Don’s family has set up a fund in lieu of flowers. If you’d like to donate:
The Don Harman Memorial Fund Benefiting local Kansas City Charities, c/o Tightwad Bank, 1160 SE Highway 7, Tightwad, Missouri 64735. ""I never ran into anyone around town who didn't smile when they heard his name..." --Mike Thompson, Chief Meteorologist at Fox 4 TV Station.
Links: http://fox4kc.com/2011/11/30/fox-4-statement-on-the-passing-of-don-harman/; http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/local_news/wdaf-fox-4-news-meteorologist-don-harman-passes-away#ixzz1fEnkgbls
"So Britain has closed its Iranian embassy and Germany and France recalled their ambassadors to Iran. So I guess we'll be havin' another war." --Eric Bowers, photographer and friend, today, on Facebook. I fear he's right.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." --Winston Churchill. Links: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/winston_churchill_4.html#ixzz1fDINcWg9; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_churchill
I can hardly believe what I'm reading but both Senators Roy Blunt AND Claire McCaskill voted today in the Senate to authorize the indefinite suspension of habeus corpus. I am so disgusted at this news--and at both of them--I can hardly speak. For a refresher, habeus corpus is Latin for "you may have the body". In the law, it "is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention... It has historically been an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action. It is a writ requiring a person to be brought before a judge." The writ oh habeus corpus has long been a strong underpinning of our judicial system so people would not be held indefinitely, without being charged with some crime so they could defend themselves. That these two--and 59 other--senators would vote in favor of maintaining this is, I think, unconscionable. Fortunately, regardless of the outcome in Congress, President Obama has vowed to veto it. Here's hoping it fails completely, utterly, as it should. It should be pointed out that habeus corpus was first done away with, to set this up, in the George W. Bush administration, no surprise, what with their paranoia and disregard for the Constitution. Links: http://wearechangetv.us/2011/11/61-senators-betrayed-you-today-they-authorized-the-indefinite-suspension-of-habeus-corpus/#ixzz1fDOeH9Wg; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/senate-votes-to-let-military-detain-americans-indefinitely_n_1119473.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeus_corpus
Have you noticed? The new thing now, locally, if not nationally, is for the news anchor at the local TV stations to stand there, reading you the news with an iPad in their hands. They don't look down at them and they don't use them to control the set or what we're watching, they just hold them as they read. I think it must be their way of adding gravitas or a level of "seriousness", as mentioned above, or some such. Any ideas why they have them out there?
''What exactly was this? I can't control what people thought this was. I can only tell intentions. This was not to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.'' —Jon Stewart, in his closing remarks at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
The United Nations has proclaimed “Getting to Zero” as the campaign theme of World AIDS Day 2011. To mark the occasion, the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City will host two public events. The first event is a Community Luncheon on Thursday, December 1, 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Missouri. Limited seats remain at the Luncheon and Reservations are required to attend. To inquire on remaining seats, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-931-0959. The second event is a World AIDS Day Reception at the Burstert Studio, 122 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri from 5:30 pm to 7:30 p.m. A donation of $50 at the door is requested. You may purchase tickets to the Reception on event night at the door.
More than 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. In Kansas City alone over 5,700 people living with HIV/AIDS — 700 of them young people between the ages 13 and 24. Financial support of the World AIDS Day events will help provide prevention, treatment, shelter and the message of empowerment for those that need it most in Kansas City. Link: http://www.asfkc.org/
Yes, you saw it right. Des Moines, Iowa and Lincoln, Nebraska got some more ammunition for the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the last 24 hours. Parents Magazine rated 150 cities in the nation and decided Des Moines is 6th healthiest: It's easy to live in this Midwestern town, which happens to be the home of Meredith Corporation, publisher of Parents. You can drive from the 'burbs to downtown in less than 20 minutes -- even during rush hour. The city also offers free yoga classes at some public parks, daily recess for all elementary-school students, 40 miles of fitness trails, and enclosed downtown skywalks so families can keep active even in bad weather. Lincoln came in at 10: It's gone green. Through its "Cleaner Greener" program, Lincoln installed 13 hybrid buses, maintained 130,000 neighborhood trees, and is close to having a park within a half mile of every house in the city. That's on top of the excellent air and water quality; Lincoln didn't exceed the ozone or particle pollution levels on any day in 2010. And families can feel safe while being outdoors on the city's 128 miles of trails. The crime rate is low and the average commute in town is 17 minutes, so you have more time to spend with the kids. Even with our new Kauffman Arts Center, I just don't think we'll hit the top 10 next year, either. At least, not with that pesky more-than-100-persons-killed ranking we have this year. Last notes: San Francisco was number one, Kansas City didn't even make it in the top 35 though Overland Park--of all places--made it in at 26. Finally, St. Louis was number 11, though. St. Louis? A "healthiest city"? That shocks me. So it goes. Link: http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/the-10-healthiest-cities-for-families-2583271.html
The consulting group Mercer took a survey of the "Top 10 Cities in Qualty of Life" and not one is in the United States. "Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public health service make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey which put Baghdad firmly in last place. German and Swiss cities also performed especially well in the quality of living rankings, with Zurich, Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva and Bern in the top 10." Let's see--excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public health service. Well, naturally, if you look at THOSE things, American cities will never rank well.
Lesson, anyone? Link: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/survey-says-the-best-place-to-live-is---.html
Sympaties and best wishes go out to the family and friends. Links: http://fox4kc.com/2011/11/30/fox-4-statement-on-the-passing-of-don-harman/;http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/30/3294132/fox-4s-don-harman-dead-at-41.html; http://fox4kc.com/2011/11/30/fox-4-statement-on-the-passing-of-don-harman/
There's a sports website, Rivals.com, with a listing out right now, of where they predict all the different college teams will likely end up in the football bowls this year. As said above, they predict Missouri will go to the Pinstripe Bowl, December 30th in New York against Rutgers. They also predict Iowa will go to the Texas Bowl against Texas A & M (Dec. 31, Houston), Nebraska will go to the Capitol One Bowl against South Carolina (Jan 2, Orlando) and Kansas State to the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas (Jan. 6, Arlington, TX). I knew the football and sports fans would want to know. Links: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1300258; http://web.pinstripebowl.com/index; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinstripe_Bowl
From their site (link below): KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - "On chilly mornings, some people take to leaving their car running while they go back inside their warm house. Others, though, avoid leaving their car unattended for fear of having it stolen." Excuse me? "Take to leaving"? Seriously? Did you go to journalism school? How about "some people leave their car running..." Is this what we have to expect from local media? How far do we fall from here? We need expectations of our local print and visual media. I mean, come on, this is the easy stuff. and if the writer doesn't catch it, do they have editors at television station news offices? Sure, we have bigger problems in the world but this is your job. Yikes. Link: http://www.kctv5.com/story/16148040/victim-gets-shot-while-trying-to-fight-off-carjacker
There is a report out today from The Washington Post, telling how, since President Obama has been so successful raising campaign cash last time and so far, in this campaign, that the Republicans are--naturally--trying to end the public funding system completely. Well, sure. Ending the public finance system for our elections fits their needs and wants. It that much more likely that the wealthy people and corporations, with all their lobbyists and money, will further their ugly, corrosive hold on American politics, campaigns, elections and so, our government. It's stupid and irresponsible. The only way the American people will get their government back is when we do away with "campaign contributions." Until we do, our legislators will be guided by who gives them money and the more for them, the better for them but the worst for our political system and government. Until we do away with these bribes known as campaign contributions, our legislators, their legislation and so, our government will be owned by the rich and corporations. They won't legislate for the country. They will legislate for their "sponsors". It's got to end. We have to stop this. We must demand an end by going to a wholly government-funded campaign system. Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-white-house-candidates-abandon-public-funding-republicans-look-to-end-system/2011/11/28/gIQA5doM6N_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop
Hoorah for Senator McCaskill. She's going after "earmarks" in Congress again. This out today: Toomey, McCaskill to call for permanent earmark banSens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) will announce their proposal Wednesday morning at a Capitol news conference. The move comes one year after McCaskill and then-Sen.-elect Toomey penned a joint USA Today op-ed supporting a temporary moratorium on earmarks. For a definition: "an earmark is a legislative (especially congressional) provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees." The really bad thing about earmarks is that they are so "under the radar" and virtually unaccountable to the legislation process. With all the over-spending we have and debt, this makes far too much sense and is long overdue. Links: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/toomey-mccaskill-to-call-for-permanent-earmark-ban/2011/11/29/gIQAlZAu8N_blog.html;
"But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency." --Barney Frank, member, US House of Represnetatives, (D-Mass). Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/barney_frank.html#ixzz1f3s6rN8N
The next item on Congress' agenda is the fact that they still need to do a debt deal since their "super committee" was anything but. We're supposed to have cuts of at least $1.2 trillion in the next 10 years. It is also supposed to be in place to begin in 2013. As of yesterday, "Fitch Ratings gave the United States until 2013 to come up with a "credible plan" to tackle its ballooning budget deficit before it downgrades the country's coveted AAA rating." So this needs to happen and Congress better make it happen. No political party should use this by not letting a compromise take place, just so their candidates can more likely win. We've had inaction and logjams and an inability to compromise from these people far too long. Congress--we need you to do your job. Get to it. Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fitch-revises-u-rating-outlook-212857042.html
The website 24/7 Wall Street has analyzed all 50 states "on financial health, standard of living and government services by state to determine how well each state is managed. While Wyoming comes out at number one, for best-run and California--no surprise here--comes out in last place at 50, what's maybe most noteworthy in the list is that neighbor Nebraska is 2nd best: "The state has the fourth lowest debt per capita, and it is one of 13 states with a perfect AAA credit rating. Besides being financially sound, Nebraska also has an unemployment rate of 4.2%, the second lowest rate in the country. The state also has relatively low poverty, high graduation rates and the seventh lowest rate of foreclosures last month." Heads up, Missouri--maybe we can learn things here. Other mentions are that there are plenty of midwest states in the top group, too, with North Dakota at 3, Minnesota, 4 and--again--next-door neighbor Iowa at 5. Kansas came in at a very respectable number 9. Good on you, Jayhawks. Mizzou? Well, not bad but you're at 20. At least you're more than in the top 1/2. The highlights on Missouri: "Missouri has moved up five spots from last year’s rank of 24 partly because its unemployment rate has decreased from 9.3% to 8.7%. The state also boasts a AAA credit rating from S&P thanks to state efforts to fund its debts.
Yeehaw for us midwesterners, eh? "Flyover country" has good things going for it after all. Link: http://247wallst.com/2011/11/28/best-and-worst-run-states-in-america-an-analysis-of-all-50/
"For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling.
That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages.
Back in 1914, Henry Ford announced he was paying workers on his Model T assembly line $5 a day – three times what the typical factory employee earned at the time. The Wall Street Journal termed his action “an economic crime.”
But Ford knew it was a cunning business move. The higher wage turned Ford’s auto workers into customers who could afford to buy Model T’s. In two years Ford’s profits more than doubled.
That was then. Now, Ford Motor Company is paying its new hires half what it paid new employees a few years ago.
The basic bargain is over – not only at Ford but all over the American economy.
A basic bargain was once at the heart of the American economy. It recognized that average workers are also consumers and that their paychecks keep the economy going.
We can’t have a healthy economy until that bargain is restored."
--Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, writer, columnist. Link: http://robertreich.org/post/13469691304
Think again: US health care statistics according to a just-released study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD):
--We rank 29th--out of a total of 34 nations examined--in the number of hospital beds per person and 29th in the average length of a stay in the hospital.
--We have high rates of avoidable hospital admissions for people with asthma, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension and other common illnesses.
--We rank 26th--again, out of 34 nations--in the number of physicians, especially primary care or family doctors, per 1,000 people.
--In life expectancy, we rank 28th, just behind Chile. The average age of death in the U.S. is 78.2, well below the average of 79.5 years in the other OCED countries.
--We now rank last out of 16 countries in the Commonwealth Fund study when it comes to deaths that could have been prevented by timely and effective medical care.
--A big reason for the dismal results is the fact that more and more Americans are falling into the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured. As of last year, according to the Commonwealth Fund, 81 million adults in the U.S.--44 percent of all adults under age 65--were either uninsured or underinsured at some point during the year, up from 61 million as recently as 2003.
--The US spends two and a half times more on health care per peson than the OECD average. We spend more than twice as much as France, which many experts contend has one of the best health care systems on the planet. The average cost per person in the US is $7,960, a third more than Norway--the 2nd highest in cost. The OECD average, by comparison is just $3,233 (it is $3,873 in France).
--Hospital spending is 60 percent higher than the average of five other relatively expensive countries (Switzerland, Canada, Germany, France and Japan); spending on pharmaceuticals and medical goods is much higher here than any of the other countries; and administrative costs are more than two-and-a-half times the average of the others. Conclusion? Don't let any lawmaker or industry shill tell you we have the best health care system--or health care, for that matter, in the world. We just don't. We pay more than any other nation, by a long shot, and we get less results. We need to change this. Links: http://www.oecd.org/document/30/0,3746,en_2649_37407_12968734_1_1_1_37407,00.html; http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/does-us-have-worlds-best-health-care-system-yes-if-youre-talking-about-third-world
From The Star, yesterday: Kansas fires Turner Gill, begins search for new football coachUniversity is willing to pay the $6 million price to move on as it seeks respectability I guess I'd even lower myself to being a former Kansas City, Missouri School District Superintendent and take, oh, I don't know, even as low as $250,000.00 to walk away. But I'll hold out a little while, for the first one. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/27/3289732/ku-fires-turner-gill-begins-search.html
Great news this Monday morning--Shawnee Mission East High School has announced it will not require Emma Sullivan to apologize to Kansas Governor Brownback for her Twitter tweet last week in which she said he "sucks." Good call, East. Hopefully this directive was from the Topeka Capitol itself. This should now just go away. It was unfortunate and silly to the point of nearly stupid. Governor Brownback to a huge, negative public opinion beating for it, too, for good or ill, depending on your stance and/or political party. The great thing is that the Governor apologized. The bad news is that he made his staff the scapegoats on the matter. From The Star: "In a statement issued by his office, Brownback offered his own apology, saying his staff had 'over-reacted' to the tweet. 'Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,' the statement says. “I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction.'” That rather stunk. He should have just said "I apologize," period, and left it at that but whatever. The Guv should now "lay low" for a few weeks--until Christmas, I'd say--and then come out with some magnanimous declaration or something about that holiday. Between being the only governor in the nation to kill his state's arts commission and now this--seemingly against First Amendment Rights of Free Speech--he needs a "win." Good luck on that one. Link: http://pvpost.com/2011/11/28/shawnee-mission-district-issues-response-to-sullivan-tweet-situation-says-it-wont-take-action-on-matter-7800; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/28/3290553/kansas-teen-not-required-to-issue.html
I hope someone down at The Star is--or will be--following arts funding from the private sector in Kansas, since very conservative, Republican Governor Sam Brownback very famously--infamously?--killed the Arts Commission in the state. It would be very informative on the local, Kansas, turf but also on a more national scale, too. If the Governor is right about this and the arts thrive without state and federal support, terrific. Let's let him have his "win." If, on the other hand, the arts funding and so, the arts, in Kansas decreases and suffers with his move, we should know and see that, too. For instance, there is this: The Kansas Arts Commission "...still exists, but it has no budget or staff. The foundation started by Brownback has yet to divulge how much money has been raised. The governor pledged to donate a portion of money left over from the inaugural celebration to the foundation, but the fledgling organization doesn't appear to have distributed any money." That alone would be good to know but there are bigger questions here, too, like the role of government in the arts, etc. It would make for a story Kansans should know and that would serve the Star's readers--and the Star--very well. How 'bout it, Star? Link: http://cjonline.com/news/2011-08-24/brownback-arts-reform-ends-13m-grants
Governor, rescind any request--whether from your office or not--for Shawnee Mission East High School student Emma Williams to apologize to you and/or your office for what you apparently perceived as her slight with her "tweet" last week. Should she have shown more respect for you or the office of Kansas Governor? Sure, that could be argued. Does this student have and deserve protection under the First Amendment of our Constitution, the one that guards our Free Speech rights? You bet she does. Besides that very important point, you also look extremely petty and even foolish--you are taking a public relations beating for it, at least nationwide, if not, as I've learned, internationally. Even the State of Kansas has taken some hits because of this. Governor, for your own benefit, let this lie--let this die a quiet, ignominious death. Contact that same Shawnee Mission East High School principal you had contacted last week and tell her to let this go. It's for your own good as well as for Free Speech and the First Amendment. Do yourself the favor, Governor. The sooner it goes away for everyone, the better. You'll be glad you did. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/teen-tweeter-wont-apologize-kan-governor-230737888.html
One was from right here in Missouri: Mo. student gives more details on arrest in Cairo"It was the most frightening experience of my life, I believe," Derrik Sweeney said.
Speaking to The Associated Press by Skype from Jefferson City, Mo., Sweeney said the evening of Nov. 20 started peacefully in Cairo, with Tahrir Square "abuzz with ideas of democracy and freedom."
Who knew? Link: http://news.yahoo.com/mo-student-gives-more-details-arrest-cairo-204345883.html
Here's a thought: let's outlaw war. It's been thought of, down through history, yet to date, it hasn't held. The Romans, I believe, considered it, in their Senate, all those centuries ago. There's a terrific, brief article on doing just this right now at Alternet. It tells of the history in this country of pushing for it, back in 1928 with the Kellog-Briand pact in our own government. It had been pushed for by the people as these things usually have to be, and passed in our government. It's still on the books, for that matter. There is a new book out about it (When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson). I've thought for a long time that this is what President Obama needs to come out for. Coming from him--a Constitutional lawyer, and both the president of the United States AND the first black president of the nation--I think it could and would carry a lot of extra weight and extra strength. Given the way the world economies are going and the fact that we're all so intertwined, at least economically and ecologically, it makes so much sense. With our own national economy at least down drastically (the worst recession in 80 years, since the last, "Great Depression") and the European nations and economy imperiled and China's economy at least questionable, I think the beginning of President Obama's second term would be an excellent time for him to call on the leaders of all others nations to declare war as, hopefully illegal, if not just "not an option" so we don't fall into the same human trap we seem to repeatedly find ourselves in. That is, sending our young people off to kill each other, all because our economies fail. Now is the time.
It seems like a brilliant, if obvious, thing to do and call for. Again and again, it seems far too many people assume the world is going to war soon, all because our economies are failing. Even with conventional weapons, war makes no sense and is just far too stupid, let alone destructive. When you consider some people and nations think the use of nuclear weapons are at least a viable option, if not also that they're a "good" option, it makes outlawing war internationally that much more logical, reasonable and sensible. As people on this planet, again, all intertwined in so many ways, it seems to make sense to make a pact, once and for all, for all our futures and all of humankind so we don't fall back on the one ignorant, destructive "option" that is war. Because it really isn't an option. Not anymore. Links: http://www.alternet.org/story/153153/when_the_world_outlawed_war%3A_an_interview_with_david_swanson/; http://davidswanson.org/outlawry; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kellogg_briand_pact
This is good, coming from me, who is bucking this whole holiday thing, all I can. It was just nearly 70 degrees. I'm just not ready for this. So it goes. Next year, it will be the same thing. Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.
Jen, over at her "Plaza Jen" blog mentioned this briefly in her blog last week and that was great but it seems it got somewhat overlooked, I think. Kansas City and our Sprint Center got some great national (at least) coverage on NPR. Yet more great coverage and some kudos to the city from another nationwide media outlet--and it was done by our own Laura Spencer, too, from KCUR 89.3 FM. Do we have problems? Certainly. What city doesn't? Do we have some things to be proud of and enjoy? You bet. Links: http://plazajen.com/blog/?p=2420&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kansas-city-a-love-letter;
I love this. Kansas Governor Sam "I'm a baby" Brownback is getting national coverage now for "tattling"--their word--on the student from Shawnee Mission High School who tweeted about him from school earlier this week: Kansas governor tattles on teen's rude tweet"The governor of Kansas faced an online trashing Friday for tattling on a teenaged girl who sent out a critical tweet during a visit to the state capitol." A huge irony in it, to me, is that Brownback "said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it... and now he had to do damage control." The fact is, if the Guv hadn't said or done anything about this, the story wouldn't have the "legs" it does today--no one would be writing or talking about it, the git. Unfortunately, according to the article, the school's administrators are going to waste yet more time on this Monday, too, when school reopens. Check out this quote from a spokesperson for the school: "Students may express their personal beliefs, views, and opinions, as long as they do so appropriately and in accordance with school policies." That's like saying students can say anything they want and have free speech in America--or Kansas--as long as they don't say certain things, as long as they are censored. All I can say now is, enjoy your ignominious fame, Sam, you short-sighted, free-speech-hating old Scrooge. Besides hating the arts, we now know you for hating the First Amendment of the Constitution, too. You gave this young lady and student, as well as your constituents quite an education on all these issues and how you stand on them now, huh? You pea-brain. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/kansas-governor-tattles-teens-rude-tweet-232036307.html: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/26/1039899/-Gov-Sam-Brownbacks-staff-demands-apology-from-high-school-girl-who-correctly-noted-that-he-sucks?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29; If you'd like to support the student--on Facebook--go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emma-Sullivan/143932555713090
How cool is that? The LA Times now did an article on our Kauffman Center: "Today, Kansas City's known more for its tailgating and its barbecue. But perhaps it will now be known for something more — the $413-million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a much-celebrated set of massive, steel-jacketed clamshells that resemble a pair of sonic booms whose motion has been arrested and encased in cement." Thanks again, Kauffmans! Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-kansas-city-20111126,0,872770.story
Of all the flash mobs that happen, it seems to me that the one that should happen again and again, year after year is either people performing Handel's Messiah, year after year, at different locations, like this:
or they should do Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from his 9th Symphony--or both. People could do these forever, year after year, and no one would get tired of them, unlike everything else that's done. Just a thought. A hopeful thought.
Of all the things I enjoy about this city--the arts, the people, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the new Bloch Gallery, the Kemper Museum of Contepmorary Art, the Country Club Plaza, Loose Park, Mill Creek Park, the symphony, the new Kauffman Center, some of the restaurants (like Carmen's in Brookside with their bisteca modiga and all the tapas at La Bodega, etc., etc) and Union Station and Liberty Memorial and plenty of the architecture, one of the things I love the most is the sound of the lonesome train whistle. You can hear it from the Plaza to Midtown , of course, to downtown and out to Waldo and even in suburban Lee's Summit. It's outstanding. I love that we're a river town and always have been but you can only hear that we're a train town--or city. It's great. It pierces the night. And morning. That lonesome wail. You either get it--and like it--or you don't. Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.
News today from the Washington Post: Water-pump failure in Illinois wasn't cyberattack after allLink: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/water-pump-failure-in-illinois-wasnt-cyberattack-after-all/2011/11/25/gIQACgTewN_story.html?wpisrc=al_national
No surprise here. I think even the true "believers" in town don't likely think our Chiefs have a chance this week. I always rank games and teams two ways. That is, I rank what my heart wants to happen and then what my wallet (a bet) would say is likely to happen. My heart always wants the Chiefs to win, sure. Heck, the Royals for that matter. This week, against the Steelers, my wallet says it isn't likely. For what it's worth, The Huffington Post has it the same way: "Steelers at Chiefs: So the Chiefs managed to snag Orton. Won't matter. They're toast. Steelers." Naturally, we'll see. Go, Chiefs. Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-engel/2011-nfl-season-week-12-p_b_1111171.html
That's right, today, Friday, November 25--the last Friday of November, usually the first day of the big holiday purchasing season is "Buy Nothing Day". Do yourself the favor. Instead of fighting crowds of people trying to get things at stores when every other person is out there doing the same thing--let it go. You can passively fight the consumerism this way. Relax. Enjoy.
The markets today, Friday, even with their shortened trading day, because of Thanksgiving, are all--and I mean all--going to go very far South tomorrow and for two reasons. First, there's this: Fitch Downgrades Portugal to Junk Status LONDON — Fitch Ratings Thursday dropped its credit rating on Portugal into junk territory and warned further downgrades were possible, as a recession in the country is increasing challenges for the government to comply with its austerity plans. Second, there's this: German Bond Windfall May Be Ending With Euro Crisis BRUSSELS — Someone, somewhere, usually makes money from bad news. With Europe’s debt crisis, that — at least until this week — was Germany.
A failed German bond auction Wednesday may have brought to an end one turbulent chapter in the history of the Continent’s debt crisis, during which Berlin remained insulated from much of the fallout.
But since 2009, Germany and a handful of other countries, like the Netherlands, have benefited significantly from cheaper borrowing as investors diverted cash from riskier assets and the bonds of southern European countries to debt issued by the Continent’s fiscal hawks. So that money-making party is over, in Germany. That's certainly bad for them but it's bad for all of Europe, too, since it's Germany whose been depended on to "save" the EU and the Euro. It's rough over there and getting rougher yet. Oh, well, all we can do right now is to think happy thoughts, regardless and enjoy your long, relaxing weekend. Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204630904577057743033166600.html;
Yes, really--they found a wallaby (not a kangaroo?) in Platte County. Go figure. Naturally, for now, it's at the zoo. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/24/3284328/platte-county-wallaby-found.html
Did you hear about this yet? From the Wichita Eagle-Beacon: "A Kansas teenager is in trouble after mocking Gov. Sam Brownback during a mock legislative assembly for high school students.
Emma Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, was in Topeka on Monday as part of Kansas Youth in Government, a program for students interested in politics and government.
During the session, in which Brownback addressed the group, Sullivan posted on her personal Twitter page:
“Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”
On Tuesday, Sullivan was called to her principal’s office and told that the tweet had been flagged by someone on Brownback’s staff and reported to organizers of the Youth in Government program.
The principal “laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment,” Sullivan said. “He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control." A couple notes on this--First, the Governor comes out looking rather silly and petty, at minimum. Second, Shawnee Mission East was my daughter's school so I'm rather happy, frankly, that it happened there. In my own way, I'm proud of and happy for the girl and school. Third, I'm glad the young lady has enough presence of mind to not take this too seriously. I mean, come on, getting dressed-down by your high school principal for tweeting about the Governor. Get real, Gov. You have far more important things to be concerned about than tweets from this high schooler. I mean, really. Don't you? To everyone else (except the Gov.), happy Thanksgiving, y'all. Link: http://www.kansas.com/2011/11/24/2114760/disparaging-tweet-about-gov-sam.html
It seems as though everyone is focusing on all the bad things that are happening either to or in the US--or both--or in the world and everyone assumes we're all going "to heck in a handbasket", as it were. So kudos and salutations to Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times to point out the things going right and well in the world: Are We Getting Nicer?'It’s pretty easy to conclude that the world is spinning down the toilet.'
So let me be contrary and offer a reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving. Despite the gloomy mood, the historical backdrop is stunning progress in human decency over recent centuries.
War is declining, and humanity is becoming less violent, less racist and less sexist — and this moral progress has accelerated in recent decades. To put it bluntly, we humans seem to be getting nicer.
That’s the central theme of an astonishingly good book just published by Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard. It’s called 'The Better Angels of Our Nature,' and it’s my bet to win the next Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
'Today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence,' Pinker writes, and he describes this decline in violence as possibly “the most important thing that has ever happened in human history.'” So, this Thanksgiving, before you or your brother-in-law or whomever starts lamenting that we're going down the tubes, forward him to this fact-filled, history-drawn column. Maybe it will shut him up. Maybe it will give us all pause. And hope. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/24/opinion/kristof-are-we-getting-nicer.html?_r=1&smid=fb-share&pagewanted=print
Yet another shooting in the city and as it turns out, the guy killed--one Terrance Jackson--was part of the Aim4Peace organization. In the 2nd ironic, rather ignorant result, a discussion turned into an argument in Gardner and that argument turned into a fight. Yikes. Pretty stupid. Pretty irresponsible. Pretty awful, as I said. Not to be cute about it at all but as the old saying goes, can't we all just get along? Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/23/3283184/murder-victim-worked-for-aim4peace.html;
Why we occupy: Billionaire John Paulson Paid Zero Taxes For 9 Billion Fee IncomeWe spotted this today: “John Paulson, the most successful hedge-fund manager of all, bet against the mortgage market one year and then bet with Glenn Beck in the gold market the next. Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero.”
Link to original post: http://statspotting.com/2011/04/billionaire-john-paulson-paid-zero-taxes-for-9-billion-fee-income/
There is a really disturbing article out today from St. Louis and a CBS affilate station--KMOX--about people seemingly preparing for Armaggedon: Survival Shop Reports Jump In Sales To People Preparing For “Possible Collapse” WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KMOX) - A chain of three stores that sells survival food and gear reports a jump in sales to people who are getting prepared for the “possible collapse” of society.
“We had to order fifty cases of the meals ready to eat to keep up with the demand in the past three months,” said manager Steve Dorsey at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters Inc. in Webster Groves. “That’s not normal. Usually we sell 20 to 30 cases in a whole year.”
Dorsey says business has been brisk since the spring uprisings in the middle east, as customers share concerns about political uprisings, the world economy and the future of the United States. I mean, yikes. First, gun and ammunition sales SOARED after the first black president of the US was elected and installed in office, now this. Is this really what we've become? Can we not work together to solve our problems or do we have to, instead, resort to assuming it's all going to come crashing down? (Shaking head in disbelief). Link to original post: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2011/11/23/survival-shop-reports-jump-in-sales-to-people-preparing-for-possible-collapse/
Word is out today that yet another Bishop of the Catholic Church is stepping down from his post in Ireland, on the heels of yet another sexual abuse case there: Pope accepts resignation of another Irish bishop "DUBLIN (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop, leaving seven of Ireland's 26 Catholic dioceses without one and raising expectations of major cutbacks in the size of the Irish church following child-abuse scandals...Hegarty also is expected to feature in an upcoming church-authorized investigation into the cover-up of clerical child abuse in Hegarty's previous diocese, Raphoe." So, you see, Bishop Finn? That's how it's done. That's how you could--and should--do it. It can be done. And you know? The sooner would be the better, too. Just saying. Link to original post: http://news.yahoo.com/pope-accepts-resignation-another-irish-bishop-131050183.html
We need tough, stringent, accountable, prosecutable, true camapaign finance reform, once and for all, so we can get the wealthy people's and corporation's money out of our government. The only way it will happen is if we work for it. We have to make it happen. We have to force it on our legislators and government.
We need presidents that give speeches like this, on peace and intelligence, like JFK gave and like President Eisenhower's final "military-industrial complex" speech. We are the one nation in the world that is fueling more war than any other, honestly, yet we think of ourselves as "peace-loving." We need to defuse that "military-industrial complex" and wean ourselves off the defense spending we are told we need so badly. It must end and it should end as soon as possible for our nation's sake and for the world's, as well.
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future." - John F. Kennedy, May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963
I saw this news video today and it proposed what I said here some time ago and that is that we should use photovoltaic cells to transform all the exterior surfaces and buildings we can--commercial and residential buildings--to create our solar power.
With this, we could at least shrink the power companies, at minimum, if not, eventually, do away with them completely, to generate our electrical power. More power to us--power to the people.
Following is a breif YouTube video shot at the University of California-Davis of President Linda Katehi as she walked to her car last week, after the University Police pepper-sprayed peaceful, protesting students on campus, apparently at least with her awareness, if not her explicit direction:
I think it very powerful. We will overcome.
It's only a little over a month to the end of this year and there will be a long list of "weather events" this year--this "2011 in weather and by the numbers." It will also be done time and again because the weather statistics shattered so many records, in so many different ways and categories: rain, heat, floos, fires, temperatures, you name it. Herewith, a beginning: Record Heat of 2011: (http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/2011-heat-superlatives_2011-07-15); Deadliest Tornado Year since 1936 (http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/deadly-year-tornadoes-perspective_2011-05-23); August 2011: Record-shattering Month (http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/records-august-2011-heat-rain-flood_2011-08-31); NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=noaa-makes-2011-most-extreme-weather-year); Winter of 2010–2011 in Great Britain and Ireland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_2010%E2%80%932011_in_Great_Britain_and_Ireland); Heat wave 2011: humidity the stunning hallmark (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/heat-wave-2011-stunning-national-statistics/2011/07/24/gIQAJ1FcYI_blog.html); Statistical Assessment of Extreme Weather Phenomena under Climate Change (http://www.asp.ucar.edu/colloquium/2011/index.php); Taking it to the Extreme: 2011’s Off the Charts Weather and Climate Stats (http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/startling-climate-statistics-of-2011/); Monthly Weather Averages and Records for Paris, France (http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/vacationplanner/vacationclimatology/monthly/FRXX0076); Statistical Assessment of Extreme Weather Phenomena under Climate Change (http://www.asp.ucar.edu/colloquium/2011/index.php); Extreme Texas drought and wildfires sharpen contrast between Texas Congressional delegation's climate views and conditions at home; (http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2011/04/10/extreme-texas-drought-wildfires-sharpen-contrast-exas-congressional-delegations-climate-views-and-conditions-at-home/); DFW Weather: 20 Straight Days of 100 Degree Temperatures (http://dallas.about.com/b/2011/07/22/dfw-weather-20-straight-days-of-100-degree-temperatures.htm); Texas Drought 2011: State Endures Driest 7-Month Span On Record (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/10/texas-drought-2011-record_n_859902.html); Mega-drought threat to US Southwest; (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110223/full/news.2011.120.html); Fall forecast offers no relief from Southwest drought (http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/08/18/3300027/fall-forecast-offers-no-relief.html); Southwest headed for permanent drought (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-southwest-permanent-drought.html); Drought of 2011 one of most depressing to cover (http://westernfarmpress.com/blog/drought-2011-one-most-depressing-cover); Scientists Find Evidence of Ancient Megadrought in Southwestern U.S. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111106151505.htm);
Winter 2011-2012: Drought-Stricken Texas, Southwest Stay Parched (http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/55836/winter-20112012-texas-southwes.asp); Drought Spreads Pain From Florida to Arizona (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/us/12drought.html?pagewanted=all); Russian forests burn for second successive year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/09/russia-forest-fires-burn-again). There's more--much more--but I'll let it go. For now. Think happy thoughts.
"What a great time to do something amazing. What an incredible opportunity to start some ripples.
I have a serious challenge for all of you.
If you have a blog, blog your own bold messages of love.
If you have a video camera (don’t forget the one on your phone!), create your own bold messages of love and post them to YouTube.
If you have a Facebook or a Twitter a page, post your own messages of love.
If you have a voice, say something you normally would hesitate to say. Something powerful. Something full of love.
If you have any platform at all, use it. Get your message out. Make it bold. Make it incredible. Make it sincere. Tell those who are different, those who are bullied, and those who need love most right now that you love them. Tell them that you care about them. Offer an arm to put around them.
And then… send it to me. I’d really love to post some of them here on Single Dad Laughing." (Contact here: http://www.danoah.com/about-single-dad-laughing/contact/. His blog here: http://www.danoah.com/)
As the Beatles said: "All you need is love."
"In spite of all these lucky breaks, why do I still feel I got screwed somehow?" --Woody Allen, comedian, writer, actor, director, at the end of the PBS "American Masters" documentary on him and his life and work.
A committee of 6 with 3 members each from the two political parties AND THEY WON'T EVEN MEET IN THE SAME ROOM AT THE SAME TIME? Did anyoone think they were really going to agree on anything? Two things to keep in mind: 1) Our government doesn't work and 2) Republican leaders aren't interested in having it work. At least they're not interested in having it work until after, at least, the November, 2012 elections. This is sick. This is dysfunctional. This is no way to run a government. Or a country.
From none other than Robert Reich, former member of President Bill Clinton's administration: We need true, stringent, tough, accountable, prosecutable campaign finance reform, at minimum so we can get the money--the big money--of the wealthy and corporations out of our govenment and it can be the our government--people's government--once again.
I wrote and said this a long time ago, right here. I wrote this on my blog. Sell the whole freaking Vatican, the whole thing--all the jewels, everything! Seriously! Sell it to some international conglomerate, they rent it out and have tours and all that kind of thing. They'd get BILLIONS for that complex. Then, downsize, big time, as they ought and they could start FEEDING, CLOTHING, HOUSING, TEACHING AND NURSING the poor, hungry, starving and sick. (Just don't teach 'em Catholicism). How 'bout it, Pope Benedict?
“I have a structural hypothesis here. You have a Republican ideology, which Mitt Romney obviously doesn’t believe in. He just oozes insincerity, that’s just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there is a question here, my hypothesis is that maybe this is an ideology that only fools and clowns can believe in. And that’s the Republican problem.” --Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning Economist, writer and columnist for The New York Times, speaking to ABC’s Christiane Amanpour Sunday on "This Week" program.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has pointed out--rightly, it seems--that Bishop Finn and the local Catholic Diocese may challenge US pornography laws in their defense of Shawn Ratigan and the Bishop. Talk about a world gone mad. The Catholic Church, going against the nation's pornography laws, all so they can try to defend a former priest who, it is known, took terribly inappropriate pictures of young and very young children in local Parishes he worked for and then stored those on his computers. All this was revealed in a brif article in the Kansas City Star Friday (see link below). It's bad enough yet another in a long line of Catholic priests has abused his positionn and exploited childern who were entrusted to him. It's yet another bizarre twist to think that this church organization would fight the nation's pornography laws that were designed to protect all our citizens, but especially the children, and instead, that this church would fight to tear those laws down, all so it could save itself and one of its priests and the church's hierarchy. A topsy-turvy world gone mad. It makes me nearly nauseous. Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/11/3271959/mark-morris-digesting-the-legal.html; http://www.snapnetwork.org/_bishop_to_challenge_us_child_porn_laws_snap_responds
The title: How About Better Parents? A brief description: "Let's stop putting the burden of education improvements just on teachers. Parents play a huge role in classroom success." How about it?
There is a cureent events humorist, one Yonah Ward Grossman, whom I follow on Facebook who also happens to have a photoblog. A recent entry highlights some Catholic Church "wins", in spite of the fact that the Catholics involved end up "losing". The Kansas City mention: "In Kansas City, Mo., our old friend Robert W. Finn cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second round of criminal charges and possible jail time in connection with his cover-up of priest Shawn Rattigan’s unholy habit of taking photographs of prepubescent girls’ private parts which he stored on the Church’s computer. Bishop Finn will have to report weekly to said prosecutor to detail every suspicious episode involving abuse of a child in his diocese for the next 5-years, although Bishop Finn had already agreed to do this in writing, but failed, leaving his shutterbug priest to abuse more children after the photographs were discovered. So far bishops of Catholic diocese have cut deals to avoid similar prosecution in Manchester, N.H., Phoenix, Az, Santa Rosa, Ca, and Boston, Mass." The good news? We got yet more coverage of the travesty that is this local situation. The bad news? These people will, likely, get away with their further sexual abuse of the children in their own churches they were to be guiding, mentoring and teaching--children that should have been protected by these "leaders". Link: http://www.ywgrossman.com/photoblog/?p=2165
Kansas City and our new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts are once again highlighted, this time in The New York Times yesterday, Sunday. It feels so good. Thank you, Ewing, Muriel and Julie Kauffman. We are forever in your debt. Actually, we already were. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/arts/music/kauffman-center-for-the-performing-arts-in-kansas-city-mo.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share
Here we go again. The front page article on the Star today is on the city's ideas of tinkering--meaning tearing down--our very functional and popular 3-terminal airport and replacing it with a one-terminal one. Ai-yi-yi. WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO KILL THIS DESTRUCTIVE, WASTEFUL, UNAPPRECIATED IDEA? Not only is it a great-looking, still contemporary airport but WE LIKE THE WAY WE CAN GET FROM OUR CARS, STRAIGHT TO THE GATES AND ON THE PLANES. Leave the damn thing alone.
city aviation director Mark VanLoh said in an interview. “It’s a mess” and that "Airline mergers have resulted in one crowded terminal at KCI and two that are half-empty. Multiple security checkpoints require nearly 500 screeners, hundreds more than other airports need. Environmental contamination and antiquated heating and cooling systems can’t be fixed without new construction. When people ask whether a new terminal is the best way, VanLoh responds, 'It’s the only way. We’ve tried. We’ve remodeled.'" To which I reply "hogwash." You can't tell me replacing old heating and cooling systems--which would also be far more efficient due to far newer technology--would be more expensive than tearing down a building and starting all over again. That cannot possibly make sense financially or logically. As for the traffic at the terminals? Here's a thought--put the busiest airlines at the two end terminals--A and C--and fill all the rest of the spaces--beginning with B, of course--in the rest of the spaces. Fill B completely, with all the little airlines possible, then go out from there to the busier airlines. It's a balance. The fact is, we all know, we like our terminals and to tear them down would be wasteful and then, building yet another, new one in its place would also be wasteful. Let's spend our money on all the other things we need like, oh, I don't know, how about repairing all the sewer and pipe lines across the city? There are still 2 very significant leaks on Southwest Trafficway, just South of 31st Street that have been putting out pretty good quantities of water for months now. Here's another idea: How about somehow cleaning the water of Brush Creek so it isn't always and forever a sewer? Here's yet another: The bridges and streets are yet more infrastructure that need attention AND we've already gotten one big fine from the Federal Government because we've been slow on repairing them. What say we avoid yet another, additional, possibly bigger fine? Another, new, different airport when a) we like this one, b) it's very functional and effective, c) it's still attractive and finally, d) to bulldoze it would be grossly wasteful are clearly all reasons we should KEEP MCI AS IT IS. Leave the damn thing alone. Leave us alone. Go do other, productive and helpful work that we really need. Sheesh. Let this idea die a quick death, once and for all. Please. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/19/3276094/like-it-or-not-kci-needs-to-change.html
ON THIS DAY--On Nov. 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
There is a really interesting article out right now about the possibility of a water processing plant's computers having been hacked and shutting down the plant last week: U.S. probes cyber attack on water system (Reuters) - "Federal investigators are looking into a report that hackers managed to remotely shut down a utility's water pump in central Illinois last week, in what could be the first known foreign cyber attack on a U.S. industrial system." If true, this is some pretty fascinating, international infighting and leaves to many, many questions. The first being who would have done it. Would it have been the Chinese? Soviet Union? Someone else? A random hacker somewhere in the world? And then is whoever did it just "fishing", so to speak, to see if they could get away with this, in possible preparation for a far larger strike? Is the system the water treatment plant on Microsoft? If so, should all plants automatically get off it if they haven't already? How vulnerable are we all, around the world, let alone the US? It seems that all the nations in the world should get together, maybe through the UN, and declare that we won't do this to one another except it looks like the "Stuxnet" virus makes that moot. These are fascinating times we live in. I hope it doesn't get too "fascinating." Link: http://news.yahoo.com/u-investigates-cyber-attack-water-system-201719205.html
When filling out your Christmas/holiday cards this year, you may want to take one card and send it to this address: Holiday Mail For Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. This is an American Red Cross-sponsored opportunity to reach out to our military. Postmark your card by Dec. 9. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these giving people, who have sacrificed so much, will receive.
And the answer is yes. The city is Tampa, Florida. And they aren't the only city. But the question is "why?" For the love of God, is this China? I don't think this is the kind of nation we Americans think we belong to and live in. Of course, we also think we're "peace loving" people, too, in spite of being at the center of virtually every conflict taking place in the world right now. The Tyler, Texas police department has one, too, as does the York County, Pennsylvania, Pasadena, Texas, and Sparks, Nevada police. Is this who we are? Is this what we've become? Is this really necessary? For what it's worth, I don't think so. Fortunately, I'm not alone: "It's all an illusion," said Jim Fisher, a former professor of criminal justice at Edinboro University and author of a book on SWAT teams. "The fact your police dept just bought an armored vehicle does not make you safer. It's going to make you poorer, becuase your taxes will go up to pay for training and maintenance." Let's put a stop to this nonsense before this gets any further. Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/police-militarization-9-11-september-11_n_955508.html; http://www.alternet.org/story/151528/why_do_the_police_have_tanks_the_strange_and_dangerous_militarization_of_the_us_police_force/; http://jalopnik.com/5720776/why-do-americas-police-need-an-armored-tank; https://www.google.com/#pq=largest+cities+in+the+us+with+tanks&hl=en&cp=19&gs_id=4p&xhr=t&q=police+departments+in+the+us+with+tanks&tok=nnXoCgMQ-qquOVdBE_QWzw&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=police+departments+in+the+us+with+tanks&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=7c5e9ee32ee8b16e&biw=1140&bih=562&bs=1
There is a story out on The Daily Kos that shows that Mitt Romney's staff, back in Massachussetts when he was governor, erased emails and hard drives from State-owned computers on their way out: "Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor’s office and first ran for president, 11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s e-mails were all wiped from a server, according to interviews and records obtained by the Globe.
Romney administration officials had the remaining computers in the governor’s office replaced just before Governor Deval Patrick’s staff showed up to take power in January 2007, according to Mark Reilly, Patrick’s chief legal counsel." We had this problem here, in Missouri, in the last few years. It needs to be made an issue by us, the voters and citizens of the country and states. Taken further, it needs to be made illegal to do such things on both statewide and national, federal levels. If we are to have accountable governments and government officials, we need to be able to know what happens in our government and there needs to be records of just what has happened in our governments. This protection can't happen soon enough. Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/17/1037360/-Mitt-Romneys-aides-erased-email-records-before-he-left-office?via=blog_1
The latest study is out from Gallup, on the numbers of smokers nationwide, on a state-by-state basis and Missouri has the 2nd worst (meaning, most) number of smokers as a percentage of the state. Only Kentucky is worse--they're at 29% of the population, we're at 26%. Ugh. Surprisingly and happily, Kansas is on the "lowest percentage" list at only 19% of the population so good on you, Kansas. Links: http://www.gallup.com/poll/150779/Smoking-Rates-Remain-Highest-Kentucky-Lowest-Utah.aspx#1;
A sane Republican politician, a conservative Republican politician, and Santa Claus jump off a cliff. Who hits the ground first?
The conservative Republican politician, because there's no such thing as a sane Republican politician or Santa Claus.
Okay, it's the middle of November. You have just under 2 weeks--until November 30--to visit the only restaurant in town with a great view of the city--Skies restaurant, at the top of the Crown Center Sheraton (formerly Hyatt) Hotel. Enjoy the food. Go for the view.
"'Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,' he demands, 'or less?' The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan." --Tim Dickinson writing in Rolling Stone Magazine
This week, most people won't know, is the anniversary of the "Clean Air Act" by Congress, in Washington, of 1990. It turns 21 years old, thank goodness. As we know, our air in the 1960's, at least, had gotten pretty fouled and dirty and awful and we needed to do something about it--we needed to clean it up. So clean it up we did, thank goodness. And, as it turns out, the Act did help us clean our air, some, anyway, and set us on a good, intelligent, healthier and far more sustainable path. Sure, we need to do more about our air and cleaning it and it will have to come from partnerships with corporations but some of those companies have found that clean air is not only in their best interests but that it can also help create both more business for them as well as new technologies and jobs. We need to develop more in this arena--we need to create yet more, "greener" and cleaner technologies and capabilities, including and especially solar power, particularly photovoltaic cells that create our electricity. So in this week that we say "Happy birthday!" to the Clean Air Act of 1990, I am reminded of Oliver in the Charles Dickens story and later, movie and can only tell the US Congress the following:
Unfortunately, too many in Congress now think there's too much "regulation". (http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/11/16/7399/5-questions-william-ruckelshaus?utm_source=iwatch&utm_medium=social_media&utm_campaign=facebook). All I can say is, we don't want to end up like polluted China. Let's not go backward. Let's keep cleaner air and progressing forward.
Yesterday, as famously--or infamously, really--reported across the media, Bishop Finn skated away, freely, easily and effortlessly (unless SNAP gets it's way--here's hoping) from the very appropriate charges that he ignored Missouri law in not reporting possible sexual abuse exploitation by a Catholic priest, one Shawn Ratigan. Instead of being held accountable, he and the state of Missouri made a sweetheart deal that says that , in the future, he'll be responsible. He promises. Then, across town, the baby Lisa Irwin family moved back home and are "looking for a sense of normalcy." Finally, we wait for Jerry Sandusky, at Penn State, to go to trial for sexual abuse. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not equating the seeminly clearly-guilty Bishop Finn, Shawn Ratigan and Jerry Sandusky with the Irwin family, not at all. What I am saying is that children are, at times, victims in our society and we need to do more about that. We need to all have the children's welfare first as a priority. Links: http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_missouri/northland/mental-health-experts-see-short-term-drawbacks-for-irwin-family; http://www.kmbc.com/news/29766295/detail.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/15/3267619/bishop-finn-avoids-indictment.html
Most specifically for Bishop Finn and Shawn Ratigan: "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." --Luke 17:2
"On July 20, Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, rose before the Dail Eireann and excoriated the Vatican and the institutional Roman Catholic Church for the horrors inflicted on generations of Irish children,--my emphasis--horrors that they both committed and condoned. This was an act of considerable political courage for Kenny. The influence of the Church had been a deadweight on Irish politics and the secular government since the country first gained its freedom in the 1920s.
Nevertheless, Kenny said:
'Thankfully … this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world. This is the Republic of Ireland, 2011. A Republic of laws … of rights and responsibilities … of proper civic order … where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular kind of 'morality' will no longer be tolerated or ignored … as taoiseach, I am making it absolutely clear that, when it comes to the protection of the children of this state, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself cannot, and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this Republic.'
He did not drop to his knees. He did not ask for a moment of silence. He did not seek 'closure' but, rather, he demanded the hard and bitter truth of it, and he demanded it from men steeped in deceit from their purple carpet slippers to their red beanies. Enda Kenny did not look to bind up wounds before they could be cleansed. And that is the only way to talk about what happens after the raping of children." --Charles P. Pierce is a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot America. He writes regularly for Esquirem is the lead writer for Esquire.com's Politics blog, and is a frequent guest on NPR. Link to original post: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7233704/the-brutal-truth-penn-state
I said it here before, at least a few times--if you're some Catholic leader of virtually any kind and you sexually abuse a child, a student, say, in a Catholic school, chances are you're going to get away with it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, amazingly enough--to some of us, anyway--is EXACTLY what happened yet again, today, for one Bishop Finn who broke the law by not reporting sexual abuse but, lo and behold, he got away with it and got off virtually scot-free, too. You know the headline, likely. This one is from The Kansas City Star this afternoon: Bishop Finn avoids indictment by entering diversion program Bishop Finn gets to report in--in the future--for the next five years, once a month, and tell what he knows about any possible NEW sexual abuse or misconduct cases so he's off the hook. He gets away with breaking the law. Never mind that he didn't report that last sexual abuse case of Shawn Ratigan. Forget that. Let's just all go forward from here, eh? Makes you want to be a Catholic, doesn't it? Well, almost. This is the most egregious abuse of justice and travesty of this entire school, church and justice system I can imagine. Bishop Finn has no shame at all. How disgusting. How revolting. What's that old quote? You know, the one from the Bible? Oh, yeah, it's this one: "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." --Luke 17:2, King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.). If you weren't disgusted, you should be now, regardless of religion but especially if you're a practicing Catholic. Shame on you, Bishop Finn. If there were a hell, there should be an especially hot place in it for you. But at the same time, congratulations--you broke the law, you let down the children in three different schools in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, protected yourself, the Catholic hierarchy (read: your own butt) and the Catholic Church (sort of, in a sick twisted way we won't continue to tolerate), all at once. With this line of thinking, Jerry Sandusky should be able to get off easily over at Penn State, no matter what he did in those showers with those 10 year old boys, shouldn't he, Bishop? Maybe you can go help him with his case. For once I thought the right thing was going to finally happen, here. Sadly, it didn't and won't. Having said all this, there's only one thing left to say or think and that is that Sinead O'Connor was right, years ago and that she is vindicated in her earlier actions: If anyone should think there aren't a lot of us out here who are beyond disappointed in this action today, but downright angry, they would be very much mistaken. Fight the real enemy.
Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/15/3267619/bishop-finn-avoids-indictment.html; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hK6z-DMBis; http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=12379
If you didn't see this segment last evening of CBS "60 Minutes", you might take a little time and do so now. It's excellent. It seems it's illegal for all the rest of the nation to deal on "insider", non-public information BUT NOT OUR LEGISLATORS IN CONGRESS. This has got to stop. Take a few moments and watch this, if you would, then email your Senators and Representatives in Congress and tell them we will no longer tolerate this. This is one more way we need to take our government back.
Both David Basse and Tim Whitmer celebrate birthdays, today. Happy birthday, gentlemen! Kansas City appreciates the music you give us, the city and the world. Links: http://www.davidbasse.com/; http://www.timwhitmer.net/;
Did you see that segment last night on CBS' "60 Minutes" that showed our US Congress has made and kept it legal for THEM to trade in stocks and commodities with non-public information while for the rest of the country, it's quite, quite illegal? After this morning's video from Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles", it brought to mind this scene: