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Monday, April 30, 2012

Why we won't get streetcars

Yael Abouhalkah, from The Star, said it very simply and well:

"Mayor Sly James, other city officials and streetcar enthusiasts are understandably ecstatic today about a judge’s order that upholds creation of the streetcar funding district.

Yes, it’s a potentially positive step for the city and its efforts to improve KC’s pathetic mass transit situation.

But even if voters uphold formation of the transportation funding district - with higher property and sales taxes - two more things still have to happen before streetcars have a remote chance of running down the streets.

The single most important element would be federal approval for $25 million in U.S. funds to help build the line."

Face it. It's just not going to happen.

Now, the downtown hotel?

Hmmmmm.

Doubtful, at least.

Very doubtful.

Link: http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/sobering-facts-about-kcs-just-approved-streetcar-election/

Great video, terrific website

This video was created by the www.bankruptingamerica.org people and website and makes excellent points:
Apparently their message--the "Bankrupting America" website people's--is very simple--they want and expect Congress to do its job.

What's not to like about that?

Regardless the political party, who's against that?

Well, except the Congress people themselves, right?

Link: http://www.bankruptingamerica.org

Google and Kansas City: Soon to be love-hate relationship?


Sure, Google's coming to town and we fought to get them and it's supposed to bring ultra-fast data transmission to and for us but as The Star reported Sunday (and is still online now, see link below), they were fined for some of the data collection an engineer of theirs captured but just what he captured was far more revealing--and worse:

"A rogue engineer, not identified publicly by Google, wrote software aimed at tapping into transmissions known as captured payload data. That included passwords, addresses, phone numbers, medical records, emails and search history from consumers who had not sealed their private Wi-Fi networks behind some form of password protection or encryption."

A couple notes: First, they were only fined a paltry $25,000. For a firm as big and powerful--and rich--as Google, that's chicken feed. Much worse is getting caught and having this information become public.

Second is the fact that it makes me wonder if this engineer was really, in fact, "rogue." He did this of his own volition and not at the direction of his boss and the company? Right. I'm skeptical, at least.

"Google said it never intended to pile up that sort of information. Rather, Google has said it was simply logging the whereabouts of the nation’s sundry wireless Internet access locations."

Yeah, well, maybe. We'll see, huh?

More from the Star's article: "Asked Sunday about the nature of data that might be collected by its Internet service in Kansas City, a Google spokeswoman said in an email: 'We have nothing specific to announce right now about Google Fiber, but we build transparency, choice and security into our products because we believe that’s what matters to our users.'”

Right. "I love you" and "The check's in the mail", too, while we're at it.

"The FCC report, released Saturday with only names redacted, says the rogue engineer told a senior manager and one other engineer that the code he’d written was collecting the personal information."

The computer engineer wrote the program to collect the personal information for his own amusement and entertainment?

That seems suspect, at least.

Anyway, welcome to town, Google. Thanks for selecting us. We appreciate it greatly, we really do.

It reminds me of Tina Turner's song. So here, from the Kansas City metropolitan area to Google:


Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/29/3583087/fcc-report-describes-private-data.html

What The Star--and Kansas City--did for gasoline consumers nationwide


The Star ran an article Saturday, telling still more of the outcome of their original story a few years ago about companies that sold gasoline without taking into consideration the "hot fuel problem."

If you remember--and you should because it's money out of your pocket, potentially--because gasoline expands and contracts, you and I get "shortchanged because gasoline and diesel fuel lose energy value as their temperature goes up."

Well, as it turns out, lawsuits were filed in our name in US District Court right here in Kansas City, Kansas and they drug companies like Costco and Wal-mart and others into court so the problem would hopefully get fixed.

The latest revelation, from that Saturday article, is that Costco has stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and they've proposed a settlement that looks as though it's going to go through.

The point in my writing today is to say first, kudos to The Star for the original article, foremost. Then, second, thanks and kudos to them for following up on the issues. It's all in our name and we, hopefully, all benefit.

Third, I have to say again, this is a great example of why we need viable, profit-making newspapers and their reporters. If we don't, we don't know what corporations, the wealthy and governments are doing either to us or in our name.

Finally, it's to say, sorry, bloggers (yes, me included), you are no replacement, to date, for good "gumshoe" reporters, their work--their dogged work--and the newspapers they work for.

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/27/3580933/deal-calls-for-pumps-that-fix.html

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Entertainment overnight

I am such a sucker for stuff like this.
Another thing that, maybe, the internet and computers are bringing us, by shrinking the world still further. And for that, I am also grateful.

Quote of the day--for Sunday

And isn't this what matters? All that matters, in, really, all cases? All our cases?

Go get 'em, Claire


A Senator Fights Back "Claire McCaskill challenges outside political ads, but her voice may be drowned out"

And we know this to be disgustingly too true.

We've seen the Right Wing and Republicans gearing up for a big fight over the Senator's seat this Fall. Naturally, with the Supreme Court's ugly, ignorant and so-wrong "Citizen's United" ruling, opening up unlimited corporate and other coffers, these groups are going after all the vulnerable Democratic candidates for office they can.

Claire McCaskill is certainly one of those, sadly enough.

In spite of the fact that she's more standing up for the "little guy" and the working man and woman of the country, she's going to have to fight tooth and nail, so to speak, in order to keep her seat.

Her very Republican, Right Wing counterpart in the Senate, Roy Blunt, meanwhile, is fighting to have government have the first and last words on women's very personal, reproductive rights. He's also fighting for "Big Oil" and for a Canadian company, remarkably enough, so they can transfer their dirty tar sands oil from Canada, all across the US, down the Houston and our Southernmost states so it can go out to world oil markets, yet Ms. McCaskill has to fight for her seat.

It's disgusting.

We, as Missourians, have to stand up and make sure Claire is not surreptitiously ousted from the Senate this Fall.

She's not perfect, no--who of us, is? But she's working for us, for Missourians--the average guy and gal--and we need her in the Senate.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/a-senator-fights-back.html?_r=1

Friday, April 27, 2012

Entertainment overnight

To get your weekend started. Have a great weekend, y'all.

The presidential election, to date--and with a warning


The latest, today, on this 2012 presidential campaign, supposedly: Karl Rove’s Electoral Map: If Election Were Held Today, Obama Would Win

If this is, in fact, Karl Rove's national electoral map and if it isn't just created on his/their part to scare their followers, it says a lot about where the campaign is, naturally.

With this, the Right Wing and Republicans and Tea Partiers and corporations and wealthy and even Libertarians--and yes, separately, in some cases, the racists, too--will be doing their best to scare their followers into giving mightily to their campaigns against President Obama.

This is going to be one big, ugly, expensive political year, folks. Get ready for it.

Link: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/karl-roves-electoral-map-if-election-were-held-today-obama-would-win/; http://www.businessinsider.com/karl-rove-electoral-map-obama-wins-2012-4

To the women of Missouri and Kansas and all who care about them

Know that your Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Pat Roberts, Republicans, both, voted against the Violence Against Women Act yesterday, in the Senate.


Fortunately, it did pass in spite of the fact that these two men are part of the group of 31 Repulicans who voted against it. Why they would want to be against a law fighting violence against women, I can't say, honestly. I'll have to do some research.


First things, first, it's just good to know.

Secondly, however, it's good to keep in mind, next time voting for these people comes up again, of course.

Links: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00087; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_Against_Women_Act

Quote of the day

The class which has the power to rob upon a large scale also has the power to contol the government and legalize their robbery." --Eugene V. Debs.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_v_debs

Mayor's family not doing him any favors

First Mayor Sly's son got in trouble with the police--twice, I believe--now, his brother is doing similarly:

Mayor's Brother Charged With Domestic Assault

La Vance James Accused Of Domestic Assault, Armed Criminal Action

Yikes.

That's some PR department, there, Mayor.

Good luck with that. (And I'm not being sarcastic).

Links: http://www.kmbc.com/news/30966236/detail.html; http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2011/08/30/mayor-sly-james-son-accused-of-punching-a-woman-in-the-face-at-the-point; http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/shock-waves-arrest-sly-james-son/; http://www.massappealnews.com/2011/08/08/sly-james-drunken-sons/; http://fox4kc.com/2012/02/10/assault-charges-dropped-against-kcmo-mayors-son/; http://www.kctv5.com/story/15356012/kc-mayors-son-accused-of-punching-woman-in-face

If you haven't been to Eureka Springs

The nearby Eureka Springs, Arkansas just got listed on Travel & Leisure Magazine's "America's Greatest Main Streets" It's also on Yahoo! News. What they have to say:

"The entire town of Eureka Springs in the Ozarks is on the National Register of Historic Places—no surprise as the streets are imbued with a cheerful Victorian charm. They twist and turn through the hilly terrain; catch the town trolley if you need a break. The first settlers were attracted by natural springs believed to be curative. Visitors today are more likely to come for the eclectic music and arts scene and to stay at one of the Queen Ann–style B&Bs.

Worth a Stop: Fuel up at Mud Street CafĂ© on South Main Street, then drive three miles into the forest for architect E. Fay Jones’s majestic Thorncrown Chapel, built with huge glass panels."


If you've not been, you should go. Naturally, being part of the frequently hot midwest, you should go in the much cooler Spring and Fall. There are great restaurants and shops and it's wonderfully walkable.

Links: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-greatest-main-streets; http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/10-great-all-american-main-streets.html

The End of a Kansas City Era

Hail and farewell to Walt Bodine, Dean of Kansas City media, radio and history.

Thank you, Walt, for all your years of great and entertaining work and the memories you gave us all. (What KCUR is doing right now for his farewell show is at least embarrassing. What else it is I won't say in order to be polite. I will say this, the only thing in worse taste than today's show is how they first tried to prematurely fire Mr. Bodine).

Links: http://www.kcur.org/topic/thank-you-walt-bodine; http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2012/04/26/walt-bodines-last-day-on-the-radio-is-friday-but-first-bodine-stares-down-a-lion; http://kcurstream.umkc.edu/CENTRAL/blog/wbs2preview.mp3; http://kcur.org/post/walt-bodine-special-documentary

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Entertainment overnight II

From the video description: "It has become a morning habit to sing Bohemian Rhapsody on the way to school in the morning. Depending on traffic, we can usually start the song as we pull out of the driveway, and pull into the school just as the song ends." Coolest. Dad. Ever.

Entertainment overnight

Your new word for today

Who knew?

Republicans' current complaint of the President

Karl Rove's "American Crossroads" group put out a video today, complaining that President Obama is, apparently, "too cool": Apparently they'd prefer we'd return to Mitt Romney, so we can have more things like this: God forbid. What a disaster that's been for us, to this day. And for them to complain about the state of our economy when they're so blatanly, obviously impeding the nation's progress is rich. And absurdly hypocritical. It's disgusting.

Area cities "Best...for Jobs"

There's an article out on MSN's carrer page of the latest news showing "13 of the Best Cities for Jobs" and some area cities are on the list.

Most notable are Lincoln, Nebraska at number one.


1. Lincoln, Neb.
Unemployment rate: 3.8 percent
Percent change from last year: -0.8
Mean annual earnings: $39,310

And Columbia, Mo at number 11:

11. Columbia, Mo.
Unemployment rate: 4.8 percent
Percent change from last year: -2.0
Mean annual earnings: $37,780

Other things to be noted on the list overall is that there are more than a few cities from the midwest, most notably in the Dakotas and Iowa with Bismarck (ND) at no. 2,
Fargo (ND) at 4, Ames (Ia) at 5, Iowa City (Ia) at 6 and Sioux Falls (SD) at 7. It seems the growth in the nation is here in the midwest and heartland.

Link: http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2980-Job-Info-and-Trends-13-of-the-best-cities-for-jobs/?SiteId=cbmsnhp42980&sc_extcmp=JS_2980_home1

What they didn't tell us in school about the "Founding Fathers"

Two quotes from two of the Founders:
"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. Can a democratic assembly, who annually revolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontroling disposition requires checks.” --Alexander Hamilton
“The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. … In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.” --James Madison

What does this have to do with anything?

It seems the Republican Party's efforts to get less and less of us voting in elections fits in with what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

It's wrong--deeply--but with this little bit of information alone, you get a strong sense of their intentions. Of course, far fewer of us had as much education then as we do now, too, so that's in our favor.

The fact is, where we are right now is that we have to get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of "campaign contributions" out of our election system and so, our government. As it stands, our legislators are bought by the corporations and wealthy, along with their legislation and so, our laws and finally, our government.

Who is our Gloria Emerson of today?

I wrote yesterday, briefly, about the mistakes we made--and learnede nothing from--as a nation, regarding the Vietnam War. I also mentioned a very famous, brilliant writer named Gloria Emerson of The New York Times who wrote an equally brilliant book about our nation and the Vietnam experience in "Winners and Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, And Ruins From The Vietnam War".


In it, she wrote, rightly, that we, as a nation and as a people learned nothing, really from Vietnam. If anyone didn't agree with her when the book came out in 1978, by now, they would have plenty of proof she was correct, what with our attacking Iraq in 2003. She surely must be spinning in her grave.

So my question now, today, is, who, exactly is our so-needed Gloria Emerson of the day? Who is out there doing the research, on the ground in Afghanistan, getting the information, writing about what's going right--if anything--and what's gone and is going so terribly wrong for our that country, those people, our military and our country and people?

I can't think of a conflict that needs "lessons learned" any more than this one.

Can you?

And doesn't it seem we've made a great deal of mistakes and have plenty we do need to learn? And as soon as possible?

Link: http://gloriaemerson.com/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Emerson; http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/emerson/; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/gloria-emerson-6163682.html; http://vietnamwarfromatoz.blogspot.com/2011/02/winners-losers-by-gloria-emerson.html; http://www.amazon.com/Winners-And-Losers-Battles-Retreats/dp/0393309258

Little boy sings the blues

Wow. Right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Brilliant scenes and images From the video description: "This video features a series of time lapse sequences photographed by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station. Set to the song 'Walking in the Air,' by Howard Blake, the video takes viewers around the world, through auroras and over dazzling lightning displays."

Royals win one!!! Finally!!

From the Star: Royals snap streak with home-run barrage

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/royals/

Ixnay on the Andalscay

If you read here at all--either of you--you'd know I support our current president. Deal. It seems, right now, that if even one more big government scandal in the coming months, the Republicans can likely exploit the daylights out of it and say President Obama has a government out of control.

First there was the GSA debacle recently, with nearly a million dollars going for a "conference" in Las Vegas. Now, there's the big Secret Service mess of agents connecting with prostitutes and some being extremely drunk, too, in Cartagena, Colombia, prior to his arriving for a meeting with other national leaders.

All I can say is, there better not be one more big scandal the rest of this year. Everyone better be minding their p's and q's. It's not good for the nation, of course, and it's not acceptable, period, but it's really tough during an election year, for an office-holder running for re-election.

Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/us/politics/gsa-las-vegas-trip-is-the-talk-of-washington.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/us/2-more-secret-service-employees-resigning.html; http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=eab57d0b-f615-c83b-3887-f67f64ec4f41

Cooler, sure, but not much chance of rain yet

Link: http://www.kshb.com/subindex/weather/forecast/7_day_forecast

From George W Bush to the Romneys

The actual, now-famous Ann Romney quote: "I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids."


Very, very reminiscent of the George W. "Immadipstick" Bush quote: “You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." He said it to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005”

Newsflash: If you're middle- or lower-class and voting Republican, they aren't working for you and you're voting against your own, best self-interests, so you know.

Links: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/24/1085982/-Ann-Romney-I-love-the-fact-that-there-are-women-out-there-who-don-t-have-a-choice-;
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/131983;


Royals went viral. But...

Click on picture for better viewing, as ever.
Check that out. It's the number two top story on Yahoo! News right now: Reading Royals fan displays just one way to cope with the worst home start since 1913

Go Royals!

Just thank God for the All-Star game this year.

Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/reading-royals-fan-displays-just-one-way-cope-223407810.html

The US: We don't learn lessons

I've said this for some time--we, the US, just don't learn lessons. We don't learn our own lessons and we don't learn from other country's. I first realized it with Vietnam. The French had been in that country for years. They got out. They failed and left. What did we do? We marched right in. More than 50,000 dead soldiers later, we finally realized there was no winning. The renowned writer for The New York Times, Gloria Emerson wrote so brilliantly about our not learning from the Vietnam War in her highly-acclaimed book "Winners and Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, And Ruins From The Vietnam War."

There are a lot more examples. I'll only give a few.

The first President Bush said this about attacking Saddam Hussein and Iraq in his book "A World Transformed" in 1998:

"Trying to eliminate Saddam...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.... there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

Did we learn? Did we listen? His own son took us into Iraq and quickly proved the first President Bush correct.


How about learning from the old Soviet Union on spending for defense? Their nation collapsed. What are we doing? We spend more--far more--than any other nation in the world on defense to the expense of the nation. It's as though we're still in the old, long since ended Cold War. It was just announced in The New York Times that the National Guard's budget was being examined for cuts but no, we're going to keep their money flowing.

Finally, how about learning from England and their Empire? We can all see now how that turned out and why. It just isn't sustainable, let alone wise.

Afghanistan? Let's see, how many nations over humankind's history could we have possibly learned that invading that region would be a mistake? Many. How about if we only looked in the last 50 yaars, when the Soviet Union went in, got bogged down and finally called it quits and walked away? Could we not have learned from that?

We need to start learning. We need to start, as a nation, paying more attention, evaluating and doing the right things. This isn't sustainable, in so many ways.

Links: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x399751; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/us/air-national-guard-lobbies-successfully-against-budget-cuts.html?ref=us; http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/emerson/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Emerson;
http://www.amazon.com/Winners-And-Losers-Battles-Retreats/dp/0393309258#_

Believe in yourself. Love what you do

Be happy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Entertainment overnight

A new, rapidly rising group out of this year's SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. I love her voice, the soul in it.

All the way to the top of Wal-mart, apparently

I say again, if they broke both Mexican laws--and it looks as though they did--and they broke American laws--and that's been shown already, in the New York Times article--then they need to be charged and prosecuted in both countries. Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/busted-wal-mart-caught-massive-bribery-scandal-goes-150100011.html

No urgency on I-70 from anywhere

The Pitch Magazine and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that "I-70 will remain toll-free for another year." It seems Jefferson City just hasn't gotten it together to decide how to fix this most-vital artery in the state. Our Senators in Washington don't seem to be especially fighting for any additional federal moneys and the statehouse can't decide if we can do a toll road without asking the state voters for the okay. In the meantime, what remains is a terribly dangerous, nearly murderous highway that needs expanding horribly.

It would add a great deal to the safety of the citizens of the state and to the safety of any out-of-staters that use it. It would also add to good commerce in the state, really, whether you're crossing it in your car for a meeting or you drive an 18-wheeler daily. The lack of attention this I-70 matter is getting is appalling. For any business people who drive it, especially as it courses through Columbia, as a worst-case scenario, you can usually always see a horrible car wreck of two or more cars because it slows down and meanders through what has become the center of that city.

The two lanes offered, in each direction, are far too narrow, especially with the heavy tractor-trailer traffic it gets. Bad as that all is, check this one out from the Pitch: "Even if tolls were approved, MoDOT estimates that it would be two years before construction could begin and six to eight years before the project would be finished." That's horrible.

We are years away from even starting the process and many years from completion. In the meantime, seriously, people are going to be killed because our Jefferson City government representatives have been unresponsive to the needs of the citizens. This is inexcusable. It's gone on far too long and there's still no end in sight to the foot-dragging. Somebody needs a good, swift kick in the pants.

Links: http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2012/04/24/i-70-will-remain-toll-free-for-another-year; http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/interstate-toll-proposal-hits-roadblock/article_fdeb11ac-d575-5d51-96c6-de82b4ce4757.html#ixzz1sq6HWLFn; http://moravings.blogspot.com/2011/12/face-it-i-70-will-be-toll-road-one-day.html

Sorry, Lady Liberty

Ain't it the truth? We don't, either.

Royals in the news, just not for winning

No, we know the Royals aren't winning so far this year but they got in the news because this little boy thought they needed the baseball more than if he kept it. Link: http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/clip-board/201204/kid-tosses-baseball-back-royals

Quote of the day

"Greed is guiding much of the world, not common sense or intelligence. Those last two won't kick in until we've created an emergency and/or catastrophe for ourselves, sadly." --me

Monday, April 23, 2012

SMASH: I'm loving this show

For at least a few reasons, if not several.

Local area lunacy

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are so far over this guy's head, it's laughable. Fortunately, it's just him, his family and some few followers. Thank goodness.

When something second hand is broken

...it can still make a pretty sound.

Kansas Speedway in big NASCAR coverage today

Naturally, with only one big race at a time, our own Kansas Speedway is in the news right now, given that the NASCAR race was over the weekend. This one is from FoxSports right now: Ten things learned from Kansas weekend You can find it here: http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/Roger-Penske-Jack-Roush-meet-informally-as-prepare-to-be-Ford-teams-in-2013-042312

An "epic win" video

Because the "epic fail" theme is so negative. And overused. And tiresome.
Just two questions: 1) What did the tree do to him and 2) what language is that?

A problem with Google

I hate how, by hook or by crook, Google wants to make sure that somehow, some way, with all the sites and services they have to offer, they're going to find some way--some way--to get all our phone numbers. It really chaps my hide. Bloodsuckers.

On Mitt Romney: Let's stop asking the obvious


Could we please stop asking whether Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper? Please? I mean, come on. Go to YouTube and watch any number of videos, showing him giving his stand at the time it was recorded. We can hear him, time and again, saying he's for this, then later, against it. Let's put that to rest. Either you're for him (mistakenly, I believe) or you're not, that's all there is to it.

I say again, there needs to be an examination of what happened in the Afghan massacre

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has been arrested and is being held for trial in the March 11 massacre of 17 Afghanis earlier this year. The Afghanis there say it was done by multiple soldiers. We need to discover what actually happened and what is true--and false. An organization independence of the US Army needs to do the research and get to the truth.

The new Wal-Mart, Mexico banking brouhaha

In case you didn't see it, there was a big, rather significaant, if not important article in yesterday's New York Times about Wal-Mart's Mexico banking company: Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found.

There are far too many details for me to go on about it here. Suffice it to say, it should be huge, if it isn't totally ignored. I'd like to know three things: First, are there any charges that need to be filed here in the US against whomever is involved?

Next, are there any charges that need to be filed in Mexico? Personally, I hope this will be pursued by the press and justice systems of both countries and that if they find any wrongdoing, they are prosecuted to the full extent of the laws in both countries.

Finnally, I'd like to see if any international laws were broken, too, as well as any other nation's laws, in addition to Mexico's, and if they're prosecutable. This is, after all, the company that wants to be cleared as a banking company in this country, too, as they've made clear. I think for most Americans, it will be extremely illuminating that Wal-Mart is a banking company, also, in Mexico, besides a retailer. I hope it's fascinating just where these revelations go, in positive ways. Meaning, if laws were broken, I hope everyone liable is held accountable, not the least being corporate Wal-Mart, anywhere and everywhere they may have broken any laws. Keep in mind, that Wal-mart all but owns Arvest Bank here in the States, too. (See last link, below).

Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/business/at-wal-mart-in-mexico-a-bribe-inquiry-silenced.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120422; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/22/8-revelations-from-walmart-s-mexican-bribery-scandal.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thedailybeast%2Farticles+%28The+Daily+Beast+-+Latest+Articles%29; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arvest_Bank

Another dinosaur: FM Music Radio

I've come to the conclusion that FM music radio stations are, like the US Postal Service and paper catalogs and so many other things, just one more dinosaur of the last age.

Think about it, we have our MP3 players or our iPods or iPhones or Shuffles or Android phone or Sirius XM radio or whatever. They play all our own music already, without all the talk time and commericials. Or if it isn't that, we're listening to Pandora or Spotify. It's a much better solution to our music choices, too, since we don't have to listen to some irrelevant babble from people we either don't know or don't care for and advertisements we REALLY don't want to hear.

It even, finally, applies to our cars, too, the last bastion of need for the FM music radio station. This is one more benefit of computers, too, since we get more of either our own music or new things we wouldn't otherwise hear because the radio only plays mind-numbing familiar top-40 songs. Some stations have tried to play different things over the years but it never works. It's not as though it's not some of their faults but most radio music is pretty stale if not out-and-out dreadful. No catalogs and no mail? Great. Less trees cut down. No FM music radio? Good riddance. Sorry, guys. You're outta' here. Eventually, anyway. Find new jobs now, while you can.

Brilliant lies from "Big Oil" on Earth Day

I'd laugh but I'm too busy throwing up.

Mitt Romney: King of Bain

One way Ron Paul is right, I think

"I am just absolutely convinced that the best formula for giving us peace and preserving the American way of life is freedom, limited government, and minding our own business overseas." --Ron Paul. Love him, hate him or don't care, as crazy or racist or wrong or however people portray Ron Paul as--and some are, I think, true--I have to say, though I'm no Ron Paul supporter, I think he's dead-on here, in this statement. It may be simplistic but I still think there's truth to this. Further, I think it explains a great deal of why so many Americans back him. He puts things both very simply and succinctly. (He's dead-wrong about the Fed in my view but that's another matter).

RIP, Mark Twain, April 23, 1910

"I think we never become really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead--and not then until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead, and they would be honest so much earlier." --Mark Twain in "Eruption"

Third week of April, 2012

Snow last night in Philadelphia--they were forecast to get 6 to 8 inches of it. Meanwhile, about 80 warm degrees just North of San Francisco, 104 in Palm Springs and about 65 here for the high, in the middle of the country. Grateful, anyone?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Potentially brilliant , beautiful new movie coming

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/one-day-earth-film-footage-every-country-earth-173153006.html

Quote of the day

"Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth." --Lucy Parsons

Is Sprint toast?

If you just examine a few, quick facts, it makes you wonder if Kansas City's own Sprint Company can make it. Fact 1: It's lost money the last 5 years; Fact 2: They just upped their CEO's salary 31% even after losing money yet again last year; Fact 3: The latest, big news on them: Sprint Sued for $300 Million by N.Y. Over Alleged Tax Fraud If the state of New York can prove their case and they get their $300 million, can Sprint survive? That's a serious chunk of change. I don't imagine the State of New York filed the charges thinking they couldn't prove them. On yet another, darker, larger, additional note on this, don't you imagine other states are now looking at this case, seeing if maybe Sprint did the same to them? And if that's the case, wouldn't you expect more suits? Big lawsuits? Unfortunately for Sprint, they are getting more interesting, in all the wrong ways, as time goes along. As the old saying goes, we shall see what we shall see. Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/17/us-column-miller-idUSBRE83G0VC20120417

Senator Blunt, delivering the weekly Republican address

Two notes on this delivery. First, our own Senator Roy Blunt once again puts down the idea of the "Buffett Tax" proposed by President Obama, in an effort to make taxation in America more fair. After all, isn't it logical that the wealthy of the country should pay the same percentage of taxes that the middle- and lower-class citizens do? Of course it is. And knocking the "Buffett Rule" has nothing to do with the price of gasoline at the pump yet the Senator keeps pushing for the Keystone XL pipleline, in the same breath. It's crazy. The Transcanada pipeline would take oil from Canada, run it to oil refineries in Texas and then get it out to the rest of the world--not the US--where "Big Oil" could make yet more money on the environmental and pocketbook backs of America. The Keystone Pipeline is ludicrous for the average American. It only benefits "Big Oil."
The second thing I'll mention about this video here--I could go on and on--is that Senator Blunt seems to be getting some high profile exposure from the Republican Party of late. As I wrote here earlier, it's likely because he's leading the fund-raising for their presumed presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Good for Senator Blunt. Patently bad for the nation. Link: http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news?ID=2877ce6d-6c42-4d8a-982e-300b98f722da

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Entertainment overnight

So nice.

Blogger makes changes--and not good ones

As blogger friend Donna pointed out with her post today, Google's Blogger has changed the way we edit our blogs. I have no idea how they thought or think that what they did is an improvement because what was simple and workable and understandable is now larger, more complex and less usable. It reminds me of the quote from Albert Einsten: "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." Google and Blogger screwed up. It seems most computer programs and software start simple and usable, then go to complicated and less easy to use. Dolts.

KC needs its own Racism Museum

A few days ago, I wrote of a new museum in Michigan that is a "Racism Museum." My opinion then and now is that, like a museum on the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, it was a great, if somewhat possibly disturbing idea. I can't think of a better way to bring racism and its existence and persistence in our society and all its ugliness out into the light. People need to see both what used to exist and be tolerated and then, what still exists. If Kansas City is anything, to this day, it is still a very deeply divided city, racially, and far too many of us don't know our past. They could show the clauses in the JC Nichols housing and mortgage contracts that said the houses in whatever development couldn't be sold to African-Americans, along with a great deal more of much worse things.It really would be an eye-opener and good education. I've decided where it should be, too, for best effect. It should be on 47th street, coming out of the Plaza, right at Troost. No other street in this town divides this city any more than that one and this way it could be close to the very successful Country Club Plaza and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, etc. It would be a great idea and it is, frankly, long overdue. (One problem with it is that, likely, the wrong people wouldn't go to see it. Links: http://moravings.blogspot.com/2012/04/great-idea-new-museum-on-racism-in.html; http://news.yahoo.com/newest-michigan-museum-showcases-racist-artifacts-070835385.html

One of the wierd pix I spoke of the other day

This is a picture of the guy I spoke of the other day under the title "The day of the wierd possible pictures." This guy was protesting down in Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza the day after the pictures of our soldiers, posing with the 2 year old pictures our American soldiers took of them posing with dead Afghani body parts. Likely, he was protesting that. What you can't maybe make out is that, as I described the other day, he's wearing a US flag very like a diaper. I hope for everyone's sake that no Veteran happened by. It might have gotten ugly. Anyway, a reader, PWND, Mustafaa Ansare sent me the link. He had already put it up on his site, earlier in the week. I thought it too good not to go ahead and post. Many thanks to Mustafaa. Have a great weekend, y'all. Links: http://twitter.com/AgentM83/status/192697842748502016/photo/1; https://twitter.com/#!/AgentM83/status/192697842748502016/photo/1

Friday, April 20, 2012

The "welfare" we really need to be concerned about

The biggest problem is "corporate welfare."

Great idea: New museum on racism in Michigan

There is a new museum in Big Rapids, Michigan. It is the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and it showcases exactly that--artifacts of racism in America. Truly, what a great idea. Phenomenal. Americans have, for far too long--and still do--pretend that either racism doesn't exist or was never that bad or just turn their heads from it, time and again. For hundreds of years, we pretend it doesn't exist. This should help dispel such notions: BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — "The objects displayed in Michigan's newest museum range from the ordinary, such as simple ashtrays and fishing lures, to the grotesque — a full-size replica of a lynching tree. But all are united by a common theme: They are steeped in racism so intense that it makes visitors cringe."
"That's the idea behind the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which says it has amassed the nation's largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond...The displays are startling. The n-word is prevalent throughout, and many items portray black men as lazy, violent or inarticulate. Black women are shown as kerchief-wearing mammies, sexually-charged Jezebels or other stereotypes. The shocking images exact an emotional cost. 'There's parts in that room — the main room — where it's quite gut-wrenching,' said Nancy Mettlach, a student conduct specialist at Ferris. "And the thought that was going through my mind was: 'How can one human being do this to another human being?'" Great question. And it needs to be asked time and again. If we have museums on the Holocaust, shouldn't we also have one on racism? Link: http://news.yahoo.com/newest-michigan-museum-showcases-racist-artifacts-070835385.html

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rest in peace Levon Helm

March for Women, Saturday, March 28

On April 28, there will be marches in every state capitol and many other large cities. This is a response to: --The Blunt Amendment in the US Congress; --The all-male panel convened to advise the US Congress on matters of contraception; --The lack of female representatives in state and national legislatures; --The forced vaginal ultrasound bills in state legislatures; --The fetal personhood bills in state legislatures; --The increasing difficulty and expense of acquiring contraception, sometimes as a result of legislation designed for that effect; --Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke; --The continuing absence of any identifiable abortion service provider in 88% of American counties; --The continuing discrepancy in pay for work done by women; --And much more.
The march is endorsed by · A is For·Advocates for Youth ·Americans United For Separation of Church and State·Catholics for Choice · Center for Inquiry · Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) · Code Pink - Women for Peace · Coffee Party USA·Feminist Peace Network · iHollaback · Katrina vanden Heuvel (Editor & Publisher, "The Nation" Magazine) · 9to5 | Change the Workplace, Change the World· National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance · National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health · National League of Latin American Citizens · National Organization for Women ·Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice· This Slut Votes. Your support is appreciated. For support--to show it--and/or if you'd like T shirts and bumper stickers, go to http://unitewomen.org/unite/unitewomen-shop/.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The day of the weird possible photos

Today has to be the day--the day of the weird, possible photos. First, I drive by the JC Nichols fountain at the Country Club Plaza in Mill Creek Park and there's a guy walking around down there with a protest sign. Sure, I know, not that weird, yet. The thing is, he's wearing nothing but an American flag, diaper-like and footwear (shoes, socks). That's it. The sign says "DISHONOR!" so I assume he's protesting the new photos that were released today by the Los Angeles Times, showing American soldiers desecrating Afghan war kills. Yikes. The 2nd really odd photo opportunity that made itself available to me today was in Midtown (of course) when I saw a very large man riding in a motorized chair in the street, no less, and he was carrying two big pink boxes of Lamar's donuts (their spelling, not mine). I mean, come on. It just doesn't get any better than this. And me with no camera. Ugh.

Not unlimited spending but at least SOME more revenue

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Great parody on a current song

Yeah. They're in their 30's and they're "not young." I got news for 'em.

In case you missed Kansas City Barbecue on the Travel Channel

For Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" program last evening on Kansas City and our barbecue, go here: http://www.travelchannel.com/video/relive-kansas-city-with-tony

At least one Missouri Senator supports fairer taxation

Fortunately and again, no surprise, but at least one of our Missouri Senators is wise and fair enough to have voted for the "Buffet Rule" for fairer taxation in the US yesterday. Our own Senator Claire McCaskill had wisdom and sense enough to vote for this bill that would have the wealthy of the nation pay at least what the rest of us--the middle- and lower-class of the country--pay in taxes, at least by percentage.
A little of what she so rightly said: "Those who think the solution to our debt crisis is to force middle class families to pay a higher tax rate than multi-millionaires, while expanding tax giveaways to those same multi-millionaires, are not serious about tackling our nation's fiscal problems." Go get 'em, Claire. Link: http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1533

Monday, April 16, 2012

Senator Blunt votes to support Missouri's wealthy

No surprise but our own Republican Senator Roy "Just Stash the Money in My Pocket" Blunt made it public today on his website that he voted down the "Buffet Rule" for taxation. You know the one, it would have meant the people with all the money pay the same tax percentage of all their wealth and income that the middle- and lower-income people do. How very Christian of him, right? But then, what do we expect from the political party that virtually never fails to support the wealthy of us-and corporations--at the expense of all the rest of us without big money?
How disgusting and vile. Not only did he vote it down and then defend it but in his note (see link at bottom) he then goes on to describe how we should get the Keystone XL pipeline going, too, as though that has ANYTHING to do with this vote. Not only does he make sure he keeps his wealthy constituents rich but he then insults the rest of us further by going off on a completely unrelated tangent about making "Big Oil" and anyone who owns their stock even richer. It's shameful. And it's shameless. I warned about voting this greedhead into office. Link: http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news?ID=c7d9b2ee-855c-4660-9b40-c979f9329f7e

Columbia, MO: America's "Hardest Working Town"?

That's right, according to a survey by Parade Magazine (which I refuse to read) and Total Cereals (why?), Columbia, Missouri is ranked the number one "Hardest Working Town" in America. Go figure. Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/hardest-working-towns-america_n_1424662.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009#s866501&title=1_Columbia_Mo

Corporations vs. the Republic: sadly, not new

Click on picture for legibility.
It isn't a recent phenomenon, by a long shot, folks. And it goes far beyond Franklin Roosevelt or even his cousin Teddy, as you can see. It's them vs. us---and right now, because of the big, ugly, corrupting influence of "campaign contributions", they're winning. Bigtime.

Quote of the day: on war and peace

"Beyond Outrage"

"We are engaged in a war of ideas. But if it were just ideas, based on reason and reality, we'd win hands down. The regressive right is armed with money from the richest people and corporations in America, and it has no compunction about telling big lies repeatedly until the public starts to believe them. The regressives on the Supreme Court have aided and abetted by calling money speech and corporations people under the First Amendment. But the regressives' biggest weapon by far is cynicism. Don't fall prey." --Robert Reich, economist, writer, etc. On Tuesday, Robert Reich's new book "Beyond Outrage" will be available. In it, he offers specifics about their lies and distortions, and about what we must do -- as individuals and together -- to take back our economy and reclaim our democracy. Please get and read the book, if you would and spread the word.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

KC: No. 3 right now in the nation of "Best Cities to Buy a Home"

That's right, our own Kansas City is ranked number 3 right now in "The Best Cities to Buy a Home" by Forbes Magazine. We were only bested by Austin, Texas (OMG, that is SERIOUS competition) and Tuscon, Arizona (no, thank you very much). If I were at James B. Nutter and Associates or the Chamber or any number of real estate firms in town, I'd go buy at least one of the magazines, if not a quantity and I'd be emailing the link, below, to all my prospective buyers. Those links: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mhj45hlfg/introduction-16/#gallerycontent?partner=yahoore; http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/the-best-cities-to-buy-a-home-right-now.html

Do (did?) you like being "middle class"?

Did you like being m

What America is creating with our heavy investments in war

I've written here, at least several times, I think, about the gross insanity of our US military spending and how obscene and even unwise to the point of ignorant it is. To briefly resprise, we spend at least an estimated 711 billion dollars per year on war, in one form or another. We heavily outspend the entire world on what we call "defense."
The two biggest factors, I think, that need to be emphasized are that, first, the United States accounts for a total of 43% of all military or "defense spending", nationwide and that a full 39% of our entire budget goes only for this spending, for all those bombs and planes and weapons. It's all negative, it's all destructive and beyond that, it's not sustainable in at least a few ways. We can't go on like this. Instead of making us strong and stronger, our military spending is not only weakening us as a nation, it is, I think it can intelligently, legitimately be argued, destroying us both financially and physically. Following are some of the worst results of all that emphasis on war:
From The New York Times today (see link below): "An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began." To close, I want to quote an American Founding Father because it seems so clearly relevant to where we find ourselves today, unfortunately, sadly and tragically: "Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." — James Madison, Political Observations, 1795 Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/kristof-a-veterans-death-the-nations-shame.html?scp=1&sq=a%20veteran's%20death,%20the%20nation's%20shame&st=cse; http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending; http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2011/04/us_military_spending_vs_the_world.html

"Ch-ch-ch-changes..."

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Here's Reaganomics and "trickle-down economics" for you

Ladies and gentlemen, the results of "Reaganomics" and the "job creators":
Could we change, now, now that we've gotten these proven results? Please?

A warning on American healthcare--from the 1700's

KC in the news two big ways right now

Kansas City seems to be getting more great national and even international attention. First, The Atlantic Monthly magazine has an article on us (thanks again to the Kauffmans): Kansas City Bets on Culture If you build a shiny new performing-arts center, will the creative class come?
Besides the great press and the terrific article on us, the additional great kicker is that the photo they used, above, is our own Eric Bowers so more kudos to him, for sure. Here's the second great write up we got:
It seems famous and popular international chef Anthony Bourdain came to town and has good things to say about us, too: Celebrity chef Bourdain’s tour of KC flavors airs Monday So we'll be on television to the world this Monday evening. Yahoo. Is there better food in the world? Sure, there's no denying that. Does Kansas City have some good to great chefs and so, food? You bet. And Anthony Bourdain concurs. Kudos Kansas City. Enjoy. And have a great weekend. Links: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/kansas-city-bets-on-culture/8661/; http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/13/3553067/celebrity-chef-bourdains-tour.html