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Monday, May 30, 2016

A New Kansas City Tradition Starting Around Our New Streetcars?


It seems a new tradition may well be starting here in Kansas City based on our just as new streetcars and it's another musical tradition if it takes off.

I saw this last evening on a local and my Facebook friend Eric Nielsen. He was going to the annual Memorial Day Celebration at the Station.

The streetcar is rocking with group karaoke - it was "I Will Survive" and now it's "Don't Stop Believing " . It's hilarious!


Another friend of his also wrote that there had been karaoke on the streetcar the previous night, too.

It makes me think these streetcars may well really work. It seems Kansas Citians are not only riding them but enjoying them, too.

So suck on that, haters. To all who dismiss them or hope they fail, especially bloggers who rail against them and seem to want to bring failure down on everything from the Mayor to our Royals and Chiefs and the Country Club Plaza, it seems it's a long overdue good thing, people are using them and loving them, too.

Let's hope it keeps up.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day



First Lieutenants Andrew Yacovone and Justin Wright formed a musical duo called Interstate 10, and this week they released a music video from Afghanistan.




"Trickle Down" Economic Policy


Taking from the poor, giving to the already-wealthy, literally.

Mark Sandlin's photo.

Doesn't seem very "Christian", does it?

As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so rightly said:

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

And perhaps approaching more than just spiritual doom, too, actually.



How Far the Republican Party Has Devolved


This would be stunning but for how low Donald Trump has brought down the Republican Party and the path to the Presidency, the highest office in our nation.



Donald Trump has brought his political party so low, so very low. It's difficult to believe we've seen some of the discussions we have, that he has had.  That he could be such an obvious, blatant racist and sexist and misogynist and then know so clearly little about international politics and law and so many things, repeatedly and yet still be taken seriously for the highest office in the land?

It is stunning.

The farther he gets, the further down "the rabbit hole" our nation seems to be going.

May it stop soon.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Coming Soon


This looks fantastic. Seems Steven Spielberg will have knocked it out of the ballpark, once again.


And it's not Mark Rylance's best genre but it's still Mark Rylance.


Coming July 1.

More here:  The BFG (2016) - IMDb


Two Out of Three Isn't Supposed to be Bad


There were three judicial rulings announced today. Two of them went well for "the little guy", fortunately. 

Here's the first:


Supreme Court unanimously rejects GOP challenge to VA districting case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a lower court's ruling that Virginia's Republican-led legislature unlawfully considered race when drawing U.S. congressional districts by packing black voters into one of them in a move opponents said diluted black electoral clout.

The court ruled 8-0 against current and former Republican U.S. House of Representatives members who had challenged a June 2015 lower court ruling that threw out the district. The justices found that the Republican lawmakers did not have legal standing to bring the case.


The focus of the case was on the composition of the majority-black U.S. House district held by Democrat Bobby Scott, the only black member of Virginia's congressional delegation.

Following the June 2015 ruling, some black voters from Scott's district were moved to an adjoining district, which is currently represented by white Republican Randy Forbes, one of the challengers in the case. This could make the district a possible Democratic pickup in the Nov. 8 election.

Seems a pretty crystal-clear case of redistricting to help your own political party while, at the same time, weakening the votes and choices of some of your fellow Americans. Unfortunately, as we're used, they just happened to be black. This has gone on far too long.

Supreme Court sides with death row inmate in race discrimination case

What happened:

Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning in favor of a death row inmate in a case concerning race discrimination in jury selection.

Timothy Tyrone Foster, an African-American, is on death row in Georgia for the 1987 murder of an elderly white woman, Queen Madge White. The jury that convicted him was all white. Twenty years after his sentence his attorneys obtained notes the prosecution team took while it was engaged in picking a jury, including marking potential jurors who were black had a "b" written by their name.

There's more to the story, of course, but you get the idea. I've followed this case for some time and it did seem a clear example of a true travesty of justice. One thing especially amazing about the case from the Court is that Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.  Stunning.

The final case is the one that didn't go so well, at least in my own and a lot of people's eyes:



Again, what happened:

BALTIMORE — A police officer was acquitted of all charges on Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. The verdict is likely to renew debate over whether anyone will be held responsible for Mr. Gray’s death.

The officer, Edward M. Nero, sat with a straight back and stared forward as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who ruled on the case after the officer opted to forgo a jury trial, read his verdict on the charges of second-degree assault, misconduct and of reckless endangerment.

“The verdict on each count,” said Judge Williams, concluding his reading after about 30 minutes, “is not guilty.”

“The state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence,” Judge Williams said. “There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”


So a guy, a black man, gets arrested and thrown in the back of the police van, then suffers a broken back from the ride and dies?

And no one is accountable?  

That's still who we are?

Then, to make things worse, there's this:

A lawyer for Officer Nero, Marc Zayon, called for the charges against the remaining officers to be dropped.

Not a surprise, likely, to most, but still disappointing.

So, again, two out of three. 

Not great but it's something.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's Getting Worse for Brazil and Those Summer Olympics


Rio-2016-Logo

I wrote this at the end of January this year:


And then this, the middle of March:


And now, things are getting just many times worse for Brazil and the possibility of their having these Olympics this year.  These are some of the latest revelations that have come out:


Check that out. This guy is a Brazilian himself and he's telling people to stay away, first. Second, he's an Olympic athlete who would normally want, of course, people to come to the Olympics but he's, again, advising people to not attend. That's pretty incredible alone.

At the same time as all this is going on, Brazil's President is in the middle of a scandal investigation she may well be impeached for and as soon as this evening and there are other people in the government, too, accused of financial wrongs.


The government has had the worst or near worst

How the Rio Olympics Could Cement 

a Brazilian Coup


The nation itself has had to warn pregnant women to stay away from these Olympics due to the Zika virus and because it's considered the epicenter of the problem and outbreak.

Brazil warns pregnant women to 

stay away from Olympics


Taking that one big, no, huge step further, there's this warning and to anyone and everyone who might attend:


Finally, as if all that weren't far and awful enough, there's the pollution of Rio and Brazil.


The athletes even have to train in the pollution, nearly unbelievably.



It's as I said. I think these are likely to be the least attended and certainly most filed Summer Olympics, in fact, Olympics, period, since likely their being begun again, all those decades ago. 

The poor people of Brazil will be made all the poorer with this, all this.

And meantime, for the Olympics overall, perhaps now the IOC will finally, finally give up taking them around the world every 4 years to different cities. It frequently ended up bankrupting cities. Perhaps they could locate it in Greece, permanently.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to Fix America's Corrupt Political System


We must Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government.



We must do this. We must do all of it. If we don't do these things, nothing will ever change for the better, for the people.

And it must come from us.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Here Comes the Rain Again





Think the Bible Is Against Same Sex Attraction?


Sure, some do think the Christian Bible is against same sex couples, against homosexuals and homosexuality.

It's because of this one little line--one--from Leviticus 18:22:

"You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination."
Know what else Leviticus says?  Too many don't.


The Christian Left's photo.

And this is just part of what the book from the "Good Book" says. There's more, besides.

Do you know what Jesus said about gays?

Nada.

Nothing.

Not one thing.


Very Republican Senator Roy Blunt Honors Very Democratic President Harry Truman?


I saw this yesterday, Sunday, on Senator Roy Blunt's Facebook page:

Senator Roy Blunt's photo.

"Happy 132nd birthday to former president and fellow Missourian, President Harry Truman. Honored to be able to serve Missourians in the same office Truman used."

The trouble? The problem? The issue? 

Here's, again, very Republican Senator Roy Blunt, honoring our very own, very Democratic, very Missourian and Democratic Party former President Harry S. Truman when this, the following, is what President Truman thought of and said about Republicans while he was here:

“The Republicans … will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism. They will go to the people and say: "Did you see that social security check you received the other day—you thought that was good for you, didn't you? That's just too bad! That's nothing in the world but socialism. Did you see that new flood control dam the Government is building over there for the protection of your property? Sorry—that's awful socialism! That new hospital that they are building is socialism. Price supports, more socialism for the farmers! Minimum wage laws? Socialism for labor! Socialism is bad for you, my friend. Everybody knows that. And here you are, with your new car, and your home, and better opportunities for the kids, and a television set—you are just surrounded by socialism! Now the Republicans say, ‘That's a terrible thing, my friend, and the only way out of this sinkhole of socialism is to vote for the Republican ticket.’"

"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home -- but not for housing. They are strong for labor -- but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage -- the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all -- but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine -- for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing -- but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing -- so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."

"Republicans don't like people who talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don't talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged."

"I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who's hitting you? It's about time that the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them."

Mimicking, it seems, fellow Missourian Mark Twain, President Truman also said the following:

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself."

All true then, about 70 years ago. All still sadly, pathetically true today.

So yeah, I loved that. Republican Roy "I Can Be Bought And Sold" Blunt, honoring Democrat and former President Harry S. Truman.

That's rich.

I don't know if he didn't get the irony or if he thought we wouldn't.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Kansas City Makes Another Great List


Yeah, check this out from Forbes Magazine. Look who's number 19.




Supporting Trump?


Bill Maher on The Donald.

"This isn't presidential. It's Glen Close, boiling the rabbit."


Great Lampooning of The Donald and BusTED, both


From last night's Saturday Night Live.



Terrific satire.

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.


What They're Saying About Our Trolleys---and City


Check out this headline posted 2 days ago on The Huffington Post.



New technology offers a glimpse into what 21st-century urban life should look like.


Sure, plenty of people here will be or already are grunging about our trolleys---what they cost, heck, even that they're here but---news flash---mass transit really does make sense. They make good sense.

A note about the article, too. Not once in it do they mention our Mayor, Sly James but really, this is a big, big win for him, politically and about all other ways.

Also, it's more than just the trolleys. Much more. It's also about the computerized kiosks along the route, the lighting technology, the safety features, the wifi along the route and more.

Now let's just hope the trolleys successful. I mean, the money is spent. It's here. Love it or hate it, for it or against it, wouldn't it be better if it works, if it's successful?

Remember the song?   "Everything's up to date in...


Let's live up to it.


On This Day, 1945


People are forgetting.


Victory in Europe - May 08, 1945 - HISTORY.com


On this day in 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.

Victory in Europe Day - Wikipedia


Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 (7 May in Commonwealth realms) to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces.

V-E Day 1945: The Celebration Heard 'round the World | HistoryNet


May 8, 2015 - V-E Day was observed on May 8, 1945 in Great Britain, Western Europe, the United States and Australia, and on May 9 in the Soviet Union and New Zealand. V-E Day commemorates the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces in 1945, ending World War II in Europe.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Of A Sort


46 years ago today.



Links:  Kent State shootings




Here We Are: The Donald Is Their Candidate


Donald Trump "You're Fired!"

So now The Donald, Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the White House, for the Presidency, for the highest office in the land.

Elizabeth Warren today said it so well on The Donald and just where the Republican Party is today:

Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. It's real – he is one step away from the White House. Here's what else is real:

Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is "cool with being called an authoritarian" and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators.

He attacks veterans like John McCain who were captured and puts our servicemembers at risk by cheerleading illegal torture. In a world with ISIS militants and leaders like North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un conducting nuclear tests, he surrounds himself with a foreign policy team that has been called a "collection of charlatans," and puts out contradictory and nonsensical national security ideas one expert recently called "incoherent" and "truly bizarre."

What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent. It will determine whether we move forward as one nation or splinter at the hands of one man's narcissism and divisiveness. I know which side I'm on, and I’m going to fight my heart out to make sure Donald Trump’s toxic stew of hatred and insecurity never reaches the White House.


FEE's photo.
So thank you, Republicans, Republican Party, Right Wingers and all the haters and misogynists and sexists and racists who brought the nation here, to this Donald J. Trump.

And by the way, the above---bringing the White House a "downright moron"---was also, of course, deeply true of one George W. "Mission Accomplished" Bush and his brother, John Ellis.

David Brooks, a Republican and Conservative, both, said it very well.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Talented Young Man





We Do Elections Very, Very Wrong, America


Sure, we Americans do and have done a lot of things right and well, absolutely or we wouldn't have gotten where we have, socially, sociologically and certainly economically, without question. (We've a lot--A LOT--of things wrong like maybe Korea but definitely Vietnam and that unlawful Iraq War and too many things about race, etc. but we'll save that for another time and day).

All that said, one thing we do wrong--and by wrong I mean deeply, wildly and very expensively wrong, all, is elections. Check out just a few notes on how the rest of the world does them:

The longest campaign in Canadian history was 10 weeks.

In the U.K., political parties can only spend $30 million in the year before an election.

In Germany, political parties release just one 90-second television ad.

In 2013, over two-thirds of income to Norway's political parties came from the government.

In Australia, voting is compulsory.

In Brazil, Election Day is on the weekend.



We just aren't very bright. 

We need to undo our election system and campaigns and campaign finance and all those "campaign contributions", folks.


Links:  The Problems With Our Government--and Our Elections

A Simple But Fairly Accurate Description of This Presidential Election


Let's choose wisely, folks.


Democratic Socialist's photo.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Quote of the Day -- On This Day, 1938


True then, a lesson for us, still.

FDR in 1933.jpg

"The first truth is that the liberty of a Democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."

--US President Franklin D. Roosevelt: April 29, 1938

Link:   Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies


Thursday, April 28, 2016

This Is How Huge and Obscene Big Money Is In Our Politics


To show how really awful and insidious the big money is in our politics, political system and government, check this out:

Rep. Jolly: Fundraising is the Main Business and First Priority in Congress

And note a few things about this, too.

First, the person saying it is a Republican, of all things. It's not a Democrat or an Independent or even a Libertarian. It's someone from the one political party that, more than anything, stands up and fights for the already-wealthy and corporations, time and again. The one political party that is more in the pocket of these people than any other.

Second, the news source on this is Fox. You know, the bought, sold and paid for media wing of the Republican Party. Even the people getting the money realize it's horrible and needs to end.

A little from the article:

Rep. David Jolly, (R-Fla.), discussed his proposed legislation to stop direct solicitation by members of Congress Monday on the FOX Business Network. Congress members reportedly spend as much as 30 hours a week making fundraising calls in an effort to raise at least $18,000 per day.

“We all know about the amount of money in politics. This is about the amount of time it takes to raise that money and the fact that you have a part-time Congress in a full-time world spending all their days shaking down the American people for money and not doing the job they are there for,” Jolly told Stuart Varney.

Jolly says it is a bipartisan issue that needs to be addressed.

“It is the only thing Republicans and Democrats agree on in Congress; that fundraising is the main business and the first priority.”


We couldn't agree more, Representative Jolly.

We must overturn the Citizens United ruling, end campaign contributions and at long last 
Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government.

If we don't do these, nothing will change. Nothing will change for the better, for the people, for the nation. The entire nation.


News Flash to City Fathers


This, breaking today from the NCAA to all city leaders across the nation:

NCAA vote: No Final Fours in cities 

without anti-discrimination laws


The NCAA's Board of Governors implemented a new requirement Wednesday in the bidding process.

After months of hinting that it would use its athletic power to take a stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the NCAA on Wednesday made it official.

The organization's Board of Governors, at its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, adopted a new requirement for sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events in all divisions -- from Final Fours to educational conferences.

Those host cities must "demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event," the NCAA said.

So there you are, folks.  If you like discriminating against yet one more group---it used to be Jews, then the Irish, then blacks, now it's the LGBTQ community--the tide, the world, is turning against you.

It reminds me of the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."