It’s Not the Last Hurrah But It Is the Last Blog — For Now

This is my last blog. For awhile, anyway. Maybe much later on, I will find a new venue and start up again.

It has been a blast for me. I started with a simple premise: Write to vent. I found myself yelling at the television for the moderators to ask more incisive questions. I became so tired of he said/she said format and the false equivalency journalism so prevalent in today’s reports.

I wanted the reporters to develop an hypothesis and to prove the point with incisive questions. Instead, so many rambled on and failed to provide readers and viewers enough information to make decisions on what was right and wrong.

So, I wrote and I wrote some more. I never focused on one area because I love sports, politics, humor, history and walks down memory lane.

I received criticism for scattering my attention. I ignored that criticism. I wrote what I wanted to write. And I think, for the most part, I provided essays that readers could bite into the meat, laugh a little and argue a lot.

But as I continued to write — my first blog was in March of 2012 — I wanted more input from readers. I read the great number of hits others were getting on their efforts and I wondered why I wasn’t matching them.

I found some have good networking. Others have an “in” on Google. I would Google my blog and the pages mounted too high before I could come up with my “tag.”

And I found I still yelled at the television for moderators to ask more penetrating questions.

Oh, in writing the blog, I enjoyed the loyalty of several. And the help, too. I appreciate so much the input, suggestions and even material from Peg Nichols, Don Carpenter, Roy Beaty, Eric Greble and my daughter, Cheryl Carson.

Huffington Post triggered many ideas for me. And Paul Krugman — everyone needs to continue reading what this man has to say. Intelligent, coherent and formidable, he gives a progressive slant to the world today and everyone should pay attention to his theories.

Robert Reich is also a good one to read. Joe Conason writes a really good column and should receive more pundit time on cable TV. Occasionally, I spend time reading Katrina vanden Huevel and Tom Friedman.

A couple of reasons played big roles in ending my blog. One was time. I am embarking on another mystery manuscript. I have one novel published, A Question of Justice. I finished another but it never gained traction. I have another one started and I like it and will spend more time with it. A publisher told me that a more edgy novel would increase marketability. So, I’m giving it a try.

The other reason is the blogs were starting to sound the same. President Trump’s god-awful political presence will do that to a person. His mendacious approach to leading the country provides blog fodder that simply repeats itself. You could write the same headline over each blog: Trump’s Lie of the Day.

So, let’s hope cable TV improves, network news shows more tenacity and newspapers stop feeling sorry for themselves. Oh, there is so much they can be doing.

Here, let me give you a simple idea on coverage. Local newspapers can do their part. They don’t have to rely always on the Washington Post or the New York Times. For example, the Kansas City Star may not know it but there’s a terrific source for a helluva story on the nation’s education right here in River City.

Just talk to Mark Bedell, the Kansas City Missouri Superintendent of Schools since July 1, 2016. From being homeless to becoming an honor student at Fisk University, he can tell you he has seen the elephant and heard the owl. He earned his doctorate degree and has been at every level of the education ladder. He gave a dynamic speech last Monday at the 40 Years Ago Column Club — and he told the audience that the school system needs help, not the political divisiveness provided by so many.

Before his speech, he sat at our table and I asked a few questions on the state of education, including his thoughts on Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. He shook his head slowly, then he said the educational system in the country is headed for even deeper trouble.

DeVos is a huge supporter of charter schools. They rob from public education. Bedell noted that charter schools in Kansas City take 42 percent of his budget. And he has no sayso on what goes on at those schools.

He also targeted the Missouri Legislature as a thorn stabbing public education. Two bills being pushed will help charter and private schools with a voucher program — a program that will damage the public schools.

He framed his arguments on anecdotal and empirical evidence. His stance is braced by facts. The Star must produce that hypothesis and go after the legislature, prove the point.

See, how I am. I took off again.

But that’s what my blog allowed me to do. I’ll miss the hell out of it. But I may find other outlets, like writing to Colleen Nelson, the relatively new vice president and editorial page editor of the Star. Maybe I can make inroads to a greater circulation outlet.

Let me retrace a few points I have made through the years:

  • The election of Trump is due to the deplorable people who didn’t pay attention or didn’t like Hillary Clinton for whatever reason and the country will pay for their negligence and bigotry.
  • Bill Self is the best basketball coach in the universe.
  • The Democrats need to fight anything and everything the Republicans put up in Congress and the legislatures.
  • The cry over gerrymandering, voter IDs and election suppression must transform into a proactive front — stop whining and do the job.
  • Kris Kobach and Sam Brownback and the congressional representatives are what’s the matter with Kansas.
  • Name one bill congressional Republicans produced and backed that really helped the working man.
  • Obama did a magnificent job pulling the country off the economic cliff and providing steady leadership through eight years without scandal.
  • The guy who came up with the phrase The Right to Work was a genius on one hand and a union buster on the other.
  • How much money do the Koch brothers want.
  • What a job Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs and Royals provide a lot of entertainment for their fans but they need to be concerned about how the owners glom onto revenue and don’t put the best players on the field.
  • Those seniors who voted Republican, well, let’s hope you can overcome the possibility of paying for Medicare with an inadequate tax voucher.

Writing the blog has been fun. Maybe we’ll do this again sometime.

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Republicans Now Hiss and Moan Over Tactic They Used

Many right-wingers are nothing more than slithering reptiles baring fangs that bite with poisonous invective. They belong in the basket of deplorables. They are so slinky that hunters from an Okeene, Oklahoma, rattlesnake search are the only ones with the means to snare these political creatures.

Despicable! That’s one negative to describe this gang of hypocritical hold-ups. For almost a year, they simply cut off even considering confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court appointee, Merrick Garland. The nominee just faded into the sunset as these right-wingers ignored their constitutional duty.

Now, however, President Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and these same nay-saying varmints are chastising Democrats for threatening to delay the process. Hypocrisy, thy name is Senate Republicans.

Thank goodness, Democrats and others are standing up to the nomination. Will they win out in the end? Doubtful. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, will join a couple more defectors and vote with the Republicans to overcome the 60-vote rule — or the right-wingers will prevail with a nuclear option to trigger a simple majority margin. And they hold a 52-48 lead in the Senate.

Some enemies of the Gorsuch candidacy have voiced strong opposition. Courtney Hight, director, Democracy Program, Sierra Club, wrote recently, “It is not hyperbole to say that this is the most extreme and dangerous nominee to the court in over a generation. From landmark environmental protections such as the Clean Power Plan to civil liberty protections such as the Voting Rights Act, our nine Supreme Court Justices have the final say on cases that shape every facet of our daily lives.”

Hight said Gorsuch had a record of denigrating the power of agencies like the EPA to make rules to carry out their functions. She said, with his convictions on the Supreme Court, the EPA would be hard-pressed to maintain and protect regulations on air, water, climate and land issues. Pollution dangers no doubt would increase.

“He was also hand-picked by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, right-wing organizations funded by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch,” she said. “Gorsuch is far outside the mainstream. On a divided court, he represents a tie-breaking vote on numerous issues, including several possible upcoming decisions on clean air, water, endangered species, public land use, the climate, women’s health, and basic protections of our civil liberties.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is battling the nomination, saying Gorsuch, indeed, is out of the mainstream and he vowed to go against a nominee who didn’t adhere to a conventional standard.

Appearing on ABC’s The View, he said Republicans would have difficulty recording 60 votes for Gorsuch. The reason? Gorsuch hasn’t been forthcoming while answering questions during courtesy calls with Democratic senators.

Schumer said he had an “eerie feeling” after meeting with Gorsuch because the judge reminded him of Chief Justice John Roberts; Schumer said Roberts also refused to elaborate on his views about constitutional issues as he was ascending to the high court. Roberts later joined decisions, such as one deciding a major voting rights case and a campaign finance ruling, that Schumer vehemently opposed.

Schumer was asked on the show why Democrats didn’t block Gorsuch in the same way Republicans blocked Garland. Schumer said even if Democrats decided such a move were appropriate, they couldn’t do it because Republicans control the chamber, 52-48. That procedure calls for a simple majority.

“But,” Schumer said, referring to the filibuster option, “they need 60 votes. And I believe if Gorsuch keeps it up, he’ll have a very rough road to hoe to get those 60 votes.”

Republicans, trying to get their message out in town hall meetings, are finding difficulty among the throngs bashing their rhetoric. While much of the focus on Trump and the Affordable Care Act, some protestors have pointed to the hypocrisy of the Republicans in the Garland issue.

Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and stood with the Garland stonewall. He has long-standing with Iowa residents — how, I really don’t know because he’s such a weenie. He is so full of hypocrisy that he couldn’t eat another bit of Iowa pork.

During the assassination of the Garland nomination, Republicans failed to give the nominee even an appearance at a hearing. A critic said at the time that Grassley should stop voting immediately since he was up for reelection —  until voters knew whether the senator would be reelected. If this sounds ludicrous, it’s because it is. But it is typical logic used by the weenie chairman.

Grassley had argued that the next president should have the right to pick a Supreme Court justice. This is precisely his flawed logic. The Constitution is clear: The president has a responsibility to make a nomination whenever a vacancy occurs, and the Senate has a corresponding responsibility to give that nominee good faith consideration. These responsibilities do not go away in an election year.

By denying a fair hearing and a vote, these senators obstructed the processes put forth in the Constitution. And these Republicans say they’re strict constitutionalists.

But there’s Mr. Hypocrisy advocating for Gorsuch, right now, this very instance. For nearly a year, he blocked Garland for no better reason than naked partisanship and now he wants Democrats to stand aside as Trump’s choice is confirmed. He’s shaking his finger at the idea that Senate Democrats might filibuster the nomination of Gorsuch.

He said Democrats should not engage in a nasty, partisan blockade of Gorsuch — get this — because Republicans didn’t obstruct the first two Supreme Court appointments for presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

“We had two vacancies during Clinton’s first term and Republicans didn’t obstruct like the Democrats are threatening to obstruct now,” he said. “During the Obama administration we had two vacancies, Republicans did not obstruct like Democrats are thinking about obstructing now.

“And so we have one vacancy now in the first term of a new president; it happens to be a Republican president, and we assume, rightly so, we should have the same consideration from a Democrat minority that a Republican minority gave to a Democrat president.”

Uh, Chuck, there were three vacancies during Obama’s presidency, not two. Whether in the first year on the eighth year, the nomination came with his term.

Grassley and his kiddies argued with a so-called Biden Rule. Biden gave a floor speech that the Republicans inferred to mean that a justice shouldn’t be nominated by the president in the final year of office. There was no Supreme Court vacancy to fill. The Senate never took a vote to adopt a rule to delay consideration of a nominee until after the election. The rule never blocked a single nominee.

Some Democrats say they don’t want to be painted as obstructionists. Get out the paint. The hell with that noise. The treatment of Garland is one of the most boorish, rude, churlish, inconsiderate and raw manipulations ever in the most deliberative body in the country.

Hypocrisy certainly wasn’t born with that decision but it sure nurtured it. The move is so representative on how these snakes operate. The only hope is that somehow, some way, they crawl back into a hole never to hiss again.

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Royals Have Solid Talent to Compete for Championship

These are the best of times. These are the worst of times. Definitely, a tale of two seasons for the Kansas City Royals.

The best? Of course, that’s easy. The Royals have 65 players in spring training at their camp in Surprise, Arizona. Excitement. Lots of it. The worst? Four key players are in their final contract year — Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas.

This season the Royals have a great chance to be contenders as General Manager Dayton Moore shopped the circuit and signed some potentially good pitchers to replace the void created when Yordano Ventura died in a car crash last month while driving a treacherous mountainous road of the Dominican Republic. Next season, well, the unknown creates a tale in itself.

Will any of the four stars be with the Royals after this season?

The Royals definitely need to sign Hosmer and Escobar. I can handle it if Moutakas, a gutty performer who pushes and enthuses the dugout, and Cain, talented but fragile, aren’t back. But Hosmer is the Royals. Fans love him. He digs at first. He’s a part of the community. Escobar, oh, how we would miss is magnificent plays at shortstop.

Sign those two now, this very instant.

According to published reports, Hosmer says he won’t talk about a contract after opening day — no distractions. Scott Boras is his agent and he’s very, very tough. Boras has mentioned that Hosmer is worthy of a 10-year $200 million contract. Really?

He’s loved by Royals fans. He’s coming off a season in which he earned his first All-Star appearance, hitting .266 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs. Boras has told reporters if Hosmer can hit 25 homers in big park Kauffman Stadium, he can hit 35 some place else. He was named All-Star Game MVP last year, and has also won three Gold Gloves in his career.

Baseball analysts say that big of a deal is unlikely, comparing Hosmer to San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt, who signed a six-year $79 million deal.

In several pre-season interview, Hosmer has said he would be willing to stay in Kansas City. He waxed philosophically about how important free agency is to a player. He wants to see what kind of deal he can develop.

Baseball observers also say the Royals aren’t engaged in long-term contract talks with Moustakas or Cain. The indications also are that Escobar is a lower priority due to the Royals’ love of Raul Mondesi as a potential replacement. Geez, he can’t hit a lick. Speed, yes. Fielding, yes. Batting, no.

Escobar has come under criticism for his inconsistent hitting and not handling the routine defensive plays. I want him at shortstop, for sure.

Here’s how the starting lineup probably will be: Salvador Perez, catcher; Hosmer, first base; White Merrifield, second base; Escobar, shortstop; Moustakas, third base; Alex Gordon, left field; Cain, center field; and Jorge Soler, right field.

I will be shocked if Mondesi is on the roster when the Royals break training. He needs seasoning at Omaha.

I like the Soler deal. He came to the Royals in the trade with the Chicago Cubs for reliever Wade Davis. I think Davis may have some lingering injury problems and he certainly would have put a dent in the budget. Okay, Soler’s batting average last season was just .238. But he has power and the Royals need that. Defense? They’re working with him; he’s athletic and possesses good speed for right field.

Paulo Orlando, who hit .302 last season, returns; he can play any outfield position. Manager Ned Yost already has talked about versatility out there, even planning to give Gordon a try in center field.

That’s a lineup that can provide good defense.

A problem. Where will Cheslor Cuthbert and Christian Colon fit in? I think they have solid credentials and why I wouldn’t be concerned to see Moustakas traded away. Analysts denigrate Cuthbert and Colon for deficiencies at second. And they have no real experience in the outfield. But with daily action, they could hone their skills.

Moore added a solid prospect to become the regular designated hitter and maybe some work in the outfield and first base — Brandon Moss. He replaces Kendrys Morales, who socked 30 homers last season; he’s now with the Toronto Bluejays.

As always, many question marks for the spring. But there’s talent.

It was a tragic accident for Ventura. But in baseball life, teams move on. And Moore did a good job making acquisitions.

I am fizzed up about a stringbean. Yeah, Matthew Strahm. the left-hander can bring it and with his height and off-beat delivery, he could provide considerable problems for batters. Yost has discussed Strahm at length, but isn’t sure where he will fit in — starter or long reliever.

Lots of speculation among the pitchers because of injury rehab. However Jason Vargas showed he has the stuff when he pitched late last season after a lengthy rehab.

Lefty Danny Duffy and veteran Ian Kennedy need to have solid seasons or the Royals’ chances to battle for the pennant will take a dive. Jason Hammel, a pick-up from the Cubs, is pegged for the starting rotation. The fourth spot? Pick a card, any card.

Lots of downer talk about the Royals bullpen. Everyone is spoiled after the strong performances over the last few seasons. I’m still with Joakim Soria. Boy, did he take some beatings on and off the field last season. He has a resume and a darn good one. Criticism targets Kelvin Herrera as the closer. The Royals have been so good there but Davis and Greg Holland are gone.

Tall Chris Young has told reporters he has worked hard to get into tip-top shape. He didn’t get it done last season.

Many question marks, like Nate Karns, Mike Minor, Alec Mills and Kyle Zimmer.

Another prospect, lefty Brian Flynn, needs to be a little more careful when he takes on handyman duties. He was working on a barn near McAlester, Oklahoma, and fell through the roof, breaking several ribs. His spring training schedule is unsure.

There are only 25 spots open on the major league roster; that means, of course, 40 cuts.Whew!

Will the Royals be good enough to better last season’s .500 record? Yes, they will. I’m still not Yost’s biggest fan with all his strange batting lineups and squirrelly pitching decisions, but it appears the team has plenty of good talent to get into the thick of the race.

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Rich Man With Rich Tastes Running Up Huge Bill — You Pay

Hypocrisy, oh let me count the ways. You recall how now how President Donald Trump used to chastise then President Barack Obama on the trips he made to Hawaii and other places.

Trump already has spent at least $9 million for his weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago. Obama’s travel costs as president are estimated at $97 million for the eight years — his entire time in office. Based on the last month, Trump’s travel cost as President for just four years is predicted to be hundreds of millions of dollars more. For just this year, he could run up a travel expenditure of $156 million. Think about that as he spews his offensive line of making America great again.

Not only are there costs, but the Secret Service is being spread thinly over numerous assignments.

Trump complained numerous times during Obama’s term about the president’s vacations and weekend trips, accusing Obama of playing fast and loose with taxpayer money. “There’s just so much to be done,” Trump said in November after winning the presidential election. “So I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations, no.”

Yeah, right. In just four weeks, he has spent six days playing golf.

All of Trump’s travels put pressure on the local governments. During his trips to Palm Beach, Florida, local taxpayers are putting up about $60,000 a day for overtime police work. The little things add up: The Secret Service paid more than $12,000 for tents, portable toilets, light towers and golf carts just to make sure they could all do their work for Trump’s Super Bowl weekend trip.

Last weekend, Trump and his entourage jetted for the third straight weekend to a working getaway at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago Club. He still owns the club, despite the perception that he has divested himself of his financial holdings. He’s making money off you and me on the trips to his resort.

In fact, the Trump family is making money off the patriarch’s presidency.

For example, while Trump entertained at his resort, his sons Eric and Don Jr., with their Secret Service details in tow, were nearly 8,000 miles away in the United Arab Emirates, attending the grand opening of a Trump-brand golf resort in the “Beverly Hills of Dubai.” Again, taxpayers are funding Trump trips so the family can make money.

Back on the home front, taxpayers are caught up in the multi-home situation of the Trumps.

New York police will keep watch outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, the chosen home of first lady Melania Trump and son Barron. And the tiny township of Bedminster, New Jersey, is preparing for the daunting prospect that the local Trump golf course will serve as a sort of northern White House for as many as 10 weekends a year.

Barely a month into the Trump presidency, the unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for past presidents.

The Secret Service just may have new outlooks on what they should be doing in hot spots of the world.

Adding to the costs and complications is Trump’s inclination to conduct official business surrounded by crowds of people, such as his decision the other weekend to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a working dinner while Mar-a-Lago members dined nearby.

He’s having fun and making money there. And he suggests he intends to travel to Mar-a-Lago often.

Mar-a-Lago. My, my, my. The managing director says that Trump’s presidency enhances membership at the private Palm Beach club, and that people are now even more interested in joining as a result. Memberships are $200,000. Trump the Chump change.

The New York Times obtained a partial list of members and you shouldn’t be surprised it includes  many wealthy power players from the worlds of real estate, finance and the energy industry; then there are folks like New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. To join, candidates must be introduced by current members.

Let’s repeat. The Winter White House provided a setting for an impromptu meeting, attended by Abe, where a North Korean missile launch was discussed in full view of club members and their dinner guests. Bizarre? Of course. Are security experts in a snit? Of course.

Representative Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, sent letters on Friday to the FBI, the Secret Service and the Department of Labor asking each agency to explain how they were handling security at the club. The letters were signed by 32 House Democrats.

The White House has since stated that they did use a sensitive compartmented information facility on site to review intelligence documents. Security procedures for the review of members, their guests and the club’s employees, however, have not been revealed. Many members sat with guests.

“If it is just a high price of admission and anybody can come in it’s important for us to know who those people are,” Clark told the Huffington Post. “They have unusual proximity to our president and they apparently under this president are going to have close proximity to high security information and potentially classified information.”

The letters to both FBI Director James Comey and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy asked whether their respective agencies were conducting the same background checks of members and their guests that were required of visitors to the White House.

In addition, the letter asked if there were any foreign workers employed at Mar-a-Lago from countries that could pose a counterintelligence risk.

Questions about Mar-a-Lago’s foreign workforce arise from the club’s routine request for foreign worker permits from the Labor Department. In August 2016, the department approved H-2B foreign worker permits for Mar-a-Lago to hire 30 foreign waitresses, 19 foreign cook and 15 foreign housekeepers to work from October 2016 through May 2017.

Didn’t Trump mention something about Americans should fill jobs? Something like that, huh.

Look, this is a rich man used to rich things. But when the costs to taxpayers are so high, then all the hypocritical explanations need to stop and real answers and solutions provided. His extravagance is paid for with real money. Yes, security is important. He continually rages about extreme vetting of immigrants. Yet there is this haphazard vetting at his own club.

Instead of the secret service yelling “get down,” they may holler “Donald Duck.”

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Start With Heaping Spoonful of Sports Then Add a Little Levity

Put another bottle of champagne in the ice bucket. Kansas has won the Big 12 basketball title for the 13th time. Oh, right, it isn’t fact right now. Yeah, the Jayhawks have four more games.

Yeah, well, check ’em out: TCU, Texas and Oklahoma are in the bottom five in the league and d Oklahoma State. TCU, Texas and OU are in the bottom five in the league and  Oklahoma State is at .500. Party on.

The Jayhawks put together another rally to beat Baylor 67-65 Satruday in whacko Waco where Scott Drew has no chance in going up against Coach Bill Self.

Interesting quote Drew provided the media after the game: “We all want a conference championship, but I think everybody on our team definitely would rather have an NCAA Final Four or championship more. So that’s what we’ve got to gear for and get ready for and look forward to that opportunity.” What a smarmy statement. What an excuse for another loss.

Oh, Kansas State won Saturday — blowing a 9-point lead before taking a 64-61 victory at Texas. Big game Wednesday, in a sense. Wildcat fans will get a look at a team coached by Brad Underwood, Oklahoma State. Welcome home, Brad. He played there and coached there. Yes, fans would like to have him as a permanent resident. The heat will be on K-State Coach Bruce Weber.

——

Word sure gets around when a pundit or reporter goes after a coach. I didn’t listen to this particular 810 Sports show moderated by Kevin Keitzman but I was told he campaigned hard against Weber and Athletic Director John Currie.

I certainly won’t argue with him about Weber, but Currie, well, I don’t know. The guy has done a lot of good stuff there.

But there’s a scenario for Keitzman’s push on Currie. Keitzman is buddy-buddy with Jim Colbert and there probably is no non-family member closer to Coach Bill Snyder than Colbert. In other words, Snyder has Colbert’s ear.

Stay with this now; follow the trail. You see, Currie has thrown up a road block against Sean Snyder’s chances to become K-State’s head football coach. Father wants it; son wants it; Currie doesn’t want it.

The knocks on Sean are that he doesn’t have the personality to recruit nor the head coaching experience to lead. Well, if you recall, so many said the same thing about Bill. How did that work out for K-State?

The last time K-State officials went after a new football coach, they came up with Ron Prince. A disaster. A complete, all-the-way crash.

Anyway, from Snyder to Colbert to Keitzman. That’s how these things develop.

——

If K-State needs a replacement for Snyder, the search committee should take a strong look at Jim Leavitt, who played at Missouri. He was a graduate assistant at Iowa, then became an assistant coach at K-State from 1990 to 1995. He was named head coach at South Florida in 1996 before being let go in 2009 because of a discipline incident involving a player. He was linebacker coach at San Francisco from 2011 to 2014. From there, he went to Colorado for a couple of years and is now an assistant at Oregon.

Interestingly, his contract includes a clause that says a buy-out is rescinded if he accepts a job at Kansas State.

Snyder probably will retire after next season — what with his recent battle with throat cancer and his age, 77. Plus, the Cats could be really good and he could go out on a high note.

——

A man was walking down the street when he was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner.

The man took out his wallet, fingered 10  dollars and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?”

“No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless man replied.

“Will you use it to go fishing instead of buying food?” the man asked.

“No, I don’t waste time fishing,” the homeless man said. “I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”

“Will you spend this on hunting stuff instead of food?” the man asked.

“Are you nuts?” replied the homeless man. “I haven’t hunted in 20 years!”

“Well,” said the man, “I’m not going to give you money. Instead, I’m going to take you home for a shower and a terrific dinner cooked by my wife.”

The homeless man was astounded. “Won’t your wife be furious with you for doing that?”

The man replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up drinking, fishing and hunting .”

——

Here’s Sports Illustrated’s quick look at the Chiefs outlook on the NFL draft:

At 34, middle linebacker Derrick Johnson is coming off his second torn Achilles in three years (one on each side). Ramik Wilson got better filling in for Johnson down the stretch, but even if he can assume more of Johnson’s duties (which include taking the running back in man coverage), this position must be addressed.

Despite a large, athletic defensive line, the Chiefs have ranked 22nd or worse against the run in five of the last six years. And with no depth at inside ‘backer, they often have to play dime (six DBs) with a third safety in the box against three-receiver sets.

As the Steelers made clear in their divisional-round win at K.C., this lighter personnel package only exacerbates the Chiefs’ run-stopping woes.

——

All ten of the regents were called into the chancellor’s office, leaving only the school’s athletic director outside.

Finally he was summoned.  He entered the office to find the chancellor and the ten regents seated around a table.  He was invited to join them.  As soon as he sat down, the chancellor turned to the athletic director, looking him squarely in the eye, and with a stern voice, asked, “Have you ever had sex with my secretary?”

“Oh, no sir, positively not!” the A.D. replied. “Are you absolutely sure?” asked the chancellor.  “Honest, I’ve never been close enough to even touch her!”  “You’d swear to that?” “Yes, I swear I’ve never had sex with her anytime, anywhere.”

“Good, then you fire her!”

——

Kim Anderson should be given at least another season as Missouri basketball coach. Period.

It will be tough for him to stay on, however, after all the negatives filling the sports talk shows: He can’t recruit, he can’t keep players on the team, etc.

The guy knows how to win. He has been a winner as a player and a coach.

He led Central Missouri to back-to-back MIAA championships and three appearances in the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2007, 2009 and winning the championship in 2014.

He played at Missouri and coached there under Norm Stewart. Portland selected him in the second round of the 1977 NBA Draft. He played only 21 games for the Trail Blazers.

He also was a court coach for Team USA during the Pan American Games trials.

Look, he drew a bad hand when he took over at Mizzou. Scandal, bad actors and depleted roster. The first two seasons were a bust. This is his first real team and should be measured by it. But probably won’t.

——

It will be difficult bringing in a coach better than Anderson. Mizzou is not a plum job now.

Three successors being bandied about are Kenny Payne, an assistant at Kentucky, Tommy Amaker, head coach at Harvard, and Saul Phillips, head coach at Ohio.

Payne, 50, is considered a terrific recruiter and has sat by John Calipari since 2010. He was an assistant at Oregon from 2004 to 2009.

Analysts say Amaker, 51,  has done wonders at Harvard, reaching four NCAA tournaments — not one other since 1946 before Amaker arrived.

Phillips, 44, led North Dakota State from Division II to Division I before leaving to go to Ohio in 2014. Ohio went 23-12 last season. He played and learned under Coach Bo Ryan.

——

The high school basketball coach got a worried call from his wife that his elderly dad was lost at the shopping center.

The coach left his office and approached a security guard at the center, saying, “”I’ve lost my dad!”

The guard asked, “What’s he like?”

The coach hesitated for a moment and then replied, “Gin and tonic and women with big tits.”

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Mamie Hughes Is a Bridge to Highway 71 Communities

Each time I travel Highway 71 from Interstate 435 to downtown I think back to the time there was no quick way to get from where I lived in the Northeast area to South Central Kansas City or on to Grandview.

Now, zoom, zoom. Well, most of the time you can if you hit the lights just right and don’t run into a rush hour snarl.

Yeah, and they put that damn camera at several intersections along the way — you know, the controversial camera that catches you going through a red light. I seemed to always be going down the hill and the light turned amber. Yeah, lawsuits deemed the camera wasn’t fair and for a while, at least, it isn’t working. But I’m still paranoid about that darn camera.

I also wish the city had enough money to have built more overpasses so the drive would go more quickly and smoothly. Money, money, money.

I’m not a constant user of the highway but I find I’m using it more than I used to — and a lot more than when I first moved back to the area.

As I drove the route, I kept seeing this name on the bridge carrying Meyer Boulevard traffic over Bruce R. Watkins on this section of the highway. I’m sorry, I didn’t know the name Mamie Hughes. Shame on me. Well, I found out by surfing the internet and coming across a KCUR story that honors Mamie Hughes and explains some background the South Midtown Freeway.

As the report went, she marvels at the power of the highway, quoting her: “Sometimes I just like to stand here and look and watch the traffic. Seeing how much goes, and it’s just kind of fun.”

She calls this a bridge for the people. It was part of a compromise decades ago that made the highway possible, to make sure it wouldn’t divide communities, but would connect them, she said in the story.

The 10-mile stretch of road — from the Three Trails Crossing at 435 North to the downtown loop — was once houses and businesses.  According to James R. Shortridge, author of Kansas City and How It Grew, during the 50 years it took to build the highway, more than 10,000 people were relocated.

In 1951, Kansas City officials proposed the South Midtown Freeway, a north-south link to U.S Highway 71 through the heart of the city. The city and Missouri Department of Transportation wanted a way to connect people in Lee’s Summit, Grandview and the Northland to downtown.

One of the proposed destinations was the streetcar tracks along Brookside Boulevard. But the city decided on a more direct and cheaper route, closer to Prospect Avenue and Euclid.

Hughes says people were upset about the route’s location, telling KCUR, “It was the feeling that 71 freeway is going to divide a segregated area.”

The communities along the proposed route — like Ivanhoe, Beacon Hill, and Key Coalition — were home to mostly African-Americans. And a lot of changes were taking place in those neighborhoods in the 50’s and 60’s. Neighborhoods were starting to integrate. There was white flight, block busting. Also, there was a post-war economic boom, suburban development, traffic and sprawl.

As the city and Missouri Department of Transportation started to buy up properties, people didn’t understand why houses had been purchased but were sitting vacant for so long, according to the KCUR report.

Willie Culclager, a retired police officer who has lived in the Ivanhoe neighborhood for over 50 years, said this led to higher crime, disinvestment and confusion about how the roadway would affect the area in the long-term. And, he said, the burden fell unevenly. His quote in the report: “Whenever compromise was made, if a compromise had to be made, most of the time the minorities had to pay the price.”

Concerns over splitting up neighborhoods, plus, questions about potential environmental impacts led to a major lawsuit filed in 1973 that lasted 10 years. The lawsuit didn’t stop the roadway’s construction, but it led to a series of compromises. One, that Highway 71 would be less of a freeway and more of a parkway.

Hughes was hired to be an ombudsman and serve as a community representative. She educated people about their property rights. She says this distinction was very important to residents and her quote in the story: “Some of this roadway, the residents feel that the road is right in their front yard, because it is very close.”

Emanuel Cleaver, who was on the City Council during the lawsuit’s litigation and was mayor during highway’s construction, pushed for beautification plans to put plants and trees along the roadway. Cleaver also renamed the roadway to Bruce R. Watkins Drive, after a local civil rights leader.

Because it wasn’t a freeway, the road would have lower speed limits and perhaps most controversial, the addition of bridges and streetlights.

KCUR‘s story said Hughes took a lot of the heat for that with a quote from her: “These are arteries that are there for the people who live there. They need to be able to go across, back and forth, and those traffic lights control that.”

When Bruce R. Watkins was finally completed in 2001, 50 years after its inception, there were three traffic lights on the roadway, at Gregory Boulevard, 55th Street and 59th Street. These intersections have proven to be some of the most accident-heavy spots on Kansas City’s roadways, according to Steve Porter of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“It’s as safe as we can make it. What is going to make this corridor safer, is going to be the behavior of the people,” Porter said.

KCUR‘s story said, “Some people continue to criticize the lasting impact of the highway’s construction on surrounding neighborhoods. Some people say that there aren’t as many plants or trees as there should be, or that the roadway is too slow or unsafe because of the lights. Still, the Missouri Department of Transportation says the roadway’s use has only increased over the years and it has proven to be a vital connecting piece within Kansas City’s roadways. More than 80,000 cars travel on the road each day, with plans to enhance public transit on the horizon.”

Whatever the socio-economic concerns, one thing is clear: You can get from Point A to Point B a lot faster now than you could when I lived in the Northeast area.

 

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How’s Trump & Co. Working Out for You, Hmmm?

So, you wanted a businessman to run the country. May the ghost of Enron haunt you for your ignorance. Trump & Co., in a very short time, is bankrupt.

There are so many lies coming out of the President’s administration that an assembly line of Pinocchio noses couldn’t stretch far enough.

And the Republicans continue to back his moves.

MSNBC‘s Christopher Matthews said the Hillary Clinton people were thrilled with what is going on, especially the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who would fit neatly among the mendacious gods of myth. Thrilled probably isn’t the right answer, but somewhat fulfilled might. Flynn was fired from his job faster than a sluggard on Apprentice. Before Trump selected him to his post, he led cheers during the campaign against Clinton: Lock her up, lock her up. Flynn really needs to be concerned himself about being locked up after his lies. Meanwhile, his legacy dangles in the wind.

The head liar may be in the toughest spot of all. How has Trump lied, let me count the ways. How do we know he’s telling a lie; of course, every time his lips move. From income tax statements, to hotel dealings, to immigration orders, he has lied, lied, lied.

But let’s focus on a situation where he may be up a creek without a paddle. He lies so much that the media can’t stay up with him. So they need to navigate the stream with more cunning, more incisiveness. They must focus on what did he know and when did he know it.

Flynn resigned, according to the Trump administration, not because he was caught talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in December but because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about it.

What about lying to you and me? Don’t we count? And is Trump trying to cover all this up with more lies?

Many media outlets have reported that Trump knew about Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak at least by late January. That’s when, according to the Washington Post, acting Attorney General Sally Yates brought transcripts of Kislyak’s intercepted calls to the White House, and warned that Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail for lying to Pence.

Trump chose to fire Yates, not Flynn, when she refused to enforce his travel ban.

So why did Trump wait until much later to acknowledge that he’d been warned about Flynn’s talks with Russian leaders?

All the information produces an hypothesis that Trump is orchestrating the behind-the-scenes activity. After all, he has said so many times that nothing happens unless he says so.

Pundits, columnists, reporters and moderators are describing Trump & Co. as an administration unraveling. However, the Republicans, firmly in charge of both houses, are sitting on their hands and quieting their tongues. Hell, they like Trump pushing tax reform and deregulation. It’s the businessman’s way. Cut their taxes, keep the loopholes intact for off-shore accounts, erase the regulations.

The congressional Republicans don’t give a damn about investigating a situation so dire that the country may make the cold war very hot.

In another time, they were hot to trot on the pillory of Hillary.

Surely you remember how House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, went after Clinton in the email episode. He signed off on more than 60 subpoenas to harass and undermine her campaign. Yet, here is a situation where the executive branch is dealing directly, clandestinely and illegally with the Russians and Chaffetz says he’s not interested.

So, with all this, do you really want a businessman to run the government? How foolish of you. You belong in the basket of deplorables.

Oh yeah, sure, many businessmen are tickled with Trump in the Oval Office. Here are unscrupulous insurance agents, irate over the implementation of Obamacare, boning up to retake tests for their licenses. They’re ready to sell junk healthcare insurance again. Yep, monthly payments are low but when sickness or injury strikes, the policy folds like a punctured lung. Coverage is minimal and the patient suffers. Privatization sucks.

It’s business as usual.

Oh the hypocrisy of it all. It makes you throw up in a coffee can or crap in a Pepsi bottle.

Chaotic is too mild for what is happening.

For argument’s sake, what would occur if Trump stepped down, forced to do so or voluntarily. Well then there’s Pence, the subjugated evangelical. You talk about a leader that would take us down an unrighteous path … whew. You may believe he’s a man of God, but his intolerance makes him a robot of ultra conservative puritanical garbage.

Pence is all wrapped up in the time frame of Trump’s what did he know and when did he know it. I mean, it took 18 days for Trump to tell his vice president about the national security advisor talking to the Russians — not about Christmas but about sanctions. How about that! Pence needs to kneel and begin to recite a simple children’s prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

The soul is soiled as he trails businessman/President Donald Trump like a puppy dog.

The flock must realize that this vile man, this so-called President is screwing them over.

Trump & Co. can’t even be straight in explaining the time lapse of when he knew about Flynn’s discussion and telling Pence and the public about it. The White House is spinning stories so fast that they should be concerned one of them will prick a finger on a spindle and face a deep sleep for 100 years.

The spinmeisters claim Flynn’s  conversations with the Russian government broke no laws and that the dismissal was based on eroding trust between the President and Flynn.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the President personally asked his national security adviser to step down; that’s contrary to what senior administration officials said. They insist the President took immediate, decisive action and was “unbelievably decisive” in the matter. But it wasn’t immediate

Oh, he’s a businessman alright. He sticks it to his customers and clients while finding a dodge to do business with the Russians. The Russians, for crying out loud.

Look at this list of businessmen who served as President: Andrew Johnson, tailor; Warren Harding, newspapers; Jimmy Carter, farmer; Calvin Coolidge, banker; Herbert Hoover, mining; and George W. Bush, oil and baseball. Not a crowning group of successes.

Maybe a new slogan would help: Bump Trump the Chump.

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Get Ready to Rumble! Oh, Heck, Make That Ramble

  • Do you start shaving with the razor on the left side of your face?
  • Should the toilet lid be left up or down?
  • Isn’t Kellyanne Conway a sweetheart!
  • If you’re a West Virginia fan and were on the Mountaineers getting five points from Kansas, at least you covered.
  • Wow, was Dick Vitale giving hell to the KU fans who left the game with more than 2:45 left in the game.
  • KU won and Vitale said those who left should have their tickets revoked.
  • If you’re not watching Madam Secretary, you’re missing superb TV fare.
  • Have you ever thought that the diamonds you buy are really overpriced?
  • Do you think the Trump cabinet gives a damn about you and me?
  • How is that the Republican Congress supports Trump & Co. and ignores my needs?
  • After retching at the thought of eating eggplant as a kid, I’ve found several ways to fix it and I love it.
  • How many of you recall shopping at Milgrams on Independence Avenue and Wolfermans on Walnut?
  • Hey, just thought, Bob Huggins missed out on another $25,000 when the Moutaineers blew the late big lead.
  • Yeah, his contract calls for him to get that much for beating KU.
  • He already pocketed that amount by winning a game earlier this season at home.
  • He may get another chance in the Big 12 tournament.
  • You gotta watch SNL.
  • Satire really skewers Trump.
  • His administration can’t stand the onslaught.
  • All the right-wing cartoons pale in comparison to the SNL skits.
  • Are you man enough to wear a bathrobe around the house?
  • Were the high school girls that pretty when you were in school or is the make-up really all that much better?
  • Is that a sexist question?
  • Oh well.
  • Have you ever sat down and figured out just how much restaurants are ripping you off with $10 martinis and $50 filet mignons?
  • Why isn’t Miller Genuine Draft more popular?
  • Have you ever tried Dalwhinnie single malt Scotch?
  • Delightful but too expensive for constant imbibing.
  • A good line when arguing with Republicans about providing providing access to health insurance: I have access to a million dollar home but I don’t have a million dollars.
  • By the way, you can use cheaper vodka when you’re mixing it with tonic.
  • I made my own hot Italian sausage.
  • It’s fun to do and good to eat.
  • Went fishing along the bank at James A. Reed the other morning.
  • Chilly, plus my buddy caught 20 and I caught zero.
  • Never was any good at catching crappie.
  • I’m a bass fisherman, so there.
  • Remember, when you retire, find things to do.
  • And things you like.
  • My golf game is pretty darn good right now.
  • Not bragging, just enjoying.
  • Would Lady Gaga have been porn in your day?
  • Bill Snyder and Michael Douglas have something in common.
  • Oh, Snyder can’t act and Douglas can’t coach.
  • Throat cancer is their tie.
  • Snyder is battling it and says he has a good prognosis; Douglas had stage 4 cancer and says he’s a survivor.
  • Interesting that the father, Bill, tabbed the son, Sean, to run the football show during treatments.
  • Why is that interesting?
  • John Currie has said when Bill retires, Sean will not be a candidate for the head coaching job.
  • I’m still shaking my head over KU’s victory.
  • And wondering how Huggins is taking the loss.
  • Can you understand why 98 percent of Republican congressmen continue to push policies that harm the poor, the disenfranchised and seniors?
  • I can’t.
  • Must be that they are so rich that they can’t understand the plight of those not as well off.
  • Is this Kris Kobach a piece of work or what!
  • If you’re trying to get away from it all, where in the U.S. would you pick?
  • San Diego, Las Vegas, Naples?
  • Almost anywhere you go, the weather or earthquakes seem to be problems.
  • Okay, San Diego.
  • Does Mitch McConnell tape a smirk on his face the moment he gets out of bed?
  • Can you go to sleep on your back or do you have to roll over?
  • Do you recall the last thing you were thinking of before going to sleep?
  • The Royals must do all they can to re-sign Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer.
  • Would you rather pay rent or have a huge house payment?
  • Surely, there must have been a time when there was loyalty at a work place.
  • Not now.
  • Ronnie Reagan’s union busting sure helped speed the domination of management over labor.
  • How can you really do your best work when the worry that an employee purge is just around the corner?
  • Truly, honestly, can you say that you could find a way to spend $42 billion?
  • You know, of course, each of the Koch brothers is worth that much.
  • Trickle-down economics is another way of saying the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
  • Paul Krugman is a smart man and you should pay attention to him.
  • Why do so many vote against their own best interests?
  • You do get, don’t you, the true meaning of the deplorables.
  • They sure helped put Trump into the Oval Office.
  • Let us hope Medicare does not get the axe.
  • Why isn’t there an investigation into Tom Price’s stock purchases?
  • Oh, he’s a piece of work, too.
  • Democrats need to stop fretting over a move to the left.
  • Let’s start focusing on the working man.
  • Do you think Betsy DeVos will help public education?
  • Yeah, right.
  • Google AmWay and you can get an answer.
  • Do you drink iced tea in the dead of winter?
  • Is John Grisham writing anymore?
  • I still think print journalism can flourish and provide a good read.
  • Can an atheist be religious?
  • Have you heard of curcumin?
  • You need to check your computer/TV/telephone/newspaper bill.
  • Did you ever realize you would be spending that much to communicate?
  • Wonder why so many rich people look down at the poor?
  • I think today is a day I’ll have a Tanqueray martini up with a jalapeño-stuffed olive.
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Ja Meine Herr, Miller’s Priggish Persona Reflects Trumpism

I couldn’t help myself. But it was so evident. Stephen Miller, President Trump’s senior advisor, IS Joseph Goebbels.

Hyperbolic? Unfair? Dangerous grounds to compare a current U.S. politician to a Nazi? No, to all three.

Did you see this guy on the Sunday political shows? He was dressed in Fascist black — along with the white shirt and the thin dark plain tie. Goebbels? Ja, meine herr. Look at the high forehead, hear the clipped speech, listen to the authoritarian dicta. It is Goebbels speak, reincarnated.

Others just had to see the resemblance. And they did.

Frightening. His despotic rhetoric goes to the core of how Trump has allowed this autocratic behavior to take place. He’s part of the chaos in the administration. For example, a little more than an hour after Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said the President had full confidence in National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, he resigned.

Their behavior shouldn’t be a surprise. The handling of Trump’s executive order on immigration, for another example, has been messy. Check this transcript of CBS’ Face the Nation moderated by John Dickerson with Miller as a guest:

Dickerson: When I talked to Republicans on the Hill, they wonder, what in the White House — what have you all learned from this experience with the executive order?

Miller: Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is — is — is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before. The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

“Will not be questioned.” That is an incredible claim to executive authority. Taken in the context of his manner before the TV camera, the statement says volumes about the show of power.

Propaganda. The consummate con. Miller and Goebbels know the score. Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts and information in Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes.

Zach Cartwright, writing on the U.S. Uncut website, said that in addition to looking like Goebbels, Miller had long espoused bigoted viewpoints that made him sound similar. In an interview with Univision, Miller’s former high school classmates corroborated claims that Miller was prejudiced against Hispanics. The article said that Miller wrote at age 16: “When I entered Santa Monica High School in ninth grade, I noticed a number of students lacked basic English skills. There are usually very few, if any, Hispanic students in my honors classes, despite the large number of Hispanic students that attend our school.”

Miller seemed to become more right-wing as the years passed — increasingly racist and nationalistic. Cartwright reported that when Miller was a student at Duke University, he befriended right-winger Richard Spencer. He and Spencer collaborated to organize an event for nationalist Peter Brimelow to speak on campus.

The tie to Spencer reveals loads in Miller’s political development. Spencer is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, and Washington Summit Publishers, an independent publishing firm. Spencer has stated that he rejects the description of white supremacist and describes himself as an identitarian, a term formulated during the Civil Rights Era that refers to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. Spencer advocates a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture.

Spencer is among those who created “alt-right,” a term he considers a movement about white identity. He has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and has on several occasions refused to denounce Hitler.

After the election of Trump, Spencer and his organization drew considerable media attention at a National Policy Institute conference. In response to his cry “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the sieg heil.

The salute was given in a spirit of “irony and exuberance,” Spencer said.

Just more fodder for the grist in comparing Miller to Goebbels.

Before gaining the White House post, Miller was the communications director for Senator Jeff Sessions, who’s now the attorney general in Trump’s administration. Miller was press secretary for congressmen Michele Bachmann and John Shadegg.Miller worked on Dave Brat’s successful 2014 House campaign, which unseated Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Miller and Sessions developed what Miller described as “nation-state populism,” a response to globalization and immigration that would strongly influence Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Sunday, February 12, will live as a day of infamy. Well, at least as a day that saw the Sunday show debut of a stiff, snot-nosed, brackish, grating, smart ass martinet.

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Miller’s priggish television persona became full bloom. He gave long-winded, seemingly robotic responses to questions. The New York Times ran a lengthy profile of Miller and labeled him a “far-right gadfly.”

He also answered questions by moderators with awkward off-topic responses. He was chippy with his observations of “lock and loaded” and “asked and answered.”

Contentious. Check this out in one of his answers: “George, it is a fact and you will not deny it that there are massive numbers of non-citizens in this country who are registered to vote. That is a scandal, we should stop the presses and as a country we should be aghast about the fact that you have people that have no right to vote in this country registered to vote canceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country. That’s the story we should be talking about and I am prepared to go on any show, anywhere, anytime and repeat it and say the president of the United States is correct one hundred percent.”

Stephanopoulos responded that Miller had provided zero evidence for the president’s claim that he’d have won the popular vote but for fraud. Miller then went off that Trump will, among other things, protect the country from terrorism, create jobs and fix voter fraud. To which, Stephanopoulos interjected: “You can start by providing evidence to back up your claims.” Game, set, match.

I prefer the Steve Miller Band. You know, maybe Stephen Miller should listen to the first two stanzas of “I Want to Make the World Turn Around”:

I don’t want to live in a world of darkness
I want to live in a world of light
I don’t want to live in a world that’s heartless
I want to live in a world of sight
Well you know, I want to make the world turn around

Living in a world of justice
Living in a world of shame
Living in a world of freedom
Living in a world of pain
Well you know, I want to make the world turn around

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You Get Metro Prep Stars, Body Beautiful and Much More

Lots and lots of good high school basketball talent in the metro area.

Picking a top five would be difficult indeed. Right now, however, I have a good idea on the top four: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6-9, sophomore, and Francesco Badocchi, 6-6, senior, both of Bishop Miege; Jacob Gilyard, 5-9, senior, Barstow; and Darien Jackson, 6-3, senior, Blue Valley Northwest.

So, who would you pick to fill out the five? You could take the third player from Miege and gain a good one. Semaj Ray, 6-2, senior, can penetrate, shoot the trey and guard. But would picking a third player off the Stags be the fair thing to do?

Then there’s Tyler Geiman, 6-1, senior, Blue Valley. What a terrific shooter! He no doubt has the TV video of the season when he hit a half-court shot to send the HyVee game against Grandview into overtime — Grandview eventually won. He’s a leader, a real floor general and, again, he can flat shoot.

Lee’s Summit West has a solid team with Elijah Childs, 6-7 senior, and Christian Bishop, 6-6 junior, but they’re not quite as good as the six mentioned.

——

Robinson-Earl is receiving considerable attention already. North Carolina Coach Roy Williams attended the Coffeyville Tournament. According to published reports, Robinson-Earl’s list of interested schools includes: Kansas, Kansas State, Wake Forest, Creighton, Washington, Oklahoma, and Iowa. In November, he and his mother visited Wake Forest and UNC. He’s also taken trips to Kansas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

Badocchi is from Italy, but several schools in the U.S. are taking a look. Reportedly, Columbia University is really interested. He’s strong, quick and goes to the basketball with force.

Gilyard, who’s putting up phenomenal scoring numbers, has signed a letter of intent at Richmond. He may be small but he’s so darn quick.

Jackson is one terrific high school player. He’s so athletic, with the ability to explode to the basket. However, his jump shot lacks consistency. He too often relies on his athleticism to carry him through the game and that isn’t the way good things happen. According to sources close to Kansas State basketball, the coaches there have backed off Jackson. After they offered him a scholarship, he reportedly said he wanted to hold out for something better. The coaches didn’t take that too kindly and dropped him — at least, for now. Other schools have lowered their interest.

Geiman, because of  his height, isn’t getting many big-time Division I looks. However, Central Arkansas has made an offer.

——

So, how did you spend the first weekend since August that there wasn’t a football game on TV? … Are you getting excited about the Royals? … I think they will be better than many folks are saying. For sure, I believe they will do better than a .500 season like they were last year. … NASCAR better come up with a better plan for racing this year. Boring. And the lack of fans in the stands made a statement. … Instead of all this John Dorsey and Alex Smith speculation, how about some stories on some real events involving the Chiefs.

——

I was wondering who Gary Woodland had as his partner in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am last weekend. From Topeka, Woodland has performed well in the early going, earning $1.1 million in just seven events leading up to Pebble.

Anyway, I Googled his name and found his partner to be Kelly Rohrbach. Who in the hell is HE? Well, friends, HE is a SHE. And she has many attributes, not all of them her golf swing. She’s a super model, including appearances in SI‘s swimsuit issue.

If you enjoy the female body, you need to Google her and you will not be disappointed.

But I got to thinking, Woodland just got married last October. Please, someone let me know how the bride is taking this. Please. Too, I gotta find out how they pick the partners. Did he? Did they? Was it random? How?

Woodland managed to keep his game in gear, shooting 70-73-67-65–275 to earn a tie for fifth and earning $262,800. Obviously, Kelly didn’t distract him too much.

——

Oh what a beautiful golf day it was Saturday. So what did I do? I stayed in to watch college basketball. Dumb. Absolutely, totally, dumb.

Early on, every team I put a little backing on was in the toilet. Ah, but I bounced back. I’ve been told time after time to bet more dogs. I did and the favorites were covering at every turn. That changed, too. Still should have played golf.

——

There was the Kansas State at West Virginia game early in the day. Geez, why do I keep watching a Bruce Weber-coached team? Tell me. His half-court offense sucks, his defense of three-point shooters sucks, his approach to the season sucks.

Here it is halfway through the conference season in the Big 12 and he says on his post-game radio show that the team just needs to get right. Yeah!

They might want to shoot a little better, too. Sure, sure, blame it all on the fact D.J. Johnson did not play because of an ankle injury suffered late in the loss to Kansas last Monday. He had nothing to do with the Cats missing wide-open shots and layups. Sure, West Virginia puts a body on you, but you gotta go hard to the bucket. Teach them how, Coach.

Here the Cats were with 40 opportunities at the free-throw line — and opportunities for more if they hit the front end of one-and-one chances — and miss 13 of them.

After a halftime tie at 34, the Cats faltered and lost 85-66. They shot 35 percent from the field in each half. Bleah!

Jevon Carter told reporters after the game: “Revenge was a factor.” K-State won 79-75 in their earlier meeting in Manhattan. His 19 points and nine rebounds led to the redemption.

West Virginia (20-5, 8-4) was No. 13 coming into the game; Kansas State is now 16-9 with an NCAA bid slowly slipping out of sight. The Cats are at home Wednesday night against Iowa State.

——

Take a look at the K-State box score and you don’t have to wonder about the problems. Guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes went 1 for 11 from the field. Dean Wade, the 6-10 sophomore, had his too often fade into western Kansas; he has trouble against athletic teams; he was 1 for 6 from the field and scored 5 points.

Weber relies on Austin Budke off the bench. He played 17 minutes and scored 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting. Yeah, Austin Budke. What do you expect from a mid-major style of coach!

The Cats had only 6 turnovers in the first half but wound up with 19.

Oh well.

——

Ah, but there came a good one on TV. I was on Texas Tech getting only 4½ points. Why? The Jayhawks have had a rough run in the conference and maybe they might be off their game a little on the road. They took comfortable leads in the first half and I began to question my rationale, but the Red Raiders got with the program after intermission.

Josh Jackson had 31 points and 11 rebounds and made a free throw with 2.8 seconds left to lift then No. 3 Kansas to an 80-79 victory. After KU inbounded the ball with 5.4 seconds left, Jackson was fouled and missed the first free throw before making the game-winner. Inbounding with a second remaining, the Red Raiders managed an off-balance shot that fell short.

Kansas is now 23-3 and 10-2 with a really big game tonight at home against West Virginia.

——

Micah Roberts, writing for VegasInsider, reported that Las Vegas sports books showed a profit with New England’s 34-28 overtime win over Atlanta

When the final tallies arrived last Monday, Nevada sports books had taken more betting money on Super Bowl LI than any other Super Bowl in history. Sports books in the only state where sports betting is legal won $10.9  million of the $138.5 million wagered, but the public once again held their own to close out their epic NFL regular and postseason where they routinely beat the house like never seen before, Roberts wrote.

Sports books enjoy even play because they will take 10 percent from every losing ticket.

New England was a 3-point favorite.

According to Roberts, the sports books take was multi-layered with the bulk of the positive revenues coming from Super Bowl futures being posted and parlay cards. While the action on the game itself was well balanced with action on both sides thanks to furious Falcons action on Sunday, the public got the better of the books with in-progress wagering as the Patriots erased a 25-point deficit.

Roberts quoted Jay Kornegay, Westgate SuperBook vice president:: “We’re a winner today, but it could have been a huge day if Atlanta held on and kept the game under the total (57).”

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