead to the 2018 mid-term elections. In the Senate, 33 seats are up: 8 held by Republicans, 23 by Democrats, and 2 by independents … plus, a good number of the 23 Democratic seats are in states Mr. Trump won. All that adds up to not looking good at the moment. Besides, the party blew the great chance they had in the 2016 Senate elections. Pathetic … simply pathetic.

I’ve been telling my wife and a friend that the reason why Congressional Republicans don’t investigate the White House or vet the cabinet nominees is because Congress has not received any of the agenda they want. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed my thoughts Wednesday by saying, “I don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. … We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

The analogies keep getting better and better. I’ll paraphrase Scott Pelley. He’s not mad at the media. He’s mad at not being the man at the top any more because he has to answer to the public, Congress, Federal Courts, and the press. He is now the apprentice, not the boss, so a press conference is one of the few places he can take command.

Advice for the Democratic Party. Go left! Energize the base. Go Left! Follow the Republican lead of abandoning the center. Go left!

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
The Appeals Court going against President Trump’s executive order
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation
The end of Cincinnati Bearcats 15-game winning streak
Flu outbreaks in many states
Shortage of vanilla beans

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for starting a community garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cryptic new laundry rule hints at tale of bizarre infraction
Short film drags on
Scientists developing pollinating bee drones
Tupperware will not truly recover from red curry leftovers
Pope Francis sneaks leftovers to false god Moloch at backdoor of St. Peter’s Basilica
Report: That was a very stupid thing to say

Interesting Reads
Five of the most violent moments of the Reformation
Toads: To kiss or not to kiss
Lessons from the 1937 flood
High school graduation peril in Tennessee
The parasite that lures mosquitoes to humans
A way to build productive bipartisanship

To here’s a song for your weekend, enjoy the group of legends known as the Traveling Wilburys. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 324

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.

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

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. 323

It’s Super Bowl weekend. Although I will probably watch, I have no big interest in this year’s game. However, I would like to see underdog Atlanta win.

In the month of January, Cincinnati had the following (regarding sun): 1 sunny day, 6 partly cloudy/partly sunny days, and 24 cloudy days – of which only 7 were without precipitation. BUT – I think the month included a fair share of days with above normal temperatures.

A recent headline: Report find chemicals in one-third of fast food packaging. My question: Who is eating the packaging?

Good luck to Tamron Hall as she exits the Today show. Although I have switched to CBS This Morning, I will miss her presence.

Earlier this week and in defiance to the recent Executive Order on immigration, Cincinnati’s mayor declared Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. Republicans on city council, in county government, and high state officials more than disagree. Interestingly, replacing a bridge here is #2 on President Trump’s infrastructure priority list.

For years on these pages I have proclaimed my desire for divided power in Washington as a caution to what would happen in one-party rule in the current political climate. Some criticized that stance, and now, reasons for my warnings are quite obvious.

A friend asked me if I’ve been surprised that President Trump is doing what he said he would do. (He was surprised.) My answer was No … therefore why I’m watching the reaction of Congressional Republicans.

Our elected officials are not concerned about creative problem solving, thus more concerned about getting want they want and preventing the others from getting theirs. Here’s a post from the 2009 archives that remains very relevant.

The one thing I find more discouraging than President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration is the fact of polls showing more Americans supporting the plan than opposing it.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates blew it with her order to Dept. of Justice employees. Resigning would have been much more effective.

I listened to Secretary of State Tillerson’s address to State Department employees. At least he has a positive, constructive tone. I wonder who will be the one that gets the president’s ear?

Count me in as one against the latest nomination to the Supreme Court. Whereas partisans are either automatically for or against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, I am against it because I think the seat should remain vacant. After all, I want to play Last Judge Standing – thus no nominations until there is only 1.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Common Core Educational Standards
President Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration
Protesters of anything against President Trump
USA’s bacon reserves being at a 50-year low
Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for home repairs.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Radiator saving loudest clank for 3:22 AM
Burmese python shocked at amount of stress man holding in his neck
Sports geneticist working on ligament-free athlete
Man spending whole day dreading event he signed up for
World agrees to take-down internet until good use found

Interesting Reads
Better tasting tomatoes with genetics
An island on the comeback
Bubba the Deplorable needing Obamacare
A report: Terrorism and immigration
Snobbery
The future of work in developing countries

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a blast from the past from Asia. A special remembrance to bassist, singer, and songwriter John Wetton who died earlier this week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

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.

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

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 Inauguration 2017

Because Inauguration Day of a new president coincides with my normal posting of Opinions in the Shorts, I decided to forego my normal OITS for a posting that is fitting for the day.

In a short moment of time, Barack Obama goes from the one with the title to a former occupant of the Oval Office. My view of President Obama is different from the many who follow partisan lines. At this moment I want to thank him for his service. Thank him for the way he handled himself in representing our nation. Thank him for the way he carried the extra burden of being the first non-white to serve in the most powerful office in the land. Thank him for taking us from where we were in January 20, 2009 to today. (A good read in USA Today.)

Inauguration Day marks the peaceful transition from one president to the next. A transition that is different than most of the world. A transition that is also an American tradition. A transition that is a light by the American version of democracy.

I enjoyed this 4-minute interesting perspective of past inaugurals done by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan for CBS News.

Presidents need a strong sense of humility – that is something Mr. Trump has yet to show on the campaign trail or in the time since Election Day.

Presidents describe in various ways in their inaugural speech their desire to be a president for all Americans. That trait alone require respect, something Mr. Trump continues to ignore.

Presidents need to be responsible for their actions and decisions. Of course politicians tend to step around problems – blame elsewhere. After all, finger-pointing is much easier. Mr. Trump has failed on many occasions to take responsibility for his own actions and words – thus continually favoring the low road of blame through insults.

Presidents respect the traditions of the land and the office. Mr. Trump regularly favors his way while damning those who think otherwise. Meanwhile the majority of the elected partisan minions we call Senators and Representatives are quiet as they revel in the glory of total control. Time will tell if they continue doing the same.

Presidents respect the nation’s laws and Constitutional requirements. Again, Mr. Trump favors his way of doing things. He says he can separate his business and the presidency. He actually believes he could successfully run both simultaneously. Conflicts of interest could very well be on the horizon, but time will tell.

Maybe if he changes his tone, practices humility, becomes respectful, and operates within the given framework, he may have successes – successes for the country. Besides, Washington is ripe for change – but his previous behaviors indicate this would be a tall order to fulfill.

Being a brilliant orator is not a presidential requirement, but those that were can frame a message by their tone. Mr. Trump is anything but a brilliant orator as he struggles delivering prepared statements – so I certainly don’t expect anything memorable for me. Perhaps he may surprise us with a start that includes a series of apologies to set a tone. Given his personality, the chances of that would be between slim and none.

Although I wish Mr. Trump success on this day, I won’t be watching the pomp and circumstances or listening to his first speech. I’m not boycotting as I simply have something else to do – something that I would rather do.