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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 321

La La Land was the big winner at the Golden Globes. We saw it several days before the awards. Fun movie. Thumbs up! I hope to see Hidden Fences next.

Meryl Streep caused much stir at the Golden Globes. To me, wrong time, wrong place – especially because she got the stage for lifetime achievement.

Different things on my plate at the moment that is standing in the way of my visits. 😦

I continue to read about the interrelationship between science and religion. I’m enjoy examining the bibliographies to see if they list authors I’ve read. A smile verifies that I selected the right people in my self-guided journey.

College football’s national championship game was quite the encounter. Congratulations Clemson!

Countdown is on toward Inauguration Day, and I am confident the partisans are thrilled.

David Brooks made the statement below in early September. In light of the election results and the post-election analysis of who voted for whom, Brooks was spot on.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

I’m against the waiver for James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. I see 3 Democrats were against granting the waiver. The difference between me and them is that they would vote for the waiver if it involved one of their own while I would stay the same.

Confirmation hearings of Cabinet members are predictably more about partisanship rather than fitness.

Some wonder how long will it take for Democrats today to adopt the behaviors of Republicans of yesterday. Others say one doesn’t have to wait because they already have.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
My Bengals not making the NFL playoffs
Snow when you don’t want it
The Dow not breaking 20,000
Alabama losing to Clemson
Trump-Putin bromance

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists the 2017 agenda for Congressional Republicans.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man Not Accepting Any More Television Recommendations At This Time
Exciting New App Allows Users To Be Pawns In 26-Year-Old CEO’s Little Game
5-Year-Old Stares Longingly Down Garbage Chute
Darkness Engulfs Man Who Brightened Touch Lamp One Tap Too Far
Pumpkin Seeds Saved, Dried, Roasted, Salted, Offered, Refused, Tossed
Fisher-Price release new utero fetal activity gym

Interesting Reads
Growing crops in cities
Hospital-borne infections
Chickens are smart
Camera technology and film-making
Fossils in the trees
The largest maritime evacuation ever (much larger than the Titanic)

Last week’s song received many kind words, so here’s one more from Al Stewart to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an Idea for Great Again

Dear President-Elect Trump,

I’ve never written a president or a president-elect, but once I discovered I can submit my ideas on GreatAgain.gov, I just had to write my suggestion.

I’m approaching 64 years old, so I’m relying on my experience. While I was growing up in a small town in rural Appalachian Ohio, all the parents of my friends were working. In that same area today, jobs are difficult to find. Here’s an idea to help make America great again.

Not only should we abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), let’s repeal all (if not most) of the environmental laws Congress has passed since the late 1960s. After all, even in rural Ohio, I had clean air to breathe and clean water to drink when I was a kid before the EPA even existed.

For three summers during my college years, I worked at one of 4 coal-burning power plants in my area. Since those days, driving past the same plant I have noticed the facility is more than twice the size because the EPA required the facility to add so much anti-pollution controls. Today, not only has one of the four plants closed, so has the large coal mine located in the area.

Other industrial facilities have either closed or downsized. If you abolished the EPA and the environmental laws;

  • A layer of corruption and overreach in government would be gone
  • Cost to businesses and people decrease
  • Jobs would return to not only my home area, but across the country
  • Local businesses would thrive again because people would have more money to spend
  • Walmart will become accessible to more people because more stores will be built in new areas – stores that put people to work and all people to spend
  • The Constitution’s intent of state’s rights would be preserved, so if states like California want their own environmental rules, they can have so they can send jobs to Mexico or other countries
  • … besides, climate change is a hoax so we don’t need an EPA

I know businesses have the best interest of people, so they won’t pollute the water, air, and soil. I know business leaders like the Koch brothers would much rather spend millions on growing their business instead of using that money for lobbying and political campaigns. Growing their businesses to put Americans to work so people can spend is the American way. We the people need to let these business giants, other owners, and entrepreneurs unleash their creative power to return America to its past glory.

Mr. Trump … please, please dismantle the EPA and remove the burden of environmental laws so our economy can grow and America can return to prosperity for everyone. I want to make sure I see that we take back what the Chinese have – something that I never had … and if this doesn’t work, it’s Obama’s fault.

Thanks for listening.

On Mini-Shorts to Start 2017

A belated Happy 2017 to all! Even though the start of the new year seems so long ago, were you awake at midnight? We enjoyed the evening at a ballroom dance party where we’ve developed good friendships.

Did you notice the new header? I find so much awe, wonder, and beauty in Hubble Telescope images. This one is of the Homunculus Nebula surrounding the Eta Carinae star system. I chose this image because it symbolizes several things that are currently in my mind. The entire image is much more impressive than the cropped header.

eta-carina

Readers seemed to enjoy the Explore series I did in the last week of December. Thanks for stopping by.

I have made a decision on the next musical, but have no idea when it will take place.

Countdown is on toward Inauguration Day, and I am confident the partisans are thrilled.

Although I enjoyed President-elect Trump’s slamming the new Congress for attempting to minimize the Independent Ethics Office, I wonder if the Republican Congress will serve as a watchdog over the new administration.

The NFL Playoffs start this weekend. After a good run of consecutive trips to the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the sideline this time, which is Obama’s fault.

Cincinnati is excited because Southwest Airlines is finally coming to town! Service starts in June.

For whatever reason, the Rose Bowl is a game I like to watch – and the 2017 edition did not disappoint. The way Penn State lost was definitely Obama’s fault.

Just wanted to get the year starting with something light as I embark on my who-knows posting schedule. Here’s a song from the 1970s 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. 320

Oh yes – classic federal government story. My wife and I applied for a special program. The first available “interview” in Cincinnati was September 2017. So we decided to drive 4 hours (each way) because they had interview openings in December. Well, all they wanted was to take our fingerprints and tell us basic information, which took 10 minutes for each of us.

Had to laugh at this rerun scene from Everyone Loves Raymond.

I still love this vintage television commercial for the season. After all, I used to say that the Christmas holiday wasn’t official until I saw this.

The next post will be about John Glenn. Meanwhile, this story saddened me because it can be applied to many people – but Mr. Glenn in this case.

The Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday causes me to change my posting – so I’m not sure about the next OITS. At this point, I’m hoping to have a few Explore posts between those two days.

Wow … Congress actually demonstrated that bipartisanship is possible with the 21st Century Cures Act. Then again, maybe it was time to use their once-a-year allotment.

As a whole, I am not impressed with President-elect Trump’s cabinet selections. It will be interesting to see which nominees meet resistance from enough Republican senators.

The partisans on both side of the aisle continue to amuse me with their predictability.

Potential conflict of interests involving Mr. Trump’s business remains on my radar.

When will Mr. Trump abandon his on-stage schtick?

Here is The Onion’s 2016 Year in Review.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Brown spots on bananas
Too many Canada Geese
A dysfunctional Congress
Aliens disguised as squirrels
Cleveland Browns playing in London next season

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

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation comes to a halt to watch crane move massive concrete tube
More realistic meat substitute made from soy raised in brutally cruel conditions
Universe feels no connection to guy tripping on mushrooms
Eighteen dead in Kansas town after tornado siren set to “Vibrate”
First nap doesn’t take

Interesting Reads
Fake news leads to a guide to facts
Better sleep in a stressful age
A look at observing teachers
The South Korean President who stepped down
Education in Singapore
The 1952 killer fog in London: An explanation?

Instead of using a popular classic to send you into the weekend, here’s a high energy song that I’ve used in previous years. Not only do I enjoy the Trans Siberian Orchestra version, I marvel at the skill level of the Raleigh Ringers. Enjoy! Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 319

Ohio lost a native son who was a statesman an American hero at age 95. John Glenn is one of the original Mercury astronauts who became the first American to orbit our planet, then went on to be a respected US Senator representing my state for 4 terms, a presidential candidate, the oldest person in space, a fighter pilot, and all around good guy. In the famous words spoken by fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter just before Glenn’s historic launch, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

The Kennedy Center Honors event was recently held, so mark your calendars for the televised event – Tuesday, December 27th, 9-11 pm (Eastern US) on CBS. To me, it’s one of the best entertainment shows of the year.

The demands on the handbell choir during the holiday season continues this weekend. Veni (by Jason Krug) is an interesting twist on a popular carol … just click to listen.

Despite President Obama’s effort, I overcame his obstacles and found my Spumoni ice cream.

Some of you may remember the use of wine corks in our home. Meanwhile, this 1+ minute video offers some clever uses for wine corks.

Even though we didn’t know any of the songs from the musical, we watched Hairspray Live. We were surprised by the quality of Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough’s voice. Jennifer Hudson and Kristen Chenoweth delivered impressive performances.

I’m still getting some hours at the golf course; therefore causing me to wonder about the ones playing on cold days.

I worry about the Bengals playing the winless Browns this weekend.

President-Elect Trump talks about unifying a divided America, yet several of his Cabinet nominees promote division.

Early in the week I heard only bits of an interview that I imagine I would have greatly enjoyed hearing it in its entirety. I found the author’s 3 categories of voters quite amusing: Hobbits, Hooligans, and Vulcans. Here’s a book review.

The fake news story and the subsequent event about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a popular Washington pizza restaurant was too weird on multiple levels.

A tip of the cap to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 7-minute tribute from the Senate floor to Vice-President Joe Biden (D-DE). See it here.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations
Ridership of Cincinnati’s new streetcar being less than projected
Tiger Woods not winning his return tournament
Republicans being divided on what to do with the Affordable Care Act
Possibility of Kim and Kanye divorcing

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, here’s an actual headline from The New Yorker that is very Onion-esque: Ben Carson warns that the Bible makes no mention of housing or urban development … that is just too good because President-elect Trump selected Dr. Carson to be in his cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Banana still most popular fruit for pretending to make a phone call
Broken ornament relegated to lonely existence on side of tree facing wall
Divorced friend burning through hobbies at unsustainable rate
Man had no idea cough was going to be a wet one
Oprah purists prefer original British version

Interesting Reads
Pearl Harbor myths?
Magic mushrooms
A look back at the first Rocky movie
Life under the ice
(Video) Black hole eating a galaxy
(Photos) Images capturing beauty across Great Britain

Here’s a 2-fer to lead you into the weekend: hits from two recent Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 318

The recent attack on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus is another example of the warped nature of today’s world. OSU is less than a two-hour drive for us, and to think my nephew is employed at the OSU Medical Center and I also know a pastor who leads a campus ministry there.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) recently released their latest results regarding science and mathematics education. Interestingly, the Internet allows us to compare reactions by different countries. Here’s the TIMSS site with the results.

Now these 30 seconds will cause a smile.

We are enjoying The Crown on Netflix.

My wife and I recently took a local food tour, which was fun and interesting!

I’m craving Spumoni ice cream, so I hope a nearby grocery store has it! … and if I can’t, I know who is to blame.

The first Monday without Dancing With the Stars is always a bit weird for us.

Until this week, I’ve been aware of Fidel Castro my entire life. The BBC did his life in pictures, so click here to see it.

Seems like a French presidential candidate is taking a page out of the US election by promoting free-market reforms, cutting government spending, supporting traditional family values, cracking down on immigration and Islamic terrorism, and better relations with Putin.

Advice for President-Elect Trump: You are your worst enemy, so you have a way of acting like an ass. Here are some suggestions. 1) Develop a very thick skin; 2) Learn to bite your tongue; 3) Control your use of Twitter.

Jill Stein and the Green Party’s request for recounts in a few states is a waste of time and money … and President-elect Trump’s response was almost as pathetic.

Anything wrong with this picture? Those complaining about racism and disrespectful behavior now are the ones who weren’t complaining about it before the election.

I still support the Electoral College system, and this article from Brookings makes a strong case for it. If anything, I may favor removing the actual vote by the delegates, but keeping the scoring system.

Here’s an interesting read co-authored by a Democrat and a Republican.

With Gallup reporting a slight majority of Americans disapproving the Affordable Care Act, I add that besides partisanship, a key reason can be traced back to the poor job the administration, the Congress, Democrats, and the government as a whole did a poor job educating the public. Interestingly, this is nothing new because I stated this position many years ago.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fidel Castro’s death
Donald Trump making ridiculous tweets
Fire in the Smoky Mountains
The Cincinnati Bengals continued winless streak
Fidel Castro taking power in Cuba

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips on having the perfect surprise party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Doggy in the window costs $1,500
Man to continue drifting into middle of restaurant until hostess redirects him
Siblings hoping the other one will take care of aging parents someday
Deep-sea Godiva rig taps world’s largest offshore ganache deposit
National Institute of Health finds obesity may be caused by too little sleep, too much sleep

Interesting Reads
The Learning Metrics Task Force
Pandas and their thumbs 
The myths behind Harry Potter
A life at sea
Sunflowers following the sun
The new power couple: grapefruit and salt
(Photos) 25 pictures from the People’s Choice Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from 1982. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.