Blog Catalog

Monday, December 31, 2012

Is this what we want for America?

Is this what we want for our kids?

Is this what we want for our schools?

Is this what we want for our country?

Link:  The New Yorker

Quote of the day

"I'm crazy about the food chain and love being at the top of it..." 

--David Rakoff, writer, contributor to NPR's "This American Life" who passed this year.

Links:  343: Poultry Slam 2007

David Rakoff | This American Life

David Rakoff, Award-Winning Humorist, Dies at 47 -

David Rakoff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On 2012: At least, thank goodness, we dodged this bullet

That was WAY too close for comfort, even with them getting trounced.

What's really going on in Washington right now

And this from a Republican and Conservative:

It's the Republicans and the wealthy and the corporations vs. you and me.

Another indication of America's problems

A list is just out, ranking the best and worst cities of the world, based either on "Quality of Living", the second on "Infrastructure ranking."

Not one US city ranks in the top ten of either:

Worldwide top 50 cities: Quality of living ranking

Worldwide top 50 cities: Infrastructure ranking

Repeat after me:  "WE'RE NUMBER ONE!"

Original article:  Mercer's 2012 Quality of Living ranking highlights - Global

On The Beatles, 1964

From Newsweek Magazine, 1964, when the Beatles arrived to America:
"Visually they are a nightmare: tight, dandified, Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair.  Musically they are a near-disaster: guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony, and melody.  Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of “yeah, yeah, yeah!”) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments."
I hope the author didn't give out stock recommendations, too.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kansas City's--Prairie Village's--own Joyce Didonato in Sunday's NY Times

As suggested above, Kansas City's (actually, Prairie Village's) own Joyce Didonato got a big write up and feature yesterday in Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times (page 9, specifically):

Giving history a bel canto twist - The New York Times

She's preparing for her role in The Metropolitan Opera's "Maria Stuarda." It's a full page spread.

Very cool, for sure.

Congress, playing "chicken" with Americans, our economy and our collective futures

This whole "fiscal cliff" thing is nothing if not infuriating.

They created this entire mess, more than a year ago, they're the only ones who can "fix" it, yet they haven't, as we all are so painfully aware.

Now, here they are, at the last hour, trying to get a deal, a compromise, done.

In the meantime, they hold the American economy and this fragile recovery in their hands.


According to Bruce Bartlett ( just now from his Facebook page, "...Republicans have torpedoed the last minute effort to avoid the fiscal cliff by demanding a permanent cut in Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries."

Nearly unbelievable.

If there's a "silver lining" to this economic cloud, if there's anything good about this whole sad, sorry mess, it's that the entire Congress--all its members--are in Washington right now, where they don't want to be, when they should be at home, with their families.

Happy new year.


Fiscal cliff negotiations stall in Senate

McConnell to Biden: We need your help

Young people's seeming dire outlook on our nation's future

The other day, while at work, I was in all-day training with a group of about a dozen co-workers of varying ages.

We were, at one point, to tell two things about ourselves no one in the room likely already knew.

One young woman said, rather boldly, as one of her points, that our country was "going down the sh*tter."

I thought it pretty stunning, for a few reasons.

First, her adjective she used to describe the situation was crude, I thought, for the group and to be spoken in public.

The second reason I found it surprising was because she was so young, relatively--probably in her late 20's or very early 30's--yet here she was, saying she thought our own United States had an ugly future in front of us.

Third, here she was, blurting that out not just publicly but to fellow co-workers.  Whatever happened to being "positive"?

Yet it wasn't completely surprising to me, either.

I have seen and heard this feeling, this thought, time and again from some people--and young ones, too. Personally, I find it surprising to the point of shocking.

Haven't Americans virtually always been known as optimistic, as a whole? Isn't that what we've been known as, around the world?

Is it because of the worst economic downturn in 80 years that people espouse this feeling?

Is it because the wealthy and corporations have taken over our government?

Is it because we have a black president and because more women and blacks and Hispanics and other minorities are gaining power and recognition across the country?

What is it?

All I know is, it's not healthy. It's patently unhealthy for the country and for the future of the country.

I say again, we need to come together, all of us, as Americans, and work to present solutions for our country and then, far more importantly, that we then work on those solutions into the future, to make this the place we want and need it to be.

Our broken--badly broken--health care system

A friend of mine was sick last week, over his holiday vacation.

That stunk for him, of course, poor guy.

He called in to his doctor, to get something for it.

His doctor concurred and prescribed Tamiflu for him.

He got ten pills of this little "wonder drug."

Now, he has health insurance but even with that, do you know what that one little--very little--prescription cost him?


One hundred and eleven dollars for ten pills, even with insurance.

America's health care system.

We're number one.

In cost.

Why do we trash the Chiefs and Clark Hunt but not David Glass and his Royals?

Today, in The Kansas City Star, there are articles, of course, about today's last football game of the season for our Kansas City Chiefs, telling of how, likely, we're going to be beaten--and beaten badly--by the Denver Broncos on their turf, literally. There is also an article summarizing this season, just finishing, as well as looking forward to next year's football.

And it's rough.

It's rough, as it kind of should be, on Clark Hunt and the Chiefs, both, since their season of this game has been so dismal.

That's understandable.

But what gets me is why and how we all seem to be so tough on this football team and this owner and all connected with it but that we seem to give our Major League Baseball team, our own Kansas City Royals, and their owner, David "I'm a Greedy Miser" Glass, a pass. We take it so easy on him and his team, it seems.

Maybe it's because the Chiefs season is so brief or maybe because the seats cost so much. Maybe it's one of those things.

But whatever the reason, with the exception of one Joseph Accurso who wisely and fairly started and created his whole "No More Glass" and a few local sports commentators (like Jack Harry, see link below), it seems Mr. Glass and his team take some shots but, by and large, he (Mr. Glass) and the Royals didn't take near the verbal and printed beating in the city that the Chiefs and Clark Hunt are now.

And the thing is, I think Clark Hunt and the team management are far more invested financially, personally and professionally and take the season with far more commitment than "Mr.Greed", David Glass. I think it's far more one of contrast than similarities, between these two owners.

I say, come next Spring--and it's just around the corner--let's get, be and stay far tougher on Mr. Glass and the team to win and to get that same team of ours deeper into the season as a winning team so we get far closer to a pennant race than we have been in years, if not decades.

Here's hoping.


Quote of the day

If we weren't angry before, we can be now


Nearly unbelievable.

As I said above, if we didn't have enough reason to be angry about Washington, our Federal government and how much they either spend or screw up before, we certainly do now.

It seems our own President Obama, whom I have so fiercely supported on lots of things in the past, not the least of which is "Obamacare", pushed through an Executive Order to give Congress a pay raise.


Think about that.

These are the people who haven't passed a budget--their one, big job, mind you--in at least 3 years but hey, here's a pay raise.

These are the people who created the "fiscal cliff" and now have been the only ones who could fix it--but wouldn't but hey, here's a big pile of more money.

These are, by and large, the people who have been screaming, nearly, for cuts in spending but, hey, I want to get more money in my paycheck so, what the hell, let's.

And they wonder why we're all madder than hell.

Holy freaking sh*t.

How stupid are we supposed to be?

How much are we supposed to take before we revolt?


Saturday, December 29, 2012

That more current New Year's Eve forecast

It doesn't look or sound good.

KCTV5 is saying snow earlier in the day, I understand, and then around what would be rush hour, more snow.


Snow, slick streets and drinkers?

Not a good mix.

A Tea Party member, the ACLU and I all agree

Holy cow, who could have predicted this one?

I agree with a Tea Party member over in Missouri:

Drones raise fears of spies in skies

Casey Guernsey doesn't trust the government.

So the idea of the government deploying unmanned aircraft to patrol Missouri's skies terrifies him.
"It would be a nightmare scenario for me," Guernsey said. "It isn't far-fetched that we could see government agencies deploy drones to spy on individuals and businesses around the state."

That's why Guernsey, a two-term Republican state representative from Bethany, drafted legislation aimed at banning government agencies from using unmanned aerial vehicles -- more commonly known as drones -- to conduct surveillance without a warrant.

If it passes, Missouri would be the first state regulating drones.

"I don't want to see our state government get in the business of monitoring the citizens any more than we do right now," he said.

And the issue has brought Guernsey -- who considers himself a staunch, Tea Party conservative -- an unlikely partner in his quest: the American Civil Liberties Union.      ---Now, if anything, Ms. Guernsey, the ACLU and the Missouri state legislature all need to go one step further and make this same proposal apply to private companies as well. Link:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quote of the day

“A man can consider himself a success when he wakes up in the morning, goes to bed at night and in between did exactly what he wanted.”

--Bob Dylan

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quote of the day

"No longer will individuals and groups of people be able to control masses of people through fear,and restricting information. There are governments and individuals still attempting this archaic form of control today but it is only a matter of time.

There was a time when this form of control worked as individuals were restricted from education, or information or access to other people. It was easy to build walls, and create stories to control the masses. This control was created through ego and greed. There was a payoff for these groups and they were willing to stop at nothing to keep their way of life intact. This was done on the backs of the poor and the innocent, and on the destruction of animals and the planet. All to receive more- more control, more money, more greed. Death, destruction and extinction are minimal thoughts when the ego is thirsty."

--Thomas Craig, from his book "A Cup of Buddha"

Thinking of you, Harry, givin' 'em hell

Harry S. Truman, May 5, 1884 - December 26, 1972

We miss you, sir.


On overthrowing injustices, then and now

"We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in;  machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

 Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind.  We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity, more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say: do not despair.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators will die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die liberty will never perish.

--Charlie Chaplin, from his movie "The Great Dictator"


Great question for the NRA---and America

One last reminder for today's open house at the Kauffman

Here's your chance, then:

Holiday Open House    

Happy Holidays!

The Kauffman Center wishes you and your family a warm and festive holiday season. Since many Kansas Citians have guests in town we are offering a great opportunity to bring your friends and family to see the Center.
Join us for a free holiday open house today, Wednesday, December 26th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Both performance venues will be available for the public to view.
  • Tour Ambassadors will be on hand to answer your questions.
  • The Kauffman Center Gift Shop and Box Office will be open until 4:00 pm.
  • Street parking can often be found and the Arts District garage is also available.
  • No reservations are necessary.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men

"We, in this country, in this generation, are - by destiny rather than by choice - the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.'"

--President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963 (Prepared, Not Delivered)

Merry Christmas to you...

...and that you may have great good health in 2013 and beyond.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

You've never been to the Kauffman Center?

Here's your chance, then:

Holiday Open House    

Happy Holidays!

The Kauffman Center wishes you and your family a warm and festive holiday season. Since many Kansas Citians have guests in town we are offering a great opportunity to bring your friends and family to see the Center.
Join us for a free holiday open house on Wednesday, December 26th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Both performance venues will be available for the public to view.
  • Tour Ambassadors will be on hand to answer your questions.
  • The Kauffman Center Gift Shop and Box Office will be open until 4:00 pm.
  • Street parking can often be found and the Arts District garage is also available.
  • No reservations are necessary.
The Kauffman Center is closed December 24th and 25th. After our open house closes on December 26th, the building will be closed through January 1st.
We look forward to seeing you on December 26th!

Good to great things that happened this year

It occurred to me that actually there are quite a few good things that took place this past year. I thought I should make a list.  Herewith:

1) President Obama, the nation's first black president, was re-elected. That's pretty huge;

2) Mitt Romney, multi-millionaire and toady for corporations and the uber-wealthy, was defeated.  Magnificent;

3) The Koch brothers, then, and all like them and all they represent, were also defeated;

4) Money could not and did not buy this/these election(s) and they spent mightily;

5) More women were elected to the US Senate than ever before;

6) The American people have become tired of our perpetual Aghan war. It's important that take place;

7) More minorities voted than ever before. That's growth;

8) More and more equal rights--and acceptance--were gained for people of same-sex attraction;

9)  We finally, maybe, perhaps, have the will, as a nation, to address our national, repeated tragedy of mass slaughters of innocents with assault weapons.  Hopefully;

10) The world didn't end on December 21st.

May yet more good things take place for us all, but especially for the working class and the middle- and lower-classes.

Here's hoping.

Quote of the day--on America and our guns

"On gun violence and how to end it, the facts are all in, the evidence is clear, the truth there for all who care to know it—indeed, a global consensus is in place, which, in disbelief and now in disgust, the planet waits for us to us to join. Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that."

--Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker Magazine, "The Simple Truth About Gun Control"

Link to orginal post:

Merry Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 23, 2012

At least one of Missouri's Senators is for some common sense on weapons in the US

After the Newtown, Connecticut slaughter last week, Senator McCaskill wrote in The Huffington Post:

It's Time for the NRA to Come to the Table

I was stunned and sick to my stomach -- and as a mother, I was horrified -- when I learned about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

It's appropriate that while we grieve for the students, faculty, and their families, that we've also begun a long-overdue discussion of how to prevent this kind of tragedy. The constitutional right to own guns is not the issue here. The issue is commonsense laws that respect that right, but prevent the mass slaughter of innocent Americans.

But as we start work on banning assault weapons and limiting the number of rounds in magazines -- both commonsense proposals that I strongly support -- too many members of Congress worry about their "score" from the National Rifle Association. The NRA grades senators and representatives based on their votes on gun issues -- and even on issues that have little-to-nothing to do with guns.
Well, I'm a former Jackson County prosecutor who's seen gun violence. And more importantly, I'm a mom and a grandmother. And I'm delivering a message to the NRA this week: Come to the table to prevent this from happening ever again.

Emerging from the tragedy in Newtown, the NRA has an opportunity to lead. An opportunity to come to the table, be a constructive partner, and make its voice a part of the solution to prevent mass murders of innocent children.

But it's their choice. Silence from the NRA will be a clear signal that they don't want meaningful change.

That's why I've started a petition, calling on the NRA to come out of hiding, and come to the table (Click here to sign it now).

Respecting the Second Amendment does not mean abandoning common sense. The right to own guns in this country must remain, while we also must strengthen our laws to prevent mass shootings. Now, I'm calling on the NRA to use its considerable political influence to help us accomplish those goals.
Because to solve this problem, we need all parties at the table. 

Kudos, Senator McCaskill. Thank you for this support for sensible, logical, enforceable, effective restraints on weapons Americans patently don't need.

Now if we can just get our other Missouri Senator to also support this movement, we'll have really made a difference.

Here's hoping.


Follow Sen. Claire McCaskill on Twitter:

The Republican Party

(Admittedly taken and adapted from a Facebook page and post today).

The GOP refused to reduce middle class taxes instead
The GOP is pushing US closer to the going over the cliff
The GOP arbitrarily takes away rights in lame duck sessions
The GOP holds US hostage by refusing to increase debt limit 
The GOP cost US 100s of billions by ruining our AAA credit 
The GOP has allowed the Koch brothers to buy their very souls 
The GOP has admittedly attempted to obstruct our voting 
The GOP has gerrymandered their states for unfair advantage 
The GOP has denied climate change to avoid profit loss of 1% 
The GOP wants to end EPA rather than solve global warming 
The GOP supports fracking that is poisoning our environment 
The GOP supports Keystone XL because they are invested in it 
The GOP want to deny gay people their civil right to marry 
The GOP drove out moderates to replace them with extremists 
The GOP voted 33 times to overturn the Affordable Care Act 
The GOP voted down every bill that would encourage jobs 
The GOP vowed to destroy our elected President, at any cost 
The GOP signed a pledge with a lobbyist violating their duty
The GOP wants to take SS and Medicare/Medicaid from US 
The GOP wants to continue funding big business subsidies 
The GOP wants to privatize schools, prisons, police to feed 1% 
The GOP wants perpetuate the trickle down lie to tax 1% less 
The GOP wants to fund defense even more than the pentagon 
The GOP start wars because they represent the war profiteers 
The GOP protect and reward corporations that offshore jobs 
The GOP support tax avoidance industries & offshore banking 
The GOP dominates the least educated and the poorest states 
The GOP has deregulated Wall Street which caused a collapse 
The GOP blatantly disregards separation of church and state 
The GOP has no social conscious for poor, sick, old or young 
The GOP wants to use huge sums of money to buy elections 
The GOP wants to dismantle unions to disempower workers
The GOP wants to avoid any kind of immigration solutions 
The GOP wants to decide a woman's health choices for them 
The GOP enacted laws making doctors lie to pregnant women
Did I miss anything? 2014 is coming, VOTE them OUT!


The GOP refused to reduce middle class taxes instead
The GOP is pushing US closer to the going over the cliff
The GOP arbitrarily takes away rights in lame duck sessions
The GOP holds US hostage by refusing to increase debt limit
The GOP cost US 100s of billions by ruining our AAA credit
The GOP has allowed the Koch brothers to buy their very souls
The GOP has admittedly attempted to obstruct our voting
The GOP has denied climate change to avoid profit loss of 1%
The GOP wants to end the EPA rather than solve global warming
The GOP supports fracking that is poisoning our environment
The GOP supports Keystone XL because they are invested in it
The GOP want to deny Americans their equal rights
The GOP drove out moderates to replace them with extremists
The GOP voted 33 times to overturn the Affordable Care Act
The GOP voted down every bill that would encourage jobs
The GOP vowed to destroy our elected President, at any cost
The GOP signed a pledge with a lobbyist violating their duty
The GOP wants to take SS and Medicare/Medicaid from the US
The GOP wants to continue funding big business subsidies (unfortunately, so do far too many Democrats and they will, as long as we allow campaign contributions)
The GOP wants to privatize schools, prisons and the police to feed the 1%
The GOP wants perpetuate the "trickle down" lie to tax the wealthiest 1% less
The GOP wants to fund defense industry even more than the Pentagon
The GOP starts wars because they represent the war profiteers
The GOP protect and reward corporations that offshore jobs (again, so do too many Democrats, sadly)
The GOP support tax avoidance industries & offshore banking (again, so do Democrats, to be honest)
The GOP dominates the least-educated and poorest states
The GOP has deregulated Wall Street which caused a national and international financial collapse
The GOP blatantly disregards separation of church and state
The GOP has no social conscious for the poor, sick, old or young
The GOP wants to use huge sums of money to buy elections
The GOP wants to dismantle unions to disempower workers
The GOP wants to avoid any kind of immigration solutions
The GOP wants to decide a woman's health choices for them
The GOP enacted laws making doctors lie to pregnant women

 Did I miss anything?
2014 is coming, Let's vote them out.

The Chiefs today

On the one hand, it's going to be sad--so sad--seeing the Chiefs lose and lose badly today to the Indianapolis Colts.

The only thing positive about it will be that it will be somewhat interesting to see how badly they get pummeled.

"Just wait 'til next year."

Yeah, right.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Violence as entertainment--history?

Here's yet one more example of how we, as a nation, may have finally, finally changed regarding weapons and deaths and slaughters and--hopefully--assault weapons, even here in the country.

The Star today pointed out that "The opening of the shoot-'em up thriller 'Gangster Squad'...was delayed after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

That was one thing.

Then, a movie review in today's paper by David Frese on the new Tom Cruise movie, "Jack Reacher" begins with a sniper shooting several civilians. This just after the Newtown, Connecticut slaughter, just last week, of course.

Mr. Frese writes that the movie, with its shootings and killings and sniper is unsettling, at least, and that the audience he attended the movie with was rather disturbed by it all, clearly, to him.

So perhaps, maybe we Americans have finally reached a point where we're no longer numb to accepting mass murders in our society.  Maybe we'll finally do something about it all. Maybe we'll push our government representatives to change weapons laws so we can reduce the likelihood that they'll continue to take place.

Here's hoping.

Read more here:


KCUR's history: Great to know

Republican response to the NRA's announcement yesterday

This from a Conservative.

A true Conservative.

Todays' weather

We went from the 20's for highs this week to today's one-day peak of somewhere between 44 and 50 degrees, then we're to go back to the low 20's again, for highs for most of this week.

Enjoy the brief, fleeting "heat wave", folks, while we can.

Entertainment overnight

Friday, December 21, 2012

More guns will keep us safe?

Evidence to the contrary:

Part II:

So the NRA's and Wayne LaPierre's claim or suggestion we arm teachers and/or have volunteer guards at schools is at least laughable.

What Right Wing, Conservative Republican is going to help pay for that big program, anyway?

You got it. There won't be any.

More here:

An important read on guns

An article yesterday from the conservative federal judge who oversaw the trial of the Tuscon, Arizona shooter:

A conservative case for an assault weapons ban

If we can't draw a sensible line on guns, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.

Last month, I sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson. That tragedy left six people dead, more than twice that number injured and a community shaken to its core.

Loughner deserved his punishment. But during the sentencing, I also questioned the social utility of high-capacity magazines like the one that fed his Glock. And I lamented the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004, which prohibited the manufacture and importation of certain particularly deadly guns, as well as magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The ban wasn't all that stringent — if you already owned a banned gun or high-capacity magazine you could keep it, and you could sell it to someone else — but at least it was something.

And it says something that half of the nation's deadliest shootings occurred after the ban expired, including the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. It also says something that it has not even been two years since Loughner's rampage, and already six mass shootings have been deadlier.

I am not a social scientist, and I know that very smart ones are divided on what to do about gun violence. But reasonable, good-faith debates have boundaries, and in the debate about guns, a high-capacity magazine has always seemed to me beyond them.

Bystanders got to Loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, chose as his primary weapon a semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines. And we don't even bother to call the 100-rounder that James Holmes is accused of emptying in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater a magazine — it is a drum. How is this not an argument for regulating the number of rounds a gun can fire?

I get it. Someone bent on mass murder who has only a 10-round magazine or revolvers at his disposal probably is not going to abandon his plan and instead try to talk his problems out. But we might be able to take the "mass" out of "mass shooting," or at least make the perpetrator's job a bit harder.

To guarantee that there would never be another Tucson or Sandy Hook, we would probably have to make it a capital offense to so much as look at a gun. And that would create serious 2nd Amendment, 8th Amendment and logistical problems.

So what's the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That's why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.

I even say it as someone whose feelings about the NRA mirror the left's feelings about Planned Parenthood: It has a useful advocacy function in our deliberative democracy, and much of what it does should not be controversial at all.

And I say it, finally, mindful of the arguments on the other side, at least as I understand them: that a high-capacity magazine is not that different from multiple smaller-capacity magazines; and that if we ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines one day, there's a danger we would ban guns altogether the next, and your life might depend on you having one.

But if we can't find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.

There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.

It speaks horribly of the public discourse in this country that talking about gun reform in the wake of a mass shooting is regarded as inappropriate or as politicizing the tragedy. But such a conversation is political only to those who are ideologically predisposed to see regulation of any kind as the creep of tyranny. And it is inappropriate only to those delusional enough to believe it would disrespect the victims of gun violence to do anything other than sit around and mourn their passing. Mourning is important, but so is decisive action.

Congress must reinstate and toughen the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Larry Alan Burns is a federal district judge in San Diego.

Link to original article here:,0,6774314.story

NRA response to Newtown slaughter: The Onion couldn't write it any better

26 people are slaughtered by a man with an assault rifle a week ago today, on top of all the other mass assaults and killings in America and the National Rifle Association finally comes out with a response:

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: Put ‘armed police officers’ in every school

(Link at bottom)

So the NRA's and their leaders' response to yet another huge slaughter of Americans--the answer to far too many guns in the US is, as ever, as we keep seeing, time and again, is "more guns."


All they are is consistent.

To our peril.


Be sure to read this one:,30781/

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On our modern society

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways ,but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

--George Carlin

From the "I can't believe we have to even say this" file

From this breaking article today--this morning--on Yahoo! News:

5 Unfair Tax Breaks That Should Be Eliminated (link at bottom)

Here's the last one, number 5:

Tax break for offshoring U.S. jobs

Businesses also get their fair share of tax breaks and tax loopholes. The ability to save on corporate taxes by shipping operations overseas is one of the most vilified corporate tax breaks.

U.S. businesses get a tax deduction for the costs they incur in relocating their domestic operations to a foreign location. True, it's not a special tax break for moving, say, a factory and its 600 jobs from St. Louis to Singapore. If the company had moved from St. Louis to Indianapolis, the business would get the same tax deduction. And, says the Tax Foundation, jobs are at least three times more likely to be relocated from one state to another than overseas.

Still, when U.S. unemployment is high, a tax break that rewards the elimination of more U.S. jobs seems like a really bad idea.

I've said this before here, that any and all tax deductions that reward companies and people for offshoring jobs should, without doubt, be rescinded. The Democrats proposed it in Congress, a year or two ago, but it was killed by that other political party as "raising taxes."

We need jobs here, first of all, and second, there shouldn't be tax breaks for offshoring manufacturing or other jobs because, after all, we need the tax revenue here in the States.

It's difficult to believe we even have to say this, isn't it?

Link to original post:

America: We are better than this

We must be.

Let's work to be "better than this."

Better than the slaughter of innocents--children--in Connecticut last week.

Better than letting these mass shootings to continue to occur.

Let's end assault weapons.

Let's have a mandatory waiting period--nationwide--for weapons purchases.

Let's have a mandatory background check for mental stability and criminal history.

It's not complicated. And plenty of people will still have guns.

It will be a better--far better--America for all of us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

(Timely) Entertainment overnight

And lest people not know or forget and lest they not get credit, the group that originally did this was "The Drifters."

Stay safe and warm out there, folks.

Return letter from Senator Pat Roberts on America's guns

I'm always about contacting and writing our legislators--specifically our Representatives and Senators in Congress--about important, pertinent issues of the day. Naturally I wrote them after the shooting slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut last week.

After writing Senator Pat Roberts, his office sent me the following note:

Thank you for your letter regarding the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate your taking the time to write, and I value your opinion.

The horrific tragedy and the innocent loss of life that occurred on December 14, in Newtown, Connecticut is heartbreaking. As a father and grandfather, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Our nation grieves with them.

Law enforcement is working aggressively to determine what exactly led this obviously mentally ill person to commit such an act. Despite the death of the alleged murderer, I understand the Newtown Police and the FBI are thoroughly investigating this case as if it would go to court so that we may learn from this tragedy. As a society, we must be willing to move beyond the obvious question to really take a hard look at why these senseless acts of violence continue to play out in towns across America. It’s time to have an honest discussion about the culture of violence in America and more specifically, the root cause of this and other types of violence: mental illness. We will have a debate over gun control, however, law enforcement must do its work so that the public is informed, and we can determine appropriate and implementable solutions to prevent future acts of violence by disturbed individuals.

Again thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter as well as follow me on Facebook at and Twitter at for additional updates on my work for Kansas.

With every best wish,


Pat Roberts

I was heartened by this part that "...we must be willing to move beyond the obvious question to really take a hard look at why these senseless acts of violence continue to play out in towns across America..." What seems to point out a possible trend, however, shows itself here. Senator Roberts next line that "...the root cause of this and other types of violence: mental illness" is just nonsense.

Sure, mental illness leads to some of these mass shootings. You have to be, to an extent, either crazy or angry or both to do such a thing. But to blame this shooting on "mental illness" and make that the point takes far too much pressure off the fact that assault weapons are a culprit and need to be banned, thoroughly and simply. They serve no good purpose for hunting nor for anything else positive. They are only good for mowing down large quantities of people very quickly. It looks like mental illness will "take the fall", so to speak, for this insane slaughter.

What's ironic is that the gun supporters and Right Wing and "conservatives" and Republicans that do this will be laying it on our health care system, in spite of the fact that they slash health care funding, public and otherwise, repeatedly.

We are one crazy nation.

An open letter to the NRA

Ladies and gentlemen,

Once more, now, after yet one more mass slaughter of Americans, the time has come, a lot of us believe, to change at least some things in America so we can reduce these, at minimum, in the future. We would ask that you support the following four ideas:

1) Background checks for weapons purchases for mental stability and criminal history;

2) Closing the "gun show loophole" so the background checks can be done;

3) Mandatory 30-day waiting periods for weapons purchases so "crimes of passion" can be avoided and finally,

4) A true ban on assault weapons since they only exist to mow down people and rapidly. They're not good for hunting or any other purpose.

No one connected to reality thinks there will be no weapons in America and no one is realistically pushing for that. The above isn't "gun control" since not that much would change in America. This is just sensible, logical restrictions for the benefit of the country.

I and a lot of Americans out here would appreciate your support for these 4 logical, sensible and enforceable pieces of legislation.

Thank you,

Kevin Evans
Mission, Kansas

Republicans and the President need to keep their hands off Social Security

None other than the Republican Party's own saint from the grave, Ronnie the Raygun on Social Security:

Hands off our Social Security, ladies and gentlemen.

I can nearly hear them going crazy already

A comparison: The US and the rest of the world, Pt. I

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beautiful tribute

Quote of the day

"...the suggestion that arming more Americans would “solve” the problem is even more ludicrous; over 300 million registered guns exist in this country now. Exactly how many more would “solve” the problem?

600 million?"

Great, great post from a local blogger:

27 reasons for sensible, enforcebale gun restrictions


Entertainment overnight

Colbie Caillat - Fallin' For You (Official Video) by luanabochechinha

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm so old...

I remember Facebook's original, horribly ugly, two-color sign-in page.

THAT old.

How many deaths?

"Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."

- Bob Dylan, Blowin' in the Wind

Reasons for good, sensible, enforceable weapons restrictions

Now. Now is the time. Let's do it both because it's the right thing to do for the present and future as well as for the people lost last week in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Of the seasonal variety

The deafening silence from the NRA this weekend

"If you still don't think guns are the problem, the absolute silence of the NRA since Friday -- even to express the minimum of condolences -- says it all."

--From the usually comedic Andy Borowitz, writer, The New Yorker


Gun restrictions momentum, at last, showing just this morning

At last, at last, we're apparently getting some support momentum, according to the news this morning. There are these two breaking notices. First this:

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy Calls For Tougher Gun Controls

And then, more importantly because it would/will be national in scope, there's this:

Feinstein will introduce assault weapons ban in Senate

Please, please email your senators today or as soon as possible and ask that they support this legislation.

No one in true power or connected to reality is saying or proposing we take away all guns, let's be clear on that here and now. All we're saying is that there needs to be more, better restrictions. And those restrictions should merely be:

1) That there be background checks for mental stability and criminal history;

2) That there be a 30-day waiting period for purchasing weapons and finally,

3) That there be a return of the assault weapons ban. There is no good use for automatic or even semi-automatic weapons. They aren't good for hunting. There only purpose is to mow down people and in rapid succession.

The tragedy is that so many, so many have had to die first, to get to this point. Hopefully we are finally where we can go forward with sensible progress on this important issue.

"The time has come, the walrus said,
to speak of many things,
of shoes and ships and ceiling wax,
of cabbages and kings..."

And sensible, supportable, enforceable gun restrictions.

To contact your Senators (you have 2), go here:


As ever, Europe has the courage and intelligence to respond





Possible, sure, just not likely.

America: Living by the sword, dying by the sword

Quote of the day

"...when a gunman takes out kindergartners in a bucolic Connecticut suburb, three days after a gunman shot up a mall in Oregon, in the same year as fatal mass shootings in Minneapolis, in Tulsa, in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, in a theater in Colorado, a coffee bar in Seattle and a college in California — then we’re doing this to ourselves.

...Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god.

...America needs to tackle gun violence because we need to redefine who we are. We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education."

--Gail Collins, "Looking for America", The New York Times

Link to complete article:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Important questions

"How many more deaths and mass shootings will it take for Washington to begin to lead the country in a deeper conversation about sensible gun controls? What will it take for our politicians to take firm and principled positions on gun policies and stand up to the gun lobby in this country? Surely this is a moment that calls all of us to reckoning."

--Charles M. Blow, "A Tragedy of Silence", The New York Times


Incontrovertible statistics and hard data on guns, violence, shootings and killings in America

From an article in The Atlantic Monthly from last year, not today:

The Geography of Gun Deaths

"...what are the factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level?

Poverty is one. The correlation between death by gun and poverty at the state level is .59.

An economy dominated by working class jobs is another. Having a high percentage of working class jobs is closely associated with firearm deaths (.55).

And, not surprisingly, firearm-related deaths are positively correlated with the rates of high school students that carry weapons on school property (.54).

What about politics? It's hard to quantify political rhetoric, but we can distinguish blue from red states. Taking the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential election, we found a striking pattern: Firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain (.66) and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama (-.66). Though this association is likely to infuriate many people, the statistics are unmistakable. Partisan affiliations alone cannot explain them; most likely they stem from two broader, underlying factors - the economic and employment makeup of the states and their policies toward guns and gun ownership.

Firearm deaths were far less likely to occur in states with higher levels of college graduates (-.64) and more creative class jobs (-.52).

Gun deaths were also less likely in states with higher levels of economic development(with a correlation of -.32 to economic output) and higher levels of happiness and well-being (-.41).

And for all the terrifying talk about violence-prone immigrants, states with more immigrants have lower levels of gun-related deaths (the correlation between the two being -.34).

And what about gun control? As of July 29 of last year, Arizona became one of only three states that allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Might tighter gun control laws make a difference? Our analysis suggests that they do.

The map overlays the map of firearm deaths above with gun control restrictions by state. It highlights states which have one of three gun control restrictions in place - assault weapons' bans, trigger locks, or safe storage requirements.

Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).

While the causes of individual acts of mass violence always differ, our analysis shows fatal gun violence is less likely to occur in richer states with more post-industrial knowledge economies, higher levels of college graduates, and tighter gun laws. Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.

Link to original article:

Here's your good old days for you

Now is the time. Today is the day

And it's simple, too, and uncomplicated:

--Background check required on all purchases, regardless of the place, to confirm mental stability and criminal history;

--30-day waiting period for all weapons purchases;

--Reinstate the assault weapons ban. There is no good use or purpose of assault weapons for hunting but for mowing down people quickly.

No one responsible or connected to reality is saying no guns anywhere. We just need some realistic, enforceable restraints on what's out there and who has them, that's all.

We don't need any further restrictions on guns?

Look at this child and tell me we don't need any further sensible, enforceable restrictions on guns in this country.

This is Ana Marquez-Greene.

At least it was.

Her father is Canadian jazz musician Jimmy Greene.

Ana lost her life to a mad man's bullet while sitting in her kindergarten classroom on Friday.

And there were 19 more, just like her.

Quote of the day

"If you accept that we really are alone--and we are--and that this one trip is all there is, it makes it of paramount importance to, first, be nice to everyone and then be as nice as possible all the time, and to do as much to help every person we can in all the ways we can, every day and every moment of our lives."


Quote of the day

"With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.”

--Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City

Friday, December 14, 2012

Entertainment overnight

How long, America? How long?

From Reuters today:

(Reuters) - The deadly school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday was the latest in a series of shooting crimes in the United States this year.

Following are some of the worst such incidents in the United States in 2012:

April 2 - A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting rampage at a Christian college in Oakland.

July 20 - A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

August 5 - A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by a police officer.

August 24 - Two people are killed and eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City at the height of the tourist season.

September 27 - A disgruntled former employee kills five people and takes his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.

October 21 - Three people are killed in a Milwaukee area spa including the estranged wife of the suspected gunman, who then killed himself.

December 14 - A shooter opens fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing several people including children.

55 people killed--so far--this year.

How long until we have finally had enough?

How long are we going to put up with these killings? These slaughters?

How long until we do something about automatic weapons?

How long until we do something about background checks for mental stability and criminal backgrounds on gun purchases?

How long until we institute a waiting period for weapons purchases?

How long, America?

When will we learn?

When will we react?

When will we ever learn?


Common sense on guns

No one's talking gun control.

No one.

And I'm not, either.

What I would be talking about would be a 30-day waiting period for gun purchases. I'd be talking about background checks for criminal and mental health records of the purchaser. Then, put back into law the assault weapons ban. Automatic weapons aren't for hunting. They're only for mowing down large quantities of people at a rapid rate. That's all.

That's not "gun control."

It's common sense.

And today is a damned fine day to start discussing it, at least.

It won't happen but it should.

And until it does, we'll continue to have mass shootings in this crazy nation.

If you'd care to join the effort to reduce or stop this insanity, go to one of these two links and join, please:

Thank you in advance.


Yet another mass shooting today


CBS: Shooter killed 27, 14 of them children, at Connecticut elementary

Link below.

But gun control?

Oh, heck no. Guns are far more important than our kids.

We refuse to learn.

Or change.


On yesterday's shootings

Because it's important and he's right (written after the last big gun shooting in Colorado):

"...this is not the time for reasonable people, on both sides of this issue, to be silent. We owe it to the people whose lives were ended and ruined yesterday to insist on a real discussion and hopefully on some real action.

...whoever you are and wherever you stand on this issue, I hope you have the joy of family with you today. Hold on to them and love them as best you can. Tell them what they mean to you. Yesterday, a whole bunch of them went to the movies and tonight their families are without them. Every day is precious. Every life is precious. Take care. Be well. Be safe. God bless."

--Jason Alexander, actor, "Seinfeld." (George Costanza)


Quote of the day

"Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand.

It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

--spoken by character Atticus Finch from the book "To Kill a Mockingbird", written by Harper Lee

Kansas City Southern "Union Express" Train tonight at Union Station

The Holiday Express train is free and open to the public. At each stop, The KCS Charitable Fund will make a contribution of gift cards to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothing and other necessities for children in need.

Beautiful train, great cause. Go, enjoy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Want to cut govenrment spending?

Want to shrink government?

Cut the biggest spender of money in the nation.

Cut the defense budget.

Folks, the military gets so much money in and from this nation, they can't even keep track of it all, literally.

To follow all this, you maybe need to go to this new article, out this week, over at Salon:

7 absurd ways the military wastes taxpayer dollars (link at bottom).

And then there's this from none other than The Wall Street Journal:

Wasteful Defense Spending Is a Clear and Present Danger
We could afford a stronger military if we implemented some contracting reforms

"When John McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, he was flying an A4 Skyhawk. That jet cost $860,000.

Inflation has risen by 700% since then. So Mr. McCain's A4 cost $6.1 million in 2008 dollars. Applying a generous factor of three for technological improvements, the price for a 2008 Navy F18 fighter should be about $18 million. Instead, we are paying about $90 million for each new fighter. As a result, the Navy cannot buy sufficient numbers. This is disarmament without a treaty."

We see and hear and read of the obscene defense spending by us, by our country and it makes you want to ask, why do we still have American soldiers in Germany? Italy? It seems we are still, clearly fighting World War II. The US spends far, far more than any other nation on defense, inexplicably:

And then there's this:

The 'Red Dawn' Case for Cutting U.S. Defense Spending

The unsung remake of the Patrick Swayze movie, "Red Dawn," makes a case for cutting the defense budget

A Hollywood action movie, of all things, makes a case for cutting our defense budget. The article makes good points.


Quote of the day

"Fear is the mind killer."

--Frank Herbert, "Dune"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Ravi Shankar, rest in peace.

And what he inspired:

"Within you, without you" --George Harrison

We were talking - about the space between us all
And the people - who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth - then it's far too late when they pass away

We were talking - about the love we all could share
When we find it - to try our best to hold it there - with our love
With our love we could save the world - if they only knew
[ Lyrics from: ]
Try to realise it's all within yourself - no-one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you.

We were talking - about the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see - are you one of them ?

When you've seen beyond yourself
Then you may find peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we're all one
And life flows on within you and without you.