Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 292

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Last Saturday I watched much of Justice Scalia’s funeral. I’m amazed by the strength of his son – Paul, a Catholic priest – in leading service and delivering the homily at the funeral for his father. He brilliantly wove theology and life together … a WOW … what a beautiful church! (Click for Google Images.)

That once-every-four-years day is approaching. Here’s an explanation of why February gets the extra day in a leap year.

This blog passed on odd milestone earlier this week … 66,666 comments.

Here’s is your chance to make Cincinnati Chili.

Last weekend I saw a great video segment on HLN (CNN companion station) presenting both sides of the argument regarding Apple unlocking the iPhone of a deceased terrorist. Unfortunately, I can’t find it!

Last Friday I took my wife and her sister to the airport so they could begin their week of cruising for the fifth consecutive year. Yep – my Bachelor Week is nearing the end. For my week, I had three things to accomplish: 1) Takes them to the airport, 2) pick them up at the airport, and 3) have the house cleaned when they return.

Some wonder, want did you do? I ballroom danced, wrote a few blog posts, stayed up later but not sleeping as well, did my volunteering (dancing with seniors, dancing with Downs, and ESL tutoring), danced again, attended handbell rehearsal, had a dance lesson, participated in our Lenten journey small group, painted walls in one area, danced some more, attended a group dance class, did the usual Wednesday laundry, prepared the tax materials to our accountant (delivery is based on his schedule), cleaned the house, worked on designing a wall project, and squeezed in  some time to dance … so I can work on leading.

For Act 3: Yellow of Colors: The Musical, readers brought forth quite the array of over 30 songs! A tip of the cap to all! Special thanks to Dale for excellent Maitre D’ work … plus keep your eye on the Hear Ye page.

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing …

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Interesting time – Data out of California indicates a growing number of registered independents.

A question for Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). How do you implement your vision if Republicans control one or both of the Capitol Hill chambers?

My post (On the Court) earlier in the week regarding a forthcoming nominee to the US Supreme Court created interesting comments – and some were very predictable. Therefore, I pose these questions: How different would my post have been if a conservative justice other than Justice Scalia died? How different would the post have been if a liberal justice died?

Whereas Republicans as Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) use past quotes by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-NY) to justify delaying the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee, these are prime examples of the positions politicians take is a matter, place, and convenience – thus they are willing to wear the others shoes when it fits the narrative that meets their needs at that time. I take the contrary view – I oppose McConnell and Grassley today as much as Schumer and Biden then. As a matter of fact, I can say they are flat-out wrong.

My senator (Rob Portman, R-OH)  responded to my contact with a form letter containing an unacceptable answer. Good job at working to lose a supporter during an election year.

The candidate from my state, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) , made a faux pas comment on the campaign trail this week. A big deal to some, no more than a blip for me. Personally, his signature to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio was much bigger news.

Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is declaring himself the alternative to Mr. Trump, his road to the nomination is the most difficult.

I enjoy when the morning news recaps comedic comments from the late-night hosts regarding the presidential candidates. After all, laughing is so important.

Although the Republican field is dwindling, one aspect that is important to me is noticing who supports each of the candidates … especially when the field was larger.

Oh my … The Onion reported a leather-clad Ted Cruz campaigned at a fetish club. (Beware of image)

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides timely tips for hosting an Oscars party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pizza slice has only one pepperoni
Caffeine bracelet acts as coffee substitute
Takeout burrito shielded from cold as though it were week-old newborn
Nation’s elderly hit hard by closing automatic doors
Vatican City residents rally to save St. Peter’s Basilica from development

Interesting Reads
Global smartphone ownership and Internet use
The GOP nomination and the party rules
Columnist David Ignatius on a high-tech military (Thanks Tim)
Another reason for the Easter Island mystery
Naming elements
Design plans after the Great Fire of 1666
(Pictures) Corners

It’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and one with an appropriate title for the upcoming night to celebrate Oscar. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor – Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 256

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While I appreciate the No-Labels organization and their agenda as the National Strategic Agenda (for problem solving), in the end, politicians remain loyal to their party. Nonetheless, this is a good read.

The Senate’s delay of dealing with confirming a new Attorney General is the type of political theater I deplore. All presidential nominees should be acted upon, thus not treated as political footballs … and that’s regardless of the president’s party and the majority party in the Senate. If the senators are hiding behind Senate Rules, then I suggest changing the rules.

Welcome to another edition of It’s Time for Truth with Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Here’s the explanation from PolitiFact.

CruzSmallBiz

Wayne LaPierre is the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Given a high position in many other organizations (if not most), remarks like he makes would have gotten him fired.

The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame recently inducted new members. Joan Jett before the Moody Blues? Joan Jett before Yes? That organization has no credibility – None, nada, zilch, zero. Their credibility level is near that of Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Congress … and that’s not good company.

I had a lousy week of visiting your blogs. 😦

Our energy provider recently sent us this graph regarding energy use.

EnergyUse1year

Meals: The Musical is scheduled to return next week, which means I will announce Act 3’s theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

No Saturday Morning Cartoons this weekend, but Saturday will bring a new Explore post.

Milestone alert – Approaching a quarter of a million hits, thus should surpass next week.

Body cameras on police is getting a lot of attention. To lead you into it’s headlines, The Onion offers a list of pros and cons regarding this issue.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Medical experts disappointed in man who failed to live up to life expectancy
Lethal injection least effective drug man took while in prison
Hand gestures transform friend’s story into immersive virtual reality experience
Relationship reaches point where breaking up, getting married would be equally huge hassle
Lovestruck Arabian princess begs father to spare John Kerry’s life

Interesting Reads
Columnist Dana Milbank on partisanship, the elected, and the electorate
Redefining India’s textile heritage
World War I Anzaks (and Anzak Day is Saturday)
How an octopus is coordinated
A short web & digital technology quiz from Pew Research Center

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Fri) Hairball Awareness Day, Satchmo Days, Meningitis Day, Arbor Day, Pigs in a Blanket Day, New Kids on the Block Day, Teach Your Children to Save Day, Puppetry Day, Sylvester the Cat’s Birthday, Natasha’s (Sesame Street) Birthday
(Sat) Anzac Day, DNA Day, Dance Day, Hug a Plumber Day, Bob Wills Day, Eeyore’s Birthday, Hairstylists Appreciation Day, Marconi Day, License Plates Day, Malaria Awareness Day, Go Birding Day, Herb Day, Penguin Day, Red Hat Society Day, Rebuilding Day, Save the Frogs Day, Sense of Smell Day, Spring Astronomy Day, World Day for Animals in Laboratories, World Healing Day, Veterinary Day, Tai Chi & Qigong Day, Telephone Day, Kiss of Hope Day, East Meets West Day
(Sun) Hug an Australian Day, Photography Day, Static Cling Day, Hug a Friend Day, Help a Horse Day, Audubon Day, Mother-Father-Deaf Day, Kids & Pets Day, Pretzel Day, Pet Parent’s Day, Richter Scale Day, Intellectual Property Day

There should be any doubt why these songs will send you into the weekend, 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. 246

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This week’s terrorist attack in Paris was horrifying. Strength to the French, and peace to the many Muslims who condone condemn such brutality in the name of religion. Much of life is about two virtues that a few people lack: respect and tolerance.

Note: The previous paragraph shows an edit with the original word in place. Using that word was an honest mistake, and I apologize. A special thanks to Lame for pointing this out to me in private.

Congress is back in session … gag!

In his recent WSJ column, I appreciate these words by William Galston:

Although both the executive and judicial branches play a role in the legislative process, the people’s elected representatives are supposed to drive this process. When they fail to do so, the legitimacy of popular government is called into question. Along with partisan commitments, members of Congress have constitutional responsibilities, and it is time for members of both parties to start honoring them. …

For the most part, though, there are only two choices—continued gridlock or compromises in which each party gives ground on matters it cares about. …. Both sides would have to eat some crow, but the dish might still be palatable.

Cheers to the fact checker at the Washington Post, who also put together this list of the biggest Pinocchios of 2014. Then again, politicians do make it easy.

Act 15 of Life: The Musical is complete. Readers provided an outstanding collection, so many thanks to all participants. Only 2 acts to go in this musical – any ideas about the theme for Act 16?

I’m hoping to continue the Exploring series, thus will consider your suggestions. Think person, place, or thing.

Congratulations to Cindy for being the 50,000th comment here (which happened in the last post). She received a beautiful fireworks display!

If I can complete the work, I hope to celebrate the first Saturday in 2015 with a Saturday Morning Cartoon post!

To lead you into The Onion headlines, here’s their suggestions for fighting the winter blues.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Brutal cold doesn’t factor into man’s decision to stay inside for two straight days
Weird chair pressed into service at family’s holiday dinner
Copycat criminals continue to mimic liquor store robbery from 1882
Dirty-Slush machine provides children in Florida a taste of winter
Supreme Court releases young Scalia’s audition tape
Man who spent 300 hours playing fantasy football this year rewarded with $30 second-place prize

Interesting Reads
Connection between dirt and antibiotics
Science of the booty call
An excellent energy series from WSJ
(Interactive) Interesting oil graphic
(Graph) Inflation-adjusted gasoline prices since 1980
The link between bourbon biscuits and bourbon whiskey

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Nerd Day, Apricot Day, Clean Off Your Desk Day, Balloon Ascension Day, Cassoulet Day, Static Electricity Day, Dance Day, Organize Your Home Day
  • (Sat) Peculiar People Day, Bittersweet Chocolate Day, Cut Your Energy Costs Day, Save the Eagles Day
  • (Sun) No Pants Subway Ride Day, Milk Day, Step in a Puddle & Splash Your Friend Day, Secret Pal Day, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day, Hot Toddy Day, Thank You Day, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Health Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 2-fer from Life: The Musical – Act 15. The first is a song (thanks Narf) that didn’t fit the parameters, but the video was an excellent match to the theme – plus it make you smile. The second goes out to Debra because I was surprised she didn’t use it. 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. 178

On Politics
Interesting to see that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) now has concerns with the Affordable Care Act. By the way, he’s up for re-election in 2014.

The US Senate has me in a snit. The people elected these officials to debate and legislate – but not to determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a law. Civics 101 says that’s the duty of the Supreme Court. Sure makes me wonder about the constitutionality of their action.

Polls show that people have a low opinion of Congress and they don’t trust Congress. Here’s one key question to ask each member: What are you going to do to change those perceptions?

The Onion offers tips to Congress on passing a gun control bill.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Excited man only 2 therapy sessions away from resolving issues
  • Couple making out at bus stop like its Paris
  • TV viewer relates to totally unbelievable character that could never exist in reality
  • Boss has deft touch for making employees feel like shit
  • An airport security pig finds concealed truffles
  • Justin Bieber fan jealous of Anne Frank

Interesting Reads
The rise in pseudo-academic conferences and journals
Moving Bridges by Sliding
Picking the Pope
Evolution and good science
When alcohol was medicine

Honorable Mention to those who missed it because this article received many comments last week: America is pooping wrong

On Potpourri
Time: The Musical – Act 2 was successful, so I proudly announce to hopefully premier Act 3 in mid-May.

Congratulations to Georgette for being the 25,000 comment.

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Strangely, there has been a recent rush on followers. Is this the forerunner to a something weird?

There will be a Saturday Morning Cartoon feature this weekend … and it will feature a cartoon icon.

Instead of some sort of entertainment to send you into the weekend, marvel at this animation by NASA of their Asteroid Retrieval Initiation. Thank you Alex for this great find, and I invite everyone to read Alex’s post on this venture.

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

On Election Night 2012

It’s Election Night in America. I wrote this post several days ago with this night in mind so, at the time I publish this, the elections results are young and without a declared winner in the race for president.

While one party likes to walk around with the pocket Constitutions, all members of Congress swear to uphold it. The U.S. Constitution is an interesting document, but to me, the following are the three most important words: We the people.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People elect members to Congress to represent We the People in order to pass laws, control the budget, and exercise authorities granted by the Constitution.

We the People elect members to represent all people, which means not just the ones who voted for the elected; not an ideology; not a political party; not a religion, not a financial donor, not a special interest – but yes, to represent We the People.

We the People elect members to serve all people regardless of their faith, thus the elected are not to serve their religious preference. After all, the Constitution is quite clear regarding religion. Let the elected not forget that the Constitution lacks words as God, Creation, Christian, Jesus, and Lord (which only appears in the Signatory section).

Although Christian principles may have influenced the Founding Fathers, the Constitution does not declare the U.S. as a Christian nation. If the elected represent Christianity, what about the nonChristians? If the elected represents Christianity, which denomination will you represent? Then, what about the other Christians?

We the People are from all faiths and no faiths, therefore, our representatives should avoid submitting proposals on behalf of Christianity because what the church considers best for itself may not be in the best interest of We the People.

Representing We the People requires avoidance of firm ideology or a party each of these diverts attention from the needs of We the People. Adherence to a party or ideology silences We the People, and blocks the path to meaningful solutions.

Representing We the People requires conviction to represent the needs of the people who did not vote for the elected. After all, they too are We the People.

Representing We the People requires patience, the ability to listen, to desire to find the common good for all, to watch-out for and respond to human need that is beyond one’s self interests, party, or ideology.

Representing We the People requires discussing among yourselves to share ideas and concerns in order to work toward a solution for the common good – an idea that may be found in one side, the other, a compromise, or outside the grounds established by ideology, party, religion, self-interest, or special interest.

We the People need effective government to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, to provide a common defense, to promote general welfare, and to secure liberty for all of We the People. Especially during this time, we need our elected officials to make difficult decisions – the ones that test their gut against their party, their ideology, their religion, their self-interest, their donors, and special interests.

Along with a president, on this day we elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 33 members (approximately one-third) of the Senate. Their task seems simple, but I also know they will represent religion, a party, an ideology, self-interests, special interests, and donors over We the People – therefore, let me be the first to say the following about the newly elected, ‘Starting in 2014, throw the bums out. All of them! Clean house!” After all, We the People deserve better.

On a Pathetic Lot

Simply put – as a collective, those occupying the hallowed halls of the US Congress are, at best, a very pathetic lot. I’m not going to call them clowns because I recognize both the viciousness and the shrewdness involved, so pathetic remains a suitable adjective.

We elect members to the House of Representatives on two-year terms – thus they make selfish decisions in light of their upcoming re-election bid that is always just around the corner.

We elect members to Congress who make decisions based on their needs, their party’s needs, and their donor’s needs – with the country’s needs no more than a selective sound bite.

We elect members to Congress who get outstanding financial support from special interests, so the elected legislate to the needs of the donors. Open Secrets is a great resource about campaign donors, PACs, and lobbying.

We elect members to Congress who fail to accept responsibility – just listen to them for proof.

We elect members to Congress who use their position to secure their next job. Not all, after all, but this applies to too many.

We elect members to Congress who get favors from the law for which is illegal for private citizens – such as insider trading.

We elect members to Congress so they (as a body) can determine their leadership based on their fund-raising ability for the party.

We elect members to Congress who regularly speak to financial accountability but regard Congress’s own operating budget as a well-guarded secret.

We elect members to Congress who are not the problem because it’s those from the other districts and states.

Meanwhile, with most of 2012 lying ahead, do not expect much from Congress in 2012 for this reason – both parties are rolling the dice with hopes of gaining power from the November vote so they can drive their agenda. Yes, they are truly pathetic.

On an Early Take about the Court Nominee

Earlier this week, President Obama nominated US Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next justice for the highest court in the land. One thing for sure, the process will again demonstrate the continual pathetic nature of our lawmakers and the dollars funding their respective parties.

Let’s start with the talking heads – the ones who speak for people who can’t think for themselves.

This is a great opportunity to find out about this woman’s mind. That’s what we need to find out, what is in her mind? And due to exhaustive research that I have personally conducted today on this, I think I can give you a pretty good idea what is in her mind. She is a pure academic elitist radical! She comes from the faculty lounge. She is a utopian theoretician! – Rush Limbaugh

Many Republicans will say she lacks judicial experience on the bench – but the same people did not/would not complain about Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s lack of experience prior to the court.

Many Republicans will complain about her lack of direct answers – just as the Democrats did in hearing during the Bush administration

Many Democrats will defend her lack of direct answers by focusing on her strengths – just as the Republicans did with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.

Many Republicans will vote against her nomination simply because a president from the other party was the nominator – just as many Democrats did to President Bush nominees.

I have already seen my first special interest TV ad favoring her nomination, thus await the negative ads from the other side. Both are as pathetic as the people they represent.

Let’s just hope, regardless of the nominee and eventual confirmed justice, that our Supreme Court Justices continue to have more integrity than the lawmakers. Did I just set too low bar? And the Washington establishment wonders why many have become jaded toward the party-first attitude of politicians.