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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eric Greitens' and the Republicans' Missouri

With our new, "pretty boy" Governor Eric Greitens and his Republican pals in Jefferson City having had a special session so they could rule further on womens' and couples' reproductive rights---them with their "small government" and all---I thought of them with this video, rather naturally. How perfect.

They'll deny any of it if they recognize themselves in any way.





Pretty fascist, too, really.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Heat Isn't Just the Southwest US

I think the news that it's hitting 120 degrees in Phoenix today and being so hot all over the Southwest US is getting around. That seems clear.

What isn't also clear is the heat on another continent.

Britain is set to see its first five-day stretch of temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius in June since 1995

Heatwave scorches Europe, 

from London to Siberia

Europe sizzled in a continent-wide heatwave on Wednesday, with London seeing Britain's hottest June day since 1976 as Portugal battled to stamp out deadly forest fires.

More than 1,000 firefighters were still fighting to control the flames that broke out in central Portugal at the weekend, killing 64 people.

Cooler weather was aiding their efforts, but thermometers were still hovering around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit)—a level matched across oven-like swathes of Europe, including Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and even alpine Switzerland.

Two forest fires have also broken out since Sunday on Croatia's southern Adriatic coast, prompting the authorities to evacuate 800 tourists, though the blazes have now been brought under control.In Italy, forecasters say the current heatwave could turn out to be the most intense in 15 years, with temperatures around eight degrees above the seasonal average—39 C in Milan and up to 30 in the Alps at an altitude of 1,000 metres (3,300 feet).

Britain saw its first five-day stretch of temperatures over 30 degrees in June since 1995—and the thermometer hit 33.9 C in west London, a UK record for the month since 1976.

In Guildford, southwest of the capital, a road surface melted on Tuesday, with motorists likening it to a bar of chocolate left out in the hot sun.

In Russia, Siberia was also suffering a heatwave, with temperatures of up to 37 Celsius in the city of Krasnoyarsk, Channel One television reported.

It's gotten so clear there's global warming, apparently, even the extreme Right Wing website, Breitbart,  posted the same story.

So, yeah, it looks like 2017 is shaping up to be, again, the new hottest year in recorded history.

Maybe we need those Paris Climate Accords after all.

Senator Roy Blunt Is Lying To Missourians and America About Health Care Today

Senator Blunt, one of our two Senators here in Missouri, posted on Facebook today. What he posted is not just a lie but it makes me angry.  What he wrote:

Obamacare is imploding. In Missouri, premiums on the Obamacare exchanges have increased by 145 percent, on average, since 2013, and 25 counties may have no provider offering health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year.

That's what he says and what Republicans in that political party want us to believe but here are the facts.
First, Obamacare is anything but "imploding."

More Americans have health insurance 

than ever 

Even doctors support it.

Even doctors who voted Trump support Obamacare.

Their plan, the Republicans' plan, the AHCA, "Trumpcare", would hurt the disabled, for starters.

Their plan would also hurt the poor.

It would hurt the elderly.

it would hurt Veterans, for God's sake.

Heck, even their supposed leader, President Trump calls it out for what it is.

And why wouldn't he call it mean?

So just who would or does  their ultra-secret plan help?  Take a guess. It's Republicans, after all.

If you already have money, here's yet one more plan--and a great one--for you. If you're sick or get sick or you're elderly or disabled or a Veteran?

It sucks to be you.

So while the rich get even richer, more Americans would be dropped from heath care insurance, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office or CBO.

That isn't even touching exactly how they're writing their horrible health care bill for nation.

The fact is, right now, Americans very much support the current plan, the ACA, "Obamacare. This is from February of this year.

And this is from April of this year.

And if Obamacare is "imploding", how do Americans feel about the Republicans' upcoming plan?

Check out exactly how few Americans support the Republicans' new plan for us.

So, it seems clear here, given all the above, that Senator Blunt and any and all like him who would say or are saying that Obamacare is collapsing in on itself and/or that Americans don't want or don't like Obamacare clearly don't know the facts or, especially, the wishes of the American people.

Don't tell us it's raining, Senator Blunt. We know better.

Hope for the Left, In Spite of Yesterday's Loss

What Political Party Am I Quiz?

Okay, sure, Jon Ossoff lost yesterday against Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's 6th District.

You wouldn't think anyone in this nation could say, publicly, in the middle of a political campaign, as Ms. Handel did, that she's against a living wage and still win an election but here we are.

That said, even with knowledge of yet one more loss today, last evening, there are two things to keep in mind. First, there is this from the  New York Times a few days ago (link below).

If Mr. Ossoff wins the election, Republicans can argue — with some credibility — that Georgia’s Sixth was a particularly ripe opportunity for Democrats at a time when Mr. Trump’s ratings among college-educated voters have sunk into the low 30s.

But even if he loses, Mr. Ossoff’s strong performance has already demonstrated that Republicans in well-educated but traditionally conservative areas now shoulder the burden of Mr. Trump’s weak performance. It suggests that previously safe Republican incumbents in Orange County, Calif., or the suburbs of Dallas and Houston could face serious challenges next November. And most important, a close race in Georgia’s Sixth suggests that control of the House is in play, regardless of which candidate comes out on top.

Second, next, there is this today, from Professor Robert Reich's Facebook page.

As the national political and media world focused heavily on the Georgia race, an underfunded, overlooked Democrat, Archie Parnell, also a first-time candidate, almost pulled off a huge upset in the South Carolina seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director. Parnell lost by about 2,800 votes, a little more than 3 percentage points, after party leaders decided to devote all their attention in the run-up to Tuesday’s elections to the Ossoff-Handel race.

Bottom line: Democrats are doing extraordinarily well in traditionally red districts -- and have an excellent chance of taking back the House next year.

So take heart all you Liberals (libruls), Lefties, Democrats, Progressives and Socialists out there. There is cause and room and reason for hope.

We just have to get out there and work our tails off.

And VOTE, of course.

If Someone Like Trump Can Do It, This Guy Should, Too

It would be fantastic if Democrats would start running candidates like this guy and end up winning.


Meet Randy Bryce: The 'Iron Stache' coming for Paul Ryan's

Sh*t Republicans Say

Related image

Forgive the suggestion of the expletive in the title today. It's taken from a theme, a meme, if you will,  people have been using for the last year or two at least.

But I saw yet another nearly unbelievable thing a, you guessed it, Republican said and it inspired the post. Here it is.

Trump White House Says Diabetics Don't Deserve Health Care

Really. They did.

They said because of the way some diabetics get the disease---I guess with poor eating habits?---they didn't deserve health care.

It comes on the heals of this one. The person who said it is running for office in Georgia for a seat in the House of Representatives.

And then there was this recent beauty.

To make it worse, the above, that sick people don't deserve health care, was said by Alabama Representative Mo Brooks as well as President Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney so we got a national "two-fer" on that one. They doubled-down.

Then, we all remember our infamous, wonderful Republican Representative Todd Akin and his quote about women and rape.

How these people are even elected to their government offices but then, how they keep them, is beyond me.


About Planned parenthood

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Republicans and Closed Government

First this President, now the Republican Congress, too, show how closed and aloof and distant Republican government out of both houses of Congress and this White House are.


Trump did this last February.

Trump Ousts Real News Outlets 

From Press Conference

This happened yesterday.

It got worse, too.

Sean Spicer took questions from 

Russian media but not CNN, WaPo 

 or Politico

And then there's Congress' well-publicized but very private internal negotiations over our health care.

Senate GOP defends writing its 

healthcare bill in private

Fortunately, some even in their own political party are, in fact, thinking this is maybe wrong.

Can you imagine if that last President and the other political party tried ANY of this?

Why aren't we raising Hell yet?

Turns Out It Is the Heat After All

Image result for jet planes in heat

Have you seen what's going on this week, just now, in the Southwest? The weather? The temperatures and forecasts?

American Just Cancelled 43 Flights to Phoenix Because This Place Is a Literal Hellscape

While the headline is more than a bit of hyperbole, the fact is, some jet planes can't handle temperatures over 118 degrees. it's been forecast for Phoenix today to be over that. It's supposed to be 120 degrees there today and 119 tomorrow, Wednesday.

And keep in mind, it's not even July yet, of course, let alone the hottest month of the year down there, August.

Then check this out.  While this has become more common, not that long ago it wasn't like this. The following took place in June, 2013.

The temperature hit 129 for the first time that year.  Now? It's not uncommon.

Then this happened, just last year.

Two Middle East locations hit 129 degrees, hottest ever in Eastern Hemisphere, maybe the world

If a person didn't know any better, you'd think the planet was heating up or something.


Next Up? That Andrew Jackson Statue Downtown

File:Andrew Jackson statue County Courthouse KC Missouri.jpg

Think about this.

Last weekend, writer, reporter Steve Kraske, of the Kansas City Star and KCUR, the local NPR station, penned an article in the Saturday paper calling for the renaming of the J.C. Nichols fountain on our own Country Club Plaza because, well, the fact is, Mr. Nichols was a blatant, very public racist.

And sure, there are and will be plenty in the city who think it's crazy and/or unnecessary and/or just out and out stupid.

But the fact is, the City Council is meeting today and talking about doing just that.

On another local blog today I saw a comment and it made me realize what's next.

Yeah, that Andrew Jackson statue downtown? The one in front of the County Courthouse?

It will be next up for evaluation.

You want racist? It just doesn't get any more racist than US President Andrew Jackson.

And it's not just that he was racist, though that's bad enough. He's been listed as one of the nation's worst presidents for years and for a range of reasons. Here are links to just three articles, of many, many that are available, spelling out how awful he was.

Here is just a bit for which he's known.

When Jackson was inaugurated, he held a party in the White House to which anyone was invited. People trashed the place, even snipping bits out of the curtains as souvenirs. This story confirmed all the worst fears of Jackson’s critics. His predecessor, John Quincy Adams, who Jackson had defeated in a horrifically bad-tempered election, was so horrified by Jackson’s triumph that he refused to attend the inauguration – the last outgoing president in history to have boycotted his successor’s big day. Men like Adams – who came from a Massachusetts family that had fought for Independence and feared for the survival of the republic (particularly his father, John Adams) – saw Jackson as a profane, unprincipled demagogue; a would-be tyrant in the Napoleonic mode; a man with no respect for the checks and balances of the Constitution or the rule of law.

The first president to have risen from lowly origins, Jackson became famous as the general who had defeated the British at the battle of New Orleans in 1815. Previously known for buying a slave plantation in Tennessee (in 1803) and for taking part in a high-profile duel (with Charles Dickinson in 1806), after the battle of New Orleans he went on to win more fame fighting the Seminole Indians.

In office, Jackson was an aggressive wielder of the president’s hitherto unused veto power. He stopped Congress from spending money on new roads or canals, and he prevented the re-charter of the Bank of the United States, which had attempted to regulate the money supply and served as a lender of last resort. And whatever political challenge he faced, his language was hyperbolic. “You are a den of vipers and thieves,” he wrote to the directors of the Bank of the US, “I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out”. When he left office, the country was plunged into the deepest recession anyone could remember.

So, yes, Steve Kraske's idea and proposal struck a lot of people unawares but with all the removal of statues of racists first in New Orleans, then in St. Louis and the national conversations its inspired, I would absolutely look for this one to come up, too, shortly.

Like it, agree with it or no.

Another Great Idea and Proposal From the Star

Image result for metcalf avenue trafficlights

First it was Steve Kraske's idea about renaming the J.C. Nichols fountain, in last Saturday's paper, and now this.

Editorial: End the aggravation of out-of-sync traffic lights

And really, to whom has this not occurred? To whom of us, as we drive around the Kansas City metropolitan area, has this not struck as a good, even important idea? How many times have we been caught at a read light, sitting there, when no other cars are at the other cross street lights?

It can be maddening.

We read all the time how our computers and computer technology is making incredible breakthroughs and doing untold new, wonderful things for us. Shouldn't synchronizing traffic lights be one of them? And doesn't it seem like it wouldn't be that difficult or complicated, too, for us and the computers?

It would achieve actually a few really great benefits for us, as a city and people and even the nation.
  • We'd waste less time so we'd be more productive. That could easily be shown as good fro business
  • We'd waste less gasoline
  • We'd pollute less since we wouldn't be sitting at these traffic lights, waiting, doing nothing other than running our car's engines
  • We'd have far less frustration and even anger. The likelihood it could cut down on some road rage seems very likely
  • We could and would likely improve the air quality we're annually being reminded of in the Summer months
Those benefits alone are enough to make this a very worthwhile endeavor.

The Federal Government is funding research on driverless cars, for pity's sake.

Before we go off giving federal tax dollars for driverless cars, how about we improve existing traffic technologies so its as effective and efficient as it can be, first? Doesn't that seem like a good and smart idea?

Let's get this party started---and on both sides of the state line.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Kansas Economic Experiment--and Hopefully, Lessons--Still Very Much in the News

The very, very failed Republican Party, Governor Sam Brownback "trickle down", "supply side economics" experiment they tried on Kansas from 2012 until just recently is still very much in the news just now. This time it's mentioned with a wise caution by Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

GOP's dangerous Trump gamble: Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan insist that Trump, as president, can be controlledEnlarge

Zombies, Vampires and Republicans

Zombies have long ruled the Republican Party. The good news is that they may finally be losing their grip — although they may still return and resume eating conservative brains. The bad news is that even if zombies are in retreat, vampires are taking their place.

What are these zombies of which I speak? Among wonks, the term refers to policy ideas that should have been abandoned long ago in the face of evidence and experience, but just keep shambling along.

The right’s zombie-in-chief is the insistence that low taxes on the rich are the key to prosperity. This doctrine should have died when Bill Clinton’s tax hike failed to cause the predicted recession and was followed instead by an economic boom. It should have died again when George W. Bush’s tax cuts were followed by lackluster growth, then a crash. And it should have died yet again in the aftermath of the 2013 Obama tax hike — partly expiration of some Bush tax cuts, partly new taxes to pay for Obamacare — when the economy continued jogging along, adding 200,000 jobs a month.

Despite the consistent wrongness of their predictions, however, tax-cut fanatics just kept gaining influence in the G.O.P. — until the disaster in Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback promised that deep tax cuts would yield an economic miracle. What the state got instead was weak growth and a fiscal crisis, finally pushing even Republicans to vote for tax hikes, overruling Brownback’s veto.

And here's why it's so important to know and understand and learn the lessons from the Republican Party mess in and from Kansas. The learn and know seemingly nothing President Trump himself wants to institute a lot of these same "trickle down" ideas with his own tax plan. He wants to cut the taxes of the already-wealthy and corporations with his tax plan as well as with his/their "Trumpcare" replacement.

Even the Republican Party's own news source, Fox, reports and admits what it is.

So for pity's sake, America. Let's learn the lessons of the economic boom from the Bill Clinton era when he raised taxes and the George W. Bush era, with its own huge economic downturn and deficits when he lowered taxes. These two, along with the glaring example and lessons from Kansas just now should teach us better.

Here's hoping.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Steve Kraske and the Really Excellent Proposal

They printed it yesterday.

Image result for kc photog blog jc nichols fountain

Nichols was all about enduring legacies.

He was about something else, too. Like others of his time, he was a racist who went to great lengths to ensure that racial and religious minorities could not live in his neighborhoods. Nichols championed restrictive deeds that dictated the types of people who could move in.

Our own UMKC points this out very well---and we all know it.

And sure, the Federal Government had their hand in it, as we also know, but that doesn't make it right, either. Here's a great bit of local background from way over in the UK with their BBC.

The US government had a hand in creating this segregation due to practices it instituted back in the 1930s, which prevented many blacks from getting on the property ladder in certain areas.

When the federal government began underwriting home loans for Americans to help boost the economy as part of the New Deal, strict guidelines were drawn up regarding where mortgages could be issued.

Areas where minorities lived were seen as risky investments and black families were routinely denied mortgages, locking them out of the housing market.

The practice was known as redlining because red ink marked out the minority areas. As Kansas City-based historian Bill Worley explained to me, these policies continued right into the 1960s, and excluded African Americans from one of the greatest motors of wealth in the 20th Century - home ownership.

And here's why all this history, from "way back when" is still pertinent and important today. In the first place, it's not that long ago and second, its effects still permeate the city, to this day:

Redlining is now theoretically outlawed in the United States, and has been since the 1970s, but it's still happening to this day.

"Banks continue to build and structure their lending operations in a way that avoids or fails to meaningfully serve communities of colour, based on assumptions about the financial risk," Vanita Gupta, the justice department's top civil rights lawyer, said last September, as she pledged more action to stop discriminatory lending.

Another factor which made access to housing prohibitive were the restrictive racial covenants written into housing contracts.

Until 1948, it was perfectly legal for a black person to be prevented from buying or living in a house.

Here's where the JC Nichols part comes in.

Bill Worley showed me an example of a restrictive racial covenant drawn up in Kansas City by the city's best known property developer during that time, JC Nichols.

"None of the said lots shall be conveyed to, used, owned nor occupied by Negroes as owner or tenants," it read. Other groups, including Jews, were also written into these kind of contracts.

So not only was JC Nichols racist, provenly, but he was racist against not just Blacks, not just one race, but two.

It can't be emphasized enough why this is still resonant today.

White people don't want to recognize this, first, let alone accept it and then, what few do think it only has to do with where one lives. That's not it at all. This, then, where you live effects where you work, how much your paid, what schools your children go to, everything. It very directly effects what your family will earn, in wages, where, again, you work, what and how you learn at school, who you socialize with, everything. It's not just housing, no way, though that's bad enough.

Check out these statistics on Kansas City.

>Pct. of population living in segregated areas: 37.8%
> Black poverty rate: 26.4%
> White poverty rate: 8.3%
> Black unemployment rate: 13.4%

> White unemployment rate: 5.6% 

Roughly 765,000 Kansas City residents — or 37.8% of the city’s population — live in a homogeneous zip code, or where at least 80% of residents share the same skin color or ethnicity, the ninth highest proportion in the country. Out of the 166 zip codes that make up the Kansas City metro area, 123 are home to predominantly white residents. White city residents have very little interaction with the city’s black residents. Of all the people a white person comes into contact with in the area, only 5.5% are black, significantly less frequent than the similar figure of 12.8% of contacts across the 50 largest metro areas. Segregation like this can have very discernible consequences. White households earn nearly twice the median income of black households. Three of the area’s zip codes are home to 15.9% of the metro’s black population, and the median household income in each is less than $30,000 annually. More than 26% of the metro area’s black population lives in poverty, slightly less than the national poverty rate among black Americans but more than three times as high as the poverty rate among the city’s white residents of 8.3%. School systems are also affected by segregation. While one-third of all metro area residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, in zip codes that are home to predominantly black residents, less than 12% of adults have a college degree. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.

Here, briefly, why segregation is so very, deeply wrong and why we still, to this day, need to recognize and

I have to say, I salute, again, Steve Kraske for writing and our own Kansas City Star for putting out such an article. In the first place, it surprised me. Usually the media and people in it like and want to go the safe, quiet route. 

This is not doing that at all. 

Instead of just asking the question of if we should do this, too, Mr. Kraske puts it right out there, that we should definitely, unequivocally rename our revered fountain.

So kudos, Mr. Kraske and the Star. Now, let the conversations commence.

Please check your racism at the door. (Along with your ignorance of the city's history. And any and all ugliness and hate).