Wednesday, November 26, 2014

White O.J. Simpson Riots

RE: Ferguson, Missouri.  In the past two days I've seen this picture in my Facebook newsfeed more than any other:

Remember how white people rioted when OJ was acquitted? Me neither!

It says,"Caucasians are superior to African Americans because we don't act like that."

But I DO remember how white people rioted.  Not about O.J., but about a LOT of other things that really got them stirred up.  I remember clearly how white people rioted when football coach Joe Paterno was fired during the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.  The injustice of it a drove a race of people to this:

I'll never forget that.   And look at the wanton destruction in Huntington Beach, California  because.... the U.S. Open of Surfing was over.  The real action starts about 50 seconds in:

 White people were out of control in New Hampshire was the Keene Pumpkin Festival:

As the night wore on, tensions began to build and the Pumpkin Rioting escalated:

 In two days it will be Black Friday, and we'll see lots of footage of holiday shoppers turning into animals as they indulge in the "Christmas Spirit of Giving":

This is how white people riot in West Virginia.  Why were they rioting? Because their football team WON!

And a riot for the Kentucky basketball win!

But, because White Americans kept their cool after the O.J. verdict, it only seems right (to the people who share the O.J. Simpson picture on Facebook) to point out their racial superiority at a time when the whole world is watching a U.S. city being burned to the ground -- not because of a Pumpkin Festival or a sports win, but on account of hundreds of years of hostility and tensions boiling over on a night when a militarized police force, hundreds strong, faced off and lobbed tear gas and other projectiles at non-violent protesters, while at the same time looters and rioters were burning the city down unencumbered.  Last night I watched stores get looted and buildings burned without a law enforcement officer in sight; they were all standing off against the protesters.

Thankfully I have sensible friends on Facebook, too, who are saddened by all of this, and are engaging in dialogue about how we can keep the kind of rioting that we've see in Ferguson (and everything that led up to it) from ever happening again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

You Can Be Happy Again

My cousin David got killed by a train in 1983 when he was 14 years old.  His mother's grief was the most painful thing I'd ever witnessed, and my 16 year old brain told me, "She'll never be happy again."   Several months later, their family's home burned down, and David's father, my Uncle Bob, lost his arm in that fire.  "What more can happen to these poor people?" I wondered.  In October of the next year Uncle Bob joined David in Heaven and my sorrow for his widow, my Great Aunt Mary, the kindest woman I'd ever known, knew no bounds.  "She has no hope of ever being happy again."

For the next few years when I'd see her, she seemed better, always kind and friendly and loving.  I asked her how she managed to get through and she said it's because you don't have a choice... you just keep surviving, and that the grandchildren and new babies in the family helped... I would find that out myself in later years.

Then came a family reunion in 1988, I believe it was.  Aunt Mary, who had been through so much, was all smiles with much laughter... she looked genuinely happy.  She had a new boyfriend, and she was in love.  "Maybe she CAN be happy again!"  Never did I imagine that I would see her beaming with happiness like that. I carried that inspiration with me throughout all the hard times and I always will.

Over the next decades she would marry the man who brought happiness back to her life, she would travel to Ireland, she went skydiving in Las Vegas at the age of 60+... so many happy things.... so many happy times.  She became the inspiration of my lifetime, and she always will be.  Because of her I was able to hang in there at times when I really didn't want to because she had taught me that no matter what happens, you can be happy again.

The past three years were hard on her... in her 70s she fought and won a battle against Stage 3 lung cancer that she was told she had little chance to survive... her son-in-law was killed in a motorcycle crash... the wife and baby of her grandson died during childbirth.  No matter what she was going through, she was there to comfort and console and offer hope and love and smiles to everyone who loved her and needed her support.

At 4:00 this morning Aunt Mary left this planet, left a very big family, and I know there are many people that I'm related to right now that wonder if they will ever be happy again.  I know that they can be.  My Aunt Mary taught me that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Obama Reacts to Election (video)

President Obama SERIOUSLY needs to start watching his back. Just look:

'Twas the best political moment of my lifetime - the RE-election of Barack Obama. Republicans may have taken control of the Senate, but the moment captured in the video above, well, it's like Fred Astaire sang, "They Can't Take That Away From Me"

Now it's deja vu all over again, two years that will likely be wasted on expensive, pointless Lewinsky Benghazi and Whitewater Birther investigations, all the while Al Queda Isis will be plotting to kill Americans (and everyone else) while Republicans waste tax money and precious time vying for an impeachment that they won't get.  You can't say I didn't warn you...


P. S.  It's also 2010 all over again... we saw what Republicans didn't accomplish when they took control of the House during the Tea Party Revolution... they failed to repeal Obamacare dozens of times, cost the economy $24 billion with a needless government shutdown, and even in the Senate minority Republicans managed to block expanded health benefits to Veterans.  Look forward to more of the same.

Friday, October 10, 2014

MAJOR Shake Up

Thursday, October 16, is the International Shake-Out for earthquake preparedness, brought to us by the U.S. Geological Survey and other natural disaster agencies and organizations. Millions of people, companies, schools, and households will probably be holding an earthquake drill for the first time and learning what to do in the event of an earthquake.

It's a good time to talk about the earthquakes that have been swarming in Oklahoma.

National Geographic tells us that from 1978 to 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of one earthquake a year of magnitude 3 and higher.  But look what's happening now... from one a year to around 3000.  This graph was made in July of this year:

Let's look at today's Oklahoma (and southern Kansas) earthquakes from the USGS website, which only lists earthquakes measuring larger than 2.5 on the Richter scale.   The orange dots are the earthquakes over the last 24 hours.

The yellow dots are the earthquakes that have happened over the past 7 days.  The bigger the dot, the bigger the quake, and you can't see all of the dots because some of them are laying on top of the others.

Now here are the Oklahoma/Kansas earthquakes of the past 30 days.  The white dots are the quakes that happened more than a week ago, but in the past month.

A quote about an Oklahoma insurance salesman from the National Geographic article titled, "Oklahoma Grapples With Earthquake Spike—And Evidence of Industry's Role" :
"Kahn, who opened the Lynnae Insurance Group in 2002, said he sold earthquake coverage to two homeowners during the first decade he was in business. During the past six months, he sold more than 125 policies."
None of this is a coincidence, it's a direct result of "Underground disposal of wastewater from fracking."  If you don't know what fracking is, learn about it here.  If you don't understand underground disposal of wastewater, click this link and learn what that means. 

There are few states that give the green light to any sort of drilling, mining, and fracking the way that Dick Cheney's Wyoming does.  

The reason I think they should really leave the earth's surface in Wyoming as intact as possible is because there's this huge cauldron of boiling magma underfoot, a supervolcano that's overdue for an eruption, and should it erupt it would be the end of the world as we know it.  I do not exaggerate.  

See the tiny little ball of magma at the right of this picture?  That's the Mt. St. Helen's eruption in 1980.  See the two gigantic cauldrons of magma on the left of this picture?  That's Yellowstone, in Wyoming.  And in the Wyoming primary election back in August, a Republican candidate for governor named Taylor Haynes promised to open Yellowstone National Park up for mining, drilling, and fracking.  Thankfully, Taylor Haynes lost the election to a smarter candidate who opposed the idea, but Haynes still picked up 30% of the vote in a state that's virtually completely dependent on the oil and gas industry.

So participate in the ShakeOut on October 16 and learn to protect yourself, learn about fracking, contact your representatives, and find out about the Yellowstone Cauldron

Here's a whole, captivating movie, praised by scientists and movie lovers alike, that will show you what is basically overdue at Yellowstone, "A true story that hasn't happened yet" (though the movie was made before they found out in 2013 that there is 2 and a half times more magma than they thought there was when they made this movie).

See you at the ShakeUp Earthquake Drill on October 16!  Tell your friends!  And ask them to demand an end to Fracking and irresponsible oil industry practices!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Introducing the Inter-City News

Prof. Ulichne and I, with a little help from our friends, are publishing a new newspaper called "The Inter-City News," which you can read online by visiting, or pick up a copy at businesses in the area.

This newspaper serves the area that for many years stood unincorporated between Independence and Kansas City. A lot of people don't remember the Inter-City.  Until the 1940s, the western boundary of Independence was Forest Avenue. The area between Independence and the city limits of Kansas City, which were moving eastward but still several miles away, was generally thought to be "Blue Valley" on account of the Blue River, important at that time for transportation and industrial uses. As the railroads and the street car lines started to connect the two cities, this unincorporated area became known as "Inter-City".

By the 1960s, nearly all of that area had been annexed by Independence and Kansas City, but because this area lies on the farthest reaches of those municipalities, it is the most under-served and blighted area of Independence, and Kansas City should be ashamed as well.

Politicians in both Independence and Kansas City (and even Sugar Creek, for that matter) have no trouble using and abusing Eminent Domain to seize land and homes that are NOT blighted in order to suit the needs of the corporate investors who line their campaign pockets, but for decades these same politicians have ignored the disgraceful blight that exists on the thoroughfares between I-435 and Sterling Avenue in Independence, and the same conditions west of I-435 in Kansas City.

The most painful spectacle of this to us, the publishers of the Inter-City News, is that stretch of 24 Highway that takes visitors that come from around the country and the world to visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. The entire metropolitan area should be ashamed of this stretch of roadway and its abandoned businesses, overgrown weeds, run-down houses, crime, tweakers, etc.  "Professor Joyboy" took us on a tour of this route last year in "The Road to Harry's Library," and if you'll click on that link, you'll see what we're up against. 

As we delivered our newspaper to businesses in the Inter-City, asking them to help us distribute them to residents, we heard the same stories over and over again from the business owners and citizens we spoke with.  100% of them feel like the local politicians have completely forgotten the area, or just abandoned it altogether.  "They don't care about us," and "They don't know we exist" were heard often, as Independence people contemplate the hundreds of millions of TIFF dollars handed over to develop the 39th street/1-70 area, which wasn't blighted at all or in need of economic development the way that Inter-City has been for decades.

And so comes The Inter-City News, aiming to use tactics that are "Revolutionary" in the Ben Franklin sense, to mobilize the citizens and catch the attention of the politicians who serve this area.  Thankfully, it's an election year.   Hopefully, this area that despite woeful economic conditions still turns out on Election Day in impressive numbers, will start getting the attention it desperately needs.  Suggestions and sumbissions to the Inter-City News are welcome.  Stay tuned...