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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On This Day, 1948, From Our Very Own President Harry Truman

This speech was given October 13, 1948 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It's sad to see we've been fighting the exact same battles for all these 70 years. I recommend reading the entire speech but here is an excerpt:

Harry S. Truman

'Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living--a decision, which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.

On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.

Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.

Since they won't tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.

They 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 a minimum wage--the smaller the minimum the better.

They indorse 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 approve of social security benefits-so much so that they took them away from almost a million people.

They believe in international trade--so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement.

They favor the admission of displaced persons--but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.

They consider electric power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.

They say TVA is wonderful--but we ought never to try it again.

They condemn "cruelly high prices"--but fight to the death every effort to bring them down.

They think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people.

And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.

Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way--there is another way--the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party.

Of course, the Democratic Party is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was. But the Democratic Party believes in the people. It believes in freedom and progress, and it is fighting for its beliefs right now.

In the Democratic Party, you won't find the kind of unity where everybody thinks what the boss tells him to think, and nothing else.

But you will find an overriding purpose to work for the good of mankind. And you will find a program--a concrete, realistic, and practical program that is worth believing in and fighting for.

Now, I call on all liberals and progressives to stand up and be counted for democracy in this great battle. I call on the old Farmer-Labor Party, the old Wisconsin Progressives, the Non-Partisan Leaguers, and the New Dealers to stand up and be counted in this fight.

This is one fight you must get in, and get in with every ounce of strength you have. After November 2d, it will be too late. It will do no good to change your mind on November 3d. The decision is right here and flow.

Against us we have the best propaganda campaign that money can buy.

But we are bound to win--and we are going to win, because we are right! I am here to tell you that in this fight, the people are with us.

With a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, you will have the right kind of unity in this country.

We will be unified once more on the great program of social advance, which the Democratic Party pioneered in 1933.

We will be unified in support of farm cooperatives, rural electrification, and soil conservation.

We will be unified behind a housing program.

We will be unified on the question of the rights of labor and collective bargaining.

We will be unified for the expansion of social security, the improvement of our educational system, and the expansion of medical aid.

Moreover, we will be unified in our efforts to preserve our prosperity and to spread its benefits equally to all groups in the Nation.

Now, my friends, with such unity as this, we can secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves and our children.

With such unity as this, we can fulfill our God-given responsibility in leading the world to a lasting peace.'

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Columbus Day

AK Press

It seems there are still some people out there who celebrate Columbus Day. If you happen to know any of them, please share this description from Bartolome de las Casas of the sort of civilized and heroic behavior Columbus brought to the "new" world:

"And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers' breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, 'Boil there, you offspring of the devil!' Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim's feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim's neck, saying, "Go now, carry the message," meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them...."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kansas City Royals 2015 Postseason Video

"People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."

I would have left out the part where he said "People will just hand over their money without even thinking about it." 

That was tacky. Extremely tacky. Otherwise....

Go Royals!

Amy Schumer and SNL Take On 'Merika and Our Guns

More people need to do this. More people need to publicly come out and mock America and Americans on our guns---the quantity and widespread, rather insane use of them in this country.

The Way Republicans Used to Think and Be

Long, long ago, they used to be for the nation, as a whole, not just for the advancement of their own political party.

It would be nice if we---they---could get back to this.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Librarian Rhapsody

From Facebook and YouTube, of course.

Health Care in America

From the New Zealand Nurses Organisation on Facebook. 

An American in our health care industry visits that country.

What We've Done to Teaching and "Education" in America

Teaching To The Test.gif

We’re known by many names across the spectrum left to right
Promoting fear and ostracism, ignorance and blight,
We promise health and happiness in dimly distant days
And ask your current sacrifice to give ourselves a raise.
We don’t get caught because we’ve got new education rules
As one by one we take away our children’s thinking tools
The Fellowship for Putting Stupid Theories into Schools.

It’s awkward when our kids come home with something they have learned
That would have in the good old days have got us staked and burned.
They question blind authority as if that were old hat,
They judge our bland hypocrisy – and we’ll have none of that!
They’ve even said that we should have alternative energy fuels!
But we’ll stop that: we’ll take away their critical thinking tools,
The Fellowship for Putting Stupid Theories into Schools.

Postmodernist, conservative, we’re pretty much on par
We undermine enlightenment embracing the bizarre.
Oh, nothing good will come of it if children learn to think --
They’ll realize we’ve left them at and teetering on the brink.
Our only hope’s to rot their brains and turn them into fools
By teaching tests instead of teaching critical thinking tools.
The Fellowship for Putting Stupid Theories into Schools.

Whenever you have heard a child say something really dumb,
Or seen adults enamored with what art has now become,
Or read about the legislature’s vote to buy a tank
Instead of raising teachers’ pay, it’s us you have to thank –
It isn’t just by accident our citizens are fools --
For we’re the ones who give the zealous ignorant their tools:
The Fellowship for Putting Stupid Theories into Schools.

-- Marcus Bales

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Sunday Edition

America and All Her Guns, Satirized

Expletives included, of course, it's Chris Rock, after all, but this is from years ago.

This rings as true now as if he only wrote and performed it last night, after this Oregon shooting.

If only it were funny.

Fantastic, Thoughtful, Generous Idea From Terrific Local Artist

Check out what Kansas City's own Michael Savage is doing. He posted this today on his Facebook page.

Took a day off…don’t know what to do?!

So I was thinking….always a dangerous thing, I know. And I thought, it’s time for a new “contest” for art! (don’t mind all the commas, not a wordsmith like someone I know)

Here it is! Every month I am going to give a piece of art work, of my choice, away, duh, to one lucky (presumptuous?) and creative person.

Now the the deal. In the wake of so much sadness and craziness these days, and I’ll leave it at that, all I ask is for you, to enter, is to take a pic or record one random act of kindness ( or more) that you yourself instigate. Don’t plan on it, let it happen naturally. I know you have to have your camera ready, but isn’t it always!? Ha! And keep it simple. Example. Help the little old lady across the street. Help change someone’s tire. Buy someone a coke or coffee, hug a sad person, put a new roll of toilet paper on the dispenser when you empty it, cook some food for a needy family, pick a worm up after a heavy rain and set him in the grass, help someone move (well maybe not go that far). Make it fun, charitable, difficult, easy….it doesn’t matter. The point is to be kindand do it with a happy face. No smile, no win. I know most of us do this already, but I think it would be cool at the end of the month to see all the great heartfelt examples captured.

I believe we can have fun and share with our friends on this site. Because you wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could be friends. Goofy? Yes I am, but I want to show that we as humans are good and fun and happy. Please don’t feel obliged, but do feel free at the end of each month to participate in looking at the entries, commenting and going away happier.

So….start thinking or preferably not, and just remember to keep that camera ready! And don’t try too hard….it’ll just happen. Thanks and I hope you like the idea. I’ll throw some in there too!

Oh, and if you prefer not to post on this thread (I’ll keep reminding us throughout each month). Feel free to message me. And If you win, I’ll ask you first if you want to be known. And if you don’t I’ll just describe it. Cool? Good luck MY friends. We can change the world.

Especially for free art? Sav

What a cool thing, right?

Virtually any Kansas Citian knows his work, I think, either because of him or because of his fantastic style. For instance, here's one of his takes on our own Country Club Plaza.

Kansas City is so very fortunate to have artists--and people--like Michael living and creating right here in the city. (Charlie Podrebarac, too, I think and all the others, far too many to mention).

So there you are, Kansas City! Go out there and keep doing those nice things for others. For at least a while here, once a month, you'll get a huge reward for it, too! And thank you very much, Michael!

Hillary on Hillary

First Bill and now Hillary. Both.

Smart, funny, and good for the nation.

Everything Republicans aren't.

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.

Happy National Taco Day!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Truth About Guns in America -- Hard Data

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth, the ugly, raw truth of it all--guns in America:

"This is why we have the headlines all wrong: Guns are not being abused or wielded incorrectly in America. They are not “falling into the wrong hands,” ill-begotten by “evil people” and “crazies” and “psychopaths.” This is not true in the slightest.

Just the opposite, actually. When yet another mass killing occurs, when another woman is murdered by her ex-husband (which happens every single day in America, BTW), when another despondent teen kills herself with her dad’s gun (ditto), when more males – and it is almost always males – shoot each other in the street, when more schoolchildren die at the hands of effortlessly well-armed adults, these are not tragedies. It’s exactly what we expect to happen.

The guns are, in a very real way, just fulfilling the destiny we instilled into them. They are doing exactly what we designed them to do, what we demand they do, as physical extensions of our fear and rage. You can’t shove 10 billion tons of carcinogens into the atmosphere and not expect massive outbreaks of cancer. You can’t put 300 million precision tools of death into the culture and not expect their latent, intrinsic objective to be realized, every single day.

This is why all religious and spiritual traditions the world over agree: Guns are for cowards. They provide only the thinnest illusion of authority, the ugliest veneer of control, the most artificial aspect of authentic manhood.

Proof? Simple: Just remove any gun fetishist’s (or terrorist’s, or mass shooter’s) stockpile of weapons, and watch what happens. They are instantly deflated, lost, rendered vulgar and human. All illusions of power and machismo vaporize, leaving only the base energies of hate and fear they often don’t understand, much less know how to transmute into something like kindness and love."

Link:  Shooting up America: Guns are a national disgrace 

Guns in America III

Let's do this.

Guns In America

Some statistics. Some facts.

America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and 15 times as many as Germany.

America has 4.4 percent of the world's population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.

This makes no sense whatever, none of it.

There is a mass shooting in America nearly every day.

States with more guns have more gun deaths.

Consistent with this, above, developed nations with more guns also have more gun homicides.

America's biggest gun problem is suicide.

And again, consistently, the states with the most guns report the most suicides.

More guns equals suicides. Reported suicides between 2001 and 2005:

Guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily.

In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty.

Then there are these facts (with links).

And finally, to give us some hope, there is a great deal of support in America for gun policy proposals.

From the full article over at Vox:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Guns in America

One more massacre of innocent Americans.

Here we go again.

Some more.

This Australian's stand-up on we Americans and guns, though maybe seen again and again on Facebook, has a great deal of truth in it.

We Americans just aren't very bright.

What Are We Celebrating This Month?

Here they are, ladies and gentlemen--all the things we're celebrating here in America in this new October month:

Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
AIDS Awareness Month
American Cheese Month
Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
Bat Appreciation Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(World) Blindness Awareness Month
Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month
Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Celebrating The Bilingual Child Month
Children’s Magazine Month
Christmas Seal Campaign 
Church Library Month
Church Safety and Security Month
Class Reunion Month
Co-op Awareness Month
Cut Out Dissection Month
Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Eat Better, Eat Together Month
Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
Emotional Wellness Month
Employee Ownership Month
Energy Management is a Family Affair-Improve Your Home Month 
Financial Planning Month
Feral Hog Month or Hog Out Month
German-American Heritage Month
Global Diversity Awareness Month
Go Hog Wild – Eat Country Ham
Halloween Safety Month
Head Start Awareness Month
Health Literacy Month
Home Eye Safety Month
Italian-American Heritage Month
International Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month
International Starman Month
International Strategic Planning Month
International Walk To School Month
LGBT History Month
Long Term Care Planning Month
Month of Free Thought
National Animal Safety and Protection Month
National Apple MonthNational Applejack Month
National Arts & Humanities Month
National Audiology Awareness Month
National Bake and Decorate Month
National Book Month
National Bullying Prevention Month
National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
National Chiropractic Month
National Cookbook Month
National Cookie Month
National Crime Prevention Month
National Critical Illness Awareness Month
National Cyber Security Awareness Month
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Dessert Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Depression Education & Awareness Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Ergonomics Month
National Fair Trade Month
National Family Sexuality Education Month
National “Gain The Inside Advantage” Month
National Go On A Field Trip Month
National Kitchen & Bath Month
National Liver Awareness Month
National Medical Librarian Month
National Orthodontic Health Month
National Pasta Month
National Physical Therapy Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
National Pizza Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
National Pork Month
National Pretzel Month
National Protect Your Hearing Month
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
National Reading Group Month
National Roller Skating Month
National RSV Awareness Month
National Sarcastic Awareness MonthNational Sausage Month
National Seafood Month
National Spina Bifida Awareness Month
National Stamp Collecting Month
National Toilet Tank Repair Month
National Window Covering Safety Month
National Work and Family Month
National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month
Organize Your Medical Information Month
Pear and Pineapple Month
Photographer Appreciation Month
Polish American Heritage Month
Positive Attitude Month
Raptor Month
Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
Rhizomes and Persimmons Month
Rhubarb Month
Right Brainers Rule! Month
Self-Promotion Month
Spinach Lovers Month
Squirrel Awareness Month Link 
(Different Than Squirrel Appreciation Day in January)
Tackling Hunger Month
Talk About Prescriptions Month
Vegetarian Month
Wishbones for Pets Month 
(10/15 – 11/30)
Workplace Politics Awareness Month
World Menopause Month

What will you be celebrating?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Live and Let Live?

Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames and Messieurs
Ladies and Gentleman
Is it a crime to fall in love?
Can we ever tell where the heart truly leads us?
All we are asking is eine bisschen Verstandnis

Why can't the world leben und leben lassen?
'Live and let live....'

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Flashback

A nearly forgotten favorite, I think.

The Stupid Coming From the Right Wing and Republican Party -- Still

In two headlines today:

It hurts.

The stupid. It hurts.

Born This Day, 1827

Indeed, born this day, September 27, 1827 was one Hiram Rhodes Revels and for a few reasons, should absolutely be taught and known by Americans who he was and what he did.

Hiram Rhodes Revels - Brady-Handy-(restored).png

Hiram Rhodes Revels was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church(AME), a Republican politician, and college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He was elected as the first African American to serve in the United States Senate, and was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress. He represented Mississippi in the Senate in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

During the American Civil War, Revels had helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. After serving in the Senate, Revels was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University), 1871-1873 and 1876 to 1882. Later he served again as a minister.

One of the biggest things Hiram Revels did was to  be The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate

Too few Americans know this man and know what he did and how important he and it all was.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Karl Marx --- And the Wall Street Journal?

There is what I think to be a pretty good, if brief and fairly light article in none other than Right Wing-owned, Rupert Murdoch's own Wall Street Journal, describing where America and Americans are today, financially and socially:

Seeing it, I was pretty stunned.

It recognizes that America's middle class is struggling, shrinking, in fact, along with what got us here, where it stands in history and what we should maybe do to correct our financial, national problems. It begins with this sub-line heading:

Over the past few decades, the Western World has increasingly become a society of "have lesses," if not yet of "have nots." 

They already had me right there, just with that opening, recognizing that the middle-, lower- and working-classes were being crushed with our economic system in that business-supporting rag. But then they go on to outdo themselves:

If Western countries want to disprove the dire forecasts of Karl Marx, we must think creatively about how to make the middle class more prosperous and secure.

Karl Marx

They had me at "Karl Marx."

Some of the article:

In the U.S. and Britain, the percentage of citizens owning stocks or houses is well down from the late 1980s. In Britain, the average age for buying a first home is now 31 (and many more people than before depend on “the bank of Mom and Dad” to help them do so). In the mid-’80s, it was 27. My own children, who started work in London in the last two years, earn a little less, in real terms, than I did when I began in 1979, yet house prices are 15 times higher. We have become a society of “have lesses,” if not yet of “have nots.”

In a few lines of work, earnings have shot forward. In 1982, only seven U.K. financial executives were receiving six-figure salaries. Today, tens of thousands are (an enormous increase, even allowing for inflation). The situation is very different for the middle-ranking civil servant, attorney, doctor, teacher or small-business owner. Many middle-class families now depend absolutely on the income of both parents in a way that was unusual even as late as the 1980s...

The author asks an important question, an extremely important one;

What is the use of capitalism if its rewards go to the few and its risks are dumped on the many?

And here is where the under-rated, discounted and even disregarded, if brilliant Karl Marx comes in:

Where might one find a useful analysis of what is happening today in the market democracies of the West? How about this: “The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.”

Or this: “Modern bourgeois society…is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the power of the nether world which he has called up by his spells.” 

Or this: “The productive forces no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property: on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions…[and] they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.”

The celebrated bearded communists had argued that capitalism would reduce all of society to only two classes: the prosperous bourgeoisie, who owned the capital, and the impoverished proletariat, who contributed their labor.

Who, today, is able to say this isn't precisely what's happening and what's been happening here in America? Who can honestly deny this? It's incontrovertible.

Is that not what's been happening in the last at least 30 years? I can't count the number of articles and news segments pointing out how the "people at the top", the "1%", with hedge fund managers as the best example, have been getting many more millions upon millions of dollars and wealth and riches while, again, the middle-, lower- and working classes have seen their costs escalate but wages stagnate---shrink, in fact.

And here is where the article and the Pope's visit, this week, to our shores coincidentally converge:

The relationship between money and morality, on which the middle-class order depends, has been seriously compromised over the past decade.

I'm not advocating Communism here by any means. While I think Karl Marx was correct in his writing, I also know Mr. Marx didn't take into account the human factors, especially the factor of just sheer greed, let alone the love of power. Communism would only work in a perfect world. Would that we were so lucky.

But the fact is, what we have going on in America now and what we've had doing on financially, fiscally and economically is precisely what Karl Marx and Friederich Engels described in their famous-through-the-ages "The Communist Manifesto."

The author of the article ends it very well and correctly:

...Marx did have an insight about the disproportionate power of the ownership of capital. The owner of capital decides where money goes, whereas the people who sell only their labor lack that power. This makes it hard for society to be shaped in their interests. In recent years, that disproportion has reached destructive levels, so if we don’t want to be a Marxist society, we need to put it right.

What we need to do as a nation, through our government is get our government back for the people. We have to end the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling and end campaign contributions--both--so we can then begin to put back into place the simplest of rules to keep corporations and the already-wealthy, and the greedy and power-hungry among them, from crushing these 3 classes (middle, lower and working) with rules and government that only works for them.

We have to get the government back for the people.

Links:  Believe it or not: Karl Marx is making a comeback

Marx Was Right: Five Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014