Trump’s Rhetoric Fans the Flames of Unrest, Bigotry

In my old days at Northeast High School, fights were common. Most of the time, they resulted in a bloody nose, a shiner or a cut lip. Rarely did they escalate into a brawl with faces slammed into curbs, teeth knocked out and torsos black and blue from body slams.

Inflamed speech then was something along the lines of “I’ll knock your ass off,” followed by the retort “You and who else!” A few punches, the shirt pulled up over the other guy’s head as they wrestled to the ground, a choke hold and then someone would break it up.

Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric dehumanizes his opponent and everyone who disagrees with him. If he loses, don’t bet that all his angry, hate-filled, xenophobic supporters will take the loss without trying to “knock someone’s ass off.”

But it is scarier than that. Back in my high school days, there were no guns. These Trump loyalists flash their weapons with bravado and arrogance. They can inflict more than a bloody nose.

Trump’s base is filled with angry, mostly white folks, who’ve been hungry for emancipation from the supposed scourges of political correctness and diversity. Many are men frustrated by the sense that they are losing their hold on the country with people of color and women taking more leadership roles. Quite frankly, Trump’s campaign rallies offer unfettered bigotry.

At the third and final debate last Wednesday, he offered a stunning declaration that he might not accept the results of next month’s election. At a subsequent rally, he said, “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.”

If I win.

What if he doesn’t? Will those menacing men with guns strapped to their bodies show those liberal elitists how the Gatling Gun took care of the Indians?

Is this paranoia? Is this over-reaction? Do words really trigger an American to load his gun and come out shooting? Who would be the targets? You? Me? Hillary?

Trump is playing a dangerous game and he could very well incite a riot where people are killed. A demagogue, he should go back to his tower and screw up more business deals.

Trump’s claiming that the election is rigged certainly fans the flame of those already over-heated by various sources of rabble-rousing rhetoric.

He sought to compare this situation to the 2000 election, when a recount in several counties in Florida was sought after a tight election.

“If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election to concede results and waived their right to a legal challenge or a recount then there would be no Supreme Court case,” Trump said of the ensuing legal process following the contested result.

But neither Bush nor Gore raised concerns about the legitimacy of the electoral process, neither before nor after Election Day. And a day after the Supreme Court ruled, Gore called Bush to concede. The state of Florida raised the issue because of the hanging chad, not Gore.

Trump won’t shut up with his inflammatory speech. During a rally last March in Kansas City, he mouthed the words “I’ll beat the crap out of you,” when describing what he would have done to a protester who charged him in Dayton, Ohio, earlier in the day. “Boom, boom, boom,” he said, mimicking a schoolyard beat down with his fists. “Part of the problem is … nobody wants to hurt each other anymore,” he yelled at protesters in St. Louis who were being physically ejected from his event. “The audience hit back,” he said earlier at a news conference in Florida, “that’s what we need a little bit more of.”

And his loyalists cheered.

His actions are alarming. But they certainly fit in this bizarre and unpredictable campaign. To hear a candidate in a presidential election stir up violence in this manner is startling.

During a campaign stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, Trump told the crowd that his Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, wanted to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. Then he said, “By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Trump’s ambiguous comments alarmed many political observers as to whether he was threatening her life or calling for increased political activity. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, issued a statement: “This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

The list of his verbal victims is long. He’s an equal opportunity denigrator, from a grieving parent of a military veteran to a hard campaigning First Lady.

From Less Than Human: The Psychology of Cruelty by David Livingstone Smith: “Thinking sets the agenda for action, and thinking of humans as less than human paves the way for atrocity. The Nazis were explicit about the status of their victims. They were untermenschen — subhumans — and as such were excluded from the system of moral rights and obligations that bind humankind together. It’s wrong to kill a person, but permissible to exterminate a rat. To the Nazis, all the Jews, Gypsies and others were rats: dangerous, disease-carrying rats.”

That may be hyperbole at this stage of Trump’s denigration campaign. But his insidious speech is becoming more and more blatant.

While white supremacists have long been active in America, Trump’s statements against various racial groups seem to be further stoking their fires.

“Hate speech and the organizing of white supremacists behind this [Trump] campaign has been astounding,” Heidi Beirich, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project Director, said in an internet story. “That organizing has led to more hate speech on the web.”

So little has been said nationally  of the three men indicted by a federal grand jury for planning to detonate car bombs at an apartment house and mosque in Garden City, Kansas. Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein were charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The FBI says the men specifically targeted Somalis and Muslims. If convicted, they face up to life in prison.

Just wondering, if they had been Muslims or black, would the story have gained more traction? After all, you need to ask the question: What motivated these men to plan such an attack?

Could this all lead to a Constitution crisis? How will those Republicans who chide Trump but continue to back him react if Trump loses? What will the Trump loyalists do if a down ballot landslide gives the Democrats control of Congress, too? Will this fear affect what happens on November 8 at the voting booths? Will rioters fill the streets?

Patriots strong of heart say America will survive whatever the result may be. Good for them. Yet you gotta wonder.

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Despite Traffic, Chiefs and Cats Fans Can Enjoy Victories

The Chiefs were sharp and peppy in the first half Sunday but resorted to that time-worn, ineffective ploy called prevent defense and eat-time-off-the clock offense in the second half to make a close game of it with the New Orleans Saints. KC won, though, 27-21, before a crowd of more than 76,000 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Many fans missed out on that early solid play because the Chiefs management hasn’t figured out the parking arrangements — yeah, you know the enhanced $40 a game plan. Many had to listen to car radios to get a rundown of the first-quarter action. Lines filled the roads leading to the lots and red-hot tempers no doubt filled the air with blue epithets.

It also was a bad traffic day for the college crowd. Kansas City folks wanting to take a leisurely drive Saturday to grandma’s house found a busy time of it, especially if she did her rocking on the front porch along the Highway 10 and Interstate 70 corridors.

Both Kansas State and Kansas hosted Big 12 teams in games that were scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. That meant they were coming and going on busy roads at about the same time. More than 52,000 fans showed up in Manhattan to see the Wildcats start well and finish so-so in beating Texas 24-21; it was their fifth straight home win over Texas. More than 26,000 watched in Lawrence as KU also began in good spirits but faded against Oklahoma State and lost 44-20.

Two Saints turnovers and a first-half defensive scheme of delayed blitzes helped carry the Chiefs to their fourth victory in six starts.

Safety Daniel Sorensen returned an interception of a Drew Brees pass 48 yards and a touchdown to help give the Chiefs a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. The other safety, Eric Berry, tipped the ball and Sorensen cupped the deflection and zig-zagged to the end zone.

The Saints drew within a touchdown on Mark Ingram’s catch midway through the third quarter, but the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama fumbled inside the Kansas City 10 with 8:26 left in the game and the Chiefs leading 24-14.

The Saints struggled with the crowd noise in Arrowhead, getting flagged for four false starts and a delay of game. They also got hit with two unnecessary roughness penalties, including one with a little more than two minutes left that kept them from getting the ball back.

The Saints were averaging 31 points a game coming into Arrowhead but the mistakes and the blitzes kept fouling them up. Delayed blitzes can catch pass blockers by surprise and “hot” receivers don’t pick it up.

For whatever reason, in the second half, the Chiefs decided to go with a defense that gave the Saints receivers cushions for underneath patterns and Brees more than obliged. He wound up hitting 37 passes out of 48 attempts for 367 yards — three TDs and one interception. But the Saints wound up 10 points under their average.

Anyway, Brees prospered with the cushion defense and helped bring the Saints within 24-21 on a TD pass to Brandon Coleman at 2:33 of the fourth quarter. But the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds and Kansas City added a 41-yard field goal with 28 seconds left. Game, set, match.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith went 17 of 24 passing for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of the TD throws went for 38 yards to Tyreek Hill. Beautiful play. Well timed pass and an acrobatic catch by Hill.

But mainly, Smith stayed with the West Coast passing, short range and quick releases.

Spencer Ware ran for 77 yards and had a 46-yard TD reception on a short route and run.

Which brings up Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs activated the long-time stand-out running back but he played just one down. Reports circulated before the game that Charles had a swollen knee. Then why activate him? Is he that hurt? If so, get him well and then play him. Ware is performing splendidly in Charles’ absence.

Andy Reid coached his 300th game Sunday. Most of those were over his 14 seasons in Philadelphia, where he was 140-102-1. He is now 36-21 in his fourth season in Kansas City.

Kansas State had a similar game as the Chiefs — good stuff early and making it close late. Oh the Cats  game could have been so neat. But it all turned messy after Charlie Jones, careening into the end zone, dropped the ball before crossing the plane and Texas recovered — touchback, no TD. The play came officially at 9:43 of the third quarter. If he had held on for a touchdown the Cats would have been able to forge a 28-7 lead. And probably have sapped the spirit of the Longhorns.

Instead, the Longhorns had life and outscored K-State 14-3 in the second half. K-State’s inconsistent play and two more turnovers allowed Texas to make it very, very close.

You just knew something was going to happen after the announcers black-catted the Cats by saying they had scored on 56 straight trips inside the red zone. Fumble! The last time they failed to score inside the red zone was October 17, 2015, in a shutout loss to the Sooners.

K-State Coach Bill Snyder told reporters after the game, “We’re all taught when we’re 5 years old to put two hands on the football.”

The Longhorns scored their first touchdown with four minutes left in the first half when quarterback Shane Buechele teamed up with receiver Devin Duvernay for an 80-yard pass play. That made the score 14-7.

The series came after K-State, facing fourth-and-2 from Texas’ 45, decided to punt. Snyder had uncharacteristically turned gambler earlier and ran deep in their territory on fourth and short — and made the first down. This time he returned to his more conservative nature and Texas struck.

All was well, in a sense, however, when quarterback Jesse Ertz hit receiver Byron Pringle in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown with just 9 seconds left in the half. They went to the locker room with a 21-7 lead.

The Cats built the lead to 24-7 in the second half and then those mistakes. They certainly need to send thanks to Texas for not taking more advantage. Frankly, the Longhorns stumbled around and when they needed to hurry up late in the game, chose to run a couple of plays — using up time. They also missed a 35-yard field goal that would have put them within a touchdown and extra point.

The loss obviously turns up the heat on Texas Coach Charlie Strong. The Longhorns are 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12.

Texas had posted four games of more than 500 yards of total offense, but the Cats held them to a season-low of 344. That 80-yard pass accounted for a bunch as did D’Onta Foreman, the nation’s second-leading rusher, who carried 24 times for 124 yards. The Cats, however, did a good job of stuffing him in key situations — a big reason the Longhorns were just 3 of 11 on third down situations.

Ertz led the Wildcats with 171 yards passing and a touchdown and 78 yards rushing and two more scores. He joined the stable of running backs, Jones, Justin Silmon and Alex Barnes, to pile up 240 yards on the ground. Dalvin Warmack, a red-shirt sophomore from Blue Springs, Missouri, left the game early with an apparent shoulder injury and did not return.

After several wobbly passes, it became clear that Ertz had re-injured his shoulder but he remained until way late in the game. If he’s hurt, get him out and let someone else play. If the coaches don’t have confidence that a healthy substitute isn’t better that an injured Ertz, the team is in serious trouble.

K-State, now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference, will travel next weekend to Iowa State.

Kansas started the scoring in spectacular fashion as quarterback Monteil Cozart teamed up with receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez on 68-yard scoring play midway through the first quarter. However, Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill scored on a one-yard run with three minutes left in the first half for a 17-13 lead.

Cozart threw for 250 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, Ke’aun Kinner rushed for 145 yards, and Gonzalez hauled in six passes for 106 yards in the Jayhawks’ 21st-straight loss to FBS opponents.

The Kansas defense sacked Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph five times.

The Jayhawks will go on the road next Saturday night to take on Oklahoma.

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Royals: Forget Small Market Talk and Go With the Talent

They are talking about it.  Yeah, keeping the Royals intact will be difficult because of the franchise’s small market standing. Small market, huh. When I go to the ballpark and pay $17 for a Corona and brat, is that small market? Or how about Forbes placing an $865 million value tag on the team?

When Charlie Finley took the A’s to Oakland in 1968, he left Kansas City with a void of major league baseball. At the time, the owners denigrated Kansas City as small market and procrastinated in approving a new team for the city. The persistence of Kansas City Star  sports editor Ernie Mehl and the political clout of Senator Stuart Symington forced the owners to approve an expansion team for the city.

Continual labeling Kansas City small market is a cop-out. Stop it. Attendance ranked 12th among major league baseball with 2.6 million fans going to games in Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City is a baseball town.

No matter. There was the talk that the franchise might have to cut back on salaries. And that would mean a possible decline in the talent pool. Silly. The Royals have the money. General Manager Dayton Moore can cry Ain’t Got That Money blues all he wants. Facts say they can spend the money to keep players. And maybe add some others.

The 2016 payroll was in the $140 million range. Initial projections for 2017 suggest the Royals could owe close to $125 million for 16 players, including those under contract and those set to receive team options and arbitration raises. Moore told reporters the Royals would probably find themselves unable to add significant money to the payroll.

So, will changes be made with trades? “Last year, we pretty much stood pat,” Moore said to reporters. “We didn’t make a lot of changes to our team. And that didn’t work too well for us.”

The Royals have numerous avenues of revenue production to make moves. The national television contract brings in bucks. However, the local contract sucks, $20 million a year.

In 2008, the Royals signed an 11-year deal with Fox Sports Networks to create Fox Sports Kansas City, the exclusive cable home of Royals baseball. The deal was signed when the team was coming off a 93-loss season, their sixth season out of the last seven with 90-plus losses.

Possibly, they could renegotiate the broadcast deal before 2019. The Cardinals, also once mired in a low-paying contract, negotiated a billion-dollar deal that that will begin in 2018.

If the Royals could renegotiate, they might be able to double the current contract.

Please, I don’t want to hear the small market talk.

The Royals have a chance to be competitive for playoff spots for many years to come.

No. 1, they must sign Eric Hosmer to a long-term contract. Now, if not sooner. He had 104 RBIs and 25 homers. He can do much better than the .266 batting average. Oh but his fielding! He saves more errors for the infielders with his soft hands and scoops. You will hear criticism of his fielding. Disregard it.

He will turn 27 on October 24 and has a lot of productive years ahead of him. He was a high draft pick (third overall in 2008) and after six years in the major leagues, he wears a World Series championship ring.

Ah, but like many of KC’s core players, he’s due to become a free agent next season. Scott Boras is his agent and Scott Boras likes to take his top clients into the open market whenever possible. You can be sure Boras will be seeking a long-term contract in the $200 million range for Hosmer.

A big fan idol, Hosmer is more than just the Royals first baseman. He says he’s open to signing a long-term deal with the Royals. Can the Royals afford that kind of contract? The question should be: How can they not afford it?

He made $8.3 million this season and is eligible for arbitration next season. Sign him.

Reliever Wade Davis and shortstop Alcides Escobar are two other must-sign players. Davis made $8 million this season and has a club option of $10 million next season. Escobar, the magic man infielder, earned $5.3 million this season and has a club option next year of $6.5 million. Escobar seemed to thrive when batting lower in the lineup and wound up with a .261 average. He needs to raise that and has the ability to do so.

Catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon have comfortable contracts.

Last March, Perez signed a five-year deal worth $52.5 million. Manager Ned Yost continues to say he needs to give Perez more rest and then keeps inking his name into the starting lineup. Also, Perez needs more consistency at bat. For a guy who spends a lot of time behind the plate, he doesn’t seem to know the strike zone and he sure doesn’t handle those sweeping curve balls off the corner. Whatever the negatives, his leadership on the team is invaluable. Yet, the Royals need to sign free agent Drew Butera and give him more action as Perez’s backup.

So what do you do with Gordon? Good defense, sure. But he batted just .220 this season and has a 10-year career of hitting just .264. Before the season, he signed a four-year $72 million contract. Injuries sideline him and sweeping curves from left-handers handcuff him. The Royals just can’t bite the bullet on such a big contract outlay. They must hope and pray he does better next season.

So, we have first base, catcher, shortstop, left fielder and closer taken care of, so what about the rest of the lineup?

Is there any other position where the Royals can say, we’re set? Well, they shouldn’t. Take centerfield, for example.

Yost has this love affair with Jarrod (that’s what speed do) Dyson. He remains fundamentally unsound on defense — consistently taking wrong routes to cut off fly balls — and is streaky at the plate. Late in the season, he led off and increased his average to .278. But in seven years with the Royals, he’s a career .260 hitter.

Lorenzo Cain looks like a perennial all-star centerfielder at times but he winds up with some sort of injury or ailment at some point in the season.  He batted .287 in only 103 games this year after hitting more than .300 the previous two years. He’s a .287 career hitter.

Dyson made $1.7 million this season; he’s arbitration eligible in 2017. Cain signed a two-year contract before last season, earning $6.5 million this year and $11 million in 2017. Can you trade either of them? Would you want to? If you get only 103 games out of Cain, you must consider a trade.

Then, what about Paulo Orlando, who really came through at bat for the Royals — the only regular to hit more than .300 this season. However, his defense in right field, especially in handling hard-hit ground balls, was shaky. The guy plays hard all the time. You gotta like him. He made a half million this season and is arbitration eligible.

If the Royals trade Cain and Dyson, well, Whit Merrifield could move in somewhere in the outfield. He’s making a half million a year and could get a slight raise next season, keeping the overall team salary down. But a trade would leave the Royals without a true power hitting outfielder. Not good. Cain has the ability to hit with power, but …

Merrifield provides versatility. But what do the Royals do with the likes of Cheslor Cuthbert and Christian Colon? Well, you know, of course, Mike Moustakas is rehabbing from knee surgery and is the favorite to retake third base. Does that mean Cuthbert won’t get a shot at third and will get a tryout at second? If so, where does that leave Colon? Do you keep both of them for their versatility?

Moustakas earned $5.6 million in his shortened season and next year is scheduled to get $8.7 million. He becomes a free agent in 2018. Do you rework his contract? He’s competitive and gives the team spark. However, he has a career batting average of .247 with 81 home runs in six years — 22 in 2015. Decent fielder. But do you risk a big contract on him?

Cuthbert and Colon each made a little more than $500,000 this season and both are arbitration eligible next year.

Will the Royals keep Kendrys Morales as the designated hitter? All sorts of scenarios pop up with this situation. Like drop him and use a combination of players in the DH spot. Morales led the team in homers this season with 30. He’s about the best power the Royals can offer. With a mutual option, he could earn $11 million in 2017. Don’t you think they need to keep him?

Oh yes, pitchers. Edinson Volquez and his $10 million contract? Bye. So, how then do the Royals set up their starting rotation? How about Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Yorlando Ventura, Jason Vargas and Matt Strahm? The talent is there but Duffy and especially Ventura too often become head cases. Vargas is coming off surgery but looked good at the end of the season. Strahm is the wild card. The lanky lefthander looks mighty promising.

Duffy made $4.7 million this season and is up for arbitration in 2017. Before the season, Kennedy signed a five-year deal for $72 million. The Royals control Ventura for a spell and he will earn $3.3 million in 2017. Vargas will get $8 million next season and will become a free agent in 2018. Strahm made a half million this season and is slated for arbitration in 2017.

The bullpen simply wasn’t as sharp this season as the year before. So, do the Royals shake them up or just remold the ones they have? I predict they will work from within. And there’s talent. Rumors surfaced during the season that the Royals were floating a trade package of Davis and Kennedy. Not a good thing.

Yost can rely on Davis, and Kelvin Herrera, who made $2.6 million this season and is up for arbitration in 2017. What about Luke Hochevar? Lots of rumors, little substance. He will be coming off injury status next season, when he has a $7 million option. He can pitch out of the bullpen and has proven it.

Then there’s Joakim Soria. He has taken a lot of heat. But the guy has a 2.47 career ERA. He’s long term and will get $8 million in 2017. Do you trade him? The Royals certainly can’t eat the contract. I think he has talent and will work out the problems.

And Greg Holland. He was quite the closer before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s a free agent. Do the Royals take a chance with him? Probably not.

So, there you are. Will the Royals take these guys and head into the season or will they throw the names in the air and let them fall like dominoes on a shelter house picnic table?

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Chiefs and K-State Favored, But KU Getting Bunch of Points

By beating Oakland 26-10 last week, the Chiefs finally looked like the team that impressed so many in pre-season practices. Now, they must face the offensive-minded New Orleans Saints at home Sunday.

On the college front, Kansas State and Kansas surely must feel more safe with the announcement that the Big 12 will remain big ten. The league leaders put expansion away for awhile and that means the school hopping from conference to conference may settle into some sense of stability. K-State and KU, with its small-market reputation — a false perception, indeed — must feel more comfortable.

However, both need to shape up on their football fortunes. They have so many ailments and so few remedies.

The Chiefs got well and for their fans the hope is that they remain healthy. The Saints are aiming for their third consecutive victory after edging the Carolina Panthers 41-38 last Sunday. New Orleans and KC last met in 2012 with the Chiefs winning 27-24.

Ever since Bountygate, the Saints have suffered on the field with the lack of defense a major issue. The scandal exploded after the 2011 season as the coaches were accused of paying a bounty to players for injuring opposing team players. The bonuses were reported to be paid from 2009, the year the Saints won the Super Bowl, through 2011.

Gregg Williams, Saints defensive coordinator, was suspended indefinitely, though this was overturned the following year. Considered a top assistant coach, he’s now defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. He attended Truman State and then was head coach at Belton High School in Missouri before going on to the colleges and the NFL.

The scandal also produced a year-long suspension in 2012 for Coach Sean Payton. General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season. Joe Vitt, assistant head coach, was suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season. The Saints organization was fined $500,000 and forced to forfeit their second-round draft selections in 2012 and 2013. Then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturned all sanctions against the players in December 2012 after finding that the coaches were primarily responsible for the scandal.

The defensive struggles continued to be a problem and then in November 2015, the Saints dropped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The move was a reaction to a poor defensive performance where the mediocre Washington Redskins offense piled up more than 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards. At that time, the Saints ranked last in nearly every major defensive statistical category.

The new head of defense is Dennis Allen, whose résumé includes 20 years of coaching experience, including the last 14 in the NFL. In those 14 seasons, he has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs six times, won four division crowns and captured Super Bowl XLIV.

But it sure looks as if the Chiefs can run and pass on this team.

Betting the game? The Saints are 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games. The Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.

The good bet: Take the 6½ points for $11. Why? The Saints offense has been too good to ignore, scoring 32 or more points in all but one game this season. The Chiefs defense hasn’t been as good as expected, although the Raiders scored only 10 points.

                          PR        HF        HD        RF         RD       Cover     Streak    APF    APA      Record

New Orleans  12.0    0-2-0    1-0-0    0-0-0    2-0-0     3-2-0        c2        31.0      33.6         2-3

Kansas City     19.0    1-1-0    0-0-0    0-0-0    1-2-0     2-3-0         c1        21.8      20.4         3-2

The big NFL game of the week finds New England on the road against Pittsburgh. Well, not so big, after all, because the limelight dimmed when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left the Miami game with a torn meniscus. He’s definitely out for the Patriots game and it’s unclear when he will have surgery or make his return. Backup Landry Jones is getting all the practice reps this week.

The Patriots are coming into the game at 5-1, fresh off a 35-17 win over the Bengals. In quarterback Tom Brady’s regular-season home debut, he went 29-of-35 with 376 yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Rob Gronkowski took most of them with seven catches and 162 yards with a TD.

The Steelers are skidding after a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins. Running back  LeVeon Bell managed just 53 yards on 10 rushes and he may be the one counted on in the offense.

An intangible is that the Steelers fans can fire up the team as the Chiefs discovered in their 43-14 loss there. Reality is the good Pittsburgh defense.

Intangibles notwithstanding, I’m going with New England to cover the 7 points for $33.

                           PR        HF        HD       RF         RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA      Record

New England  17.0     2-1-0    1-0-0    1-0-0    1-0-0     5-1-0       c2        24.8       15.2         5-1

Pittsburgh       22.0     3-0-0   0-0-0   1-2-0    0-0-0     4-2-0      nc1       25.7      20.5        4-2

The Monday Night Game with Houston at Denver has a neat sidelight; Brock Osweiler, who spurned a Broncos deal, is the Houston quarterback. He signed a $72 million contract with the Texans and the grumbling has already started about his talent. You can be sure that the Bronco defense will shut him down.

The Broncos are suffering on offense and have a quarterback, shall we say, controversy. Will Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch start in the bright lights Monday?

Whatever. Expect a big Bronco victory. Lay the 7½ for $33.

                      PR         HF         HD        RF         RD       Cover    Streak      APF      APA     Record

Houston      14.5     3-0-1     0-0-0    0-1-0    0-1-0      3-2-1         p1          18.0      21.2        4-2

Denver        20.5     1-1-0     1-0-0      1-1-0    1-0-0      4-2-0        nc2        23.3      18.0        4-2

The Seattle Seahawks can take a big step towards wrapping up the NFC West in Week 7. They’ll visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, hoping to take a commanding lead in the division.

The Cardinals won the division with a 13-3 record last year, but they have suffered three losses as favorites. In their three victories, they have been dominant, winning by an average of more than 23 points.

The Cards are 2-point favorites and I’ll put $11 down they will cover. Seattle plays good defense but Arizona has good diversity on offense with running back David Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer. Plus, the Cardinals are 17-5 SU in their last 22 games as home favorites.

However, Palmer is 2-3 against Seattle, throwing for seven TDs but recording 10 interceptions. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is 5-3 vs. Arizona with 13 TDs and four interceptions.

                      PR         HF         HD        RF         RD       Cover    Streak      APF      APA     Record

Seattle         18.5     1-2-0      0-0-0    1-1-0    0-0-0     2-3-0       nc1         21.0       15.6        4-1

Arizona       22.0     2-2-0     0-0-0    1-1-0    0-0-0     3-3-0         c2          25.5       17.3        3-3

Since arriving in Minnesota, quarterback Sam Bradford has been playing some of the best football of his career as he’s completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 990 yards and six touchdowns through four starts. He has yet to throw an interception and is second in the NFL with a 109.8 passer rating.

The Vikings are on the road this week to take on Philadelphia. They’re coming off a bye week and should be ready to tether the Eagles. They are giving just 2½ points and they have already gone 5-0 ATS and 5-0 SU. I’ll give the points and take the Vikings for $22.

                        PR          HF        HD       RF         RD       Cover    Streak     APF      APA     Record

Minnesota    20.5     2-0-0     1-0-0    1-0-0    1-0-0     5-0-0       c5          23.8      12.6        5-0

Philadelphia 15.5     1-0-0     1-0-0    0-2-0    1-0-0     3-2-0        nc2       27.0      15.6        3-2

$11 NFL Bets — Green Bay -8 vs. Chicago, Cincy -9½ vs. Cleveland, Baltimore +1 at New York Jets, Tampa -2 at San Francisco, Arizona -2 vs. Seattle.

Texas Coach Charlie Strong is clinging to his job and surely needs to take care of Kansas State this Saturday in Manhattan. The Longhorns got by Iowa State 27-6 last week. After the Wildcats, they will face undefeated Baylor.

In the 38-17 loss last week at Oklahoma, the Cats looked uninspired early, rejuvenated in the middle and inept late. OU receivers frolicked free in the secondary and the running backs found large holes in the line.

Offensively, erratic quarterback Jesse Ertz couldn’t get much of anything going. He went to the sideline with a shoulder injury and sub Joe Hubener was ineffective as well. Ertz is expected to start against Texas.

Rich Cirminiello of Campus Insider, wrote, “It’s a risky proposition, but the hunch is that Texas is about to go on a mini-second-half run. The Longhorns learned in Week 7 that they can win games with defense, an important revelation for a team that had struggled so mightily on that side of the ball. And against K-State, with or without Ertz, the Horns can further build their defensive confidence.”

The Insider’s prediction: Texas 26, Kansas State 23. I think K-State can win but giving 3 points is a scary venture. I will go with the Longhorns for $11.

KU has played better at home but Saturday’s opponent, Oklahoma State, provides so many problems for the Jayhawks to solve. The Cowboys are coming off a bye week after beating Texas and Iowa State.

The Jayhawks are looking to snap a 19-game losing streak against FBS opponents. They almost shocked TCU two weeks ago at home, but then bowed to Baylor 49-7 last Saturday on the road.

Just because KU is at home, I will take the 24 points for $11.

A big Big 12 game finds TCU at West Virginia. The Mountaineers are looking for their seventh straight victory — and seventh straight at home. Skyler Howard is completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 1,590 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions to help the Mountaineers forge a 5-0 season record. TCU simply hasn’t been as sharp this season with a 4-2 record.

I like TCU getting 6½ points for $11.

Other college games:

$33 — Oklahoma -14 at Texas Tech.

$22 — Missouri -6½ vs. Middle Tennessee.

$11 — Cal -3 vs. Oregon, Minnesota -17 vs. Rutgers, Wisconsin -3½ at Iowa, North Carolina -8 at Virginia, North Carolina State +19½ at Louisville, Maryland +2½ vs. Michigan State, LSU -5½ vs. Ol’ Miss, Ohio State -19½ at Penn State.

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Oh Lord! Christian Right Stalwarts Still Stand By Trump

The third and final presidential debate is tonight with the backdrop of President Obama chiding Republican candidate Donald Trump to stop whining about a rigged election..

Trump is without specific policies to discuss so he stands by his Pillory Hillary, Press Duress and Villain Women.

Oh it’s just a weird campaign. One of the oddest factors is that Trump mocks God with his lewd and lascivious words and actions, yet so many of the Christian Right continue to endorse him. God oftentimes becomes a part of Republican strategy with the evangelicals playing the religion card in high-stakes politics.

With Trump, how can this be the party of family values!

Trump’s supporters aren’t shy about charging Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as an enabler for her husband’s infidelities. During campaign rallies and debates, Trump brings up the Bill Clinton is an abuser accusation. The allegations arise from the ashes of 20 and 30 years ago.

There’s nothing more biblical than a wife standing by her husband. Of course, she’s not responsible for his wanderings but she fervently rebutted the sexual misconduct charges. Now the Republicans act as if Bill is running for president. She’s running for president, not Bill. Got it!

God works in strange and mysterious ways, especially in politics. Recent stories reveal that to be true.

  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin wants God to help the state’s ailing oil and natural gas industry.
  • Despite the “grab them by the pussy” statement, evangelicals continue to support Trump.
  • Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who has served as a lay leader as a lay leader and a Sunday school teacher at his family’s church in Alabama, Ashland Place United Methodist, sloughed off Trump’s statement as simply locker room talk.

Fallin, a Republican, originally issued a proclamation inviting Christians to “thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection,” the Progressive Secular Humanist blog reported.

A new version of the “Oilfield Prayer Day” proclamation calls on everyone to thank a deity, declaring that “people of faith acknowledge such natural resources are created by God.”

She said, “There are many people suffering right now who have lost their jobs in the energy sector … there are a lot of families who have been hurt, and I think prayer is always a good thing, for anyone.”

Tom Beddow, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma oilpatch chairman, told the Baptist Messenger:  “The oilfield is experiencing an economic disaster with catastrophic impact on the industry. The most recognizable need is for the recovery of economic loss, but the greatest need in these depressive times is hope… the hope that comes from God.”

Not everyone was impressed by the governmental plea for help from a higher power.

Ruth Milka of Nation of Change wrote: “Perhaps it would be more prudent for Gov. Mary Fallin and the Republican-dominated legislature to stop praying to the oil industry and start passing laws to make their state’s oil billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes.”

Cheaper oil prices has negatively affected the oil industry. The state has also experienced a series of earthquakes that was blamed on fracking.

Evangelicals are sticking by Trump despite the explosive nature of the lewdness expressed by the recently released tape. They invoke the “we’re all sinners” argument when it suits them politically, and apparently now they’re even invoking it for a man who has bragged about engaging in sexual violence against women.

These evangelicals continue to support Trump: Jerry Falwell Jr., of Liberty University, the largest Christian university; Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, listed as an ant-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center; and James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family. They hold Trump up as a savior, and thus a paragon of morality who will in fact help them end a woman’s right to choose and overturn marriage equality via the reactionary judges he has promised them he will appoint to the Supreme Court.

Pope Francis, as the leader of the Catholic Church, hasn’t weighed in on the tape but he’s made his thoughts clear about Trump and his positions on Muslims and immigrants, labeling him “not Christian.”

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, is an evangelical Christian revered by evangelical leaders, having pushed through extreme anti-abortion laws and having signed a widely-condemned anti-LGBT religious liberty law in Indiana. He dismisses Trump’s comments as locker room banter.

In the past, evangelical leaders used the “we’re all sinners” argument mostly to explain away non-violent action, such as adultery and sexual indiscretions of politicians such as Newt Gingrich, on his third marriage after many infidelities.

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, has rationalized supporting Trump by claiming the bible includes passages depicting God using men who are “flawed” to attain his goals. For that reason, he said, evangelicals should excuse Trump’s personal behavior and statements.

Perkins made it clear his support was political. He told Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray in an email that his support for Trump “has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution.”

As dissenters against these evangelical views have pointed out, Perkins’ rationalization should not be based solely on Trump’s values, but the violent actions that rise from those values.

Sessions, a top Trump surrogate, said that even if Trump actually grabbed a woman “by the pussy” that behavior would not amount to sexual assault. Now, remember, he’s the former U.S.  Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District. He’s supposed to know the law.

“I don’t characterize that as sexual assault,” Sessions told the Weekly Standard  in the spin room after the second presidential debate.

Gee, Senator, sexual assault is defined as any kind of unwanted sexual contact, which is exactly what Trump described in the recording.

Some journalists compared Sessions’ comments to those of former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who lost a Senate race in 2012 after saying that women couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who defeated Akin in that race, said Sessions’ comments are worse. “That’s not fair to Todd Akin,” McCaskill tweeted. “No comparison. This much worse.”

Sessions often carries the banner of the Christian right. Last June, Right Wing Watch reported that he said the “secular mindset” of the courts put the nation’s democracy at risk.

It would seem that religion should remain in the church pulpit and not at a legislative lectern.

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Short-run Streetcars Big Attraction in KC Downtown Area

Kansas City’s streetcar system may have a run of just two miles, from the Union State to the City Market, but since the grand opening on May 6, the line has carried a million passengers.

So, it’s free. Well, yeah, but, geez, that’s a lot of people.

Remembering the heyday of streetcars in Kansas City tugs at a romantic’s heart. The Country Club line, yeah down the verdant pathway to 75th and Wornall. The Swope Park line, yeah, along 47th Street before turning south to the parkway.

I even rode the old streetcars with the high windows and the wooden sides. Then came the slick yellow ones. No curbside service, you more than likely got on and off at marked-off islands; after climbing down, you usually had to dart to the sidewalk to beat oncoming cars.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell

Yeah, Judy Garland could belt out the Trolley Song.

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Thump, thump, thump went the brake

From the black bottom, speakeasy days through the post Korean War days, the trolleys carried passengers through the increasingly spread-out Kansas City area. In the 1920s, the KC system was one of the most extensive in the nation, spanning more than 300 miles.

The last streetcar track was laid in 1947 on Troost Avenue from 55th to 63rd Street. A decade later, ridership had plunged to 46 million riders a year. It all came crashing down in June 1957, beaten by competition from buses that were much less expensive to operate and from residents’ infatuation with cars. The last of the city’s 25 streetcar routes was shut down in 1957.

Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, spoke Monday at the 40 Years Ago Column Club at Brios and painted a bright picture of RideKC Streetcar, the revitalization of trolley cars in Kansas City.

With everything going so well, what about extending the system to the Plaza, to UMKC? The issue is being discussed. To add more rails, the authority must overcome political and financial hurdles, Gerend said, but maybe something will come forth in three or four years. Is there a trigger, something to launch more track? No, he said, but expressed optimism produces speculation that a track will run from the Union Station all the way down Main Street south to the Plaza area.

Lots of problems when taking on a project of this magnitude. For example, a simple item is how do they rule which entities receive a sales tax exemption.

The current system is paid by a combination of revenue producers. The majority of funds come from special obligation bonds of the city, totaling $64 million. Construction bonds and operating costs are repaid by a special assessment and one-cent sales tax collected inside the transportation development district approved by voters in 2012. Both levies are assessed only within the taxing district, which encompasses downtown neighborhoods along the streetcar route. Additional funding includes a utility contribution and two federal grants totaling $17.1 million. The project received another $20 million federal grant.

The authority is a not-for-profit corporation that was incorporated after voter approval of the project. Construction began in 2014 and was completed in fall 2015; after the streetcars arrived, passengers began riding on May 6.

Day-to-day operations and maintenance of the system is handled by Herzog Transit Services Inc., under joint contract to the authority and the city.

The cost of the project? How about $102 million.

Gerend said getting the project on line was one big task. He conceded mistakes were made in the promotion and it was a struggle to get the proper package for a prescribed area.

“This was a relative small package, never seen as a regional process,” he said. “Kansas City is not Denver, San Francisco or Chicago. We’re uniquely Kansas City.

Trying to service a sprawling metropolis like Kansas City presents many problems. So, the authority opted for the core area of downtown.

After choosing the route along Main Street in downtown, the work began — in one of the oldest parts of the city. Old tracks had to be pulled up. Sewers with hundred-year-old conduits needed to be redone.

“There were numerous pitfalls along the way,” Gerend said. “But now we’re moving forward in a pro-active way.”

Even during construction, whys kept popping up. One went to the very heart of the project: Why streetcars and not busses. Gerend said streetcars have a permanence of rails and that creates more impact. The streetcars are able to attract a whole new clientele of people, ones used to riding cars and busses. A big reason is that the streetcars can carry more passengers.

Gerend said early estimates put the daily passenger run at 2,700 but the system is carrying 6,000 a day and last Saturday the count was 10,000.

“This is all helping make downtown a really great place,” he said.

He points to all the construction going on and the business generated. He said the sales tax has increased three-fold in the designated area.

The free rides simply are a matter of public service. Fares keep passengers from staying on for long rides at a time, Gerend pointed out, adding that fares would offset only about 25 percent of the total costs and would create other problems. Annual operating costs, he said, are estimated to run about a million dollars.

The line serves Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads, the Art District, the Power & Light District, central business district and the River Market.

The authority’s information sheet says the construction has spurred at least $1.7 billion of development along and adjacent to the line.

The streetcars run from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Hmm, midnight and 2 a.m. Question: How about security? Gerend said plenty of security was available and quickly. He said a few incidents had occurred but nothing serious. That late in the Power & Light District and maybe a drunk or two may want a ride, huh. But no rowdiness, Gerend said.

It’s difficult to envision an extended rail system. But many thought this downtown route wouldn’t make the grade — and it has.

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Getting It Right on Guy Who Stands as Infomercial Huckster

The Atlantic magazine was founded in 1857. Since that time, the editors endorsed a candidate for the presidency only three times. The third? That’s this year and the candidate is Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The magazine said its main concern was that Republican Donald Trump might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency.

Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender, the magazine said. She is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency, the magazine said, adding, “We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work.”

Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. The Atlantic continued, “His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”

Do you get the point? Right!

President Obama certainly has the Trump persona down pat and he says the Republican party must share the blame for stoking “the swamp of crazy” that fueled Trump’s rise to the top of their party’s ticket.

During a speech before Democrats in Ohio at their annual dinner, Obama said Republicans shouldn’t act like all this craziness started with Trump. “He did take it to a whole new level, I’ve got to give him credit. But he didn’t come out of nowhere.”

Obama chided Republicans for allowing conspiracy theories and the anger of the party’s base to grow to the point that Trump was able to commandeer it. He singled out an Ohio Republican senator, Bob Portman, as one of those who un-endorsed Trump after a 2005 video revealed Trump bragging about using his fame to assault women.

Obama said, “They don’t get credit for, at the very last minute, when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on.

“You can’t wait until that finally happens and then say, ‘Oh, that’s too much, that’s enough,’ and think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate. You don’t get points for that. In fact, I’m more forgiving of the people who actually believe it than the people who know better and stood silently by out of political expediency.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., continues to endorse Trump, but said he would no longer defend him, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has avoided speaking on the matter.

Obama questioned the Republican message: “You claim the mantle of the party of family values and this is the guy you nominate?”

He accused Republicans of laying the groundwork for Trump by “feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.”

One example was Trump’s long-running lie that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. ― an attack on the first black president that most Republicans declined to condemn. Trump took until last month ― well after the GOP nominated him ― to acknowledge he believes Obama was born in the U.S. However, he still flashes innuendoes into his rallies that Obama wasn’t born here.

“If Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes,” Obama said. “If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the antichrist, ‘Well, you know, it’s just politics.’ You think I’m joking. They stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it.”

However, some Republicans see the futility in supporting Trump as 30 of them who have served in Congress signed a letter saying they couldn’t vote for the Donald in the general election.

The letter said, in part: “In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges. He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation.”

One of those signing was Representative Tom Coleman of Missouri.

Trump’s loyalists do and say the darndest things. It’s why Clinton earlier in the campaign said: “To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” She later apologized for the statement but maybe she shouldn’t have.

Simply check out what former major leaguer Curt Schilling said on Fox Business Network as he defended Trump’s lewd remark about a 10-year-old girl. Trump, in looking at a group of preteen girls, said, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”

In the interview with Trish Regan, Schilling argued, “How many times have you looked at a young man and said ‘Wow, he’s a beautiful young man’ or ‘Wow he’s a gorgeous young man’?”

Regan said, “Zero.” Schilling called that a “lie” because, he insisted, “there’s no way you haven’t seen somebody else’s son and said ‘Wow, he’s beautiful.’”

Regan responded, “And thought I oughta be dating him? No, sorry You’re on your own on this one.”

Schilling seemed to have difficulty grappling with the fact that Trump not only said the child was attractive, but also that he hoped to have a romantic relationship with her once it was legally appropriate.

What is both bewildering and sad is that some national polls still show Trump with more than 40 percent support.

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South Korea a Neighbor to KC When You Consider This

Seoul, Korea, sits 10,500 miles from Kansas City, but despite the distance we are neighbors, allies and business partners.

Almost 5,000 Koreans live in the Kansas City metro area but to some the number seems deflated because they swarm certain golf courses on either side of the state line. They play the game with the zeal and enjoyment of all nationalities caught up in 10½-degree drivers, Aldila graphite shafts, kick points and Ping putters.

You might say one of Korea’s biggest exports to the United States is its players on the LPGA Tour. But that would be diminishing the total products that Korea sends to the U.S. — more than $70 billion worth in such goods as integrated circuits, cars and refined petroleum. And you thought Korea was just about kemchi.

Now, of course, we must consider Korea a next door neighbor. We have an alliance with South Korea. Then there’s North Korea and the enfant terrible, Kim Jong-un. He has up to 16 nuclear weapons and an explosive ego to match; he speaks with jingoistic tongue.

So, is there fear among the South Koreans? Of course.

In talking to one of the Korean golfers at our golf course, I find he knows the situation quite well and he worries that Jong-un’s weapons could wipe out 600,000 Korean residents just like that.

Like many of those Koreans living here, he has a good business but makes several trips back to his homeland. He was a pilot in the post-nascent days of South Korea. Won’t China step in and help the situation? He shook his head, then added that Korea must rely on the United States. How about Japan? He stammered a little but then said that could be a possibility. However, Japan has no military.

Economic sanctions don’t seem to faze Jong-un.

South Korea and the United States agreed to a military alliance in 1953. It was “the relationship forged in blood.” Approximately 29,000 U.S. forces are stationed in South Korea. In 2009, South Korea and the United States pledged to develop the alliance’s vision for future defense cooperation. South Korean forces would fall under United States control should a war resume. This war time control is planned to revert to South Korea in 2020.

South Korean and Japanese diplomats are meeting to discuss what their options are with the threats made by North Korea.

After Jong-un’s regime’s fifth nuclear test, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters: “We have made overture after overture to the dictator of North Korea.”

But the pugnacious Mr. No remains adamant in his belligerent approach to world diplomacy.

Political analysts believe the unsteady and unsound Jong-un regime won’t last, simply because of his smugness, his uncaring attitude and his capricious and erratic behavior.

Meanwhile, can’t China step in and be a player in applying some kind of soothing agent to the clear and present volatility?

Well, China isn’t all that lovey-dovey with South Korea. Just this summer, the Chinese Ambassador to South Korea gave a dramatic warning to the leader of South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party on February 25 that a decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system would put China-South Korean relations at risk.

But South Korea and the United States announced that their governments had decided to deploy THAAD in South Korea in response to North Korea’s growing missile threats. Despite emotional assertions that South Korea has compromised Chinese interests by pursuing self-defense against North Korea’s growing missile capabilities, China does not have the capability to punish South Korea without damaging its own economic and strategic interests on the Korean peninsula, according to published reports.

The Global Times said in an editorial on July 15 that “Beijing must review and readjust its Korean Peninsula strategies in accordance with the latest threat from the peninsula, including its ROK policies.” China apparently believes the decision has undermined the foundations of trust between the two countries.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice reiterated the U.S. position to Chinese counterparts during her meetings in Beijing, according to published reports. She said the decision to deploy THAAD was an “alliance decision” that was made “directly in response to the threat posed by North Korea in its nuclear and missile programs. It is purely a defensive measure. It is not aimed at any other party other than North Korea and the threat it poses. And this defensive weapon system is neither designed nor capable of threatening China’s security interests.”

An internet story said a South Korean think tank had suggested that the country should pursue military intelligence sharing with Japan. The Japan-Korea GSOMIA was canceled in 2012 due to South Korean domestic opposition, but more South Korean experts are supporting the agreement in the wake of North Korea’s multiple provocations.

According to published reports, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had exchanged views in Vientiane, Laos, on bilateral protection of shared intelligence.

North Korea apparently has the ability to launch missiles carrying nuclear weapons that could reach either Japan or China.

Any military excursion by North Korea would involve the United States. Close ties between South Korea and the U.S. have existed since the Korean War of 1952. President Barack Obama has called South Korea one of America’s closest allies and greatest friends. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 58 percent of South Koreans view United States’ influence positively while 55 percent of Americans view South Korea’s influence positively. South Korea is one of the most pro-American nations in the world.

After the Korean War, South Korea experienced tremendous economic, political and military growth which significantly reduced U.S. dependency. Relations between the United States and South Korea have greatly strengthened under the conservative, pro-U.S. Lee Myung-bak administration.

The specter of terrorism detracts from much of what goes on in the Far East. The distance between here and there shouldn’t get in the way of paying attention to those events.

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Chiefs, K-State, KU All Handicapped As Betting Underdogs

The Chiefs, coming off a bye week after the humiliating 43-14 loss at Pittsburgh, are back on the road again, this time for a late Sunday afternoon game at Oakland.

This series used to be full of anticipation, verbal jousts and physical intimidation. It’s still a big AFC West Division game, however.

The Raiders four victories have by a total of 12 points — two of them by one point. And that’s the spread for this game.

The Raiders are 0-6 against the spread in their last 6 games at home. The Chiefs are 6-0 straight up in their last 6 games against their division. They are 10-3 SU and ATS in their last 13 games on the road against the Raiders. After a bye week, KC has gone 4-6 straight up and 5-5 against the spread in their last 10 games.

The handicappers are making too much of the Chiefs having a healthy Jamaal Charles ready to play at full strength for the first time this season. The Chiefs have too many other problems to solve before they can be confident. Like a porous defense, like an ineffective quarterback Alex Smith, like inept play-calling.

Prediction models run by the computers at Odds Shark pick a 26-21 Raiders victory.

                     PR         HF        HD        RF         RD       Cover    Streak      APF      APA      Record

KC               15.0      1-1-0    0-0-0    0-0-0    0-2-0    1-3-0       nc1           20.8     23.0        2-2

Oakland     16.0      1-1-0    0-0-0    0-0-0    3-0-0    4-1-0        c3            28.4      17.5         4-1

I can’t see the Chiefs breaking out of their early season downer. I’ll go with the Raiders for $11.

There’s a game in the NFL that I will check on just to see how Arthur Brown is doing with Jacksonville. Yeah, that Arthur Brown, the outstanding Kansas State linebacker who went to Baltimore in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft. He never seemed to fit in the Ravens 3-4 defense and became a free agent after last season. Jacksonville picked him up on waivers and signed him to a $890,000 contract. He may fare better in the Jaguars 4-3 defense.

The Jaguars are a 2½-point underdog this week at Chicago.

                     PR         HF        HD         RF         RD       Cover    Streak      APF      APA      Record

Jax               6.5      0-1-0    2-0-0     0-0-0     0-1-0     2-2-0        c1          21.0       27.8         1-3

Chicago     12.5      0-1-0    0-0-0    0-0-0      0-3-0     1-4-0       nc1        17..0       25.2         1-4

The Jaguars are coming off a bye week and maybe they did something to shore up their defense — they’re giving up 27.8 points a game. Maybe Brown can have something to say about that. Chicago’s offense ain’t all that hot so I’ll take a chance with the 2½ points for $11.

I’m making a little more play on the Indy at Houston game. Yep, defensive end J.J. Watt, the hunk of Houston’s defense, is out for the season after undergoing back surgery. Well, if the Texans can get their offense going, they can overcome his loss at least against the Colts. Maybe they can have a shootout. Colt quarterback Andrew Luck is pushing the Colts to more than 27 points a game.

The power rating favors the Texans and they have covered all three games as home favorites this season. I just like this game and will lay the points and bet $22 on the Texans.

                     PR         HF        HD         RF         RD       Cover    Streak      APF      APA      Record

Indy            13.0     2-1-0     0-0-0     0-1-0     0-1-0     2-3-0        c1         27.4      29.6         2-3

Houston     17.5     3-0-0    0-0-0     0-1-0      0-1-0     3-2-0       nc1       16.4       20.8        3-2

$11 NFL bets — NY Giants -3 vs. Baltimore, Pittsburgh -7½ at Miami, Tennessee -7 vs. Cleveland, Washington +2½ vs. Philadelphia, Arizona -7½ vs. New York Jets

It’s a parochial outlook but it sure seems that the officials have screwed the Wildcats even more this season. The missed holding call against West Virginia can be considered a game changer. The tackle in the end zone by a Stanford defender on a Wildcat receiver went uncalled and possibly could have given K-State a shot. Then in the 44-38 victory last Saturday in Manhattan, the officials blew two calls, ruling pass interference on the Wildcats. Both set up Red Raider touchdowns.

On the call against D.J. Reed late in the game, the usually stoic Coach Bill Snyder became animated as he stormed down the sideline. Enough is enough.

The Cats will need all the help they can get Saturday at Oklahoma. The Sooners have lost a couple of games that put them out of playoff contention. They lost to Houston 33-23 and Ohio State 45-24. But they have come back to beat TCU 52-46 and Texas 45-40.

Obviously, the Sooners defense is vulnerable surrendering at least 40 points in each of their last three games, but the offense is moving right along. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is heating up, aided by the emergence of receiver Dede Westbrook, who has caught 17 passes for 390 yards and five TDs the past two weeks. And then there’s Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, who trampled the Horns for his fifth career game of at least 200 yards rushing. Perine can give the Cats a lot of trouble with his size and speed.

An internet touting service said K-State lacks the consistent quarterback, Jesse Ertz, and general offensive execution to stay with the Sooners. The service picked the game, Oklahoma 36, Kansas State 24. The Cats are getting 10½ and I don’t think that’s enough. OU for $11.

How can Kansas lose to Ohio 37-21, Memphis 43-7 and Texas Tech 55-19 and then play TCU in a tight one before falling 24-23? Well, Memphis and Tech were on the road. Nah, there’s something else. Maybe it’s just that the Horned Frogs have a difficult time playing in Lawrence.

Well, the next game is on the road. And it’s against undefeated Baylor with all its offensive explosiveness.

There are a couple of things that seem contradictory about this game. You think of Baylor and its passing, but the Bears are No. 5 in the country on the ground. You think of Baylor as just offense but their blitz packages are devastating and KU quarterback Ryan Willis may have a world of trouble.

Most touts predict a rout and the 34½-point spread reflects the thinking. I kinda like the points and will go with $11 on KU.

College bets:

$33 — Nebraska -3 at Indiana

$22 — Stanford +3 at Notre Dame, Wisconsin +10 vs. Ohio State

$11 — Navy -3 at East Carolina, Illinois -6 at Rutgers, Texas -13½ vs. Iowa State, Florida -13½ vs. Missouri, Texas Tech +1 vs. West Virginia, Alabama -13 at Tennessee















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You Surely Must Need a Little Levity Today

The doctor examined the elderly man and said afterwards: “You appear to be in good health. Do you have any medical concerns you would like to ask me about?”

“In fact, I do,” the old man replied. “After I have sex with my wife, I am usually cold and chilly, and then, after I have sex with her the second time, I am usually hot and sweaty.”

The elderly man’s wife went to the same doctor and she went in for a checkup. After examining her, the doctor said: “Everything appears to be fine. Do you have any medical concerns that you would like to discuss with me?”

No, she replied.

The doctor, still concerned about the elderly man’s question, thought he would get an explanation maybe from the wife. “Your husband had an unusual concern. He claims that he is usually cold and chilly after having sex with you the first time, and then hot and sweaty after the second time. Do you know why?”

“Oh that crazy old fart,” she said while shaking her head. “That’s because the first time is usually in January and the second time is in August.”


Some thoughts on the simple things in life.

  • Harry’s goal for 2016 was to lose just 10 pounds … only 15 to go.
  • How to prepare tofu in two easy steps: 1. Throw it in the trash. 2. Grill two steaks.
  • A recent study has found women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who mention it.
  • George said senility had been a smooth transition for him.
  • Remember back when we were kids, and every time it was below zero outside, they closed school? Me neither.
  • Bill said he loved being over 65; he learned something new every day and forgot five others.
  • A thief broke into John’s house last night and started searching for money. John got up and searched with him.
  • Just remember, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.


Kevin walked into a doctor’s office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Kevin fired back: “Shingles.” So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

A nurse’s aide came out 15 minutes later and asked Kevin what he had. Again, Kevin answered, “Shingles.” So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told him to wait in the examining room.

A half hour later, a nurse came in and asked him what he had. Once again, he answered, “Shingles.” So the nurse gave him a blood test, a blood pressure test and an electrocardiogram, then told him to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and found Kevin sitting patiently in the nude. He asked Kevin what he had. Again, he answered, “Shingles.” The doctor, looking at the naked Kevin, asked, “Where?”

With a sigh, Kevin gushed, “Outside on the truck. Where do you want me to unload ’em?”


Back and forth …. back and forth …. in and out …. in and out …. a little to the right ….. a little to the left ….

She could feel the sweat on her forehead …. between her breasts ….. and  trickling down the small of her  back ….

She was getting near the end …. He was in ecstasy with the expectation …. His wife moved forward then backward …. forward then backward …. again ….. and again ….  Her heart was pounding now …..   Her face was flushed ….  She moaned, softly at first …. The groan grew louder …. Finally, totally exhausted, she let out a piercing scream ….

“OK, OK, you smug bastard, I can’t parallel park …. You do it!”


One Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000.

It happened again the next week!

Curious, of course, on the following Sunday, the pastor he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put a distinctive pink envelope on the plate.

This went on for weeks until the pastor couldn’t take it any longer and approached the woman and said, “Ma’am, I couldn’t help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate.”

“Why, yes,” she replied, “every week my son sends me money, and I give some of it to the church.”

The pastor replied, “That’s wonderful. But $1,000 is a lot; are you sure you can afford this?”

She nodded.

“How much does he send you?” he asked.

“$10,000 a week.”

The pastor was amazed. “Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?”

“He’s a veterinarian,” she answered.

“That’s an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money,” the pastor said, looking on incredulously. “Where does he practice?”

The woman answered proudly, “In Nevada. He has two cat houses, one in Pahrump and one in Sparks.”


It was late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in North Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t predict what the winter would bring.

But knowing he had to be a leader, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

He became a little edgy about his forecast and began to ponder his options. Finally, he came up with an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?”

The meteorologist replied, “‘It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold.”

With that answer, the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later, he called the National Weather Service again: “Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?”

“Yes,” came the reply, “a very cold winter.”

The chief, really concerned, again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks went by and the persistent chief called the National Weather Service again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?”

“Absolutely,” the weatherman replied. “It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we’ve ever seen.”

“How can you be so sure?” the chief asked.

The weatherman replied confidently, “The Indians are collecting a shitload of firewood.”

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