Put Your Money Down on Lots of Sports Action

* Despite heading to a hundred victories this season, the Royals continue to draw criticism: Manager Ned Yost leaves his pitchers in too long; they don’t move runners; they make silly mistakes.

* The Chiefs are 3-0 in the pre-season but questions that would rival a college entrance exam fog a sound analysis of how they will fare in the regular season.

* A couple of former Southwest Conference also-rans, TCU and Baylor, are favored in the Big 12 Conference football race while pundits figure Kansas State and Kansas will have tough seasons.

* Missouri high schools are heading into their third week of competition while Kansas teams will see their first action of the season this weekend.

The expanded sports menu for the Greater Kansas City area now offers blue plate specials, a variety of choices and quantity to satisfy the hunger.

Ah yes, the Royals. Dad-gum if they’re not tough to watch. There they were the other game, giving up just three runs but stranding runners like marooned Spanish mariners from a storm-ravaged galleon. Then they go wild at the plate, engorging themselves like behemoths at a buffet table. Besides all that, good pitching then bad pitching.

The hitters are getting all this praise for most of the season while the starting pitchers dodge thrown rotten tomatoes. Even the bullpen has faced the rat-a-tat of disgruntled detractors.

The Royals starters have a 4.25 ERA while the relievers are at 2.38. Opponents are batting just .245. The Royals at bat? Pretty impressive, .270 overall.

You know, it’s just darn hard to criticize the 81-51 record. Whatever the Royals do, they have that ability to overcome the adversity. Someone is down, someone steps up. Now that’s the quality of a winning team.

Oh, by the way, if anyone in the organization utters the small market problems of the Royals, tell him to stuff it. The team is now worth $900 million and the ticket, concession, retail, parking and combined-TV revenue is bringing in millions — for example, an estimated $1.8 million a home game just on tickets sales.

At first blush, the Chiefs certainly look like contenders for the playoffs. But the schedule is difficult and the questions are numerous. On paper, every phase of the Chiefs appears to have been improved over last season. So why so many questions? It’s the Chiefs, mind you. And things have gone wrong for far too long.

But just look at the linebacking corps and you gotta smile. NFL observers pick Baltimore No. 1 with its linebackers while the Chiefs are No. 2.

As with the Ravens, the Chiefs have four starting linebackers with terrific pass-rushing credentials. One scouting service said there were few better than Justin Houston, the fifth-year veteran who came within half a sack of Michael Strahan’s single-season record with 22 in 2014. That effort led to a six-year, $101 million contract in July. It’s the biggest contract ever given to a linebacker. On the other side, Tamba Hali is coming off his lowest sack total (six) since 2008, but he’s still a good pass rusher and run-stopper when healthy.  Derrick Johnson, who tore his Achilles tendon in the 2014 season opener, returns. He’s a leader, a pass rusher, a run and pass defender. Josh Mauga, who came to the Chiefs from the New York Jets last season, is listed as the starter on the inside but if he should fail, the Chiefs have plenty of others to step in. Dee Ford, in his second year with the Chiefs, is recovering from a rib injury, but he’s expected to get back to action and showcase his terrific speed and wait to replace Hali.

The Chiefs will close out the pre-season tonight at St. Louis and will open regular action September 13 at Houston.

The Big 12 is taking big hits from the national media, some of them from an administrative standpoint and others from the inability to win the big games.

Both national and area reporters are down on Kansas State and Kansas with the Wildcats expected to have trouble reaching the top five and KU possibly not winning a league game.

It’s a case of South Dakota vs. Kansas in the openers for the Wildcats and Jayhawks. On Saturday, the Cats will host South Dakota and KU South Dakota State. For K-State, there are too many questions that need to be answered. Maybe some of them — including the top quarterback and No. 1 running back — will get answers.

The rest of the Big 12 and my picks against the spread in bold: Thursday, Oklahoma State at Central Michigan +23½, $11; TCU at Minnesota +16½, $11; Friday, Baylor at SMU +36, $11; Saturday, Akron at Oklahoma -31½, $11; Georgia Southern at West Virginia -19½, $11 (West Virginia opened a 38-point favorite but was bet down to -19½), Texas at Notre Dame -9½, $22.

Some top inter-conference games are scheduled and I’m going to get on some. The SEC once again is getting all the ballyhoo but some observers believe the Big Ten will put pressure on Bubba and his minions for conference prestige. On Saturday, Alabama will host Wisconsin.

That isn’t the only intriguing battle for the SEC. Many may look at the 2½-point spread that South Carolina has over North Carolina and slobber in anticipation, like they’re sitting in front  of a pulled pork sandwich. That’s a Thursday game. At first, I really liked the Gamecocks but you better check out the stats because the Tar Heels have one terrific offense. Then Saturday, there’s Louisville at Auburn and folks shouldn’t overlook the coaching ability of the Cardinals’ Bobby Petrino.

Now for the betting. Bama giving 12. Oh heck, I’ll take the Badgers for $11. I will pass on South Carolina, but I’ll go with Louisville and the 10½ for $22.

Other national games with my picks in bold: Thursday, Florida International at Central Florida -13, $11; Michigan at Utah -5, $11; Friday, Kent State at Illinois -14½, $11; Washington at Boise State -12, $11; Saturday, Virginia at UCLA -19½, $11; BYU at Nebraska -7, $11; Monday, Ohio State at Virginia Tech +13, $22.

It appears the Missouri side of Greater KC has some really good football prep teams, like Blue Springs South, Staley and Fort Osage. We’ll see how the opening week goes on the Kansas side.

If you can’t have fun with all this going on, you are one sedentary creature.

Does GOP Gain White Man’s Vote Because of Fear or Some Other Rationale?

All along I have believed that white males are flocking to the Republican party because of their fears that they’re losing control of the country to men of color. I’m still staunchly in that mind set but others have pushed competing rationale.

Maybe they have a point.

Jack Donovan, known for his writing on masculinity and for his criticisms of feminism and gay culture, says white men resent the platform of the Democrats that pushes women, gays and the various groups of less-white men who are nostalgically referred to as “minorities.”

The success of Donald Trump in the Republican primary campaign can be attributed to his “white man stand” on the issues. He and several other Republican candidates believe the 14th Amendment should be repealed. The amendment grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Trump produced the term “anchor babies” in pushing the repeal.

White working-class males have been losing ground economically since the end of the post-World War II boom and Barney Frank, a long-time Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts who retired in 2013, thinks white males blame the Democrats as the party of “big government.”

The politics of nullification, steeped in the tradition of southern aristocracy, provides another avenue for white males to resent the federal government and the Democratic agenda.

Whatever the rationale, 64 percent of white men voted for Republicans in the mid-term elections. It’s the widest GOP advantage in this group in data since 1984, according to a report on ABC News.

The Republican electoral coalition now relies on preponderant majorities from the groups most unsettled by demographic and cultural change: older, non-college and rural whites. Fewer of them exist so the Republicans have no guarantee of a national majority. Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Yet, as Trump’s rise shows, many of those voters militantly oppose the policies (like immigration reform) that might help the party expand its coalition.

After Mitt Romney lost decisively in 2012, despite winning a greater share of white voters than Ronald Reagan did in 1980, the Republican National Committee’s official post-election review concluded that the party “will lose future elections” without attracting a larger share of the growing minority vote.

However, Conservative media have spent considerable time ramping up the narrative of poor, put-upon white men who are under attack by women. Or, more specifically, single women. A small sampling: Tucker Carlson of Fox News complained that the country needed “Older White Guy Appreciation Day.” Rush Limbaugh claimed there was an all-out assault on marriage from liberals and suggested that single women needed to be married off so they would stop voting for Democrats.

So, not only men of color but also women are the bane of the white man.

Donovan said recently on the internet that Amanda Marcotte, a blogger who writes on feminism and politics, had written, “White men, as a group, vote Republican because they vote their resentments.”

The Democratic Party has been on the opposite side of issues that working-class white men have cared about for decades, Donovan said, adding, “Working-class white men vote Republican because the Democrats have made it clear that they care about representing the interests of everyone but working-class white men. These guys vote Republican because Republicans actually make an effort to tell them what they want to hear.

“Basically, white men vote Republican because they’re suckers.”

Trump argues that the 14th Amendment does not guarantee citizenship to the estimated 4.5 million children born to undocumented immigrants in the United States.

About half of the GOP field, including Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Ben Carson, have also endorsed ending birthright citizenship. Scott Walker quickly embraced the idea before backpedaling to reject it. Marco Rubio said he would not seek to change the Constitution, but would take unspecified steps to combat those “taking advantage of the 14th Amendment.” Jeb Bush, while also rejecting constitutional change and praising America’s “diversity,” courted Trump’s constituency by adopting his “anchor babies” language.

Frank, the first sitting member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, said during a speech promoting his book “Frank” that prejudice against gays was “on its last legs,” as evidenced by the disasters recently inflicted on politicians in Indiana and Arkansas who tried to play the anti-gay card in the brouhaha over so-called religious freedom protection bills.

Those recent cases reminded Frank of the old analysis point that the only way Republicans, with their royalist economic policies, could be competitive with the national electorate was by appealing to social issues — God, guns and gays, as the saying goes. Among white men, the only subgroups among which Democrats win a majority of the vote are gays and Jews. But Frank rejects that old “three Gs” analysis point, except on the guns part.

He referred to white males losing economic ground, explaining that the reason for the decline was at least partly the result of government domination by the Republican Party and thus the wealthy. He believes this white, male, blue-collar population blames the Democrats for the decline in their fortunes because Democrats are seen as the “party of government,” and those workers blame the party of government for not figuring out some way to help end their long slide from prosperity.

Then there’s the nullification doctrine. It holds that the states, singly or in concert, can defy federal actions by declaring them invalid or simply ignoring them. The plea comes in campaigns to starve government, curtail voter registration, repeal legislation, delegitimize presidents, etc. There is a strong sectionalist bias in these efforts. They flourish in just the places Kevin Phillips, a conservative political advisor, identified as Republican sectional strongholds: Plains and Mountain and mainly Southern. For them, change invites suspicion, especially when it seems invasive, and government is seen as an intrusive force. Yet those same resisters, including Tea Partiers, cherish the entitlements and benefits provided by “big government.” Their objections come when outsider groups ask for consideration, too.

The aggrieved call heard so often today, “to take back America,” reflects this white male belief of returning America to the “better” place it used to be. Today’s conservatives have fully embraced this tradition, enshrining it as their own “lost cause.”

Even with all the theories, I still think white males want to maintain their stature as pillars and leaders of the country. They don’t want America to become a South Africa where white lost control and now non-whites have a big voice in leadership. White males reject the thought that men of color will “boss” them.

Scrutiny of Clintons and Bushes Takes Opposite Routes

Many letters to the editor provide insight and proof that there are reasonable and intelligent people out there.

The bashing of the Clintons is in full force with the presidential election more than a year away. These tirades are remindful of the continual pounding they received when Bill ran for President in 1992. The Republicans assailed them with numerous charges, including the Whitewater real estate episode, and yet Clinton held office for two terms. The allegations became mole hills out of mountains.

The Republicans are at it again, this time focusing on Hillary’s bid for the presidency. They lack sound policies so they pull out false and strawman attacks.

Interestingly, the Bush family has escaped scrutiny in an ongoing basis despite dormant piles of scandalous material.

A recent letter to the Kansas City Star poignantly pointed out the uneven scales of journalistic justice:

“Your Aug. 17 editorial, ‘Clinton courted trouble with emails,’ about Hillary Clinton’s emails may be accurate or valid, but because you and no one else will report with the same persistence and detail about Jeb Bush’s use of personal emails while he was governor of Florida, it smells a little like partisan hack work or something else equally invalid and unworthy of consideration.

“Bush is also running for president. Bush also used a personal email server for state emails and exchanged some information on that server that could be very useful to a terrorist, regarding, among other things, security or lack thereof at power plants in Florida. All this in the days right after 9/11.

“Until you give Bush’s use of personal emails during his time as governor the same scrutiny as Democratic presidential hopeful Clinton’s, I cannot take as serious journalism any discussion of Clinton’s use of a personal email server.

“You can and should do better.”

The Bush family has been the Houdini of political scandal, from George W.’s absences in the national guard to Neil Bush’s savings and loan involvement to Jeb’s default of a $4.56 million loan.

Those stories were short-lived, however, as is the one about Jeb’s emails. Yet, the bashing of Hillary continues unabated.


Give credit to the moneyed propaganda machine put forth by right-wing warriors. Give credit to the Republicans with unfettered access to the media.

Republican defenders were so good in the George W. national guard story that they managed to derail the career of a distinguished television newsman, Dan Rather.

He’s sticking to the story that cost him his job and left a permanent mark on his illustrious career in journalism. He still believes in his 2004 report that George W., thanks to his family’s high-level connections, was given preferable treatment in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War and then ditched his duties entirely.

“We reported a true story,” Rather said on a segment of Good Morning America. “I am not at CBS now because I and my team reported a true story. It was a tough story, a story a lot of people didn’t want to believe and it was subjected to a terrific propaganda barrage to discredit it.”

A story in the Texas Monthly magazine read: “Almost as soon as the broadcast aired, a swarm of right-wing blogs assailed Rather’s documents, claiming their typeface and spacing was inconsistent with any known typewriter of the early seventies. Within days CBS was reeling as Bush allies accused Rather and his longtime producer, Mary Mapes, of using forgeries to tip a presidential election in favor of the Democrats. Twelve days after the story aired, CBS backed down, forced Rather to apologize, and established a special panel to investigate what went wrong. Forty-three days later, Bush was reelected, beating Senator John Kerry by a two-point margin in the pivotal swing state of Ohio. By the time Mapes and three other producers were ousted by CBS, the Bush National Guard story was dead and buried, with Rather’s reputation as the tombstone.”

Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist behind the irreverent Doonesbury comic strip, offered $10,000 to anyone who could show that George W. ever showed up in Alabama to serve his time. To this day, no one has collected the money.

No one has adequately explained the one-year gap in George W.’s national guard service during the height of the Vietnam War.

At the time, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe accused then President George W. of shirking his military duties in 1972, when Bush transferred to an Alabama unit, calling Bush “AWOL,” or “absent without leave,” during that period.

Questions about Bush’s Guard service first surfaced during the 2000 presidential race, when he ran against Vice President Al Gore, a Vietnam veteran. A review of Bush’s military records showed that Bush enjoyed preferential treatment as the son of a then-congressman, when he walked into a Texas Guard unit in Houston two weeks before his 1968 graduation from Yale and was moved to the top of a long waiting list.

It was an era when service in the Guard was a coveted assignment, often associated with efforts to avoid active duty in Vietnam. Bush was accepted for pilot training after having scored only 25 percent on the pilot’s aptitude test, the lowest acceptable grade.

In 2000, the Boston Globe examined a period from May 1972 to May 1973 and found no record that Bush performed any Guard duties, either in Alabama or Houston, although he was still enlisted.

According to military records, Bush had been instructed to report to William Turnipseed, an officer in the Montgomery unit. “Had he reported in, I would have had some recall and I do not,” Turnipseed, a retired brigadier general, told the Globe in 2000. “I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered.”

Bush returned to Houston after the election. His officers at Ellington Air Force Base wrote in May 1973 that Bush could not be given his annual evaluation because he “has not been observed” in Houston between April 1972 and the following May. Ultimately, another officer states in a subsequent document that a report for that one-year period was unavailable for “administrative reasons.”

The records indicate that Bush surfaced at the end of May 1973 and fulfilled point requirements 10 times between May 31 and July 30. In September 1973, Bush requested an early discharge to attend Harvard business school; in October, he received an honorable discharge.

Then there’s the Bush family roles played into the Savings and Loan scandal. Jeb, George H.W. and Neil were implicated in the scandal, which cost American tax payers more than $1.4 trillion.

Between 1981 and 1989, when George H.W. finally announced that there was a savings and loan crisis, the Reagan/Bush administration worked to cover up problems by reducing the number and depth of examinations required of S&Ls as well as attacking political opponents who were sounding early alarms about the industry. This information was kept from the media until after Bush had won the 1988 elections.

Jeb defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at  $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining $4 million-plus.

Neil, the most widely targeted family member in the S&L scandal, became director of Silverado Savings and Loan at the age of 30 in 1985.  Three years later the institution was belly up at a cost of $1.6 billion to tax payers to bail out. Charges surfaced that his father provided cover and protection to keep him out of major trouble.

Shortly after news of Neil’s involvement in the S&L scandal became public, his father announced the Desert Storm campaign in Iraq, which subsequently had the result of making Neil’s name quickly fade from the headlines

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado’s failure and determined that Neil had engaged in numerous “breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest.”

Stories faded quickly, however.

Now, so little media attention to Jeb’s background of trouble but coverage of the attacks on Hillary accelerate.

Complexity of Gas Pricing Provides Questions in Profit-Taking

The vagaries, the pitfalls, the labyrinth of trying to figure out how much a gasoline station makes on a gallon of gas are startling.

I have an hypothesis here. People I know who have been in the business, gas company economists, quotes from gas station owners — all tell me that the margin of profit on a gallon of gas is maybe a nickel to a dime. Do you believe that? I don’t.

I certainly am not a keen student of the commodities market but as I read it, the wholesale price of gasoline is running under a $1.50 a gallon. At most of the QuikTrip stations in the Kansas City area, you’re paying just under $2.50 a gallon.

Why single out QT? Well, I have a theory that the domination of the gas station chain in the area creates control of the market. Illegally? No, no. Not that. But they certainly can set the price. And I believe it is artificially high.

I was in the Sedalia, Missouri, area not long ago, and they were paying a little more than $2.31 a gallon.

Reasons galore for the difference in prices, the gas folks exclaim vociferously. Transport costs, special formulas for Kansas City, sales taxes. On and on.

I’ve heard forever that fuel taxes in Kansas force pump prices up. Well, you can get a gallon of gas across the state line cheaper than you can in Kansas City. Check it out.

QuikTrip, with headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, operates 600 convenience stores, mainly in the central part of the country — almost a hundred of them are in the Kansas City metro area. In the fiscal year ending April 30, 2014, QT had revenue of $11.5 billion and profits listed at $129 million. The company employs 15,000 people.

My economic expertise lies in the theory of buy low and sell high. If you’re buying gasoline at $1.50 a gallon and selling it at $2.50 a gallon, that fits my theory.

Okay, okay. Cost factors. Right. Overhead. Right. Transportation. Right. I get it. But I will argue that the costs will not eat up 90 cents of that dollar margin. We’re not even talking about all the goodies you buy at the convenience store, items that will help defray overheard.

Fine. Say they’re making 50 cents a gallon. Too liberal? I don’t think so. But I’m sure a station accountant would be able to show me where it’s only a dime or so. You know how those accountants can be. But just accept my 50-cent offer. What do you usually get at the pump — 10 gallons, 15, 20? Let’s say 10 gallons. That’s five bucks they’ve made off you. Obviously, I think the average is higher than that. But we’re just speculating here. Say, 250 cars pull in to the station each day for that amount of gas. Here’s the earnings progression: $1,250 a day, $8,750 a week and $464,500 a year. Remember, I’m just counting gasoline, not the beer, sandwiches and soft drinks.

I’m not talking about revenue. Just profits. Well, somewhere a CPA would have to enter the picture. According to the financial statements, the 600 stores produced $129 million in earnings. That would compute to each one making only $250,000 a year in profits.

You see, I would trust my misty figures compared to what those darn corporate accountants would explain.


I think QT is wielding enough clout to control the price of gasoline in Kansas City. And that’s not a good thing.

Now remember, before station owners sell fuel to you, they buy gas on the wholesale market. When the wholesale price of gasoline falls quickly, the difference between the cost of wholesale gasoline (including taxes) and the price at the pump gets wider, boosting profits for stations. The steeper the drop, the better. After all, they are buying on the commodity futures market.

You know how all this is. You read where oil prices soar and immediately, if not sooner, gas stations push the prices up. For what? That was gasoline they purchased some time ago on the futures market, yet they are jacking up the price with the propaganda that they must adjust because of the higher oil prices. When you read about oil prices going down, it’s amazing how slowly the cost at the pump decreases.

Here’s a neat thing about all this. The decrease probably sets the price at several cents above what it was before the increase. And the station owners then tell you all about what a great deal you received with the lower price.

How about the blatant profit-taking of the airlines with the lower cost of jet fuel? Earlier this year, a Washington Post story said: “Super-low gas prices are making drives a lot cheaper and saving airlines millions of dollars in fuel. But if you’re expecting that windfall to drop the cost of a plane ticket, don’t hold your breath.”

Finally, you can exhale. Airlines finally made some cuts as the summer fades, but don’t expect a fares war. Remember, the price of oil is at the lowest level in 6½ years and the industry is saving billions of dollars on fuel, giving airlines leeway to cut fares but still post healthy profits. Airlines have also added larger, more efficient planes to their fleets while packing more seats into existing jets. So, while the number of domestic flights is down slightly over the past 12 months, there are now 3.4 percent more seats for sale. To fill those extra seats, airlines have had to offer discounts.

Forget finding a deal for busy holidays or on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays when business travelers fly.

Of course, the airlines spend a lot on jet fuel; the price has been cut nearly in half over 2014, industry data show. But the typical domestic plane ticket actually became $10 pricier — all those added baggage, early-boarding and other fees climbed even more, according to the Post story earlier this year.

Airlines simply didn’t rush to pass their savings on to travelers. As Delta chief executive Richard H. Anderson said on a call with analysts, “These jet fuel savings are enormous, and we are diligent at maintaining those savings for the bottom line.”

Delta officials said it would save more than $2 billion on fuel this year, though Anderson added the savings would go straight to paying down debt and funneling more cash to company shareholders — not to lowering prices, the Post story said at the time. That’s why you need to be wary about any huge drop in fares.

After all, the American way is out-and-out profit-taking.

Peculiar and Much More About Names of Towns

After returning to my Kansas City area roots, we, of course, had to find some place to reside. We had lived in Las Vegas for 16 years after various other stops throughout the country. I still dearly miss Vegas but we’re back in familiar territory, closer to family and old friends.

My brother had a suggestion where we should move — to Peculiar. Ha, ha. Yeah, he thought it would be the perfect spot for me. Ha, ha.

Well, Charlie Finley wanted to move the A’s to Peculiar. It couldn’t be all that bad. Paul Coffman, the former Kansas State and Green Bay football player, lives there. But no thanks.

Peculiar? It’s a town of 4,600 south of Kansas City off Interstate 49. But what’s with this peculiar stuff?

As an adjective, it means strange, queer, odd; distinctive in nature; belonging to exclusively to some person, group or thing. As a noun, it means a property or privilege belonging exclusively or characteristically to a person.

The word derives from 1400-1450 Middle English — Latin pecūliāris, as one’s own.

So maybe back in 1868 when they named the town, Peculiar wasn’t all that negative.

The town’s website says: A community that is peculiar in name only.  A name which has overshadowed our rich history.  Yet, this peculiar name has somehow set apart persons associated with it, creating a chemistry, within them, which makes them very important to each other.

The discussion about Peculiar got me to thinking about towns in the area.

My son-in-law lives in Topeka and he laughed heartily when we drove down Highway 50 near Lone Jack and Knob Noster. Yeah, there are a couple of names for you.

Lone Jack, laid out in 1841, derives from a single black jack tree that that stood as a local landmark. The town has history. On August 16, 1862, Federal troops were defeated in the Battle of Lone Jack by a much larger Confederate force. The fighting literally occurred on the main street and raged for five hours before the Federals withdrew. The Confederates were unable to hold the town after their victory because of converging Union forces from other commands.

Knob Noster has military significance, too. Nearby Whiteman Air Force Base houses the B-2 Stealth Bombers. Noster is Latin for our and the Knob comes from the hills in the area.

But now that my son-in-law is laughing, Topeka certainly can draw a few grins. After all, Sam Brownback governs there. And he’s a barrel of laughs. The Topeka name? It’s taken from a Kansa-Osage sentence that means “place where you we dug potatoes.” So, ha, ha, yourself.

Speaking about Brownback, how about this neat word game involving a town! Yeah, Liberal. It ain’t Kansas, Toto. I couldn’t find a town named Conservative. Anyway, Liberal, a population now of 20,500, gained its name from the common response to his acts of kindness, “That’s very liberal of you.” Early settler S. S. Rogers built the first house in what would become Liberal in 1872. Rogers became famous in the region for giving water to weary travelers. He reportedly named the town. Drought caused some farmers to give up and look for more fertile territory; however, when the nearby Indian Territory was opened, more settlers headed to the cheap land that would become Oklahoma. Natural gas was discovered west of town, in what would become part of the massive Panhandle-Hugoton Gas Field in 1920. Oil was discovered southwest of town in 1951. In 1963, the largest helium plant in the world, National Helium, was opened.

There is a town in Kansas named Gas.  When natural gas was discovered in Elm Township in the summer of 1898, E.K. Taylor sold 60 acres of his farm to some spelter companies and in October sub-divided the remainder into lots, which was the beginning of Gas City. The Southeast Kansas community grew rapidly, the cheap fuel afforded by the immense supply of natural gas bringing in a number of large manufacturing plants of various kinds. In 1910 the population was 1,281, and the city had a bank, a daily and a weekly newspaper, an opera house, an international money order post office, several good mercantile houses, telegraph and express offices. The boom ended and the population now is 564.

My dad used to use another Kansas town, Tonganoxie, as a point of any sentence that involved ridicule. I didn’t find out until much later that it really was a town west of Kansas City. It was just a funny sounding name to me. Tonganoxie, platted in 1866, is named for a local Delaware Indian chief whose name means “shorty” in the Delaware language. In bygone days, I used to stop along Highway 24 at the Curve Inn. A libation, please, in a tall glass.

In my fishing days, I used to spend a lot of time at Table Rock. Great creek names. Super town names. My favorite in the region was Blue Eye. Word is that the town was named after a blue-eyed postmaster, Elbert Butler. You might ask the question, why didn’t they name the town Butler. But don’t you just love Blue Eye. Now that’s hillbilly.

There’s a town in the Bootheel of Missouri that takes care of all bragging rights. And that’s Braggadocio. I first came across the word in “Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary.” It’s defined as boastful or arrogant behavior. A University of Missouri website had three theories for the name:  One is that the first settler was a man named Bragg who combined his name with that of his wife, Docio, and so named the settlement.  The second theory is similar: a man of this settlement was continually bragging about his wife Docio – about her beauty, wit and merit, so that people mockingly named the place for the man who was always “bragging on Docio.”  The third theory is that the early settlers were such boastful people that this name grew up as descriptive of the settlers. The third is more plausible.

You have to love a town named Tightwad. The town just southeast of Kansas City is tight in population for sure with only 70 inhabitants. The origination of the name? A good guess would be that they had people with a reputation for squeezing a dollar were quite proud of the fact. The bank? Of course, it’s the Tightwad Bank. The Washington Post and Forbes magazine didn’t overlook the news value of such a name.

Now, we come to one of my all-time favorite newspaper stories involving a town, Conception. But first, a little history. Conception is an unincorporated community in eastern Nodaway County 11 miles southeast of Maryville, Missouri. It’s near Conception Junction, named for a railroad junction between the Wabash and Chicago Great Western railroads — both lines are now gone. Conception, home to Conception Abbey, was named for the Catholic dogma of Immaculate Conception.

No, no. The newspaper story I’m going to refer to isn’t about the Immaculate Reception when Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass to John Fuqua with the ball bouncing off the hands of Raiders safety Jack Tatum and, as it fell towards the ground, Steelers fullback Franco Harris scooped it up and ran for a game-winning touchdown.

The story is about the high school basketball team in the 1960s having won a big basketball game in the high school regionals and the town going bananas. The Kansas City Star editors decided to send a reporter there to get all the local color. Well, the reporter was running late and pressing deadline. The story came in and the copy desk feverishly edited it and rushed it to the composing room. Because of the lateness, the editors decided not to pull a page one proof. Too bad.

The Star, known at the time for label headlines, had one on this story. As the night-side editor read the paper fresh off the press, he groaned and threw the paper to the ceiling. As the pages fluttered down, I looked over from the sports desk in wonderment. I quickly found out the reason for his displeasure. In a bold headline across the bottom: Big Night for Conception.

Ah, fun with names.

Specious Babble Sours Political Arena

Obviously, you know that political antics, observations, explanations and pronouncements oftentimes provide illogical and wrong-headed babble.

So many stories emerge that show just how specious those in the political arena can become, like: the mendacious charge against Planned Parenthood, misplacing blame on the rise of ISIS, the lack of sound judgment in railing against the Iranian deal, the attack on the middle class and blaming the victim in sexual harassment.

Much to-do has been made about the Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, claiming that the organization traffics fetal tissues and organs. The videos were so edited to mislead the viewers into believing that Planned Parenthood was selling the fetal tissues when, in reality, they were discussing the costs of shipping and handling.

The mere thought of fetal tissue can confound the complexities of just what is involved. However, those critical of the process should realize these tissues have provided life-saving remedies.

Consider polio — that highly contagious viral illness that causes paralysis? There was a time that the disease wreaked so much havoc on the body, devastating whole communities; parents were afraid to allow their children out of the house.

Jonas Salk and other researchers desperately raced to find a cure. The vaccine was developed through the use of research involving fetal kidney cells.

So, ask the question: Was it barbarian to conduct ethically sound research on donated fetal tissue? Sadly, it turns out some Americans and Congressmen are naïve about polio’s cure being bound up in fetal tissue and fetal organ research.

Keep in mind, other life-saving vaccines were developed through the use of fetal tissue from terminated pregnancies to fight rubella, chicken pox and shingles.

Politicians often rely on revisionist history to make their points. U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno made a point the other day to set the record straight. He said Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was wrong to blame the Obama administration for the current instability in Iraq.

Ahead of his recent official retirement, Odierno, the former highest-ranking officer in Iraq, said, “I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty.”

Bush criticized Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for what he characterized as a premature decision to bring 90,000 troops home: “So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary? And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the President himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.”

Bush has been quick to blame the current situation in Iraq on the Obama administration as a way to deflect questions about the foreign policy record of his brother, former President George W. Bush. Instead, his charges have brought more focus on the inadequacies of his brother’s administration.

The Iran nuclear deal developed by the Obama administration has faced countless negative attacks.

For example, John Bolton, former George W. Bush administration official, called the agreement “a surrender of classic proportions,” and war the only answer.

Interesting. A neo-con Republican came to the same conclusion that Obama has made so often. Yet, fellow Republicans shied away from criticizing Bolton, who said in a New York Times article: The inconvenient truth is that only military action can accomplish what is required.

Bolton is the guy who said in 2002: “The Iraqi people would be unique in history if they didn’t welcome the overthrow of this dictatorial regime.”

The question needs to be raised: Why should we listen to these people again?

The reality is that there is no better Iran deal, and those calling for one never offer a viable plan on how to get there. In fact, the real alternative is war, which would come at tremendous costs.

“After you’ve dropped those bombs on those hardened facilities, what happens next?” former commander of U.S. Central Command General Anthony Zinni (ret.) once questioned. “If you follow this all the way down, eventually I’m putting boots on the ground somewhere. And like I tell my friends, if you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.”

Then there’s the other kind of war. The Republicans seem to be going after the middle class in so many ways: Two paragraphs in an essay by progressive economist Paul Krugman reflects the Republican hard line:

“The issue in question is the future of Social Security, which turned 80 last week. The retirement program is, of course, both extremely popular and a long-term target of conservatives, who want to kill it precisely because its popularity helps legitimize government action in general. As right-wing activist Stephen Moore (now chief economist of the Heritage Foundation) once declared, Social Security is ‘the soft underbelly of the welfare state.’ ‘Jab your spear through that,’ he said, and you can undermine the whole thing.

“You often see political analyses pointing out, rightly, that voting in actual primaries is preceded by an ‘invisible primary’ in which candidates compete for the support of crucial elites. But who are these elites? In the past, it might have been members of the political establishment and other opinion leaders. But what the new attack on Social Security tells us is that the rules have changed. Nowadays, at least on the Republican side, the invisible primary has been reduced to a stark competition for the affections and, of course, the money of a few dozen plutocrats.”

The specter of the sexy lady seducing the unsuspecting male shrouds certain members of the Missouri Legislature.

Yes, the very Legislature where two lawmakers resigned over allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct toward interns. Their colleagues are now trying to figure out how best to continue the intern program, and a top suggestion that has emerged is to mandate a “conservative” dress code to avoid tempting legislators into improper behavior.

Republican State Representative Nick King said in an email to colleagues: “Removing one more distraction will help everyone keep their focus on legislative matters.”

A dress code, huh! Well, Democrats said thinking an intern dress code would solve the culture problem was nothing more than victim-blaming. “We should never infer that the problem — and therefore the remedies — lies with the student interns,” Democrat State Representative Kip Kendrick said.

This hackneyed approach to the problem caught the attention of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). She sent a letter to Kidd, asking him to withdraw the proposal. “Is your recommendation meant to suggest that the ability of adult men and women who have been elected to govern the state of Missouri to control themselves is contingent on the attire of the teenagers and young adults working in their offices?”

Yes, more wrong-headed babble.

A Few Grins, From Nuns to Nags

Two nuns were shopping at a convenience store.  As they passed by the beer cooler, one nun said to the other, “Wouldn’t a nice cool beer or two taste wonderful on a hot summer evening?”

The second nun answered, “Indeed it would, sister, but I would not feel comfortable buying beer, since I am certain it would cause a scene at the checkout stand.”

“I can handle that without a problem” the other nun replied, and she picked up a six-pack and headed for the check-out.

The cashier had a surprised look on his face when the two nuns arrived with a six-pack of beer. The one nun said, “We use beer for washing our hair. Back at our nunnery, we call it catholic shampoo.”

Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter and pulled out a package of pretzel sticks, then placed it in the bag with the beer.  He then looked the nun straight in the eye, smiled and said: “The curlers are on the house.”


A cranky old woman was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store. She gave everyone a hard time, from the store manager to the security guard to the arresting officer who took her away. She complained and criticized everything and everyone throughout the process.

When she appeared in court, the judge asked her what she had stolen from the store. She defiantly replied, “Just a stupid can of peaches.”

The judge then asked why she had done it.

She replied, “I was hungry and forgot to bring any cash to the store.”

The judge asked how many peaches were in the can.

She replied in a nasty tone, “Nine! But why do you care about that?”

The judge answered patiently, “Well, ma’am, because I’m going to give you nine days in jail — one day for each peach.”

As the judge was about to drop his gavel, the woman’s long-suffering husband raised his hand slowly and asked if he might speak.

The judge said, “Yes sir, what do you have to add?”

The husband said meekly, “Your Honor, she also stole a can of peas.”


Jim decided to tie the knot with his long-time girlfriend.

One evening, after the honeymoon, he was cleaning his golf shoes. His wife was standing there watching him. After a long period of silence she finally spoke. “Honey, I’ve been thinking, now that we are married I think it’s time you quit golfing. Maybe you should sell your golf clubs.”

Jim had this horrified look on his face.

She said, “Darling, what’s wrong?”

“There for a minute you were sounding like my ex-wife.”

“Ex-wife!” she screamed, “I didn’t know you were married before!”

“I wasn’t!”


During a physical examination, a doctor asked a retired woman about her physical activity level.

The woman said she spent three days a week, every week in the outdoors. “Well, yesterday afternoon was typical; I took a five-hour walk about seven miles through some pretty rough terrain. I waded along the edge of a lake. I pushed my way through two miles of brambles. I got sand in my shoes and my eyes.  I barely avoided stepping on a snake. I climbed several rocky hills, I went to the bathroom behind some big trees. I ran away from an irate mother bear and then ran away from one angry bull elk. The mental stress of it all left me shattered. At the end of it all I drank a scotch and three glasses of wine.

Amazed by the story, the doctor said, “You must be one hell of an outdoor woman!”

“No,” the woman replied, “I’m just a really, really crappy golfer.”

An elderly man walked into an upscale cocktail lounge. He was very well dressed, hair well groomed, great looking suit, flower in his lapel and smelling slightly of a good after-shave. He presented a very well looked-after image.

Seated at the bar was an elderly really classy looking woman (mid-80s).

The sharp old gentleman walked over and sat next to her. He ordered a drink. He took a sip. He slowly turned to her and said: “So tell me, do I come here often?”


Why old men don’t get hired. Job Interview:

Human Resources Manager: “What is your greatest weakness?”

Old Man : “Honesty.”

Human Resources Manager: “I don’t think honesty is a weakness.”

Old Man : “I don’t really give a shit what you think.”


A young ventriloquist was touring Sweden and one night he was doing a show in a small fishing town. With his dummy on his knee, he started going through  his usual dumb blonde jokes.

Suddenly, a blonde woman in the fourth row stood on her chair and started shouting, “I’ve heard enough of your stupid blonde jokes. What makes you think you can stereotype Swedish blond women that way? What does the color  of a woman’s hair have to do with her worth as a human being? It’s men like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community, and from reaching our full potential as people. Its people like you that make others think that all blondes are
dumb! You and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against not only blondes, but women in general — pathetically all in the name of humor!”

The embarrassed ventriloquist began to apologize, but the blonde yelled: “You stay out of this! I’m talking to that little shit on your lap!”


Wife:  “Where the hell have you been? You said you’d be done with golf by noon!”

Husband: “I’m so sorry, honey, but you probably don’t want to hear the reason.”

Wife: “I want the truth, and I want it now!”

Husband:  “Fine. We finished in under four hours, quick beer in the clubhouse. I hopped in the car, and would have been here at 12 on the button. On the way home, I spotted a girl half our age struggling with a flat tire. I changed it in a jiffy, and next she’s offering me money. Of course I refuse that. Then she tells me she was headed to the bar at the Sheraton and begs me to stop so she can buy me a beer. She’s such a sweetie, I said yes. Before you know it, one beer turned to three or four, and I guess we were looking pretty good to each other. Then she tells me she has a room at the Sheraton less than 50 steps from our table. She suggested we get some privacy while pulling me by the hand. Now I’m in her room — clothes are flying, the talking stopped and we proceeded to have sex in every way imaginable. It must have gone on for hours, because before I know it the clock says 5:30. I jumped up, threw my clothes on, ran to the car, and here I am. There. You wanted the truth. You got it.”

Wife: “Bullshit! You played 36 holes, didn’t you!”

Pillory Hillary Apparently Is All the GOP Has

You would think the Republicans would have learned their lesson after their negative campaign failed against Bill Clinton. Now his wife, Hillary, is running for President and the Republican attack squad is at it again with the Pillory Hillary war chant.

The GOP candidates have such poor policy proposals that they revert to primitive plans of caveman grunts.

Their current attack du jour is that Hillary was criminally negligent in the use of emails while Secretary of State. The Republican ruffians label the situation as a scandal, although no wrong-doing has been proven. Scandal is defined in Merriam-Webster as: an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong; talk about the shocking or immoral things that people have done or are believed to have done.

One of her opponents in the Democratic primary, Bernie Saunders, has said that he would not concern himself with attacking Hillary on the recent details of her email scandal. He explained that criticizing Hillary was becoming a favorite sport of “corporate media,” in lieu of covering what he thought were more important issues.

“The reason this campaign is doing well is because we’re talking about the issues that impact the American people,” Sanders said. “I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I like her, I respect her. I disagree with her on a number of issues.

“The issue I want to be talking about is the collapse of the American middle class. I am not going to get into the game of sitting around and criticizing Hillary Clinton.”

Even a staunch conservative pundit like Cal Thomas believes the Plan A of Republicans to attack-attack-attack Hillary is the wrong way to succeed. He said the strategy could backfire because Hillary would be portrayed as a victim.

James Carville, long-time Clinton supporter and advisor, said recently on CNN that Hillary would be just fine.

Political observers believe most Americans have given Hillary and her husband the benefit of the doubt when the Clintons focused on substance not celebrity. She needs to be fighting for something, not asserting a claim. She should stand for principle not peddle her fame — or her feeling that she deserves it. “It’s my time” talk will not play as well as “It’s time to act” talk.

She has to make the case that her presidency will accomplish something, despite the sniping. Many Americans will tolerate the negatives, if they believe there is something positive to be achieved. But if this campaign is just to add another line to the collective Clinton résumé.

However, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe won’t let up. His Pillory Hillary is constant, strident and severe. And more important, fuzzy.

He falsely claimed that Hillary violated federal regulations through her use of email as Secretary of State. But contrary to Scarborough’s allegation, she complied with the relevant regulations by retaining and preserving her emails and turning them over to the State Department in 2014.

No matter, Joe demands the Justice Department to investigate her for criminal acts.

During an interview on the July 7 edition of CNN’s The Situation room, network Senior Congressional Correspondent Brianna Keilar questioned Hillary about her email usage. When asked about deleting emails, Clinton explained that everything she had done regarding her email practices while Secretary of State “was permitted by law and regulation,” and that “previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing.”

However, Scarborough claimed that Clinton’s explanations were “just not true.” He charged that President Obama had signed regulations on email use while Clinton was still at the State Department. He said that her practices were not permitted and that it was inaccurate for Clinton to site other former secretaries of state in her defense since the policies didn’t exist while they were in office. But in looking over the timelines, Scarborough misses the part that the 2008 protocol memo didn’t address emails. The new regulations came after Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

In a March 13 article, the New York Times explained that while Clinton was at the State Department regulations only required “those messages at some point to be provided to the government,” without requiring them to be preserved in real time.

The law signed in 2014 strengthened oversight of the use of personal email by government officials. It passed after Hillary had left the State Department. Even the new law permits government officials to use personal email, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said during a House speech discussing the bill.

Scarborough has become judge and jury in deciding Hillary is guilty.

He’s just one of many, however, who doesn’t let a few facts stand in the way of a Hillary allegation.

The New Yorker magazine has written of Pillory Hillary: The Republicans, fearful of alienating older voters, have approached the subject of Clinton’s age (67) with caution, but some — particularly the younger candidates — make the point by characterizing Clinton as an artifact of the 20th century. “We’re a new fresh face taking on someone from the past,” Governor Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, who is 47, said, as if Clinton had just popped out of a time capsule bearing a comically large cell phone. The “brick phone,” in fact, is a favorite reference of Marco Rubio, who is 44, and who has said that the Clintons arrived in Washington back when people were lugging those two-pounders around. Never mind that Motorola’s Dyna TAC 8000X is a relic of the Reagan era, not of the 1980s. The implication is that Clinton herself is a relic, and that age determines outlook.

The magazine continued: Savor the irony, if you’re into that sort of thing, that it was Mitt Romney who appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and urged voters to “look at how much money Hillary Clinton has been making.” Romney questioned how Clinton could “sell a populist message when she makes in one hour a multiple of what the average American will make in a year.” Those would be the same Americans who, Romney claimed in 2012, “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” Though Romney is not running for President this time, he is lending a hand by stoking resentment against his own class. Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman, has also found his inner egalitarian, telling a gathering of conservatives in February that “if there’s not a private luxury jet and a quarter-million-dollar speaking fee waiting for her, you can forget” seeing Hillary.

Pillory Hillary will continue to be a Republican war chant. Their campaigns lack viable issues.

Majestic Steakhouse and All That Jazz

It was our Christmas gift to the kids in Topeka. Yeah, Christmas in August. Hey, what’s the rush. We gave them a card that said we would treat them to a night out in Kansas City at the Majestic Steakhouse. Good idea. Finally, we were able to match up the weekend. We decided to stay at the Marriott downtown just to allow for effects of libations.

The bartender there makes a great Manhattan.

Interesting. A place in the Garment District that really is flourishing. The Jazz Club downstairs is great.

The outing brought back memories of a Kansas City so full of great steakhouses. When the Golden Ox closed recently, it seemed to climax an end of an era when KC was known for its stock yards and its steaks. Now it’s all about barbecue and Italian cuisine.

Oh sure, there isn’t a void of locally owned steak places now but really good ones are few in number. There’s the pricey Capital Grille. Good stuff but it is part of a chain. There’s Jess and Jim’s in Martin City. Folks tell me that Gilbert’s is a good steakhouse. The Hereford House isn’t what it used to be. I saw steak on the menu at Jack’s Stack and said, why not, it has a great grill and all the meat there I’ve eaten has been top quality. I tried it and the steak was very good.

We had a great time at the Majestic. The name sure produced memories of the old Majestic Steakhouse at 31st at Holmes. Tudie Lusco, now deceased, owned the restaurant and he had a great clientele, including a lot of ballplayers, like Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. The restaurant was scheduled to be reopened in 1997 under new management but a fire causing $200,000 in damages ended the effort.

There’s history surrounding the  Majestic on Broadway. Fitzpatrick’s Saloon Building houses the restaurant. Back in the old days, the building had plenty of action right at its front door — from the flappers of the jazz era to a garment district second only to New York, from the cowboys of the Wild West to the gangsters of prohibition, from the first rail crossing of the Missouri River to the birth of Kansas City barbecue.

The Majestic website tells a story: Kersey Coates arrived in Kansas City in 1854 and toured the tree-lined area. The town served as a point for steamships to unload supplies for nearby Westport. Investors in Pennsylvania had sent Coates to look after a 100-acre parcel of land they had purchased. The area now makes up much of downtown Kansas City. Disappointed in the mineral contents of the land, they ordered Coates to sell it in parcels to the locals. Instead, Coates bought the land himself and developed what became Kansas City’s first residential neighborhood. He called the area Quality Hill; he built the original Kansas City Board of Trade Building, near 8th and Wyandotte; the Coates Opera House (across the street from The Majestic) and the Coates Hotel at 10th and Broadway. Coates’ most significant contribution to the growth of Kansas City was the work he did with Charles Kearney, Robert Van Horn and others to land the construction of the first railroad bridge across the Missouri River.

In 1911, James A. Fitzpatrick opened a saloon in the Quality Hill neighborhood. With the support of  Jim Pendergast and his brother, Tom, he opened Fitzpatrick’s Saloon in the building that now houses the Majestic. The first floor featured libations while the upper floors housed a notorious brothel, as well as Fitzpatrick’s residence. When Prohibition became the law of the land in 1920, the saloon was moved to the lower floor that now serves the Jazz Club. Due to a favorable relationship with Boss Tom, Fitzpatrick was able to keep a successful speakeasy throughout prohibition. This relationship also led to Boss Tom’s using the top floor of the building as a secondary office for his “business” meetings.

Around the same time that Fitzpatrick entered the saloon business, another local entrepreneur set up shop. Henry Perry moved to Kansas City from Tennessee in 1907. Shortly after, he began selling smoked meat sandwiches to employees on their lunch breaks from an alley cart. Soon he would move his cart to the jazz district. When he died, he left his business to an associate, Charlie Bryant, who would later sell it to his brother, Arthur. Arthur Bryant’s became synonymous with Kansas City BBQ, rivaled only by the shop opened by another of Perry’s employees, Arthur Pinkard, who went on to help George Gates open the Gates and Son’s Barbecue.

Kansas City was beginning to become known as a jazz mecca. Thirsty speakeasy patrons were eager to hear this new modern sound and great jazz performers flocked to Kansas City. The web site story said, with its 4/4 time and blues influencing 12-bar style, Kansas City jazz was influencing the nation. Musicians like Count Basie and Charlie Parker participated in all-night jam sessions.

Fitzpatrick’s Saloon survived prohibition, but could not withstand Kansas City’s changing landscape. Fitzpatrick’s was converted to garment manufacturing. Only New York surpassed KC in production. At one time it was estimated that one in six outer coats and one in seven women’s garments was produced in Kansas City’s Garment district.

As the times changed, Fitzpatrick’s old building fell into disrepair.

Then in 1983, two lifelong friends and Kansas City natives, Frank Sebree II and James B. Nutter Sr. and their wives, Annabelle Nutter, and local antique dealer and restaurateur, Mary Ann Sebree, purchased the building. The two couples recognized the beauty of the historic building hidden beneath the dust and debris and spent two years painstakingly restoring the old building. They polished the exterior copper façade, restored the original molded tin ceiling, shipped in a 1900 40-foot long bar from New Orleans, and acquired an 1880 bar for the Jazz Club. In addition, they commissioned local artist Jack O’Hara to paint an original oil on a canvass mural for the entrance to Fitzpatrick’s called “From Kansas city to… Fame”, which depicts more than a dozen successful people with strong Kansas City ties — including Walt Disney, Basie, Parker and Ernest Hemmingway.

Several restaurants occupied the space after the renovation was complete. However, it was local restaurateur Doug Barnard who recognized that serving up Kansas City steaks as well as live Kansas City jazz was a perfect fit for the old saloon. In 1992, Barnard opened the new Majestic.

The Nutters and the Sebrees were looking to sell the building around 2008. Frank Sebree III and his wife, Jolyn, loved the building and were eager to preserve it, so they bought it. The New Majestic Steakhouse closed its doors in May 2009. Frank and Jolyn then opened The Majestic Restaurant in November of 2009.

While dining, customers can listen to Kansas City jazz nightly with musicians including Bram Wijnands, Rod Fleeman, Tommy Ruskin and Rich Hill

It was a Merry Christmas in August.


NRA Shoots From the Hip in Fear-Mongering

Take a look some time at an NRA promotional letter. Don’t gag. Read it, seriously. You will rail maybe, you will hyper-ventilate maybe, you will laugh hysterically maybe. An NRA letter is a guarantee for strong emotion: You will absorb a paranoia that only the fear-mongering of one Wayne LaPierre can generate.

What hyperbole. What disgust. But ol’ LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association, is an assiduous distributor of Obama bile and gun-toting syrup.

He sees conspiracy behind every anti-gun story.

Here’s a line in a recent letter he sent out: Right now, we’re facing an all-out attack on our Second Amendment freedoms.

An all-out attack. Wow! With great expectation, I sure hope they aren’t gun slingers. Oh, probably not. Maybe some honest folks with a concern about the gun crazy people running around the country.

Hey, ol’ LaPierre is a master of all this fear-mongering. A senator may utter one anti-gun sentence on the legislative floor and LaPierre is cranking out thousands and thousands of letters to raise funds to battle these insidious purveyors of misplaced propaganda. He’s so effective in delivering the jingoistic blabber.

The NRA lobbyists are so artful in dealing with Congress and state legislatures that when the NRA says jump, so many politicians jump. The NRA loyalists have sewn up the political process. You gotta give them credit for that. Too bad, so sad.

The all-out war? LaPierre writes, “Gun bans, gun registration, legislation, court cases, the U.N., global gun ban treaty, Obama’s executive orders, the freedom-hating media elite…the attacks are hitting everywhere, every day.”

How about that, huh. Every day!

Why should the NRA worry? There’s a gun out there for every single person in America — all 350 million of them. Obviously, the anti-gun attacks have all the efficiency of an Italian platoon of tanks with back-up lights.

A survey accompanied the NRA letter. It’s one of those question sheets that I would have liked on an open-book test in class. The first question should be a clue: Do you agree that the Second Amendment guarantees your individual right to own a gun? You talk about a push poll. Oh, and the last question: Will you fight for your freedom by joining the NRA today?

LaPierre wants you to act now. He wrote: By answering this survey now, you’re drawing a line in the sand — making it clear to politicians across America that you’re not going to stand by while extremists trample our individual liberties. And, that we will fight back against any politician who tries to take away our fundamental right to protect our families, friends and homes.

So there. And politicians do note that the NRA will fight back. And so many acquiesce faint-heartedly.

If you want to keep your freedoms, LaPierre wrote, then please join the NRA today; the NRA is the one organization dedicated to defending your right to keep and bear arms at the federal level and in your state’s legislature. Then he added: But the NRA is only as powerful as your personal commitment to freedom. We can’t defend your rights without your help. And the only way for you and me to win this battle is to stand and fight those who continue to make war on the Second Amendment and every freedom we cherish.

Money, money, money.

He wrote how the NRA was fighting:

  • Confirmation of judicial nominees who refuse to affirm Second Amendment guarantees
  • Un-elected bureaucrats who want to use regulations to harass gun stores and ban ammo
  • Elitist, anti-gun billionaires like Michael Bloomberg who hide behind armed bodyguards

To get the job done, LaPierre said he wanted to offer you a special $10 discount off your membership dues. That means you can join for the annual rate of $25. And, gee, more benefits: NRA’s award-winning magazines, action alerts when your freedoms are under attack, free admission to NRA guns shows.

Holy Cracker Jack! If you join today, you will receive a special bonus gift: NRA’s razor-sharp Rosewood Handle Pocketknife. What a deal, huh. A prize in every box.

But, hey, what’s the deal with a knife? I thought this was a gun outfit. Oh well.

Toward the end, LaPierre repeats the plea: Unless you and I stand shoulder-to-shoulder in this winner-take-all fight, it’s only a a matter of time before we lose our guns, our heritage and our freedom.

There you have it. Straight from the lead gun slinger, Wayne LaPierre. As the Earth crumbles, huh.

I wonder, though, where the explanation is on the Second Amendment. It reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I won’t even touch on the well regulated militia debate, but I do wonder about arms/guns. If this is about arms, then why isn’t the NRA pushing freedom to the point where we citizens can buy bazookas, howitzers and ack-ack firepower? They’re all arms, weapons. Better weapons, more defense. It should be the NRA way.

Josh Sager, the Progressive Cynic, wrote, “Even in its perverted form, the Second Amendment is not the perfect defense for gun ownership and is not an impediment for gun control regulation. After all, if the Second Amendment were absolute, imprisoned criminals would have the constitutionally protected right to carry a missile launcher with them while in the prison; using it to hurt people or damage property would be a crime, but carrying it would be a simple exercise of constitutional rights. In this direction, madness and mass killings wait for our society.

“The next time a gun enthusiast proposes that the Second Amendment gives them the absolute right to bear any arms that they wish, pose the previous situation to them and ask them to reconcile their interpretation of the Amendment with realistic laws.”

But never fear, LaPierre is here. Do you really feel safer with the NRA so powerful?