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Monday, April 29, 2013

A Star Letter to the Editor hits the Republicans of the last 5 years squarely on the head


From yesterday's Kansas City Star Letters to the Editor:

GOP obstructions


During my life, I have witnessed the administrations of 11 presidents, beginning with Dwight Eisenhower. I have seen a lot of evil in Washington — scandals, corruption and partisanship.

But I have never seen an entire party unite to sabotage an administration like the GOP has done to President Barack Obama. From the day he was elected, the GOP declared that its very reason for existence was to make sure that Obama would serve only one term.

Republicans had no platform and no plan for solving the horrendous economic crisis Obama inherited. They fought everything he attempted to do. It is amazing he was able to accomplish anything.

Even after Obama’s re-election the GOP continues to obstruct his every attempt to get the economy going. I wonder where we’d be today if they had been more willing to cooperate. Maybe the unemployment rate would be lower.

I am a lifelong Republican, but I am ashamed of the GOP as it exists today.

I wasn’t fond of President George W. Bush, but after he was elected I was willing to give him a chance. I wish the GOP would give Obama half as much support as Bush had.

Jim Meyer
Lenexa

Thank you, Mr. Meyer.

Well and truly said.

To our national peril.

Link to original post: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/27/4205020/schools-sen-roy-blunt-unions.html

Join the rally! Help get the big, ugly money out of our election system and government


Cover Photo

127 Years ago, on May 10, 1886, corporations began to finagle constitutional rights through the US Supreme Court. THAT was just the beginning.

This year, on the 127th "birthday" of corporate persons, Kansas City Move to Amend will join activists all over the nation with a rally at the Nichols Fountain.
 
JOIN US!

RALLY at 4:30pm; MARCH on the Country Club Plaza at 5:30 pm.

HOW ON EARTH DID CORPORATIONS BECOME PEOPLE?

When the Supreme Court decided for corporations in the Citizens United v. FEC case, it elevated knowledge of the doctrine of "corporate personhood" to new heights. Hundreds of thousands of people now know what those words mean.

 But as awful as Citizens United is, corporate personhood wasn't created with that case. Corporate Personhood was concocted by corporate lawyers 127 years ago.

 On May 10, 1886 in the Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, the Court is said to have given corporations their first foot-hold in the US Constitution.

 In the case, corporations argued they are protected under the 14th Amendment — the amendment passed to ensure equal protection of African Americans after slavery was abolished. Since then, there has been case after case in which the Court expanded the Constitutional "rights" of corporations.

We'll Rally at 47th Street & JC Nichols Parkway (at the "horse fountain) starting at 4:30pm. Then we'll march on sidewalks through the Plaza at 5:30pm.

 For more information: 816-885-9996 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 816-885-9996 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting KCMoveToAmend@gmail.com.
 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Great news, Kansas City sports fans!


royals and chiefs

Neither the Kansas City Royals nor the KCChiefs are on this list:

On Buddhism



“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.

If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism."

--Albert Einstein

Links: Buddhism

Guns in America: Lee Judge nails it




From our own Kansas City Star, of course.

Quote of the day--on religion and morality


Photo

John Le Carre', on George W. Bush, Part II


Because it's just that good.

And true.

And right.


A decade after “shock and awe,” he (le Carre') still rubs his forehead while speaking of it, as if discussing a death in the family.

On a shelf in his bathroom, le Carré keeps a rubber cartoon figurine of Bush, so he can stare at it while urinating.

God, I love that.

Link to original story: John le Carré Has Not Mellowed With Age - The New York Times

The brilliant John Le Carre', on the nightmare that was President George W. Bush



From The New York Times Magazine  article from a week ago, John le Carré Has Not Mellowed With Age

(John) Le Carré has the distinction of being among Bush 43’s earliest antagonists. In January 2003, when many of the world’s prominent journalists and writers were falling in line behind the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, le Carré published a jeremiad in The Times of London with the headline “The United States of America Has Gone Mad.”
      
“How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein,” he wrote, “is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.”

Three important--very important--notes on America


Here they are:

  • There are far more poor and middle class Americans than rich.  If you continue building a society based on taking from the many to benefit the few, then we’re not going to have a nation much longer.

  • Rich people didn’t become rich by giving away their money, Trickle Down Economics is the biggest con our country has ever seen.

  • Decades ago we all paid a much higher tax percentage,  and our economic policies protected the people more than businesses.  During these times our nation saw historic growth and unheard of economic prosperity.  None of that was done by basing our policies on giving more to the rich.

  • Things to know.

    Things to keep in mind.

    Things to build on.

    Link to original post: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/annoy-republicans/

    The latest Star article on a new airport


    Yes, there's a new article in the Star on the Airport Authority's desire for a new airport:



    What gets me, though, and I keep saying it, is why--why--is no one talking about or suggesting we update the existing facility?

    Why?

    I know "new' is sexy, especially in this land we call America but can we stop throwing away whole buildings?

    Should we not, can we not update and innovate and not throw these things in the trash dumps? Can we not improve and in the meantime, save?

    Doesn't that make sense?  In so many ways?

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that any environmental study that's done on this new airport proposal could come to any conclusion but that updating and renovating and innovating the existing buildings is the absolute best way to go, and in a few different ways, not the least of which is cost.

    Saturday, April 27, 2013

    New data on America's (very broken) health care system


    The latest:

    Millions can't afford to go to the doctor



    A growing number of Americans are skipping needed medical care because they can't afford it.

    Some 80 million people, around 43% of America's working-age adults, didn't go to the doctor or access other medical services last year because of the cost, according to the Commonwealth Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey, released Friday. That's up from 75 million people two years ago and 63 million in 2003.

    Not surprisingly, those who were uninsured or had inadequate health insurance were most likely to have trouble affording care. But 28% of working-age adults with good insurance also had to forgo treatment because of the price.

    Nearly three in 10 adults said they did not visit a doctor or clinic when they had a medical problem, while more than a quarter did not fill a prescription or skipped recommended tests, treatment or follow-up visits. One in five said they did not get needed specialist care.

    And 28% of those with a chronic condition like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma who needed medication for it reported they did not fill prescriptions or skipped doses because they couldn't afford to pay for the drugs.

    Even those with coverage find themselves shelling out more for deductibles and co-payments. The share of Americans with deductibles greater than $1,000 more than tripled between 2003 and 2012, reaching 25%.

    "Costs of health care have gone up faster than wages," said David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund.

    The survey also found that 84 million people, nearly half of all working-age adults, went without health insurance for a time last year or had such high out-of-pocket expenses relative to their income that they were considered under-insured. That's up from 81 million in 2010 and 61 million in 2003.

    All of this on top of the fact that the number one cause of bankruptcy in this nation is health care costs. One health care problem and we're bankrupt:  Top 5 Reasons Why People Go Bankrupt

    But no, we don't have any health care system problems. No, certainly not.

    And keep "Obamacare"?

    Don't be silly!

    The debacle that was and is the Hostess Company, Twinkies, Unions, the Working Class and Morality


    TwinkieTheKid

    The executives of the Hostess Company got a two-fer.

    By wrecking and then selling the company, they got huge paychecks from being bought out and then they broke the union.

    Of course, they wrecked and ruined many workers lives and finances and homes and home lives but what the heck?

    What do they care?

    They nothing but won.

    For themselves.

    And on top of it all, plenty of middle-class, working-class Americans think this is a good thing.

    Shoot me now.

    Links:

    Hostess Twinkies Back on Shelves Soon, But Without Unions

    http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2013/04/twinkies-coming-back-but-this-time-union-free/

    Quote of the day--on kids, children, and sanity


    Photo

    Quote of the day--on education and equality in America


    Agreed.

Thanks to @[108038612554992:274:Americans Against the Tea Party].

    We decided, years ago, decades ago that "separate but equal" was a bad, no, unconstitutional idea yet right now in America, we're considering making more and more Charter schools and paying for them differently than other schools for the poor and even middle class. That's what the whole voucher plans for school financing will do.

    It's wrong. Plainly wrong.

    33 Reasons I'm a Liberal (guest post)


    It's not originally mine but still true for me:
    1. I believe in science
    2. I believe corporations are businesses, not people
    3. I believe in equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation
    4. I believe that 47% of Americans aren’t looking for a government handout
    5. I believe in climate change, not that God has decided to use weather to “punish sin”
    6. I believe we must learn from history, not repeat it
    7. I believe women deserve the same rights as men
    8. I believe our sexual orientation is something we’re born with, not something we choose
    9. I believe immigration is what has made this country great, not what will bring it down
    10. I believe freedom for all means freedom for all
    11. I believe we have the right to own guns, but our Second Amendment says “well regulated” for a reason
    12. I believe in a living wage
    13. I believe you don’t create wealth by giving rich people more money
    14. I believe welfare helps the poor, it doesn’t punish the rich
    15. I believe health care is a right, not something for only those who can afford it
    16. I believe a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body
    17. I believe a country is judged based on how they treat their poor, not their rich
    18. I believe there needs to be an economic threshold which we don’t let Americans fall below
    19. I believe we are not “entitled” to Social Security and Medicare, we paid into these programs–we earn these benefits
    20. I believe while we are all born in the same country, we are not all created equal, some people do need help
    21. I believe investing in education is more important than investing in bombs
    22. I believe nation building here is more important than the Middle East
    23. I believe rape—is rape
    24. I believe demand creates jobs, not tax cuts
    25. I believe in those “union thugs” like teachers, fire fighters and police officers
    26. I believe we support our military by not cutting VA benefits and only sending our troops off to war when there are no other options
    27. I believe we all have the right to follow whichever religion we want, or no religion at all, and our government should represent no singular set of religious beliefs
    28. I believe our Constitution doesn’t only protect the rights for which I agree, that it sometimes protects rights I disagree with
    29. I believe that being unemployed doesn’t mean you’re lazy, and most individuals who don’t have a job—want one
    30. I believe in an United States for the people, by the people, means we protect the people–we don’t leave them to suffer if they hit hard times
    31. I believe we should protect the weakest among us first, not the richest
    32. I believe we shouldn’t go broke trying to live healthier and longer
    33. I believe we should put people before profits
    Funny thing is, too, a lot of these used to be assumed here in America--we've gotten away from them.

    You wouldn't think we'd have to debate number 12, would you? Or 31. Or 33. Or...

    Crazy.  In so many ways.

    Link to original post35 Reasons Why I’m A Liberal

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    President Obama, America, the "Stimulus Package" and Jobs


    So many people blame our current President for our poor jobs situation yet so many don't know or seem to care to know the facts about employment in the last several years.

    Here, then, are some facts:

    In the 12 months prior to President Obama taking office, we had lost 4.5 million jobs.
    Over half of the 4.35 million jobs we lost while President Obama has been in office came within the first 3 months of his first term.

    Let’s look at a 9 month span of job losses covering the 3 months prior to President Obama taking office and the 6 months after:
    • Nov: 800,000
    • Dec: 650,000
    • Jan: 840,000 (Didn’t take office till end of Jan, these go to Bush)
    • Feb: 725,000 (Stimulus signed)
    • Mar: 787,000 (Announced assistance to the auto industry, aka the auto bailout)
    • Apr: 802,000
    • May: 312,000
    • Jun: 426,000
    • Jul: 296,000
    In the 2 months following the signing of the 2009 stimulus, job losses went from monthly losses of 700-800K to 300-400K.  For the mathematically challenged, that’s over a 50% decrease in job losses just 2 months after the stimulus was signed.

    In other words, over half of President Obama’s 4.5 million job losses happened his first 3 months in office—when none of his economic policies had enough time to make any kind of impact.
    Now let’s fast forward to present day…

    We’ve had private sector job growth, continuously, since March 2010.  That’s 37 consecutive months of private sector job growth—totaling over 6.5 million jobs.

    Oh, and for the record, Obama has only been in office for 51 months.  That means about 73% of his time in the White House we’ve experienced job growth.

    So, first and foremost, this President isn't killing jobs or job growth.

    Second, the stimulus spending package worked.

    Third, then, it seems clear here, too, that any austerity program now is not just irresponsible but flies in the face of everything that makes sense for jobs, for creating jobs and for the health of the nation's and people's economy.

    So, to our representatives in Congress, both houses, I say, I ask, once again, would you please, please create a jobs/projects/infrastructure/construction bill?

    Please?

    Link to original post: Fun Facts Republicans Don't Want You to Know About Obama's ...

    Great, Congress took care of the airports


    So Congress got off their collective duffs this week because they couldn't stand the thought of America having to wait at airports for screening and funded the FAA fully, apparently:


    Terrific.

    But check out their priorities--check out the things they AREN'T taking care of:


    Long term unemployment, cancer research, Head Start, health research, low income housing, heating assistance, child care and the list goes on. If you're middle- or lower-class--especially if you're poor--don't expect the government or Congress to do much for you.

    But of all of them, things for the poor and for education and the elderly, this one, number ten is one that especially chaps my hide:

    10. Workplace safety: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long suffered from a lack of funds, which means its staff is so stretched that many workplaces go without an inspection for 99 years. The fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas, for example, hadn’t had a visit from OSHA since 1985. That will get worse, as sequestration will cut the agency’s budget by $564.8 million, likely leading to 1,200 fewer workplace inspections.

    Remember that West, Texas explosion last week that leveled the entire town, for all intents and purposes? The one where homes were blasted and so many people killed, maimed and wounded? Yeah, that one.

    If OSHA were fully-funded, it seems clear that could possibly, likely have been avoided.

    Imagine that, if our government were doing its job.

    Take a guess. 

Thanks to Public Campaign Action Fund for sharing this with us.

    It's why we need government, of course. Not just to build roads and sewer systems and schools and airports and all the rest but to KEEP THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS and the GREEDY FROM TAKING ADVANTAGE OF US, as a nation, all of us, all the rest of us.

    Disgusting.

    Quote of the day--on life and living


    "There is nothing to do but be.

    To nourish the soul is to rest in being.

    Our greatest unhappiness comes from our longing. Our greatest peace comes from our being.

    When you stop taking the mind so personally and become aware of the process, you see that the mind is actually just a level. It's not who you are, it's an aspect of what you are."

    --Steven Levine

    A New Airport and Strange Bedfellows, Part II


    After this morning's post on the airport and me teaming up with--gasp--a Right Wing blog, I wanted to also post this, their 2nd note on the stupidity and irresponsibility of throwing away our existing airport, only to build another.


    The Emperor’s New Airport

    At a recent Kansas City Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, Aviation Department Director Mark VanLoh walked the committee through a slide show featuring lots of exciting computer graphics of an airport that does not exist and likely never will. VanLoh said the images were merely “conceptual;” no architect is bound by them. Yet several news outlets have picked them up to illustrate what the proposed terminal could look like. This future airport is as real as the fabled emperor’s new clothes.

    Why is fanciful airport art an issue? Kansas City officials argue that we need a shiny new terminal because we are losing market share to other airports in the region, such as Branson, Mo., and Wichita, Kan.

    On KCPT’s Week in Review program (comments begin at 5:07), Scott Parks of KMBZ 98.1, in a courageous act of honesty, questions the whole concept of a city “losing flights” to another city. He says:
    Maybe I struggle against this panel mentally. I don’t understand how Kansas City is losing flights. Airlines are a business. If people want to fly to Kansas City for business, for pleasure, to visit family, whatever, they’re going to fly to Kansas City. I heard the argument this week that we’re losing flights to Columbia, we’re losing flights to Branson, we’re losing flights to Wichita. Well if I live in Seattle and I have family that lives in Kansas City, I’m not flying to Wichita and then driving three hours to Kansas City. I don’t understand how flights that were supposed to be coming to Kansas City are now going to Wichita or Branson.
    The conversation immediately moved to the cost of security and Kansas City International Airport (MCI); no one addressed Parks’ concern.

    Just like the old ministers in Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Parks states the obvious — doing so almost apologetically. But he is exactly right. If proponents want to argue that the airport is unattractive as a hub — a place where people make connections to other flights but not itself a destination — a shiny new terminal will not address that problem. It will only exacerbate the problem if it results in higher costs to airlines who are already being lured elsewhere with cash.
    Week in Review was rife with those same slick computer-generated images that were shown at the transportation committee meeting. Those images are meant to appeal to emotions. The Kansas City Star reported that the aviation department has contracted with an outside public relations firm for $117,000. Are presentations to the Kansas City Council and the public already focused on selling slick and colorful images rather than answering substantive questions? The city council’s committee hearing suggests the answer is “yes.”

    Kansas City Mayor Sly James has called for an “adult discussion about the facts,” and that is good. But he and others on the City Council have yet to make their case that the Emperor is not naked.

    New airport proposal making for "strange bedfellows"


    Seriously.

    Talk about strange bedfellows.

    As I've shown here, I'm squarely against the idea of trashing the existing airport and design, only to tear it down, throw it away (in a dump) and build anew. It's monumentally expensive and irresponsible both fiscally and environmentally.

    What I didn't know was that the very Right Wing Show-Me Daily blog was and is also with me, with us, on this point and issue. They sent me the following and it seems important to read, know and acknowledge:

    Airport Transparency

    Kansas City is in the midst of a debate about whether our airport should undergo a renovation that would cost at least $1.2 billion. There are many questions about this, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James just called on the city to have an “adult discussion about the facts,“ but the City Council has no interest in actually answering questions. In fact, City Councilman Russ Johnson, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, refused to answer questions from the public or from the media about his hearing on the matter.

    At that hearing in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Kansas City Aviation Department Director Mark VanLoh walked the committee through a slide show detailing the problems with the existing Kansas City International Airport. Chief among the reasons for spending $1.2 billion on a new terminal is “poor passenger experience.” Yet none of the material available to the public gives any indication of how the Aviation Department concluded passengers have a poor experience. When I asked about the Aviation Department’s methodology, Johnson responded that my questions would not be answered (questions start at 1:13:30). This matter is important because in 2010, J.D. Power and Associates rated the same airport as “highest among medium airports,“ writing: “Kansas City International (MCI) ranks highest among medium airports, and performs particularly well in three of the six factors: airport accessibility, check-in/baggage check and security check.”

    In his later remarks disparaging J.D. Power, Johnson wrongly referred to the company as a think tank. It is not. It is a customer satisfaction survey firm that McGraw-Hill owns. J.D. Power is likely known to many voters because its ratings appear in numerous television commercials. VanLoh even said that when J.D. Power rated MCI the best in 2010, his department asked if they could publicize that rating and were told it would cost $80,000 to do so. They were likely correct to demur. But if VanLoh and his colleagues are going to rate the same airport as providing a “poor passenger experience,” it is reasonable to ask how they did so when they endorsed Power’s “best in the country” rating just a few years prior.

    If the Aviation Department and their chorus on the City Council want to tear down a much-loved and nationally recognized airport, the public deserves transparent processes and substantive answers to serious questions regarding the endeavor’s necessity.

    So good for them. Good for us.

    On this one issue, anyway, we can put aside our differences, join forces and get this bone-headed idea of throwing away an airport, itself thrown out.

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Power to the people x 2


    Great news yesterday, for America, and on two different fronts, from two different places in the country.

    The first is that highly Catholic Rhode Island passed equal rights legislation yesterday by allowing, finally, same-sex marriage, becoming the 10th state in the nation to do so:


    The second was and is that so many workers in Chicago banned together to walk off their jobs in protest for a true, living wage:

    Good for them.  Good for us. Good for all low-wage workers, nationwide, yes, but this needs to spread.
     
    Workers of the world...
     
    So good for you, America.  We're making some advances.

    On the travesty that is the George W Bush Presidential Museum and its opening today (guest post)


    Photo: In one hour President and Mrs. Bush will commemorate the completion of the George W. Bush Presidential Center — home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. Watch LIVE http://bit.ly/15QfoDr


    I had the misfortune to wake up to a twisted bit of logic from Ed Gillespie on "Morning Joe" today. When the very best thing you can say about the Bush presidency is 'his personal approval rating always exceeded his job approval rating,' you know something's wrong. And neither Joe or Mika called him on it. Yes, I'm sure Dubya throws a hell of a backyard barbecue, but I require competence and a steadfast adherence to logic and facts from my president - and George W. Bush displayed none of those qualities during the eight years he served as chief executive.

    Ed and Joe got together to discuss the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas today and spent most of their time glossing over the impact his administration had on our country. I expect that the coverage of the event on most networks (yes, even the "progressive" ones) will largely ignore the legacy of the Bush years and simply focus on who's there, what documents are archived and what President Obama's speechwriters might find to say that's positive about the former president during the building's dedication. It's a sham.

    What I remember is that George W. Bush put Dick Cheney in charge of the country's counter-terrorism task force and he spent the next nine months refusing to meet with Richard Clarke. I remember them ignoring warnings that the system was "blinking red" and that 2,977 Americans died. I remember it only took six days for the Bush administration to draft a 12-page Memorandum of Notification authorizing the CIA to create secret prisons and torture anyone they felt might give them information. We suffered a horrific wound on September 11, 2001 - and on September 17, 2001 we responded by abandoning our morals. George W. Bush did that.

    I remember that our professed "Christian" president ignored all evidence from the IAEA, millions of people around the world protesting and a personal plea from the Pope to launch a war that killed 100,000 Iraqis, 4,000 Americans and wounded another 31,000. George W. Bush did that.

    I remember the 1,464 victims of Hurricane Katrina - and that FEMA's director should have been fired following the botched response to Hurricane Frances. I remember the 30,000 stranded in the SuperDome. “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05] “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” George W. Bush said that.

    I remember the Bush presidency as one of the most destructive periods of this American experience. I remember the estimated six trillion dollars wasted on unnecessary wars - and nearly twelve trillion dollars the economic collapse cost taxpayers. When you eliminate restrictions on predatory lending, capital requirements, and allow Wall Street to police themselves, bad things are going to happen - and they did. George W. Bush did that.

    I remember George W. Bush for pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the International Criminal Court Treaty. I remember Valerie Plame. I remember 1,020 days spent on vacation. I remember him saying "intelligent design" should be taught to school kids because evolution is just a "theory" (completely missing the point that a scientific theory is accepted as an explanation based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning). I remember George W. Bush, but sadly we live in what Gore Vidal referred to as the "United States of Amnesia." There is nothing to celebrate today - this is a day to remember that all of our recent troubles can be traced to just one guy: George W. Bush. "They misunderestimated me."


    --From the Tom Joad Facebook page today

    Quote of the day--on life


    Photo

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Quote of the day--on life and living




    --author unknown

    No background checks for weapons purchases


    No background checks for mental stability or criminal history for weapons purchases in America?

    Want proof?  Need proof?

    There's this, as just one example of why we need them and sorely (click on picture for easier viewing):

    Photo: http://www.startribune.com/local/west/187610601.html

    Here are more examples:

    http://youtu.be/6Tv9BeOkRTc

    http://youtu.be/spV8sGi4qxk

    http://youtu.be/h3a7-s9hKC0

    This needs to change, America. We need to change it.

    A question for America's Christians


    When did you stop believing in ALL your Bible?

    When and why did you choose to ignore and totally deny this little gem?

    Matthew 19:24

    "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

    And this one, nearby:

    "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven."
    Seriously, because I'm really curious.

    And please don't make excuses:  Eye of a needle - Wikipedia

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Two really stupid things Missouri state legislators did this week




    It seems as though the dumb out of the Kansas and Missouri statehouses is in competition, trying to see who can do more--and worse.

    Sure, Kansas seems to keep winning but not for Missourians in Jefferson City from trying.

    Check out these two little beauties this week:

    First, the Republicans down there killed the expansion of Medicare in the state which, by itself is pretty monumentally stupid.

    Besides helping take care of Missourians in our really broken and obscenely expensive health care system, it would have a) taken back millions of dollars in federal tax money they're willing to throw at us and b), also fantastic, it would have--drumroll, please--CREATED JOBS for and in the state.

    Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus seemed to say it best, for me, anyway, on this issue:

    "It seems to me that it’s pretty simple," Justus said. "Say ‘yes,’ create the jobs, expand the health care, take the money, the money that we’ve already sent to Washington DC in the form of our taxpayer dollars.”

    Then, second, with this same nutjob budget from down there in the middle of the state, check this out:

    The full Senate also voted to de-fund the Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles and Driver’s Licensing

    As Liz Lemon (actress Tina Fey) would say, "What the what?!"

    Here's their reason/excuse for it:

    It’s been embroiled in controversy over the scanning of source documents for driver’s license and conceal carry weapons applicants, and for compiling a list of all of Missouri’s CCW holders and giving it to a federal investigator. State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says Missouri’s "DMV" will remain unfunded until the Nixon Administration begins to truly cooperate with his Appropriations Committee investigation.

    “We’re not gonna be held hostage by an out-of-control (state) agency whose gonna say, ‘either you give us the money for whatever we want it for, we’re not gonna tell you what we’re using it for, or we’re gonna take it out of Missouri citizens who buy new vehicles or need a driver’s license,’" Schaefer told reporters. "We’re simply not going to do that.”

    And what happens now, you ask?

    All 13 budget bills now go back to the Missouri House, which will likely reject most of the Senate’s changes and set up final negotiations between both chambers. Lawmakers have until May 10th to send the budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

    Other than the time the Republicans down there did away with campaign contribution limits, it just doesn't get much dumber.

    Link to original story: http://www.kcur.org/post/missouri-senate-passes-budget-de-funds-dmv

    The good side of people



    21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

    Link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity

    In the face of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting and the Boston bombings and anything else, let's never forget it.

    A thought


    Buddha
    Jesus
    Mohammed
    Ghandi
    Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    etc.

    "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet."

    --Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Quote of the day--on good vs evil


    “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.”

     

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Great irony--hypocrisy?--from the Airport Authority today


    I just saw this, on Facebook, on the KCI Airport page. Check this out:

    "Did you know that in 2012, the Kansas City Aviation Department recycled over 200 tons of materials? That is about the weight of 5 Boeing 737 aircraft!"



    So, uh, Airport Authority, could we recycle the airport?

    Please?

    Rather than rather literally throwing it away?

    I mean, come on.

    A couple of facts on guns


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    More of our nation's priorities


    follow us on facebook.
http://www.facebook.com/NEWSFLASHAMERICA
    Quite a contrast to Boston.

    Note to Kansas Statehouse and Governor


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    Quote of the day--on guns


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    America, what you've become


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    Oh, and a warmonger. The world's warmonger.

    Happy Earth Day.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Excellent, breaking news on the airport


    Wonderful, breaking news on the airport and the whole one terminal idea. This from the Kansas City Star this evening:

    Last-minute filing launches challenge to one-terminal plan at KCI

    From the article:

    A group of Kansas City residents filed paperwork with the city clerk’s office Sunday to start a formal challenge to the planning for a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

    The paperwork, filed by a committee of five petitioners, starts the process to seek a citywide vote on the future of KCI. The group needed to turn in 100 valid signatures of registered voters and gathered more than 160 signatures, according to John Murphy, a member of the petition committee, which is calling itself Friends of KCI.

    “We think a $1.2 billion airport is unnecessary and wasteful,” Murphy said.

    Once those signatures are verified, the group would have 30 more days to gather about 7,200 signatures to trigger an actual referendum vote.

    So now, let's get out there. Let's sign these petitions and share and distribute them. Let's get some input on this whole hair-brained, wasteful, polluting, obscenely expensive idea.

    On the Royals vs Boston


    Gordon, Kottaras homer in 5th, Royals top Red Sox in extras, 5-4. RECAP: http://atmlb.com/17GFc1s

    Say what you will, after the Royals lost by one point to the Boston Red Sox in Boston yesterday, after Boston's awful experience first with the bombing and then rounding up the two reputed, suspected bombers, it seems possible, at least, if not plausible that the team threw Saturday's game, in the face of it all.

    As Tony's Kansas City Blog reported:

    KANSAS CITY ROYALS CONSPIRACY!!!! INTERNETS SAYS THEY THREW THE BOSTON RED SOX COMEBACK GAME YESTERDAY!!!

    (link below)

    Out of a weekend threesome, the Royals went on, today, Sunday, to beat the Sox 2 out of the three weekend games.

    In the one we lost yesterday, we were ahead much of the game. Then the Sox hit in a three run homer and it was over, ending with a 4-3 loss.

    Conjecture?

    Sure.

    We'll never know and maybe it's silly and maybe it's legitimate but it at least looks possible.

    If so, good for Boston.

    If so, I'd like to not ever think these games are thrown for anything but things like this.

    And that rarely.

    Very rarely.

    Links: http://www.tonyskansascity.com/2013/04/kansas-city-royals-conspiracy-internets.html

    http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_21_kcamlb_bosmlb_2&mode=recap&c_id=kc#gid=2013_04_21_kcamlb_bosmlb_2&mode=recap&c_id=kc

    http://www.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=26486165&c_id=kc&tcid=fb_video_21078335&v=1

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/21/4194948/santana-quiets-red-sox-as-royals.html#storylink=latnews

    More on this week's night sky


    @[1519601293:2048:Randall Brown] @[100000436581391:2048:Kent Holcomb] @[100001319153033:2048:Ellen Hyman]

    Kansas Senators in the pockets of the NRA


    Kansans are furious with the cowardly behavior of Sen. Roberts and Sen. Moran who blocked universal background checks that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and the severely mentally disabled. You can add Richard Crowson to the list of people who know our senators are putting special interests before the safety of Kansas families.

    And Missouri's own Roy Blunt, too, of course, in spite of the fact that 91% of Americans are for background checks for mental stability and criminal history.

    Light show Monday night


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    And yet people are against "Obamacare"


    Yet more benefits and improvements:

    Thanks to Occupy Democrats
https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats

    Sunday thought


    Photo: Like, Share, Join Us! Democratic National Christian Choice

    Quote of the day--on "the Lord's day"


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    Think about it.

    Shame on you, Missouri


    Missouri stands alone in keeping an innocent man incarcerated after the only witnesses against him have admitted perjury in open court at a habeas hearing. After an exhaustive review of case law across the United States, no case exists in which the only witnesses against the defendant admitted perjury in open court at a habeas hearing. Until April of 2012, there were two alleged eyewitnesses keeping Ryan in prison--Jerry Trump and Charles Erickson. Until April of 2012, Ryan had no chance of walking out of prison because of these two people.

Remarkably, Erickson and Trump took the stand in April of 2012 and admitted they lied at Ryan's trial when they implicated him in Kent Heitholt's murder. Both men subjected themselves to perjury charges by recanting. This has never happened before in an American courtroom in a habeas hearing.

Recanting witnesses may give affidavits admitting perjury but they rarely take the stand and admit perjury. This is the watershed event in Ryan Ferguson's case. There is no case in the United States where the only alleged eyewitnesses recanted in open court, the conviction has been upheld, and the person remains incarcerated.

justiceforryanferguson.com

    Missouri stands alone in keeping an innocent man incarcerated after the only witnesses against him have admitted perjury in open court at a habeas hearing. After an exhaustive review of case law across the United States, no case exists in which the only witnesses against the defendant admitted perjury in open court at a habeas hearing. Until April of 2012, there were two alleged eyewitnesses keeping Ryan in prison--Jerry Trump and Charles Erickson. Until April of 2012, Ryan had no chance of walking out of prison because of these two people.

    Remarkably, Erickson and Trump took the stand in April of 2012 and admitted they lied at Ryan's trial when they implicated him in Kent Heitholt's murder. Both men subjected themselves to perjury charges by recanting. This has never happened before in an American courtroom in a habeas hearing.

    Recanting witnesses may give affidavits admitting perjury but they rarely take the stand and admit perjury. This is the watershed event in Ryan Ferguson's case. There is no case in the United States where the only alleged eyewitnesses recanted in open court, the conviction has been upheld, and the person remains incarcerated.

    Link:  http://justiceforryanferguson.com

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Quote of the day--on America


    “Your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the 20th century as the Roman Empire in the 5th century; with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals that ravaged the Roman Empire came from without, and that your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country, by your own institutions.”

    --Thomas Macaulay, British Historian, 1857

    Work to end campaign contributions.

    Let's get our country back.  Back for us. Back for the people.

    Link: What Are You Doing to Change the System?

    On Boston, the police...and unions


    Thoughts? From @[175512242586617:274:We Leave No One Behind]

    The Republican dream


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    The BP Deepwater Horizon anniversary, April 20




    Let's not forget this, either.

    How appropriate, isn't it? that Earth Day is two days away?

    There is no Planet B, folks, as we know.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    I miss Communism



    I miss Communism.

    I kind of miss the "Cold War."

    Back when there was the big, bad, ugly Russian Communists, we knew who our enemies were and it was "them." Now, we don't know who our enemies are as well so we attack one another. We attack fellow Americans.

    It was far less Republicans vs Democrats and "Left" vs "Right."

    We've stopped talking to one another, we've stopped discussing our problems and possible solutions, instead attacking one another.

    Now we attack opposing political stances, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Mexicans, Muslims, you name it. All fellow Americans but we attack 'em.

    It's crazy.

    This is no way to run a nation.


    I miss it when we were all Americans, when we were all on the same side.

    We need to be far better than this, America


    Already there are stories of Americans apparently, reputedly, I admit, attacking Muslims or people thought to be Muslims, because it's thought the 2 men who planted and set off the bombs in Boston this past week were Muslim:

    Boston Marathon Bombing Fallout: Bangladeshi Man Beaten In Bronx For Being An 'Arab' - International Business Times

    Link: http://www.ibtimes.com/boston-marathon-bombing-fallout-bangladeshi-man-beaten-bronx-being-arab-1201819

    Man Beaten Outside Bronx Applebee's in Anti-Muslim Attack after Boston Bombing


    Link: http://www.allmediany.com/news/8039-man-beaten-outside-bronx-applebees-in-anti-muslim-attack-after-boston-bombing

    Hate Crimes Against Muslims Rising After Boston Bombings

    There are so many ways we should be above this.

    First, everyone is to be innocent before proven guilty. That alone should make anyone and everyone safe.

    Second, violence should never be resorted to, naturally.

    Third, how is it anyone could attack another on just the idea and assumption that they're some religion or ethnicity, as some kind of idea that this made any sense at all? Especially since the attacker knows the person they're attacking, in these cases, is totally and utterly innocent. They're only attacking them because they think them to be part of some religion. How do you do that? How do you justify that kind of act?

    Fourth and finally, doesn't or wouldn't that make us, as Americans, or anyone who attacked others, just as bad as the original attackers? Sure, no one is killed but innocent people are attacked. It's wildly wrong.

    The Robin Hood Tax and why we should get behind it


    "Wall Street banks and corporations are raking in record profits while our communities continue to suffer job losses and cuts to public programs. Instead of lining the pockets of corporate fat cats, this money should go to our children’s Head Start programs, Grandma’s retirement, and fixing our broken healthcare system.

    It’s time for the administration to stand with the people and TAX WALL STREET. Join us April 20 as we march to the White House and Treasury Department to demand a financial transaction tax on Wall Street trades so we can put the money toward global health needs, addressing the climate crisis, jobs, and education."
    Sign up to support here:

    http://www.robinhoodtax.org/get-involved

    On a new airport--this bears repeating


    Thanks to a article in The Kansas City Star in an "As I See It" column and to our Missouri Representative Sam Graves, we got a bit of common sense and intelligence on the idea of a new airport:


    KC's airport doesn't need 'fixing'

    The City Council recently gave the go-ahead to study a proposed new airport.

    As I have written in this paper before, I am a fan of the current three-terminal design, as are the majority of Kansas Citians.

      A recent poll found that 70 percent of local residents favor keeping KCI as is.

    The fact of the matter is, it’s a convenient and accessible airport for visitors and residents alike and it has been ranked among the top five airports in the country on a consistent basis by J.D. Power and Associates, including as the highest-rated medium-size airport.

    There are a number of reasons to maintain the current KCI, from the ease of use for customers to the effectiveness of the multi-checkpoint security screening.

    But the biggest reason may be the price tag of building a new airport.

    The current estimate, which may still rise, is $1.2 billion. In the last decade and a half, $250 million has already gone into renovating the current airport.

    That investment — equal to more than one-fifth of the cost of building a new airport — will have gone to waste with a new terminal.

    It appears the city is planning to pursue federal funding for part of the project, and that inevitably means some Washington bureaucrats who don’t appreciate how we feel about the convenience of the current layout will attach strings to that money. Federal funding would also only cover a fraction of the cost of constructing the new airport.

    The remainder would likely come from bonds, which the public would need to approve.

    Those proposing a new terminal suggest that taxpayers won’t be stuck with the bill for the portion that Washington doesn’t cover, and that citizens will be completely immune from debt associated with the project.

    But the bonds would be paid back through ticket prices, higher fees, and taxing the food and drink you buy at the airport. So if you use KCI, you’ll be paying more anyway.

    The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to file a new master plan every 10 years, and as the result of legislation I got passed last year, they must take customer convenience into account when planning for the future.

    We’re just five years away from a new master plan, and at that time we can assess how best to move forward.

    Even if the one-terminal proposal were approved this year, it is highly unlikely the new airport would be up and running in that time frame anyway. Additionally, the city’s Aviation Department has already made clear its intention to close Terminal A later this year.

    This will help the airport save costs, particularly on security and baggage handling.

    It may also be the answer to improving KCI, rather than building an entirely new terminal.

    Let’s see what the coming years bring before rushing to build a costly new facility that won’t guarantee the same comforts we enjoy now.

    Washington is full of people willing to spend millions of dollars to fix something that isn’t broken or to dismantle something convenient and practical. We can’t let Kansas City join them.

    The fact is, besides being expensive, at a minimum cost of $1.2 billion dollars, it would also be environmentally irresponsible, throwing away, as it would be, at least 3 buildings, in essence.

    My big question is, why is no one proposing updating and innovating the existing group of buildings? It makes no sense not to. Clearly it's not falling down. None of the buildings are. Heck, they haven't been there that long.

    Let's do updated, extremely efficient heating and cooling and modernize that so there are cost efficiencies and savings there. Let's add some solar energy possibly. The advancements with that technology lately has been great. We should at least look into it. It makes too much sense.

    It seems the Airport Authority got this "jones" for a new airport and they want to shove it down our throats, as though it's the only option.

    And as though it's either cheap, wise or someone else will pay for it.

    I say and propose again, some architect or architects need to look into making the existing terminal B the main, unloading, security terminal and then having walkways out to terminals A and C, for our gates. Problems and issues likely solved, I think. Then we don't have to tear down the existing and still have plenty of gates.

    Link to original article: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/16/4185642/kcs-airport-doesnt-need-fixing.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy  

    Other links:   http://www.savekci.com/congressman-sam-graves-adds-a-rational-voice-to-the-conversation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SaveKCI+(SAVE+KCI+!)  

    Join the cause here:   http://www.savekci.com

     https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/SaveKCI?fref=ts

    Quote of the day--on the poor

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    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Quote of the day--on good and evil


    "All evil and all injustice should repel you and inspire you to create a world where it cannot occur in darkness. Be both a witness and a bright light that can be cast on these acts of cruelty. This applies to everyone, and it is the only way the world will change. The power resides within us."

    --Tennessee Williams (1982)

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    A Liberal's dream


    It may only be one evening and one night's entertainment but check it out:

    Our black, "Liberal" president, first.

    And he gives us this:

     
    It's on PBS, of course.
     
    Then, it's followed by this on the same channel:
     
    THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE - PBS
     
    And it's by none other than Ken Burns.
     
    Entertainment. The Blues. History. Education.
     
    Mmmmm.

    KC Gazette blog brought back, updated


    I got word today:

    Boston: In tribute


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    Quote of the day--on good vs evil


    Boston is in our hearts and prayers.

http://rdcrss.org/11bBMSr

    Quote of the day--on life, living and attitude


    (M) What an excellent quote! Thanks to @[554895137857198:274:Time4Change] for sharing this with us.

Posted on the @[177486166274:274:Being Liberal] fan page.

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    On America, bombs, guns and tragedies


    Face it. Let's face it, America has had it.

    We've had it with tragedies.

    We've had it with innocents being killed. And hurt. And maimed.

    We've had it with Tuscon, Arizonas and Aurora, Colorados and Oklahoma City, Oklahomas and Newtown, Connecticuts and now, with Boston, Massachussetts.

    We're reaching the ends of our ropes of patience, I think. We've had it with senseless, cowardly and/or insane attacks on innocents of whatever source and by whatever tool.

    Doesn't that seem true?

    This isn't emotionalism, either, far from it.

    It's why, even though today was bombs in Boston, this will effect American's attitudes toward what we want for our nation. That's one more reason the time may have come, begun with Newtown, finally, to do something about, yes, mental health background checks but also background checks for criminal history and then closing the gun show loopholes and waiting periods for weapons purchases and finally, a true, strong but simple ban on assault weapons.

    Weapons of war don't belong in societies.

    "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence."   --Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Cowardice of the worst and most vile


    By now, you've likely heard that 2 bombs went off in Boston, Massachussetts today at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

    The people who did this, for whatever bizarre excuse (they'd say reason), there is not only no excuse for this but it must be said that whoever did it are cowards of the first order.

    How anyone, anywhere, could do this to civilians, innocent civilians, whether in Boston or Afghanistan or Iraq or any spot on the planet, it's unconscionable and has no place not only in a civilized society but on the planet, period.

    This makes us all citizens of the world. This should unite us all. Acts like these make enemies of the perpetrators to all the rest of the world.

    I don't believe in hell, personally, but if I did, I would be of the opinion that the darkest, hottest place there would be reserved for the instigators.

    Truly, whoever did this is of the lowest life form.

    I also don't believe in capital punishment but this is one of those times and events that comes close to changing my mind.

    Link:  Two explosions at Boston Marathon: reports

    Quote of the day--on taxes


    Quote of the day--on people, life and living


    "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"

    --Jack Kerouac, "On the Road"

    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Quote of the day--on guns


    “Gun ownership has dramatically dropped over the last 20 years, so now it’s about selling a larger number of more expensive weapons to a smaller number of customers. The N.R.A., doing the bidding of the industry, ratchets up paranoia about government so that those people will go out and buy more guns.” 

    --Senator Chris Murphy, Connecticut from his article in The New York Times  today:  Chris Murphy's Crucible

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    Kansas getting all kinds of bad press


    Poor Kansas.

    It used to be this great, enlightened, progressive place of ideas and hope for the working man and the middle- and lower-classes.

    No longer, as we know.

    Ever since the extreme Right Wingers and "conservatives" of the Republican Party took over first the statehouse and then, more recently, sadly, the Governor's office, it's gone to heck in a handbasket.

    And it's one thing to be in a bad way financially and socially and regarding, say, women's rights and women's reproductive rights and other issues in private, but when the whole world starts looking at you, for whatever reason, critically, well, it just hurts that much more to be going to heck so publicly.

    Proof?

    Well, first, there's this article:

    What's Wrong with Kansas' Tax Reform?

    It's from the GOVERNING online magazine.

    They point out the following:

    According to finance experts from the left and right, it's the worst reform measure passed by a state in the last two years.

    Check out just the first paragraph only, mind you:

    At a recent Urban Institute forum, two policy analysts who follow state and local finances were asked a simple question: What's the worst and best tax bill a state passed this past year? Without hesitation, both Nick Johnson, an economist with the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Joseph Henchman, a lawyer with the right-leaning Tax Foundation, gave the same answer. Kansas, they said, was the worst.

    That's how bad it's gotten in Kansas.  And the world is taking note.

    Not that that's not bad enough, there's also this one from Bloomberg news this week, no less:

    They write:

    Kansas, I love your sense of humor.

    It seems like every time the Sunflower State pops up in my news feed, it’s for something like this: House Bill No. 2366, a proposed law that would make it illegal to use “public funds to promote or implement sustainable development.”

    Kansas, the place where I spent my formative years skipping school to go fishing in farm ponds, is populated with thoughtful stewards of the nation’s breadbasket. It also has a habit of turning reason on its head. The state famously dropped evolution from its educational curriculum in 1999, along with the age of the Earth and the history of the universe, for good measure.

    Now the state’s “Committee on Energy and Environment” is proposing a law that would prohibit spending on anything that won’t set Kansas on a course to self-destruction. House Bill No. 2366 would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development,” which it defines as: “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come."

    There are more but I'll leave it at that for now.

    It's just all so sad and unfortunate and unnecessary.

    And it only helps the corporations and the wealthy.

    And, of course, the Koch brothers.

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    The strange--really strange--priorities of the Right Wing


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    The latest on the airport


    Kansas City Airport Address


    Yesterday, the City Council downtown voted to go forward with a study on a new, single-terminal airport for Kansas City and the region.

    That's the bad news.

    Here's the good news:

    Three councilmen voted against it--John Sharp, Scott Taylor and Scott Wagner. To them I say kudos and thank you.

    More good news, really: "Mayor Sly James admitted he is not completely sold on the current proposal" according to KSHB 41 News.

    I'm thinking that, with good information gotten to the Mayor and the will of the people to not throw away our existing facility for all the reasons available--financial, environmental, practicality on so many levels and sheer fondness for and appreciation of the existing airport--I think he can be shown this new single-terminal airport idea is a poor one that should itself be abandoned.

    I think the City Council can--and will--be shown and convinced this walking away from our existing airport and building a new, single and very expensive terminal, expensive in so many ways, is a patently bad idea, effort and investment.

    Here's hoping.

    Link to story:  City council approves single-terminal plan at Kansas City