It seems a new tradition may well be starting here in Kansas City based on our just as new streetcars and it's another musical tradition if it takes off.
I saw this last evening on a local and my Facebook friend Eric Nielsen. He was going to the annual Memorial Day Celebration at the Station.
The streetcar is rocking with group karaoke - it was "I Will Survive" and now it's "Don't Stop Believing " . It's hilarious!
Another friend of his also wrote that there had been karaoke on the streetcar the previous night, too.
It makes me think these streetcars may well really work. It seems Kansas Citians are not only riding them but enjoying them, too.
So suck on that, haters. To all who dismiss them or hope they fail, especially bloggers who rail against them and seem to want to bring failure down on everything from the Mayor to our Royals and Chiefs and the Country Club Plaza, it seems it's a long overdue good thing, people are using them and loving them, too.
Donald Trump has brought his political party so low, so very low. It's difficult to believe we've seen some of the discussions we have, that he has had. That he could be such an obvious, blatant racist and sexist and misogynist and then know so clearly little about international politics and law and so many things, repeatedly and yet still be taken seriously for the highest office in the land?
It is stunning.
The farther he gets, the further down "the rabbit hole" our nation seems to be going.
There were three judicial rulings announced today. Two of them went well for "the little guy", fortunately.
Here's the first:
SupremeCourt unanimously rejects GOPchallenge to VA districting case
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a lower court's ruling that Virginia's Republican-led legislature unlawfully considered race when drawing U.S. congressional districts by packing black voters into one of them in a move opponents said diluted black electoral clout.
The court ruled 8-0 against current and former Republican U.S. House of Representatives members who had challenged a June 2015 lower court ruling that threw out the district. The justices found that the Republican lawmakers did not have legal standing to bring the case. The focus of the case was on the composition of the majority-black U.S. House district held by Democrat Bobby Scott, the only black member of Virginia's congressional delegation.
Following the June 2015 ruling, some black voters from Scott's district were moved to an adjoining district, which is currently represented by white Republican Randy Forbes, one of the challengers in the case. This could make the district a possible Democratic pickup in the Nov. 8 election.
Seems a pretty crystal-clear case of redistricting to help your own political party while, at the same time, weakening the votes and choices of some of your fellow Americans. Unfortunately, as we're used, they just happened to be black. This has gone on far too long.
Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning in favor of a death row inmate in a case concerning race discrimination in jury selection.
Timothy Tyrone Foster, an African-American, is on death row in Georgia for the 1987 murder of an elderly white woman, Queen Madge White. The jury that convicted him was all white. Twenty years after his sentence his attorneys obtained notes the prosecution team took while it was engaged in picking a jury, including marking potential jurors who were black had a "b" written by their name.
There's more to the story, of course, but you get the idea. I've followed this case for some time and it did seem a clear example of a true travesty of justice. One thing especially amazing about the case from the Court is that Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. Stunning.
The final case is the one that didn't go so well, at least in my own and a lot of people's eyes:
BALTIMORE — A police officer was acquitted of all charges on Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injurywhile in police custody. The verdict is likely to renew debate over whether anyone will be held responsible for Mr. Gray’s death.
The officer, Edward M. Nero, sat with a straight back and stared forward as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who ruled on the case after the officer opted to forgo a jury trial, read his verdict on the charges of second-degree assault, misconduct and of reckless endangerment.
“The verdict on each count,” said Judge Williams, concluding his reading after about 30 minutes, “is not guilty.”
“The state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence,” Judge Williams said. “There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”
So a guy, a black man, gets arrested and thrown in the back of the police van, then suffers a broken back from the ride and dies?
And no one is accountable?
That's still who we are?
Then, to make things worse, there's this:
A lawyer for Officer Nero, Marc Zayon, called for the charges against the remaining officers to be dropped.
Not a surprise, likely, to most, but still disappointing.
Check that out. This guy is a Brazilian himself and he's telling people to stay away, first. Second, he's an Olympic athlete who would normally want, of course, people to come to the Olympics but he's, again, advising people to not attend. That's pretty incredible alone.
At the same time as all this is going on, Brazil's President is in the middle of a scandal investigation she may well be impeached for and as soon as this evening and there are other people in the government, too, accused of financial wrongs.
It's as I said. I think these are likely to be the least attended and certainly most filed Summer Olympics, in fact, Olympics, period, since likely their being begun again, all those decades ago.
The poor people of Brazil will be made all the poorer with this, all this.
And meantime, for the Olympics overall, perhaps now the IOC will finally, finally give up taking them around the world every 4 years to different cities. It frequently ended up bankrupting cities. Perhaps they could locate it in Greece, permanently.
I saw this yesterday, Sunday, on Senator Roy Blunt's Facebook page:
"Happy 132nd birthday to former president and fellow Missourian, President Harry Truman. Honored to be able to serve Missourians in the same office Truman used."
The trouble? The problem? The issue?
Here's, again, very Republican Senator Roy Blunt, honoring our very own, very Democratic, very Missourian and Democratic Party former President Harry S. Truman when this, the following, is what President Truman thought of and said about Republicans while he was here:
“The Republicans … will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism. They will go to the people and say: "Did you see that social security check you received the other day—you thought that was good for you, didn't you? That's just too bad! That's nothing in the world but socialism. Did you see that new flood control dam the Government is building over there for the protection of your property? Sorry—that's awful socialism! That new hospital that they are building is socialism. Price supports, more socialism for the farmers! Minimum wage laws? Socialism for labor! Socialism is bad for you, my friend. Everybody knows that. And here you are, with your new car, and your home, and better opportunities for the kids, and a television set—you are just surrounded by socialism! Now the Republicans say, ‘That's a terrible thing, my friend, and the only way out of this sinkhole of socialism is to vote for the Republican ticket.’"
"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home -- but not for housing. They are strong for labor -- but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage -- the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all -- but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine -- for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing -- but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing -- so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."
"Republicans don't like people who talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don't talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged."
"I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who's hitting you? It's about time that the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them."
Mimicking, it seems, fellow Missourian Mark Twain, President Truman also said the following:
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself."
All true then, about 70 years ago. All still sadly, pathetically true today.
So yeah, I loved that. Republican Roy "I Can Be Bought And Sold" Blunt, honoring Democrat and former President Harry S. Truman.
I don't know if he didn't get the irony or if he thought we wouldn't.
New technology offers a glimpse into what 21st-century urban life should look like.
Sure, plenty of people here will be or already are grunging about our trolleys---what they cost, heck, even that they're here but---news flash---mass transit really does make sense. They make good sense.
A note about the article, too. Not once in it do they mention our Mayor, Sly James but really, this is a big, big win for him, politically and about all other ways.
Also, it's more than just the trolleys. Much more. It's also about the computerized kiosks along the route, the lighting technology, the safety features, the wifi along the route and more.
Now let's just hope the trolleys successful. I mean, the money is spent. It's here. Love it or hate it, for it or against it, wouldn't it be better if it works, if it's successful?
On this day in 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 (7 May in Commonwealth realms) to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces.
May 8, 2015 - V-E Day was observed on May 8, 1945 in Great Britain, Western Europe, the United States and Australia, and on May 9 in the Soviet Union and New Zealand. V-E Day commemorates the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces in 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
So now The Donald, Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the White House, for the Presidency, for the highest office in the land.
Elizabeth Warren today said it so well on The Donald and just where the Republican Party is today:
Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. It's real – he is one step away from the White House. Here's what else is real:
Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.
He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is "cool with being called an authoritarian" and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators.
He attacks veterans like John McCain who were captured and puts our servicemembers at risk by cheerleading illegal torture. In a world with ISIS militants and leaders like North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un conducting nuclear tests, he surrounds himself with a foreign policy team that has been called a "collection of charlatans," and puts out contradictory and nonsensical national security ideas one expert recently called "incoherent" and "truly bizarre."
What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent. It will determine whether we move forward as one nation or splinter at the hands of one man's narcissism and divisiveness. I know which side I'm on, and I’m going to fight my heart out to make sure Donald Trump’s toxic stew of hatred and insecurity never reaches the White House.
So thank you, Republicans, Republican Party, Right Wingers and all the haters and misogynists and sexists and racists who brought the nation here, to this Donald J. Trump.
And by the way, the above---bringing the White House a "downright moron"---was also, of course, deeply true of one George W. "Mission Accomplished" Bush and his brother, John Ellis.
David Brooks, a Republican and Conservative, both, said it very well.
Sure, we Americans do and have done a lot of things right and well, absolutely or we wouldn't have gotten where we have, socially, sociologically and certainly economically, without question. (We've a lot--A LOT--of things wrong like maybe Korea but definitely Vietnam and that unlawful Iraq War and too many things about race, etc. but we'll save that for another time and day).
All that said, one thing we do wrong--and by wrong I mean deeply, wildly and very expensively wrong, all, is elections. Check out just a few notes on how the rest of the world does them:
The longest campaign in Canadian history was 10 weeks.
In the U.K., political parties can only spend $30 million in the year before an election.
In Germany, political parties release just one 90-second television ad.
In 2013, over two-thirds of income to Norway's political parties came from the government.
In Australia, voting is compulsory.
In Brazil, Election Day is on the weekend.
We just aren't very bright.
We need to undo our election system and campaigns and campaign finance and all those "campaign contributions", folks.