Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

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Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

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Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and a golden oldie. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


Opinion in the Shorts: Vol. 274

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Tough week for the stock market (US and elsewhere). A note for Republicans – You can blame President Obama if and only if you are willing to give him credit for the market run since he took office (Jan 2009). Meanwhile, the shoe also fits the other way – That is, the Democrats giving the President Obama the credit for past growth should be blaming him for this past week. In my view, markets are more complex than that.

Many are wondering why Donald Trump (R-NY) is high in the polls. The answer is simple. Trump is the candidate for people seeking affirmation – not information. The Bloviator has the knack for telling people what they want to hear, regardless if the statement is true or false. Case in point, here’s the most recent scorecard from PolitiFact regarding Trump’s bloviations.

TrumpOmeter

Can you recall one person being about to do so-many phone-in interviews on TV? It is so with Mr. Trump, which tells me that the media is part of the problem because they are taking him whenever they can for ratings … thus limiting their challenges because they don’t want him to say “No” to the airtime.

Last week, Gov. Walker (R-WS) made three contradictory statements about birthright citizenship granted by the 14th amendment – yet the campaign described them as consistent. I guess that also means they see the situation as having no choice. Earth to Walker campaign – some us aren’t stupid.

The presidential election process is too long in the US. If the lengthy time is so important to the parties, the candidates, and all the donors, what about the taxpayers? Are some of us getting cheated. I have a suggestion that these people will hate. Sitting governors, senators, and representatives were elected by the people of their state (or district within the state) to represent them – yet a national campaign takes much time. In order to seek a national office, just resign your state-elected office. The choice involves cake or ice cream – not both.

Opening Night for Dance: The Musical was a smashing success! Two bits of good news: Act 2 is scheduled for Sept. 8th, plus, I’ve added an additional act. For those needing to know more now, see the Hear Ye page. Also, special thanks to Dale for her excellent job as the theater’s maître d … even if the WP gnomes are blocking me from commenting on her blog.

You may recall that Marina provided the artwork for my On Blue post. Here’s a post from Resa featuring a clothing item she purchased of Marina’s work.

My pastor read my post my post about predestination. Here’s something he wrote to me, How do you have such nice, generous people in your comment section? The civility is refreshing. … A tip of the cap and a round of applause to my blogging community!

No Explore post this weekend, however, there will be a Salute post. Of course, the burning question is – salute what? Hmmmm …. it’s subtle.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of how Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to lead in the polls.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man spends entire weekend binge-watching neighbor
Report: 1 in 3 Americans will get dessert if someone does
Guantanamo Bay begins construction on Senior Care wing
Q-Tips introduces new multi-speed electric ear swab
Man to undergo extensive interrogation by co-workers about where he got falafel
Scientist confident artificially intelligent machines can be programmed to be lenient slave masters

Interesting Reads
Street artists in Ghana
About Neil Armstrong
Restoring a famed piano
A report on mobile messaging and social media
A planet’s habitation

To send you into the weekend, here’s a twofer. The first one is a leftover from Opening Night. 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. 269

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Candidate #16 in my governor, John Kasich (R-OH). No candidate profile for Governor Kasich yet, but candidate #17 is rumored to be on the horizon.

Given so many candidates seeking the Republican nomination, I believe all the candidates should get ample debate time – thus I favor at least one format that hasn’t been suggested – in groups of four – such as Group 1) Bush, Paul, Graham, Perry – Group 2) Trump, Carson, Christie, Pitaki – Group 3) Rubio, Huckabee, Jindal, Fiorina – Group 4) Walker, Cruz, Santorum, Kasich

This editorial headline from the Des Moines Register made me smile: Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side-show. See for yourself.

If and when The Bloviator withdraws from the race, I predict he will do so in grand style – such as, El Chapo has threatened his family.

Cheers to GOP candidates Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rick Perry (R-TX) for aggressively bashing The Bloviator – but jeers to Marco Rubio (R-FL) for equating Trump’s behavior to a “classless” President Obama. Sorry Senator Rubio, but your classless comment registered a severe black mark against you that will be difficult to erase by this independent.

David Ignatius (Washington Post) is one of the most respected columnists specializing in foreign policy. Here’s one of his columns about the Iranian Nuclear Pact.

Cheers to the US and Cuba reopening their respective embassies. Now I await Congress to screw it up.

The video below is a commercial for a website for people who rent lodging. To me, this is a thought-provoking message. Plus their message about kindness in the notes on YouTube is worth reading. (To read, click here)

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of meet and spend time with two bloggers who have visited here: Ginger Snaap & El Guapo (along with TMWGITU). We had a fabulous time, but the pleasure was all mine. My meeting bloggers count leaped to three.

The blogging series continues to be a success, but only one more to go. On a side note, the last one (Posting & Frequency) was a post without fanfare – number 1700, which means this post is #1702.

Only one act remains in Meals: The Musical … and preliminary information is on the Hear Ye page.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, they offer these tips for getting cheaper airfare.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Toddler unsettled by whatever possessed her to bite friend’s face
Lesser piece of paper used to test pen’s viability
Man sadly realizes his one bedroom apartment large enough to host party with all his friends
Leonardo DiCaprio agrees to donate “It Factor” to science
Four hours scrolling through Facebook before bed referred to as “winding down”

Interesting Reads
10 things you didn’t know about the first moon landing
Pew Research Center study about Americans, politics, and science issues
Chimney climbing
Mosquito’s technique of finding something to bite 
Hot summer around the world (Photo gallery)

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, here’s a song for a hot summer night. For my friends below the equator, summer is on the way. 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. 262

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) loves to imply that the NSA gathering meta phone data is unconstitutional. Two points: 1) Only courts declare constitutionality (not senators, interest groups, or citizens) and 2) the panel of judges ruled the collection was illegal based on the limits of the law because the law didn’t authorize the NSA collection – so, the court did not rule the data collection unconstitutional. (ACLU vs. Clapper). Yes, another example of a politician pandering for votes with incorrect and misleading information that people believe.

For the record, I have no problem with the NSA gathering meta phone data (including mine) if it would have been in the original law. In the end, a rare bipartisan agreement got something done to replace the old Patriot Act with the USA Freedom Act, which clarifies the data collection.

Bush (FL), Jindal, (LA), Christie (NJ), Walker (WS), Kasich (OH), Huckabee (AR), and Pataki (NY) are current or former state governors and have either announced or are expected to announce their candidacy to seek the Republican presidential nomination. All but Bush and Kasich denounce the Common Core education standards. Three interesting points:

  1. Most previously supported the Common Core standards before they were against it
  2. Federal intrusion/overreach is a common reason
  3. These standards were not developed by the Feds, but were driven by governors and state leaders (and the majority of states are controlled by Republicans) … and now you know.

After hearing the news about the recent Biden family news, I was wondering which Republican would make a stupid comment. Congratulations to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). I maintain he planned it, practiced it, and purposely said it to a base that will laugh, and then it backfired. After all, politicians do that all the time. To be fair, at least he apologized. But come on, he or none of his advisers thought of the situation?

Given the wide swath of current and potential Republican candidates and the dilemma that causes around the debates, I say put them in groups of 4-5. After all, should the people get a fair chance to see all of them? Besides, this field has much more to offer than the 2012 group.

ESPN is giving their Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner, not Lauren Hill.

I applaud Jennifer Lopez’s support for the Children’s Miracle Network. In the commercial below, I find something quite odd near the end when she says, Put your money where the miracles are (while raising her hand.) Watch below, but seeing the still is enough. What do you think?

If you were given the Stupid Test, would you rather pass it or fail it? Why?

Even though I didn’t expect much this season, following my Cincinnati Reds has been painful.

For those who need a touch on the retired Monday Morning Entertainment, this one from Weird Al Yankovic cracks me up. Thanks Cayman!

Earlier this week I realized that with the post about June was my 12th in the series, (whereas I thought it was my 10th). Therefore, I doubt they will continue, so maybe I’ll move on to saluting the days of the week.

It’s time for a drink as Meals: The Musical returns next week, so all song titles must include a nonalcoholic drink in the song title. (Hmmmm … Any idea about what Act 7’s theme?) One caution: Make sure no alcohol is also in the title. (EX: Rum & Coke is not acceptable) Curtain time will be Wednesday, 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

I updated the Schedule page to reflect the latest changes, which include weekdays Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday/Thursday.

The Explore series continues this weekend.

This week gave us two new presidential candidates, thus The Onion provides their profiles: former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Former governor and senator Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) also declared, but no profile yet. Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) will announce on June 15th.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Heartless monster walks out of local small business without buying anything
Parents worried children old enough to remember family vacation
Man at party comes crawling back to conversation he thought he could do better than
Pigeon that flew into subway going to need all his wits to get out of this one
Nation’s single men announce plan to change bedsheets by 2019
College allowing students individual commencement speakers to make ceremony acceptable for all

Interesting Reads
France honoring the Resistance heroes
Human migration
Genetics, breeding, and cows
Suspected spy pigeon
Death penalty in the US
A look at war from an insightful veteran and blogger who visits here 

To to send you into the weekend, a toast to June being Accordion Month – not with a polka, but actually a good version of a Lady Gaga hit for the ballroom floor. Which ballroom dance can you picture? Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Candidate

Not only do I live in a swing state (Ohio), I’m also one of those independent moderates for whom each party strives to get my vote. As I’ve said before, they want my vote, but they sure don’t want my policies. Nonetheless, my choice has finally become very clear.

Unquestionably, Mitt Romney has a business acumen – which would include critical thinking skills, statistical analysis, and looking after the good of the organization’s bottom line. Mitt Romney’s business skills may even be able to bridge a divided Congress.

I also believe Mitt Romney is a good family man, and I am confident that Ann Romney would be an impressive First Lady.

Probably the best reason to vote for Mitt Romney is that no matter what he does, odds are he said it some time. In the end, I cannot vote for him.

Mitt Romney complains about dishonest, deceptive, divisive, distorted statements, misleading, and out-of context information by the Obama campaign, but practices the exact same thing – and maybe more so.

Mitt Romney is willing to adjust his sails to the prevailing political winds to gain a benefit. Even with his personal wealth, he seems willing to sell his soul to special interests.

Mitt Romney strives on tag lines as he’s not the other guy, and he can do better. H states that President Obama overemphasizes blaming the Bush administration – yet only states he can do better and remains shallow on details. He recently said more details are coming soon. Sorry, for someone who has been running for more than a year, it’s too little-too late for me.

Mitt Romney represents a party who intentionally didn’t cooperate with President Obama for their own political gain – thus intentionally punishing Americans in order to maintain a stagnant economy and receive a financial downgrade.

Mitt Romney represents a party who will unquestionably overreach if they have a majority. Look what happened in Wisconsin and Ohio. Listen to the noncompromising nature of their candidates – and Mitt Romney is selling his soul to this people.

Mitt Romney avoids his signature legislation as governor like the plague – the Massachusetts Health Care Plan.

Mitt Romney remains out of touch with mainstream America. Is the middle class really households with an annual income of $200,000-250,000?

Given his reactions to the recent events at the US embassy in Libya, he not only demonstrated his divisiveness, his actions seem more out of desperation than presidential.

In the end, I don’t trust Mitt Romney nor the current Republican Party, so he won’t get my vote – even as an anti-Obama vote. Keep in mind that I’m also a registered Republican in a very Republican region of Ohio.

Before any Romney supporters go through their “but President Obama this, but President Obama that” approach, remember this: “but” is a deflection to avoid criticism of your candidate and an excuse to defend your preference. Simply put, he is not going to get my vote.

I also won’t vote Libertarian or any other minor party of the ballot. However, this does not mean I will vote for President Obama. After all, his campaign continues to work hard at convincing me to not vote for him. At this point, the best chance he has for my vote is if I cast it as an anti-Romney vote – which could happen – but not yet.