First item: I went to a Hallowe'en/Chiefs get-together this evening and came away with the strong feeling that, in the court of public opinion, not only is the Lisa Irwin case "settled", in so many people's minds but that it also looks really, really bad--as I suspected--for Momma Irwin. I'm not coming to any conclusions myself but a whole lotta' people have, out there, I feel sure. And the more the parents stall, the worse it looks for them, too. (I have to say, while I refuse to come to any conclusions, one of the women at the party not only seemed to have it all figured out and it all sounded entirely plausible, too. Simple and plausible). Second item: With this being a full month since little Lisa went missing, the tone and attention of the media is beginning to shift, too. Did you see the 10 O'clock news this evening? That grain bin explosion yesterday in Atchison? Did you notice it rather bumped stories of baby Lisa off the top of the news hour? Our attention spans are already slipping. We're already beginning to lose interest in this one. Deny it if you wish but there are only so many days of "Nothing new to report on the baby Irwin case" you can take until it starts drifting away. It's weird, it's gotten weirder, it's sad and it looks really, really bad, any way you look at it. As a last note, check out at the headline Reuters News Service just put up on the internet about it, a mere 3 hours ago: Kansas city missing baby case becoming a circus, critics say (Link at bottom). From the article, check out what this FBI agent has to say:
"'I think the whole case has been a media circus since the beginning,' said Jeff Lanza, a retired Kansas City FBI agent who is now a security and communications consultant. 'It's distracted from the investigation.'" I think plenty of us have wondered this: "Some also wonder why the parents focused so heavily on national media interviews while refusing local media interviews, if they wanted to find the baby." And then there's this from Michael Mahoney: "'Local reporters are complaining bitterly about it,' said Michael Mahoney, a veteran reporter with KMBC-TV in Kansas City. 'They think the family has opted to take this story nationally when local reporters believe they have the best chance of finding this infant by getting the word out.'" The article seems to repeat feelings I came away with earlier tonight. As I said a few days ago, it's odd and just keeps getting more so. Here's hoping some positive things start happening in it all--and as soon as possible.
Links: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/01/us-baby-missing-idUSTRE7A004F20111101; http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/07/us-crime-baby-kidnapping-idUSTRE79572I20111007; http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/17/us-baby-missing-idUSTRE79F06D20111017
On KCUR-FM, 89.3 today, they reported that the New York attorney in the Lisa Irwin case said that fellow-attorney Cindy Short's news conference this morning was a "distraction." That's rich. He should give up his day job. Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/31/3240043/parents-former-attorney-talks.html; http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/wrong-lawyer-representing-baby-lisa-irwins-parents/
Yikes. It's getting hot over at the Catholic League. It seems they wanted to put an ad in the Star to defend Bishop Finn and his actions total lack of action in and on the Sean Ratigan sexual misconduct situation and the Star said no. Yes, they turned down their $25,000.00 ad. To which I say, I can't believe it but GOOD ON YOU, STAR. It should have been turned down, I should think for at least this one reason--in some of the opening sentences, the Catholic League writes and admits this: "Last December, crotch-shot pictures of young girls, fully clothed, were found on Fr. Ratigan’s computer; there was one photo of a naked girl." The Catholic League has the nerve to write and admit the above, and then DEFEND BISHOP FINN and his total, utter denial of Ratigan's situation. Man, those Catholics and the Catholic League have chutzpah. That said, I think if I were the Star, I would have run the ad and for two reasons. First, they need the money and they need it badly. Then, it would have let the Catholics have their say. Fine. But then, I'd have run an editorial, probably the next day, answering the ad. For the Catholic League--and any Catholics--to defend Finn when they can admit the above--that a child's sexual parts or private parts or whatever you want to call them, were both photographed and then kept on a priest's computer and FINN DID NOTHING for at least 5 months? That's beyond inexcusable. By our Missouri laws, fortunately, it's illegal. It's also illegal BECAUSE OF THE LAST CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL THAT TOOK PLACE, too, if anyone needs reminding. There are so many things wrong with what the Catholic League claim in their proposed ad, it's nearly mind-numbing. They're either lying to themselves or to the world so badly, so completely, it's shocking. And the League's playing both Finn and the church as victims is not just ridiculous, it's insulting. So kudos and salutations to The Kansas City Star. You all didn't take this dirty Catholic money. Good on you. Someone should give you an award of some kind for integrity and doing the right thing. "...the ultimate goal is to have the Catholic Church cede its autonomy to the state." Right. What nonense. If Bill Donohue and all these die-hard Catholics weren't such lapdogs for Finn and the church, they would be ashamed of themselves for putting Finn and the church ahead of the children and their safety and protecting these pedophiles, instead, time and again. Clearly "They know not what they do." (Side note: thanks to Tony at TKC for bringing this to the city's attention.) Links: http://www.catholicleague.org/kansas-city-star-vs-catholic-church-2/; http://www.catholicleague.org/taking-aim-at-bishop-finn/; http://www.tonyskansascity.com/
Okay, sure, it's Hallowe'en. And the Chiefs are playing at Arrowhead. Aren't you just as excited as a schoolboy? Here, then, are the things you CANNOT or SHOULD NOT WEAR or take or do at the Chief's game tonight, as per the stadium folks: • Masks or other costume pieces that in any way obscure the face are prohibited
• Fans are advised that bulky clothing and/or costumes will result in delays at stadium security screening
• Costumes must fit within the confines of the fan’s ticketed seat
• Toy or replica weapons are prohibited from entry
• Any item or costume deemed to be unsafe, offensive or inappropriate will not be allowed into the building. All that aside, GO Chiefs!
I posted before on how weird this sad, unfortunate Baby Lisa Irwin saga has become but today, after watching the news, I see it just keeps getting more weird. Three things today, as per KMBC 9 News: 1) Media hound and New York attorney Bill Stanton came back to town, had yet another rather pointless announcement for the press and pretended to be searching around what looked like a bridge for the cameras. Thanks, Bill; 2) The Irwin family has disappeared. That wouldn't be that odd but who knows if a) the police know where they are--I hope and assume they do--or b) if they're cooperating with those same police. And finally, 3) the attorney who had to quit because she quit and/or was forced out by the New Yawk attorney, Cindy Short, is having a news conference tomorrow at 10:30 am. To say what, who can say? Tune in tomorrow. It just keeps getting weirder by the day. And baby Lisa, meanwhile, will have been gone a month as of this week. That is some kind of sad. Links: http://www.kmbc.com/video/29624432/detail.html; http://www.kmbc.com/news/29630795/detail.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/30/3238483/former-lawyer-for-lisa-irwins.html; http://videos.kansascity.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=118117811; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/30/3238307/search-for-lisa-irwin-nears-one.html
But you won't because it takes 1 and a half hour or you're too busy or it was a long time ago or some other thing. It was put up on You Tube in 2007 but still fits in extremely well right now with the "Occupy" movement. It makes if very timely. Winston Smith is alive and well. I hope you had a nice weekend. Say, hand me my fiddle, will you, Nero?
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the Better Life Initiative, examining how various aspects of people's lives affect the general well-being of whole countries and came up with the following list of "The 10 Countries With The Best Work-Life Balance." Guess what country who thinks--and claims, frequently, that it's "number one"-- ISN'T EVEN ON THE FREAKING LIST? Yeah, I think you know. European countries? All over the place. The Netherlands? You bet. No Uncle Sam. Read it and weep, suckers. As I've said before, your boss loves you. Try to have a nice weekend anyway. Link to original post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/01/top-ten-countries-with-work-life-balance_n_868224.html#s285262&title=10_France
Put another way, why we shouldn't let the "military-industrial complex"--as President Eisenhower rightly and wisely warned us--run our government and country.
"Military spending generates an industrial brain drain that consumes engineers and scientists into a black hole of manufactured explosions and destruction. Manufacturing jobs, so sorely needed for economic prosperity, are withering on the vine as war contractors throw money down failed projects, or in Pentagon-speak, research and development initiatives. In the meantime, entire constructive industries are left stagnant or unimagined."Link: http://www.bravenewfoundation.org/2011/10/blog/the-myth-of-military-contracting/
I knew Washington and George W. Bush's White House "played" us all--manipulated the country into going into war--attacking, unilaterally--Iraq. What I didn't know was how badly we were all played when Iran released the hostages so coincidentally for Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party on the day Reagan was sworn into office, as this shows. What I also didn't realize was how even more heavily than I knew, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the entire Florida Republican Party played the nation during the 2000 election, taking votes from minorities--mostly African-Americans--in order make absolutely certain brother George W. was put into the White House. And more. Lots more. Then there's the Supreme Court decision at the same time. Where's the handgun? (There are 11 parts of the YouTube videos, total. The entire, original video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_lYGyIaK80&feature=related. It lasts a total of 3 hours. It's some of the best time you will spend all day. Heck, all week. No, all month and year and it's for you and your own benefit, no one else's.)
Each video is only 9 minutes and 59 seconds long but loaded with information. Hopefully they get at least someone to look in, maybe out of curiosity, maybe out of a desire to learn more.Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind., Vt.) speaks a few times in this one. I think it starts getting far "juicier"--better--here: Hopefully that will whet an appetite--or some appetites--for some more information and they watch more, if not all, the associated videos. There should be civics classes all across the country, studying just these videos. Hey, I'm a dreamer.
"We are slowly — and painfully — being forced to realize that we are no longer the America of our imaginations. Our greatness was not enshrined. Being a world leader is less about destiny than focused determination, and it is there that we have faltered.
We sold ourselves a pipe dream that everyone could get rich and no one would get hurt — a pipe dream that exploded like a pipe bomb when the already-rich grabbed for all the gold; when they used their fortunes to influence government and gain favors and protection; when everyone else was left to scrounge around their ankles in hopes that a few coins would fall.
We have not taken care of the least among us. We have allowed a revolting level of income inequality to develop. We have watched as millions of our fellow countrymen have fallen into poverty. And we have done a poor job of educating our children and now threaten to leave them a country that is a shell of its former self. We should be ashamed.
Poor policies and poor choices have led to exceedingly poor outcomes. Our societal chickens have come home to roost." --Charles M. Blow, Op/ed columnist, The New York Times
"We're number one!" Except we're not. Far from it. Link to original post: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/opinion/blow-americas-exploding-pipe-dream.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212
Sure, the country I'm thinking of--that you're thinking of--THINKS it's number one. But it isn't. Think again. Akamai, a company that collects data about Internet use, ranks countries by their computer speeds and has ranked the following: Belgium (9), Romania (8), Switzerland (7), the Czech Republic (the Czech Republic, for pity's sake) (6), Latvia (FREAKING LATVIA!!) (5), the Netherlands (4), Japan (3), Hong Kong (2) and South Korea (for crying out loud) at number one, are all FASTER IN INTERNET SPEED than the United States. Where do we rank, you might ask? We rank a lowly number 12--not even in the top 10. How's that "we're number one!" thing going for you? (We're slower than Romania. Holy cow. Romania. and Latvia. --banging head--). Link to original post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/fastest-internet-countries-akamai_n_1051651.html#s438321&title=9__Belgium
Kevin Fullerton wrote a pretty good column over at the American Advertising Federation this week on the size and power of the Kansas City advertising market. We're 4 times bigger than St. Louis' market and 20 times that of Denver's, for starters. Lots of awards, etc. You might want to check it out. Who knew? Link: http://aafkc.com/news/we’re-kansas-city-damn-it
There are more weird things going on with this missing baby Lisa Irwin case than I can even all remember and list here today. That she even went missing in the first place is odd, to start. Then it went really looney. Why does anyone steal a middle- or lower-class couple's child at all, unless they just want their own child? (Which it wouldn't be but that's why it's odd right there at the beginning). Then, how does it happen? Did mom put Lisa to bed at 10:30--which is pretty darned late for a 6-month old but who can say?--or at 6:30 that evening--which is REALLY early? Who knows? Mom said both. Then, why would mom admit on NATIONAL TV that she was drunk? Yikes. Good move, Mom. You get kudos for honesty, anyway. Next up is, did she have 5 glasses of wine, as one TV news station reported or did she have 10? Either one doesn't sound good but that's too late--the cat's out of the proverbial bag. Then a New Yawk attorney shows up. Yeehaw. You can't have enough of those headline-grabbing, camera-lovers, can you? Then they get a LOCAL attorney, too. Great idea. Two attorneys, one local, one not. That'll work, I'm sure. Then, yesterday, the local attorney releases a brief and terse announcement, saying she quits and that she was squeezed out by Mr. New York. There's a shocker, huh? Let's see, what else have I forgotten? A Colorado man drives in because he and his wife, years ago, had a nearly identical thing happen to them. Fortunately, he really does just seem to want to be any help if he can. Oh, here's a favorite weird thing in this for me: the parents are said by the police to NOT BE COOPERATING. There's a great idea, huh? Say, if you're innocent and you want your baby back and you have no idea what happened to the child, MAYBE YOU WANNA' COOPERATE WITH THE POLICE?? COMPLETELY? Does that maybe sound like a good idea? And a lie detector test? You didn't do anything wrong, right? Right? So maybe that shouldn't be a problem? And you don't want to talk any more to the police but you want to talk to the national news media. Huh. Right now, ongoing, the parents don't want to consent to be interviewed by the police in separate interviews. Additionally, for days, now, the parents weren't letting the police interview baby Lisa's two step-brothers. Then it was on. Then they postponed even that. And keep in mind, this coming week baby Lisa will have been gone AN ENTIRE MONTH. As they said today on Yahoo! News (see link below): "It's an extraordinarily late time to be finally allowing interviews of witnesses who were in the house the night the baby is said to have disappeared." Let's review. YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG, right? You have nothing to hide, as you've said. And you don't know where your daughter is. And you want her back. Have I got all that down correctly? Uh, so WHY AREN'T YOU AND CAN'T YOU COOPERATE COMPLETELY?? Sorry, just gotta' ask. See, we aren't assuming you're guilty, understand. We just have no freaking idea where you're coming from. Get back to us on all that, will you? Please? Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/28/3235994/kc-lawyer-confirms-shes-out-of.html; http://news.yahoo.com/missing-baby-lisa-irwin-damaging-details-emerge-despite-135000443.html
I was disappointed yet again, reading yesterday's Kansas City Star. I shouldn't be surprised but there it was, yet another person trying to stand up for Bishop Finn, at least, if not the Catholic Church, too, in another of its sexual scandals on children. It seems one Mark Morris wrote that once, in the past, "clerics of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph once investigated a child abuse allegation with the zeal and vigor that was missing from its listless management of Ratigan..." and that it was led by this same Bishop Finn, you find out at the end of his column. Well, yeehaw. Circle the horses. Once he did right, in the past. The fact is, in this case--the case of Ratigan--he and his office, given the timeline of the case, decidedly didn't report him or his possible transgressions and get to the police. Okay, Mr. Morris, done. We give Bishop Finn credit for one time--at least that one time, doing the right thing. That was then. Now, we have to contend with the fact that Ratigan (because I don't want to call him "Father") went unreported to the police and that, frankly, is against our laws. We all understand that, right? Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/27/3233761/history-shows-diocese-can-get.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/23/3225250/clergy-must-not-ignore-laws-intended.html
A question for Yael Abouhalkah or someone at the Star or someone, somewhere (Pitch? Radioman? somebody?) who can come up with the answer: How many times, in the last, say, 30 years, have we been asked to pony up more money for the KCMO Zoo, always with the promise that "this time we'll REALLY save it"? It seems like many and repeated times as one who has lived here for a while. Omaha has a great zoo as does Topeka (Topeka, for pity's sake!) and Wichita but never here. What's up with that? Link: http://www.onezooforall.com/Groups/1000060849/One_Zoo_For/News_articles/News_articles.aspx
Okay, to clarify, one last time--the following chart shows the amount of wealth going to the top 1% of the nation over the last 30 years (click on chart for bigger view):
If you're down here with the rest of us in the Middle and Lower classes--you know, the 99% of us--you got this long ago. This is how intrinsically unbalanced--and unfair--our American system truly is. Links: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/09/simple-look-income-inequality; http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/cbo-top-1-percent-almost-tripled-incomes-fueling-inequality/2011/10/25/gIQAzbMrIM_story.html;
From "Mother Jones" magazine: "A Harvard business professor and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable." (Click on chart to see larger view).
Link to original post--all charts at "Mother Jones", based on the CBO report: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph
As I've said before, as he's (Dylan Ratigan) is saying, if we don't get true, stringent, tough, accountable and prosecutable campaign finance reform so we get the corporation's and wealthy people's money out of our political system, nothing will change. And we have to demand it. It has to come from us. (Thanks to friend Chad S. for this link).
"Think of the American economy as a large apartment block. A century ago—even 30 years ago—it was the object of envy. But in the last generation its character has changed. The penthouses at the top keep getting larger and larger. The apartments in the middle are feeling more and more squeezed and the basement has flooded. To round it off, the elevator is no longer working. That broken elevator is what gets people down the most." --Lawrence Katz, Harvard University economist Links: http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/how-oligarchs-took-america; http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1a8a5cb2-9ab2-11df-87e6-00144feab49a.html#axzz1bx0i0jtg
Albert Einstein, writing in 1949, understood our current crisis of corporate oligarchy. An excerpt from his essay..."Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights." He could be writing about us. In fact, he was, only even more so now. One of the--if not the--most brilliant mind of the last 100+ years and he was warning us about unfettered Capitalism.
More from the Congressional Budget Office's latest report on income and wealth in the US between 1979 and 2007. As shown on this chart, most income groups have barely grown richer since 1979. But the top 1 percent has seen its income nearly quadruple. (Click on chart to see larger view):
That bears repeating: The top, wealthiest 1% of the nation has seen its income nearly quadruple. So while the middle- and lower-classes are losing their homes or not able to send their children to college or other, myriad unthinkables--like being "food insecure"--the wealthy can take more trips to the South of France or buy that fifth or sixth home, probably to avoid us, the "little people." If you think about this, too, you realize the worst data may have yet to come out, too, regarding the wealthy getting more rich since George W. Bush's and the Republican's tax cuts for the wealthy wouldn't have fully been taken into consideration, from 2007 to now. Feel sick yet?
News flash: Rich getting richer, poor getting poorer. As though they needed to tell us. The Congressional Budget Office just released a report on "Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007". More of the same. The rich and uber-rich keep getting more and more of the nation's wealth. As though they need it. Statistics: CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by: 275 percent for the top 1 percent of households, 65 percent for the next 19 percent, Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and
18 percent for the bottom 20 percent. In short, it sucks to be us.
Remember when we were kids and it was just called "Kool-Aid"? Then, we became real suckers and someone started bottling water. And people bought it. Heck, they still do. Now? Now you put something in your water and it's a "water enhancer". It's not just flavoring. What kind of good marketing would that be, right? Man, are we stooges.
“The austerity that is going on in Europe, America and so forth is effectively a suicide pact for our economies. “Greece does not have much scope, but the United States and Germany and a number of other countries do have considerable space for stimulating their economy, and it is absolutely essential that they do that.” --Joseph Stiglitz, economist, professor at Columbia University and former chief economist at the World Bank. Links: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/government-stimulus-measures-too-feeble-stiglitz/article2213385/;
I saw this, this evening, on, of all places, a friend's Facebook page. He wrote he saw it, luckily and coincidentally, on KCPT/PBS this evening. It was too great to not share. While great to see, period, it's especially good on the full screen on your computer, too. I might mention, also, that those really were live people on top of the Center. It was our own local performance group "Quixotic". I thought they might just be projections of people.
According to The Kansas City Business Journal and local news reports (see links below), Kemper Arena is to be razed and replaced with an "Agricultural Events Center." Well, okay, I guess. But it brings up questions: First, can we, as a city, afford it? (The bad news here? It's estimated to cost $50 million. The good news? The Kemper family is behind the proposal). Second, do you suppose Moshe Safdie is busy? And does he do "Agricultural Events Centers"? Finally, could we make sure this next one, if it has a roof, doesn't collapse? Ever? Links: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2011/10/25/kemper-arena-will-be-razed.html; http://www.fox4kc.com/news/wdaf-report-kemper-arena-to-be-torn-down-replaced-with-agricultural-events-center-20111025,0,3446649.story
Kansas City was named one of the top destinations for 2012 by Frommer's Travel Guide. And get this--we're the only US city on the list. They give us kudos for the Kauffman Center, the WWI Museum, the Nelson--of course--our barbecue, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and more. So good on you, Kansas City. Enjoy this ranking--and all the city has to offer. Links: http://www.frommers.com/micro/2011/top-destinations-2012/kansas-city-missouri.html; Full list here: http://www.frommers.com/micro/2011/top-destinations-2012/index.html#ixzz1bo9k9OCi
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’ " --Isaac Asimov
We're given kudos here by T & L for the best Barbecue, Affordability(#1), Driving ability(#2), Wireless coverage(#3) and for being friendly(#6). Hate where you live if you want but we're given a lot of credit, like it or not. (Just don't ask about our Street food(#30)
Public transportation and pedestrian-friendliness(#29) or ethnic food(#29) ). Links: http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities/2011/city/kansas-city; http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities;
Whatever happened to morality, anyway? Like the morality of not billing for all you can bill, even if it is "health care"? The immorality of charging a fee because someone has come down ill and can't fly on an airplane so they're penalized so much money, in order to rebook the flight? The immorality of charging a "billing fee" from a person's insurance agency or some such. In that case, it's as though a furniture company billed the customer for selling a chair. We are a strange people. We let so many things pass which, frankly, shouldn't be, all because it's "business", as though somehow that makes it okay.
To legislators in Washington: "...the Vatican called Monday for an overhaul of" the "world’s financial systems and a return to a global economy based on ethical behavior and “achievement of a universal common good,' the AP reports. While the Vatican has, in the past, criticized uncontrolled capitalism, the new call goes further, decrying 'an economic liberalism that spurns all rules and controls.'”
"The call for greater control and equality in financial markets comes at a time when Republican presidential candidates — many of whom tout their religious credentials on the campaign trail — have called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law aimed at preventing a crisis similar to that of 2008, and as Republicans in both Congress and on the campaign trail continue to back budget cuts that would eviscerate programs that help the poor. At the same time, protesters spurred by the original Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have brought increasing attention rising income inequality, corporate greed, and tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans."
"This isn’t the first time faith leaders have spoken out against so-called religious conservatives who have prioritized tax cuts for the wealthy and repealing financial regulations over helping low-income Americans. A group of Catholic bishops signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) — both practicing Catholics — during the debt limit fight, denouncing budget cuts that disproportionately hurt the poor. Other religious leaders made similar calls, with Rev. Jim Wallis telling Republicans, 'We did not get into fiscal trouble because of poor people. … The poor didn’t cause this. Let’s not make them pay for it.'”
Link to original post: http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/10/24/351277/the-vatican-calls-for-economic-equality-reform-of-world-financial-system/
The BBC just showed a very timely program on child abuse---in America. It seemed to fit in right now with the baby Lisa Irwin problem we have going on in Kansas City at this moment. Besides having the most expensive health care in the world and being ranked at least 37th worst in mortality rate for all Americans, according to their show, "America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialized world." Wow. I had no idea. How horrible. Add that to the fact that we're the most war-mongering people on the planet and we're letting our fatcats get fatter while the middle- and lower-class falls apart and it surely doesn't paint a very pretty picture of us, does it? Facts, folks, merely facts, statistics and hard data. We should be far, far better than all this. I think we all thought we were, didn't we? Links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15288865; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/teresa-huizar/child-abuse-america_b_1025890.html
This is discouraging. Missouri is ranked, as it says above, one of the least energy-efficient states, according to American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. We ranked number 44 out of 50. You can't get much lower than that now, can you? Doesn't being "conservative" translate to conserving energy as well as being for "small government"? Doesn't that make sense? We need to work on this. More bad news, too. Next-door neighbor Kansas was 48th. Geez, people. Another thing we need to work on. Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/23/top-energy-efficient-states_n_1025831.html#s425979&title=44__Missouri; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/23/top-energy-efficient-states_n_1025831.html#s424951&title=1_Massachusetts
Remember all that brouhaha not that long ago, at the beginning of the Kansas City, Missouri school year about now-gone Superintendent Dr. John Covington and his accusations of impropriety on the part of Airick Leonard West? Yeah, those charges. I do, too. It seems to me The Kansas City Star should be researching a story right now about a) the charges and b) validity or lack of validity of those same charges. Wouldn't that make a great article, no matter the turnout? Don't we deserve to know if the charges made had any truth to them or not? It surely seems like it to me. Joe Robertson? Any information? And if the Star doesn't do it/isn't doing it, then I surely hope The Pitch is. What about it, guys? That would surely make some terrific, needed investigative reporting. If not those two, then how about Russ Ptacek at NBC Action News? Somebody? I think the parents, teachers and students all deserve answers, let alone the rest of the citizens of the city. The charges came up very quickly, then went away just as fast. Is there any substantiation to them? I'm not assuming guilt at all. I assume Mr. West is completely "clean" until shown otherwise. I just think someone ought to be asking the questions. We still need a clean school district in the city, you know? Links: http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/west-wrong-choice-kc-school-board-president/; http://www.pitch.com/; http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/about_us/staff/Russ-Ptacek---Investigative-Reporter
Republican leaders in Washington have introduced 44 bills on abortion, 99 on religion, 71 on family relationships, 36 on marriage, 67 on firearms and/or gun control, 52 on taxation and a mind-boggling 445 on "government investigations" while they've introduced ZERO--none, not one--on jobs or creating jobs. While we're at it, couldn't and shouldn't somebody propose that a) we take away all tax credits to take manufacturing offshore and b) that corporations can no longer take profits "offshore." Simple, intelligent--even obvious--ideas that have yet to be proposed. I think both could and would strengthen America greatly.
"The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together. There are currently two sizable coalitions of angry citizens that are almost on the same page about that, and they're too busy insulting each other to notice." --James Sinclair Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/10/a-very-simple-venn-diagram-of-where-the-tea-party-and-occupy-wall-street-agree/246687/
As so many people know, Waterfire is performing this evening, beginning at dusk, on Brush Creek on the Plaza. Sure, we know that. Additionally, however, as some may not know, Quixotic is also performing on the main bridge over the creek, too. Go. Enjoy. It's great fun. And all free. You can't beat it.
"I applaud the president's decision and have been advocating that position for quite a while. Our nation has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in recent years protecting the people of Iraq and rebuilding that country. Vermont and America have also paid a very heavy price in loss of life and injuries suffered by our soldiers. Now is the time to bring our troops home, lower our military budget, and use those funds to create jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure and lowering our national debt." --Senator Bernie Sanders (Indep., Vermont). Link: http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=1894e87e-1eaa-40b1-81ac-b2b4563b518e
Ever since Van Morrison came out with his album/cd, "Avalon Sunset", I've always thought that this song, "Coney Island", was the quintessential Autumn song. The entire album is magnificent but this one is a standout among all magnificent songs. If you don't already have it, you might want to get it. I can't imagine too many people being disappointed by it, it's that good. Enjoy the beautiful weather out there folks and have a great weekend.
I mean, seriously, doesn't this describe our situation? The scientists and scientific community have declared that "global warming" or "climate change" or whatever you choose to call it, is real and that it is very likely being inflicted on us by our own actions of pumping so much carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Some, however, want to deny it--whole political parties, at minimum. So what if the scientists are wrong? Doesn't it make sense to use less and conserve? Of course it does. What part of how we live across this planet seems sustainable? It surely is not.
Face it, Moammar Gaddafi being killed--reportedly (and hopefully)--by his own people proves, once again, that this president was correct. This time he was right to have US war planes, through NATO, strike Libyan war planes and Gaddafi's military, since they were attacking and killing Libyans. The other political parties here aren't going to like it but this is just one more notch in President Obama's success column. It's good for him but it's good for the nation and the world, honestly. He's not right on everything and I'm not one to say or think as much but he's been right on far more than his political opposition in this country gives him credit for, absolutely. Link: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/obl-awlaki-and-gadhafi-have-all-met-their-demise-in-some-fashion-because-of-decisions-the-president-made-senior-white-house-official/; http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/q/muammar_el_qaddafi/index.html
The two--count 'em, two--breaks on Southwest Trafficway are STILL leaking and seeping on and into the street just South of 31st Street, for starters. Then, the break at 48th and Belleview, just off the Plaza, are still going strong. I also believe there is a biggie leaking just to the side of the Raphael Hotel, at 48th and Ward Parkway. I thought I'd give a "heads up" to Mayor James and the Water Department, in case they have any idea of getting over there to get them fixed. That's just a few I'm aware of at present.
It's simple, really. Would you people please, please, put the nation first? Would you put the country before all else, please, for the love of God, country and all that is good? Is that so much to ask? Would you forget your political party and, to repeat, PUT THE COUNTRY FIRST? Please. We're begging you. (You chuckleheads). Oh, and put yourelves last.
US News & World Report has an article out right now on the "25 Worst Cities for Young People"--AND KANSAS CITY AIN'T ON IT. Take that, Kansas City haters. Denver? Yep. Portland, Milwaukee, Louisville, Columbus--all on it but we aren't. See? Things can always be worse. Link: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/20/worst-cities-for-young-people-from-seattle-to-cincinnati-photos.html
There is a new song out by Dierks Bentley called "Home." I heard a story about it on KCUR/NPR yesterday. Besides being a really nice, enjoyable song, it's also all about appreciating the country, our country. The actual video isn't out yet, it's that new but here's the song, anyway. (See the link at bottom for Mr. Bentley's official introduction to it so farThe great thing about the song, though, the lyrics, is that it's not nationalistic and/or jingoistic and/or grossly patriotic with a chip on it's shoulder, if you know what I mean. Too many times, country artists in particular, write and perform their "patriotic" songs and they're either angry or overly-proud and, frankly, obnoxious. This is very refreshing. It's patriotism without the ugliness. It's the "thinking man's patriotism", I think. But that's me. Enjoy the beautiful day out there, folks.
There is a late-breaking report out right now saying Moammar (or however you spell it) Gaddafi (again, however you spell it) is dead, according to The Washington Post and the Libyan Prime Minister: http://www.washingtonpost.cohttp://www.bing.com/m/world/middle_east/gaddafis-home-town-overrun-conflicting-reports-on-his-fate/2011/10/20/gIQAMwTB0L_story.html?wpisrc=al_national. According to Mother Jones Magazine, "Qaddafi's death neutralizes the possibility of him leading a revanchist insurgency and prolonging the violence in Libya for months or even years to come." Here's hoping.
Dr. Frank Kessler of St. Joseph wrote a piece in yesterday's Kansas City Star saying that "The charges against Bishop Finn should be dropped" in their "As I See It" column on the op/ed page. I could not possibly disagree more strongly. I know Dr. Kessler to be a terrrific human being and know, too, that he is a deeply devout Catholic. All well and good. He was one of my professors in St. Joseph back when it was Missouri Western State College. He's an outstanding professor, too. But on this subject, I think he's terribly wrong. He seems to say that since Bishop Finn apologized for "his poor administrative judgment involving the supervision of one of his priests, Father Shawn Ratigan", that that should be enough. Again, he couldn't be more wrong. The facts are that Bishop Finn and the people in his offices were aware that this Father Ratigan had made at least seriously inappropriate actions with students at these schools and then that he had at least inappropriate, if not pornographic pictures of them on at least one of his computers. Bishop Finn did nothing about Father Ratigan other than reassigning him, as the Catholic Church has done time and time again, across the globe. The law in Missouri, passed the last time a sexual abuse charge by a Catholic priest occurred, required that any suspicions be reported to the police. Bishop Finn did not do that. Not only should the charges against Bishop Finn stand but this needs to go to court and be tried. We won't and shouldn't assume guilt ahead of time but by the official timeline of what took place and when in this matter, it absolutely looks like the Bishop disregarded the law and failed his church and the students and parishoners that attend those schools and churches. One more thing. Dr. Kessler states "“When prosecution can be perceived as rooted in politics, it can ruin the good name of the target, cheapen the moral authority of government and tarnish respect for the rule of law.” Let's be clear here. There is no "politics" in these charges. No one has much of anything to gain--if anything at all--in filing or pursuing these charges other than that they will get some media coverage for a while. Children were exposed to harm and exploited here and for the umpteenth time. We're all more than a little sick of these things happening, then being told "it won't happen again" and then, worst of all, seeing it happen. Again. And again. And again. Sorry, to use a cliche', just doesn't cut it, not even if it comes from the Bishop himself. This needed to happen. These charges needed to be filed and the trial needs to ensue. Hopefully justice will be served. Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/18/3215526/the-charges-against-bishop-finn.html; http://www.kansascity.com/search_results/?q=Bishop Finn
Yes, we kind of got a "two-fer" due to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the last 24 hours. First, as is likely well-known by now, Forbes Magazine ranked Kansas City, Missouri's downtown as the 7th best in the nation. (Take that, Tony, all the naysayers and, for that matter, Kansas Governor Brownback. See what that "artsy" stuff gets you?). As Yael Abouhalkah rightly points out, they include the Country Club Plaza and our barbecue in the mix and most of us wouldn't include the Plaza as officially "downtown" and hey, there's a dearth of BBQ to be had down there, too, but we'll take the great ranking and attention anytime we can get it. Unfortunately, Indianapolis still beat us out by a few spots, coming in as they did at number 4 on the same list but what the hey. At least we were more than on the list. We weren't even in the last place of the top ten. The second thing out of the Kauffman is that we got some big time coverage on none other than PBS Newshour when they interviewed architect Moshe Safdie about his design. (See link below). Very cool. Very cool, indeed. Links: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec11/kansascity_10-14.html?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=KauffmanCenterfeaturedonPBSNewshour!&sourceNumber=9976; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/18/3215797/kcs-downtown-among-top-10-in-us.html; http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngiuffo/2011/10/14/americas-best-downtowns/; http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efel45eddf/chicago-ill#content
It seems only one thing each needs to be said on these two big topics pending right now. The first, on Baby Lisa is that we shouldn't jump to any conclusions about anything on this subject. We have no idea what happened, let alone who's at fault. In typical human fashion, so many people are emotionally being very judgemental about this whole affair and it serves no good purpose. Hopefully baby Lisa will be found--and soon--safe and sound. I doubt it strongly but that's all that matters. Secondly, on Bishop Finn's charges--if you read the timeline alone from the Star on this last Saturday's edition when the news broke, it seems obvious that the Bishop didn't respond to these accusation AT ALL for at least 5 months. I'm not judging really but I have to say, he certainly seems guilty, by these reports. Stay tuned.
Telling it like it is, with statistics and hard data. Frankly, we need Robert Reich and economist Paul Krugman in every presidential administration between now and when they pass, in my opinion. Then, we need to throw all the Goldman Sachs employees and former-employees out of our government.
Yikes. This one hurt. There is a new report out from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA) that was linked from The Huffington Post. As the headline above says, our good old Kansas and Missouri didn't fare too well. Kansas is somewhat better, ranked at number 18 (worst) while Missouri is ranked at--ulp--14. Iowa? 40. Neighboring Nebraska? 21. The Dakotas? South at 46, North at 49 with Illinois in the middle of those two at 47th. From the article: "The report shows 20.9 percent of Missouri residents experienced some form of mental illness." At least we're not as bad off as Arkansas (at 10) or Oklahoma (7). The worst? Rhode Island, according to the report. That said, however, the gap between best and worst of all 51 areas is only 8%, from about 16% of each state's population to about 24%. Oh, well. Better luck next list, eh? Links: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/mental-health-states-america_n_1007844.html#s404428&title=51_Maryland; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/mental-health-states-america_n_1007844.html#s404479&title=14_Missouri;
"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." --Abraham Lincoln
"When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye." - Barry Goldwater, Republican, Conservative and presidential candidate, quote 1994
First it was Wall Street, screwing us all with their bad mortgage loans they created but sold as AAA rated material. We all know what that got us--the 2008 financial collapse that went worldwide. Then, on a far smaller scale, it was the NFL owners, trying to grab yet more money for themselves, from the players. Fortunately that got worked out. Now? The NBA owners--rich as they are--just don't feel they have or get enough so they're putting another infamous squeeze on their players so the schedule for this year has been put back at least a week. Forget that in both the NFL and NBA--all sports, really, of course--the players are only able to play for a few years, make what they can and then get out. Of course, they also have to hope, especially in professional football, that their health isn't wrecked. The owners? They're there ad infinitum--nearly forever, raking in millions and millions of dollars annually yet these greedheads think they need yet more money. Is it any wonder the "little guy", the "person on the street", the working people of America are finally fighting back, since our wages have been falling for more than a decade? We're fighting for our lives while the wealthy and uber-wealthy are just fighting--us--for yet more millions for themselves. Links: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/07/25/138671825/reports-nfl-owners-players-agree-to-new-deal-ending-lockout; http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ycn-10181629
Lately, it seems anything and everything Sprint does just gets them in worse stock market/business trouble. They announced they were going to get the iPhone, at long last but what happens? They say they're going to buy 30 million of the things, investors think it's too much, a bad idea so the stock falls 10%, right off the bat. The fact is, Apple more recently reported that pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S hit 1 million, surpassing the previous model so it looks like it might be good for Sprint. But who knows? The latest bad news for Sprint is that Standard and Poors says they may downgrade their stock. These guys just can't get a break, can they?
Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/03/3183886/closing-bell-sprint-stock-falls.html; http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111010-708117.html
"The 50 million uninsured may seem invisible, but today their ranks are equal to the combined populations of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming. Would America turn its back on these 25 states if they all lacked basic health coverage? That is what we’ve been doing for decades." --Matt Miller, Opinion Contributor, The Washington Post. Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-third-party-stump-speech-we-need/2011/09/22/gIQAjzx8wK_story_2.html
“Some see this as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice. We can either keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, or we can ask them to pay at least the same rate as a plumber or a bus driver.” —President Obama speaking about the American Jobs Act this weekend
"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me." --Troy Davis, executed by the state of Georgia, in spite of 7 of 9 witnesses from his original trial rescinding their original testimony against him. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_davis
So if Vietnam was a quagmire (defined: (figuratively) A perilous, mixed up and troubled situation; a hopeless tangle; a predicament as in "The paperwork got lost in a quagmire of bureaucracy" or "Those election results are a quagmire for any coalition except one of national union.") then what do you call a war we've been in for now just over 10 years--the longest in the nation's history? Surely, that's a "quagmire." Thankfully, we haven't lost the 50+ thousand troops we did in Southeast Asia but there is no way out yet and no way to "win" this mess. At what point do we learn, get wise and get out? Link:
"The longest war ever, fought by the smallest amount of our population--one-half of one percent." --from KCUR 89.3 FM and NPR's program "Talk of the Nation" earlier today: "The Impact of War: Soldiers Say It's Hard to Return to Civilian Life". And our longest war ever, too. Tell me, what part of this makes any sense at all? Links: http://www.npr.org/programs/talk-of-the-nation/; http://www.kcur.org.
The European Union declared they're going to strongly support the banks and financial system over there so the Dow and markets zoom up by nearly 300 points. Following that, oil per barrel zooms up in price, due to speculators. The result? You and I pay 10 to 12 more cents per gallon today at the pump. Ah, progress. We need to stop oil speculation, folks. It's not good for the country, let alone the world. It used to be illegal. It needs to be again. Links: http://news.yahoo.com/stocks-jump-european-pledge-help-banks-134246596.html; http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oil-prices-above-85-for-first-apf-972074541.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=4&asset=&ccode=
If you haven't seen it, the Denver Post newspaper did a story on our new Kauffman Center (link below). Just one of the things they had to say: "Holy cow, it makes us look cheap in Denver. While the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is scrambling just to stay alive, and has so far failed to raise $30 million in matching funds to make Boettcher Concert Hall a better place to hear music...the folks in K.C. were able to go ahead with a gleaming new concert hall to the tune of $413 million. Suck on that, all you naysayers. For the rest of us, let's just enjoy. Link: http://blogs.denverpost.com/artmosphere/2011/10/03/architecture-kansas-citys-new-kauffman-center-gives-denver-something-to-envy/2410/#disqus_thread
"You are right to be indignant. The fact is the system is not working right. It is not right that we have so many people without jobs when we have so many needs that we have to fulfill. It’s not right that we are throwing people out of their houses when we have so many homeless people.
Our financial markets have an important role to play. They’re supposed to allocate capital, manage risks. But they misallocated capital, and they created risk. We are bearing the cost of their misdeeds. There’s a system where we’ve socialized losses and privatized gains. That’s not capitalism; that’s not a market economy. That’s a distorted economy, and if we continue with that, we won’t succeed in growing, and we won’t succeed in creating a just society." --Joseph Stiglitz, Economist to the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Links: http://dangerousintersection.org/2011/10/06/economist-joseph-stiglitz-speaks-to-the-wall-street-occupiers/; http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/09/3196907/hundreds-march-in-kc-occupy-movement.html#storylink=omni_popular
The bookies and Vegas and the odds were set yesterday and called for the Chiefs to lose. We were right, those of us who called it against the Colts. After all, as I said last week, their quarterback was out. Sure, they have tough games and a tough season ahead of them but for now, that's two wins in a row. And after all, all we have is now, right? Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/09/3197595/chiefs-bounce-back-after-another.html
A friend told me this weekend that Skies, Benton's and the Peppercorn Duck Club, in Crown Center, are all to be shut down by December 1. If you're a big fan--and I'm a big fan of Skies views of the city--you'd better get there as soon and frequently as you want now. It may be well known in town but I hadn't heard anything of it until now.
As an American, you need to see this film. It documents what people, companies and our government did up to, during and after the 2008 financial meltdown that emanated from Wall Street. It tells very clearly what the "Occupy Wall Street" people are either fighting or should be fighting. It is fascinating and disturbing, at least. It is also further proof of what I've said for some time, too. It's documented and documentable proof that we need to get Goldman Sachs--and everyone like them--out of our government, along with "campaign contributions." Then, after you've seen it (rent it?), get out there and have a great weekend. Enjoy that beautiful, comfortable Autumn weather. Link: http://www.insidejobmovie.com.au/
About those two executives of the solar panel company, Solyndra, and the $535 million we loaned them. Remember they were taken before Congress and asked questions about the money and all they--we--got in answers to the questions were "I'll take the fifth"? Yeah, well, I have to say, I hope this is being pursued to see if those two--or anyone, really--did anything remotely illegal with and/or about that half-a-billion dollars they got. I hope this is being pursued. I see where the Department of Energy official who set this debacle up is leaving the agency. I hope our government isn't just walking away from this episode without seeing if anything illegal was done. I'd like to look into getting some--most?--of that money back. I hope SOMEBODY is looking into this. Link: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/10/energy-department-official-involved-solyndra-controversy-resigns/43431/
Between the fact that the Chiefs are 1-3 on the season vs. the Indianapolis Colts' 0 and 4 and that they don't have their quarterback, I figured we have a pretty good chance to make this season a 2 and 3 ranking after the weekend's game, even if it is being played in Indy. According to USA Today? Not so. They're predictors--Bodog.net and Sagarin--call it for the Colts either by 3 or by 4.67, respectively. Yikes. I hope it turns out otherwise, of course. Good luck and go Chiefs!
"We have the most legally corrupt political system in the world." --Jeffrey Sachs, American economist and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Links: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/1804; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Sachs
Yes, there is an article out right now (see link below), stating just that--11 Things Wrong with Congress." I assume they stopped there to be brief. I think it great to point out. There more people that see it, the better: 1) Too many rich people; 2) Automatic pay raises; 3) Gold plated benefits; 4) Free parking (is this nit-picking?); 5) Earmarks; 6) Speeches to nobody; 7) Lack of competition; 8) No penalty for ignorance; 9) Lobbyists (ABOLUTELY. And their money); 10) The media; 11) Voters. We need to fix this thing called Congress and our government, absolutely.
It speaks for itself. This is yet another example of why the rich should be taxed at least 3 to 4% higher than the rest of the nation. There are so many issues here, it's nearly overwhelming. This is insanity and no way to run a country.
"What sort of person does not think there is anything wrong with asking the folks that are tasked with teaching our children to take a 20% cut on a $50,000.00 salary but think it's a terrible idea to ask millionaires..." and billionaires "to pay an additional 3% in taxes?" --from a friend's Facebook page today.
"Concentration of income, wealth, and power at the very top is undermining our economy and destroying our democracy." --Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton, writer (thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, "Aftershock"). His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause's board chairman. Link: http://robertreich.org/
"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/
The Supreme Court in Washington began hearing the case today (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church vs. EEOC, see link, below) about the church who--get this--wants to be able to discriminate against its employees for whatever reason they deem fit (sexuality, age, disability, etc.) because they're supposed to be left alone by the state via the Constitution. Boy, that's a beauty. Sure, they also want tax deductions from that same state for the same reasons, then they want money from that same government in the form of "Faith-based initiatives", thanks to that last, ignorant administration out of the White House and now this. They really want everything. They want to have that cake and eat it, too. How a church could even remotely request, let alone demand, as they are here, that discrimination laws shouldn't apply to them is beyond the pale. It seems this Lutheran church isn't aware of that Jesus Christ guy and what he said and stood for. Sheesh. Link: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/10/supreme-court-church-state-conflict-schools.html
Yes, another new list out, this one also by Forbes Magazine and in spite of what some people--some locals, (Tony?)--might think, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas--both, are no where on the list. (Link: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efel45mde/1-detroit-mich#content?partner=yahoore). By contrast, on their "Best Places for Careers and Business" list, Des Moines, IA is number two while Cedar Rapids from that same state is number 11. Also on the list are Lincoln, Nebraska at 12 and Omahama at 20. St. Loo, across the state, hits at 23. Oklahoma City gets in at 28. Even the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul gets in ahead of Kansas City at their number 34 ranking. (More: Little Rock, AR, 41, Indianapolis, IN at 43, Tulsa, OK, 46). Kansas City isn't on the list in the top 50. The good news? We're safer, maybe, than we thought. The bad? We don't coddle business enough, I guess. Link: http://www.forbes.com/2011/06/27/best-places-11-top-50_slide.html
As soon as I heard David Gray's album, "Babylon", back in 1999, I was hooked. Clearly he was a great writer, singer and performer. This piece is a favorite but, truth is, each song on the album is terrific, rare as that is. If you don't know him or the album, you might check it out. Have a great evening, y'all.
You may have heard that this helicopter--a Seahawk--was crossing the US last weekend and ended up crashing in Jefferson City. Keeping in mind that it was a 38 million dollar aircraft, in the first place, and only had "20 hours of flight service" on it, according to the news, I sure hope the military has a buyer's warranty on that thing from the manufacturer. I know I'd demand it. Link: http://www.fultonsun.com/news/2011/oct/01/helicopter-crashes-jefferson-city-airport/
Andy Rooney, of CBS News' famous "60 Minutes" news program retired, of sorts, Sunday evening as I think so many people know so he gave a bit of a goodbye talk. In it, he said "I believe that if all the truth in the world, it would be a better place to live." Now I ask you, does that not sound like something Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would say or has already said? As an example: “The aim of Wikileaks is to achieve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency.” I would never have thought someone like Andy Rooney would sound even remotely like that. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange; http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/julian_assange.html; http://anitasnotebook.com/misc/julian-assange-from-wikileaks-quotes
Gas is, right now, $3.09 per gallon in Smithville. I assume it's like that also on the East side of the city but haven't confirmed yet. Anyway, there's news out today that oil is also going further down, on current news. With this, it seems like only a (short?) matter of time until we're under $3.00 a gallon again. To tell you the truth, at the rate it's falling locally, I wouldn't be surprised if by this weekend--or early next week at latest--we hit that mark and get $2.99 or less. Stay tuned. Link: http://www.omaha.com/article/20111004/AP05/301039969
1. Wealth without work;
2. Pleasure without conscience;
3. Knowledge without character;
4. Business without ethics;
5. Science without humanity;
6. Religion without sacrifice;
7. Politics without principle. (With thanks to long-time friend Dennis S. for this).
“There are no excuses left,” Chris Hedges writes in a piece reprinted from the site Truthdig, where he has a regular column. "Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil." Link: http://www.truthdig.org