A Little Politics, A Little Pop Culture, A Little Charity

Looking Around Several Topics This Week

The Jimmy Buffet Phenomena

 I remember that years ago the Beach Boys were quite the national phenomena. Their music was everywhere, they were interviewed and written about – we even went to a Fourth of July concert in DC once at which they were the featured act. I never got the attraction. To me they lacked depth or focus. I thought their music was pretty shallow and none of them as individuals struck me as particularly talented or interesting. Looking back now – I still think I was right. Just no There there, for me anyway.

In a similar fashion, I thought the same about Jimmy Buffet. I was really taken at the reactions to his passing. In reading a lot about this guy, re-listening to some of his music, and learning more about him as a person – I have to say I miscalled this one by quite a lot.

Buffet connected to people in many, many ways. His music had at least a charm to it. Equally important, it seems he remained a decent human being, not too full of himself. In short, he left this earth a lot better than he found it. The man was a cross between a musician, a philosopher, a businessman, and a drinking buddy for millions. Well done, Jimmy.

A tip of the hat to a life well lived. And yeah, I think it is time to download some of his music. Even as a bourbon man, I suppose the occasional margarita is a good thing to enjoy.

A small footnote to Buffet’s passing: I noticed long ago that celebrity deaths seem to come in small bunches, usually 3. So was that the case here. At about the same time Buffet died, so too did Jack Sonni (the Dire Straits’ guitarist) and Bob Barker the long running game host. There were others around this time, but this three seemed a group.

When I was an Army officer, I noticed the same “3 occasions” rule seemed to apply to serious vehicle and aircraft accidents within a command. Some ominous power about the number 3? Come on, numerologists – tell us the secret.

 It’s Late September? How Best to Spend Our Time?  

In about 3 weeks, the US Government defaults, with all that impacts in so many terrible ways. What to do, with 11 bills to pass and so little time? If you are a House Republican, you likely think all that can wait – much more important to try impeaching Biden. Impeach him something! It appears Senate Republicans are fed up enough to let it be known they will have nothing to do with such nonsense.

The Speaker could come up with a budget deal that would get enough Democrats and the Senate to pass – you know, like responsible adults. He could call the bluff of the extreme wing that threatens to call for his dismissal. The same bunch that hints they might support a budget deal IF they could impeach Biden. Here is a secret – they still would not support a budget.

Who knows, something may come together at the very last minute, but I have zero confidence in the Speakers brains or courage. This is going to be ugly, for no good reason.

The First Republican Debate

 We were out of the country, and so lagged a bit in watching the debate. Yeah, as bad as it was likely to be, I thought it important to watch. It did them no good, but credit to Hutchinson and Christie for sounding like people with some sense of perspective and a will to govern.

DeSantis confirmed he is a dead fish. Ramaswamy got some buzz but this is like a little rich kid who bought a ticket to be somewhere he does not belong. He will burn out. Pence reminded us that he is an abortion extremist. No one else made much of an impression.

The striking and saddest moment was watching 6 of the 8 saying that if Donald Trump was convicted of crimes against America in one or more courts of law, convicted by his fellow citizens, these people on that stage would still vote for him as President. Have you no shame? Apparently not.

 A Mute Button for Cable Hosts?

I have long wondered why some cable hosts talk so damn long in “framing their questions.”  They are at times more like speeches. Let the guests talk! I gave up on Morning Joe a long time ago on this specific issue. I often found myself thinking “Morning Joe is going to be Mid-Afternoon Joe before he stops talking.” Joy Reid is on my list for the same thing.

Anyone else bothered by this? Any hosts in particular you would like to call out?

 An Easy Way to Donate or an Irritant?

 I ran across an article the other day about the well-known process of donating to a charity by rounding up your purchase. I have always liked this, and usually sign up to round up if it is a charity I know and like. I recalled reading earlier that this has been a phenomenally successful process.  It still is – in 2022, almost $750 million was raised through point-of-sale fundraising, up 24 percent from the level seen in 2020 (Cited by the Wall Street Journal).

But it appears donor fatigue may be setting in. One survey found that the percentage of consumers that feel neutral or positive about the donation prompts has fallen from 85 percent in 2021 to 73 percent in 2023. I still like it, and do not feel pressured if invited and I elect to pass. Seems a clean way to move a lot of money to good causes. What do you think?

See you next week
We have a pair of major campaign issues for 2024 to take on. Should be fun.

          Bill Clontz

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4 replies to A Little Politics, A Little Pop Culture, A Little Charity

  1. I guess I can understand Joe talking since the show has 4 hours to fill. Christie and Hutchinson were both able to talk but even I found myself talking over Christie at the TV. The worst was Chris Matthews. I quit watching him and was glad when he left. I have been watching Jake Taper in the late afternoon after a friend suggested it. He has more actual news with much less commentary.

    • I had forgotten Chris Matthews. Right you are- he was really prone to do that.

  2. A bit pedantic, but on October 1 the Federal government will shutdown, not default. The shutdown is painful for a lot of folks, but a default would probably crash the world’s economy.

    • I agree, although the shutdown will also further erode our global leadership.

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