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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- The Wayback Machine





The State of the Nation and World


Kim Jong Un and North Korea are threatening South Korea with attack.

China's economy is in freefall.

The Dow dropped nearly 1000 points the last 2 days.

The Mexican peso--in next door Mexico, of course--just hit a record low against the US dollar.

Wealth inequality in America is getting worse by the year with the already-wealthy getting richer and the middle and lower classes getting poorer.

Greece just nearly avoided a total bankruptcy of the nation.

Our infrastructure is falling apart.

Our Highway Fund needs funding from Congress.

All this and a lot more but Donald Trump and his disconnected, childish, really, musings on America and the world put him, somehow, somehow, "most popular" right now, number one in the polls of Republican candidates for president in next year's election.

This is no way to run a country.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Flashback


It can't have been released in 1981, though.



Could it?



Quote of the Day -- Guest Post


A Facebook friend of mine, Kent Hartland, wrote and posted this today. I couldn't agree more.


My country has decended into a quagmire of wickedness where somehow prominent, self-important people strive to outdo one another in their shitty diatribes to achieve ever-higher status among the hate-baiters that own my nation.

I grew up in a God-loving home, as most folks did. Most of the truly good people in the world were also of the same cloth. I was taught from infancy to love and respect others, whether a different skin, disabled, mentally challenged or poor. We are all alike. Love your brothers and sister. Hold the door for a lady, say "Please" and "Thank you", "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir." One of my earliest memories was taking food to old people in what we used to call a poor house or old folks home. I remember the dirt floors in some of the cabins.

Since when did religious folks, i.e. "Conservatives", identify with the same crowd that burns crosses, loves guns, defends the slaughter of first-graders as "unfortunate", says teachers need a fist in the mouth, blows up women's health clinics, assassinates doctors, bombs buildings where dozens of babies lie in their nursery, scream obscenities at immigrant children trying to escape the horrors of war, beat homeless people because "Trump is Right" or "Rush is Right" and who thirst for ever more war and spend fortunes seeking ways to further stigmatize, disenfranchise and decimate the poor?

Indeed. Wth, America?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quote of the day


"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone.

I guess I just miss my friend."



Entertainment Overnight -- Favorite Music, Favorite Era





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More Americans Need to Read--and Follow--the Words of Robert E. Lee


More people in this nation need to read and apply and live Robert E. Lee's own words.


These, on our nation and fellow countrymen:

"I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union."

"Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character."

"Madam, don't bring up your sons to detest the United States government. Recollect that we form one country now. Abandon all these local animosities, and make your sons Americans."

And this, on war itself:

"It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Ain't My First Rodeo


Ain't the first time I've seen yer dog and pony show




Republican Fiscal Programs Worst


The Kansas City Star covered a Business Insider article which ended ranking Kansas and Missouri economies 2 of the 10 worst in the nation.

Missouri and Kansas economies are two of the unhealthiest in the nationreport says 


Business Insider ranking of state economies places Missouri and Kansas in the bottom 10 when it comes to the state of their economies.
The survey released last week, which examined the economies of 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranked Missouri 47th and Kansas 43rd.

47. Missouri

Missouri is home to 26 Fortune 1000 companies, including Emerson Electric, agricultural giant Monsanto, O'Reilly Automotive, and Energizer.

Missouri had a low rate of employment growth, with nonfarm payrolls growing just 0.8% between June 2014 and June 2015. The state was slightly below average on all our other metrics, like its 5.8% June 2015 unemployment rate, higher than the national rate of 5.3%.

43. Kansas

Kansas' economy has huge agriculture and aerospace sectors. Among the most disproportionately common jobs in Kansas are livestock wholesalers, cattle ranchers, turkey producers, and airplane manufacturers.

Kansas' over the year wage growth of 2.6% was somewhat weaker than the national rate of 3.5% between Q4 2013 and Q4 2014. Job growth was also below average, with nonfarm payrolls growing by only 0.8% between June 2014 and June 2015. Despite the slow change in employment, Kansas' June 2015 unemployment rate of 4.5% was quite a bit lower than the national 5.3% rate.
Also worth note is that Right Wing, Republican New Jersey's economy, what with 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie leading it, also comes in near the bottom at number 44.

In the meantime, California's increasing taxes on the wealthy paid off their debt last week and their economy has grown.

California pays off $14 billion in costly debt from 2004
So the question is, the question still is, at what point do people from these states--heck from the entire nation--recognize and accept that "supply side", "trickle down" economics of the Right Wing and Republican Party just patently don't work?

Cutting taxes for the already-wealthy and corporations just plainly, plainly does not work or even remotely help.  Economists warned it's a bad idea yet off these states have gone and these are the clear, obvious, even paiinful results.

Can we stop this nonsense now, at along last?

Link to original article: 
RANKEDThe economies of all 50 US states and DC from worst to best


Monday, August 10, 2015

Quote of the Day -- On Our Future


With corporations making record profits yet hiring fewer and fewer people and in lots of cases, transitioning to robots and machines to do the work, this becomes more and more not just possible but important.




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Westport Gets National Kudos


Yahoo put this up a few days ago.


And for Missouri, it's Westport, they say.



Missouri

Westport (Kansas City)

 A big thumbs-up to Cherokee Street in St. Louis for its Brooklyn-esque qualities, but Westport on the other side of the state is the spot. Westport is, first and foremost, an entertainment district. It’s where you party and eat like a king — at Port Fonda for Mexican, at Dave’s Stagecoach for the jukebox and a beer, at Kelly’s for a Guinness in a pub that’s been around forever but where the clientele has, well, shifted, and at Julep for a cocktail with an egg white in it. During the day there’s plenty to do as well, whether you want to search for an album at Mills Record Company to throw on your portable record player, grab a coffee at the 20+ year and still going Broadway Roasting, or get secondhand threads at Arizona Trading Company.

Just don't hang around late, after midnight, likely.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Republican's Kansas in the New York Times Tomorrow



The Republican's Kansas hits the Sunday New York Times in a pretty big way tomorrow with an article on the state in the rather prestigious front cover article of the New York Times Magazine.

The Kansas Experiment


Needless to say, given what that Right Wing political party, led by their governor, Sam Brownback, has done to the state and their finances and gun laws, etc., it isn't pretty. It's honest and truthful but certainly not pretty.

It's online now. You can read it at the link above.

Not to be done there, Kansas also gets fair and honest but critical treatment at the Atlantic, too, from last April, in case you missed it.


And then there's the Washington Post's evaluation a year ago in July.


Finally, at least for now, there is coverage from The Week, last April.


The one reason I think it's so very important to note the mistakes and failures of Governor Brownback's and the Republican's efforts in Kansas just now is no way to gloat over their being wrong, no. The reason it's important to point out these huge, ugly mistakes is because virtually every candidate for president in 2016 from the Republican Party are espousing the same, so-wrong, even ignorant policies that have gotten Kansas into the fiscal and financial mess they're in now. 

That is, the Republican candidates are still pushing "trickle down economics." They're emphasizing tax cuts for the wealthy. 

It's not just wrong but it's been proven wrong nationally as well as more locally in states. Kansas is certainly one of the biggest and worst---best?---examples. And Americans need to stand up, say as much and vote accordingly.

The NYT article, after reading it and after watching the Republican debates this last Thursday evening, make it clear---very clear--what a destructive, negative mess the entire political party is.

The Republican's and Right Wing's economics for the wealthy and corporations have not only been proven wrong by states like Kansas and Wisconsin and others where debt has been wrung up but it's also been disproven by states like California that did the opposite. That is, California raised taxes on the wealthy, grew their economy and paid off their debt. This from 3 days ago.


At long last, can we kill the "trickle down", "supply-side" economics nonsense?

Please?

Socialism or America's Capitalism?


In the ever-raging and ongoing battle of what's better? Capitalism or Socialism, I offer you today the Legatum Prosperity Index of world nations for 2015.

Britain leapfrogs Germany in list of world's 

most prosperous



Note two things, ladies and gentlemen.

The US is not "NUMBER ONE!"

And the top nine nations are Socialist.


Huh.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945


Here's a fascinating video representing every nuclear explosion since 1945.

As long-time friend and now Facebook friend Brian Rock pointed out, did you know there were 2 in Mississippi?



Missi--freakin'--ssippi?

One of the things about this that is especially illuminating to me---pun no way intended--is that so many of these blasts were tested by the US, the then Soviet Union and England on our own/their own land. England doing them in Australia.

It seems the height of irresponsibility and possible danger, to me.

Seems the more you learn of what we humans do to the Earth and one another, you get amazed we're still here.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This Thursday, August 6, 2015




This Thursday evening, is, coincidentally and/or ironically:

--the date of the first debate of the 2016 Republican Primaries.

--the date of Jon Stewart's final Daily Show appearance as host.

--the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

--the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. 


Thanks for the first three to FB friend Doug Frank.  Thanks, Doug.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, President Obama!


President Barack Obama.

Yessir. Today, Tuesday, August 4 is President Obama's 54th birthday. And while part of this is to wish him well on his day, part of it for me and a lot of us is to thank him for all his work these last 7 years.

Herewith, some links to pages showing just some of his accomplishments for we, the people. Each has citations and links to their sources:

14 Facts About Obama's Presidency Most People Don’t Know



Like did you know...
  • We've now had 65 straight months of economic expansion.
  • We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.
  • Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.4% by Spring of 2015.
  • The stock market continues to set new record highs since President Obama took office.
  • The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.
  • Under President Obama, government spending has increased only 3.3% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.
  • For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are as low or lower than they were at almost any point in the last 50 years.
  • Nearly 20 million more Americans now have health insurance that didn't have it before President Obama. More Americans have health insurance, and fewer are without, in at least decades.
And that's just a short, very short list. There's lots more.

And then there's these, from the world community:

President Obama Named ‘Most Admired Man In The World


Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Extend Run as Most Admired

Barack Obama is most admired man for 7th year in a row...

And as if that isn't enough for the Right Wing, there's this, too, from that same article:  Hillary Clinton is most admired woman for 17 th time in 18 years.

Like it, all of it--or accept it--or not.

So here's to you, President Obama, on your day.

Thanks, very much, for all your work.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Playing for Change


War is not the answer
for only love can conquer hate




Right Wing Experiments


housegop-republican-party-westcott

Right wing socio-economic experiments Republicans, Conservatives and the Right Wing have wrought for and on America and Americans in the last 30 or so years:

Trickle down - 35 years of experience - total failure, only benefits those who are supposed to trickle it down. But it benefits them a lot and they pay to maintain it.

Citizens United (unlimited campaign contributions) - monumental failure in only a few years. Even right wingers don't like it, although they are using it. Un-American, undemocratic - the rich are buying elections.

Drug testing for welfare recipients - a total boon for the drug testing industry and the politicians invested in it. The return on investment is profoundly negative in the states doing it - a huge waste of public money, in other words. Poor people don't have money for drugs - kinda simple, isn't it?

Charter schools - scandal after scandal wherever these have been foisted on the public. A horrible way to educate your kids, unless you're extremely careful. Another profitable right wing cause, however. Lots of cash to their benefactors.

More, but you get the idea. 

End these failed right wing social experiments. They've gone on too long as it is.

From high school and Facebook friend Brian Rock.


Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition



U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders's photo.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kansas City Makes A Great Cut


Yes sir! Kansas City makes part of a great top ten, nationally:

The Top Ten Cities for Creatives


From The Huffington Post . First, a bit of a description:

A thriving creative class is a key feature of nearly every successful modern city. A vibrant culture is not only valuable in its own right, it also often serves to attract and inspire talented workers in non-creative fields, creating a rising tide that benefits the entire city...

...the financial realities of creative fields such as dance, photography and music often mean that creatives cannot afford to live in many of the places where they have historically had the most success and influence. Cities like New York and Los Angeles have, simply put, become too expensive for many working artists.So which cities present the best opportunities for today's creative workers? To answer that question, SmartAsset compared the cost of living in major U.S. cities to the concentration of creative workers in those cities. We considered 28 different professions in our analysis, including jobs like graphic designer, choreographer and photographer.

And here it is. Kansas City makes the top 10, nationwide:

10. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City has emerged in recent years as a creative hub to rival those in the northeast and on the West Coast. The city's Crossroads Art District has gained national recognition for both its growth and the quality of its offerings. Crossroads alone has more than 70 art galleries, to go along with larger institutions like the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Now, then, what's interesting, though, and what needs to be mentioned  and acknowledged, too, though, great as this is for KC, is that nearby neighbor Des Moines, Iowa "beat us out" at the number 8 spot and none other than Omaha, Nebraska came in at 7. 

 Gadzooks.

We gotta' get busy, Kansas City. We have to do better.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Congress Still Not Doing Their Job---On the Highway Fund Now


US Capitol
From the NYT today:
House Republicans are poised today to pass an extension of only three months to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat during peak construction season.

The Senate would be forced to follow suit or face a lapse in highway programs. Congress is getting ready for a five-week summer recess.

So Congress if just barely doing their job, "kicking the can down the road" and then they're going to take a 5 week vacation.
Do you get a 5 week vacation, America?
Especially when you haven't done your job?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Phenomenal Idea--and Challenge--for We, the People, to Take Back Some Control of Our Government


Night on the Hill

Ralph Nader just created a fantastic idea for us Americans to get the attention of our Congressional representatives in Washington and hopefully get at least some of our government back for us instead of only for the already-wealthy and corporations. It is here, in its entirety:

Sending Citizens Summons to Members of Congress

With the long congressional recess in August through Labor Day approaching, “We the People” have the opportunity to do more than complain about the Congress and individual Senators and Representatives.

There are many issues affecting you and your communities that need to be addressed by members of Congress. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to reach the legislators in Washington, DC and when they return to their districts and states, they often only attend public events and ceremonies where they do little more than shake hands and smile.

The diminishing number of in-person town meetings by members of Congress are often stacked and controlled. The locations, attendees, and even sometimes pre-screened questions fail to provide citizens an opportunity to make their case to their legislators. Politicians crave predictability; they are control freaks.

Our five hundred and thirty-five Senators and Representatives need to be reminded that they were sent to Washington, DC by voters back home who entrusted them with the well-being of their communities and country. Many of these lawmakers then become indentured to corporate campaign cash that they must constantly beg for, often compromising with what is in the best interest of their constituents. For all this corporate campaign cash, these corporations want something in return – government contracts, giveaways, tax loopholes, weak corporate law enforcement, and other privileges and immunities, especially for giant multinational corporations that have tightened their grips of crony capitalism on Washington.

So what happened to your votes and your trust in your elected representatives? They were nullified and replaced with ungrateful politicians who have forgotten that the authority lies with the people.

It is time, during this August recess, for “We the People” to shake up the Congress and shake up the politics across the land. If anyone is skeptical of this possibility, they should recall August 2009 when the Tea Party noisily filled the seats of some town meetings called by Senators and Representatives in a Congress run by the Democrats. That is how the Tea Party movement came to public visibility, with the daily help of Fox News.

After that experience, many members of Congress were forced to reevaluate the power and influence of Town Meetings.

My proposal of a Citizens Summons can begin the process of showing your elected legislators who is truly in charge, as befits the Preamble to the Constitution – “We the People.” I am including below a draft Citizens Summons to your Senators or Representative. It covers the main derelictions of the Congress, under which you can add more examples of necessary reforms.

Your task is to start collecting signatures of citizens, members of citizen groups, labor unions, and any other associations that want a more deliberative democracy. The ultimate objective is to reduce inequalities of power.

Shifting power from the few to the many prevents the gross distortions of our Constitution and laws, our public budgets, and our commonwealth, that currently favor the burgeoning corporate state.

May you give your lawmakers a memorable August recess; they deserve to be shown the workings of what our founding fathers called “the sovereignty of the people.”

The Citizens Summons to a Member of the Congress: 
Whereas, the Congress has tolerated the expansion of an electoral process, corrupted by money, that nullifies our votes and commercializes both congressional elections and subsequent legislation, creating a Congress that is chronically for sale; 
Whereas, the Congress has repeatedly supported or opposed legislation and diverted the taxpayer dollars to favor the crassest of corporate interests to the serious detriment of the American people, their necessities, and their public facilities – such as access to safer consumer products, health care, and other basic social safety services. It has opposed raising the inflation-ravaged minimum wage and fair taxation, allowed endemic waste, fraud, and abuse by contractors, and authorized massive corporate welfare subsidies and giveaways; 
Whereas, the Congress has narrowed or blocked access to justice by millions of Americans, leaving them unprotected and defenseless in many serious ways, while giving business corporations preferential treatments and allowing them full access to influence the three branches of government; 
Whereas, the Congress has imposed trade treaty despotisms over our democratic institutions – the courts, legislatures, and executive departments and agencies – subordinating our domestic branches of government’s abilities to preserve and enhance labor, consumer, and environmental standards to the domination of global commerce’s “bottom line” and endorsed the usurpation of our judicial process by secret tribunals under the WTO, and other similar invasions of U.S. sovereignty; 
Whereas, the access to members of Congress has increased for corporate lobbyists and decreased for ordinary citizens, Therefore, the citizens of the [INSERT state (for Senators) or the congressional district (for Representatives)] hereby Summon you to a town meeting(s) during the August recess (ending September 7, 2015) at a place of known public convenience. Your constituents will establish an agenda of how Congress should shift long overdue power from the few to the many, both in substantive policy and through the strengthening of government and civic institutions; 
We deem this Summons to be taken with the utmost seriousness as we gain grassroots support throughout your congressional district (or state for Senators). We expect to hear from you expeditiously so that the necessary planning for our town meeting can take place. This Peoples’ Town Meeting reflects the Preamble to the Constitution that starts with “We the People” and the supremacy of the sovereignty of the people over elected representatives and corporate entities; 
Be advised that this Summons calls for your attendance at a Town Meeting run by, of, and for the People. Please reserve a minimum of two hours for this serious exercise of deliberative democracy. 
Sincerely yours, 
The names of citizens and citizen groups
(For any additional questions about this proposal, send an email to info@nader.org.)
______________________________________
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

So there it is, ladies and gentlemen.


Let's get busy.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).