Blog Catalog

Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Talks In Paris: The Story That's Not Being Covered

So, sure, there are climate change talks going on between 150 nations and it's widely agreed we all need to come to conclusions and goals but.....   in the meantime, there is a rather huge story going on that is extremely pertinent but that isn't being reported much, if at all, by American media. It is this:

Northern China is suffering under a cloud of heavy pollution that is bigger than Spain

As the Paris climate change summit kicks off, China, the world’s leading carbon-emitting country, is choked in pollution. The Ministry of Environmental Protection said Sunday (Nov. 29) (link in Chinese) that heavy smog had covered China’s north, including Beijing, for three days in a row. The haze had reached 530,000 square kilometers ( 204,634 square miles) by Nov. 28.

That is even bigger than the total area of Spain, or California.

The air quality index (AQI) for the fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 had reached “very unhealthy” or “hazardous” levels in 23 cities in the combined Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and surrounding regions on Nov. 28, the ministry said. At one time on Nov. 29, PM 2.5 in Beijing reached 429 micrograms per cubic meter, 17 times the recommended limit by the World Health Organization. The reading of Beijing’s AQI was still “hazardous” at 2pm Hong Kong time on Nov. 30, according toair quality monitors...

It goes on:

Pollution hit northern China earlier this month after coal-powered central heating kicked in. Beijing has issued an “orange” alert—the highest smog alert so far this year—and urged residents to stay indoor. Factories have to reduce production and construction sites and heavy vehicles are banned under the orange alert.

And then, if that isn't enough, if 23 cities across China having horrific pollution isn't enough to scare that nation into action and the rest of us as well, there's this from their next door neighbor:

Early morning fog delayed many trains in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: As world leaders met in Paris on Monday to commit to a united fight against climate change, the capitals of India and China remained blanketed in heavy smog triggered by pollution. The difference was that Beijing sounded an alert for its citizens while in Delhi it was business as usual...

Authorities in Beijing have issued an 'orange' pollution alert, the second highest of four levels, wherein outdoor activities in schools and construction work is suspended and residents warned to stay indoors, agencies reported.

Delhi, meanwhile, witnessed one of its worst smog of the season, with visibility remaining less than 800 metres through Monday. PM 2.5 levels were in the 'severe' category in many parts of the city, with the most polluted spot, Anand Vihar, showing levels up to 530 mcg/cubic m between 2.30pm and 8pm.

Despite being labelled by WHO as the world's most polluted city, there's no protocol in Delhi for warning residents when pollution levels spike in the city. PM 2.5 levels at individual air monitoring stations have in the past few days crossed the 600 mark.

So while it's bad in China and across much of that nation, it's as bad or worse in India, in Delhi. And unlike China, the Indian government doesn't even do anything about it. There are, as the article states, no warnings to the citizens of just how bad the pollution is or what it could mean for the people's health.

With this, it seems a few conclusions absolutely have to be arrived at.

The first is that, yes, we absolutely have to do things about global warming but that we rather have to "go back" to the 60's or 70's American problem, so to speak, about the pollution in these 2 countries. The governments and people of those 2 nations have got to work on these currently life-threatening problems. With India being so desperately poor and trying to industrialize, this will be extremely difficult, without doubt.

The second thing that needs to be pointed out is that we, here in the US, need to lose, once and for all, the silly, irresponsible idea that we don't need the Environmental Protection Agency or that it should be weak.

These 2 countries situations, let alone our own history, should prove that we certainly, absolutely, unquestionably need to commit to clean air, water and soil and that any person or group of people---like the Republicans or Right Wing---who say otherwise are being absurdly, irresponsibly short-sighted and foolish.

Finally, we need, as a nation, as a world, to commit to and accept the idea that we must work, all of us, together, to keep that same air, water and soil clean and that we must accept global warming as described and defined and accepted by the scientists as fact for us all. Then we must work, all of us, the world over, to decrease the ways in which we add to these problems and this issue.

It will not be easy.

Links: China and India Cities Have Worst Air Pollution in the World

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quote of the Day -- On America and Our Guns

And he is correct. We are the only First World, industrialized nation that has this big a problem with guns, weapons, shootings and killings. Seriously.  Enough.  #Enough

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.

Religious Fundamentalists: America vs. the Middle East

This is magnificent. There are only two problems with it.

First, it doesn't make its point in 60 seconds or less and

second, the people who should see it won't and worse, even if they did, they either wouldn't get it or would deny there's any truth to it.

For the rest of us, enjoy.

Happy Birthday, Ida McBeth!

Indeed, happy birthday today, to and for Ida McBeth!

And as an added boost too all of us, out here, she invited us on her Facebook page, to celebrate her birthday with her:

"I'd like to invite all of my facebook family to come share my birthday with me at The Blue Room on Saturday night Nov.28th my show starts @ 8:30-12 midnight. I really look forward to seeing all of you."

Don't mind if I do.

Great Kansas City News Coverage

Purely to make sure more Kansas Citians saw this coverage of our city, Kansas City, and Jackson County on our well-known "Secret Santa" from the CBS Evening News. It is from last year, 2014, but I thought it bears repeating.

Happy holidays, y'all.

Missouri, a Best Example of the Worst in American Politics

One of the things that most all people of the US, from whatever political leanings, can likely agree on is that there is not just too much money in our political process, our election system and campaigns but that there's FAR too much money in it all.  Corporations and the wealthy, with all their money---their tax deductable money, as it turns out--can, in effect, buy their legislators, OUR legislators and so, our legislation, our laws and so, finally, our government. It's well-documented, legalized bribery.

And in no state is this more possible and even rampant than here in our own Missouri.

Because, you see, several years ago, the Republicans in Jefferson City decided they would take away any and all campaign contribution limits so "Katy, bar the door." Because of it, we have gotten things like this:

One man, one St. Louisan, Rex Sinquefield is trying to buy his own candidate for state office in Jefferson City. His political party made it legal.

It gets worse but it's from the same guy:

One man out of the entire state fueling more money to more candidates than any one other person or organization. From the article:

Since making his fortune with his California investment firm and returning to his native state in 2005, Sinquefield has donated more than $37 million to Missouri state-level candidates and causes, according to records. He is by far the most prolific political patron in the history of the state, and one of the biggest in the country.

Think he doesn't have and ideas on pulling political and government strings? Check out this beauty:

In addition to the Missouri contributions, the Sinquefields have given more than $2.3 million in the last decade to 527 committees, which are tax-exempt organizations that can raise unlimited money for general political activities. At least one of those donations has stirred controversy.

It was a $300,000 donation last year to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which subsequently gave its Missouri affiliate $305,050 — most of which went into an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce. Joyce had earlier issued a ruling that in effect killed Sinquefield’s proposed tax overhaul in 2012.

Sinquefield’s spokespeople refused to answer questions before the election about his apparent role in trying to oust Joyce, and his donation to the umbrella group didn’t show up until afterward.

How can that be healthy, politically?

Now, mind you, after covering 37 million dollars in campaign contributions from one man makes $50,000 in donations seem like peanuts but now this has developed:

Two donations to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger tell you everything you need to know about how messed up Missouri’s campaign finance laws are.

The donations, $25,000 each, were made in July and November, but the story really starts about two years ago, in May 2013. Stenger was on the County Council, which was considering a vote on a $30 million cost overrun at the new family court center. Stenger criticized then-County Executive Charlie Dooley for accepting a $10,000 campaign donation from Alberici Construction around the same time the company was seeking the extra $30 million to finish the project. Stenger called it “fishy,” which it was.

Of course, Stenger would later challenge and defeat Dooley, in part on a campaign platform that Dooley was in the pocket of his donors. You see, this is the thing about campaign donations: They’re always fishy when the other guy receives them. Whether it’s two Democrats, as in Stenger and Dooley, or Republicans criticizing each other or members of the other party, elected officials rarely see problems with their own donations, only the other guy’s.

That’s why transparency is so important, so voters, and competing candidates, can make fair judgments about the money elected officials receive to keep them in office.

Fast-forward to Aug. 13 of this year. That’s when David Richardson, an attorney with Husch Blackwell in St. Louis, filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to form a new limited liability company, Givco LLC. Richardson, who deals primarily in real estate law and tax credits, was merely representing clients, whose names don’t appear on the LLC documents on file with the state. This is legal in Missouri, and quite common. It makes it difficult to track down the people behind the LLC, which isn’t necessarily a problem until that company throws itself into the political process.

Givco did that two weeks after it was formed, giving Stenger $25,000. A company with seemingly anonymous backers forms. Two weeks later it gives a big check to a county executive. Fishy, yes?

Local government watchdog Tom Sullivan criticized the donation at the next County Council meeting. Nobody paid too much attention, perhaps in part because nobody knew who was behind the money. Then, on Nov. 5, Givco gave again. Another $25,000 to Stenger. At $50,000 this year, that made Givco the county executive’s biggest individual donor.

The people behind Givco, it turns out, are developers David and Bob Glarner, the brothers who are behind a multimillion-dollar development to bring life back to the Northwest Plaza area. I know this only because Stenger told me when I asked him about Givco. There is no public record paper trail that ties Givco to the Glarners...

"In Missouri, of course, all of this is legal, which is why the state received a D-minus in a recent national report on government ethics by the Center for Public Integrity. It starts with being one of the few states to allow unlimited donations, making $25,000 checks relatively common in Missouri politics. Last year there were 441 campaign donations of that amount or higher in the state. In 2015, an off-election year, there have already been 238."

What this all so clearly points out is how the money, the big money, is flowing from the wealthy, as in the case of Mr.Sinqfield, and corporations, as in the case of the Glarneys and Givco, to our state and federal government representatives.

Folks, we have got to Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government. We need to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and end campaign contributions, entirely, once and for all and as soon as possible. 

And it has to come from us.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Explaining America and Middle-Class Support for Republicans

I held off one day, in an effort for us all to maybe just simply enjoy Thanksgiving to post something about this terrific article I found yesterday.

Here’s how delusional nostalgia is killing the white working class

There's a great deal of good information here, backed by scientific, sociological studies but I'll just point out a few of the best highlights:

A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute finds there are a few things you can count on about those who believe America’s best days are behind us. They are overwhelmingly white, and if you dig a bit deeper and examine the socioeconomics, often working class. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they stubbornly believe white people are subject to the same levels of racism as black and other people of color. They think the U.S. was a better place in the 1950s, when Jim Crow was law, immigrants were overwhelmingly European, women knew their place, and gay people were essentially invisible.

In tandem with the findings of another recent study revealing middle-age, working-class white Americans are the only group in the country whose health and mortality rates are worsening, the survey offers more than just a look at the ideas and attitudes that characterize a slice of the population. It provides a possible diagnosis for what ails, and may very well be killing, an entire demographic.

There have been previous indications—scientific, sociological, and anecdotal—of some of PRRI’s findings. A 2011 Tufts University survey showed white Americans believe they actually experience more racism than African Americans, and a Pew survey from the same year found non-college-educated, working-class whites are the least hopeful group in the country about the future. The rightwing rallying cry to “Make America Great Again” (a recycled political slogan that is now the property of Donald Trump) is proof that a decent portion of white voters think America was at its best when fewer citizens had civil and political rights, at some arbitrary point in this country’s rich history of morally indefensible state-sanctioned injustice, violence and oppression. One cannot avoid noticing that the current culture wars, full of incoming attacks from the right on nearly every civil and human rights gain of the last 60 years, are being fought with renewed vigor by those who want to turn back the hands of time.

Really, this explains so much.

It explains why some people from my own, very deeply middle-class family would buy off on the Republican Party, its platform and so many of the things that come out of the Right Wing. It's just sad. But additionally, it's frustrating, even to the point, at their worst, frightening. 

What's also scary and even odd is that these people of the middle-, lower- and working classes who hold these views and vote Right Wing and Republican are also so very deeply proud of their membership in the Right Wing and Republican Party and so proud of their views. And along with being proud, they're also very emotional about their views and opinions and that's where hate and disdain for others with opposing views and even racism can and do, too frequently, jump in.

Here's one part of the studies that's exceptionally disturbing, if not frightening:

The 2015 American Values Survey reaffirms the myopic outlook of an astounding portion of the country. Researchers, who polled nearly 2,700 adults from every state and Washington, D.C., found that 43 percent of Americans overall believe racial bigotry against whites has become a problem on par with discrimination against black people and other people of color...

It goes on:

On “reverse racism,” half of white Americans overall agree “discrimination against whites is as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”

This certainly explains things I see even out of our own Kansas City and St. Louis and Springfield, let alone across the nation.

In all, it's stunning. What I don't know is how we change this. I don't know how we educate and inform people of how our nation actually is, today, let alone the total picture of our nation's history that got us to today, to where we are today. These people are adults, after all. They certainly aren't going back to any classroom to study American history they need to know, let alone any current events or civics or sociology classes that could get them up to speed with how things actually are, especially for people of other races in our country.

And in the meantime, Fox and Breitbart and Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are out there spreading untruths and emotionalism and ugly opinions and racism and all kinds of ugliness and negativity. Making things worse--worst, really--there's a Right Wing, racist, hating nutjob, Donald Trump, who's in first place in opinion polls in next year's presidential race.

Donald Trump

Usually, I can end these things with hope.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On This Day, 1986

U.S. President Reagan and Attorney Gen. Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to rebels in Nicaragua. 

National Security Advisor John Poindexter resigned and Oliver North was fired.

Nothing came of the federal laws being broken.

Nothing. Ever.

To this day, legions of Americans have nothing but praise for Ronald Reagan.

Humankind's Worst "Pandora's Box"

It occurred to me today, humanity's biggest and worst "Pandora's box" must surely be gunpowder, first, so many centuries ago but explosives in general.

Peace can only come from the heart not guns and bombs

Certainly drugs are another and they destroy lives but it seems our ability to shoot and kill each other and blow each other up has become far bigger. And a far bigger problem and threat to humankind.

I look around the world today, city to city, state to state, region to region, here in America but across nations, too, and the world, and it seems clear we seem to be exploding and so, imploding.

From our neighborhoods and the streets of Kansas City, indeed, nearly every city of our own nation, we see shooting after shooting, nearly daily.

Senseless, needless, totally unnecessary shootings. And far too many killings, from all that.

Same, as I said above, in all our big cities.

It divides us, too, the rest of us who aren't shot and killed. We have our opinions but so many don't know what to do about it.

Then, all those guns and the desires and perceived needs for them and for more guns ends up creating now companies and corporations. And these corporations, by their nature, must not just exist but must grow and grow, perpetually, and thrive and grow more.

And this corporate growth and the demand for more infinite growth means all they want to do is sell more and yet more weapons, guns. So there are yet more and more and more guns---on our streets, in our homes, in our society.

And guns are no solution. Guns don't solve problems. Far from it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So we have guns, expanding in numbers all across our own nation then they are expanding across the world.

And one of the worst places on Earth they're expanding in numbers may well be the Middle east where, along with bombs, people are shooting and killing enemies but also strapping bombs on themselves in order to blow up and kill their enemies.

The most bizarre of these situations that destroys the very societies they're in is that of Sunni Muslims killing Shi'ia Muslims.

From what I understand, to people of cold, straightforward logic, the differences between the two groups, even though they're both Muslim, is extremely small. And yet, even though small in differences, they are committed to annihilating each other and their numbers, along with anyone and everyone else they disagree with or whom they find "in their way."


With the world seemingly blowing up, so to speak and no pun intended, certainly, Pope Francis recently said this:

Pope claims Christmas is a 'charade' 

due to continued war

We have wars breaking out now in Europe, more in the Middle East, still in Afghanistan, Syria, so many places.

Then there are the bombs. Always the bombs.

Still the corporations build more.

We learn nothing.

Link:  Peace can only come from the heart not guns and bombs

Side note:  I'd thought about this article for a couple days, anyway and decided to write it yesterday, last evening. By sheer coincidence, after having written it, I discovered that on this day, November 25 in 1867, Alfred Nobel patented dynamite.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- A Tribute

Celine Dion's tribute to Paris and the French -- her version of Edith Piaf's "Hymne à L'Amour" from last night's American Music Awards.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy National Absurdity Day

Because it is.

Wallpaper strange funny weird crazy absurd awesome 579

"Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity. And maybe that's what gives us our joy for living, because the only thing that can defeat absurdity is lucidity."

--Albert Camus

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Gettysburg Address

Given this day, 1863

Abraham Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal"

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedica-ted to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Happy Birthday, Willie!

Disney's "Steamboat Willie", born this day, 1928

The Great American Smokeout Tomorrow!

Yes sir! The annual Great American Smokeout is tomorrow!

War Memorial Hospital's photo.

For any of the smokers out there, maybe today is the day to take this push and try to quit, if even for a day. There are so many benefits, too, as you may well already know. There are many benefits to your health but saving money factors in and more.

So good luck tomorrow and have fun with it! (If possible).

Happy Birthday, Calvin---and Hobbes!

Doppelgangers: Marshall and Kali have been compared to the characters of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which follows the antics of a boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger

From the New York Times this morning.

Thirty years ago today, a mischievous 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger appeared in a comic strip.

It was the start of a 10-year run for “Calvin and Hobbes,” a peek into childhood that a Wall Street Journal essay this year called America’s strangest, funniest and most profound comic strip.

The strip took its name from the serious philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, but the comic’s Calvin believed in having the most fun with the least amount of effort and the wildest imagination.

Calvinball, for instance, is a sport with no rules except those Calvin makes up as he goes along. (The Washington Post this year compared Donald J. Trump’s campaign to Calvinball.)

At its peak, “Calvin and Hobbes” ran in 2,400 newspapers. Then in 1995, the creator, Bill Watterson abruptly ended it with little explanation and has been largely out of view since.

“I’m proud of the strip, enormously grateful for its success and truly flattered that people still read it,” he said in 2010, “but I wrote ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ in my 30s, and I’m many miles from there.”

Still, anything is possible. The cartoons “Bloom County” and “Doonesbury,” which soared in the same era, only to be retired, made comebacks.

Here's hoping.

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

87 years young today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who Created That Mess In the Middle East, Anyway?

It wouldn't be us, would it?

Rise Up For Freedom's photo.

Quote of the Day -- On Any "War On Terrorism"

What far too many don't know or realize. Or accept.

"You can't have a war on terrorism because that's not a actual enemy, it's an abstract. It's like having a war on dandruff. That war will be eternal and pointless. It's idiotic.

That's not a war, it's a slogan. it's a lie. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented in America. And we use it to sell soap, wars and presidential candidates in the same fashion."

--Gore Vidal.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kansas Republicans in Topeka Have Their Priorities Set

kansas, state capitol, topeka, sundown

Indeed, those Kansas Republicans over in Topeka, from the Governor all through the state capitol, surely have their priorities set. In stone.

Years ago now, they cut taxes for the already-wealthy and corporations, raised them on the middle- and lower- and so, working-classes and set about just the chain of events they wanted. They were sure it would produce grand, paying results for the state. So the economists said they'd be wrong! So what?

Turns out, as we've found, as the same economists predicted, the economists were, in fact, correct and those same Right Wing legislators were dead wrong. Colossally, fiscally wrong:

Kansas faces nearly $120 million shortfall 

for fiscal year

Gov. Sam Brownback will pull money from the state’s highway fund and other sources after state economists projected a $118 million budget shortfall Friday.

Even after those adjustments, the state is projected to have a cash balance of $5.6 million at the end of June and to face a shortfall of $175.6 million for 2017, the economists said.

Asked whether the state is in the red, Budget Director Shawn Sullivan replied: “Depends on what you look at. We’re basically at zero right now, so yes.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the Legislature would start the 2016 session “basically where we were at the beginning of the 2015 session,” facing the question of how to right the state’s finances.

Lawmakers ended a record-long session in June by increasing sales taxes to cover a budget deficit caused in large part by income tax cuts...

...The latest shortfall comes after sales tax revenue fell short of projections. The state’s economists lowered the estimate for sales tax revenue by $91 million for the year while lowering the estimate for overall revenue by $159 million.

As for just a glimmer of what this means for Kansas, the article goes on:

Brownback will make a combination of budget cuts and funding sweeps to balance the budget.

He will take $50 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Sullivan said this would not affect previously announced highway projects.

He also will take $9 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund, which goes to support early childhood programs such as Early Head Start.

Sullivan said this would not affect the programs’ funding for this year. But the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children said that this would affect long-term funding for children’s programs, which have been cut in recent years...

...Brownback will also sweep $5 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, a quasi-governmental agency meant to spur investment in the biotech sector. The Eagle reported in July that the KBA was already on the brink of collapse and halting new investment in the face of reduced state funding.

As for Kansas schools, you might ask?

The governor made no cuts to education, but Scott Rothschild, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said that the budget news was still a cause for concern for schools.

“The future doesn’t look good. We’re going to have to keep our eye on this,” he said. “Obviously, we have tax cuts that were implemented that have put us in a perpetual budget crisis.”

Then there's this budget cut:

An advocacy group says a budget adjustment that took $9 million from Kansas’ Children’s Initiatives Fund will mean a cut in money promised to 20 children’s programs.

The Kansas City Star reports a review by Kansas Action for Children says the budget adjustment will cost early childhood grant programs about 6.5 percent in funding for fiscal year 2016 and about 3 percent in fiscal year 2017.

Stealing from children. And the poor. Nice, huh? Real Christians, those, eh?

But did they take care of themselves? Did the Republican legislators over there in Topeka make sure they, themselves were taken care of? Why don't be silly! OF COURSE they did!

Kansas legislators get 8.5 percent raise 

in allowance

Check out this wonderful stuff:

Kansas lawmakers quietly and automatically got an 8.5 percent raise in their allowance last month.

The raise is because of an escalator clause in state law that has increased lawmakers’ daily “subsistence payments” by more than 28 percent through the past seven years of fiscal woes, employee pay freezes and cuts in other government departments.

The payments, also known as per diem, are the set amount lawmakers get to pay their living expenses each day they work in Topeka.

As of Oct. 1, it’s $140 a day, up from $129.

The per diem payments are actually about 45 percent more than legislators earn in salary, and the money is theirs to keep and spend however they want.

For the legislators, those automatic raises in per diem essentially represent an increase in their compensation, without them having to make the politically difficult floor vote to raise their salaries.

Read more here:

So first, they got a pay raise. 

Second, it's automatic. They don't have to have a messy---and possibly reported on---vote about it.

Third and finally, whatever they don't spend, they get to keep. Not like in the business sector, which these people say they like to emulate. If they don't spend it, they get to stash it.

Can you imagine getting $140 per day from your boss for "expenses", on top of your pay? Wouldn't that be a sweet deal? You think you wouldn't "brown bag" it to work or eat on the cheap so you could keep that for yourself?

Don'tcha just love government representatives like these?

Don'tcha just love "small government", Right Wing, Republican legislators who always harp how they're "for the people" and low spending?

Don'tcha just love Kansans who vote for these people?

Doesn't it make you want to move and live there?

Additional links:

Mizzou, In the News For Good Things This Time

Yes sir, you'd think if the University of Missouri is in the New York Times today for anything, it must surely be all bad.

You'd be mistaken.

Love Your Country

Ah, patriotism.

Missouri, Fairness and Justice in Today's New York Times

Yes, St. Louis County and so, Missouri and fairness and gross unfairness, all in today's, Sunday New York Times.

It's an important, if brief read. A real eye-opener and certainly not limited to just that area.

And not just one article, one op/ed piece but two, originating out of Missouri politics and events lately. Here's the second. Also brief but, I think, again, important:

Beat the Press

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day, 2015

Remembering World War II, by the numbers. An informative, fascinating, possibly even important video on the people killed in World War II.

Never forget.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Leawood, Kansas?

So a new ranking list came out last week. It was this:

2015's Best & Worst Small Cities in America

And that's all well and good and you wouldn't maybe think much about it but look what small city made the number 5 spot on the "best" list:

The best small cities in America:

1. Princeton, N.J.
2. Littleton, Colo.
3. Dublin, Ohio
4. Brookfield, Wis.
5. Leawood, Kans.
6. Southlake, Tex.
7. Westfield, Ind. 
8. Northampton, Mass.
9. Ankeny, Iowa
10. Crystal Lake, Ill
Leawood, Kansas?

Leawood freaking Kansas?

One of the best small cities in America?

For what? It's cozy, old downtown area?

Here's at least part of what the rankings were based on--

Overall Rank
Overall Score
‘Affordability’ Rank
‘Economic Health’ Rank
‘Education & Health’ Rank
‘Quality of Life’ Rank
1Princeton, NJ61.9011441741
2Littleton, CO57.627423315428
3Dublin, OH57.2217143112190
4Brookfield, WI57.182061698248
5Leawood, KS57.097714123523
So... wait. 

Let's start right here with "affordability."

Affordable?  Leawood?  Anyone and everyone in the Kansas City metro knows Leawood is anything but affordable. It's one of the most expensive and exclusive cities in the area. I guess if you compare it to San Francisco or New York, it's affordable.

And the rest of the these rankings, above? Economic health, education and health and quality of life ratings?

Well of course they're all high numbers in Leawood! The people out there are loaded! And not just with booze.

How insane.

If you just put cities on paper, I guess you can come up with rankings and ratings totally disconnected from the actual world out here. The next area city on the list was Wildwood, Missouri (?) at number 30. Shawnee, Kansas, 54. Liberty, Missouri----131. (ouch). Lenexa, 223. Nothing to advertise about, for sure. Blue Springs?  615.  Yowza.

Side note: Also surprising, at least to me, is that all 10---all 10---cities on the "worst" list are from California.

That's got to have 10 different City Halls and Chambers of Commerce scrambling to change things, I would think.