Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 21

On Music
The depth and breath of music continues to amaze me – So many genres with numerous subsets, thus so much to discover, then alone appreciate. On the flip side, I wonder why so many people are stuck in their narrow slice of the music world.

On Reykjavik: 1986
In 1986 two prominent powers meet in Iceland to discuss nuclear weapons. Leading their respective delegations were Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US Secretary of State George Schultz. The two men recently met again in Rome and looked back at the 1988 meeting.

On Israeli Culture
As I’ve said before, there’s so much each of don’t know. I found this recent David Brooks column about Israeli culture intriguing.

On a Stimulating Cost
The Stimulus Bill dispenses dollars to states with restrictions and accountabilities. Here’s an interesting article looking at costs from the state’s perspective.

On Punishing a Good Cause
Elijah Dukes is a young outfielder for the Washington Nationals. Yes, he was late for a team meeting. Yes he was wrong. Yes he was reprimanded – but should he have been threatened for demotion to the minors? If you don’t know why he was late, check this out …. And then this great ending.

On Tornado: 1974
I was in college on April 3, 1974 in northern Ohio. Although I recall the ominous clouds of that day, we experienced nothing like what southwestern Ohio and other states had on the day looked upon as the single worst day for tornadoes in history.

In Ohio Xenia received the worst damage, but many other communities were affected. Several years later I would move to southwestern Ohio, and coincidently, my wife and I would each work with (in separate organizations) people who lost their home that day.

Spring is tornado season, and as an Oklahoma friend of mine says, one never gets used to them. This site focuses on the tornadoes affecting many states on April 3, 1974. Amazingly, look at the Outbreak Statistical Data page to note the magnitude of the day. Keep in mind that most tornadoes typically stay on the ground for a mile or less.

On Procrastinating
That’s P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T – … oh, we’ll finish it later. This CBS report is a great look at the topic … Enjoy.

On the Stimulus Negotiations

Our economic situation is serious, yet Capitol Hill behavior more closely resembles the halls of a high school than the hallowed halls of leadership. The scrambling lawmakers are the students rushing a major project the night before it’s due while participating in juvenile name-calling and labeling as they pout, sulk, and complain with their club of pathetic peers.

I’m unhappy with the House Democrats for unnecessary loading up a bill as if were the holiday shopping season and essentially acting as legislative bullies. I’m unhappy with the majority of Republicans who continue to act as whiners and intentional obstructionists under the sham of protecting our fiscal interests. I’m unhappy with the leadership on both sides for distorting the facts and not acting in the country’s best interest.

In the spirit of debate, the congressional inept argue to determine the least effective of the least harmful plan – not a plan to benefit the country. Both sides have a greater concern for their ideology and making the other side look bad over finding a favorable solution. Their pathetic nature makes one wonder if the problem really exists or do they even care? Let’s us remember that only 3 GOP senators worked to seek a compromise … and I applaud their effort.

I’m not disappointed with President Obama because the White House doesn’t serve as a law maker. He has his views, but I believe he wants a genuine bipartisan effort. According to the polls, many more support the president than support Congress.

People are, and have been, tired of partisan politics … and that is part of the change voted in November. The nearly-equal split between moderate independents regarding the stimulus bill shows the next step. Since Congress continues to operate business as usual figuring the president will take the blame, it’s time for President Obama to use his political capital by vetoing the bill and toss it back onto the lap of the problem. The people will love it and Congress will face the pressure to be constructive. 

Although the votes aren’t there to override the veto, President Obama has taken a stand, thus can’t veto this bill. Hopefully he will consider this tactic on the next round.

I’m not an avid disciple of columnist Peggy Noonan, but her new book will help anyone understand the need for change in Washington. For starters, the title says a lot: Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now. It is a good read, so check your local library.

Sound philosophical debates should be part of the process; meanwhile, let us continue to watch Capitol Hill work in the best interest of their party and their special interests, thus without the patriotic grace we need and deserve.