From Worst to First Is Top Notch — Well, Of Course It Is

The book is out. The distribution is beginning. Get ready to put your hands on: From Worst to First…A History of Kansas City Major League Baseball 1955-1985.

A great book, if I say so myself. Why not! I’m a co-author. I, along with Del Black, Sid Bordman, Joe Henderson and Jim Murray put together this hard-cover, landscape format book that takes an in-depth look at the politics, machinations, players, managers, owners during the development of the KC A’s and Royals.

Black and Bordman were Kansas City Star beat writers for the Royals, Henderson was a long-time reporter for the Star and Murray was an illustrator for the paper. I started my career in journalism at the Star. We represent 420 years of life, mainly with newspaper blood in our veins. We lived the history that’s covered in the book.

When we sit around a table, we may look like the recreation committee at an assisted living complex. We sit around tables, for sure … have a libation or two while solving world problems, mocking Royals broadcaster Rex Hudler, denigrating decisions by Manager Ned Yost and either praising or panning various sports endeavors.

We can be found on most every Wednesday afternoon at Governor Stumpy’s, ready to talk baseball during the summer days; throughout the year, we discuss most any sport, stupid Kansas politics and painful Star decisions.

The idea for the book actually hatched during sessions at Governor Stumpy’s. Jim and I had been pushing Sid to write a book about his long-time coverage of baseball in Kansas City. Geez, wasn’t he a pal of Abner Doubleday! While discussing various baseball anecdotes, we kept hearing Sid come up with gems, facts, anecdotes and stories about baseball in Kansas City. Damn, Sid, put that down on paper, write a book.

We couldn’t get him to do it alone. So, finally, Jim and I said, “The hell with it; let’s get all of us together and write a book.”

What an undertaking for us. Five hard-headed journalists getting together and agreeing on something — do you get the picture! Plus, we’re creative geniuses, not businessmen who know how to market and promote.

Del’s closeness to Manager Whitey Herzog was productive. Sid’s insight was remarkable. Joe’s friendship with Ernie Mehl and Joe McGuff paid huge rewards. Murray’s illustrations set off the book from any other histories. My temperament kept matters moving.

Right here and now, let me say this: A most valuable and salient point is made in the book; if it hadn’t been for the Star in general and Mehl and McGuff in particular, there would be no major league baseball in Kansas City today. No ifs, ands or buts.

Sure, sure. Some good people became involved with the franchise. But Mehl, as  sports editor, became a super salesman for the city and swayed major league baseball, KC civic leaders and politicians to help keep a team here.

He worked hard to get Arnold Johnson to buy the old Philadelphia A’s and move them to Kansas City. He struggled with Charlie O. (for Owner) Finley, who was able to persuade other owners to move the team to Oakland. Finley had even threatened to move the team to Peculiar, Missouri.

Anyway, in 1968, Kansas City found itself without major league baseball once again. Mehl tirelessly worked to solve the problem. The odds were against him. After all, the stigma spread that the city was small-market and really couldn’t support a major league team in the proper manner. Mehl would have none of it.

He went to Missouri U.S. Senator Stuart Symington and discussed ways to get a team back to the city. Symington had the answer: He went to the owners and said if they didn’t act, he would introduce an anti-trust bill against baseball. Yikes. The owners acquiesced. However, they wanted to wait three years. No, no, cried Mehl and Symington. The specter of anti-trust continued to catch the owners’ attention and they agreed to place an expansion team in the city within a year. The Royals took the field in 1969.

Mehl had to find an owner. In an earlier battle to keep the A’s in town, he had trouble finding money. As the book noted, Mehl went to banker James Kemper and asked for help. Henderson related the story: “Kemper told Ernie, ‘Sure. You can count on me for $10,000.'” Not quite the amount, huh. Ernie was looking for millions.

Mehl found an owner, Ewing Kauffman. A pharmaceutical entrepreneur and Kansas City philanthropist and civic leader, Kauffman became quite a good owner and a soulful savior for Kansas City baseball. He was born in 1916 into a farm family near Garden City, Missouri. As a boy, his salesmanship acumen surfaced early and helped his financially challenged family to make ends meet. He sold eggs and magazines door-to-door and noodled for catfish in the muddy waters of the Grand River. He caught them and sold them. He served in the Navy in World War II, and in the long stretches aboard ship, he played poker and, as the story goes, put away $90,000 in gambling winnings. The money was used to invest in real estate; when the war ended, he took his time to find a job, feeling flush with all the poker money.

That job was in sales at a pharmaceutical firm, Lincoln Laboratories — no salary, no benefits, only 20 percent commission. In 1950, he quit Lincoln and started Marion Laboratories in his basement. And that evolved into a multi-million dollar enterprise, earning enough to become owner of the Kansas City Royals.

His story is in the book, along with many others of the 30-year era.

But, please, no more talk about small market Kansas City. On page 45, the book includes more on the probability of the city not having a major league franchise. Bordman pointed out, “Kansas City was in the American Association with cities like Indianapolis, Toledo, Columbus and Louisville. Through the years those cities haven’t been able to acquire a Major League Baseball franchise.”

Critics certainly would use the small market factor now in trying to freeze out major league baseball in Kansas City.

The book contains game action, political action, player action. There are photos, illustrations, graphics. Franchise side issues are scattered throughout the pages. The authors also chose a 1955-1985 All-Star team. Yeah, George Brett and Frank White are on it. But get the book to see who else. Of course, the book goes into detail on the World Series championship year in 1985. You probably will even get a chuckle out of seeing the old ads from the newspaper and game programs.

The book cost $25 and the artwork on the jacket is worth more than that. You can buy a book from any of the authors. And it’s available in various other places, including the Rainy Day Book Store and cumpys.com on the internet.

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It’s Almost TGIF, So Take Some Time to Laugh a Little

These gems on sex, mayhem, booze and golf come by way of emails to me. Laugh a little.

——

With a very  seductive voice a wife asked her husband “Have you ever seen twenty dollars all crumpled up?”

“No” said her husband.

She gave him a sexy little smile, unbuttoned the top three buttons of her blouse and  slowly reached down in her cleavage created by a soft, silky push-up bra and pulled out a crumpled twenty.

He took the crumpled bill from her and smiled approvingly.

She then asked “Have  you ever seen a fifty all crumpled up?”

“No I haven’t” he said with an anxious tone in his voice.

She gave him another sexy little smile, pulled up her skirt, seductively reached into her tight sheer panties and pulled out a crumpled fifty.

He took the crumpled bill and started breathing a little quicker with anticipation.

“Now” she said “Have you ever seen 40,000 dollars all crumpled up?”

“No way” he said, becoming even more aroused and excited to which she replied:

“Go look in the garage.”

——

A man goes into Macy’s and  speaks to a sales assistant: “My wife said to tell you that she wanted a Southern Baptist bra, and that you would know what she wanted.”

“Oh, yes, now I understand,” the sales lady said. “We don’t get as many requests for them as we used to.  Most of our customers lately want the Catholic bra, the Salvation Army bra, or the Presbyterian bra.”

Confused, and a little flustered, the man asked, “So, what are the differences?”

The sales lady explained, “It’s really quite simple. The Catholic bra supports the masses, the  Salvation Army bra lifts up the fallen and the Presbyterian bra keeps them staunch and upright.”

He thought about that for a minute and said, “Hmm. I know I’ll regret asking, but what does the Southern Baptist bra do?”

“Ah,” she replied, “the Southern Baptist bra makes mountains out of molehills.”

——

During a long day of looking around the new Bass Pro Shop, a couple of friends stopped at Hooter’s for hot wings.

After being there for awhile, one of the friends asked which waitress would he like to be stuck in an elevator with.

The answer came back: “The one who knows how to fix elevators.”

Obviously, this was a friend who’s pragmatic but is old, tired and pees a lot.

——

A man and his 8-year-old son entered a drug store.  They happened to walk by the condom display, and the boy asked, “What are these, Dad?”  To which the father matter-of-factly replied, “Those are called condoms, son.  Men use them to have safe sex.”

The boy replied, “Oh I see. I’ve heard some of the older guys talk about them.”

He looked over the display and picked up a package of three and asked, “Why are there three in this package?”

The father replied, “Those are for high school boys, one for Friday, one for Saturday, and one for Sunday.”

“”Cool,” the son exclaimed. He noticed a six-pack and asked, “Then who are these for?”

“Those are for college men,” the dad answered — two for Friday, two for Saturday and two for Sunday.”

“Wow!” the boy blurted. “Then who uses these?” he asked while picking up a 12-pack.

With a sigh, the dad replied, “Those are for married men.  One for January, one for February, one for March…”

——

The judge pointed to a double-homicide defendant and said, “You’re charged with beating your wife to death with a hammer.”

A voice at the back of the courtroom yelled out, “You bastard!”

The judge said, “You’re also charged with beating your mother-in-law to death with a hammer.”

The voice in the back of the courtroom yelled out, “You rotten bastard!”

The judge stopped, his eyes searching the back of the courtroom. “You there. Sir, I can understand your anger and frustration at these crimes, but no more outbursts from you, or I’ll charge  you with contempt. Is that understood?”

The man stood up and said, “I’m sorry, Your Honor, but for 15 years I’ve lived next door to that bastard and every time I asked to borrow a hammer, he said he didn’t have one.”

——

There was Sam sitting at the bar staring at his drink when a large, trouble-making biker stepped up next to him,  grabbed his drink and gulped it down in one  swig.

“Well, whatcha’ gonna do about it?” he said, menacingly, as Sam burst into  tears. “Come on, man,” the biker said, “I didn’t think you’d cry. I can’t stand to see a man  crying.”

“This is the worst day of my life,” Sam said. “I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car  had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance. I left my  wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife with another man…and  then my dog bit me.

“So, I came to this bar to work up the courage  to put an end to it all.  I buy a drink, I drop a capsule in and  sit here watching the poison dissolve; and then you show up and  drink the whole damn thing!

“But hell, enough about me, how are you doing?”

——

The police were called to an apartment and found a woman holding a bloody three-iron standing over a lifeless man.

The detective asked, “Ma’am, is that your husband?”

“Yes” said the woman.

“Did you hit him with that golf club?”

“Yes, yes, I did.”

The woman began to sob, dropped the club and put her hands on her face.

“How many times did you hit him?”

“I don’t know — put me down for a five.”

——

On the first tee, a golfer took a mighty swing and hit his ball into a clump of trees. He found his ball and saw an opening between two trees; yeah, he reasoned, he could make it through there. Taking out his three-wood, he managed another powerful swing. The ball hit a tree, bounced back, hit him in the forehead and killed him.

As he approached the gates of Heaven, St. Peter asked, “Are you a good golfer?”

The man replied: “Got here in two, didn’t I?”

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While You Swelter, It Must Be Time to Talk About the NBA

So, a couple of days after the official start of summer and we’re talking about basketball. Well, okay, NBA basketball. Cleveland and Chicago started the 2015-16 season way back on October 27 and it didn’t end until the championship game on June 19. The 71st season of the NBA will begin October 25, just four months away.

The Cavaliers are the champions, the second guesses remain on how the Golden State Warriors lost, the NBA draft is slated for Thursday, the urban crowd provided huge TV numbers for the NBA playoffs. We’re still analyzing and second-guessing.

Then there’s the part about a former Raytown High School star taking over as Cleveland’s coach. Cavs General Manager David Griffin promoted 38-year-old Tyronn Lue to the top after he fired David Blatt in January. What an intriguing change. Blatt had put Cleveland in the 2015 Finals in his first NBA season and had them atop the Eastern Conference at 30-11 midway through his second.

According to published reports, the Cavs’ atmosphere was tense and that drove Griffin to elevate Lue. He had seen the ease with which the Cavs players related to the former journeyman point guard and lead assistant.

At the podium after the Cavs beat the Warriors 93-89 Sunday night in Oakland for the title, Lue said, “I don’t care about credit. We won. Everyone deserves credit.”

The Warriors didn’t score in the last 4:39 of the game. Pros, polished big-time pros, not being able to score a point in more than 4½ minutes of action, geez!

Stephen Curry, the bally-hooed MVP shooter, didn’t score in those last 4½ minutes, missing four 3-point shots after the score was tied 89-all. Before tipoff, he had said he needed the best game of his career — he scored 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting.

The King, LeBron James, fulfilled his promise of bringing home the championship to his native northeast Ohio area. After playing high school ball in Akron, he jumped into the NBA, playing for the Cavs. He left the Cavs and went to Miami, where he played on two championship teams. He returned to Cleveland in 2014.

The Cavs became the first team to rally from a 3-1 finals deficit to end a 52-year major sports championship drought in Cleveland.

NBA fans don’t have much time to dwell on the past; the draft is next.

Only two Big 12 players are getting first-round attention, Buddy Hield of Oklahoma and Cheik Diallo of Kansas. Hield is no surprise, although he has dropped in the mock drafts to the eighth spot where Boston is expected to take him. Diallo is a surprise. He had to fight for playing time in his one season with the Jayhawks. Chad Ford of ESPN picks him to go 23rd with Boston.

Ford’s draft list:

  1. Philadelphia, Ben Simmons, LSU
  2. Los Angeles Lakers, Brandon Ingram, Duke
  3. Boston, Jaylen Brown, California
  4. Phoenix, Marquese Chriss, Washington
  5. Minnesota, Kris Dunn, Providence
  6. New Orleans, Jamal Murray, Kentucky
  7. Denver, Dragan Bender, Croatia
  8. Sacramento, Hield
  9. Toronto, Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga
  10. Milwaukee, Dejounte Murray, Washington
  11. Orlando, Skal Labissiere, Kentucky
  12. Utah, Jakob Poeltl, Utah
  13. Phoenix, Henry Ellenson, Marquette
  14. Chicago, Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt
  15. Denver, Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
  16. Boston, Deyonta Davis, Michigan State
  17. Memphis, Malachi Richardson, Syracuse
  18. Detroit, Thon Maker, Australia
  19. Denver, Ante Zizic, Croatia
  20. Indiana, Juan Hernangomez, Spain
  21. Atlanta, Ivica Zubac, Bosnia
  22. Charlotte, Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
  23. Boston, Diallo
  24. Philadelphia, Malik Beasley, Florida State
  25. Los Angeles Clippers, DeAndre Bembry, St. Joseph’s
  26. Philadelphia, Patrick McCaw, UNLV
  27. Toronto, Guerschon Yabusele, France
  28. Phoenix, Timothe Luwawu, France
  29. San Antonio, Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
  30. Golden State, Damian Jones, Vanderbilt

The draft in many cases is nothing more than a crap shoot. Okay, most of those drafted in the first round find a place somewhere on an NBA roster.

But there have been misfires. I was just sure Jimmer Fredette of BYU would make it. I loved watching him play the college game. But he couldn’t make the bigs in a defining way. In 2011, he was on top of the world. In his senior season at BYU, he led the NCAA in scoring (28.9 ppg), and was named the 2011 National Player of the Year. He was a threat to score from any spot on the court; the term “Jimmer-range” was created to describe his deadly 3-point shot. He led the Cougars to the Sweet 16, and finished his career as BYU’s all-time leading scorer. Now? Fredette is playing in the D-League. Since he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, he has played for the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans and Knicks.

KU players have done well in the NBA but Sports Drop, an internet site, picked two of them, Thomas Robinson and Brandon Rush, as misfires.

Robinson,  as a 6-9 junior, averaged 17.7 ppg and 11.9 rpg. In a game against the University of North Dakota, he exploded for 30 points and 21 rebounds. He was named a first-team All American and Big 12 Player of the Year. The Sacramento Kings selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. After a disappointing rookie season (4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), he was traded to the Houston Rockets. He has played for five different teams in his six seasons in the NBA.

Usually, it’s difficult to say that a guy who was on an NBA Championship team is having a disappointing NBA career. The Warriors won it last season. He was a bench warmer in this year’s Golden State run. During his three years at Kansas (2005-2008) he averaged more than 13 ppg in every season, and was a deadly 3-point shooter. In 2008, his junior year, he led the Jayhawks to a national title. Portland selected him with the 13th pick in the 2008 NBA draft but he wound up in Indiana in his first season. In his career with Indiana, Utah and Golden State, he  averaged 7 points a game.

Sports Drop picks Ed O’Bannon as the No. 1 misfire. The former UCLA star probably is more known as the guy who sued the NCAA than his NBA career. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame and the university retired his No. 31 jersey. In the NBA? The New Jersey Nets drafted him ninth but he lasted just two seasons in the league, averaging 5 points and 2.5 rebounds. After his short-lived NBA career, he played in multiple international leagues for another eight years, before eventually settling in as a car salesman in Las Vegas.

Will you watch the draft? Come on now, be truthful.

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This Time Around, Democrats Need to Pounce on Blunt

Just how poorly are the Republicans faring in political campaigns will draw a strong argument from all sides. However, you must wonder how well it is going for five vulnerable U.S. senators when they call on one of the five worst presidents in the history of the country to support them in their incumbent races.

Former President George W. Bush will host fundraisers for John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio and Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Yes, Blunt is vulnerable. Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State, should win the Democratic primary and run against the long-time politician.

In past races, Democrats have left so many negatives against Blunt in the campaign pouch, avoiding assertive issues that could damage his reputation.

Now he must contend with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. What a leader for the GOP, huh! Blunt stands by his earlier statement that he will support the Republican nominee, a spokesman in Blunt’s Kansas City office confirmed to me Friday.

Yet Blunt manages to steer clear of Trump in public venues, despite his pledge of support. A press release from the Democrats read: Blunt is desperately trying to avoid talking about “the toxic and divisive candidate he’s spent months pledging to support. Blunt is already sick and tired of trying to hide from the onslaught of Trump-related questions, but there is nothing he can do to separate himself from the policy positions he shares with Trump.”

Blunt and other Senate party leaders recently met with Trump. Brian Hart, a Blunt spokesman, said in a release: The Senator reminded Trump that “tone and language matter in our efforts to defeat Hillary Clinton in November. Senator Blunt urged Donald Trump to unite Americans in this effort in a way that reminds all of us of our common goals.”

Gee, no pictures surfaced after the meeting, like Trump and Blunt hugging each other to show unity in their political policies.

Ah but there’s Bush. A fundraiser for Blunt is scheduled next Monday in St. Louis. Blunt told a reporter for the New York Times: “I’m pleased he is coming. He hasn’t given a political speech since he left, so I am interested to hear what he has to say. In Missouri he is still very popular, as he is more and more all over the country.”

Popular? Obviously, the Show Me is missing from many Missourians.

In March 2008, History News Network polled 109 professional historians with 61 percent declaring W. the worst president. Another 35 percent put him in the bottom ten.

Surely, they recall some of his blunders:

  • Worst rate of job growth since Herbert Hoover.
  • More days vacationing that any other President.
  • A $200 billion surplus turned into a $1 trillion deficit.
  • Ignored devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Gutted environmental protections, including the Clean Air Act
  • Used false information in justifying the war in Iraq.

Blunt’s numbers aren’t anything to brag about. He’s vulnerable, as are several other Republican senatorial candidates. Senate Democrats are well positioned both in terms of the landscape — they are defending just 10 seats compared with 24 for Republicans — and the early-recruitment wars. So much so that it’s clear they have at least a shot at winning back the Senate majority in November.

However, Blunt probably will snow the Missouri electorate once again this year. The conservative Republican has been dropping political snowflakes since 1972 when he was Green County Clerk.

He’s a poster boy for the Christian Right. With the help of Southern Baptist hellfire and brimstone, he has risen to leadership in the Republican Party. He preaches a good political sermon but veers from a righteous path. The epitome of his matters of state lies with his chicanery involving a rider to a bill that would have benefitted only one company. That company? Kraft Foods. His girlfriend at the time, Abigail Perlman, just happened to be the company’s lobbyist. The ruse ultimately failed. But not his romance with Perlman. Blunt and his wife divorced and he married Perlman.

Blunt has been married twice, first to Roseann Ray in May 1967 and they had three children, including Matt, who grew up to become governor of Missouri. Roy and Roseann divorced after 35 years of marriage. He then married Perlman on October 18, 2003. In April 2006, they adopted an 18-month-old boy from Russia, whom they renamed Alexander Charles “Charlie” Blunt.

In 2006, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington accused Blunt of benefiting firms who had hired his son, Andrew, and Perlman, as well as having close connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who had been convicted of multiple counts of fraud. Blunt denied both accusations and escaped unscathed.

An issue has emerged on his claims about a Vietnam-era draft record. The Kansas City Star reported Blunt received three draft deferments while a college student in the late 1960s. Blunt’s office did not disclose the deferments in 2015, when the newspaper specifically asked about the senator’s draft history.

The senator’s conservative bent is reflected in that he received a 97 percent rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, indicating a pro-business voting record. For example, he supported efforts to overhaul U.S. bankruptcy laws, requiring consumers who seek bankruptcy protection to repay more of their debts.

Will Bush bring in the big bucks for Blunt’s battle against the Democrats? The former president stressed at the McCain fundraiser the necessity of preserving a GOP-led Senate as a “check and balance” on the White House regardless of whether Trump or Clinton is president, according to the Times.

Bush has shied away from publicly criticizing Trump, though the Times reported that friends of the former president said he’s bothered by the businessman’s campaign message and remarks on Muslims and immigrants.

Trump emerged largely unscathed in the GOP primary among Republican voters despite bashing the former president – calling the Iraq War a mistake and noting the September 11, 2001, attacks happened under Bush’s watch.

Jeb Bush, whom his elder brother supported in the GOP primary, dropped out of the Republican presidential race in mid-February, several months before Trump’s final rivals exited the race.

W. also has announced through a spokesman that he wouldn’t attend the GOP convention in July for Trump to be officially declared the party’s nominee.

To bring in someone with the low stature like W. as a supportive fundraiser surely is a sign that something isn’t selling in Peoria. The Democrats need to pounce hard on Blunt.

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Baseball Has Really Caught On in a Big Way at the K

Major league baseball in Kansas City is a happening. Royals fans are buying into the sports culture at Kauffman Stadium with its carnival atmosphere, the idolization of players, the kiss camera, ballpark cuisine and crowd camaraderie.

I can’t help to compare now vs. then. Oh back when we had the antics of Bill Veeck, a madcap franchise owner, and Charlie O. (for Owner) Finley, the pseudo entertainer with the A’s. However, I recall watching the Kansas City Blues, the A’s and the early times Royals with a laid-back, analyze-the-game approach.

Anything but runs, hits and errors became peripheral, not a part of the game. Oh sure, beer, dogs and peanuts; you gotta have them at the ballpark; it wouldn’t have been baseball without them.

Baseball had that cerebral tag. You had time to think about the next pitch, where the third baseman was playing, did the centerfielder cheat a little to the right. Generally, fans sat in their seats and enjoyed the action on the field.

As time went by, I heard more grousing that the game had become boring, that it took too long to play. An ol’ boss of mine loved baseball and he seethed when he heard those negatives. Baseball is meant to be absorbed, contemplated and analyzed, he would say. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon or a Tuesday night than to watch a game of baseball, he would exclaim with reverence. There was no need to hurry for him.

Kansas City has always been a haven for baseball and the fans wince when they hear that St. Louis is a much better baseball town. Those are fightin’ words to Kansas City folks, already competitive against anything good brought up about St. Louis.

Fans in Kansas City have suffered aplenty with its major league baseball. It took 30 years for the city to celebrate a World Series championship when the Royals won it all in 1985. And it took another 30 years to win again. There’s glory but it just takes time, apparently. The fans cringe at the thought the team is on a 30-year cycle.

Ah, but now, you visit ecstasy, exhilaration and exultation when you enter Kauffman Stadium.

My wife, Judy, and I, daughter, Cheryl, and her husband, Dave Carson, were in the stands Friday night along with 37,742 others as the Royals knocked off Detroit 10-3. That crowd pushed attendance for this season to more than a million. Yes, the city loves its team.

We began with an innovative tailgate: inside the air-conditioned car. Hey, it was 94 degrees outside, gang. Cheryl had brought sushi, sausage and gouda cheese, among other delectable delights. The gals drank Kim Crawford wine and I had an MGD. We know how to live.

We soon needed to take a long walk to the stadium. What a deal! Pay $12 to park so you can go hiking.

I made it through customs and waited for the next move. I had never taken the time to stroll around the stadium, so we did just that. Geez, it’s like walking among all the restaurants in New York’s China Town, or the French Quarter in New Orleans, or the Strip in Las Vegas. Okay, okay, a little hyperbolic but you can get most any kind of food you want and you pay the high dollar prices of those high dollar resort areas. It just ain’t about the beer, dogs and peanuts anymore — although you sure as heck can get those, too.

On a hot evening, beer is wonderful. You bite the bullet and Pay the Piper. Thanks, Dave, for the beer. Flush, huh, since placing third in the Topeka Stroke Play tournament the other weekend. Right, $11.50 for the 24-ounce can of Miller Lite. I couldn’t even get a bottle of Miller Genuine Draft. Which I could get 18 of them at the grocery store for $13.

Aw, but when in Rome … yeah, yeah.

Since lips that touch liquor are usually mine, we had more than one can. What can I say.

Halfway around the outfield corridor, I had seen barbecue, sno-cones, charcoal hamburgers and a whole lot more … and there I stood next to Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen franchise outlet. That was bizarre.

Ticket money, TV money, concession stand percentages, parking fees — hey, the Royals are raking in the dough.

We continued to walk. Kids were flocking to the Little K and the merry-go-round — see, I told you it was a carnival atmosphere.

Game time was approaching. Hey, Dave, our seats down behind the first base dugout? Errrr, uhhhh. Nope. Let’s take the escalator up. Okay. And up. Okay. And now the steps. Okay. If anyone mentions to you the HyVee section at the stadium, prepare yourself for a trek. Sir Edmund Hillary would have needed four Sherpa mountain climbers to assist him up the Kauffman incline. Finally, we put our flag down on the seventh row from the top.

No jokes about how small the players looked. In fact, it provided an entertaining perspective. Really. I could see the ball against the green grass from that height. At a lower level, a batted ball often was lost in the white-shirted crowd. I did have a problem with depth perception, except when Salvador Perez pounded that home run to break up a scoreless tie in the sixth inning.

Settling into the seat before the first pitch, I mentioned, “Dave, the climb. Yeah, a beer would be wonderful. Atta boy!”

Hey, that looks like a four-seamer, huh. Hey, ump, that caught the corner, you bum. Look, I’m just 150 feet up. Anybody from 15 stories up can tell that was a strike. Say, Rex Hudler, you sure that was a slider? Oh well.

By the way, just like my luck on an airplane, well, I caught it at the ballpark. Many of my plane trips had a two-year-old nearby with nervous feet, ones that surely would become golden during a marvelous soccer career. Right next to me at the ball game: pop, pop, pop. The kid rapped the guys in front of us pretty good  and they turned as the mom exclaimed how sorry she was. One guy smiled and responded, “Don’t worry about it. I got kids crawling all over me all the time.” See, baseball fans are understanding.

I got relief because the family hit the corridors after two innings.

So, I celebrated with another beer. Now don’t start counting.

What a terrifically entertaining game for the home crowd! Yordano Ventura appears to have gone through rehab with success; the rookies are instilling good spirit; Eric Hosmer is a joy to watch; Alcides Escobar is a defensive magician. And Perez, what can you say!

The people flocked to the stadium for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday games, 110,885 in all. Ain’t that somethin’! For me, it was back to the TV on Saturday. Kendrys Morales broke out of his slump and the Royals ripped Detroit 16-5 with a crowd of 38,480 (101.5 percent full) on hand. Then Sunday, Cheslor Cuthbert’s RBI single in the 13th inning gave the Royals a 2-1 victory as 34,659 braved the hot afternoon sun. Starter Chris Young and five relievers limited the Tigers to five hits.

So, nice weekend. A good time was had by all, right!

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#!&*+@ Fuming Over McCain’s Absurd Statements

Oh you should have heard me when I read about Senator John McCain’s stupid attack on President Obama, saying he was directly responsible for the mass shooting in Orlando.

In writing, I’ll try to refrain from all the blue language in saying what I think about McCain’s statements. Maybe I should use the demagogic words of Donald Trump in chastising McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

McCain, a former Navy pilot, spent roughly 5½ years in a notorious North Vietnamese prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he was repeatedly tortured. He spent two of those years in solitary confinement.

To make the statement that Obama is directly responsible is to say that Obama fired the bullets that killed 49 people and injured more than 50 in the an attack at a gay nightclub. How’s that for rhetorical crap! Is that what you want to hear from so-called sensible leaders in our country? What garbage? What political trash.

Now he has the to walk his mealy-mouth comment back. “I misspoke,” McCain said in a statement issued by his office. “I did not mean to imply that the president was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the president himself.”

So he says, huh. Interesting. Why? Well, questioned by reporters on his startling assertion, McCain repeated it: “Directly responsible. Because he pulled everybody out of Iraq, and I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked and there would be attacks on the United States of America. It’s a matter of record, so he is directly responsible.”

Obviously, this is the way he feels. He didn’t apologize about the statement, only saying he misspoke. What a … expletives galore!

Look, Obama was against the war in Iraq. It was President George W. Bush’s administration that threw the country into the misguided attack. That whole mess set up all the problems evolving from the invasion, from Mideast unrest to an ISIS development.

McCain’s pop-off personality led to the speak-before-you-think statement. His rationale on the war and the ISIS crisis lacks proper thought.

Maybe the Arizona Republican carries revenge in his heart after losing to Obama in the presidential election of 2008.

He made the stupid comment while Obama was in Orlando visiting with the families of those killed in Sunday’s attack and some of the survivors.

McCain believes Obama’s policy of pulling troops out of Iraq was an utter failure. However, in 2010, McCain actually referred to it as a “victory” when Obama pulled the troops, saying President Bush deserved credit for the moment, too. How’s that for duplicity!

The gunman in Orlando, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured more than 50 in the attack at a gay nightclub. The 29-year-old Muslim, born in New York, made calls during the attack saying he was a supporter of the Islamic State. But he also spoke about an affiliate of al-Qaida and Hezbollah, both of which are ISIS enemies. Again, he was a U.S. citizen. After the investigation is over, people may find out that this guy would have associated with any group to rationalize his vicious behavior.

Of course Obama stands as a target for the GOP. Loose lip Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has accused Obama of putting U.S. enemies ahead of Americans. Trump also has suggested that Obama himself might sympathize with radical elements. How ludicrous is that!

Democrats criticized Trump and some Republicans tried to distance themselves from his remarks.

Then there’s McCain making his absurd remarks. He’s seeking a sixth term in the Senate and the race appears tight. The Democrats need to pounce on him for his impulsive and irrational manner.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said McCain’s “unhinged comments are just the latest proof that Senate Republicans are puppets of Donald Trump.”

Instead of scoring political points, as McCain and Trump were doing, the President was in Orlando speaking to grieving families of the victims and offering cogent remarks in the aftermath of the shooting.

“If you have lone wolf attacks like this, hatched in the minds of a disturbed person, then we’re going to have to take different steps in order to prevent something like this from happening,” Obama said in a speech televised from Orlando.

The role of consoler in chief was a repeat assignment for Obama, who has now traveled to 10 American cities — including four in the last year — scarred by mass shooting events. In Orlando, he met at a downtown arena with both families of victims and survivors of the terrorist attack, many of whom suffered serious injuries but emerged from the massacre alive.

Obama said politicians who opposed strengthening gun control laws should meet with families of gun violence victims.

The National Rifle Association has spent $37 million in support of the 54 U.S. senators who voted last December against an amendment prohibiting those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, according to an analysis of data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Of the 54 senators, all but one were Republicans — the exception being Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

The biggest recipient of NRA funds through the years? You guessed it: John McCain. He has taken in $7.7 million.

Check out these two statements as an example of McCain’s hypocritical look at combating terrorism:

June 6, 2016:  “If someone is on a terrorist list — I think that you’re – the list of people that are under investigation obviously we don’t want them to have access to an assault weapon.”  Quote from Mike Broomhead Show.

December 3, 2015: McCain voted against closing the terror gap and giving law enforcement the ability to block weapons sales to suspected terrorists. Vote #319.

He assiduously brags about standing up for the military. Well, he recently voted  against legislation that would have funded medical research efforts by the Department of Defense. He was part of a small minority as the legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support – a stinging defeat for the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

For more than 20 years, DoD has worked to research and develop treatments for a number of severe diseases and conditions that afflict service members, their families and veterans, including traumatic brain injuries, breast cancer and Gulf War syndrome.

“It’s appalling that John McCain would fight any effort to help develop the treatments and possibly even cures that our troops and veterans need,” Enrique Gutierrez, Arizona Democratic Party spokesman, said on the party’s website.

Simply listen to the caring, rational and responsible words of Obama and Hillary Clinton. Then listen to bombastic, belligerent and irrational rhetoric of McCain and Trump. Put the contrasts in your mind. Surely, you can see the difference between good and bad.

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Life Is Full of Twists and Flips and There Are Consequences

Ironies, twists, flips and coincidences find ways into news reports and sometimes you blink your eyes in amazement, you slap your hands in frustration, you snicker in amusement.

I looked on the internet and I blinked, snapped and snickered at stories from real life experiences to political absurdity.

Dr. Henry Heimlich, the 96-year-old Cincinnati surgeon credited with inventing the lifesaving technique named for him, used it for the first time earlier this month to save a fellow senior center resident who was choking on a hamburger.

Heimlich, who often demonstrated the “Heimlich Maneuver” to dislodge food from an airway, had never employed it in an emergency, said spokesman Ken Paley.

Sitting at a communal dining table at Cincinnati’s Deupree House, an upscale senior living center, Heimlich noticed fellow resident Patty Ris, 87, in distress while eating an open-faced hamburger. He dashed from his seat, put his arms around her and pressed on her abdomen below the rib cage, following his own instructions.

“After three compressions, this piece of meat came out, and she just started breathing, her whole face changed,” Heimlich said in a video interview prepared by marketers for the Deupree House operators.

Ris, who said she randomly selected the seat in the dining room, responded, “When I wrote my ‘thank you’ note to him for saving my life, I said, ‘God put me in that seat next to you, Dr. Heimlich, because I was gone, I couldn’t breathe at all.’”

Then there’s this story. An American World War II veteran visited the country that he helped save — and died there. After 71 years, Melvin Rector of Barefoot Bay, Florida, last month returned to England, where he was based as a gunner and radio operator on B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in 1945. He flew eight combat missions over Germany from the Royal Air Force station in Norfolk, England. Rector came under heavy fire on half of them.

According to the Washington Post, he toured west London’s Battle of Britain Bunker, a command center for flight operations, on the day of his arrival May 6. Rector said he felt dizzy as he climbed out of the bunker. He died on the spot. He was 94.

His daughter, Sandy Vavruich, told Florida Today: “He had just gotten to see two planes, and he passed away between them.”

Oh, another story brims with frustration. A lot of men want to come to the rescue of women facing transgenders in the bathroom but step back when rape is involved.

Men stood up for women, saying how precious women were, how they needed protected from “men in dresses.” When the Obama administration sent out messages to schools giving guidelines on how to treat transgender students, 11 states sued to make sure that girls are safe in their locker rooms from transgender girls.

Oh the dismissive language — for trans men and women, their comfort and mental health didn’t matter.

The switch was on. The pedophiles and the voyeurs would take advantage of the laws. It was the men who would dress up like women so they could prey on women in bathrooms. What about the violent men?

Brock Turner, the so-called Stanford rapist, was sentenced for six months.

Where was the outrage by men against the system that so dramatically failed a young woman. In the transgender issue, millions of signatures filled petitions denouncing the rule and pastors railed outside courthouses.

Brock’s father said his son was being punished too harshly for only “20 minutes of action.“

Many of those who just weeks ago were ready to storm the bathroom stalls to make sure their wives and daughters were safe now remain silent.

Should you not ask: Where is the disgust for a system that slaps a rapist on the wrist and says, “Well, he probably won’t do that again.” And ask: Where is your anger at a culture that has more concern for the impact of jailing a rapist than the impact of a rape?

Doh! Senator Marco Rubio (D-Florida) doesn’t think Donald Trump can be trusted with nuclear codes, but he still wants him as President.

“I stand by everything I said during the campaign,” Rubio told the Weekly Standard when asked about his statement in February that he didn’t want to turn over the U.S. nuclear codes “to an erratic individual.”

Rubio has doubled down on that claim before, telling reporters in May that his “policy differences and reservations about Donald’s campaign are well-established.” Rubio said he would vote for Trump because he signed a pledge to support the Republican presidential nominee.

Several Republican politicians have played both sides of the Trump candidacy, criticizing policy but endorsing him for President. House Speaker Paul Ryan is one of them.

The New York Daily News released a cover mocking Ryan for standing by his endorsement of Trump despite saying a statement by the Republican candidate represented “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

Politics provide many opportunities for twists and flips. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) thought he had his re-election wrapped up. However, intense scrutiny he’s under for his Supreme Court blockade and his comparing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s remarks about the importance of a diverse bench to Trump’s racism.

During a conference call on June 8 with the Des Moines Register, Grassley said, “I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that — when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male.'”

Hours later, Hallie Jackson of NBC News asked him about the statement and he responded, “I don’t have to explain it. You just can’t equate the two, and I wasn’t meaning to equate the two.”

As others said, though, equating the two was exactly what he did.

Sotomayor’s statement was part of her speech that was ignored to manufacture a controversy in her confirmation hearings: “We should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group.” That was the point she was making.

And Trump? Trump was making a racist attack on a sitting federal judge because “he’s a Mexican.” Is Grassley capable of distinguishing between these remarks? Apparently not.

One of the biggest twists of all is how the Christian Right politicians steadfastly stand against abortion, making a point that a baby is inside the womb and not just a fetus.

When a baby really is born to poor parents, the family becomes stressed financially. So many of these Christian Right types complain about tax money going to the needy, yet they support a ban on abortions. They are pro-life, they say. In reality, they are only pro-birth. Their support of the family goes poof when the deprived require so much more help.

Words and deeds do have consequences.

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Bankruptcy Becomes Part of Stat Sheet For Many Sports Pros

Many young professional athletes have hauled a boat-load of money only to see a letter from the banker that the cash has sailed out to sea. Some bounce back; others flounder.

I looked over the internet and found examples of some who made it, lost it and either bounced back or never made it back. There are others; however, these provide a good sampling of the bad.

▪Michael Vick was holding down a solid career with the Atlanta Falcons and probably would’ve gone on to make more money had he not been found guilty for harboring a dog-fighting ring in 2007 at his home. Vick went to prison and his $130 million dollar contract dissolved and he lost everything. Vick has since been trying to make a comeback but nothing is the same.

▪Back in the day, Dan Marino was a prominent quarterback. During his career as a Miami Dolphin, he broke many records, earned awards and made a lot of money. After retiring, the nine-time pro bowler became an analyst on TV and accumulated more money, which he ended up losing by investing in a company called Digital Domain. Marino purchased 1,575,525 shares, causing him to lose $14 million when the company went bankrupt.

▪Raghib “Rocket” Ismael played in the Canadian Football League for two years before competing on various NFL teams for a decade. Over his career, Ismael is estimated to have earned $20 million. After his retirement, Ismael dabbled in business, making poor investments that caused him to lose nearly all of his money.

▪Former Saints running back Deuce McAllister was a great football star, but not so much a business man. After his career, he purchased and set up his own Nissan Dealership in Mississippi. Not too long after, the car dealership had to file for bankruptcy. Additionally, he was sued by Nissan because he apparently defaulted on payments and was also sued by the Whitnet National Bank for failing to pay around $1.8 million on his mortgage.

▪Warren Sapp had such a successful and prominent career in the NFL when he played for the Buccaneers and the Raiders that he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, life after the NFL got hard. Sapp blew his money on clothing, mansions and sports cars and in 2012 he filed for bankruptcy and had to auction off most of his possessions to pay the IRS, lawyers and the government.

▪Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar was a long-time fan favorite before he retired in 1996. After his retirement, he became part-owner of the Florida Panthers and opened a steakhouse. But his businesses didn’t pan out and in 2009, he filed for bankruptcy with $18.9 million dollars in debt and owed the state of Ohio more $173,000 in taxes.

▪Archie Griffin was one of the best running backs in college football. But his stardom never transferred to the pros. In 1976, Griffin received a seven-year contract from the Cincinnati Bengals. In those seven seasons, Griffin scored only seven touchdowns. In 1982, he filed for bankruptcy due to his failing shoe business.

▪Bill Buckner, Boston Red Sox first baseman, had a fine career, but he’s best remembered for his error during the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets where he let a ground ball go right through his glove allowing the Mets to score the game winner. After baseball, he was forced to file for bankruptcy after a car dealership he partially owned in Idaho went out-of-business.

▪Rollie Fingers and his well-known mustache had a Hall of Fame career, winning three World Series rings, a Cy Young and MVP award, seven All-Star appearances and leading the majors in saves three times. During his career, he fell $4.5 million in debt and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1989.

▪Jack Clark, during his baseball career, won the Silver Slugger Award twice and was a four-time All-Star. During the middle of his three-year stint with Boston, he filed for bankruptcy after falling $6.7 million in debt.

▪A part of one of the greatest NBA dynasties of all time with the Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen was a legend on and off the court. It was his financial decisions that took the beating. His $120 million earnings over his career still wasn’t enough to keep Pippen from going bankrupt.

▪Iron Mike Tyson finished his explosive boxing career with a 50-6 record, 44 of those coming from his brutal knockouts. Even though he made close to $400 million, he lost most of it to cars, drugs, alcohol, homes, child support and divorces. In the early 2000s, Tyson filed for bankruptcy due to his debts. He is doing much better these days as he has been in several movies, written books and has even appeared on Broadway.

▪Riddick Bowe finished his boxing career with a 43-1 record, 33 of those coming from knockouts. His only defeat came against Evander Holyfield, but Bowe won the war after beating Holyfield the next two times. He spent most of his earnings on friends, cars, family and homes and at one point had to sell his boxing memorabilia at flea markets. Bowe also served 17 months in jail for kidnapping his wife and children.

▪Björn Borg, one of the greatest tennis players, became addicted to drugs and alcohol during his career and lost his $8 million fortune. This was while the Swedish star was winning 11 grand slam titles. He tried launching a clothing line, but failed miserably. Years later, Borg rebounded after starting an underwear line and a new dating site.

▪After a career that included an Olympic Gold Medal in 1976 and a shampoo endorsement, Dorothy Hamill became the star of the Ice Capades until 1984. In 1993, she made the decision to purchase the Ice Capades and make it great again. She was not able to accomplish that and had to sell the company in 1995 and file for bankruptcy the following year.

▪Marion Jones was the fastest woman in the world at one point in her career while making more than $7 million a year. Then at the blink of an eye she lost it all. Her gold medals were taken from her due to steroids, check counterfeiting, check forging, committing perjury to the IRS, money laundering and more illegal drugs.

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Gun-Toters Support Firearms With Illogical Arguments

The gun-toters say the darndest things. And follow those words up with the darndest ideas. Their cohorts in Congress seem to go along with the same mean-spirited path in their rhetoric.

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association CEO, has taken aim at moves to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions. Hmm, interesting, the NRA helps former felons restore their gun rights.

During the organization’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, he said that Democrats were “even allowing felons the right to vote, including violent rapists and murderers.

“Tentacles of the Clinton machine are out registering those felons right now. They’re releasing them, and then they’re registering them. Heck, when they sign their release papers, they might as well at the prison door … give ‘em a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker.”

Oh, crooked politics, LaPierre opined. Those dirty Democrats in Maryland and Virginia shouldn’t be pushing to allow ex-offenders to vote. Oh but when it comes to giving those same people the right to own a gun, the NRA shakes pompons.

For years, the NRA has fought to make it easier for ex-offenders to restore their gun rights, even though federal law holds that people convicted of felonies are barred from bearing arms.

Guns are racking up the numbers in killing people in the United States. During the weekend, the country suffered the worst mass shooting in its modern history when 50 people were killed and 53 injured in Orlando, Florida, after a gunman stormed into a packed gay nightclub. The gunman was killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages at Pulse, a popular gay club. He was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen.

“We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” said President Obama at a White House media briefing on Monday.

This massacre is a reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a nightclub, Obama noted, adding, “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

There were 42 other reported shootings on the day of the massacre. According to news reports collected by the Gun Violence Archive and Vox, these shootings resulted in an additional 18 deaths and 41 injuries. At least five of those killed were children.

The NRA lobbies like crazy to keep those guns firing. In the last general election year, 2012, the NRA and its government affairs subsidiary, the Institute for Legislative Action, spent more than $3 million lobbying the federal government on firearms-related legislation, according to lobbying disclosure forms. More than a half million dollars went to four outside lobbying firms, including Karl Rove’s consulting group, Crossroads Strategies LLC.

This money is separate from the nearly $19 million the NRA spent trying to influence the 2012 elections.

So the battle continues to put more guns into the hands of former felons.

“There’s no reason why a person who has demonstrated they are now a good citizen should be deprived of their right to own a firearm,” Richard Gardiner, an NRA representative, told the Washington Post  before the vote. “We ought to recognize that some people can change.”

Ah, but no, no. You can’t rehabilitate them so they can vote.

For LaPierre, that spirit of redemption apparently only applies to people who want firearms, not those who want to participate in democracy.

These gun-toters will say anything.

Gun lobbyist Larry Pratt took to the airwaves to make some incendiary remarks about the coming election. He’s the executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America and he said that if his supporters didn’t like the results of the ballot box and how it could change the Supreme Court in the coming years, they could always “resort to the bullet box.” He also warned that “it may not be pretty.”

Speaking on his Gun Owners News Hour radio show, Pratt and guest Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the ultra-conservative American Civil Rights Union, discussed how the upcoming election could change the Supreme Court.

Knight warned that a liberal Democrat President could appoint “two, three, four justices” who would limit gun rights.

“I think the Second Amendment would be in great peril if that happens,” Knight said.

Pratt’s organization is considered even more extreme than the NRA. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Pratt has “ties to the militia moment, white supremacist organizations and Christian theocrats.”

He once said that it was good that lawmakers had a healthy fear of  being shot, adding, “You know, I’m kind of glad that’s in the back of their minds. Hopefully they’ll behave.” He made that quote in 2014, according to Right Wing Watch.

Oh but there’s more. These gun-toters will go to great lengths to push their agenda.

A Florida gun store that made headlines last year when the owner declared the store a “Muslim-free zone“ is now selling shooting targets that depict President Barack Obama as well as Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Yep, that’s correct.

Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, about 75 miles north of Tampa, has the targets for sale for $4.99, a discount from the usual $9.99 price. Maybe it’s a fire sale.

The targets were also on display in a YouTube video posted by the store’s owner, Andy Hallinan.

“These targets are designed to be nothing more than extreme examples of the lst amendment,” according to the store’s posting on Facebook. “This art is not to incite violence — but rather to inspire ALL of America to gain a better understanding of how strong our 1st amendment rights are — even if they are unpopular.”

Hallinan is known for his store’s attention-getting stunts. In addition to declaring the store to be a Muslim-free zone, he also sold prints of Confederate flag paintings made by George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in 2012.

Guns and violent deaths go together.

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Trump Piling Up Arsenal of Lies to Pillory Hillary

Strategists are hunkering down to draw up campaign battle plans for the general election.

Whatever the Democrats come up with, I’m sure that there will be many, many potential voters ignoring the nasty, belligerent rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Why in the world would anyone cast a ballot for him!

Ronnie Reagan did a masterful job in luring blue collar Democrats to support him. Wrong-headed move but they fell for the empty promises. The blue collar class took a severe hit under Reagan as he and his minions busted the unions, helping eradicate a prosperous middle class.

White guys jumped from the Democrats to Republicans with the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. Oh, my god, taking orders from a black guy. Well, how are they going to like it when a woman gets into the White House? Ouch. She won’t be offering honey-do’s. No sireeee! There won’t be any thrills for macho man.

After the shooting in Orlando at a gay night club, Trump issued a bombastic call for Obama to resign.

Trump said in a statement released by his campaign that Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words “Radical Islam” in his response to the shooting, adding, “For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency.”

He reiterated his stump call that the country’s leaders were weak, then boasted, “I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

Obama and Clinton referred to the shooting as an “act of terror” and an “act of hate.” Obama last year explained that he refused to describe the self-proclaimed Islamic State and al Qaeda as groups fueled by “radical Islam” because the term granted them a religious legitimacy they didn’t deserve.

Trump continued to call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. The gunman involved in Orlando was an American citizen, born in New York. He obtained his weapons legally, despite having been investigated by the FBI several times.

Trump will keep up is ad hominem attacks on Clinton, the Democratic representative to run for President. She has much to overcome against the mendacious Trump and others who inject gender prejudice. Ain’t no woman gonna tame them, huh.

Bernie Sanders’ crowd says they won’t vote for Hillary. Bernie ran a helluva primary race. Get over it. He lost. Who will those ultra liberals go for, Trump? Geez. Will they even vote? Well, if not, that’s a plus for Trump. Can that be a good thing?

Look, Bernie isn’t even a Democrat. Okay, he calls himself a social democrat. That’s not the party in which he ran for President. He ran with Democrats, period.

No matter how you analyze Bernie, he had no chance of winning the presidency. No chance. None whatever. Nada. The Republicans would have denigrated him so unmercifully that he would have looked like Vladimir Lenin without a beard. Socialist, socialist, socialist. The branding iron would run red.

Oh, he no doubt would have picked up more votes that the socialist icon, Eugene Debs, who ran five times for President with his largest percentage of the popular vote, 5.99 percent, coming in 1912.

But why is Hillary having a difficult time running up the score on Trump? Is it the white guy vote? Do they all really dislike Hillary? Is the pillory of Hillary really that effective?

Hey, the Republican Party, from top to bottom sucks.

Tom Friedman, a New York Times op-ed columnist, recently wrote a salient essay about the GOP. It is a must read for all.

He began: “If a party could declare moral bankruptcy, today’s Republican Party would be in Chapter 11.”

Many will say the country needs a two-party system to keep order in the operation of government.

So Friedman offered, “This party needs to just shut itself down and start over — now. Seriously, someone please start a New Republican Party!”

America needs a healthy center-right party to ensure that the Democrats remain a healthy center-left party, he reasoned, adding, “America needs a center-right party ready to offer market-based solutions to issues like climate change. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense gun laws. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense fiscal policy. America needs a center-right party to support both free trade and aid to workers impacted by it. America needs a center-right party that appreciates how much more complicated foreign policy is today, when you have to manage weak and collapsing nations, not just muscle strong ones.”

This Republican Party is none of those things, he exclaimed.

“And we know just how little they are attached to any principles,” he wrote, “because today’s Republican Party’s elders have told us so by (with a few notable exceptions) being so willing to throw their support behind a presidential candidate who they know is utterly ignorant of policy, has done no homework, has engaged in racist attacks on a sitting judge, has mocked a disabled reporter, has impugned an entire religious community, and has tossed off ignorant proposals for walls, for letting allies go it alone and go nuclear and for overturning trade treaties, rules of war and nuclear agreements in ways that would be wildly destabilizing if he took office.”

Despite that, Friedman said, top GOP leaders say they will still support Trump — even if he’s dabbled in a “textbook definition” of racism, as House Speaker Paul Ryan described it — because “he will sign off on their agenda and can do only limited damage given our checks and balances.

“Really? Mr. Speaker, your agenda is a mess, Trump will pay even less attention to you if he is president and, as Senator Lindsey Graham rightly put it, there has to be a time ‘when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.’”

Oh so right on.

But can Hillary provide the correct message to turn the Republicans back? What are her problems? Because she’s a woman, because she’s married to Bill, because she has had to fight off misleading attacks against her career?

Joanne Bamberger, author/editor of Love Her, Love her Not: The Hillary Paradox, believes she has found a person who has discovered why people don’t like Hillary. New York Times commentator David Brooks claims to have solved the so-called Hillary likeability paradox, pronouncing that people just don’t like her because she has no hobbies. After all, who can trust a commander in chief that’s all business, all the time?

“The underlying message here is that you can’t look presidential unless you’ve got a physical activity that people relate to, or, more precisely, that men relate to,” Bamberger wrote. “Hobbies equal a competitive endeavor that, in a man’s world, translate to vitality and strength, rather than something that is part of nurturing a family, like, say, quilt-making. If Paul Ryan does ever run for president, he’s all set with his P90X workout.

“In a 21st century working woman’s world, there is little time for hobbies, exercise-related or not. Ask around. I’m not comparing most women’s schedules to that of a Secretary of State who flew 950,000+ miles or a presidential candidate who seems to suffer sexist slings and arrows at every turn. Most of the women I know don’t have time for a hobby, especially like the tried and true presidential pastime of golf that demands a solid block of at least five undisturbed hours. We’re lucky if we can slip in a little time for the kinds of things Hillary has actually admitted to doing (which Brooks would have discovered with a quick Google search) like her love of HGTV, Parks and Recreation, a nice glass of wine or some quality grandma time with Charlotte.”

Well, the Republican war rooms must gear up for the hobby vote. And Hillary has another enemy to fight.

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