Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 295

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Regarding the return of the headstone in the post earlier this week. A grandson (in Columbus, OH) had it removed to add an engraving, but then decided to keep the stone. I discovered an obituary of a person in Columbus with that name who died last summer (June 25, 2015). Coincidence?

Last week I failed to mention the passing of Nancy Reagan. The longevity of recent First Ladies is amazing. WOW! Meanwhile, a tip of the cap to Nancy Reagan for demonstrating grace and love for her man.

Cincinnati is one of the regional locations for the final 16 in the college hockey tournament. Depending on the times, I may go. Meanwhile, college basketball’s March Madness is underway – Go ABK – Anybody But Kentucky!

Last weekend (and I think two weeks ahead of the rest of the world), we in the USA did our spring SkylineGreenforward into Daylight Savings Time … and the first week of is a struggle for many of us.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I continued my tradition to Skyline Chili served with green spaghetti.

Act 5 of Colors: The Musical is next on the musical agenda, which will feature the color blue,

  • All song titles must have Blue in the title
  • No forms of the word as blues, bluest, etc
  • No shades of blue (such as cobalt, indigo, aqua, blue-green, etc)
  • No compound words of blue (such as blue-blood, bluebird, bluejay)
  • No duplicate songs

My wife had a wonderful birthday this week.

I will have an Explore post this weekend.

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I was about to scold President Obama for delaying his Supreme Court Justice nomination, but he did so this past Wednesday. Although Republican logic for delaying the confirmation is very flawed, it is good for their partisans who are clueless enough to agree with flawed rationale – therefore allowing elected officials to drag the nomination of a qualified, consensus candidate to the highest court of the land into the political sewer of selfishness. After all, to the partisans, the nominator is more important than the nominee – and that is true on both sides of the aisle. Here a past post with my thoughts about the vacancy.

Governor John Kasich (R-OH) wins the important Ohio primary, but even if he won all the remaining delegates, he would go to the convention short of the number needed for the nomination. I’ve heard Kasich supporters here say he should get out of the race, he should stay, and he’s simply positioning himself for the VP slot.

Despite Elyse’s final plea for me to either vote against Donald Trump (R-NY) or vote in the Democratic primary, I accepted an “Issues Only” ballot. Then again, I also told her that voting in the Democratic primary was equivalent to voting for The Bloviator because it wasn’t a vote against him – to which she didn’t agree.

Good bye Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – and thanks for the poor showing in your home state. Hopefully a lesson learned – Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Whether she meant it that way or not, Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) comment regarding the coal industry will work against her.

Republicans explaining the current chaos in their party being President Obama’s fault got me thinking about other problems due to the current president – such as El Nino, Malaysian Air missing for two years, Oscar nominations, McDonald’s excluding McGriddles from their Breakfast Anytime Menu, latest flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana, Charo, the Cleveland Browns waiving Johnny Manziel, cost of airfare to Europe from Cincinnati, and my lactose intolerance.

Regarding the Republican chaos, I offer this possible explanation. Since President Obama took office, Republicans formed coalitions with other groups to oppose the president. However, this short-term coalition was unsustainable in the long run – so now they are paying the price.

A note for the political junkies. Not long after the 2008 election that put President Obama in the White House, I wrote this post about the Republican party. In light of the past 7 years and the current fractures with the GOP, readers may enjoy this look-back through the lens of what we know today.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how to reduce wasted food. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation reaffirms commitment to things they recognize
$4.75 cupcake scrutinized with jeweler’s eyepiece
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
First grader wants monkeypox
History sighs, repeats itself
Report: 83% of wise guys think they are really funny

Interesting Reads
Linking social skills and being bilingual (Thanks, Tim)
The island of no escape
The minaret of Allepo
Who was worse: Hitler or Stalin?
Death of the Stethoscope?
(Pictures) 10 beautiful ceilings

It’s been too long since I’ve sent you into the weekend with The Piano Guys. This video has beautiful scenery and is a unique rendition of a popular hit. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Court

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The news of the sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia shocked everyone. He’s 79, but it was still unexpected. One of the benefits of the news is that we learn more about the person – and in this case, the one who is more than a justice.

I admit that at one time I wasn’t a supporter of Justice Scalia on the court. I imagine that me disagreeing with many of his opinions was a prime reason – but in retrospect, it also had to do with no understanding his viewpoint.

A phone conversation with a friend changed my view, but not in the way you may think. It’s important to understand that I consider (and call) my friend a partisan hack, and there is no way his belief system regarding his comment is the same as mine – or even changed my opinion of Justice Scalia’s written opinions.

Although I cannot recall the context of the phone conversation we were having, I probably made a negative comment about Justice Scalia’s presence on the court. My friend explained that he was happy Justice Scalia is on the high court because Scalia is a leading spokesperson for a judicial perspective, and it is important for that voice to be heard.

That statement resonated with me then, it still does today, and will continue to be in my mind tomorrow. If one believes (like I do) that the Supreme Court is a court for all the people, it is imperative that the court have a diversity of thought. There is no question that Justice Scalia was smart and had a defined philosophy, but he also wanted smart justices in the other chairs to discuss the issues from varying views. No wonder he had good personal relationships with Justices Kagan and Ginsberg who are philosophically opposite of him.

Justice Scalia was a lightning rod as people either adored or loathed him on the court. Although I haven’t emphasized it on these pages, but for some time I have felt that the worst recent nomination to the bench wasn’t President Reagan’s appointment of Justice Scalia, but President Bush’s (GW/43) appointment of Samuel Alito.

NOTE: For those who forget, President Bush initially nominated John Roberts to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O’Conner (retiring). Then Chief Justice William Renquist (conservative) died, and then President Bush changed the Roberts nomination to Chief Justice, which lead to Alito replacing O’Conner. 

Justice Alito is (now and then) unquestionably qualified, but if one believes (as I do) that the Supreme Court is for all the people, Alito’s appointment was a severe shift to one judicial view. Four justices of like mind did not fit my view of the highest court in the land … thus leaving one swing vote.

Probably sooner than later, President Obama will nominate justice for the current vacant position. Sure, there is a lot of political bluster about the vacancy – a topic in itself and not the purpose of this post. President Obama’s nominees currently occupy two of the nine chairs – and there is no doubt that Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are qualified and occupy the same niche on the judicial spectrum – and a space similar to longer-term Justices Ginsberg and Breyer.

I hope President Obama doesn’t make the same mistake as his predecessor made with Justice Alito. Now is the time for President Obama to nominate a moderate to the court … a centrist … A jurist who can swing to the left and to the right to help the court deliver meaningful decision … A jurist who listens to the different views in order to make a decision … A jurist who does not hold a predictable judicial view. After all, the US Supreme Court is for all people, thus apart from one philosophy. Then again, I’m probably asking for too much because the partisans will continue to look after their own selfish priorities, which is not a Supreme Court for all Americans.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 227

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On Politics
During the 2012 US Presidential campaign, the Republican candidate stated Corporations are people. … and now the US Supreme Court has confirmed that by granting religious freedom to privately held companies. Personally, I disagree … then again, it’s another example of what can happen with one-party overreach.

Last week the US Supreme Court ruled against the power of the president to make appointments during a Congressional recess. Fine, I can deal with that, so now is the time for the White House to file suits against Congress for failing to act on Presidential appointments … and as we know, both parties do this when the other is in the White House — an act that I find just as pathetic.

Although EJ Dionne is one of the columnists I usually don’t read, this one about the political center caught my eye. His column is based on this Pew Research Center report.

Last week, I (in Ohio) received a fundraising phone call from an opponent to Rep, Nancy Pelosi (in California). Just another example of the nature of money in politics.

Interesting how many Republicans complain about President Obama’s lack of leadership yet block numerous proposals … then again, in a climate ripe for overreach, let the stalemate continue.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Cracks in facade visible as teen enters third day with friend’s family
Brazilian government vows to use all money from World Cup for much-needed soccer infrastructure
Mother ferries 4 more shirt options to son in dressing room
Child pleads case for why family rabbit should be named Aunt Susan
Humanity surprised it still hasn’t figured out better alternative to letting power-hungry assholes decide everything
FDA recalls food

Interesting Reads
Can Republicans be a party of ideas?
10 science predictions about the world in 2015
Mental health and the US medical system (Thanks to Jim Wheeler for this good read)
Secrets of the creative brain
From a Bible Belt upbringing to becoming a evolutionary biologist who is a Christian

Quick-Read Graphics
Graph: Cost of aging in Japan
Never before published images of WW I
Graph: Voice vs. Data since 2007
Graphic of Stars Wars Yoga

On Potpourri
I admit being usually surprised when a blogger identifies themselves as an introvert. After all, one becomes used to their blogging personality. A recent post by Mo, one of my Pioneers, caught by attention. He doesn’t blog very often, but this is a worthy read … so I encourage others to read his post … plus in your comment tell him I sent you.

The viewership of the US-Belgian World Cup match shows the sport’s growing popularity in the US … but here is something media reports missed. Youth soccer exploded in the US during the 1980s. Today, those early participates are adults with children playing soccer. Here are some stats to support my claim.

In order to repair my notification issues, I followed one of the suggestions here by unfollowing, then following, some bloggers … thus the reason you may have received my New Subscriber notification. But that time-consuming task may not have mattered because it seems a checked box suddenly appeared in my settings that could have been blocking the notifications.

Thursday morning I had my MRI/MRA/MRV regarding my brain and the arteries and veins in my head – which meant 90 minutes in the tube. No results yet, and my vision remains unchanged.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Boom Box Parade Day, Indivisible Day, Independence from Meat Day, Barbecued Spareribs Day, Caesar Salad Day, Sidewalk Egg Frying Day, Hillbilly Day
  • (Sat) Bikini Day, Hop a Park Day, Day of Cooperatives, Cherry Pit Spitting Day, Apple Turnover Day, Graham Cracker Day, Workaholics Day, Caribbean Day
  • (Sun) Kissing Day, Build a Scarecrow Day

Given the holiday weekend in the US, no Saturday Morning Cartoon this week. I really hope to get this going again next weekend.

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 1971 hit that I heard earlier this week. Enjoy Signs by the Five Man Electric Band. 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. 218

On Politics
Nincompoop’s (aka Sarah Palin) comments about waterboarding at the recent NRA convention is just another example of most people blowing her off as she focuses on making money. I wonder about her popularity after President Obama leaves office./

Sean Hannity and others may have embraced Cliven Bundy, and LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling may have a lot of money – but while Bundy and Sterling got considerable air time, they represent a very small segment of Americans. The good thing about Sterling is that his headlines got Bundy out of the news.

As the White House and Congress continue their stalemate, here’s an interesting article about the active Supreme Court.

Will the Republican base embrace Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WIS) for his different stance toward the poor?

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Music in bar could stand to be louder, worse
New census report reveals US has over 360 million nobodies
Top theoretical physicists, R&B singers meet to debate the meaning of forever
Man has story for every stain on pants
Obama spends another night searching behind White House paintings for safe
Carlos Santana surprises wife with coupon for 45-minute guitar solo

Interesting Reads
Changing demographics in the US leading to the Next America
Saving Rosie the Riveter’s factory
The next Crimea: A place you may not know (from the Foreign Policy Research Institute)
The science of fat
Robert E Lee’s farewell address to the Army of Virginia (Smithsonian) l

On Potpourri
I’ve always support the US Postal Service (USPS). The fact that the US Postal Service loses money is no secret, but here’s an interesting tale of their inefficiency. Our recent move involved a change of address, but within the same suburban post office. When mail with the old address arrives, I thought the mail would switch from one carrier to another within the same post office. OH NO … that would be too easy. My post office sends the old mail downtown, which puts on a change of address label, and returns it to my post office for delivery to my new address.

Earlier this week I encountered this interesting question when completing a form: Which 3 were the most important factors in your decision to purchase this product? (Select 1)

Act 3 of Life: The Musical was a success. The act provide song titles with the following names: Abraham, Amy, Archie, Billie Jean, Billy, Boris, Catherine, Cathy, Daniel, Debra, Diane, Don, Eleanor, Elise, Elmo, Elsie, Elvis, Frank, Fred, Georgia, Holly,  Jack, James, Jane, Jesse, Joanna, John, Laura, Linda, Lola, Lucille, Mack, Marina, Mathew, Michelle, Nikita, Rachel, Rosalinda, Roxanne, Ruby, Sylvia, Sue, Tina Marie, Valentine, Valerie, Veronica, Victoria, Virginia, and Zorba.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic this weekend, but there will be something.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Toads Suck Daze
  • (Fri) No Pants Day, Tuba Day, Truffles Day, Play a Ukulele Day, Space Day, Roberts’ Rule of Order Day, Mollusk Day
  • (Sat) Beer Pong Day, Join Hands Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Garden Meditation Day, Bladder Cancer Awareness Day, Free Comic Book Day, Armed Forces Day, Scrapbooking Day, Two Different Colored Shoes Day, Public Radio Day, Paranormal Day, Homebrew Day, Lumpy Rag Day, Press Freedom Day, Kentucky Derby Day
  • (Sun) Intergalactic Star Wars Day, Firefighters Day, Respect for Chickens Day, Lemonade Day, Baby Lost Mothers Day, Infertility Survival Day, Motorcycles Mass & Blessing of the Bikes Day, Orange Juice Day, Petite and Proud Day, Give Day, Laughter Day, Candied Orange Peel Day, Mayday for Mutts Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s something from The Piano Guys that will make you smile.Enjoy, have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.