Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 84

On the Jobs Council
President Obama recently appointed General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt (also a Republican) to lead the new jobs council. I wonder how many jobs GE outsources out the country. Then again, maybe Mr. Immelt offers a perspective on how to increase US jobs.

On the Upcoming Budget Talks
February will be an interesting month as negotiations with the Federal budget begin. Yes – the talk between the partisan ideologues, the wackos, and the pragmatic will deliver interesting light to we who anxiously listen.

Will this strange marriage occur? That is, the political left that doesn’t want the US military fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq uniting with the political right that is against fighting a war we can’t afford. Since time will tell, we’ll wait.

On Revisiting the Gulf War
The Gulf War to free Kuwait was 20 years ago. NBC’s Brian Williams had this interesting 40-minute interview with our main leaders at the time.

On the Bearcat Basketball
For much of the 1990s and into the new millennium, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats (love them or hate them) were a force to be reckoned with in college basketball. In 2005, then (now gone) UC President Nancy Zimpher decided the program needed a fresh start, thus dismantled the program. I recently added a home game – one with a small, subdued crowd. I gazed into the upper deck and renamed the empty seats in Zimpher’s honor. Meanwhile, this weekend UC fans will welcome back former coach Bob Huggins with open arms.


  • Actor James Franco, one of the hosts for the upcoming Oscars show, is a PhD student at Yale.
  • A University of Utah study shows that people have already given up on 40% of New Years’ resolutions.
  • Farting in public can be dangerous – even deadly.
  • Most vegans don’t eat marshmallows.
  • Insomniacs should get out of bed of better sleep (huh?)
  • Being ballroom dancers, we’ll see Burn the Floor this weekend.
  • Which is riskier: smoking or taking Chantix?

On a Worldly Example of a Hero
CNN honored Narayanan Krishnan a few months ago as one of its Top 10 Heroes. Cheers to him for demonstrating amazing goodness to fellow humans, and thanks to Mckenzie for identifying this powerful video.

Have a safe weekend.

On a Sports Story Bigger than Sports

I am a University of Cincinnati season ticket holder for football. Football fans know that the highs of the 12-0 season went into the toilet with the thrashing received from Florida in the Sugar Bowl – but there is a better story – a story about life that is bigger and better than the season and the scoreboard in any sport.

Last summer UC became the first college program in the country to “adopt” a child through Friends of Jaclyn, a foundation connecting children with brain tumors with high school and college sports times. I previously posted about this story before, but this story never gets old and helps put life into perspective.

I invite you to learn more by reading this article from the UC Magazine, watching the video below from Fox Sports Ohio, or by visiting the links below. Better yet, I hope you visit more than one.

Friends of Jaclyn
Friends of Jaclyn Video
Mitch’s Mission

On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 52

On the White House, Republicans, and Health Insurance
Recent news has President Obama inviting Republicans to bring their ideas to the table. Here are the problems I see with this step.

  • Of course is it a fight for bipartisanship or a ploy to blame the other side?
  • President Obama is admitting the previous process shutout Republicans
  • Even if the White House and GOP find common ground, getting Speaker Pelosi (the one controlling legislation) to buy in is another matter
  • Republicans will probably still vote no.

On the other hand, many voters see the current partisan tone as a negative, so now there’s a race to see how can demonstrate bipartisanship.

On Senator Shelby
Until earlier this week, Senator Shelby (R-AL) was intentionally medaling the federal appointments process to prevent approving appointees because he wanted certain pork for his home state. Since this a prime example of what many citizens do not like about Washington, here are three thoughts:

  • Senator Shelby is pathetic
  • Republican senators not calling him out are pathetic
  • Democratic senators who did the same thing during the Bush administration are pathetic

On the Super Bowl Commercials
As a whole, I found the commercials during the Super Bowl to be a very mediocre crop. Go Daddy doesn’t get it, the ETrade baby is not as funny, and Budweiser and Coke seems to be cutting back. No need to slam Hyundai for being normal, yet I praise Doritos as the product winner.

On a Fund Raiser for Haiti
The earthquake in Haiti has tugged on a lot of heart strings … but in this case, G-strings. Marilyn’s, a strip club in Toledo, recently raised $1000 in their Lap Dance for Haiti promotion.

On 2010 Bearcat Football
The past several seasons have been successful for the UC Bearcats, but they announced the 2010 OOC schedule. OUCH! … a 1-3 start is a good possibility …. at Fresno, Indiana State, at NC State, Oklahoma.

On Studying Climate Change
Our Commerce Secretary announced plan for NOAA to set up a new group to study climate change. Here is a novel idea – Study all the data without political or economic interests and then reporting honest, unbiased conclusions to the public.

On No to this Stimulus
About an hour after posting about social security, I read a bipartisan proposal in USA Today that Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Hatch (R-UT) have to boost the economy. Well, it’s obvious that they didn’t seek my advice.

On Missing the Bush Administration
Someone posted a “Miss me yet?” billboard in Minnesota with a picture of President Bush. Although I’m disgruntled with the current administration, I politely say no.

On Toyota
Their recent recall situation continues to be a PR nightmare. Let’s see – the company has formed a quality committee to closely examine the situation. What happened to your focus on quality as part of normal operations? Their focus on the crisis and not the problem is unbelievable!

Of course, Congress cannot resist looking into the matter with its own special committee, thus another opportunity for grandstanding!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 43

On Additional Walls
Monday’s post honored the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall and attempt to stimulate thinking, along with providing a wonderful 2-minute NPR segment. Here are some additional thoughts about walls.

A conversation with one of my pastors produced this analogy: One aspect of Christianity is to turn walls into tables. Now that’s worth thinking about.

Secondly, I continue to see letters to the editor in the Cincinnati paper pointing to President Reagan’s 1987 “Tear down that wall” speech as a single historic moment regarding the wall. Historic? Yes. Significant? Yes. The key event? No. Let’s us not forget World War II and Winston Churchill’s iron curtain speech – “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” – as a line was drawn and the many events to come; including, but not solely, President Reagan. Here’s an interesting column from San Antonio’s Jonathan Gurwitz.

On Jobs and War
NY Times columnist Bob Hebert wrote an interesting column this week focusing on what would he tell President Obama about jobs, the economy, and the war in Afghanistan. Although it’s not about independent moderates, to me he hit the nail on the head about why nonpartisan independents are discouraged. To me his words weren’t based on a party or an ideology, but on a nonpartisan reality. Here’s the column.

On Moderates and Fiscal Policy
One thing Republicans don’t understand about independent moderates is that we tend to be more sensitive to social programs, including health care insurance. One thing that Democrats don’t understand about independent moderates is that we tend to be fiscally sensitive. Although I don’t always agree with George Will, I do appreciate his columns – including this one about fiscal concerns.

On Interesting Football Stat
Cincinnati Bearcat QB Tony Pike guided the team to a 4-0 start before suffering an injury in game 5. Sophomore QB Zach Collaros has started 3 games and produced these unconscious numbers:

  • Record: 3-0
  • Rushing: 33 attempts, 172 yards, 2 TDs
  • Passing: 66-82, 0 INT, 8 TDs

Tonight the Bearcats host West Virginia at Nippert Stadium, one of the great old, on-campus sporting venues. (Here’s a prior post about the stadium.) I’ll be there so watch for me as I’ll be wearing red.

On the BCS
Since I mentioned college football, for those who haven’t seen the latest edition of the BCS Committee meeting from the Global Sports Fraternity, enjoy!

On College Athletes Doing Good

I’ve been using weekends for trivia question, but this story is too good to pass and a story that needs to be told. I like stories about the good things people do as they are too often underpublicized. Of all the college football players, only a small fraction will attend an NFL camp, let alone make a team, but in this case – everyone is a big-time professional.

The article below appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday, Sept. 3.  Unfortunately, the paper is quick to archive articles but to me, this is one of the good stories that should be kept alive.

Bill Koch, Cincinnati Enquirer wrote this wonderful article about a positive impact by a whole college football team.

Football Players Inspired by Mitch: Bearcats have a New Teammate

At first, Mitch Stone was hesitant when he was approached with the idea of being “adopted” by the University of Cincinnati football team.
Mitch, who completed the fifth grade last year at Maddux Elementary School with straight A’s, does not like a lot of attention, according to his mother, Dee. And even though he was an ardent UC fan, he wasn’t sure this was right for him.

“I had to talk him into it,” Dee said.

That was back in July when the Bearcats became the first Division I football team in the country to adopt a child as part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Six weeks later, both Mitch and his family are grateful for the support they’ve received from UC.

Mitch was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February. He has undergone surgery to attempt to remove the tumor and has had 31 radiation treatments. Now he’s in the midst of high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell rescue over a four-month period. He just finished round three.

It’s a lot to ask an 11-year-old to endure, even one as upbeat and optimistic as Mitch, but he hasn’t had to endure it alone. Besides his parents, Dee and Anthony, he has a twin brother, Nick, two older sisters, Piper and Paisley, and plenty of friends lending their support.

He also has an entire football team in his corner.

As part of their “adoption” of Mitch, everyone in the UC program, from the coaches on down, wears a red, white and blue bracelet with the words “Mitch’s Mission” written on it. He receives text messages and e-mails on a regular basis from the players, who chipped in $5 apiece to buy him a prepaid phone with a monthly plan so the players can call him if he’s having a bad day.

“Our guys feel like they wanted to be a Big Brother,” said UC head coach Brian Kelly.

The effect on Mitch has been energizing.

“It’s done so much for his spirits, just knowing that the Bearcats are behind him,” Dee said. “It just lifts his sprits every time he hears from them. He got a text message from (wide receiver) Mardy (Gilyard) the other day and he was so excited. It’s been wonderful. The whole experience has been wonderful.”

The idea to “adopt” Mitch originated with Ernest Jones, UC’s director of player of services. Jones had heard about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors by matching the child with a college or high school sports team. He investigated to see if this was something the Bearcats could get involved in.

“I talked to the founder and said, ‘How can we be a part of it at the University of Cincinnati?” Jones said. “They said none of the Division I football teams were doing it. I said we’d like to do it. I went up to Children’s Hospital and I talked to some doctors and nurses and then we found Mitch.”

After Jones presented the idea to Kelly, he presented it to the players, who were overwhelmingly in favor of it.

“I was one of the first ones Coach Jones mentioned it to,” said linebacker Craig Carey. “I thought it was a great idea, just to give him a group of brothers that he can look up to, that we can help out, just lend a helping hand to him and his family. It’s a great thing that more people can be involved in.”

Both of Mitch’s parents are UC graduates and are such big fans of the football team that the entire family made the trip to the Orange Bowl at the end of last season.

Still, Dee and her family didn’t know exactly what to expect after they agreed to the “adoption.”

“We didn’t expect it to be such a big deal,” Dee said. “It’s turned out be so special. It’s meant something to everyone in our family.”

Gilyard is Mitch’s favorite player, Dee said, but he’s just one of many players who have reached out to Mitch and his family.

“Ricardo Mathews left me this wonderful prayer on my voice mail when Mitch was really sick,” Dee said. “It was just this heartfelt prayer. I still have it on my voice mail. I still listen to it.”

The players first met Mitch in July and let the Stone family know at the adoption “ceremony” that they were serious about this.

“That’s what was so neat about the whole experience,” Dee said. “As soon as the ceremony was over, these guys just surrounded us to offer their support, to say I really am here. This isn’t just for show. This is for real.”

A reaction to medicine prevented Mitch from attending any practices at Higher Ground, the Bearcats’ pre-season training site in West Harrison, Ind.

And with Mitch schedule to undergo his final round of chemotherapy on Labor Day weekend, he might not be able to attend a UC game until sometime in October.
Whenever he shows up for that first game, Mitch will provide the Bearcats with some special motivation.

“He’s given us so much strength he doesn’t even know about and we’re trying to give the same strength to him,” Carey said.

“You come out here for camp and you’re at football. People might be complaining about bangs and bruises, but he’s going through something we can’t even imagine. The strength that he’s given us, knowing that he can fight through that, it’s amazing.”

Note: Last winter I also posted this article about the good deeds of Bearcat WR Mardy Gilyard, who is also mentioned in this article.