Friday, November 30, 2012
I actually found this last January and thought I'd put it up now. Merry Christmas, y'all. Happy holidays.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
President Obama and Mitt Romney had lunch today, did you hear?
Romney, Obama have lunch, agree to ‘stay in touch.’ Maybe. (Link at bottom)
I thought this version a lot more fun than the original.
And more appropriate, since now they're "bros."
Link to original story: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/romney-obama-swap-campaign-stories-white-house-200830199--politics.html
Because it's important and not enough people are paying attention and fewer yet believe what he's saying:
They think the world of his investing ability. They just don't want to discuss political or social policy with him.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Young Boys Meet Through Friends and Discover They are Brothers
Two boys in Washington, Mo., received the surprise of a lifetime while visiting their neighborhood swimming pool in June. Twelve-year-old Isaac Nolting was introduced to 13-year-old Dakotah Zimmer by a friend of a friend. They quickly noticed similarities in their appearance. They had the same hair, feet, nose and hands. People even started asking if they were related. Dakotah told Isaac that he had a brother who was adopted by a woman named Dawn.
When Isaac got home, he asked his mom, Dawn Nolting, if he was adopted. She revealed that in fact he was, and that his mother had been a teenager who was unable to take care of him the way that she wanted to when he was a baby. Dawn volunteered to look after him, and his mother visited him often but never took him home again. Dawn eventually adopted Isaac when he was 18 months old. She had been looking for the right time to tell him, but just had not gotten up the courage to do so. Dawn knew the two boys would meet soon, because they would be at the same school the following academic year.
So the mystery was solved. Isaac and Dakotah are brothers. The boys' biological mother passed away in 2007, and their father died a year later. Dakotah now lives with his biological grandmother and his sister, Ashley, in Augusta, Mo.
Link to original story: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/young-boys-meet-friends-discover-brothers-185007313.html
From the news today on what is likely, today, the biggest story in the office, coast to coast:
Big winners share lessons, risks of Powerball win
I heard this afternoon that the lottery says 133,000 tickets are being sold nationally every minute.
Here's hoping someone or some group wins this tonight so it doesn't get any bigger.
The bigger it gets, the more likely it is to screw someone up, big time.
Good luck to the buyers of tickets out there.
If you're up there (and surely it seems you're not), and if you really do intervene in people's lives down here (again, seems highly, highly unlikely), please, please make sure someone or, better yet, some big group of people who are very responsible and level-headed and intelligent and beneficent eventually wins this big Powerball lottery jackpot prize.
In the first place, it could do a great deal of good for a great number of people all across the nation and even the world, if done right.
In the second place, on the flip side, it could really, really screw up someone's life--or people's lives--if the person who wins it couldn't handle it and we've seen plenty of that in the past.
Just sayin', Lord.
If you're there, please make this make sense.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
From Sunday's New York Times:
A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy
By Warren E. Buffett
SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”
Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.
Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.
Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.
So let’s forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if — gasp — capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities.
And, wow, do we have plenty to invest. The Forbes 400, the wealthiest individuals in America, hit a new group record for wealth this year: $1.7 trillion. That’s more than five times the $300 billion total in 1992. In recent years, my gang has been leaving the middle class in the dust.
A huge tail wind from tax cuts has pushed us along. In 1992, the tax paid by the 400 highest incomes in the United States (a different universe from the Forbes list) averaged 26.4 percent of adjusted gross income. In 2009, the most recent year reported, the rate was 19.9 percent. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
The group’s average income in 2009 was $202 million — which works out to a “wage” of $97,000 per hour, based on a 40-hour workweek. (I’m assuming they’re paid during lunch hours.) Yet more than a quarter of these ultrawealthy paid less than 15 percent of their take in combined federal income and payroll taxes. Half of this crew paid less than 20 percent. And — brace yourself — a few actually paid nothing.
This outrage points to the necessity for more than a simple revision in upper-end tax rates, though that’s the place to start. I support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 — maybe $500,000 or so.
Additionally, we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.
Above all, we should not postpone these changes in the name of “reforming” the tax code. True, changes are badly needed. We need to get rid of arrangements like “carried interest” that enable income from labor to be magically converted into capital gains. And it’s sickening that a Cayman Islands mail drop can be central to tax maneuvering by wealthy individuals and corporations.
But the reform of such complexities should not promote delay in our correcting simple and expensive inequities. We can’t let those who want to protect the privileged get away with insisting that we do nothing until we can do everything.
Our government’s goal should be to bring in revenues of 18.5 percent of G.D.P. and spend about 21 percent of G.D.P. — levels that have been attained over extended periods in the past and can clearly be reached again. As the math makes clear, this won’t stem our budget deficits; in fact, it will continue them. But assuming even conservative projections about inflation and economic growth, this ratio of revenue to spending will keep America’s debt stable in relation to the country’s economic output.
In the last fiscal year, we were far away from this fiscal balance — bringing in 15.5 percent of G.D.P. in revenue and spending 22.4 percent. Correcting our course will require major concessions by both Republicans and Democrats.
All of America is waiting for Congress to offer a realistic and concrete plan for getting back to this fiscally sound path. Nothing less is acceptable.
In the meantime, maybe you’ll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won’t go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him.
--Warren E. Buffett, Chairman and Chief Executive of Berkshire Hathaway.
And then, while we're at it, let's institute a minimum tax of, say, 10%, at least, for corporations so no matter what they write off legally, they can help pay for the roads and schools and all the infrastructure that help them make profits and keep growing here in America. It's the least they can do for access to the best markets in the world.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
I just saw this movie trailer for the latest version of "Red Dawn" that came out this weekend:
This concerns me that this feeds the worst of us and it feeds the worst in us.
For every gun-toting, Right Wing, already-paranoid person in the country that thinks and assumes our nation is "going to hell", especially because women and Hispanics and black Americans are gaining in political power and because we have the worst economy in the last 80 years, since the Great Depression, this movie only feeds their paranoia, I think, and their desire to take gun or guns in hand and "fight back."
The fact is, our enemies aren't nearly as likely to attack us from without, as shown in this movie as we ourselves have been to do our country harm by not working together, all of us, as Americans, and solving our problems together.
Christopher Hahn Democratic consultant; FOX News contributor.
Rejecting President Obama
Those of you who know anything about me know I love a good debate. I love intelligent conversation about politics and the issues facing the nation. Today I am drawing a line in the sand that shouldn't even be necessary. If you insist on questioning the legitimacy of President Obama I will no longer respond to you. Enough is enough. Go away, you have no place in the national conversation.
This includes referring to him as follows: "Your President," "The Democrats' President" or using the conservatives' weird illiterate slur calling him the "Democrat Party President" and any other attempt to say he’s not legitimately our president. Let me give a special shoutout to the “president” that I‘ve been getting a lot on Facebook and Twitter. That one has to stop for a variety of reasons. I understand that conservatives hate science and math, but do they also oppose grammar?
Get over it conservatives. He was elected by a majority of the popular vote twice. The last president to accomplish that was Ronald Reagan and he did that even after he raised taxes twice in his first term. For the record, Obama has never raised taxes on anyone. President Obama won nine of 10 competitive contests. His party picked up seats in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. He won, he’s the president. If you want to argue with me about Obamacare, Benghazi, or sequester, then have at it. But save your quotes for appropriate purposes. “I’ve had it!”
Look, I know you’re upset that the 2010 election of conservative governors in swing states didn’t help keep Obama voters from the polls in 2012. I’m sure you thought long lines would deter lazy liberals. I know you had your heart set on Donald Trump’s October surprise. I bet you thought the tea party was an enduring movement and that voter ID laws would scare Latinos and students. It turns out the only state that worked in was Texas, and Texas wasn’t in play this year. It will be in 2016, I hope you enjoy fighting for that one; it’s blue by 2020 unless you make drastic changes to your platform.
So here’s my advice to my many conservative friends, family and followers: get over it. Acceptance is the final stage of grief and its time you come to terms with the election of our president and the end of your party as a national force. The sooner you do that, the quicker you can rebuild. America needs at least two parties having a legitimate debate on the issues. The ridiculous demonization of the president’s legitimacy hurts everyone. Please stop.
Great idea. Let's work together again.
The nation awaits.
Link to original post: http://www.politico.com/arena/?hp=ar
Saturday, November 24, 2012
It makes no sense.
None of it.
Right wing, Republican, "small government" politicians pushing for our government to take American's personal property, all so a foreign oil company--Canadian TransCanada, to be specific--can transfer their dirty oil to our refineries on the Gulf Coast so it can go out to world markets.
Except the Republicans are so for the corporations.
Oh, that and the "campaign contributions" they get.
There is that.
From The Huffington Post today, by Thrity Umrigar because it's too good not to distribute more widely:
Thank you for your class warfare, for your bull-headedness on taxes, your contempt for the poor and middle-class, your racism, your bigotry, your cluelessness about gender politics, your sneering hostility toward immigrants and minorities.
On this Thanksgiving Day, a personal request: Please don't change.
Please keep digging in your heels about not raising taxes on the top one percent even if it means sending the country into a second recession, so that the rest of us can see, once and for all, who your masters are, whose interests you really serve.
Please keep talking endlessly about the wealth-makers and the "small business owners," and never breathe a word about the waitress mom who works long hours at the small restaurant, the clerk who labors at the small insurance company, the teachers who work heroically in crumbling school buildings, the workers who toil in factories whose owners constantly threaten to take their business overseas. Keep doing this until people see, as they did in this month's election, that your loyalties are not with the workers who fuel our economy.
While you're at it, please keep pissing off women by talking about them in infantilizing terms, by not trusting them to make mature, adult, informed choices about their own bodies, by expanding your 40-year-old war against abortion into a war against contraception. Keep unleashing people like Akin and Mourdock onto the people, who are already scratching their heads, wondering if they have suddenly woken up in the 1950s -- in Russia.
Keep trying to convince us that a Republican who believes that abortion should only be legal in cases of saving the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest, is a progressive Republican. That position will put you only slightly to the left of the Taliban.
Oh, and please don't forget to insult immigrants every chance you get by referring to them as "illegals," and talks of rounding them all up and self-deportation. Doing so will ensure that you stay out of power for at least another generation.
And remember, it is your birthright and solemn obligation to shun the reality-based universe and continue to exist in the world of your own making. In this world, unicorns exist and human beings and dinosaurs lived side-by-side and global warming is a hoax or a left-wing, anti-American plot, and the president is a Marxist Muslim who was born in Kenya and traipses around the world constantly apologizing for America, until foreign leaders plug their ears and please tell him to take his apologizing-for-America ways home.
And that's the polite version. In the more sinister version, the president is the anti-Christ or the Manchurian candidate, planted in the White House to destroy American from within. (I'm guessing he was dropped into the White House by those black U.N. helicopters that have haunted so many a Republican nightmare.)
Yes, please keep shunning reality because it will liberate the rest of us to live in 2012, where we understand that the way to improve our own marriages is really not by stopping gay couples from marrying, that just because of a clever marketing campaign coal doesn't really become "clean coal," and that speaking of dinosaurs, at least one political party in America seems about to become one.
Now, to quote Marco Rubio, the new Great Brown Hope of the Republican Party, "I am not a scientist." Still and all, I do believe in science. It's sort of like, I'm not a doctor but I do believe that T.B. exists. Because people who are doctors, have told me so. So I'm willing to stick my neck out and say, I believe global warming is real and that finding alternatives to fossil fuels seems like a pretty prudent and rational thing to do.
But rationality is of course, a four-letter word in certain circles. And so, I beg you, please continue your campaign against President Obama. Please don't be embarrassed when your presidential candidate courts the blessings of that old, adorable mop-top, Donald Trump. Be brazen enough that your toes don't automatically curl with embarrassment every time the Donald opens his mouth. Keep referring to the president as a wild-eyed radical, a socialist, a Muslim, an atheist. And for heaven's sake, don't acknowledge the contradictions inherent in each one of these slurs.
Blithely ignore the fact that the rest of us see a mild-mannered, earnestly decent man who at times seems to be the only American left standing who still believes in bipartisanship. Or that we see nobility and grace in the manner in which he disregards racist insinuations; that this a man who is never mean-spirited or angry, who seems more interested in policy rather than posturing, a man who has run a mostly no-nonsense, scandal-free administration, a leader who has kept more of his campaign promises then any president in recent history. Unlike you, we see a man who treats his wife as his equal, whose affection and love for his children seems heartwarmingly genuine, who doesn't suffer from any of the dysfunctions and neediness that have marked so many of our leaders. Above all, we see a man who does not cause us to wince each time he says the word "nuclear."
You see, we do not think our president is leading us into permanent decline, or heading a nation of losers and takers. We refuse to disparage our fellow citizens who are on disability or Social Security or food stamps or Medicare or veterans benefits, as somehow sucking the country's coffers dry. We prefer to reserve those labels for the corporate raiders and bankers and unscrupulous mortgage lenders, who actually brought our country to the point of financial collapse.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am so grateful that we can count on you to learn exactly the wrong lessons from your recent election debacle. I hope that you will continue down the path that you are on for a long time to come.
Oh, I know that this will not last forever. I know that at some point simple self-preservation will kick in and you will have to tackle the illegal immigration problem in a humane, civilized way that is worthy of the greatness of this country. I know the day will come when you will pretend that you were always on the side of marriage equity, that you always knew that discrimination against gay Americans was morally wrong. After all, it is very hard today to find a Southerner who would argue against the civil rights movement, or who would brag of his or her role in disenfranchising fellow citizens. This is the trouble with the arc of the moral universe -- it has this inconvenient way of bending towards justice.
Speaking of disenfranchising fellow citizens. Ahem. Please start raising money immediately from your billionaire supporters so that you can run more billboards in 2016 in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, reminding them that voter fraud is a felony. It was such a wonderfully visual reminder that the only way you can win national elections is by suppressing the turnout. Not to mention how much those billboards and other efforts by you pissed off black citizens, who were reminded anew of how precious their right to vote was -- and how much their elders had sacrificed to earn it.
So, my dear Republicans. Happy Thanksgiving. Don't let me down. Remember, I am counting on you to stay wedded to the same myopic, ahistorical, mean-spirited, irrational, xenophobic, discriminatory policies and tactics that gave us the great presidential election of 2012.
And for this, a grateful 51 percent/332 electoral votes nation thanks you.
Link to original post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thrity-umrigar/republicans-thanksgiving_b_2173710.html?fb_action_ids=4055482024901&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%224055482024901%22%3A434816176581858%7D&action_type_map=%7B%224055482024901%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=
Again, I found this last January, unfortunately, or I'd have put it up last holiday season.
Friday, November 23, 2012
"The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: if we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future."
--President John F. Kennedy
I found this last January, too. The notes on the YouTube video say this: "Peace on Earth is a one-reel 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short directed by Hugh Harman, about a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals." Merry Christmas anyway, right?
I didn't know it, did you?
Maybe it's because we don't give a damn about children, once they're born?
Maybe because we revile the poor?
The lazy, no good, mooching bums...
Great Christians, aren't we?
An "oldie" I found last January. Enjoy (I hope). I also hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and/or friends and that you'll have a great, relaxing, productive(?) weekend.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Okay, that does it.
Kansas City, we owe it to ourselves to get at least good service at restaurants.
How long does this have to go on?
How long must we be exposed to people who have no idea how to wait on tables at restaurants yet they have chosen that as their vocation? (Did these people not have mothers?).
I just got back from a restaurant in Westport (it shall go unnamed), had a $10 ticket for stew and a drink yet the waitperson thought they should keep the entire $5 difference between the check and what I gave them to pay for it.
And with restaurants in town, it's always something.
I remember being at a restaurant not that long ago, on the Plaza, of all places, and the waitstaff didn't bring me anything near a bread plate.
And it was supposed to be a good restaurant. A "sophisticated" one.
In this town, it's all pretense.
I'll never forget the first time I flew into San Diego and went to dinner with my parents at a restaurant in that city.
There, in San Diego, they know the waiter or waitress is the face of the restaurant. There, they train them, before they even get near a customer, on not just how to wait on a customer--what a thought, huh?--but on the history of the place as well as what's on the menu.
So the time has come, Kansas City.
Someone--someone--needs to open a school for waitstaff in this burg.
We're big enough, as a city. Millions is spent each year on dining out.
We shouldn't have to only go to the extremely expensive restaurants in this town in order to get at least good service with our meals.
It's gone on far too long.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
and one of the great scenes from it:
"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
--President John F. Kennedy
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
Several leaders of industry in this country who have gained a new vision of the meaning of opportunity through co-operation with government have warned the public openly that there are some selfish groups in industry who are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage. We all know the part that the cartels played in bringing Hitler to power, and the rule the giant German trusts have played in Nazi conquests. Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself."
--Henry Wallace, 1944 excerpted from The Danger of American Fascism, New York Times.
Monday, November 19, 2012
It takes an "expert" to tell our governments and representatives what we already know:
Expert: State stances on Obamacare may backfire
Washington may wind up with control of health care exchanges, expert says
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A health care expert said states like Kansas and Missouri who reject Washington's call to set up health care exchanges under the nation's new health care reform law may see their plans backfire.
Thomas McAuliffe, a policy specialist for the nonpartisan Missouri Health Foundation, said the health care exchanges allow people to pick health insurance plans, similar to using the Internet to compare prices for airline tickets.
"When you choose an insurance package, you will know what's in network, out of network and how much it costs," he said. "But the biggest thing is, you can compare prices and actual insurance products."
He said the law requires these descriptions to be written in understandable language and not insurance jargon.
Places like Missouri and Kansas, which have rejected calls to set up their own exchanges and their own websites with information, may end up with more Washington control than they want.
"By ceding control to the federal government, they have, by example, ceded all state control of setting up the exchange, setting up prices catering to the resources in our state to the federal government," McAuliffe said.
He said many people, particularly Missouri Republicans, still oppose the new health care law that many refer to as "Obamacare," but they like many of its elements when they are explained separately.
Many major elements of the new health care law will take effect in the next two years. States are making decisions on how to work with the new law now that the election is over.
Maybe now they'll listen.
I doubt it but it could be.
Read more: http://www.kmbc.com/news/kansas-city/Expert-State-stances-on-Obamacare-may-backfire/-/11664182/17478660/-/1394932/-/index.html#ixzz2Cj0z92xW
Read more: http://www.kmbc.com/news/kansas-city/Expert-State-stances-on-Obamacare-may-backfire/-/11664182/17478660/-/1394932/-/index.html#ixzz2Cj0lWTga
And since it's on PBS, it doesn't cost you to rent the video:
KCPT and PBS showed Ken Burns' not surprisingly excellent documentary last evening on the Dust Bowl of the 30's here in the US:
As I said last evening on a friend's Facebook page, here's hoping we--the US--and the world, have learned our lessons from this period.
You can go online and watch it there or see it as a repeat on KCPT.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
First Kansas City was able to land the first Alamo Drafthouse movie theater outside its hometown of Austin, Texas--a big "land" for us.
Now the first "Cafe Gratitude" restaurant outside California picks none other than good ol' Kansas City--our own cowtown--to open:
Café Gratitude serves feel-good food for body and soul
Cafe on Southwest Boulevard serves up satisfying vegan dishes along with its positive affirmations.
So kudos, once more, Kansas City. We must be doing some things right, eh?
The wealthy and corporations have rigged the economic and business factors for themselves--and heavily so.
This is also why the Republicans and Right Wing want to kill the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the CPB), the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), because they repeatedly unmask these situations:
Work to kill campaign contributions, folks.
First, it's the only way we'll get the government back for the people. Until we kill campaign contributions, we'll never get the big, ugly, corrupting money out of our election syatem and our government.
Second and finally, it has to come from us, the people. If it doesn't, it will never happen.
You might want to watch the full special on your local PBS channel or online at www.pbs.org. Kansas' own Koch brothers figure rather prominently in the special and in this building, too, not surprsingly since they are two of the most wealthy people in the nation. They threw something in about David Koch being a fairly despicable cheapskate, too, for a humor factor, to me, anyway.
As I said before, President Obama should now "swing for the fences."
At least some of this, it's difficult to believe we even have to say it.
Go for it, Mr. President. The country is with you.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Breaking news this morning:
Oil Rig Explosion and Fire in Gulf Coast, Two Missing
An oil and gas rig off the coast of Louisiana was hit by an explosion and fire this morning, leaving crew members missing.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that a Black Elk Energy Co. oil and natural gas platform had some sort of explosion occur in the gulf, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky over Louisiana.
Two people are missing and "probably overboard," according to Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega.
The US Coast Guard confirms that a rig explosion occurred in West Cote Blanche in the Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 16, 2012.
Four people aboard the platform were airlifted for medical treatment.
The platform was located about 20 nautical miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
We just don't, as a nation and world, also include these additional, very real costs into the price of a barrel of oil.
This is the second oil platform explosion in recent time, as we know. This time 2 people are missing--hopefully they'll be found and in good condition--four more flown to hospitals. This, on top of the Deepwater Horizon debacle.
And then there's the pollution from drilling for oil and then it's after effects, putting pollution--dirt, really--into the air along with carbon dioxide.
The thing is, it shows, all the more, why we need, as a planet, to get closer and closer to using solar power, preferably with photovoltaic cells to heat and cool our buildings but also for transportation.
Or don't we want to also get out of the Middle East, with all its ancient wars?
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
In case you missed it:
From Sunday's New York Times:
"Mr. Obama and the Democrats have an opportunity to bridge the racial and cultural divides that have been widening and to begin to reconfigure the country’s political landscape. Although this has always been a difficult task and one fraught with peril, history — from Reconstruction to Populism to the New Deal to the struggle for civil rights — teaches us that it can happen: when different groups meet one another on more level planes, slowly get to know and trust one another, and define objectives that are mutually beneficial and achievable, they learn to think of themselves as part of something larger — and they actually become something larger.
Hard work on the ground — in neighborhoods, schools, religious institutions and workplaces — is foundational. But Mr. Obama, the biracial community organizer, might consider starting his second term by articulating a vision of a multicultural, multiracial and more equitable America with the same insight and power that he once brought to an address on the singular problem of race. If he does that, with words and then with deeds, he can strike a telling blow against the political racism that haunts our country."
--Steven Hahn, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration.”
Monday, November 12, 2012
The Kansas City Chiefs announced today they are going to take the entire team and coaching staff to Manhattan, Kansas later this week to see how the K-State football team plays the game of football.
In related news, the Kansas City Royals announced, shortly thereafter, that they'll be making no such trips anywhere as it's not their intention to have "winning seasons."
Owner David Glass is quoted as saying "Don't be silly."
"Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked.
Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.
Mitt Romney is the president of white, male America...
Listen closely and hear the death rattle of the white male patriarchy."
--Maureen Dowd from her column "Romney is President" in yesterday's New York Times
The one day a year when some Americans--some--pretend to be interested and vested in the American soldiers--the men and women of the American military.
Some--a few of us--are legitimately concerned and/or involved. They usually have a family member or friend in the service.
The rest of us pretend to be interested, lots very sincerely, of course. Finally, there are the rest of Americans who pay no attention or mind to Veterans or the plight of Veterans at all.
You REALLY care about Veterans?
Push to bring them home.
Push to bring them home from Germany and Italy and Iraq and Afghanistan, once and for all.
Write your Senator. Write the President. Write your member in the House of Representatives.
Let's make peace break out.
That, ladies and gentlemen, will honor Veterans.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I mean other than the fact that the wealthy and corporations can buy our representatives and their legislation and so, our laws and finally, our government.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Our lesson for the day:
Check out that last line, too: "Demanding that the wealthy pay their fair share isn't class warfare, it's common sense."
I can't believe we have to even say this.
I especially can't believe we have middle- and lower-class people who don't understand that and have been vehemently against it and have voted that way in the recent past.
If you want to know what they're doing, go here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/11/10/164817715/finnish-underwater-ice-fishing-mystery-finally-solved?ft=1&f=1001
Once again, PBS is going to cover the situation of America lately and how the wealthy are literally gaining far more of the nation's wealth in their own right, let alone as compared to what the middle- and lower-class gain from our economy.
No wonder the Republicans want to de-fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service).
Friday, November 9, 2012
This one's gonna' hurt.
It's one thing to know you're going to be crushed by the opposing team.
It's made that much worse when your former (losing) coach is on the other side, helping pile on the numbers.
So it goes.
Have a nice weekend anyway, y'all.
First up, stay away from Wal-mart.
Next, after that, just try your best to stay away from corporate gifts and stores, for that matter.
Start the whole process for gifts for family or friends, if you're doing it at all, with thoughts of how you can get them things that are handmade or that you make or from some local art store or artist, or whatever.
Get, be and stay creative and see what you can come up with.
The gift will be far more appreciated if it isn't corporate and/or made, cheaply, on some other continent.
And if you do it, thanks, in advance.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
So, thank goodness, the nearly never-ending election is over.
What a relief, eh?
So here we are.
What do we do now?
How about let's keep it simple?
One of the things that virtually all people would agree we need to do as a nation would be to get the big money out of our politics and so, our government, wouldn't you think?
Well, all of us except the wealthy fatcats and the corporations, right?
So, in an effort to help that along, go here, to this link below and sign on to commit to these few things:
• Reclaim our democracy for the people
• Get big money out of politics
• Break the gridlock in Washington
• Wipe out voter suppression
• Hold our government and lawmakers accountable
It's from Common Cause. They're not Right Wing nor Left. They're for us. They're for America. They're for what's right.
Let's get started. Let's get the big, ugly, corrupting money out of our election system and so, out of our government.
Let's get government by and for the people back again.
Information on Common Cause: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Cause
Rather describes our "two-party" political system, doesn't it?
We need at least a third party, at least. A true, strong, serious, thoughtful third party to challenge the entrenched status quo. And they need to not be hating racists, too, of course, naming no names.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Dear President, now President-elect Obama:
Congratulations, sir, on your win yesterday. It's been a lot of work but you earned it and your nation needs it.
Now, since you've got a mandate and you only really have 2 years, at most, of any real strength and power due to your "lame duck" status and the fact that the 2016 election will start in earnest in 2014, you need, sir, to "swing for the fences" and go for all you can get.
Besides working to kill the NDAA and restoring habeus corpus and officially killing presidential "signing statements", you should make a grand, sweeping, big, important speech calling on the world to end war and the possibility of war and wars. No one else is in quite the position you are in, Mr. President, and this call would be better heard and received from you more so than from anyone else--likely on the entire planet.
You are still running the richest and most powerful nation in the world and no one has, at this time, the pulpit you occupy. Please, Mr. President, call now for the end of war in our lifetimes and push--hard--to shrink what your own nation spends on war and tools of war. We can still be strong but we can also bring the world back from the brink of war across the world. The people of the planet can no longer afford this ugly, stupid, killing luxury.
Thank you and good luck to you and our nation,
Kansas City, Missouri
Notes on an election:
--It's reassuring and encouraging, both, that the people have, in this case, overcome the big money and the big money people in yesterday's elections;
--We need the Republicans and Right Wing and Conservatives and Libertarians to now begin to work together, with the rest of the nation and yes, with the Democrats, for the betterment of the entire nation. It can't happen too soon;
--We need to entire Congress to also, now, begin immediately to work on fixing this "fiscal cliff" they both created and are bringing the nation too close to. We shouldn't be in this position, they created it, as I said and only they can take us away from this situation;
--We need to kill campaign contributions in the nation, for our election system so we get the big, ugly, corrupting money out of our elections so the wealthy and corporations can no longer buy our representatives, their legislation and so, finally, our laws and government;
--The Republicans need to end, once and for all, their work for keeping Americans from voting with all their voter ID laws, etc. This election should put an end to all that;
--We get to keep our healthcare reform, thank goodness.
--The Koch brothers were defeated last evening;
--Karl Rove and his PAC groups were soundly, roundly defeated last night, too. That's nothing but good for the nation, overall, and the working classes, middle-class, lower-classes, etc;
--It will be interesting to see, now, if the Republicans will finally, finally recognize that their Right Wing path of the last several years has been nothing but bad for the country and bad, too, even for them. Here's hoping they will and then strike a new, more productive course for themselves and the nation.
--Our new president-elect needs to "swing for the fences" in the next 2 years because he is, of course, a "lame duck" president since he can't be re-elected. His only strength and power will reside in this beginning of his 2nd term. He'll have the mandate from this election but it won't last that long until the next election season begins. On this list would be returning habeus corpus to the nation, closing Guantanamo Bay, killing the NDAA, declaring presidential "signing statements" officially dead and much, much more. It's th eonly time he has to do good for the nation.
--This was, ladies and gentlemen, a trouncing of the Republican Party, in a lot of different elections, specific races and issues, let it be clear;
--It was, also, a day and night of big, big wins for Democratic, Left Wing and Liberal causes, candidates and issues, let there be no doubt and it was coast to coast. Not in all races, admittedly, but in many, for sure;
--Finally, at least here, anyway, it needs to be said that we need both houses of Congress to get to work and create good, strong, sensible jobs bills and projects and programs that put America back to work but that also don't add to our national debt. It needs to be said.
Congratulations, America. You did the right thing, unequivocally.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
''The great jousting tournament that is Election Day draws nigh, the prize the building you see behind me, Castle Congress.
But what side shall prevail in this epic electoral tilt? Who shall control the future of Fortress America?
Will we be, as the Republicans desire, a nation of wealthy heavily-armed white men, befouling the air and water in a ceaseless quest for profits, beholden to no laws but those of our lord and savior Jesus Christ?
Or shall we instead embrace the Democrats' vision of a namby-pamby quasi-Socialist Republic with an all-homosexual army flamboyantly defending a citizenry suckling at the foul teat of government welfare?
The choice is yours, fair maiden America, for the name of this feudal system is Democracy.''
—Stephen Colbert, comedian, satirist
We need to all come together, as Americans.
"The nation is becoming browner and blacker. Most children born in California are now minorities. In a few years America as a whole will be a majority of minorities. Meanwhile, women have been gaining economic power. Their median wage hasn’t yet caught up with men, but it’s getting close. And with more women getting college degrees than men, their pay will surely exceed male pay in a few years. At the same time, men without college degrees continue to lose economic ground. Adjusted for inflation, their median wage is lower than it was three decades ago.
In other words, white working-class men have been on the losing end of a huge demographic and economic shift. That’s made them a tinder-box of frustration and anger – eagerly ignited by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and other pedlars of petulance, including an increasing number of Republicans who have gained political power by fanning the flames.
That hate-mongering and attendant scapegoating – of immigrants, blacks, gays, women seeking abortions, our government itself – has legitimized some vitriol and scapegoating on the left as well. I detest what the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Rupert Murdock, and Paul Ryan are doing, and I hate their politics. But in this heated environment I sometimes have to remind myself I don’t hate them personally.
Not even this degree of divisiveness would have taken root had America preserved the social solidarity we had two generations ago. The Great Depression and World War II reminded us we were all in it together. We had to depend on each other in order to survive. That sense of mutual dependence transcended our disagreements. My father, a “Rockefeller” Republican, strongly supported civil rights and voting rights, Medicare and Medicaid. I remember him saying “we’re all Americans, aren’t we?”
To be sure, we endured 9/11, we’ve gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we suffered the Great Recession. But these did not not bind us as we were bound together in the Great Depression and World War II. The horror of 9/11 did not touch all of us, and the only sacrifice George W. Bush asked was that we kept shopping. Today’s wars are fought by hired guns – young people who are paid to do the work most of the rest of us don’t want our own children to do. And the Great Recession split us rather than connected us; the rich grew richer, the rest of us, poorer and less secure.
So we come to the end of a bitter election, feeling as if we’re two nations rather than one. The challenge – not only for our president and representatives in Washington but for all of us – is to rediscover the public good."
--Robert Reich, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator, served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.
Randy was/is so right. He hit the nail on the head with this one, for sure.
Monday, November 5, 2012
"Any politician who can be elected only by turning Americans against other Americans is too dangerous to be elected."
--Thomas Sowell, American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author.
What I've asked for some time:
"The question I keep asking myself is, assuming Obama wins, will right-wing Republicans understand it as a repudiation and as a result temper their vitriol and become more reasonable, or will they see it as a further provocation and become even more vituperative and extreme? I'd like the believe the former but I fear the latter.
The issues that divide us -- the size of government, the impact of large companies and Wall Street on our economy and democracy, whether women have a right to control their own bodies, for example -- are not new points of division. The first has been with us since the time of Jefferson and Hamilton; we've been arguing over the second since the late nineteenth century; the third has been a point of contention since Roe v. Wade. So why, now, have these divisions become so rancorous?
We were far more divided over Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s, over civil rights in the 60s, and over communism in the 1950s, than we are over the current group of divisive issues -- and yet in those days we carried on a national dialogue of sorts. We watched the same things on television and believed the same arbiters of facts (Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite); we came across others in our communities and sometimes our own families who disagreed with us; we didn't have Fox News or Rush and his imitators. We hadn't split into blue states and red states.
The fundamental question, assuming Obama wins, is how and whether we can find common ground again?"
--Robert Reich, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.
When, if ever, will we come back together as Americans, all of us, and work together to solve our problems?
"A majority of Americans still holds (George W.) Bush accountable for the Great Recession, and with good reason. We are still breathing the fumes of his toxic brew of deregulation, massive transfers of wealth to the rich and a doubling of the national debt. His policies, and those of the Republican Congress that had its way with the economy for six years, were in fact the culmination of a right-wing ideological revolution led by Ronald Reagan, which changed the way Americans view their government. Mr. Reagan's shadow continues to loom large, because Democrats have yet to make the case for a compelling alternative and have too often accepted the premises of the right."
--Drew Weston in The New York Times, yesterday, in his column "America's Leftward Tilt?"
Once again, Garry Trudeau and his "Doonesbury" comic hits the nail squarely (click on picture for larger, easier viewing):
Check out that quote, above. This one:
"You know, it just annoys me that only a few years after the economy was brought to its knees by a gang of predatory Wall Street Plutocrats...that the GOP would nominate a predatory Wall Street plutocrat!"
And that, of course, would be this man:
For pity's sake, whatever you do tomorrow, Tuesday, election day, don't vote Romney.
Did you see the article in the Star yesterday about the secret test spraying in the "projects" of St. Louis (and San Antonio, it should be pointed out)? (Link at bottom):
Secret testing in St. Louis was no health risk, Army says
Clandestine experiments were conducted in poor and mostly black areas during the Cold War era.
ST. LOUIS | -- An Army investigation into secret chemical testing in impoverished areas of St. Louis during the Cold War era has corroborated three previous studies that the testing posed no health risk to those who lived in the areas, according to a letter from a top Army official.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Army used motorized blowers atop a low-income housing high-rise, on schools and in other locations to spray zinc cadmium sulfide, a fine fluorescent powder, into the air. The testing was part of a biological weapons program and St. Louis was chosen because it bore some resemblance to Russian cities that the U.S. might attack.
And what were they going to say? That sure, they did it and it was wrong and it likely screwed people up? You think they're going to 'fess up to any problems here?
So what are they basing their claim on, anyway, the Army? That no one was effected by this negatively in any way? Ever? At all?
If this isn't an example of both racism and classism at its worst, I don't know what is.
One last question.
If this wasn't going to bother anyone, why didn't they do it in the wealthy areas of these cities?
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I just saw this evening where the Chiefs are offering tickets for their November 18 game starting at $5.99 a seat.
This just makes sense, given this season. Besides losing, it's been nearly painful.
But the thing is, tough as our NFL team's season has been, what's crazy is that the Royals not only have had at least as bad a year, win/loss wise, you have to admire the Hunt family's and the team's opening up tickets like this, at this low a rate. The Royals and David Glass, their owner, has, to date, come nowhere close to offering such a bargain, in spite of their repeated losses, game after game and year after year.
It's getting worse for the Chiefs, too. Check out these two articles, breaking last evening (links below):
Kansas City Chiefs: Sports Store Cuts Prices on Chiefs Gear Until Pioli Fired
Chiefs Fan Group Records Second Protest Song
And here's that video:
We need to do the same things--or more, really--to and about the Royals, for sure.
And the sooner, the better.
From The Daily Kos:
Breaking: Romney Paid Zero Taxes From 1996 To 2009
What did you pay in taxes all that time?
Anyone think this is fair or just or right for someone running for the highest office in the nation?
And can you imagine the screams that would be heard if Barack Obama hadn't paid any taxes in this time period?
It'd be deafening.
"When Americans saw the scope of the savings an loan scandal in the 1980s, which today just seems like a bad day on the unregulated derivatives market, Ronald Reagan's Attorney General, Edwin Meese III, put nearly a thousand bankers behind bars. In contrast, Eric H. Holder, Jr., can't seem to smell the stench of a fraud that cost millions of people their jobs or homes."
--Drew Weston in The New York Times today, in his article "America's Leftward Tilt?"
We need to push for banking reform, support of regulations and breaking up the "too big to fail."
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I've always appreciated the fact that, when a list of the top 10 most dangerous cities was released, Kansas City wasn't on it.
So far, anyway.
But expand that list to 25 and we just can't miss, dangit. It happens to be one of the top stories on Yahoo! News right now.
From the FBI's compilation of crime statistics in the nation:
16. Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City reported 1,200 violent crimes per 100,000.
The city also reported 57.4 forcible rapes per 100,000, more than twice the national average of 26.8 forcible rapes per 100,000 people.
At least we're not St. Louis (number 3) or, heaven forbid, Detroit and its environs (numbers 1 and 2 when you take in top-ranked, nearby Flint, Michigan).
Additionally? We, the people, you and me, all the working class stiffs in the nation give "Big Oil", the oil companies like Exxon-Mobil and Shell and BP and all of them? We give them tax deductions and subsidies. Yep. The wealthiest and most profitable companies and industry in the nation and the world and we give them--they get--tax breaks.
We just aren't very smart.
Friday, November 2, 2012
That people who call themselves Christians ever, ever fell in with these modern-day Republicans and Conservatives and Right Wing people is self-evident to us today but still stunning.
Here you go:
Collin Klein’s faith led him to his wife and his first kiss, so why not a Heisman and a national championship?
Link to original article: sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/collin-klein-faith-led-him-wife-first-kiss-215824243--ncaaf.html
Thursday, November 1, 2012
By sheer coincidence,I ran into two articles yesterday that, as the title above suggests, shoot Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's plans and ideas of getting a lot of business and employment and tax revenue for the state by slashing the tax rates of corporations and the wealthy:
Here's the first, from CNBC:
Taxes Don’t Drive Out the California Rich: Study
As Californians debate the "rich tax" contained in Gov. Jerry Brown’s Prop 30, a new report challenges one argument for lowering tax rates on the wealthy: that millionaires simply move to avoid higher taxes, leaving the middle class with a higher burden.
The study, by sociologists at Stanford and Princeton, looked at two tax changes in California, a 1996 tax cut on high-income filers and a 2005 levy called the Mental Health Services Tax that took one percent of income over $1 million. Using tax-return data, the researchers examined how the changes affected “millionaire migration” in or out of the state before and after the tax laws were passed.
The research showed that millionaires not only were unmoved, so to speak, by their taxes being raised, “the highest-income Californians were less likely to leave the state after the millionaire tax was passed,” wrote Charles Varner and Cristobal Young in their report.
In fact, the richer the Californian, the more likely he or she was to stay, the study found. Nor did the data suggest that lowering taxes lured millionaires to the state. (Read more: Millionaire 'Munger Sandwich' Squeezes Gov. Brown)
And sure, okay, I'll grant you, Kansas is not California, not by a long shot. It doesn't have an ocean and beaches nor mountains but it also doesn't have as many wealthy and uber-wealthy people, either, so it could be a wash.
But to go on and support this idea and theory, here's the 2nd article I referred to above:
Nonpartisan congressional study: Tax breaks for rich don't grow jobs
A congressional research service is challenging the candidates who say that preserving Bush-era tax breaks for the rich are a way to increase jobs.
In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service not only found no evidence that six decades of relief for the wealthy helped the nation's economy, they also warned that this may have expanded the gap between the rich and the poor.
"The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth," researchers wrote in their latest report to Congress.
Top federal income tax rates have changed considerably since World War II ended in 1945.
Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, the top marginal rate typically was above 90 percent, the report states. It now stands at 35 percent.
The top rate on capital gains was 25 percent in the 1950s and 1960s, reached 35 percent in the 1970s, and stands today at 35 percent.
Meanwhile, the growth rate in real gross domestic product -- the value of all goods and services produced, adjusted for inflation -- averaged 4.2 percent in the 1950s but just 1.7 percent in the 2000s.
"The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie," the report states, " ... but there may be a relationship to how the economic pie is sliced."
The nonpartisan service found the share of income accruing to the top 0.1 percent of American families rose from 4.2 percent in 1945 to a peak of 12.3 percent in 2007. And though it fell during the last recession, it remains more than double the post-war level at 9.2 percent.
Income tax rates have been at the center of policy debates in numerous races this fall.
Both the above articles have links here, below--the first two. The rest are additional sources, proving these points.
Could we please, now, dissuade ourselves of this silly idea that giving the wealthy yet more, in the form of tax cuts and subsidies and rebates, somehow makes the nation and the rest of us stronger and/or more wealthy?