Blog Catalog

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- The Parting Glass

I love acapella. And this guy is incredible.

On the Death of the Republican Party (Guest Post)

Robert Reich's photo.

From Professor/economist/commentator/writer Robert Reich and his Facebook page today:

I’m writing to you today to announce the death of the Republican Party. It is no longer a living, vital, animate organization. It has been replaced by warring tribes of rightwing zealots – evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science; libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior; market fundamentalists convinced the “free market” can do no wrong; corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, corporate welfare, tax cuts, and deregulation; right-wing billionaires wanting more of the nation’s wealth than they own already; and white working-class Trumpoids who love Donald and hate Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.

Each tribe has its own organization, its own sources of campaign funding, its own ideology, and its own candidates. What’s left is a lifeless shell called the Republican Party, but the Grand Old Party inside the shell is no more.

I, for one, regrets its passing. Our nation needs political parties to connect up different groups of Americans and to sift through prospective candidates. Without a Republican Party, there’s nothing standing between us and a bunch of liars, bigots, egomaniacs, and creeps who decide on their own to seek the Republican nomination president.

What I resent most about the groups Professor Reich mentions above are the "...right-wing billionaires wanting more of the nation’s wealth than they own already..."    

They're the worst.  As I've written before, on people like the Koch brothers:  born millionaires, now billionaires.      And they want more.

What concerns me most, as we see the Republican Party self-destruct before our very eyes, is the political and power vacuum it will surely create.

We wouldn't want what comes after to be worse than the mess the Republican Party is and has been since around the end of our Civil War.

Three Big Piles of Retirement Money That Were "Just Sitting There"

Here in the US, in the last several decades, we have had at least three different instances of where people had huge amounts of money--hundreds of millions and maybe billions---of dollars sitting around. And people being people and business being business, they saw it sitting there and it just killed them. They knew SOMETHING had to be done with it, would be done with it and by gosh, they could get a piece or chunk of it and who would that hurt, after all?

Well, the fact is, it hurt Americans and soon, with all the Baby Boomers about to retire, it's going to hurt America. And it's going to hurt mightily.

Here are three of the most famous pots of money.

Social Security

This is an old story and well-known.

We had all these people, Americans, many of them the biggest generation to ever come along in our nation's history, contributing to this Social Security fund since FDR got it going and what could Congress do but take and spend it? After all, there's more where that came from, right?

Social Security Scam: Where Did the 

$2.5 Trillion Surplus Go?

One Senator, now deceased, God rest his soul, Senator Patrick Moynihan, made a very public, long term attempt at being wise with the fund.  Unfortunately, even before he passed, it died, also.

But rob it they did.  It is a shadow of its former self.

This example is much more recent, however. This goes back to the budget deal this last Fall, in 2015 so they're still robbing that puppy:

Budget Deal Robs $150 Billion 

from Social Security

So the robbing of and from the Social Security fund is still going on, unabated and I don't think most Americans are even aware.

Next up? The 2nd big pile of money that was sitting around?


And actually, it's piles. There were pensions all over this country---public, private, all kinds. And it was just far too tempting to too many people.

Millions of Americans had pensions. They had been funded mostly by business and by the people themselves, contributing to them through their work, their companies.  Once again, it was just far too much temptation for people and businesses to ignore.

Looting the Pension Funds

There was all that money sitting there and there was no way these people and businesses could let it sit there and not be skimmed.

Again, what could it hurt, right? There was SO MUCH MONEY.  And it wasn't illegal?  Why not, eh?

And then there's the final big pile of money that was heretofore sitting out there, just waiting to be raided.

Mutual Funds

So people saved for retirement. They squirreled their money away, saving for that retirement "rainy day."

And it created, again, huge piles of money. HUGE.  And all kinds of insurance companies and investment companies had these things. It was supposed to be terrific.

Except with the companies who created them "guarding them", protecting them, holding them for these Americans---their customers---it was the fox being in charge of the chicken coop, so to speak.

Who's to say what the fees and charges for holding and protecting and investing these funds were going to be?

Why the very companies taking in all the big money, of course.

These 3 are really untold tales of just what has happened in America in the last 50 years or so to retirement savings. Government had no rules, really, for what could or could not be done to or with them so who's to say what could or would happen to them?

And the answer is, in the place of Social Security, Congress was to say---they spent it.

And in the case of pensions, both private and public, and mutual funds, again, no rules so whoever is in control of them could do whatever with them they wanted. After all, with "campaign contributions", they could keep the regulators--read: Congress---from passing any legislation that would put any restraints on them. And to this day there are no real rules on what can and can't, should or shouldn't be done with people's hard-earned and saved retirement funds.

It's great to be rich, isn't it?

So now, all these millions of Baby Boomers are going to retire and they're going to be sitting on and falling back on either not much or nothing at all.

This was decidedly not how this was supposed to play out and it's certainly not good for either these people or, worst, the nation and our nation's short-term future.

God bless America.

In fact, God help us.

This Year's Coming Summer Olympics


I would nearly bet this year's 2016 Summer Olympics will be the least attended games in years and there are 2 rather significant reasons in their own right. 

'Rio's filth' spoiling 2016 Summer Olympics

Rio de Janeiro water quality concerns 

continue to rise


We shall see.

I certainly wish them well (for what it's worth).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Not Ireland But Scotland But Still Fantastic

It's off the Isles, anyway.

Entertainment Overnight -- Hello

Nice, different version here. A visual and audible feast.

Notes on current trends:

I think the cello has become THE instrument of the new, 21st century.

I think it's fantastic how people are using and incorporating LED lights into all kinds of things but especially performances like these. It's fun and beautiful, both.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Who We Are, America

Who we are, what we've become, what we're actually doing, in spite of what we think of ourselves.

---Our health care has become unobtainable for millions of us.  And we know it.

US Healthcare: Most Expensive and 

Worst Performing

---Same with college education (actually, according to this ranking, we're 3rd most expensive in the world but climbing).

10 Most Expensive Countries for College 

in the World in 2015

---We spend more on what we call defense than any other nation, bar none and far and away, yet we no doubt think of ourselves as a peaceful people and nation.

World's Top Military Spenders: U.S. Spends More than Next Top 14 Countries Combined.

---same with weapons---we are the world's number one arms seller.

So congratulations, America and Americans. I don't think you really know exactly who you actually are and/or what you're doing in the world and even to your own nation.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Happy Birthday

A very happy birthday to now 35 year old blues rocker Jonny Lang.

On That Universal Basic Income??

The futurists and visionaries out in Silicon Valley who see the future coming, seem to agree with me on the need for a universal basic income one day not too far away.

Hint: It's about robots

And keep in mind, this is coming from the very vaulted private sector, too.

A bit from the article:

Basic income is having a moment. First Finland announced it would launch an ambitious experiment to see if it would work to give everyone in a given area is given a set amount of cash every year from the government, no strings attached. Now the Silicon Valley seed investment firm Y Combinator has announced it wants to fund a basic income experiment in the US.

YC's president, Sam Altman, announced on the YC blog that the company wants to hire a researcher to "work full-time on this project for 5 years," and supervise an experiment wherein Y Combinator will "give a basic income to a group of people in the US for a 5 year period, though we’re flexible on that and all aspects of the project."

Y Combinator — a startup incubator that counts Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit among its alumni — seems mostly interested in basic income as a response to technological unemployment. In the future, the reasoning goes, enough work will be automated that demand for all but the highest skilled labor will collapse, leaving a small group of programmers and capitalists with all the coconuts and most people with nothing.

I'm skeptical this is ever going to happen (Matt Yglesias makes a good case against the hypothesis here), but basic income is one way to make sure everyone survives structural employment changes in the future.

"I’m fairly confident that at some point in the future, as technology continues to eliminate traditional jobs and massive new wealth gets created, we’re going to see some version of [a basic income] at a national scale," Altman writes.

As for me, I, too am skeptical. I'm skeptical humans would be so smart---or fair and just---to set up such a system.

But there's always hope.

Note:  The article is a fascinating one, telling about different past and current attempts and experiments at what does and does not work with this and the possible ramifications. To me, it's well worth the read.

What Democratic Socialism Is -- And Isn't

For all the uninformed out there and/or the Right Wingers and/or Republicans and/or just outright fearful people---

Curt Kelley's photo.

We Need To Be Better Than This, America

Since when do we tolerate and take seriously a presidential candidate for whom articles can be written about how many insults they've thrown out?

This, from The New York Times today:

How and why did we lower our standards to this point?

More importantly, can't we be smarter than this?

Shouldn't we?

And as if that isn't bad enough, from the front-runner in the polls from the Right Wing and Republican Party, there's also this:

The GOP Candidates Are Shockingly 
Uninformed About Foreign Policy

This is no way to run a nation, folks.

RNC Chair: ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ if Trump Sits Out Debate

Biden Tells Dems the GOP Presidential Field Is ‘A Gift from the Lord

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- New

Don't Wanna' Study War No More

This is so true and America, the world's biggest arms seller, is the biggest, worst culprit.

Peace loving people, my ass.

What White People Don't Get (Guest Post)

I saw this last evening on Facebook and thought it important to post.

Steve M Williams
December 5, 2015 · Clovis, CA

This put me damn near in tears; read this encounter with police that professor Steve Locke went through, and it will explain everything you need to know about being black in 21st century America. If you don't get it from this then really, I'm wasting my time trying to explain it.

Steve M Williams's photo.

This is what I wore to work today.

On my way to get a burrito before work, I was detained by the police.

I noticed the police car in the public lot behind Centre Street. As I was walking away from my car, the cruiser followed me. I walked down Centre Street and was about to cross over to the burrito place and the officer got out of the car.

“Hey my man,” he said.

He unsnapped the holster of his gun.

I took my hands out of my pockets.

“Yes?” I said.

“Where you coming from?”


Where’s home?”


How’d you get here?”

“I drove.”

He was next to me now. Two other police cars pulled up. I was standing in from of the bank across the street from the burrito place. I was going to get lunch before I taught my 1:30 class. There were cops all around me.

I said nothing. I looked at the officer who addressed me. He was white, stocky, bearded.

“You weren’t over there, were you?” He pointed down Centre Street toward Hyde Square.

“No. I came from Dedham.”

“What’s your address?”

I told him.

“We had someone matching your description just try to break into a woman’s house.”

A second police officer stood next to me; white, tall, bearded. Two police cruisers passed and would continue to circle the block for the 35 minutes I was standing across the street from the burrito place.

“You fit the description,” the officer said. “Black male, knit hat, puffy coat. Do you have identification.”

“It’s in my wallet. May I reach into my pocket and get my wallet?”


I handed him my license. I told him it did not have my current address. He walked over to a police car. The other cop, taller, wearing sunglasses, told me that I fit the description of someone who broke into a woman’s house. Right down to the knit cap.

Barbara Sullivan made a knit cap for me. She knitted it in pinks and browns and blues and oranges and lime green. No one has a hat like this. It doesn’t fit any description that anyone would have. I looked at the second cop. I clasped my hands in front of me to stop them from shaking.

“For the record,” I said to the second cop, “I’m not a criminal. I’m a college professor.” I was wearing my faculty ID around my neck, clearly visible with my photo.

“You fit the description so we just have to check it out.” The first cop returned and handed me my license.

“We have the victim and we need her to take a look at you to see if you are the person.”

It was at this moment that I knew that I was probably going to die. I am not being dramatic when I say this. I was not going to get into a police car. I was not going to present myself to some victim. I was not going let someone tell the cops that I was not guilty when I already told them that I had nothing to do with any robbery. I was not going to let them take me anywhere because if they did, the chance I was going to be accused of something I did not do rose exponentially. I knew this in my heart. I was not going anywhere with these cops and I was not going to let some white woman decide whether or not I was a criminal, especially after I told them that I was not a criminal. This meant that

I was going to resist arrest. This meant that I was not going to let the police put their hands on me.

If you are wondering why people don’t go with the police, I hope this explains it for you.

Something weird happens when you are on the street being detained by the police. People look at you like you are a criminal. The police are detaining you so clearly you must have done something, otherwise they wouldn’t have you. No one made eye contact with me. I was hoping that someone I knew would walk down the street or come out of one of the shops or get off the 39 bus or come out of JP Licks and say to these cops, “That’s Steve Locke. What the FUCK are you detaining him for?”

The cops decided that they would bring the victim to come view me on the street. The asked me to wait. I said nothing. I stood still.

“Thanks for cooperating,” the second cop said. “This is probably nothing, but it’s our job and you do fit the description. 5′ 11″, black male. One-hundred-and-sixty pounds, but you’re a little more than that. Knit hat.”

A little more than 160. Thanks for that, I thought.

An older white woman walked behind me and up to the second cop. She turned and looked at me and then back at him. “You guys sure are busy today.”

I noticed a black woman further down the block. She was small and concerned. She was watching what was going on. I focused on her red coat. I slowed my breathing. I looked at her from time to time.

I thought: Don’t leave, sister. Please don’t leave.

The first cop said, “Where do you teach?”

“Massachusetts College of Art and Design.” I tugged at the lanyard that had my ID.

“How long you been teaching there?”

“Thirteen years.”

We stood in silence for about 10 more minutes.

An unmarked police car pulled up. The first cop went over to talk to the driver. The driver kept looking at me as the cop spoke to him. I looked directly at the driver. He got out of the car.

“I’m Detective Cardoza. I appreciate your cooperation.”

I said nothing.

“I’m sure these officers told you what is going on?”

“They did.”

“Where are you coming from?”

“From my home in Dedham.”

“How did you get here?”

“I drove.”

“Where is your car?”

“It’s in the lot behind Bukhara.” I pointed up Centre Street.

“Okay,” the detective said. “We’re going to let you go. Do you have a car key you can show me?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m going to reach into my pocket and pull out my car key.”


I showed him the key to my car.

The cops thanked me for my cooperation. I nodded and turned to go.

“Sorry for screwing up your lunch break,” the second cop said.

I walked back toward my car, away from the burrito place. I saw the woman in red.

“Thank you,” I said to her. “Thank you for staying.”

“Are you ok?” She said. Her small beautiful face was lined with concern.

“Not really. I’m really shook up. And I have to get to work.”

“I knew something was wrong. I was watching the whole thing. The way they are treating us now, you have to watch them. ”

“I’m so grateful you were there. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Don’t leave, sister.’ May I give you a hug?”

“Yes,” she said. She held me as I shook. “Are you sure you are ok?”

“No I’m not. I’m going to have a good cry in my car. I have to go teach.”

“You’re at MassArt. My friend is at MassArt.”

“What’s your name?” She told me. I realized we were Facebook friends. I told her this.

“I’ll check in with you on Facebook,” she said.

I put my head down and walked to my car.

My colleague was in our shared office and she was able to calm me down. I had about 45 minutes until my class began and I had to teach. I forgot the lesson I had planned. I forget the schedule. I couldn’t think about how to do my job. I thought about the fact my word counted for nothing, they didn’t believe that I wasn’t a criminal. They had to find out. My word was not enough for them. My ID was not enough for them. My handmade one-of-a-kind knit hat was an object of suspicion. My Ralph Lauren quilted blazer was only a “puffy coat.” That white woman could just walk up to a cop and talk about me like I was an object for regard. I wanted to go back and spit in their faces. The cops were probably deeply satisfied with how they handled the interaction, how they didn’t escalate the situation, how they were respectful and polite.

I imagined sitting in the back of a police car while a white woman decides if I am a criminal or not. If I looked guilty being detained by the cops imagine how vile I become sitting in a cruiser? I knew I could not let that happen to me. I knew if that were to happen, I would be dead.

Nothing I am, nothing I do, nothing I have means anything because I fit the description.

I had to confess to my students that I was a bit out of it today and I asked them to bear with me. I had to teach.

After class I was supposed to go to the openings for First Friday. I went home."

~Steve Locke

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- And So It Goes

WWI Memorial in Washington, Too

Seems the Federal government in Washington, DC just can't keep from spending money or creating a second World War I memorial. This broke today.

Chicago architect, 25, wins design contest for World War I memorial in D.C.

It's not a huge surprise. Maybe a bit of a local disappointment, for us, certainly, not that people would come here instead of going to Washington for one of these memorials.

We'll just know ours is better.

Check that. 


CIA Whistleblower, Missouri-born, In Prison


I hadn't heard this story but one CIA whistleblower, Jeffrey Sterling, " American lawyer and former CIA employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for revealing details about Operation Merlin to journalist James Risen."  

Mr. Risen you may remember:

,,,is the author of the book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (January 2006). The book conducted important investigations into Central Intelligence Agency activities. It states that the CIA carried out an operation in 2000 (Operation Merlin) intended to delay Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program by feeding it flawed blueprints for key missing components—which backfired and may actually have aided Iran, as the flaw was likely detected and corrected by a former Soviet nuclear scientist the operation used to make the delivery. In early 2003, the New York Times refrained from publication of the story after an intervention by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice with the NYT Executive Editor Howell Raines.

So Mr. Sterling "blew the whistle" on the CIA over their own illegal activities and now he's in jail. 

He's originally from our own Cape Girardeau. He also got his Juris Doctor degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling was being investigated during the Bush administration. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, one of the few people in US history whose alleged contact with a journalist was punished under espionage law.

In May 2015, Sterling was sentenced to 3½ years in prison.

So one more time, our government is found doing things illegal---against our own laws---as with Edward Snowden, it seems, someone blows the whistle, so to speak, and they end up in jail, no one else.

And check this out. According to the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Sterling:

Sterling was convicted of espionage charges on January 26, 2015. Sentencing was originally scheduled for April 24, but after learning of the sentence of no more than two years’ probation plus a fine given one day earlier to David Petraeus for the felony of providing classified information to an unauthorized person, Sterling's lawyers submitted a plea that Sterling "not receive a different form of justice" than Petraeus, asking for a similarly lenient sentence instead of the 19 to 24 years imprisonment sought by the federal prosecutors.

So the white General "provides classified information to an unauthorized person" and gets probation. 

The black guy in the CIA gets 3-1/2 years?


That's what passes for justice in America?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Birthday Tribute

Happy birthday, Etta James, born this day 1938.

We're still enjoying your work and the fruits thereof.

Thank you.

What the Koch Brothers Are Doing and Why It Harms America and Americans

A brief and short but rather scary description of just what Charles and David Koch do and are doing with all their money to benefit themselves and why and how it harms Americans and America.

Best Coffee in the State?

There's one more new article out there in the media world, this one days old, extolling

The Best Places For Coffee In Every State

And they're not all Starbucks.

As for little ol' Mizzerree, they say it's not in St. Loo:

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset
Quay Coffee: Get a head start on your day and show up early to Kansas City's Quay, since there's always a crowd.

As for Kanzass, it's close by, also.


Black Dog Coffeehouse: If impressive latte art makes your day, then Black Dog in Lenexa is for you.

It seems the Kansas City metropolitan area just has it all, doesn't it?

So bon app├ętit, Kansas City. Enjoy.

On Big Money In Our Elections and Government

Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking in Congress, about the obscene money in our political elections and government, buying that government.

Senator Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are the only two, I believe, speaking up and out from Congress on this ugly, corrupt situation.

We have to overturn the Citizens United ruling and end campaign contributions. If we don't do these, nothing will change for the better, for the people. And the change must come from us.

Link:  Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government

Rare Good News Out of Kansas

kansas, state capitol, topeka, sundown

Here's a rare one.  Good news out of Kansas state government. Naturally, it comes from the Courts, where intelligence, so far, still rules. From the New York Times over the weekend:

A Kansas appeals court, in a split decision, held that the state Constitution, like the federal one, protects abortion rights, affirming a lower court order blocking enforcement of a restrictive 2015 law.

A bit from the article:

In a split decision, the Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday held that the state Constitution, like the federal one, protected a woman’s right to an abortion and affirmed a lower court order blocking enforcement of a restrictive 2015 law.

The ruling resulted from a 7-to-7 vote by the appeals court.

That, as I said, it the good news. Now, the bad. It's likely still not fully settled.

In a tie, the lower-court ruling is upheld, but the split suggested that the interpretation of abortion rights under the state Constitution is far from settled and is likely to be considered by the state Supreme Court.

Given how the Right Wing and Republicans seem to want to fight this issue until it's illegal in the nation, it will, no doubt, come up again.  And again.

But for now, anyway, intelligence and common sense ruled.

It's a rare, happy day in the Sunflower state.

Meanwhile, there is this, from the more national front:

Enjoy your Monday, y'all.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Adele, in Reggae

Another great version of a good to great song by a wonderful voice, very much her/their own.

Republican Party and Right Wing in Freefall


I keep finding, by pure chance, more and yet more indications, at least weekly, of Right Wing and Republican Party splintering. So much so that even the word "splintering" doesn't seem strong enough to describe it. They seem to be nothing but attacking one another and tearing the party apart.

I just ran across a few examples today, again, by pure chance. All came from the site Mediaite  today.Here's the first.

Here's the very Right Wing, very conservative, very Republican-supporting National Review attacking Donald Trump, really, and the people who support him, even though he's the frontrunner in the polls. How fantastic is that?  Well, at least for the rest of us, anyway.

Here's the second internal attack within the Party I saw today:

Fox's WattersNational Review Writers 'Putting Pure Conservatism Over the Country'

Get that. Nearly unbelievable. Right Wing, ultra-conservative, Republican supporting Fox, attacking the, again, very Right Wing and Conservative and Republican Party supporting National Review, of all things, for being too conservative and, as it says, "putting pure Conservatism over..." the interests "...of the country."

And the third:

Again, a staunch Right Winger, Pat Buchanan, attacking a long time, staunch Right Wing media source for daring to criticize Donald Trump, one of the two, if not the most popular candidates for the presidency this year, in polling.

Here's the fallout of the National Review issue:

Finally, check out what some of the heads of the party took up:

GOP Civil WarLeading Conservatives Pen Massive Anti-Trump Manifesto

More on this diatribe by Conservatives on the horrors of the Donald:

Conservative Writers Explain Anti-Trump Manifesto: 'Terrible Face of America to the World'

And of course they're correct. I can't even imagine Donald Trump as president. Who knows what horrors and gaffs would come from the man?

This is phenomenal, really. The Democratic Party and anyone not supporting the Republicans couldn't write or ask for anything better for this group. It's clear they are, for all practical purposes, self-destructing.

Darn the luck, huh?

Pass the popcorn.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The "Downton Abbey" That's Never Told

For watchers of PBS' "Downton Abbey" and for anyone and everyone who might be interested in old British history, specifically the old, historical homes in which the wealthy lived.

Servant staff for an English Manor House including maids, cooks, groundskeepers etc.

I've been looking for a documentary or video on how the staff or "help" of these homes actually lived and worked and were treated.  I believe I found it.

Enough of that horrible, false, romantic, absurdly pretty view of the "help" that "Downton Abbey" shows.

It skewers history and insults intelligence.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Faster Traffic, Lots of Wins

Why aren't we all doing this?
Traffic moves along the main street as signals change in Butler, Pa.  (AP File Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Ideas Worth StealingEasing traffic with technology, not blacktop

Why aren't all cities doing this? 

Think of the benefits.
  • Less time wasted
  • Less gas burned, wasted
  • Less pollution
  • More productivity
  • Less frustration, anger, even possible road rage
Huge gains.

Can you imagine if Kansas City and all the cities and towns in the area---and state and nation---did this?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Song for a Winter's Night

How Those Guns Are Working For Missouri

CBS News put out the latest ranking by the National Center for Health Statisitcs showing the top 20 states with the heaviest, worst numbers of gun deaths.

Missouri came in at number 12 out of the 50 states.

From across a river, a large arch is to the left of a group of tall buildings.

12. Missouri

Death by firearm per 100,000 population: 14.4
No permit required for a purchase of a firearm.

Yay, us.

Bad, yes, but at least we're not in the "bottom ten."

Neighboring Oklahoma, no. 8, Arkansas 5.

The top/worst 5 states are all Right Wing, Republican states, largely, no shock and poor--literally, poor--Mississippi and Louisiana are numbers 3 and 2, respectively.  Sarah Palin's Alaska comes in at the top/worst spot, number 1.

Yeehaw.  Giddyup.

How To Strengthen America

Labor 411's photo.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Scat With Scatman

So old...

...I know who Scatman Cruthers was and remember him.

I didn't know Redd Foxx sang.

Quote of the Day -- From Martin Luther King, Jr.

And we still do.

A Nation That Continues Year
World Hunger Quotes

Whither the Price of Oil

Think oil is cheap now?

It's at $1.52 per gallon now across many parts of Northwest Missouri.

Brace yourself. Sanctions just came off Iran and heaven knows they need and want money.

I think gasoline under $1 per gallon is entirely possible.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Call For Corporate Taxation and a Required National Wage

An economist warns that "advances in technology and automation are set to wipe out up to half of all jobs in the developed world."

RBS WarnsSell Everything

A small bit from the article:

RBS economists have urged investors to sell everything except high-quality bonds, warning of a “fairly cataclysmic year ahead.”

If that isn't a call for a national, base wage to all citizens, I don't know what is.

Also reason why all corporations should pay a minimum tax and not be able to deduct their way out of paying any taxes or, worse, get a rebate or, worse yet, offshore profits or be able to.

Another good, related article:

The current rout in oil prices has obvious implications for the giant oil firms and all the ancillary businesses — equipment suppliers, drill-rig operators, shipping companies, caterers, and so on — that depend on them for their existence. It also threatens a profound shift in the geopolitical fortunes of the major energy-producing countries. Many of them, including Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela, are already experiencing economic and political turmoil as a result. (Think of this, for instance, as a boon for the terrorist group Boko Haram as Nigeria shudders under the weight of those falling prices.) The longer such price levels persist, the more devastating the consequences are likely to be.

If anything like or near these "worst case scenarios" take place, governments and corporations the world over may HAVE to give and require a minimum payout to their citizens, just to keep the economic world spinning.

Here's a perfect example and it's from a current article.

Chinese factory replaces 90% of humans 

with robots

A nation of more than 1.4 billion people and the companies, the corporations replaced, as the headline shows, the vast majority of the employees with machines.

If corporations and nations don't give a minimum payout to their citizens, who will be able to buy the  products that keep this whole merry go round turning?