Blog Catalog

Friday, March 31, 2017



Gray as far as you can see.

Gray above. Gray yesterday, gray tomorrow, gray the day after that and the next week.

Sure, we've needed the rain and it's welcome, certainly. We all recognize that. And we have to have it.

But occasionally, can't we have some direct sunlight?

Some blue skies?


The Trump Presidency and Its Very Rough Last 24 Hours

We're still, still in the first 100 days of this Donald Trump presidency and already it's in awful messes. This has been a rough, very, very rough 24 hours for him, personally and politically and for his White House and administration. Some examples. This broke yesterday and was bad, is bad for the administration, even just outwardly.

It got a lot worse from there.

Trump levels extraordinary threat 

against GOP conservatives

Trump Goes After Conservatives 

of Freedom Caucus

And the responses by people in the Republican Party as well as in the Tea Party and on the extreme Right is predictable---but wonderful.

Tea Party leader 'disgusted' by Trump's attack 

on Freedom Caucus

It's making for a lot of big messes for this President, the White House, his administration and the government, overall.

Then this hit yesterday afternoon. Huge news:

Mike Flynn Tells FBI He Will Testify 

In Exchange For Immunity

It seems President Trump's former National Security advisor knows something, likely knows things, could be in trouble himself 

This is especially telling, given his opinion and statement from just one year ago.

At it's core, this issue is huge, for the President, again, for his administration and for the nation, truth be told.

Evidence suggests Trump associates may have colluded with Russiansofficials say

And it has the Republican Party in trouble, as well.

Trump's failing presidency has the GOP 

in a free fall

The end result is just patently not good for this President, his Presidency or, honestly, the nation.

Meanwhile, this just happened.

This clearly very insecure, temperamental, hot-headed man who knew very little of government or the Presidency is likely very angry, at least, just now, with all this going on.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Republicans In Congress Just Did To You, America

Yes sir, those "small government", caring Republicans, from last week, in the Senate, to yesterday, in the House, just sold all of us down the river, ladies and gentlemen. If you aren't aware of it all, you should be.

Norquist Pledge Signers Violate the Constitution and Must Be Removed from Office

A bit from one of the articles.

Soon every mistake you’ve ever made online will not only be available to your internet service provider (ISP) — it will be available to any corporation or foreign government who wants to see those mistakes.

Thanks to last week’s US Senate decision (update March 28: and today’s House decision), ISPs can sell your entire web browsing history to literally anyone without your permission. The only rules that prevented this are all being repealed, and won’t be reinstated any time soon (it would take an act of congress).

You might be wondering: who benefits from repealing these rules? Other than those four monopoly ISPs that control America’s “last mile” of internet cables and cell towers?

No one. No one else benefits in any way. Our privacy (and our nation’s security) have been diminished so a few mega-corporations can make a little extra cash.

In other words, these politicians — who have received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the ISPs for decades — have sold us out.

Mind you, Republicans did this. Republican Senators, last week, and the members of the House of Representatives this week, yesterday. "Small government" Republicans.

More from the article:

...every single senator who voted in favor of overturning these privacy rules was a Republican. Every single Democrat and Independent senator voted against this CRA resolution. The final vote was 50–48, with two Republicans voting against the resolution, and another two choosing not to vote.

So just please, no one try to tell me there's no difference in the political parties.


And what does this mean to all of us? To you and me? This:

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, there are at least five creepy things the FCC regulations would have made illegal. But thanks to the Senate, ISPs can now continue doing these things as much as they want, and it will probably be years before we can do anything to stop them.
  • Sell your browsing history to basically any corporation or government that wants to buy it
  • Hijack your searches and share them with third parties
  • Monitor all your traffic by injecting their own malware-filled ads into the websites you visit
  • Stuff undetectable, un-deletable tracking cookies into all of your non-encrypted traffic
  • Pre-install software on phones that will monitor all traffic — even HTTPS traffic — before it gets encrypted. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have already done this with some Android phones.
What to do? Go here. Do these things.

Protect yourself against the big ISPs.

Then, come election time, vote. And vote against Republicans. It's our only protection.

Entertainment Overnight -- Remake

A modern remake of a favorite by a now-favorite young musician and performer.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Entertainment Overnight -- Mystical

New. I like it. A lot.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

The Outrageous, "In Your Face" Presidency of Donald J. Trump

There is a fascinating, if not insulting, article over at ThinkProgress today on the Trump Presidency:

Here's the "meat" of the headline:

...on Saturday, Trump headed to a golf course for the 12th time during the nine weeks he’s been president. And by visiting the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Virginia, Trump — who repeatedly ripped President Obama for his much less-frequent golf outings and promised he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” during the campaign — has now visited a Trump-branded property for eight straight weekends. That covers all but the very first weekend of his presidency.

But there's so much more to the article, and to this Presidency so far, it's difficult to think of anything but the outrageousness of it all. Here's another example:

White House pool reporter Adrian Carrasquillo reports that it’s unclear what Trump is doing at his golf course.

"After multiple inquires, (the press) pool still does not know who the President has met with today over the last 3 hours. It is unclear why the Trump Team can not find out this information for the pool. Will update if any information becomes available..."

What this means, ladies and gentlemen, is that, in spite of being President and in spite of what he said on the campaign trail about how he'd never go on vacation and how much work there is to do, not only is he not doing said work and not only is he down there on our Federal dime (dollars), not only is he not doing anything constructive in his job, he's also in no way beholden to the press--read: to you and I--as to what he's doing and/or with whom he's meeting or with whom he might be talking.

He's not done there, either, in his chutzpah.

Trump’s latest trip to one of his properties comes a day after Forbes broke news that Eric Trump plans to give his father quarterly updates about how Trump’s sprawling business empire is doing financially. Trump has refused to divest from his business, putting him in a unique position to profit off the presidency.

“Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it,” Eric Trump said, in reference to what he’ll brief his father on. “My father and I are very close… I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.”

Those statements contradicted what Eric Trump told the Forbes reporter less than two minutes earlier.

“There is kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise,” he said. “I do not talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about the business with us. That’s kind of a steadfast pact we made, and it’s something that we honor.”

In January, Trump discussed his plan to hand over day-to-day management of the Trump Organization to his sons while retaining ownership of the company.

“My two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company,” Trump
said at a press conference in New York. “They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me.”

But Eric’s comments about the quarterly briefings he plans to give his father aren’t consistent with the plan Trump outlined.

Just look at what he, Trump, has done since he was sworn into office:

Memberships at Mar-a-Lago doubled in price to $200,000 shortly after the inauguration (taxes and $14,000 annual dues not included). For that price you get access to the president — perhaps even while he’s trying to deal with an international crisis in a dining area.

Then, to make things worse and to capitalize yet further with his/this Presidency, he wants to exploit it and us all even further.

Meanwhile, the head of Trump’s hotel-management company recently
announced plans for “an ambitious expansion across the U.S.” that would triple the number of Trump-branded hotels in the country.

Bottom line:  Trump didn't divest himself from his business, from his company or companies in any way. It seems he had no intention of doing so, too, in spite of what he said, again, during the campaign. He's blowing the Emoluments Clause of our own Constitution, right out of existence. (see below).

Besides being full of nerve and arrogance, it likely is already unconstitutional, this Presidency, this administration. Based on the Emoluments Clause alone. I said it before, between all this and the fact that he lost the American popular vote in November by 3 million votes, this administration should be ousted and the real winner of it all should be installed, inaugurated.

And post haste.

Meanwhile, here, ladies and gentlemen, are the first less than 100 days of this Presidency.

Honestly, again, God help us.


Emoluments Clause - Wikipedia

Why Trump Will Violate the Foreign Emoluments Clause - The Atlantic

Check out the irony and hypocrisy of this headline, too.

Report: Trump angry Kushner took vacation during health debate

I'm telling you, this man lacks nothing if not chutzpah.

Meanwhile, here's a good idea from some Democrats in Congress:

Dems Try To Force Trump To Publish Club Visitor Logs With 'MAR-A-LAGO' Act

Meanwhile, Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected, says don't fret:

Trump signals new hope for overhaul of ObamaCare, says 'Do not worry'

On This Day, March 25, 1966

How completely timely is that, given the Republicans attempts, once again, to keep health care only for the wealthy, to keep it unattainable for the middle- and lower-classes?

It was true then, in 1966, all those many years ago and it's become ever more true, with every increase in pharmaceutical prices and health care insurance premiums and especially with the Republicans' attempts to repeal the ACA, "Obamacare."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

This President Won't Even Have to be Impeached

According to The Independent out of the UK, the FBI has information suggesting Trump aides coordinated with Russia to damage the Clinton campaign.

If true, and it seems already clear it is, when you put this together with the fact that Hillary Clinton also got 3 million more popular, American votes in the November election, it becomes also extremely clear this administration should be ousted and Mrs. Clinton and a new administration should be installed President and soon as possible.

Impeachment shouldn’t even be necessary.

He and his people, both, are so monumentally bad at their jobs and what they're supposed to be doing and what they're supposed to be working for, they won't have to be ousted by impeachment. They've already been this far beyond the law.

Throw them out of the White House and charge and try them all for treason, no impeachment necessary.


Republicans: The Party of Cruelty

This was written, as it shows, by James Kunstler, back in 2010, when the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, what became known as "Obamacare", was being considered and created.  I found it true then. I find it still true to this day, as those same Republicans are trying to dismantle the bill.

Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history. Along the way, they enlisted an army of nay-sayers representing everything dark, disgraceful, and ignorant in the American character. If the Republicans keep going this way, they'll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.

The most striking elements of so-called health care in America these days is how cruel and unjust it is, and in taking a stand against reforming it the Republican party appeared to be firmly in support of cruelty and injustice. This would be well within the historical tradition of other religious crusades which turned political -- such as the Spanish Inquisition and the seventeenth century war against witchcraft. Whatever else the Democratic party has stood for in recent history, it has tended to oppose institutional cruelty and injustice, and notice that it has also been the party for keeping religion out of government.

Now a health care reform act has passed and there's some reason to hope that insurance companies will be prevented from doing things like canceling the coverage of policy-holders who have the impertinence to actually get sick, which has been their main device for revenue enhancement, and we'll see how they cope with the idea that being alive in a treacherous world is the fundamental pre-existing condition.

I surely don't know if the nation can afford to pay for what this law requires, but then can we really afford to pay for anything? -- including the salaries, retirement benefits, and health insurance of congressmen, not to mention two wars, bailout life support for banks, rising unemployment benefits, shovel-ready stimulus projects, et cetera, blah blah? Probably not.

My guess is that the health care "industry" will unravel in the years ahead under the weight of its own hypercomplexity just as all the other hypercomplex systems of normal American life (such as it is) groan and collapse under their own unworkable immensities -- and I speak here of industrial-style farming, Big Box "consumerism," Happy Motoring, too-big-to-fail finance, centralized public education, and the pension racket. All the activities of daily life in this country have poor prospects for continuing in their current form.

At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not "partners in governing," or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.

I hope that Mr. Obama's party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good. In fact, the current edition of the Republican party has achieved something really memorable in the annals of collective bad intentions: they have managed to create a sense of the public interest whose main goal is the destruction of the public interest.

This is exactly what the Republican majority on the Supreme Court did earlier this year by deciding that corporations -- which are sociopathic by definition in being answerable only to their shareholders and nothing else -- should enjoy the same full privileges in election campaign contributions as human persons, who are assumed to have obligations, duties, and responsibilities to the common good (and therefore to the public interest). This shameful act by the court majority only underscores the chief defining characteristic of Republicans in their current incarnation: an inability to think. And so, naturally Republicans gravitate toward superstition and the traditional devices of improvident religious authorities -- persecution of the weak, torture, denial of due process, and dogmas designed to spread hatred.

I hope the American public begins to understand this, because they have been manipulated in their own pain and hardship by these dark forces, and their thrall to the likes of John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, and the rest of these vicious morons could easily increase as their economic hardships deepen. We're facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we're not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other. The Republican party is just itching to turn a giant thumbscrew on the US public -- that is, before they try to start burning their enemies at the stake. We understand that the Health Care Reform Act is a first stand against that.

Thank you, Mr. Kunstler, for putting it into words, all of it, for the rest of us.

Link to original post: 

Additional links:    What's Up - KUNSTLER

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Those 60s and 70s We Had In February?

This article came out today based on a report just released:


A little from it, some highlights:

More than 11,700 daily temperature records across the U.S. were broken in February, with the average temperature 7.3 degrees warmer than normal for the last full month of winter. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Arctic “witnessed the polar equivalent of a heatwave.” This spurred dangerous sea ice melting.

“Even without a strong El Nino in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” World Climate Research Program Director David Carlson said.

Out of the 17 hottest years ever recorded, 16 occurred since 2000.

Prof Sir Robert Watson, a distinguished climate scientist at the UK’s University of East Anglia and a former head of the UN’s climate science panel.

“Our children and grandchildren will look back on the climate deniers and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy,” Watson said.

“Arctic ice conditions have been tracking at record low conditions since October, persisting for six consecutive months, something not seen before in the [four-decade] satellite data record,” said Prof Julienne Stroeve, at University College London in the UK. “Over in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice also broke new record lows in the seasonal maximum and minimum extents, leading to the least amount of global sea ice ever recorded.”

Food for thought, for sure.

At what point do we humans do something, do more, about this?

Here's hoping we don't have Summers of 100 degrees and more and for long stretches of time.

Additional links:


Donald Trump, Explained

By, who else?  None other than Tom Tomorrow!

Tom Tomorrow cartoon

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Says One Thing...

...means another.   (click on picture for easier reading)

And yet people still believe in this old fool.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Abnormal Weather

87 degrees yesterday.

In Missouri.

Northwest Missouri.


Summertime temperatures.

Air conditioning. Again, in March.

Broke the day's record high.

And the last official day of Winter, to boot.

Additionally, Peru just got 10 times more rain than normal, creating horrific floods and flooding.

There's also this.

But always remember, kids...

That Trump/GOP Budget?

With this President and the GOP presenting cuts in government programs, I offer this response.

No automatic alt text available.

Again.  We are #Strongertogether

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Entertainment Overnight -- Canon

I've always loved this piece and just discovered this version.

Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition

No automatic alt text available.

Look again at that dot. 

That’s here. 

That’s home. 

That’s us. 

On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known. 

-- Carl Sagan

Some Takeaways On the World's Happiest Nations Report

The world's happiest nations were announced today by the by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

world happiness report.jpg

World's happiest countries named


--The US isn't the happiest

--The US isn't in the top 3

--The US isn't in the top 5

--The US isn't even in the top 10

--The US is in the 13th position

Here's what I love.

The top ten "happiest nations"?


All Socialist.

Every one.

Here's another kicker. Another takeaway. Frankly, it's one more slam on us, the US.

Israel ranks higher in happiness than the US.


Surrounded by their enemies. Set upon and attacked, not infrequently, by Palestinians yet they have a higher happiness rating than we do here in the United States.

So, America.  Could we learn some things here?


Soon as possible?

Here's one:  The lady was right.

We are #Strongertogether.


World Happiness Report Update 2016

Americans are much, much more likely to be killed by guns than  people in other countries

Friday, March 17, 2017

Entertainment Overnight -- The Waters of March, the Promise of Spring

Afloat, adrift, a flight, a wing,
A cock, a quail, the promise of spring.
And the riverbank talks of the Waters of March,
It's the promise of life, it's the joy in your heart.

It's the joy in your heart...

To Trump Voters, Supporters

Here's to all of the people who voted for Trump:

Remember when the so-called President said he was going to donate his salary?

He just accepted his second paycheck. Says he'll pay it back later.

Remember when he said Mexico was going to pay for the wall?

He has asked Congress to appropriate the $25 billion of taxpayer money to cover costs.

Remember when he said he was going to divest from his businesses?

He changed his mind.

Remember when he said he was going to release his tax returns?

Again, changed his mind.

Remember when he said he wasn't going to go on vacation or play golf?

5 of the last 7 weekends he went on vacation and played golf, costing taxpayers $11.1 million.

And he's going again this weekend.

Remember when he said he was going to use American steel to build these dangerous pipelines?

Russian steel arrived last week for the Keystone Pipeline XL.

Remember when he said would defeat ISIS in 30 days?

He still has no plan whatever.

Remember when he said he was going to appropriate money to historic Black colleges?

He lied to get a photo-op.

Remember when he said he was going to drain the swamp of Washington insiders?

His cabinet is filled with lobbyists, oil and Wall Street executives.

Remember when he said he wasn't going to cut social security and Medicare?

The Republican bill does just that.

Remember when he said that nobody on his campaign has any communications with Russian govt?

7 in his administration--so far--have now admitted they spoke and/or met with Russian officials, after they lied and got caught.

Remember when he said that the Obamacare replacement would cover more people at lower cost?

The AHCA that the GOP and he are now pushing; they now admit will cover fewer people at a higher cost.

So here's to you, Trump voters, Trump supporters.

Unless you regret that vote and now, that support, the rest of us out here in America have no idea what you're thinking. You got duped but we have to pay the costs for your mistakes, too. And the poor and elderly have to pay a "higher price" than just about any of us.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Republicans: Political Party First, Then Money, THEN People

The Republicans in Congress and in state houses all across America have been putting money and their political party ahead of their constituents, ahead of Americans and for years.
After the horrible, horrific Newtown shooting/slaying of 20 school children and 6 adults at the school, the first thing out of their mouths was that this murder "shouldn't be politicized" in a clear effort to protect the NRA and the gun lobby and weapons manufacturers.

Once again, guns--and money--before people, before us Americans. They put their political party and the money they get from their "sponsors" before Americans and before American lives.

This one they just recently, rather famously did.

House GOP Blocks Measure to 

Keep Guns from Mentally Ill

They ruled that people who are clinically diagnosed as being mentally ill and/or unstable should be able to have weapons, guns. In their terms, they should "be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights."

People be damned.

And now, with Republicans finally, finally creating and releasing a plan of any kind to replace "Obamacare", which is so important to them, they once again did the same thing. They put money and the deficit and the budget ahead of people, ahead of Americans, ahead of American lives.

This headline proves, shows where the Republicans' priorities are and proves my point with their health care plan is right here:

Here's another.

No Magic in How G.O.P. Plan Lowers Premiums: It Pushes Out Older People

They’ve put guns before American lives for years and now, budgets before American lives. Everything boils down to money with these people. And then they’re doing it so they can get and keep more money in their pockets, from their sponsors and overlords, in the form of “campaign contributions.”

Though it's estimated 24 million Americans would lose their health care insurance completely, these Republicans want and plan to give the already-wealthy yet more tax breaks, with the very same bill.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

That Bloch Impressionist Gift to the Nelson?

Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Matisse, Pissaro, Boudin, Caillebotte and so, so much more.

Run, don't walk to the Nelson-Atkins Museum. It is nearly, now, an embarrassment of riches.

This piece, by Gauguin, kicks it off. It is a stunning piece.

There are several, in fact, many, many pieces that I found it difficult to believe we have here in town, right here, here at the Nelson and in the permanent collection. This one, of the dancer, by Toulous Lautrec, is one.

This next one must be seen, there, up close, to be believed.

If the new Impressionist exhibit doesn't give you chills, something may be wrong with you.

The Nelson has always been terrific, of course, and it does keep getting better and better. Now, it very much reminded me of the feeling and experience I had when first I went to the Chicago Art Institute. Even more fantastic than it was and always has been. With this improvement, these additions, it has improved and expanded exponentially.

Go.  Go now. Go soon as possible.

On Sunday

Image may contain: text

And the New York Times.


Happy Sunday, everyone.