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Monday, November 30, 2009

Stupid move but fortunately, it turned out well

More proof of why we need a good local newspaper (Tony):

From The Kansas City Star:

Armed KC robber loses fight with Starbucks manager

A Starbucks manager in Kansas City thwarted a robbery Sunday night by disarming the gunman and slashing him with a box cutter.

The 30-year-old suspect showed up at a hospital for treatment of a cut to his chest. After being released from the hospital, he was booked into jail.

The failed holdup occurred about 10:45 p.m. at the coffee house at 4140 Main St. The suspect walked into the back office where the manager was counting money and told the manager to get into a freezer. The manager refused and fought the suspect, who hit the manager in the head with the butt of his gun. The manager pulled a box cutter out of his pocket and cut the suspect. The manager took the gun away and shoved the suspect out the door.

The manager suffered a cut above his eye, which was closed with glue at a hospital.

As I said, stupid move, as the police would tell him--the manager--but fortunately it turned out well.

Good on ya', mate.

Everyone's tired of taking this kind of stupid crap, wherever it happens.

Oh, hell no

If what BlogKC says is true, it's time to go ballistic.

"Real estate developers are asking KCMO to annex over 300 acres of rural Platte County just north of the Kansas City International Airport for a large suburban-style housing development called 'The Lake at Tomahawke Creek.'”

No, no and hell no and here's why:

The city of Kansas City, Missouri is broke, folks.

We have no money.

We have a poor credit rating now--and it's slipping.

We have too much sprawl now.

It's in the flight path of the airport and (as BlogKC reported) "the airport is warning that it will be noisy for anyone living there..."

"The site is far from existing city services..."

I think that's enough right there.



The answer is no.

Are we clear here?


Addendum: And since when do you make the name for an American Indian tool (tomahawk) British by adding an "e" to the end? Does that make any sense to anyone?

A bullet, dodged

Did you hear that sound?

It was the sound of all of us, here in the US, dodging a bullet.

I believe that was done this past long holiday weekend when the international markets tumbled on news of Dubai's default on their loans.

Actually, I guess it's technically not a default, they just asked if they could not repay their loans for 6 months. If you're the banker, it's a default, though.

Anyway, the markets tumbled Wednesday night.

Luckily for us and the world, it was our national Thanksgiving holiday so our trading markets were closed. Had they been open, I feel sure our markets would have emotionally, psychologically and, really, understandably reacted to this news and been set back with a down trading day. There's no telling how much it would have dropped, if at all, if I'm right.

Then, the next international trading day (our Thanksgiving night), the markets came back and were mostly up so by the time we had our partial trading day on Friday, all the bad news was buffered by this second round of better news.

A friend and I predicted a down day on the markets Friday and, as it turned out, we were right.

What I'm saying is that, with the international markets taking a hit last Wednesday, if ours had been open the next day, we likely would have tumbled--and a good deal, I believe--and then, that night, there could was likely a strong chance those same international markets would have reacted to that, too, and negatively.

Of course this is all speculation but I will say that I'm not the only one that thinks that if there is one more big financial problem any time soon, the whole international deck of cards is in fairly precarious shape and it will be tough on this already-weak system.

Here's hoping we skate by.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

The wonderful, long Thanksgiving weekend, somewhat documented

I'm doing a bit of a change-up on this blog today. Since this was Thanksgiving weekend and the weather yesterday was so outstanding and, finally, I had more wonderful leisure time on my hands, I took it upon myself to walk from the Plaza up to Loose Park and try to document what a great day it was. This serves three purposes: it shows what we were up to this day, it helps us remember what a great day it was in time to come and, lastly, it gives me photograph-worthy shots, if I'm lucky. Following are the shots I got. I hope you had a terrific holiday and holiday weekend.
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And of course there were people and families out to feed the ducks at the lagoon.
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People were all over Loose Park, understandably and as you can see here, I hope. You do have to look rather closely. They were out walking themselves or their dogs, just everything.
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And there had to be at least one kite-flyer out there and here he was.
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The late afternoon sun makes for good, warm, easy shots at times. I'm not saying this is one but it could be.
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And we'll have to remember that this was also the day that KU played a grudge/rematch with MU. (and that MU just barely won, by two points, which had to be painful for all the KU fans, of course).
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You'll find I covered this once but I liked the perspective and light I got on this one, that's all.
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The jogging trail, of course, around the park. Several people were taking advantage of it and the warm temperatures, of course.
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I don't know what they are or what the plant is but they were beautiful, of course, and I loved the late afternoon sunlight.
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To repeat, brilliant day. And I've always loved this house. (How do you not?)
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Living on the Plaza as I do (hey, it's an affordable apartment, folks), I get to Loose Park fairly frequently, over the years. I have to say, this was absolutely the busiest I've ever seen the playground there--and that's saying something. This doesn't even really show how very busy it was, too, and all the energy that was coming from it.
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And, oh yeah, there was a partial moon on the rise, too, to complete the virtually perfect Thanksgiving weekend.
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Just a brilliant day.
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I just liked it, that's all there is to it. (And hey, I can dream, can't I?)
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I thought this might be good to show both how busy it truly was on the Plaza (no surprise) and the West Edge and its cranes threatening the area--and city. (lol)
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This wouldn't be any big deal but this accomplishes two things: it gives the near-obligatory photo of the fountain in front of the Eddie Bauer store, which we all like so much, think, and because it shows this rather cute couple. I say cute (reluctantly, believe me) because they were getting a picture of what looked to be their newborn baby on what must be the child's first Thanksgiving and then I felt I had to get a shot of them because they wore matching "Thanksgiving brown" clothing. I wouldn't do it but it was cute on them.
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This was pretty incredible, in its own way, and unique--at least for Kansas City. These guys kept driving around the Plaza, making the car bounce and twist, as is shown here. The car, amazingly, isn't broken--the suspension system was hopped up to do just these kinds of tricks. (To each their own, right?).
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This is just to emphasize, again, how warm it was in the area this day, Saturday, and really, how warm it's been since, what? October, I think. Great Autumn to remember. (Don't forget it when we're freezing our tushies off, later).For clarification, too, I'm not going to turn this into my photography blog, either. I'll still continue to put my photos on my other blog (KC Photog Blog). It's just that this seemed like the perfect time, day and weekend to put these up, from the holiday weekend, as a way to keep up with the city and the Thanksgiving weekend.
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I just threw this in to show how beautiful a day it was (as though we needed reminding, right?) and because I thought it turned out well, what with the light and clouds, etc. I will tell you, the streets were far more busy than this shows. It seemed everyone in town had the same idea--to go to the Plaza.
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This was really refreshing for me and, I suspect, a lot of people--two young guys with their string instruments, playing for the public. (So you know, I'm a huge lover of string music, classical, in particular). They were in front of the Buca de Beppa Restaurant entrance.
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And what would the Plaza be anymore, if not for the collection of cyclists and their cycles at Latte' Land, right?
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And these beautiful people were helping collect donations for Salvation Army, of course, in front of Barnes and Noble bookstore.(It's admittedly not a great picture--the light on the sign is too harsh--but I wanted to make sure I put thse folks up, as a way of thanking them for their work and volunteering.
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The annual "Thanksgiving weekend Elvis sighting on the Country Club Plaza"

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To the Kansas City Star: Don't do us any favors

The headline on the front page of The Kansas City Star today is "When might Squitiro return?"

The Star shouldn't even pose the question.

The answer is, hopefully, bloody never.

I mean, really, if you're Mayor Mark Funkhouser or his wife, Gloria Squitiro, evntually common sense should hit and the conclusion should be that a) you've cost the city you're supposed to run enough money (one-half million dollars in settling the lawsuit against her and her big mouth, was just one example) and b) for pity's sake, you can give him advice from home all you want.

Give it up.

The follow-up section of the same, continued article, back on page A20 had the following headline for it, too: "Her advising of Funkhouser continues away from City Hall".

And that's as it should be.

Hopefully, we'll leave this little arrangement just as it is, for the benefit of the all involved, but most particularly, the city and citizens of Kansas City, Missouri.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sanity and insanity on the Thanksgiving weekend

All from The Kansas City Star today.

First the insanity:

--some lunatic in Florida (thank God it was there) "opened fire on his family after Thanksgiving dinner."

I always wonder why these people don't do everyone a favor and put the gun at their own head, instead of anyone else. Granted, this guy is clearly nuts but, I ask you, wouldn't it be nice?

--The couple who crashed the White House State dinner the other night got to walk right up and meet and greet the President and First Lady.

Nearly unbelievable.

As I said, somebody's ass is out the door on that one.

--Now our Congress is considering doing a "Cash for clunkers" for appliances and that industry.

Really, our government needs to learn that we're unplugging a bit, as a consumer society. We've spent way too damned much money on virtually everything and the party is over. They need to stop throwing our own--now borrowed--money at us. First it was for houses--which they're likely going to extend--then it was for cars, now appliances. Give it up, ladies and gentelmen. We know we're over-extended on credit. When are you going to learn you are?

--Sady, some coupld from our own Columbia, Missouri fell asleep in a Caseyville, Illinois motel room "after leaving an infant and toddler in a running van outside."


I'm not even going to touch that irresponsibility and stupidity.

--Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid $100 million of his own money "to narrowly win a third term" for himself in New York City, "breaking his previous records for the most expensive self-financed political bid in US history..."

This is where we're headed, folks, with rich people buying our elections, only much worse, if we don't institute very real--and stringent--campaign finance reform.

--Former CNN host Lou Dobbs looks to be eyeing a run for President in 2012.

I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.

--It looks more and more like some idiot with a bomb blew up a train in Russia, killing 25 people and injuring lots more, of course.

--This last one falls in the insanity and sanity column, both. I reported earlier that our city is going to have a two-day free health care clinic downtown at Bartle Hall. The insanity is that we have to do this, here in the United States.

The sanity:

--Again, that we are having a two-day free health care clinic downtown soon, at Bartle Hall. God bless all the people who are sacrificing their time, talent and energy to do this for the less well-off.

--The Governor of Bali had put in a request to sacrifice "hundreds of rare reptiles"--turtles--that were "to be killed for religious ceremonies."

Thank goodness common sense prevailed.

--I'd almost put money right now on KU's head coach Mark Mangino being fired very shortly--possibly as soon as tomorrow. It might not happen but after reading what he's said and done with his football players, I'm thinking it's a sure thing he's out. He was just too politically incorrect--and way off base.

--It looks like China and Russia are backing a nuclear limits ban on Iran through the UN. International cooperation always looks good.

--It's a beautiful weekend here in the midwest US and there are loads and loads of people helping and doing things for, their fellow man (person, whatever).

That's always terrific.

Have a great weekend, y'all.


For anyone and everyone who thinks we don't need health care reform

This is what too many of us have come to.

The Kansas City Star reports today that there will be a free health care clinic right here in our own little cowtown. It is to be a two day event at Bartle Hall December 9 and 10.

As I said, this is what health care has come to here in the US.

The richest country in the world has the most expensive--and least available--health care system in the world.

These free health care fairs have been done in the Appalachians, the West Coast (LA), the East Coast (West Virginia) and elsewhere. For too many of us, our insurance and insurance companies have priced us out of having good, sound health care.

It's undeniable but people and corporations deny it, regardless.

It's sad.

It's pathetic.


Did you know that the US is ranked 37th, internationally, when it comes to mortality rates?

Yeah, we are.

We are BEHIND Costa Rica on this.

Costa freakin' Rica, people.

Think we have the best health care system in the world?

Think again.

And did you see yesterday in the media that we are ranked number 3, again internationally, in terms of obesity rates?

I'm not saying that's anyone's fault but our own, individually, but it adds up to a really ugly health care picture.

If one more right-wing, closed-minded, uniformed, jingoistic chucklehead--family, friend, whatever--claims we don't need health care reform, I may well go apeshit on 'em.


Whole lotta' hatin' comin' on

The President is going to the United Nations first, it seems, on December 9, at the start of a 12 day session, then go to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize the next day.

Can you imagine how Glenn Beck, Rush "Porkulus" Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and all the folks at Faux News are salivating for this? I'm thinking they all figure they have a great deal to be thankful for.

They'll be trashing the UN, this Nobel Peace Prize--again or some more--and dissing on Mr. Obama all they can, every second.

Get ready. They're going to whip themselves into a holiday frenzy.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Random thoughts on a wonderful, long, beautiful holiday weekend

--The Star reports that "A 17-year-old girl remained hospitalized this morning after she was shot on Thanksgiving night in central Kansas City." I can't write very long here, today, because I'm going to join the East side clergy who are going to be protesting this and the other shootings and killings of their fellow-citizens in the city. Yeah, right;

--The Kansas City Star reported this morning that drivers who already have suspended licenses are being picked up outside court in downtown Kansas City by the police. A couple things come to mind--first, good for the cops. This is a great idea. It should have been done years before now. And two, it was reported on, I think, KCTV5 a few days ago, on the evening news. What this means is that now the Star is following the local, crappy TV news coverage, which is notoriously lame. That's how bad it's gotten at the Star. Used to be, the Star scooped virtually all news organizations in town. No more, no surprise, sadly. So it goes;

--It isn't my goal to repeatedly complain about our local newspaper but one of the big stories on the front page this morning was that the Country Club Plaza Thanksgiving evening holiday lighting ceremony "is a balm in hard times." Really? If I'm unemployed--or underemployed--how is that going to give me comfort? And this is news how? And still, to this day, the Star hasn't done one more researching story on the ousting of the City Manager--they still haven't tried to ask the questions for us of just why he was let go. Oh, well. Que sera, sera;

--People are still, amazingly, writing in to the Star today, supporting now-ex-City Manager Wayne Cauthen. Nearly unbelieveable, but for being uninformed;

--Much more surprisingly, there was yet another letter to the editor in the paper, declaring that we, the people of Kansas City, should "Just give the man a chance to be the mayor and see what good things he can do for Kansas City." And she was serious. Of course, she lived in Leawood, Kansas but what the hell, right?;

--The Star editorial staff let Mike Hendricks write yet another op/ed column about how we should ride our bicycles to work. Yeah. Right. That's gonna happen. I really don't like or want to be cynical or sarcastic but that just patently isn't going to happen. Not here in America. Not with Americans. A few of us but darned few;

--If I could, I would never hear the term "Black Friday" ever again. Same with reports the last few days, continuing all weekend, I'm sure, about the shopping season. This morning, even NPR went WAY overboard with this. One of their reports said "people are looking to save money." Really? There's a surprise, huh?

--Then there's the Reno County (Hutchinson, Kansas) defense attorney who brings and presents a "dud" hand grenade in his closing remarks for his client's case to prove a point. Oh, yeah. There's a rocket scientist;

--Who would think it would ever, anymore, be possible to crash a State dinner at the White House, no matter who the President? It's for sure someone's job--or some people's jobs--will be sacrificed. Makes me want to crash a Ward Parkway or Mission Hills party one of these days. (Not actually, but suddenly seems much more possible);

--did you see where we (the US through the US Forest Service) just bought 1200 acres of "scenic meadow the Sierra Nevada neard Truckee, CA" for $3 million? Sounds cool. I'd love to go see it. I don't know how we're going to take care of it, since we don't take care of our National Parks already but what the hell. At least, hopefully, the logging companies won't get it. Hopefully;

--did you know you could die if you get stuck upside down in a cave for 24 hours? Who knew? (And I'm not being flip about the young man's death);

--Fortunately for everyone--and Wal-Mart in particular--apparently no one was killed this year, trying to get that terrific holiday bargain in the early-morning hours. (And now that I think of it, how would you like to be remembered as "the person who was trampled to death on Thanksgiving morning, trying to get that perfect holiday bargain"?);

--It's great, I think, to sit at a Panera's restaurant, writing a local blog, while listening to your favorite music, while all about you is near-chaos. (Right now, Andrea Bocelli singing "Ave Maria").

Okay, everyone, go out there and have a terrific holiday weekend!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ethics in government?

I follow 44th District Congressman Jason Kander on Facebook (yes, Facebook) and find today that he wrote an "As I See It" column that was printed in The Kansas City Star this morning.

It is excellent.

In it, he very succinctly calls for ethics legislation for all the representatives out of Jefferson City.

Hallelujah. Amen, brother.

A couple examples:

"Missouri’s “anything goes” system of campaign finance seems designed to promote, not deter, laundering of political contributions. It is common practice by many Missouri politicians to shuffle funds from one political action committee to another to “wash” contributions and mask their source."

"We should ban committee-to-committee donations and make it a felony to transfer political money for the purpose of hiding the original donor."

For me, as I said on his FB page earlier today, the topper was when the Republicans took down all limits on campaign contributions.

That was terrific if you're a corporation or just simply filthy rich (and I mean filthy). This way, you can virtually, if not actually, buy any regulation or bill in government you want--or think you need.

On top of that, you can certainly help any friend and crony you want get elected so, again, you can get whatever legislation you decide you and/or your business needs.

Poor? Middle-class? Sure, you're screwed but for the wealthy and, again, businesses, you're in. You have it made. Truly the finest government your money can buy.

So kudos to you, Representative Kander. Good on ya', mate. We're with you. Keep pushing for higher ethics standards and ethics reform.

Let's help clean up Jefferson City and our government.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Link to story:

Not only is Michael Moore right about US health care but an insurance executive says he is

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An open letter to Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond

Senator Bond,

We need to make it clear that we not only want true, comprehensive health care reform in our country, we need it--and we need it badly.

We need the single-payer option--but apparently aren't going to get it--and we need the public option for insurance and aren't likely to get that, either.

Lots of us don't have health insurance out here, Senator, because health care costs here in the States are the highest in the world, as we all know.

Lots more of us can barely afford our health care for the same reason.

We need help, Senator.

We need your help.

We need you to vote for health care reform when it comes up for a vote soon.

We know you're not likely to give it to us because you don't want this President or his party to succeed, for fear of your own party's failure, but it's the right thing for the country and for its citizens, and your constituents

It's the right thing, Senator, it's worth repeating.

Vote for health care reform, Senator Bond.

Do the right thing.

We need this help.

We need your help.



Now, go write Sen. Bond. You can do that here:

Monday, November 23, 2009

On the City Manager being ousted

Forgive me, folks. I was out of town for a few days on business.

Some catching-up now:

I leave town for a couple of days and find the City Manager has been ousted?

Holy cow.

Sure, there was no love between the Mayor, it was known,but thrown out, just like that?

I read the article in The Kansas City Star about this thing and it has flags all over it. Following are some questions:

1) Why did Mr. Cauthen have to go? What did he do? Was it just poor work or was there something(s) inappropriate? Or both? I can't believe nothing has been said on this--and there should be. The Star needs to step up to the table and report on this very question.

2) The replacement is from podunk Marengo, Iowa?? Population 2,500?? Are you kidding me? To run Kansas City, Missouri?

3) The replacement guy was also hired without a current resume' or an interview, according to the Star. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?? I can't get hired to walk dogs without both of these things. How did this hayseed from corn-country get hired to run a city of Kansas City's size without both of the above?? "Oh, you do your job okay so I guess you can run the city, at least for a while, if you will. And while you're at it, here's $3,600.00 a week. Will that do?"

4) This is the perfect story for the Star. Is the newspaper researching this stuff, to find the answers?

5) Was or is anything remotely inappropriate (read: illegal) about this done or involved in any way--either the ouster or the new-hire?

And, just like when we fire our School Superintendents, it looks as though this is going to cost us around $250,000.00 to pay Cauthen to go away. But what the heck, it's just money, right? And in the meantime, we'll be paying the new guy the equivalent of $187,200.00 a year to possibly learn the job. And do a good one, it's hoped.

There are more questions to be asked, for sure, but I'll stop here. That's plenty for right now.

Stay tuned.

Links to stories:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In praise of a newspaper

Having just flown from Kansas City to Birmingham, Alabama, via Chicago, I have to say the Chicago Tribune is a good, old-fashioned, well-written, well-researched newspape with lots of traditional, local stories and information.

It's a pleasure to read, even for those of us outsiders like me, someone not from Chicago. It had terrific stories about local people and their problems and issues.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Simplify! Simplify!

With a nod to Henry David Thoreau.

On a business flight today, I read an article in the in-flight magazine about a new trend in for runners and their running shoes.

The trend stems from research that finds that, since the 1930's, our speed runners have been running slower and slower, first, and second, virtually all runners have been experiencing more and more injuries. (For more information, see Christopher McDougall, "Born to Run").

What's that tell you?

It seems the running shoe companies have been making our shoes more and more complicated, technical and expensive with the result that it's worse for us and our feet.


Fit in with our current economic downturn, it seems we've come upon a time where we're to simplify. My Mom would have loved this if she were here.

So, herewith, are some thoughts on how we could and should, possibly, simplify further:

--How about we take all the chemicals out of our food? For thousands of years, we've and eaten our our food without them. It's only been in the last 50 years that we've introduced them to our food and lives and it hasn't been with good results. Can we agree on that? Does cancer mean anything to these corporations?

--How about taking our cattle out of the mud and feces-loaded feed lots, with the idea that we'll have less deadly e coli in our food?

--Could we take BPA out of our plastic food service pieces (utensils, cups, etc.). It's thought--strongly--to cause problems with our children's develpment, at minimum.

There's a few thoughts.

There are a lot more, I'm sure. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Missouri ranks what?

There is a Forbes poll out just now on the healthiest and unhealthiest states.

The healthiest are, by and large--no surprise--in the Northeast with Hawaii right in there.

Iowa at 15.

Neighbor Nebraska? Not bad at 16 out of 50.

Kansas? 24. Again, not too shabby.




In the bottom half, for sure.

Not only that but we're also in the "bottom 10" when examining obesity, overall.

Then there's smoking and Missouri burns that one (no pun intended) by coming in dead last (again, no pun intended) at 50.

The only way that looks good is if you compare us to neighbor Oklahoma who, at 49, are only worse off than nearly-always-at-the-bottom Mississippi.



Mohler case just gets worse and worse

As if this whole Mohler family incest/rape case, with the father and sons all doing God knows what to relatives couldn't get any worse, it just did.

It seems now they're accused of murder, too, according to The Kansas City Star.

"The Mohler case took a bizarre twist with new documents indicating that the young child victims allegedly were forced by their father to help kill a man abducted from his driveway."

Yi. How horrible.

Why couldn't this have not happened?

Or happened in some other state, anyway?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh, yeah, that seems fair, for sure

Protesting over what?

Wouldn't it be nice if the local clergy--and everyone else--who has their bowels in an uproar over the clothing policy issue at the downtown Power & Light District were as upset and giving as much energy to the killings that have gone on in town for the past year also?

I mean, come on. Sure, go protest about some real or imagined discrimination but if your own people are being killed in drive-by shootings and whatever, isn't the murder rate much more of an important issue than someone not letting you in a bar because of your clothes?

Let me be clear here, too. I am absolutely not defending any discrimination that may or may not be going on downtown. I don't defend anyone's discrimination, anywhere so don't accuse me of that.

I'm just saying if you're going to protest clothing, where were these groups last summer, when people were shooting and frequently killing people in their own homes and front yards?

And where will they be next summer, when it starts all over again?

Does this strike anyone as hypocritical?

Link to stories:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Star is "SHOCKED"--but for the wrong reason, it seems

Once in a while, these things almost write themselves. This is one of those.

The front page of The Kansas City Star has a big headline today: "SHOCKING INCREASE IN DEATHS".

So I'm thinking, great, they're finally covering the senseless murders city-wide.


It's an article about a big upswing, they say, in deaths by drunk drivers.


Are you kidding me?

It seems there are a whopping 36 deaths this year, so far, in people being killed by drunk drivers. And sure, that's terrible and a tragedy. Heck, I've been nearly killed twice by drunken drivers so it's not as though I don't sympathize.

But they're "SHOCKED" about 36 deaths by drunken drivers.

I don't believe they've yet expressed any of that same shock over the 98 senseless, ugly, vicious murders by weapons here in the city.

And sure, it's not as big an increase in deaths by weapons but it is an increase.

It would seem that people shooting people would be a worse, and more senseless, tragic issue about which to be shocked.

Then, I went further into the article, back on page A10 and suddenly you realize a disparity.

Check out all the pictures of the people killed by these drunk driving tragedies.

See a pattern?

Yeah. I thought so.

They're all white.

So The Star is "SHOCKED" a big upswing in deaths by drunk drivers amounting to 36 but they're not upset about an upswing (admittedly smaller but an upswing) of 98 murders by weapons.

I would love to know what the statistics are of the percentage of people who have been murdered this year in Kansas City and what percentage of them were White, African-American and Hispanic. I think it could be illuminating.

I'm certainly not saying The Star shouldn't have reported on this increase in deaths by drunk drivers, not at all. I'm just saying that the much bigger story is the nearly 100 deaths by weapons.

If The Star would get together with the police and the East side of town--the whole community of churches and associations and groups of people who want to fight the deaths by guns and gun violence--they could write a series of articles about the problems and a) possibly solve the problems and b) increase readership.

It's a thought.

For clarification, I have to say, I don't take the newspaper any longer and I may have missed a big, recent article covering these shootings and killings but I don't think I have. There was one--last Spring?--on the murders in one area code (64012?) in Kansas City but that's been it since, I believe.

This just seemed like an odd, possibly unfair and obvious discrepancy in reporting for the paper.

I know people will let me know if I'm wrong--or if they think I am.


We want THEM to agree to arms control??

There is a report out right now that President Obama is over in Asia, pushing for the Russians (or do we call them Soviets?) to agree to arms control.

My first reaction was stunned disbelief.

Do you have any idea what the United States spends annually on arms?

Seven hundred eleven billion dollars per year.

We spend forty-eight percent of all international dollars on arms, every year.

The Soviets?

They spend $70 billion dollars.

If you do the math, you'll find that's 5% of the total funds spent per year on arms.

And we're asking them to cut back?

What chutzpah.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

For the weekend

Music is, for some artists, now not all just about the music--it has become performance art and about the performance. This, I think, is proof of that.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More reasons why, maybe, we should also "come down a few notches"?

Thanks to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and his blog for this.

Maybe we need to come down a few notches?

Because the average guy and gal on the street isn't really thinking about the "big picture" of the American economy, maybe we should.

Let me propose an idea, folks, that some economists are batting around that has to do with you and I, directly, in our country and the world.

There is a theory out there that proposes that maybe you and I make too much money, spend too much and live too high on the hog, so to speak, and that maybe we need to bring it down to the rest of the world's level.


It's called our "standard of living." You've heard of that.

The ideas are that maybe you and I and the whole country live beyond our means and both cost too much (we're paid too highly per hour, etc.) and spend too much.

Think about it.

It's virtually impossible to deny that we--both as a group (read: a country) and as individuals (people individually and per households)--are in way too much debt so I think we can safely take that for granted.

The one, last part of this to consider is that maybe we do, as a nation and individuals, maybe make too much money, especially compared to the rest of the world.

And this is the tricky--and unpleasant--part.

Maybe what we do isn't all that special, and that much above what all the rest of the world does and makes. Sure, we used to make GM cars and all that but we know we've put most of our manufacturing offshore.

And when you put this all in the context of our debt and this huge downturn in the economy, with the Federal government trying to spend our way back to where we used to be and propping up not only huge manufacturing sectors of our economy but also banks and financial and insurance institutions, it gets to looking as though this may be true.

Those economists who are discussing these thoughts and issues are suggesting that maybe our government shouldn't, in fact, be throwing $700 billion in TARP money at us, in an effort to prop up our economy and economic way of life.

Sure, they should keep us out of a true economic depression in the shape of the 1930's but we're already in huge debt. Does it make sense to get and put us in much, much deeper debt, instead of letting this business cycle play out a bit more?

Are we, perhaps, setting ourselves up for a much worse situation by doing this?

But no one wants to think on these things--with the exception of economists.

Granted, if we did or do "ratchet ourselves down," it would be painful. Incredibly painful. We'd have to look at ourselves and our country in a completely new way.

For decades, we've thought of ourselves as rather wealthy, even by our own standards. There was nothing we couldn't have, if we only worked hard enough. Hell, our billboards, radios and televisions told us all this, ad infinitum. Why would we think or believe anything else?

And we really did believe, as Michael Douglas' character--Gordon Gekko--in the movie "Wall Street" said, that "greed is good", whether we want to believe that or not.

So, if this is true, that we have to lower our standards, that is, lower our wages, lower our purchases (and we're already doing that, as a nation, check it out), lower, really everything, it's going to likely be painful.

And the more we fight it and push this possible, even likely, possibility away, the more painful it will be.

Denial makes things worse, especially in these matters.

If this isn't all true, the data sure makes it look this way. Stay tuned.


Side note: Tip of the hat to Michael on this. We've been discussing this for a couple years. I've been meaning to write on it for some time. Thanks.

Fair trial?

Think about this:

How likely is it, do you think, that this Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan--the guy reported to have shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood earlier this week, and injuring many more--is going to get a truly fair trial?


First, it was virtually immediately decided he's going to be tried in a military court.

That's a huge strike against him right there.

How open-minded are most people in the military going to be towards this guy?

Then, get this--he's also to be tried, so far, anyway--at the same Fort Hood where this all took place.


And then, it's only a few days since this horrible tragedy took place but think how much media coverage this has aleady gotten.

As proof of what I'm saying here, in general, and the media point, above, in specfic, check out what was released in an article on this today:

"The National Security Agency intercepted 10 to 20 communications over the past year between Maj. Hasan and Mr. Awlaki, who knew three of the Sept. 11 hijackers and hailed Maj. Hasan as a 'hero' after the shootings."

Don't most of us already have opinions on this guy and his case?

Sure we do. Don't kid yourself otherwise.

His attorney already says he's not getting what would be normal, fair treatment for even himself, as the guy's attorney, let alone the Major.

Then add to it that he's Muslim with a very Muslim and foreign-sounding name and you get the picture.

I didn't mention that they're going for the death penalty and on 13 counts.

I'm not saying we need to be all soft and forgiving on this, by any means.

All I'm saying is that he should be given a fair trial.

Remember those?

We used to always insist that was the type trials we had in the United States.

Link to story:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

They had no idea how right they were--or would be, in time to come

Cleaning up emails

I have at least three beefs about emails people send me:

First, can people not clean these things up, before they send them?

For the love of pete, people, take off all the 1,000 old email addresses on it before you send it.


All of you look really stupid, having your email addresses on these things promising "good things, if only you'll forward this email to 7 of your best friends, right away..."

Second, as for those addresses, has no one heard of, seen or used the "bcc" function for forwarding emails?

For the unaware, it means "blind copy". That way, you don't end up sending all those stupid email addresses for all your friends and family on to the other 10,000 people who are going to get that email.

Finally, really, if it's a stupid email--size it up, think about it--don't blindly send it on.

Don't forward insipid emails.

And if it is remotely superstitious--don't send it.


Just don't.

Shawnee Mission East's "Grapes of Wrath"

The last thing I want to be is mean.

(Yes, I swear).

But someone needs to tell high school drama teachers that the last thing they should have their students do is put on a performance of "The Grapes of Wrath." That is, unless you want the audience to willfully go out, get or buy a gun and shoot themselves.

While a well-done production (the kids do a great job), this is painful, dark stuff, in any economy, but particularly now.

If you're up and want to come down, go see it.

If you're down and want to go further down, again, this is for you.

God bless their pea-pickin' little hearts.
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How did we all seem to come to this conclusion?

There was a report today on "Morning Edition" on NPR about people in India supporting a multi-million dollar industry, lightening skin.


How sad.

This, on the news and pictures of Sammy Sosa who is reported to have lightened his skin--for whatever reason--much like, it seems, Michael Jackson, so many years ago.

It fascinates me that we, as a race, have, for the most part, most of us on the planet, come to the arbitrary decision that lighter skin is preferred.

I can understand one society or culture doing it--think the French in, what was it? The 1700's, to a ridiculous result and look?

But how did most of the planet decide lighter skin was "better"?

Really. I don't get it.

And what gets me now is that I thought we were beyond that.

There's a lot of us "pasty-whiteys" out here who would like to even be able to tan, let alone be a shade or two or three darker. The NPR article seems to suggest that, while we whiteys want to be darker, the Indian people want to be lighter. Another case of "I want what I don't have" syndrome, possibly.

As a species, we'd be much better off, sociologically and culturally, if we didn't assign any assumptions to the color or shade of our skin, to say the least.

And unless this is a really bad photo, how does Sammy think this is an improvement?

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