‘Bothsideism’ Gives Just the Opposite of a Fair Story

Oh so many times I have tried to get across how the political reporters have fallen into the he said/she said trap. They are trying to be fair, but their stories lack proportionality. They should state the hypothesis and then dig for the facts to make their points.

Liberal economist and essayist Paul Krugman has come up with another term for the rule of proportionality. He calls the journalism of balanced reporting: bothsideism.

By trying to be fair, the reporter, in reality, gives the wrong impression of what is right.

Krugman wonders how Republican Donald Trump even has a chance to become President. While Trump is running behind in most polls probing the general election, the margin lacks dominance for Hillary Clinton. There’s a good chance he just might win. How, why? Geez.

Krugman wrote, “Part of the answer, I’d argue, is that voters don’t fully appreciate his awfulness. And the reason is that too much of the news media still can’t break with bothsidesism — the almost pathological determination to portray politicians and their programs as being equally good or equally bad, no matter how ludicrous that pretense becomes.”

Trump isn’t the only Republican politician benefitting from the determination to find balance where none exists, Krugman insists. “Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, has a reputation as a policy wonk, committed to fiscal responsibility, that is utterly incomprehensible if you look at the slapdash, fundamentally dishonest policy documents he actually puts out. But the cult of balance requires that someone on the Republican side be portrayed as a serious, honest fiscal expert, so Mr. Ryan gets slotted into that role no matter how much a con man he may be in reality.”

Krugman says you may think that Trump is too much even for the balance cultists to excuse — he lies so much that fact-checkers have a hard time keeping up, he keeps repeating falsehoods even after they’ve been proved wrong and he combines all of this with a general level of thuggishness aimed in part at the press.

“To be fair,’ Krugman wrote, “some reporters and news organizations try to point out Trump statements that are false, frightening, or both. All too often, however, they still try to maintain their treasured balance by devoting equal time — and, as far as readers and viewers can tell, equal or greater passion — to denouncing far less important misstatements from Hillary Clinton. In fact, surveys show that Mrs. Clinton has, overall, received much more negative coverage than her opponent.”

Bothsideism isn’t new, Krugman said, adding that it has always been an evasion of responsibility. But taking the position that “both sides do it” now, in the face of this campaign and this candidate, is an act of mind-boggling irresponsibility, he pointed out.

Jay Rosen, journalism professor at New York University, condemns the prominence of “he said/she said” journalism in the mainstream media. This kind of journalism is driven by a complete distortion of what it means to be an objective journalist. Bad journalists seem to think that if someone is making a claim, you present that claim, then you present an opposing claim, and you’re done. Hey, must be fair, can’t pick sides.

But what if one side is just flat-out crazy and the other is actually making legitimate claims? Shouldn’t the job of true journalists be to ferret out the truth and reveal the crazy arguments as crazy?

In a blog, Rosen said the public must weigh in to the equation. The continued use of he said/she said is actually “reckless behavior that may easily blow up in its face.” Rosen even points out that the BBC is now specifically retraining its reporters to stop inserting “false balance” into stories where there’s an underlying truth and an attempt to distort it.

The Clinton-Trump presidential battle shows a distinct reflection of the false balance aspects of journalism. Trump lies, lies, lies and yet Clinton draws equal coverage in perceived miscreant issues. How can Trump gain 41 percent favorability in polls involving possible voters? Could it be that the false balance gives him a break?

Jill Abramson, a former editor of the New York Times, in an interview with Glenn Thrush of Politico, said Clinton received more scrutiny than other candidates, especially male candidates. Thrush asked her if David Brock, an arch defender of Clinton, had a point when he lashed the Times for giving the Clintons an unfair “level of scrutiny” and she jumped in to agree.

Abramson pointed to the coverage of Clinton’s email case and how so much was skewed against her: “The issue, to me, that’s at the crux is that everything that we know that was classified was classified after the fact, after the emails were sent. And so, why is that a big deal? And the fact that she had this private email is something that, you know, I’ve read widely, a lot of people in the government — Colin Powell, let’s face it, got much bigger speaking fees than Hillary did.”

This hatred of Clinton goes back for many years. They’re even bringing up old Whitewater charges. They bizarrely cling to the notion that she had an affair with Vince Foster, deputy White House counsel under her husband, and then killed him — even with the autopsy stating that he committed suicide.

Why do reporters allow these false stories to remain as cause célèbre fixations?

the problem is that good journalism is difficult to find these days. Cable news has created a diabolical monster and the print media can’t rectify the wrongs.

Fair and balanced stories need proportionality.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a Summer Peek at Kansas, K-State Athletics

Checking in on Kansas State and Kansas athletics.

——

Orlando Sentinel college insider Matt Murschel is ranking all 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country entering the 2016 season — spreading the stories one by one. The other day he picked Kansas State No. 75.

His fact sheet:

  • Coach: Bill Snyder (193-101-1, entering 25th season; 193-101-1 overall)
  • 2015 record: 6-7 overall, 3-7 in Big 12; eighth-place
  • Look back: Kansas State suffered its first losing season since 2008 — the year before Snyder started his second stint as the program’s head coach. A rash of injuries squelched any thoughts of a winning season as the Wildcats managed just six wins — four of those against teams that would wind up with losing records. The three conference wins was Kansas State’s lowest total since 2010.
  • Offensive starters returning: 3
  • Offensive starters lost: 8
  • Defensive starters returning: 6
  • Defensive starters lost: 5
  • Key losses: WR Kody Cook, FB Glenn Gronkowski, OL Luke Hays, OL Matt Kleinsorge, OL Boston Stiverson, OL Cody Whitehair, DT Travis Britz, DE Marquel Bryant, DB Morgan Burns, DB Nate Jackson
  • Top returnees: WR Deante Burton, FB Winston Dimel, QB Jesse Ertz, OL Dalton Risner, TE Dayton Valentine, DB Kendall Adams, DB Dante Barnett, LB Will Davis, DT Will Geary, LB Elijah Lee, LB Charmeachealle Moore, DB Duke Shelley, DB Donnie Starks, DE Jordan Willis

——

Kansas State sophomore center Dalton Risner is one of 57 centers nationally, including seven from the Big 12, to be named to the 2016 spring watch list for the Remington Trophy.

Risner’s first-career mention for the award marks the fifth time in the last seven years a Wildcat has been a candidate for the award that honors the nation’s premier center.

A 13-game starter as a redshirt freshman in 2015, Risner earned first team freshman All-America honors from Campus Insiders and second-team accolades from Athlon and Scout. The Wiggins, Colorado, native  helped K-State rank second nationally in red zone offense (94.5-percent) and 18th in passing yards per completion (14.12) a year ago, while he helped the Wildcats rush for 29 touchdowns, which was just one shy of entering the school’s top-10 list.

——

Kansas State has finished a north end zone construction site at Bill Synder Family football Stadium at a cost of more than $75 million.

That comes after a more than $75 million project on the west side of the stadium. Construction to fill in the northeast corner of the stadium is expected run more than $15 million.

Farmers in western Kansas may not be happy about all the donations they gave for the construction if the football team posts another sub-.500 season as it did last year.

Investors in agricultural commodities will continue to feel the pain of weak prices this year. Ample global supplies, a strong U.S. dollar and weakness in the currencies of other commodity producing and exporting countries are the main factors that will keep prices of corn, wheat and soybeans under pressure. Wheat is running at about $4.75 a bushel, corn $3.65 and soybeans $8.80. In 2012, corn was running at more than $8 a bushel.

——

Neither KU nor Kansas State is fielding balanced men’s athletic programs.

Take a look at the standings last academic year

                                    Kansas     K-State

Cross Country                        7                  6

Indoor Track                          7                   3

Basketball                              1                   8

Golf                                       tie 6             tie 6

Outdoor Track                        2                  5

Baseball                                   9                  8

——

Football at KU? Eh. Just keep in mind the Jayhawk basketball team will tip off its 2016-17 season at the 32nd annual Late Night in the Phog on October 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. It is scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m.

The Jayhawks annually play one of the toughest schedules in the nation and the 2016-17 slate is no exception as 10 of KU’s 12 non-conference opponents advanced to postseason play in 2015-16.

Four of KU’s 2016-17 non-league foes – Indiana, Duke, Kentucky and UNC Asheville – competed in the 2016 NCAA Championship. CBE Hall of Fame Classic opponents UAB, Georgia and George Washington, along with Davidson and Long Beach State, participated in the NIT, and Siena in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). George Washington won the 2016 NIT.

Including the always-rugged Big 12 schedule, Kansas will have 22 games against teams which played in the postseason in 2015-16.

“With this schedule, once again we will rank at the top of the toughest schedules in the nation,” Coach Bill Self said on the KU website. “We’ll get our share of frequent flyer miles right off the bat playing Indiana in Honolulu and Duke in New York City. We’re playing 10 of our 12 non-league games against teams which went to the postseason last year, including four NCAA teams. This schedule, like in the past, will help us prepare for the always tough Big 12 season.”

——

The Miami Heat have announced signing of free agent guard Rodney McGruder, who played four seasons at Kansas State.

The move with the athletic 6-foot-5 shooting guard comes in the wake of the Heat’s loss of starting shooting guard Dwyane Wde to the Chicago Bulls in NBA free agency, with the Heat again flush with salary-cap space.

“Rodney’s tough as they come,” said Heat guard Josh Richardson, who spent time last season as a teammate of McGruder’s in the D-League. “I think he fits the Heat way perfectly. He’s never afraid of a challenge. He plays hard every minutes he’s on the floor and he approaches the game the right way.”‘

McGruder, who went undrafted out of Kansas State in 2013, has had training-camp tryouts with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics, but has yet to appear in an NBA game. He also has had summer-league auditions with the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors.

In the interim he has played in Hungary and the NBA Development League, including the past two seasons with the Heat’s affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

He started with the Heat’s entry at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

“He’s going to do everything that helps the team to win, a very tough-nosed defender, excellent rebounder on the offensive end and defensive end, a fierce competitor,” assistant Heat coach Juwan Howard, who coached the summer league team, told reporters.

In 77 career D-League games, McGruder averaged 13.4 points on 50 percent shooting from the field, including 38 percent on 3-pointers; he averaged 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists.

McGruder, asked by reporters how he could benefit the Heat, said, “Defense and 3-point shooting.”

McGruder is a former AAU teammate of former Heat forward Michael Beasley, who played one season at K-State.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fear and Loathing Become Main Platform Items for Trump

Fear and loathing filled the air after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. It should take several weeks before workers can remove the stench from the nominating arena in Cleveland.

Lots of chants, lots of lies, lots of threats. But so little of substance in what Trump and his Republican cronies can do for you and me.

Trump’s top priority of promises during his hour and 16-minute speech Thursday remained his policy proposal of building a border wall with Mexico. When he came up with other policies, they generally contained just the opposite results. For example, he talked about a large tax cut but then pledged massive investments in “roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow.”

Where does he get the revenue? During his speech or anywhere on the campaign trail, for that matter, did he explain where he would come up with the money. Oh but he did predict that his tax plan would expand the economy so dramatically that it would generate tremendous amounts of new revenue. Just more trickle-down garbage.

His vacuous statements covered crime, the trade deficit and the Islamic State. Crime and violence would “very soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end.” The trade deficit? “We’re going to fix that.” The Islamic State? “We are going to defeat them.”

As many reporters noted, Trump repeated a number of dubious or flat-out false claims: that the United States was admitting Syrian refugees without knowing anything about them; that the U.S. trade negotiators signed agreements thousands of pages long without bothering to read them; that the United States is among the highest-tax countries in the world.

The Democratic answering machine responded quickly to his deceptive speech. For example, John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign, said Trump painted a dark picture of an America in decline, adding, “And his answer ― more fear, more division, more anger, more hate ― was yet another reminder that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be president of the United States.”

Bill Maher spent considerable time on his HBO show trashing Trump. With guests  — California Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, liberal economist and essayist Robert Reich and think tank Demos head Heather McGhee — sitting alongside, Maher was quick to point out the “fact-free” nature of the speech, noting the Republican party has taken its conservative platform “to a whole new level” this election season.

McGhee said, “He’s got this idea that everyone in this country is terrified of one another, is terrified of the world and he’s the only answer. It’s terrifying.”

Reich added, “I honestly have never heard a speech that was as longwinded … as full of fear. This was the most negative acceptance speech I have ever heard. I do think that it’s scary because in many ways it was effective. He is a marketer, he knows how to tap into what people want to hear.”

Maher went on to comment on Trump’s dexterous ability to fiddle with reality, especially when it came to his promise to keep a balanced budget while providing tax breaks to the most affluent Americans and simultaneously funding massive upticks in infrastructure and military spending.

“For a guy who is thought by so many people to be a genius because he’s rich, he seems to know nothing about money,” Maher said.

The panelists went on to note how the entire election had become “a referendum on decency,” while McGhee said Trump was trying to up “the idea of racial resentment.”

Even GOP members looked down upon Trump’s triumph.

Nicole Wallace, communications chief under former President George W. Bush and now an analyst for MSNBC, didn’t mince words after Trump spoke: “The Republican Party that I worked for for two decades died in this room tonight.”

Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator. John McCain, R-Arizona, tweeted her condolences for the GOP: “The party I was part of is dead.”

A group of anti-Trump opponents held a funeral for the Republican Party on Thursday in Washington, staging a mock wake at an Irish bar near Capitol Hill.

Even before Trump accepted the nomination, many had started digging the GOP’s grave. The Los Angeles Times, NBC, Fusion, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone and other media outlets published op-eds saying the party of Lincoln was no more.

Jon Stewart, former Daily Show host, appeared with Steve Colbert on CBS and didn’t waste any time getting back to work, ripping into Fox News for now praising Trump for some of the very same traits they condemned in Barack Obama.

For those conservatives who want to take the country back, he said,  “You feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that: This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no ‘real America.’ You don’t own it. You don’t own patriotism, you don’t own Christianity, you sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military, police and firefighters. Trust me.”

Interestingly, despite touting the first day of the convention as “Make America Safe Again,” the convention speakers stayed clear of any mention of gun control. Instead, they wanted less.

The silence on gun violence was especially striking in light of recent shootings across the country, including those involving police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The GOP actually strengthened its opposition to gun control. Delegates added language to their party platform opposing restrictions on magazine capacity and AR-15 rifles, the most popular type of rifle among gun owners and the weapon of choice in several mass shootings.

Democrats shouldn’t let up on their attacks against Trump because there’s more than the presidency at stake. Republicans are vulnerable in Congressional elections. For example, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is considered the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican seeking re-election this fall, wants to get as far away from his party’s presidential candidate as he can. He announced before the convention opened that he wouldn’t support Trump’s candidacy.

But Tammy Duckworth, his Democratic opponent, wouldn’t let him off the hook. The campaign staff released a 74-second video featuring controversial comments by Trump. “It was already perfectly clear who Donald Trump was when Mark Kirk endorsed him: a demagogue with a penchant for racist and sexist attacks on other Americans,” said Matt McGrath, a spokesman for the campaign. “The question Kirk needs to answer, and which Illinois voters will certainly wonder, is why he ever supported Trump in the first place.”

Maybe the fear of losing will propel Democrats into a powerful display of aggressive campaigning that will take the wave out of Trump’s lies, lies, lies.

However, the Democrats need to get their act together as the National Convention opens today in Philadelphia. Bernie Sanders needs to get his backers in line instead of making threats to disrupt the process. They lost. It’s time to understand that. They have been successful in pushing out the DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Look, Clinton had three million more votes than Sanders in the primary. Get over it and get after Trump.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Can Anyone Even Think of Voting for Donald Trump?

For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would support the candidacy of Republican Donald Trump. Why? Are people nuts? Don’t they pay attention to what he says? Do his words not scare the hell out of you? Isn’t anyone listening to the vitriol?

The demeanor at the Republican Convention bordered on rabble-rousing despotism. The actions, the words of delegates sounded so hateful that you could envision a crowd at an old Ku Klux Klan rally.

They are above mean.

The convention is over and now the Republicans will take their carnival sideshow on the road.

The Secret Service is investigating an advisor for Donald Trump. Al Baldasaro, who serves on Trump’s veterans’ coalition and as a convention delegate, said in a radio interview that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton should be “shot for treason” on a “firing line.” He said she should pay for the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi, in its final report, criticized the State Department for the lack of adequate security at the consulate ahead of the  attack, but did not find that Clinton was personally responsible for making security decisions. The Clinton camp called the report a “partisan sham.”

Asked about Baldasaro’s comments, Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said the agency was “aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation.”

Yeah, he said she should be shot.

The Republicans are big at seeing Democrats dead.

Harry Reid, Senate Democratic minority leader, accused a Republican senator of “praying” for President Obama’s death. The allegations followed remarks by Senator David Perdue, R-Georgia, to a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C.

“We are called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and yes, even our president,” Perdue said. “I think we should pray for Barack Obama. We need to be very specific about how we pray. We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says, ‘Let his days be few, and let another have his office.’”

Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman mused that this was a call to prayer for Obama’s demise – as opposed to the end of his term.

“If Republicans are still wondering why Donald Trump is their nominee, look no further than today’s Faith and Freedom conference where a sitting Republican Senator left the impression he was praying for the death of President Obama and then the Republican leader followed him on stage and did not condemn him,” she said in a statement.

Perdue did not recite the next lines of Psalm 109, which are: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

Of course, there is always Wayne LaPierre, the voice of the National Rifle Association. You can always count on him to spew the venom. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he warned that the NRA would vigorously oppose any legislation that “limits the sale, purchase, or ownership of politicians.”

LaPierre claims to have more than 200 politicians he can count on. He said, “Politicians pose no danger to the public if used correctly. Everyone hears about the bad guys in Congress. Well, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a vote is a good guy with a vote. I’m proud to be the owner of many of those guys.”

LaPierre’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Carol Foyler, a politician-control advocate who has spent the past 12 years lobbying for stricter limits on the sale of politicians.

“Right now, a man like Wayne LaPierre can walk right into Congress and buy any politician he wants,” she said. “There’s no background check, no waiting period. And so hundreds of politicians are falling into the hands of people who are unstable and, quite frankly, dangerous.”

These people continually denigrate opponents, not in usual political banter, but with a sharpness, a dark side of commentary.

Look how Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican candidate for president, frames his words. Hillary’s college thesis was on Saul Alinsky, considered a radical community organizer who died in 1972. Carson veered off script in his convention speech and said, “Let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky. He wrote a book called Rules for Radicals. On the dedication page, it acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom.

“So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model someone who acknowledges Lucifer?

“The secular progressive agenda is antithetical to the principles of the founding of this nation. And if we continue to allow them to take God out of our lives, God will remove himself from us. We will not be blessed, and our nation will go down the tubes. And we will be responsible for that. We don’t want that to happen.”

So, he implies that Clinton sides with Lucifer.

A traitor, NRA dominance, a Lucifer enthusiast. And these are the kind things being said by Republicans.

If execution is taking things too far, sending Clinton to prison is another popular wish at the convention..

The chants of “lock her up!” echoed through Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night when Michael Flynn, a retired lieutenant general advising Mr. Trump, ripped into Clinton for her “careless” use of a private email server as secretary of state.

“Lock her up,” he said, rousing the crowd. “You’re damn right. There’s nothing wrong with that. Lock her up!”

The Democratic National Committee and Hillary for America held press conferences in Cleveland every morning during the convention.

“There’s just too much at stake,” DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. “There’s too much at stake to step back and let the American people hear the nastiness and venom that’s being spewed from that podium….When you have a rash of lies being thrown out repeatedly night after night, it would be irresponsible of us to let that go unchallenged.”

It’s amazing what is being said by the Republicans. The sad thing is that many in the media are letting those lies go by without skewering them.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Look at the Country’s Economy From Several Angles

Basehor has the highest median household income of towns in Kansas while Des Peres is tops in Missouri.

Basehor

Median household income: $87,381

Poverty rate: 3 percent

Population: 4,831

Des Peres

Median household income: $116,173

Poverty rate: 2.7 percent

Population: 8,443

——

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down abortion restrictions in Texas that would have forced most clinics in the state to close, judges are likely to block similar laws in seven other states, including Kansas.

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin and Kansas have laws being challenged in courts that require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the Texas version of that law is unconstitutional because the requirement is medically unnecessary and “places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion.”

Missouri and three others states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia — have clinic regulations similar to the ones struck down in Texas, although those states haven’t yet been challenged in court. Missouri, North Dakota and Utah also have admitting privileges-requirements that wouldn’t likely withstand a future legal challenge.

——

A new study by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute finds stark differences among states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act and those — like Kansas and Missouri — that haven’t.

Researchers conducted interviews with leaders of major hospital systems and federally qualified health centers in seven states. Three of the states had not expanded Medicaid (Missouri, Tennessee and Utah), while the other four (Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky and Nevada) had. The goal was to see the effect on the health care delivery system in each state.

Since a 2012 Supreme Court ruling made Medicaid expansion optional for states, 19 have opted not to expand eligibility.

Expansion would extend health coverage to an estimated 150,000 Kansans who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is annual income of $16,242 for an individual and $33,465 for a family of four. In Missouri, 452,000 more people would be covered if Medicaid were expanded.

Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas legislative leaders remain opposed to Medicaid expansion, as does the Republican-majority Missouri legislature.

Jack Hoadley, one of the Georgetown researchers, said that hospitals and clinics in expansion states had far fewer patients who couldn’t pay for their care, meaning the facilities were much stronger financially.

The additional financial resources led to better relationships with other health providers and better coordination of health care services, he said, and health systems in expansion states were more likely to have the resources needed to integrate behavioral health care with primary care.

It’s gloom and doom with many small and rural hospital administrators in Missouri and Kansas.

——

On a business trip in southeast Kansas, a family friend kept seeing signs for Paradise Adventures, a venue for shooting guns. She came across this sign just north of Altoona: God, Guns, Guts, We’ve Got ’em and We Plan to Keep ’em.

Wonder if this place has right-wing written all over it?

——

Here’s an opening statement in a newsletter for Pathfinder Health Innovations:

 “I can’t, in good conscience, continue to give our tax money to a government that actively works against the needs of its citizens; a state that is systematically targeting the citizens in most need, denying them critical care and reducing their cost of life as if they’re simply a tax burden that should be ignored.” – Jeff Blackwood, CEO of Pathfinder Health Innovations

He went on to say, “As of July, I have decided that Pathfinder Health Innovations will be moving our corporate office from Kansas to Missouri.”

While lack of current space and Missouri’s tax incentives played minor roles, he said, the most important reason is a motivation of conscience — not so much moving the company to Missouri as moving it away from Kansas.

He noted that he was speaking from a personal viewpoint: “In recent years, Kansas has become a battleground for conservative ideals. Traditionally, Kansas was a moderate state, with the governorship switching every other election between Democratic and Republican governors. But the election of hyper-conservative Sam Brownback as governor heralded a new age of far right wing ideology.

“It wasn’t just that Brownback was conservative; it was that he is seen as a tool of the Koch brothers and ALEC, a conservative think tank and lobbying organization. Brownback used his influence and funding to eliminate ‘moderate’ republicans from the Kansas legislature and install his hand-picked conservative cronies.  He couldn’t do the same with the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled a number of the conservative legislature’s laws as unconstitutional, so Brownback’s administration decided to threaten to cut off funding to the court system and is actively pursuing legislation to impeach the Supreme Court.”

Kansas has become a test center of “trickle down” economics, Blackwood said, adding that nowhere has there been as thorough an implementation of supply-side recommendations and nowhere has there been as dramatic a failure of government.

“The worst part is that the burdens for the shortfalls rest on the shoulders of those who can least afford it – children and the developmentally disabled,” Blackwood said.

At the beginning of 2016, more than 17,000 Medicaid applications were waiting for approval, 8,000 of which were well beyond the federally mandated 45-day threshold for processing. Pregnant women, who would have received services by default under the previous Medicaid plan in Kansas, were now waiting 4-plus months for services, often exceeding the term of their pregnancy by the time services were authorized.

Blackwood said, “The state’s public education system, once considered one of the best in the nation, hasn’t been spared, either. You’ll hear claims from Kansas officials that funding to education is at an all time high, but it’s just an accounting trick – they chose to shuffle money for special education and retirement funds through the schools so it could appear as an increase on the books. Salary freezes, underfunding to the point of being ruled unconstitutional, laws allowing teachers to be imprisoned for introducing potentially ‘offensive’ content, cuts and delays in $100 million in payments to the state-run retirement fund, and legislation specifically targeted to cripple the Kansas teacher’s union are all part of an ongoing effort to undermine the public education system in Kansas.”

Blackwood believes Brownback’s administration is going exactly to plan – starve the state of resources to the point where it just makes sense to turn over critical government functions to for-profit entities.

——

Whether you have enough money saved for retirement is a question on the minds of many soon-to-be retirees. A GOBankingRates survey found that 28 percent of baby boomers and seniors (aged 55 and over) don’t have any retirement savings, and 17.3 percent have less than $10,000. Depending on where you retire, however, you could maximize how far your retirement income can go and possibly even retire rich. The survey covered all 50 states.

Kansas ranked No. 32 and Missouri No. 35.

Missouri Averages:

  • Social Security benefits, $1,300
  • Health insurance premiums, $287
  • Medicare spending per capita, $8,844
  • Savings interest rate, 0.259 percent
  • Two-year CD interest rate, 0.638 percent
  • Home listing price, $185,533

Kansas Averages:

  • Social Security benefits, $1,355
  • Health insurance premium, $248
  • Medicare spending per capita, $8,657
  • Savings interest rate, 0.315 percent
  • Two-year CD interest rate, 0.672 percent
  • Home listing price, $160,639

The top five states are: 1. Delaware, 2. Michigan, 3. Indiana, 4. Maryland, 5. Florida.

Posted in Economy, Health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pillory of Hillary Costing Taxpayers Millions of Dollars

The email saga continues. If supporters of Hillary Clinton thought eight Congressional hearings at a cost of more than $21 million was enough, you’re wrong. The witch hunt continues.

The Republican chairmen of two U.S. House of Representatives committees have asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation into whether Clinton committed perjury during testimony to Congress about her use of a private email server.

“The evidence collected by the FBI during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony” to Congress, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said in a letter to U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips requesting the probe.

After a year-long investigation of Clinton’s emails, the FBI recommended that no criminal charges be brought against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for the November 8 election. That recommendation was accepted by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Representative Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform panel, accused Republicans of a political vendetta following years of Republican-led investigations of Clinton in the House.

“Republicans are now squandering even more taxpayer dollars in a desperate attempt to keep this issue alive and bring down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers ahead of the election,” Cummings said.

Clinton has said that she did not believe she was handling classified information on the private email system.

The right-wingers are continuing the full-court press.

CNSNews.com, the “news” division of the ultra conservative Media Research Center, marshaled its staff to crank out nine articles soon after the FBI recommended on July 5 that no charges be filed against Clinton over her private email server. Three of the articles neglected to mention that Clinton would not be charged.

Two days later, when FBI Director James Comey testified before a congressional committee, CNS generated seven more articles. All seven were based on either Comey’s testimony or questions asked by Republican committee members. No article even mentioned there are Democratic members of Congress at the hearing, let alone quote any of the questions they asked. CNS also failed to mention how Comey debunked several right-wing talking points about Clinton’s emails.

In declining to seek prosecution of Clinton, Comey said her handling of classified emails was “extremely careless” — conduct, legal experts said, that falls short of “gross negligence,” a standard for criminal charges under the Espionage Act.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said in a news conference detailing the FBI investigation and his decision.

Several legal experts agreed with Comey’s conclusion that there was no recent precedent for bringing such a case without evidence of willful intent or gross negligence, and they said it would have been difficult to convince a jury to convict Clinton based on the evidence.

“Extreme carelessness doesn’t necessarily translate into gross negligence,” Laurie Levenson, a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and former federal prosecutor, said in a story by Reuters. “The only times I have seen these statutes used has been situations in which people knew they were disclosing classified, confidential information, or they could show they didn’t really care.”

Comey said investigators determined that Clinton exchanged 110 emails that contained government secrets and that she and her staff should have known the information was classified. While there were 110 emails, they contained only three of the originals because they were sent back and forth among state department personnel.

At the hearing, Comey conceded that the three emails he referred to were not, in fact, properly marked as classified. Spy movies show “Classified” stamped on the front of the documents. The state  department emails did not have that and the three markings, in fact, were little c’s inserted into the body of the documents.

Unlike other cases prosecuted under the Espionage Act, the FBI has not suggested that Clinton intentionally shared government secrets with people not authorized to see them.

Previous cases charged under the Espionage Act have shown intent, experts said.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell said in the Reuters story that Comey’s decision was “completely consistent” with every case brought for leaking classified government information.

Defendants in other cases include Stephen Kim, Lowell’s client who pleaded guilty to leaking State Department documents to the press, as well as former CIA Director General David Petraeus. He admitted to keeping classified information, which he would also share with his biographer, in his home, while telling the government he had returned all such information.

“The one common denominator of all such cases is that the individual involved intentionally sent material to those not authorized to receive it, like the press, like a foreign government,” Lowell said.

Republican presumptive candidate Donald Trump reacted to the news from his Twitter account, saying, “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less.”

In that case, the FBI recommended a felony charge. But Attorney General Eric Holder pursued a misdemeanor under another part of the law, and Petraeus pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to two years probation in 2015.

The FBI had recordings of Petraeus acknowledging the information in notebooks in his home was highly classified. Petraeus also admitted to lying to the FBI about sharing the information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover.

Democratic Party spokesman Brian Fallon pointed out in a statement after the FBI ruling, “As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again. We are glad this matter is now resolved.”

Clinton has long said she was confident no charges would be filed and has sought to put the matter behind her.

However, the Pillory of Hillary is front and center among the Republican attack dogs.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Noting Sports, From College Football Stars to NASCAR Wane

Sports Illustrated has picked its Top 100 college football players. No Kansas State or Kansas football players made the Top 100.

SI did pick nine from the Big 12 Conference:

  • Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  • Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
  • James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
  • Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
  • Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
  • KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
  • Shock Lindwood, RB, Baylor
  • Patrick Mahones, QB, Texas Tech
  • Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Top Five:

  • Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
  • Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
  • Christian McCafferey, RB, Stanford
  • Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
  • Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan

If McCafferey isn’t the best college player in the country then the other guys are phenomenal.

SI said of its No. 1 pick: “In terms of pure dominance, no player matches the brute force of Leonard Fournette. As a sophomore in 2015 Fournette led the FBS in rushing yards per game (162.8) and finished third in total rushing yards with 1,953. That total, as well as Fournette’s 22 rushing touchdowns, both set LSU single-season records. Oh, and the 6-1, 230-pound brick wall bounced off defenders for a startling 6.5 yards per carry. In two years Fournette is already fourth on the Tigers’ career rushing chart (2,987 yards), and he’ll enter 2016 as a preseason first-team All-America certainty. If starting a college football team from scratch, one would be remiss to not pick Fournette with the first-overall selection. ”

Besides the turmoil, Baylor now must face season with the possibility Cannon may miss part of the season. He tweeted, however, that he expects to be ready for the season after undergoing what was described as a minor procedure to repair a damaged meniscus.

——

You had to love what happened in the All-Star game when Salvador Perez slammed a home run off Johnny Cueto. You may recall, Cueto, back last season when he was a pitcher for the Royals, fretted over the way Perez was setting up behind the plate.

Wonder how Cueto feels now with the way Perez set up in the batter’s box!

Last season during a 10-game road trip Cueto told Royals manager Ned Yost that he felt uncomfortable with the positioning of Perez and suggested a series of technical adjustments for Perez behind the plate. The result in Cueto’s next outing was the precise opposite of his five starts before that Friday, when he posted a 9.57 ERA.

Part of his trouble, Cueto explained to the team, was he tried to throw exactly toward the catcher’s glove. Perez often set the target high in the zone, intending to lower his mitt with the pitch. But the optics challenged Cueto, which may have led to him spinning a series of cutters and change-ups at the waist of opposing hitters.

Cueto suggested that Perez should lower the position of the glove. He wanted Perez to back up off the plate. And he wanted Perez to set up later than normal. When there were no men on base in a subsequent game, Perez often crouched on one knee, lowering his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame to meet Cueto’s preferences.

Why didn’t Cueto speak up sooner? The answer speaks to both his personality and the difficulty of transitioning to a new team in the middle of the season. Cueto opted to defer to Perez, rather than challenge a player he respected.

“He understood that Salvy’s a three-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glover,” Yost said. “He’s not going to come in and tell him what to do.”

Cueto and Perez maintained a dialogue, but the lack of chemistry between the two felt palpable to rival scouts.

The positioning placed extra strain on Perez. But he appreciated the results so much that the next night, working with Edinson Volquez, Perez lowered his target again.

Royals coach Pedro Grifol said, “Our catchers have to make adjustments and fulfill the needs of each particular pitcher. And if that’s what it is, and that’s what he wants, that’s what we’ve got to give him.”

Cueto has performed well in the National League, pushing some baseball wags to say: “He’s just an NL pitcher.”

——

While Perez’s home run swing proved the game winner for the American League All-Stars, Eric Hosmer’s rocket single off Jose Fernandez in the third inning put him in position to win MVP.

It wasn’t lost on his teammates. Miguel Cabrera, the two-time MVP with Detroit, went up to Yost and told him he didn’t want to come into the game until after Hosmer’s third at-bat because it might seal the MVP award. Even though Hosmer grounded out to start the sixth inning, it didn’t lessen Cabrera’s gesture.

“He was already one of my favorite guys in the league,” Hosmer told reporters. “When he does something like that – listen, I know he’s the best first baseman in the game. I know he’s the best player in the game. And there was no bitterness as far as not being the starter. For him to do that says a lot about his character and really stands out to me.”

——

A links course can be so foreboding. With the weather so harsh, can it really be that enjoyable to play a round in Scotland or Ireland?

Oh so many devout golfers believe so.

Troon just hosted the Open, won in thrilling fashion by Henrik Stenson. He shot 63 in the final round in a compelling duel with Phil Mickelson as both dropped clutch putt after clutch putt. He won by three shots. Mickelson was 11 shots ahead of the third-place finisher, to show how the two put on a fierce show.

The Old Course, founded in 1878, represents a stern golfing examination and in particular the inward half of Royal Troon is widely accepted as the most demanding of any course on the Championship rotation. With all the rough, all the weather, the big boys must play the tips at 7,202 yards.

Oh, they have various tees for the tourists. Well-heeled tourists, you might say. Depending on the dates you would want to play, the green fees vary. During the optimum summer play, the costs could run you $290 a round.

——

What’s with NASCAR? If you took a peek at the race Sunday in New Hampshire you no doubt saw the paltry crowd. It is becoming a trend.

Not only is attendance down throughout but also the TV ratings are taking a hit.

Why the downturn? Many reasons. The cost of travel to the venues, the lack of car-to-car duels during the race, fewer marquee names, competition with other sports.

Now, they are searching for a signature promoter with Sprint in its last year of sponsorship.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Carnival Barker Would Fit Right In With Republican Convention

The carnival barkers of old would love this show. Come one, come all, see the bearded lady, witness the human unicorn, marvel at the lion-faced man, everybody’s a winner, just knock down the milk bottles, bust the balloon and you win the kewpie doll. One thin dime and the Hootchie Kootchie girls will perform before your very eyes.  Clear the streets of Cleveland because the carnival is in full swing.

The Republican Convention is scheduled to open this afternoon after haphazard planning sessions and various and sundry lists of speakers found their places.

Tom Cotton, the warmongering  senator from Arkansas, is expected to speak tonight. Politicos say he’s positioning himself for a run at the presidency in 2020. His jingoism should fit right in with most of the right-wing nuts. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Confirmed speakers throughout the week include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is a delegate; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Trump’s vanquished primary rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; Dr. Ben Carson, also a former rival; and three more of the 16 GOP candidates who lost to Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he planned to address  the convention about “how we ought to unite around our common principles.” Ryan has continued to speak out on areas of disagreement with Trump despite endorsing him after months of speculation.

Christie, once Trump’s adversary on the campaign trail, will lead Trump’s White House transition team. Christie gave the keynote address at the 2012 convention, developing the phrase “make America great again.”

Ah yes, Giuliani. He’s the guy who said, “It wouldn’t quite be fair to say September 11, like, made my career.”

He also said at a fundraiser in New York for Walker: “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

Yes, he’s saying that of the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Maybe it’s simply his innate feelings about blacks. During an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation that blacks themselves, not police officers, present the greatest threat to the African-American community. “The real danger to them — 99 out of 100 times — is other black kids who are going to kill them,” he said, citing a statistic he has been told was incorrect.

He also said on CBS that the activist movement, aimed at preventing violence toward the African-American community, exacerbated racial tensions by putting a target on the backs of police officers.

His comments came in the aftermath of the shooting of Dallas police officers, in which gunman Micah Johnson targeted officers patrolling a non-violent Black Lives Matter march against the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of law enforcement.

Do you get the tone of the type of speakers that will grace the convention!

Non-politicians include: PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, retired astronaut Eileen Collins, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White, pro golfer Natalie Gulbis, Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin and former underwear model Antonio Sabàto Jr. David Clarke, a Wisconsin sheriff and Black Lives Matter critic, is part of the program. So are religious leader Jerry Falwell Jr., pastor Mark Burns, real estate investor Tom Barrack and Kerry Woolard, who is the general manager of Trump Winery in Virginia.

Many prominent Republicans, including two of the party’s most recent nominees, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain, won’t be in attendance.

Of course, the undynamic duo will be there. The convention is expected to nominate Donald Trump as the Republican presidential candidate. And he has chosen Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. Of course the veep choice broke Christie’s heart and, according to sources close to Trump, really ticked him off.

Yep, Mike Pence, Mr. Tea Party, replete with all the false premises and evangelical fervor.

During his tenure as a U.S. Representative for Indiana, he refused to accept evolution as a true scientific fact, implying that he instead subscribed to creationism.

That’s the Tea Party way. The group’s supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues. They draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California, said in a blog that Trump picked a man who built his career on his attacks on women, on seniors, on children, on immigrants, on the LGBT community, on working families and on the environment.

She listed many reasons why the Indiana governor would be bad for the country. Among them were:

  • The architect of the GOP’s strategy to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood and deny lifesaving health care to millions of women and their families.
  • He “longs for the day thatRoe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history” and signed legislation making Indiana one of the most anti-choice states in the country.
  • He would put seniors in jeopardy with a risky, Wall Street-backed scheme to privatize Social Security.

Pence certainly gives the ticket a ultra conservative bent. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “Pence puts Trump’s most extreme promises into practice. Trump promised to punish women who sought abortions.”

Liz Schuller of the AFL-CIO has said that despite Trump’s claims that he was a friend of working-class voters, “with Pence, we can see Trump’s true colors. Trump [and Pence] both think our wages are too high, and they both support [union-busting] right-to-work” laws.

Oh the carnival barkers would love to hype this event. The barkers might wonder about their lives, too.

Cleveland officials have said they will uphold the right of protesters at the Convention to carry firearms even as they expressed opposition to the state’s open carry laws.

Oath Keepers said they would appear at the Convention armed. The chairman of the New Black Panther Party said his group might carry weapons at an event designed to protest police brutality in advance of the Convention.

Guns yes. But take a look at some items that are banned in areas around the convention site: water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope and tennis balls and others. The Secret Service bans guns within a much smaller security perimeter in the arena. But overall, guns, guns that shoot real bullets.

Bizarro. The leader of the pack is involved in so many things that seem out of step for a presidential campaign. Remember, he took time to attend a grand opening of one of his resorts in Scotland. Yes, just took off.

Now, he’s seeking $10 million in damages from former senior campaign consultant Sam Nunberg, alleging that Nunberg leaked confidential information to reporters in violation of a nondisclosure agreement.

In a court filing obtained by The Associated Press, Nunberg accused Trump of trying to silence him “in a misguided attempt to cover up media coverage of an apparent affair” between two senior campaign staffers.

Yes, a lawsuit during the campaign.

The carnival barker would have loved it all. Will you be lured in by the spiel?

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Racial Divide May Be More Narrow But It Remains a Huge Gap

The other day I made a simple statement about how the demographics had changed so much since I left the Kansas City area and returned. White flight to the suburbs was in full movement when I left in the 1960s. Now, minorities have taken to urban sprawl.

One good ol’ boy overheard my point and exclaimed, “Yeah, a lot of Obama people now.” He said it with disdain, with intensity of purpose.

Anyone who believes the country has licked its racial woes is grossly mistaken. Sure, improvement. Considerably. But …

What’s interesting is many of the guys I grew up with in the Northeast area are the ones making snide remarks. None of them grew up rich. Now they are middle class, even some upper middle class. Why hold a grudge against blacks in general and those who need government help in particular?

Maybe it is this philosophy: We made it and by golly we did it without any help. Of course, they overlook the assistance they no doubt received, mainly in a public education.

An anecdotal look at the coverage of the numerous shootings in the country leads credence to the racial bias. Deaths by gunfire in the black communities receive intense coverage in many cases. However, analyze what happened to the story of a shooting in St. Joseph, Michigan. Two court bailiffs, both retired police officers, were shot and killed by an inmate at the Berrien County courthouse before police returned fire on the suspect, killing him.

As soon as the media reported that the inmate was white, the story waned on the cable news networks.

President Obama says the country isn’t as divided as some have suggested. Well, he obviously travels different paths than I do. I see division on many fronts every day.

Whatever the racial divide in the country, politicians try to take advantage of the situation.

Progressive economist and essayist Paul Krugman recently wrote, “To put it bluntly, the modern Republican Party is in essence a machine designed to deliver high after-tax incomes to the 1 percent.”

And to gain the upper hand, the Republicans use the old Southern Strategy to build racial division. Krugman believes all leading Republicans are not racists, although Republican presidential candidate Dondald Trump probably is.

“It is that in pursuit of their economic — actually, class-interest — goals they were willing to act as enablers, to make their party a safe space for prejudice,” he explained. “And the result is a party base that is strikingly racist, in which a plurality of voters believe Obama is a Muslim, and more — a base just waiting for a candidate willing to blurt out what the establishment conveyed by innuendo.”

He singles out House Speaker Paul Ryan as an enabler, saying that the Republican leader has never shown any willingness, for any reason, to make the rich pay so much as a dime more in taxes.

“Comforting the very comfortable is what it’s all about,” Krugman wrote.

The Republican Party has prospered politically by harnessing its fortunes to racial hostility, which it has not-so-discreetly encouraged for decades, Krugman said.

“These days, former President George H.W. Bush is treated as an elder statesman, too gentlemanly to endorse the likes of Trump — but remember, he’s the one who ran the Willie Horton ad,” Krugman wrote. “Mitt Romney is also sitting this one out — but he was happy to accept Trump’s endorsement back when the candidate was best known for his rabid birtherism.

“And Ryan, after a brief pretense of agonizing about Trump, is now in full attack-dog mode on the candidate’s behalf. After all, the Trump tax plan would be a huge windfall for the wealthy, while Hillary Clinton would surely sustain President Barack Obama’s significant tax increase on high incomes and try to push it further.”

The Southern Strategy has worked well over the years for the Republicans, even back during Richard Nixon’s campaigns. The political tactic is all about Republican leaders consciously appealing to many white southerners’ racial resentments in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed southern politics after the civil rights era.

The late Lee Atwater, irascible yet highly effective, carried out the Southern Strategy in several campaigns, including the one where Democrat Michael Dukakis fell before the piercing thrust of the infamous Willie Horton ad.  While that ad didn’t end up deciding the election, it set the standard for race-baiting political ads for cycles to come. Atwater led George H.W. Bush’s campaign with all the charm of a scorpion patrolling desert sands.

The brutal campaign consultant noted that candidates shouldn’t explicitly use racial slurs, instead they must resort to euphemistic words like “forced busing” and “states’ rights.” However, the Horton ad was not subtle.

Emma Roller, writing a piece for the New York Times, noted that in Trump’s first television ad of the 2016 campaign, a photo of Clinton and Obama flashed across the screen, followed by stark black-and-white images of the San Bernardino, California, attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. “The politicians can pretend it’s something else,” the ad’s narrator says. “But Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on.”

Roller wrote, “In the 2016 campaign, one thing candidates haven’t been afraid of is embracing fear, especially the fears they can stir up by exaggerating a threat posed by Muslims or by immigrants from Latin America. The intended audience for these ads — white people primed for such tactics — is taken for granted.”

It’s an extension of Atwood’s strategy on race.

“Race is effective because it divides,” Scott Reed, a Republican consultant, wrote of a Southern Strategy ad in 2004. “You’re not looking to boost turnout and include people in your campaign. You’re hoping to actually send people home.”

Jeet Heer, writing in the National Review, points out how the Republican Party has been an enabler for Trump’s rise to the top. Trump, he said, is the natural evolutionary product of Republican platforms and strategies that stretch back to the very origins of modern conservatism in the 1950s and 1960s.

Polling during the primary campaign in South Carolina revealed the single most salient difference between Trump’s supporters and those of his rivals; Jeer said: They are much more likely to endorse white ethnic nationalism and to express nostalgia for traditional Southern racism.

In light of this polling,” Heer wrote, “Trump’s campaign can best be understood not as an outlier but as the latest manifestation of the Southern Strategy,”

Interestingly, William Greider of the Nation, believes the Republicans are trapped in a marriage that has not only gone bad but is coming apart in full public view. After five decades of the Southern Strategy, the party is devouring itself in ugly, spiteful recriminations, Greider said

“The party establishment, including business and financial leaders, seems to realize that Republicans need to moderate their outdated posture on social issues,” he wrote. “But they can’t persuade their own base—especially Republicans in the white South—to change. The longer the GOP holds out, the more likely it is to be damaged by the nation’s changing demographics—the swelling impact of Latinos and foreign-born citizens, and the flowering influence of millennials, the 18-to-30-year-olds who are more liberal and tolerant than their elders.”

Greider seems to be way ahead of the current racial setting, however. The racial divide may be narrowing but I see way too much bigotry that keeps the country from building bridges of empathy, congeniality and agreement.

Posted in Life, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Much Bad in Your Life? Take a Break With These

Some levity among all the serious events of the day, including some pun things. Thanks to those who sent them to me by email.

——

  • Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  • He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
  • Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.
  • Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
  • Acupuncture is a jab well done.

——

A Catholic priest, a Baptist preacher and a rabbi met a couple of times a week for coffee and chats.

Out of the blue one day, the priest commented that preaching to people wasn’t really all that hard, a real challenge would be to preach to a bear. They decided to make a point by going into the woods and preach to a bear, attempting a religious conversion.

Seven days later, they came together to discuss their experiences.

The priest’s arm was in a sling, he struggled on crutches and bandages covered many parts of his body. He said when he found the bear, he began to read to him from the Catechism. The bear wanted nothing to do with him and began to slap him around. He continued, “So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.”

The preacher spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, had one arm and both legs in casts and had an IV drip. In his best fire-and-brimstone oratory, he exclaimed, ‘Well, brothers, you know that we Baptists don’t sprinkle! I went out and I found me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God’s holy word! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took hold of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, up another and down another until we came to a creek. So I quickly dunked him and baptized his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus. Hallelujah!”

The priest and the reverend both looked over the rabbi, who was lying in a mobile hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him. He was in really bad shape.
The rabbi looked up and said: “Looking back on it, …. circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

——

Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, “How old was your husband?”

“98,” she replied. “Two years older than me.”

“So you’re 96,” the undertaker said.

She retorted, “Hardly worth going home, is it?”

——

Steven Wright, the famous erudite comic, has these gems:

  • I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
  • If you want the rainbow, you have got to put up with the rain.
  • OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
  • How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?
  • I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
  • Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
  • What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
  • My mechanic told me, “I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.”
  • Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
  • The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
  • The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  • If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?

——

“Bad huh, Doc. So tell me, how long have I got?”

“10..”

“10 months!”

“9, 8, 7, 6, 5 …”

——

Just some goodies from ol’ Jewish comedians:

  • I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.
  • I’ve been in love with the same woman for 49 years. If my wife finds out, she’ll kill me!
  • My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a waterbed. My wife calls it the Dead Sea.
  • A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge said, “You’ve been brought here for drinking.” The drunk said, “Okay, let’s get started.”
  • The Harvard School of Medicine did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that the reason is won ton spelled backward is not now.
  • A guy is looking for a place to sit in a crowded library. He asked a girl: “Do you mind if I sit beside you? The girl replied with a loud voice: “I don ‘t want to spend the night with you!” All the students in the library started staring at the guy; he was truly embarrassed and moved to another table. After a couple of minutes, the girl walked quietly to the guy’s table and
    said with a laugh, “I study psychology, and I know what a man is thinking. I guess you felt embarrassed, right?” The guy then responded with a loud voice: “$500 for one night? That’s absurd!” All the people in the library looked at the girl in shock. The guy whispered in her ear: “I study law, and I know how to screw people.”

——

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He said between gasps: “My friend is dead! What can I do?”

The operator answered: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy said: “OK, now what?”

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment