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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quote of the day--from Jesus, to the Republican Leadership

"He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich--both come to poverty." -Proverbs 22:16

It's still the "Iraq War"

Some people in government have suggested or even stated that it's no longer the "Iraq War" and that it's over. Yeah, well tell it to the soldiers over there. News out today: June deadliest month for U.S. in Iraq since '08. Link:

A much greater "4th of July" this year

I don't know about anyone else but just knowing our Senators and Representatives in Washington have to give up their Independence Day holiday this year because the Republican leadership won't take back tax subsidies that are going to the rich, "Big Oil" and corporations that take manufacturing offshore tickles me silly. It makes for, as I said, a far better 4th of July. I also love that President Obama somewhat shamed them into it. I hope they're truly miserable up there in hot, steamy, humid Washington, D.C. this weekend, while most of the rest of the city and nation, for that matter, celebrates our national holiday. Thanks, Republican leaders! Link:

I believe "deflation" may have begun

There is an article out right now on Yahoo! News telling how there are such great prices on items for us at local stores: "Quick, Go Shopping! Sales Are Everywhere." (see link below). And that's great, it's always good to find some thing we need at some terrific price. But think about it--home prices have been falling for at least the last 2 years--and still are. It seems virtually everything we need to buy--except gas for our cars and maybe food--is "on sale" and at least a good buy. So sure, it's terrific for us who need this stuff. Except the one really big fear on most economist's minds is that of deflation. Deflation, defined : "In economics, deflation is a decrease in the general price level of goods and services.[1] Deflation occurs when the inflation rate falls below 0% (a negative inflation rate)." and deflation is one scary word to those economists and people at the tops of corporations, in particular, because if they're not increasing their profitability, year after year in corporations, then yet more jobs will be cut from those same corporations and there will be yet more unemployment and people out on the streets, at least jobless, if not homeless. It ain't pretty, by a long shot. Let's hope these are just "great deals" to be had at the local stores and not true deflation. Links:;;

Great news, Kansas City

We're not on "America's Rudest Cities" list, out right now, by Travel & Leisure magazine. The bad news? It's because flocks of people don't come here for vacations. Link:

From the Catholic Church today: far too little, way too late

The Star reports today: Diocese appoints ombudsman for sex abuse claims. Somehow, I'm sure, the local Catholic Diocese and Bishop Finn will think this is enough. Adding further, gross insult to these injuries, this new omsbudsman's work is to be "independent and confidential." Sure it is. Confidential, just the way the Catholic hierarchy likes it. Except "confidential" is double-speak for "behind closed doors." Pitiful. But you want more outrageousness out of all this sexual misconduct mess? Look no further: "Last week, Finn named the Rev. Joseph Powers the vicar for clergy, a new position. Powers replaced Msgr. Robert Murphy on the diocesan review board." That's rich. No, wait, that's obscene. Bishop Finn, who completely, totally and utterly failed the people in the church in both St. Joseph AND Kansas City by not looking into the letter the principal sent to the Bishop about Father Ratigan's possible sexual misconduct is kicking Msgr. Murphy out of his post and replacing him instead of Bishop Finn resigning, as he ought to do out of fairness, decency and responsiblity. And you know what? Local Catholics will, for the most part, sadly, stand for this and accept it. Link:

Congratulations, KCMSD effectively has no teacher's union

I haven't seen anything about it in the Star but for all practical purposes, the Kansas City, Missouri School District has no working, effective teacher's union. It is kaput. A couple years ago the District went without a contract for a few months and that seemed to be the beginning. Now, the teachers are so desperate for a job and work and a paycheck, the District has them by their cajone's, to use a rather crude phrase. Since the teacher's need the work, the District can add--and is--as many additional half-hour segments to the workday that they want. After all, what are the teachers going to do, quit? Band together and fight it and risk being let go? Nope. It's gone, all that. So if you're one of those anti-union and especially anti-teachers union people, go ahead, you can do a little dance. They're all just like us now. They're "wage slaves" just like you and me. Lovely working in America, isn't it? I miss the middle class.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top states for business

Okay, so Missouri isn't in the "top ten." At least Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas are 9, 10 and 11, respectively AND, more importantly, we still have pretty clean air. (Missouri is no. 16). Links to original story:|topstatesva|&par=yahoo;

Let's have some fun here

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Something new: a challenge to anyone who might happen on this site and see this. (Both of you). Caption this photo. It's from a baseball game in San Diego at Petco Park between our own Royals and their Padres. It seems the Cirque du Soleil troupe was called in for some pre-game show. As a side note, too, you might want to go to the link below as it has a very cool, short video of a Cirque performer who threw the first pitch. I doubt you've seen anything like it. Link:;_ylt=ArmqeMCLhIY3vQPrQlFP5qqw73QA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3ZGkwYjUyBHBrZwNpZC0xNTU5MjkEcG9zAzIEc2VjA01lZGlhSENNBHZlcgMxNA--;_ylg=X3oDMTJya25sYjhjBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDNTcxMWU3M2EtODliYy0zYjc3LTg0MjUtMjk4MDg0ODNhYTk1BHBzdGNhdANidXNpbmVzcwRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2U-;_ylv=3?urn=mlb-wp10971

Corporations are killing us

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Last night I did watch this documentary on HBO, "Hot Coffee", telling how corporations spent and are spending millions upon millions of dollars to advertise and market to us to get us to believe, in this case, we needed tort reform, all so they could reap many more millions of dollars in profits and benefits for themselves, all at our expense. They're buying--literally--our judges and justice system and cleaning us out. We're being played for suckers, folks, big time. Now, word out today shows a house in Wyoming that is "a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people..." where "more than 2,000 companies are registered." In this way, the corporations can, well just read: "A Reuters investigation has found the house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains. It is the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business-incorporation specialist that establishes firms which can be used as 'shell' companies, paper entities able to hide assets." I tell you, the corporations are playing us, they're using us, they're taking gross advantage of us and yes, they are exploiting and, in the end, killing us and tearing apart the country. We have to put a stop to them and these practices. Go, see this movie, "Hot Coffee". You'll be astounded at what you learn. It's yet more evidence that, if there were a hell, George W. Bush and Karl Rove would surely have to have one of the hottest places in it, reserved especially for them. Links:;

Monday, June 27, 2011

That nearby, Nebraska Nuclear Power Station

Check out what the media is reporting about the nearby Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station and it's possible flooding: "As Ketv reported in March: Fort Calhoun’s nuclear power plant is one of three reactors across the country that federal regulators said they are most concerned about. Last year, federal regulators questioned the station’s flood protection protocol. NRC officials said they felt the Omaha Public Power District should do more than sandbagging in the event of major flooding along the Missouri river." Then there's this from Sunday's New York Times: "Last year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited the Fort Calhoun plant for not being adequately prepared for floods and rated the safety violation in the “yellow” category, the second most serious...Earlier this month, the plant briefly lost power needed to cool the spent fuel pool after a fire that remains under investigation." Then, lest you think that's all there is to be concerned about, you need to know that the Ft. Calhoun plant isn't alone. There is also the Cooper Nuclear Reactor and it's also in Nebraska and it, too, is subject to flooding and flood waters right now: "The Lincoln Journal Star notes: Nebraska Public Power District officials are concerned rising flood waters could force them to shut down the nuclear power plant if the river reaches a level of 902 feet above sea level…The highest reading at Cooper on Sunday was 900.6 feet above sea level, [Nebraska Public Power District] spokesman Mark Becker] said." And more water has been released up North, by the Corps of Engineers, as we know. Finally, check out this little comparison: "[T]he federal government’s own Sandia National Laboratories has concluded that similarities between the Dai-Ichi plant and reactors like Cooper pose a significant problem: specifically that a lengthy loss of electrical power could cause a nuclear meltdown...the Cooper plant near Brownville is still producing power, though Sunday it put out a 'notification of unusual event' on Sunday." Yikes. As I've said before, the sky isn't falling but these situations are at least a bit of a concern, for sure. Links:;;

Those wildfires?

Think about it. First Texas caught on fire and it spread across much of the state. All told, to date "At least $15 million in timber was lost in two large Texas fires this month, resulting in a possible $500 million blow to the region's economy, according to an analysis released on Saturday." One fire alone, the Dyer Mill fire covered 5,280 acres and "destroyed at least 4.7 million cubic feet and more than $2.5 million in timer." Additionally, "Statewide, 12,779 wildfires have burned nearly 3.3 million acres since November. Few areas of Texas have escaped the devastation being blamed in four deaths — including three firefighters battling separate blazes. And despite recent rains, more than 70 percent of Texas remains in severe drought conditions. The Bearing and Dryer Mill fires are among the 16 major fires still burning in the state." And that was for starters. Then began the Arizona blazes. At this time, there are 3 wildfires burning in the state and one of those three is contained. The Wallow fire alone burned 538,043 acres. Finally, those Arizona fires didn't do enough damage, they spread over into New Mexico, of course, as we know. One blaze, "northeast of Santa Fe had burned nearly 15 square miles of forest by Sunday morning." It "began June 18 about 2 miles north of the Santa Fe Ski Basin..." and is "burning in steep, rugged terrain and there's no timetable yet for full containment." It seems much of the country, from Texas to Arizona, is on fire. That is one whole lotta' country and fire and destruction, for sure. Links:;;

Nuclear plants: fires and floods

First we had the nearby Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station at risk of flooding and then flooding and the concerns that created, at least regionally, if not nationally. Now, news out today tells that the Los Alamos National Laboratory--the nation's nuclear weapons laboratory--is under threat from the New Mexico wildfires and that they had to evacuate the plant. Makes you feel safe and secure all over, doesn't it? Links:;

Financial futures (bet on gold right now?, etc.)

There are a few financial things that seem unavoidable in the near future. The first is that a lot of international finance quarters see Greece as unequivocally unable to avoid default on their credit sometime later this year. Mike Sedlock at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis is one of them. (See link below). Of course, you do have to keep in mind he's pretty negative on national and international economies and has been for at least a few years. That said, he was dead right on AIG and their meltdown, months before it hit the papers you and I read. What he says frequently has some good hard data and reasoning behind it. So if this should happen--Greece defaults--as is predicted and expected, there is a very real and strong likelihood that they will also have to bail on the Euro. If that happens and they do leave the Euro, it will weaken that currency mightily. From there it's anyone's guess as to what happens with Spain's, Italy's and Portugal's debts and status with the EU and Euro. What will this mean? With a far-weaker Euro, the dollar will be stronger, for one. Secondly, It seems certain people will also buy a lot more gold, in a short term run-up, in an effort to "buy safety and security". As for oil? Who knows? It seems this might spell lower costs and prices in the short term, what with the dollar getting stronger but really, with oil, there are so many factors and variables, it's anyone's guess except to say, in the long run, look for ever-higher oil prices, likely, eventually. That is, unless the entire world economy collapses. And that, I hope, is just a cynical joke and not a real possibility. As with all things financial, we all have to just stay tuned. Links:;_ylt=As_3xl2mzK8o8UrAPVdcQqy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1bDlycWlnBHBvcwM2BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawNvaWxuZWFyOTBhc2Q-?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode=;;_ylt=AqFunOsM3xqetmv6BRc0XvW7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2cHRnNjJkBHBvcwMxMgRzZWMDdG9wU3RvcmllcwRzbGsDZ2VybWFuc2JlY29t?mod=bb-budgeting%20%20&sec=topStories&pos=9&asset=&ccode=;;

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Truism number 1: There is no "final frontier". Truism number 2: There is no such thing as "extra money." Truism number 3: You really can be "too thin" and you really can be "too rich." Have a great weekend, y'all.

Quote of the day

"It seems inevitable that we'll have same-sex marriage in most of the states within a decade." --Michael Dorf, a professor at Cornell Law School who studies the constitutional and social consequences of same-sex marriage in the United States. Link:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pres. O: trying to have it both ways?

If you've ever read anything here, chances are you know I've thought this president a vast improvement over the previous one. A BIG improvement. And I supported him and I still do, absolutely. But as I've said before, he's far from perfect, by a long shot. He needs to be far tougher and have more backbone in negotiations, especially with the Republican leaders, as one good example. But right now, it seems he's talking out of both sides of his mouth on two different issues. The first one he's having "both ways" seems to be the Afghan war. On the one hand, he's taking 33,000 troops out by next year and that's pretty strong and it's more than the military apparently want so that's one thing. Of course, there are plenty of people who would point out he wants and needs to do this because of next year's election. That has to be a factor. On the flip side, there is plenty of evidence that he's also keeping us in there for the long term, too, which pleases the military and the military-industrial corporations that want that business. So that's one. The second issue the president seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth is on equal rights, specifically equal rights for same-sex couples. On the one hand he's quoted yesterday in New York as saying "gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country," but at the same time, he won't officially come out and declare that he's for these equal rights for all, as part of his official policy. Of course, equal rights for all is in our Constitution, it's just not in his official platform. I understand he can't go too far out on the Left but you have to take a stand on some issues. The fact is, the Republican opposition is badly fragmented for a candidate right now in the upcoming 2012 election and that helps him. But between the economy and looking like he's double-speaking people, he's not doing himself any favors here, by a long shot. Links:;;;;

You ought to see this movie

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We've been had. Big time. Again. By the corporations. A documentary is coming out this Monday on HBO you really ought to see--and for so many reasons. It is "Hot Coffee" and it's about how the corporations in this country have used and are using us, mostly through advertising, and they're turning our courts and so much of the country against us. Shocker, huh? Links:;

Quote of the day

"The country my generation is passing on to my son and his peers is a mean-spirited place of global warming, class warfare and diminishing expectations, where the top 1 percent of households own nearly 35 percent of all privately held wealth and the 'bottom' 80 percent lays claim to less than half that." --Bill Blum, from his article "Commencement Day for a Lost Generation", posted at Truthdig. Link:

People will be flipping out about this

In the news today: Census shows whites lose US majority among babies: From the article: "WASHINGTON – For the first time, more than half of the children under age 2 in the U.S. are minorities, part of a sweeping race change and a growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and fast-growing younger ethnic populations that could reshape government policies. I can almost hear the racists and rednecks now, can't you? Link to original article:

Republican leaders are WAY off base on budget negotiations

Once again, Republican leaders right now are far off-base, this time on budget negotiations in Washington. The Democrats say they'll agree to spending cuts but the Repubs say no "tax increases". Holy cow. Here are two examples of "tax increases" they won't allow--the first is that the Dems want to TAKE AWAY TAX SUBSIDIES FOR THE "BIG OIL" COMPANIES. Let me ask again here, why on Earth would we give TAX SUBSIDIES to some of the BIGGEST AND MOST PROFITABLE COMPANIES IN THE COUNTRY?? (Do you sense my frustration here?). That's insane. It's just irresponsible, considering the budget imbalance we have. A second example of what the Repubs won't allow--what they're calling a "tax increase" the Dems are pushing for--is that THEY WANT TO TAKE AWAY TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR TAKING MANUFACTURING OFFSHORE. Are you kidding me? Like that's a bad idea?? Finally, at least here, the Democrats have proposed DOING AWAY WITH THE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. The thing is, on this one, even the Republican rank-and-file support this. I think virtually everyone agrees we need to get manufacturing back here in the country. The Democrats need to take this and put it before the American people and show these ideas as the good ones they are and that anyone who opposes them are going against what's good for the country. If necessary, the Republicans need to be hung by their respective petards. Here's hoping. Link:

Omaha flooding

A friend of my Sister-in-Law sent this picture to her earlier this week, showing the Omaha airport as they were flying out. As you can see, there is already a great deal of water and flooding in the area. As my brother said, hopefully, for their sake, the levees keep the river out of the airport. I wouldn't bet on it, at this point, since the river is far from cresting, apparently, and they announced yesterday they were releasing far more water up North, in the Dakotas. Hope and/or pray for the best, folks. It isn't pretty and it's getting worse.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good business news today

Some headlines that sound promising this afternoon: --Euro continues to recover after Greece austerity deal; --Wall Street reverses sharp sell-off after Greek deal: --No China hard landing -- for now: Sure, there's plenty of bad news out there but here's some good, bigger news. Enjoy the beautiful evening, y'all. Links:;;

By size, KC rated worst for seniors' transportation

Yes, sir, we surely are. Kansas City is ranked number one worst for our size--1 to 3 million people for senior citizens aged 65 to 79 years. And why should we care you might ask? Read from the site: "By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation 'ages in place' in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive. It won't be pretty, folks, and it surely isn't good city planning. Links:

Someone needs to spank these Republican leaders in Washington

News out today is that, once again, Representative Eric Cantor, number 2 man in the House of Representatives, walked out on the negotiations on our federal debt. Apparently he and fellow Republican Senator John Kyle both did. Their respective mothers should get in there, spank them and tell them to go do the hard work their constituents voted them in to office for. Just because you don't get your way doesn't mean you walk out. Well, not unless you're a Republican leader in the US Congress, apparently. Link to original story:

Tough day for President O.

Headlines out this afternoon: Chamber of Commerce slams Obama's oil release; Joint Chiefs chairman calls Obama plan risky. You know the old saying, "Sometime you eat the bears and sometime the bears eat you." It's going to be a rough road to November, 2012, for sure. Links:;_ylt=Ap301qVcQyPYTWSyjcaQXIS7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1NXNndTBtBHBvcwM0BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawNjaGFtYmVyb2Zjb20-?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=

Questions for MU and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Wth? Why is there still radioactivity in the basement of a building on the MU campus, for starters? The Columbia Daily and The Kansas City Star are reporting this today. Questions: How radioactive? What's the extent of the radioactivity? Were or are faculty and students unreasonably exposed? What is necessary for the cleanup? What will it cost? Who will have to pay for it--the University or the State itself? Do either have it in their respective budgets? How long will it take? If they have to, can they get that museum out of there for the cleanup? Links: Also, from a poster on the Daily Tribune website: swingline747 (anonymous) says... My favorite MU website, pick a building, and you can view the original plans, pictures, etc. Even includes buildings that have been torn down:

Saturday at the Raphael

Saturday afternoon on the Plaza, the Raphael Hotel set up this performance stand and had 4 members of the Kansas City Symphony perform, mostly for guests of the hotel, of course, just outside their front door. The music and the evening were beautiful.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Questions on the CC Plaza

I just have two: First, what's with the traffic lights making the sound of a machine gun when they change? Who thought that was a good idea? What, exactly, is it supposed to mean? Second, how long do you think the Michael Kors store will last there, once it opens? Saks Fifth Avenue lasted a while but it had a big name---and a far better economy to work with. I give it the equivalent of 20 to 40 minutes, in "retail store years."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On my Father's Day gift this year and Kansas City

My daughter found for me this year the most terrific gift in a book by one formerly local photographer, one David Douglas Duncan. The book is called "Photo Nomad."It seems the gentleman got exposed to photography at a young age here in town with one of the first plastic cameras that happened to be his sister's. From there, he eventually shot for the old Kansas City Star and then for Hallmark under Joyce Hall. From there, he went out across the world. He ended up shooting for National Geographic and many other very famous international media organizations. One of those was Life Magazine for Henry Luce and company. He took pictures covering World War II, Vietnam and a great deal of the world. The heck of it is, he also shot very personal and private pictures of and for Pablo Picasso and his wife. What occurred to me is, I'm thinking it could make a terrific story for someone in Mr. Duncan's family to maybe retell, if possible, on, say, Steve Kraske's radio show on KCUR. Anyway, if you're interested, you might look out for it. One of the most fascinating things about it for me, too, is that in 1953, Mr. Duncan told the media mogul Henry Luce that France's Vietnam War was not going well and basically that it shouldn't continue. He got called on the carpet for it at the time, by Mr. Luce himself. If only we would have followed his advice, as a country, since Mr. Duncan was there, on the ground with the troops, photographing it at the time with the soldiers. Anyway, you might want to look into a copy. It's not a difficult read as so much of it is his photography and some light writing. Link:

The wonderful and crazy in the news today

First there's this under the wonderful heading--Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign continues to melt down: --More trouble for Gingrich campaign as finance team quits. Then there's the seemingly insane: Airline apologizes after quadriplegic forced off flight. You what?? Then there is the really sick and insane: --Pakistan militants force 8-year-old girl to wear suicide vest. I've asked this question before but I ask it again, how do you help a country or people who can and would do such a thing to a child? Finally, today, there is this, on just what insanity our health care system has come to in America: --Man robs $1 from bank to get medical care. But yeah, repeal that health care reform we got last year, sure. That makes sense. Links:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska nuclear plant"??

There is a fascinating article out right now--I saw on a friend's Facebook page, actually--that says, well, you read it: A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska. According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a “no-fly ban” over the area. Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a “Level 4” emergency by stating: “This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.” Russian atomic scientists in this FAAE report, however, say that this OPPD statement is an “outright falsehood” as all nuclear plants in the world operate under the guidelines of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which clearly states the “events” occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant do, indeed, put it in the “Level 4” emergency category of an “accident with local consequences” thus making this one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history. Though this report confirms independent readings in the United States of “negligible release of nuclear gasses” related to this accident it warns that by the Obama regimes censoring of this event for “political purposes” it risks a “serious blowback” from the American public should they gain knowledge of this being hidden from them. So I'm thinking this would be a fantastic, important article for our own Kansas City Star should follow up on, report fully and thoroughly on and see if it's truth or nonsense. Star?? Link to complete, original article here:

That flooding in Northwest Missouri?

There's more than a few people in Northwest Missouri--and I'll bet the surrounding area--that think that flooding that's happening around there is, at least in part, due to the mishandling of the Missouri River by the US Army Corps of Engineers. I reported here before that my own brother sent the head of the Corps a letter back in December saying, literally, "please, please" consider releasing at least some of the water up North this year because of record snowfalls--back in December of last year. They then got yet more snow in January and February, at least, but the Corps didn't open the dams until around the beginning of June this year. From an article in the Star today: In Missouri, presiding Holt County commissioner Mark Sitherwood said U.S. 159 is closed south of Big Lake because water is pouring over the road, and most of the west side of the community is underwater. "It's going through in one place that we know of and overtopped in numerous places and there is seepage everywhere," Sitherwood said. He said most people evacuated well in advance of the flooding. Those who stayed were told Saturday night that water was flowing into the area. A few people live in cabins that have been built up and decided to stay, Sitherwood said. "Everyone up here knows the routine," he said. The Big Lake area, where water has been high for the past couple weeks, has experienced major flooding in three of the last five years. But Sitherwood said this year promises to be much worse following weeks of high flows and increasing releases from the main stem dams in Montana and the Dakotas. "I know they wouldn't admit it, but this is a manmade event," said Sitherwood, echoing a sentiment common in the area that the Army Corps of Engineers is mismanaging the Missouri River. "Nobody is going to tell me it isn't. It is probably going to be historical." The commissioner said his own home is at risk. "Thank you Corps of Engineers," he said. The corps has said unusually heavy rains, not mismanagement, are to blame. Link to the original story:

Governor Brownback gets spanked--and other notes from a Sunday paper

Yes, you read correctly--Governor Sam Brownback got spanked--figuratively, anyway--in print today in the Star on the op/ed page and by a "girl". By "girl" I mean by one Prairie Village local and international opera star--yes, really--Joyce DiDonato. It's a great article, too. As you can imagine, Ms. DiDonato doesn't think Kansas being the only state in the Union with no Arts Commission was or is a good idea and she rather lets Mr. "Right-wing/slash the budget 'cuz I'm running for the presidency" Brownback have it. Good on her. You can read it here: Second note: It's sad to see all the Bishop Finn apologists/sycophants/enablers on the front page of the Star today. It's sad that there are any at all. Fortunately, there were only approximately 75 by the Star's estimate, though the picture showed far fewer than that number. Finally here today, the Department of Defense reported that 17 more American Soldiers died in our Iraq and Afghanistan wars this week, covering what was also in the Star a few days ago, that one local man, Jeremy Katzenberger of Weatherby Lake was also killed: A 26-year-old Northland soldier died Tuesday in combat in Afghanistan, leaving behind a wife and a young son. Staff Sgt. Jeremy Andrew Katzenberger of Weatherby Lake was an Army Ranger and a graduate of Park Hill High School. “Staff Sgt. Katzenberger was a phenomenal Ranger who died while leading his men in an assault against our enemies,” said Col. Michael Foster, a commander in Katzenberger’s 75th Ranger Regiment, in a release. “He died while protecting our nation and we will not forget his sacrifice.” Weatherby Lake Mayor Jerry Bos said he ordered the town’s flags to half-staff as locals mourned the death. “Everybody’s just kind of in shock,” Bos said. Katzenberger leaves behind a wife, Colleen A. (Montgomery) Katzenberger, and a 7-month-old son, Everett James, of Richmond Hill, Ga.; parents Robert and Peggy Katzenberger of Weatherby Lake; and three brothers, two of whom are also serving in the armed forces. Also killed was Pfc. Matthew J. England, 22, of Gainesville, Mo.who died June 8 in An Najaf province, Iraq when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. Additonally, it was reported out of Topeka that "A sixth Fort Riley soldier has died as a result of a June 6 incident in Iraq, making it the single deadliest attack on a unit from the post since the war started more than eight years ago." "The Department of Defense said Saturday that Spc. Marcos A. Cintron, 32, of Orlando, Fla., died Thursday in a hospital in Boston where the 1st Infantry Division soldier was being treated for his wounds." In the meantime, it was reported earlier this week that we've lost a total of 4,460 American Soldiers in Iraq since the beginning of that war. (See link below). I ask again, when will we ever learn? Links:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This is the kind of government spending we need to cut

Suppose you're a US House of Representative member and you tweeted some pictures of your body you shouldn't have so you had to resign. Sound familiar? Okay, what do you suppose you'd get from the government. Wonder no more: Weiner sits on $1 million pension, offered ‘Hustler’ job Democrat Anthony Weiner's immediate future may be uncertain, but thanks to congressional rules and the salaciousness of his scandal, things are already looking up for the disgraced New York congressman. Upon his official resignation in the wake of a monthlong scandal involving Weiner's risque online communications with multiple women, Weiner will still be eligible for many congressional perks, including access to a sizable pension fund. (House staff have yet to announce they've actually received his resignation letter.) The conservative National Taxpayers Union (NTU) estimates the 46-year-old congressman's pension to be worth $1.28 million if he retires at age 62 or $1.12 million at age 56. The group's computations assume that Weiner started his pension when he served as a congressional staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer. In addition, NTU notes that members also participate in a Thrift Savings Plan, which allows lawmakers to rake in matching contributions from taxpayers. "NTU estimates he may have as much as $216,011.96 in accumulated TSP assets," the organization reported. It's a rule that all former members, even those convicted of felonies, may receive their pension funds. And why not, right? Since they're their own bosses and they voted in these benefits for themselves. Well, WE'RE they're actual real "bosses" and we should "unvote" these things in. Let's fire 'em all, take back the government, take away the automatic pay raises--they also voted for themselves--and these nearly automatice pensions and then put in true, stringent campaign finance reform so they can't take corporate money (read: bribes) any longer. Finally, let's make an entire campaign season 3 months long, like the Brits did so long ago. Only then will we get our government back "for the people, by the people and of the people." Link to original story:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And were supposed to save these people?

Check this out--a story out today on Afghanis, the people we're supposed to be "saving", somehow: Cursed number "39" haunts Afghan car owners KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's booming car sales industry has been thrown into chaos by a growing aversion to the number "39," which almost overnight has become an unlikely synonym for pimp and a mark of shame in this deeply conservative country. Drivers of cars with number plates containing 39, bought before the once-harmless double digits took on their new meaning, are mocked and taunted across Kabul. "Now even little kids say 'look, there goes the 39'. This car is a bad luck, I can't take my family out in it," said Mohammad Ashraf who works for a United Nations project. Other "39" owners flew into a rage or refused to speak when asked whether their car was a burden. No one is quite sure why the number became so contaminated so fast, but Kabul gossip blames a pimp in neighboring Iran, which shares a common language with much of Afghanistan. His flashy car had a 39 in its number plate, the story goes, so he was nicknamed "39" and the tag spread. So between they're superstition and downright ingnorance, and the fact that we're in Afghanistan , training these fighters--who defeated first Russia and are now defeating us--how to fight, it just makes no sense for us to stay in this country.

United States of America: 4th highest poverty rate in the world

You read it right. The United States of America, 4th most poverty-ridden population IN THE WORLD. I never thought I'd see that but it's from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and on The Huffington Post today: #4 Highest Poverty Rate in OECD: US The United States has a GDP per capita (price purchase parity) of around $47,000 and a population of over 300 million. The United States has the largest economy of any country in the world-- about the same size as the second (China) and third (Japan) largest national economies combined when measured using price purchase parity. It is rated as having a very high degree of development by the Human Development Index. The good news? We're not as bad as Turkey. The bad news? We're down here with Mexico (No.1), Israel (2) and Chile (3). So much for winning the "Cold War", huh? Yikes. This is so not where I think we all thought we were, is it? Links:

Good news out of Iraq

From online news today: Alleged Al Qaeda Members Sentenced To Death BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi court on Thursday sentenced 15 alleged al-Qaida members to death for their role in the 2006 wedding party massacre of 70 people, considered one of the most horrific attacks carried out by Sunni-led militants during the insurgency. Thank goodness. Maybe more countries can see Al Qaeda is no good way to go. Link to original story:

Quote of the day

"Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations. To do otherwise is simply an immoral act, and that is my belief, both as a scientist and as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing." --Dr Shoji Sawada, theoretical particle physicist and Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University in Japan Link to original post:

Think Fukushima doesn't effect the US?

Think again, bucko. From Al Jazeera today because American media is focusing on the Anthony Weiner story (no pun intended): Fukushima: It's much worse than you think Scientific experts believe Japan's nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public. A little from the article: 1)"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera. 2)"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively." TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water - as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of. 3)"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl." Here's where it gets interesting for the US: In the US, physician Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant. The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster. But wait! There's more! According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as "hot particles". "We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo," he said. "Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters." Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and Gundersen says his sources are finding radioactive air filters in the greater Seattle area of the US as well. The hot particles on them can eventually lead to cancer. So don't think that blow-up over in Japan doesn't effect the United States, ladies and gentlemen, not by a long shot. And we'll end today with a terrific question: Why have alarms not been sounded about radiation exposure in the US? And the even more important answer: Nuclear operator Exelon Corporation has been among Barack Obama's biggest campaign donors, and is one of the largest employers in Illinois where Obama was senator. Exelon has donated more than $269,000 to his political campaigns, thus far. Obama also appointed Exelon CEO John Rowe to his Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. Dr Shoji Sawada is a theoretical particle physicist and Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University in Japan. He is concerned about the types of nuclear plants in his country, and the fact that most of them are of US design. "Most of the reactors in Japan were designed by US companies who did not care for the effects of earthquakes," Dr Sawada told Al Jazeera. "I think this problem applies to all nuclear power stations across Japan." Everyone on the West Coast, at minimum, should read that article, if not all of America. Link to original post:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Can I get an "Amen!"?

Texas man dies while raping elderly woman CHICAGO (AFP) – A Texas man died while raping a 77-year-old woman, local media reported. Isabel Chavelo Gutierrez, 53, broke into the woman's rural home armed with a knife and attacked her. But in the midst of the rape he complained he wasn't feeling well and "stopped having sex with her so he could rest," the Corpus Christi Caller reported citing the local sheriff's office. The registered sex offender continued to fondle her, however, then rolled over and died.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It doesn't look pretty out there

And no, I'm not talking about the weather.

I ran across a few websites this afternoon--one of them absolutely alarmist--that tell of the biggest of the world's problems right now, economically and otherwise.

There was one, though, with the following article that seemed both not alarmist or overly-emotional but calm, rational and correct.  You can check it out here:

The second thing that strikes me is that of the debt across the world--mostly nation-state--but also personal, household debt that is coming down on so many of us right now and slowing, if not stopping our economies.

Some possibly scary stuff, for sure.

Stay tuned.

Me?  I'm sitting here crossing my fingers.

Here's hoping, y'all.

America: Land of "Reverse Robin Hood"

America, where it's not only okay but it's good to take from the Middle Class and poor, and make the wealthy even wealthier.

This one out today:

Why did we give/are we giving the wealthy even more tax cuts?  Remind me again?

These were out earlier:

President Newt Gingrich?

I mean, anyone who's followed his career--and quotes--has got to know that, as Republican moderate and columnist David Brooks so famously said, Newt Gingrich shouldn't " a 7-Eleven, let alone a country."

Here are some more Newt Gingrich quotes, so I can prove myself here, before I go on to this point based on news out today:

“In Washington DC 800 babies are left in dumpsters a year.”  (The number was actually 4).

“Up to 25% of the White House, when they first came in, had used drugs within the past 4 or 5 years.”

“On Inauguration Day, they’re breaking the law and doing drugs. Two days later, they’re in the White House. This must be the most disciplined set of addicts in the world...”

“I have enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it. I am now a famous person. I represent real power.”

"A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about."

"I'm not a natural leader. I'm too intellectual; I'm too abstract; I think too much."

We doubt that last one, Newt.

Anyway, for anyone who has followed Newt lately, we know two more things that should disqualify him from being in the White House.

First, Tiffany's, in New York, gave him an interest-free, sweetheart loan of from $250,000 to $500,000.00.

Nice, huh?  YOU try getting such a deal.

Second, in the last week, his entire campaign staff walked out on him and his campaign to become our next president.

If the people who were closest to him walk out, what does that tell you about how we should support him, eh?

And if all of that isn't enough--what we know from his past, to date--there's this news out today:

Newt Gingrich's charity paid $220,000 to his business

Seriously, shouldn't that be the final nail in Newt's "campaign coffin"?

Don't go away mad, Newt.  Just go away.

Intelligence? Michele Bachmann?

I learned today that none other than Michele Bachmann is on The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the US House of Representatives.
I assume either she or someone on her staff must have come to the conclusion that this was the place to get some.  

Intelligence, that is.

Obviously, to date it hasn't worked, poor thing.

Looks as though Facebook may have "jumped the shark"

In the news today:

" turns out that Facebook isn't as popular as it used to be in other countries. According to, Facebook lost 6 million American users last month, reducing the total number of U.S. users to 150 million. Facebook also lost friends in Canada, England, and Russia. Statistics show that once the social media site reaches 50 percent of a country's population, its growth slows. Nonetheless, Facebook is still expanding its footprint in smaller countries and will soon hit 700 million members worldwide."

Something about this tickles me.

Stealing computers from the Joplin schools?

From The Kansas City Star today:

I'm thinking an awful lot of people will think there's a "special place in hell" for this guy if he's guilty.

Yet more humor (insanity?) in the news today

Sometimes I can hardly believe what I read:

KC Chief player prominently on Yahoo! News today

How cool is this?
(L-R) Leonard Pope of the Kansas City Chiefs, Anne Moore with her son, Bryuson. (Photo courtesy of Chris Whitaker, Americus Times-Recorder)

NFL player saves six-year-old's life

The Chiefs' Leonard Pope springs into action when he hears a motherly voice screaming. Mom: 'I am so thankful'

Very cool.  Kudos to Mr. Pope.

And that should stand by itself--and it does--but then, to the side of this story, Yahoo added this:

Your humor for the day

You're welcome.

Now, go out there and have a great day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

More proof of Dubya's brilliance---and incompetence

As though we needed it.

Out in the news today:

The Iraqi and U.S. governments have been unable to account for a substantial chunk of the billions of dollars in reconstruction aid the Bush administration literally airlifted into the country. If the cash proves to have been stolen, the heist could represent "the largest theft of funds in national history," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.
Special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction Stuart Bowen told the paper the missing $6.6 billion may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."
That last administration thought this was a great idea.
We let this happen to ourselves.
I say again:  Worst.  President.  Ever.
Bar none.

The Fox Channel and "Glee" do it again

I'd written earlier on The cash cow that is "Glee" and it seems they've just added yet more to this recently with a new "The Glee Project":

By David Knowles | Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - You may have noticed that those lovable "Glee" kids are getting a little old. With senior year at McKinley right around the corner, the show's producers faced an unenviable decision: cast a new crop of song birds to replace Rachel and company, or figure out a plot line that flunks the current cast so as to make them repeat the 12th grade.

Picking the former option, the show's creator, Ryan Murphy -- along with fellow executive producers Dante Di Lorento, Michael Davies (

'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'

) and Shauna Minoprio (Top Chef) -- killed two birds with one stone, fashioning a reality show about the hunt for new talent.
Just one more way this hugely successful franchise is going to rake in yet more millions of dollars.

"Having it both ways" Brownback

Really, I get so tired of people--mostly Republicans--like Sam Brownback and Texas Governor Rick Perry--who bemoan our big State or Federal spending but then, when the money troughs are open, there they are, slopping up the stuff as much and as fast as they can, for as long as they can.  Another very recent example:

By JOHN HANNA, The Associated Press

TOPEKA   |   
Democratic leaders in the Kansas Legislature are frustrated by what they see as Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's attempt to take undeserved credit for big highway projects financed partly through a sales tax increase he previously criticized.
Brownback completed a five-city tour earlier this month to highlight 36 projects that are a part of the 10-year, $8 billion transportation program enacted last year. The projects will cost the state more than $1.8 billion, but Brownback predicted they'll generate thousands of construction jobs while making the highway system safer.
His administration also has launched a website where people can follow the progress of individual projects under the transportation program and see how well the state fulfills a mandate to spend at least $8 million in each of its 105 counties.
The Democratic leaders noted that when Brownback ran for governor last year, he criticized the Democratic nominee, Kansas Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, for voting for the sales tax increase. Brownback had the backing of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which had opposed the tax increase, and he called raising tax rates to deal with budget problems "unwise and unsustainable."
Sam Brownback---just one more big, political hypocrite.

He bitches and moans about increased taxes and spending, but then, when the tax has gone through because the people know we need good roads, he goes out and takes credit for the "jobs it creates".  

And sure, it's not unusual for any human being to be hypocritical--any of us.  It's just the really big, glaring instances that turn your stomach, you know?

Just to show we're equal opportunity on this subject, here's another political group of hypocrites:

Sure, it may not be new but we have to point it out, these glaring hypocrisies, now and again (again and again?), in hopes there will be less of it in the future.

It's not just "Governor Brownback", that's for sure

I've written here before, ever since Sam Brownback turned in his one elected seat as senator in Washington for this, more local one, as Governor of Kansas, that hasn't been his only role, by a long shot.

His other, bigger role, at least to him?

"Candidate Brownback."

Senator Brownback knew it's very difficult, if not impossible for Senators to become President of the United States so he turned in that role, became governor of Kansas and has been "Candidate Brownback" ever since.

And he's doing it all on the backs of Kansans.

First, he began slashing the state budget which, admittedly, with both their deficit and the mandate to balance the budget, he's been doing.

But in order to make a big, national "splash", Scott Walker-style up in Wisconsin, he did away with the Arts Commission in Kansas and more recently started slashing the education budget, too.

You see, he has to get that national media attention or it's all for nothing.

No, he's not running for the November, 2012 presidential contest, no, no.

He has his eyes squarely set on the next race, in 2016, when it's more likely someone from the Republican Party has a shot at getting in the White House, what with President Obama at the end of his final term.

All this in mind, look what came out yesterday in The New York Times:

AUSTIN, Tex. — When Gov. Rick Perry invited fellow governors to join him on Aug. 6 for “a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation,” some speculated that he was trying to raise his national visibility for a possible presidential run.

Forget about the very real possibilities of problems with the separation of church and state that need to be addressed, what's this got to do with our own Governor Brownback?  Glad you asked:

So far only one other governor, Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is a conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will attend.

This could possibly give the Guv more national political attention from both his own political party as well as those on the religious right who organize oh-so-well most every Sunday morning while they're attending their very Christian church services.

I'm sure Governor B just has one regret about it all.

He's just sorry he didn't think of it himself.