Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 263

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I wonder about the similarities between the following presidential campaigns: Hillary Clinton (D-NY) 2016, Jeb Bush (R-FL) 2016, and Mitt Romney (R-UT) 2012.

Wow … Unbelievably, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, said global warming is not a hoax and the primary cause is human action increasing the carbon dioxide level. I’m sure the GOP base is excited and the other candidates are thanking him for paving the way.

Amazon is now collecting sales tax on purchases by Ohio residents, and I’m OK with that.

The transition away from posting daily has been good for me because 1) I don’t feel rushed preparing, and 2) I’ve been visiting other blogs more. Then again, I tend to get behind on weekends.

I added a new page – Hear Ye – to serve as a place for announcements, such as information about the next act of Meals: The Musical. (Yep – it’s there now, but I will announce again next week.)

There will be an Explore post on Saturday.

For those interested in jello shots, this creative recipe is worth checking. 

Carrie Rubin is looking for help with your quest to be published by Amazon. Here’s her post on how you can help her.

Last week Democrat Lincoln Chafee (D_RI) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a sign that his candidacy is in trouble, his name cannot be found in The Onion’s archives.

The Onion’s profiles of presidential candidates: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

June is the most popular month for weddings in the US. To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion captured the latest wedding trends.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)
More US children being diagnosed with YTD – Youthful Tendency Disorder
Idiot zoo animal with zero predators still protecting young
New Claritin flamethrower incinerates whatever causes allergies
Automakers asks nation if it still wants handle above car windows
Laid-back company allows employees to work from home after 6 pm

Interesting Reads
Raising money: political campaigns vs. new-business startups
Building the Clinton Foundation
Powering the future car: hydrogen or electricity?
Is Pope Francis a Communist?
Six mysteries in biology
(Photo Gallery) National Geographic Traveler Contest

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend. First, a video from the early MTV days (do you remember the song) and a bigger hit from a 80s. 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. 203

On Politics
Last week, Sarah Palin spoke about Pope Francis, “He’s had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me,” Newsflash to the Nincompoop – Jesus was one of the most liberal people ever! However, she did justify her comment with “… unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”

Martin Brashir’s (MSNBC) comments regarding Nincompoop were not only unprofessional and unnecessary, they weren’t worth his time.

Whereas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) isn’t sure Gov. Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) GOP brand will sell across America, I don’t believe Gov. Perry’s brand will sell.

Even though Republicans currently have some momentum, I don’t think they can handle it. Here’s columnist Kathleen Parker’s take.

With the Senate changing a rule, the fact that not that long ago roles were reversed, which means what each party says is also reversed. That probably means they did the right thing.

Hmmmm … Senators Graham (R-SC) and McCain (R-AZ) were against Susan Rice becoming Secretary of State, but favor her stance regarding Egypt over Secretary of State John Kerry’s, who they supported for the cabinet post.  (A read here)

Sorry, Mr. President, I disagree. You say the healthcare rollout mess is not about politics, but I say Washington is about politics 99% of the time, and your comment does not fall within the 1 percent.

Although I continue to separate issues regarding healthcare.gov and the law itself, I did notice a spin change from the website will be fixed by November 30th to the website will be working much better by then. To me, the spin is reminiscent of Baghdad Bob’s clueless rhetoric.

Cheers to The Onion for discovering President Obama’s plans for fixing the Affordable Care Act.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Scientists theorize sun could support fire-based life
  • Store manager impressed by new trainee’s ability to ignore customers
  • Man who drinks 5 Diet Cokes per day hoping doctors working on cure for whatever he’s getting
  • Siblings patiently waiting for day they’ll be close to each other
  • Area woman thinking about doing that thin where she’s mean to other women she meets for no reason
  • Mariana Trench once again voted worst place to raise a child

Interesting Reads
A view about moderate Islam
Fish and oral sex
Famines and gender ratios
How superstitions work
Images of insects covered in dew
Images of if they were alive today (Thanks Elyse)

On Potpourri
Given the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, information about November 22, 1963 has been more than bountiful. Interestingly, overshadowed in the news that day was the death of two other famous people: Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World) and C.S. Lewis (intellectual writer of Christianity)

Here is my 2008 reflection about the Kennedy assassination.

A potential holiday gift for the hard-to-buy person – a WTF stamp (courtesy of The Onion Store)

Say it ain’t so, but someone wants to remake It’s a Wonderful Life.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Filipino people. If you can, support relief efforts through the agency of your choice

Dancing with the Stars has been a good season. I always enjoy seeing non-dancers progress, but I don’t like seeing the audience vote causing better dancers to leave.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford should resign and start a consultant agency specializing in damage control for celebrities.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Start Your Own Country Day, Cranberry Relish Day
  • (Sat) Fibonacci Day (past post), Family Volunteer Day, Aura Awareness Day, Cashew Day, Jukebox Day, Eat a Cranberry Day, You’re Welcome-giving Day
  • (Sun) Brownielocks Day, Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day, DB Cooper Day, Mother Goose Day, Espresso Day

Sorry, no Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend, but there will be a post – a new, occasional series called Take 5. Stop by this weekend for the inaugural post.

Let’s celebrate going into a weekend with a song from my youth. Warning: the ending is a bit monotonous. 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. 197

On Politics
Interesting that Tuesday’s government shutdown coincided with Yosemite National Park’s 123rd anniversary.

As the shutdown neared and ever since, it is interesting to see politicians dodge answering questions more than usual.

A reminder to Congress: Whenever pointing a finger at someone, three are pointing at you.

I wonder if federal workers in Tea Party districts are standing with their representative?

I continue to say the shutdown is a battle between Republicans.

Republicans are offering Democrats an interesting choice: Defund health care or fund everything else.

“If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price, and that, I will suggest to you, reaches to the point of being a felony toward them and their future. That is a criminal act, from my perspective, to put that type of burden on them, to mortgage their future like that. America cannot stand that. America cannot accept that.” – Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

From http://dictionary.law.comfelony“1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) A crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as “high crimes” as described in the U.S. Constitution.”

“America was designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” —Anonymous

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
US Government of the verge of full-scale government hoedown
Company more like family whose members are desperate to join better family
Student reporter hits it out of the park with five accurate sentences
Fantasized argument getting pretty intense
Disgusting shower liner has another three years left in it

Interesting Reads
Quinoa
A book review about Woodrow Wilson
Congress, border sheriffs, and immigration bills
Actual science controversies
From Nicholas Kristof (NY Times) on the shutdown
Madame Weebs takes a bite out of Congress (language alert)
The Onion explains how health insurance exchanges work 

On Potpourri
Ever wonder what tacos, smiles, flutes, noodles, balloons, vodka, and cinnamon rolls have in common?

Did you know that Julius, Leonard, Arthur, Milton, and Herbert were known as Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, and Zeppo?

For me, baseball season is officially over.

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I saw this and immediately thought of El Guapo.

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While in Quebec City, it was interesting to observe reactions when I asked locals about Le Clown. Some bowed, while others brought food, drink, and gifts. Some screamed as they ran away in terror while others simply laughed. smirked, and muttered “Le Clown” and something in French. (They must be the anarchists.)

Reasons to celebrate this weekend

  • (Weekend) Storytelling Weekend, Fallen Firefighters Weekend
  • (Friday) Improve Your Office Day, Taco Day, Ten-Four Day, Vodka Day, World Animal Day, Smile Day, Lee’s Denim Day, Cinnamon Roll Day, Balloons Around the World Day, Toot Your Own Flute Day
  • (Saturday) Card Making Day, Cephalopod Awareness Day, Smile Day, Do Something Nice Day, Apple  Betty Day
  • (Sunday) Change a Light Day, Mad Hatter Day, Diversity Day, Noodle Day

Catching up has been difficult, so if I can get it together, a Saturday morning cartoon feature returns on the next post.

To send you into the weekend, here’s a jazzy song from a rock band during my 70s college days. Enjoy Blue Collar by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Free Will

Acts of God are acts of God. From time to time there are going to be things that can’t be prevented. (Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) regarding the gulf oil spill)

There are those who believe that the recent earthquake and hurricane along the US’s east coast is God’s sign that he disapproves Democrats in Washington. Then again, do the same people believe that the fires in Texas are God’s way of warning Americans about Texas Governor Rick Perry? At least he is out of the 2012 picture.

Last year I wrote this post about the burning of a large Jesus statue near Cincinnati. A friend of mine told me that it was God’s way of showing his disapproval of the statue; so, I respond of saying that is God’s way of wanting a newer and bigger statue. Of course, I could add numerous Rev. Pat Robertson examples to the above, but I will spare my readers. Interestingly, all this leads to the concept of free will.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve would be one of the first examples of free will in the Bible and Torah by demonstrating their free will by rejecting God’s will. To me, Adam represents all of humanity because of the free will we possess.

Life involving making choice – and no matter our choice – that choice leads to other choices. Regardless if the relationship is with a spouse, friend, neighbor, family member, co-worker, managers, or stranger, our individual choices affect our relationships. No matter the relationship, every choice one makes leads one makes leads them toward or closer to that personal entity.

For those of us believing in God, each choice we make leads us toward or away from God. Sure God has a preference, but we have a choice. However, no matter our choices, we still sin, we remain selfish, people die, and some do horrible acts on humanity.

As God gives us a gift of choice our own path, free will has consequences because the greatest freedom also leads us to unacceptable behaviors as abuse, murder, greed, deceit, evil, hate, and others lead to suffering. Free will is a gift, an opportunity, and a curse – thus how each of use it is a matter of individual choice.

God’s free will gift also extends to nature and the universe for they operate within the parameters natural laws. As with human behavior, this free also leads to abuse and suffering – such as, natural disasters, diseases, genetic disorders, and handicaps to name a few. Although the natural laws are not the same as human behavior, the natural world’s free will allows it to operate with ever-changing forces that work to maintain a steady state with benefits and consequences. Yet, Pat Robertson wants to use natural disasters as a way of God punishing people.

Human creations are subject to disasters as Exxon’s Valdez, Union Carbide’s Bhopal, coal mine explosions, and post-tsunami meltdowns of a nuclear reactor. Yet, Gov. Perry refers to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an act of God that can’t be prevented.

Each of our lives are not pre-programmed with dates of birth and death, family information, interests, occupations, locations, and events; nor is God playing out the natural world as a video game. Just something to think about the next time someone makes a statement about God’s involvement in a natural disaster, a horrible highway accident, or a personal illness.

Other posts done here about free will:

On Chasing the Mis- and Uninformed

I haven’t written about the intersection of science and religion in a few weeks, but as the Categories on the right sidebar indicates, I have more than just a passing interest in the topic.  Interestingly enough, the current candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are providing some fodder to ponder.

Michelle Bachmann recently mentioned that God used the east coast’s earthquake and hurricane to get Washington’s attention about Washington spending. Although she is known to proclaim her theological beliefs and interpretations, she is now passing the comment off as humor. If her intent was humor, she exercised a poor choice of words. If she intended to proclaim a theological belief, she not only does not speak for all Christians, her theology does not represent the majority of Christians. After all, God did not cause of drought in Texas to warn the nation against Governor Rick Perry!

Shortly after announcing his candidacy not all that long ago, Governor Perry made an interesting statement about evolution – so I took some time to read the Texas science standards for high school. Although I can make the argument that Governor Perry’s statements about what educators teach in Texas is false, I acknowledge that cracks exist in the standards that could allow religious points of view into the science classroom – a notion that the US Supreme Court ruled against in Edwards vs. Aguillard (1987).

I know that Governor Perry does not stand for the same theology and science that I do, but reading the comments from readers after the articles about his statement was more disturbing to me than what he said. Although I disagree with some of the comments, but too many comments contained numerous misconceptions and misinformation about science, evolution, religion, and the interchange between them that reinforce my notion that too many people are either misinformed or not informed about the topic. I write about this topic because of the misinformed and the not informed.

Although I have not officially crunched the numerous myself (at least not yet), membership in Christian denominations supporting science and evolution easily outnumbers membership to the contrary. It would not surprise me if the split is at least 60/40, and maybe more – thus a larger gap than polling suggests. Then again, I also believe those numbers would support my notion that many churches are not teaching their flock about this issue – thus contributing to the misinformed.

Meanwhile, Governor Perry and Michelle Bachmann continue to rely on engaging the emotions of a misinformed public through their bamboozling rhetoric and their personal theological view. I tagged this video a few months ago waiting for the right time as the comments in this video also support the divide and the notion of the malinformed – yet giving promise & hope of the informed.