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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I've said all along

Honestly, I knew they'd come to this conclusion, eventually:

The scientists, anyway, not the companies involved with making them or making them available.

Some of the article:

LONDON – An international panel of experts says cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing details from dozens of published studies.
The statement was issued in Lyon, France, on Tuesday by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a weeklong meeting of experts. They reviewed possible links between cancer and the type of electromagnetic radiation found in cellphones, microwaves and radar.
The agency is the cancer arm of the World Health Organization and the assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.

And here's the good part.  Just how cancerous is it, you ask?  Check this out:

The group classified cellphones in category 2B, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Other substances in that category include the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust.

DDT.  And gasoline exhaust.


More:  Since many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it's impossible to conclude cellphones have no long-term health risks.

The cell phone industry telling us that they don't cause any cancer problems seemed far too quick and predictable.

It reminds me of the old Joe Jackson song:

Except in this case, I think it really does.

Ballboy costs French Open player a point

Why we're "alienated" and "pessimistic"?

I saw this headline today, online:

Who, exactly, but the wealthy needs to read this article?

Who doesn't know why we're "alienated" and "pessimistic"?

So for grins, I thought I'd see what I can come up with, before reading the article:

--wages are stagnant, at least, if not shrinking;

--big companies are getting multi-billion dollar bailouts but no one's doing anything for us;

--the wealthy got big tax cuts so they can have yet more money in the last administration;

--that same policy has been continued in THIS administration;

--lots of white people are fearful of Hispanics (for not legitimate reasons but hey, the article is why we're alienated and pessimistic;

--the economic turmoil of the last 3 years is hurting the Middle- and Lower-classes hardest, without doubt;

--jobs are going overseas, both manufacturing and service (phone banks, etc.);

--Congress is doing virtually nothing of any importance about those same jobs going overseas in spite of the fact that we'd like them to take away tax credits for companies to take those jobs overseas that, by the way, THEY created;

--we'd like to get the money from corporations, the wealthy and their lobbyists out of Congress (but aren't smart enough to be for campaign finance reform);

--our health care system truly does not work--it's for the wealthy and the employed who can afford it and most can't;

--Congress takes care of itself nicely and first but gives us lip service;

--the price of gasoline is eating up our paychecks while "Big Oil" gets to keep their tax subsidies (WTH);

--state budgets are being cut due to budget deficits so jobs are also being cut;

--with the state budgets being cut, services to us are also being cut;

--our taxes stay the same or go up;

--the Federal Government is spending more money than it has ever spent and it doesn't seem as though anything good is coming from it;

--finally, at least here, we feel as though our country has, at last, turned a big, ugly corner and that we're going downhill financially.  Sadly, it seems as though we are correct.

And that's just off the top of my head.  The list can--and should--go on and on, if it's to be complete.

It all ends up with us feeling as though nothing good is coming for us and the country is falling down.

We also think we're right on this, as I said.

You need three reasons?

Mitt Romney cracks me up

Okay, so which is it?

Is he the Socialist from hell who does too much or is he the guy who does too little?

Apparently Mitt Romney things President Obama doesn't do enough:

As a refresher for our buddy Mitt, here are some links to just some of the things this "ineffective president" has done, some older, some newer:    

Do we still need jobs, as a nation?  Heck, yes.  But he's been pretty busy cleaning up all the messes 'round here.  

He's not done yet.

You probably got it bad if you're a church and the KKK protests YOU

This is just too good:

I just can't add anything to that.  That's perfect as is. 

It doesn't get any better than that.  

The haters hate the haters.

I love it.

How's this for irony?

Check out this headline today from The Star:

I couldn't resist the irony of this one.  High winds causing power outages in Kansas.

Of course, they need to somehow, eventually maybe put the power lines underground, if possible, but what got me was that if more of Kansas' energy needs were met with wind turbines, the last thing that would happen is power outages.

There and Oklahoma, too, for that matter.

Tuesday morning rankings to kick off the work week

Today it's Bloomberg's Businessweek magazine, ranking "America's Best Affordable Places 2011".  What it shows is what county is the "most affordable", per state.

They show Kansas at number 17 (but I can't tell if that has any meaning, compared to the rest of the states or not.

Great, affordable places to live

Best Affordable Place in Kansas: McPherson County

Population: 28,851
Median family income: $64,280
Households spending more than 30 percent income on housing: 19.5 percent
Unemployment: 5.4 percent
Adult population with bachelor's degrees: 24.3 percent
Major cities: McPherson, Lindsborg

Manufacturing and health care are the major employers in McPherson County, show U.S. Census data. The city of McPherson is the county's largest city, located about 60 miles north of Wichita. It has a safe, family-friendly atmosphere and offers 12 parks, two golf courses, and a country club for recreation, according to the city website. The McPherson Unified School District 418 is one of the leading school districts in Kansas, according to the district website.

Then they show Missouri at number 26:

Best Affordable Place in Missouri: Cole County

Population: 75,943
Median family income: $68,482
Households spending more than 30 percent income on housing: 21.6 percent
Unemployment: 7.5 percent
Adult population with bachelor's degrees: 30.4 percent
Major cities: Jefferson City, Saint Martins

Cole County, in central Missouri, is home to the state capital, Jefferson City. Government, health care, and education are major employers in the area, show U.S. Census data. Cole County's cost of living is 12.5 percent lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces.
If you look at the entire list, you can see that each county is "most affordable" because they are usually out in the middle of nowhere, with the exception of some places like California's, which ranked Orange County as their most affordable.  That stunned me but then California is a whole different market, for sure.

Sadly, there's another list and Kansas City's not on this one:

Have a great week, y'all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tom Watson kicking bootie and lots of other good Missouri sports news in the NYT today

To wit:

Looking Like His Old Self, Watson Adds Another Major Title

And if the Royals aren't that great as a baseball team (understatement of the year?), at least we have a great ballpark, ranked 12th, nationally:

Ranking Baseball’s Best Ballparks

Enjoy what's left of the holiday weekend,  y'all.

Memorial Day, Part IV

Because maybe you don't really know:

The meaning of Memorial Day


Differs from Veterans Day 

Happy Memorial Day, y'all.

Memorial Day, Part III

"At the Going Down of the Sun and in the Morning, We Will Remember Them"

They shed their blood for freedom. Their families live with these sacrifices. And too often we forget that freedom isn't free. For those of us who served and live every day with our injuries, these selfless heroes will forever be our inspiration. (Click on link above).

On war, Christ and the Christian Church

An acquaintance of mine on and from Facebook--a friend of a friend, really--posted a magnificent interview of a military chaplain from World War II, one Father George B. Zabelka, that was done in 1984.  It's a magnificent interview and I want to quote just a little bit of it here, hoping more will read the entire interview and give it some serious thought.  And maybe even action.  A link to it is at bottom:

The mainline Christian Churches still teach something that Christ never taught or even hinted at, namely the Just War Theory, a theory that to me has been completely discredited theologically, historically, and psychologically.
So as I see it, until the various churches within Christianity repent and begin to proclaim by word and deed what Jesus proclaimed in relation to violence and enemies, there is no hope for anything other than ever-escalating violence and destruction.

Until membership in the Church means that a Christian chooses not to engage in violence for any reason and instead chooses to love, pray for, help, and forgive all enemies; until membership in the Church means that Christians may not be members of any military, American, Polish, Russian, English, Irish, et al.; until membership in the Church means that the Christian cannot pay taxes for others to kill others; and until the Church says these things in a fashion which the simplest soul could understand – until that time humanity can only look forward to more dark nights of slaughter on a scale unknown in history. Unless the Church unswervingly and unambiguously teaches what Jesus teaches on this matter it will not be the divine leaven in the human dough that it was meant to be.

"The choice is between nonviolence or nonexistence," as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, and he was not, and I am not, speaking figuratively. It is about time for the Church and its leadership in all denominations to get down on its knees and repent of this misrepresentation of Christ’s words.

Communion with Christ cannot be established on disobedience to His clearest teachings. Jesus authorized none of His followers to substitute violence for love; not me, not you, not Jimmy Carter, not the pope, not a Vatican council, nor even an ecumenical council.

Food for thought.

Hopeful thought.

Happy Memorial Day, 2011.

Memorial Day, Part II

Home From War, but Still Under Fire

Television writer and former Army officer

With our military currently fighting three wars which are creating more wounded veterans every day, the Ryan budget is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever served in uniform. (Click on link above).

We have to ask ourselves, is the Paul Ryan budget the way we want to take this country?

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

Memorial Day, Part I

My Family's Fallen -- and Yours -- Deserve More Than Platitudes for Memorial Day

Consultant, Writer, Senior Fellow with The Campaign for America's Future

On Monday we'll hear a lot of Memorial Day speeches about honoring our fallen soldiers and their disabled comrades. On Tuesday some of the politicians giving those speeches will try to cut benefits for them and their families. (Click on link above).

We owe our soldiers--and our country--far better.

We need to bring them home.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kansas City, we better get reading

It seems Amazon recently ranked “the 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America.”

Guess what major midwest city isn't on it?

You guessed--us.  Kansas City.

But guess what other major, midwestern, Missouri city is?

If you guessed St. Louis, you'd be right.

And nothing in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas or even Illinois.  Interesting.

The list:
1. Cambridge, Massachusetts
 2. Alexandria, Virginia
 3. Berkeley, California
 4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
 5. Boulder, Colorado
 6. Miami, Florida
 7. Salt Lake City, Utah
 8. Gainesville, Florida
 9. Seattle, Washington
 10. Arlington, Virginia
11. Knoxville, Tennessee
12. Orlando, Florida
13. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
14. Washington, D.C.
15. Bellevue, Washington
16. Columbia, South Carolina
17. St. Louis, Missouri
18. Cincinnati, Ohio
19. Portland, Oregon
20. Atlanta, Georgia

Excuse me, I have to go get my book.

There's another article on it here, too: Beyond Black Friday

Enjoy your holiday weekend, y'all.

To Republican Leadership: "Free Market Capitalism" or Christianity?

GOP Must Choose: Ayn Rand or Jesus

Founding partner, Eleison Group

Ayn Rand argued that people had to choose between following her teachings or those of Christianity and other religious traditions. 

So what was the GOP response to this attack on Judeo-Christian and family values?

From the article:

"Rand said religion was 'evil,' called the message of John 3:16 'monstrous,' argued that the weak are beyond love and undeserving of it, that loving your neighbor was immoral and impossible and that she was out to undermine the idea that charity was a moral duty and virtue. "
Really.  Which is it?  "Free market capitalism" or Jesus' ideas on love and taking care of the "lesser among you"?

Please make it the latter and not the former.

And start now.

You won't, of course, but you should.

This is not good news

From NPR last evening:

Sure, they talk big.  They say they want us out.  Then, when it comes down to "crunch time", they bail.

They want the security we provide, sure.

But surely they want our money, too.

Boy, are we suckers.

Why Google's offer is great for Kansas City

Google Really Cares About Web Speed -- Why You Should Also

Let's have a real "Happy Memorial Day"

Memorial Day Tribute: Keep the Troops at Home

Let's REALLY honor the troops.

Let's bring them home.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Iran Vows To Unplug The Internet


What a great idea.


Lock yourselves in the--what?--last century?

Or before?

Excuse me?

This story broke today and seems to be all over the internets:

Dan Choi Beaten, Arrested At Moscow Gay Pride Parade

To which I say, excuse me? 

Where did you, Lt. Choi, think you were?

Did someone tell you the rest of the world was like the US, where, for the most part, you have free speech?

If you, Lieutenant, or anyone else thought this wouldn't/couldn't happen, all I can say is, wow.  

Is it right, that he got beaten and arrested?

No, certainly not, not if he were merely marching.

But the entire world isn't all "free speech" and "equality".

Heck, what am I saying?

Even the US isn't all about equality.

We never have been.

Ayn Rand follower?

Gov. Brownback, Kansas and the Arts Commission

The budget for the Arts Commission in Kansas was $500,000 or so. 
There are 2,853,116 people in the state. 
This comes out to about 17 and a half cents per person per year for every Kansan for the arts.
But Brownback had to slash it. So he can run for president, later. He's showing he's tough, now. On the backs of Kansans. 
Hope it works for y'all.
(Thanks to Thomas Gieseke from Facebook for parts of the above).

Have a great weekend, y'all.

We are the "War Pigs"

Ozzy was prescient:

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death's construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor
Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait 'til their judgement day comes

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees the war pig's crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings
Oh lord yeah!

Face it, America--yes, you--WE are the war pigs of the world.

No one remotely comes close to us on spending on war, missiles, weapons, etc.  We outspend all other nations by huge margins.

It's us who are in Afghanistan, against most of the people's will.

It's the US who has 50,000 troops still occupying Iraq.

It's the US who has over 700 different military installations across the world.

Sure, we used to be the peacekeepers.

No more.

Now we're the ones threatening too much and too many across this same planet.

While we can't spend for our children's schools and health care and streets, sewers, highways, bridges and other infrastructure, we're spending huge, absurd, ridiculous amounts on war and weapons of war.

First you need to know this.  We all need to be aware.

And then we need to demand change.  Change from our government.  Change from our legislators.

Surely this is not the people or country we want to be.

What say we really honor our military and veterans and stop the endless war?

Happy Memorial Day.


Lyrics from: 
More lyrics:

To hell in a handbasket

The Supreme Court's "Citizen's United" Ruling, opening up virtually unlimited amounts of corporate money into our election system and campaigns wasn't enough last year, now we got this:

Federal Judge Reverses Ban on Direct Corporate Contributions

Which means that:  the long-standing ban on corporations contributing directly to candidates running for federal office was unconstitutional.

And we thought we had the worst government money could buy.

We'll certainly get it now.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, please, God, let it happen

The crazies just keep coming out of the woodwork over there. 

Have a great, long weekend, y'all.

Rally for Bradley Manning at Leavenworth

Rally to protest the indefinite detention of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning, Saturday, June 4th at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Sponsored by the Bradley Manning Support Network, Courage to Resist, and Veterans for Peace

11:30 am – Gather at Bob Dougherty Memorial Park, N 2nd St. and Kickapoo St. (map). Unrestricted street parking is available around the park. Toilets will be available as well.

Noon – Rally

1:00 pm – March to the intersection of Metropolitan Ave. and N 7th St. (map), six blocks north-west of the rally.

2:00 pm – Vigil (until 3:00 pm) along Metropolitan Ave, primarily at N 4th St. and N 7th St. (N 7th St. is the main entrance to Fort Leavenworth. The military stockade, where Bradley is held, is deep inside the base. The federal prison, which is visible from Metropolitan Ave., is a few blocks west at N 13th St.)

3:30 pm – Organizers meeting back at Bob Dougherty Memorial Park (subject to change). Hosted by Bradley Manning Support Network, Courage to Resist, and Veterans for Peace organizers, a discussion regarding future regional and national efforts in support of Bradley Manning.

Please do not bring any weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs, to our gathering.

For more information, see below, check this page, or call Courage to Resist at 510-488-3559
Facebook event page and contact information of local activists:, contact(at)


Local activists have secured a meeting room at the Super 8 motel (303 Montana Court, Leavenworth) for folks to check in as they arrive Friday afternoon and Saturday from 8am to 10 am.

The Super 8 motel (303 Montana Court, Leavenworth) is one housing option. The special event rate for June 3rd and June 4th is $59.99 per room, for up four persons per room. However, most rooms are currently booked with a few smoking rooms remaining.

Commander’s Inn (1118 N 6th Street, Leavenworth, phone: 913-651-5800) on Metropolitan is also recommended for lodging.

Camping is available at the city park on the riverfront. For additional camping information, please contact local activists at: contact(at)


A call to local Catholics from one of their own

From The National Catholic Reporter's site today--a respondent to their article on the Father Shawn Ratigan/Bishop John Finn scandal, because that's what it is--it's both their scandals, not just Fr. Ratigan's:


1) That all members of the diocesan review board resign in protest for being ignored.
2) That a local grand jury investigates the bishop/diocese's action for possible criminal conduct.
3) That lay people (male and female) be put on all diocesan boards overseeing priests: seminary, ordaination, accredition, personnel, etc.

Great ideas, all.  Kudos to you, Mr. Parker.

Link: Bishop admits failure in priest's child pornography case

To Bishop Robert W. Finn

"Don't trust me. Trust our Lord Jesus Christ, trust his church."

No worry, there, Bishop.

Oh, and, thanks loads.

Bishop admits failure in priest's child pornography case

Quote of the day

"And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."

Let's see... who said that?

The outrageousness, really, of the situation with Fr. Ratigan, Bishop Finn and the Catholic Diocese

This whole Father Shawn Ratigan case right now with the local Catholic churches seems so sad, so frustrating, so disappointing and finally, so "more of the same", as far as this church goes, when looked at globally.

It just broke, too, and already, there are some really odd things that have already been reported in the media.  To wit:

--A year ago, a secretary up in St. Joseph reported that she had found questionable material on Ratigan's computer, for starters;

--From the Star today:  The principal of a Catholic school warned a top official of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph more than a year ago that parents and teachers found the Rev. Shawn Ratigan’s behavior toward children troubling, including the hundreds of pictures the priest took.

The warning came more than six months before the diocese was alerted to questionable images of children on Ratigan’s computer.

--Still more:  Diocese officials learned in December about images on Ratigan’s computer, but they did not file a formal report with police until this month.
--Diocese spokeswoman Rebecca Summers said Monsignor Murphy did get a memo in May 2010 from Hess sharing concerns about Ratigan’s behavior.  “Monsignor Murphy went through each point with Ratigan and set clear boundaries for him,” Summers said.  And yet Ratigan was allowed to continue in his duties as associate pastor.
--Here's yet another odd twist:  Summers said she didn’t know whether Murphy gave the memo to Bishop Robert Finn.  I hope he did and I hope that can be proven.  It's not like this isn't a serious issue. 
It gets worse, too.

--Julie Hess, principal of St. Patrick School in Kansas City, North...said in her letter that concerns about Ratigan surfaced early in the 2009-2010 school year and grew stronger.  The incident that finally prompted her to report Ratigan occurred during a school field trip in May 2010 where Ratigan allegedly allowed a fourth-grade girl to sit on his lap and lean her body against him.  
“He did not immediately move to redirect her; she sat there for at least five minutes, until teachers moved to stand next to him,” Hess wrote.  “All of the teachers (on the trip) spoke with me … about this and other concerns. Four parents have also come forward.”
Concerns about this guy EARLY IN THE 2009-2010 SCHOOL YEAR?

And alarm bells weren't going off with anyone with any responsibility for this guy?

Check out this beauty:

As she (Hess) explained to him the need for physical boundaries, “he interrupted to tell me that little children need to be touched and hugged, and even though ‘they’ advised against it, he felt it was the right thing for kids,” Hess wrote.

“(Ratigan) said he would never hurt a child and all he wants to do is help them all get to heaven.”
Right.  Got that, Father.  For the kids.  So they get to heaven.  Uh-huh.It gets still more bizarre:  

--A parent said she found “a pair of girls’ panties inside one of the planters in Father’s backyard.”

Okay, that's it.  You'd have thought that would have done it, right there, what with all the other issues.  Someone at that point should have looked into this.

Here's another thing odd about this whole thing:  By the Star reporting all this (and admittedly, all of us reprinting it), Ratigan is effectively being tried in public.  (And yes, I admit it's what I'm doing here, I recognize that but hey, it's out there).  It's not new or that unusual or certainly unique but this is all being reported and maybe it should be held for trial.  Just a thought.

Then there's this:

From a parent:  “Father takes hundreds of pictures of the kids, not just during special events, but on field trips and in their everyday school activities. A few parents have mentioned that they think it’s strange and wonder what he does with all the pictures.”

Church officials learned about a number of questionable photos in mid-December when a technician fixing Ratigan’s laptop computer discovered them, according to court documents.

The technician gave the laptop to church leaders. The church then gave the laptop to diocesan officials.

Finn has said he knew about the “very troubling” images months ago but was told they weren’t pornography.

He said the diocese contacted a Kansas City police officer and described one of the more disturbing photos. At the same time, someone with the diocese showed more images to legal counsel.

A police spokesman said diocesan officials reached out to a ranking police officer who serves on a diocesan committee. The officer was not shown the photo or told there were other images.
Wait.  Let me get this straight.  You had cause for concern.  You contacted a police officer.  He's on the Diocesan Council but---you DIDN'T show him the one photo that was MOST REVEALING and YOU DIDN'T TELL HIM THERE WERE OTHER IMAGES?

Are you stupid or did you not really want this looked into?  Which is it because it's got to be one of the two?

We're not done with the "crazy" yet, either:

From the National Catholic Repoter:  Even after the priest attempted suicide, the diocese kept the information surrounding his transfer secret.

Nice job, there, Bishop Finn.

Yet more:

The day after the church was notified about the images in December, Ratigan attempted suicide. Church officials and emergency workers found him unconscious in his closed garage with his motorcycle running.

Ratigan left a suicide note in which he apologized for any harm he had caused the church, according to court records. He was hospitalized for psychiatric care and then sent out of state for a follow-up review.

When he returned to Kansas City, he went to live in a private residence for priests in Independence. Finn ordered him to continue counseling and not to be around children.

In late March, Finn said in a statement last week, he received reports that Ratigan had violated some of the restrictions when he attended the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and had met with friends and families. Ratigan also attended a child’s birthday party at the invitation of the youngster’s parents.
You nearly commit suicide, don't get in trouble, got told to stay away from children and then violate the restrictions of your situation?

That's either stupid or addicted, one.  Wait.  Maybe it's both.

Check out this insanity:

Finn also said that when he assigned Ratigan to the Franciscan sisters residence, he told him he would never have a parish again because "even though he didn't have criminal activity, he had very significant problems."

Excuse me?  Just because you didn't turn it in for examination doesn't, by any means, mean that it wasn't "criminal activity."  Just because you buried your head in the sand doesn't mean nothing happened.

Sadly, it looks to be part of a larger pattern, too, so no one can say anyone locally here is being too picky:

The process followed by officials in the Kansas City case appears to mirror in some ways that followed in Philadelphia, where a Feb. 10 grand jury report cited 37 priests as continuing in ministry in that archdiocese despite what were considered to be credible allegations of abuse.

Here's where it could get interesting:

Following that report, the former secretary of clergy in the archdiocese was arrested for failing to protect children from dangerous priests. Cardinal Justin Rigali also placed 21 other priests on administrative leave March 8 pending review of allegations of abuse.

This being said, above, could not and should not Bishop Finn be arrested for "failing to protect children from dangerous priests"?  I think there are plenty of people who would say yes, absolutely.

Okay, this entry is getting long but there's one last, really kooky, crazy detail to this whole thing:

After all this--after the pictures discovered, the concerns by parents and teachers, the letters and reports and all the both physical evidence and people's opinions, both, PLUS a suicide attempt, etc., Father Shawn Ratigan plead not guilty in Clay County Court.

For being Catholic, Christian and not Jewish, this priest certainly knows the definition of "chutzpah."

Principal warned diocese about priest more than a year ago
SNAP: Priest's actions raised concerns

Some of the best and most comprehensive information on this situation can be found here, below, at The National Catholic Reporter:

Bishop admits failure in priest's child pornography case