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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 120

On Politics
As predicted, Newt Gingrich’s time to shine in the can’t-commit-to-Mitt sun. The two questions that come to mind are how long will it last and will Rick Santorum be next. Meanwhile, I was going to link the Newt-Freddie Mac story, but it’s national news now.

Gov Perry’s recent inability to name the third agency didn’t bother me. Besides, I appreciate the way he was able to laugh at himself.

I continue to be disinterested and bored with the GOP slate – thus a reason why I haven’t watched any of the debates (which actually aren’t). Maybe that’s why I appreciate this column about questions to the candidates.

I appreciate this quote from Bill Tammeus: Herman Cain says  God told him to run for president. I’m not sure why (well, if) God is doing this, but 2012 will be the 12th time I’ve voted for president and so far God has never told me for whom to vote.

Countdown on the Super Committee is approaching. Are they stupid enough not to reach of deal? I say yes. Nonetheless, here’s an interesting look at their potential failure.

C-Span seeks to televise the health care arguments at the US Supreme Court. I hope they got it.

On Headlines from The Onion
Magnanimous Bank Owner Hires Occupy Wall Street Protesters
Even Newt Gingrich a Little Depressed by Prospect of Him Running for President
Joe Theismann’s Contract Holdout Enters 26th Year
New Strip Mall of America Stretches Over 1/6th of North Dakota
Man to Sail Around World to Decrease Awareness of Important Issues
Obama’s Attempt to Pass Each Word of Jobs Bill Stalled on ‘Is’
Biden Minimizes Browser Window Every Time Obama Walks By
Pizza is a vegetable (Ooops … That’s not The Onion, but the Government)

On Interesting Reads
Swing Voters
How Our Era’s Dominant Stories Shape Our Lives
An Analysis of the Health Care Law at SCOTUS
David Brooks on Inequality
Maybe Good Politics, but Bad Theology
Nixon’s Spiritual Hunger
20 Ways to be a Better Person (A wonderful post)

On Potpourri
Oh no … our handbell choir suddenly lost two players and one more is leaving soon. YIKES! Fortunately, we are able to play this weekend, so hear The Morning Trumpet here.

Pamela Anderson is staring as the Virgin Mary in an upcoming Canadian TV holiday show. Hmmmm ….

For those that didn’t know, Ohio football teams were 0-4 against teams wearing gold: Bengals (Steelers), Browns (Rams), Bearcats (WVU), and Buckeyes (Purdue).

Woo Hoo … This weekend we have tickets to something we haven’t seen – the hit play, Wicked.

Thoughts and prayers to a good friend whose medical issues have turned her life upside down.

To send you into the weekend, see these stunning images of the Spanish coast from a self-taught photographer. Have a good weekend and may the words of Garrison Keillor stay with you: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 118

Well, all good things must come to an end, and with that I announce this is my last post. I’ll explain at the end.

On Politics
I continue my streak of not watching the new GOP debate series. Meanwhile, some pundits are predicting Newt Gingrich will lead the next anybody-but-Romney wave.

Last week I watched Meet the Press and observed Herman Cain making too many contradictions.

Hooray for Social Security recipients getting their first COLA raise since 2009.

Sorry Senator Rubio (R-FL), I do not believe the public would not have tolerated aggressively sending US troops into Libya.

Those waiting on the Super Committee results, prepare for a 7-5 vote as the GOP decides how they cast their votes.

In 2012, many independents will cast a vote opposing someone over supporting a candidate – thus setting up the winner to misread the mandate.

As Election Day 2011 approaches, I continue to believe that elected judges at any level should not run attached to a party, should not receive a party endorsement, and should not receive party support.

There is no doubt in my mind that Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor supporting Rick Perry and referred Mormonism a “cult” and “nonChristian”, is using religious bigotry to promote politics. Does he not reject candidates based on religion?Read his column in the Washington Post to see.

Interestingly, this NBC poll shows that the percentage of likely GOP primary voters in two early primary states whom seemingly agree with Rev. Jeffress: South Carolina (53%) and Florida (42%).

In accordance with our state constitution, Ohio has redrawn its district boundaries. The result is both legal and pathetic.

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 41 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads
Pew Research study about which candidate gets the most negative press – get ready for a surprise
US Debt Accumulation by President
Tax Policy Center about 9-9-9
Tax Reform Thoughts
A Google Interactive about What Taxes Pay For
Super Committee and Backroom Deals
Kathleen Parker on Success and Failure
A short Then and Now video about Occupy Wall Street

On Headlines from The Onion
Republican Coma Candidate Dominates GOP Debate
Nation’s Dogs Dangerously Underpetted, Dogs Say
Leaf Hunting Season Begins
Smooth Jazz Musician Forced to Listen to Own Song Over and Over While on Hold with Time-Warner
New Co-op Airline Offers Cheaper Fares if You Help Fly the Plane

On Potpourri
What is next for Libya? Will Syria change?

We were supposed to play a round of night golf, which I have not done in double-digit years. Unfortunately, too much rain postponed the event until next week.

Mentioning the rain, Cincinnati needs about 1.2 more inches to have the wettest year on record. Wonder if we’ll get before the end of October!

The recent news about the wild animals in Zanesville, OH is disturbing in many ways. It now is apparent that Ohio laws are lax, but for what reasons? How will the party in power react? By the way, that is the party proclaiming less regulations and individual freedoms.

I prepare Goggle bookmarks on the Google toolbar. Unfortunately, Google no longer supports their toolbar on Firefox. I then tried Google Chrome only to discover that its use of Google bookmarks is cumbersome and inefficient.

And now to explain my announcement. Those of you that were fortunate enough to read this on Thursday are much luckier than others who may not get the chance. After all, Harold Camping has recalculated the rapture and the end of the world to be Friday, October 21st. So, why am I getting a prostate exam Friday morning?

Meanwhile, to those left behind, have a good weekend and may the words of Garrison Keillor stay with you: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch. 🙂 … I just could pass this one up. See ya Monday.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 117

On Politics
I still have not watched a Republican debate. I would watch a debate without Romney, Perry, Cain, and Bachmann.

Earlier this week I listened to a good speech by John Huntsman.

I know Herman Cain is the latest champion of the Anybody-but-Mitt club. Read what a Republican economist says about Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan.

Reading local reaction to Kathleen Parker’s column on Sarah Palin not running has been interesting. For those who obviously did not get it, the column is about The Nincompoop, not Christians!

Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher filed to run for Congress. Just another reason to dislike Toledo – but don’t hold that against Tony Packo’s!

Here is one reason for the Occupy Wall Street movement: The risk-taking banks that helped create the economic funk – and without consequences for their actions.

Now that the Senate nixed President Obama’s job bill, the monkey is on Capitol Hill’s back. Oh sure, as if we can rely on them!

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 40 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads
7 Top Republicans who taxed the Super Rich
Barry Ritholz regarding CEO Pay
Recession Nightmare
Ruth Marcus examines a recent poll
A clean water project

On Headlines from The Onion
Horny Man not Even Going to Inflate Her All the Way
New Bipartisan Law Would Make Dog Neckerchiefs Mandatory
Man receives First Baboon-Face Transplant
Nervous Americans Worried About Botching Another Election
New Hampshire Residents Convince Incoming GOP Candidates that Maple Syrup Enemas are State Tradition

On Potpourri
My Sept 27th post about Science at Work get some interesting comments for a Villanova University faculty member. Click here to revisit the post.

Last week we took our first trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Maker’s Mark was our intended first stop, but the GPS took us to a lone house on a one-lane road.

Handbell season opened at last Sunday’s services with An Expression of Joy. If you enjoy handbell music, listen to it here and take notice of the different types of sounds bells create with different techniques.

Mormonism and Islam have this in common: A lack of knowledge by the majority of nonmembers fuels a load of misconceptions.

I recently heard an interesting presentation by the executive director of an Islamic relations organization. She was very good, but it was also interesting to listen to the audience.

The college conference shuffle is pathetic.

These must-see photos are from an amateur photographer in Norway, who simultaneously captured the Northern Lights and the Milky Way.

As a loyal watcher of Dancing with the Stars, the theme of this season seems to get the better dancers off the show.

It’s hard to believe, but Jesus Christ Superstar opened on Broadway forty years ago this week. So, I send you off into the weekend with a song from that classic – but without the words of Garrison Keillor first: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 115

On Politics
The dominoes are aligning for Sarah Palin to ride into the nomination picture to save the party from Mitt Romney … then to back out claiming she was never running.

Republicans enjoy beating the “too many regulations” drum. Although I do not trust their intent, I imagine some truth exists in their claim. Of course, a sensible review is out of the question.

These articles from William Gadston and Perry Bacon, Jr (Wash Post) are attempting to characterize the moderate independents who will decide the election. Although there is a long way to go, at this time I see independents casting a vote against someone over voting for someone.

Tuesday was an interesting day as my post about economic questions correlated with this David Brooks column.

These articles from The Hill and The Daily Beast (Howard Kurtz) about those the Tea Party is overshadowing.

I have surprised friends for not watching any of the GOP debates to date. I have no interest in watching Michelle Bachmann spew incorrect claims; no interest in an event that invites many, yet focuses on a few; and no interest in listening to candidates skirt a question with a prepared statement that has minimal or no connection to the question.

Washington continues to show its true colors by focusing on short-term deals that do more for one’s re-election than addressing the problem.

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 38 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads

On Headlines from The Onion
Amish Teen Spends Entire Rumspringa at Apple Store
Brutal Spouse-Fighting Ring Discovered in Miami Basement
Pediatricians Announce 2011 Newborns are the Ugliest in 30 Years
Study: Most Self-Abuse Goes Unreported
General Mills Release New Lucky Charms with 15% Less Leprechaun Meat

Real Headlines of the Week
Man in Ice Cream Costume Mistaken for KKK
Toe-Suck Fairy Arrested
Man Wins Dumpling Eating Content, then Dies
Prison Warden’s Wife Convicted of Helping Prisoner Escape
Man Sued for Parental Support by His Mom

On Potpourri
What an ending to baseball’s regular season! I will only keep one eye on the playoffs because my Reds did not qualify. After a successful 2010, many pundits proclaimed big things for the 2011 Reds. However, as a pragmatic among the Reds faithful, I predicted the reds to finish right where they did – third place and watching the playoffs from home.

With the work project ending today (Friday), I can return to reading my favorite blogs – and I will celebrate with a Saturday post!

If the Bible is the inherent truth, how does one deal with Biblical contradictions?

Here is an interesting article about trains, planes, ships, and more that are named after Cincinnati.

To my Jewish readers and friends, warm and heartfelt wishes for good health and happiness in the New Year. Shana Tova.

In the words of Garrison Keillor: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.