Monday, October 31, 2011

Baby Lisa Missing One Month

It will be 28 days later this night, Tuesday, November 1 at 4 a.m. that then 10 month old Lisa Irwin was reported missing from her crib by her father. Since then we have had searches of the house, woods, abandoned properties nearby, lakes and cisterns. We've had more lawyer drama then you can imagine, with lawyers from New York and Kansas City. A publicity seeking private investigator came, then went, then came back again.

Baby Lisa's parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin have frequently left investigators, press and public alike scratching their heads in puzzlement over their behavior. They have become very reclusive now, after embracing national press over local media. They have not been out every day, looking for their daughter. They have not made themselves especially available to the Kansas City Police Department. They did indeed retain counsel.

A multitude of people have come forward hoping to help in the case in lieu of the child's family being deeply involved. They range from the poor man from Colorado who lost his child in a similar case to families of victims who were killed after being abducted to so-called community crime activists and editorialists/bloggers. Some are honestly trying to help, others are seeking publicity or other benefits for themselves. An occasional opinionator has tried to make racial hay out of the sad situation: they may or may not have a good point and be saying something worth considering but their timing is horrible; no one wants to hear it while a baby is missing.

And yes, bottom line, a baby is still missing. Have you looked at a 10-11 month old lately? They can't do very much for themselves at all. It has come down to this: unless baby Lisa has been abducted by someone wanting a baby or is being concealed by her extended family somewhere, it is not likely she is alive. The family, especially mom Deborah, continue to do things that cast suspicion in their direction. Someone knows more then they are telling.

Where's baby Lisa?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Replay: C.S. Lewis

Way back in August 2009 I posted this excerpt from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity with regard to health care. I think it is time to post it again, this time while we are considering the Occupy-ers and all the issues surrounding our economy. What is the position of the conscientious Christian? Lewis gives us some food for thought here in this bit from the classic book.

The first thing to get clear about Christian morality between man and man is that in this department, Christ did not come to preach any brand new morality. The Golden Rule of the New Testament (Do as you would be done by) is a summing up of what everyone, at bottom, had always known to be right....

...The second thing to get clear is that Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political programme for applying 'Do as you would be done by; to a particular society at a particular moment...

....All the same, the New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that here are to be no passengers or parasites: if a man does not work, he ought not to eat. Everyone is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one's work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. And there is to be no 'swank' or 'side', no putting on airs. To that extent a Christian society would be what we call Leftist. On the other hand, it is always insisting on obedience--obedience (and outward marks of respect) from all of us to properly appointed magistrates, form children to parents, and (I'm afraid this is going to be very unpopular) from wives to husbands. Thirdly, it is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing, and regarding worry or anxiety as wrong. Courtesy is one of the Christian virtues; and the New Testament hates what it calls 'busybodies.'
If there was such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression. We should feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense 'advanced', but that its family life and its code of manners were rather old fashioned...Each of us would like some bits of it, but I'm afraid very few of us would like the whole thing. That is just what one would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine. We have all departed from that total plan in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself: You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: everyone is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest....

...Charity--giving to the poor--is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality...

And now, before I end, I am going to venture on a guess as to how this section has affected any who have read it. My guess is that there are some Leftist people among them who are very angry that it has not gone further in that direction, and some people of an opposite sort who are angry because they think it has gone much too far...

...A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it: and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian. I may repeat 'Do as you would be done by' till I am black in the face, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbour as myself: and I cannot learn to love my neighbour as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him. And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward--driven on from social matters to religious matters. For the longest way round is the shortest way home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Say It Isn't So!

I was reading the Kansas City police chief's blog today; there was a press release concerning the new dispatch center and all its nifty new features: upgraded consoles for calltakers and dispatchers, a new video system which allows dispatchers to see live feed through KC SCOUT Traffic Cameras, security cameras set up throughout the city, weather reports, news broadcasts and more so dispatchers can better support officers in the field. Then there was this note: "The 911 Call Center has been undergoing renovations for nearly a year. The upgrades have been to accommodate the new city-wide radio system, which is set to go live Nov. 9."

The federally mandated shift to the 700 megahertz range? The frequency spectrum that requires a $300 scanner to hear?

Say it ain't so!

If you are on Twitter, and have an interest in the workings of the police department, they are going to post all dispatches of officers on Twitter between 1100 and 1200 tomorrow, Thursday October 27. KCPD on Twitter: @kcpolice or

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Lisa Still Missing

It will be three weeks missing come 0400 Tuesday October 25 for now 11 month old Lisa Irwin. There have been tips and searches, interviews, media appearances, police statements and video tapes during the past week. The parents of baby Lisa put in an appearance at a prayer vigil for the first time but otherwise have taken a much lower profile. The lawyers have taken the lead now although the distrust and distance from both local media and the KCPD has continued.
We don't know what KCPD is holding close to the vest in terms of evidence but nothing that has dribbled out is very compelling. A review of a search warrant application revealed that a dog trained to detect human remains had a hit in the house. There was an extensive search after that. Several people reported seeing a man walking in the neighborhood around the time of Lisa's disappearance and a man shows up in the background of a video tape of a nearby store.
If the parents are involved, they have done a good job covering their tracks. If they are the only ones involved it is likely Lisa has died. If they sold or gave the baby away, introducing another party, it is possible that Lisa is alive.
Is it possible we may never know what happened to Lisa? We don't know what all the PD has in terms of evidence and information but it seems to me that someone is going to have to crack for us to know for sure.

City Council Districts: Race Matters and Community Building

With the decision Thursday (pending the rubber stamp from the city council) to draw the new city council district lines as portrayed in the approved Map 1-R following the Voter's Rights Act of 1965 as it is interpreted (requiring 60% of a district to be a minority group) has assured us of a Balkanized city politic and the propagation of the politics of race. Now the temptation of leaders will be to enrich their race first-- including their own selves--and not put the city of Kansas City first.
A cornerstone of the civil rights movement, the voters rights act did good things. It struck down such discriminatory acts as poll taxes, literacy tests and voter intimidation. Somewhere, however, an idea was picked up that it was only possible that a minority voter could only be represented by someone who looked like that minority voter. Also, somehow, it came to be accepted that candidates of color could only win in districts engineered to have a supra-majority of voters of color.
To me this is a victim mentality that needs to be rejected--Blacks are not good enough to run for elected office without the head start of engineered and gerrymandered voting districts? If I were a person of color seeking elected office, I would take that as an insult and a challenge at this point in time. While prejudice and narrow thinking is certainly still present in the majority group, outright discrimination is becoming rarer and rarer. If anything is keeping the Black community down, it is failure to concentrate on the content of character over the color of skin.
Are Black people happy with the quality of their leadership? Are they satisfied with the old guard that sees the Black community as deficient, victimized and needing more, more, more--not to mention the power and financial benefits that these "leaders" accumulate for themselves--rather than seeing the Black community as strong, self sufficient and competent? What has that victim mentality meant for the moral fabric of the Black community?
Before the removal of that slice of the 6th district, the ethnic balance of the entire district was close to 50/50. All is not cookies and milk--the groups are not completely evenly distributed as the district reflects the same east-west divide as is present further north--but the communities were tied together enough to be able to work together. Hickman Mills schools are a good example: the merger of the high schools has been completed without complication and the school district will hit 13 of 14 requirements for full accreditation. This has been done with a lot of work by people of all backgrounds and races. Coalitions have been built from east to west and vice versa with regard to citizens associations for development and assistance. The identity of community was more important than the identity of race for the most part.
It will become more and difficult to govern this city--and this nation--if the politics of racial and ethnic identity become more and more prominent and dominate the exchange of ideas. How many Kansas Citys are there? Two? Three? The answer to that question should be that there is only one (1) Kansas City.

Blogger's note: I've been sitting with this post since Saturday considering whether or not to publish it. I asked questions: Was it naive to think that Blacks had a level playing field? Was it unfair to call out parts of the Black community for playing the victim so they could get goodies and power? Was it wrong to question the quality of leadership in the Black community? Were I to post this as a melanin deficient White person would I just earn scorn and the label of racist (which is the farthest from the truth)?
Well, Louie Diuguid's op-Ed on "The Help" that ended with a whiny group of paragraphs of how Blacks are victims coupled with TKC's post poopooing the neighborhood citizen concerns about redistricting and now I am ready to post this. Until we stop splitting ourselves up to a bunch of identity groups and start thinking more on the order of putting our various talents together for the greater good, we will struggle to solve the many problems that face us. We as humans will always be more comfortable with people like ourselves. If we are smart we realize however that we are not "better" or "worse" than any other group, just different, and that the best way to work together is to not major on differences but on human commonality. As we do this, we get to know one another, removing stereotypes and boogymen along the way. To me, the way it appears that this redistricting will be done is a step in the wrong direction; a step that will serve to further isolate Blacks, Whites and others from each other, generating fear and resentment and making it harder to solve problems and govern this city.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bloggus Interruptus

Hi folks. I hope you all are having a fab Saturday night. In SKC Observer news, the power adapter to The Observer's laptop has developed a fatal short. So blogging will be via iPhone and public computers until a replacement is secured. Like I said over on Facebook, treat your laptop power cord with great love and respect as they are expensive to replace.
I hope to continue to post regularly during this time, but posts may have a few more typos and not read as smooth. In addition, there will be fewer photos.
Thank you for your patience and for your readership.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Don't Play With Fire!

Folks, there have been quite a few fires lately--not just spectacular blazes in abandoned buildings but fires in occupied houses and apartments. Be safe out there. If you choose to smoke (I have no idea why but it's a mostly free country), take care to make sure your butts are out and your matches and lighters are out of reach of kids. Be careful cooking--don't leave the stovetop unattended. Watch overloading electrical outlets with lots of stuff. Don't put cords under carpets where they can fray.
You know all this stuff but we all get lax. We say oh, fIres are something that happen to the family down the road or on the other side of town. Be smart.
Finally, because accidents do happen, be sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. The time change back to standard time is coming up and that is a perfect time to change the batteries in your detectors.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Late Night Redistricting Ramblings...

I went to the Southern Communities Coalition meeting tonight. As you might expect, it was a meeting of folks who rejected the Map 1-R redistricting solutions; who saw the map that lopped of the top half of the 6th district west clear to Holmes and sent the north west border clear up to 59th street in spots. South KC residents saw both loss--to the 5th of commercial and civic resources--and threat--from the wishes of the richer and more highly connected Waldo/Brookside area. To many it felt as if the 6th was paying the price for the failings of the 5th and 3rd districts--the districts losing population to both other KCMO areas and other cities in the metro due to high crime and other quality of life issues.
You can't think about redistricting without ending up thinking about race matters and we did end up talking after more explicitly afterwards. I hope to share more later, and some photos taken at the meetings, as well as the "community map."
The citizen's committee meets tomorrow at 3:30 at City Hall to issue its decision. It would be nice for the committee to do the people of south KC the courtesy of passing on the "community map" on to the council as well as the so-called "done deal" map 1-R. We may still end up being sliced up pretty well but at least they will have heard us scream.

Posted using Blogger for iPhone.

Map proposed by a group of 6th district citizens. Other maps can be found in this earlier post.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City Council Redistricting Public Hearing

City council districts in Kansas City must follow two guidelines: one, they must be about equal in population; in other words around one sixth of the total population of the city--in 2010, this is about 76,000 people. Two, they must not violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This seems to involve meeting a percentage of a minority population in the district, around 60%. If there are less than 60% of a minority group, they are denied "One man one vote" in the eyes of this 30 year old law.
The 6th district is not completely integrated--more people of color live on the east side than on the west side--but it is probably one of the most integrated areas of Kansas City. The background of the west is White and of the east is Black but there are contrasting dots liberally sprinkled throughout. The Voting Rights Act does violence to the 6th district, in combination with the depopulation of the 5th and 3rd. It means that people must be removed to the 5th district to fill it up enough to fit the city charter, and they have to be certain people to fit the federal act. Ironically it serves to turn the 6th district whiter, by filching population mainly from the east side.
I am bothered by this: Drawing the district lines following the rules will have the irony of increasing segregation, not lessening it. Each district becomes more and more of whatever--more Black, more White, and eventually, more hispanic. Is this progress?
A new map was produced by citizens from the 6th district--it may never see the light of day as it may not be "legal"--it still needed to be vetted by the city's legal department. Like map 5 it tries to lessen the damage done to the 6th district, and many of those speaking against map 1 asked that the other map(s) if legal be presented to the full City Council along with map 1.

There wasn't a whole lot of passion during this meeting. Much of the passion had been displayed at the October 10 meeting. One man stood and stated boldly that such manipulations of district lines would not be necessary if the 3rd and 5th were not losing population--due to crime. Get the crime under control, and people would find that they could live there. When one speaker accused the people who authored Map 5 of bringing an "illegal" map, tempers flared up a bit over that accusation. It was rather a dramatic moment when speaker Clinton Adams compared the state of the Bannister Mall area to that of the Blue Ridge Mall--saying 5th district representation can't do any worse than the current 6th district representation. Ouch--a sharp jab at John Sharp! Carol Coe may be old and busted, but she still has an amazing voice and the speaking gift. She tells the group that the sixth district is "not a protected voting rights community." Yet, as many of the speakers who supported Map 1, states "We are all one Kansas City."
It is precisely the fact that the 6th district is more integrated than most of Kansas City that causes it not to be protected by the Voting Rights Act. Isn't it ironic that a law designed to prevent exclusion and discrimination ends up isolating people from each other further. Perhaps it is time to look at some of the provisions of this law, and see if they still are valuable today.

You Agitating My Dots?

So I am getting ready to blog about redistricting (which is important, but dry as dust) in a little bit and I was looking again at the post I made about the ambulance and I focused on the remark about GPS tracking and my squirrelly little brain remembered this television commercial:

Cracks me up every time--"You agitatin' my dots?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Redistricting Meeting

The Observer is currently sitting at the Redistricting meeting. It actually has been reasonably mellow to this point but we are getting a few fireworks over the legality of a new map. Carol Coe was also worth a few quotes. There will be more later. The Observer is trying to grasp the actual practical statues of the Voting Rights Act which looms large in this room.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Lisa Update

What this has turned into is a freaking circus, that's what.

Really that is all that needs to be said, along with the fact that the police have continued pursuing whatever leads and clues have come up and still have pretty much bupkis, nada, nothing and Lisa Irwin is still missing--it will be 2 weeks missing at 0400 Tuesday morning.

We have two imported attention seeking clowns and one locally produced one trying to make names for themselves at the expense of Lisa and to the exploitation of her somewhat hapless family. One was self appointed private investigator "Wild Bill" Stanton and the other is defense lawyer Joe Tacopina. (Doesn't that name just beg to be made fun of?) who were imported from New York. The other is some guy named Washington, who frankly I don't want kyping this blog post, who occasionally does some good work, but can't stand it that his name is not out there all the time. Some have also wanted to make racial hay out of this case, and others want to know how come all missing persons don't get the police attention that has come to baby Lisa. Some of those comparisons are fair questions and others are apple/oranges comparisons but my problem is that this is not the time to fight over that. 10 month old babies are pretty helpless, and two weeks out, I am not liking the scenarios playing out in my head: either Lisa Irwin is dead or she is in the hands of an abductor.

Some of the investigatory developments were that the neighborhood drunk/handyman "Jersey" was arrested and is in jail on unrelated warrants, searches of creeks, woods and empty/abandoned houses turned up nothing related to the case and Lisa's mother changed her story--she told national media that she had been drinking that Monday evening and described herself as "drunk" and then also stated that the last time she saw Lisa was at 6:40 p.m. Monday evening. Video from a nearby store showed mom--and a man later identified as a brother (I also saw brother-in-law as ID for the man) shopping, buying baby stuff and boxed wine so at least where she got the booze is not a mystery.

$100,000 is out there for someone if there is any information to pass on, but as time passes, the family looks more and more like the culprit, either via accident or murder. The fancy pants New York lawyer has told them to be quiet, no more interviews, so both the adults and two boys, who are old enough to tells stories, have been placed out of reach of both media and law enforcement reach. If they crack now, it will be in private and in the company of counsel.

Meantime, we are still missing a 11 month old girl. If you know something: 816-474-8477 or online at

Sunday, October 16, 2011

City Council Redistricting...Again

Due to that funny glitch in the city charter, the city council is going through the redistricting process again. Usually the fussing is over the 3rd, 4th and 5th districts with regard to ethnic composition and representation. However, the 2010 census demonstrated without a doubt that north of the river had gained enough population to shove both the first and second council districts north of the river in their entirety. That made it easier to map out the third and fourth in a way that satisfied the concerns of those who feel strongly about ethic issues and elections/candidates. That leaves the fifth and sixth districts.

These are the two maps that are currently being considered by the committee that was formed with regard to redistricting. The bottom one is the one that every body loves--except for the sixth district. You can see that it radically changes the borders of the sixth, running the fifth all the way down to interstates 435/470 east of Holmes Road and runs the western part of the district--the little slice of Kansas City up through Waldo up to about 63rd Street--removing it from the fourth. If you look at it closer, it takes all that potential commercial property on Bannister Road and gives it to the fifth district. It also does quite a bit of violence to the Hickman Mills school district. Councilman John Sharp in particular was very critical of this map. The meeting held October 10 at Baptiste generated quite a large crowd for such a meeting and a second proposed map--the first of the two above.

Now, there is one more city sponsored meeting, October 18th, and a meeting sponsored by the Southern Communities Coalition October 19th. It will be interesting if south Kansas City residents venture to 32nd and Wayne for the October 18th meeting and remember to come out for the SCC meeting the next day.

It is an unfortunate thing that we still feel it necessary to gerrymander by race and class, and that somehow, everyone has bought the idea that we can only be represented by those who look like us. If districts were drawn with just population numbers, geography and neighborhoods in mind, we would not start tearing up neighborhood identities so we can favor certain ethnic identities. There is no easy answer for this, but this map does serve to disrupt the southland's neighborhoods and commercial areas in a way that has the potential to really hurt the area.


Kansas City Star news article and editorial

Stay tuned, there will be more...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ambulance Tour

Station 28 was able to bring their ambulance to the recent Red Bridge Shopping Center party, and I took advantage to shoot some photos of the equipment. There have been some good changes in the 30 years since The Observer was doing prehospital EMS. A few things we wished for back in the day have been developed and incorporated into ambulances today.

Now most people will not need an ambulance ride, but if you do, or a relative of yours does, take this small tour around and see what it's like in there. A little bumpy, but not too scary.

So this is your basic Advanced Life Support ambulance. This usually is about all most people see of ambulances. That is a good thing--most folks manage to make it through most of their lives without needing a ride in an ambulance.

Here, a quick glace in the back--what you might see if you were passing by an accident scene or if the neighbors had to call for some reason.

Let's go inside shall we? If we were riding along, we might have a seat here. Back in the 1980s we called this the squad bench and it had no seat belts. Now you get a seat, and five point restraints.
If you are the patient, likely you will ride here, on the cot, facing the rear of the ambulance. Usually you will get to sit up some. Back in the day, it was common for the cot to sit flush against the wall but now it is mounted closer to the middle. There is actually room enough to stand over there now. The heart monitor is right there easy to attach to the patient and easy for the medic to see. The walls are lined with cabinets storing all kinds of supplies, More supplies are kept in compartments outside.

This area, at the patient's head, is the paramedic's care headquarters. Radio equipment is readily at hand to talk to dispatch, medical control and the destination hospital. Neither seat here is far from the patient, and medics can move quickly to take care of changes in patient condition.

Peering through the passage way into the driver's compartment, we see the Computer Aided Dispatch computer. You probably can't see it, but a map was up on the screen. Many CADs can send along quite a bit of information about a call, and Kansas City ambulances have had satellite tracking and GPS for several years.

As well as the computer, the front features buttons for the lights and siren and more radio equipment. It also has all the usual items you would find in any truck.

So, that what the inside of that noisy white box looks like. I hope you enjoyed your tour, and maybe even saw something new. It is my wish that none of my readers ever need to take a closer or longer look--unless you make EMS a career of course.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Is Under the Street?

Most of south Kansas City is about fifty years old. Consequently, all the hidden city infrastructure is about fifty years old. Some of it is starting to wear out. I was out and about in one of our neighborhoods when I noticed a big hole. Being both curious and nosy, I went to check it out. The fire hydrants are being replaced--here's the new hydrant and connection.

In order to connect this together, a hole is required, to get at the water main concealed under the street and lawn (and yucca plant). Some preparatory work had already been done but a new hole was needed. Digging the hole reveals the hidden utilities, labeled for your convenience.The electric, phone and cable lines in this neighborhood are above ground and run in between everyone's back yards. The sewer main is on the other side of the street. So we have here the sewer line to the nearby house, the water main with the line for the fire plug and the gas line. It amazes me that the gas line is only 18-24 inches below the surface. You really do need to "call before you dig"!

I imagine this work will draw to a close before long, the shiny new fire hydrant installed, the hole filled, and the street and lawn repaired. We never notice this stuff until it breaks or needs replacing--life will just go on here on this block, people having water running in the house, the waste flushed away, and free flowing natural gas for heating and cooking.

Now this here is important stuff, not some of that other stuff our politicians like to fuss about.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lost Baby Lisa

At 0400 hours Tuesday morning or thereabouts, it will be exactly one week since 10 month old Lisa Irwin was found not to be in her crib or in her home. The case, which has had lots of drama but not much in the way of solid leads, has attracted national attention. Of course, it has also been on local media blast, and suddenly there are about 600,000 amateur detectives on the case. (Population of KC metro approximately 2 million. Figuring many are children, and others don't give a damn, I speculated that about a third of the metro is trying to figure out this situation.)

The book of police work says look first at the family, for most of the time, it is the family, or someone affiliated with the family, that has taken or harmed the child. Abduction by a complete stranger is very uncommon. So the family has been looked at quite thoroughly, including a gambit where the police used the media to put pressure on the family and the story they are telling. Every little thing of the Bradley-Irwin family's day is under scrutiny--why did the dad working a late shift, not have a cell phone with him, why didn't mom wake up sometime during the night sometime between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. to check on her daughter, how could someone come in and not wake mom or the two school aged children up while taking the baby--you get the idea. In addition, every little eye glance and facial expression of the parents in public appearances is studied. Some feel that the parents are being considered guilty of the crime of hurting their daughter in some way before all the facts are in. Others feel that in light of the unlikely event of a stranger abduction it is the right position to put a lot of attention on the parents and to be suspicious of them.

This is such a painful and inconceivable situation--I am not a parent and yet I find it painful to think about. If one or both of the parents know the real story and know where the child is, and whether or not she is safe, and is acting when in public, that is a scary person to think that they might know that Lisa is dead or in the hands of another. If the parents are not in on any plots surrounding the baby, imagine the grief of not knowing if she is dead or alive, and if alive, if she is in the hands of someone who will care for her, or someone who will hurt her for some sick reason. If abducted so that some other family can have a little girl to raise, to think she could be growing up somewhere, hitting all those milestones that kids hit in some household somewhere else in the world...that is almost as hard to stomach as having to know that she was killed. The only consolation for a loving parent is that if she is alive, she is hopefully enjoying some of the sweet things of life.

One week, just a short time, and yet, a long time. Is it possible that a 10 month old, still very dependent on caring adults for her needs, is still alive after almost 7 full days away from her family? And who knows something useful--will the case crack when someone who knows the family or the parents themselves spill the beans, or will it be a tip given to the PD or FBI that will provide the clue that solves the crime? Or will it come to a head when someone, somewhere, finds a little body...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy Kansas City

I saw this car in my neck of the woods on Thursday. Notice that there is no spell checker on the paint writers that are sold for glass windows...

I do love my freedom of speech--to me it is one of the things that makes our country great--freedom of speech and worship.

With freedom comes responsibility. We all have that--to not be disruptive for no good reason, to not yell fire in a crowd, to respect others as we express our views.

The protests remind me of the campus protests in the mid 1980s over South African investment. At the University of Vermont protesters build a shanty town--three or four small shacks--on the university green. They stayed there, even through a typical Vermont winter. However, a difference was those protests were very focused on one goal--divestiture by the university. These protests are "leaderless" and do not have very specific objectives. In that way, they remind me a little of the Tea Party.

Like the Tea Party, however, that may be a weakness, leaving the movement indecisive, prone to take over by the most extreme and radical voices, and take over for other goals by the establishment. Also, one has to ask exactly how real the grass roots are--remember how the Koch brothers were portrayed as being behind the Tea Party. Is George Soros, or someone like him standing behind the Occupy Wall Street gang?

My, we live in interesting times.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Watching Local Government

I was thinking the other day about local political figures and how uninspiring they are and how bored I get reading about their travails. My eyes glaze over when photos of Mike Sanders or Jason Kander appear in the news media or on blogs . Even the machinations of the mayor and city council don't put a grip on my interest; the doings at 12th and Oak often seems unimaginative and boring or frustrating, out of touch and, well, backward and dumb.

The irony here is that it is local members of government that can do things that impact me personally. It wasn't Barack Obama who decided to merge the ambulance service into the fire department or put the majority of the cost for the sewer repair on the backs of water service customers. It's the local yokels who decided to continue giving money to an ineffective crime prevention group or make a curfew for young people (not all the ideas are bad you know.)

I wonder if it is because we see them up close sometimes. We know about their kid with the behavior problem, we see them in the grocery store or McDonald's. They are all too human to us--they don't look like they could think their way out of a soggy paper bag. Yet, they seem also distant, like they are living on another planet. They don't know us, they know other equally powerful and important people. They know the rich and locally famous. They make deals and make money we can only dream of.

It is hard paying good attention to local politics. All politics is local, yet local problems and issues are set in the context of what is happening in the region, state, country or even world. Local politicians are something like the proverbial blind man, feeling the tail of an elephant and pronouncing it a rope. Yet they can pull on the elephant's tail and make things happen that affect the local citizens. So yeah, we need to pay attention to City Hall, even when there are one hundred things that look more interesting.

Ford Transit

At left, a picture of Ford's full size Transit, currently on sale only in Europe and below a Transit Connect, available now in the US.

It's killing me not to have posted since Saturday! I hope to get to the computer later today. I do have ideas to blog about but on the mean time take a look at a photo of the vehicle that will be built at the Ford plant. It is a bigger version of the Transit Connect van that Ford has been offering for around two years now. The Connect is just a little bit longer than a PT Cruiser(stepped it off myself) so it is truly a small van. The Transit will be a full size truck, meant for the commercial market mainly. It will be interesting to see how this compares to Econoline vans and the full size Mercedes Sprinter. The Sprinter, badged variously as a Dodge, Freightliner and now Mercedes, has not been a hit with Americans since its introduction in the mid 2000s. It looks top heavy and clunky. It will be interesting to see if Ford avoids this appearance in the big version of the Transit.

Boring bloggy tech note: going to try and post the pic and text using the iPhone--not sure how it will turn out!

How it turned out was that I had to fix it. It should be better now. Photos: Car and Driver, and by The Observer.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gone Pink

Every year the macho National Football League breaks out the pink to encourage everyone to be aware of breast cancer. In honor of that all the blogs in the South Kansas City Observer Syndicate also put on some pink flourishes. It's a small thing but if it encourages one person to consider cancer prevention measures, it is well worth the small amount of time.

In addition, I would tell every one to take some of the simple measures that can detect all kinds of cancer, not just breast cancer. Prostate exams, skin exams, and colonoscopies are just a few of the simple tests that will help catch cancer before it can take hold. Ask your doctor what an appropriate screening schedule is for you, as each person has unique genetic and environmental risks and strengths.

I think the pink looks great with the teal--check out how the Jacksonville Jaguars look these next weeks...