BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Islamist fighters with ties to al-Qaida have destroyed tombs classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in Mali's historic city of Timbuktu, a resident and U.N. officials said Saturday.
Here's the question:
There are Islamists and Muslims who strap bombs to themselves, time and again, repeatedly and all over the Middle East, at least, to blow up other, innocent citizens of their own nation, then there are things like this and we--the world--are not supposed to come to a conclusion that they're not psychotic?
The Affordable Care Act is already working for millions of children, families, young adults, seniors and small business owners.
o More than 2.5 million young adults (up to age 26) have obtained health insurance in the last year because of a provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ health plans.
o Insurance companies are already prohibited from rejecting a child for coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition; in 2014, the same will be true for adults.
o At least 2.5 million seniors have received help paying for medication when they fall into the Medicare “doughnut hole,” a gap in coverage of prescription drugs. The average per-person savings so far is $569 per year. In addition, half of Medicare seniors—24 million people—have received free preventive screenings and physicals.
o Many small businesses are receiving tax credits to provide affordable health insurance to employees.
o Thanks to the ACA, people no longer face life-time limits on health coverage or have their policy cancelled when they get sick.
The ACA helps protect and strengthen the middle class.
o For the first time in recent history, more than 15% of people in the U.S. live in poverty. For many low-income families, health care is often out of reach.
o With health care costs a major source of worry and financial strain for middle-class families, the ACA provides subsidies that help guarantee sustainable, affordable coverage—even when an employer does not offer it.
o ACA makes health care coverage more secure and predictable, especially during an economic downturn when millions of people have lost jobs.
The ACA protects human dignity.
o Health care is critical to human flourishing. The inability to obtain needed medical care—or take a sick child to the doctor—is an affront to human dignity. Enhancing Americans’ ability to get care is in our collective best interest.
o Our health care system is currently structured in a way that can build obstacles to achieving the American dream. The ACA helps by ensuring that health status, economic situation and insurance coverage are not impediments to success and prosperity.
The ACA will foster better care coordination and already helps prevent illnesses in the first place, leading to healthier people and U.S. communities.
o The law will test methods of paying for quality instead of quantity; facilitate the sharing of clinical best practices; and improve care coordination and broader, more effective use of information technology.
o Patients are already receiving preventive benefits (e.g., cancer and diabetes screenings) with no out-of-pocket cost. This helps to identify medical problems when they can be most effectively and least expensively treated.
o The law requires not-for-profit hospitals to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment and develop a plan to help address unmet needs.
The ACA takes major steps forward toward building a stronger, more equitable and more compassionate health care system.
o Our health care system is expensive, unfair and unsustainable. The ACA takes steps to expand coverage, improve access, lower cost and enhance quality.
o Fundamental to the U.S. value system is that our government exists to protect its citizens—including their health—and to enable equal opportunity. Public health and equal opportunity suffer greatly when huge numbers of people cannot afford to stay healthy or obtain care when they are sick.
o This law is not perfect, just as Medicare was not perfect at first but has been improved and fortified over the years and is now one of the most important—and popular—government programs. The same will be true of the ACA.
Most Americans support the provisions and goals of the ACA.
o Nearly three-quarters of Americans say they support subsidies to help low-and moderate-income people afford health insurance coverage and for seniors to afford prescription drugs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
o More than 80% of Americans favor the tax credits that help small businesses afford coverage for their workers; more than 70% support the policy preventing insurance companies from rejecting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
o Continual misinformation about the law has led to inaccurate perceptions but the vast majority of Americans support the ACA’s policies when they learn about how they work.
The ACA creates job opportunities and helps train new caregivers.
o HHS has awarded nearly $1 billion to expand the primary care workforce and meet the health care needs of communities across the country.
o Thanks to these important investments in our nation’s health care workforce, there are nearly three times the number of National Health Service Corps clinicians working in communities across America than there were three years ago—increasing access to health care and supporting local jobs.
o The law makes significant, direct investments in medical research, information technology and public health, which will modernize medicine, improve quality and create new job opportunities in the health sector.
o The law allows people to change jobs or start a new business without losing their health coverage.
Both political parties have supported the essential provisions of ACA.
o Health insurance exchanges, which support private market competition, have been embraced by leaders in both parties.
o The law’s requirement that everyone have health insurance coverage dates back to the early 1990s, when several Republicans introduced legislation calling for a similar idea.
o High-risk pools that provide coverage for those with a pre-existing condition were favored by both parties during the reform debate.
MYTHS & FACTS
Myth: A government board is now making health care decisions for 300 million Americans.
Fact: Under ACA, the Independent Payment Advisory Board will closely monitor Medicare trends and make recommendations to Congress about how to slow growth in spending. The Board cannot cut benefits and it will never be involved in granting or denying care to anyone.
Myth: Most people who will benefit from health reform are unemployed.
Fact: Most uninsured people, roughly 80%, are in a family where at least one person works. For low-income families, the cost of insurance can be an obstacle, especially if the employer does not offer or subsidize the coverage.
Myth: The ACA harms Medicare.
Fact: The ACA improves Medicare by closing the ‘doughnut hole,’ a gap in prescription drug coverage and by adding preventive benefits not previously available. The law also extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by at least eight years.
Myth: Undocumented immigrants can receive benefits through ACA.
Fact: Undocumented immigrants cannot receive benefits from ACA including Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and they cannot participate in the state-based insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges.”
Myth: The ACA amounts to socialized medicine, or a government-run system.
Fact: There is no ‘public option,’ or government-run health plan under ACA, and most people who obtain new coverage under the law will get it from a private health insurance company, as they do now.
Myth: Most people want ACA to be repealed.
Fact: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation opinion polls, 52% of Americans want the ACA to stay in effect or be expanded. Among those who disapprove of the law, some don’t think it went far enough; others change their views when presented with factual information about what the law does and how it works.
"In addition to throwing away a $31.5 million grant that would have helped Kansans, Brownback and his minions in the Legislature passed a law in 2011 that said Kansans do not have to pay any fines, etc. for not obeying the ACA (Affordable Care Act). That law is unconstitutional (remember the Supremacy Clause from high school civics class?) and will just cost the state money to defend it in court." --Curtis Barnhill, friend of a friend.
Missouri and Kansas Republicans won't act on the insurance exchanges so their constituents can possibly, hopefully access lower insurance rates for health care. They're protecting the insurance companies instead of the people. It's disgusting.
From the friend of a friend, written about the Affordable Care Act (otherwise referred to as "Obamacare"). This is from the father of a child with a medical condition:
"The health care thing is really getting to me. I feel like a worry has been lifted off my shoulders. Although we have good health insurance right now, for years we did not, and I have been carrying the worry around about what would happen with Jackson when he gets older. The ACA is not perfect, but it is much better than the old methods of rescission and denials for pre-existing conditions or not being able to get insurance at all. It saddens me that there are so many people who have an 'I got mine' attitude and oppose something as pro-family and simply humane as this."
This, ladies and gentlemen, shows, very simply, why we needed health care reform, this health care reform in the United States.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ―-John Lennon
First, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is right about this ruling on support for the Affordable Care Act. Today, he's quoted as saying: “Those who opposed any change in the law and dismissed the constitutionality of this measure were rejected by the actions of Congress and the opinion of the Chief Justice.” He went on to rightly point out that the Republicans need to stop getting in the way of this bill and the improvements for Americans that it is.
Naturally, he's right, period, but it's also an important point to make. It likely won't help, they're still going to fight this--and us--but it still needed to be said.
Second, our own Senator Roy Blunt's very-Republican response to the Supreme Court's ruling on this Affordable Care Act is silly, sad and frustrating because he attacks it like the rest of his political party yet they can't possibly can't truly come up with any real ways to fix the very broken American health care system.
Not only are Republicans blocks to progress in American society, they're tedious.
Third and finally, as this effects Missourians, our representatives in Jefferson City need to now get together, do their job and start setting up the insurance exchange for our state so people can get more competition from health insurance agencies and we can lower our costs.
To date, Republicans in Jefferson City have been dragging their feet, not wanting to creat these more competitive exchanges.
According to an article published today in Bloomberg News, the Missouri GOP is split on these exchanges (see link below).
Missouri and Kansas Republicans won't act on the insurance exchanges so their constituents can possibly, hopefully access lower insurance rates for health care. They're protecting the insurance companies instead of the people. It's disgusting.
If anyone, anyone, doesn't understand that we--Americans, Missourians, Kansans, all--need lower health insurance premiums and costs, I don't know what they would understand.
Let's do our best to get through to them, whaddya' say?
“The American people are angry. They are angry that the middle class is collapsing because of the Wall Street-caused recession... Meanwhile, the wealthy & the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well & now billionaires & their congressional friends want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick & the poor.” --Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont)
And they'll get away with it unless we stand up and demand different and better.
--First, it seems clear--very clear--that the state of Missouri got a whole lot of things done on I-435 and I-70 in order to spruce it up prior to Major League Basevall's All Star Game that's coming up shortly. It's wider, smoother, painted and nearly completely ready to go. Kudos to all involved.
--Second, I cannot begin to understand who thought up the new interchange at I-435 and Front Street.
Wow. Just wow.
A "roundabout" like they have in Europe and that we've imitated now, here in the States, has nothing on the zig-zag that this intersection has going on. When you're driving it, you're not quite sure where it's going and you're following all the signs you can, just to make sure you're in the right place.
--Finally, I can't be certain but I believe the least expensive gas in town right now is $3.29 per gallon at the Flying J truck stop at said same I-435 and Front Street exit.
Laughing at you, Kansas, or shaking their head in disbelief:
Kansas Board of Health Revokes License of Doctor for Not Forcing Ten-Year-Olds to Give Birth
In a continuing effort to both curb access to abortion and reiterate their own opinion that there is never any situation where abortion could be necessary for a patient's well-being, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has decided in favor of revoking Dr. Ann Neuhaus's medical license. Neuhaus, a colleague of Dr. George Tiller, assisted him by providing second opinions for mental health exceptions for late abortions.
According to the Associated Press, Neuhaus was hoping to have her full medical license restored after spending years only allowed to provide limited medical care for charity work. Instead, an ongoing investigation into 11 patient cases obtained by Operation Rescue became the center of a movement to have her license stripped all together.
The cases all involved girls who sought abortions due to mental health issues from depression to suicide, with an age range from 17 years old to as young as 10. The board alleged that Neuhaus's exams were not thorough enough based on the available records provided, and that her follow up care was inadequate, as she did not recommend counseling or hospitalization afterwards.
I found this link on Facebook so it's clear people are, in fact, laughing at you or incredulous, given your callousness and/or ignorance.
Having just read that writer, director, producer Nora Ephron passed today, I have to say, if you haven't seen her movie "Heartburn" (1986), you owe it to yourself to check it out.
I think it was a bit of a sleeper but quite good, like so much of her work.
It was an autobiographical look at the breakup of her marriage to Carl "All the President's Men" Bernstein. Based on her book, the best-selling novel. It is a wonderful, funny, insightful, pithy film.
We're being sold you and I--the citizens of the US--by our representatives in Washington DC and our own state houses, to corporations and no doubt in lots and lots of different ways. This is just one of the latest:
Monsanto Crop Bans by Courts Would Be Reversed in Bill
"A House of Representatives committee voted to let farmers grow genetically modified crops developed by Monsanto Co. (MON) (MON) and its competitors during legal appeals of the approval process.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture would be required to permit modified crops to be planted and sold into the food supply after the agency’s approvals have been invalidated by a court, under a provision in the fiscal 2013 agriculture spending bill approved by the House Appropriations committee today."
So rather than protect the American people, the public, you and I, our representatives in Washington, in the House of Representatives, in this case, are, instead, protecting Monsanto because, you know, there's all that money Monsanto can give our representatives for their "campaigns."
The Justice Department, the courts, nearly protected us but then the House of Representatives jumped in so they could protect corporate Monsanto, instead.
How does it feel to be bought and sold, America?
When are we all going to get really mad and see to it we kill campaign contributions?
Once again, our government voted against you and me--against the people--and voted, instead, to protect the corporations in the country.
The Senate just voted last week to keep you and I from knowing what's in our food.
Companies don't have to label genetically-modified foods (GMO's) to show that they're in what we eat. Basically, they're protecting the corporations--St. Louis' own Monsanto, among others, I'm sure--instead of protecting the people.
Forget that we otherwise are supposed to know what's in our foods.
Forget that all over Europe they don't even let GMO's into their food chain, let alone not label them.
This provision, added to the farm bill, "would permit states to 'require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient.'"
What's particularly and especially galling about this is that our own Senators Roy Blunt (Republican) and Senator Clair McCaskill (Democrat) both voted to protect the corporations--Monsanto--instead of us.
It's not surprising--not surprising at all--since Senator Blunt regularly, typically and repeatedly votes to protect corporations and "Big Oil" and Monsanto instead of voting with and for the people--you and me.
As for Senator McCaskill, it's an election year and she no doubt needs and wants the Right Wing and corporate support and money.
It's this same Senator Roy Blunt who is, right now, also trying to get the Canadian company's Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline to cut through the good old US of A, from the Northern border all the way to Texas, just short of the Southern border, all so a Canadian company--Transcanada--can get their oil to world markets and make yet more money for themselves.
Forget that oil spills inevitably happen with these things. Forget that we'd have to then clean it up. Forget the environmental damage it would, without question, inflict, permanently.
Senator Blunt HAS to stand up for his corporations and get all that money in his pockets.
And Senator McCaskill has to fight to be re-elected.
To repeat, the Robin Hood Tax campaign is calling for a tax of less than one-half of 1% on Wall Street transactions that could generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
This tax on Wall Street could provide funding to kickstart the economy and get America back on its feet by creating jobs and strengthening public services like health care, education and infrastructure at home while tackling AIDS, global health, poverty and climate challenges around the world.
It's an idea whose time has long-since come.
Please support the Robin Hood Tax. Let your representatives in Washington, DC know you're for it.
(Reuters) - A top Republican lawmaker said Monday it was time for Washington to learn how to compromise again so the country can solve its deepening problems.
"I'm bothered by our politics generally that suggest that if you don't get exactly what you want, that's somehow a failure," said Senator Roy Blunt, a member of his chamber's Republican leadership and the former second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.
Blunt, who is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's liaison to the Senate, spoke at the Reuters Washington Summit, where political leaders are discussing the pressing issues currently confronting U.S. politicians.
That is refreshing.
A Republican--our own Senator, no less--calling for true compromise in Washington.
You apparently can teach these old ones new tricks.
More seriously, thank you, Senator. Please keep this up, if you would and legislate for all of us and not the corporations, instead.
Bill Moyers, Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith discuss what the banks do and have done and why it's all so very criminal.
Things Americans aren't paying attention to and, it seems like, won't pay attention to, either.
Regarding our beloved, well-designed, convenient Kansas City International Airport with its 3 terminals that is so easy to access, it's apparently over the masses' collective heads and that, combined with the expense for the airlines for security, means they're going to tear the whole thing down, throw it away like so much 8-1/2" x 11" paper and build a brand new, bright, shiny terminal nearby.
Forget the monumental waste of bulldozing and throwing away at least 3 large buildings which will then go into a dump--a "landfill"--we don't have any say on this.
The Kansas City Airport Authority has made up its mind, the business community agrees and now, even Barb Shelley, columnist for the Star sides with them.
We're getting a new airport, however much it was decided without our input.
Your opinion means nothing.
Only in America do we throw away whole buildings.
If they simply don't entertain us enough (see Ms. Shelley's column in The Star), they must be bulldozed and replaced. The problem is not us--it's the building.
We are the only people I know on the planet who does this, too.
Then we wonder why we don't have any history or enough great architecture but we do things like this.
So to Barb Shelley I say you and I usually agree on things civic, social and political but on this we don't agree. You're wrong.
Archbishop’s Aide Guilty of Endangerment in Abuse Case
Here's why it's big news:
PHILADELPHIA – In the first criminal conviction of a Roman Catholic Church official in the United States for covering up sexual abuses, Msgr. William J. Lynn was found guilty Friday of endangering children by allowing a known pedophile priest to continue ministering to youths, resulting in an assault on a 10-year-old boy.
The first time in the US that a criminal conviction of a Roman Catholic Church official is upheld for covering up sexual abuse. As an aside, the current situation of former priest Shawn Ratigan and Bishop Finn is mentioned, too, briefly, at the end of the article, not surprisingly.
And I only "celebrate" it if, in fact, he was guilty, as it seems he was. I am not taking any pleasure in his guilt, to be clear. I am only glad justice is being served if an injustice was done.
I hope this isn't a case of having "thrown the 'little guy' under the bus", however.
Anyway, the thing is, as I have said here before several times and as SNAP repeats, too--we must stop child and student abuse--sexual, physical, emotional or otherwise--wherever it is and it has been prevalent in Catholic institutions for decades and centuries, across the world, unfortunately and sadly. It must stop.
What must stop, too, is the Catholic Church's attempts, repeatedly, to protect their male hierarchy and leaders, at the expense of their members and students and children. That's disgusting.
Now, hopefully this case will serve as a sort of precedent for Bishop Finn's case, here in our area.
If Bishop Finn is, in fact, guilty, as, I and so many of us think and believe the hard evidence shows, may he, too, be brought to justice.
Frankly, from the information on the case against both Shawn Ratigan and Bishop Finn, the case here in Kansas City seems far more clear-cut, simple and uncomplicated and possibly damning against both of them, than this case in Philadelphia.
Again, let me be clear, I say this not for anyone to extract any revenge or retribution but so the abuse of children or, in fact, anyone in the Catholic Church or any organization, stops. It must be clear that all of us--our society--does not allow this to happen in hopes that it will at least decrease, if not stop altogether and as soon as possible.
I'll be happy--very happy--when the newness of Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue is over.
I'd like to get back to more people liking more than one barbecue joint in town.
This week, they're being covered yet again. This time by The Pitch Magazine. (link below).
I mean, come on, Joe's is good, sure, but this whole trendy, citywide zeitgeist that they're the best right now is far too lemming-like, for me, anyway.
As I've said here before, I hate trends and trendiness, period, but I especially dislike food trends. They're the worst.
Can we not think and act as individuals?
Are we not capable of that? Of independent thought?
Between its newness and the fact that Anthony Bourdain likes them and put them on his TV show ("No Reservations") and a local food blogger came out and said they were "best" on Mr. Bourdain's same show, it makes it "their time." And it's cool, too. I love the idea that it's in a gas station. So sure, I get all that. Fine.
I'll just be glad when all the new wears off and the hoopla is over.
The only thing is, it will all be replaced with some other new, "next" trend.
And it will start all over again.
In the meantime, you can find me at Arthur Bryant's.
"And rumors of war" as the saying goes, down through time.
Virtually every nation and every race in the world had their war or wars.
All centuries, at one time or another.
Lots of decades.
Kings and leaders of the world could, would and did just send their soldiers into the world to fight one another.
But now, we've got pollution, far too many people, far too few resources, not enough food and an array of problems we must address, instead. Additionally, we have natural disasters of all types, all around the world. Last year there were huge fires across Russia and Texas, this year they were in Colorado and New Mexico, along with at least 4 other spots here in the States. There are repeated, recurring floods, of course. Right now, Duluth, Minnesota just got hit hard but places like India and Bangladesh have been drenched far worse and far more times, I believe.
And that's even if you do ignore climate change (or global warming), let alone if you include it.
With the numbers of people in the world, it surely must be included that we--humankind, humanity--can no longer afford the luxury, if I may call it that, that is or was war.
Far too many people are dying already.
Disease, starvation, malnutrition, lack of medical care, lack of water--there are any number of things that are taking far too many people in the world.
The fact is, this world and humanity can no longer afford to spend our financial savings on war and weapons of war.
The answers to people's problems are in front of us.
If only we'll put our resources there, to take care of one another.
We humans must be more important than business and businesses.
Right now, in too much of the world, we put businesses first and that is a recipe for extinction.
Some internationally-known leader of the world today needs to stand up and say as much, too.
And the sooner, the better.
The way too much of the world is living now is just not sustainable.
"I spent 33 years & four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street & the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico... safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti & Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys... I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House.... I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests... I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies... In China... I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." --US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler. Author of "War Is A Racket." At the time of his death, the most-decorated Marine in US history.
"The Republicans have made the individual mandate the element most likely to undo the President’s health-care law. The irony is that the Democrats adopted it in the first place because they thought that it would help them secure conservative support. It had, after all, been at the heart of Republican health-care reforms for two decades.
The mandate made its political début in a 1989 Heritage Foundation brief titled “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans,” as a counterpoint to the single-payer system and the employer mandate, which were favored in Democratic circles. In the brief, Stuart Butler, the foundation’s health-care expert, argued, “Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seat-belts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement.” The mandate made its first legislative appearance in 1993, in the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act—the Republicans’ alternative to President Clinton’s health-reform bill—which was sponsored by John Chafee, of Rhode Island, and co-sponsored by eighteen Republicans, including Bob Dole, who was then the Senate Minority Leader.
No, neither Kansas City is on this list but Omaha, Nebraska is--and comes in at number 7 (see link below).
What they had to say about it:
Forty-two chemicals were found, with 20 exceeding health guidelines and 4 exceeding health standards. This included agricultural pollutants like nitrate and nitrite, industrial pollutants like arsenic, water treatment and distribution byproducts and more.
Apparently, Smithville (MO) is too small a town to include on their research because if it were big enough, it would surely be there.
Fareed Zakaria just pointed out on his CNN news program GPS that the George W. Bush tax cuts during his administration, besides being for the wealthy, were the deepest cuts in the history of the nation and the growth during that period was the worst economic growth since the Great Depression.
To politicians--as he said--would you stop, stop pandering to the American public now, with the promises of yet more tax cuts? Could you, would you, please, be statesman/statespeople for the the nation's good, for the love of pete? We're desperate out here.
I imagine if most Americans--coast to coast--were interviewed this weekend, they would have no idea an election is going on in Greece this weekend.
Asked, too, if they thought it could or would have much impact on them or their lives in any way, I'd think most would give a resounding "no."
Quite the opposite is true.
Greece is voting Sunday (imagine that--voting on a weekend) on their leaders. The outcome will likely be huge for Greece, of course, but for all of Europe and European Union... and even for the US.
One government would have them stick with austerity so they can get the money they need from Germany, Angela Merkel and the rest of the EU.
The other would have them do away with what they see as the crushing austerity, walk away from the money and likely walk away from the EU itself.
Let there be no mistake, this weekend is huge for what takes place internationally for the next several months, if not years.
The thing is, though, too, no one can really predict the outcome of the vote, for sure, but of whatever happens, either. No one can really say, with any real authority, what "best path" there is for Greece, let alone the EU and the world.
It's been said--by more than once source, too--that if this doesn't go well, it will make the 2008 financial collapse pale by comparison.
Once again, Margo Channing's quote from "All About Eve" becomes all too relevant:
"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!
The further these situations go on for and with the Catholic Church, the more stunningly stupid they seem to be.
Did you see this, latest one? It's a beauty:
Catholic Church Lobbies Against Allowing More Sex Abuse Suits
"Reports this week that decades-old sexual abuse allegations at the Horace Mann School probably can't be prosecuted because of New York's statute of limitations raised new questions about why the state only gives victims up to five years after their 18th birthday to report childhood abuse. While lawmakers in Albany have tried many times to relax laws on filing abuse complaints, the Roman Catholic Church has been quietly fighting efforts to change the statute of limitations in New York and throughout the country. They say it's a matter of principle, but it could also have something to do with the ensuing lawsuits potentially costing the church billions.
More than 30 states have already managed to ease laws on reporting child abuse, but the New York Times reports today that religious officials are pushing against similar efforts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. The church has even hired lobbying and public relations firms to help their cause in New York and Colorado. In the latter, parishes have actually handed out postcards to parishioners and asked them to contact their representatives on the church's behalf.
The church argues that the statutes of limitations exist to prevent unfair cases in which many of the witnesses are dead and evidence is hard to come by. Religious leaders are pushing hardest against "window" laws, in which victims are given a year or two to file suits no matter how long ago the alleged crime occurred. It's likely they're afraid of a repeat of what happened when California passed such a law in 2003. In just one year, 550 sexual abuse lawsuits were filed."
It's just shameful.
Once again, here's a case of the Catholic Church hierarchy--men--trying their best to protect that same hierarchy instead of putting the children and their protection and best interests--their safety--first.
It's just disgusting.
Once again, I call on Catholics, for what it's worth, to stand up against this effort by their church to protect the leaders instead of the students and children.
Times-Picayune cutting half of newsroom staff (New Orleans)
Advance cuts 400 employees statewide, more than 100 from Birmingham News
Not only is this not good for the newspaper staff, of course, but it's not good for these cities and it's absolutely not good for the citizens.
The shape of things to come, I fear.
Here's hoping people all over the world will continue to read what our government representatives, our government and the corporations and wealthy of the world are doing to us so we know what to do to fight for the working man and woman of the world.
This isn't headed in a good direction, that's for sure.
It's as writer/author/historian David McCollough said, "An Uninformed Citizenry Will Be Fatal to Democracy."
There seems to me to be a great deal of people in the nation--whites, mostly, if not exclusively--who have come to the conclusion that black Americans are violent, culturally, rather intrinsically, and that there is really nothing anyone can do about it.
I see and read it all the time.
Sure, it's by people who aren't sociologists or doctors or professionals in any way but it's not only a deeply held belief but it's a widespread one, too.
I see it online, written in comments sections, I see it over in the comments on Tony's Kansas City blog, I see it on Facebook. It seems to be a fairly ubiquitous opionion.
And every time some new article or news story comes out about black on black crime, the opinion gets made stronger.
This is only the latest such article:
Two former Auburn players killed, one player injured in shooting
"The Auburn community is mourning after former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips were shot and killed during an off-campus party Saturday night. Offensive lineman Eric Mack also was injured in the shooting, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. A third person, who was not a football player, also died in the shooting."
The people with these opinions point to cities like Detroit, St. Louis, now Chicago and--yes--Kansas City, sadly.
So I think it's important that someone, somewhere do some in-depth research on this topic so we can put this idea and assumption to rest. And the sooner, the better.
Yet another example of legislators--this time in Jefferson City--wasting their time and our money on issues they shouldn't be. There are all kinds of things they should be working on--like fixing I-70 all across the state, as I've said before but what do they work on instead? Blocking health care reform:
Coming To A Missouri Ballot This Fall: Another Health Care Referendum
"This fall, voters in Missouri will face a number of decisions: picking state and congressional representatives, the President. But also on the ballot will be a measure that like two years ago, has to do with the federal health law.
It follows months of political tension over a key component.
The federal health law envisions that by 2014, each state will have an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy health insurance plans – plans that meet certain criteria and are more easily comparable. These marketplaces are also known as health insurance exchanges, and they can be run by either the state or the federal government. As it stands, an exchange does not exist in Missouri. Yet. And if it’s up to Missouri’s House majority leader Tim Jones, never will."
Sure, our health care system is broken--badly broken, at that. More than 50 million Americans have no health insurance coverage, we have the most expensive health care system in the world yet we are ranked 37th, at least, internationally in mortality rates (meaning you're more likely to die sooner, here in the US than 36 other nations) but the wise guys in Jefferson City want to block health care reform.
What gets me about this move, described here, is that what they're in effect doing is blocking lower health insurance premiums for you and me.
Yes, that's right.
This, in effect, protects health insurance companies from any further competition which should lower insurance rates.
Isn't that lovely?
Under the auspices of protecting Misourians from this President and his health care reform, they are, instead, protecting the very-wealthy-thank-you-very-much insurance companies.
Here's your "lazy Mexicans", according to reasearch from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the OECD):
Quoting: "Mexicans...top international studies by working nearly 10 hours a day on the job and in the home."
For any Republican or Libertarian or anyone else in America who think it is or would be a great idea to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency--the EPA--or who think there's too much "red tape" from the EPA, I just have to ask if they want us to be like China.
The above situation, announced today and going on now in China, is just one more example of what a nation and an economy is like and would be like if we don't have protections from corporations, especially, so we have and keep cleaner water, air and soil.
A little from the article (link at bottom):
"Young and old residents of the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan were advised to stay indoors on Monday after a thick haze blanketed the city of nine million people, official media said.
Described by residents as opaque with yellowish and greenish tinges, the fug descended suddenly in the morning, prompting people to rush to put on face masks, witnesses told AFP."
"The official Xinhua news agency quoted the environmental protection department of Hubei province saying in a statement: "Children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors."
Xinhua said straw burning was the cause and denied there had been any industrial accidents in or near Wuhan, after Internet rumours suggested there had been an explosion at a chemical complex northeast of the city."
In this case, the Chinese not only have this huge problem with their air quality, they don't even know what it is or what it's from.
And that's the kind of world we want to live in?
No, no thank you, very much. I'd like to keep an effective EPA, thank you.
It reminds me of the Native American quote: "When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."
It's for monumentally screwing up a play--in two different ways (from Yahoo! Sports):
Mike Moustakas misses first base, settles for very long, very strange single
On Friday, Oakland A's outfielder Seth Smith turned in a defensive gem that could receive consideration for Play of the Year in Major League Baseball.
On Saturday night, the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates were involved in what very well could be the exact opposite of the Play of the Year. And no, this has nothing to do with the insensitive gesture made by Humberto Quintero in the dugout during Bruce Chen's interview. Though that certainly qualifies as the poorest use of judgment we've seen recently.
This actually took place on the field, where Kansas City's Mike Moustakas and Pittsburgh's All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen teamed up to botch a routine base hit in every possible way.
It's "Our time"?
Our time for what, exactly?
At least, bad as that was, it wasn't as out-and-out stupid as this:
What other conclusion can you come to but that you're being played for a chump when your state legislators in Topeka are blowing more than one-half billion dollars on unnecessary legal maneuvers that mix church and state?:
Kansas AG pays $644K to defend state abortion laws
TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas attorney general's office paid outside lawyers more than $644,000 to defend anti-abortion laws enacted last year.
The office says it paid more than $328,000 as of Friday to Foulston Siefken, a Wichita firm helping defend a budget provision denying federal dollars for non-abortion services to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against the measure.
Forget that abortion is legal in the United states and has been since 1973.
Forget that no one--no one--even thinks about, let alone goes through an abortion procedure without a great deal of thought and emotional upset.
Forget that there are plenty--too many--laws on the books in Kansas on abortions, abortion rights (or the lack of them) and abortion procedures.
Forget, finally, that the state of Kansas doesn't have a big budget, period, for most any services and that they need to make whatever funds they have go as far as possible.
Forget all that.
Just keep focusing on one single issue that you can mix your Christian faith with government on and blow $644 million on totally unnecessary legal machinations in the courts.
“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.” -- John Wesley (1703-1791)
"Only a crisis—actual or perceived––produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. . . . Our basic function is to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable." --Milton Friedman, 1962
As I said in the title above, this note is to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Roy Blunt, to show them exactly why we Missourians and a lot of Americans, nationwide, don't want Canada's Keystone XL pipeline running across our state and nation.
See the above? It's yet another oil spill up in Canada. This one, this time, is in Alberta.
That is what we would have to look forward to, inevitably, with this TransCanada pipeline. Sure, we'd get--we are told--one billion dollars in our Treasury and some short-term contruction jobs out of it, sure we would.
But is it worth oil spills?
A lot of us out here submit that it absolutely is not worth it.
For a precautionary tale of what this pipeline in Missouri would be like, read just this little bit of this article from Canada yesterday:
Cleanup of latest Alberta oil spill could take all summer
Gord Johnston’s tranquil life along the Red Deer River in central Alberta was shattered Thursday night as the nauseating scent of crude oil hung in the air and a coffee-coloured liquid lapped the banks near his home.
He reported the oil leak and, within two hours, a helicopter dispatched by a local oil company landed on his 57-acre property near Sundre, Alta., to fly him over the devastating scene. Mr. Johnston, who works in the oil patch, could see oil “boiling up” in the river at the site of a pipeline crossing. By Friday morning, the situation had worsened. Oil clotted one of the province’s most crucial waterways and soaked nearby wetlands. He found a dead fish coated with oil and brought a tar-covered baby beaver to a wildlife refuge.
“My place is destroyed,” Mr. Johnston said, as he prepared to abandon his home and later head for a hospital to be treated for exposure to the fumes. “My whole life’s work is gone. I’ve pretty well lost it all here.”
For anyone still for this pipeline crossing Missouri, is this what you want? Is this what any of us want to see happen here?
I think it's obvious the answer is no.
Realize, too, that, once the pipeline is in place, it is intended to remain indefinitely, if not permanently, of course, so spills are virtually guaranteed. We can count on it.
So don't do it, Governor Nixon and Senator Blunt. Don't support this fiasco. Withdraw your support for the Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline. We don't want it here.
I just saw this link on Facebook from the Think Progress site:
"Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), both of whom are facing re-election fights this fall, refused to take a position on ending the cuts when asked Thursday, The Hill reports:
'If you want to do something in the spirit of compromise, you don’t start out by saying, ‘I refuse to do this’ or ‘I refuse to do that,’ ” said McCaskill. “\'It’s not my preference to extend tax cuts to multimillionaires — that’s not my preference — but I want to keep every option open in the spirit of compromise.'”
Compromise my ear.
She has to take this namby-pamby position becaus it's an election year and so many Missourians have gone Right Wing daffy.
The Right Wingers, Republicans and Tea Party members don't focus on compromise, now do they? Hell no they don't. They haven't in years. Every time Speaker of the House John Boehner wants to compromise, they slap him down.
Here we have deficits out the wazoo, the wealthy are just that, wealthy and we'd be asking them to take about a 4% tax increase, in order to bridge the gap. It would also be to help keep America strong, let's be clear. And the fact is, these tax cuts nearly exclusively for the wealthy should never have been passed in the first place. They're obscene. They're immoral. It puts much more of the welfare of the nation on the backs of the middle and lower classes who are just scraping by.
Then we have Democrats who can't stand up and say and do the right thing, what's best and right for the country, in at least two or three or more different ways.
This is disgusting.
We need statesmen (statespersons, I guess) in this nation and all we have, instead, is weak-spined people who have to shill the wealthy and corporations for "campaign contributions" so they can get elected and re-elected.
Don't get me wrong, either. It's important--crucial, in fact--that Claire McCaskill be returned to the Senate so we don't get some other, additional wack-job Republican or, worse, Tea Party member in there. I just wish she could and would show some spine on this and all issues. I also wish my fellow, middle- and lower-class Missourians would vote in their own best, self-interests, too, and not for the Republican Party.
I wish Senator McCaskill--and all government representatives, of course--would remember and act on former President Harry Truman's words: "I shall continue to do what I think is right, whether anybody likes it or not."
We need more statespersons in our government.
And less campaign contributions. But that's another matter.
Here's hoping the right thing happens come November.
Side note to Sen. McCaskill: Do the right thing, Senator, and next time I'll use a far more flattering picture of you to go with the story. Just saying.
A new docuemtary is coming out, telling of what we humans are doing to the oceans, the planet and ultimately, ourselves, by dumping as we do, into the oceans or the world. It seems at once, fascinating but scary and rather stupid, all, on our part.
From Yahoo! News and the Associated Press (AP) just now:
Kansas family killed in plane crash in Floride swamp
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas businessman, his wife and their four children were killed Thursday when their small plane crashed into a swampy area of central Florida, and word quickly spread to their hometown where the family was known for their charitable work and always having a house full of neighborhood kids.
The single-turboprop, fixed-wing plane was heading home to Junction City from the Bahamas when it broke apart and went down about 12:30 p.m. in the Tiger Creek Preserve, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida.
...the basketball arena is named for..." the father's "...grandfather."
The big push, from Summer, 2012, all the way to the first Tuesday in November--election day:
Romney bests Obama in May fundraising, raising nearly $77 million
It starts in earnest now but from now to that fateful election day, the big money--the really big money--from the wealthy and corporations of this country is going to pour out for Mitt "Mittens" Romney so they can get that corporate shill in the White House.
Mr. "I'll Say Anything, Just So You'll Elect Me President" is gunning for the presidency, as we know, and all those corporations and the rich people want him in there.
And they'll do anything and everything to get it, too, including shelling out all that big money and stealing your vote in the ballot box, let there be no dougt.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is understandably--I guess--but shamelessly shilling for a Canadian oil company, TransCanada, to have their oil pipeline go through the state.
This makes it official. Governor Nixon is now officially and publicly, clearly a corporate pimp.
He's out there, pushing for this TransCanada XL pipeline to transport Canadian oil through the US just so it can get to Texas and out to world oil markets for TransCanada and he's doing it for money.
Sure, he's doing it for money for Missouri's state treasury but hey, selling others--in this case, a state--for money, it doesn't matter where the money goes, just that you're out there selling people.
As if that weren't bad enough, what makes it really, additionally disgusting for and to me is that the prostitute he's selling is you and me. He's selling the state of Missouri--us.
The pipeline is to go from Illinois, through our state and then down to Texas. The Canadians are smart enough to know that in order to get their multi-billion dollar boondoggle, they need to line up all the people and states they can in order to get this thing.
It's beyond disgusting.
Why on Earth should any people or state in the US allow what is a Canadian pipeline, with its inevitable leaks and oil spills and environmental damage, go through their state and area and farm, whatever, just so a Canadian oil company can get richer?
And that's what this is all about, at its core--selling the American people on a pipeline through the country, just so a Canadian oil company can make millions and millions of dollars--more money--at our expense.
So Governor Nixon is trying to sell us all on the idea--and to sell us in the marketplace--so we can get a few temporary jobs and some more money in our state treasury.
As shown and suggested above, this is current Missouri State Representative Jason Kander's first YouTube video for his run to become Missouri's Secretary of State. Clearly, he's running heavily on his military career, as well as his government service otherwise.
Hopefully he--and we--can get some better, stronger ethics down in Jefferson City.
Hopefully we will get campaign contribution limits put back in place for government representatives, candidates and elections.
"I want so much to write well, though I know I don’t, and that I didn’t make it. But during and at the end of my life, I will adore those who have." --Dorothy Parker; Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Parker
A few weeks ago, for my birthday, a friend took me to the newish restaurant (there are a few) Gram and Dun. It's located in the former Baja 600 space, which I--and everyone, it seems--love. And why wouldn't we? It's got that great patio and, good weather or bad, the restaurant looks out over it and Brush Creek. Sure, you can't see the creek but it's an expanse of green in the city so it's a nice change.
And I had a nice meal.
It was good. Heck, it was even tasty. It was their "crispy smoked chicken." It came with something they called "Texaz Red Rice."
Cute, huh? I hate cute.
I'm happy it's a local restaurant, locally-owned. That helps. I love supporting local restaurants, restauratuers and businesses, period. It's just that this time, I was underwhelmed and it was underwhelming, with a bit of a high price, to boot.
Anyway, the food was good. Actually, it was okay. It was not memorable. It was dependable but didn't really rock my world, as I had expected since I'd heard so much good to great about this new restaurant. The ultimate result was that I came away disappointed.
I'd go back but only for cocktails on the patio in that window of time when we have good weather.
So imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later (this weekend, actually), I went to the newish Zocalo Mexican restaurant in the former Mi Cucina space. (Is every new restaurant in town replacing an older Mexican restaurant?).
I always enjoyed Mi Cocina for two reasons. First, it was Mexican food that wasn't the same old, same old (think Southwest Boulevard) and it had a terrific tortilla soup. It was made of a clear chicken broth with chunks of chicken and avocado and so forth. I loved it.
So then, I went to this Zocalo.
Now here's some different, fresh, wonderful food.
And you know what?
It even costs less--far less--than Gram & Dun.
And I wasn't set out to have anything about either experience be about price, either, let me be clear.
I had what they call the chicken tinga tacos and wow, I say again (forgive me), were they good.
Very fresh with big strips of red onion and very fresh, made-that-day salsa with a corn tortilla that makes these taquitos taste so great.
Then, to make things even better, they came with killer black beans.
These are not your everyday, I-can-get-these-anywhere black beans, either, by a long shot. They were extremely flavorful with just a hint of spicy heat. Perfect for the people who need it spicy but not too for the other kind who don't want much spice at all. Really, just outstanding. And for nearly half the price of the chicken at G & D., not forgetttable at all, by any means.
So, sure, Gram & Dun has that great location and patio but now, here's this terrific food at Zocalo and, heck, they've added the big glass doors they can open in good weather, along with outside seating so it makes for great people-watching, in an effort to keep up other place's views.
So there you are. If you find yourself on the Plaza, looking for somewhere to eat and either like or haven't had Mexican food recently, keep in mind Zocalo. If you want, spend more money and get the bigger and/or more expensive entree's. It's just a quick, easy block from Gram & Dun and I think you'll come away far satisfied.
You may even have more money in your pocket when you leave, too.