Sunday, July 31, 2011
1) Missouri River flooding is on the front page of the NY Times today, albeit in South Dakota; 2) a Kansas City native, one Elmer Lower, passed this week. He was once president of ABC News, 1963-74. Who knew? 3) Dan Peck, a founding member of the group "America" passed this week, too, in his hometown of Farmington, Missouri 4) Depressing headline of the day: "US Report Finds Security Deteriorating in Iraq with Corruption Unabated" Once again, thank you George W. Bush and Company; 5) At the same time, we--the US--is considering selling Iraq 36 F16 fighter jets, too. Man, we're stupid; 6) Grover Norquist is either the devil incarnate or one of his chief minions, without doubt; 7) Finally today, there is an article in the op/ed section showing that the
Rethuglicans Republicans unleashed a torrent of possible laws for industry and corporation this week (their overlords), that would strip the EPA, the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws of their gths. (Look for it under the headline "Concealed Weapons Against the Environment, if you're interested0. Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.
It seems there are two things this mayor and City Hall needs to get a handle on right now. The first is the annual shoot-fest in the city with the other being the water pipes that burst all across the city, underground. Driving this morning, I saw one on 31st Street, coming up the hill (East), between Southwest Boulevard and Southwest Trafficway and then another, one block South of 31st Street, right on Southwest Trafficway. Crazy.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
"For their tax dollars, Europeans get full health care coverage, generous pensions, daycare, long paid vacations, maternity leave, free college, and public transportation that doesn’t smell like pee. Whereas our tax dollars go towards military bases in Germany, subsidies to oil companies, building bridges to nowhere, wars, and putting half of Cheech and Chong in prison." -Bill Maher, "Real Time with Bill Maher". Link: http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/index.html
Friday, July 29, 2011
The bad news is that those chuckleheads in Congress haven't compromised an intelligent solution for the nation so we can go forward with our business. The good news is that both chambers of Congress--the Senate and the House--have to stay in Washington again this weekend, working, until they get this hammered out. Hammerheads. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/vote-delayed-debt-bill-default-date-looms-010308473.html
"I don`t know how anyone could vote Republican. It`s so obvious that their only interest is keeping the rich, rich." --Vivian Campbell. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Campbell; http://quotes.lucywho.com/vivian-campbell-quotes-t61206.html
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Has the gross hypocrisy of the Republican leaders in Congress right now occurred to anyone else out here besides me? That they are the "political party of big business" but putting a gun to the nation's head, financially, by saying, figuratively, "If you don't give us EXACTLY what we want--as soon as we decide what that is--we'll shoot you in the head, America, by making you go into credit default" is obvious, irresponsible and nearly insane. These are the same people who raised heck, months ago, saying that business across America didn't know how to invest in the country's future because this president didn't settle our tax issues--which was patent nonsense--but now they do this and hold us all hostage? Adding to this insanity is that this has already hurt the nation's credit standing--thanks very much, guys--but if they do this and make us go into credit default, they'll also drag down the world's economies, nation by nation and collectively. Idiots. Idiots and hypocrites. This is no way to run a government. This is no way to run a nation.
Colorado Springs? Yep, it surely is. This time we don't have to thank goodness we're not Detroit or even Chicago, with their violence and shootings, it's Colorado Springs, Colorado. Go figure. The report out this morning: "Police: 4 die in Colorado Springs shootings." A series of shootings in Colorado Springs has left four people dead and two injured, police said. The three bursts of gunfire Wednesday night were unrelated and occurred in different areas of the city, police Sgt. David Edmondson said. I want, sorely, to believe we aren't turning into this nationwide, lawless, gun-toting, shoot 'em up country of disgruntled, financially-strapped people out here who work out our frustrations with handguns and/or other weapons. I'd like to think we're smarter and stronger than that. Here's hoping. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/police-4-die-colorado-springs-shootings-083320359.html
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Yes, indeed, another list, another ranking. This one also by Forbes Magazine ranking, as I said, the "15 Best Cities for Young Adults" and Kansas City ain't on it. But Omaha? Number 5. And Des Moines? Number one, for pity's sake. Yow. We gotta' get busy, folks. Links: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mhj45effk/introduction#content?partner=yahoo; http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mhj45effk/5-omaha-neb; http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mhj45effk/1-des-moines-iowa
Okay, sure, let the
Rethuglicans Republicans call it "raising taxes" but the fact is, the wealthy in the country shouldn't have gotten those tax cuts back during Dubya's reign administration. Cutting taxes like this hasn't created any jobs, ever since Ronald Reagan first devised the scheme. Further proof out today and it's from a pro-business magazine, Forbes: The 400 Richest Americans Pay An 18% Tax Rate. "The 400 richest Americans used to pay 30% of their income on the average to Uncle Sam. Today, they pay 18% on the average, according to Steve Rattner, a Wall Street financier, who just presented these figures on Mornings With Joe,MSNBC.
The main reason for the drop in their tax rate of some 40% is the tax cuts by George Bush in 2003, taking the rate paid on dividends and capital gains down to 15%. This reduction in the investment class's taxes powered the bull market in stocks from the fall of 2003 until the fall of 2007.
Shockingly, the plan to raise the debt ceiling collects nothing from the wealthiest Americans to reduce our budget deficit. The Republican right wing holds the Obama White House hostage. It's a sad day for the principle of sharing the pain equitably." The Republicans need to bail on the idea of not doing away with the Bush era tax cuts, along with the idea of not taking away "Big Oil's" tax subsidies, too, among other things. We need government to work and it needs to start working now. Link:
Monday, July 25, 2011
"What is the Democrat's next offer? Kansas goes back to being a slave state? I don't know what they"--the Republicans--"want." --Bill Maher, "Real Time with Bill Maher", HBO, Link: http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/index.html
Sunday, July 24, 2011
On John Boehner and the Republicans cancelling the debt ceiling negotiations: "This has got to be reassuring to the markets. One side's policy is budget cuts and closing"--tax--"loopholes and the other side's policy is 'I'll be at my mother's.'" --Bill Maher, "Real Time with Bill Maher", HBO, Link: http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/index.html
"Sarah and Bristol Palin made an appearance at a book store. Apparently, it was 'Bring Your Daughter to a Place You Never Go Day.'" –Conan O'Brien
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"I may live to see an uprising over the widening gap between rich and poor in North America. After all, that's the cause of the regime change this year in North Africa and the Middle East. ... At some point, some of us will awaken to the fact that many of our social ills -- including the American economy's stubborn refusal to recover -- can be traced back to a 30-year stagnation in middle-class incomes. The economy, stock market and executive pay have all increased by several multiples in that time. But between 1976 and 2009, median income for Canadians rose just 5.5 per cent." --David Olive, Toronto Star. Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/07/23/income-inequality-rising_n_907828.html; http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1029399--olive-widening-income-gap-hurts-us-all
Riots in Greece and across Europe. Can it happen here? Food for thought: "If inequality continues to increase relentlessly, it seems likely that major social disruptions are inevitable. What people should keep in mind is that the U.S. has the weakest social safety net of any advanced country." --"Martin Ford, Founder, Silicon Valley-based software development firm. Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-ford/could-we-have-civil-unres_b_906478.html; http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/07/raging-inequality-may-cause-unrest-and-violence/
"In Arizona they had a dust storm that was two miles high and 15 miles wide. It looked like something out of a movie. Visibility in Arizona they said was so bad that police were hassling white people." –Bill Maher, "Real Time with Bill Maher", HBO
I wasn't looking for one but saw a terrific article on Sprint last evening, asking one simple question: "Why Is There No Sprint iPhone? Which got me wondering, naturally. So read it I did and it was brief, incisive and helpful and now I know. (If you're curious, go check it out. Link at bottom, as usual). But in the meantime, check out their reason number two for why there isn't any Sprint iPhone: "Apple disdains Sprint. Apple execs tend to have personal feelings about U.S. wireless carriers that they don't have about international carriers. For Apple, brand is everything, and the company doesn't want to be associated with brands it sees as "losers." it wants to be a winner, associated with winners. This has worked well for Apple in the past. Apple execs could simply see Sprint and T-Mobile as hopeless loser carriers headed towards extinction, and not worth the company's time." Yeah. Ouch. That's got to hurt. And it can't portend well for our hometown phone company. Hopefully they can turn that ship around. We keep hoping, don't we? Link: http://news.yahoo.com/why-no-sprint-iphone-114941806.html
It takes nerve to be a Democrat. But it takes money to be a Republican." --Will Rogers
Friday, July 22, 2011
So this evening, because the Republicans took their figurative ball and went home, not wanting to work things out on the debt ceiling negotiations with the President or Democrats, "at midnight nearly 4,000 people will be temporarily out of work and federal airline ticket taxes will be suspended." So let's be clear here: should anything happen, heaven forbid, to some airplane or airline because of this unnecessary layoff, responsibility for any such issues/problems or worse will lie squarely with the
Rethuglicans Republican leaders in Congress, since they wouldn't continue to negotiate and work things out with any opposing points of view. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/partisan-dispute-partially-shut-down-faa-191224395.html
Headline number one this evening: "Boehner quits debt talks with Obama". Headline number 2: "NFL champions' president: We're done." See the similarity? Screw you little people. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-press-statement-2200-gmt-220257502.html; http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Packers-president-Mark-Murphy-We-ve-put-our-pe?urn=nfl-wp3716
"I have been living in Kansas City for almost 40 years, and even though I curse the weather, I do feel happy being in this place! Kansas City feels to me like a Mix of Memphis, Dallas, Tulsa and a dash of New Orleans! HOT HOT HOT!! or FROZEN to the BONE! but always a good Sound Track Playing in the Background." --Bob Traviglione, Real Estate Agent, Amateur Photographer, Bon Vivante, Man about town
"New Rule: Stop comparing Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann just because they're both Republican women. And crazy. And know-nothings. And Jesus freaks, who claim to receive messages from God. Who both get their historical facts wrong all the time. Who both give off a sound that only animals can hear and makes microwaves explode. Seriously, stop comparing them." –Bill Maher, "Real Time with Bill Maher", HBO
First someone blew up a bomb in Oslo today, now come reports of a gunman opening fire, just North of there. What on Earth is going on? In the early article I read, they said this, too: "There was no clear claim of responsibility and while the attacks appeared to bear the hallmarks of an Islamist militant assault, analysts said it was too early to draw any conclusions." Wait. First, what are "the hallmarks of an Islamist militant assault" and second, isn't that statement itself, drawing conclusions? Link: http://news.yahoo.com/explosion-rocks-central-oslo-norway-pms-office-134903379.html
"Sarah Palin's son Track and his wife are having a baby. They haven't picked a name yet, but they do know it will be a verb." –Conan O'Brien
A friend of a friend posted the following on his Facebook page about wealth and privilege in America (name changed for privacy): "Dave, you and I have had the benefit, since the day we were born, of living in a society that has invested most generously and opened the most doors of opportunity for males, who are white, married, etc. It simply is not true that I have earned all the advantages given to me on account of my hard work. Yes, I have worked toward goals, but I've been encouraged to do so, not told that I should not because of my sex or skin color. Yes, I have been responsible, but only because responsibility has been entrusted to me in a way that few women and persons of color are given the opportunity. Not to recognize that women, immigrants and others face enormous hurdles that I have never faced would be willful blindness. And then to reason that numerous tax benefits given to people with higher income (benefits that I have increasingly benefited from as my income has risen) are not at the expense of people who work harder for less income is just selfish. I am truly disappointed in the assumptions made about the poor in this discussion -- that they are less willing to work, that they are less "educated," that they seek to take advantage of others who think they work harder or are more deserving of wealth. One wonders if anyone in this conversation actually knows people who live in poverty, has actually listened to them in depth, has lived alongside them, knows anything about their hopes, and the values they hold, including what they think about the common good of all."
"My self-appointed aim is to make the most of what I can personally be and take as many along that path as I can without significantly diverting my trajectory in life. To survive and excel." --Thomas Kanady
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Yes, you read correctly. Kansas is voted number one as the state trying hardest to keep people from voting. Next door neighbor Missouri? Number 5. Whatever happened to the US that wanted its citizens to vote? Who have we become? Link: http://www.alternet.org/story/151687/11_states_trying_really_hard_to_keep_poor%2C_black%2C_and_student_voters_from_voting/
The National Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org) and Physicians for Social Responsiblity (www.psr.org) came out today with their rankings for the nation, by state, telling of the "most toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants" ranks Missouri in the top 20 at number 16. Yeehaw, eh? The report is titled “Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States.” Additionally, "Nearly half of all toxic air pollution reported from industrial sources nationwide comes from coal- and oil-fired power plants, the largest industrial source of toxic air pollution in 28 states and the District of Columbia" and Missouri is one of those 28. Ohio, for what it's worth, is ranked worst at number 1 while neighboring Illinois is at 17 and Iowa holds the 20 spot. Interestingly, California, who has done so much with legislation and requirements, wisely, is ranked low at number 42. See? Government can work. Then, simultaneously today, with this report comes word that the Sierra Club is likely to get $50 million from Michael Bloomberg's foundation to help them fight new coal-fired power plants so we get into clean, renewable energy, instead. Good on you and thanks, Mr. Bloomberg! We'll get to that "green economy" yet. Links: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/07/the-most-toxic-air-pollution-from-coal-and-oil-fired-power-plants-can-be-found-in-ohio-pennsylvania-and-florida-according.html; http://www.npr.org/2011/07/21/138568843/mayor-bloomberg-donates-50-million-to-sierra-club
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
There's an article on Forbes and Yahoo! News right now about a mansion going up in our own Ozarks and the information surrounding it: Mystery Mansion Rises in the Ozarks. You’ve probably heard of the 56,000-square foot Spelling Manor that just sold to billionaire heiress Petra Ecclestone or the 43,000 square-foot Fair Field estate belonging to billionaire industrialist Ira Rennert. You may even be familiar with the palatial pads that some real estate developers have built in the hopes of finding wealthy buyers like Alpine, N.J.’s $68 million Stone Mansion or England’s Updown Court (which now faces foreclosure). Here’s another huge home to put on your real estate radar: Pensmore. Pensmore, the Ozarks mountain estate being erected in rural Christian County, Missouri, will garner bragging rights as one of America’s largest homes upon its projected 2013 completion. The chateau-style mansion will encompass an estimated 72,000-square feet on its secluded plot of more than 500 acres. It will include 13 bedrooms, 14 baths and an assortment of outrageous amenities. Read the rest here: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/mystery-mansion-rises-in-the-ozarks.html
Here's some good news today. Local food critic at The Pitch Magazine, Charles Feruzza, has gone from only writing restaurant reviews to now doing an article on local Kansas City history and background information. What a great idea. He always writes so well, so fun and did seem to like to do this searching kind of historical work. It's a great pairing of his writing style along with colorful local history and things that have been otherwise overlooked, at least, if not forgotten altogether. It's quite a terrific article with much more background on the house, that area and city, all three. So good on you, Charles, you and The Pitch. Hopefully there will be more of these. You're doing fun things no other rag in town is doing, really. It will be interesting to see if anyone down at the Star sits up and takes notice. Link: http://www.pitch.com/2011-07-21/news/1016-paseo-johnny-howard-william-poole/
"Now we read in the papers every day, and they get us all excited over one or a dozen different problems that's supposed to be before this country. There's not really but one problem before the whole country at this time. It's not the balancing of Mr. Mellon’s budget. That's his worry. That ain't ours. And it's not the League of Nations that we read so much about. It's not the silver question. The only problem that confronts this country today is at least 7,000,000 people are out of work. That’s our only problem. There is no other one before us at all. It's to see that every man that wants to is able to work, is allowed to find a place to go to work, and also to arrange some way of getting a more equal distribution of the wealth in country. Now it's Prohibition, we hear a lot about that. Well, that's nothing to compare to your neighbor's children that are hungry. It's food, it ain't drink that we’re worried about today. Here a few years ago we was so afraid that the poor people was liable to take a drink that now we've fixed it so they can't even get something to eat. So here we are in a country with more wheat and more corn and more money in the bank, more cotton, more everything in the world—there’s not a product that you can name that we haven't got more of it than any other country ever had on the face of the earth—and yet we’ve got people starving. We'll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile. The potter's fields are lined with granaries full of grain. Now if there ain't something cockeyed in an arrangement like that then this microphone here in front of me is—well, it's a cuspidor, that's all." --Will Rogers and his "Bacon, Beans and Limousines" Speech, speaking before then-President Herbert Hoover; Link: http://unsinkablecork.com/willrogers/wrspeech.htm; http://www.aptonline.org/catalog.nsf/vLinkTitle/WILL+ROGERS+AND+AMERICAN+POLITICS
All of a sudden, the people who actually wrote the crap for the News of the World tabloid are coming out and 'fessing up on the stuff they wrote and the kind of nonsense they tried to write--and what they had to put up with. It's a story on Yahoo! News today: With Brooks arrested, tabloid insiders open up. LONDON (AP) — With their former boss under arrest, tabloid reporters are beginning to reveal secrets of what it was like to work in Rebekah Brooks' newsrooms. Disguises, bullying, lies dropped into copy — all were part of the pressure-cooker atmosphere that prevailed, according to former journalists who spoke to The Associated Press. Michael Taggart, who worked at The Sun in 2003, said the paper under Brooks was marked by "ruthlessness and misogyny." "The reporters who were prepared to subject themselves and others to the most ridicule were the ones earmarked for success," said Taggart, who now works as a consultant for London-based MRM. Insiders say the whatever-it-takes mantra was common across the tabloid world. But the pressure at News International — publisher of the Sun and the News of the World, the now defunct paper at the center of the phone hacking scandal — was particularly intense. Taggart described routinely participating in overnight stakeouts while at the Sun, something he said was rare at other papers he had worked for. He said other tabloids were just as hungry for scandal and celebrity, but they tended to rely on "great contacts, rather than covert operations." At Rupert Murdoch's tabloids, refusing to play ball meant being pushed to the sidelines. Attitudes toward women — never thought of as particularly enlightened at The Sun, a paper still famous for its topless page 3 models — did not improve under Brooks, Taggart said. "We were regularly encouraged to refer to women with misogynistic names like 'tarts,' 'slappers' or 'hookers' in our copy if there was conceivably any question mark over their sexual proclivities," he said. "We were expected to childishly objectify women. So blonde-haired women were described as 'beauties' and generously chested women 'looked swell', whether they'd wanted the attention or not." Faking facts was also part of tabloid life under Brooks, reporters said. A third News of The World reporter, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he too is still working in the media industry, said some editors at the News of the World deliberately inserted bogus details to sensationalize copy. At least for Britain, this means one less skanky newspaper. Over here in the States, could it mean--hopefully--that one day, The National Enquirer will have to close it's doors, too? One can only hope. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/brooks-arrested-tabloid-insiders-open-104104938.html
So many changes already on the Plaza, let alone coming on. I'd written before about the Michael Kors store going in soon. It's had signs up for a long time. No sign yet, saying when it opens but I assume this Fall, when they assume shopping will turn up. Then there are a few new restaurants going in. A Gram & Dun restaurant is going in old Baja 600 space. It seemed something should go in there quickly since it's such a high-traffic and highly visible spot and so popular. Next up is a Zocala "Mexican restaurant and Taquileria" going in the old Mi Cocina spot, if it hasn't devolved to attorneys, as The Pitch mentions in a column (link below). Now, today, it was announced in the Kansas City Business Journal that a Kate Spade store is going in. It's heartening to see these empty spots on the Plaza filled. At least there's some business and new business going on.Links: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2011/07/19/kate-spade-kansas-city-plaza.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/04/2993487/hm-new-pub-coming-to-plaza-this.html; http://blogs.pitch.com/fatcity/2011/03/a_big_shake_up_at_the_unopened.php; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/06/29/2982564/new-restaurant-moving-into-former.html
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." --Nelson Mandela
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
There's some fairly bad economic news on at least three fronts today. First, Cisco says it's laying off 10% of its workforce or 6,500 people so that stinks. Second is that Bank of America is reporting a "huge loss". Finally, "Weak trading bites into Goldman profits," to the tune of a 9.1 billion dollar loss. Not good indicators, boys and girls, not good indicators at all. Think happy, hopeful thoughts. And keep cool, by all means.Links: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/19/idUS268176494420110719; http://news.yahoo.com/bank-america-reports-9-1-bn-second-quarter-000502952.html; http://news.yahoo.com/goldman-investors-seek-answers-beyond-dreary-second-quarter-095310101.html
US News & World Reports has a "Best Hospitals 2011-12: Honor Roll" out today and tough luck, Kansas City, we're not on it. We're not on the top 17 best hospitals list. St. Louis is with their Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, but not us. Heck, Barnes even bested Mount Sinai in New York, for that matter. As Lucy Van Pelt always said, "Maybe next year, Charlie Brown." Link: http://health.yahoo.net/articles/healthcare/best-hospitals-2011-12
News out today: "Next week, the U.S. Census Bureau will release the 2010 Census Summary File 1 for Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. During June through August, the Census Bureau will provide statistics for states each week on a flow basis. These Summary File 1 tables will provide the most detailed information available so far from the 2010 Census, including cross-tabulations of age, sex, households, families, relationship to householder, characteristics of owners and renters, detailed race and Hispanic or Latino origin groups, and group quarters. The Summary File will be available for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The information will be available for a variety of geographic areas, with most tables available down to the block or census tract level." 'Cuz I knew you'd want to know. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/census-bureau-release-2010-census-summary-file-1-181605257.html;_ylt=AidmhbBCT4rzB7skqCWpKN.w73QA;_ylu=X3oDMTN1Z3U3bWphBGNjb2RlA3ZzaGFyZWFnMnVwcmVzdARwa2cDOGNkYjU5OWEtNjBiMS0zNDQ5LThmZWUtMjQ1NzU4OTQxN2MwBHBvcwM2BHNlYwNuZXdzX2Zvcl95b3UEdmVyAzJhZTY1ODEwLWIyMzMtMTFlMC1hYjM1LTIxMDIzYWVkOGI5Yw--;_ylg=X3oDMTJyM2YwOTZoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDMTQwZmMwNTYtZTQ1OS0zYTMwLWFjMjItYmFiMzFlY2M5M2YzBHBzdGNhdANidXNpbmVzcwRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2U-;_ylv=3
Especially and specifically on the debt ceiling negotiations. I feel sure Stevie would concur and approve: We are amazed but not amused By all the things you say that you'll do Though much concerned but not involved With decisions that are made by you; But we are sick and tired of hearing your song Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong 'Cause if you really want to hear our views "You haven't done nothing"!; It's not too cool to be ridiculed But you brought this upon yourself The world is tired of pacifiers We want the truth and nothing else; And we are sick and tired of hearing your song Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong 'Cause if you really want to hear our views "You haven't done nothing"!
Monday, July 18, 2011
"The current debt under discussion is Republican debt, authorized by Congress and signed into law by former President George W. Bush. The debt in question covers bills that have come due from two unfunded wars, from unfunded tax cuts and tax loopholes that have benefited the wealthy and ravaged the middle-class, from gross mismanagement of the nation’s economy under Republican supply-side b*llsh*t." --Fay Esther
Word out from Washington this morning says President Obama didn't pick Elizabeth Warren to be head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. And while that's not a big surprise since the business-toady Republicans were so deadset against her, what can be said is that the President's choice for this job, former attorney general of Ohio Richard Cordray had better be her equal. He'd better be, as I said above, a strong bit of a bulldog so something can really be done by this new agency to protect the American public from the kind of nonsense the business community got away with in the last few years since it brought the nation and the world to near-collapse. Here's hoping. Here's what stinks about this: "Her (Ms. Warren's) candidacy was passionately supported by liberal members of Congress and consumer advocacy groups. But she never won the full support of the president or his senior advisers, particularly the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, in part because of her independent streak and her outspokenness, which at times put her at odds with the administration." Timothy-freaking-Geithner? Like we care about HIM? He's from the banking industry. He's exactly the kind of person we DON'T want having input on this. It's precisely because Elizabeth Warren was outspoken that she came to prominence, for one, and why, secondly, she would have made a great candidate for the first Director of this agency. Mr. Cordray had better be good, that's all there is to it. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/business/former-ohio-attorney-general-picked-to-lead-consumer-agency.html?_r=1&ref=elizabethwarren
Sunday, July 17, 2011
"Government-haters seem to be everywhere....One would have thought the last few years of mine disasters, exploding oil rigs, nuclear meltdowns, malfeasance on Wall Street, wildly-escalating costs of health insurance, rip-roaring CEO pay, and mass layoffs would have offered a singular opportunity to explain why the nation's collective well-being requires a strong and effective government representing the interests of average people." --Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; Author, 'Aftershock'. Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/the-rise-of-the-wreckingb_b_899871.html
We need Alan Grayson back. How on Earth did we become this sick, imbalanced, grossly unfair country we've become?
So yes, today is the 30th anniversary of the horrible Hyatt Hotel bridgewalk collapse all those years ago. It's getting good, worthy coverage in and by all the media outlets, the local TV news stations, the Star and all the rest. The article today in the paper is very informative and helpful, I think, for those of us who are maybe a bit less familiar with the story. You may want to check it out if you haven't already. But here's the thing: there's one thing that hasn't been said publicly in any of the media. That is, the Hyatt Corporation has not given one dime, to date, to the memorial in any way, from what I understand. With that, the thing that needs to be said is that that same Hyatt company should realize a couple things. First, it would go a long way to not only the survivors of those 114 people lost that fateful day but also to the city of Kansas City and the area. Hyatt would be doing themselves a great service if they would just step up now and make a donation--hopefully a significant one--to this memorial and the families and friends of the people lost. It is the right thing to do, of course, period, but also they would gain a great deal of terrific public relations. Then, as if that isn't enough, they can deduct at least a good portion of the contribution. All the way around, it's a "win" for Hyatt. The time has come and that time is now. They should do this. And the sooner the better. Let's get that memorial completed for these people, for the metropolitan area and for the region. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/16/3018298/the-hyatt-disaster-30-years-later.html
Right. We don't need health care reform in America. Except this is old now. It's more than 50 million Americans don't have health care insurance coverage in the country. "Our next contestant is Tony from Missouri who needs a new liver." Think happy thoughts, y'all.
Old but applicable now with the negotiations in Washington:Cutting tax subsidies for oil companies makes sense. Taking away tax cuts for the wealthy makes sense. Doing away with tax deductions to take manufacturing offshore makes sense. I can't believe we're having this argument.
Had you forgotten Mungo Jerry? "When the weather's fine, we go fishin' or go swimmin' in the sea. We're always happy, lots of livin', yeah, that's our philosophy..." Keep cool out there today, y'all. Enjoy.
Nearly no country on this planet doesn't ascribe to at least some facets of Socialism, for starters. And "evil"? From all over Europe to the Scandinavian countries, at least, the system, in varying degrees, works quite well, thanks very much but so few people in the US know that or even agree on that. The Scandinavian countries, in particular, are some of the best-functioning countries on the planet right now, have been for some time and rate some of the most either "happy" or "satisfied" populations on the planet, as well. But most Americans don't like that fact, if they even concur with it, in spite of the solid evidence otherwise. I'm only saying it's not an evil. It's not evil at all.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
WARNING: CRUDE LANGUAGEThat's right. We need to push what's correct and fair and decent on these "greedy, selfish reptiles".
Yeah, you know? I have to say, I don't feel too bad about this one. Kansas City is just barely on the list at number 37 (I hope it doesn't get worse next year or in the future) while good ol' St. Louis is--check it out--in the top ten at the number 10 spot. (Omaha at 32). I feel better already. (That said, how seriously can you take it when we beat Newport Beach?) Los Angeles at No. 2 and Boston (Boston!) at number one. All in all, we came out great, folks. Have a great weekend, y'all. Links: http://www.gq.com/style/fashion/201107/worst-dressed-cities-america#slide=4; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/15/worst-dressed-city_n_899913.html
I beg your pardon. There's a story out on Yahoo! News today from Shine about all 50 states' "Most Bizarre State Foods". Okay, sure, I get that. It can be informative semi-educational and entertaining, sure. But comparing Missouri's state food--the ice cream cone since it was first created in our own St. Louie--to Utah's Jello? Come on. No comparison. The Jello thing is so bizarre and really wienie, there's just no contest. As it is, America and the world can thank St. Lou and Missouri for this little treat. But Utah? Puh-leeze! (As a final note, check out what they wrote about Utah and their choice. Too funny. Yet another reason to NOT want to be a Mormon). Links: Original story here: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/most-bizarre-state-foods-2509899/#photoViewer=10; How much we eat--and love--ice cream: http://whoknew.news.yahoo.com/?nc&vid=25944695; July, National Ice Cream Month: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/01/137547475/sweet-treat-july-is-national-ice-cream-month
I had to search to get a better copy of Sly and the Stone doing this. It's one thing to hear it, but seeeing them do it adds so much more to it, I think. Hope y'all are having hot fun in the Summertime. Keep cool, y'all.
Friday, July 15, 2011
"It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." --Adam Smith, Scottish economist, moral philosopher and considered the "Father of Capitalism", rather ironically, now. That he is considered the "Father of Capitalism" and yet wrote this in his very famous and highly-regarded, quoted and referred to "Wealth of Nations" is more than a bit ironic now, I think we'd all agree, given what Capitalism has become in America. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations
You read correctly and it's out today on Yahoo! News. CarInsurance.com ranks our metropolitan area as the 26th worst city in the nation for pedestrians to get around. Sure, we could be worse and be in the top 25 or 15 or 10 but it still isn't good. We're one spot worse than the Los Angeles metropolitan area and they show 2533 deaths from being a pedestrian so you know something's not good. (Notes: St. Louis is no. 23--yay, at least we're not that bad--and Florida is worst of all with the top four worst places for pedestrians in that state). What did they used to say on the old TV show "Hill Street Blues"? Let's be careful out there. Link: http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/how-not-to-get-hit-by-a-car.aspx?WT.qs_osrc=fxb-6922510
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Word from Washington on the budget negotiations today is that the desperate, pathetic Republicans have thrown yet another new wrinkle into the mix. Now they say they want a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget for the country. Yikes. If any of them would care to take a moment to poll a bunch of economists, virtually the entire consensus of them would tell the Republican leaders that for a nation, that is a patently bad idea. I'm not supporting runaway spending by any means, not at all and I'm not saying we can't or shouldn't cut spending or shrink government. (Really want to shrink government? Kill the Homeland Security Agency and cut defense spending by half. We need both). But a balanced budget for nations is a recipe for disaster as, again, ANY ECONOMIST WOULD TELL YOU. You want to kill a nation's economy? Require balanced budgets. Oh, and for evidence? Right before every large economic downturn of the last century ot two, we've had balanced budgets. Do we really want that? Links: http://news.yahoo.com/gop-adds-constitutional-amendment-budget-fight-190757159.html; http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/hanging-tough-with-keynes/; http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2008/11/17/nyts-krugman-think-economic-momentum-not-balanced-budgets/
There is an article in The Star today about a Catholic Seminary student in St. Louis who was charged "with attempting to receive child pornography. Nickolas E. Pinkston, 40, had been attending Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis and leading confirmation classes for seventh- and eighth-graders at a Catholic elementary school in St. Louis. He allegedly attempted to receive the porn through the mail between mid-May and mid-October in 2010." Sad thing is, if it were even only about 5 or more years ago? He probably would never have been even caught, let alone charged with any crime. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/14/3014029/st-louis-seminary-student-charged.html
"I don't want an actual downgrade but I want Moody's to make noise about a ratings cut. I want the threat for the same reason I loved Bernanke calling the impact of a debt default a potential "calamity" yesterday. I want as many voices as possible telling Washington that pushing us towards a fiscal nightmare is unacceptable. Defaulting on our debts isn't about just a few people missing checks versus a few millionaires paying more taxes anymore. It's about national pride and our word being our bond. It's about all of us becoming deadbeats. Say what you will about Moody's past ineptitude; no matter how much you abuse ratings agencies I've almost certainly said something worse. But this time Moody's got it right. This summer, this moment, is a rare time when Americans can bond together and speak with a united voice. Join Moody's, stand with Bernanke, and link arms with me as we figuratively point our faces at Washington DC and rage against the political machine. Call your Congressmen and Senators. Tell him or her to just shut-up and do whatever needs to be done so America can avoid becoming a fiscal banana republic. Make this paralyzing national debate go away by avoiding a default and resulting downgrade. Get your act together or get sent home in 2012. It's really that simple." --Jeff Macke, "Breakout" Financial Blog Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/upside-usa-downgrade-threat-145945942.html%20;_ylt=AsrWvPtvA8hIVcm7YrA7ELy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1ZWVyMms1BHBvcwM5BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawN0aGV1cHNpZGV0b2E-?sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=&ccode=
This is your job, people. This is what we voted you into office for. This is why you're in Washington. Like children in grade school, we, the citizens, expect you to get along. More than get along, we want, need and expect you to cooperate and--yes--compromise. You remember compromise, right? Check out this quote: "America has been writing checks based on her reputation rather than fiscal reality for years. We don't want to take that first downgrade if it can be avoided, and luckily in this case, it can be. Once the U.S. is downgraded there's no going back. Like a reputation, credit takes a lifetime to build and a moment to ruin. If the U.S. actually gets downgraded we may as well be Italy in terms of the global economic picture." So to all the government representatives in Washington right now, hear this. We want and need you to make a deal. Both sides, both political parties. The House of Representatives, the Senate, the White House and President, all of you. This is not some game you're "playing to win." This is our country. This is our lives. Do it. As they say on TV, "Make it happen!" Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/upside-usa-downgrade-threat-145945942.html%20;_ylt=AsrWvPtvA8hIVcm7YrA7ELy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1ZWVyMms1BHBvcwM5BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawN0aGV1cHNpZGV0b2E-?sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=&ccode=
Holy cow. This is some great, heartening news out this morning. Check out this story from Yahoo! News today: Voters blame Bush more than Obama for the economy. "Voters are increasingly displeased with President Obama's handling of the economy, but a new poll finds most Americans still think George W. Bush is responsible for the nation's dismal financial state. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of those surveyed say Bush is responsible for the "current condition" of the economy, compared to just 27 percent who blame Obama. Among self-described independent voters, a key 2012 voting bloc, the number shifts slightly: 49 percent point the finger at the former GOP president, while 24 percent blame Obama." But here's where it gets really good: "...the Quinnipiac poll finds more Americans trust the president on the issue than the GOP congress, 45 percent to 38 percent. Meanwhile, 48 percent of those surveyed say they will blame the GOP congress if a debt deal isn't approved, compared to 34 percent who say they will blame the Obama administration." And of course, by gosh, they're right. I just didn't think they "got it". Good on you, America. You've renewed my faith in you and hope for the country, if even just a bit. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/voters-blame-bush-more-obama-economy-143014602.html
"Usury, to be clear about it, is rich people taking advantage of poor people by lending them money on terms that are sure to make them fail. All three of the great religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, had a moral prohibition against usury because they recognized that society can't function like that. People of great wealth and their institutions like banks naturally have the power to overwhelm people of lesser means. And you can't allow that in a decent society. It won't survive." --William Greider, Author, former Editor of The Washington Post, former columnist for Rolling Stone, former National Affairs Correspondent for THE NATION. Link: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07182008/watch2.html
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
"If we tax millionaires at zero and tax poor people at 100% we can eliminate poor people and everybody left will be rich! GO REPUBLICANS!" --Yonah Ward-Grossman, comedian
In this latest move by the Republican leaders in Washington on the debt ceiling negotiations, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came up with the brainy idea of allowing President Obama to have the authority on his own to raise the debt ceiling in case Congress can't get an agreement done in time. Besides the fact that he's catching heck now from his own party and the Right Wingers in it for doing this, it's also blatantly a cowardly way to not really handle the situation, on the part of Congress, but to flip it to the Executive Branch so their "fingerprints" are all over whatever happens, instead, so that opposing party can blame him, later, for what happens. It's pitiful. This is just more in a long line of instances where Congress cedes yet more power to the Executive Branch, then later they complain that the Executive in office, whoever it is at the time, has or takes too much power and doesn't give them enough to do. This is no way to run a government. Or a country. Link: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/mcconnell-proposal-gives-obama-power-to-increase-debt-limit/; http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/fury-mcconnell-outlines-plan-obama-raise-debt-ceiling-204213811.html;_ylt=ApuwJXpL67V2AY7D5dJ2s3T59XQA;_ylu=X3oDMTN1YmtsbGtkBGNjb2RlA3ZzaGFyZWFnMnVwcmVzdARwa2cDYTYwZGVhMmEtYTVkNS0zZTZkLWEwNTktNGMxMzZmMzc3YjY5BHBvcwM5BHNlYwNuZXdzX2Zvcl95b3UEdmVyA2VjYjYxOWYwLWFjZmYtMTFlMC1iZjdiLTMxZjFhNmJlN2QzZg--;_ylg=X3oDMTJyZjRvZHM5BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDNDQyMjA3ODktNzQwNS0zNDJjLThiMWQtYmNkZjAwYTNhZmFmBHBzdGNhdANwb2xpdGljcwRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2U-;_ylv=3
One of the things the Republican leaders are fighting for right now in Washington for their corporate overlords, in the budget negotiations, is for corporations to keep tax incentives to take and keep manufacturing offshore. Yeah. Seriously. If President Obama and the Democrats take this away they call it "increasing taxes." It's crazy. Truly insane. If you totally ignored that we need the revenue, how about the fact that we need and want the jobs back here in the States, back here at home? Shouldn't that resonate with them? To go along with this (I've written on this before), there is a story out today on The Daily Ticker blog, reinforcing this: "America needs to get back to the basics of creating things of value and there is no better time than now, says Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors. 'There is a dawning awakening on the part of most Americans that we cannot maintain the wealth of the nation by being bond traders [and] lawyers,' he tells Aaron in the accompanying interview. 'At some point the country has to get back to work and create wealth through mining, agriculture or manufacturing.'" We need to ramp up and keep up pressure on Congress--and right now--to take away tax credits that take and keep manufacturing offshore. Nothing else makes sense. Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/bring-home-no-excuse-not-manufacuture-u-bob-130200387.html#more-id
From Yahoo! News and the Associated Press today comes word that all that heat across Kansas, specifically, here, down in Wichita, is wreaking havoc on poultry: Kan. poultry farm loses 4,300 turkeys in heat wave. "WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A heat wave that has pushed temperatures well over 100 degrees has killed tens of thousands of turkeys and chickens in Kansas and North Carolina and left farmers across the lower part of the country struggling to cool off their flocks. In North Carolina, about 50,000 chickens died at a farm after the power went off for less than an hour. In Kansas, one couple lost 4,300 turkeys that took 26 hours to bury. "It felt like a war zone. It felt like hell," turkey grower Holly Capron said. Temperatures in Kansas on Sunday reached 110 degrees, with a heat index of 118. It was 106 in the buildings near Columbus where Capron and her husband raise 22,000 turkeys for Butterball LLC. She said they've been running big fans and fog nozzles in their poultry buildings, and they've had a tractor pulling a spray wagon to water down the birds. They lost 140 birds on Saturday, but nothing prepared them for Sunday, when 4,300 died. After receiving approval from state regulators, the Caprons, their workers and friends began digging a massive hole — 60 feet long, 40 feet wide and 10 feet deep — to bury the nearly 50-pound birds. They started at 11 p.m. Sunday, and the last turkey was buried 26 hours later. The crew worked around the clock. No one slept. "It was literally overwhelming during the night," Capron said. "I honestly wanted to start crying. My husband was in shock." She blamed the deaths on a heat spike that hit about 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health confirmed that heat, not disease, caused the deaths, department spokeswoman Chelsea Good said. And sure, a cold front came through last evening and we're a bit cooler, sure, but the heat is supposed to return with somewhat of a vengeance within 2 days, maximum. It's supposed to be back up around 100 at least, for us, here in Kansas City. It could be hotter yet across Kansas and in Southern Kansas by this weekend.
As anyone who has ever read here knows (either of you), I am a big fan and listener of NPR and so, of course, of our local stations KCUR mostly, followed by KPR out of Lawrence and "The Bridge" out of Warrensburg. The thing is, this morning, on the way to work, I noticed KCUR experienced some "dead air" in the middle of a story. The sound, the radio had gone silent. As anyone who runs or listens to a radio station knows, if the station goes silent, they don't exist. It certainly kills your ability to know the entire story you were listening to. Then it happened again. And yet again. So I started counting. Between 7 am while I was at home, and 8:12 am, with just a little bit of time between the house and car, KCUR went dead eleven times--killing 11 stories for me/us this morning. I just wonder what went on over there today. Storm problems from last evening? Anyone know? KCUR?
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Americablog has a great question for our Congress today and that is, why does the Senate Chaplain make $150,000 per year and have staff making $129,000, $86,000 and $52,000 each per year? If you add just those figures up, that comes to nearly one half million dollars a year for four people--one office. The entire article is both brief AND good, I think. I'd like answers. More than that, I'd like to be the Senate Chaplain. Link: http://www.americablog.com/2011/07/why-does-senate-chaplain-make-150k-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Americablog+%28AMERICAblog%29
News out today shows that people here in the US--California, as one example--are apparently killing Sikhs under some bizarre and mistaken idea that they're Muslim--or something. Two men in in Elk Grove, California, a 78 year old man and his 67 year old friend, were shot and killed while taking a walk in their neighborhood. "The men had long beards and were wearing turbans, both traditional symbols of their religion. Police are investigating whether their killing was a hate crime." More: "Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Sikhs have reported a rise in bias attacks, both verbal and physical, against them. The backlash that hit Muslims across the country has expanded to include them and their faith as well, with some assuming the sight of a long beard and turbaned head can only mean one thing." I think we always thought of ourselves, we Americans, as a rather proud "melting pot" of open-mindedness, acceptance and tolerance. I hope we haven't lost that. And if we have lost that, I hope we can get it back. And quickly. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/post-9-11-sikhs-mistaken-targets-091708623.html
"“If you can look at a crime where everything points to one answer and not see it, you’re a dumbass. And if you can look at the deficit and not see that the problem is that the rich stopped paying taxes, you’re a Republican.” --Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher, HBO
First we--the US--dropped the little "information bomb" that we're pulling $800 million of aid to Pakistan and then, in the last 24 hours, we dropped a bunch of drones in on them and killed a reported 45 "militants". Look for things to get extremely unfriendly to the point of hot over there, in time to come, for sure. Put this with the information that, next door, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's brother was just killed and, I'll tell you, this corner of the world doesn't look promising at all. At all. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/us-drones-strikes-pakistan-aid-cut-051600543.html; http://news.yahoo.com/pakistans-ex-president-criticizes-loss-us-aid-011124876.html; http://news.yahoo.com/younger-brother-afghan-president-killed-074921005.html
President Obama warns today that failure to get these budget negotiations done and agreed on will keep Seniors in the country from getting their Social Security checks in August. Ouch. In the meantime, Senate Minority Leader Mitch "I'm in it for me" McConnell and House Majority Leader John "I don't have enough time to tan" Boehner are increasing their criticisms of the President. We should have seen this coming. Representative Boehner, however said the dumbest and most untrue thing of all, however, when he said the specter of the nation's credit default is "his problem", meaning President Obama's. To which I'd like to remind him that it absolutely is not. These clowns need to stop playing "chicken" or Russian roulette or whatever game they think they're playing with the nation--all of us out here---and our credit standing, the buffoons. Fortunately, there's this: "U.S. business leaders pressed Obama and congressional leaders to act swiftly to raise the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling -- which caps how much the United States can borrow -- or risk derailing a sputtering economic recovery and endangering the global financial system." I think this may likely mean that President Obama has them by their sensitive parts on this. Here's hoping. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-lawmakers-fall-short-debt-deal-045247357.html; http://news.yahoo.com/mcconnell-boehner-increase-criticism-obama-162345932.html
Out today, Forbes Magazines list of "The Next Big Boom Towns" list and guess what city--heck, cities--is NOT on the list. Hint: one calls itself a "Barbecue Capital of the World" and another has a giant arch in its downtown in a desperate attempt for tourism. Still no clue? Here's another hint: none of the 9 are in the MINK states (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska or Kansas). Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/113083/next-big-boom-towns-forbes
Monday, July 11, 2011
Granted, I don't listen to much country (country western?) music but I hear some, anyway, and have to say, the conclusion has to be made that some of these singers--some of the biggest moneymakers, too--just absolutely aren't "country". They're about as country as I am. The ones that come to mind are, first and foremost, Taylor Swift. Puh-leeze. She MAYBE put out a song that was country some time ago, at the beginning of her career---and I like her music and voice, don't get me wrong--but this very successful kid is just all pop, that's all there is to it. Keith Urban is number two on the list. Again, strictly pop. Who are we kidding here? Next up? Darius Rucker. Absolutely. These people are as "country" as Michael Buble'. Sure, we should have seen this coming, what with country music going mainstream but my point is, let's just call these people what they are and that is "pop singers," based on the "pop music" they put out. The pretending just kills me.
The bad news first: Italy may be going to hell in a debt handbasket right now, it's feared, so the EU is scrambling and people are freaking out a bit so naturally the 2nd wave--the double whammy, if you will--is that the markets are all down. The Dow is pretty close to 200 points down today at present. The good news? It wrecks the price of oil, fortunately and predictably. We can't support that high price of oil if not enough are buying. Links: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Stocks-sink-on-fresh-fears-apf-3537054013.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=; http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oil-drops-below-95-per-apf-3522845891.html;_ylt=AjawuDjIoyQ8mNdId8DG4cK7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1bzE5czZiBHBvcwM2BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawNvaWxkcm9wc3RvYmU-?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode=
The people in Washington--and the statehouses--don't, by and large, give a damn about running the country right or about doing what's for the best of the nation and its people, at all, clearly. One of the only things Americans agree on is that we're sick to death of Washington not working. It's all "my party" and "me" and "mine" and "whatever may be good for the corporation or group that's buying me off." It's political insanity, the American people are fed up with it and it's gone on far too long. It is what fostered the Tea Party and Libertarians before them, I believe. It's across the board, too. Too many Americans see their representatives in government taking care of themselves, first, with "political contributions" and their own free health care and pensions from us, the voters and citizens of the country, then they take care of the goals of their own political party, second, and it stops there. We're witnessing it right now with the budget and negotiations. No one--with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders (Sen., Ind., Vt.), in my opinion--is putting the country first when considering legislation or actions they can and should be taking. We need statesmen and -women and principled leaders in our government and we're not getting them. It's selfish. It's stupid. It's short-sighted and too frequently even mean-spirited, as we've seen. It has become, I believe, dangerous for the country and it ought to stop. It doesn't look as though it will but it needs to stop. And it needs to stop very, very soon. It won't, apparently, but it should. Here's hoping.
There is a law proposed in Australia at present that is reputedly the toughest in the world on Muslim women regarding the burqa: 'World's toughest burqa laws' draw fire. A new Australian bill targeting Muslim women is slammed for being 'culturally insensitive.' CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Muslim women would have to remove veils and show their faces to police on request or risk a prison sentence under proposed new laws in Australia's most populous state that have drawn criticism as culturally insensitive. On the one hand, most of the world is all about freedom of expression and tolerance, sure. The flip side to this is that too many Muslims around the world have strapped bombs on themselves and killed and maimed many thousands of people over time. We don't even understand their religion, let alone this burqa need--which I am not here mocking, so I'm clear--while they certainly don't understand a) our concerns and b) our distrust of and for them, their religion and the ability to commit suicide AND kill and maim people simultaneously. Easy prediction? I don't look for this to go well. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/australian-law-muslims-lift-veils-050625536.html
Surprising, at least, news out this weekend for our Chiefs football team: NFL player quits for surprising reason. "Mike Vrabel, who won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, was expected to start for the Chiefs this fall. Vrabel's retirement won't come as a surprise to anyone with an eye on the buzz out of Columbus last week. Still, it might seem rather abrupt to his current employers, the Kansas City Chiefs, who (as of Sunday morning) still list him as a starter at outside linebacker and apparently expected him to return for his 15th NFL season this fall — you know, if there is an NFL season this fall. Vrabel has spent the past two years in K.C. after eight wildly successful seasons in New England, where he was one of the cornerstones of the Patriot teams that took three Super Bowl titles in four years from 2001-04 and delivered the most dominant campaign in league history in 2007 prior to being upset by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. " Will it kill us? Doubtful but no one likes surprises. Link: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/Mike-Vrabel-hangs-up-NFL-cleats-for-gig-at-his-o?urn=ncaaf-wp3448
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Heads up, kids, there was a report on NPR today that pointed out two things about traffic and transportation in cities. First, "The study looked at the largest metropolitan cities in the U.S. and found that widening and building more roads actually creates more traffic." And then, the second that pretty much kills the idea of building mass transit: "Turner's study took into account public transportation, but a city's amount of public transportation didn't make a dent in congestion problems. 'As you increased a city's stock of light rail or bus cars, that there's no impact on the amount of driving,' Turner says. Although that may sound surprising, he says, it's a logically consistent with the study's data on driving. 'As you add roads to a city those roads get filled up. There are people waiting to use that capacity. The result on transit is almost exactly the opposite of that.' Ultimately, Turner's research has shown that the only way to deal with congestion is to follow the lead of countries such as London, Singapore and Stockholm, which have incorporated congestion pricing into their city infrastructures. Turner says Stockholm, specifically, has seen a 50 percent reduction in travel time at peak times because of tolls. So someone please notify that chucklehead back East (I don't want to give him any more attention here or anywhere else) and let him know we absolutely don't need or want his "assistance" any further, thanks very much.
Friday, July 8, 2011
"...could the full force of a depression be delayed with a combination of yet more debt and spending? Governments around the world are betting that it can. But they are also hedging their bets by preparing and implementing austerity measures as it must be obvious, even to them, that the historically unprecedented expansion of state spending and debt cannot go on for ever if capitalism is to survive. Keynes himself famously ignored this problem. 'In the long run, we’re all dead,' he said. Over the next decade, we’ll discover what happens in the ‘long run’. The probability is that previously taken-for-granted entitlements (to education, jobs, retirement, health care, an income during periods of illness, joblessness or disability, and so on) and standards of living will end. There will be continuing struggles both within the capitalist class and between the capitalist and working classes over who is to bear the brunt of the losses. The hegemony of the United States may be challenged in the not too distant future, with potentially catastrophic consequences: bear in mind that it took a world war to completely end the last truly major depression. And the depression, if not rescued by a major war, could be deeply exacerbated by the falling off of cheap and easy oil and energy supplies and the possibility of ecological catastrophe." --Stuart Wilkins; Link: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/jul11/is_the_crisis_over.html#top
First, President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney trounced international law by pre-emptively and unilaterally attacking Iraq for their 2nd Iraq War, against both popular opinion and, far worse, international law. We've been paying for that with soldiers lives, American prestige and money and materiel ever since. Next, there were "reports that the Obama administration had flown a Somali man accused of ties to terrorism to New York to face prosecution after holding and interrogating him at sea for more than two months." Yeehaw. At least we're consistent, huh? Now, finally today, anyway we find that Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas "has executed a Mexican national for the kidnapping and rape of a 16-year-old San Antonio girl. Humberto Leal Garcia, 38, was put to death less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-to-4 vote, rejected pleas from the Obama administration for a delay to avoid what it called serious international repercussions." Here's where the problems come in regarding international law: "Texas authorities failed to inform him of his right to speak with officers from the Mexican consulate and failed to inform the consulate that a Mexican national had been arrested. Both of those failures violated a 1963 treaty signed by the U.S. Indeed, the consular access provision was added to the treaty at the insistence of the United States." But now, here's the tricky part, at least for the US--while we repeatedly trounce international law as shown by these 3 instances and more, regarding this last one, the US actually likes to use this treaty for its own citizens. Background: "The U.S. relies on the treaty to secure legal help and often to win release of Americans imprisoned abroad, some in countries such as Iran, Libya and Syria. Last year alone the U.S. invoked the treaty for 3,500 Americans imprisoned in other countries." So we like to invoke this law for our own citizens but for people of other countries and their governments, we figure "screw you guys, we're going our own way on this." If we were in school, the US would get a checkmark in the "Doesn't get along with others" column, at least. Can you say "blatant hypocrisy"? Trouble is, executing this Mexican National last evening was good for Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential run that isn't even official yet. So one Humberto Leal Garcia died last night so Rick Perry could be shown as tough on crime and help his popularity. Yahoo, huh? Isn't that just terrific? I wonder what international laws we'll disregard next. And some people wonder why we have a not-so-great-name and reputation in some parts of the world. Links: http://www.representativepress.org/ViolatingInternationalLaw.html; http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/cra0868.htm; http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/u.s.-may-have-violated-domestic-and-international-law-capturing-and-holding-somali-months-sea; http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/texas-executes-mexican-national-after-supr; http://news.yahoo.com/texas-executes-mexican-court-stay-rejected-233305430.html; http://news.yahoo.com/un-official-us-execution-leal-broke-intl-law-160400028.html
If there isn't a budget agreement in Washington from Congress and we don't raise the debt limit and nationally default on our debt, let's be clear here, it will have been the Republican leadership's fault in Washington and theirs alone. I don't think it will happen but if it does, all damage to the country, the nation's economy and the world economies will lie at their feet, singularly and solely. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/us/05deficit.html
Thursday, July 7, 2011
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Now THAT'S funny. He was quoted as saying “Healthy, vibrant communities are the result of governments and citizens working together.” That's rich, coming from the guy who was Mr. "It's My Way or the Highway" and Mr. "I Don't Get Along with Anyone." Add to it that he was the guy that lost so much money for the city he was supposed to be leading, just because of the lawsuits against that same city because of either his mouth or his wife's. That is some think tank, you think? How would you like to rely on THEM for good, valuable information? Link: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2011/07/07/funkhouser-leads-governing-institute.html
To all Catholics in the St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese, I ask you, at what point are you going to all truly stand up, speak out and say "Enough!" Word out this week that there is yet a third computer with pictures on it of young children, apparently taken and owned by Father Shawn Ratigan. The first was in St. Joseph, the 2nd here in Kansas City and this last one is in Independence. Then, two days ago comes word that another, different priest was removed from his post (there's a shocker, they're taking action) because of alleged sexual abuse back in the 70's, up in St. Joseph. Really, at what point are you Catholics going to truly and absolutely going to follow SNAP's lead (Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests) and hold these people accountable? Publicly declare that this is no longer acceptable--not that it ever should have been--and withhold your weekly donation to the church and do all you can so your children are protected first instead of the clergy hierarchy. Enough, already! Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/05/2996533/inquiry-of-priest-yields-more.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/05/2996391/priest-removed-from-duties-over.html; www.snapnetwork.org/
As a reminder, Trader Joe's opens here in town July 15. As a help, I thought I'd post this link I saw today on "The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe's". Can you tell I'm eager and looking forward to this? Link: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/the-best-and-worst-products-at-trader-joes-2504125/
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
"...the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no. The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it. The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor." --David Brooks, Columnist, Writer, etc., The New York Times. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212
"Washington is 67 square miles, about as high as the Washington monument, and surrounded on all sides by reality." --the late San Francisco humor writer Arthur Hoppe
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
From Joe Scarborough: "The first of these truths is that Washington always wins. Always. The federal government always gets bigger. The second time-tested truth of Washington is that policymakers skew the rules to ensure Wall Street always wins. ... Wall Street stands stronger than ever, three years after bringing America to the brink of financial collapse. The third ugly truth is that the city’s political gears are always greased for war. The most recent Republican administration showed an unnerving propensity for war, and the current Democratic White House has expanded troop levels, increased the Pentagon budget and made larger the percentage of the U.S. economy being spent on weapons systems and hot wars." Link: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/get_out_of_afghanistan_20110630/
"If..." President Obama's..."troop to al Qaeda militant ratio in Afghanistan had been employed during World War II in fighting Germany and Japan, the United States would have deployed 3.5 billion military personnel abroad..." --Bruce Fein, Author, 'American Empire: Before the Fall". Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-fein/president-obamas-politica_b_889539.html
Yes, you read correctly. KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce is rated one of the best sauces in the nation for taste by Consumer Reports magazine (http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/635/the-best-bbq-sauces/). Apparently they couldn't get across town to Bryant's.
There is an article out last week by John Stossel over at reason.com (that name cracks me up) titled "How libertarianism can fix what's wrong with America." In it, he writes on a new book out by Reason magazine Editor Matt Welch and Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie: The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America. Sorry to rain on anyone's parade but this just isn't going to ever happen. Ever. The reason why Libertarianism can't "fix what's wrong with America" is because Libertarians can't decide and agree on--and never will--how small "small government" is supposed to be. Some will say no government at all. Others will say "only this much." Still others will say, "Well, we've got to add this." Get, say, a dozen Libertarians in a room and ask them how much government we should have. They'll never agree. Then, imagine thousands of them, collectively, at, say, a national convention. Fights would soon break out, I feel certain. They can never be a cohesive group because they'll never be able to decide the size of government and what its functions are to be. It'll never happen. Stossel writes "The big change they see stems from independents' refusal to be absorbed by any party." This "refusal to be absorbed" is more an indication of our own national fracturing and splintering, not evidence that we're coming together--or going to--to fix our problems. I say again, the way to "fix America" is to get the wealthy people's and corporation's money out of our government. We have to get them to stop legally buying our representatives and so, our legislation and government. If we can't or don't do that, nothing will change and we are doomed to failure, as a nation. And trust me, usually I'm an optimist. Links: http://reason.com/archives/2011/06/30/a-new-day-in-politics; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1586489380/reasonmagazineA/
Monday, July 4, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Two pretty big items this weekend (with links below): Now it's Exxon-Mobil, ruining Yellowstone National Park, after BP screwed up the Gulf and second, we, the US, now have American soldiers on the ground in Somalia (that's HOW MANY wars?) and we're sending in drones. Happy 4th, everyone. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/teams-gauge-exxon-oil-spill-damage-mont-river-152649789.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/world/africa/02somalia.html; http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=Aud023eNfdsgxjNUTY1vg1ybvZx4?p=somalia+drones&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-701; http://news.yahoo.com/american-boots-hit-ground-somalia-drone-attacks-170751348.html
Saturday, July 2, 2011
News out yesterday is that one Bishop Daniel Walsh, of California, resigned his post after being embroiled in two Catholic Church sex abuse cases, according to the Vatican: Calif. bishop quits amid abuse cases. With any luck, hopefully Bishop Finn will take this as an example of what he ought to do for this diocese---and himself, for that matter. Link: http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-01/news/29726954_1_abuse-cases-bishop-daniel-walsh-resignation
Friday, July 1, 2011
The NFL is fighting between the owners and the players over who can keep a bigger piece of the football pie. The NBA is about to shut down, it appears, and quite possibly for the entire season. Now Minnesota's government has shut down, for the Independence Day holiday, at least. The Republican leadership in Congress is coming close to shutting down the country--and putting the world's economy in a tailspin--by not raising the debt ceiling for the country just so they can continue to hand out tax cuts for the wealthiest of us and tax subsidies for "Big Oil", etc., etc. It just leads you to ask: does anything work in this country any more? Are we all just greedheads? Can we not all work together? Can we not compromise? Are we not all, in the end, just Americans? Can we not work together for a greater good for the country? It surely doesn't look that way. Links: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_nba_lockout_players_063011; http://news.yahoo.com/noticeable-casualties-minn-shutdown-074321209.html; http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/F490YD/UU8SCS/X0GXOU/WYW5VQ/Y9LD3/50/h; http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/the-minnesota-shutdown-the-nba-and-the-death-of-compromise/2011/07/01/AGeV6ntH_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
Well, good morning and welcome to the annual, very unpatriotic Independence Day screwing we always get from Corporate Amerika and the gas stations, coast to coast. As I went to work today, I noticed gasoline jumped at least approximately 15 cents--from $3.27 per gallon yesterday (when I filled up, thank goodness) to today's cost (on the East side of town, anyway) of $3.42 a gallon. Thank you, Quik Trip, et. al and happy 4th of July to you, too. Doesn't it seem as though some representative in government should propose a law making this annual holiday gouging illegal? And not just on our national patriotic holiday but Thanksgiving, Christmas, all of them? Does it seem right they can get away with this? It sure doesn't to me. And it particularly doesn't on the day we celebrate the country's birth, the opportunistic, exploitative bastards. (To borrow a phrase from another local blogger, "You kids get off my lawn!").