Blog Catalog

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Early, freakish Spring?

The weather forecast for the next week, once we get beyond the cold of these few days, looks to be pushing mid to upper 40's, at least, with one forecast showing around 50. The above is from KCTV5's forecast for the next week. Their forecast for the next couple months show they expect a warmer than normal March.
With all that, could we be expecting this, then, to be the beginning of an early--and rather freakish--Springtime?
Let's hope not. Let's absolutely hope not.

Gas prices headed nowhere good

We've seen it, in the last few days, those pesky gas prices, having gone down and somewhat, maybe, spoiling us for a bit, are once again on the rise.  This from the Star today:

And the thing is, if they're rising now, in the middle of winter, we all pretty well know where they'll be headed this Summer, right? It seems as though, between that annual Summer rise in prices and a possible economic recovery, if one, in fact, hopefully takes place, it seems clear we'll be at--and likely above--$4.00 a gallon for gasoline this year.


Lurching toward women's equality in the US, in really odd ways

So, here we are, in 2013, in the United States of America and we're still, still trying to get remotely close to one of our founding bedrocks of this nation, that is "...all men..." (read all humans) "...are created equal."

Women have gotten closer in our quest for their rights as have black Americans and Hispanics and other minorities and people of same-sex attraction.

Lately, women have gotten closer and closer to full, equal rights, in spite of the Republicans and corporations and the wealthy who, last year, shot down an equal pay for equal works bill. Those who "have the gold" just absolutely don't want to pay women what they should already be getting and what is fair and just.

This past week, women's equality got two boosts in most unusual and remarkable, if not odd ways.

The first is that the military announced they will give women equal rights by allowing them in combat:

Pentagon Set to Lift Ban on Women in Combat Roles

For better or worse, this only makes sense.

Women deserve even this equality, however insane war is. Equality extends--or should--in all roles, in all cases, everywhere, even in war.

And the fact is, maybe, just maybe it will get us closer to seeing how horrible and stupid and pointless war is and maybe, just maybe we'll get further and further away from our huge, obscene, wasteful defense budgets and the "perpetual war" track we're on now.

The second way women got somewhat closer to equal rights just happened in the last few days when a woman in Texas came very close to being executed for murder:

Naturally, it's Texas.  Even more naturally, it's a black woman.  But those are different matters.

My point?

Maybe, just maybe, if our nation ever gives women true equal rights, in all aspects, even these, we can arrive at a terrific day we've always told ourselves we already had. That is, that we are a nation of true equal rights.

In the meantime, we have to go through crazy things, as these two are, to lurch toward that equality.

Then, maybe, one day, we can realize how crazy and ugly and stupid both war and capital punishment are, too.

Total wins, all round.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Huge Kansas City, Hallmark and Society news


Arts, anitiquities and the Nelson

There's a good to great article in The New York Times yesterday about, as said above, arts and antiquities at some American museums nationwide, from the Met in New York to the Getty in Los Angeles:

THE news has become astonishingly routine: a major American museum announces it is relinquishing extraordinary antiquities because a foreign government claims they were looted and has threatened legal action or other sanctions if it doesn’t get them back.

For once, I disagree with The New York Times. I doubt this will happen frequently.

In an article about antiquities going back to the individuals piece's origin, The Times is defending the US and our American arts institutions in this lengthy writing about why we should be able to keep them. The paper says "Needless restitution of antiquities makes ancient art less available for the public."

Various arts pieces were looted from these locations in the past, only to sit in these institutions today. 

And naturally, the Times--and the US--would be all behind keeping these pieces here. The article says "Baseless lawsuits by foreign governments are intimidating American museums."

And isn't that just too bad?

First, "baseless"?  What's baseless?  If these lawsuits were truly baseless, they wouldn't achieve the return of any items.

Second, their other quote about making these pieces "less available for the public"?  Yeah, right.  For what public, though?  For the American public?  That one?  Or are they suggesting it would be seen by far more people in New Yawk City?  I don't know the answer to that but it seems at least fair to the people of the country of origin would and should be able to have and see and show their own people's art and antiquities.

It will be interesting to see if Chinese arts institutions, backed by the Chinese govenrment, of course, will ever go after the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art  since the Nelson got a lot of their pieces during the 30's when the museum was first created.

Stay tuned.  We'll see, of course.

Why are Senator Blunt and Rep Thiart for less gun restriction, you ask?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, Missourians and Kansans, look no further than this post of contributions to our representatives in Congress to know who owns your representatives' vote on weapons issues:

Gun Rights: Money to Congress

The Post Secrets website did research on what Congressional representatives received from what groups, related to weapons and came up with the fact that our own Kansas Representative Todd "Take the Money" Tiahrt and Missouri's Senator Roy "I'm Your Man" Blunt are two of the top members of Congress who took money--big bucks, actually--from these groups:
McCain, John (R-AZ)
Thune, John (R-SD)
Young, Don (R-AK)
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA)
Rehberg, Denny (R-MT)
Boehner, John (R-OH)
Barr, Bob (L)
Kline, John (R-MN)
Pombo, Richard W (R-CA)
Doolittle, John T (R-CA)
Paul, Ron (R-TX)
Santorum, Rick (R-PA)
Tiahrt, Todd (R-KS)
Bachmann, Michele (R-MN)
Blunt, Roy (R-MO)
Allen, George (R-VA)
Sessions, Pete (R-TX)
Hayworth, J D (R-AZ)
Toomey, Pat (R-PA)
Hayes, Robin (R-NC)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

America: Who we are, what we've become

Click on picture for better viewing, reading
Written merely as satire, as humor.

Painfully far too much truth in it.

In all of it.

So many truths here about guns

Click on picture for easier viewing and reading

Yet more craziness coming out of Kansas

According to Kansas Representative Paul Davis yesterday on his Facebook page, this is more of the insanity the Right Wingers and Republicans are foisting on Kansas citizens:

"Proponents of HB 2023 are selling it as the 'Paycheck Protection Act', protecting teachers from unions by banning the employee's right to voluntary deduct member dues from their paycheck.

But the committee also passed a bill yesterday that will allow employers to deduct money from employee paychecks for certain services (loans, etc) without the employee's permission. It doesn't add up."

Is it not clear--painfully clear--whose side the Republican legislature is on--that of the companies and corporations and wealthy and certainly not the people, not the citizens, not the average workers.

It's sick.

Links:   Rep. Mast compares teachers unions to school bullies

Friday, January 25, 2013

Entertainment overnight

Quote of the day

"The real median wage is only slightly higher now than it was 30 years ago, even though the economy is twice as large. The only people whose means have soared are at the very top, because they’ve received almost all the gains from growth. Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent’s share of the nation’s income has doubled; the top one-tenth of 1 percent’s share, tripled. The richest one-tenth of 1 percent is now earning as much as the bottom 120 million Americans put together.

Wealth has grown even more concentrated than income (income is a stream of money, wealth is the pool into which it flows). The richest 1 percent now own more than 35 percent of all of the nation’s household wealth, and 38 percent of the nation’s financial assets – including stocks and pension-fund. The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million put together. The 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth than bottom 33 million American families combined.

So why are we even contemplating cutting programs the middle class and poor depend on, and raising their taxes?

 We should, instead, tax the vast accumulations of wealth now in the hands of a relative few."

--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.

Links:  Robert Reich | Facebook

Robert Reich - Wikipedia

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Entertainment overnight

Indeed.  How?

Exhibit No. 1: Why Americans are obese

This, above, ladies and gentlemen, is what's called, at Swagger Fine Spirits and Food  (8431 Wornall Rd., KCMO 64114, 816.361.4388) the "Dead Texan."

A friend of mine introduced me to this by name only yesterday. I haven't been here or tried it yet--not that I ever would have one, I won't.  I strictly follow comedian Steve Martin's comedic but, to me, very serious advice to "never eat anything bigger than your head. "  It's why I've only been to the Cheesecake Factory twice, actually.

I read that this concoction is two Texas toast grilled cheese sandwiches with a 1/3 lb. burger, 1 egg, 3 slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, and peppercorn mayo in between.

As if this wouldn't be enough calories by itself, it's also served with home cut fries (of course) or pasta salad. (Optional sides of onion rings or side salad are also available for an additional fee).

It speaks for itself.

It's got to be a doctor's or a nutritionist's nightmare.

But hey, bon 'apetit.

You'll need it.

On doing research first

Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." 
--President John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Pitch points out that the King--E. Thomas McClanahan--has no clothes

God, I love this:

E. Thomas McClanahan confused by language, science, the world

Kudos to the writer, Scott Wilson and all at The Pitch.

Keep it coming, y'all.

The Ted Nugent Countdown Clock

On April 12th, 2012, Ted Nugent, the Motor City Meathead promised us: ”If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
You can go here and see a countdown clock for Mr. Nugent:

What'll it be, Ted?

The country Republicans and Right Wingers want us to be

Or Somalia.
I'm not sure which.
"Small government", indeed.

America, together, for all

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

--President Barack Obama, from his Inauguration speech, January 21, 2013

On KCPT and PBS tonight at 9

There is an extremely important documentary on PBS this evening that lots and lots of Americans should see this evening at 9 pm.

In their own words: "FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street CEO's have escaped prosecution for mortgage fraud:

Did you see in the Star over the weekend, how a man poached deer locally and got a $150,000 bond he had to set?  Yes, it happened. Those are his accusations and that's what he's gotten so far.
These people fleeced thousands of people--America, really--for millions of dollars and they don't have so much as one charge against them.
This is important.
These are things we need to know.

Quote of the day

Oh, hell yeah

Let's rock this.

From Grief to Action (guest post)

This was an advertisement in this past Sunday's New York Times and reprinted on The Huffington Post website that day, too:

Gun violence is a tragic, pervasive part of American life. Assassins' bullets have felled presidents and national icons. Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than residents of other developed countries. Even those who had grown numb to the everyday carnage were shaken last month by the unthinkable murder of the most innocent of innocents--young children in their classrooms. In the weeks since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., more than 900 people in the United States have died from gun violence.

This must end.

On Monday, America will honor and mourn a great man whose life was cut short by a bullet. And we will inaugurate a president committed to curbing gun violence through commonsense measures. Yet, in the decades since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and in the wake of the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the gun lobby--which is not synonymous with responsible gun owners--has vigorously fought virtually every attempt to reduce gun violence. While the gun lobby may be doubling down, there is widespread public support for many gun safety measures, even among gun owners.

There is a recognition that Second Amendment rights, like First Amendment and other rights, come with responsibilities and limitations. There is no reason both sides of the gun debate can't support policies that both protect the right to legally own guns for sport and safety, and reduce the likelihood of mass fatalities.

After the shootings in Newtown, I spent time with educators who were in Sandy Hook Elementary School that day. They, and their colleagues who died or were injured as they protected their students, are remarkable heroes. Think about the teacher who sheltered her students in a closet with only her body and a thin door between them and the shooter. And just last week, after another school shooting, we learned that a teacher and a guidance counselor bravely talked an armed student into putting his weapon down. That's who teachers and school staff are, and we owe it to our children and those who care for them to ensure our schools and communities are safe havens.

Just how to create these safe havens is open to discussion. The AFT has suggested ways not only to reduce gun violence, but also to create and maintain safe, secure and nurturing school environments and to increase access to mental health services. Some schools have trained security personnel as part of their safety plans, and others may follow suit. Many schools desperately need caring professionals like guidance counselors and social workers to ensure students' emotional, social and educational needs are met. But proposals to arm teachers are irresponsible and dangerous. The role of educators is to teach and nurture our children, not to be armed guards.

How can we best honor the legacy of nonviolence of Martin Luther King Jr.? How can we pay tribute to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary, who had only just begun to live their lives, and to the countless young people gunned down every day by senseless and heartbreaking violence?

Commonsense steps such as those taken this week by President Obama will help fulfill what Vice President Biden calls our "moral obligation" to address gun violence.

Sandy Hook Promise, a group of Newtown residents including some who lost family members in the school shooting rampage, called this past week for a national dialogue on guns, mental health and public safety. Their mission statement is a series of promises, including the promise to do everything in their power to be remembered not as a town filled with grief and victims, but as a place where real change began. The National Rifle Association, rather than airing repugnant commercials invoking the president's children, should take a page from these Sandy Hook residents.

The real change we seek must come swiftly. A child or teen dies from guns every three hours in America. We ask the 113th Congress to act posthaste and send legislation to curb gun violence to President Obama, whose signature would mark a defining achievement of his presidency and of our time.

Ms. Weingarten is the President of the American Federation of Teachers

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Day, VI

Martin Luther King Day, V

Martin Luther King Day, IV

Martin Luther King Day, III

Martin Luther King Day, II

Martin Luther King Day, I

The New York Times, shining the way for our Star

There is a fascinating, and insightful article in The New York Times Sunday about the transition for and of that old, venerable paper into the news, information and entertainment source it will hopefully, into the future.

Fortunately, The Times, to date, understands as so few newspaper groups do, that in order to be a vital relevant and important source for news, information, arts and entertainment for its readers and subscribers, you need excellent, experienced reporters and writers.

Fortunately, too, for more local newspapers (like the Star), is that they don't need to do the more national and international reporting The Times does.

What people in the newspaper industry need to know and develop is that the only way they can survive is by transforming what they are on paper to an online version and that will require being multi-media source and experience that covers their cities and metropolitan area and all the counties involved and even the region the paper serves.

By doing this, by transitioning to an online source and by including writing and photography and video and music, everything, a "newspaper" will be able to survive.

But the people doing these papers now, need to understand that.

If they don't, if they don't understand and do that and as soon as possible, they will, quite likely, die.

And until they do, until they realize this, the end of that newspaper will likely be far sooner than they think.

Poignant, timely quote from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his day

Detroit does what Kansas City should (on light rail)

So many people have left and are leaving Detroit, they're having to bulldoze whole blocks of homes that have been abandoned yet they have the fortitude and vision to still look forward:

Detroit Gets $25M In Federal Funding For Woodward Light Rail

From the article:
DETROIT (WWJ/AP)The U.S. government plans to spend $25 million on a light-rail system through the heart of Detroit, a development federal, state and local leaders said Friday will finally allow the city to join the many other major urban centers that have had mass transit operations for decades.

“We’re the only place that didn’t have this,” Gov. Rick Snyder said at a morning news event, adding that 24 attempts have been made over the past 40 years to develop a modern public transit system in Detroit.

No, Governor Snyder.  Not the only place.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

On tonight's "Downton Abbey"

On tonight's PBS series of it's very popular "Downton Abbey", the story unfolds.

These extremely wealthy people, this extremely wealthy family, which has lived for decades in a mansion and extravagant luxury, supported by their extremely hard working, 24 hour staff, is fighting to keep said mansion and all the staff.  And all that luxury.

I can totally relate.

Link:   Downton Abbey

Gross, wasteful defense spending, with 2 local touches in the Star today

There are two important articles in The Kansas City Star today on big, ugly, wasteful government spending--this time through the Department of Defense--with, as said above, local touches. One from our own Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill here:

McCaskill's law aims to stop war profiteering, rein in costs

It seems, in her efforts to rather wisely get better contracting measures and cut unwise, wasteful spending at the Pentagon and in defense spending, Senator McCaskil ran up against powerful interests in Congress and our government that otherwise wanted to support and maintain that ugly, wasteful spending:
When Sen. Claire McCaskill set out to crack down on waste and fraud in wartime contracting six years ago, the new senator figured a push to save taxpayer dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a no-brainer.

"I assumed that cleaning up war contracting and profiteering would be a consensus item that would fly through the process," McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and former state auditor, said in a recent interview. "I learned quickly that that was very naive."

This month, after half a dozen years of hearings, reports, overseas fact-finding trips, painful compromises and some last-minute, round-the-clock negotiations, the first substantial overhaul of the federal government's wartime contracting practices since World War II finally became law.
In the end, McCaskill didn't get everything she wanted. Some of her proposals were dropped or scaled back, and she acknowledges that the new law will add paperwork for the federal bureaucracy without any additional funds.

So our Senator, Claire, a Democrat, mind you, wanted to cut spending and cut waste out of government budgets but what happens? Her own colleagues cut her off and fought trimming that spending. Insanity. Then, as if that isn't enough, it seems one of our own big, local firms is getting pieces of the money action in defense spending, too:

And it's not even the first time it's happened with them, either:
An Overland Park contractor under fire for cost overruns and delays in the construction of a major power plant in Afghanistan now faces fresh criticism on another, much smaller project.
What's really great about this, too, is that B & V blamed another company for the problems. Trouble is, for B&V, that the government found, in an investigation, that it wasn't the other company, it was, in fact, B&V.
Nice, huh?
So, you want smaller government spending?
Sure we do. Naturally we do.

Read more here:

And what agency spends more money than any other in our country?
Defense.  The Department of Defense.  The Pentagon.
We need to cut spending by the military, without doubt.
And here's the even more ugly, blatant truth.  The Pentagon gets so much money, they can't--and don't--account for all of it.  They're that irresponsible:
"'According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,' (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld admitted. $2.3 trillion--that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America."
So, thank you, Senator McCaskill for your efforts and work. Please keep it up.
As for Black and Veatch and all the other government contractors out there, fleecing our country? 

Folks, I say again, we have to work to kill campaign contributions so we can get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of the wealthy's and corporation's money out of our election system and so, finally, out of our government.

Nothing will change until we do.

Quote of the day

"I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center."

--President Dwight D. Eisenhower


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote of the day

"If we are concerned about the future of our American democratic republic, the way to preserve it isn't to protect it from greedy Social Security recipients by pushing the retirement age back to 70. It's to get money out of government, thus neutering the political power of the Billionaire Class. And that means reversing two core doctrines that the US Supreme Court has created out of thin air (at the request of big business and billionaires): that corporations are people, and that money is speech."

--Thom Hartman and Sam Sacks, from their article:
We must work--fight, really--to end campaign contributions. We have to get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of money out of our election system and so, out of our government.

Jeff City Representative protecting events that never happen

I got an education about my own home state, Missouri, today when watching an edition of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", of all places, on Comedy Central.

It seems one Wanda Brown of the Missouri State House of Representatives introduced a bill making it illegal for an employer to fire someone for owning a firearm.

Yes, seriously:

HB 1621 - Missouri House of Representatives

"Specifies that it will be an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual because he or she has a concealed carry endorsement or uses a firearm for a lawful purpose."


I'm really glad she introduced that one.

I keep hearing that happening all over the state, haven't you?


On Kansas, their sad financial state and their Governor

Gun Appreciation Day

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quote of the day

On God

One of two things are true.  There is either a Creator with a capital C--an energy--or there's nothing.  And either way it's okay.

And either way, the rules are the same--we're still supposed to just love and be kind to one another.

Economy Improving

Two recent indications the national economy is improving, in spite of the Republicans and Congress:

Housing starts climb to highest rate since June 2008

and not to be done there but the indications for 2013 don't look completely bleak, either:

2013 Auto Sales Will Be Strong, Firm Predicts

Imagine, then, if Congress didn't fight our president on the economy, at least.

Imagine what we could achieve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Entertainment tonight

To hear the NRA and gun enthusiasts say it, since President Obama announced his proposals for gun restrictions today:

2 bits of good local news

I was pleased to see both these articles today in the Star. First, this one:

 As a local Kansas Citian who's seen and heard so much of, by and about this now long-time expatriot of the city--I refuse to mention his name or put his picture here--it was great to see this case thrown out by the courts.

I've written here before about this person and issue--he no longer lives here, he hasn't lived here before, I'm all for mass transit but I think we should do and get it ourselves. I think it's clear that this person merely likes and gets attention by going on like this, on this issue.

As the writers to the Star in the letters to the Editor so repeatedly say, please, for the love of God, Mr. Chastain, freaking go away.  Please.

The other good, maybe great local news I saw today is this:

Appeals court reinstates lawsuit over Royals' hot dog toss

A Kansas man injured by a flying hot dog at a 2009 Royals game will get another bite at the sausage, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday.

John Coomer allegedly suffered a detached retina and other injuries when a foil-wrapped hot dog flung by Royals mascot Sluggerrr smacked him in the left eye. A jury ruled in March 2011 for the Royals, finding that being struck by airborne groceries was an inherent risk that Coomer assumed by buying a ticket.

The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals disagreed, however.

Ignoring the fact that I know this person to whom this happened, I feel strongly that this should have gone completely differently in the first trial, for starters. This person was at the Royals Stadium, got hit by a flying hot dog, literally, thrown by the mascot, suffered a detached retina because of it and merely wants--no, needs--his medical expenses covered but the team said no.

Not only did the team say no, they allowed it to go to trial. They preferred paying attorney fees to fight it than pay his medical expenses.

Forget that they could deduct these medical expenses as business done.

Forget that it hurts their public relations.

For David Glass, it seems, clearly, time and again, it's only about the financial "bottom line." It was and is all about costs. It's about keeping costs down and profits high, first and last.

It's disgusting.

If it weren't for being for the team, in spite of the owner, and for enjoying the game and the stadium so much, I would have no good feeling or desire for the Royals to win, year after year, season after season.

I say again, would that the Hall family would only purchase our Royals baseball team.


No More Glass

JACK: Support's efforts to get rid of David Glass

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I heart NY

New York Passes Nation's Toughest Gun-Control Law 

Would someone, anyone, please, for the love of God...

Slide Yoko Ono's glasses up her nose?


The odd--really odd--American priorities

Not much comfort from Governor Jay Nixon yesterday

Sure things are tough right now in Missouri, what with the Republicans and Right Wing taking over and running roughshod over our state government, creating a government of extremists but take heart--Governor Nixon says it could be worse yesterday in his inauguration speech:

"...some pundits like to say that politics in the Show-Me State has never been more partisan, more difficult than it is today.

But as history tells us, that's simply not true.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Missouri was bitterly divided in the struggle for our nation's survival — and its soul.

For a time, Missouri had two state governments, two state capitals and two governors.

Two state flags fluttered above the boys in blue and gray, the sons of farmers and cobblers, tinkers and slaves. They fought and died on blood-soaked ground from the Bootheel to the Iowa border."

So, great, eh?

It's been worse in Missouri.

During the bloody--very bloody--Civil War.


Thanks for that bit of encouragement, Governor.

Links:    TEXT: Gov. Jay Nixon second inaugural speech

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon inaugurated for second ... - Kansas City Star

Monday, January 14, 2013

Research out today on America's support for weapons restrictions

From the Pew Research Center:

Notes from the study:
  • Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun show background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents;
  • Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines;
  • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there is a wide partisan divide between Democrats (84%) and Republicans (49%);
  • 55% of the American public favors a ban on assault-style weapons; 
  • When it comes to more teachers and school officials having guns, most are opposed--40% favor vs. 57% oppose;

  • 51% of Americans say it is more important to control gun ownership.

 This, however, is what really surprised me. Look at the national support for a national ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons:

We may get there yet.

That said, there's this:

Here's hoping.  If we do, it won't be easy, clearly.

Brainwashed? Us?

Link:   Whitest Kids U'Know - The Comedy Troupe in New York City

Very timely quote of the day

And timely for at least two reasons:

Support an assault weapons ban.

New Facebook page for the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime

Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks posted on his Facebook page today they have a new page there for their  Ad Hoc Group Against Crime.

You can find that here: 

Ad Hoc Group Against Crime

Gun Appreciation Day?

Let's do this, instead:

Notes on tonight's Golden Globe Awards

1) Jonah Hill?  Seriously?

2) Arnold Schwarzenegger? Are you kidding me? Do you have no shame at all?

3) It should have been Tony Kushner

4) Glenn Close--that hair.  Wow.  That was bad

5) Jodie Foster--  What??

6) Taylor Swift needs to lay low. Taylor Swift needs to not be seen anywhere and/or everywhere for a while. She needs to a) not date or b) if she does date, don't break up or c) if she does date and does break up, for the love of all that is good, don't, for pity's sake, for our sake, don't write yet another song about your latest breakup. Get a new theme.  Wow. It's painful out here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The 2016 election

I'll be glad when we have a white president again, so people can just die and there won't be automatic conclusions that every death is some conspiracy by the guy in the White House.

Well, unless Hillary wins, in which case she'll be the new "Conspirator in Chief."

Ronald Reagan, on guns

From the Gipper himself:

Ronald Reagan August 28, 1986

"This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety … While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.”
“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

“Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.”

“With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases.”

“Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.”

“I think maybe there could be some restrictions that there had to be a certain amount of training taken.”

“Well, I think there has to be some gun control.”

Quote of the day

“Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel,” Swartz wrote. “Everything gets colored by the sadness.”

Tech Prodigy and Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide

The good and bad

The good thing--great, really--about accepting that organized religion is silliness, is that you know you're on solid ground. You know you're not blowing smoke up your own skirt, so to speak. You know you're not kidding yourself.  You know there's no pretense.

The bad?

The bad thing?  Things?

You realize that everything is, to an extent, to a large extent, absurd.

All that matters is relationships.

All that matters is doing right.

Doing good.

Doing well.

And doing well by another human being.

Helping others.

Family.  Friends. Colleagues.  Acquaintances.  Heck, even strangers.

And love.  Ultimately, love.

But ultimately, too, truthfully, as John Cougar Mellencamp so rightfully said, in naming his album, "Nothing really matters, and what if it did?"

Most of us can't handle that kind of blunt truth.

What becomes most important, after people and relationships and love and truth and beauty is art and light and all these really wonderful things that are out there.

From the movie, "Moulin Rouge" (forgive me):

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return."

It's a blessing and a curse.

It's a helluva way to go through life.

It's a helluva way to go on.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Entertainment overnight

So good

So fine.

Breaking Kansas News

According to Kansas Representative Paul Davis on his Facebook page just now:

A few minutes ago, a three judge panel declared the current school finance funding unconstitutional. We're still reading through the ruling, but it appears that the court is ordering the Kansas Legislature to restore per-pupil funding to $4,492 by FY2014.
As he said, that is some big news. 
This will make Governor Brownback and all his Republican cohorts in the Legislature have to go back and come up with a big pile of money.
So much for those brilliant tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, eh, Sam? 
 Link:  Paul Davis

Gov. Brownback does the right thing on mental health care

News from The Kansas City Star this week:

And thank goodness. 

For so long, Governor "I don't have a soul--or heart" Brownback has only been all about cutting services and budgets for schools and social services, nearly ad infinitum.  

Now, with this, finally, finally he's putting a bit back.

 And we know it's because Wayne LaPierre and his National Rifle Association (the NRA) called out mental illness as the big issue we need to resolve in the nation, of course. The last thing it could possibly be is the proliferation of far too many guns, could it?  Heavens, no.

This will help him further with his attempt to get more and more on the national stage, so to speak, for his hopeful 2016 presidential run, certainly.

But anyway, fortunately, thankfully now, the Guv is going to plow money back into the people and not just the wealthy and corporations. 

It only brings up a couple questions, however. 

First, where, exactly, is he going to get this ten million dollars? 

He slashed millions in incoming tax revenues by slashing the tax bills for those same wealthy and corporations mentioned above. 

Where did he get this money? What is he taking it from? 

Who's going to do without, if anyone, so he could come up with this money?

Inquiring minds--and Kansans--want, no, need to know.

Here's that "well-regulated militia" the NRA is so worried about

And we don't want to stop this?
I say again, assault weapons are only good for cutting down large quantities of innocent Americans, first.
Second, they aren't good for hunting of any kind and finally, third, they have no place in an intelligent, civilized society.
They serve no good purpose, period.
We need an outright ban on that kind of lethality.

Let's get the money out of our politics and government

The fact is, as I've written here and elsewhere so many times, until we get the big, ugly, corrupting money of the wealthy and corporations out of our election system and so, our government, nothing will change. It will remain legislation and laws and so, that same government, of, by and for those same wealthy and corporations first and the rest of us, the rest of the country second, if at all.

To sign petition, go here:

Great news for Missouri

 Did you see where one of Missouri's pristine rivers in the South of the state got a big honor this week?

Ozarks’ White River is nation’s second National Blueway

From the article:
The White River, with its 60-county watershed cutting through Missouri and Arkansas, has been named America’s second National Blueway.

This is actually quite a big honor, considering it's only the 2nd in the nation to get this distinction and that it "was nominated for this designation by 26 groups, including The Nature Conservancy, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ducks Unlimited and the Arkansas Canoe Club.

My point in bringing this to anyone's attention is first, just to say it's quite an honor but second, in hopes that more people from the area would take advantage of this treasure and go and camp, canoe and hike the area. I'm convinced that the Ozarks are vastly overlooked by us. The hills, forest and rivers there are breathtaking.

I'd be nearly willing to bet that if a random group of Missourians or Kansans or Illinoisans nearby were polled, far too many of us would confess we didn't even know there's a national forest on our doorstep.

And that's a darn shame.

Go, enjoy, people.

Link:  Mark Twain National Forest

Read more here:

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

The two political parties, on weapons

Difference between Democrats and Republicans on gun regulations:

 Democrat:  I believe in sensible gun regulations that limit high-capacity magazines and some semi-automatic rifles. I believe that Americans have the right to own handguns for self-defense and rifles for hunting. However, I believe the sell of guns and their ammunition should be regulated with background checks to ensure the wrong... people can't simply walk into a gun show or their local Walmart and purchase these items. 

 Republican:   Socialist Democrats just want to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. You know Hitler banned guns too, right? Bacon kills people every year, guess you people believe we should ban bacon? Obesity kills people every day, should we ban the spoons of which people use to eat? Guns don't kill people, people kill people. The only way to stop bad people with guns, are good people with guns. Our government fears an armed populous! You'll get my guns when you take them from my cold dead hands.

 Tell us if you see the difference...

We need to be able to speak to one another and, much more than that, we need to be able to address the problems and more, we need to be able to discuss solutions to our problems. Specifically, in this case, the problems of people taking assault weapons and mowing down large groups of innocent Americans.

It's insane. And it's crazy we can't talk it out and additionally crazy that we can't come to and enact solutions, far more quickly and easily than we are.

Link to original post: Right Off A Cliff