Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 345

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Because this is a holiday week, this edition of Opinion in the Shorts is a bit earlier than normal.

I’m overdue for a new header – so welcome another image from the Hubble Telescope – the Horsehead Nebula within the Orion constellation about 1500 light years from Earth. You can see my past headers on the Past Headers tab or by clicking here.

The latest Star Wars film: A quick review – Good vs. evil, a group of eclectic characters from across the universe, numerous special effects battle scenes, and advanced weapon technology that isn’t efficient at hitting a target.

2,000th post is the next statistical milestone for my little corner of the world. I imagine it happening sometime in early 2018 (January or February). 300,000th visit should happen sometime late December or January – but I don’t foresee them happening together

The next post will be a Christmas post (posted either on the 23rd or 24th).

I drafted the beach walks while at the beach. Cincinnati is a long way from the beach, so I only have one more – which I may publish next week.

The Creation Museum (from Answers in Genesis) is located in the Cincinnati area. Although I have more than a passing interest in the interrelationship between religion and science, I’ve never had the urge to visit the museum – and probably never will. After all, it does not represent my view of religion or my view of science. Therefore, I appreciated this closing statement Ted Davis gives his recent post at Biologos. … in engaging culture with Christian truth is a holy duty, but it goes awry when Christians approach culture in an aggressive and combative manner, oversimplify complex issues, and delegitimize any approach that starts with an open question instead of an assumed answer.

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With all the talk about the new tax plan, I wonder what happened to President Trump’s idea of (I paraphrase) “a tax cut not for rich guys like me.”

The new tax bill eliminates the wrong mandate regarding health care insurance – the individual mandate, whereas I say it should eliminate the insurance mandate on businesses – but that would involve guts and creative problem solving.

Other than saying No, Democrats missed the opportunity of providing an alternative tax-cut proposal to the public.

Remember Simpson-Bowles; the 2012 bipartisan effort examining deficit reduction and reform? Five years have passed and Congress and both parties continue to ignore it while kicking the can down the road.

It’s been a long time since I thought about the brilliant George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on TV, but it immediately came to my mind when hearing the report about the Trump Administration directive to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Reports say that the CDC cannot use 7 words in the budget preparation documents: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based. Although just another odd Trumpian effect, Chuck Todd’s closing segment on Meet the Press was perfect.

I smiled when I heard conservative columnist George Will say he believes the country would be better off with a divided Congress. I also enjoyed this recent column of his about washing machines.

Columnist Kathleen Parker recently offered timely reminder: … effectively convinced voters that what is true is false and what is false is true.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a guide for interpreting dreams.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Unidentified wooden pole leaning against wall in garage
God gets Celtic Cross tattoo on back
Unpatriotic man does not maintain erection during National Anthem
92% of area woman’s recipes involving pulverizing bag of Oreos
Overworked pajama bottoms pray owner gets job soon
Study finds chickens would have no qualms about caging, eating humans

Interesting Reads
Has the high school diploma lost meaning?
Public trust and science
A guide for pessimists for the days ahead
History of Star Wars
What if Greenland had no ice?
(Pictures) The most beautiful pictures of 2017
(Video) A relaxing two minutes of sights from the Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico

To lead you toward the holiday, here’s a 1963 clip of The Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 141

On Politics
Does anyone have problems with the following: Two married (to each other) members of Congress, one represents a California district and the other a Florida district.

One way to bankrupt Social Security is to refuse to fund it. Thanks Moe.

If Mitt Romney wins the election and Democrats control one side of Capitol Hill, will the Democrats become obstructionists? You betcha.

If Mitt Romney wins and the Republicans control both Capitol Hill chambers, who will control the agenda: the president or Congress? Is there any doubt!

American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein, states, “When you look at the data, including voting records, and using the football field analogy, the Democrats have moved left, to probably their own 25 yard line. President Obama’s probably around the 40, and the Republicans have moved behind their own goal post.”

Regarding this week’s post about my view of partisanship and gridlock, here is an interesting follow-up article from the Washington Post. Thank you Tim.

I heard Gov. Romney’s education speech this week. It was just another example of how education is a every-four-years issue. Here’s the text.

On Headlines from The Onion
Baseball Player Asks Manager Where Bats Come From
Computer Hacker Denied Access to Social Life
Irishman Blows Pot of Gold on Whiskey
Pushy Hermit Crab Girlfriend Wants to Move In
Alien Still hasn’t Gotten Around to Listening to whole Voyager Golden Record
Dying Chevron Executive Excited to Become Oil One Day

Interesting Reads
A post with seven bad lawyer ads
Impressive solar eclipse images from space
Myths about Independent Voters
The speaking level of politicians through the Ages
Blame for Polorization

On Potpourri
From my spam files, this week I received a Viagra comment on my About page stating “Wonderful post.” Is there something I don’t know?

Friday (May 25th) is National Wine Day in the U.S. Being that I have international readers, I declare it International Wine Day. So, Cheers, Salute, L’Chaim, Salud, A tes amours, Cin cin, Opa, Serefe, Skål, Slainte, Santé, Na zdorov’ya, Kippis, Proost, Sagliginiza, Terviseks, Afya, and many more – Well, I hope I got these right, and feel free to add more in the comments.

Congratulations to football star Donald Driver and his professional dance partner Peta Murgatroyd (Australia) for winning Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars. As a faithful watcher of the show this cast was not only one of the best, it was very likeable.

Early this week marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado striking Joplin, Missouri. I think it was great that President Obama spoke at their high school graduation. Meanwhile, here is an interesting post written shortly after the tornado by a person from Joplin.

No cartoon for tomorrow – but there will be a post as we in the U.S. head into our official start of summer – the three-day Memorial Day weekend; which also means the next Monday Morning Entertainment will be a Tuesday edition.

To send you into the week, below is some new music and original video from a reader here – Lynn (Composer in the Garden). If you enjoy this, go to her site to see if it is still available at no cost.

Have a safe weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Gridlock

The time being collegial is past, it’s time for confrontation … One need not choose between being a good conservative Republican and a statesman who gets things done for the country by reaching across the aisle. – Richard Murdock, Republican-nominated candidate for the U.S. Senate, Indiana

Today, those words stand tall in the Republican Party. To me, it’s just another example (of many) of the party-first atmosphere dominating the U.S. political scene. Recent years has brought forth many loud-and-cranky to force out what the very conservative voices proclaim as a RINO – Republican in Name Only.

Through lost primaries, retirements, and decision not to seek re-election, Republican moderates are fading away. As RINO hunters have successfully poached their own party, let us not forget the same thing has been happening on the other side of the aisle.

Many moderate Democrats came to Washington in the late 1990s – and they too are vanishing as DINO hunting season has successfully reduced their numbers. Many, known as Blue Dog Democrats, were a version of Democrats who would stray from the left of their party on a variety of matters, yet today are nothing more than a whimper.

The truth is, the Democratic left despises these moderates as much as the Republican right despises theirs – and since 2006, and much to the elation of the party faithful, this group, seen as partisan traitors to the party’s ideology, is vanishing.

Some moderates in both parties exist, but with so few, with whom are they going to establish common ground? With whom are they going to seek compromise? With whom are they going to find solutions for the good of the whole?

Although the voters of Indiana have not yet elected Richard Murdock (and may not do so), his words are symbolic of the majority of our elected officials for they represent their party. As the weakened, elected political center continues toward extinction in both parties while the partisans cheer with good riddance the departures of Snowe, Lieberman, Luger, Nelson, and others, let the parties not forget that the spectrum from Republican moderates through independent moderates to Democratic moderates is where one finds most Americans. Yes, the largest voting bloc with the least representation – yet, the ones who will decide the outcome – the ones who each party caters for their vote so the winning party can declare an inaccurate policy mandate.

Barring an unforeseen circumstance, election 2012 will not settle differences or bring solutions – just more partisan divide. No matter who wins the president election, I hope that the same party does not control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives – for if it does, an ideological overreach will be the order. Yes, I’ll take gridlock instead of overreach – and then in time, the moderates will return in one form or another to lead the majority of Americans. The real question is, how much time?

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