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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quote of the day

"We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence, or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight." --Martin Luther King Jr. delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City. Link: http://october2011.org/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

October2011.com---an organization for the people (and guest post)

"We Stand With the Majority of Americans: Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed A large majority of the American people consistently support the following agenda: Tax the rich and corporations End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages Get money out of politics The government, dominated by elite economic interests, is going in the opposite direction from what the people want. The American people’s agenda is our agenda. The broad agenda for Stop the Machine: Create a New World is to end corporatism and militarism and shift power to the people, so necessities can be met. In addition to stopping the machine we also want to show the “new world” we want to see. The seven issues above are part of our agenda, each of these issues are discussed below, primarily in relation to showing that according to polls, large majorities of Americans support each issue and in many cases have done so for years. While our agenda is based on fact, science and the type of world we want to see, not on polling, it is useful to know that the American people are in favor of the types of reforms October2011.org is advocating. We share these polling results to show that in all of these critical areas the government is going in the opposite direction than the people want the country to go. October2011.org is on the side of the people." Links: http://october2011.org/; https://www.facebook.com/pages/October2011com/128339797264686?sk=wall#!/pages/October2011com/128339797264686

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things that are "over"---or should be

A few things, it has occurred to me, are "over" in trends (which I hate anyway), yet you still see them. If you happen to still be doing any of them, I mean no offense. This is just meant as a statement of fact. The first is:
Crocs. Yes, crocs. Sure, they're so "over" the company that first made them went bankrupt but some people don't know they're done. Admittedly, they're handy and appropriate for gardening but if anyone isn't aware they're no longer a current trend, well, they're just not aware. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're over. Next up:
Shirts and/or t-shirts with wings on them. Yikes. Folks, this came out, what? 2 or 3 years ago? Some white with black ink, others the reversed. All virtually indistinguishable from one another. If you just bought one of these, you can't really think you're "with" current fashion, do you? I can't imagine a more tired idea or one more over-used. Could we all move on now? And finally, today, one that isn't "over" but should be:
Camouflage clothing. Could there be a worse fashion trend than this? Well, yes, maybe if you're showing your posterior AND your underwear, at the same time but other than that, "camo" has to rank as one of the worst fashion trends humankind has ever come up with, isn't it? Just when fewer people in the country than ever are hunting, yet "camo" comes out in everything from shirts and t-shirts to pants to shoes, hats--virtually everything. And the thing is, this is one trend and fashion that should be over--it's that ugly--yet I bet this is one trend that hangs on--at least with certain sub-groups of humans--in perpetuity (and, for that matter, ad nauseum). Some people just like it, period, forever and ever, amen. Scary.

Is this place EVER going to lease and fill?

You know the place? It's at 4700 Roanoke Parkway (hence the name), right on the Plaza, across the street from the Richard Bloch Cancer Park. I mean, this thing was under contruction for what? 2 years? They gutted the interiors. They stripped the exterior brick--when it started falling off anyway, I'm told--and it's sat empty ever since. I was by there today and the parking lots, front and back, are chained off for no access. Sure, they have signs saying call for information and you can find places inside for sale but what gives with this thing? The person and company who did it must have more money than Midas. They surely never seemed to be in any hurry to sell or rent out the place. Link: http://www.the4700.com/The_4700.html

Right wing ignorance on Sunday's op/ed page in The Star

I can't imagine two more Right Wing cases (outside of the Tea Party) than George Will, nationally, and Thomas McClanahan, locally. And each of them, yesterday, on the op/ed page had two of the most either wrong or ignorant columns I could imagine. Mr. Will came down squarely against campaign finance reform laws while Mr. McClanahan's headline spoke for itself: "IS PRESIDENT OBAMA TO THE LEFT OF DENG XIAOPING?" To Mr. Will's column, I have to ask, how else are we to get corporate and wealthy people's money (bribes) out of our legislator's pockets and out of legislation and so, out of our government, unless and until we kill these "campaign contributions." The answer is, of course, we won't. We need stringent campaign finance reform and we need it badly and as soon as possible. As for Mr. McClanahan's column, it's just too plainly ignorant to spend (waste?) time or energy on. Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/24/3164591/is-president-obama-to-the-left.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/24/3164592/rigging-the-process-via-curbs.html

Water busting out all over

I was on the East side of the city at the end of last week and noticed water pouring out of the street at 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard. At the time, I thought maybe I should call the water department and be sure they were aware of it, there was that much coming out, but I didn't. So then, yesterday, Sunday, I was there again and same thing--it was still flowing and very freely. So much so that it was pooling in the street, further down. So call I did. The result? I asked if they department was aware of it and the man on the other end said, yes, they were, he seemed to say, very aware of it. Oh, well, eh? This, along with the two breaks that are still on Southwest Trafficway (at least they're not pouring out at this fast a rate) and nothing seeming to be done. So it goes, eh, Mr. Mayor? And water department? I know they must have their hands full but aren't we wasting an awful lot of water? And doesn't that cost us?

Three good things, anyway, about the Chiefs' loss yesterday

First, they only lost by 3 points. Second, they got into double-digit territory, finally, with their score in the game and third, finally, the other team didn't rack up 40 or more points on them this time, as they did in the first two games. Does ANYONE who likes and follows this team think they have a chance in their schedule the rest of the year? If there is, I surely don't know who that would be. For that matter, is there anyone in town who thinks they'll have the same coach next year? I'd nearly bet otherwise. Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/25/3166687/chargers-20-chiefs-17-sunday-sept.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/25/3166930/cassels-mistake-makes-you-wonder.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/24/3164916/chiefs-haley-and-pioli-have-to.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/17/3149405/healthy-bit-of-anger-part-of-chiefs.html

Quote of the day

"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election." --Otto von Bismarck

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the day

"Italy's government debt is five times the size of Greece's and concerns about Italy's ability to meet its obligations could grow if Greece defaults." --Landon Thomas, Jr., The New York Times. Link to original story: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/business/global/as-greece-struggles-the-world-imagines-a-default.html.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The financial costs of George W. Bush's Wars?

"The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to run as high as $4.4 trillion – a major victory for Osama bin Laden, whose announced goal was to bankrupt America by drawing it into a trap." - Noam Chomsky

Where Facebook is headed

"Initially, Facebook was just a place to post photographs and see which of your high-school classmates had gone to pot. Then it became a place for organizing political protests, and wasting time playing games. It’s grown and grown in all these ways. It gets credit from many for helping facilitate the Arab Spring, and it now hosts four per cent of all the photographs ever taken. Now, if Facebook gets its way, it’ll be where you read your news, find new songs, and watch video. It will have eaten a big chunk of the rest of the Internet." --Nicholas Thompson, "What Facebook Really Wants", The New Yorker Link to original story; http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/09/what-facebook-really-wants.html

Quote of the day

"The last two weeks of the Republican debates have seen audiences boo a soldier serving in Iraq, cheer for executions, and erupt with glee at the thought of an uninsured sick man dying. Every decent American should be ashamed of this, regardless of party affiliation." CD --From "The American Progressive Party" group on Facebook, yesterday. Link: https://www.facebook.com/#!/americanprogressiveparty

Remember when GM's Onstar seemed like a good and innocent idea?

Yeah, me too. That's how old I am. Now? Did you see this? "OnStar to sell customer location and other data" “'Big Brother' is not only watching, but may soon be selling what he sees. Wired magazine’s “Threat Level” blog says OnStar, a vehicle tracking service owned by General Motors, emailed subscribers this week alerting them to a change in policy that allows the company to sell customer data to anyone they choose, even after the service is canceled."It seems everyone, everyone, from the government to Facebook to Onstar and who knows who all, is bound and determined to get information on us and sell it to the highest bidder. Links: http://blogs.ajc.com/news-to-me/2011/09/21/onstar-to-sell-customer-location-and-other-data/; http://www.bing.com/search?q=onstar+selling+data&src=IE-SearchBox&FORM=IE8SRC

"Modern capitalism isn’t working for the middle class" (guest post)

"We know one thing for sure: the gap between rich and poor in the United States has widened in the past 30 years. In 2007 the top 1 percent of earners took home 18.3 percent of national income — that is more than two and a half times their level in 1973, when their share was 7.7 percent. Those at the top haven’t enjoyed such a big slice of the national pie since 1929. The middle-class dominated nation that the Greatest Generation inhabited has become as polarized as the plutocracies of Latin America or as America itself was during its fevered Gilded Age." --Chrystia Freeland. YOU SHOULD GO READ THIS BRIEF ARTICLE: http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2011/09/20/modern-capitalism-isnt-working-for-the-middle-class/

Some Saturday entertainment

Let that be a lesson to you. And have a great weekend, y'all.

Little coverage of Wall Street occupation

I wrote of this in the first 3 days of the Wall Street "occupation" and protests when they started last week. It's still going on and corporate America and their media--'cuz it sure isn't yours and mine--is still under-reporting this story. It's on The Huffington Post and Alternet and Truthdig and Truthout and other alternate media sites but it's nowhere to be seen on the big, corporate media companies coverage. They don't want all of America to know plenty of people are as upset about the Wall Street and corporate corruption as they are. It's disgusting. Links: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wall+street+occupation&aq=f; http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&source=hp&q=wall+street+occupaton+news&pbx=1&oq=wall+street+occupaton+news&aq=f&aqi=&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=3500l7875l0l7984l26l17l0l1l1l0l562l3953l0.5.7.1.1.1l16l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=36f7a9872a3df422&biw=1440&bih=703

Clock is ticking on the NCAA

If you ever hear Frank Deford on NPR, covering sports issues, you've heard him rail for years on the gross unfairness of the NCAA and how it and the schools involved reap hundreds of millions of dollars--for free, really--on the backs of college athletes. Now, a civil rights author, one very famous Taylor Branch has come out with a book on the subject. This book is shining a very bright light on the issues and how it boils down to blatant slavery. Links: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/14/140433661/the-ncaa-and-the-so-called-student-athlete; http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/8643/

Former Star writer, covering us and the midwest in The NY Times

Former Star writer and local citizen Arthur Sulzberger has been covering us--Kansas City and the midwest--pretty well lately in The New York Times, if you haven't heard or read it. Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/us/small-town-gossip-moves-to-the-web-anonymous-and-vicious.html?ref=technology; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/us/kauffman-center-for-the-performing-arts-set-to-open-in-kansas-city.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=A%20G%20Sulzberger&st=cse; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/us/temperatures-across-the-us-drop-quickly-as-autumn-nears.html?scp=8&sq=A%20G%20Sulzberger&st=cse

Not a good sign for sports at the Sprint Center

Plog (The Pitch Magazine blog) reports that the "NBA cancels preseason game at Sprint Center". Not good news, not good news at all. Between the national and international economy and possible strike in the NBA looming, it doesn't look as though our Sprint Center will have a national sport team in there any time too soon, if ever, no matter how beautiful a facility it is. Link: http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2011/09/23/lebron-james-wont-be-coming-back-to-kansas-city-nba-cancels-preseason-game-at-sprint-center

Friday, September 23, 2011

"GOP's historical ignorance will never put us out of topics! You’re probably wondering how a term coined by a commie could end up as an applause line for Republican presidential candidate (Ric Santorum - http://bit.ly/naIHJy). Most politicians assume the term was coined by a Founding Father or some other traditional figure. In fact, it was coined by a communist. In 1927, a leader of the American Communist Party by the name of Jay Lovestone used the term "American exceptionalism" to describe the way in which our economic system differed from the systems in other countries..." --From the Facebook Group "Being Liberal"

Olathe Northwest viral video

With thanks to local media man Russ Ptacek as I got it from his Facebook page. To quote him: "Someone just sent us this clip for Olathe Nnorthwest - click it now before it goes viral. Amazing job! One kid on a rolling chair with a camera. 20 athletic teams. 20 activities. 1800 Students. One take. Here is what you get." Have a great weekend, y'all.

US 25th--behind Romania!--in internet speeds

Man, how Third World are we going to sink? Of course, our mortality rate, last I saw, is 37th in the world so we're more likely to die younger than people in Costa-freakin'-Rica. I've written that here before and it's just disgusting. But now this? We're ranked 25th, internationally, and we're behind--slower than--Romania? Holy cow, people. We need to work together. Oh, and we also need to take our country back from the corporations. That whole "end campaign contributions" thing I harp on for good reason. Link: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/america-land-of-the-slow/?scp=3&sq=internet%20speeds&st=cse

On Palestinian Statehood

There seems to be one hugely overlooked issue that needs to be addressed on Palestinian statehood and I don't see it mentioned in the conversations. It seems clear that the Palestinian statehood issue could possibly be considered IF, if they officially recognize Israel's right to exist and follow that up with no longer bombing Israel and Israelis. Then and only then, I think it's obvious, the possibility of a Palestinian state can be evaluated and considered. Link: http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&source=hp&q=new+york+times+palestinian+statehood&pbx=1&oq=new+york+times+palestinian+statehood&aq=f&aqi=g-v1&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=3093l10488l0l10708l36l21l0l0l0l1l1075l6006l0.7.7.3.2.7-1l20l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=dc9b7cc97129edc0&biw=1440&bih=727

To whom do these tax policies seem fair?

"Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not." --Senator Bernie Sanders (Indep., VT) Links: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/23/1019508/-Why-do-Republicans-hate-Social-Security; http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/cbb.html

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How far down does America have to go for the Republicans?

Yesterday, the Republican House killed a bill that included money with disaster aid. Now, today, the Dow is down over 400 points in reaction to the European financial crisis and how some of those countries have such debt. All this is thought to go for the Republicans and against Democratic President Obama but really, the question has to be asked, how far down does the nation have to go in order to satisfy the Republicans? They had to screw with our futures with the debt ceiling, they don't want to help create jobs for the country and now they want to shut down financing the government. What's next? Has no one told them about the huge problems broiling "across the pond", over in Europe, and how that's quite possibly headed this way? Really, Republican leaders, do we have to burn down America to make and keep you happy? Links: http://news.yahoo.com/house-kills-spending-bill-disaster-aid-221008123.html; http://news.yahoo.com/warnings-mount-euro-crisis-g20-gathers-123421596.html

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What formerly was humor...

...has become mainstream Republican thought, it would seem. With thanks to friend Bob M. for this video.

Republicans: "Class Warfare"? Really?

There's your "class warfare". When it benefits the rich but hurts the middle- and lower-classes, it's okay. If it takes a little bit from the wealthy, then it's "class warfare." Sick.

From Facebook today: On Afghanistan (guest post)

Afghanistan in the 1950's and 1960's: The Afghanistan that my parents lived in, were Kabul was once called the Paris of central Asia. Once the jewel of Asia, a very progressive and moderately modern country. Kabul once had, cinemas, cafes, formal French gardens, schools, libraries, universities, fine boutiques. Where both women and men had access to education and a better future. A country were women were granted the right to vote in 1963! In many of these pictures is not the clothing nor the style of their clothing that make the women then "liberated" but the fact that those women were able to choose and decipher for themselves what they thought was appropriate to wear. The very fact that they were in a class room to further their education, is what I am proud of most. In Islam, education it is not only stressed but is an obligation, for both women and men. Women are not only our other half of society but they are our mothers, sisters, aunts, and perhaps most importantly our first teachers.True liberation is only possible through education. How is it possible that Kabul went from these photos to the mess that is Kabul and Afghanistan today? I would never blame Islam. I blame lack of education and foreign interference, Afghanistan being a product of the cold war paid the heaviest price. The Afghanistan that once existed, was the Afghanistan my family experienced. They were highly educated, modern, progressive and cosmopolitan people. My mom and her sisters attended primary school, high school and attended university. Classmates wore mini-jupes, went to the cinemas, went to sporting events, shopped at boutiques, and picnicked at Paghman the city of gardens every Friday near the formal french gardens. Highly educated, culturally aware and yet religious at the same time, there was never an issue with not having your hair covered or the clothes you wore. Some have described my parents Afghanistan as very "western", but I don't choose to call it that, I describe it as a highly modern and progressive society that flourished. Freedom, equality, and education are not western but in fact universal themes. This progressive peaceful society lasted until foreign interference occurred in the late 1970's plummeting the country to what Afghanistan has become today. --Mohammad Rah Link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.416627078391.191527.620483391

Facebook and Pandora--both--on the same day?

What is this about? What's with both Facebook and Pandora making changes--in the case of Facebook, big changes--on the same day? At least Pandora's is appealing. Facebook, in the meantime, is confusing, at least, still has the same ugly, ugly sign-in page and what you're looking at keeps flipping up to the top WHILE YOU'RE READING so you can never remain stationary. It should do wonders for being, having and attaining attention deficit disorders. So it goes. One thing about computers and all thing on the web, nothing will remain the same for very long.

Quote of the day

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there -- good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory. Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea -- God Bless! Keep a Big Hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." - Elizabeth Warren

On International Peace Day

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."  --Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Since when did celebrities become authorities?

Two headlines out this afternoon: "Singer Pat Boone insists Obama born in Kenya" and "Tony Bennett Tells Howard Strern the U.S. 'Caused' 9/11." You know what, celebrities? SHUT THE HECK UP, how's that? Links: http://news.yahoo.com/singer-pat-boone-insists-obama-born-kenya-141751702.html;_ylt=AiI3hWf4TqzR4QFooxjNO4.r9HQA;_ylu=X3oDMTRoOWVpN2dhBGNjb2RlA2dtcHRvcDIwMHBvb2xyZXN0BG1pdANOZXdzIGZvciB5b3UEcGtnA2FmZThlY2VmLTIxZDctM2FjZi04NGZhLTRmZTMyNjk0M2E1MwRwb3MDNARzZWMDbmV3c19mb3JfeW91BHZlcgM0M2JmYjYzYy1lM2QwLTExZTAtODZmMy03OGU3ZDE1ZDJlMzA-;_ylg=X3oDMTM2MXZ2bjE0BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDYjY4OGEzY2MtNmU1OS0zNDMzLWI1NzYtYmU2ZTc1MjViYzRhBHBzdGNhdANlbnRlcnRhaW5tZW50BHB0A3N0b3J5cGFnZQR0ZXN0Aw--;_ylv=3; http://news.yahoo.com/tony-bennett-tells-howard-strern-u-caused-9-164810192.html;_ylt=Aqb.a2phdgTn46jQOOKLwfUSscB_;_ylu=X3oDMTRoZTNmOGM1BGNjb2RlA2dtcHRvcDIwMHBvb2xyZXN0BG1pdANOZXdzIGZvciB5b3UEcGtnA2I2ODhhM2NjLTZlNTktMzQzMy1iNTc2LWJlNmU3NTI1YmM0YQRwb3MDNgRzZWMDbmV3c19mb3JfeW91BHZlcgNhMzk2MWRkMC1lM2E4LTExZTAtYjdkOS0xZGZkMTZhNTMwNTI-;_ylg=X3oDMTJwb2lqczZtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDNDk1MDRjY2YtOWJkYy0zNWY1LTk4ODAtZTg1NWM0MmE5MWNiBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdlBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Here's your "class warfare" for you

Tea Party Republican Congressman John Fleming would have a rough go of it under President Obama’s new plan to make millionaires pay their fair share. In fact, he told MSNBC yesterday -- and these are his words -- “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.” This is the kind of ignorant, selfish mindset we're fighting. When it's a tax cut for the rich, it's not "class warfare" but try to do good for the middle- and lower-classes? THEN it's "class warfare." Good luck to us. If we stick together, we can get changes. Thanks and a hat tip for this quote from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Good news and bad on the inevitable loss of accreditation

As expected and suspected, the Kansas City, Missouri School District lost its accreditation today. So it goes, eh? The bad news? It happened. The good news? The state gives 2 years to improve before it considers taking it over. Whew. Dodged that bullet. The change doesn't take effect until the first of the new year, so there's that. However: "If the district fails to rebound in time, the state must intervene. It could take over the district or dissolve it." (Quote from The Star. See link below). Yikes. The district’s interim superintendent, Steve Green, said "Our district now faces a critical test of one of the most important lessons in life — a test of our resilience and persistence. We can, and we will, bounce back from this setback.” The thing is, if you speak to teachers across the district, I wonder if they feel the same way. That is, I wonder if they think they, the students and parents of these students think they can "bounce back from this setback." I wouldn't put money on it. I hope it but don't think it likely. We'll see. Let's wish them all good luck and good thoughts and whatever help we can offer but ultimately, it's up to the parents of these children, the children themselves and the teachers and administrators of the district. Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/20/3155556/report-nicastro-says-kc-district.html

Yet more fun--this time from Brussels

What a great, great culture. Hope you enjoyed it.

And now for something completely different

I love the Europeans. Such education. Such open-mindedness. Such sophistication. (At least in some respects and examples).

Quote of the day

"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair." --H. L. Mencken

Monday, September 19, 2011

Campaign contributions: finally, it seems people are "getting it"

Out of the current "Day of Rage" that's going on as a protest to Washington, Wall Street and the corruption between the two of them--that doesn't seem to be getting enough coverage, I might add--finally, finally, an organization is pushing for campaign finance reform. And thank goodness. They're calling for: "One citizen. One dollar. One vote. 1.Only citizens should make campaign contributions. 1.Campaign contributions by citizens should not exceed $1 to any political candidate or party." Good for them. Good for us. Maybe, hopefully, this is the beginning of constructively, peacefully but powerfully taking our government and so, our country, back. Here's hoping. Link: http://www.usdayofrage.org

Quote of the day

"One of the great questions of our time is whether the American people, through Congress, will control the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, or whether Wall Street will continue to wreak havoc on our economy and the lives of working families." --Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt) Link: http://www.truth-out.org/wall-streets-secret-oil-games/1316442676

KCMSD Accreditation II

Word is on the street that the Kansas City, Missouri School District will, in fact, lose its accreditation sometime soon. I wish it weren't so but so be it--and stay tuned.

Big story on Wall Street not being covered

There are now--and have been for a three days--people protesting and occupying the area around Wall Street as protests to the greed and corruption of the place and what they've done and are doing to our government and economic system. That said, the story doesn't seem to be getting much coverage. At least, it doesn't seem to be getting much coverage from the news I've seen. It hasn't been in The Star at all, either, from what I've seen. Link: http://www.truth-out.org/occupy-wall-street-thousands-march-nyc-financial-district-set-protest-encampment/1316446947; http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-19/wall-street-areas-blocked-as-police-arrest-seven-in-protest.html

Pretend, for a moment, you're Julie Kauffman today

NOW what do you do? (I mean, besides sleep late this morning).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jefferson City, giving away the tax base

I've been railing here about cities and states giving away tax breaks to companies and corporations so they would hopefully relocate in their areas and what does Jefferson City do, instead? Why they're giving yet MORE tax breaks to them. From the news today: Analysis: Mo. proposal revamps business incentives JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - "A proposed overhaul of Missouri's business incentives could make it easier for companies to qualify for tax breaks. Some also could qualify for more money, and for a few it could be like winning the lottery, because they could choose between cash upfront or a stream of payments in the coming years." So guess what, folks? You and I are going to be spending yet more of our incomes on the tax base and schools and infrastructure because that money has to come from SOMEWHERE and apparently our representatives have been bought one more time by the corporations, their lobbyists and money. You and I have been sold down the river one more time. At what point are we going to get "campaign contributions" (bribes) out of our political system and campaigns? It isn't going to happen unless and until we all demand it, you know. Link: http://www.komu.com/news/analysis-mo-proposal-revamps-business-incentives/

Just who is Bob Shaw?

I mean, besides being, apparently, an attorney. And why are all those signs about him along Barry Road? And for so long. And who, exactly, has the jones to be so angry about him? Go figure. Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So, the Palestinians want their own state?

This week, the Palestinians said they are going to take the possibility of their own statehood to the UN. Okay, sure. No problem. Let's just all tell them there are only two provisions for it, though. First, they have to recognize Israel's right to exist (which very likely isn't going to happen) and second, that they have to stop attacking Israel in any and all ways, including lobbing mortars at them and all other ways. Deal? Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/world/middleeast/Abbas-Security-Council-United-Nations-Vote.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

The Star on tax breaks for companies--the corporate blackmail

From an editorial in The Star today: The Star’s editorial | AMC tax-break deal is more fiscal folly "Even in the often bizarro world of corporate welfare, the new deal involving AMC Entertainment stands out as a financially irresponsible use of taxpayer funds." Understand, it's not about them agreeing with me at all. What it is about is more and more of us out here being aware of this so that one day--hopefully soon--we all say "enough!" and stop this robbing city's, counties and state's tax coffers of money we shouldn't be giving away, all in hopes that some firm will relocate to this or that town, city, county or state. It's crazy. We're giving away the farm. More to the point, we're sacrificing funding for our children's schools and so, their futures. It's insanity, irresponsible and totally unnecessary. This could be something a contingent of local mayors could all get together and commit to, for all their own benefit. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/16/3147436/the-stars-editorial-amc-tax-break.html

KCMSD Accreditation issues

The issue of whether the Kansas City, Missouri School District will keep or lose its accreditation is so huge, it can't be understated. At least three things seem to be true about it and should be pointed out. If the state Education office in Jefferson City thinks it is what must happen and what they must do, so be it, but they need to know--and I'm sure will keep in mind--that 1) they'll be biting off a great deal of work to chew, 2) that it will be very difficult, at least, to be able to make any improvements to the District from down in Jeff City, if it isn't impossible and 3), finally, that if parents and students then bail on this district and go to other local schools, instead, there will be a great deal more turmoil, first in this KCMO District and then in the area schools and districts that will have to take these students. Dr. Jim Henson, Superintendent out in Independence, said he wasn't even sure his schools could handle the fast influx that could possibly follow. Who's to say that lack of accreditation and "evacuation", so to speak, of the KC School District wouldn't be its "death knell"? So to the Missouri State Education Commission, I think everyone would caution them to be very careful here and do what must be done, certainly. But be aware, too, of the ramifications of any lack of accreditation. I'm sure they're aware of all this but it's absolutely worth repeating. These surely are "interesting times" in which we live. It would be nice if they were less "interesting." Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/16/3148021/kc-schools-in-danger-of-losing.html

Notes on the outrage that is Bishop Finn

The Star reports today that Bishop Finn testified yesterday to a grand jury. Good. Great. But it's just a start. There's at least four things about yesterday's proceedings that seem extremely pertinent. The first is that Bishop Finn needs to be asked in a very public forum like this why Msgr. Robert Murphy, who was "the diocese's seond-in-command", didn't have direct orders from the Bishop himself to report any and all accusations of sexual abuse or suspicions of sexual abuse and/or misconduct. What was that about? Why would or did Msgr. Murphy get a letter from a principal in St. Joseph a year and a half before anything was done about it, yet he said nothing, not a thing, to Bishop Finn of it? And let me be clear, I don't blame Msgr. Murphy for this oversight completely at all. Bishop Finn should have spelled out he needed--not wanted, needed--to be notified of any and all improprieties or suggestions thereof, immediately up notice by anyone and everyone in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese but especially and particularly from Msgr. Murphy. Second, the Kansas City policeman--Capt. Richard Smith--who saw one picture of Ratigan's and said it "didn't constitute pornography" failed the Diocese, too. What if the one picture he saw was of his own child? Would that not have made any difference? Further, I find it extremely difficult to believe this officer didn't ask if there were any other pictures of which he should be aware. Third,The Star reports that "In December, diocesan authorities found what prosecutors later alleged was child pornography on Ratigan’s computer." And while that's true, actually, from earlier Star reports, it has become clear that Ratigan had at least inappropriate, if not pornographic, pictures of area Catholic Diocese children on three of his computers through the area. The first was in St. Joseph, the second in Independence and the third right here in Kansas City. Finally, I hope this grand jury will interview--at length--the principal I mentioned earlier, from St. Joseph, who sent the letter a year and a half before any concerns were raised about Sean Ratigan. It seems she and maybe some parents there could absolutely shed some light on Ratigan's activities and on Bishop Finn's total, complete and utter lack of response to this situation. Oh yeah, we need many more answers than what we've gotten. I still contend that, like Monsignor William J. Lynn of Philadelphia, Bishop Finn should be charged in some appropriate, local court for "a charge of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children." For Bishop Finn to say, yesterday, as he did that "We're doing the best we can to cooperate with law enforcement" seems a blatant and ugly mistruth. Link to original post: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/16/3147922/bishop-testifies-before-grand.html

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kansas City sports teams dodge a bullet

Well, here's some good and maybe even surprising news for Kansas City today. There's a list out right now on Yahoo! News from 24/7 Wall Street of "The 12 major league teams running out of fans" and get this--we're not on it! Yahoo! I thought sure the Royals might be, if even at the bottom of the list. Oakland Raiders? Athletics? Yes and yes, but not us. We may not be winners in the last couple decades, at least, but at least we're loyal, eh? Link to original post: http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ys-247wallstreet-pro_teams_losing_fans_091511

Attention for Kansas City and thanks to the Kauffmans

Yes, indeed, just as I said, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and its opening is getting Kansas City great national attention. Yeehaw. Very cool. It's great to have this venue and jewel for the city but the added, national attention, if even temporary is just one more great, great thing to come out of this. Considering the Kansas City Royals, the Kauffman Foundation, all the work its done, all the other ancillary things the Kauffmans have done for Kansas City and now this, I'll always be forever grateful to them--all three, Ewing, Muriel and Julie--for bringing Major League Baseball, education opportunities and now the arts, all, to the area. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/us/kauffman-center-for-the-performing-arts-set-to-open-in-kansas-city.html?_r=4&scp=1&sq=kauffman&st=cse

Quote of the day

"Mr. Obama’s proposals, including the taxes to pay for them, could not be more urgent. There is a crater in the economy where the job market used to be." - The New York Times editorial. Link to original post: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/opinion/fixing-the-economy-a-good-jobs-program.html

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Manufacturing in the United States

It seems we all agree there needs to be more manufacturing and so, manufacturing jobs here in the US. It seems to be one thing on which we can all agree. There is a terrific article in The New York Times (of course) this past Sunday on that very subject. (See link below). Check out this statistic from the article: "Manufacturing’s contribution to gross domestic product — roughly equivalent to national income — has declined to just 11.7 percent last year from as much as 28 percent in the 1950s, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis." The thing is, right now companies can get tax deductions to take this work offshore. It seems some representative or representatives in Washington should propose a law rescinding any and all tax deductions or tax credits that would take manufacturing offshore, wouldn't you think? I've said this before. Why should we reward any company in this nation, to take manufacturing companies and work and jobs outside the country? It's crazy. It makes no sense. Why can't this happen now? It should have already taken place, for that matter, long ago. Here's hoping. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/business/is-manufacturing-falling-off-the-us-radar-screen.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25

On 9/11 coverage

If you want to see what I believe is the most comprehensive, informative and ultimately beautiful and even inspiring coverage of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, get a copy of this past Sunday's The New York Times. Even the advertisements companies took out as tributes to the people and event are simple and, again, beautiful, but they have a separate foldout section, too, called "The Reckoning" that is brilliant. This is one thing, too, that isn't repeated nearly as well online. The paper version is the one to see for the full effects. Any library in the area should have it. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2011/09/11/todaysheadlines/index.html

Budweiser: one of "The Beers Americans Don't Drink Anymore"

Our own St. Louis, Missouri Budweiser is on The Atlantic today in an article, pointing out "The 8 Beers Americans Don't Drink Anymore." Not only that but regular Bud is number 8 while their own Michelob (no. 1 on the list), Michelob Light (no. 2) and "Bud Select" (no. 3)--which I'd never even heard of--were also on the list. If you're counting, that's 4 of these 8 beers Anheiser Busch makes that are on the list. Anheiser Busch, it sucks to be you. One more of many, many things that are just changing in America and the world. So it goes. Link to original article: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/the-8-beers-americans-dont-drink-anymore/245073/#slide6

Kansas City: Rope in the 'burbs?

There is a terrific article out now at The Atlantic (link below) telling of "The Beginning of the End of the Suburb." To which I say, good riddance. It has separated us horribly, it has added, also badly, to heavy traffic, pollution, bad air days, highways that go on for miles and eat up farmland, etc. And we--Kansas City--are famous for our sprawl, of course. We're one of the worst spots in the nation for it. Heaven forbid we tell any developer "no", right? It seems that, between the downturn in the economy and the higher price of fuel, at least, people are far less likely to keep buying ever further out of cities. Again, thank goodness. It's long overdue. As the article says: "We need a new model for American prosperity that doesn't require ever greater injections of fossil energy." All that said, though, I'm sure the Kansas City metropolitan area and all its various cities will never institute any hard and fast policy, limiting growth even if for the benefit of the city, the way they did long ago in Oregon and the likes. We're way too insecure about business and even the thought of pushing business away. Links: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/The-Beginning-End-Suburban-atlantic-1156625650.html?x=0; http://www.pitch.com/kansascity/in-kansas-city-tax-breaks-dont-cure-blight-andmdashandnbspthey-create-sprawl/Content?oid=2190006; http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2011/04/18/kansas-citys-sprawling-ways-make-growing-old-a-bitch; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/04/16/2804933/a-long-way-home-challenges-faced.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/04/17/2807142/getting-around-kc-is-tough-for.html

Fun with Fox "News"

Or Faux News, whichever you prefer.

President's flight plans on the internet: WTH?

I think this has to be one of the most overlooked stories in the media this past week. According to an article in The New York Times this past Sunday, some average working joe in Japan posted President Obama's Air Force One flight plan on the internet last November--on his blog--and really, just so he could show his friends. WTH? Are you kidding me? How in the wide, wide world of sports did that happen? How was that possible? The guy is an air traffic controller over there and in his 50's. He "posted 12 pages of delicate information that included flight plans of a Global Hawk drone that was gathering radiation readings near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant..." So much for security, there, eh, Japan? Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/world/asia/11japan.html?scp=1&sq=japan%20obama&st=cse; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14867129

Quote of the day (borrowed from Donna)

"We all got pieces of crazy in us, some have bigger pieces than others." --Old cowboy saying. With thanks and a hat tip to Donna at the "Just Me" Blog. I loved that. Link: http://donna-justme.blogspot.com/

AMC's offices: more corporate blackmail

Right, so here we go again, some more. AMC Theaters is moving its offices, as we know now, to Leawood. Yeehaw. And who can blame them? Kansas offered them in the range of 40 million dollars to bring their jobs over the state line. This wasn't so much blackmail, as nearly as I can tell, as it was Kansas throwing money at a company. They're broke, Kansas is, as most states are, and slashing school budgets and all kinds of agencies but they came up with $40 million for this. I ask again, when are we going to stop playing suckers to corporations so they can milk us for tax breaks? Apparently never. We're just not very bright. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is just this weekend, opening, of course, and AMC is moving out soon. I'm sure AMC tried to keep the offices downtown, as they said and I understand it's got to be tough, at least, to turn away $40 million in tax incentives but as I've said before, we have to stop letting these companies keep exploiting us, just so they can get ever-better tax deals. We'll keep shifting companies back and forth across the state line and then around the various cities in the area. It's stupid. Link to original post: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2011/09/14/amc-entertainment-will-move-hq-to-ks.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bizj_kansascity+%28Kansas+City+Business+Journal%29

Trains in Kansas City

One of the many things I love about this city is that, when you're in most of the center of it, from downtown to the Plaza, out Ward Parkway and all over lots of it, you can nearly always hear the train whistles blowing. Just one more great thing. I love hearing them as I go to sleep. Nice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm so old...

...I remember when learning how to type was a choice. "Should I take typing class?" It wasn't absolutely necessary to exist, it was an option--usually for "secretaries." Remember them? And remember when being called a secretary wasn't pejorative? Yeah, THAT old.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The arts weekend of all time

What with the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts having its grand opening this weekend, and then all the other different arts events happening around the area, this is sure to be the arts weekend of, maybe, all time for Kansas City. Certainly, it will be the "Arts Month" of all time, what with that, the Westport Art Fair last weekend, the Plaza Art Fair the following weekend of the 23rd, etc. Links: www.kauffmancenter.org; http://www.kclibrary.org/event/friday-night-family-fun-marimba-sol-de-chiapas-music-mexico

Washington better be working on jobs

News out today: Nearly 1 in 6 Americans in poverty, Census says WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of the nation's poor have swelled to a record 46.2 million — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — as the prolonged pain of the recession leaves millions still struggling and out of work. And the number without health insurance has reached 49.9 million, the most in over two decades. Regardless of who is in the White House, regardless of the political party, we need a good, effective, intelligent jobs bill and we need it as soon as possible. Anyone who gets in the way should have to pay for that obstruction, one way or another (but only politically). Link: http://news.yahoo.com/nearly-1-6-americans-poverty-census-says-184424635.html

The "Campaign Economy"---this is no way to run a country

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Transformer - Campaign-Based Economy
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
We need to kill "campaign contributions" that we know are, in effect, actually bribes. We need to get them out of our political process. Until we do, nothing will change.

Great news on sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church

The bad thing is that any of these sexual abuse cases--across the world--ever took place. The good news now is that finally, organizations are taking these worldwide cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague. From NPR today: Clerical Abuse Victims Seek Justice At World Court And who else is doing it but the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP): "...the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and the human rights group the Center for Constitutional Rights say the Vatican has yet to implement a policy to crack down on abusive priests and cooperate with law enforcement. The groups are delivering more than 20,000 pages of documentation from all over the world to the International Criminal Court, or ICC. Attorney Pam Spees says the evidence shows that crimes of clerical sex abuse constitute a "widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population." Maybe, with this exposure, the Catholic Church will finally be held accountable across the globe for their actions and non-actions, as it applies. Maybe now the children and members of the church who decide to remain in this organization can look forward to not being expoited one day, should this be successful. Here's hoping. Link to original post: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/13/140424290/sex-abuse-victims-want-hague-tribunal-to-investigate-vatican

More national coverage on Joplin

Joplin is getting yet more national coverage, thank goodness. This time it's over at NPR on their program All Things Considered: Businesses In Joplin, Mo., Find Economic Opportunity by Missy Shelton. The story also orginated from their local station KSMU so great coverage for and from them, too. Link: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/13/140430152/businesses-in-joplin-mo-find-economic-opportunity

Great documentary on our American soldiers

If we truly care about our soldiers, the way we profess. Keep an eye out for it. It may come to the Tivoli Theater or another local one.

Something that will never happen with or for George W. Bush

Safe to say, no one will ever think of having a public concert to celebrate now-former President George W. Bush's philanthropic works in years to come. A bunch of already and exceedingly wealthy people and corporate shills and lobbyists and war profiteers, maybe, but not people about or for philanthropy and sincere, true, "from the heart" giving, that's for sure.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Price Development: Yet more corporate blackmail

There's a story in last week's Pitch Magazine ("Unhappy Meals", see link below), telling of one Price Development Group that wants to build a 4-story retail, commercial building at the corner of 39th Street and Stateline Road but to do it, they'll need "a tax break of $2.76 million." Sound familiar? It should. It's just one more example of a development group who hands out their hat to some local government--in this case, the suckers over at KCMO City Hall--wanting a handout so they can build what will likely be a profitable building anyway. As I've written here before, it's just corporate blackmail and there's far too much of it. Forget that it's near KU Med Center and that a big development of yet more offices and business is already being put in, as we speak. Forget that they bought the building in 2007, boarded it up, didn't get a tenant in and then let the building go to heck. Forget all that. All that's important now is that they need the city's tax money to make yet more money. They say they need the handout help. You know what's additionally sick--really sick--about this, too? Two things. First, they'll likely get it and second? I bet all the bigwigs at this company--Price Development--are "Conservatives" and Republicans--maybe even Libertarians--who are all for "small government" and not giving handouts to people who need it. Wanna' bet? How long are we going to let people and groups do this stuff to us? Let's stop being suckers for this nonsense. Let's give them the "free market Capitalism" they're always bitching about. Whaddya' say? Link: http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2011/09/07/request-for-tax-break-comes-with-threat-of-french-fries

Paul Krugman: so right on 9/11

Writing this week on--what else?--the 9/11 anniversary, Nobel Prize-winning economist, writer, columnist and teacher Paul Krugman wrote the following in The New York Times: "What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful," he wrote. "The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons." As I said, he couldn't be more right on this. Trouble is, people are attacking him for it and the column. When you combine the fact that, as I've written here before, that George W. Bush was warned about just such an attack more than a month earlier in a Presidential Daily Brief and he totally, utterly and completely shirked his duties and responsibilities by ignoring it, on top of his making political hay on this and using it to unilaterally and unprovokedly attack Iraq, which had nothing to do with this at all, it merely further proves Mr. Krugman to be absolutely correct in his brief statement. Links: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/the-years-of-shame/; http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/09/12/get_krugman_.html?wpisrc=twitter_socialflow

Quote of the day

"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery." --John P. Judis, senior editor of The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Links: http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779; http://www.tnr.com/article/john-judis/92958/obama-lincoln-debt-ceiling;

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bill Maher on the Republican's view of President Obama

"It isn't the entree' they don't like. It's the waiter." --Bill Maher on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", Sept. 9, 2011

Bill Maher on Rick Perry and the Republican Candidates

Great news from Iraq!

Big news today. I saw it on NPR's website today: Iraqi Cleric Orders Stop To Attack On U.S. Troops. An anti-American cleric is urging his followers to stop attacking U.S. troops in Iraq so that their withdrawal from the country isn't slowed down, a call meant to ramp up pressure on Baghdad's political leaders who are considering asking some American forces to stay. In a statement posted on his website, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his militias to halt attacks against U.S. forces till the withdrawal is finished at the end of the year as required under a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad. "Out of my desire to complete Iraq's independence and to finish the withdrawal of the occupation forces from our holy lands, I am obliged to halt military operations of the honest Iraqi resistance until the withdrawal of the occupation forces is complete," al-Sadr said in the statement, posted late Saturday. Sadrist lawmaker Mushraq Naji confirmed the statement on Sunday. However, al-Sadr warned that "if the withdrawal doesn't happen ... the military operations will be resumed in a new and tougher way." With this, WE SHOULD GET THE HELL OUT OF IRAQ AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Link to original post: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/11/140378857/iraqi-cleric-orders-stop-to-attack-on-u-s-troops?ft=1&f=1001

Quote of the day--on George W. Bush and 9/11

"Even if Bush could be forgiven for taking America, and much of the rest of the world, to war on false pretenses, and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture, there is no excuse for how he chose to finance it. His was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit. As America went into battle, with deficits already soaring from his 2001 tax cut, Bush decided to plunge ahead with yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy." --Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate, Op-Ed, "The Price of 9/11", posted at Truthout.org, Wednesday 7 September 2011. Link to original post: http://www.truth-out.org/price-911/1315403131

Learn from 9/11?

There was a great article on NPR yesterday about 9/11--of course--and how we missed our moment and didn't seem to learn anything. (See link at bottom). But ike the French being in Vietnam, we learned nothing from them having been there before us. Then we went into Vietnam--and learned nothing. The Soviets in Afghanistan? We learned nothing. We've been there 10 years, we still know nothing. Same with 9/11. Learn from history? Heck, Americans don't even learn from current events. Link: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/10/140364367/after-sept-11-a-missed-opportunity-for-america?ft=1&f=1001

On this 9/11 Anniversary

I wrote earlier, I refuse to watch any of the coverage of this 9/11 anniversary. It depresses me for so many reasons it's nearly overwhelming. News junkie that I am, 'm going to skip them all. Besides the worst tragedy of all these attacks, what gets me most is that it was so unnecessary and so avoidable. The FBI, internally, knew Al Qaeda members were learning how to fly planes, hastily and in pretty good numbers, across the country and, worst of all, President at the time, George W. Bush had a Daily Presidential Brief back in August, warning that Osama bin Laden was trying to do this very thing. That is, that he was preparing to attack New York by plane. Finally, that same administration was still allowing small pocket knives on commercial flights across the nation. As you'll recall, that was how one group of terrorists were able to take over at least one plane, with small pocket knives. European security hadn't allowed such things for years. What it boils down to is, 9/11 shouldn't have happened, absolutely. It was totally, utterly and completely avoidable. That it did happen is shameful. Yet George W. Bush is off in Texas, fully enjoying his cushy, wealthy, fatcat life. It would be nice if Americans recognized and kept in mind his dereliction of duty and what it ended up meaning to the thousands of people who died that day, unnecessarily. Links: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/07/AR2006030700216.html; http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=131432&page=1; http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040801215339657; http://www.slate.com/id/2097476/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bin_Ladin_Determined_To_Strike_in_US

The only thing from the Bible that seems to matter

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV) 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

They're just telephones, for pity's sake

I mean sure, they're small computer telephones but they're phones. That's it. Since when does a telephone, however powerful, turn you into Superboy or Superman, as the ads would tell you? Could we get over this?

12 Corporations pay tax rate of -1.5% on $171B in profits, then it gets worse

The Citizens for Tax Justice put out a report that shows that Twelve Corporations Pay Effective Tax Rate of Negative 1.5% on $171 Billion in Profits; Reap $62.4 Billion in Tax Subsidies What this means, boys and girls, is that not only did they NOT PAY ANY TAXES but, worse, WE PAID THEM TO DO BUSINESS. Sound fair? No, no it's not. Legal, yes. Unethical? For sure. Insane? You bet. This is no way to run a country. Feel like a sucker yet? See the report here: http://www.ctj.org/ctjreports/2011/06/twelve_corporations_pay_effective_tax_rate_of_negative_15_on_171_billion_in_profits_reap_624_billion.php; http://www.scribd.com/doc/56809745/12-Corporations-Pay-Effective-Tax-Rate-of-Negative-1-5-on-171-Billion-in-Profits

Apparently the police state is also in Canada, as here

I put this up to point out, yes, that we've seem to become a police state here in the US but also to point out that this kind of thing happened to me, too, here in good ol' KCMO. I walked up, one night, to a police tape on Main Street and spoke to the officer standing there. He said if I said one more word to him, literally--he repeated it twice--that he would arrest me. "One more word." So much for "free speech." Or, in this young lady's case, so much for peaceful protest.

America, land of the sucker

Think the average corporate tax rate is about 35% in America? Think we have the highest or one of the highest tax rates in the world? Think again, suckers. There is a terrific article at NPR today's broadcast that dispells those myths easily and right away. (See link at bottom). For instance, they point out: "... in fact, very few corporations pay taxes on 35 percent of their profits. With the help of complex international tax loopholes, some companies manage to pay almost no corporate tax at all. It's not necessarily big oil or pharmaceutical companies that are cashing in on complex offshore tax loopholes. In fact, the corporation with one of the most advanced tax-shirking techniques may have helped you find this very article: Google...‎"In 2003, Drucker says, Google transferred all of its non-U.S. intellectual property rights to a subsidiary in Ireland." So check it out, folks. All the big corporations are offshoring their profits and stiffing us. We're just not that bright. Link: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/10/138867588/corporate-taxes-how-low-can-you-go?ps=cprs

KCK and John Brown on NPR today

There was a story on NPR today about "little known memorial(s) that make you want to pull over and find out more." One of these is the John Brown statue and information in our own Quindaro district of Kansas City, Kansas. Link to original story: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/15/138559911/honey-stop-the-car-monuments-that-move-you

Just found it.

I thought I'd heard or seen everything Aretha had done. Clearly I haven't. I loved finding this today, of course, and really enjoy the good quality of the recording, being from so long ago. Have a great weekend, y'all.

The latest thing in jokes

Libertarian jokes. It was inevitable. Q: How many libertarians does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. The free market has chosen darkness and we must not interfere. :) Have a great weekend, y'all.

A decade of war (guest post)

From the Iraq Veterans Against the War and their site: DECADE OF WAR AWARENESS MONTH published by Jose Vasquez on 09/09/11 11:52am This weekend, our nation will somberly mark 10 years since the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As we grieve for the victims and their families, another milestone looms: the October 7th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the Global War on Terror. A decade in, the American public still knows very little about the Afghan people or the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Congress continues to increase military spending as we are faced with rising unemployment, a foreclosure crisis, and funding cuts for education, social security, and healthcare. In response, IVAW is working with a coalition of anti-war and social justice organizations to launch a Decade of War Awareness Month from September 7 to October 7. Throughout the month, we will be working with our partner organizations (including Military Families Speak Out, War Resisters League, Veterans for Peace, and Afghans for Peace) to promote relationship-building among people and communities affected by U.S. militarism and the war economy in both the U.S. and Afghanistan. At WarVoices.org, you'll find resources on the U.S. war economy and current on-the-ground realities in Afghanistan, including a full public education curriculum designed for your community. We encourage you to use this curriculum to orchestrate workshops and explore how U.S. militarism and military spending relate to your local campaigns for social and economic justice, both directly and indirectly, across a wide-range of issues. The month will culminate on October 7th in Washington D.C. with a unique forum, War Voices: Building Community After a Decade of Struggle at Home and Abroad. Through story-telling, workshops, discussions, and cultural performances, we will build our power as a movement by meeting one another, building relationships that will inspire us for the long haul, envisioning new directions for the future, and planting the seeds for structures of mutual support and solidarity that will allow us to create a demilitarized world. To register local events in your community to commemorate the 10th anniversary or for more information, please visit WarVoices.com. Link: http://ivaw.org/

Quote of the day

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. ... As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." --Marianne Williamson

Friday, September 9, 2011

"The Onion" as prophet

Days before George W. Bush took office, "The Onion" predicted a massive increase in defense spending, a Gulf war, a recession brought on by substantial tax cuts, deregulation of industry, defunding of social-service programs, and a return to deficit spending. Who would have thought great humor could be that cynical but, ultimately, correct? See the original "The Onion" post here: http://www.theonion.com/articles/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros,464/

Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) own constituents want him to do something about jobs

He better get on board with President Obama on this jobs bill.

Hopeful but cautious on passing this jobs bill (guest post)

"Obama made a forthright argument that primitive individualism has to be paired with what he called “another thread running throughout our history—a belief that we are all connected and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.” He cited the example of his (and history’s) favorite Republican: We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future—a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad, launch the National Academy of Sciences, and set up the first land-grant colleges. All true. But it helped that, in the middle of the Civil War, there were no Senators or Congressmen from the part of the nation that, at the time, styled itself the Confederate States of America. In other words, Lincoln didn't have to deal with so many of the sort of people of the type we would today call "Republicans.'" --Hendrik Hertzberg, writer, columnist for The New Yorker Magazine. Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/hendrikhertzberg/2011/09/give-em-hell-barry.html#ixzz1XTyL4Gx5

The New Yorker on "Contagion"

The good news? They like it. They like it a lot. The bad news? They gush. (See link at bottom). What's important from the review, though, is this: "'Contagion' is, of course, a 9/11-anniversary movie, though probably not one that the public was expecting. Soderbergh appears to be saying, 'I’ll show you something far worse than a terrorist attack, and no fundamentalist fanatic planned it.' The film suggests that, at any moment, our advanced civilization could be close to a breakdown exacerbated by precisely what is most advanced in it. And the movie shows us something else: heroic work by scientists and Homeland Security officials. We can’t help noticing that with two exceptions—a French doctor who works for the World Health Organization (Marion Cotillard) and a renegade epidemiologist in San Francisco (Elliott Gould)—the heroes are all employees of the federal government, and instinctively factual people. No one prays, no one calls on God. “Contagion” lacks any spiritual dimension—except for its passionate belief in science and rational administration. The movie says: When there’s real trouble, we’re in the hands of the reality-based community. No one else matters." That said, I'm still waiting for a reviewer to compare it to "Andromeda Strain", one way or another. Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2011/09/19/110919crci_cinema_denby#ixzz1XTcuen8M

Republicans and the destruction of Social Security

"If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren't after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté. They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be "forced" to make "hard choices" - and that doesn't mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked." --Mike Lofgren, retired June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees. Link to original post: http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779

"Anonymous"--an outgrowth of Tyler Durden, too?

So it would seem. And "Network"? "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

The movie Americans need to see

Where Soldiers Come From - New HD Trailer from Heather Courtney on Vimeo.

Maybe if more Americans saw this movie and learned what we're really doing both in Iraq and Afghanistan and then what we're doing to our soldiers, we'd care enough to get involved to make sure we get out of those countries and bring our soldiers home. Here's hoping. Link: http://www.wheresoldierscomefrom.com/index.php

"Anonymous" seems to be a collective outgrowth of Banksy

Doesn't it?

Great question for Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Perry

Like now-former Texas Governor George W. Bush before him, it's easy to be certain and sure of yourself if a) you're rather simple-minded and b) you don't care for detail. Or facts. Or hard, conscientious work. (Thanks and another hat tip to Joe My God blog for this link).

Amerika, the police state

Notes by the poster of this video on YouTube: As Congressman Paul Ryan cracked a joke about him, Tom Nielsen found himself face down on the floor being handcuffed by police. The 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha was thrown to the ground, placed in handcuffs, and arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest after objecting to Ryan's plans to gut Social Security and Medicare during his congressman's only public appearance scheduled during the August recess -- a $15 Rotary Club luncheon in West Allis on Tuesday. Nielsen repeatedly told police that he wasn't fighting them and that he didn't want to make any trouble. He also told them several times that he had a broken shoulder. Police officers ignored his comments as they wrestled him to the ground despite his howls of pain. I've been to Rotary meetings and you don't just blurt out and yell and it's rude and crude but I don't think he should have been arrested. (Thanks and a hat tip to Joe My God blog for this). Additonally, you can see another YouTube video here showing people being arrested when trying to speak to Mr. Ryan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRhFnLeDdzM&NR=1. It seems to be a repeating occurrence for this Congressman. So much for "land of the free", eh, Mr. Ryan?

Rick Perry: That's some scary stuff

Quote of the day

"If Bush was cancer, and Obama chemo, Rick Perry is what it looks like when the cancer returns." --Bill Maher

Power to the people

We are Anonymous. United as ONE. Divided by ZERO. EXPECT US.

On last evening's Republican candidate debate

‎"The moment that would have broken my father's heart was the moment when applause broke out at the mention of more than 200 executions ordered by Rick Perry in Texas. It was stunning and brought tears to my eyes. This is what we've come to? That we applaud at executions?" ~Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's Daughter

Let's see if Mr. Boehner says the same thing tomorrow

This evening, after President Obama's speech about jobs and creating them, Speaker (R-Ohio) of the House John Boehner was quoted as saying "The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration." The plans "merit consideration." Well, we'll see. Let's see what happens tomorrow, after Speaker Boehner has spoken to the Tea Partiers and other extremists in the Right Wing of the Republican Party. So frequently in the past, Mr. Boehner has given positive signs that something or other would--or even might--work, only to have a conversation with those lunatic extremists who tell him to say "No, that won't work." Here's hoping this will go through. We need the United States to be successful. And cohesive and cooperating. Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/jobs-speech-obama_n_954916.html

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yet more reasons why we need to cut the defense budget by half

"A million dollars appropriated for highway construction would create two to three times as many jobs as a million dollars appropriated for Pentagon weapons procurement..." --Mike Lofgren, retired June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees. Link to original post: http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779

Who is Guy Fawkes and why is he relevant to America and the world today?

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

Who and what is Anonymous? And what do they want? And where are they going?

Fascinating. What they need to do, if they can (and it seems they maybe can) is push for "campaign contributions"--we know them for the bribes they are--out of American government. That and shorten our election campaign cycles to 3 or 6 months. That would be phenomenal. Also phenomenal would be their/our taking control back from the corporations. Here's hoping.

On the Presiden'ts speech this evening: We're NOT number one??

If President Obama did anything necessarily wrong this evening, in his speech, it was that he said at one point we should work to be number one again. Excuse me? Someone in a national political office suggesting we are anything but "Number One"? That's either blunt, stark honesty or deafening, stunning ignorance. What he said: "Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. (Applause) If we provide the right incentives, the right support -- and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules -- we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world. That’s how America can be number one again. And that’s how America will be number one again. So, we're NOT number one?? And a politician suggested it? Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63043_Page3.html#ixzz1XQUG94iM

Now that it's nearly Autumn....

What Fox "News", the Right Wing, the Rethuglicans, Tea Party and all the other crazies would want you to believe:

We need to see this movie

Seems The Beatles were correct. All we need is love. "The truth of who we are is that we are because we belong." --Bishop Desmond Tutu. Link: http://www.iamthedoc.com/

Two telling articles on China today

Check out these two today from Yahoo! News, the AP and AFP. First this: GM's China sales hit record for August. And then this: European group: China imposing new market barriers. Not good. Not good at all. In the midst of worldwide recessions and worse, this is the kind of thing that starts world wars. Fortunately, China and the US need each other far too much. Let's hope that always holds. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/gms-china-sales-hit-record-august-075116832.html; http://news.yahoo.com/european-group-china-imposing-market-barriers-042147073.html

Countdown

Bring it on.

War by the Numbers (from The New York Times)

Published: September 8, 2011 6,204 American military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan operations. 141 Military women killed. 2,300 American contractors killed. 144,000 Service members in either country as of Aug. 25, 2011. 1,192 Foreign coalition forces killed. 18,678 Iraqi and Afghan security forces killed. 102,339 Minimum number of Iraqi civilians killed, including by other Iraqis, according to Iraq Body Count. 172 million Meals Ready to Eat (M.R.E.’s) sent to personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. $1,645 Monthly pay for an Army private, with $225 additional for combat. 779 Detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002. 14 Percentage of former Guantánamo detainees who returned to terrorist activity. 1 Former Guantánamo detainees who have been tried in the United States. My own addition: 3.7 trillion dollars Cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars at least $3.7 trillion (and counting)* Links: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/us/sept-11-reckoning/index-war-abroad.html http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-usa-war-idUSTRE75S25320110629

THE Hallowe'en mask of the year, 2011

You either get it or you don't.

On the President's speech tonight, from 2 at UMKC

There is a great article today at Truthdig.com and it's written by two of our own, from right here at UMKC. (see below). A quote: "In truth, the $300 billion the president might propose Thursday is more than enough to jump-start our economy if it is really targeted to job creation. We can estimate the total program cost at $20,000 per worker, times 15 million workers. That adds up to a $300 billion gross cost, less savings on unemployment compensation (roughly $150 billion), welfare and food stamps, as well as the social cost of depression, divorce, abuse and crime. A direct job creation program modeled on the New Deal’s WPA could create 15 million jobs for less than $300 billion net spending, while also providing the infrastructure and public services required to bring our nation into the 21st century." --Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray is a professor of economics and research director of the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Stephanie Kelton is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and she is a Research Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute in New York. Link to original post: http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/with_300_billion_the_president_can_reduce_unemployment_to_zero_20110908/

On the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese and its problems

...Msgr. Thomas J. O’Brien, has been named in at least 27 civil lawsuits yet remains a priest. Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, think that even though O’Brien’s been out of ministry for years, he can likely still be prosecuted, especially if Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn takes action. “In the face of all this credible evidence that O’Brien repeatedly violated kids, it’s immoral for Finn to passively sit in his office and do nothing but brainstorm with his lawyers about how to beat wounded victims in court,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director. “Kansas City Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, shielded and transferred O’Brien, giving him more and more opportunities to sexually assault kids,” said Dorris. “It’s irresponsible for those church officials to now sit passively back and do nothing while O’Brien lives out his retirement comfortably among unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids and while many of O’Brien’s victims live out their lives in pain.” --Surviors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). For more information: David Clohessy, SNAP Director (314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

I'm so old...

...I remember when you didn't have to close the two boxes of options that popped up on YouTube videos, one for the RealPlayer option, the other an advertisement. THAT old.

Quote of the day

"There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance." ~Goethe

Notes to Texas Governor Rick Perry, Rep Bachmann and their ilk

Link to original post: http://mockthedummy.com/2011/09/07/when-dummies-pray-for-a-savior/

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Washington, DC: October 6, 2011

The time for change is now. We say we want a (peaceful) revolution.

China: This is why we spend so much on defense?

China is famous--notorious, infamous, really--for polluting their air, water and soil across most of the entire country. Then, they suppress their people's speech and movements and who knows what all. Poverty is still rampant across the huge nation, etc. Now? What's in the news? There's this article: Top of Chinese wealthy's wish list? To leave China BEIJING (AP) — Chinese millionaire Su builds skyscrapers in Beijing and is one of the people powering China's economy on its path to becoming the world's biggest. He sits at the top of a country — economy booming, influence spreading, military swelling — widely expected to dominate the 21st century. Yet the property developer shares something surprising with many newly rich in China: he's looking forward to the day he can leave. Su's reasons: He wants to protect his assets, he has to watch what he says in China and wants a second child, something against the law for many Chinese. Despite more economic freedom, the communist government has kept its tight grip on many other aspects of daily life. China's leaders punish, sometimes harshly, public dissent and any perceived challenges to their power, and censor what can be read online and in print. Authoritarian rule, meanwhile, has proved ineffective in addressing long standing problems of pollution, contaminated food and a creaking health care system. "In China, nothing belongs to you. Like buying a house. You buy it but it will belong to the country 70 years later," said Su, lamenting the government's land leasing system. "But abroad, if you buy a house, it belongs to you forever," he said. "Both businessmen and government officials are like this. They worry about the security of their assets." So why do I bring this up? This is the country we're supposed to be afraid of so we keep spending 700 billion dollars per year on "defense"--read: the "military-industrial complex"--but we don't otherwise have enough to pay our bills, educate our citizens and give them good health care and roads and sewer systems and other important infrastructure. It's insane. We have to stop spending so much on defense. It's unnecessary and it's ignorant. There's a lot more in the article, too, you may want to see, spelling out their many problems. Find it here: http://news.yahoo.com/top-chinese-wealthys-wish-list-leave-china-065826880.html

Chris Hedges (yes, THE Chris Hedges) on October 2011

The time is now. Links: http://october2011.org/welcome; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges