Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 204

On Politics
This is my response to politicians who claim to be public servants. Public service isn’t about playing games, thus those who play are not public servants.

The IRS now desires to limit the connection between political activity and tax-exempt status. Although I support curbs, I’m amazed that the IRS deemed these groups as one’s “to promote the social welfare.” What a bunch of crap!

Even though they set the bar low, cheers to Sen. Murray (D-OR) and Rep. Ryan (R-WS) on getting something done the old-fashioned way. Cheers also to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for speaking out against the conservation Political Action Groups – but jeers to the predictable cranks.

President Obama’s handshake with Raul Castro didn’t bother me. Besides, President Obama delivered a zinger in his speech – so why not kill them with kindness?

The Onion provides a Pro-and-Con list regarding legalization of marijuana.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Delirious rover hallucinates water on Mars
Employee slowly realizes boss attempting to have normal conversation with her
Biologist completes 5-minute study of pathetic organism in mirror
Terrifying man selling dead trees out of middle school parking lot
Slow-witted conspiracy theorist convinced government behind NASA
Pope Francis canonizes single turkey in annual Vatican tradition – Article – (I know it’s late, but I like it)

Interesting Reads
Physics, cosmology, and philosophy
Columnist Fareed Zakaria on education in the USA
Bitcoins
Causes of WW I
The Law of Urination
Top 5 brawls of American politics
Kansas City Lightning (Book review about jazz great Charlie Parker)

On Potpourri
Hudson Howl offered a trade of Rod Ford for Sarah Palin. I accepted because that is a no-brainer.

The idea of making cell phone calls available on flights must be based on a way for the airlines to make money. I hate the idea, thus hope for a high fee and the airlines right to disconnect the call if the caller is bothering others.

Courtesy of The Onion Store, here is another potential holiday gift for the hard-to-buy person with a twisted sense of humor.

Because I didn’t post last Friday and knowing that some were counting on my gift ideas, here’s a second one – your very own creative cursing cards!

For those who dare, here’s The Onion’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide.

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.

Pope Francis is a good choice for Time’s Person of the Year – but Miley Cyrus wasn’t worthy as a finalist.

Time: The Musical continues next week featuring Seasons, which means song titles with season(s) or one of the seasons in the title – but NOT in the form of a compound word. BTW – I love listening to all the songs! FYI: Bad news – The final act will be in January. Good news – A new musical begins!

Enjoy this version of Jingle Bells from President Obama.

Here are your weekend celebrations (sadly, not much going on)

  • (Fri) Cocoa Day, Pick a Pathologist Pal Day (here’s one who may recognize)
  • (Sat) Day of the Horse, Monkey Day, Shareware Day, Bouillabaisse Day, Halcyon Days begin
  • (Sun) Cat Herders Day, DNA Day, Lemon Cupcake Day, Zamenhof Day

Many thanks for all the kind words and support regarding the recent passing of my mother-in-law.

Because prep time has been short, I’m suspending Saturday Morning Cartoons until after the first of the year. However, I will have a seasonal treat tomorrow.

For Cincinnati, December has been abnormally cold and we’ve already received twice than normal amount of snow. Besides, the traditionally two coldest months are yet to come. I’m sending you into the weekend with the song that Lynn submitted in the latest Time: The Musical. In addition, it’s has outstanding images!

Enjoy Wintertime by the Steve Miller Band. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Super Money

There is a difference between right vs. wrong and agree vs. disagree. Anyone can be wrong, but a disagreement does not mean the person is wrong. Yes, this post is about a disagreement I have with the courts.

In the US, there are Political Action Committees (PACs). The primary differences between the two types of PACs rest in the amount of giving and the disclosure of the donor. While the right/wrong nature of Super PACs lies with both court rulings and one’s conscience, agree or disagree again may lie within one’s conscience, but most likely rests within one’s political philosophy.

Two articles caught my attention. The first is by respected conservation columnist George Will. Although I do not always agree with him, I respect his writing and use of history. The second by David Keating and Ed Crane, who boastfully claim to be the parents of Super PACs.

Both articles compare election spending to purchases by American consumers of mundane items as potato chips and Easter candy. Although this seems innocent on first glance, there is a fundamental flaw in their analogy. For instance, the following is Mr. Will’s closing:

We hear, yet again, the reformers’ cry: “There is too much money in politics.” This year, the presidential campaigns combined may spend almost $2 billion, which is almost as much as Americans will spend on Easter candy.

Yes, this Easter, many Americans will purchase candy to share with a selected few – most likely family members. The selective action by many for the enjoyment of a few significantly affects the candy industry. On the other hand, Super PACs use the large contribution(s) from a few to influence the lives of many by imposing their political will.

Mr. Keating and Mr. Crane are directly associated with the Center for Competitive Politics and the Cato Institute. Many times, using a word as center, institute, council, foundation, and others is a tipoff for a Washington special-interest organization – thus reader/listener beware. Moreover, yes, their organizations fit my description.

Mr. Keating and Mr. Crane state,

“Money is the proxy for information in campaigns … that means information was available (in South Carolina) and more interest in the campaigns has been generated.”

When watching Super PAC ads, it is overly clear that their message is about promoting an ideology – not to inform citizens. These organizations will distort information, use quotes out of context, and probably even lie to misinform the public to guide citizens to the PACs preferred political position.

Yes, I disagree with the ruling that gave us Super PACS, but the ruling was not wrong. I would change it if I could, but I don’t know to what. So, I close with my variation of Keating’s and Crane’s closing: It’s simply too bad that organizations behind the Super PACs don’t put their trust in the people’s “faith in freedoms and in the wisdom of the voters.”

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