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Monday, August 31, 2009

Health care situation doesn't look good

To see and hear the conversations on different news media--newspapers, television and internet--it seems clear to me that the corporations and their lobbying dollars--millions of them--are winning this fight.

Whether it's The McGlaughlin Report or The Week with George Stephanopoulos or, God forbid, of course, Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck and the Fox Network,etc., the support of the corporations comes through.

George Will and Liz Cheney, naturally, spew the lines and sound eloquent, so people might think they're correct.

And of course they're not, plainly.

Our American health care system is badly, badly broken and is financially breaking American citizen's households because we have the most expensive health care system in the world and that story is, I think, completely lost.

All these people have to do is instill fear, ala' George W. Bush's techniques, which they've clearly learned so well, and health care reform, to benefit us all, seems unlikely to pass.

Sad.

Really sad.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Important read in The New York Times today

There is a huge story in The New York Times today that might otherwise be overlooked, I think.

It's about the "Hillary" Documentary that came out during the last Presidential election.

This documentary was a savaging of Hillary Clinton and her reputation and it had been paid for by corporations.

From the article:

"The case, which arises from a minor political documentary called “Hillary: The Movie,” seemed an oddity when it was first argued in March. Just six months later, it has turned into a juggernaut with the potential to shatter a century-long understanding about the government’s ability to bar corporations from spending money to support political candidates."

"At issue is whether the court should overrule a 1990 decision, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates."

What's happening here that concerns me most is that corporations are pushing to be able to flood money into opinionated, one-sided, possibly and even quite likely out-and-out negative "documentaries" that can assassinate an opponent's political career.

With corporations on one side, they've been joined by some liberal organizations like the ACLU and others that absolutely don't want any censorship but most liberals and organizations are, for the most part, against this idea for the corporations.

This rehearing of this case is going to be a huge battle and the American public will be greatly affected by it and for years to come, one way or another.

I contend that, for the good and sake of the country, we are better-served by keeping this huge well of money--and possible ugly negativeness--out of our political system.

To know about this case, the participants and the possible recriminations, I strongly recommend you read the article.

Link to story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/us/30scotus.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Liz Cheney needs to go away

I never understood why anyone thought we need to know what Liz Cheney's opinion is on anything but, ever since Dad left the White House, she's seems to be ubizuitous.

She shows up again and again on news shows and all because of her last name.

Today, she outdid herself.

Ms. Cheney was on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on ABC and she not only put out here obnoxious opinions, which would be bad enough, but now she's introduced right-wing, shout-down-the-opposition, Bill O'Reilly-type tactics to this show which, up to now, was always calm, lucid and intelligent.

If you saw it, you saw Mr. Stephanopoulos totally lose control of his show, thanks to Ms. Cheney, and not just once but a few times.

It got so bad that, at the end of the show, Liz was still droning on with her views, talking over everyone si Gwen Ifill even tried to help give back the show and control to its host.

Liz Cheney should be asked to never return to this show unless or until she can discuss issues the old way--calmly, respectfully and like an adult.

If she's capapble of that.

At least the corporations are getting their money's worth.

Senators Bond and McCain that insecure in their views?

When did we stop all being Americans?

When did we stop all wanting to improve America?

I submit it was with the end of the "Fairness Doctrine" in our media, when the right-wing and Republicans did away with it. It coincided with the rise of the religious right wing and religion in government, to make things worse.

That created the rise in shows like Bill O'Reilly's and Glenn Beck's, etc., where we can just trash any other opposing views, ad infinitum--and ad nauseum.

Instead of pointing out a problem--and then a solution--now these shows just bash the opposing party or parties and, as I said, any opposing views.

It's just become a rant.

What was really galling was that, during George W. Bush's administration, from 2000 to 2008, the President's handlers would hand pick audiences for town hall meetings and television broadcasts.

Are we not all Americans? Can we not all go see and speak to our President?

At that time, clearly, the answer was no.

Fortunately, during President Obama's administration, we've gotten back to letting evryone in these meetings.

Hold a different view? No problem--you're an American, step right in.

And that is very refreshing.

Now the opposing side, however, wants to show their disapproval--and ignorance, to put it plainly--by showing up at these meetings with the President armed with weapons.

Insane. That's truly crazy. And patently irresponsible.

And yet they do it.

So, now, what's happening, here in Missouri?

In a blatant return to past, ugly, Republican practices, Senators Bond and McCain are going to speak here in Kansas City on health care but they're going to only allow supporters in the audience.

They're going to pick and pack their audience.

That's pathetic.

I ask again--are we not all Americans?

Are these men so insecure in their beliefs and policies that they cannot and will not allow opposing views within the room?

The answer appears, really, absolutely, to be yes.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/1411818.html

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The President's eulogy for Senator Ted Kennedy

For anyone who would say--or has said--anything disparaging about Ted Kennedy, they should watch this.

It should bring us together as a country and as individuals.

It won't. But it should.

Link to 2nd half of eulogy--don't miss this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGnSc4vPwDU

Cheers

Today, as you've likely heard, is the day of the final burial and memorial service for Senator Ted Kennedy, along with the 4th annual anniversary of Hurricane Katrina coming onshore in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Raise a glass, sometime today, to the working class, the little men and women of our society--and the people who work for them, however few there are.




Have a great weekend, y'all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Okay, this is stupid

Did you hear about this law that goes into effect today here in Missouri?

As of today, people 21 years of age and younger can't text on their phones while driving.


I can hardly believe the stupidity of this, for at least three reasons.

To begin, why should it be okay for a 30 or 40 or any-year-old to be able to "text while driving" which, apparently, with this law, it is?

Does that make sense?

It seems the lawmakers are saying that, if you're older, you have the capacity to text on your phone, but not those young kids.

Was this a giveaway to the phone companies or an attempt to not trample on First Amendment rights or what?

Whatever it was, it makes no sense.

Secondly, the blatant discrimination of this seems like it would doom the law right out of the gate.

Finally, The Kansas City Star poses a good question:

"But just how anyone is going to stop you has police scratching their heads. How will anyone know your age, let alone know for sure whether you are texting or calling?"

I mean really, how do you police a thing like this?

I hope no one down in Jefferson City thinks they did good work on this one.

Someone explain this to me.

I don't think it's explicable.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1409899.html

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thanks, Ted

I got a bit of a history lesson this morning, listening, as usual, to NPR as I prepared for work.

Naturally, the media is still abuzz about all things Ted Kennedy. They were telling of the Senator's famous speech on "Robert Bork's America" and they broadcast this quote:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy."

And then I realized--with George W. Bush and the push of the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan was President, that's exactly what they've been working for.

And they got a some of this.

And they haven't given up on some of the rest of this, either.

Link to the original speech:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Robert_Bork's_America

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Misinformation at its worst

In The Kansas City Star today, there was yet another example of gross misinformation, in this instance, on the part of a reader--no surprise--and it points out the mistaken ideas people have about real life, situations and hard statistics.

Here's most of the letter to the editor:

Government can't be trusted

"What is it The Star does not get when it keeps publishing liberal editorials pushing for national health care, claiming that such a system will drive down costs and provide affordable care for all?"

"Do you realize that everywhere this has already been attempted it has been a disaster? (i.e., Europe and Canada)."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where I have to stop. (Fortunately, he didn't go on much longer, anyway).

What the heck??

That is such a blatantly mistaken statement, it's beyond belief.

Virtually the entire free world has health care for all its citizens--except the United States--and Canada's and Europe's health care systems, in specific, are two of the most successful, working health care systems of all these.

It seems this writer must purely be basing his thoroughly untrue and incorrect statement on some fictional opinion he holds.

Reality absolutely shows, unequivocally, how both Europe's and Canada's health care systems (pick a country) work so very efficiently for both the patients and practitioners in the industry. The doctors and health care givers are paid reasonable wages and the costs are far lower for the institutions and respective countries, in spite of everyone getting the care they need.

The US statistics, by comparison, show we spend more than any other nation on the planet for our health care, for starters. Followed by the facts that we also rate 37th, internationally, in terms of morality rate and, finally, that we have at least 46 million of us who have no health care insurance at all, no one can claim we have a good, working system.

Far from it. Our health care system is broken. Badly broken. And needs repair.

Let's start there, with the fact that it needs fixing and then use only good information, to take us forward.

Link to facts and data on other countries' health care plans by T.R. Reid, from the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082101778.html

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On top of no newspapers or reporting...

you have a School Board in Texas that wants to take mention of liberals and liberal programs or issues out of schools and put in mention of Newt Gingrich, of all people and Phyllis Schlafly (that old bat?) and the like:

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/21/texas-history-gingrich/

Demagogues, every one.

I'm telling you, folks--it is scary out there and getting scarier.

Whatever happened to unbiased, intelligent, impartial education?

An important read on newspapers

I recommend you go to the following link to a New York Times article on why we need newspapers and why it's important they not all disappear, especially, city to city.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/books/review/Evans-t.html

They really are, in their best incarnation, the "fourth estate". In that best situation, they are a check on government--local, city, state, federal, everything.

If newspapers aren't there to do the "bigger picture" information-gathering and reporting, who is?

Also, there is that "local identity" that comes from bringing us all together, with that same information and events.

For cities like Kansas City and St. Paul/Minneapolis, for instance, we are even more dependent on them for a sense of the entire area.

And then there are the larger metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and, yes, New York, etc., that need both that information and cohesion that, I think, only a newspaper can bring.

After the 8 years of Constitution and law-breaking we got from George W. Bush, it seems all the more obvious that we need a vigilant and independent newspaper system, in specific, but media, in general.

That on top of the fact that the corporations and big business have gotten into skewing the news to their own benefits.

It's a scary world out there, folks.

Without good, searching and reporting media, it's going to get a lot scarier.

Ironically, sadly, frustratingly, the one thing I think that can save a newspaper is supporting the reporters, researchers and writers so they can and do get the good, hard-hitting stories readers can expect and look forward to. That is the opposite of what has happened here, in Kansas City, with our own newspaper. It's been weakened and shrunken mightily.

If newspapers don't do good reporting and writing, particularly now, with the advent of the computer and blogs and what not, what purpose do they serve?

Kansas City Star?

Friday, August 21, 2009

This is why we need a government insurance option--and badly

I received this email, this morning, from my sister. It's from a friend of hers.

This is the insane, financially and morally bankrupt "health care system" the American people are subject to and people defend.

It's insane.

It's irresponsible.

It's heartless.

It's health care for the corporation.

It's indefensible.

(Posted with no corrections).

"Hey everyone, if i could afford it i would post my insurance billing statement in the local newspapers. As most of you know, i've had two cancer surgeries in the last two months....both at the wonderful CTCA in Tulsa, Ok. Although their financial dept. has bent over backward to help us, i cannot say the same for our local "preferred" providers.
Julys surgery involved over twenty staples in my abdomen. So that i could return home a few days after the surgery they gave my daughter a staple remover so it could be done at home. Well....it turned out to be too painful. My first call was to my family doctor who said they would just give me a sedative because they didn't have numbing gel. i stated i didn't want a sedative. i then went to "urgent care" owned also by Heartland Health System in St. Joseph. At first they refused me care. When i reminded them that it was not legal to turn me away they let me see a doctor. He told me he could not remove the staples that a surgeon would have to do it. By the way, a surgeon, also from Heartland, that had done previous work on me refused to take the staples=2
0out because "he did not put them in". SO...finally i went to the E.R. at Heartland. A nice Nurse Practioner and a sweet young nurse put numbing gel on my staples and pulled them out after about fifteen minutes. i was there less than an hour. Here's the kicker. They charged my
insurance company THREE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!! Our insurance paid TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED!!! for something the CTCA thought our seventeen year old daughter could do at home! WHO says our medical system does not need reform?!?!?!?"


I couldn't have said it better myself.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What is it going to take for you people?

A week or two ago, a 3 year old was shot while in his Father's arms at a front-yard party on the East side.

Now, today, I find a 10 year old has been shot.

What is it going to take for the people in these neighborhoods to get upset and do somethingabout this?

What are the churches in these neighborhoods doing?

Is there no uproar?

Are you people going to tolerate this crap?

Because if you are, we sure aren't going to get upset for you.

Seriously, what is it going to take?

How many people--children, adults, everyone--have to be shot until a large group stand up and make it clear they aren't going to put up with it any longer?

Link to story:
http://www.kmbc.com/news/20465658/detail.html

K-k-k-kill the C-C-C-Co-op Option

I mean really.

The whole talk of creating these co-ops, for health care, instead of giving us what we really need and what will really work—a government option for health insurance---is absurd.

There are so many reasons why co-ops aren’t the answer and won’t truly work.

For one, it would take millions, if not billions of dollars to create them all.

Where, exactly, is that going to come from? It won’t be private money.

Second, there is no way enough co-ops would or could be created to cover all Americans. Many millions of rural people would end up with the same lack of coverage the country is experiencing now. Even places like rural Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska would no doubt end up without coverage, let alone the more isolated parts of the country like Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

Forget it. It’s insane. It’s a total non-starter.

So let’s be done with this whole notion.

I think there is a high likelihood that the conversation of health insurance co-ops may have been started by insurance companies so they could maintain their control of the market.

Unless the federal government steps in and gives a true nationwide option of health care insurance for all Americans, the insurance corporations will maintain their stranglehold on health insurance in the US—and on the sharp increases they’ve been foisting on us for decades.

Link to story:
http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/prairie-health-care-companion/index.html?th&emc=th

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More proof of right-wing, Conservative insanity

Charles Krauthammer had a column in the Kansas City Star yesterday showing how over-the-top looney the right wing and Conservatives have become since our last, November election.

He took the stance that "Preventive care's savings.." are an "illusion."

Really?

You want to take the stance that keeping yourself healthy and properly-fed and properly-nutritioned and properly-exercised is not a good way to help stave off more serious illness and disease?

What are you thinking?

If you emphasize a few statistics, you know we need health care reform.

Let me repeat:

--We have THE MOST EXPENSIVE health care system in the world, literally. We spend 2.5 trillion dollars per year, for pity's sake;

--We rank 37th, internationally, in mortality rates. We're behind Costa Rica;

--We have nearly 50 million people uninsured and without any real health care in this country. A

And that's just 3 of many, many more statistics and facts that are available.

Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

Our health system is broken, ladies and gentelmen. We spend WAY too much on it and a lot of us are still without health care of any kind. Thousands of us are taking bankruptcy because of this crappy health care system.

It's insane.

This needs to be fixed.

And the time is now.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/273/story/1389037.html

Never mind

No, there's just too bloody much insanity and stupidity to not write.

Check this out:

"Insurance premiums have risen by 73.8% from 2000 to 2006, while the U.S. median income has increased 11.6% during that same period, according to a study released Tuesday by Families USA, the Helena Independent Record reports (Harrington, Helena Independent Record, 10/18)."

This report just came out in the middle of trying to get our health care overhauled in the US.

Read it again, ladies and gentlemen, and remember this.

The above statistic is further proof that, not only do we need health care reform in the US but we need it badly and it must, by necessity, include the government-run "public option" of insurance.

The corporations, I will say again, are eating us alive.

And we're letting them.

If you aren’t for health care reform in general and the “public option”, in particular, you’re voting against your own self-interests, in favor of the corporations.

Which, normally, would be fine except the rest of us would all suffer along with you, with much higher costs, ad infinitum.

Link to story:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/54522.php

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reporting, anyone?

The Kansas City Star won't do an article on the current commercial real estate situation, bad as it is, but they write one on people buying cars without side airbags.

There are residential condominium complexes all over town, largely empty. Complexes standing built but almost completely empty.

There there's the 1/2 finished "West Edge Project" on the Plaza complete with 2 cranes standing above it but otherwise empty.

There are, as I said, projects and facilties all over town half or more empty.

You think the Star would cover it?

Not a chance.

Unbelievable.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/842/story/1385463.html

I think we made it

I think we made it, successfully, through the weekend, as a city with only one homicide.

Hip-hip-hooray!

Let's all celebrate!

And this, then, is how we do this. We go day to day, week by week, weekend, especially, by weekend, suppporting each other and pushing out guns and shootings in our society. Clearly, most of the work for the senseless shootings will have to be in the East part of the city, but we must.

The churches, at minimum, need to be at the forefront of making this a priority for them and their followers.

It's a place to start.

And it's a good place to start.

Looks like the party's over

For starters, it looks as though a young man working for a cell phone store may have been the next, latest homicide victim in Kansas City.

It seems that, about 1:43 pm, someone shot the guy in his Sprint Store.

I hoped we could make it through the weekend without a homicide, even though it's the heat of summer.

Frankly, i didn't think we could but I certainly hoped that might be the case.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/1385683.html

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our luck is holding

After checking The Kansas City Star's website and Tony's KC Blog, I've come to the hopeful, optimistic conclusion that, so far this weekend, Kansas City hasn't had even a shooting, let alone a homicide.

AS I said, our luck seems to be holding.

Here's hoping for a homicide-free weekend.

We can always hope.

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ask yourself...

Wouldn't it be great to go the whole weekend without a shooting?

More good news (if only statistical)

It seems there was a mistaken police report given out earlier this week, saying there were 76 people killed in Kansas City.

"The police and the medical examiner recently sat down and compared notes. A couple of cases that were considered homicides are now being treated as an accident and a natural death. But they also added one -- an alleged shoplifter who died while being detained at a Northland Wal-Mart."

"The cases removed:

"•Freddy H. Medina, 16, died Jan. 5 after a friend accidentally shot him while posing for cell phone pictures while holding a rifle. The friends had been drinking in his bedroom in the 3700 block of Bales Avenue." Very smart.

"•Eric L. Davis, 36, died April 6, three months after someone shot him in the head in the 2700 block of Grove Street. The medical examiner ruled Davis died of a stroke unrelated to his gunshot wound."

"The case added:

•Russell S. Palmer, 38, who died Feb. 2 after a scuffle with guards at a Northland Wal-Mart. The medical examiner ruled he died from cardiac arrhythmia caused by the struggle and cocaine intoxication."

So, to date, there are "only" 75 homicides in Kansas City.

But then, the weekend's nearly here, isn't it?

Care to make any bets?

Link to story:
http://blogs.kansascity.com/crime_scene/2009/08/kcpd-refigures-its-homicide-count.html

Good news?

The good news is no one was killed.

The bad news is, someone was shot last night in a "drive-by" shooting.

1:15 am.

You would think people would know better than to be out on the street in the middle of the night in summer. Once the sun goes down, until dawn, wouldn't you think people would know to either be inside or to be only briefly on the street, so you don't get shot?

It's no way to live, being constantly afraid of being shot at night, mostly, but you have to know it's a possibility, right?

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking_news/story/1382475.html

Thursday, August 13, 2009

They want the KC P and L District to be successful?

I took my daughter last evening to Cosentino's for dinner, for a change of pace and WTF?! I couldn't believe you can't park on Main Street.

Tons of room.

"No Parking Allowed."

There used to be parking meters along Main, before the revamp of downtown.

They paid money to have them ripped out.

Then they paid money to have "No Parking" signs put up.

Let me get this straight--they want P and L to be successful?

They want us to come downtown?

Right?

But you can't park on the wide street?

(Oh, and don't eat the "Veggie Pasta" dish off the salad bar at Cosentino's, either. That was some kinda nasty. Dry. I think it had been recooked a few days, anyway. And "Veggie"--you thought that meant "vegetables", right? Well, at Cosentino's it means "without meat", that's all. It was dry, dry, dry, overcooked cheese and equally dry and overcooked pasta. Really nasty--and nearly $25.00 for 2 people. Easy advice: stay away.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting rich by denying Americans health care

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most.

Welcome to the American health insurance industry. Instead of helping policyholders attain the health security they need for their families, big insurance companies get rich by denying coverage to patients. Now they’re sending lobbyists to Washington, DC to twist the arms of lawmakers to oppose reform of the status quo. Why? Because the status quo pays.

Go to this link for a video and/or information:

http://sickforprofit.com/

Don't tell me we don't need health care reform.

We do and we need it badly.

Yet another senseless death

If you read The Kansas City Star today, you can predict my column.

Bystander slain as bullets fly in gun battle

"A stray bullet from a rolling gun battle killed an bystander on his porch Tuesday night in Kansas City.

The man was struck about 8:10 p.m. when two groups of young men were shooting at one another while running south on Wayne Avenue between 35th and 36th streets."

Broad daylight murder, one more time.

I ask again: Where is the outrage at and from City Hall? The Mayor? The City Council? The Councilperson who represents this district? What is the Police Department's reaction? What is the Police Department doing to prevent this, if anything, now? Can the Police Department propose any solutions to prevent this kind of insanity?

However, I'm also going to ask, what is this community doing to prevent this kind of nonsense?

"Officer Darin Snapp, a police spokesman, said there were several witnesses to the shooting, but few were willing to give statements to police."

If you can't help yourself, it is much less likely anyone is going to help you.

Taking that further, if you won't help yourself, why should anyone intervene to do so?

___________________________________________________
If you know anything about who did this, please contact the Kansas City Crimestoppers TIPS Hotline at (816)474-TIPS. If you would rather not contact this source, contact Alonzo Washington at omega7toys@aol.com) or call him at(913)321-6764.

Link to full story:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/1378314.html

Addendum:

I'd like to quote someone but unfortunately they left this under "Anonymous" on another blog (Tony's KC):

"When the decent inner city people (and yes, most are) decide it is time to take back the streets from the thugs, it will be ugly but that is the only way to fix it."

Someone explain to me why this isn't true.

And this quote from Tony himself:

"...I'm certain there will be a meaningless press conference on the subject from local politicos as soon as a few more bodies turn up on local streets in rapid succession. August is a horrible month for KC murders and even worse for empty promises from elected officials."

That is absolutely not what we're needing or wanting from downtown, by any means.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another senseless death

Three seemingly desperate cowards went into a beauty salon, of all places, yesterday, and killed one of the men there.

For twenty dollars.

At 6:45 pm.

That was in daylight, for pity's sake.

Quoting the article:

"Tom Lona, a friend of the victim, said it's inexcusable that no one has come forward with information."

"'I know there's people out in this community that know who did this,' Lona told KMBC's Martin Augustine. 'They took a husband; they took a brother; they took a son. It's not right. And for what? The community needs to stand up. This needs to end. It needs to end now.'"

And Mr. Lona is right, of course, in all aspects.

Where is the outrage from downtown? From City Hall? From the Mayor? From the City Council?

Where is the meeting before the press by the police, saying what they're already doing and what they're going to do?

With more than 4 months to go in the year, where will the shootings end? How high does this have to go before there's some official notice and something done?

Remember my entry a few days ago when I pointed out a woman was shot in her own home?

"'There's got to be justice. There has to be. This could have been your father. This could have been your brother. This could have been your son. You'd want to know, wouldn't you?' Lona said."

He couldn't be more right.

___________________________________________________
If you know anything about the cowards who did this, please contact the Kansas City Crimestoppers TIPS Hotline at (816)474-TIPS. If you would rather not contact this source, contact Alonzo Washington at omega7toys@aol.com) or call him at (913)321-6764.

Link to story:
http://www.kmbc.com/news/20352099/detail.html

It can't be

The Kansas City Star reports this morning that the Funk is hinting on running for Mayor again.

From the Star:

Funkhouser lists what he hopes to achieve for KC — and all but commits to seeking second term as mayor

Excerpts from the article:

"Among his proposals: Economic help for the inner city. Safer streets and more police. Better basic services in neighborhoods."

Really? So what has he done up to now, as Mayor, to see that this was happening? How did that 30 year old man and the child he was holding last week get shot in their front yard at that party, if he was working on that?

I'm not saying he could singlehandedly keep that from happening. My point is, I'm not aware of anything the Funk has done publicly to keep the streets--all the streets--of Kansas City any safer.

Here's the scary part of the article, to me:

"Funkhouser told The Star he had made mistakes but believes voters still share his vision — all but committing to running for a second term."

Yikes. This sounds like a really bad joke.

He cost us over one-half million dollars, because he has to have his wife in office and she has a big mouth, he's sued us, the citizens of Kansas City once and has threatened in the last week to do it again--and he still wants to be our Mayor?

And lead us?

Really?

Then, check this out:

"'You always wish you’d been smarter sooner,' he said. 'To me the voters are going to say, ‘Is he focused on the things that matter to me?’ ”

"To prove that focus, Funkhouser said, next month he’ll roll out details of implementing his New Tools initiative, a program to provide economic incentives for investment in lower-income neighborhoods."

Next month?

Are you freaking kidding me?

What's wrong with this month?

Shoot, for that matter, what's wrong with right now?

You're way overdue, Mayor. Better get it going.

Please.

Link to story:
http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1374982.html

Addendum to original post:

Now that I think of it, though, there are two issues here. The first is that, while the Funk is Mayor, he should just be doing things for the City, period, of course. He should be doing all he can to make this a better place to live. Like we didn't know that, right?

Second, though, is the sheer entertainment of this guy running, again, for Mayor.

That'll be a hoot.

He'll go down in flames, this time 'round.

The Star needs to check out Seattle's paper

Okay, all the folks at The Star need, apparently, to study Seattle's newspaper, it seems.

Seattle was a two-newspaper town when The Post Intelligencer went out of business, leaving only The Seattle Times. Now, the paper says "a nearly forgotten word has crept back into Times executives’ vocabulary: profit."

And sure, it's one thing if you go from two papers to one, which Kansas City certainly can't do but still, maybe there are things the Star folks can learn from The Seattle Times.

It sure couldn't hurt.

So there you are, KC Star folks--get on the phone. Check out their paper online or go to the library and buy their papers. See if they have any solutions.

The Kansas City Star isn't much anymore but, as the saying goes, it's all we got.

Link to story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/business/media/10seattle.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Seattle+paper&st=nyt

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily random shootings in the city?

It really does seem as though there is at least one random shooting per day in town.

Here's today's nugget:

A woman in a house was wounded tonight in a drive-by shooting

"Someone fired several shots into a house in the 3700 block of Bales Avenue in Kansas City about 9:30 p.m. The victim is being treated at a hospital, and police did not immediately know how serious her injuries were. Officers were still talking to witnesses about an hour later."

I don't write about the shootings that happen at 2 am or some other "middle of the night" instance. Our Dad always said there was no one out in the middle of the night but "muggers, whores and thieves" (thanks, Dad!) and that anyone that was out at that time of night should get some sense. (And this was St. Joseph, for pity's sake).

What gets me are these senseless shootings in the rather normal, waking hours. If you're paying attention, they happen too frequently. And sure, it's summertime but that doesn't mean this makes sense or that it's somehow okay, by any means.

Can you imagine clunking around your house in seeming safety and then all of a sudden you're shot? Can you imagine the terror?

Can you imagine being in a party at a house with 40 other people when suddenly a car drives by and sprays the group with bullets, like happened the other day, and 2 people are shot? I have to say, I can't.

I'm not being alarmist here, either. It's not like this is the first summer ever, here in town, that we've had shootings. Far from it. And we're up a bit in murders in town but it's not "off the chart", so to speak.

It's just that the daytime shootings seem much more frequent and commonplace, almost.

I'd like to think we aren't at the point where we aren't cavalier about shootings, the frequency of shootings and some wild availability and use of guns.

Here's hoping.

Links to stories:
http://blogs.kansascity.com/crime_scene/2009/08/1-woman-shot-injured-near-37th-and-bales.html
http://www.nbcactionnews.com/news/local/story/2-Injured-in-Shootings-in-East-KC/Snm5Pm6Ff0SM-9pf33lmsg.cspx?rss=764

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Remind me not to be at the Marriott downtown

The news blurb:

"Police items stolen from car"

"Someone broke a window and stole two sets of body armor, ammunition and police clothing from an unmarked Lenexa Police Department car Thursday at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 310 W. 12th St.

A tactical sergeant parked there for a conference, Kansas City police said. When he returned to the vehicle, he discovered the theft."

Somebody has cajones.

Okay, a couple of points here.

1) The guy who did this had some guts (or whatever);

2) The police aren't even safe

3) Are we really becoming this lawless, as a city and society?

4) The Marriott Hotel Downtown may not know it or care or whatever (surely they do) but they have a pretty serious security and staffing problem if a cop, for pitys sake, with a police car, in or near their facility isn't safe from theft;

5) Downtown Kansas City has a bigger problem than I think was realized, heretofore;

6) The city of Kansas City has the same problem.

It'll be a long time from now, if ever, that I go near the Marriott, thank you very much.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big downtown supporter and love the place and don't run from my shadow but seriously, if a police car isn't safe, how is mine?

Here's a way to start

To recap last evening's breaking, local, Kansas City news:

"Someone in a car fired shots into a group of 40 people gathered in the front yard of a Kansas City residence Friday night, seriously wounding a toddler and injuring the man holding her."

"The shooting occurred about 8:20 p.m. in the 5400 block of Highland Avenue, police said. Witnesses said the shots came from a dark-colored vehicle that drove by."

"The older victim, a man in his 30s, did not want to prosecute, police said. He was holding the girl, who appeared to be 2 or 3 years old. The victims were near the sidewalk in the front yard."

"Both victims were taken to hospitals."

(Sorry for the repeat but I want to refer back to this for this entry).

As I wrote on Tony's KC blog--check this out, above.

A man in his 30's is holding a child, they both get shot in a drive-by shooting, the child is in serious condition and the result is that the man in his 30's doesn't want to prosecute.

Excuse me?

You have to be freaking kidding me.

A child is shot--forget about your sorry ass--and you don't want to prosecute?

And what about the 39 other people at this party? They aren't interested in having this knucklehead press any charges?

You have to be kidding me.

If I were a policeman and heard about a shooting in these people's neighborhood in the future, I wouldn't even want to show up to investigate if no one's going to prosecute.

What the hell, if they don't care who gets shot or when or how or by whom, it's for sure I wouldn't give a tinker's dam. Besides, I might get shot myself and I sure as hell care.

This, then, is exactly how we can begin, at least, to solve the problem of shootings, anywhere, but specifically on the side of town where these happen more frequently.

If someone gets shot or shot at and we know whom to prosecute, they have to be prosecuted.

There's some rocket science, huh?

We should at least start there.

If this doesn't change and people continue to not prosecute shooters, don't expect anyone on any other side of town to give a damn about your sorry situation.

And let's be clear on this--color has nothing to do with this conclusion.

It has everything to do with intelligence, logic, self-preservation and survival.

When--and how--do we put an end to senseless shootings and murder?

I'm going to bed and I see this headline:

Toddler suffers life-threatening injuries in drive-by shooting

Here's the full story, as it's posted this minute:

"Someone in a car fired shots into a group of 40 people gathered in the front yard of a Kansas City residence Friday night, seriously wounding a toddler and injuring the man holding her."

"The shooting occurred about 8:20 p.m. in the 5400 block of Highland Avenue, police said. Witnesses said the shots came from a dark-colored vehicle that drove by."

"The older victim, a man in his 30s, did not want to prosecute, police said. He was holding the girl, who appeared to be 2 or 3 years old. The victims were near the sidewalk in the front yard."

"Both victims were taken to hospitals."

So the questions are, at what point is enough, enough?

What does it have to take to put an end to this nonsense? This stupidity?

And how, exactly, do we end this culture of violence Kansas City? America?

Link:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/1371335.html

Friday, August 7, 2009

Let's put the kabosh to this

I could hardly believe what I read today.

I am some kind of naive.

Check this out--Congress, right now, is seriously considering purchasing 8 new corporate-style jets for itself.

In the midst of the largest budget deficit we've ever had as a country.

In the middle of the deepest recession in the last 70 years.

Can you imagine Congress trying to pull this kind of thing off in the middle of the Great Depression? There's no way they'd have even attempted such a thing.

What chutzpah.

I immediately wrote my two Senators and, for once, didn't ask them to do the right thing, I told them to vote against this and to kill it.

Over one-half billion dollars for 8 planes.

It's like I said earlier, it's not as though, because of this purchase, they'd race to solve our problems any quicker, that's for sure.

And this is on top of the "automatic pay raise" they gave themselves not long ago.

Write your Senators.

Now.

Link to story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124960404730212955.html

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pretty cool, Bill

Okay, so the big news is that Bill "Bubba" Clinton went over to North Korea, had a sit-down with Kim Jong Il, took some pictures, had a conversation and got back the two journalists who had been held in that country for months, got tried and then convicted by the "Leader's" courts.

Outstanding.

All around, this seemed like the perfect thing to happen and the perfect person for the job.

An ex-President who knew the "Leader" so well, basically just sitting around not doing much and he goes over and pulls off a bit of a coup for the journalists and, really, the United States.

I have one question and three observations.

The question: According to reports, "North Korean media said Clinton had carried a message of apology from Obama and that the former president and Kim held wide-ranging talks, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said those claims were 'not true.'" Is this, indeed, correct? Did this administration not send any message of apology? I hope and assume this is not true and that no message of apology was sent or given.

The first observation: These events, along with President Kim's shooting of missiles toward Japan, among other things, however unsuccessfully, seem to point out that Kim really craves attention--international attention from other foreign leaders. It seems, if he gets that, then he's happy and docile. This may not be true but there seems to be something to it.

The second observation: I will be extremely surprised if now-former-President George W. Bush ("W") is ever called on--or even volunteers, on his part, for that matter--to do such a negotiation for the US during what will likely be his long retirement.

Finally, hopefully, this will lead to further disarmament talks between North Korea and the West. That would add more terrific results to what already turned out fairly well, thank goodness.

Links:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_nkorea_journalists_held
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_us_nkorea_analysis

Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't think we need health care reform?

In 1993, when the Clintons first tried to put through health care reform, health care in the United States cost 953 million dollars a year.

Now?

We now spend 2.5 trillion dollars per year on health care.

Still don't think the system is broken?

We have the most expensive health care system in the world.

We are ranked 37th, internationally, compared to all other health care systems, in mortality.

Nearly 50 million Americans aren't covered by any health care plan, period.

There are a lot more statistics, too, that prove this point.

Our health care system is broken. It is badly broken. It doesn't work. It needs fixing.

And corporations need to be out of the fix.

Links:
http://www.healthpaconline.net/health-care-statistics-in-the-united-states.htm
http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/_media/SiCKO_sickofactoids.pdf

Saturday, August 1, 2009

No one burns through money like Americans, Part Two

Okay, here's another story you may or may not have seen.

While all the big banks were in big trouble and needing millions and yes, billions of dollars of our government, tax dollars to save their collective butts, these same banks--Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citibank (as Bill Maher refers to them--and that they've earned--"Shittybank"), Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, etc.--they were also handing out many, many million dollar bonuses to their employees.

Check this out:

"At Goldman Sachs, for example, bonuses of more than $1 million went to 953 traders and bankers..."

Do the math.

One million dollars times 953 traders is perilously close to one trillion dollars, folks.

For one company.

One company.

953 employees.

One million dollars each.

Can you even imagine?

One million dollars as a bonus?

On top of your salary?

Where is the perspective?

To continue:

"Even at weaker banks like Citigroup and Bank of America, million dollar awards were distributed to hundreds of workers."

How nice.

"...Morgan Stanley awarded seven-figure bonuses to 428 employees."

Let's see. 953--million--plus 428--million--and pretty soon you're very near one and a half billion dollars in bonuses.

Even though you're company is going to heck in a handbasket, largely due to how the company was handled and choices made in the organization.

This is insane.

This is insanity.

The banks screwed up, big time, by screwing their clients, largely in mortgages and other really ugly vehicles, then they were going down and losing money but they then handed out million dollar bonuses to hundreds and hundreds of employess--after receiving government money to save their butts.

Oh, yeah.

Americans burn through money like no one else.

We've given billions, maybe trillions of dollars, to these banks, to save their collective butts and they turned around and gave million dollar bonuses to hundreds and hundreds of their employees.

As though they'd done a good job.

Link to story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/business/31pay.html?_r=1&th&emc=th