Even Nanook Would Love This Chiefs Win Over Oakland

Intrepid soul that I am, I got out into the cold yesterday. Must have looked like Nanook of the North. I dressed the part. I had to battle the frigid weather. After all, I had to pick up supplies for the Chiefs-Raiders game — sodie pop and such.

As I was coming out of the store, this young guy wearing a Chiefs jersey popped out of a red pick-up truck. And I had to ask. “Are you really going to the game?” He smiled broadly and shot back, “Of course.”

Oh yeah, of course. The temperature was going to be in the teens, for crying out loud. Enjoy, young person, enjoy. I choose to take my supplies home, settle into the recliner and watch all on TV — near a libation and a blanket.

Oh, the guy knew this was a big-time game. The city felt the love. The dreaded 10-2 Oakland Raiders were in town and Chiefs fans wanted to skewer them like a shish kabob searing at a $40 parking space at Arrowhead Stadium.

Well, it didn’t exactly turn out that way, but the Chiefs managed to whip the Raiders 21-13 before a cold but boisterous crowd that stayed to cheer to the very end. How super is that! And how about the Chiefs taking over the No. 1 spot in the AFC West with a 10-3 record to tie the Raiders — and they’re tops because they have beaten the Raiders twice this season.

The Chiefs played the first 24½ minutes so superbly. Productive offense and solid defense. They led 21-3. The Raiders had the ball deep in their territory and quarterback Derek Carr scrambled to his left and was stopped. So was Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. Untouched, he crumpled to the ground. That darn Achilles bugaboo that had given him trouble before — he was lost to the game and probably more time than that.

After his departure, the Chiefs struggled.

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game, “I felt a little bit of a letdown when it happened. But the last thing D.J. would have wanted was a letdown.”

The Raiders suddenly came alive and took off on a drive that resulted in a TD with 14 seconds left in the half. That made it 21-10. And for much of the second half, the outcome looked dicey.

Carr, playing with an injury to his throwing hand pinkie. was struggling, too. His passing averaged just 2.9 yards, completing just 17 of 41 attempts for 117 yards.

The Raiders had just 244 yards of offense. Hail to the defense — good play from many. And a little help from the Raiders.

They started twice early in the second half deep in Kansas City territory when Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw an interception and then fumbled the ball. However, the Raiders could add only three points to their total with the two turnovers. A mishandled snap cost them a field goal after the second turnover.

The second half was just crazy. The Chiefs seldom got the good side of an official’s call, but they also had good fortune with Carr’s errant passing. A couple of clutch efforts late in the game gave the Chiefs safe passage to the top.

The first effort came after the Raiders converted on a fourth down. They were fourth and short at the KC 14 at 2:06. Whoops. Illegal procedure. Oh did that help. Carr then attempted to hit Seth Rogers on the sideline but Terrance Mitchell was there to swat it away. Carr targeted Rogers nine times but he could catch only two of them for 12 yards.

Wait. Not over yet. The Chiefs ran twice after taking over on downs at 1:56. Third and 2 at the KC 27. Spencer Ware banged into the line and barely made the first down. And the Chiefs ran out the clock. Victory.

Man, it would have been fun just to gloat and boast over the first 24½ minutes. Smith was super, amassing 202 yards passing in that time. Tight end Travis Kelce was catching everything — he wound up with 103 yards, topping a hundred for the fourth straight week. And then there was Tyreek Hill.

His night started with a fumbled punt. Ah, uh, er, trash that thought because the rest of the half was up-tempo. Really up-tempo. He may be the fastest player in the NFL; he makes a blur seem slow. He left the Raiders grasping for air, literally. He was all over the place.

You want speed. He scored on a 36-yard pass play, he ran a punt back 78 yards for a score and he wound up with 66 yards of receptions. You need to grill Reid to find out why he wasn’t targeted more in the second half. Or maybe Smith just couldn’t get him the ball.

After all, Smith wound up with just 62 yards passing in the second half.

The Chiefs had trouble running the football with Ware rushing 20 times for just 66 yards. Charcandrick West had a rushing TD from three yards out but he carried only one other time for a yard.

Latavius Murray could run the ball for the Raiders; he had 103 yards on 22 carries.

With a sea of red in the stadium, I couldn’t pick out the young man from the red pickup truck. Well, I couldn’t. Wonder if he was part of the tailgate crowd. Oh, they flocked to the parking lot. Hey, so what if it was a weeknight game. This was for first place in the West Division and it was a biggie on national TV. Everyone, including the announcers, treated this with show biz enthusiasm.

The Chiefs opened the gates to the parking lots at noon, more than seven hours before kickoff. And the fans responded.

The team responded, too. After two straight victories on the road, the Chiefs came home and they beat Oakland for the seventh time in their last eight games. The Chiefs will host Tennessee December 18 at Arrowhead.

Posted in Sports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Chiefs Looking to Stay Hot in the Cold, Cold, Cold!

Let’s sing a little to the Oakland Raiders.

I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside)

This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice (I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

Yeah, baby, it’s going to be cold in Arrowhead Stadium tonight and Chiefs fans hope the Raiders freeze on site. Cold weather? Yes sir. Down in the teens. Oh baby, get the blankets. Are your hands cold, Derek Carr?

The Raiders seldom play in cold-weather conditions. Hey, they’re the evil, Darth Vader villains from hell  Like the sun shining on a vampire, the Chiefs just may capitalize on the advantage. All the noise. All the cold. All the magic.

Magic, you say. You darn right. The Chiefs have had two straight remarkable victories — 30-27 in overtime at Denver and 29-28 at Atlanta. Oh, you know the story about last week, but … one more time. The Falcons rallied from a 27-16 fourth-quarter deficit to take a 28-27 lead with 4:32 to go. They tried a 2-point conversion but Chiefs safety Eric Berry intercepted Matt Ryan’s pass and returned it for the winning 2-point score.

Stats for a conversion play are officially unrecorded. So it was unofficially Berry’s second pick of the day as he also returned a Ryan pass 37 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

To make this all the most amazing, the Chiefs defense allowed 418 yards and 32 first downs to the NFL’s No. 1 offense.

Ah, but it’s all about Oakland now. The Raiders hold a one-game lead over Kansas City. But the Chiefs have gone 3-0 in the West Division. The Raiders’ only loss in the West? Yep, the Chiefs, 26-10 in Week Six. In that one, the Chiefs held the Raiders scoreless in the second half.

And now this. For first place.

The Raiders, tied with New England for the best record in the AFC at 10-2, have a hot hand going with quarterback Carr. Through 12 games, he’s thrown for 24 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards. Last Sunday, he led his team back from a 24-9 deficit against Buffalo to win 38-24. That was Oakland’s seventh victory in a row.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hasn’t had such a favorable review — criticism mounts that he can’t throw the deep ball, for one thing. And he faces a formidable rush from the Raiders, led by Khalil Mack. However, with a lot of pressure, he can hit hot receiver, tight end Travis Kelce, who had eight catches for 140 yards against Atlanta.

So, what do you think? The Chiefs are 3-point favorites. Do they handle the Raiders as they did in Oakland; will they need the magic or will they methodically break Oakland down?

The Raiders have lost four straight to the Chiefs. However, going back to last season, the Raiders have covered the spread in eight consecutive road games. The Chiefs have gone 7-1 straight up in their last eight home games, but they have covered the spread in just one of them. They have manhandled the Raiders in the last four games between the teams, outscoring them 114-60.

Will the fun continue? I think so. What the heck, the Chiefs for $11.

                           PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

Oakland           15.0      3-3-0    0-0-0   1-0-0    5-0-0    9-3-0       c1         28.8      24.9      10-2

Kansas City     20.0      1-4-0    0-0-0   1-0-0    4-2-0    6-6-0       c2        23.4       20.2       9-3

Can Seattle contain Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers? That certainly is a must when the two meet Sunday on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The Seahawks were outstanding in silencing Carolina’s offense, limiting Cam Newton and company to just 182 passing yards.

But against the Packers they must go without safety Earl Thomas, whose season (and probably his career) appears to be in jeopardy after injuring his leg in the game.

The Packers have been, well, inconsistent — especially on defense — but they have won their last two games, including a 21-13 home victory last weekend over Houston. Rodgers completed 20 of 30 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. His QB rating was 100.1 in November, the first time since 2015 that he reached that mark within a month.

So, can  Seattle handle the cold and Rogers? I don’t think so. I’ll take the Packers getting 2½ for $11.

                           PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

Seattle              18.5      3-3-0    0-0-0    1-3-0    2-0-0    6-6-0       c1         22.0     16.2       8-3-1

Green Bay        19.5      2-4-0    0-0-0    0-3-0   2-1-0     4-8-0       c2        24.6      25.2       6-6

Dallas is yet to lose on the road this season and not much of anywhere else, for that matter, piling up an 11-1 record. The Cowboys are a 3-point favorite Sunday at the New York Giants.

The Giants have a really big negative as underdogs, only three straight-up victories in their last 20 games when getting points.

But recently they’ve been tough on the Cowboys, covering the spread in three of the last four and winning the last two straight up. They opened the season in Dallas and won 20-19. Are the Cowboys better now? Of course, with their star rookies, QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott, gaining experience game by game.

The Giants are still relying a lot on quarterback Eli Manning. But they looked very ordinary in losing last week to Pittsburgh, 24-14.

The Cowboys are on a roll and I think the trend will continue — bet $11.

                           PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

Dallas               18.0      3-1-0    1-0-1     2-1-0    3-0-0    9-2-1       nc2      27.8      19.0        11-1

New York         16.5      2-4-0   0-0-0    2-0-1    1-2-0     5-6-1       nc1       20.4     19.8         8-4

With Baltimore surging and New England without injured Rob Gronkowski, the Ravens’ Monday Night Football game Sunday has new parameters. For whatever reason, Baltimore is starting to play and there’s no question that the Pats are a much different teams without their star tight end.

With him gone for the rest of the season, the Pats’ run for the title appears to be in jeopardy.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has picked up his game and that means the Ravens can be formidable.

Even with the negatives, the Pats are 7-point favorites. The Ravens’ power rating is skewed somewhat by their inconsistent play. No matter. The Pats are giving too many points so I will go with the Ravens for $22.

                           PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

Baltimore        12.5      5-2-0    0-0-0    0-1-0    1-3-0    6-6-0       c2        21.3       17.3        7-5

New England  21.5      3-2-0    1-0-0     3-2-0   1-0-0    8-4-0       c1        26.6       17.3       10-2

Other NFL bets:

$33 — Indy -4½ vs. Houston

$11 — Tennessee -1 vs. Denver, Cincy -6 at Cleveland, Pittsburgh -2 at Buffalo, Detroit -8 vs. Chicago, Minnesota -3½ at Jacksonville, Atlanta -6 at Los Angeles

The Big 12 Conference bowl lineup with early odds:

Dec. 27

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

Boise State -7½  vs. Baylor

Dec. 28

Russell Athletic Bowl

No. 16 West Virginia +3 vs. Miami

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

Texas A&M -2 vs. Kansas State

Dec. 29

Valero Alamao Bowl

No. 12 Oklahoma State +3 vs. No. 10 Colorado

Dec. 30

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Georgia -1 vs. TCU

Jan. 2

Allstate Sugar Bowl

No. 14 Auburn +4½ vs. No. 7 Oklahoma

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

Some Newsy Notes on Politics, Religion and Sports

Nothing like having a guy named “Mad Dog” to head up the Department of Defense. That moniker certainly  provides bravado to a war machine. President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine General James Mattis to be his Secretary of Defense, tapping yet another outspoken ex-military leader who butted heads with the Obama administration to shape and carry out his national security strategy. If confirmed, the highly decorated battlefield commander would be only the second retired general to become defense secretary — George C. Marshall was the other. To become secretary, Mattis must receive a special waiver from Congress because he has not been out of the military for more than seven years. …

Marcus Foster shows why being able to corral a disruptive personality can benefit a basketball program. Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber dropped Foster, who averaged 14.1 points a game for the Cats in two years; he transferred to Creighton after the 2014-15 season.  He sat out the next season and will have two more years of eligibility. In October, he suffered a partially torn MCL, but the 6-3 guard is starting for the 8-0 Bluejays and averaging 19.4 points a game. …

Look, you climate change deniers, there’s a difference between weather and climate. As NASA points out: “Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time. When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather.” Scientists almost universally agree that the climate is changing and humans are the primary cause. However, November was actually particularly warm and 2016 is already expected to be warmest year in recorded history. …

Good. Nancy Pelosi has kept her leadership role in the U.S. House. The California Democrat is tough, smart and knows how to get things done. Look, she had to do things differently with President Obama the leader — she acquiesced to his political needs. Back in the George W. Bush administration, she knew the Democrats had to fight. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, she said, “We stuck together. We were unified, strategic, and really it was a beautiful sight to behold. And we won.” She’s referring to the Democratic wave that came in 2006, when the Democrats reclaimed the House and the Senate. That was the year Bush conceded his party “took a thumping,” and when Pelosi was vaulted into the job of House Speaker. She’s a fighter. She had opposition to her leadership this year but she withstood the challenge. …

Drats. Howard Dean is stepping away from the campaign to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I like him. He’s what’s good about the Democrats. But he has difficulty getting over the top. His scream contributed to his downfall when he ran for President in 2004. But the former governor of Vermont kept grinding and he held that DNC post in the run-up to Obama’s election. He organized the party, raised a lot of money, developed a data base and produced winners. He stepped down but this year he said he would like to return as chairman. However, Representative Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, dropped his name as a candidate and progressives got on his side. Dean mentioned that the DNC chairmanship was a full-time job and that Ellison just couldn’t hold both posts. Then Dean saw how the battle would be divisive and dropped out. Ellison, a Muslim, has hinted he may leave his congressional seat to take the job. Progressives are pushing for a younger crowd to take leadership roles in the party — why Pelosi’s win was impressive. Interestingly, Democrats climbed all over Bernie Sanders‘ bandwagon when he was running for President and he’s 75 years old. …

Interview on MSNBC: CHUCK TODD, host: Keith Ellison ― is his candidacy toast? The ADL came out noting some remarks he made about Israel six years ago. He struggled to explain them. There has been some other folks and they are very upset at Schumer for supporting him. Is pressure building to suddenly stop ― a stop Ellison movement?

RUTH MARCUS, Washington Post columnist: It sure feels that way. You know, the last thing that the party needs is to have a chairman at the time when you need to rebuild the party that is going to be helping tear apart, you know, a big constituency of it.

Ellison  enjoys the endorsement of Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York, the incoming Senate minority leader, outgoing leader Senator Harry Reid, D- Nevada, and the two most important progressive senators in the Democratic caucus ― Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren and Sanders of Vermont. But according to Todd and Marcus, a press release from the Anti-Defamation League means that Ellison is just about finished. Rather than provide measured, reporting-based commentary, Todd and Marcus exemplify how journalists are capable of doing politicians’ bidding. Intentionally or not, they are boosting the conservative forces in the Democratic Party who want to block Ellison because of his strong stance against the Israeli occupation, for the Iran nuclear deal and other progressive Middle East policies. It is what journalism has become. Several progressives have been mentioned for the chairman of the DNC. …

The Big 12 has placed at least six teams in postseason each year since 1997-98. The conference champion Oklahoma Sooners, ranked seventh in the country, will face No. 14 Auburn in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January. OU is making its 50th bowl appearance and 18th-consecutive. The only other meeting between Oklahoma and Auburn was in the Sugar Bowl following the 1971 season when the Sooners came away with a 40-22 win. The Big 12 bowl season kicks off on December 27 when Baylor plays Boise State in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl. This is the first time the two teams have met. Two games are scheduled on December 28 as No. 16 West Virginia takes on Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl and Kansas State faces Texas A&M in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. WVU’s bowl appearance is its 35th while K-State makes its 20th and seventh-consecutive. In another matchup of ranked teams, No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Colorado will square off in the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 29. The Cowboys will play in their 27th bowl and 11th-straight. CU holds a 26-19-1 series advantage, but Oklahoma State has won three of the last four, including a 31-28 victory in 2009 when the two teams last met. TCU will travel to its 31st bowl game when it plays Georgia at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 30. UGA has won the three previous meetings with the last in 1988. …

I often wonder if I’m the only one with certain thoughts. Then I read a letter to the editor and am relieved that I don’t stand alone against the rising tide of right-wing rhetoric. Lee Kirchhoff of Blue Springs recently wrote a letter to the Kansas City Star that touched what I had written earlier about religion in politics. Kirchhoff wrote: “When I became a Christian in 1956, the evangelical church was not involved in politics. Over the years that changed dramatically, with a concurrent loss of cultural influence on the part of the church. Until 2016. The church aligned with what I consider the most satanic forces in America to achieve a political goal. The church is now celebrating victory along with the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party and other white supremacists and hate groups. Once the church embedded itself into politics, such a conflict was inevitable. The mantra of politics is power. The mantra of Christianity is service. Those two things do not mix. America will not overlook this unholy alliance. As a Christian, I am burdened greatly to imagine what the church has lost and whether we will ever regain our credibility.” Great words to live by: The mantra of politics is power; the mantra of Christianity is service.

Posted in Politics, Religion, Sports | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy Fills the Air as Trump Prepares for Presidency

Remember how the Republicans railed against Hillary Clinton about her ties to the family foundation and her buddy-buddy relationship with Wall Street.

The media went on endlessly about how “untrustworthy” she was. Yet fact checkers ranked her as the second-most honest prominent politician in the country — and Donald Trump the least. The media put their thumbs on the scale in chiding her.

They rode her about her lack of transparency while Trump refused to release his taxes.

The media decried her ties to corporations and the financial industry, while sidestepping a walking tax shelter.

Well, Trump is the President-elect and his conflicts of interest are sundry and numerous. For example, check out the cabinet appointments, from their Wall Street ties to their indiscretions, and the hypocrisy raises to the level of fetid trash.

Trump is a rich guy and flaunts it. Several presidents have entered office with private fortunes. However, Trump’s wealth seems more difficult to discern and decipher. Estimates of his wealth vary; he self-reports a net worth of $10 billion, but independent agencies value his worth at between $3 billion and $5 billion. The disparity of estimates shows how difficult it is to measure the amount of money the guy has.

Whatever his bankroll is, speculation is rampant that his presidency will produce unprecedented opportunities to build his treasure chest and increase conflicts of interest.

Trump’s response? To hell with them. Check this Trump Twitter from last week: Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!

The Office of Government Ethics has rules meant to prevent conflicts of interest within the executive branch, but the president and vice president are exempt. Trump told the New York Times in a meeting last week: “The law’s totally on my side, the President can’t have a conflict of interest.”

That may be his interpretation, but questions are likely to continue throughout his presidency.

The media are now in a post-election mode and are focusing more on Trump. About time, huh. He already has provided fodder for them, ranging from a labor dispute in Last Vegas, to the blind trust issue, to his hotel in Washington D.C., to his golf course in Scotland, to his investments in China.

Even his plan for infrastructure provides ethical questions.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent-Vermont, called out Trump’s plan, labeling it a “scam” and “corporate welfare.”

He wrote in an article posted to Medium, “Trump would allow corporations that have stashed their profits overseas to pay just a fraction of what the companies owe in federal taxes. And then he would allow the companies to ‘invest’ in infrastructure projects in exchange for even more tax breaks. Trump’s plan is corporate welfare coming and going.”

Sanders said he planned to reintroduce his plan for a $1 trillion investment over five years to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, water systems, railways, airports, levees and dams.

“Unlike Trump’s plan, which creates new tax loopholes and is a corporate giveaway, my Rebuild America Act would be paid for by eliminating tax loopholes that allow hugely profitable multinational corporations to stash their profits in offshore tax havens around the world,” he wrote.

Progressive economist Paul Krugman said there would be an unprecedented era of corrupt governance under a Trump presidency. He described the president-elect as a profiteer-in-chief, whose administration would likely distort government policy in directions that can be monetized.

Krugman expects considerable privatization and a general shift from transparent to murky so that favors can be traded. He predicts a tilt of U.S. policy toward authoritarian regimes, which would be more likely to send big business deals to the U.S.

Just look at the mess already.

The declaration that he currently has global properties comes after promising that he would separate himself from his Trump Organization and hand the company off to his adult children Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump in a so-called blind trust. He has not done that. In fact, his tweet is a statement in the present tense ― “I have interests in properties all over the world” ― that affirms his current ownership and management of his business empire.

The children continue to take part in their father’s presidential transition despite their supposed work leading the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump even appeared at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and reportedly was handed the phone to speak to Argentinean President Mauricio Macri when he called to congratulate her father. Trump is working to build an office tower in Buenos Aires.

During the campaign, Trump stated, “[I]f I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.” He added, “I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.”

Trump is responding to the parade of stories detailing his portfolio of potential conflicts of interest. He met with his Indian business partners a week after winning the presidency. He continues to hold a government lease for his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., even though the lease declares it cannot be held by a government official. The hotel held an event to pitch its luxury rooms to foreign diplomats as a way to ingratiate their countries with the President-elect. And there have been reports about Ivanka Trump’s appearance at the meeting with Abe and her talk with Macri.

The New York Times has reported that Trump told British European Parliament member Nigel Farage, the former head of the right wing anti-immigration UK Independence Party, and other UKIP leaders that they drum up opposition to the kind of offshore wind farms that are proposed for construction near his golf course in Scotland. They did exactly that.

Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China, which is owned by the government of China. The Constitution’s emoluments clause states that no government official shall receive favorable payment from a foreign government, foreign government-owned company or foreign official without the consent of Congress. Trump also rents space in his Trump Tower, where he is managing his transition, to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, another government-owned bank.

His call to Taiwan has created concern about diplomatic relations.

He also owes hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank, a privately held German bank. While the emoluments clause does not apply to payments to Deutsche Bank, there is a major potential conflict because the bank is facing a multibillion-dollar settlement with the Department of Justice over its illegal mortgage practices. There are questions over whether Deutsche Bank will be able to survive the hefty settlement without government support. Will Trump save his lender?

Similar potential conflicts exist at the National Labor Relations Board, which Trump will also soon be able to staff. The independent labor regulatory agency ruled on November 3 that Trump’s Las Vegas hotel had violated its workers rights to organize a union when it refused to recognize their affirmative vote. Trump’s hires at the NLRB will likely be colored by his ownership of properties with unionizing workers.

Along those lines, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor is Andy Puzder, the CEO of a major fast-food company and sworn foe of raising the minimum wage. He embodies the right’s anti-worker, trickle-down agenda. While fast-food workers walk the line for a raise of $15 an hour, a guy expected to help them in the Labor Department is a fast-food executive. How quaint.

Representative Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, has introduced legislation that would extend the federal conflict-of-interest laws to cover the president and vice president. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, introduced legislation to require all presidential candidates and the president to file their three most recent years of tax returns. Trump refused to release his tax returns.

You can expect a TRUMP sign to grace the front of the White House when he takes office.

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

Chiefs and Cats Up in the Clouds After Big Weekend Wins

If you know a Kansas City Chief, touch him, rub your hands gleefully and head to the boat to bet the house. The Chiefs are magic. They’re right out of the book of Blackstone. His cloaks, hats and cages of prestidigitation have nothing on the enchanted Chiefs.

Atlanta felt the lightning strike Sunday in the Georgia Dome and the burn no doubt lingers. The Chiefs won their seventh game in eight starts, 29-28, to put themselves in a good spot to fight for an AFC playoff spot.

While the Chiefs are wafting from heavenly cloud to heavenly cloud, the Kansas State Wildcats are up there some place but they are being reminded by satanic mystics of what lies before them. They will play Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl with kickoff scheduled for  8 p.m. at NRG Stadium.

The Cat fans were mighty proud of their signs extolling the Big 12 Conference sweep of the Texas schools — Texas Tech 44-38, Texas 24-21, Baylor 42-21 and TCU 30-6. Now they must face the Aggies, who left the Big 12 after the 2011 season.

But not before they inflicted the most disappointing loss ever for K-State in the Coach Bill Snyder era. In 1998, K-State was No. 1 in the country and 11-0  with talent to win a national championship. Then calamity. The Aggies rallied and won the championship game in St. Louis 36-33 in double overtime. Now, the Cats must fight off the memories and a team that abandoned the Big 12 for the SEC.

The Chiefs players don’t have much time to think about anything, negatively or positively. They must get ready to play Oakland Thursday night in Arrowhead Stadium. After weekend action, the Chiefs are 9-3 while Oakland is 10-2 after beating Buffalo 38-24 with a strong second half performance at home. Denver is 8-4 after winning at Jacksonville 20-10.

Let’s talk of more magic. Safety Eric Berry returned an interception for a touchdown, and then brought back another pick for a 2-point reversal that gave the Chiefs an improbable victory.

The Falcons, rallying from a 27-16 deficit, had gone ahead 28-27 on quarterback Matt Ryan’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson with 4:32 remaining. The Falcons went for two, wanting to stretch the margin to a field goal. But Berry stepped in front of Ryan’s pass and ran 99 yards the other way to score.

Berry was playing professionally for the first time in Atlanta, where he grew up.. Also, it’s where he was treated after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma near the end of the 2014 season.

Berry had another huge play with less than a minute to go in the first half, picking off Ryan’s pass over the middle and bringing it back 37 yards for a touchdown. After reaching the end zone, he headed for the crowd, reached up and handed the ball to his mother sitting in the stands. “I just handed it to her and told her I’d be back,” Berry said in the press interview after the game.

And he did come back.

Oh, the Chiefs had more magic. On fourth-and-2 from their own 45 early in the third quarter, they faked a punt and snapped the ball directly to Albert Wilson, who played his college ball in the same stadium for Georgia State. Wilson burst up the middle for a 55-yard touchdown that upped KC’s lead to 27-16.

KC quarterback Alex Smith completed 21 of 25 passes for 270 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown to running back Spencer Ware. Tight end Travis Kelce was KC’s top receiver with eight catches for 140 yards.

The game started with both teams clicking on offense, but the fast pace gave way to another case of the bizarre.

It has been just a week since the Chiefs last magic show. You remember, right. In Denver. Yeah. Cairo Santos’ 34-yard field goal hit the left upright and bounced through as the overtime period expired to give the Chiefs a 30-27 victory. Rookie receiver Tyreek Hill had three TD’s  — on a reception, a rush and a return, something no one had done since Gale Sayers in 1965. Smith threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hill and a 2-point conversion pass to tight end Demetrius Harris with 12 seconds left to tie it at 24. The two teams traded field goals in overtime to set up the winning effort by Santos.

Can this continue? Oh, and against the evil Raiders.

For now, K-Staters are dancing to a lilting beat. They have won five of their last six games and, no doubt with a little bias, they believe they could be 11-1 right now and not 8-4. Stanford turned out to be beatable, although the Cardinal were more healthy for the opener. Then the Cats were unable to close out games against West Virginia — remember the holding that wasn’t called on the Mountaineers — and Oklahoma State. The Cats just couldn’t handle Oklahoma’s speed and talent.

But Saturday, they certainly put a number on TCU. The K-State defense held TCU without a touchdown and a season-low 280 total yards. Meanwhile, the offense rolled up 495 yards.

The guy many K-Staters coveted to take over the football program if and when Snyder retires lamented the loss on Saturday. TCU Coach Gary Patterson told reporters:  “We have got to grow up on offense. People turn the heat up, hit you in the mouth and we don’t respond. You can’t be putting your head down and shaking your head when you get beat. That’s what 4-year-olds do. That’s not what men do.”

K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz threw for 159 yards on 9 of 21 attempts and added 170 yards rushing on 19 carries. Running back Justin Silmon rushed for 133 yards on 22 carries.

Right after halftime, Ertz threw a quick slant to Byron Pringle, who caught the ball near Kansas State’s 30 and took off sprinting down the middle of the field on the 83-yard catch-and-run score. He escaped a defender diving at his ankles before going the final 20 yards. He had 6 catches for 126 yards.

Silmon had both of his TDs after halftime, including a 5-yard score when he avoided two tacklers in the backfield and then bulled through another defender.

On defense, linebacker Elijah Lee, cornerback D.J. Reed and lineman Will Geary were outstanding.

But oh that 1998 game. Kansas State was tops. The best. The list of names for K-State, like: Michael Bishop, Frank Murphy, David Allen Monty Beisel, Aaron Lockett, Jerametrius Butler, Jarrod Cooper and Martin Gramatica.

The game was played December 5 at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis. K-State was 11-0 and 8-0 in the conference. The No. 10 ranked Aggies, coached by R.C. Slocum, were 10-2 and 7-1 in the South Division.

The Wildcats led 27-12 in the fourth quarter but the game went into double overtime with the Cats missing several opportunities to win.

Aggie running back Sirr Parker scored 14 points on a pair of touchdown catches and a two-point conversion, rallying the Aggies to a 24-point surge in the final 9:20 of regulation and the extra periods.

But the catch he made in the final overtime is what K-State fans recall. He made a 32-yard reception for the winning TD on a third-and-17 situation.

The K-State defense was solid in the first half and the Cats took a 17-6 lead at intermission. Bishop was on fire in the first half, going 8-of-8 passing for 159 yards and two TDs. Tight end Justin Swift was a favorite target as he made three catches for 47 yards and a score.

Linebacker Dat Nguyen was everywhere for the Aggie defense — he had an interception and 17 tackles.

The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime session. In the second overtime, KSU drove to the eight-yard line on four rushing plays of 17 yards. The Wildcats put one more field goal on the board for a 33-30 lead. Texas A&M then closed it out. Oh what a TD would have done instead of field goal. Oh the agony of the Cats.

That was the first time the Aggies had ever defeated a No. 1 team.

Down and distraught, the Cats lost 37-34 to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl.

They went on to lose to Texas A&M the next four years but finally came back and won three straight. Then the Aggies bailed to the SEC in 2012. The two teams haven’t met since. They have played 15 times with the Aggies holding an 8-7 edge.

They meet again. But nothing will erase the hurt from that 1998 game.

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

They’re Paranoid and They Still Spew Right Wing Drivel

There I was sitting in the grill room at the golf course and the usual suspects were spewing right-wing drivel. So, I not so politely said, “Can it. You got your man in, so what’s your problem?”

Fear. That’s their problem. They preach it. Sure, the Democrats preach some fear. But it is based on sound rationale. The Republicans base their fears on matters that lack fact.

Oh, I have some fear okay. The Republicans will try to end Medicare as we know it. The Republicans will try to run the Environmental Protection Agency out of town. The Republicans will squeeze public education. The Republicans will side with the rich and damn the poor. That is real fear.

Yes, the Muslims are a very big concern. Anyone with a twisted notion that Allah be praised for a suicide bomber to walk into a crowded, defenseless market and trigger a vest full of explosives should be feared. But xenophobia spread by verbal poison is simply fear for fear’s sake.

But no matter. The rant filled the room. The Muslims are going to attack him. I was wondering if he thought they would come through his front door. I nonchalantly mentioned that he was in more danger from a lightning strike than a Muslim storming his home.

That hacked him off and he continued the rant. A Muslim woman at a gas station frightened him, he said, with her piercing eyes staring at him through a hijab. Geez, you talk about paranoid. Oh yeah, the mystique of those sinister Mideastern eyes. Maybe he’s scared of women, not Muslims. No, it’s Muslims.

Look, my man, your intrepid leader, Donald Trump, is going to take care of all that. What are you sweating about? He’ll close all those evil eyes. You surely trust him to do so.

Well, my man couldn’t stop sweating. He soon switched to Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate who’s  filing a petition for a recount in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She has raised millions to fund the recount effort. And my man was fearful she was going to keep some of that money.

Yeah, he said, piling up money to put in her account. Nope, the funds are earmarked only for the costs of the recounts. Sorry, pardner.

What you need to worry about, my man, are the people Trump is putting into his cabinet. Yeah, you know, folks who will have control over many government functions.

Like David Petraeus, retired general and CIA director who actually did commit a crime involving classified information. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified information during an extramarital affair he had with a biographer. He’s in the mix to become Secretary of State. Oh, that office. Yeah, the one which Hillary Clinton occupied while the Republicans charged her with malfeasance in handling classified information on her emails.

Trump and Co. gave her hell and now he’s considering a guy who actually did something criminally wrong.

Maybe Trump likes him because he had an affair. Who knows!

Hypocrisy, they name is Trump.

Trump’s tweet: The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.

Gosh, Donald, maybe you should understand the law. Petraeus admitted lying to investigators; he knew the information contained classified information. Testimony shows that the emails in Clinton’s case contained no classified information at the time she went over them.

But Patraeus wouldn’t be the worst candidate for a cabinet post. Trump picked Georgia Republican Representative Tom Price as Secretary for Health and Human Services. He nudges Betsy DeVos, nominated for the Secretary of Education post, as the worst of the worst. She supports charter schools, private school vouchers and other “school choice” proposals that Republicans love.

Price makes Barry Goldwater look like a bleeding heart liberal. He rails against what he calls “a stifling and oppressive federal government.”

Good-bye Affordable Health Care. Hello Medicare restrictions. Price has proposed the Empowering Patients First Act, legislation that would repeal the ACA and offer age-adjusted tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies. The proposal  would create incentives for people to contribute to health savings accounts; offer grants to states to subsidize insurance for “high-risk populations”; allow insurers licensed in one state to sell policies to residents of others; and authorize business and professional groups to provide coverage to members through “association health plans.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer knows the dangers of Mr. Price: “Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. Thanks to those three programs, millions of American seniors, families, people with disabilities and women have access to quality, affordable health care. Nominating Congressman Price to be the H.H.S. secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the henhouse.”

Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in an internet story that Price “poses a grave threat to women’s health” and that as health secretary he “could take women back decades.” If he had his way, she said, “millions of women could be cut off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services,” could lose access to free birth control under the ACA and could again be charged more than men for the same health insurance.

Price has introduced legislation that would make it easier for doctors to defend themselves against medical malpractice lawsuits. Naturally, being a doctor himself, well, you get it. The plan also would allow doctors to enter into private contracts with Medicare beneficiaries. Under such contracts, doctors could, in effect, opt out of Medicare and charge more than the amounts normally allowed by the program’s rules. Typical of the Republicans: Look out for the big guys.

Speaking at a political conference in early 2010, Price said he was proud to join fellow conservatives in an effort to beat back a “vile liberal agenda.”

Price and his ilk pose more threats to you and me than Muslims. There are more than 40 millions U.S. citizens aged 65 and older. They are targets in the Medicare war and they can be hurt and even killed by Price’s actions.

My man, I asked, why don’t you rage against the greed of the Koch Brothers? He had been on a rant on how refugees were bilking the government out of millions. I asked him why he wasn’t so arduous in his complaints about corporate greed and welfare. Oh, he said, he has done that. Oh, right. About as much as cable TV provided news focusing on real policy issues during the presidential campaigns. Slim and little.

But look how they’re killing Americans, these Muslim terrorists, my man claims with a grimace, cussing them for creating the 9/11 tragedy. Whoa. Wait a sec. Were they Muslims? There’s an argument, you know. Were they Al-Qaeda? Well, we do know 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia, 2 from United Arab Emirates and 1 each from Egypt and Lebanon. Be careful painting with a broad religious brush.

Why are there any terrorists at all? Maybe the Muslims don’t like the way we treated their people in the vicious grabs for oil. Maybe poverty drives their religious pride. I’m not going into all the socio-economic reasons but there are many. Poverty breeds unrest. And we do so little to erase the ills of poor people in the world. If we put as much energy into the well-being of people as we do in warehousing druggies, maybe we could just cut back on the number of atrocities.

Eliminate them? Nah.

But to focus on certain races as the problem is wrong-headed. Stereotyping, profiling. The wrong approach.

Possibly, you might do yourself some good by looking into the history of such white killers as Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy, Jim Jones, Adam Lanza, Dylann Roof, Al Capone, Charles Manson, Andrew Kehoe and Timothy McVeigh.

In fact, Trump has given rise to white supremacy movements. Does that create any fear in my paranoid ranter?

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

Will Chiefs Magic Hold? Can Cats Move Up in Pecking Order?

 

The handicappers are doing everything they can to put the rabbit back in the hat for the Chiefs — they’re 3½-point underdogs Sunday at Atlanta. Magic? They certainly had it last Sunday in the somehow, someway 30-27 overtime victory at Denver.

After getting a Rocky Mountain high, they will try to overcome an Atlantic coast low.

Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan is considered an MVP candidate; he ranks third in the NFL with 411.5 total yards a game. The Falcons are scoring 32.5 points a game, best in the league. On the other hand, the dink and dump passing of the Chiefs resembles a team without a quarterback. Whoops! Well, is Alex Smith able to get the ball downfield and develop some powerful offense?

He brought the Chiefs back when needed late against Denver. Hey, enough dissing the Chiefs receivers. Jeremy Maclin is out, yes, but Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce certainly can go long if needed. Every once in a while, Smith needs to test a secondary’s deep defense.

The Chiefs are averaging 328.3 yards per game – 27th in the NFL – while throwing for just 231.7.

The spread probably would have been more if not for the defenses — the Chiefs are good, the Falcons bad. The Flacons don’t have a respectable defense; they barely have any defense, giving up 381 yards a game.

Some of the betting figures look good for the Chiefs — 7-1 straight up and against the spread in their last eight games on the road. However, favorites have gone 6-1 SU and ATS in the last seven meetings between the two teams. Here’s a real negative for the Chiefs: They are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games after an ATS win.

Odds Shark computer prediction formulas run early in the week pointed to a 33-19 win for the Falcons. I disagree. I think a little magic remains and that the Chiefs will at least cover with the hook. I’ll place $11 on them.

                           PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

Kansas City     16.0      1-4-0    0-0-0    1-0-0    3-2-0    6-4-1       c1         22.9      19.5        8-3

Atlanta             19.5      1-3-0    1-0-0     1-0-0    4-1-0     7-4-0       c1        32.5       27.5       7-4

Kansas State will meet TCU Saturday in Fort Worth with the game a lot about putting an exclamation point on the season and maybe moving up in the bowl pecking order. Both teams have performed well of late, K-State winning four of its last five and TCU two of its last three.

The Frogs routed Baylor and Texas on the road. At home, they are 2-4, losing their last three.

K-State’s defense needs to continue its strong play, especially against the run where opponents have averaged just 3.6 yards a carry. Jordan Willis and Will Geary are strong up front whole linebacker Elijah Lee and strong safety Dante Barnett are good tacklers. However, too many times receivers have free in the Cat secondary.

Ah but the offense. The Cats have become a quarterback-run team with occasional bursts from a freshman redshirt running back, Alex Barnes. The passing is, well, it stinks. But they find a way to score — they haven’t been below 31 points in the last four games.

Sophomore tackle Dalton Risner has blocked well. The offensive line, however, will face a tough challenge against a Frog front that gets off the snap quickly and pursues relentlessly.

The 6-5 Horned Frogs have been inconsistent. After bottoming out with a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 1, the defense has played pretty well.

K-State is a 4-point dog and I like the Cats getting points. I will go with them for $22.

The big game in the Big 12, of course, is Oklahoma State at Oklahoma. It’s for the title.

OU has all the tools to score but the defense has been shaky, at best. Oklahoma State has balance and should give the Sooners a tussle.

This is the second straight year this rivalry game will decide the conference champ. On Sept. 24, Oklahoma was 1-2, reeling from a Week 3 loss to Ohio State. Oklahoma State had suffered two losses as well, a controversial one to Central Michigan and an 11-point one at then healthy Baylor. However, neither team lost in October or November, riding prolific offenses to offset suspect defenses.

The Big 12 has agreed to add a conference championship game to the schedule beginning in 2017. That is then; this is now.

Oklahoma State is getting 11 points and this sure looks like a pretty good bet. Yeah, those defensive stats are something. Each team is giving a little more than 440 yards a game. Oklahoma State ranks third in the conference on scoring defense, 27.2, while OU is fifth at 30.5. So, a shoot-out? You would think so. And I think the Cowboys have enough weapons to stay under the 11-point spread. I’ll go with $22.

In the other Big 12 game Saturday, I will go with West Virginia -17 at home to Baylor for $11.

This is championship week in college football. Here are my picks for the other power conferences: ACC at Orlando, Virginia Tech +10 vs. Clemson $11; Big 10 at Indianapolis, Penn State +2 vs. Wisconsin $11; Pac-12 at Santa Clara, Washington -7½ vs. Colorado $22; SEC at Atlanta, Florida +24 vs. Alabama $11.

Now back to the NFL.

Have you taken notice of how the New York Giants are in a good position to make it to the Super Bowl? Yep, they’re 8-3. Well, they will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday to see if they can make it all happen.

What’s the deal? The Steelers, struggling to a 6-5 record and facing long odds to make the playoffs, are 6-point favorites. The rationale: They are at home and their fans are supportive in a big way.

The reason for the dour Giant forecast? Probably the schedule. Five of their last six wins have come against losing teams — and they have been close games. For example,  their 27-13 victory last week against Cleveland represented the first win by more than six points —  and they needed a late pick-six to put the game away. But they can rely on standout quarterback Eli Manning to still pull off a solid performance.

The Steelers stumbled when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury in the middle of the season, but they have started to put it back together in winning two straight games by at least two scores.

I still like the dog and will go with the Giants for $11.

                       PR         HF        HD        RF        RD      Cover    Streak    APF      APA     Record

NY Giants       14.0      2-4-0    0-0-0    2-0-1    1-1-0     5-5-1        c1         21.0      19.4        8-3

Pittsburgh       21.0      3-1-0    0-1-0     3-2-0   0-1-0     6-5-0       c2        24.2      20.2       6-5

Other NFL picks:

$22 — Green Bay -6½ vs. Houston, San Diego -3½ vs. Tampa Bay

$11 — Dallas -3 at Minnesota, Jacksonville +5 vs. Denver, New Orleans -5½ vs. Detroit, New England -13½ vs. Los Angeles, Washington +2½ at Arizona, Carolina +6½ at Seattle, NY Jets +1½ vs. Indy.

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

Woo Attacks Woe of the Homeless and He’s Winning

The criticisms mount. Welfare cheaters are gaming the government system. Stop begging at traffic stops and get a job. Hey, go to a homeless shelter.

Many paint the homeless picture in a dark Gothic style. The brush strokes reveal the epitome of kicking a person while he’s down.

No matter if the person down is a veteran still shell-shocked from a war, no matter if he’s a down-and-out family man relying on booze to help him forget, no matter if it’s a woman domestically abused, no matter if it’s a runaway child trying to escape a vicious household.

The stigma resonates across societal lines.

Kar Woo, founder of Artists Helping the Homeless, is doing something about it. He recently spoke at the Brio during a 40 Years Ago Column Club meeting. He was a breath of fresh air among the stench of homeless criticism.

He’s meeting the needs of the homeless in Kansas City without the help of government funds and little fanfare. And AHH is saving the community money while helping so many victims of a downtrodden existence.

Putting a number on the homeless in Kansas City is simply a guessing game, he said, but he believes there are many more than publicized. He’s doing his part in cutting down the numbers.

“We have an 80 percent success rate not because we’re better but because we care,” he said. “Instead of having them come to us, we go to them.”

The homeless have a difficult time keeping appointments. They have been punished their whole lives and they need to have someone care for them, Woo said. He will go to jails, hospitals, courts and even under bridges in attempts to help them.

Woo is a native of Macao. He said he cried a lot. He cried there, he cried in Taiwan, he cried when he came to the United States. He wound up in Iowa, a stranger. He had  $50 in his pocket at age 19. He wound up in San Francisco and walked the streets, not knowing anyone. He cried some more.

But with intuitive enterprise, he got enough money to go to college. He wanted to be an artist but he studied business and wound his way to the University of Kansas where he received a degree in psychology and worked toward a masters in counseling.

For 10 years, Woo owned an art gallery in Town Center Plaza —  JM Porters — before moving in the mid-2000s to the Country Club Plaza.

As he walked his dog in the area, he began noticing the number of homeless living there. He wanted to help.

In 2008, he founded AHH. Why the name? He smiled and said, “I’m the artist.”

Through art events and sales, AHH funded a Sunday night meal program. As he learned the stories and needs of the homeless, he discovered a link could be made with various resources to help them.

St. Luke’s Hospital was experiencing soaring costs for homeless care. Many of the cases involved non-emergency issues. Hospital officials, aware that AHH was serving meals across the street, decided to invite Woo to their meetings on homeless care.

The meeting spawned the concept for the Be the Change van to address transportation, a critical need of the homeless. The van program utilized the principles developed through the meal program and outlined in the agency’s mission.  When the Saint Luke’s Foundation offered to fund the start-up, Woo closed his store to devote his full attention to developing the program.

Soon after the van’s launch in February 2010, a daytime operation was added. On the streets every night, the staff quickly built relationships with the homeless, as well as local homeless and emergency services. Over the next few months, the program continued to evolve to meet the needs of both the homeless and community.

These collaborations provide win-win situations for the homeless as well as the collaborating agencies. Today, homeless agencies provide services and staff; hospitals provide financial support and technical or in-kind services; and universities provide interns and services through class projects. The homeless benefit from the wrap-around services and care coordination.

Thousands have been fed.

Woo looked for more ways to help, opening the Bodhi House, a home in midtown that offers temporary shelter and support for adult men so they don’t fall through the cracks once they get out of detox or jail. The numbers being helped vary but they can handle more than 140 at a time. Their stay will range from two days to four months. He supplies them with medicine. Without that, he said, the house could not function.

Woo said he encourages the young men to get an education.

Sociologists say one reason for high homeless recidivism is that clients are living on the street while recovering or awaiting housing or program placement. On the street, the opportunity for relapse is significant.

While Woo is trying to pare the homeless numbers in Kansas City, agencies throughout the U.S. continue to search for ways to help. Due to the circumstances of homelessness, it’s difficult to express a reliable number of those without homes. According to sociologist figures, approximately 750,000 people are homeless on any given night. Another estimate noted that 3.5 million people could be experiencing homelessness a year.

Surveys show that those without insurance will often go to emergency rooms for treatments. That story holds true for the homeless. That computes to a high cost for treatment. Woo says AHH has helped cut down on the costs to hospitals.

St. Luke’s and North Kansas City hospitals participate in programs with AHH. It’s estimated that the program has saved the community an estimated $10 since its inception.

Woo has about 10 people who help him, along with volunteers. He will take your check as a donation. The hospitals provide considerable funds because they’re saving money in emergent care.

Understanding the plight of the homeless, Woo doesn’t discuss anyone gaming the system. He knows they need help. AHH WOO!

Posted in Health | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mixing Sports and Politics for a Little News Cocktail

Fear among many seniors continues because Republicans signal they will move toward a voucher-based Medicare system, backed by Speaker Paul Ryan, once Donald Trump officially becomes president. Senate Democratic leader Chuck  Schumer said last week that such efforts would not stand and slammed what he called Republicans’ hatred of government. He said in a statement, “The Republicans’ ideological and visceral hatred of government could deny millions of senior citizens across the country the care they need and deserve. To our Republican colleagues considering this path, Democrats say, ‘Make our day.’ Your effort will fail, and this attack on our seniors will not stand.” … House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi earlier told the Washington Post, “It’s ideological with the speaker to take away the guarantee of Medicare.” …

Betting the NBA? Well, here are some trends against the spread that you might consider. The Knicks are 5-1 as home favorites and 2-5 as road dogs. Detroit is 6-1 as a home favorite and 1-6 as a road dog. Houston is 5-1 as a road dog. Utah us 1-5 as a road dog. … Dawson Downing, the former Bishop Miege standout running back, is red-shirting this season at Mizzou. He believes he still has a good shot at starting next season. … Rodney McGruder, former Kansas State standout, moved into the starting lineup with the Miami Heat last week. He’s averaging 6 points a game. He bounced around in the foreign and development leagues before getting a shot at the bigs. … Do you think folks aligned with Nebraska and Mizzou are really happy about their moves to the Big Ten and SEC, respectively! …

Kansas tax revenues have been tanking for years, ever since Governor Sam Brownback and a Republican-led Kansas legislature passed disastrous tax cuts. Expecting the tax cuts would drive new business to the state, it’s ended up doing the exact opposite. The only thing trickling down are jobs—which are trickling right out of Kansas and going to other states. The situation for Kansas schools and other critical state services is becoming dire. … And yet, Kansas Republicans have found all kinds of ways to continue wasting taxpayer money, particularly when it comes to spending on lawyer fees defending their wrong-headed, often unconstitutional policies. … The latest big spend from the so-called “fiscal conservatives” comes in the form of an another attack on Planned Parenthood. The state incurred nearly $300,000 in legal fees in just three months to defend a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood challenging the state’s decision to boot the organization from the Medicaid program. Invoices obtained by KCUR show that outside law firms representing the state billed it $282,477 in legal fees and $2,725 in expenses between May 29 and Aug. 31. … If Kansas loses, the state will be forced to pick up Planned Parenthood’s legal bills as well. … That’s what happened to Missouri in August, when it was ordered to pay Planned Parenthood $156,000 in legal fees after it lost a court battle over its attempt to revoke Planned Parenthood’s abortion license in Columbia. … An estimated 1 in 5 women will seek healthcare from Planned Parenthood in their lifetime. …

The East Kansas League almost won the trifecta in the Kansas state high school football championships. Bishop Miege, Class 4A-1, and Mill Valley, Class 5-A,  won while Blue Valley, Class 6-A, lost a squeaker. … Harrisonville won the Class 4 state title by beating Kearney. Morgan Selemaea‘s strong running helped bring Harrisonville from a three-loss start to the season. … Coach Tony Severino wasn’t able to get his Rockhurst team to the championship but he may have done his best job of coaching throughout his long tenure. The Hawklets didn’t have the talent of past standout teams but Severino molded a strong defense that helped produce victories. … By the way, is Mizzou in deep trouble again with the NCAA? Yolanda Kumar, a former tutor at Missouri, has triggered an NCAA investigation into academic fraud in the athletic department. … Bol Bol has left the Bishop Miege basketball program but don’t feel sorry for the Stags. No way. They’re loaded and are the best team in the area — and may be the best in a lot of areas. … Landry Shamet, the former Park Hill High School standout, is starting for Wichita as a redshirt freshman. He suffered an injury last season and sat out the entire year. He’s averaging 9 points a game. …

What joy in Miami! Fidel Castro is dead! Many families in the Florida area are tied to exiles from Cuba. … Do you wonder or care what would have happened if the United States had set up diplomatic relations with Cuba after the Russians stepped aside? … Ernest Hemingway certainly liked it down there. … Those coming back from recent trips to Havana say they had a wonderful time there. … Poverty is everywhere, though. … The old cars are still neat. … Tourists said the restaurant food was excellent. … Many forget what a ruthless dictator Fulgencio Bautista was before Castro’s revolution. … The Mafia was ready to set up illicit deals with him just before Castro began shooting his way through the country. …

Interesting. Remember how Northwestern University football players were pushing for a union not long ago. Have you checked into what the tuition costs are at the school? A rough estimate is that the figure is around $65,000 a year. Many of those football players are on a five-year program. That computes to a $325,000 scholarship. They want a union! Can you imagine what many families would do to have that kind of scholarship! What’s wrong with this picture? … Any surprises for you in the early going of Big 12 basketball? How about Jamie Dixon‘s job at TCU! The former Pittsburgh coach has the Horny Frogs at  6-0  . … Well, how about the entire conference! The teams have forged a 49-9 record with only Texas  posting more than one loss. … Here are the records of the other power conferences: ACC 74-17, Big East 45-15, Big 10 68-22, Pac 12 56-19 and SEC 59-23. … In Big 12 football, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia have solid records but the league is down, no question about it. … The Bedlam Series is loud again what with OU and Okie State meeting for the title next Saturday. … Have you come down from the Chiefs wild victory yet! …

President Obama took on the Republicans again. They have stonewalled his Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland into oblivion. Obama said, “What, only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution? I used to teach constitutional law. I’ve never seen that provision.” … You want to know what the Republicans stand for? Well, take a look at what is going to happen in Missouri. Labor is in trouble. The Republicans are pushing right to work laws and removing what they consider too stringent regulations for businesses. … The right wing stamp will be on many a bad situation for the middle class and disenfranchised. … Just take a look at what is happening in Kansas with the conservatives in control. … Well, the Republicans are in charge of Congress, Presidency, Supreme Court, Missouri Government and Kansas Government. So, when you hear a Republican blaming a Muslim, crying about the loss of Medicare funds or bitching for whatever in government, look in the mirror. You own it all.

Posted in History, Politics, Sports | Leave a comment

Wild and Crazy for Chiefs and Check Out KU and K-State

The Thanksgiving weekend provided a bellyful of food and a pot full of fodder in discussing the Chiefs, Kansas and Kansas State.

  • The Chiefs won one by taking advantage of Denver Coach Gary Kubiak’s decision to go for the victory in overtime instead of a tie. In a fitting ending for this wild, crazy, exciting, back-and-forth, fun-filled game, the winning field goal came when the ball hit the left upright and bounded through for a 30-27 triumph.
  • Kansas football fans believe they can build on a loss. The Jayhawks lost 34-19 Saturday at Kansas State to drop their record to 2-10. But the faithful saw enough moxie and progress to spin positive outlooks for next season.
  • Coach Bill Snyder recorded his 200th victory, but, as expected, he wasn’t happy about a lot of things that happened during the game.
  • This could have been a great weekend for the Cats if the basketball team had made open shots and shown poise at the end against Maryland in the Barclays Center Classic Championship game. K-State lost 69-68 after holding a 3-point lead in the final minute.
  • KU’s basketball team has won five in a row and will play four straight games at home before taking on Davidson in Kansas City.

The Chiefs and Broncos exchanged field goals in the overtime and then Kubiak decided to let his kicker, Brandon McManus, try a 62-yard field goal. Like a golfer not taking enough club for the distance at hand, he over-swung and the ball duck-hooked way short.

The Chiefs took advantage of the ensuing shortened field and moved the ball in four plays to the 16. Coach Andy Reid called time with six seconds left and Cairo Santos managed to get ball through the uprights.

What a game!

Yeah, 57 points but the defense, for the most part, was something — maybe you could du this as the Titans at Linebacker as Denver’s Von Miller and KC’s Justin Houston were all over the place. Houston had 3 sacks, 4 quarterback hits and one caused fumble.

Oh, but in the fourth quarter, Denver appeared to get the game under control as the Chiefs secondary faltered. Defensive back Phillip Gaines gave up two touchdowns, one a 35-yarder and another one of 76 yards. In regulation play, Gaines was targeted eight times, allowing six receptions for 206 yards. In the overtime, Denver threw at him three times without success.

With those TDs in the fourth quarter, the Broncos forged a 24-16 lead.

But the really big lady in the fourth row wasn’t singing yet. With 2:37 left in the game, the Chiefs made their move and Tyreek Hill’s reception with 12 seconds cut the margin to 2. Even that action had high drama as the replay officials finally ruled that Hill had crossed the goal line. The Chiefs tied it at 24 when an unlikely receiver, tight end Demetrius Harris, made the two-point grab.

You want more bizarre? The Chiefs took 3 points off the board in the third quarter when an arcane rule came into play — Denver had too many linemen on one side of the ball during the Chiefs field goal try. The kick was good but Reid said let’s go for more. And they did. Hill scored on a short run with 30 seconds left in the third quarter to help give the Chiefs a 16-10 lead.

The first half had ended with the Chiefs building a 9-3 lead behind a safety and Hill’s 86-yard kickoff return. Hill had been close to breaking a couple other kick returns but tip-of-toe tackles brought him down.

The Chiefs managed just 49 yards of offense in the first half — 4 first downs and 1 of 6 third-down conversions. The Broncos had 126 yards.

Before the game, TV analysts mentioned that the Chiefs would have to rely on the run because their quarterback just wasn’t that good. Well, Alex Smith wound up with 220 yards passing on 26 of 44 attempts — and threw for one TD.

The much maligned Denver quarterback, Trevor Siemian, logged a 125.6 QB rating on 20 completions out of 34 attempts for 368 yards and three TDs and no interceptions. But his team lost.

The Chiefs are now alone in second place in the AFC West with an 8-3 record. Denver is 7-4 and the leader is Oakland at 9-2.

KC, no doubt frazzled after the terrific struggle in Mile High Denver, must get ready to play next Sunday at Atlanta.

A big reason for KU’s optimism is freshman quarterback Carter Stanley. He threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. And he did it under extreme pressure, taking blow after blow from the K-State defenders.

Stanley connected with LaQuvionte Gonzalez for a 95-yard touchdown pass — the third-longest in school history. Stanley also found Michael Zunica with a short TD pass early in the fourth quarter.

Kansas was coming off an overtime win over Texas, its first Big 12 win in two years, and aiming for back-to-back victories for the first time in five years. But the Jayhawks still have a long way to go to catch up to their biggest rival, which has won 21 of the past 25 meetings.

Senior running back Ke’aun Kinner believes the Jayhawks are moving in the right direction: “We came closer. The class of young guys on this team is spectacular. They got a lot of talent, and as long as they keep jelling together and getting better every day … they’re going to be a force next year.”

How appropriate that Snyder picked up his 200th by beating KU. He knows how the K-State faithful snarl at the Jayhawks and how much they desire posting big scores.

K-State picked up its seventh victory of the season but mistakes in the secondary, mental errors all game long and questionable play-calling kept this from being a usual magical day for Snyder against a KU team.

Snyder knew this. You could tell by the way he spoke to reporters after the game. “You know, I probably don’t sound in a pretty good mood, but I’m responsive to how we played and we played rather ugly today. I don’t feel good about that, I assure you.”

The Wildcats piled up 342 yards and four TDs rushing, the fifth straight game they’ve gone over 200 yards. But their three quarterbacks combined to go 6 of 11 for 99 yards passing, and Snyder lamented the lack of balance in the offense. “I’m not overly enthused,” he said. “We have to get better.”

There was a muffed onside kick, an extra point that was blocked, a fumble by quarterback Joe Hubener in the closing minutes and five penalties that left Snyder miffed on the sideline. Before you had your second helping of turkey leftovers, the Cats had three major penalties, two face mask and one roughing the kicker. A setback of 45 yards.

Oh well, Snyder became the 26th coach to achieve 200 wins and the sixth to do so spending his entire career at one school, joining Joe Paterno, LaVelle Edwards, Tom Osborne, Chris Ault and Vince Dooley.

The Wildcats (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) went through three quarterbacks because of injuries, though Hubener managed to return to the game. Starter Jesse Ertz went down early in the second half, though Snyder said he didn’t believe the undisclosed injury was serious.

But those play-calls and mistakes, ouch! Were the Cats conservative or didn’t they want to throw a pass with KU stacking it inside? Dunno. On the very first drive, a KU receiver ran wide open in the secondary for a 30-yard reception. Then that 95-yarder, geez.

K-State will play TCU next week in Fort Worth with bowl sites in the offing.

In basketball, the Cats just can’t seem to close out teams in prestigious games during pre-season tournaments. In the Maui Invitational in 2014, they could have dropped Arizona but fell 72-68. In the CBE Hall of Fame Classic last season, the Cats had a legitimate hope of staying undefeated and claiming their first signature victory of the season, but faded late and lost 80-70 to North Carolina.

Saturday night, the Cats took a 64-61 lead on a 3-pointer by Kamau Stokes and held a 66-63 edge on two free throws by D.J. Johnson. The Wildcats had a 68-65 lead when Johnson rebounded a miss by Barry Brown and easily scored with about a minute to go.

D.J. Johnson, big man most of the night, scored a career high 26 points but missed an opportunity to seal the game but missed the put-back attempt of Brown’s missed 3-pointer; then, with 44 seconds left, he turned the ball over. Melo Trimble drove by Johnson for a layup to make it 68-67.

Wesley Iwundu, who scored 16 points and added 11 rebounds, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 14 seconds left and Trimble managed his game-winning layup with 6.6 seconds left.

Brown had another chance but his jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer. He was 6 of 14 from the field, including 0 for 3 on treys, for 13 points.

Johnson could have been Mr. Hero, but a peek at the stats and the late miss really shows how a player needs that little extra. He missed 8 of 18 shots, most of them from close range. He added 8 rebounds as the Cats won that war 33-32.

The Cats bench scored just 2 points and starter Dean Wade didn’t score at all in 33 minutes of action; he did have 5 rebounds. Xavier Sneed, who had 16 points in the game Friday night in the 72-54 victory over Boston College, didn’t score against Maryland either.

Maybe all the pre-season misfires are the KU voodoo. Roy Williams coached at KU before going to North Carolina. Mark Turgeon was a player and an assistant at KU before winding up at Maryland. You think, maybe!

Whatever, Kansas is doing quite well on its own.

A change in the starting lineup made Coach Bill Self a little more chipper. After pounding North Carolina-Asheville 95-57 Friday at home, the Jayhawks praised the play of new starters Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike.

On KU’s website, Self said, “This was the probably the best we’ve looked with the exception of the start to the UAB game and the second half of the Duke game. We did some good things. We actually rebounded the ball better, without question. We got a lot of assists and we took a lot of chances, but that’s okay. I think having Udoka and Lagerald both play very well, I think they combined for 32 points, I was really happy with that.”

Frank Mason III supplied the three-pointers and Azubuike the dunks during a 33-9 run to close the first half.

The Jayhawks will play Long Beach State Tuesday night.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment