Blog Catalog

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Live and Let Live?

Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames and Messieurs
Ladies and Gentleman
Is it a crime to fall in love?
Can we ever tell where the heart truly leads us?
All we are asking is eine bisschen Verstandnis

Why can't the world leben und leben lassen?
'Live and let live....'

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Flashback

A nearly forgotten favorite, I think.

The Stupid Coming From the Right Wing and Republican Party -- Still

In two headlines today:

It hurts.

The stupid. It hurts.

Born This Day, 1827

Indeed, born this day, September 27, 1827 was one Hiram Rhodes Revels and for a few reasons, should absolutely be taught and known by Americans who he was and what he did.

Hiram Rhodes Revels - Brady-Handy-(restored).png

Hiram Rhodes Revels was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church(AME), a Republican politician, and college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He was elected as the first African American to serve in the United States Senate, and was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress. He represented Mississippi in the Senate in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

During the American Civil War, Revels had helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. After serving in the Senate, Revels was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University), 1871-1873 and 1876 to 1882. Later he served again as a minister.

One of the biggest things Hiram Revels did was to  be The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate

Too few Americans know this man and know what he did and how important he and it all was.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Karl Marx --- And the Wall Street Journal?

There is what I think to be a pretty good, if brief and fairly light article in none other than Right Wing-owned, Rupert Murdoch's own Wall Street Journal, describing where America and Americans are today, financially and socially:

Seeing it, I was pretty stunned.

It recognizes that America's middle class is struggling, shrinking, in fact, along with what got us here, where it stands in history and what we should maybe do to correct our financial, national problems. It begins with this sub-line heading:

Over the past few decades, the Western World has increasingly become a society of "have lesses," if not yet of "have nots." 

They already had me right there, just with that opening, recognizing that the middle-, lower- and working-classes were being crushed with our economic system in that business-supporting rag. But then they go on to outdo themselves:

If Western countries want to disprove the dire forecasts of Karl Marx, we must think creatively about how to make the middle class more prosperous and secure.

Karl Marx

They had me at "Karl Marx."

Some of the article:

In the U.S. and Britain, the percentage of citizens owning stocks or houses is well down from the late 1980s. In Britain, the average age for buying a first home is now 31 (and many more people than before depend on “the bank of Mom and Dad” to help them do so). In the mid-’80s, it was 27. My own children, who started work in London in the last two years, earn a little less, in real terms, than I did when I began in 1979, yet house prices are 15 times higher. We have become a society of “have lesses,” if not yet of “have nots.”

In a few lines of work, earnings have shot forward. In 1982, only seven U.K. financial executives were receiving six-figure salaries. Today, tens of thousands are (an enormous increase, even allowing for inflation). The situation is very different for the middle-ranking civil servant, attorney, doctor, teacher or small-business owner. Many middle-class families now depend absolutely on the income of both parents in a way that was unusual even as late as the 1980s...

The author asks an important question, an extremely important one;

What is the use of capitalism if its rewards go to the few and its risks are dumped on the many?

And here is where the under-rated, discounted and even disregarded, if brilliant Karl Marx comes in:

Where might one find a useful analysis of what is happening today in the market democracies of the West? How about this: “The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.”

Or this: “Modern bourgeois society…is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the power of the nether world which he has called up by his spells.” 

Or this: “The productive forces no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property: on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions…[and] they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.”

The celebrated bearded communists had argued that capitalism would reduce all of society to only two classes: the prosperous bourgeoisie, who owned the capital, and the impoverished proletariat, who contributed their labor.

Who, today, is able to say this isn't precisely what's happening and what's been happening here in America? Who can honestly deny this? It's incontrovertible.

Is that not what's been happening in the last at least 30 years? I can't count the number of articles and news segments pointing out how the "people at the top", the "1%", with hedge fund managers as the best example, have been getting many more millions upon millions of dollars and wealth and riches while, again, the middle-, lower- and working classes have seen their costs escalate but wages stagnate---shrink, in fact.

And here is where the article and the Pope's visit, this week, to our shores coincidentally converge:

The relationship between money and morality, on which the middle-class order depends, has been seriously compromised over the past decade.

I'm not advocating Communism here by any means. While I think Karl Marx was correct in his writing, I also know Mr. Marx didn't take into account the human factors, especially the factor of just sheer greed, let alone the love of power. Communism would only work in a perfect world. Would that we were so lucky.

But the fact is, what we have going on in America now and what we've had doing on financially, fiscally and economically is precisely what Karl Marx and Friederich Engels described in their famous-through-the-ages "The Communist Manifesto."

The author of the article ends it very well and correctly:

...Marx did have an insight about the disproportionate power of the ownership of capital. The owner of capital decides where money goes, whereas the people who sell only their labor lack that power. This makes it hard for society to be shaped in their interests. In recent years, that disproportion has reached destructive levels, so if we don’t want to be a Marxist society, we need to put it right.

What we need to do as a nation, through our government is get our government back for the people. We have to end the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling and end campaign contributions--both--so we can then begin to put back into place the simplest of rules to keep corporations and the already-wealthy, and the greedy and power-hungry among them, from crushing these 3 classes (middle, lower and working) with rules and government that only works for them.

We have to get the government back for the people.

Links:  Believe it or not: Karl Marx is making a comeback

Marx Was Right: Five Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014

Friday, September 25, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Where Do They All Come From?

This Sunday Night -- One Busy Moon and Night Sky

This Saturday night, we will not only have what's called a "blood moon" but we are also to have a total lunar eclipse.

First, that blood moon:

Blood moon

Total Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon

What is it?

A "blood moon" is a full moon that also goes through a total eclipse so that the shadow from the Earth, thrown on the moon makes that same moon turn rather red in the sky. If you've never seen one, it is, they are beautiful.

I remember there was one, once, on my birthday night, many years ago. The red is brilliant. It's a lot of fun and very different.

It's this Sunday evening.

The total eclipse will last one hour and 12 minutes, and will be visible to North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific. Viewers can see the supermoon unmasked after nightfall. Earth’s shadow will begin to dim the supermoon slightly beginning at 7:11 p.m. CDT. A noticeable shadow will begin to fall on the moon at 8:07 p.m., and the total eclipse will start at 9:11 p.m.

Sunday's lunar eclipse will also feature a 'Supermoon'

Super Blood Moon 2015: When and Where to See the Eclipse

Super Blood Moon eclipse on night of September 27-28

Viewing Conditions: Supermoon to Coincide With Lunar Eclipse in Rare Celestial Event Sunday Night

When and Where to Watch This Weekend's Total Lunar Eclipse

One-Hit Wonders??

It's National One Hit Wonder Day!

National One-Hit Wonder Day is celebrated annually on September 25.  It's a day to celebrate all the musical artists--and that one song--that became known from one Top 40 single.
Listed below are just a few of the well known one-hit wonders from the past.
  • 1955 – “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” by The Penguins
  • 1963 – “Six Days on the Road” by Dave Dudley
  • 1968 – “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips” by Tiny Tim
  • 1969 – “Smile a Little Smile for Me” by The Flying Machine
  • 1970 – “One Tin Soldier” by Original Caste
  • 1970 – “The House of the Rising Sun” by Frijid Pink
  • 1972 – “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
  • 1983 – “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco
  • 1988 – “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

Among the more recent staples of the not entirely flattering category are: Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby,” Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” Los del Río’s “Macarena” and Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?

Enjoy some of your own favorite one-hit wonders and have a great weekend, y'all.

More links:   List of one-hit wonders in the United States

Prophetic. Prescient

On this day, September 25

1990 - Saddam Hussein warns that US will repeat Vietnam experience.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Capitalism: What It Is---and Isn't (Guest Post)

Economist/writer/professor/columnist/commentator Robert Reich put out a snippet from his upcoming book and it looks to be fantastic. Here is an excerpt.

"SAVING CAPITALISM: For the Many, Not the Few,"  due out 9/29. Some italics added for emphasis.

Robert Reich's photo.
"The Phony Free Market"

It usually occurs in a small theater or a lecture hall. Someone introduces me and then introduces a person who is there to debate me. My debate opponent and I then spend five or ten minutes sparring over the chosen topic—education, poverty, income inequality, taxes, executive pay, middle-class wages, climate change, drug trafficking, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Because, with astounding regularity, the debate soon turns to whether the “free market” is better at doing something than government.

I do not invite this. In fact, as I’ve already said and will soon explain, I view it as a meaningless debate. Worse, it’s a distraction from what we should be debating. Intentional or not, it deflects the public’s attention from what’s really at issue.

Few ideas have more profoundly poisoned the minds of more people than the notion of a “free market” existing somewhere in the universe, into which government “intrudes.” In this view, whatever inequality or insecurity the market generates is assumed to be the natural and inevitable consequence of impersonal “market forces.” What you’re paid is simply a measure of what you’re worth in the market. If you aren’t paid enough to live on, so be it. If others rake in billions, they must be worth it. If millions of people are unemployed or their paychecks are shrinking or they have to work two or three jobs and have no idea what they’ll be earning next month or even next week, that’s unfortunate but it’s the outcome of “market forces.”

According to this view, whatever we might do to reduce inequality or economic insecurity—to make the economy work for most of us—runs the risk of distorting the market and causing it to be less efficient, or of producing unintended consequences that may end up harming us. Although market imperfections such as pollution or unsafe workplaces, or the need for public goods such as basic research or even aid to the poor, may require the government to intervene on occasion, these instances are exceptions to the general rule that the market knows best.

The prevailing view is so dominant that it is now almost taken for granted. It is taught in almost every course on introductory economics. It has found its way into everyday public discourse. One hears it expressed by politicians on both sides of the aisle.

The question typically left to debate is how much intervention is warranted. Conservatives want a smaller government and less intervention; liberals want a larger and more activist government. This has become the interminable debate, the bone of contention that splits left from right in America and in much of the rest of the capitalist world. One’s response to it typically depends on which you trust most (or the least): the government or the “free market.”

But the prevailing view, as well as the debate it has spawned, is utterly false. There can be no “free market” without government. The “free market” does not exist in the wilds beyond the reach of civilization. Competition in the wild is a contest for survival in which the largest and strongest typically win. Civilization, by contrast, is defined by rules; rules create markets, and governments generate the rules. As the seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes put it in his book "Leviathan:"

[in nature] there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

A market—any market—requires that government make and enforce the rules of the game. In most modern democracies, such rules emanate from legislatures, administrative agencies, and courts. Government doesn’t “intrude” on the “free market.” It creates the market.

The rules are neither neutral nor universal, and they are not permanent. Different societies at different times have adopted different versions. The rules partly mirror a society’s evolving norms and values but also reflect who in society has the most power to make or influence them. Yet the interminable debate over whether the “free market” is better than “government” makes it impossible for us to examine who exercises this power, how they benefit from doing so, and whether such rules need to be altered so that more people benefit from them.

The size of government is not unimportant, but the rules for how the free market functions have far greater impact on an economy and a society. Surely it is useful to debate how much government should tax and spend, regulate and subsidize. Yet these issues are at the margin of the economy, while the rules are the economy. It is impossible to have a market system without such rules and without the choices that lie behind them. As the economic historian Karl Polanyi recognized, those who argue for “less government” are really arguing for a different government—often one that favors them or their patrons.

“Deregulation” of the financial sector in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, for example, could more appropriately be described as “reregulation.” It did not mean less government. It meant a different set of rules, initially allowing Wall Street to speculate on a wide assortment of risky but lucrative bets and permitting banks to push mortgages onto people who couldn’t afford them. When the bubble burst in 2008, the government issued rules to protect the assets of the largest banks, subsidize them so they would not go under, and induce them to acquire weaker banks. At the same time, the government enforced other rules that caused millions of people to lose their homes. These were followed by additional rules intended to prevent the banks from engaging in new rounds of risky behavior (although in the view of many experts, these new rules are inadequate).

The critical things to watch out for aren’t the rare big events, such as the 2008 bailout of the Street itself, but the ongoing multitude of small rule changes that continuously alter the economic game. Even a big event’s most important effects are on how the game is played differently thereafter. The bailout of Wall Street created an implicit guarantee that the government would subsidize the biggest banks if they ever got into trouble. This gave the biggest banks a financial advantage over smaller banks and fueled their subsequent growth and dominance over the entire financial sector, which enhanced their subsequent political power to get rules they wanted and avoid those they did not.

The “free market” is a myth that prevents us from examining these rule changes and asking whom they serve. The myth is therefore highly useful to those who do not wish such an examination to be undertaken. It is no accident that those with disproportionate influence over these rules, who are the largest beneficiaries of how the rules have been designed and adapted, are also among the most vehement supporters of the “free market” and the most ardent advocates of the relative superiority of the market over government. But the debate itself also serves their goal of distracting the public from the underlying realities of how the rules are generated and changed, their own power over this process, and the extent to which they gain from the results. In other words, not only do these “free market” advocates want the public to agree with them about the superiority of the market but also about the central importance of this interminable debate.

They are helped by the fact that the underlying rules are well hidden in an economy where so much of what is owned and traded is becoming intangible and complex. Rules governing intellectual property, for example, are harder to see than the rules of an older economy in which property took the tangible forms of land, factories, and machinery. Likewise, monopolies and market power were clearer in the days of giant railroads and oil trusts than they are now, when a Google, Apple, Facebook, or Comcast can gain dominance over a network, platform, or communications system. At the same time, contracts were simpler to parse when buyers and sellers were on more or less equal footing and could easily know or discover what the other party was promising. That was before the advent of complex mortgages, consumer agreements, franchise systems, and employment contracts, all of whose terms are now largely dictated by one party. Similarly, financial obligations were clearer when banking was simpler and the savings of some were loaned to others who wanted to buy homes or start businesses. In today’s world of elaborate financial instruments, by contrast, it is sometimes difficult to tell who owes what to whom, or when, or why.

Before we can understand the consequences of all of this for modern capitalism, it is first necessary to address basic questions about how government has organized and reorganized the market, what interests have had the most influence on this process, and who has gained and who has lost as a result.


Should you wish to pre-order: Amazon:; Barnes & Noble:; IndieBound:

(Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC.)

Link showing precisely what we're fighting today in business:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Overjoyed

Another Executive Order, Issued This Day, 1863

Unbiblical slavery based on kidnapping

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation warning that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state that did not end its rebellion against the Union by January 1, 1863. None of the Confederate states restored themselves to the Union, and Lincoln's order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect. The Emancipation Proclamation outraged white Southerners (and their sympathizers) who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and undermined forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy. The Proclamation lifted the spirits of African Americans both free and slave. It led many slaves to escape from their masters and get to Union lines to obtain their freedom.

That President's opponents were viscerally, emotionally, strongly against this Executive Order, also.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Not Too Late!

An hour to go, I'm going to sneak this in yet. It's too important to not.

Happy International Day of Peace!

The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".


Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

Entertainment Tonight -- Autumn Leaves

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Put A Lid On It

Cass County??

One-time Eagles rock and roll group writer, singer and performer Don Henley has a new album coming out September 25--his first in 15 years.

As it happens, it has a rather distinct country/country western flair and is named, rather significantly, maybe,


Go figure, huh? 

You can listen to all the tracks here:

Do you suppose he visited?

Peculiar? Harrisonville? Pleasant Hill?

(And no, I know it was based on Cass County, Texas but what the hey. We can pretend. Country is country, after all).

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Get the Big Money Out

Get the Big Money Out

We must overturn Citizens United and we must end campaign contributions, both, period. We have to get the big money out of our election system and government.

Go here, if you would, and sign the petition:

We must get the corrupting money of the wealthy and corporations out of our election system and government, on the Federal and state levels, both.

We must get our nation back for the people. Until we do these, nothing will change. It will remain government representatives, their legislation---our legislation--our laws and our government all for them, the wealthy and corporations, not the people, not the nation.

Thank you, in advance.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Local Story for National POW/MIA Recognition Day

From the New York Times today:

Today, a personal reflection from Victoria, one of your Morning Briefers:

For many years, “Eugene M. Jewell” was just a name inscribed on a metal bracelet that I, like so many others, wore in the 1970s.

Nearly five million similar bracelets were sold by a student group, starting in 1970, to raise awareness about those missing in action or held prisoner in the Vietnam War. Each had a name, a rank and the date of disappearance.

In 1971, I paid $2.50 and agreed not to remove the band until my bracelet’s “name” came home. But the metal dug into my wrist, the war ended, and the bracelet went into a box.

Today, on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, thanks to an Internet that makes us all a little less anonymous, I know that Eugene Jewell was more than an engraving.

He was 24 and a first lieutenant in the Air Force when he took off in an F-4 Phantom fighter jet for a mission over North Vietnam. His aircraft was shot down and lost on Sept. 4, 1965.

The Defense Department says 1,627 Americans who fought in the Vietnam War remain unaccounted for, including Captain Jewell (he was promoted in absentia).

When Captain Jewell was declared missing, his wife was back home in Topeka, Kan., with their 1-year-old daughter, Deborah, and pregnant with their second child.

Last year, Deborah Jewell wrote on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial website:

“It always is a surprise when I read about folks who have/are wearing a bracelet with my Dad’s name on it, and to hear about how their hearts ache for the loss and hurt our family feels.”

Victoria Shannon contributed reporting.

Happy National Cheeseburger Day!

Yes, indeed, Happy National Cheeseburger Day!

How will you celebrate?

Here are some ideas!

Where to celebrate National Cheeseburger 

Day in KC

Go! Enjoy!

And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Am I Wrong?

Why I Can't Bear To See Ignorant Racism

One of the reasons I most hate to see or read or hear blatant, ugly, ignorant racism is partly, furst, sure, because it's just ugly and wrong.

But the 2nd reason is because those racists in this country, usually white, have no idea of our own nation's history and the wide ranging scope of that racism and of our history and what mostly black Americans have gone through in this country nor, again, our own nation's history.

From the history of slavery in this country and how much it has influenced how we got to here, to today and to where we are but then, after slavery and after our Civil War. It's why people need to study it and be shown what took place. far too few know now as they ought.

Douglas Blackmon's "Slavery By Another Name" was illuminating for me and a lot of us who watched it.

Last evening, I saw this, "The Help."

Too many people just don't know. Too many people don't know our history.

And for a blogger in this city to allow ugly, ignorant, racist comments in his comment section just perpetuates that racism, that ugliness and that stupidity.

The blogger should know better.

Five Great Reasons To Not Shop Walmart

Missouri, Ferguson, Racism and Possible Solutions in the NYT today

From the New York Times "Monday briefing":

Racial inequality in Missouri

A commission appointed by the governor after the death of Michael Brown in August 2014 is calling for sweeping changes on matters of policing, the courts, education, health care, housing and more.

Among the top priorities outlined in the 198-page report that will be made public in Ferguson, Mo., this afternoon: increasing the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for Medicaid and consolidating the patchwork of 60 police forces and 81 municipal courts that cover St. Louis and its suburbs.

The full article is here:

Here's hoping there are improvements. And soon.

What Actually Happened in Iraq

What the government, lead largely by the Republicans and Right Wing, actually did in Iraq.

The best hour and fifteen minutes you can spend, learning about your government and our spending.

Our defense spending is what is bankrupting America. That and giving corporate welfare in the billions of dollars.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What It Means To Be Human, No. 2: He's Brilliant

There is what looks to be a fantastic documentary on what it means to be human.

They interview people of all kinds of backgrounds, young and old, all kinds, from around the world.

I was especially drawn to this one, from the President of Uruguay.

He is brilliant.

It's a wonder he's the head of a nation. He'd be disavowed in too many Western, industrialized nations.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam

File:Uncle Sam (pointing finger).jpg

From the NYT:

The man who, legend has it, gave rise to the iconic symbol of the United States was born on Sept. 13, 1766, in Arlington, Mass.

Samuel Wilson was a meatpacker in upstate New York who helped feed American soldiers in the War of 1812, the fight between the United States and Britain that also inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

According to the legend, a worker wisecracked that the letters “U.S.” on Mr. Wilson’s shipping crates stood for “Uncle Sam” Wilson. The joke that the shipments came from Uncle Sam turned him into a stand-in for the federal government.

The somewhat random comment was picked up by others, and he started to appear in drawings in newspapers in the 1830s.

Thomas Nast, the cartoonist who gave us the donkey as a symbol for Democrats and the elephant for Republicans, made Uncle Sam’s goatee famous.

No matter that Mr. Wilson, who died in 1854, was clean-shaven. His name, but not his likeness, was turned into a patriotic symbol replicated forevermore in political cartoons, ads, posters and fine art.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- On This Day


On Sept. 12, 1977, the South African black student leader Steven Biko died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.

And in honor of Steven Biko...

Human. What Makes Us Human

Google put a link to this film, "Human", with the hashtag #whatmakesushuman on their home page today. Naturally, now obviously, I watched.

They're good. I liked what I saw, and this woman, instantly.

Now I gotta' go watch it.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

New Term for Bought Politicians

So a buddy of mine were talking at work and I gave him my usual, deeply felt opinion, briefly, that I thought the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision had to be overturned and that we had to kill campaign contributions. That, until we do that, nothing would change, it would remain representatives, legislation and so, laws and government for the wealthy and corporations. (I didn't say all that but you get the idea).

And this buddy says we have to end the...

wait for it...



I instantly loved it.

He said it just came to him.

Had to spread the word.  Literally.

(With great thanks to friend Joe--Joe Thompson--for the word. Glad I was there).

Kansas City In Top Ten Cities Facing the "Most Danger Days"

With the warming of the planet, proven, scientifically, it becomes important to know what's in front of us.
There's a rather important article out last month from the online environmental magazine Grist:

Top 10 cities facing the most “danger days” due to climate change

So what is a "danger day"?

A danger day is when the combination of heat and humidity (also known as the heat index) make it feel like it’s 105 degrees F or hotter. Warming temperatures are about to push U.S. cities into a new regime where danger days happen regularly.
With the globe's warming temperatures, it's projected we will continue to have ever-climbing temperatures.

Of the 144 U.S. cities Climate Central analyzed, only 12 of them averaged more than one danger day per year since 1950. Most of those cities are clustered in the South where humidity tends to be worst in the morning while temperatures peak in the late afternoon.

But by 2030, a whopping 85 cities — home to nearly third of the U.S. population — are projected to deal with at least 20 danger days annually. Only nine cities are projected to experience less than one danger day per year. By 2050, just three cities could have as little as one danger day per year, while 109 cities that are home to 125 million Americans will experience 20 danger days or greater annually.

So where does this tend to look likely to hit worst? Where, in the nation, will be most heated and have the most of these "danger days"? Here are the top 10 cities projected now. And look who's right about in the middle of it all:

There is a lot of the Midwest there. Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jackson, Missouri, Wichita, Kansas all along with our own Kansas City.

Some of the ripple effects?

All that added heat will change the daily rhythm of life across the U.S. The impact on health will be a top concern, particularly for children and senior citizens. When the heat index rises above 105°F, heat exhaustion can set in and cause fainting, dizziness, confusion and vomiting. When humidity crosses 60 percent, the body also loses its ability to cool itself by sweating. Hot, humid conditions have made high school football a focal point for heat exhaustion as heat-related deaths have tripled since 1994.

Some states and cities have responded by setting up rules to cancel sports practices based on the weather forecasts while others have cooling centers and warning systems to help deal with oppressive conditions. Rising temperatures mean those plans will have to be adjusted and relied upon more regularly.

Outdoor laborers will see their productivity fall. According to findings in the Risky Business report, the productivity of farmers, construction workers, landscapers, and others who work outside could drop by 3 percent by century’s end.

It will also drive up how much people spend on energy as air conditioning goes from being handy to being a necessity. If greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trend, energy expenditures could rise by up to 7 percent by 2050 and 21 percent by 2100. That added capacity will strain the electricity grid, and even violent crime could rise.

Once again, it doesn't look pretty, ladies and gentlemen.

It would be nice if our legislators---all of them---would start taking action on climate change. Heaven knows some in the business community and the lots of the military, both, already have.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- High Above

In Memoriam, 9/11

To the estimated 4,347 American soldiers who died in the war we were all lied into (see Casualties in Iraq),

On This, the Anniversary of 9/11

Lest we forget.

George W. Bush was president, Dick Cheney, Vice President.

Then-President George W. Bush had ignored daily presidential briefs, warning him of a possible attack by air and by terrorists in general and Osama bin Laden specifically.

One Kansas City area resident, Tomas Young, was inspired to join the military after the attack and did so:

Two days after the September 11 attacks, Young was inspired by President George W. Bush to enlist in the United States Army. There he hoped to earn money for college through the G.I. Bill and, in his words, "exact some form of retribution" on those who caused 9/11.

On April 4, 2004, five days after being sent to Iraq, Young was shot while riding in an open, unarmored truck during an ambush staged by rebels in Sadr City. One of the bullets pierced his spine and left him paralyzed from the chest down.

He returned home to Kansas City, Missouri and joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). He later became a public critic of the Iraq War.

The movie, Body of War, was based on his life and eventual opposition to the Iraq war.

Before his death in November, 2014, he penned the following letter to that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

I post it here, on this anniversary, in hopes of teaching some and so that more not forget what occurred.

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Tomas Young