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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More "Big Government" from the "Small Government" Republicans


Republicans and so many in the Right Wing swear they're for "small government", almost at any cost yet here is an example from only this week from a declared and very "Red state", full of Republicans, right next door:

boss



















Law Proposed To Force Employees To Friend Their Boss On Facebook

You'd think it was coming from some satirical website online like "The Onion" or something but no, it's real:

An Arkansas Senate committee met this week to consider a bill that said employees should be essentially forced to “friend” their bosses on Facebook or other social media websites.
The bill targeted online privacy protections for workers that passed as part of a social media rights law two years ago.
The bill passed in a 91-1 Arkansas House vote in February. It holds that employers could require workers to “friend” them on social media, and that firing for a refusal to add them would be seen as just grounds for termination.
Some employers could be granted even more access to their employees’ accounts, by requiring them to turn over their passwords so that employers could read their private emails.
What's amazing about this is that it's being considered formally and that it's, again, coming from the political party that insists it's all about "small", unobtrusive government.

Keep in mind, however, that it was these same "small government" Republicans who brought us the huge cash boondoggle that is the Homeland Security Department and the Patriot Acts, I and II.

They are also the people that say it's the other political party that is the "big government" group.


Friday, March 27, 2015

So, Kansas City.... You Want the Final Four Back?


It looks as though Kansas City's chances for possibly getting the basketball Final Four back from Indianapolis just shot up this week:


It seems the religious zealots over in Indiana got their way with some Right Wing, Republican legislators:


This "religious freedom" bill is their desire to discriminate against fellow Indianans, and legally:

Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person's ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.

Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.

And of course they would deny service. It's their stated goal.

All of a sudden, there are lots and lots of people and groups and even companies calling for a nationwide boycott of the entire state, too, as proof:






So all of a sudden, Kansas City, you're looking better and better.


That Sprint Center you have downtown?

Do you have an open schedule?


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Father Sings to Daughter


And knocks it out of the ballpark.



My God, how beautiful.



What Will It Take to Get Congress to Give Us an Infrastructure Bill?


Yes sir, breaking news on more of America's infrastructure. And ironically, poignantly, it's out of "red state", Republican Texas, no less.





Not only did a bridge collapse but it was tragic, too:

KVUE in Texas is reporting 1 person is dead and 3 are injured in a bridge collapse in Bell County, Texas.
One person is dead and at least three others are injured after a crash along Interstate 35 near mile marker 286 in Salado, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
DPS said the person who died was in a pickup truck driving under the bridge when it collapsed. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, around 11 a.m. Thursday, an oversized tractor trailer hit a beam of the FM 2484 overpass bridge that was under construction on I-35. The impact caused several beams to become dislodged and fall onto the roadway.
Not only is our infrastructure collapsing, as here, but it killed an American and hurt others.

So I ask you, at what point are our representatives in Congress going to do something to write, propose and pass a good, strong, meaningful infrastructure bill?

I say again--

  • Americans need the jobs.
  • Our infrastructure famously needs the updating and improving.
  • And the economy needs the boost.

It should be a no-brainer.

Senator Roy Blunt?

Will you lead on this, sir?


Screw you, America


What the Republicans did yesterday:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)(C), speaks with members of the Republican Senate leadership for the 114th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington November 13, 2014.


Americans need jobs.

America and Americans need improved, updated infrastructure.

The American economy needs a boost.

You think the Senate Republicans would have any of that?

Oh, hell no.

Republicans don't want you to have better infrastructure, more jobs or any such economic boost.

At least, they don't want you to have any such thing while this president is in the White House or likely, until one of their own is there.

Screw you. It's political party first.  You have to wait, America


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Where We Are, Where We Could Be


What we're actually capable of, now.


If only we'd work together.

Imagine.


More Screaming Hypocrisy From the "Small Government" Republicans


Republicans always scream about how they want "small government!" and lower government spending and less debt and deficit.

Sure they are.

But guess what states get the most money from Uncle Sugar.


It's all based on this study:


Seems the "red" states suck up most of the Federal dollar, hands down.  Or hands out, anyway:

States-Most-Least-Dependent-on-the-Federal-Government-Blue-vs-Red-Image

And Kansas is number 5, out of 50, of course, for taking the most Federal money:

Rank(1 = least dependent)State NameReturn on Taxpayer Investment(Category Rank)Federal Funding as % of State Revenue(Category Rank)Federal Employees Per Capita(Category Rank)Number of Civilian Non-Defense Federal Employees per Capita(Category Rank)
1New Jersey$0.48
(4)
26.87%
(10)
0.00382
(5)
0.00178
(2)
2Delaware$0.31
(1)
25.61%
(7)
0.00768
(17)
0.00194
(3)
3Illinois$0.45
(3)
26.41%
(8)
0.00550
(14)
0.00272
(11)
4Minnesota$0.54
(7)
26.88%
(11)
0.00353
(4)
0.00295
(16)
5Kansas$0.54
(6)
25.22%
(6)
0.01460
(37)
0.00342
(25)

It's bad enough they want to take money in the form of tax breaks and unemployment payments, etc., etc., away from the middle-, lower- and working-classes, that's bad.

On top of that, they have to keep working to give more and more money in the form of tax credits and deductions to the already-wealthy and corporations. 

Sure, that's all horrible and wicked and devious enough.

But to, on top of all that ugliness, scream and cry and complain about government spending and debt and deficit and then be the ones that suck up the most money, overall, out of all of us?

It would be funny if it weren't insulting.

And even immoral.

Adding even more irony--and hypocrisy--they're also the "Christians" of the bunch, too. Or say they insist.

It's painful.  Just painful.


Monday, March 23, 2015

One of the Best Things Democrats Have Going for Them Between Now and November 2016


And all they have to do is let it sit there.

Far too many in the Right Wing and US




Harry Truman on "Trickle Down Economics"


We think of the Right Wing's and Republican's "trickle down economics" as having begun with Ronald Reagan back in the 80's, most of us but the fact is, it's a much older idea than that.

It's especially poignant and applicable to us all now because the latest Republican budget introduced in the last few days calls for much the same tactics of cutting social programs like Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid while increasing defense spending and slashing more taxes for the wealthy and corporations, tragically.

Our own Missouri President Harry S. Truman wrote on it, all that long ago.  News flash: he wasn't for it, either:

Truman, Harry S.

The reactionaries hold that government policies should be designed for the special benefit of small groups of people who occupy positions of wealth and influence. Their theory seems to be that if these groups are prosperous, they will pass along some of their prosperity to the rest of us. This can be described as the "trickle down theory."

The vast majority of us reject that theory as totally wrong.

We know that there will be more prosperity for all if all groups have a fair share of the wealth of the country. We know that the country will achieve economic stability and progress only if the benefits of our production are widely distributed among all its citizens.

We believe that it is the Federal Government's obligation, under the Constitution, to promote the general welfare of all our people--and not just a privileged few.

The policies we advocate are based on these convictions.

We maintain that farmers, like businessmen, should receive a fair price for the products they sell.

We maintain that workers are entitled to good wages and to equality of bargaining power with their employers.

We believe that cooperatives and small business should have a fair opportunity to achieve success, and should not be smothered by monopolies.

We hold that our great natural resources should be protected and developed for the benefit of all our people, and not exploited for private greed.

We believe that old people and the disabled should have an assured income to keep them from being dependent on charity.

We believe that families should have protection against loss of income resulting from accident, illness, or unemployment.

We hold that our citizens should have decent housing at prices they can afford to pay.

We believe in assuring educational opportunities for all our young people in order that we may have an enlightened citizenry.


Links: 

Congratulations, Missouri, on your state murder last week.


Click on link for easier viewing.

The Strip - NYTimes.com

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Where We Are, Nationally and Politically


I see so many times online, people saying, the Republicans or the Right Wing or the wealthy just want to wreck the nation or economy. 

It's ridiculous. 

They're merely trying to support their own political party. 

The fact is, they're putting their party first, nation be damned. They'll deny that, sure, but they're scared as hell of Barack Obama becoming the next FDR and thereby setting up for the next, say, 40 years of Democratic control of government. 

The natural outgrowth of that is gerrymandering votes and Jim Crow-like voter ID laws and buying every election they can and not writing, proposing or passing any such infrastructure/jobs bill because the LAST thing they want is a roaring, successful economy. At least they don't want it and don't want to allow it unless or until one of their own, a Republican, is back in the White House. 

So screw you, America. You have to wait. 

And not enough people are on to their game to call them out on it. And Democrats aren't wise or tough enough, or whatever to do so. 

So here we are.


The Republican Nightmare That Is Obamacare


Oops.

'Yep, let's never forget that the GOPtea have openly admitted they "want to make government small enough to drown it in a bathtub."

They'd much rather the federal government be limited to ONLY having a military and leaving ALL else to the states.
They have a vested interest in wanting government programs to fail.
Don't ever forget that!'

Quote of the day -- On Our Modern World


And our screwed-up distribution and priorities

Bernie Sanders's photo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Flashback


'Cuz the law don't change another's mind
when all he sees at the hiring time
is the light on the color bar

That's just the way it is...



Some things will never change


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shame on you, Missouri


You disgust me.

Missouri executes man for 1996 killing of sheriff's deputy



Quote of the day -- I love this woman


Click on picture for easier reading.


'This senior is awesome.'

No Jobs/Infrastructure Bill But A Traitorous Letter to Iran


We have needed a jobs/infrastructure bill for the nation's roads, highways, bridges, airports, sewers and a lot more for more than 6 years, predating the Obama Administrations. I've written about it here before. CBS news' "60 Minutes" covered the story a few months ago as I also noted. Lately, however, the story is coming closer to home, here to Missouri.

Found to be in critical shape, MoDOT closed the I-44 Outer Road bridge over the Gasconade River in Laclede County back in December due to deterioration.

MoDOT: 600 Missouri bridges are in poor to serious condition

Thirty-eight bridges in the greater St. Louis area are just "a step or two from being closed" due to deterioration, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

They are among the nearly 600 bridges statewide that officials say are currently rated in poor to serious condition, but aren't funded in the state's five-year plan for improvements.

But during that same five-year timeframe, MoDOT told the state transportation commission Tuesday, the total number of bridges in critical shape statewide could top 1,000. Within a decade, that number could rise to 1,500 bridges.

So, badly as Americans need more and better and better-paying jobs, badly as we need the infrastructure work done on our bridges and highways, etc., and as badly as we need the economic boost, the Congress right now--the Republican Congress, it needs to be said--has been preoccupied trying to further undermine our current president. And their attempt to do it was most especially with a letter to the Iranian leaders against us, to unwind the peace efforts President Obama is trying to gain for the nation and even the world.

So besides undermining peace efforts and our president, they're also ignoring work that needs to be done.

Marvelous, no?

Ironically, coincidentally, when I was writing this post last evening, an additional article came online, showing further our state's infrastructure situation and needs:

I-70 Westbound Lane Closed After Crews Find Crack In Bridge Beam

So still we wait.

At this point, I absolutely implore you to email your Missouri representatives in Congress, asking them, telling them, as politely but firmly as possible, to write, propose and pass a good, strong, helpful jobs/infrastructure bill:


It's the least they can do.


'Do you think we should invest more in our infrastructure?'

And it's long, long overdue.



Happy St Patrick's Day


25 Little-Known Facts About St. Patrick's Day





Monday, March 16, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- April, Come She Will





Kansas City? Weird?


Yes, Kansas City is on a list recently of the top 10 weirdest cities in the nation:

They're Weird and Proud: America’s Quirkiest Cities


Kansas City? Weird? Number 8 of 10?


What they had to say about us:

These Midwesterners may have struck readers as thrifty and no-nonsense, but that doesn’t make them dull. The city ranked highly for both its museums and its sense of history—though some of that history is distinctly outside the box. TakeThe 1950s All-Electric House, which was originally built to be a glimpse of the future (when everyone, for instance, would have electric curtain openers). Or you can explore the Arabia Steamboat Museum, where you can see a fascinating array of pre-Civil War artifacts, recovered 132 years after the boat sank in the Missouri River. The city also ranked in the top 10 for its coffee, exemplified nicely at Oddly Correct, where cream and sugar are verboten.

I ask again, weird? Kansas City?  It's Independence that has the Hair Museum.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Madness


Damn. String and percussion, all in one. Zounds.

Incredible.




Republican Party Priorities


By now, most of the nation has, I think, heard about the 47 Republicans who got together and signed a letter to the Iranian hard liners, saying they--the Republicans--support them and not our own president when it comes to negotiating for peace and keeping Iran from building a nuclear reactor.

It was fairly disgusting.

Moving on from that, local news station KY3, in Springfield, covered a story yesterday that bears some additional notoriety:


This is another story I think most of us are familiar with. I know CBS "60 Minutes" did a story on it, telling of the lack of maintenance and upkeep our nation's roads, bridges, streets and other essential infrastructure have gotten and how they need work and investment. From this story yesterday:

74 Southwest Missouri bridges are currently listed in "critical condition" according to MoDOT, but department officials say the state doesn't have the money to repair those bridges...

And that's just Southwest Missouri bridges, not the entire state. If it were the entire state, that would have been concern enough.

Right now there are 600 bridges in Missouri listed in poor or critical condition, and officials estimate in 2024 there will 1,500 bridges in those categories. Without repairs, MoDOT says many bridges will have to be given weight restrictions or even be shut down completely.

And the great things about a solution to the nation's infrastructure would be that it would give more Americans jobs--good jobs, and for years---and secondly, also importantly, it would give the economy a boost.

Those are some huge benefits.

But instead of doing the nation's business and writing, proposing, voting on and passing an infrastructure bill, what do the Republicans give their time and attention to?

A letter to our enemies, saying they support them. instead of supporting peace negotiations and yes, our president.

The nerve, the stupidity the selfishness is fairly stunning.

We've all known we need to get money to our Highway Fund, too, but it's also neglected. This Congress and our representatives just simply aren't giving their jobs and our country, our nation, the people, the attention it all deserves.

Once again, they've put their political party ahead of the nation and the nation's needs, ahead of the people.

How long are we going to tolerate this nonsense?



National Elections: What the UK Does Right and We Americans Do So Wrong


Reporter Ari Shapiro, on NPR did a fantastic piece this week on the United Kingdom's elections. It so clearly points out what, as the title says, they do so wisely, so intelligently and what we do so backwards, so wrong and so needlessly expensively:

money changing hands


More than anything, they don't do big, they don't do them for long and they don't do expensive:

America experiences a long, drawn-out election fever, while the U.K. hardly shows any symptoms at all. That is to say, almost none of the events most strongly associated with an American presidential campaign are part of a typical British national election.

Take political rallies, where the bleachers fill with thousands of flag-waving, screaming supporters.

"I remember being in Denver in 2008," says London-based political consultant Steve Morgan. "The stadium was full, and thousands and thousands of people were outside, and millions more watching on television."

Morgan, who has worked in political campaigns in both countries, recalls the landmark moment when Barack Obama formally accepted his party's nomination to be president of the United States.

"We don't have that," he says.

The last time a British political leader tried to do something similar, says Morgan, "Was Sheffield in 1992, and it was Neil Kinnock."

The speech, three days before the election, was a disaster.

"The British media crucified him for trying to run an American-style campaign," says Morgan.

Kinnock's party lost that year, and no British politician has held a big rally like that since.


They--the Brits--very wisely put in a time limit for elections. They only last 4 months long, total. Can you imagine? How wonderful would that be?

Next:

Debates are another staple of American campaigns. There were four Presidential debates in 2012, including the Vice Presidential debate. Not so in the UK.

"Last election we had a leaders' debate for the first time," says political scientist Margaret Scammell of the London School of Economics. "We may or may not have another one this time."

There is no primary system so "there are no polarizing, surprising, wild-card candidates, and everything becomes far more predictable."

This sounds better all the time, doesn't it? Wait. It gets better:

"...in the U.K., 'We have very strict rules where you're not really allowed to advertise via television or radio as a political party,' says Katie Ghose. She's chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, a nonpartisan group that focuses on improving the way campaigns operate."

"We just think that there is really a grotesque amount of money spent in the U.S. on politics," says Ghose. That's a pretty widely-held view in Britain, which highlights a big cultural difference between the U.S. and the U.K.: In America, campaign laws value free speech above all else. The Supreme Court has ruled that limits on campaign spending may amount to limits on speech. In the U.K., people talk less about free speech and more about what Ghose calls "a level playing field."

"If you have one party that's just able to amass a load of money and shout louder than the others, that's not healthy for democracy," Ghose says. "And we wouldn't interpret freedom of speech to mean an unlimited ability to spend, spend, spend."


The hell of all this is that we could do this. There's no reason we couldn't. We could pass a law making elections only--what? One month? Two?  Then create a law making all those "campaign contributions" illegal. It would be a one-two punch, so to speak. And because elections would be so brief, it would make the possibility and feasibility of the campaign contributions ban work. Since there's no campaign, in essence, there would be no need for the campaign money.

It could work. Heck, it would work.

But the fact is, it has to come from us. It has to come from the people. We have to demand it. Who but the people buying elections think it shouldn't or wouldn't work?

Let's get this party started.


The Success That is Obamacare


Breaking news this week on Obamacare show the costs of health care are, in fact, not just low and lower but even lower than expected. This broke in the last 2 days:



This is from business-friendly, traditionally conservative Forbes magazine:



CNN Money:


USA Today:


Obamacare subsidies slash costs for low-income consumers

Even the always Right Wing Washington Times agrees the costs are lower:



Robert Reich puts it well yesterday also, on his Facebook page:

Remember when opponents of Obamacare claimed it would bankrupt America? New cost projections, published yesterday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, show the law costing 29% less over the next five years than the CBO first estimated. The reason: Healthcare costs are rising more slowly than previously assumed. Why the slowdown? (1) Larger co-payments and deductibles have caused consumers to rein in their own spending on healthcare, (2) Obamacare has caused providers to improve efficiencies in delivering healthcare, and (3) The law has also created incentives for more preventive care, thereby reducing the incidence of costly chronic diseases (heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes).
Bottom line: Obamacare is on the way to proving itself a huge success. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Republicans who are still out to kill it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- I'm Thunderstruck


You have to check this out.

Put on a pair of the best headphones you have, crank up the volume, watch and listen.

This doesn't even seem possible. It doesn't seem possible that one person, with one guitar and only one guitar could make this much beautiful noise.

Listen and enjoy.




Did You See What Kansas and Missouri Congressional Members Did?


It's a beauty:


Kansas' Senator Pat Roberts and Representative Jerry Moran and Missouri's Senator Roy Blunt all signed this letter.

Bloomberg News reports on an open letter signed by 47 Republicans warning Iran that whatever they negotiate with President Obama can be undone in two years by the next President, who they presume will side with them.
Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber's entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
There are a great deal of people on social media just now, suggesting, if not saying that these legislators who have signed the letter have committed treason by way of our own Logan Act, which states:

"Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

It's rather difficult to argue with them or with the idea, to me and a lot of us.

Naturally, the usual warmongers like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham are in the group but so are possible 2016 presidential candidates like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and even "Libertarian" Rand Paul.   Mr. "I Don't Do War Because I'm a Libertarian" Rand Paul.

I don't know what's worse here--the idiocy or the demagoguery.

Links:  Logan Act - Wikipedia

Logan Act legal definition of Logan Act


'It's unbelievable. Americans support this deal by a two-to-one margin, but Republicans in the Senate have chosen to put politics before country.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1KNuxed and http://bit.ly/1wUKaKM

Image by @[346937065399354:274:Occupy Democrats].'