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Friday, April 30, 2010

Brilliant silver linings to ugly, ugly clouds

The "clouds" I'm speaking of?

The first is Arizona's law against the illegal immigrants, creating their ability to profile and arrest at will.

The silver lining to that one is that it has solidified the immigrants, Hispanics, Liberals and the Left against this law and its tactics and has even now moved the Federal Government to address the situation.

The second "cloud" is the whole mess down in the Gulf of Mexico, with the oil spill.

This just out :

Reuters is reporting that another offshore drilling rig has overturned in the gulf coast, this time in inland waters close to Morgan City, LA.

This has already been predicted to be possibly another of the worst environmental disasters in the country's history, before this 2nd rig went down.

Now?

Fugghedaboudit.

It's going to be one raging, bloody mess.

The "silver lining" to this environmental cloud is you can pretty much forget about expanding drilling for oil off the coasts of the US for the forseeable future.

There's more, too--another beautiful lining to this, I think, because it's believed right now that Halliburton may be culpable for the cementing on the first oil rig that blew.

Sorry, but if someone's to blame for this and it turns out it's Halliburton, that's just the best scenario I can imagine.

Well, it is unless somehow Dick Cheney's signature is on the sign-off for it.


Have a great weekend, y'all.

China---wth??

News out this morning:

5 preschoolers hit with hammer in new China attack

BEIJING – A farmer attacked kindergarten students with a hammer, injuring five, before burning himself to death Friday in China's third such assault in as many days and prompting the government to demand stricter school security nationwide.


More:

The hammer attack follows a rampage Thursday by a 47-year-old unemployed man armed with an eight-inch (20-centimeter) knife at a kindergarten. Some 29 students, aged 4 or 5 years old, were wounded, five of them seriously at the school in Taixing city in neighboring Jiangsu province.

And on Wednesday, a 33-year-old former teacher broke into a primary school in the city of Leizhou in southern Guangdong province and wounded 15 students and a teacher with a knife. The attacker had been on sick leave from another school since 2006 for mental health problems.


Really. What the heck?

What would cause anyone, especially any adult, to attack children like this?

What is it about the Chinese culture, it would seem, that would cause grown adult men to attack virtually totally defenseless children with knives, as in the first two attacks, and now, here, with a hammer?

I would love to have some psychologist and/or sociologist who knows the Chinese either explain this or study it and get back to us as to why these people acted out like this.

There is this from the article:

Most of the recent school attacks have been blamed on people with personal grudges or mental illness — seen as a growing problem because of feelings of social injustice and alienation in the fast-changing country.

But children? Attacking children?

To save my life I can't figure it out. Mental illness would have to be the closest I could come to 'splainin' this one.

Link to original story here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100430/ap_on_re_as/as_china_students_attacked

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A person from Time Magazine's "100 List" you should particularly know about

From Time Magazine's cover story, "100 Most Influential People in the World", there is one person who, it seems to me, we particularly need to know about, so we can learn from her story and change more things for females in the world:

Reem Al Numery

Al Numery was forced to marry her 30-year-old cousin when she was only 12, and her own father threatened to murder her when she fought back and ran away. Yemeni officials refused her petition for a divorce, and she was unable to attend a ceremony in her honor in the U.S. because she was forbidden to leave her home country. "While my hair was styled for the ceremony, I thought of ways to set fire to my wedding dress," she said. "When I protested, my dad gagged me and tied me up. After the wedding, I tried to kill myself twice." She was finally granted a divorce from the Yemeni legal system and is an advocate for ending child marriage. In her tribute in Time, feminist leader Gloria Steinem describes Reem "one of the brave girl children who are risking everything to protest being sold into marriage by fathers and becoming the endangered and uneducated chattel of husbands."

Link to original post here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1847

California: what a mess

Okay, we know California has horrible budget problems, is broke and can't afford, nearly, to even exist but now comes news that they have five of the worst cities , nationally, for air quality, too.

Additionally, and to make matters worse, news out this morning also shows that "Five states — New York, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida — are perilously close to losing out on congressional seats because of lackluster participation in the U.S. census."

(Side note, four of those five have really horrible real estate and economy markets, to boot, to date. You can bet the government officials are screaming at the top of their lungs about now, telling people to fill in those census forms, if it isn't too late, and to get them in.)

California: it sucks to be you.

Can you say "to hell in a handbasket"?

Watch for this: the next food trend

I just saw this article on Yahoo News, from the Food Channel, declaring "The Number One Food..." we "Should Be Eating and Probably Don't" and I figure this is how food trends start.

You watch, soon all the really trendy restaurants in town will start using sardines in more and more entree's and as more and more an option. (They're no doubt already doing it on the coasts, right?).

I always thought they were nasty, stinking little things, myself, though my parents loved them.

Just "heads up".

Have a great day, sardines or no sardines.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are you paying attention? (Guest post)

A Still Moment

Tuesday 27 April 2010

by: James Howard Kunstler, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

George W. Bush was onto something in the fall of 2008 when he remarked apropos of the Lehman collapse: "...this sucker could go down."

It's my serene conviction, by the way, that this sucker actually is going down, right now, even as I clatter away at the keys -- perhaps in slow motion, so that not many other bystanders have noticed yet, and the few who have noticed are mostly too crosseyed with nausea to speak.

It's perhaps useful to define even what we mean when we say "this sucker."

Everybody knows what a sucker is, of course -- say, a Midwestern public employees' union pension fund snookered into buying a fat slice of equity tranche in a Goldman Sachs-engineered CDO. But "this sucker" is something else: a rather large cargo of commercial relations, entailed obligations, hopes, expectations, habits of daily life -- indeed millions of whole lives -- loaded onto the rather creaky vessel we call modern civilization. "This sucker" was such an apt term coming from someone whose understanding of civilization was like unto that of a boy who found a PlayStation under the Christmas tree.
It's also perhaps useful to define what we mean by "going down." To my mind it means an awful lot of money disappears and nobody can pay for anything and an awful of things that have kept going on promises to pay and to get paid will stop keeping going. I don't think that the idea of money disappears -- that is, paper certificates representing claims on future work -- but there will be a lot less of it to go around. Eventually the idea of money could go, too, at least in its current form as Federal Reserve notes. But mostly for some years it will just be a lot of people, companies, and governments who are broke.
"Going down" will mean a society with no money and an infrastructure for daily life that requires gobs of money to run, and a populace too dazed, confused, and inflamed to do anything useful in the way of organizing new infrastructures for daily life for their new circumstances. In retrospect, the Great Depression of the 1930s will look like "The Philadelphia Story" compared to what we wake up to ten years from now.

President Obama's speech at Cooper Union last week was a remarkable performance. It managed to appear forceful and serious without containing any really serious or forceful proposals to discipline a banking system that is running a hostage-and-ransom racket on civilization. If this is finally what the Obama Experience is all about than his detractors have been right all along: he is a tool. Finance reform aside, there are still plenty of laws left on the statute books that could be applied to the frauds and rackets that ran absolutely amok on Wall Street the past few years. I would still like to know why buying CDS "insurance" against your own issue of bonds deliberately engineered to default is NOT a form of insider trading, to put it as simply as possible.

The SEC action against Goldman Sachs is likely to open a Pandora's box of troubles for that company, and perhaps all of the Too Big To Fail banks. But even so, I believe this sucker is going down before 99.9 percent of it is sorted out. Anyway, there was a lot about the SEC action that seemed curious, to put it mildly, from the timing of it, to the brevity of the document, to the strange fact that it emerged at all from an agency whose principal activity the past few years has been the viewing of internet porn, and which has otherwise behaved so indifferently in the face of numberless offenses to common decency, not to mention the public interest, that it might as well have been staffed by a thousand head of Holstein cows rather than licensed attorneys and graduates of accredited colleges.

This sucker is going down because the train of bankruptcies underway has a remorseless self-reinforcing power to provoke more and more bankruptcies at every stop along the line as every promise to pay is welshed on. The mortgages will not be paid and securities will not pay their investors and the banks will choke on the bad paper promises in their vaults and the pension funds will not pay their beneficiaries and the states and counties and municipalities will go broke and not pay their employees and creditors, and the federal government will not be able to "print" new money in sufficient quantities fast enough to compensate for all the money not being paid up-and-down the line... and one morning we will wake up and discover that all those promises to pay were sham promises based on no productive activity whatsoever... and that will be a sad day. Perhaps the Dow Jones Industrial Average will hit 35,000 on that day.
Nothing can stop this chain of bankruptcy. It's already baked in the cake. There is probably some wish on the part of those in charge, like Mr. Obama, to try everything possible to postpone it. And there is likewise surely a huge effort underway in the banking sector right now to cream off as much cash as possible so that when this sucker does go down they will bethink themselves better positioned to survive the consequences.

Personally, I believe that the damage was mostly done during the tenure of poor dim George W. Bush, and his predecessor Bill Clinton. I suspect that Mr. Obama learned at the height of 2008 election campaign -- during those days of the Lehman collapse and the TARP -- just how completely the government -- and the people of the USA -- were in fact hostage to the banking system, and that it has been his unfortunate role to pretend that there is some other fate to bargain for besides this sucker going down. It is probably why he continues to smoke so much. He must be lighting one Marlboro off the tip of another, one after another, in whatever inner sanctum he repairs to when the midnight chimes toll around the White House. It's sad to think of this graceful, still rather young man going down in history as the chump-of-the-century, a reincarnation of Herbert Hoover on steroids, with sugar on top.

Animosities brewing as they are among the white trash elements of the country, I just hope this sucker doesn't resolve into an ugly bout of attempted ethnic cleansing. Certainly Obama's racial make-up has inspired a revival of the Ku Klux spirit around the Nascar ovals. I'm sincerely worried that the misdeeds of people name Blankfein, Rubin, and Madoff could provoke a red-white-and-blue pogrom.

The big mystery for the moment is how come a few good men of stature in important places have not stepped forward to say the right thing or do the right deed. How come no US congressperson challenged the knavish behavior of Republicans who condone malicious idiocy that they know to be false like the so-called "birther" activity. How come no putative "progressive" has called the Democrats on their disingenuous failure to call illegal immigrants what they are. How come no state attorney general has filed charges against TBTF bank misconduct even if the US attorney general lies in state over at the US DOJ. How come no political figure of any stripe has called for the resignation of Summers, Rubin, Gensler and other Goldman Sachs "sleepers" infesting high levels of government. How come Dylan Ratigan is the only visible figure in any major newsroom willing to identify the precise nature of the meta-swindle.
When this sucker goes down, our primary task will be reorganizing American life on a much more local and de-complexified basis. It's a very big assignment and especially daunting against a possible background of political disorder. The losses will be epic and the changes severe, but it doesn't have to mean the end of recognizably American culture. There will be very little money around, and it may end up being a certificate backed by gold issued by a bank other than the Federal Reserve. Or maybe we'll just be swapping stuff for the makings of dinner.

So many forces are roiling around 'out there' now that it's hard to believe that the authorities in government and banking can keep the illusion of normality going a whole lot longer. The possible litigation against Goldman Sachs-style frauds by a thousand aggrieved victims is enough to paralyze the system. Meanwhile, trillions in credit default swaps are ticking away like dirty bombs. Greece is going down, with Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and the UK standing by to go next. Nobody can pay their bills. Before long, the old folks won't get their checks. Then the poor folks. Lately, I wonder if there will even be an election six months from now.
______________________

Sure, keep in mind it's James Kunstler (if you don't know of him, his work or viewpoints go to Wikipedia), but he's got some very valid points.

More--but from me--tomorrow.

Link to post:
http://www.truthout.org/james-howard-kunstler-a-still-moment58898

Arizona and Iran: A lot in common

First it was Arizona legalizing profiling and arrests of Hispanics and Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, in their quest to purify their state. We all heard about that.

Now, Arizonans can see how much they have in common with that beacon of intelligence, open-mindedness and acceptance, Iran, by coincidence, since they may begin arresting women there who are suntanned , since more scantily-clothed women are against fundamentalist Islamic law.

Stay classy, Arizona.

Classy, open-minded, intelligent and accepting.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bill Kristol, protector of corporations

Protect those companies, Bill, you butt-kisser, you.

Shove your nose up there a little farther.

There's a towel on the chair, on your way out.

We agree to pay a half-billion dollar fine but no, we deny any wrongdoing

Did you see this?

The federal government on Tuesday reached a $520 million settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca, resolving allegations of illegal marketing of the company's antipsychotic drug Seroquel.

At a news conference, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the case a centerpiece of the federal government's crackdown on health care fraud.

AstraZeneca allegedly marketed Seroquel for off-label uses — those not approved by federal drug regulators — including insomnia and psychiatric conditions other than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

U.S. Attorney Michael Levy of Philadelphia, where the settlement was filed, said that the company had "turned patients into guinea pigs in an unsupervised drug test."

AstraZeneca, which has its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Del., faces more than 25,000 product liability lawsuits over Seroquel, with most alleging that the drug caused diabetes. Seroquel has been on the market since 1997.

The government said AstraZeneca paid kickbacks to doctors recruited to serve as authors of articles by Astra Zeneca and the company's agents about the unapproved uses of Seroquel.

The company also made payments to doctors to travel to resort locations to advise AstraZeneca about marketing messages for unapproved uses of the drug, the government stated.

AstraZeneca denied the allegations leveled by the government in the civil case settled Tuesday, saying it wanted to avoid the delay, uncertainty and expense of a protracted legal battle.


Right.

You, AstraZeneca, just paid more than a HALF BILLION DOLLARS to the Federal Government but you "deny any allegations..."

Right.

And Goldman Sachs is an honest, forthright company that didn't swindle the America people.

Got it.

Link to original story:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100427/ap_on_bi_ge/us_doj_astrazeneca

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Video TKC will love (and since it's Bill Maher, you know I do)

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-the-problem-in-this-country-is-older-white-people/

To quote Representative Alan Grayson: "The forces of white Christianity are fighting back."

A week old but still good and certainly appropos



Have a great weekend, y'all.

What all media 'round the world should have done, long ago

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
South Park Death Threats
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
I said a long time ago, all the media, 'round the world, should run a cartoon of Mohammed on their op/ed page, all on the same day so we can all move past this. Matt Stone and Trey Parker are the only ones, apparently, who have the cajone's to stand up to this neanderthal, 2nd century way of thinking.

Friday, April 23, 2010

From a man who led in war

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

--Former President and Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenower



We need to stop feeding the war machine.

Money for the war machine, instead of for here, peace and sanity


Go to this link to compare what's been spent on war, instead of having spent it otherwise:

http://www.nationalpriorities.org/tradeoffs

Quote of the day--on our interminable war(s)

"The LA Times offers an eye-opening example of just how far our mission in Afghanistan has "creeped," describing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling an Afghan leader that the goals of the upcoming surge in Kandahar include "providing jobs." Is that really why we are still fighting a war there nine years later, spending American blood and treasure? The Bush-era rationale for these overseas misadventures was always: We'll fight 'em over there, so we don't have to fight 'em over here. Today, it seems, we're fighting to create jobs for 'em over there, while we don't have enough jobs for our people over here. At a time when so many hardworking middle class families are reeling from the economic crisis that seems like the most perverted of priorities."

--Ariana Huffington
The Huffington Post

Link to original post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/guns-vs-butter-2010_b_548620.html

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Happy 40th Anniversary.

It was 40 years ago this year, I imagine you've heard, that we started this "Earth Day", when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Ohio.

Thank goodness that doesn't happen anymore.

But that sewer we call Brush Creek--and a whole lot more like them--are all over the country and we're not taking care of them.

And then there is what China is doing to that whole quarter of the planet.

I think pages and pages can be written, right now, on what we can and should do to better treat our planet--and so, ourselves--so we're not polluting or damaging it and doing damage, then, to ourselves.

I'll only mention a couple, here, now:

First, I think it's obvious we need to stop poisoning our world with the chemicals and pesticides we've been using so heavily and with such ugly, damaging results (in spite of what Monsanto and the chemical companies say).

Between the fish kills, the "dead zone" out in the Gulf of Mexico and the die-off of so many millions of bees worldwide, it seems obvious we're poisoning the world we need in order to survive.

The second thing we ought to do, it seems clear, is to stop "mountaintop removal" that the coal companies are using to get their coal ever so much cheaper.

"Mountaintop removal."

How could anyone, anywhere claim that this "mountainto removal" is anything but horribly damaging to the riverways and entire area surrounding what was removed and damaged?

It's indefensible.

We need to push our representatives in Washington and everywhere we can to stop this and as soon as possible.

I think it should be one of the things at the top of our list this Earth Day, 2010.

Now, go recycle some paper, cans, plastics and more today and pick up some trash.

Let's celebrate Earth Day this year and make this a better place to be.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Notes on last night's Country Music Awards

Okay, so I was home AND READING--I swear I was reading--and had the television on and NOTHING was on, not even three channels of KCPT/PBS so I confess, I flipped it over to the Academy of Country Music Awards (not to be confused, apparently, with the Country Music Awards--??) so I just had to make a few notes.

1) Randy Travis looks more and more like Lyle Lovett all the time, don't you think? Do you suppose they were separated at birth or something? (Note to Randy Travis: come out of the closet, dude. You have a load of money. What could it hurt?).

2) The people in the audience kill me. Everyone's always singing along with the live performers who are on stage, performing their own songs, so that they--the people in the audience--can a) look like they care and b) get on live television. They're singing along so giddily it's embarassing. But if it isn't for the laughs like this, why watch, right?

3) Thank the heavens above Brooks and Dunn are retiring. Yikes. How overdue is that? And while we're at it, why does Brooks look so alive, awake and healthy--even younger--while Dunn looks like total, old-aged crap? It's an awful comparison. In the meantime, though they're retiring, they're milking they're exit for all it's worth, with a TV show and tour, the whole thing.

4) I swear, if one more person on the show thanked God for their success, I was going to have to have a Transfiguration, right there in my living room. This is what happens, though, when religious people--particularly fundamentalists--and right-wingers have to set out to prove that they're the most believing of all believers. It's disgusting.

5) Okay, someone tell me what the draw is for a performer to come out live on stage with a video camera, filming the audience he's supposed to be performing for, ala' Keith Urban, toward the end. What the hell is that about? Who cares but the few people in the front row?

6) And Keith, your song sucked. Just sayin'.

7) Finally, right at the end, Darius Rucker--formerly lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish--comes out and sings a song and it hit me--this is the first Black person on the whole show. It killed me. AND HE WAS THE LAST PERFORMER. Notes on this note:

--He was so obviously, I hate to say it but it's true, a "token";

--He's far too talented to be pawned off like this;

--I wasn't sure if I was watching a Tea Party protest or the Republican National Convention or what;

--Suddenly, it was as though he were Michael Steele, but in a much more pleasant way, certainly.

What a show it was. What didn't repel me made me laugh.

Oh, and just so you know they aren't all "backwards" 'n stuff, they even have one o' them thar website thingys": www.acmcountry.com

Quote of the day--on this President and too many Americans

"As Frank Rich elucidated in his NYTimes column on April 18th, it doesn't take a DNA swab to figure out that Race (like it's other equally monosyllabic cousin Sex) is at the root of it. As simple as black and white, the reasons for the rise in so-called populist anger, while marginally about generations of dissatisfaction with the inevitably bureauocratic and crony-encrusted political process, are only now becoming clearly defined when the nation's most lionized authority figure---the president---is the incarnation of the racist's nightmare."

Link to original post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-weber/idiots-unite-you-have-not_b_542908.html

Two breaking news stories on the Catholic Church this morning

In the first one, Priest calls for pope's resignation from CNN "the Rev. James Scahill called in a sermon last weekend for the pope to resign over the church's sexual abuse scandal."

Good for him. I doubt he'll be the last.

"'If he can't take the consequences of being truthful on this matter, his integrity should lead him, for the good of the church, to step down and to have the conclave of cardinals elect a pope with the understanding that the elected pope would be willing to take on this issue, not just in promise,' Scahill said."

"His church has received more than 100 emails and dozens of calls, of which only two were negative, Sister Betty Braughan said."

More:

"'The church took action after years of sexual abuse only because it had been exposed through the media,' Scahill said."

"Although he has received great support from his parishioners, he admits it has been hard to speak out against the church and the pope."

"'This has not been a healthy thing for me. It's a lot of stress, but I believe the truth needs to be spoken, and I believe the people want to hear the truth and [that] they are sick of the smoke and mirror approach.'"

Indeed, we are all--believers and unbelievers, both sick of the smoke and mirror approach.

Secondly, also from CNN, is this, too:

"Most Americans -- and most American Catholics -- think Pope Benedict XVI has done a bad job of dealing with the problem of sexual abuse by Catholics priests, according to a new national poll."

"CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey results released Friday also indicate that recent revelations about that matter have hurt the pope's standing with the public."

"Fifty-nine percent of American Catholics questioned in the poll have a favorable view of the pope, down 19 points from February. Among all Americans, the slippage is even greater: from 59 percent in February to just 35 percent today."

"According to the survey, 56 percent of U.S. Catholics disapprove of how Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with the problem of sexual abuse committed by priests; only about one in three Catholics has a positive view of how he has dealt with that subject. An even larger number -- 74 percent -- disapproves of how the church overall has handled that matter."

So it's bad and getting worse for the Pope. Unfortunately, it's not a big surprise. You can't shove something like all these cases of abuse under a figurative rug and expect they'll go away.

I don't think anyone can, as yet, predict quite how this will turn out and how far this will push Pope Benedict.

Side note to the Pope: Happy 83rd birthday. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Behold the common and ever-present coward and bully

The report this morning from The Kansas City Star is that all was well again last evening on the Plaza.

And of course it was.

Because that is precisely how the bully and the coward and the cowardly bully all operate--they pick on the smaller person, the more helpless, and, in this case, the unarmed, the defenseless and those who aren't expecting any trouble or that they should have to defend themselves on the Country Club Plaza on a mild, otherwise pleasant Saturday night.

Couple having coffee, as they stroll the area?

Knock the coffee out of their hands.

Potted planters to decorate the area?

Pick them up and break them into pieces.

etc., etc.

Cowards. Bullies, all.

So they knew there would be a big police presence on the Plaza last evening. I guessed that they'd not show precisely because of this cowardice and I was right.

But, knowing this is how bullies and cowards act, naturally we can't assume this has taken care of itself.

Chief Corwin and the KCMO Police Department will have to, at least for a while, if not forever, prepare themselves for any possible "flash mob" like this, in case they decide to converge again on a spot and on people and be the bullies and cowards they've shown themselves to be.

Sad, pitiful and tragic but true.

This is the reality we'll have to live in, at least for a while, if not permanently.

Fortunately, the police surely know this.

An ugly anniversary for the country

"Echoes of the NRA's insurrectionist rhetoric can be heard from the leaders of the gun activists who plan to converge on Washington, D.C. on April 19, a date with great emotional resonance for the "gun rights" movement and, for different reasons, for the rest of us. It is both the anniversary of Lexington/Concord and of the tragic federal assault on the David Koresh compound in Waco, Texas in 1993. It also is the anniversary of what was, to that date, the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history - Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City."

From Dennis A. Henigan of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (www.BradyCenter.org) via the Huffington Post (Link to original post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-a-henigan/gun-rights-and-political_b_530253.html)


Unfortunately, coincidentally, tragically, to me, anyway, it is also the date my Mom was born.

It was one more reason to resent Timothy McVeigh's cowardly, stupid, irresponsible, ugly actions that day in Oklahoma City.

It would be nice if, one day soon--today?--the ignorance of what Timothy McVeigh did that day were a lesson for the Right Wing extremists of today.

As I so frequently say here, hey, I can dream, can't I?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The next mayoral race right now, in money (wanna' good laugh?)

Again, according to The Kansas City Star today , the next mayoral race is heating up.

This was pretty staggering to me--it was a real eye-opener: Attorney Sly James "continues to have the biggest war chest. He has raised $370,760 to date, including $37,508 in the first quarter of this year. He had $194,987 cash on hand, and he has lent his campaign $23,000."

Wowzer. That's a heap.

And the person who's next in line, in terms of raising money for this race, is former city councilman Jim Rowland with $41,045.

Not even close.

So it looks like it might be Sly James race to lose, at this point, if money is any indicator. And, of course, in American political campaigns, it absolutely is.

And sure, I mention this because it's pretty big news, as far as the race goes, and it's good to know, as a citizen of the city.

But here's the real reason I write this entry today--here's the real kicker, since we can always use a good laugh: Mayor Mark Funkhouser's campaign to retake his office?

"Mayor Mark Funkhouser listed $3,000 in contributions since the first of the year."

Wait. It gets better.

"Funkhouser had $1,948 cash on hand, andhis campaign committee still owes him $1,000."

Looks like we won't have the ol' Funk to "kick around anymore", as Dick Nixon said, so many years ago.

Man, it's a beautiful weekend, isn't it?

Kansas City: Let's use this moment to come together, at last

I see from the newspaper this morning--again--that there will be additional police out in town tonight, most specifically on the Plaza.

The Mayor announced yesterday that he'll be walking around down there. (Thanks for the warning, Mayor).

Then there's this: "A group of African-American community leaders, led by Alvin Brooks, who is a police commissioner, held a news conference Friday to announce they will be present tonighton the Plaza to make sure any youth gathering remains peaceful and safe."

Thank you, once again, Mr. Brooks.

More: "Brooks, who is president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, was joined by ministers, Kansas City school board president Airick Leonard West and others. They said they wanted to have a good dialogue with any youths who gathered."

This, then, is how a great deal of good can and, of course should, come out of this whole "Plaza melee'" mess from the last few weeks.

Can we not, now, learn something from all this?

Can we not, now, come together as a city and as one group of people who live here and work together, as one, to better this city?

We could.

We should.

We can.

We should use this as a catalyst to stop being East Side/inner city/West Side/suburbanite, etc., and, again, come together as one city and work to solve our problems.

And right now, we have the attention of the Mayor and his office, the "establishment", represented by Highwoods Properties (the Plaza owners and managers), all the retail store owners and managers down there, the leaders of the African-American community, virtually everyone.

We all have a stake, certainly, in seeing to it that no one group terrorizes or intimidates another, anywhere in the city, at any time.

It's not who we are.

It's not how good cities work, of course.

And we all have a larger stake, too, in having our problems addressed by all of us, for the good of all.

Alvin Brooks or Mayor Funkhouser or Airick West or somebody needs to say as much, in a very public way, while the television cameras are rolling and the media has their attention.

Let's get at this, people.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A week of some "good calls"

First it was the President, surprisingly ordering "his health secretary to issue new rules aimed at granting hospital visiting rights to same-sex partners", bringing everyone in America that much closer to equality for all.

Good on ya', Mr. President. Well done. And thank you. As you know, sir, it was long overdue.

Then it fell to Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson for the next sound judgement call:

"...Gov. Mark Parkinson on Thursday vetoed legislation designed to tighten the rules on late-term abortion."

"The legislation would have required physicians who sign off on late-term abortions to document the specific medical diagnosis used to authorize the procedure. It’s similar to a bill vetoed last year by Kathleen Sebelius."

And here's the good part--Gov. Parkinson called "abortion a “tragedy” but..." said that "Kansas lawmakers shouldn’t intrude in a private decision..."

Because after all, isn't that big, intrusive government reaching into our personal lives?

Isn't that what "conservatives" want is government out of our private lives?

For the next "good call", "A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action."

Yeehaw! It just keeps getting better and better.

Could we have "separation of church and state"? Please?

Finally, in this brief list of "good calls" this week, it was announced a few hours ago that the government is pressing charges of fraud against the seemingly untouchable Goldman Sachs for "defrauding investors by failing to disclose conflicts of interest in mortgage investments it sold as the housing market was collapsing."

I don't know how this will play out since Goldman Sachs is, for all intents and purposes, in the White House and has been for years but it surely was good news.

Maybe they'll go after some more of the big companies that defrauded America and Americans in similar ways. That would be nice.

In the meantime, because of this, the price of a barrel of oil decreased, too, just because the government is going after GS.

Check it out--a "two-fer" for the common, working stiff, all in the same day.

Anyway, after the more local mess that was the Saturday night melee' here in town, it was a nice change that these kinds of things happened.


Let's have a great weekend, y'all!

Word to Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, all the Teabaggers, etc.

Check out that quote of the day here, today, on this page, to the right:

"If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen."

And look who said it.

None other than Republican and Former President Ronald Reagan.

So the next time you or anyone you hear, wants to trash "Liberals", "Lefties", "Socialists" (even the imagined ones), Blacks, African-Americans, Hispanics, Mexican-Americans, or any other minority, remember this.

Please.

We're Americans first.

We're all in this together.

Let's all work for the bettering of the country.

Together.

That includes listening to one another.

Let's have a great weekend, y'all.

Because somebody's got to straighten out the Tea-baggers

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea America
www.thedailyshow.com
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

If a young woman even thinks about an abortion, why don't we just beat her?

I mean, isn't that what the anti-rights people want?

Did you see where now they want yet more laws on abortions?

Check it out:

"Missouri senators endorsed legislation Thursday increasing the information that women must receive from medical professionals at least 24 hours before having abortions."

"Although Missouri already has a 24-hour informed consent law, abortion opponents assert that a more specific law is needed because some women still are unaware of the characteristics and capabilities of the fetuses being aborted."

"The legislation would require that women be provided the following statement: 'The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.'"

All of the last teo statements being completely subject to opinion, of course.

But wait, as always with these people, there's more:

"Missouri is one of five states that currently prohibit abortion coverage in basic insurance policies, instead requiring the payment of an additional premium. The Senate bill would not allow coverage — even with an additional premium — under the government subsidized health exchanges."

Even though abortion is legal in this country and has been since 1973, these people are going to do all they can, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, to make it as completely, utterly and totally difficult, short of illegal and impossible, to let a woman do with her body as she would.

And these are the "small government" people.

And they don't see the hypocrisy, either.

Link to original story:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/36566860

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lower spending? "Who ya' gonna' call?"

Did you see where there are less earmarks coming out of Congress now, since the 2008 elections when the Democrats took over?

Yeah.

Check it out, from the Office of Management and Budget:

"The Administration has just completed its count of the earmarks contained in the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bills, the last of which the President signed into law in mid-December. Although more needs to be done, the news is encouraging: earmarks are down by double-digit percentages….These reductions build on the progress that has been made on earmarks since 2006, reductions prompted by a series of reforms that then-Senator Obama helped to write – including bringing more transparency and disclosure to the process."

There was a little blurb about it in the Star yesterday in "Today's Top 5" column on B2. I thought it too important to pass up.

"Members of Congress obtained about 2,000 fewer pet projects last year, according to White House analysis released Monday. Lawmakers stuffed 9,192 so-called earmarks into bills last year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $11 billion."

That's the bad news, of course.

Here's the good: "That's a 17% drop in the number of earmarks and a 27% reduction in cost."

But wait! There's more!

This just out today on CNN:

"The 'Pig Book,' an annual report detailing the excesses of pork spending, has served up its usual heavy-duty mockery of congressional excesses. But this year the meat spit is smaller."

"The number and costs of congressional pork projects dropped this year, the Citizens Against Government Waste said in its '2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary,' issued on Wednesday."

"The 9,129 projects in the report 'represent a 10.2 percent decline from the 10,160 projects identified in fiscal year 2009, and the $16.5 billion in cost is a 15.5 percent decrease from the $19.6 billion in pork in fiscal year 2009,' the group said."

So what's that, you say? You thought Republicans were more responsible with the people's money?

I guess you'd be wrong, wouldn't you?

Additional link to story:
http://washingtonindependent.com/82043/congressional-earmarks-decline-sharply

On today's KCMO Police Summit at 1 pm

I just read on the Star's website where this "Police Summit" is taking place with Chief Corwin leading it today at 1 pm at their headquarters.

First, good for him. We need this to happen.

Second, I wish more notice had been given and that it were in the evening so more Kansas Citians could attend but hey, we can't all be there I guess.

A few thoughts on the column, one by one:

No. 1: "Councilman John Sharp said several adult witnesses had told him police pepper-sprayed some crowds of African American youth who were not misbehaving."

Yes, and what's your point, Councilman? I don't get it. I was there and if the police pepper-sprayed anyone, it was because they were misbehaving and out of control. They didn't do it because of their color or race.

No. 2: "Councilwoman Melba Curls urged police and city leaders to reach out to youth as they explore solutions. She said that too often, Kansas City adults meet amongst themselves without engaging the youth on solutions to problems and concerns."

Well, yes, but come on, Councilwoman Curls, since when do these kids hang around City Hall, asking to be let in on meetings? It's not like they're being intentionally excluded. How, in fact, do you "include" these kids who actually created these problems Saturday night? That's a tough one to solve, at least.

No. 3: "Councilwoman Cindy Circo agreed and said she and others are starting to work on a youth master plan for the city. Circo said other cities have this while Kansas City does not. It would identify resources and services and where the gaps are."

Okay, Councilwoman Circo, what cities are these? And what plans do they have? And while we're at it, why didn't you or some other Council person bring up these plans before now? Finally, would you get on this and get back to us on it as soon as possible, please?

And another point on this, actually the claim that there's "nothing to do in this town" is more than a little specious.

What about those movies on the Plaza? Why isn't that "something to do"?

And no one, to my knowledge, has yet mentioned the new, beautiful and expensive community center the city built in Swope Park that is big and surely full of things to do. Why weren't these kids there, doing things with their friends, instead of creating a melee' on the Plaza?

And then there's the center on Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard. I don't hear that mentioned, either. Why weren't they there? Or at one of their homes playing games or something?

Finally, No. 3: "Circo also noted that, with new social media networks, kids today have a whole new way of communicating and congregating that can avoid adult supervision or intervention. Kansas City leaders need to make a concerted effort to involve them in any new approaches, she said."

With all due respect and no sarcasm, what, exactly, is Councilwoman Circo talking about that a city can do to "involve them in any new approaches"? Is she talking about the city texting the kids or something, or what? And let me reiterate, I'm not being sarcastic here. What is she referring to?

Hopefully we're on a road to some good solutions here.

New book coming out

 
You don't supppose ol' Tom Tomorrow has been to Kansas City in the past few years, do you?
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mitt Romney in the catbird seat right now, it seems

Right this moment--and it's a long way from 2012, I'll grant you--it seems like Mitt Romney can do no wrong.

First, I saw a week or two ago how the Republican Party is looking at Salt Lake City for its convention that year.

That just screams "Mitt!", since he's Mormon and that's their promise land, so to speak.

Second, as of last weekend and the wierd, hypocritical meeting that was the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, straw poll showing Mitt on top.


Adding to the fact that he's "presidential handsome" and worth approximately a quarter of a billion dollars, he at least has a good chance right now of being the Republican Party's next presidential candidate.

But it's one heck of a long way to 2012, as we all know.

Funny side note: Sarah Palin was the number 3 popular candidate in this poll, behind Ron Paul.

Man, I love the nutjobs.

Quote of the day--on today's Capitalism

From and by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his opening speech given at the 40th World Economic Forum January 27, 2010 in Davos, Switzerland, in which he spanks America and Capitalism as we now practice it:

"To my mind, one of the most striking characteristics of this capitalism which we have allowed to emerge, is that the present was all that mattered and the future no longer counted for anything. Everything for the present immediately, no longer anything for the future. Indeed we saw depreciation of the future in the absolutely exorbitant demand for high yields. Those yields, boosted by speculation and leverage, were the discount rate applied to future revenues: the higher they rose, the lower the importance attached to the future fell. Everything, right away."

It could always be worse

We could be St. Louis.

America's 5 Worst-Selling Housing Markets

No. 1: Milwaukee, Wis.
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
Slow Sales Rate Rank: 11
Inventory Increase Rank: 2

No. 2: Denver, Colo.
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Denver-Aurora, Colo.
Slow Sales Rate Rank: 9
Inventory Increase Rank: 5

No. 3 (tie): St. Louis, Mo.
Metropolitan Statistical Area: St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.
Slow Sales Rate Rank: 14
Inventory Increase Rank: 3

No. 3 (tie): Los Angeles, Calif.
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
Slow Sales Rate Rank: 3
Inventory Increase Rank: 14

No. 5: San Francisco, Calif.
Metropolitan Statistical Area: San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
Slow Sales Rate Rank: 6
Inventory Increase Rank: 12

And now we wait for Saturday evening (or the next flash event)

If I were a restaurateur or restaurant manager of a Country Club Plaza establishment, I'd be coming up with all kinds of extremely lucrative specials for my clients--all my clients--for this Saturday evening, if possible.

That is, I would do that if I had already spoken with the Mayor, KCMO Police Chief Corwin and Highwoods Properties Management and Security, to see if there really is a new, strong, workable, viable plan for everything to be under control this Saturday evening.

It's going to be a peculiar, fascinating weekend, here in Kansas City, in a few days, I think.

Hopefully a quiet one.

Quote of the day--on the Catholic Church

"The Catholic Church is an authoritarian institution, modelled on the political structures of the Roman Empire and medieval Europe. It is better at transmitting instructions downward than at facilitating accountability upward. It is monolithic. It claims the unique legitimacy of a line of succession going back to the apostolic circle of Jesus Christ. Its leaders are protected by a nimbus of mystery, pomp, holiness, and, in the case of the Pope, infallibility—to be sure, only in certain doctrinal matters, not administrative ones, but the aura is not so selective. The hierarchy of such an institution naturally resists admitting to moral turpitude and sees squalid scandal as a mortal threat. Equally important, the government of the Church is entirely male."

Link to complete story: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/04/19/100419taco_talk_hertzberg#ixzz0kubiopF3

Monday, April 12, 2010

Finally, a step in the right direction from the Vatican

This just out this morning:

"The Vatican responded Monday to allegations that it had concealed years of clerical sex abuse by making it clear for the first time that bishops and other high-ranking clerics should report such crimes to police if required by law."

Long overdue but we'll take it.

See? If pushed enough, we can make some progress.

Now we need to keep pushing, Catholics included.

More reasons to appreciate this President

It's nice to have a President doing some "heavy lifting", after the 8 year, minimum, hiatus we had.

"President Obama is having the largest group of world leaders collected in one place since the founding of the United Nations in 1945. Leaders from 47 countries are here at his invitation to discuss ways to fight what is easily arguably the biggest security issue for the planet--that of the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials."

"Obama wants world leaders to confront the threat of nuclear arms falling into the hands of terrorists — a specter he labels 'the single biggest threat to U.S. security.' And he's looking at the high-profile security forum here to help him reach his goal of ensuring that all nuclear materials worldwide are secured from theft or diversion within four years."

What a nice change of pace.

And you know what? This is what you get for having an "elitist" run your government and country.

And it's a great thing, thank you very much.

So, down this same train of thought comes Russian President Dmitri Medvedev:

"In a veiled jibe at Bush, Medvedev said during an exclusive interview with ABC News on Monday that the new US President Barack Obama is a 'thinker' unlike 'other people.'"

Yes, Dmitri, we know.

And we're pretty proud of it and him, too, thank you.

Link to original post:
http://www.presstv.ir/classic/detail.aspx?id=123111§ionid=351020602

Because we need to lighten up a bit

Anarchy, chaos and intimidation for their own "entertainment" brought to you by the youth of Kansas City

What happened Saturday night, according to the Police's own log, taken from a link at Police Chief Corwin's blog, because we need to know what happened:

• Crowds began to gather in front of businesses, blocking the entrances and exits, and would not move. Officers were deployed on foot to move crowds.

• Traffic was at a standstill and traffic was requested to assist with traffic flow.

• Helicopter responded after numerous crowds began to run and numerous fight calls were received. He spent at least 3 hours overhead assisting officers with their movement and following the crowds.

The Classic Cup, 301 West 47th was a central focus and had numerous large disturbances in front of the business. Several complaints were received from patrons at this location and their fear of being hurt.

We responded to PF Changs to assist with clearing juveniles out of the restrooms. They were harassing customers and blocking the foyer of the business.

• During one of the large disturbances along 47th street a knife was located lying on the sidewalk in the middle of the crowd.

• As the juveniles were circling the Plaza they were grabbing flowers, flower pots, and damaging various greenery around the Plaza.

A Plaza medic responded to treat a 16 year old girl who got run over by one of the stampedes. She had several abrasions but was not seriously hurt.

Citizens were continually stopping officers and complaining of the crowds, that they were being pushed and shoved, and that the kids were trying to intimidate them.

Plaza Security had to assist with walking patrons to their vehicles due to the number of request for escorts due to fear of their safety.

• The foot/traffic flow became so bad that the Horse and Buggy Operation had to close due to cancellations along with the inability to function.

Every time there was interaction with any of the juveniles obscenities were flowing freely along with disrespect not only for authority but anyone they came into contact with.

At approximately 2200 hours the situation was at a flash point and a mass exit of patrons was observed due to the disorder going on.

As a couple exited the Cheesecake Factory, dressed in tuxedo and formal dress for prom, the female was shoved into the fountain by a group of juveniles who then ran and not apprehended.

• As the flash point hit officers had to deploy pepper spray to disperse the crowds to minimize injury to citizens. Numerous MK-46’s were emptied along with 12-13 MK-9’s being emptied to get the crowd to move.

Numerous businesses contacted police in regards to wanting to make complaints. Also, citizens from out of town asked officers on several occasions if this was normal or stated they would not come back.

In a parking garage at Nichols and Pennsylvania, a husband and wife were jumped by approximately 15 juveniles. They were assaulted and then the suspects took the husbands glasses and the wife’s purse.

Say, side note, where are you planning to have dinner Saturday night?

KC Police Chief Corwin's response to Saturday's Plaza brawl


From his blog:

Plaza incident

"As you’ve probably heard, large crowds of juveniles converged on the Country Club Plaza on Saturday night and wreaked havoc throughout. They intimidated shoppers and diners, destroyed property, committed a strong-arm robbery, and a juvenile suffered severe head injuries in an aggravated assault. Police took control of the crowds using traffic crews to close streets, pepper spray to disperse the crowds and a helicopter overhead to help officers on the ground find the most troublesome areas."

"We will be taking a number of measures to ensure those who shop, visit, dine at and stroll around Kansas City’s historic Plaza area can do so without fear. We will be meeting with the Plaza Merchant’s Association, NAACP and others to put together the best possible plan to allow Plaza patrons to fully enjoy themselves while keeping disorder at bay. We plan strict enforcement this weekend and for future weekends, and it will be mobile in case problems arise elsewhere."

"We will be closely following the development of any similar events. If you hear of a group planning to organize something like this, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. You will remain anonymous, and you could save someone’s life. As I mentioned, one young man was seriously hurt in Saturday night’s incident."

Uh, right, Chief. I'm sure they're going to call. You'd better get back to your office right away and wait for it to come in.

Reading through the lines here, I make this predictable prediction: Cinemark will no longer allow teens to come to movies there, without parents, as it used to be.

Link to original post here: http://kcpdchief.blogspot.com/2010/04/plaza-incident.html

Saturday evening plans and Kansas City commercial real estate right now

GUESS WHERE NO ONE WILL BE GOING TO DINNER THIS COMING SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI?



I'd like to personally thank Mayor Mark Funkhouser for his total, utter and complete lack of leadership on this issue--and virtually all other, for that matter--pertaining to the city he's suppposed to be leading. Additionally, I'd like to thank the person or persons who thought running these kids out of Westport but not offering up any other solutions was a good idea.

Don't you know Crate & Barrel is glad they located out on 119th Street, out in bleached white suburbia right about now? And Bristol's restaurant--don't you know they're glad they moved some years ago?

Some of the "forever hottest property in Kansas City" just became the coldest--The Country Club Plaza, at least temporarily.

Wow.

Who'da' thunk it?

Saturday night's blow up--the only two things that matter

Let's call this what this was--a melee'--as I said before.

It wasn't "riot" and it certainly wasn't a "race riot", since it isn't one group against another.

You can even call it a "flash mob" as some have but a "flash mob", up to this point has meant people that get together to entertain others and create a fleeting event.

This was a flash mob that was created only to entertain themselves, at the rather big expense of others.

Two things, then, call out to me about this incident this past Saturday evening on the Plaza.

First, it seems insane that these kids coordinated this anarchy and chaos for entertainment.

There's no other way to describe it. It was simply anarchy and chaos for entertainment.

And how do you combat that?

Anyone who says you don't need or use pepper spray, then, needs to go down there and work with the police to get and keep things under control.

The second thing about this is that this is the third week in a row this has happened and, as the weather warms and word gets out, it's increasing in the number of people who participate. Good luck to us in May, June and the rest of the Summer if this isn't under control rather quickly. As in, immediately.

So if you're the government of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, or the Mayor or the Chief of Police or part of the Police Department or Highwoods Properties or their security staff, the only question is how do you stop it from happening again?

Police say they were ready; Mayor says it was "unexpected"

According to NBC Action News , the police say they expected some action, of one sort or another, on the Plaza this last Saturday night, they just weren't for the increased numbers of kids in the crowds.

The Mayor?

In his own words, he said that the melee' was "unexpected".

It may be "unexpected" by him and his office--not a big shock--but his own police department did expect it. There's a shock, huh?

Let's see--it happened two weeks in a row, apparently, before this weekend but his office didn't expect it.

To Mayor Funkhouser: we aren't surprised.

One is the loneliest number

After watching local Kansas City blogs over the weekend, since Saturday night, up to this moment, I've come to the conclusion that I must be the only blogger who lives on the Plaza.

The silence is pretty deafening.

Last questions--for now--on Saturday night's blow up

First, wouldn't you hate to be part of the Highwoods Properties security staff right now and be told you have to work Saturday night?

Yeah, without any real protection, nada.

Right. That'd be fun.

Second, how long do you think it will be until the entire Plaza is blocked off, a little after sunset? You'd be able to drive out but not in. If these melee's continue, it will have to be an option, I'd guess, even though it's the last thing the restaurant and bar merchants will want.

If you own Tomfooleries or any other bar/restaurant on the Plaza, don't you know you're raising hell this morning, if you haven't already been, this weekend?

Whaddya' think?

Somebody's going to do something, that's for sure.

What they'll do, now that's a whole 'nother thing.

As for the coming weekend, I saw last evening where, as of now, they're calling for rain Saturday night.

If you're the police or that same Highwoods Properties Security staff, you're praying for it.

Stay tuned, folks.

Apologists make me ill

Anyone and everyone who paint themselves as apologists for the people who started and continued either--or both--of the melee's on the Plaza in the last two weeks deserve to be given police duty the next time one of these breaks out.

That includes Alonzo Washington.

Let me make it clear, too. I have no "bone to pick" with Mr. Washington. I just read his blog entry on this and had to react.

There is no excuse for what happened Saturday evening.

Since when can you not go to a movie on the Plaza if you live anywhere else in the city?

When did the behavior that broke out in the last two weeks become acceptable because there isn't a movie theater on the East Side or some other neighborhood?

Should the Mayor, the Mayor's office and the city have addressed these issues earlier?

Yes, absolutely.

Is this city racially polarized?

Sure, you bet. I said as much here, earlier, on this site, this weekend.

All that--and a lot more--taken into consideration, no one can still come to the conclusion that what happened Saturday night on the Plaza or that used to happen up in Westport, before that got shut down is somehow "understandable" or otherwise acceptable behavior.

It's not.

And explaining it away as understandable makes it allowable.

Saturday evening's melee': A possible fantastic opportunity for The Kansas City Star

Once again, this difficulty last night on the Plaza points out the weaknesses of the old newspaper-style of reporting since we couldn't open our papers and read anything on this.

Conversely, where the Star could really shine right now and make some big gains in readership, likely, I think, is if they sicked a reporter or some reporters on this immediately and did some good, in-depth research and writing/reporting on it.

Virtually anyone and everyone in the city who is interested in this situation--and there are a lot of us--would, by necessity, turn to the paper for that information.

You can bet the TV news stations aren't going to be able to commit the air time to cover this.

If the Star knows what is good for its survival, they will already have reporters hitting this story hard, today, interviewing everyone they can get their notepads in front of.

As it is, with this last Saturday evening's events, I didn't think the paper could, would and did cover it in Sunday's paper but they did.

The sad/stupid thing?

They buried it on page B2 of the Local section.

Without doubt THE big story of the city in the previous 24 hours--what they're supposed to be covering--and they don't put it on the front page.

Heck, they didn't even put it on the front page of the 2nd section.

They buried it.

Highwoods Poperties must be tickled pink.

Anyway, here you go, Kansas City Star--this is your opportunity to shine, for the city, sure, but for your own profit and existence, too. If you take up the challenge and cover this story well and in-depth, you'll be doing yourself and the city a great deal of service. Heck, who knows? There might even be a Pulitzer in it for you.

If you don't, you will have earned the failure of your medium.

It will be interesting to see the outcome and we will, shortly.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One more (last?) question about Saturday night on the Plaza

Who thought it was a good idea to run the kids off, out of Westport, anyway?

Since when do you think sweeping something like that, "under the rug", so to speak, is going to solve anything?

Why should anyone be surprised they moved to the Plaza?

Who was the rocket scientist who thought that up?

And who, if anyone, thought that simply running them off was going to be the big solution to that problem?

Race in Kansas City: Are we ever going to look at the bigger picture?

There already is, I'm sure, all kinds of writing and talking about the "mess on the Plaza" last Saturday evening.

All kinds of people will be shocked and surprised and disappointed and condemning and on and on and that's fine. It's to be expected.

And there will be much more. Some of it simply hand-wringing.

And it is/was unusual and odd and disturbing and it must be solved, for sure and quickly, as I wrote here earlier.

But last Saturday night's blowup, whatever the source, is only one smaller problem in a much bigger picture.

The situation is that we need to look at the bigger issue of race here in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Before last Saturday night, we perceived our biggest short-term problem might be the possible Summer shootings--drive-by and otherwise--that might develop, heaven forbid, the way they did all last year.

Then we had Saturday night.

That will preoccupy our attention for a while, until it is, hopefully, soon solved.

But we really have to, eventually, look at the bigger picture and ALL the problems of race, collectively, in this city if we ever intend to solve all our problems. If we only look at different, smaller facets of us and our city, we'll never get to the core of our problems and different things will keep popping up.

We need to face up to the fact that, for the most part, our city is far too divided into East Side African-Americans, West Side Hispanic area and Southwest Side/Suburbs Caucasian.

Sure, that's a huge, sweeping generalization but there's a great deal of truth to it, too, and we all know it.

We've counted on extreme growth and sprawl and de-centralization for the growth of this city, financially and economically, and that has clearly also fed into "White flight", which separates us horribly.

We need to somehow examine our city schools, our city codes and sprawl I mentioned earlier, and the shootings and killings in the inner city and our separation--everything--as a larger package so we understand truly what the problems are and what solutions might be available to us.

This has gone on far too long and we know that. In our "heart of hearts", we know that.

We need to come together, as one, entire city, and start looking at what we are and who we are and fairness and equality and how we all live so we can come up with solutions.

If we don't, Saturday night's messy episode on the Plaza will just be one more smaller chapter in the rather long and ignominious story of a city that isn't living and working well after all.

More thoughts on last night's Plaza mess

There was just too much of what happened last evening on the Plaza to not have some more thoughts on it so here goes:

I'd really like to not see it referred to as a "riot" because that seems wrong for several reasons.

Calling it a riot seems to imply that it was organized and it patently wasn't--the only thing that may have been organized was converging in one place and raising cane.

This didn't have any real goals, it doesn't seem. It was just anarchy and chaos for entertainment's sake, I think and believe, unless and until someone can prove differently.

Finally, an "internet friend" of mine here in Kansas City (from the Kansas side, as a matter of fact), one Dr. Ernest Evans (no relation) wrote me the following today and I found it very true, of course and illuminating:

"Dan Rather has said that all journalists in the US live in terror of the "Racism Police" of the liberals and the "Patriotism Police" of the conservatives.

I hadn't heard this quote. It surprised me I hadn't.

And it's very applicable here. I think the local news organizations--the TV stations and the Star--will be very careful reporting on last night's melee'.

City government will be the same way, I think, for the same reasons but we need to do some serious, fast research on this and find out the following:

--Why two of these, to date, have happened--are they, in fact, chaos and anarchy for entertainment's sake?;

--How they're starting;

--Who is starting them;

--Finally, what needs to be done to have them stopped immediately?

Think about it. If we don't find out these last four things, above, and right away, I think everyone will expect this to happen again next Saturday evening.

For that matter, what's to keep it from happening again, tonight, after dark?

The answer is: nothing at all.

Questions for Kansas City after last night's mess on the Plaza

First, what the hell was that?

You know what I'm talking about.

The 2nd melee' on the Country Club Plaza last evening.

Again, what the hell was that?

There are so many questions.

Like what were these kids doing? Was there an event, in their eyes? There must be. Some reason why they all converged right there on the Plaza.

Then, how do we get these to not happen again, for obvious reasons? I was walking out of Unity Temple on the Plaza about 10 pm (after seeing a terrific Celtic concert you may have missed, but that's another story) when there were police and people and the local police helicopter--the whole shmear--converging on our beloved Plaza.

You have to know the "city fathers" are concerned about this one.

It's only Spring--April, for pity's sake--and things are busting out all over--and not in a good way?

Here's another question for us, and it's my favorite today: What are you, Mr. and Mrs. Mayor, going to finally do about this?

I mean, you totally, completely and utterly ignored all the shootings in the city last year and while you've been Mayor, thank you very much, but this one you can't overlook.

Once more, with feeling: What are you going to do about this?

I'll tell you what you'd better do, even though it's unsolicited advice--you'd better get with the Police Department right away (like you didn't for the murders and shootings, to repeat) and develop a plan for handling this.

And then, the 2nd and last thing you'd better do is get with all the African-American leaders in this city you can get in a room and calmly, quietly and intelligently address this situation.

You're going to need to ask questions like:

--why did these 2 melee's happen?

--what are these kids doing down there on Saturday night that they collect like this (because we sure don't understand it)?

--how do we keep these things from repeating because every responsible parent in this city doesn't want things like this happening.

Finally, there better be answers quickly, otherwise, this is going to happen again and again, for the rest of the summer.

And they'll only get bigger and uglier, in the meantime.

(Pssst, Rep. Cleaver. Can you help us with this? Do you have any information? Input? Can you help?)

Have I mentioned how fond I am of irony?

Yes, I am extremely fond of irony. I believe that, if there were a god, he or she creating this reached possibly their finest hour, being as it is one of our best gifts of the universe.

Where else can you get that much humor?

For instance (you knew there'd be a "for instance", didn't you?), the Republicans right now, meeting in, of all places, New Orleans for the "Southern Republican Leadership Conference."

Man, is that good?

That, as they say, is delicious.

It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

But they weren't done there, either, oh no.

Check this out--guess who they had as a speaker?

David Vitter.

From Think Progess yesterday:

"SRLC organizers noted that the conference was 'going to be highlighted by the bold and dynamic values and individuals that make our party what it is.' In selecting the individuals who 'make our party what it is,' SRLC chose Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to kick off today’s events. Vitter, of course, is known for frequenting a Washington, D.C. and New Orleans prostitution service. The married father of four has led Senate efforts to pass a 'Marriage Protection Amendment' and bring down ACORN. Today, right-wing activists rewarded Vitter with a standing ovation. Vitter thanked the crowd for the 'warm welcome.'”

It gets better. They gave Vitter a standing ovation.

Wow. I couldn't write stuff that good.

And then, of course, there is the equally entertaining fact that Republican National leader Michael Steele is there and speaking, even after his staff took clients to a Hollywood bondage club, spending nearly $2000.00 on them and billing it to the same Republican Party.

Man, I love these people. Sure, they're haters and dividers and they're only for themselves and their wealthy clients and big corporations, instead of the American people but when they're not hating or legislating horribly, they're darned, ironically funny and entertaining.

And you can't forget Newt Gingrich's earlier adultery, even as he gears for a run at the White House, even now, for 2012.

More, you say?

How about the fact that the Republican Party called for an "earmark moratorium" in Congress but, according to OpenSecrets.org, "Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) were the first to submit earmark requests in violation of the new moratorium, followed recently by freshman Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.). All three have asserted the importance of directing money back to their constituents."

This gets better, too: "in some cases, these earmarks are benefiting industries that rank among two of these three politicos' major benefactors."

Ain't dat a beauty?

So you see? All the Republican greed and ugliness isn't for nothing.

They're also here to entertain us, even if it is at our own expense.

Again, have a great weekend, y'all.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Because I'm sick of the Tiger Woods coverage--and because we always need a good laugh

I would never have expected Jimmy Kimmel to turn out as funny as he is, as he can be.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

No one does social commentary any better than Stephen Colbert

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Funny, intelligent--but true--reasons for the health care reform we got

"That's how scared we are of the Republicans..."

Another reason to avoid Arizona

First they proved themselves to be rabid racists, trying to disavow the annual, national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday--and they've followed up on that a few times, anyway, in different actions--now they've outdone themselves.

Apparently the NRA runs the whole state.

Did you see this from the AP?

"The Arizona House has voted to make Arizona the third state allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit."

"The House voted 36-19 on Thursday to send the measure to Gov. Jan Brewer."

"The legislation would make it legal for most U.S. citizens 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona without the permit now required."

"Well, yeehaw! Ain't it grayt to be an Areezonan?? Let's mozey on down to that thar saluun with our sixguns on hour hips and git us some pritty gurls!"


That does it for me and Arizona. If I go, I race into Grand Canyon, look around with all the other tourists and get the hell out.

I'm sure they'll be glad of it, sissy, educated Liberal that I am.

What a sick bunch.

Link to original post: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100408/ap_on_re_us/us_concealed_weapons_arizona_1

Unintentionally funny blurb in the KC Star today

I got a big kick out of a small column today in the Star in its "In Brief" section on A8.

They noted that "Rotary Club 13 won the 16th annual Corporate Spelling Bee to benefit Literacy Kansas City.

Good on you, Rotary 13. (Side note: Rotary International does terrific work. All they do is try to raise money to give it away. No buildings. No big staff. No "secret handshakes" or abusive rituals, just people trying to help people in a spirit of terrific camraderie. But I digress).

What was amusing about the small column was that it also pointed out that the Star's own team participated.

The local newspaper staff lost in a spelling bee.

That's good.

Maybe later his year they can win the Corporate Editing Competition.


Enjoy that perfect weather out there, folks and let's have a great weekend.

On being open-minded

 

"I dreamed a lot when I was younger
I'm older now and still I hunger
for some understanding
There's no understanding now
Was there ever?"

--Ambrosia, "Harvey"
From the album "Somewhere I've Never Travelled"
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Heartening Catholic news

It was great to see the article on the front page of the Star today, telling of our own, local National Catholic Reporter (NCR) newspaper and their work since the 1980's, for pity's sake, to get their church to "do the right thing" regarding the sexual and physical abuse scandals in their church.

That took guts, on their part.

All that time, being virtually the only group pointing out what was happening and what needed to be done, to address the scandals and put the church on the right path.

They're right, too, the rest of us are all "Johnny come lately's" at this, sure, but you know what? More and more groups, from within and without the Catholic Church need to speak up and call for accountability of the Catholic Church's leadership so the people abused can be addressed and so, hopefully, abuses like these in the past can never be repeated.

I say again--and it's stunning that no one in Rome, at the Vatican gets it--there need to be structures put in place within the church so these things don't happen again, once the past abuses have been addressed.


Kudos to the NCR and their work and diligence.

It's been the right thing to do all along.

Link to original story:
http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/09/1868404/kc-based-national-catholic-reporter.html

Terrific question I just found for the Catholic Church--and the world

Why Are Pedophilia-Hiding, Child-Abusing Church Fathers Allowed to Write Laws About Women's Bodies?

To save my life, I can't answer that one.

It sure isn't due to good judgement.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jon Stewart's not buying what the Vatican's selling--and neither am I

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Newt Gingrich: Angry, white, negative, small-minded bully

Apparently this is how Newt Gingrich is going to run for the Presidency.

Did you see this?

It seems the Newt went way down South, to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (read: room full of fat, white, rich rednecks, but I digress) and called President Obama "the most radical president in American history" who oversees a "secular, socialist machine."

Wow. That really took guts, huh?

Not.

And this is how you run for President?

Say, Newt, besides bashing the "big guy"--you know, the one who won the last big election--do you have any ideas for the country? Particularly any new ideas that would be your own?

Nah, we didn't think so.

Just like the rest of the Republican "Party of no" Party.

So let's just stir up those angry "good ol' boys", down South and see what we can make happen. Let's not try to work together as Americans and improve this place, no. Let's just tear the guy in the White House down and be ugly, stupid, short-sighted and relentlessly negative.

Unfortunately, for too many Americans, that's the way to run a Presidential campaign.

Side note: For this same group--the Southern Republican Leadership Conference--and the rest of the country, especially the rednecks and the ones who want to celebrate the "Confederacy", today is the day in history when Robert E. Lee and his Southern army surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant and the rest of the nation at Appamattox.

Just sayin'.

Link to original story:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_re_us/us_republicans_gingrich

Making life difficult, on principle

The headline this morning:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retiring

Prediction (an easy one but a prediction, nonetheless): The Right-wingers, especially the "far right", extremists, Republicans, likely even Libertarians are going to do their best to raise ten kinds of cane about President Obama's selection of a replacement for Justice Stevens and make it extremely difficult to get this done, virtually completely regardless of who the choice is. They will put themselves and their Party first, not the country.

As usual.

Link to original post: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_go_su_co/us_supreme_court_stevens