Saturday, March 31, 2012
This movie, "Arthur", from 1981 is surely one of the good to great films--comedy this time--that no way could be remade. Between the pass is got at the time on the subject of alcoholism and the actors in it, it's frozen in time. With Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli and Sir John Gielgud, it is magnificent. The jokes and comedic timing are so spot-on, it just doesn't get much better than this. Such terrific one-liners. This is one of those movies that, over time, you can see again and again, I think, even though you see and hear the same jokes. Fantastic stuff, then, now and forever.
Less tax breaks for "Big Oil" and about 4% higher tax rate from the wealthy--doesn't that make sense?
"Every Member of Congress is going to go on record. And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from. Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket. Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits. Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it. Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less." "That’s not right. That’s not who we are. In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together. It’s about believing in our future and the future of this country. So tell your Members of Congress to do the right thing. Call them up, write them a letter, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don’t need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work. That’s how we’ll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger." —-President Barack Obama
According to the news this morning, as we all likely know by now, three different winning MegaMillions Lottery tickets were sold this week--one in Illinois, one in Maryland and one even in our own next-door-neighbor state of Kansas. Terrific. Excellent. Congratulations to the winners. And this is what should have happened, too, instead of having only one winner of what would have been a huge windfall. Having three winners instead of just one helps many more economies--the individuals who won, of course, the towns and areas they live in and the states they reside in, at least. Added to that, it's far less likely to "screw up" a person if, again, only one person won all that money. Sure, they could still get "screwed up." It's not like this prize, divided by 3 isn't still huge. Hopefully, it just makes it a bit less likely.
Friday, March 30, 2012
How about you, now? General Motors has decided there really may be something to human-caused global warming/climate change according to this from The Huffington Post: "After getting called out by an environmental group, General Motors has pulled support from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit well-known for attacking the science behind global warming and climate change. The automaker told the Heartland Institute last week that it won't be making further donations, spokesman Greg Martin said. At a speech earlier this month, GM CEO Dan Akerson said his company is running its business under the assumption that climate change is real." Maybe our near-90 degree weekend weather helped them agree. With this, with one more large American corporation agreeing there may be something to human-caused global climate change, can US government support for worldwide controls be far behind? Companies like General Electric are on board, along with the entire insurance industry, since they're losing so much money to these catastrophic events. Then there's the American military which is already making preparations with this in mind. Let's hope American support for things like the Kyoto Treaty are nearly here. Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/30/general-motors-heartland-institute-climate-change_n_1391217.html; http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/global-warming-catastrophe-island-nation-swallowed-whole-sea-185245448.html
I found this at a friend's page on Facebook, frankly, and checkd it out. I enjoyed it and found it to ring true. I thought others might like and enjoy it. We should think more about what we can live without, it seems, doesn't it?
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Breaking news today: Senate Republicans reject Obama call to end 'big oil' tax breaks (links at bottom). In spite of the billions and billions of dollars in profits the oil industry makes and is taking in, the Republicans in the Senate today voted down taking away their tax subsidies. Get that--the oil industry makes more money than any other in the nation--and the world--yet we, the United States, give them tax subsidies. Not only that, but these Senate Republicans voted to allow them to get and keep these tax breaks. Does this make any sense to anyone? Well, except to the Senators in Congress who get "campaign contributions" from "Big Oil." Sure, it makes sense to them. Check this out, from one of the articles at the links below--"The top five oil companies in the United States have already made $5.8 billion in windfall profits from spiking gasoline prices this year." Yet we're giving them tax breaks. Is that not insanity? I thought tax breaks should be for small, upcoming industries you want to encourage, not already mature, grossly successful companies that, frankly, in this case we want to discourage since, first, it's a dirty, foul, polluting industry and second, we need to get out of the Middle East for national security purposes. Wow. We have got to stop this. Links: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/29/politics/oil-subsidies/index.html;
There are so many places where Republicans are just going crazy with legislation, all against the American people, the voter, the average citizen and worker lately. I'll only post three here today, one each from Washington, Jefferson City, here in Missouri and Topeka, Kansas. First, Washington--Senate Republicans just voted down a bill that would take away tax subsidies for "Big Oil", the most profitable industry in the nation and world. Forget that they're making more money than ever and more than any other industry. Their minions in Washington want to keep giving them tax breaks. Second, from Topeka and holy cow, they're doing all kinds of crazy over there. Last evening, The Lawrence Journal-World reported that the Kansas House gives preliminary OK to bill that supporters say preserves religious freedom, but opponents say allows discrimination From the article: "The Kansas House on Wednesday advanced legislation that would allow a religious defense to discriminate against gays." Because nothing gives Jesus message of "Love your neighbor", especially from a church, like discriminating against your fellow man, right? Finally, from Jeff City, this from the AFL-CIO and St. Louis Today, earlier today: "Instead of focusing on what's really important for Missouri families, politicians voted to override Governor Nixon's veto of SB 572 on a strict party-line vote. This legislation strips critical benefits for workers suffering from life-threatening diseases contracted on the job. It cuts compensation for workers suffering occupational diseases to a minimal amount– just enough to cover the hospital bills and pay for burial." Nice, eh? It's so clear that in all corners the Republicans can, they are stripping power and/or money and/or rights--or, worse, a comination thereof--from the average Americans and mightily, mightily supporting corporations, the wealthy and corporate America first, last and foremost, at all turns. Friends just don't let friends vote Republican. Links: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/29/politics/oil-subsidies/index.html; http://www.stltoday.com/news/state-and-regional/missouri/mo-senate-votes-to-override-veto-on-workers-comp/article_b47f7180-bf2e-5bd7-a99d-e9edf9035c0f.html; http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/mar/28/house-gives-preliminary-ok-bill-supporters-say-pre/; http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/03/27/missouri-republicans-propose-budget-that-robs-the-blind-of-aid/
This is so disgusting on so many levels: "By an overwhelming vote of 89-27, tonight the GOP-dominated Kansas House voted to legalize anti-gay discrimination based on religious objections. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), is primarily aimed at the small college town of Lawrence, the one remaining place in the entire state where gays have some legal protections." Congratulations, Kansas--you're getting as bad and as sick and as hateful and ugly and ignorant as Arizona. Link: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/mar/28/house-gives-preliminary-ok-bill-supporters-say-pre/
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I was looking over some blogs I keep an eye on and ran across a situation in Alaska right now that epitomizes what our government representatives and corporations are doing to and with us here in the US so frequently. It is from The Mudflats blog: It seems the Conoco-Philips Oil Company is supporting the Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell's campaign to give oil companies yet more tax breaks. The cozy little situation works like this: the oil company gives the good Governor "campaign contributions" and supports a $40/plate luncheon for him while the Guv' pushes for these tax breaks for them. Pretty sweet, eh? Meanwhile, the losers? The Alaskans themselves who have to somehow make up for the lost tax revenue. That wouldn't be so bad except it comes from their schools and roads and bridges and sewers and such and so would have to likely be made up out of their own pockets. Alaska, if this flies, it sucks to be you. For that matter, with this political system, it sucks to be us. Link: http://www.themudflats.net/2012/03/27/dont-bend-over-alaska-soon-to-be-viral-video/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheMudflats+%28The+Mudflats%29
Notes from the video: "Union Pacific Steam Locomotive #844 picked up Civil War actors this morning at Union Station bound for the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Shiloh." I saw and got this from local photographer Roy Inman's Facebook page today. (Thanks, Roy!).
“What is a man born for, but to be a Reformer, a re-maker of what man has made; a renouncer of lies; a restorer of truth and good; imitating that great nature herself, yielding us every morning a new day, and with every pulsation a new life?” --Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and poet (1803-1882)
Monday, March 26, 2012
Love him, hate him or don't even care, it seems the staunch, traditional Republicans--the hard core of the Party--are doing their absolute best to squash any chances Ron Paul might have in Missouri of gaining the presidency this Fall. A couple weeks ago, the Party had to shut down the caucus in St. Charles County in St. Louis because it not only wasn't going the way they wanted but because, it seemed, it was going too much for Ron Paul. Now, today, there's this from a St. Louis paper: Ron Paul supporters dominate GOP caucuses in St. Louis, Jackson County "Ron Paul's chances of winning the White House may be minimal, but his supporters dominated the Republican caucuses in St. Louis and Jackson County on Saturday.
Yes, we have high hopes that Bishop Finn's day in court for him, his church and the very protective and male hierarchy in the Catholic Church finally, finally get held responsible both for the students, the children that are supposed to be in their care and for the laws they are supposed to follow. There's a great article in a St. Louis newspaper today: High stakes for church in case against KC bishop. "The charge is only a misdemeanor, but if prosecutors are able to win a conviction against Kansas City Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn, they could be opening up a whole new front in the national priest abuse crisis. Finn is accused of violating Missouri's mandatory reporter law by failing to tell state officials about hundreds of images of suspected child pornography found on the computer of a priest in his diocese. Experts say a criminal conviction against Finn, the highest-ranking church official charged with shielding an abusive priest, could embolden prosecutors elsewhere to more aggressively pursue members of the church hierarchy who try to protect offending clergy." (Link to original story at bottom). And let's hope this is exactly what happens. That is, that the court finds that Bishop Finn didn't, in fact, follow the law--that he broke it--by not reporting Shawn Ratigan (since he clearly didn't) and that they find him guilty. In the first place, that's exactly what happened and in the second place, it's long since time this stopped. It's so important to remember, too, that THE REASON THIS LAW WAS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE WAS BECAUSE OF THE LAST CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL, too. It's obscene. It's unconscionable. It has to stop and here and now is a great place to get it to stop. Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/state-and-regional/missouri/high-stakes-for-church-in-case-against-kc-bishop/article_71719047-24f4-504f-aa69-ecb7cb913734.html#ixzz1qEmYrJb2
For Senator Roy Blunt, the Republican Party and anyone and everyone else who thinks the American health care system either isn't broken or doesn't need the Affordable Care Act and/or fixing, here's an article today from a St. Louis newspaper: Woman demanding care at St. Mary's hospital is arrested for trespassing, dies in jail Heads up, folks. In the rest of the industrialized world, she wouldn't have been denied care. This is not just wrong, it's obscene. Link to original article: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-demanding-care-at-st-mary-s-hospital-is-arrested/article_ed640f3d-64a0-516c-88ff-fb770b5e9677.html
Sunday, March 25, 2012
“'Big government' isn’t the problem. The problem is the Big Money that’s taking over government. Government is doing fewer of the things most of us want it to do—providing good public schools and affordable access to college, improving infrastructure, maintaining safety nets and protecting the public from dangers—and more of the things big corporations, Wall Street and wealthy plutocrats want it to do." --Robert Reich, Professor, writer, columnist and writer for The New York Times. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have to kill "campaign contributions." If we don't, we'll never get our government back for the people first. Link to original post: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/23-2#.T23Zrj2Y1FI.facebook
I keep running in to people, most frequently on Facebook, white people, specifically, who complain (whine?) about "repeated calls of racism." And wow. It blows me away. And what gets me is that, first, they don't realize how ironic that is and second, how hypocritical. It's just stunning. Here's an idea: if you are one of the seemingly many people who are "tired of calls of racism", then do something about it. Help end it. If someone you're with makes some negative comment about a person, based on that 2nd person's race, speak up. Or if they say something negative about a race of people--and after all, what better example of racism is there than that?--say something. Help stop it where it is. Let's put an end to it. That's a great way to start. Do the whole, "man in the mirror" thing. Get it out of your own life and then make clear to family, friends, acquaintances and, yes, even strangers, that racism is wrong. Then maybe it'll stop. Then, maybe, we won't have to hear it any longer. Then people won't be exposed to it and complaints of its existence will end. We should be so lucky.
“Religion too often demands belief in physical absurdities and anachronistic traditions despite all scientific evidence and moral progress." --Anonymous person, friend, of Frank Bruni, writer/columnist at The New York Times. If you didn't see this column in today's paper, please do go to the link and check it out. It is one brilliant, brief, important, good and satisfying read. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/bruni-a-catholic-classmate-rethinks-his-religion.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Why nothing will ever change in Kansas City regarding the shootings and killings unless the people change: Man shot twice outside an apartment, but refuses to tell police about the shooter KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man is recovering from gunshot wounds suffered late Wednesday night outside a Kansas City apartment building. Police said the bullets hit the man in a shoulder and arm, but are not life-threatening. The victim refused to cooperate with police and does not want to prosecute his attacker. No one can say anything about what the mayor, City Hall, police or anyone else is doing if the people who are being shot or shot at don't assist the police, after the fact. After this, I refuse to write anything further on this subject, the shootings and murders in Kansas City. Like so many people here in town, if the people involved can't or won't help themselves with these problems, there is no way anyone outside the situations can. Sure, everyone knows it, as I had up to now but I had held out until now. Now, like so many others, I'm done with it. Link: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/crime/man-shot-twice-outside-an-apartment-but-refuses-to-tell-police-about-the-shooter
I've often held that National Public Radio--NPR--is the best radio on radio. I have to go one step further, in a similar thread, and say that for news, coverage of important national issues on their news, their history specials, their entertainment with series like "Downton Abbey" and, Austin City Limits, broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York and more, PBS--the Public Broadcasting System--is some of the, if not the best television on TV. With all that in mind, I have to say I think their PBS Newshour nightly discussion with David Brooks and Mark Shields is the calmest, most lucid, intelligent, least emotional and partisan and so, most important, regular discussion on our national politics, politicians and situations in the country, I feel sure. The country would be helped greatly if more people saw this brief segment and really listened to the men.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Please press for justice for Trayvon Martin. Call for prosecution, in a court of law, of his assailant, George Zimmerman.
Please go to this link to sign a petition calling for a trial of the alleged killer of Trayvon Martin
Thank you in advance: http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin
A "PRICK THE SKIN" REMINDER ~ "...I haven't written yet about the killing of Trayvon Martin. The reason is that I can't seem to begin to think about it without crying. The senseless shooting of that beautiful young boy is overwhelming. But it goes beyond that. Remember the quote I used last night? 'I did my best to teach the master about slaves. Told him a hundred times when he was a boy that it wasn't a black skin that made a man a slave. It's the other skin, the one that grows on the outside, that second hide made of fear and obedience. What a good master does is every once in a while, prick that skin to remind folks that it's still there and always will be. I told him that if a slave was to molt that outside skin, you no longer have a slave. 'Mark my words,' I said, 'when a man's not afraid, then he's hoping. And that's when all hell breaks loose.' The killing of that young boy is the 'prick the skin' reminder to every African American boy - as well as his father/mother/brother/sister/aunt/uncle/grandmother/grandfather etc. - that the fear is very real. Whether that's what Zimmerman intended or not is beside the point...its the reality that has been reinforced once again. What does it mean to raise an African American child in this country today? It means that once you get over the miriad of ways that the education, health and justice system are filled with inequities, you have to fear the idea of him getting shot while walking home from a trip to the convenience store. There's only so much a parent can do to try to protect their child. So as a white person I try to imagine what its like to be a mother under those circumstances. And that's when I know what a long road we have yet to travel when it comes to racism in this country. The particular bar I set is that we'll know we got there when a mother of an African American boy can sleep soundly at night and leave the fear for her child behind. Until then, I'll brook no talk about a 'post-racial America.'" ..." Link: http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2012/03/prick-skin-reminder.html
Some statistics on this year's heat wave: First, so far this month, up to the 19th, "more than 2,200 warm temperature records have been set so far in March." Second, Winner, South Dakota, two days ago, "...hit 94°F—-the earliest 90° reading ever recorded in the Northern Plains." Next, "Canada is weathering record-breaking heat too: Winnipeg, Manitoba broke its record high for the past four days in a row, and hit 21°C (70°F) yesterday, its hottest temperature on record so early in the year. With today's forecast by Environment Canada and wunderground both calling for highs near 25°C (77°F), Winnipeg is likely to record its highest March temperature on record." It is at least extraordinary, no matter your beliefs. Link: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/03/crazy-heat-wave-about-get
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
"...for the sweaty mobs of posters going incognito as they drop poison on others, they are simply gutless. Forums should put a yellow stripe beside their words." --Froma Harrop, The Real Problem with Online Anonymity; Link: http://www.nationofchange.org/real-problem-online-anonymity-1332077774
"Can you imagine the difference if half the money spent in Gulf wars were spent on developing our own energy...?" --From "Larry" on a Yahoo! News report right now, in the comments, from a story on Staff Sergeant Bales, in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, for shooting 16 Aghanis last week. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/lawyer-describes-talk-afghan-killings-suspect-175642911.html
Last week, when Kansas State played Southern Mississippi, the Souther Miss crowd rather famously now chanted out "Where's your green card" at Puerto Rico-born Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez. As it turns out, there's some "hell to pay": "School president Martha Saunders announced Tuesday that five band members have had their scholarships revoked, have been removed from the band and will have to complete a two-hour cultural sensitivity training course this week." If there's a downside to it, their names weren't released to the public. Personally, I think they deserve some rather public shaming to go along with this punishment but at least they got this. The irony to the whole, ignorant, ugly thing? Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States so Rodriguez diddn't need a green card. Idiots. Racism must end. Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/southern-mississippi-punishes-band-members-ignorant-chant-170125916.html
I read once where Mike Thompson, meteorologist at Fox4KC took a pretty public stance that our weather status, to date, was not likely made worse by human activity, specifically, our carbon dioxide output, at least. Well, ABC Evening News reported last evening that 1300 heat records were broken in one week, last week, while there was snow, conversely, in Arizona and outside San Diego. Additionally, there have been, so far this year, 250 tornadoes--twice the normal number. And check out some of those record highs in this video: Chicago, which should be in the 40's, has been in the 80's, like Kansas City and Atlanta. Cedar Rapids? Same thing---in the 80's. International freaking Falls, Minnesota, usually one of the coldest spots in the country, hit 79 degrees, smashing their previous record high by 22 degrees. And sure, this could be just a fluke but still, it's happening. In addition to the temperature records being broken, there's this: there was a pollen count in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday of 8,164 and even that is breaking--smashing, actually--records so it's temperatures and pollen counts, both. A normal count for June would be 100. The bigger issues for me and the world, I think, are the polar ice caps and glaciers all over the world are melting and shrinking at record paces. Since Mr. Thompson took such a stance earlier, it would be interesting to see if and when he ever comes down off his earlier proclamations and stances. Link: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/19/447610/fixing-errors-uk-met-office-says-2010-2005-hottest-years-on-record-world-warming-faster-than-thought/?mobile=nc
The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International just released their state-by-state evaluation of each legislature and their possible accountability to their citizens and, conversely, likelihood of political corruption. The good news? We're not Georgia, ranked worst. Eight states, in total, failed utterly. Missouri, as said above, got a C-. Kansas was only a bit better, garnering a C. A bit of what they found on the "Show Me State": "While blatant corruption is relatively rare in this state of 6 million residents, questionable behavior abounds within state government – particularly among lawmakers – and an undermanned ethics agency struggles to investigate and punish offenders." Here's the biggest issue, to me: "...there is a near consensus that a largely unfettered flow of campaign money presents big ethical problems. Missouri is one of just four states to have no contribution limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures." Representative Jason Kander is quoted in it, naturally, since he's been pushing for ethics reform, especially as it applies to campaign contributions. You can read the entire, rather brief report at the links at bottom. The bottom line? We need to hold these people more accountable. With the internet, we can do that, too. It makes it far easier to watch what they're doing, what they're planning to do and to communicate with them via email, giving them our thoughts. We have to be involved. We have to demand accountability. It's got to come from us. Links: http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=9198792767248747350; http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/03/19/8423/grading-nation-how-accountable-your-state; http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/03/political-corruption-8-states-earn-failing-grades/;
This video is only three minutes and thirteen seconds long yet it shows, by these people's example, how the Affordable Care Act already made such a huge difference in saving an infant girl's life in Arizona. Oh, yeah, we needed this legislation and it absolutely should not be repealed. Please share, if you will, with anyone who doesn't know better.
Monday, March 19, 2012
If you like Broadway, Broadway plays, Broadway music, Broadway musicals, New York or any combination thereof and haven't seen this, don't miss it. Don't miss "Smash" tonight. When Bernadette Peters started singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses", I broke out in chills, quite unexpectedly. Zounds. 9pm. Be there. Last week's episode, for the first time, disappointed me a bit but that ws the first time and it was only one scene. Anyway, you might enjoy it. Note: You can go online, too, and see the first few episodes, in their entirety: http://www.nbc.com/smash/
Hey, we couldn't--no way--be taken seriously for attracting Peyton Manning but now, with Tim Tebow out in Denver and Peyton Manning in, it seems like it would make some good sense to possibly go after the far younger Mr. Tebow instead. We could put up with the grandstanding prayers on field, as long as he brought us wins each week. It seems like the price would be easier than Peyton's and he's younger and we could, hopefully, build the team around him a bit. Whaddya' say, Clark? Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=lc-carpenter_tim_tebow_peyton_manning_elway_broncos_031912
As we keep saying, we could be Detroit. Or St. Louis. Or, in this case, Chicago: Chicago bloodbath: 6-year-old among those killed. It seems, over the weekend, 41 people in Chicago were shot, ten of them died. One was a 6 year old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting. Of course, we don't have Chicago's population size but still, they have, clearly, a big, big problem. I'm still hoping this mayor, this police chief and all the civic and church leaders in town can and will finally, finally, get a hold of and solutions to this problem. It's so sick. And so unnecessary. Links: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/19/10758488-chicago-bloodbath-6-year-old-among-those-killed; http://ebonymompolitics.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/chicagos-bloody-weekend-41-people-shot-where-is-the-outrage/
A friend of mine, across the country from us, wrote this, today, on his FB wall page: "CAUCASIAN + MALE + NON-VETERAN + 60 YEARS OLD = JOB DISCRIMINATION." And while I'm not sure about the Caucasian or male part but just the age factor, I think it could be argued that age discrimination and this tough economy might well be one of the most under-reported stories since the 2008 national and international economic downturn. With all these people unemployed and under-employed, I think any people potentially hiring assume, for whatever reason, that anyone 55, at least, if not 50, and older either may or will have just far too many issues going against them. The Deseret News, out of Utah, had this to say: Age discrimination a growing issue in a difficult economy Very unfortunate. Seems like, potentially, a big waste of a lot of talent and experience. Link: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865551785/Age-discrimination-a-growing-issue-in-a-difficult-economy.html
Keeping in mind what's happening right now with the Staff Sergeant who is just an easy 45 minutes or so away from Kansas City right now, up in Fort Leavenworth's military prison for having reportedly, suspectedly shot 16 civilians and then set at least some on fire, check out what the military's goal is for "treating" service members.
"As soon as they become rich, they become Republican." --Groucho Marx, speaking to Dick Cavett on "The Dick Cavett Show"
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Scrolling headlines on the internet today, I saw one that said "Just Who Is Leonard Wood, Anyway? And, well, since all of us in this part of the country have "Fort Leonard Wood" just roll off our tongues since, after all, it's little more than a stone's throw from here, I had to see why this came up. The reason? "Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has been calling his opponent Mitt Romney the weakest front-runner in modern times. On CNN, he clarified it when he said the former Massachusetts governor is probably the "weakest front-runner since Leonard Wood in 1920." That according to NPR (link at bottom, as usual). So if you're interested in the good gentleman or in this bit of American history, you might check it out. It's very brief. While you're at it, you might look into the role Ft. Leonard Wood also played in spreading pandemic influenza worldwide, back in WWI. Really fascinating stuff. (2nd link). Link: http://www.npr.org/2012/03/18/148878850/just-who-is-leonard-wood-anyway?ft=1&f=1001; http://www.jackson.army.mil/sites/leaderdevelopment/docs/608
During George W. Bush's Presidency, we got the big-government, intrusive, a lot of us say unconstitutional "Patriot Act." Now we're getting the "National Defense Authorization Act" and an Executive Order from this President, according to the link below--which looks as though it's straight from the White House website, I might add--saying the government reserves the right to confiscate anything we own... So I ask you, where are the probing journalists from the extremely important "Fourth Estate" to ask the questions and find out a) what's going on?, b) why?, c) who's doing it? and d) how do we stop them? The big, major networks? Fugghedaboudit. We know they won't do it. They're too busy entertaining us. PBS' "Frontline" does some excellent expose's at times, telling us what the government or the wealthy or corporations did or are doing to us and/or in the country. And The New York Times does some good articles at times but first, look how they buckled for that Iraq War of George W. Bush's and second, I just haven't seen the kind of big, multiple-day story like this, that such a story should and would entail. They could do it but it doesn't seem like something they've done for a good while. There are blogs and websites online that do some good reporting like Politifact and Truthdig and Truthout, etc., but these are considered "Left Wing" and would be utterly discounted by the Right Wing, Republicans and too many in America. Besides, too many Americans are too busy just trying to cover the rent or the house payment and food on the table so they don't get to a lot of those things. We need some good organizations to perform this function/these functions of reporting on our government and institutions so we know what's happening and we can keep the wrong things from happening, in advance. A lot of people seem rather rightly concerned about the Constitution, the state of the nation, our rights and our collective and individual futures. Without someone reporting on these, we can't and won't know what's going on or by whom or why. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act: http://m.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness
From ABC's "This Week" this morning: "It's time we get out." --George Will, Conservative, Writer, Author, Columnist
Clear to The New York Times today on yesterdays cluster puck that was the caucuses: Disruption Closes a Missouri Caucus Before Vote "ST. PETERS, Mo. – Voters here in St. Charles County did not get a say on Saturday in who will be the next Republican presidential nominee after a disorderly caucus on Saturday caused organizers to adjourn before delegates were selected. The unrest began as the caucus at Francis Howell North High School was called to order more than a hour late, then delayed again when a member of the crowd refused to put away a video camera, as required by the rules outlined by the local Republican Party." A video camera? Not allowed by the Republican Party? Um, why? What is there to hide? I'd love that answered. Here's the travesty of it, it seems: "St. Charles was supposed to select the most delegates of any single caucus in the state, and turnout was much higher than expected." If you read the article, it seems the Ron Paul people were being shut out. If that's not what happened or not what the author intended as a take-away from the article, that's certainly what I got. That Republican Party surely is a mess, at least locally, as here, if not statewide as well as on the national level. Ain't 'dat just a dang shame? Links: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/disruption-closes-a-missouri-caucus-before-vote/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120318; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/us/politics/in-missouri-the-gop-fight-for-delegates-enters-round-2-post-beauty-contest.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
I just ran across this local South American group on Facebook, surprisingly and liked what I saw and found. You can check out their Facebook page and website here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cachecanto/130726757030979; http://cachecanto.com/
“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.... This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. ... The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Saturday, March 17, 2012
If we don't kill "campaign contributions" and get the big, ugly, corrosive, corrupting money out of our election system and so, our government, nothing will ever change. This trailer for this coming documentary also confirms this.
One of my favorite Irish songs--"Grace." Not the best version--I have that on CD at home. But a magnificent song. Happy St. Patty's Day, everyone. Let's be careful out there.
From the news today: Obama seeks halt to tax subsidies for oil industry And this is great news. The oil industry is the most profitable industry in the nation--and the world--yet we, the American people--give them tax subsidies and breaks. Does that make any sense to anyone? It's crazy. They should be quickly and summarily done away with and as soon as possible. Even with money coming from the oil industry to our Congressional representatives, this should be an easy goal to attain. It's good for America. It's good for business and it's good for every home in the country--even if they didn't have a car, let alone if they do. Kudos, Mr. President. I would salute this action regardless of the political party that originated it, certainly. (And the Tea Party, Libertarians and Independents should all be behind this. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-seeks-halt-tax-subsidies-oil-industry-100325515.html
Everyone's out getting drunk while there's this: Military Sources Name Army Sergeant Suspected in Afghanistan Massacre 4 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, lost part of his foot, had a traumatic head injury, wife and 2 kids at home, troubles there, on the home/marriage front: Suspect in Afghan Attack Snapped, US Official Says. Poor guy. Sure, I feel for the innocent Afghanis, too, absolutely. But this guy needs needs his wife, kids and country behind him. What he did was wrong but the war is wrong and he needs help, at least. It pains me that he's only about 45 minutes from home. I feel sick for him and have since I heard about it. Happy St. Patrick's Day, America. A man's life may well be ruined for you. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/military-sources-name-army-sergeant-suspected-afghanistan-massacre-224453357.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/asia/suspect-in-afghan-attack-snapped-us-official-says.html?_r=1.
I can think of no better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with music and who better to do it than Connie Dover? (My many great thanks to KPR's and St. Joseph's own Bob McWilliams for introducing her music to me).
Friday, March 16, 2012
Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese people have been tortured and killed, over many years, by their government in the African nation of Sudan and little action is taken by the nation and peoples of the world. What, finally, gets us all to sit up, take note and do something about the atrocities? Celebrity. As has so truly been said by me and many others, if they had oil, we'd have been in there years ago. As it is, they don't, so we aren't. At any rate, now, perhaps, at long last, the world's attention may, possibly go to helping these poor people. We'll see. Here's hoping. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/9148839/George-Clooney-arrested.html
We need to get the big, ugly, corrosive, corrupting money out of our campaign and election systems so we get it out of our government. We need true, tough, comprehensive, accountable, stringent, prosecutable campaign finance reform. If we don't do this, nothing will ever change. Our representatives, their legislation, our laws and so, ultimately, our government will be bought, paid for and owned by the wealthy and corporations of the nation and you and I will matter very little, if at all.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Two more institutions that are failing us (besides the Catholic Church): Goldman Sachs and Citibank (also known as "Shittybank", pardon the crudeness). As for Goldman Sachs, you may have heard that a high-ranking executive just left the organization, then wrote and published a letter in The New York Times, describing the ugly, greedy culture within: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs It's a good and important read, I think. Help yourself, if you haven't already. (link below). The second failed--really failed--institution is, as I said earlier, Citibank. It seems the Federal Reserve tested 19 of the biggest banks in the nation recently and 15 of the 19 passed this "stress test." One that didn't? The third largest bank in the US? You got it. Citibank: Four US banks fail Federal Reserve stress test So here we are, yet again. Two more big institutions, failing the people they should be serving, along with failing the nation. It seems true, that what we need is a mix of free market Capitalism that works but that government that keeps these organizations honest and from over-reaching. (See 3rd link, below). We seem to be victims of huge success that is otherwise now, bringing us down. I say it again, we must get the big, ugly, corrosive, corrupting money from the wealthy and corporations out of our political and election process and system. They mustn't be able to buy our legislators, their legislation, our laws and so, finally, our government. If we don't do that, if we don't kill "campaign contributions" with true reform, nothing will ever change. Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17361899
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
"What do you want me to say? I'll say it. What do you want me to be? I'll be it." --Willard "Mitt" Romney. (Not literally but darned near). Links: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/romneys-positions-increasingly-impossible-to-nail-down-1.php; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/mitt-romney-catfish-flip-flop_n_1340079.html
The best thing about this possible future? That we'd have photovoltaic cells all over our homes, commercial buildings and even our cars so we'd create our own, clean electricity and hopefully either shrink tremendously or do away with commerical power plants and the mining and burning of coal, among other things. The worst thing about it? We'll have an attention span of the tsetse fly.
According to a Facebook post, the Pizza Hut at 3907 Main won't make deliveries East of Troost. They'll deliver ON Troost but not even one block over. Additionally, they say the Papa John's won't deliver East of Oak Street. Given the murders and shootings in that zip code, are they to be blamed or no? Anyway, this person and group is calling for someone to open up a pizza place and a coffee shop (two separate businesses) so they can get this done. That is, supply these products and services to the area. Link: https://www.facebook.com/messages/66805392#!/groups/emeraldcityprojectkc/?notif_t=group_r2j_approved
When it comes to Americans and our government, it seems we share a great deal with Catholics and their hierarchy and leadership. That is, it seems the people are good and well-meaning and well-intentioned and hard-working but the leadership and so, the respective institution is failing the people, the followers, if you will, they are supposed to be leading and working for. In far too many states and in Washington, D.C. with our national Congress, there is divisiveness, demagoguery and stalemate instead of progress. In the Catholic Church, unfortunately, far too much time and energy and assets--money--have gone to first, sadly and shockingly, physically and/or sexually abusing children in their schools and then, to make matters worse, covering up those activities and defending the abusers. It's so tragic and unnecessary, unproductive and even ugly. What has happened? Why are both of these two institutions failing us, failing the people they are supposed to be serving? It seems one possibility is that both are victims of their own success. Maybe another is that we, the people, have become lazy and don't expect and demand enough of our leaders though I am always loathe to "blame the victim", as that 2nd possibility seems to bring. We need to take our institutions back, in each case. We need to be in charge. We need to speak up and make clear what should happen--and what must not. Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/us/catholic-church-pressures-victims-network-with-subpoenas.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all; http://kileyrae.tumblr.com/post/7961222388/ny-times-op-ed-a-deadlocked-congress-has-become
It seems there has been a clear and strong push, locally and nationally, to kill public office pensions like for city, state and federal employees and maybe especially teachers. With all of this, doesn't it seem we should do away with the automatic, juicy, far-too-big, self-created pensions of the US Congress, first, last and foremost? That would serve many great purposes, it seems to me, not least of which is first, saving Federal monies and second and more importantly, doing away with Senators and Representatives desire to get in there so they can have it cushy for the rest of their lives, once they get seated? It sure seems like a great idea to me and again, one that would serve many good purposes. Other than the Congresspeople themselves, I can't imagine who'd be against this, too.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Regarding the alleged Afghanistan "shooter" who is thought to have killed 16 Afghan men, women and children, discussions have already begun about putting him on trial and then, who should do that trial--the Afghanis or the US with our trial system. And my first reaction is---WHOA. Stop. Holy cow. This needs to be looked into so much, it's unquestionable. With what little information is already out, it seems that this Staff Sergeant has served in 3 tours of duty to Iraq, for starters, and "was involved in a vehicle accident and suffered a head injury," recently. The fact is, we set these men up--usually young men--to kill people, put them under a tremendous amount of pressure and then get surprised when atrocities happen. There are a great many people out there, already, in the world and on the internet (of course) and some of them Afghanis, sure, but some of them Americans who have already concluded that he's a) guilty and b) deserving of the death penalty. I've heard and read these comments. A friend even said he thought it a good idea to turn him over to the Afghanis for trial. I'm of the opinion there is no possible way he would be given a fair trial there--that seems easy to see--but he may not even get a fair trial here in the States. I'm of the opinion there is an exceptionally high likelihood he went "out of his head", so to speak and believe me, I'm no apologist for the military and/or for military atrocities. Murdering innocent civilians, men, women and children is never "okay", by any means but in this case, I think time and evidence will likely show there are extremely extenuating circumstances. If anything, I think time will show this Sergeant deserves humanity's sympathy, empathy and yes, forgiveness, if anything. As it is, people here are calling for his trial while different sources in Afghanistan are already calling for his death. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/ap-source-afghan-shooter-stryker-brigade-175222910.html;
David Clohessy keeps records from his advocacy group, known as SNAP, in his St. Louis home.
Well, here we go? Let's hope not. Four people shot and killed last weekend within 48 hours. Now, today, two more shot and killed in town just this afternoon. We're up to 20 people dead so far this year and forget about Summer not even being here yet--Spring hasn't even begun. It doesn't look good. Here's hoping Mayor James and Police Chief Corwin can get a handle on this, with help from the applicable communities, citizens, churches and community groups. They can't do it alone. Links: http://fox4kc.com/2012/03/13/two-shot-one-dead-at-kansas-city-home/; http://videos.kansascity.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=135650151; http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2012/03/13/kansas-city-missouris-homicide-total-hits-18-for-2012-for-now; http://kcpdchief.blogspot.com/
Let's hope so. It seems the US Department of Justice ruled Texas' Voter ID laws discriminatory and so, has thrown them out. Good for them. That's a good start. Now, hopefully, as said above, maybe it can come this way and disavow Kansas' and Missouri's useless, discriminatory, un-American voter ID laws since they're only really created to get fewer Americans voting. Link: http://www.workingamerica.org/blog/2012/03/13/texas-voter-id-law-deemed-discriminatory/
There are two very simple things Britain does in their elections that we in the US don't do but that we should. The first is that they don't allow "mis-statements" in campaigns. They are outlawed, formally. If, after the fact, a person is in office and is found to have done such a thing, they must forfeit their office. So simple, so smart. The second thing the Brits do that we need so horribly here in the States is--and I've said this before--we need to make our campaigns for election a certain length of time. Three or six months seems about right. In this way, we wouldn't have to keep hearing from these people but far more importantly, once in office, they could merely legislate instead of virtually constantly campaigning and raising money for those campaigns, as they must now. (Then, if we put this with true, stringent, touch, accountable and prosecutable campaign finance reform, we could get the "big money" from the wealthy and corporations of these campaigns out of our election system and government). We can always hope. That said, we must work for these changes.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Radical, Right Wing, Republican legislators are at it again--still, really--with a new piece of legislation that would allow a woman's doctor to come between a mother/patient and her soon-to-be born child, if the doctor is strongly against abortion: "Buried in a sweeping anti-abortion bill is a provision that would immunize a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient. ...[A] doctor who opposes abortion could decide to lie about the results of your blood tests, your ultrasound, your cvs or your amnio. Lie to you so that you won't have information that might lead you to decide to end your pregnancy or that might lead you to learn more about your child's condition so that you are prepared to be the best parent you can be to your child." Instead of solving Kansas' tax problems or working on creating jobs, these legislators seem intent, instead, on legislating morality to mothers and fathers who otherwise, in this scenario, would be lied to and then taken out of the decisions on the mother's body and the child's condition. This is both appalling and disgusting. And it's happening right now in Topeka, Kansas. This is what Kansas is in the news for, nationally and internationally. That is sad. And sick. If you are from Kansas, please go to this link to write Senate President Steve Morris a note, making clear you are against this bill: http://www.senatorstevemorris.com/content/contact-me. Link: http://www.aclu.org/blog/reproductive-freedom/kansas-pregnant-women-little-lie-your-doctor-wont-hurt-you
Indeed, I think we Americans think of ourselves as peace-lovers and beneficent and a peace-loving people, yet, according to author John Pilger, "Since the Second World War the US has 1) Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically-elected; ) Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries; ) Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries; 4) Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries and, finally, at least here, 5) Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders." And that's just SOME of what we've done, as a nation. We need to make it clear to all of our national leaders that this is beyond unacceptable and demand that our country stop its militarism completely and as soon as possible. It's absurd. It's obscene. The only thing it's doing is supporting the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned us of. Face it, folks, for the last 50 years, we have been the warmonger of the world. It needs to stop and the only way it will is if we demand it. Links: http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2012/01/pilger-obama-war-britain; https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-War-You-Dont-See-a-Film-by-John-Pilger/164138183607202
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community …. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” --Cesar Chavez, farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist (1927-1993)
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I'll never understand that. Or gays, or women or Blacks or Hispanics, for that matter, since they clearly legislate against all of them.
Here's a person--a woman--who was against it, too. Then she came down with cancer and needed health care here in America. The system was broken, folks. Heck, it still is and we know it. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, more than 50 million of us don't have access to health care and we rank 37th, internationally, in mortality rates. We're likelier to die here, sooner than in 36 other nations, in spite of the ridiculously high cost of our health care. Those 3 statistics alone should tell us all we needed this reform. And more.
Here's yet another example of how the big money from the wealthy and corporations of the world, really, are buying our legislators, their legislation, our laws and so, ultimately, our government: Congressman Norm Dicks, Ranking member of House Appropriations Committee, Steps Aside Following Allegations by Tacoma Lawyer..." It seems this Congressman Dicks, ranking Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee (read: financing) did the following: •In return for campaign contributions, PMA group clients received over $200 million in contracts. •In November, 2008 FBI agents raided PMA's offices and removed records of the firm's political action committee and files from some of its employees. •In January of 2011, Lobbyist Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Role in Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme. The thing is, too, this representative wouldn't have been caught, either, had it not been for an attorney who pursued the situation and asked for records throught the Freedom of Information Act. I keep saying, repeatedly, that we know these "campaign contributions" for the bribes they are. Corporations and the wealthy keep buying our legislators and so, their legislation, our laws and finally, our government. We have to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and have true, tough, stringent, accountable and prosecutable campaign finance reform, once and for all. If we don't get the money out of our political system and government, nothing will ever change. It will continue to be government by and for the wealthy and corporations. We need to get at this and the sooner the better. If we the people dont' demand this, nothing will ever change. Links: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/03/congressman-norm-dicks-ranking-member.html?x#echocomments; http://news.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=316458l http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/washington-state-lawmaker-will-not-seek-re-election/?scp=2&sq=norm%20dicks&st=cse
"Republicans are pro-life but pro-death-penalty, for less spending but for more wars, against governmental intrusion but for more governmental monitoring of personal relationships and for States' Rights but for the federal government overriding state marriage laws. For all their policies' collateral damage, the GOP's first target is always consistency." --Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian. Link: www.bettybowers.com
“Hostility and hatred are no match for justice; they offer no pathway to peace.” --President Barack Obama, speech, February 2009
Saturday, March 10, 2012
First things first--let me make it clear, I am and always have been a big, big fan of Garry Trudeau and his marvelous, funny, witty, sometimes scathing comic strip, "Doonesbury." It was great back in the 60's, when it began and he is one of a tiny group of writers, cartoonists who can be creative and unique and funny and biting and skewer our social and political scene, all at the same time. Now, this week--late last evening--I find out Mr. Trudeau has done a strip on the Texas transvaginal screenings they require for abortions down their in Right Winger's La-La land and that THE KANSAS CITY STAR IS WIMPING OUT AND NOT GOING TO RUN IT. Sissies. It seems Mr. Trudeau knew it was going to be too controversial for some newspaper editors so he created a 2nd strip for them. I've always been proud that this stip and Universal Uclick is out of our own hometown of KCMO but here they go against all that and substitute the non-controversial material for what they perceive to be people's soft sensibilities, instead: "Steve Shirk, manager editor of The Kansas City Star, said his paper would use the replacements in the comics section."