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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On This Day, 1986

U.S. President Reagan and Attorney Gen. Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to rebels in Nicaragua. 

National Security Advisor John Poindexter resigned and Oliver North was fired.

Nothing came of the federal laws being broken.

Nothing. Ever.

To this day, legions of Americans have nothing but praise for Ronald Reagan.

Humankind's Worst "Pandora's Box"

It occurred to me today, humanity's biggest and worst "Pandora's box" must surely be gunpowder, first, so many centuries ago but explosives in general.

Peace can only come from the heart not guns and bombs

Certainly drugs are another and they destroy lives but it seems our ability to shoot and kill each other and blow each other up has become far bigger. And a far bigger problem and threat to humankind.

I look around the world today, city to city, state to state, region to region, here in America but across nations, too, and the world, and it seems clear we seem to be exploding and so, imploding.

From our neighborhoods and the streets of Kansas City, indeed, nearly every city of our own nation, we see shooting after shooting, nearly daily.

Senseless, needless, totally unnecessary shootings. And far too many killings, from all that.

Same, as I said above, in all our big cities.

It divides us, too, the rest of us who aren't shot and killed. We have our opinions but so many don't know what to do about it.

Then, all those guns and the desires and perceived needs for them and for more guns ends up creating now companies and corporations. And these corporations, by their nature, must not just exist but must grow and grow, perpetually, and thrive and grow more.

And this corporate growth and the demand for more infinite growth means all they want to do is sell more and yet more weapons, guns. So there are yet more and more and more guns---on our streets, in our homes, in our society.

And guns are no solution. Guns don't solve problems. Far from it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So we have guns, expanding in numbers all across our own nation then they are expanding across the world.

And one of the worst places on Earth they're expanding in numbers may well be the Middle east where, along with bombs, people are shooting and killing enemies but also strapping bombs on themselves in order to blow up and kill their enemies.

The most bizarre of these situations that destroys the very societies they're in is that of Sunni Muslims killing Shi'ia Muslims.

From what I understand, to people of cold, straightforward logic, the differences between the two groups, even though they're both Muslim, is extremely small. And yet, even though small in differences, they are committed to annihilating each other and their numbers, along with anyone and everyone else they disagree with or whom they find "in their way."


With the world seemingly blowing up, so to speak and no pun intended, certainly, Pope Francis recently said this:

Pope claims Christmas is a 'charade' 

due to continued war

We have wars breaking out now in Europe, more in the Middle East, still in Afghanistan, Syria, so many places.

Then there are the bombs. Always the bombs.

Still the corporations build more.

We learn nothing.

Link:  Peace can only come from the heart not guns and bombs

Side note:  I'd thought about this article for a couple days, anyway and decided to write it yesterday, last evening. By sheer coincidence, after having written it, I discovered that on this day, November 25 in 1867, Alfred Nobel patented dynamite.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- A Tribute

Celine Dion's tribute to Paris and the French -- her version of Edith Piaf's "Hymne à L'Amour" from last night's American Music Awards.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy National Absurdity Day

Because it is.

Wallpaper strange funny weird crazy absurd awesome 579

"Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity. And maybe that's what gives us our joy for living, because the only thing that can defeat absurdity is lucidity."

--Albert Camus

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Gettysburg Address

Given this day, 1863

Abraham Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal"

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedica-ted to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Entertainment Overnight -- Happy Birthday, Willie!

Disney's "Steamboat Willie", born this day, 1928

The Great American Smokeout Tomorrow!

Yes sir! The annual Great American Smokeout is tomorrow!

War Memorial Hospital's photo.

For any of the smokers out there, maybe today is the day to take this push and try to quit, if even for a day. There are so many benefits, too, as you may well already know. There are many benefits to your health but saving money factors in and more.

So good luck tomorrow and have fun with it! (If possible).

Happy Birthday, Calvin---and Hobbes!

Doppelgangers: Marshall and Kali have been compared to the characters of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which follows the antics of a boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger

From the New York Times this morning.

Thirty years ago today, a mischievous 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger appeared in a comic strip.

It was the start of a 10-year run for “Calvin and Hobbes,” a peek into childhood that a Wall Street Journal essay this year called America’s strangest, funniest and most profound comic strip.

The strip took its name from the serious philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, but the comic’s Calvin believed in having the most fun with the least amount of effort and the wildest imagination.

Calvinball, for instance, is a sport with no rules except those Calvin makes up as he goes along. (The Washington Post this year compared Donald J. Trump’s campaign to Calvinball.)

At its peak, “Calvin and Hobbes” ran in 2,400 newspapers. Then in 1995, the creator, Bill Watterson abruptly ended it with little explanation and has been largely out of view since.

“I’m proud of the strip, enormously grateful for its success and truly flattered that people still read it,” he said in 2010, “but I wrote ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ in my 30s, and I’m many miles from there.”

Still, anything is possible. The cartoons “Bloom County” and “Doonesbury,” which soared in the same era, only to be retired, made comebacks.

Here's hoping.

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

87 years young today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who Created That Mess In the Middle East, Anyway?

It wouldn't be us, would it?

Rise Up For Freedom's photo.

Quote of the Day -- On Any "War On Terrorism"

What far too many don't know or realize. Or accept.

"You can't have a war on terrorism because that's not a actual enemy, it's an abstract. It's like having a war on dandruff. That war will be eternal and pointless. It's idiotic.

That's not a war, it's a slogan. it's a lie. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented in America. And we use it to sell soap, wars and presidential candidates in the same fashion."

--Gore Vidal.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kansas Republicans in Topeka Have Their Priorities Set

kansas, state capitol, topeka, sundown

Indeed, those Kansas Republicans over in Topeka, from the Governor all through the state capitol, surely have their priorities set. In stone.

Years ago now, they cut taxes for the already-wealthy and corporations, raised them on the middle- and lower- and so, working-classes and set about just the chain of events they wanted. They were sure it would produce grand, paying results for the state. So the economists said they'd be wrong! So what?

Turns out, as we've found, as the same economists predicted, the economists were, in fact, correct and those same Right Wing legislators were dead wrong. Colossally, fiscally wrong:

Kansas faces nearly $120 million shortfall 

for fiscal year

Gov. Sam Brownback will pull money from the state’s highway fund and other sources after state economists projected a $118 million budget shortfall Friday.

Even after those adjustments, the state is projected to have a cash balance of $5.6 million at the end of June and to face a shortfall of $175.6 million for 2017, the economists said.

Asked whether the state is in the red, Budget Director Shawn Sullivan replied: “Depends on what you look at. We’re basically at zero right now, so yes.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the Legislature would start the 2016 session “basically where we were at the beginning of the 2015 session,” facing the question of how to right the state’s finances.

Lawmakers ended a record-long session in June by increasing sales taxes to cover a budget deficit caused in large part by income tax cuts...

...The latest shortfall comes after sales tax revenue fell short of projections. The state’s economists lowered the estimate for sales tax revenue by $91 million for the year while lowering the estimate for overall revenue by $159 million.

As for just a glimmer of what this means for Kansas, the article goes on:

Brownback will make a combination of budget cuts and funding sweeps to balance the budget.

He will take $50 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Sullivan said this would not affect previously announced highway projects.

He also will take $9 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund, which goes to support early childhood programs such as Early Head Start.

Sullivan said this would not affect the programs’ funding for this year. But the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children said that this would affect long-term funding for children’s programs, which have been cut in recent years...

...Brownback will also sweep $5 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, a quasi-governmental agency meant to spur investment in the biotech sector. The Eagle reported in July that the KBA was already on the brink of collapse and halting new investment in the face of reduced state funding.

As for Kansas schools, you might ask?

The governor made no cuts to education, but Scott Rothschild, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said that the budget news was still a cause for concern for schools.

“The future doesn’t look good. We’re going to have to keep our eye on this,” he said. “Obviously, we have tax cuts that were implemented that have put us in a perpetual budget crisis.”

Then there's this budget cut:

An advocacy group says a budget adjustment that took $9 million from Kansas’ Children’s Initiatives Fund will mean a cut in money promised to 20 children’s programs.

The Kansas City Star reports a review by Kansas Action for Children says the budget adjustment will cost early childhood grant programs about 6.5 percent in funding for fiscal year 2016 and about 3 percent in fiscal year 2017.

Stealing from children. And the poor. Nice, huh? Real Christians, those, eh?

But did they take care of themselves? Did the Republican legislators over there in Topeka make sure they, themselves were taken care of? Why don't be silly! OF COURSE they did!

Kansas legislators get 8.5 percent raise 

in allowance

Check out this wonderful stuff:

Kansas lawmakers quietly and automatically got an 8.5 percent raise in their allowance last month.

The raise is because of an escalator clause in state law that has increased lawmakers’ daily “subsistence payments” by more than 28 percent through the past seven years of fiscal woes, employee pay freezes and cuts in other government departments.

The payments, also known as per diem, are the set amount lawmakers get to pay their living expenses each day they work in Topeka.

As of Oct. 1, it’s $140 a day, up from $129.

The per diem payments are actually about 45 percent more than legislators earn in salary, and the money is theirs to keep and spend however they want.

For the legislators, those automatic raises in per diem essentially represent an increase in their compensation, without them having to make the politically difficult floor vote to raise their salaries.

Read more here:

So first, they got a pay raise. 

Second, it's automatic. They don't have to have a messy---and possibly reported on---vote about it.

Third and finally, whatever they don't spend, they get to keep. Not like in the business sector, which these people say they like to emulate. If they don't spend it, they get to stash it.

Can you imagine getting $140 per day from your boss for "expenses", on top of your pay? Wouldn't that be a sweet deal? You think you wouldn't "brown bag" it to work or eat on the cheap so you could keep that for yourself?

Don'tcha just love government representatives like these?

Don'tcha just love "small government", Right Wing, Republican legislators who always harp how they're "for the people" and low spending?

Don'tcha just love Kansans who vote for these people?

Doesn't it make you want to move and live there?

Additional links:

Mizzou, In the News For Good Things This Time

Yes sir, you'd think if the University of Missouri is in the New York Times today for anything, it must surely be all bad.

You'd be mistaken.

Love Your Country

Ah, patriotism.

Missouri, Fairness and Justice in Today's New York Times

Yes, St. Louis County and so, Missouri and fairness and gross unfairness, all in today's, Sunday New York Times.

It's an important, if brief read. A real eye-opener and certainly not limited to just that area.

And not just one article, one op/ed piece but two, originating out of Missouri politics and events lately. Here's the second. Also brief but, I think, again, important:

Beat the Press

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day, 2015

Remembering World War II, by the numbers. An informative, fascinating, possibly even important video on the people killed in World War II.

Never forget.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Leawood, Kansas?

So a new ranking list came out last week. It was this:

2015's Best & Worst Small Cities in America

And that's all well and good and you wouldn't maybe think much about it but look what small city made the number 5 spot on the "best" list:

The best small cities in America:

1. Princeton, N.J.
2. Littleton, Colo.
3. Dublin, Ohio
4. Brookfield, Wis.
5. Leawood, Kans.
6. Southlake, Tex.
7. Westfield, Ind. 
8. Northampton, Mass.
9. Ankeny, Iowa
10. Crystal Lake, Ill
Leawood, Kansas?

Leawood freaking Kansas?

One of the best small cities in America?

For what? It's cozy, old downtown area?

Here's at least part of what the rankings were based on--

Overall Rank
Overall Score
‘Affordability’ Rank
‘Economic Health’ Rank
‘Education & Health’ Rank
‘Quality of Life’ Rank
1Princeton, NJ61.9011441741
2Littleton, CO57.627423315428
3Dublin, OH57.2217143112190
4Brookfield, WI57.182061698248
5Leawood, KS57.097714123523
So... wait. 

Let's start right here with "affordability."

Affordable?  Leawood?  Anyone and everyone in the Kansas City metro knows Leawood is anything but affordable. It's one of the most expensive and exclusive cities in the area. I guess if you compare it to San Francisco or New York, it's affordable.

And the rest of the these rankings, above? Economic health, education and health and quality of life ratings?

Well of course they're all high numbers in Leawood! The people out there are loaded! And not just with booze.

How insane.

If you just put cities on paper, I guess you can come up with rankings and ratings totally disconnected from the actual world out here. The next area city on the list was Wildwood, Missouri (?) at number 30. Shawnee, Kansas, 54. Liberty, Missouri----131. (ouch). Lenexa, 223. Nothing to advertise about, for sure. Blue Springs?  615.  Yowza.

Side note: Also surprising, at least to me, is that all 10---all 10---cities on the "worst" list are from California.

That's got to have 10 different City Halls and Chambers of Commerce scrambling to change things, I would think.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thank you, Ewing and Muriel Kauffman

Thank you, Ewing. Thank you, Muriel. Thank you so much. We'll never forget.
We'll never forget you. We're forever grateful.

Muriel and Ewing Kauffman
Former Kansas City Royals owner Ewing Kauffman and his wife, Muriel, before the start of a 1985, October World Series game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals at Royals Stadium.

Monday, November 2, 2015

America's Actual Health Care Problems

Health Care - United States
The news has been breaking lately--

Employees' Share of Health Insurance 

Costs Rising

So naturally, too many people are blaming it on Obamacare. 

The fact is, the culprit and problem isn't Obamacare, the actual problem is that we still have our health care costs tied to profit and profits.  It needs to be pointed out, yet again, that NO OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED NATION IN THE WORLD does this. No other nation ties health care to profit. 

It's why we have the most expensive health care system in the world. It's how we got where we are today. To now blame Obamacare and President Obama for the health care costs rising just gives further license to these corporations to raise their rates and premiums and prices all the further. It's insane. It's how we're getting things like this:

We have to end our current system of health care and go to a single payer plan, once and for all.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


To any and all Kansas City bloggers--and anyone else--who didn't believe and who thought we couldn't and/or wouldn't take it all.

Kansas City Royals's photo.

Good Article on Kansas City, Charlie Parker, Count Basie and More in NYT Today

Interesting article in Sunday's New York Times about Kansas City, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, New York and a whole lot more today.

Count Basie, right, playing baseball in 1947. CreditAfro American Newspapers/Gado, via Getty Images

The Mets, the Royals and Charlie Parker, 

Linked by Autumn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After the Mets and the Royals had secured spots in the World Series, observers searched for connections between the teams. There seemed to be few.

But as the Series shifted from Kansas City to New York, it followed a well-trodden path, forged decades ago with the migration of some of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

Just as Kansas City once effectively served as a feeder system of ballplayers to New York, Kansas City’s hopping nightclub scene was the fertile ground that produced some of New York’s top musical acts, and baseball was a cherished pastime for many of them....

It goes on.

...jazz, baseball, Kansas City and New York are closely intertwined in American culture.

“There was a time when everybody went to Kansas City,” said Phil Schaap, a prominent jazz historian and archivist. “Many of them eventually moved on to New York and made it there. But Kansas City, along with New York, Chicago and New Orleans, is one of the citadels of jazz. And during the swing era, all the bands had teams.”

Great stuff. Interesting article. You might want to check it out.

There's certainly more here than just our Royals to get attention from the Big Apple and world.

Fantastic Documentary

Fantastic, even important film to see.

"We're not accusing you of being illegal. We're accusing you of being immoral."

Hundreds of billions of dollars.

Watch for it.

Kids Today.... Huh

Kids today

They have it so easy.

Why, when I was a boy, we had to reach ALL THE WAY TO THE RADIO DIAL in the car, to turn up the volume or change a station. None of this fancy shmancy pushing a button on the steering wheel to turn it up or change the station.

And putting the window down?? Fuggedaboudit! We had to ROLL IT UP OR DOWN. None of this pushing a button to raise or lower it.

And clocks!

When WE switched to Daylight Savings Time, we HAD TO GO AROUND TO EACH AND EVERY CLOCK IN THE HOUSE and change the time. None of this automatically having the time change for you on these cell phones and computers.

I tell ya.

Kids today have it easy.

We get no respect.