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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Entertainment Overnight --All About That Bass

But this time it's the isolated bass guitar of John Paul Jones of the epic rock group Led Zeppelin, playing his part of "Ramble On":

Best rock and roll group ever.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Another Remake

And again, a fantastic re-do:

America's Priorities

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and had to post.

You wouldn't think this is an actual, accurate description of the state of our spending and our priorities in America today but it is.

This is what spending more--far more--on "defense" in this nation gets you.

Forget that we Americans paid into Social Security with our own money, from our paychecks. All that was spent and is still being spent on other things, instead of back to us on Social Security, for which it was created.

Instead, we keep making and buying bombs and guns and bullets and tanks and weapons of war.

Our priorities, America's priorities, are seriously screwed up, without question.

So what are we going to do about it?

The Comical Conservative's photo.

A Fourth Country Western Star, for Obama

First there was this:

Three Country Western Stars, on President Obama

Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and Mel Haggard all came out strongly for President Obama, now Toby Keith, too:

Toby Keith

His quote:

"There's a big part of America that really believes that there is a war on terrorism, and that we need to finish up.
"So I thought it was beautiful the other day when Obama went to Afghanistan and got educated about Afghanistan and Iraq. He came back and said some really nice things.
"So as far as leadership and patriotism goes, I think it's really important that those things have to take place. And I think he's the best Democratic candidate we've had since Bill Clinton. And that's coming from a Democrat."
There's hope for us yet, eh?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Great Remake

It's terrific when the remake is better than the original.

Horrible, Racist News Out of Missouri Today

And it went national:

Following the election of the town’s first African-American mayor, five of the six officers on a small Missouri town police force resigned en masse, reports KFVS.

Former city clerk Tyrus Byrd was sworn in as mayor of Parma, Missouri on Tuesday only to find out that police officers, as well as the city attorney and a water treatment supervisor, had resigned before she took office.

According to outgoing Mayor Randall Ramsey, who is stepping down after 37 years in town hall over two terms, the city employees gave no prior notice.

What else can it remind you of but "Blazing Saddles"?

We just haven't come far enough, as a people, clearly.

Libertarian vs Socialist

I saw this earlier and loved it. Naturally, there's at least a bit of truth to it or it wouldn't work.

I ask you, which would you prefer?

We all work together vs. "every man--and woman--for themselves"?

Quote of the day -- On Wealth Inequality

And to be timely on this Sunday, it's from none other than Pope Francis:

Bernie Sanders's photo.

Kansas and Social Media Just Now

I just saw this on Facebook today.

Congratulations, Kansas. This is who and what you are and what people are learning about you--on top of the fact that you give tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations and have no budget for schools and a downgraded bonds because of it:

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Albert Einstein, with Lessons for Kansas City and Missouri and the Nation

I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years. And I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask:
"What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?"
I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.
What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.
In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one's fellow-man.
There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the "Whites" toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.
Many a sincere person will answer: "Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability."
I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man's quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.
A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.
It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.
I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.
What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.
I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Bill Maher Gets Many Things Right Here -- As Usual

Attention: some expletives, as ever.

More people have been to the moon than paid the inheritance tax.


Have a great weekend, y'all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kansas City Hits the Big Time Media!

Yes sir, Kansas City hits the big time media and in a big way--in the very first paragraph. Just not in a good way:

Arrowhead and Kauffman

When they want "gross food", they come to us first, it seems. From "Mother Jones" today:
Five months ago, Jon Costa, a food safety manager for Aramark, told ESPN and local media outlets about the dire conditions in the kitchens at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium (home to baseball's Royals) and Arrowhead Stadium (home to football's Chiefs). He discovered roaches in the vending area, mouse feces near pizza dough, mold growth in ice machines, and employees eating where food was supposed to be prepared.
KSHB reported that the Kansas City Health Department found critical violations at 20 of Kauffman's concession stands last November, after Costa came forward following the Royals' World Series loss. In a letter to ESPN that month, an Aramark official refuted Costa's allegations, which included expired pizza dough being served during Game 7 of the World Series, as "unsubstantiated claims raised by a disgruntled employee." Still, Aramark enlisted an external inspector to conduct additional sweeps of concessions and increased training for its staff. (Costa, meanwhile, was fired in March.)
That hurts.
Not only that, though, our beer costs too much:

Beer Prices At Every Major League Baseball Game

Two Huge Things the Nation Needs

Great news from--who else? Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill To End Offshore Tax Havens and Outsourcing of Jobs

Two things that should never have been put in the books anyway but they were because the wealthy and corporations can buy our legislators with "campaign contributions" and get the legislation they want, in spite of what's good for the nation.

Right now, America, we have laws on the books making it legal to take profits that were made here in the US, take them to the Cayman Islands and so, make them tax free.

That is textbook insanity. It's certainly fiscally irresponsible.

And the other thing that should no way have ever been made law was that companies would get tax credits, too, for offshoring manufacturing and so, manufacturing jobs.

More crazy.

We all know we want more jobs back here in our country, maybe especially manufacturing jobs. This is an excellent way to begin that process.

These two efforts, that is, bringing profits and jobs back "on shore", back to America, would go a long, long way toward fixing two major problems in this country. The first being tax revenue on profits made here in the country and the other of bringing jobs back.into the country.

There shouldn't be one government representative that is against either of these goals.

Sadly, however, because the corporations and wealthy virtually own the Republicans and the Republican Party, they won't be for it.

Quote of the Day -- On Trickle Down Tax Cuts

And o

And on the new, latest Republican budget plan with yet more tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting Medicare, etc.

John Deluca-howard's photo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Entertainment Overnight --- Incredible

John Legend and Sam Smith.

The night, this emptiness, this hole that I'm inside
These tears, they tell their own story

On Hillary Rodham Clinton and Her Likely Juggernaut

Suddenly, all of a sudden, the foregone conclusion that Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for the presidency of the United States is here and done and the game is in play.

And even though it was a foregone conclusion, suddenly, I have to say, I am excited.

Also foregone is that the Republicans are going nuts and they are going to continue to do so.

And here's the big fact on Hillary's run for the presidency--and what the Republicans are going to do until November, 2016:

"Instead of coming back with their own positive vision for America and actually arguing issues, Republicans will come back with attacks."

And sure, Hillary is no Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders but she's smart, she's tested and she's electable.

She's also not one of these guys:

Republican Presidential Contenders
And then, to make it better, you see some headlines like this:

Mike Huckabee: ‘God’s blessing’ will make me president

It just keeps getting better and better.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Be My Dixie Chicken

Missouri's Going to Execute Again

With Missouri's last execution, of a 74 year old man who was missing part of his brain, literally, and so, had a low IQ, it seems certain Missouri will once again execute another inmate tomorrow:

Andre Cole.

Advocates for inmate ask Missouri governor to halt execution

It seems certain.

After all, he's black.

Forget that he was tried back in 1992 in St. Louis when blacks/African-Americans were excluded from juries in that area.

Forget that.

He's scheduled to be executed tomorrow, too. Precious little time to get anything done on this now, likely.

I wonder where the "pro-life" people are on this one? All the Catholics, all of them. Anyone screaming that "life is precious."

No, I thought not.

It doesn't look good.

We have to go through with that age-old "good idea" that killing people is a great idea, to show people shouldn't kill people.


Congratulations, Missouri! You kill me!

Quote of the Day -- Thomas Jefferson

Happy birthday, Mr. President, born this day, 1743.
Thomas Jefferson
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

We can't say we weren't warned.  And we risk failure by not acting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Right Wing, "Conservative", Religious, Supposedly "Christian", Republican Springfield Repeals Equality

There's a shocker, huh?

The bigots from the pews won.

This one, this time.

The thing is, what they don't recognize is that we all want equality.

This is America, right?

Didn't we always say, haven't we always been told, from grade school? that "...all men are created equal"?

What too many don't recognize is that the opposite of equality id discrimination.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What Libertrarianism Really Is

I have had no respect for the people who call themselves "Libertarians" nearly since I first became aware of them. To me, they are people who realized their political party--the Republican Party--was falling a apart and they wanted smaller government so they came up with this idea they'd be edgy and controversial, create a new political party and call themselves this.

But the fact is, as I've said before, the thing with Libertarians is that they can't collectively decide how small this new, functioning government is supposed to be, among other things.

Then, last week, I saw this and it helped clarify further more of the issues I know I have with these people and their very loosely-formed group. Enjoy:

Libertarians believe they're rebels, but they are really political children who scream through tears

Libertarians believe themselves controversial and cool. They're desperate to package themselves as dangerous rebels, but in reality they are champions of conformity. Their irreverence and their opposition to “political correctness” is little more than a fashion accessory, disguising their subservience to—for all their protests against the “political elite”—the real elite.

Ayn Rand is the rebel queen of their icy kingdom, villifying empathy and solidarity. Christopher Hitchens, in typical blunt force fashion, undressed Rand and her libertarian followers, exposing their obsequiousness toward the operational standards of a selfish society: “I have always found it quaint, and rather touching, that there is a movement in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”

Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they’ve politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, “You’re not the boss of me.” The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile naïveté.

As much as libertarians boast of having a “political movement” gaining in popularity, “you’re not the boss of me” does not even rise to the most elementary level of politics. Aristotle translated “politics” into meaning “the things concerning the polis,” referring to the city, or in other words, the community. Confucius connected politics with ethics, and his ethics are attached to communal service with a moral system based on empathy. A political program, like that from the right, that eliminates empathy, and denies the collective, is anti-political.

Opposition to any conception of the public interest and common good, and the consistent rejection of any opportunity to organize communities in the interest of solidarity, is not only a vicious form of anti-politics, it is affirmation of America’s most dominant and harmful dogmas. In America, selfishness, like blue jeans or a black dress, never goes out of style. It is the style.

I ask you, how do you run a nation of far more than 315 million people with little government? Or very little?

And how small a government is it, when you're done shrinking it? How small DO we go? What do we get out of, completely? Do we have a national highway system? How small do you shrink the military? And believe me, if you know anything of me, I'm all about shrinking our military spending.

Where do you stop with the cuts?  What's left?

I'm left wondering how much of a nation we are, collectively, if we make all those cuts.

Are we together?

Wouldn't Libertarianism mean that if a state wants to secede, you let them? Would that not be consistent with this train of thought? And if it's not consistent, what would be the position taken on such a situation.

As it is, we're becoming less and less the United States of America.

With Libertarianism, I wonder if we would even be the States, let alone United.

Quote of the day -- On True Small Government

The guy who was, at the time, the ultimate, utmost Conservative and Republican, Barry Goldwater (Google him or check him out on Wikipedia or something, if you must). He was the Convervative's Conservative. He was Conservative long before Conservative was the "cool" it is today:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Kansas' Tax Woes, Come to Roost

So Kansas' Republican Governor Sam Brownback and all the Republican, Right Wing legislators over in Topeka got their way and slashed taxes for the wealthy and corporations with the promise it would bring business and tax money to the state's coffers.

We've all seen how that's turned out:

This was from April last year:

This is from last August:

This is from this past January:

And it was what Governor Brownback was warned of, as we know.

So this is what the Guv proposed to "fix" the budget/money problem:

And this, then, is the latest result of all this fiscal irresponsibility:

So once again, this disproves the whole "trickle down" theory of government, of course. Slashing taxes for the wealthy and corporations does NOT create opportunity or even, as this shows, good, working budgets for governments to work on and function. And schools and education and the people will suffer. Terrific.

Not to be done there, California's example and situation also totally disproves the Ronald Reagan era, "trickle down" fallacy:

How Kansas and California Debunked the GOP's Tax Cuts

What a whole lot of us out here would love to see come from all this is the following:

1) Kansans and any other state going down this path need to learn from and stop this madness and, again, irresponsibility. Sure, a lot of damage has been done but next time around, here's hoping they learn or better yet, have already learned, and they vote the Republican tax slashers out;

2) That Americans, the nation over, see and learn this lesson, these lessons, so we no longer fall for this ridiculousness and we get on a path of working together and being responsible and, almost better yet, holding the wealthy and corporations responsible, too, for their very fair share of our nation's debt and expenses and functioning. And by this, I no way mean anything extraordinary or disproportionate to what they should or need to pay in taxes. We have schools and highways and bridges and sewers and airports and all kinds of infrastructure we need in order to function as a society. Their paying a bit in some cases, because they pay nothing, should no way be too much to ask of them.

Now let's hope Missouri and Jefferson City doesn't try to follow this ignorant, dangerous, irresponsible path.

Congratulations, Missouri! You kill me!

Check out these statistics on "corporal punishment"--the oh-so-polite word for state-sanctioned murder, execution of the convicted:

America Ranks in the Top 5 Globally—for Putting Its Citizens to Death

That one, that statistic, by itself, is bad enough, sure.That's awful.

Look at the company we're with, for pity's sake---only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia executed more.

This is the company we want to keep? These are the people we want to share this with? This is the kind of people we want to be? This is what we want to be known for?

I mean, I knew we incarcerated more people than any other nation in the world, sure:

And that, by itself, is horrific enough but I didn't know we were also in the top 5 for killing our own citizens. 

And I figure you know China has to be in there by sheer numbers, the size of its population but all the rest of the nations in the top 5, including and especially us? That's just wrong. 

Then, to take it one step further, check this out, Missouri and fellow Missourians, from this article--

The overwhelming majority of those executions—nearly 90 percent—took place in four states: Texas, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma.
And not to be outdone, it seems Utah may want to get into the top 5 states that execute, with their latest move, too. Seems lethal injection just wasn't effective, dependable--or barbaric?--enough for them:

Utah Senate OKs execution by firing squads

So kudos, America and congratulations to you, Missouri. Hats off to you, state sanctioned killers that you are.

When you put all this together with the fact that we grossly outspend all other nations on the planet, in the world, in and on defense spending, it's pretty eye-opening.

It seems clear, with all this information and all these statistics, America is fully wrapped up in the death and killing business.

And here you thought we were a "peace-loving people."

Happy Easter

Pagan Origin of Easter

The pagan roots of Easter