Blog Catalog

Friday, August 31, 2012

Three reasons why I think the Romney/Ryan/Republican ticket will fail

“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” ―-Dorothy Allison, "Bastard Out of Carolina"

"A lie cannot live." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

"A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity." --Baltasar Gracian


Happy Labor Day and Labor Day Weekend!

Have a terrific, relaxing, rejuvenating, safe, fun weekend.

And by the way, you're welcome.


--Labor Unions and labor workers across the country for the last 100 years.

Entertainment overnight

Don't watch. Listen.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

On that "blue moon"

Tomorrow night, folks, we are to have a "blue moon"--a rare event. It is a 2nd full moon in the same month. Being that it's also August, it would be a really large, full moon, too.

So you know, the forecast for weather, due to Tropical Depression Isaac that's headed this way, we are to get clouds and rain tomorrow and tomorrow night.

What's it mean?

The closest we're going to get to seeing that big, beautiful, late Summer full, blue moon is tonight. It's actually right now.

Just so you know.

So, get out there, and take it in.


Bishop Finn---Going down?


The Star really had a scoop today. They posted this story (link below) online this afternoon:

'Boys will be boys,' Bishop Finn purportedly said after being told of priest's lewd photos

When confronted by the diocese’s computer director about her concerns over lewd images found on a priest’s laptop, Bishop Robert Finn replied that, “Sometimes priests do things they shouldn’t,” court papers filed Thursday alleged.
“Sometimes, boys will be boys,” the bishop is purported to have said, court records show.

Read more here:

That seems like quite the "smoking gun" in the Bishop's case. The prosecutors now have, it seems, something in which they can prove he knew of the pictures on former priest Shawn Ratigan's computer and that he did nothing of it.

All this in spite of the fact, too, that the Bishop and the Catholic Church in this diocese swore, last time this happened--the last time there were Catholic schoolchildren found to be sexually molested or exploited--that they would do everything possible to look into the situation but to also turn it over to the police to investigate.

Unfortunately for Bishop Finn, that ain't all. There's also this:

Julie Creech, the director of management and information systems for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, described her meeting with the bishop during an Aug. 17 deposition in a Jackson County civil case. According to that lawsuit, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan abused a 9-year-old girl months after the diocese learned of the photos on his computer...

According to the study, prepared by former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, Creech examined Ratigan’s laptop on Dec. 16, 2010, and discovered hundreds of disturbing photographs of young children, primarily girls. That evening, Creech called vicar general Robert Murphy and advised him to call police, the study said. The diocese did not report the suspected abuse until May 2011.

This flies in the face of everything Bishop Finn has said, to date.

This certainly doesn't look good from the Bishop's point of view, for sure.

I'm not assuming he's guilty, in spite of all we've learned from the documents and facts printed in the Star and reported in the media so far. It's up to the court and the defense attorneys and prosecution to come to a conclusion.

But the fact is, if Bishop Finn is guilty in this situation--and it has looked as though he is for a long, long time, since the reports broke, he and the Catholic Church let those children and their families down and he should be held accountable.

We shall see what we shall see.

Side note: It seems a bit tacky if not out-and-out tawdry that the advertisement at the bottom of the online page for the Star I saw had an add for mattresses. It seems in poor taste, at least, for what it's worth.


Pick your priorities of this election and our nation

From the New York Times today:

This week, the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation released a report entitled “The Race That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce.” The findings were breathtaking:

• Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education, and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment.

• More than a quarter of U.S. children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn.

• More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007.

• More than half of U.S. postsecondary students drop out without receiving a degree.

So, a question for America and the Republican Party--do you really want to make debt the big issue of this campaign?

THAT'S your big concern?


Good news/bad news on our weather

The good news is that, because of what will be tropical depression Isaac that dumped so much flooding rain on New Orleans, we now have a 60% chance of getting rain here Friday.

The bad news?

We likely won't be able to see that "blue moon."

I'll take it.

Quote of the day

"...Oklahomans wouldn't even have Oklahoma without the federal government, without the Homestead Act of 1889 or the Railroad Act — both, by the way, achievements of a Republican presidents named Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Harrison. And the land wasn't exactly "empty," Governor. It got emptied by a big-government program called the United States Army. You know what your state would be without the federal government, Governor, without the votes for the legislation from congressmen from the east and north, without the soldiers from New England and the Great Lakes? You know what Oklahoma would be?

Sand, with a whole lot of pissed-off Native Americans."

The original article here:

Debt? You're worried about debt?

"We do have a serious deficit, but it is not because $1,200 a month Social Security checks earned by senior citizens are too generous. The problem is that we gave $1 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthy and profitable corporations who don't need them while ‘forgetting' to pay for more than $3.4 trillion on two wars and an overly expensive prescription drug program written by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies."

--Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent, Vermont


You want unfettered, deregulated business?

For anyone who still clamors for unfettered and unregulated business--yeehaw!--take yourselves to our good friend's country of China. They give us yet one more example of how great an idea unregulated Capitalism really is right now:

China’s Bridges Are Falling Down

Early Friday morning, just before dawn, four trucks were driving on a 10-month-old ramp to a bridge in Harbin, a major city in northeast China, when the deck suddenly tilted and collapsed, sending the trucks crashing to the pavement almost 100 feet below.
Three people were killed, and five were injured. Photos of the accident indicate that the trucks were carrying heavy cargoes, including stones, and were likely overloaded. But accounts by journalists and photos from the scene also suggest serious problems with the bridge itself. Some images show that key structural components were stuffed with sticks, pebbles and bags of unidentified materials.

Nobody in China was surprised by this. Since 2007, China has experienced at least 18 bridge collapses resulting in 135 deaths and untold economic hardship, according to records aggregated by the South China Morning Post, the leading English-language newspaper in Hong Kong. These are not mere footbridges: They are major, expensive spans connecting key corridors. The almost 330-foot-long section that collapsed on Friday, for example, is part of the more than 9-mile-long, nearly $300 million Yangmingtan Bridge, a span that connects the two banks of Harbin, a city of 10 million people.
What is causing this epidemic of collapse? In Harbin, some authorities were quick to blame the overloaded trucks and then -- in an act of revealing bureaucratic cowardice -- to claim that they couldn’t locate the contractors responsible for the span (statements subsequently denied by higher-ups).

China’s netizens, accustomed to bureaucratic double-talk, were hardly inclined to believe the local government’s explanation, no matter what it was. Instead, they turned to what is almost uniformly the explanation for everything that goes wrong in China these days: corruption. “Every time I walk down the street and see a new project about to break ground, I know that several billionaires are about to be made,” wrote Li Chengpeng, a well-known blogger and agitator, on Monday (as translated by Tea Leaf Nation, an English-language blog). “In this country, the completion of an infrastructure project lays the groundwork for the beginning of an anti-corruption project.”

So there's your answer, all you Tea Partiests and Libertarians. China. Unfettered Capitalism, no Environmental Protection Agency--everything you'd want in a country and government.

But nothing the people want.

And if you want no government at all, take the now-old suggestion and move your sorry body to Somalia.

You'll love it there.


Huge, not-good news for Missouri

Breaking news from NPR today:

Mysterious New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered In Missouri

Two Missouri farmers have been infected with a brand-new tick-borne virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the Heartland virus.

The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence. Symptoms included fever, severe fatigue, headache and nausea. Their platelet counts plummeted, but even though platelets are necessary for blood clotting, the men didn't suffer abnormal bleeding.

A report on the new virus is in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

So far, the Missouri men are the only known cases of Heartland virus in the world. But experts are sure they'll find more.

After all, the men lived 60 miles apart and got infected independently. That means there must be more of the mysterious new virus in the northwest Missouri environment.

Link to the full article here:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Better off before Obama?

The George W. Bush administration saw the largest terrorist attack in US history, a 3 trillion dollar war based on lies that killed more than 4415 American soldiers and the largest Wall Street crash since the Great Depression, but somehow the Republicans claim we are worse off with President Obama.

That's chutzpah.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States!

"Four years ago, the Mitt Romneys of the world nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed, shortsightedness and – most notably – wildly irresponsible use of debt in pursuit of personal profit. The sight was so disgusting that people everywhere were ready to drop an H-bomb on Lower Manhattan and bayonet the survivors. But today that same insane greed ethos, that same belief in the lunatic pursuit of instant borrowed millions – it's dusted itself off, it's had a shave and a shoeshine, and it's back out there running for president."

Link to original article:

Fiction--but pulled from today's events

From Episode 10 of "The Newsroom" on HBO by Aaron Sorkin--

Some sick, sad, crazy stuff.


Conservative, Republican David Brooks, on Mitt Romney, in case you missed it (guest post)

Because it's just too good to miss, really, proving that even rich, conservative, white Republicans don't like this rich, white, faux-conservative Republican:

The purpose of the Republican convention is to introduce America to the real Mitt Romney. Fortunately, I have spent hours researching this subject. I can provide you with the definitive biography and a unique look into the Byronic soul of the Republican nominee:

Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947, in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Virginia and several other swing states. He emerged, hair first, believing in America, and especially its national parks. He was given the name Mitt, after the Roman god of mutual funds, and launched into the world with the lofty expectation that he would someday become the Arrow shirt man.

Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words ("I like to fire people") at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal.

Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil. He had several boyhood friends, many of whom owned Nascar franchises, and excelled at school, where his fourth-grade project, "Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known," was widely admired.

The Romneys had a special family tradition. The most cherished member got to spend road trips on the roof of the car. Mitt spent many happy hours up there, applying face lotion to combat windburn.

The teenage years were more turbulent. He was sent to a private school, where he was saddened to find there are people in America who summer where they winter. He developed a lifelong concern for the second homeless, and organized bake sales with proceeds going to the moderately rich.

Some people say he retreated into himself during these years. He had a pet rock, which ran away from home because it was starved of affection. He bought a mood ring, but it remained permanently transparent. His ability to turn wine into water detracted from his popularity at parties.

There was, frankly, a period of wandering. After hearing Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side," Romney decided to leave Mormonism and become Amish. He left the Amish faith because of its ban on hair product, and bounced around before settling back in college. There, he majored in music, rendering Mozart's entire oeuvre in PowerPoint.

His love affair with Ann Davies, the most impressive part of his life, restored his equilibrium. Always respectful, Mitt and Ann decided to elope with their parents. They went on a trip to Israel, where they tried and failed to introduce the concept of reticence. Romney also went on a mission to France. He spent two years knocking on doors, failing to win a single convert. This was a feat he would replicate during his 2008 presidential bid.

After his mission, he attended Harvard, studying business, law, classics and philosophy, though intellectually his first love was always tax avoidance. After Harvard, he took his jawline to Bain Consulting, a firm with very smart people with excessive personal hygiene. While at Bain, he helped rescue many outstanding companies, like Pan Am, Eastern Airlines, Atari and DeLorean.

Romney was extremely detail oriented in his business life. He once canceled a corporate retreat at which Abba had been hired to play, saying he found the band's music "too angry."

Romney is also a passionately devoted family man. After streamlining his wife's pregnancies down to six months each, Mitt helped Ann raise five perfect sons - Bip, Chip, Rip, Skip and Dip - who married identically tanned wives. Some have said that Romney's lifestyle is overly privileged, pointing to the fact that he has an elevator for his cars in the garage of his San Diego home. This is not entirely fair. Romney owns many homes without garage elevators and the cars have to take the stairs.

After a successful stint at Bain, Romney was lured away to run the Winter Olympics, the second most Caucasian institution on earth, after the G.O.P. He then decided to run for governor of Massachusetts. His campaign slogan, "Vote Romney: More Impressive Than You'll Ever Be," was not a hit, but Romney won the race anyway on an environmental platform, promising to make the state safe for steeplechase.

After his governorship, Romney suffered through a midlife crisis, during which he became a social conservative. This prepared the way for his presidential run. He barely won the 2012 Republican primaries after a grueling nine-month campaign, running unopposed. At the convention, where his Secret Service nickname is Mannequin, Romney will talk about his real-life record: successful business leader, superb family man, effective governor, devoted community leader and prudent decision-maker. If elected, he promises to bring all Americans together and make them feel inferior.


Watch "Big Oil's" profits in 3rd Quarter 2012

Monday, I noticed I was apparently one of the last people in the area to pay "only" $3.59 per gallon for gasoline for my car. I noticed the signage at the Quik Trip I pulled into had already been changed to $3.72 per gallon. I was paying that lower $3.59 rate per gallon.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I noticed it had gotten all the way up to $3.79 per gallon in the area--a 20 cent jump in two days.

The reason, I noted?

There had been a huge explosion at an oil refinery in Venezuela and Hurricane Isaac was rather notoriously making its way into the Gulf of Mexico, where so many oil rigs are, and on into New Orleans and Louisiana.

The fact is, on this, the oil companies shot their price up immediately, even though their costs for that oil and gasoline hadn't changed an iota. Not one bit.

So watch, folks. Watch the reports in October when the reports of "Big Oil's" profits come out. See what Exxon-Mobil and all the oil companies made at this time while you and I pay so much more at the pump.

I feel sure we're going to see some huge, huge profits from them.

And it all comes right out of our pockets, as we know.

Ever feel like a chump?


What the Republicans and Right Wingers are up to in Jeff City now

More disgusting incredulousness from the Missouri Republicans in Jeff City of late:

Akin isn't Missouri's only offender on women's issues

The latest salvo in the war on women was fired Sunday by U.S. Rep Todd Akin, who told talk show host Charles Jaco that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because the “female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Rep. Akin’s astonishing remarks betray a gross insensitivity to rape victims, and a woeful ignorance of basic biology. His statements – including his unconvincing attempt to backpedal – were quickly decried by politicians in both parties.

President Obama called them “offensive.” Mitt Romney added that he would not oppose abortion in cases of rape.

Unfortunately, the same mindset of putting personal political ideology before the needs of women is pervasive in the Missouri Legislature.

This year it manifested in the passage of Senate Bill 749, a poorly developed piece of legislative overkill that could jeopardize access to contraception for hundreds of thousands of Missouri women and their families — this from legislators who want less government intrusion in the lives of Missourians.

I was relieved when Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill in July. However, efforts are underway for an override attempt in the veto session to be held on Wednesday, September 12.

SB 749 invites insurance companies to intrude upon deeply personal – and what should be private – decisions about contraception. It gives insurance companies the power to restrict access to contraception, even if employers and their employees want it.

I just can't get these people.

As the author says above, and as I've said many times before, how is it that these people--"conservatives", people wanting "small government", unintrusive government-- want that same government to rule in women's very private and personal sexual and reproductive rights and decisions? And the people who support them go along with this?

This, apparently, is at least one outcome of having religion deeply embedded in your politics.

The similarities between the Right Wing Christians in the US and the Muslim extremists of the Middle East--Iran, Iraq, etc.--come far too close.

But the Right Wing "Christians" here just don't see that.

Read more here:

Funny--but maybe supports alcoholism?

It does amuse.

This Republican Party would eat Ronald Reagan alive

Click on picture for larger, better viewing.

Top 10 Labor Day Weekend Events

Stolen, wholesale, from the Visit website:

With everything going on in KC this Labor Day weekend, you'll need the
extra day to fit it all in. Check out these 10 fun and affordable ideas:

KC IRISH FEST • Go green and celebrate KC's deep Irish roots at Crown Center.

KC RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL • Say huzzah to seven weekends of 16th-century fun.

KC WATERPARKS • Enjoy one last, splashy weekend at Schlitterbahn and Oceans of Fun.

TITANIC EXHIBITION • Honor the ships 100th anniversary with Union Station’s tribute. FINAL DAYS

SPORTING KANSAS CITY • Watch the US Open Cup champs take on Toronto at Livestrong Sporting Park.

HAUNTED HOUSES • Scream season returns to the Haunted House Capital of the World.

FIRST FRIDAY • Head to the Crossroads Arts District for a huge outdoor art walk. Free.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS • Watch the boys in blue take on the Minnesota Twins. Save on tickets.

POWELL GARDENS • Explore Fairy Houses & Forts, an enchanting garden adventure. SAVE on tickets.

SANTA-CALI-GON DAYS • Hit the trails for one of the nation's largest free festivals.

Entertainment overnight

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Israeli military: above the law, decency, humanity and international law

An Israeli judge ruled today that their nation's military was in no way responsible for the death of a protester he bulldozed because the Israeli government wanted to destroy homes in the Gaza Strip. The news and headline today:

Israel judge rules Rachel Corrie responsible for her own death

Parents of American activist Rachel Corrie fail in their attempt to place blame on Israel after their daughter was killed by a bulldozer in Gaza at a protest

JERUSALEM — Nine years after their daughter was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, the parents of American activist Rachel Corrie lost their legal bid Tuesday to hold Israel responsible for her death and force authorities to reopen the investigation.

A Haifa judge rejected the parent's negligence lawsuit, calling Corrie's death an accident that she brought upon herself by refusing to leave what had been declared a closed military zone. "It was a very regrettable accident and not a deliberate act," said Judge Oded Gershon.

And sure, people will take sides--the driver did see her, he didn't, whatever.

As you can tell here--and as you would guess if you know me--I'm on the side of the protester and her family. I find it at least extremely difficult to believe that the driver of the bulldozer didn't see her or know she was there. She "was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and standing just a few feet away" from the bulldozer and driver at the time.

In fact, I'll go one step further on this. I feel sure the official order from the Israeli government was to go forward with the destruction of the homes no matter what. It may well have been only spoken but I feel strongly that was their position.
This flies in the face of decency and of humanity, as I said in the title, above, but it also goes against international law. A nation and its government isn't supposed to tear down anyone's home, regardless.

Was the young lady--Rachel Cory, 23--pushing her luck?

Apparently the answer to that is yes.

Did the right thing happen? Should she have been killed so a nation's government could tear down homes they didn't want?

Absolutely not.


Republicans disavow Todd Akin and his views?

On the one hand, the Republicans were quick to bail on Todd Akin and his viewpoint on rape and conception for women last week, sure. They quickly disavowed his statement and pulled money to and support for him.

Nearly immediately.

But what did they do today, at their national convention in Tampa?

At 2 p.m. today, Republicans they voted on their party platform -- officially adopting Todd Akin's no-choice-with-no-exceptions position on abortion.

Apparently, it's okay to take this stance, you just aren't supposed to go public with it and tell anyone.

Bloody hypocrites.


Great updated question for Missouri

I saw this last evening:

What's the Matter With Missouri?

State Republicans have used divisive social issues legislation to strengthen the conservative coalition and push out progressives.

"...therein lay the problem for Missouri, a former bellwether state which is now so conservative that a guy who believes women who are raped can "shut that whole thing down" to prevent pregnancy is polling even with a centrist incumbent U.S. senator."

Great question.

The sad state of Missouri.

And the United States.


Former Republican Governor from Florida on the Presidential election

Former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist on President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney as printed in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, this past Sunday, right before the Republican National Convention which also takes place in Tampa this week:

"As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I'm confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history."

The rest of the column here:

Quote of the year (perhaps)

"What black people are experiencing right now is a kind of privilege previously withheld—seeing our most sacred cultural practices and tropes validated in the world’s highest office. Throughout the whole of American history, this kind of cultural power was wielded solely by whites, and with such ubiquity that it was not even commented upon. The expansion of this cultural power beyond the private province of whites has been a tremendous advance for black America. Conversely, for those who’ve long treasured white exclusivity, the existence of a President Barack Obama is discombobulating, even terrifying. For as surely as the iconic picture of the young black boy reaching out to touch the president’s curly hair sends one message to black America, it sends another to those who have enjoyed the power of whiteness."

--Ta-nehisi Coates, Senior Editor of The Atlantic, from his article "Fear of a Black President"


Writer, singer, satirist on Kansas

This guy, Roy Zimmerman, is writing a little ditty like this, below, on each of the 50 states. He did this one about 4 months ago on Kansas.

Maybe not brilliant but fun.

And true and right.

The rest of the states he's done here:

Quote of the day

"It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you, try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as Gods will yourself."

--Thomas Merton, Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic, Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac will apparently disappoint

The good news: Hurricane Isaac shortened a political convention.

The bad news? It's going to hit New Orleans--and apparently on the 7th anniversary of category 5 Hurricane Katrina.

Yet more bad news--it's apparently not going to bring precipitation to our area.


The lying liars and the lies they tell

Mitt Romney's theme song

That couldn't be more appropriate. That is, "I Want You to Want Me."


It's gets better.

It's by Cheap Trick.


Yet more bad news for the KCMO School District

It just keeps getting worse for the KCMO School District:

Ruling goes against KC district

KANSAS CITY (AP) — An appeals court ruled yesterday that a Cole County judge erred in ordering charter schools to repay millions to Kansas City Public Schools.

At issue was money diverted from charter schools to help the Kansas City district pay off bonds that were issued to build and upgrade schools as required by a long-running federal desegregation case. Between $800 and $1,000 per student was withheld annually from Kansas City charter schools from 1999 to 2005, then later resumed in smaller amounts.

The withholdings began when the publicly funded schools opened in the city and began luring district students, and they temporarily ended in 2005, when the Missouri Board of Fund Commissioners found the district didn't need the money from the charter schools to pay off the bonds.

The district alleged the state was reneging on a 1997 settlement in which the state paid $320 million to exit the district's desegregation case. The district, which remained a defendant until court supervision of the desegregation case ended in August 2003, said the settlement agreement stipulated that the state refrain from acts that would undermine the district.

The withholdings resumed after a federal judge ruled in 2006 that the money was needed to pay off the bonds. The district then sought to get back the $6.2 million it was unable to collect over that year.

In October, a Cole County judge sided with the Kansas City district. But the appeals court disagreed, saying the district had paid the money voluntarily and couldn't get it back.

All anyone can do at this point is to hope this district can save itself.


Mitt and Isaac

"Republican nightmare Monday: Tropical storm Isaac heads into Gulf, gathering hurricane winds. Reminds people (and the media) of Hurricane Katrina, which reminds them of George W. Bush -- the last Republican to occupy the White House.

But George W. is the last person Romney and Ryan want America to remember, because he brought on the Great Recession, turned a $5 billion surplus into a $6 trillion deficit, told America there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and didn't respond to Katrina for weeks.

Romney never speaks George W's name. Bush won't even appear at the GOP convention. But Hurricane Isaac may bring him back nonetheless."

--Robert Reich, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator.


From Mr. Romney's own mouth

Quote of the day

“Terrorism is the war of the poor and war is the terrorism of the rich”.

--Sir Peter Ustinov, English actor, writer and dramatist, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, author, screenwriter, comedian, humourist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster and television presenter.


Because it can't be said--or shown--enough

From his own mouth.

In his own words.

Kansas City, from MSN

Link to original post:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quote of the day

"Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them." --Dave Eggers, American writer, editor, and publisher.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Now that's funny

Warning: One expletive--

And thank you, ladies.

Quote of the day

"Politicians sometimes think they can get away with saying something profoundly offensive or just plain stupid by acting like it was a joke. It never works, just like it didn't work today when Mr. Romney shamelessly played the birther card in what seems like an increasingly desperate campaign against President Obama." —The New York Times on Mitt Romney's quote yesterday that "No one asked to see my birth certificate."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Just before their convention, the Republican economic plan for the next 4 years

Tell me y'all don't want to vote for these clowns.

A brief history of race in America

First, we owned African-Americans in the United States. They were brought over by boat, sold into slavery and that's where they stayed, their entire lives, until they died. If they were "lucky", their master(s) weren't completely horrible and abusive and/or tortuous to them while in this state.

Keep in mind, too, that, during this lifetime of slave work, besides being paid nothing, they were also almost entirely uneducated, formally. Most didn't know how to read or write. The ones who did were taught how to read and/or write if and only if it helped their master(s).

Then we "freed" them, after 200 years of this slavery, in 1863 with the "Emancipation Proclamation." Of course, they weren't really freed as they owned nothing--nothing--and most had nowhere to go. Besides the fact that the defacto social and political system still held them very much down. Many black men, especially, in the South, were arrested for "vagrancy" and sold to corporations for their labor. Still in slavery. That lasted until the 1940's, too. (See link below).

All during this time, they were at least under-educated, still, if not uneducated, as the masses would have it. "Separate but equal" was declared the law of the land and everything was hunky-dory.

Then, finally, in the 1960's, they were, again, officially, given the right to vote and the right to "fair housing." Of course, this was only on paper and segregating this minority to its own side of town still went on, as we have learned or as we know.

So deep-seated racism permeated our country from our inception right up to today and yet still, so many people across the nation--mostly white but other races, too--think that somehow, some way, African-Americans are not supposed to have any problems today, culturally, socially, economically or otherwise.

Isn't that just a nice, tidy, convenient conclusion?


Quote of the day

I've been struck by the baldness of Romney's repetitive lies about Obama -- that Obama ended the work requirement under welfare, for example, or that Obama's Affordable Care Act cuts $716 billion from Medicare benefits.

I've been directly involved in seven presidential campaigns, and I don't recall a presidential candidate lying with such audacity, over and over again, even in the face of mainstream media calling him on it.

It may be because such lies are effective. Polls show that voters are starting to believe them, especially in swing states where they're being repeated constantly in media spots, financed by Romney's super PAC or ancillary PACs and so-called "social welfare" organizations (political fronts disguised as charities, such as Karl Rove and the Koch brothers have set up).

But what does this tell us about Romney's character? We knew he was a cypher -- that he'll say and do whatever is expedient, change positions like a chameleon, eschew any core principles.

Yet resorting to outright lies -- and organizing a presidential campaign around a series of lies -- reveals a whole new level of cynicism, a profound disdain for what remains of civility in public life, and a disrespect of the democratic process.

Can someone who is willing to resort to such calculated lies be worthy of the public's trust with the most powerful office in the world?

--Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.


Kansas City on YouTube

I found this at last evening:

Yahoo! on the Royals!!!

Finally, someone publicly and in a big way has said what I said months ago about our Kansas City Royals! (and I hate exclamation points).

That is, David Glass, as owner of the Kansas City Royals, should go. If it happens, it won't happen easily or quickly but Mr. Glass--I'll say it again, here, now--just wants to suck profits, money, out of the team and doesn't care about winning, doesn't care about getting in the penant race and absolutely doesn't care about getting in the World Series.

From The Kansas City Star, rather famously (or infamously, now, if you're David Glass), yesterday, attorney Joe Accurso and his friends got together and took out an ad in the paper, calling for David Glass to either go for a win in Major League Baseball or sell the team--to another, local, Kansas City owner.

Good for them. Good for us.

Maybe, maybe, we can finally have a bigger, broader conversation about this.

Maybe we can either get a team that's sincerely interested in getting in a winning column for the Royals and then a penant race and, one day, hopefully very soon, into the World Series, at least.

Thank you, Joe Accurso, your friends and all.

Let the conversation begin.

And please, Mr. Glass, don't go away mad.

Either give us a true, winning team or just go away.


Entertainment overnight, part 2

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not fun to be Lance Armstrong or David Glass right now

First, David Glass got rather a "comeuppance" today (that I will address tomorrow morning, first thing) and now this, just now, breaking in the news:

USADA says it will ban Lance Armstrong, strip 7 Tour titles

Declaring "enough is enough," Lance Armstrong says he will not fight charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which said it will ban Armstrong from competition for life and strip him of the seven Tour de France titles that turned him into an American hero.

Armstrong said his decision did not mean he would accept USADA's sanctions. His lawyers threatened a lawsuit if USADA proceeded, arguing the agency must first resolve a dispute with the International Cycling Union over whether the case should be pursued.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."

Who knows what to think but it certainly doesn't look good for Mr. Armstrong right now.

Odd, isn't it?

He was the "golden boy" of cycling, for years.

And he made boodles of money, because of it.

And now, all the trophies and accolades are wiped away.

Really odd.


Entertainment overnight

No laws about throwing away or trashing government computers?

I keep remembering that ol' Mittens Romney had computers erased and destroyed on his way out of office back in Massachusetts, when he was governor. Did you read or hear about it?

Mitt Romney administration deleted emails before leaving office

"It doesn't appear to have been illegal, but this, from the Boston Globe, doesn't make Mitt Romney's administration look particularly open and transparent:

Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor’s office and first ran for president, 11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s e-mails were all wiped from a server, according to interviews and records obtained by the Globe.

Romney administration officials had the remaining computers in the governor’s office replaced just before Governor Deval Patrick’s staff showed up to take power in January 2007 … Beth E. Myers, who was Romney’s chief of staff, bought her hard drive on Aug. 18, 2006, the same month that she left state employment.

Peter G. Flaherty, who was Romney’s deputy chief of staff, bought the hard drive from his computer on Nov. 3, 2006 ... Flaherty later became the Romney campaign’s chief liaison to social conservatives."

I don't mind telling you folks here and I think most, if not all, would agree, first, I think this is wrong since these were government computers, reputedly doing government--the people's--work.

Second, I think this could, of course, likely cover up things that otherwise shouldn't have happened.

Third, and most importantly, I think it needs to be said and acted on that this is made illegal--very strictly and clearly illegal--in each and every of the 50 states, all our cities and counties and then in our Federal Government, too.

Every government employee--every one of them--needs to be held accountable for their actions and official words and deeds. These are OUR computers, people, again, supposedly doing our work. It shouldn't be possible to be able to either sell these computers or trash the information on them.

Making this illegal would make our representatives at least somewhat more accountable for their words and actions in office, if not a great deal more.

What troubles me is that there doesn't seem to be an existing outcry for anything like this to happen.

Left as it is, legal to give or throw away this information, will lead to not good things.

If it hasn't already.


"Guitars in the Park" Concert Series?

Who knew?

Apparently there has been a "Guitars in the Park" concert series here in the city.

It's news to me.

Anyway, the final performance of the Summer is this Sunday evening. Here's the announcement from their Facebook page:

The Guitars in the Park concert series concludes this Sunday night (Aug 26th) with flamenco and classical guitarist Jarrod Stephenson! Appearing with Jarrod will be Flamenco dancer Tamara La Garbancito. The concert will be at Oppenstein Park (12th & Walnut) at 7pm!

It sounds fantastic.

More here at "Downtown Kansas City" Facebook page:

Worldwide ironies and tragedies

While most of America--and plenty of the rest of the world, too--bakes in record dry weather, comes this breaking news today:

Heavy monsoon rains trigger flooding in northern Pakistan; 26 people die

Would that we could take some of their burden, with their monsoon rains, eh?

To make things worse, from the article:

"Pakistan suffered the worst flooding in its 65-year history in 2010. Floodwaters inundated one-fifth of the country, an area larger than England, and killed over 1,700 people. Over 20 million people were affected."

Wouldn't it be great if the world made sense?


Cutting through to the heart--and the truth--from an Irishman

Very well worth the listen, I think. President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, speaking to a member of the Tea Party, Michael Graham.

Whatever did happen to American's compassion?

And humanity?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Bishop Finn's defense attorneys swing for the fences

Did you see this article in the Star yesterday?

Lawyers for bishop, KC diocese want some evidence kept out of trial

Attorneys for Bishop Robert Finn and diocese make the argument in a pre-trial motion.

It's no surprise, really. The more the Bishop's attorneys keep out of the court, the more likely they are to be able to keep him out of the slammer and serving time as so many of us think he should, given his lack of responsibility and criminal betrayal of the children in their schools.

There are parts, however, that I find particularly egregious if not out-and-out disgusting.

The first is that they want to see to it that they keep material from the Shawn Ratigan trial out of his own trial. They're trying to make sure that "even if the evidence establishes that other diocesan employees described images discovered on the Ratigan computer to Bishop Finn, there is still no evidence to indicate that Bishop Finn read the memo or saw the images,' the motion states."

It seems Bishop Finn wants to get off scot-free in all aspects and claim he had absolutely no responsibilities to these children/students of the church.

Here's what's worst of the entire case and article, at least to me, however:

The motion also seeks to exclude another memo, written in May 2010 by the school principal at the Northland parish where Ratigan was pastor, that raised concerns about Ratigan’s behavior toward children. The memo predates the alleged criminal conduct for which the bishop and diocese are being tried, and Finn never saw or read the memo, the defense says.

This letter that the principal wrote and sent was, as I understand it, from an earlier article in the Star, sent directly to Bishop Finn. If that's the case, it seems difficult to believe that his assistant, Monsignor Murphy, was to intercept his letters and that he did so in this case.

All this said, we have a few things going in our favor on this whole mess, to see to it Bishop Finn is held responsible for the failure of his duties:

--Shawn Ratigan finally, finally admitted guilt in his own case and

--the Cardinal's aide, back East, was found guilty in his case (see link below) and there are some similarities in Bishop Finn's and this one.

Here's hoping justice is truly served here, in this case.

More importantly--much more importantly--here's hoping that, one day soon, Catholic school children will no longer be ignored or denied, let alone sexually or physically abused.


Dorothy Parker, August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967

"I’m a feminist, and God knows I’m loyal to my sex, and you must remember that from my very early days, when this city was scarcely safe from buffaloes, I was in the struggle for equal rights for women." --Dorothy Paker, writer


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Quote of the day--on our current Congress

The current 112th Congress has passed just 151 public laws since it convened in January 2011, the fewest laws in at least six decades. The next-most-unproductive national legislature — the 104th Congress, 1995-1996 — passed 280 public laws. It still found time, under a Democratic president and a Republican Congress, to shut down the federal government for several weeks.

For comparison, the 1947-1948 “do-nothing” Congress attacked by Harry Truman passed 906 public laws.

--Steve Kraske and Dave Helling, from their article "The End of the Middle" in Sunday's Kansas City Star newspaper

Read more here:

Major-league, Midwest, Republican stupid

Well, it seems Missouri and Kansas outdid ourselves in the last 24 hours.

As would happen, the "major-league stupid" is from 2 different, Right Wing, Conservative Republicans. You no doubt heard, right?

The first, from Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin when he said women aren't likely to get pregnant from a "legitimate rape"--his term, apparently--because the female body somehow blocks these, rocket scientist that he is.

Forget that he's not a doctor. Forget that there's no scientific, biological support for this very Right Wing contention, he put it out there, regardless.

The response, fortunately?

G.O.P. Trying to Oust Akin From Race for Rape Remarks

WASHINGTON — Fearing that a seat crucial to winning a Senate majority could slip away, the national Republican establishment on Monday unleashed a furious campaign to drive Representative Todd Akin, the party’s newly selected nominee, out of the race against Missouri’s Democratic senator.

Amid an uproar over provocative comments on rape and abortion that Mr. Akin made in an interview broadcast on Sunday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee declared that it would withdraw financial and organizational support for Mr. Akin, including $5 million in advertising already reserved for the fall. In the interview, Mr. Akin said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely got pregnant.

What too many people don't know, however, is that Mr. Akin's stance on this issue is far from solitary. He's not the only Republican who ever said or mentioned this very wrong idea as truth:

"The thing is, his comments were hardly some kind never-before-heard gaffe. Arguments like his have cropped up again and again on the right over the past quarter century and the idea that trauma is a form of birth control continues to be promulgated by anti-abortion forces that seek to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. The push for a no-exceptions anti-abortion policy has for decades gone hand in hand with efforts to downplay the frequency with which rape- or incest-related pregnancies occur, and even to deny that they happen, at all. In other words, it's not just Akin singing this tune.

Take Christian Life Resources, an educational site, for example. It reprints an 1999 article on the topic that seeks to make the same distinction between categories of rape as did Akin, and for the same reason. Wrote John C. Willke -- a physician who in the 1980s and early 1990s was president of the National Right to Life Committee -- in the piece, originally published in Life Issues Connector:

When pro-lifers speak of rape pregnancies, we should commonly use the phrase 'forcible rape' or 'assault rape,' for that specifies what we're talking about. Rape can also be statutory. Depending upon your state law, statutory rape can be consensual, but we're not addressing that here .... Assault rape pregnancies are extremely rare."

So this gaffe by Todd Akin is informative, at least for me, if not for lots of us. Who knew a group of people actually thought women might not risk pregnancy if it's a "legitimate rape"?

What sexist pigs.

The second stupid thing to come out of the midwest Monday was, rather famously, from our own Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder when, again, rocket scientist that he is, he decides to skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee while on a very official trip, representing our own US federal government.

Man, I love these people.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy Sunday

Quote of the day

"The great moral questions of the present age are those about human rights, war, poverty, the vast disparities between rich and poor, the fact that somewhere in the third world a child dies every two and a half seconds because of starvation or remediable disease.

The churches' obsessions over pre-marital sex and whether divorced couples can remarry in church appears contemptible in the light of this mountain of human suffering and need. By distracting attention from what really counts, and focusing it on the minor and anyway futile attempt to get people to conduct their personal lives only in ways the church permits, harm is done to the cause of good in the world."

--A.C. Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quote of the day

In 1854, the "Great White Chief" in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a reservation for the Indian people.
The following was Chief Seattle's reply.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us.
If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man - all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The great Chief sends word that he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.
The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father's grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children and he does not care. His father's grave, and his children's birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beeds. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect's wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with pinion pine.
The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that it is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept. I will make one condition: the white man must treat the beasts of the land as his brothers.
I am a savage and do not understand any other way.

I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.
Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all.
We shall see.

One thing which we know, which the white man may one day discover - our God is the same God.

You may think you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all the other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.

Where is the thicket? Gone.

Where is the eagle? Gone.

The end of living and the beginning of survival.

The World According to Jack Cashill

Thank God for Jack Cashill, huh?

Or so he'd have us think.

As he keeps telling us, we need him to help us all by explaining things like the Holocaust and the real racial history of Kansas City--and the US and world, I'm sure--as he's done in this month's Ingram's Magazine.

This time, he's telling the developers of this reputedly upcoming "Museum of Suburbia" that's to go out in Johnson County. I love how he even starts the column, just to straighten everyone out:

"Johnson County’s planned National Museum of Suburbia (NMOS, pronounced “no mas”) is not necessarily the horrible idea that most pundits think it is."

As I said, I love that. This museum idea is so bad, he has to make sure we know up front that it's not so bad after all.

Anyway, it's his contention that, while this proposal could devolve, as history would have it, as an explanation of and/or for "white flight" and racial division, that someone just needs to make it "fun" and it will, of course, work and be successful.


What a great idea.

Forget that Kansas City is, to this day, deeply, deeply divided, racially, with the outgrowth of that white flight mentioned above, that we so clearly experienced here from the middle of the last century up to this day.

Forget, of course, that there were formal clauses in residential real estate contracts specifically calling out that blacks couldn't buy in the new developments.

Sure, Jack, forget all that.

Just paint a rosey picture of how that all developed and gee, it'll be just like it never happened.

Mr. Cashill insists that this proposed museum shouldn't make any excuses for itself and absolutely should't apologize for the fact that the 'burbs were created, at least in large part, so people could run away from people who weren't otherwise like them.

Way to rewrite history, there, Jack.

He tells, too, in the article that he does the same thing with our own national history, too, when he went back East to the Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It seems Jack was there, helping out a guide, in this example, who needed to be straightened out that the good old US of A wasn't that racist in the past, after all.

It seems a guide there mistakenly, according to Jack, told his group--God help her--that our own Constitution only applied to "White men with property."

Jack straightened her right out, of course. It's what God put him here for, clearly--to educate the rest of us.

Or, at least, God put him here to enlighten the rest of us here in reality land--those who don't agree with him and his views.

In this article, he mentions what happens to be, coincidentally, my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri, as proof that the suburbs were'nt developed out of racism, in part or whole, at all. He states that, "despite a population that is less than one-half of 1 percent black... 'Who,'" he asked, “'are these people fleeing from?'”

Well, being from St. Joe, I can tell him. I lived there, after all.

The people in St. Joe ran from that East and downtown side of town to, yes, in fact, get away from black Americans and Hispanics and--no surprise--the lower class. The fact is, St. Joseph, Missouri makes a really poor example as a standout against the idea of "white flight" that created the suburbs because the same thing happened there that happened all across this country.

Forget the racism of the US.

Forget the racism of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Forget the ugliness and sameness of too much of suburbia.

Totally ignore how sprawled and disconnected our metropolitan area is.

Forget how racially divided we are.

Forget all that.

If you just open a museum and have Jack run it, golly, he'll make it "fun" and you can ignore all that stuff.

Forget truth. Forget reality.

I can see it now--Jack Cashill needs to be whisked away as an international consultant to any and every Holocaust Museum in the world--from Germany to Washington, D.C. and any- and everywhere else.

Jack will make the Holocaust fun.

That'll pack 'em in.

Way to go, Jack. Thank God you're here.


Great Planned Parenthood news out of Kansas

Indeed, great news from NPR and the AP:

Charges Dropped Against Kansas Planned Parenthood

A Kansas prosecutor on Friday dropped all remaining criminal charges against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of performing illegal abortions, ending what was believed to be the first attempt in the U.S. to prosecute a facility affiliated with the group.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced that 32 misdemeanor charges against the clinic had been dismissed. Those charges were the last part of a criminal case filed in 2007 by Howe's predecessor. Howe said his decision to end the case came after consulting Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. All three are Republicans.

"It is an unfortunate conclusion that I don't think is going to satisfy anybody, but that is the reality of what we have to deal with today," Howe said during a news conference at his office at the courthouse in Olathe. "But ultimately, the decision should be about the law and the evidence."


Tough thing, that.

The law, I mean.

All those rules.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Afghanistan, by the numbers

--Number of American soldiers in Afghanistan: 88,000

--Number of American soldier casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: 4,454. At least 1,828 killed in Afghanistan alone as of this past Tuesday, according to the Defense Department.

--Suicides among active-duty soldiers in the US Army more than doubled from June, in July.

--26 active-duty Army soldiers killed themselves in July, compared with 12 in June.

--The July total was the highest for any month since the Army began reporting suicides by month in 2009.

--For the first seven months of 2012, the Army recorded 116 suicides among active-duty soldiers. If that pace were maintained through December the year's total would approach 200, compared with 167 for all of 2011.

That's all.

That's enough.

It's disgusting.


Woodstock: 43 years ago today

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Entertainment overnight

With thanks to Jamie H. back in "Balmer", without whom I might not have seen this.

American wildfires, 2012

Statistics on wildfires in America just now:

--Right this moment, there are 62--count 'em, 62--"uncontained, large fires" burning across America.

--Those 62 fires are raging in 10 states, with most of them in the West.

--In July this year alone, 2,014,395 acres burned. The average over 10 years is 1,585,656 acres burned.

--Wildfires this year burned states from Arizona and New Mexico clear up to Idaho and Washington, inclusive.

--"By mid-July, there were 32 large wildfires active across the nation, entirely across the western states — two in both Washington and Nevada; three in California and Montana; four in Oregon, Idaho, and Arizona; and five in Utah and Wyoming."

--"On July 31st, there were 29 large wildfires active nationwide. Two fires were active in Florida..."

--"In total, 20 fires were active across the western states of California, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming."

I ask you, do you ever remember a Summer--or even a whole year--when so much of our nation was consumed by wildfires?

Because I sure don't.

And as if that isn't enough, it's even a problem for our Northern neighbor, Canada:

Rare wildfires threaten Canadian polar bear habitat

(Reuters) - Wildfires sparked by lightning near Canada's Hudson Bay are threatening the habitat of polar bears, encroaching on the old tree roots and frozen soil where females make their dens, a conservation expert on the big, white bears said on Thursday.

Polar bears are more typically threatened by the melting of sea ice, which they use as platforms for hunting seals, their main prey. But those who live near Hudson Bay spend their summers resting up on shore when the bay thaws, living in dens dug in the frozen soil among the roots of stunted spruce trees.

Come to your own conclusions.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quote of the day

"...the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.

They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path."
--Sitting Bull, Native American Lakota Sioux Chief


Yet more of Paul Ryan's thorough, piercing hypocrisy

Not only did Paul Ryan never really have a career outside of government but his family's business was also built on government contracts:

Paul Ryan’s Family Business Built On Government Contracts

Despite the repeated mantra from the Romney-Ryan campaign that “hard-working Americans are what create jobs, not government,” Paul Ryan’s family business — for whom he briefly worked as a “marketing consultant” — was built in large part on government contracts. Salon reports Ryan Incorporated Central began in 1884 doing government-subsidized railroad construction, then moved into building federal interstate highways, and helped build O’Hare Airport.

The story notes:

A current search of Defense Department contracts suggests that “Ryan Incorporated Central” has had at least 22 defense contracts with the federal government since 1996, including one from 1996 worth $5.6 million. … Mr. Anti-Spending secured millions in earmarks for his home state of Wisconsin, including, among other things, $3.3 million for highway projects. And Ryan voted to preserve $40 billion in special subsidies for big oil, an industry in which, it so happens, Ryan and his wife hold ownership stakes.
Yet in his first speech as Romney’s running-mate, Ryan joined in on the attacks on President Obama for believing that those whose businesses are successful, in part succeed because “somebody invested in roads and bridges.” Ryan proclaimed that he was “proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business—you did build that.”

What a bloddy hypocrite.

Even before Romney made this selection, the magazine printed the following as part of a larger article:

"Like Romney, Ryan is a son of privilege who has little real-world experience or understanding. He presents well on Sunday morning talk shows and in the rarified confines of Washington think tanks and dinners with his constituents — the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street — but his record in Congress and the policies he now promotes are political albatrosses."

And then this:

"The House Budget Committee chairman imagines himself as a high priest speaking unfortunate truths about debts and deficits, the unforgiving foe of social spending who would gladly sacrifice Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the altar of debt reduction. Ryan has branded himself well within Republican circles, so well that he has parlayed himself into contention for the vice presidential nod. To get that nomination, however, Ryan must count on the prospect that the party that takes as its symbol the memory-rich elephant will suddenly suffer a spell of forgetfulness. That's because the Republican congressman from Wisconsin, for all his bluster, is anything but a consistent advocate for fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. He is, in fact, a hypocrite."

Or, to be more precise, a hypocritical big spender — at least when Wall Street, the insurance industry and the military-industrial complex call.

Ryan has been a steady voter for unwise bailouts of big banks, unfunded mandates and unnecessary wars. Few members of Congress have run up such very big tabs while doing so little to figure out how to pay the piper. How has Ryan gotten away with his fool-most-of-the-people-most-of-the-time politics?

Just as I said. Paul Ryan is not your average, run of the mill hypocrite.

This guy is major league.


Irony--all the way from Mars

Wouldn't it be ironic if we go all the way to Mars, do some research and discover there used to be life there, much like here on Earth, but they used all the natural resources irresponsibly and ended up burning up the planet with polllution and the equivalent of climate change?

Wouldn't that be ironic?

Do you think we'd learn the lesson?


Not a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Ryan's and the Republican "solutions" to America's ills

‎"Under Ryan’s plan, the wealthiest 1 percent would get a massive tax break.

Meanwhile, Medicare would be privatized, leaving seniors with vouchers that could never keep up with rising health-care costs. It would slash programs helping struggling families stay afloat, such as food stamps and housing assistance, by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade. Education and employment training — vital to our nation’s future — would be cut by a third. Ryan, whose great-grandfather founded a large road construction company, would spend 25 percent less than President Obama rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure. And since gutting Medicaid and Medicare isn’t enough, he would also repeal the president’s health-care law, leaving tens of millions of people uninsured.

"Cue the fanfare."

"Recently, voters in focus groups refused to believe anyone would propose such a vicious plan. Back when the GOP retained a modicum of humanity, even many Republicans were shocked by how far Ryan went. In polls, people of both parties recoil from his proposal to end Medicare as we know it."

"It is a plan, as the recently-departed Gore Vidal said of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that so influenced Ryan, 'nearly perfect in its immorality.' Ryan’s extremism bleeds into social issues. He saluted the troops on the deck of the USS Wisconsin, but voted against repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.' He has repeatedly voted for defunding Planned Parenthood and letting hospitals refuse emergency abortion care, even when a mother’s life is in danger. The right to love whom you want or to make decisions about your own body are not, apparently, among the rights that Ryan believes 'nature and God' gave us."

"In short, beneath that Ken doll head of hair, behind the carefully cultivated image of a brave pseudo-policy wonk, lies a cruel ideologue. And it’s Ryan’s GOP now."

—- Katrina vanden Heuvel



Woodstock began 43 years ago today

From Wikipedia:

"Woodstock Music & Art Fair (informally, Woodstock or The Woodstock Festival) was a music festival, billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music". It was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre (2.4 km²; 240 ha, 0.94 mi²) dairy farm in the Catskills near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York, from August 15 to August 18, 1969. Bethel, in Sullivan County, is 43 miles (69 km) southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York, in adjoining Ulster County.

During the sometimes rainy weekend, thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of 500,000 concert-goers.[2] It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history. Rolling Stone called it one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.[3]

The event was captured in the 1970 documentary movie Woodstock, an accompanying soundtrack album, and Joni Mitchell's song "Woodstock", which commemorated the event and became a major hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

One of my favorite songs from the three days, as long a list as that is:

A one of a kind event, for sure.


Joplin in the news at NPR this week

Joplin, Missouri, it's rebuilding and their trees are in the NPR news coverage yesterday:

Joplin's New Trees Struggle To Survive Amid Drought

Saplings — no more than 6 feet tall — dot the landscape in Joplin, Mo. They replace the large shade trees that were ripped out of the ground by a massive tornado that swept through town in May of 2011.

Nearly 7,000 new trees, donated by various organizations, have been planted. They include sturdy, mostly native, varieties, such as oak, sycamore and redbud — trees that can withstand strong winds when they're taller.

The path of a powerful tornado is seen in an aerial photo over Joplin on May 24, 2011.
With temperatures above normal for the past few months and precipitation below normal, those trees have had a hard time taking root.

Volunteers, though, are giving the 562 trees planted in Joplin's city parks a hand. Lugging heavy, 5-gallon plastic buckets from faucets to trees in the searing heat, they pour water onto the base of the trees, a little at a time, allowing it to slowly soak into the roots.

In Cunningham Park, which was rebuilt after the tornado obliterated it, 161 saplings were planted, each representing someone killed in the storm.

"It's hot and it hurts to bend over for a long time, but these trees symbolize the people who died, so it's important to me and the people who live here," says Drew Shuburte, a member of the Hayti First United Methodist Church.

Rest of the story here:

Good news for Google and Kansas City, likely bad for Sprint?

News out yesterday on the ever-changing technology and communications markets:

Phone cos. lose broadband subscribers for 1st time

NEW YORK (AP) — Phone companies are losing the high-speed Internet game. In the second quarter, the landline phone industry lost broadband subscribers for the first time, as cable companies continued to pile on new household and small business customers, thanks to the higher speeds they offer in most areas.

Good news for Google with their Google Fiber, sure. And good for Kansas City, since we're getting Google Fiber first in the nation.

But how about Sprint?

Are they part of the old-line phone companies, using the old utility poles and that more limited transmission capability?

It would seem so.

Sure, Sprint has the cell towers but they don't have the capabilities they write of here, in this article, that the cable companies have, it doesn't seem.

Anyway, the article then goes on to present some potentially bad news for us in time to come:

"The flow of subscribers from phone companies to cable providers could lead to a de facto monopoly on broadband in many areas of the U.S., say industry watchers. That could mean a lack of choice and higher prices."

So who really knows?

Things change and things are changing with such speed, it's difficult to say.

Just from right here, right now, and this vantage point, it doesn't look or sound good for Sprint.

Hopefully they think of something brilliant.

And quickly.


Happy birthday, Julia Child

Born 100 years ago today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Topsy-turvy Summer

It seems like we had August in June and July and we're having--what?--June in August?

I'll take this, for sure.

Here's hoping on that rain for Thursday.

Here's a switch: TKC in the Star instead of the Star all over TKC

It's now old news but a whole bunch of people are enjoying this from the Star today:

Tony's Kansas City blogger retracts posts, apologizes to former head of KC firefighters union

The former head of Kansas City’s firefighters union has settled his defamation suit with a Kansas City blogger, who posted a retraction and an apology Monday morning.

Tony Botello posted the statement on his website, Tony’s Kansas City, also known as TKC, at 9 a.m. According to the terms of the settlement, filed earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court, TKC’s readers will be able to find the posting through a prominent link on the blog for 30 days. The statement “shall at all times be closed to comments,” according to the settlement.

Botello also agreed to remove the original posts that prompted Louie Wright, former president of Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, to file the defamation suit in August 2011.

The lawsuit focused on three posts that Botello published, two from May 2011 addressing an anonymous YouTube video that accused Wright of criminal activity in the merger of the MAST ambulance service into the Fire Department. The other post, from August 2009, claimed that Wright received “at least six figures” from the United Way for directing firefighter donations to the charity, according to the original suit.

“TKC acknowledges that the claims were not verified and that such claims should be viewed as baseless,” according to the statement published on the blog. “TKC agrees with, recognizes, respects and acknowledges Mr. Wright’s assertion that he has never profited from any charity work for the United Way or any other charitable or not-for-profit organization with which he is or has been affiliated.

“Moreover, TKC would like to apologize to Mr. Wright for any distress caused by the posts.”

According to paperwork filed in court, Botello denied that he was liable for anything related to the posts but only agreed to the settlement “to avoid the cost of further legal proceedings.”

Wright and Botello also agreed not to disparage each other or members of their immediate families.

I wouldn't have thought that last part was necessary, would you?