Blog Catalog

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Worst Run Cities and Missouri Takes a Hit


There's another one of those "Best in America" and "Worst in America" lists out on the interwebs this week and once again, Missouri takes a hit. Here you go.

Worst-run cities in America


To start, neighbor Topeka is on the list at 48.

The bad news? Kansas City, Missouri is on the list. The good news? It’s in the bottom half at 42

KCK, however, is in the top half and very nearly in the top 10 at 13.

And side note, once again, they show a picture of KCMO when trying to represent the cities.

Slide 39 of 51: - Overall quality of city services score: 40.12
- Financial stability rank: #133
- Education rank: #135
- Health rank: #98
- Safety rank: #137
- Economy rank: #87
- Infrastructure and pollution rank: #104

Kansas City has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. While the city ranks fairly low in the safety category, the police department is making an effort to be more transparent and open to the public hoping to decrease crime. The department uses a live community crime map to detect and show crime and police activity.

Makes one wonder about the scale they use.

Anyway, other rather comparable notables from here in the Midwest:

Indianapolis #46
Nashville 43
KCMO 42
Wichita 38
Tulsa 34
Ft Smith and Little Rock, 30 & 29, respectively
Chicago 25
Memphis 9
Toledo 8
Gary IN 7
Flint MI 5

But dang.

St. Louis.

What a ranking. 

Check this out.

2nd worst in the nation at number 2 for worst run city. 

 Ow.

Worst----Detroit. Not a shock.

The flip side?


Las Vegas 47
Washington DC 46
Denver 44
Minneapolis 40
Des Moines 39
St Paul 37
Cedar Rapids 23
New York 16
Lincoln NE 14

Number one belongs to Huntington Beach, CA, which is outrageously unfair. Mountains, ocean, beaches, great weather, all that and well run, too.

Disgusting.



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Has Anyone Noticed This Republican Party President Is Dismantling Our Government?


Image result for evil trump

The title here is not hyperbole.

First, Mr. Trump sets out to move--break up, weaken--the Department of Agriculture by moving it out of Washington, to here in the heartland, to Kansas City and then, last week, he gets started breaking up, moving the Bureau of Land Management to a legitimately small town in Colorado, Grand Junction.

And sure, I recognize this could be good for the Kansas City metropolitan area, adding to our rented space and population, some growth, but consider the ramifications.

The people with experience at these jobs in the USDA don't want to sell their homes and go to some new area they've likely never been. Who would? Who can blame them?


And according to the Washington Post, it doesn't just effect the USDA, either.

Relocation could seriously disrupt the work of two agencies

The Agriculture Department is offering employees a rare choice: accept a forced transfer to a post 1,000 miles away or be fired.

The Trump administration’s plan to move two agencies from the District to the Kansas City area includes a document with two blank boxes on it, sent to employees on June 13. Check one, it instructs: Accept the transfer by July 15 or “be separated by adverse action procedures.”

That means getting fired, with an opportunity to appeal the dismissal through what could be an expensive process. Getting fired could also make it more difficult to find another federal job in an area where the government dominates...
Of the 547 employees the department wants to move for the two agencies combined, 253 are with the Economic Research Service, 77 percent of its 329-person workforce. An additional 294 are with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 93 percent of its 315-person staff. News of the move prompted a surge of support for the union. Employees at the National Institute voted 137-2 to join AFGE two weeks ago. Last month’s vote at the economic service was 138-4.
And it's not going to save us, the US, money, either, folks.

But the USDA estimate of nearly $300 million in savings over 15 years is way off, according to an analysis by the Milwaukee-based Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Instead, it would cost taxpayers between $83 and $182 million, the analysis found. The USDA underestimated the true cost in part because it did not account for “the lost value of research from staffers who resign or retire rather than move,” the association reported.

Divide and conquer, folks. It's what he's doing.

And breaking up the USDA, weakening it, is just the first blow against regulating industry.


This has at least two effects on the agency and its work.

..as excited as Grand Junction is, many people outside this high desert city are deeply skeptical of the move. The Public Lands Foundation, made up of mostly former BLM employees, opposes it, saying it will likely gut the agency as many of its workers won't want to move. And Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona sees another worry. Moving to Colorado means the BLM will be that much closer to the oil and gas industry.

It makes it easier for the special interests to have access without a lot of accountability and light somewhere else than here in D.C. And I think that works to their advantage.


This fits in perfectly Mr. Trump's work and attempts to both weaken government and assist business.


83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump



Then, as if all this, above, weren't enough bad news, there's yet more this week from The Orange Man in the White House. Check this out for mind blowing:

Nuclear commission considers fewer plant inspections


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission thinks it's a good idea to have FEWER inspections of nuclear power plants.

You read that right, folks--fewer inspections and less oversigh of nuclear power plants.

This is not good for clean air, folks. This is not good for the people, you and me.

It's fantastic for big business.

Links:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

All Hail Price Chopper and Quik Trip



Check this out.

The above price per gallon is what I paid yesterday, in Kansas City, in Waldo at the Quik Trip on Wornall.

I was stunned.

What made this possible is Price Chopper's Rewards Card.  Mind you, I don't buy much groceries, either, being a single guy. That said, I really rack up points nicely. Then, with their rewards card, you go to Quik trip, scan the card, then scan your credit or debit card and voila! With your points, you can save 37 cents, presently, on each gallon of gasoline, up to 20 gallons at a purchase.

I will never buy groceries or gasoline anywhere else again.


On This Republican Party President, A to Z


Image result for stupid trump


The question was asked on Quora. Chris O'Leary, former 10 years of Active Duty at U.S. Marine Corps (1989-2000), responded.

I’ll take a stab at this. Before you pass my answer off as “another Liberal snowflake” consider that 

1) I'm an independent centrist who has voted Republican way more often in my life than Democrat, and 

2.) if you want to call someone who spent the entire decade of his 20’s serving in the Marine Corps a snowflake, I’d be ready to answer the question what did you do with your 20’s?

Why Liberals (and not-so liberals) are against President Trump


A.) He lies. A LOT. Politifact rates 69% of the words he speaks as “Mostly False or worse” Only 17% of the things he says get a “Mostly True” or better rating. That is an absolutely unbelievable number. How he doesn’t speak more truth by mistake is beyond me. To put it in context, Obama’s rating was 26% mostly false or worse, and I had a problem with that. Many of Trump’s former business associates report that he has always been a compulsive liar, but now he’s the President of the United States, and that’s a problem. And this is a man who expects you to believe him when he points at other people and says “They’re lying”

B.) He’s an authoritarian populist, not a conservative. He advances regressive social policy while proposing to expand federal spending and federalist authority over states, both of which conservatives are supposed to hate.

C.) He pretends at Christianity to court the Religious Right but fails to live anything resembling a Christ-Like Life.

D.) His nationalist “America First” message effectively alienates us and removes us from our place as leaders in the international community.

E.) His ideas on “Keeping us safe” are all thinly veiled ideas to remove our freedoms, he is, after all, an authoritarian first. They also are simply bad ideas.

F.) He couldn’t pass a 3rd-grade civics exam. He doesn't’ know what he’s doing. He doesn't understand how international relations work, he doesn’t understand how federal state or local governments work, and every time someone tries to “Run it like a business” it’s a spectacular failure. See Colorado Springs’ recent history as an example. The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise And that was a businessman with a MUCH better business track record than Trump. We are talking about a man who lost money owning a freaking gambling casino.

G.) He behaves unethically and always has. As a businessman, he constantly left in his wake unpaid contractors and invoices, litigation, broken promises, whatever he could get away with.

H.) He is damaging our relationships with our best international friends while kissing up to nations that do not have our best interests in mind. To his question “Wouldn't’ it be great to have better relations with Russia?” The answer is Yes. But it is RUSSIA who needs to earn that, who must stop doing the things that are damaging to that relationship, or we are simply weaker for it.

I.) He has never seen a shortcut he didn't like, and you can’t take shortcuts in government. “Nuclear Option, Remove the Filibuster, I’ll change the Constitution by Executive Order…Don…what happens when you remove the filibuster and the other side retakes the majority in the Senate? Suddenly want that filibuster back? What happens if you manage to change the Constitution by Executive Order and an Anti-2A President wins the next election?

J.) He behaves and has always behaved as an unabashed racist. Yes, I’ve seen your favorite meme that claims he was never accused of racism before the Democrats…Absolutely false. Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2019 See the Central Park 5, the lawsuits and fines resulting from his refusal to lease to black tenants, the 1992 lost appeal trying to overturn penalties for removing black dealers from tables, his remarks to the house native American affairs subcommittee in 1993. The man sees and treats racial groups of people as monoliths.

K.) He is systematically steamrolling regulations specifically designed to keep a disaster like the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis from happening again.

L.) He speaks and acts like a demagogue. He sees the Legislative and Judicial branches of government as inconveniences, blows up at criticism no matter how deserved and actively tries to countermand constitutional processes, not to mention attempts to blackmail and coerce people who are saying negative things about him.

M.) His choices for top positions, with the exception of Gen. Mattis, who is a gem, have been horrendous. A secretary of Education without a resume that would get her hired as a small town grammar school principal, A secretary of Energy who didn't know the Department of Energy was responsible for nuclear reserves, an EPA head whose biggest accomplishments to date had been suing the EPA on multiple occasions, an FCC head who while working for Verizon actively lobbied to kill net neutrality, and an Attorney General who thinks pot is “nearly as bad as heroin” and asked Congress for permission to go after legal pot businesses in states where it is legal. (There goes that great Republican States rights rally cry again, right? *Crickets*) An Interim AG after Firing his First AG who’s appointment is probably unconstitutional.

N.) He denies scientific fact. Ever notice that the only people you hear denying climate change are politicians and lobbyists? 99% of actual scientists studying the issue agree that it’s real, man-made and caused by greenhouse gasses. Ever notice that every big disaster movie starts with a bunch of politicians in a room ignoring a scientist's warning?

0.) He does not have the temperament to lead this nation. He is thin skinned, childish, and a bully, never mind misogynistic, boorish, rude, and incapable of civil discourse.

P.) He still does not understand that the words he speaks, or tweets, are the official position of 1/3 of the US government, and so does not govern his words. He still thinks when he speaks it’s good ol’ Donald Trump. It’s not. It’s the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. You have probably spread a meme or two around talking about how no president’s every word has ever been dissected before…YES, THEY ALWAYS HAVE. It’s just that every other president in our lifetime has understood the importance of his words and took great care to govern his speech. Trump blurts out whatever comes to his mind then complains when people talk about what a dumb thing that was to say.

Q.) He’s unqualified. If you owned a small business and were looking for someone to manage it, and an unnamed resume came across your desk and you saw 6 bankruptcies, showing a man who had failed to make money running CASINOS, would you hire him? He is a very poor businessman. This is a man it has been estimated would have been worth $10 BILLION more if he’d just taken what his father had given him, invested it in Index Funds and left it alone.

R.) He is President. But he refuses to take a leadership position and understand that he is everyone’s President. Conservatives complain about liberals chanting “Not my President” while Trump himself behaves as if no one but his supporters matter.

S.) He’s a blatant hypocrite. He spent 8 years bitching Obama out for his family trips, or golfing, or any time he took for himself, and what does he do? He was already on his 20th golf outing in APRIL of his 1st year in office. He constantly rants about respect for the military, yet can’t be bothered to attend the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day because of a little rain. (And that excuse about Marine One not being able to fly in the rain is HILARIOUS.)

T.) He’s a misogynist. It's not really ok in this day and age to be a misogynist, but it’s not a huge deal if you’re a private citizen. It’s a pretty big deal if you hate half the people you’re elected to lead. The disdain for women seeps out of his …whatever…. and he just can’t hide it.

U.) Face it. In any other election “Grab Em’ By the Pussy” would have been the end of that candidate’s chances. Back in the 90’s I used to marvel about how Teflon Bill Clinton was. I no longer do. The fact that he managed to slip by on that is as much a statement about how much people hate Hillary Clinton as it is about what is wrong with politics in this country right now.

V.) He has one response to a differing opinion. Attack. A good leader listens to criticism, to different points of view, is capable of self-reflection, tries to guide people to his point of view, and when necessary stands his ground and defends his convictions. Any of that sound like Trump? His default is not to Lead, its’ to attack. Scorched Earth. The Jim Acosta reaction is a good example. There was no defense of his convictions when Acosta was asking him repeated questions about his rhetoric on the caravan. His response was to attack Acosta.

W.) He takes credit for everything positive while deflecting blame for everything negative. Look at him with the Stock Market. He’s been bragging about it since day one, and to give credit where credit is due, speculation on coming deregulation early in his presidency did fuel some rapid growth, but to pretend that it’s all him, that we’re not in the 9th year of the longest bull market in history and THEN, when the standard market volatility that deregulation inevitably brings about starts to show up? Yeah. Look at yesterday. Hey! Stock Markets losing because the Democrats won! Do I need to bring out the Stock market chart for the last 10 Years again?

X.) He emboldens the worst among us. Counter-protesters are slammed into by a car while countering actual Nazi rally, and the response is there’s fault on “Both Sides” The media is at fault for a nut job sending them and Donald’s favorite targets pipe bombs. The truth is not all Republicans, not all Trump Supporters are racist, fascist lunatics. Many are just taken in by the bombastic personality and are living in an information bubble made worse by the fact that they unfollow anyone and ignore any source of information that makes them feel uncomfortable. People on the left do that too. The Biggest problem the right has right now is that the worst of the Right is the loudest and the most in your face, and the actual right, especially the Freaking PRESIDENT needs to be standing up and saying No. Those are not our values.

Y.) He seems to think the Constitution of The United States, the document that IS who we are, the document he took an oath to support and defend is some sort of inconvenience. He demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Constitution, from believing he can alter the 14th through executive order, to thinking The free exercise clause in the first amendment somehow supersedes the establishment clause (not that he really understands either) or that the free exercise clause only applies to Christians. Or his attacks on freedom of expression and the press. He repeatedly makes it clear that if he’s read them, he does not understand Articles 1–3, and that’s something he really should have before he took the job, because they’re not going away.

Z.) I’ll use Z for something I do blame him for, but the rest of us have to carry the blame too. Polarization. This country is more politically polarized than I can remember in my lifetime. Some of you who are a few years older than I may remember how it was in the late 60’s when construction workers in New York were being applauded for beating up hippies, I think it’s pretty close to that right now, but that was before my time. And he is the cause of much of the current level polarization, but also the result. It didn't’ start with Trump. We’ve been going down this road I think since the eruption of the Tea Party in the early years of the Obama Administration. I do hope the tide turns before it gets much worse because the thing that scares me more than anything is what if that keeps going the way it has been?

'Nuff said.

It's amazing he became President.

It's stunning he's still there.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Poignant Republican Party President Quote of the Day


Image result for teddy roosevelt trump

From also-Republican Party President Theodore Roosevelt, ironically enough.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Poignant Quote of the Day


And check out from where the speaker was.

Image result for stupid trump

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; 
if wrong, to be set right."

--Carl Schurz, 1872, German revolutionary, American statesman, one-time Senator of Missouri (who knew?), 13th Secretary of the Interior.

Let's do this, folks.

Happy Fourth.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Quote of the Day -- On Today's Republican Party


Image result for republican party leaders

From George Orwell, born June 25, 1903

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. 

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. 

We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. 

The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. 

We are not like that. 

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. 

Power is not a means; it is an end. 

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. 

Now you begin to understand me.” 

― George Orwell, "1984"


Friday, June 14, 2019

One of Missouri's Biggest Cities Takes a Hit


An article hit the interwebs early yesterday.


And sure, I figured Buffalo, New York might be on there.

And Pittsburgh.

And Cleveland.

And very likely Detroit, and maybe it at number one.

But check out what major American city was, in fact, in the number one spot on this list and has lost half or more than half of its population since 1950

Image result for st louis arch b & w

What the report had to say--

1. St. Louis

> Decline from 1950 decade peak: -64.7%
> 1950 population: 856,796
> 2018 population: 302,838


With a population of 856,796, St. Louis was the eighth largest city in the country in 1950. The city’s population has steadily declined since then to just over 300,000 in 2018, ranking as only the 64th largest city in the United States. Like other cities with long-term population declines, adverse socioeconomic conditions are prevalent in parts of St. Louis. East St. Louis, for example, is far and away the most dangerous city in Illinois and one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Also, one in four people living in St. Louis live in poverty, well above the national poverty rate of 14.6%.

While St. Louis may not be booming, certain aspects of the city do show signs of renewed prosperity. Relatively high immigration from Asia has helped offset some of the out-migration. The city’s sports teams, the Cardinals and the Blues, do very well, which can help support population and economic growth. And, plenty of universities and large companies still operate and thrive in the city.


That’s depressing.

And sure, it's not Kansas City but hey, it's Missouri. It still hurts.


Our Mayoral Race-- A Prediction


Image result for lucas justus

So yes, we're coming down to voting day next week in the Kansas City, Missouri Mayoral race. As we well know, it's between Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas.

I think it's widely believed it's anyone's race to call. It looks to be very close, a toss up, if you will.

I saw the two candidates this week in their final debate at the Kansas City Public Library on the Country Club Plaza.

Before this debate, I'd only read and heard about them both and I thought they seemed close on all the local topics.

After seeing the debate, I'm still convinced that's true.

Having said all that, I do think I can make a prediction on this race, crazy or brave, one or both, as that may be.

Having heard and seen the two candidates, I believe this race will come down to who, exactly, people think looks "Mayorly", like it or not, agree or not. And sure, I'll say up front even after my prediction, it could still go either way but I'm still willing to put this out there.

I think Quinton Lucas will be Kansas City, Missouri's next Mayor.

And it will be because a good deal of the voters think he more looks the role, again, like it or not.

Let the best person win.

We can't do any worse than the Funk.

God willing, we never will again.

Link:

Here’s your guide to Kansas City’s election: The candidates, the issues and more

Mark Funkhouser - Wikipedia



Trump's America


Slide 9 of 31: Comics - 'Bliss' by Harry Bliss

Trouble of it is, of course, now it's our America, too.

Thanks, Republicans!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition


Image result for kurt vonnegut

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”


―Kurt Vonnegut, “Mother Night

Friday, June 7, 2019

How to Fix the Corruption In Congress and Washington


Redux.  From a few years ago.


We need to do this.

We need to overturn Citizens United.

We need to end campaign contributions entirely.

We need to Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government

Link:



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

100 Huge Years Ago Today--Celebrating Progress, Working for More


First, the good news.

Image result for 19th amendment


Yes sir, 100 years ago today, June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment, giving women of the United States the right to vote was passed. Great as that was, it's sad it had to take that long but at least they got it done.

Now the bad news.

Women still aren't equal. No way are they equal, as we know. Check out just some of the facts.

Women Still Don’t Make as Much Money as Men


And then there are Neanderthals out there in the world, still spewing this ugliness, inequity and nonsense like this. I found this today, accidentally, in a search.


Why Women Don’t Deserve Equal Pay


And this:


And this, from, of course, a Republican:


The entire Republican Party, supporting the already-wealthy and corporations, of course, not the people, have voted down equal pay for women and repeatedly. The following was from 2008.


This was from 2012.


This was 2014:



This took place this year.


Also this year. Not only are Republicans against women being paid fairly, justly and equally with men, they're also against keeping women safer.


So sure, let's celebrate this 100 year old breakthrough, sure, definitely.

But let's work to get more of them, needed ones, soon as possible.

It reminds me of the protest sign for women I saw some time ago.

Image result for i can't believe i still have to protest this


Monday, June 3, 2019

Real Fear for the Future


Sorry to start the day on a negative note (negative notes?), but I'm not thinking the future is that cozy a place for us Americans from this vantage point. Besides the idiot, Republican Party dotard in the White House and his emotional, irrational outbursts and actions, there are facts and statistics stacking up that don't bode well for us all.

Image result for dystopian future

First, let's take our information we're getting. Newspapers are famously or infamously dying.


New York Daily News Fires Half Of Its Staff



A Major Newspaper Fires Its Entire Staff


It's predicted this is the shape of things to come, too.

NY Times Editor Predicts Most Local US Papers Will Fold

Understand, too, this is not merely longing for a bygone day. This is no way nostalgia for the past and for "the way things were", no, not at all. 

This is about most or all of us having a basis of information. This is about all of us being engaged in the social fabric, as it were. This is about all of us have a similar basis of information from which we address our communities, our metropolitan areas, our cities, counties, states, regions and even the nation at large but the world, too. We will no longer have that basis from which to start, a more common background of knowledge.

So instead of reading the daily newspaper we would all or mostly all share, now we get things off the internet, if we read at all. This is where I say we also only read things that back up what we already "know", think we know and/or believe. It pits us more and more against one another because we so sincerely believe only that which we already want to believe.

It does not bode well for us.

And then there's the fact that no one will be down there at that newspaper to keep the local City Hall, Mayor, Council and city and state government accountable. With them not there to research, write and publish what's going on, who's going to? The local blogger on the internet?  Highly unlikely. God help us.

Then there's the issue of our news media has become far too "us vs them." We have Right Wing TV like Fox, publicly declaring itself entertainment but masquerading as news and skewing things heavily for one political party and for the already-wealthy and corporations.

Why is Fox News so biased toward the Republicans


This splits and splinters us all further, all the more. It's downright frightening.

Next up is the fact that, along with all this splintering, we're all joining fewer and fewer organizations.

Americans Are Becoming Less Social


We're becoming islands, unto ourselves. We belong to fewer churches (which actually I view as an improvement but that's another issue), we join less sports teams, bowling leagues and all kinds of social groups.

 After all this, now we also have whole countries, whole nations and other groups of people, going online to splinter us further. They whip people up with all kinds of false information and/or emotionalism in order to tear us apart from within. It certainly worked in the last national election for the presidency.

Add to all this that we're spending our way into obscene, huge, unnecessary defense spending that actually weakens the nation.


With that spending and our giveaways to the already-wealthy and corporations, we're also spending ourselves into crazy debt and deficit spending.


With that, I'll stop. God knows that's enough. And that's just what's going on in our nation. I could go on with the UK's Brexit and China's response to our, again, dotard President and a lot more.

I just don't see much good out there. We have to put our faith in the American people waking up. Waking up and voting the wrong people, in office now, out of those offices.

I hope it doesn't require reading a newspaper to get us there.