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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where more "welfare" in this country actually goes


There's so much talk and indignation of "poor people on welfare", I think it important to consider the numbers, the actual numbers.  The poor in this country...

Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations. The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on  corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008. (Source:  Think By Numbers)

Want to fix our national spending and budget problems?

Cut corporate welfare.

Oh, and defense spending. Cut that bloated, wasteful, biggest source of spending in the country big time.  And soon as possible.

From the article:

20 Things the Poor Do Everyday That the Rich Never Have to Worry About



Are you paying attention, Kansas?




Indicative of our problems




Quote of the day -- applying to so many issues before us


“This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. 

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.




Why is this so difficult to understand?

Shouldn't corporations and people have to pay, both for access to what are supposed to be the best markets in the world but also so we can have the infrastructure we need so we all function.  The highways, sewage systems, airports, streets, schools--God knows, the schools---etc., etc.  What's so difficult about this?

And if they're American companies to begin with, isn't there an issue of patriotism to be dealt with? Don't they want to be, shouldn't they be good corporate citizens instead of trying to fleece everything and everybody they can, just so they can otherwise have the best, most favorable "bottom line"?

Don't they see, can't they see that improving all these other things and paying for them, with taxes, ends up helping them, ultimately, and actually in rather short order?



Entertainment Overnight -- You and I both






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quote of the day -- On the people vs. the GOP


"...conservatives always divide the world into two sides: efficient business and inefficient bureaucracy. But the conditions and regulations that allow large corporations to function are inherently governmental, and a government that does not represent the interests of working people in the economy will always represent the interests of the wealthy.

The fiction of trickle-down economics comes from the notion that the economy functions as a separate system from government. Unless the GOP can understand that there is simply no such things as a modern economy without a big government, all of its theorizing will be new marketing spins on old policies.”

--Holly Martin Conley (reader, commenter), posted at nytimes.com, responding to their earlier article

Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A sample of a typical commenter at the TKC blog


To respond to a brief note about the White House announcing President Obama will be visiting Kansas City at the end of this month, someone wrote this today:


welcome to CK you stupid nigger said...
Take your muslim nigger loving self somewhere else stupid nigger boy!!!!
7/22/14, 12:55 PM
Too frequently, far too frequently, this is the kind of outrageous racism that can be seen and read there.
Ugliness, stupidity, ignorance and racism needs to have a light shown on it, in that nasty, dark, dirty corner in which it lives in hopes it will one day go away. It isn't edited so they post away.  Disgusting.

KCI in NY Times Sunday -- and it's not the single terminal


I didn't catch this until yesterday afternoon but I did and it amused me greatly:

A Golf Hazard on the Way to a Tournament


HOYLAKE, England — On the first leg of Gary Woodland’s British Open odyssey, he glanced out the airplane porthole in time to see a baggage handler at Kansas City International Airport haul his golf bag out of a cart, drop it on the tarmac and fling another suitcase on top of it. The sight of the tools of his trade being treated with such little care made Woodland so agitated that his fiancĂ©e told him to turn away from the window.


Not exactly bragging rights, that's for sure but, hey, we got a mention, huh?



Monday, July 21, 2014

Entertainment Overnight -- International humor


Reportedly, it upset Kim Jong-Un:



Total win.




Entertainment Overnight -- On the world's situation just now


The Middle East, the Ukraine, you name it





Missouri's National Pharmaceutical Distinction


The New York Times points it out today:


"Welcome to Missouri - America's Drugstore. We aren't just allowing abuse, we've created a business model for dealers."
DR. DOUGLAS CHAR, an emergency room physician in St. Louis, on Missouri's status as the only state in the nation that refuses to establish a prescription drug database.

It's based on their article today:

By ALAN SCHWARZ

In declining to keep a prescription drug database, the state has hampered its ability to combat abuse and also drawn buyers from neighboring states.

So once again and as usual, we'd like to thank the Republican majority legislators in the Jefferson City, Missouri statehouse for yet one more glorious distinction for our state.

But hey, we have "less government" and "smaller government", right?

Because, of course, this doesn't have to do with women's reproductive rights and women's bodies. We want to own those.

God help us.


Friday, July 18, 2014

America and Americans: The World's Warmonger(s)


Facts (from the Business Insider):


America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED

The total known land area occupied by U.S. bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles -- bigger than D.C., Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined.

By 2033 the U.S. will be paying $59 billion a year to its veterans injured in the wars

In 2007, the amount of money labeled 'wasted' or 'lost' in Iraq -- $11 billion -- could pay 220,000 teachers salaries

Defense spending is higher today than at any time since the height of World War II

America's defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output*

The yearly cost of stationing one soldier in Iraq could feed 60 American families.

Each day in Afghanistan costs the government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon

In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year

The pentagon budget consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue

Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Department still has more than 40 generals, admirals or civilian equivalents based in Europe

The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety

The amount the government has spent compensating radiation victims of nuclear testing ($1.5 billion) could fully educate 13,000 American kids

The U.S. has 5% of the world's population -- but almost 50% of the world's total military expenditure

__________________________________________________

The point? 

It needs changing.  We need to cut defense spending, at least by half. We'd still outspend the rest of the world--and heavily, even wildly.  Contact your member of Congress, both the House and your 2 members in the Senate and tell them we need to cut defense spending.  And as soon as possible.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Entertainment overnight -- new find


Out of Arizona:





Question of the day for America


And for modern society:

Microsoft says it will cut up to 18,000 jobs next year to “streamline” its business. Microsoft now employs 125,000 people.
In an era of increasing technological advances, the logical endpoint is a few humongous companies raking in hundreds of billions a year with a handful of employees. When more and more can be done by fewer and fewer, the profits will go to an ever-smaller circle of executives and investors. 

But the rest of us won’t be able to afford to buy what these companies produce because we’ll either be unemployed or serving the wealthy in menial jobs paying almost nothing. The old economic model was mass production by many, mass consumption by many. 

Will the new one have to be production by a few, redistribution to the many?


Actually, originally, when the clear path forward for humankind and history was seen as the industrialization of the world, of work, of our society and our lives, it was assumed that we would, as a people, as a group, as nations, have fewer and fewer people work but still get a living wage.

Absolutely true. There were books written on it, pointing the way. 

It was the only thing, they thought, at the time that made any sense.

How foolish and naive we were.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For all the conspiracy theorists out there


Great story and photography of a Kansas Citian in NY Times today


Interesting article, terrific photography:


Seems the photographer got bewitched by Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on a drive back home. Well worth the time, on both counts, the story and photos.



On this day, American History





Happy Birthday, Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
The oldest of eight children, Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her parents, who were very active in the Republican Party during Reconstruction, died in a yellow fever epidemic in the late 1870s. Wells attended Rust College and then became a teacher in Memphis, Tennessee. Shortly after she arrived, Wells was involved in an altercation with a white conductor while riding the railroad. She had purchased a first-class ticket, and was seated in the ladies car when the conductor ordered her to sit in the Jim Crow (i.e. black) section, which did not offer first-class accommodations. She refused and when the conductor tried to remove her, she "fastened her teeth on the back of his hand." Wells was ejected from the train, and she sued. She won her case in a lower court, but the decision was reversed in an appeals court.

While living in Memphis, Wells became a co-owner and editor of a local black newspaper called THE FREE SPEECH AND HEADLIGHT. Writing her editorials under the pseudonym "Iola," she condemned violence against blacks, disfranchisement, poor schools, and the failure of black people to fight for their rights. She was fired from her teaching job and became a full-time journalist. In 1892, Tom Moss, a respected black store owner and friend of Barnett, was lynched, along with two of his friends, after defending his store against an attack by whites. Wells, outraged, attacked the evils of lynching in her newspaper; she also encouraged the black residents of Memphis to leave town. When Wells was out of town, her newspaper was destroyed by a mob and she was warned not to return to Memphis because her life was in danger. Wells took her anti-lynching campaign to England and was well received.
Wells wrote many pamphlets exposing white violence and lynching and defending black victims. In 1895 she married Ferdinand Barnett, a prominent Chicago attorney. The following year she helped organize the National Association of Colored Women. She was opposed to the policy of accommodation advocated by Booker T. Washington and had personal, if not ideological, difficulties with W.E.B. Du Bois. In 1909, she helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Wells-Barnett continued her fight for black civil and political rights and an end to lynching until shortly before she died.
She documented her anti-lynching work in Souther Horros and Other Writings available here: http://amzn.to/1mLr5DE


What we've done to food


And what we've done to ourselves





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cause. Effects




Fight to get the big money out

Thank goodness for Governor Nixon.....yet again


If not for him, for Governor Nixon in Missouri's state government, there'd be all kinds of crazy inflicted on the state.  Today's latest example:


On Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon showed more sense than the rest of the state's government, vetoing a bill that would have allowed trained teachers to carry firearms in their classrooms.  Standing up to the gun-fetishists that seem to think the solution to school violence is more violence, Nixon made the astute observation that putting more guns into schools might actually be bad for student safety.

"Cuz, you  know, the answer to far too many guns and far too many shootings and killings is, by the Right Wing, Republican and NRA way of thinking, "MORE GUNS!"



A lesson for the Star and for all newspapers that want to survive


From yesterday's New York Times:


As USA Today's publisher, the veteran newsman Larry Kramer is hoping America's largest-circulation newspaper will thrive in a world of social media and mobile platforms.

As I've pointed out before here, The New York Times did and is doing it, Yahoo did it. Heck, most all media sources understand this is what they must do.  From what I've seen of the Star, they still don't get it. They don't pay anyone, staff or locals, to videotape little bits of local events, especially the big ones, and then post them on their website. They do "photo galleries" but that's as close as it gets. They also cover things like this instead of more specifically local events:

‘Idiot’ takes selfie during Spain’s running of the bulls


As I write this, on Monday afternoon, their website offers 7 video links from the front page. One is on jumping jacks becoming the state exercise, two are on the Royals, two are on Schlitterbahn's new ride and one is on the Chiefs.  

That's it.

They need to become a multi-media site and source of local, state and regional events and people or they will surely be left in a dust heap. 

And sooner, rather than later.

See for yourself:    Kansas City Star