Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 353

Embed from Getty Images

I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. My favorite events are speed skating (especially short track), downhill skiing, ice dancing, and snowboarding (halfpipe is unbelievable). But why isn’t there a competition of doing aerials off the ski-jump hill? Why doesn’t the sled track have a corkscrew or 360 loop? Shouldn’t there be a winter pentathlon competition involving ski jumping, luge, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and speed skating?

I shake my head when I see Russian athletes participating. Their hockey team even where’s the team colors and jerseys except for the name on the front. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.

The possibility of the US Men’s Hockey Team going winless is very likely.

This past Monday marked the 209th birthday of two influential figures born on opposite sides of the Atlantic: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The occasion serves as 9th anniversary of me diving deep into a personal study of the interchange between science and religion – yes – it was reading various reactions to the 200th anniversary that started my journey.

Although more BLINK posts will come in time, none this weekend because I have other posts scheduled around a special event.

Embed from Getty Images

Another mass shooting in the US is followed by more Republicans offering prayers and talking about mental health while failing to back their talk with any action.

Months ago I contacted my Republican Representative and Senator asking them a question about mental health. I just received a response from Senator Portman (R-OH), to which replied with the following: “Senator Portman. Thank you for the gracious form letter that didn’t come close to answering my question.”

It’s so interesting that Republicans are now less concerned with fiscal responsibility – which also means that such a future stance is actually an excuse to say No.

For the fall midterm elections, Republicans have the following problems on their plate: President Trump, ignoring President Trump’s continual misplays, and force feeding party policy down the public throat. On the other hand, Democrats are having a problem finding their voice other than anti-Trumpian.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promising a fair and open debate on immigration also serves as an admission that he hasn’t been doing that. Besides, anyone thinking he doesn’t have something up his sleeve is wishful thinking.

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides suggestions about climbing the corporate ladder.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Poignant dying words wasted on dumbshit nephew
Queen Bun gives birth to thousands of tiny rolls
Detective refuses to pry into circumstances of murder out of respect for deceased
Study finds cats only meow when they want to alert owner of neighbor’s murder they witnessed through window
Italian grandmother doesn’t have the heart to tell family any dipshit can make lasagna

Interesting Reads
History and future of the plastic bag
Volcanoes making lightning
Looking back at a fight to vote
Lincoln’s secret visits to slaves
Limits of technology: Paper jams
(Pictures) Nature’s gardens

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Advertisements

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 333

Embed from Getty Images

The aFa Short Story Challenge (Footprints in the Sand) is on final approach. Thanks to those who reblogged the challenge in their blog. I will publish my story on July 10th at 12:15 am (Eastern US). Participants will link to that post (NOT the Challenge post). For those who didn’t see the challenge, click here.

Cheers to the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for another wonderful Fourth of July concert. Interestingly, a three-quarters moon was displaying itself directly behind the fireworks.

We are watching the latest season of House of Cards. Through episode 9 was slow – very slow! … but the pace is starting to pick up as the house seems to the ready to tumble.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the Seychelles Islands (in the Indian Ocean), and I don’t think I’ve encountered a Seychellian blogger … but I know two people who are currently here. From the views from this video, it appears to be a paradise.

So far, I’m comfortable with my random posting schedule.

Embed from Getty Images

I wished I would have saved it, but last week I read an article that mentioned the Democrats top two strategies, which caused me to shake my head.

The previous I displayed the letter I sent to my representative (an R) regarding the health care & insurance issue in the U.S. Last week I wrote the following to one of my senators, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Senator Portman,
On Twitter you stated. “Let me know what you think.” about the recently proposed Senate health care. Your dilemma lies in this predicament. If you are representing your party, you should vote YES because partisanship and political gain is of utmost important. If you are representing the best interest of the people, you should vote NO because health care and health care insurance is a very serious issue that demands more than a frivolous attempt based on partisanship and political gain. Because of the importance of health care and health care insurance, doing what is best for the people requires a bipartisan effort. That is the challenge.”

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides the pros and cons of artificial intelligence.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman rearranging condiments in refrigerator door like puzzle in ancient tomb
Queen Elizabeth kicks off Wimbledon by serving ceremonial first ace of tournament
Man on internet almost falls into world of DIY mustard enthusiasts
Housefly drops everything to go stand on watermelon slice
Dolphin spends amazing vacation swimming with stockbroker
This stool shall pass

Interesting Reads
Understanding the latest fossils of human origins
50 things about the US Founding Fathers
Humans aren’t nutritious eating
3-D printed ovaries fight infertility
(Photo Gallery) Empty railways in America

For your weekend entertainment, here’s a fun song that you may not know that comes from my cousins. It’s an Italian classic from 1972. Although not in Italian, it’s meant to sound like English, but actually the lyrics are pure gibberish – except for two words. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Suggestions to the Super Committee

Several weeks ago, I sent a letter to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who not only is one of my senators, but he also was my former representative and is a member of the Super Committee. I focused on retirement, including Social Security by aiming at four points: 1) Establishing individualized, privatized Social Security accounts, 2) increasing money flow into the Social Security system, 3) maximizing avenues for individuals saving for retirement so they are less likely to seek government assistance, and 4) decreasing the tax rate for all businesses (employers).

With this focus on retirement, examining the current system of retirement accounts is part of the solution. For instance, the IRS currently limits IRA contributions based on income. To be honest, there is no good reason to limit retirement contributions in this manner. After all, Bill Gates has as much of a right to deposit into his retirement account and any middle class citizen.

With this in mind, I suggested these 11 points.

1)   Everyone 30 years or younger shall establish an individual, privatized account into which a 5% payroll deduction is automatically deposited. These accounts should be employee-directed, but with limited investment options to minimize risk.

2)  Everyone 30 years or younger shall have 1% withheld to be sent to the current Social Security fund.

3)  Employers deposit 4% payroll deduction into the employee’s individualized account.

4)  Employers also send 2% to the current Social Security fund.

5)  Raise the Social Security salary cap to $150,000.

6)  For all salaries above the salary cap, employees pay 1% to the Social Security fund.

7)  The employer’s obligation ceases at the salary cap.

8)  If they so choose, all employees can deposit into their approved IRA regardless of salaries: limited to $2000 into a traditional IRA and $5000 into a Roth IRA.

9)  If they so choose, an employee can submit participate in a 401K up to a maximum percentage established by the law. Whether or not an employer wishes to contribute to an employee’s 401K is a business decision.

10) Contributions to 401K, IRAs, and individualized Social Security accounts should have no cumulative bearing on the others, thus allowing n employee to build retirement wealth; therefore, no need for government assistance.

11) Employees currently over 30 years old continue to pay in accordance to the current system with the salary cap raised to $150,000 plus the additional 1% for income over $150,000 to the general fund.

I realize that each committee member is probably swamped with correspondence, so I do not have much hope that Senator Portman even saw my letter, let alone the committee doing something with the suggestions – but at least I tried.