Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why I deleted FB Messenger from my phone. It's like Pre-Crime and a spy camera!

The most important film of the decade was Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise--explaining pre-crime...and Big Brother getting all up into our business. 
Even tho Tom Cruise is personally a creep, his movie Minority Report warned us of how Big Brother has its eyeballs on our every move, everything we shop for, every message we send, every call we make...even every thought we entertain about what we'd LIKE to buy in the future.  And now Facebook Messenger's permissions app does all that.  And I bet you never read it, just clicked YES.

The man on the attached video, EXOabigdeal, who explains the dangers, uses more than the normal number of curse words, but look way beyond his outrage: he is absolutely right!
How dangerous FB Messenger is.
Their applications are preposterous.
Secret use of your camera, access to all your contacts, ability to make phone calls without your permission, permission to downlaod files and share them with others, without notifying me!

It's all in the Permission Page for FB Messenger.

I took Messenger off my phone, completely. People can text me.  That's enuf.

But if you listen to the end, EXOabigdeal on YouTube explains three apps you can use on your phone so you can still receive Messenger messages, but keep it from launching, and keep it from sharing.
Those are Greenify, Smart BoosterPro and Boot Manager.
I have better things to do at my age.  But if you are hip and your kids are messenging you, try those.

Facebook Messenger: Most dangerous app I've ever had explained to me.

Shame on you, Mark Zuckerberg. 
YouTube video explains huge dangers of FB Messenger--it's a combo of Pre-Crime and a spy camera

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

While Tony's trogs push for $15 an hour and tally the latest murders, Joco shops Amazon Prime Day, debating which living room robot/speaker to buy: Amazon Echo or Google Home.

What a difference a school district and a state line make.  It's a whole nuther world west of State Line in Johnson County, Kansas.

The big debate: White v. Black, Amazon Echo or the junior version, Dot.
A so-called speaker that is not even stereo!
But it's a robot!  Just say, Alexa--and boss it around!

Poor KCMO citizens, especially the ones in Hyde Park --too close to Troost.  Rampant crime. Not just black on black crime, now it's agressive confrontation and stealing of cars and beating up husbands walking their dogs.   By young hoodlums who cannot get a job at $7.75, let alone the $15 minimum wage that Tonyskansascity.com is lobbying for.

Meanwhile, folks in Johnson County are living an idyllic life.  Especially today.  Shopping shopping shopping the 10,000 discounted items today on Amazon Prime.  Including their elite home robot device, the Echo.  (Or the junior edition, the Dot.  Which comes with pastel themed skins to add a je ne sais quo to one's decor.)

Personally, I'm not buying Jeff Bezos' Amazon Echo. For today's Prime Day price of $89, vs. $149 regular.   It's a speaker that is not even stereo.  I'm also not buying the rival product you can't find on Amazon (isn't that restraint of trade?  Oh well, it's hot and I'm too tired to protest that)  the Google Home.

I'm not saying "Alexa, do this".  I'm also not saying "OK Google, do that."  I am too busy to have a robot.  Especially to tell it to turn on a light.   Or change the music.  Or look up a recipe, and even reread the last step. I'm from Iowa.  I'll just walk over and do those things myself.  I especially refuse to spend $40 per lamp or other robot-controlled device to get the interface.
Wonder and Clue.  Petite miniature goldendoodles.  They
do not turn on lamps, change the Pandora or love Alexa.
If an Amazon Echo entered the home, they would pee on it.
I am too busy telling my goldendoodles, "Clue, stop eating your brother's poop.  Leave it!  Leave it!  You are a disgrace to your Perfect Puppy training."

And "Wonder, stop peeking off the deck.  Stop barking at those dogs who get walked by our neighbors who had to take a Valium and get out of the house because they were on hold for three hours with Tech Support at Amazon Echo.  Enjoy your deck and our wonderful yard.  I've told you a million times, we are not walking people."

Robots will be alot of trouble to train.  Almost as hard as puppies.  But mark my words, if the citizens of Missouri approve a $15 an hour minimum wage, that will be the greatest boon to economic development in the history of Kansas.  Businesses will swarm to Johnson County.

Heck, it's well known that most CEO's no longer live in KCMO.  They moved away from the crime.  Ray Kowalik --the Burns and McDonnell CEO who falsely brands himself as a "hometown boy" and who wants to build "the new smaller billion dollar 35 gate KCI" and pocket the additional $140 million in private bond funds for himself, Michael Merriman of Americo Life, and their Burns and Mac buddies--Ray lives in Lee's Summit.  The late Neil Patterson of Cerner, who died this week, didn't even live in Jackson County--he held court at Loch Lloyd in Cass County.

And you know what?  I bet Ray and Neil both had an Amazon Echo in their cigar-smoke filled living rooms.

Not me.  If I get bored, and need to order someone around, I will just put on my French maid's apron and pay myself $15 an hour out of my piggy bank, to turn on my own lamps.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Southwest Airlines' Plan B: leave KCI, and build new terminal in Gardner Ks! Financed with local Airport Revenue Bonds

Behind the scenes, Southwest Airlines may pull a Love Field strategy in metro KC.  Land their planes in Johnson County, and forget all about MCI in KCMO.  (Southwest does not fly out of Dallas/Ft Worth's "main" airport, they have Love Field.  Nor do they fly out of O'Hare in Chicago.  They use Midway.)
Gardner Municipal Airport in Joco.  Closer. Cheaper.
Faster than 75% of Southwest's passengers wasting 45 minutes each way to go to KCI.
Future home of Southwest Airlines.
And building their own terminal in Joco
would cost "peanuts" compared to KCI!!!
Every prudent business has backup plans.  Southwest, being an innovator and cost-conscious, and serving THEIR key market, which is the 75% of all passengers who live and or work in Johnson County, is no different.

What will the CEO of Southwest airlines, Gary C. Kelly, do?  Sure, he writes a few nice letters to KC Aviation Department to keep them happy.  But they are not legal commitments!  Meanwhile....since Sly James and the KCMO Council are dithering--and teasing with Burns & Mac....

Gary C. Kelly is the chief executive officer and chairman of Southwest Airlines.
He first joined the company in 1986 as Controller. In 1989,
Kelly was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance.

Has anyone checked the visitor logs in the Topeka capitol?

Has Governor Sam Brownback secretly offered tax breaks and incentives to Southwest?

What about the leaders of the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House?  Nick Jordan,
the Ks. Director of Revenue?  Jordan is DESPERATE to bring in some new revenues.

What about Acting Director Antonio Soave, Director of the Kansas Department of Commerce?  Landing Southwest Airlines in Kansas would be the plum of his career.

And finally, gubernatorial hopeful with the biggest ego in the state, Kris Kobach?  Rather than a white horse, he would so love to ride into office on a white jet.

 The KC Star is obsessed with financing Kansas schools this fall, definitely a great distraction.  Especially for a newspaper that has NO local reporters, no full time STATE reporters, and one pock-faced has-been who-cares-what-he-thinks columnist (named after a thorny flower).

The STAR is so Missouri-centric, they don't even consider what a superlative option this is.  To them, it's all about KCI.  They still actually hold to the old wives tale that it is an "international" airport!  

And has our Johnson County Teleprompter in Chief, BOCC Chairman Ed Eilert,  made Southwest an insider deal like he made for his investment buddies at King Louie???  Don't count our wooden Indian, Ed, out.   He can read his marching orders from a cue card with the best of 'em. Mister Ed can play the same game as Sly James--give the bond sales to private investors, paying 2% more per year to borrow money, rather than issue Airport Revenue Bonds.  

If Google Maps went offline, the STAR could not dispatch a courier to even FIND the Johnson County Board of Commissioners in Olathe unless someone left a trail of bread crumbs for them to follow.   Or they hailed an Uber.
(With the exception of Steve Vockrodt, their utility outfielder who lives halfway to Lawrence, so he knows the proper exit.  But he can't cover EVERY beat!)

As Tony says, "Stay tuned."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thanks to Shawnee Mission Post/Jay Senter's reporting, ACLU spanks SM School Board's Three Monkeys policy as violation of 1st Amendment.

Today, Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas challenged Sara Goodburn, President of the Shawnee Mission School District for violating the First Amendment in suppressing parents from speaking at a fake Open Forum meeting earlier this month.
Speak no evil.  Ignore public input.  Disallow First Amendment.  And make the public GUESS what you think, so you can get re-elected without ever revealing how you voted in those executive sessions.  The SMSD school board puts 98% of all votes on their consent agenda.  So how would you know for whom to vote???
Last month, the SM School District secretly (like 98% of everything they do) passed new rules requiring patrons to:
a. WRITE the Superintendent, first about any issue BEFORE attending a school board meeting
b.  Not mention names of district employees
c.  The "Onesie Rule": Not speak in support of any issue that anyone else mentioned earlier in the
      in-name-only Open Forum
d.  Wait patiently by their mailbox !!!--for a reply that might or might NOT come,
     weeks after said Open Forum.  Seriously.  Might come when you win the Readers Digest

The All-for-One True Blue Blood Oath
The school board also seemingly took a blood oath and foresook their integrity, revising their Code of Ethics, (LOL) never to disagree in public with any board position.  Especially if they disagreed.

Having watched the Trump administration try this tactic, sending generals out to back up crazy actions, it makes me wonder, how's that working for ya?

Our SMSD Three Monkeys!  New school board president Sara Goodburn--the paper waving scolder of parents making comments--plus former prez Deb Zila, cozied up to departing Superintendent Jim Hinson.   Photo by Shawnee Mission Post.com 

Huge praise goes to Jay Senter, publisher of an unrelated blog, Shawnee Mission Post, which has dogged this story ever since they revealed the conflict of interest story when Deb Zila, the school board member who was prez when she hired her 'school crush', Jim Hinson, as Superintendent.  And then Mommy Deb snuck through on a consent agenda the CBIZ contract for insurance benefits admin.  Her daughter Mallory, former Nordstrom customer service gal, administers the benefits plan for our school district!  And Mom Deb didn't think she needed to pull that off consent agenda--and ABSTAIN!

Well, now Hinson has suddenly resigned--before we figger out how to get the Ks. Legislature to fund us so schools re-open in August.

Cheers to the ACLU of Kansas for writing Sara Goodburn and 'splaining the First Amendment to her.  (She might have missed that chapter in history class.)  Clearly, the SM School Board has spent too much time emulating the KCMO City Council!  Suppressing speech, voter turnout, public information, etc.

Sara Goodburn scolded a parent for asking about Deb Zila's failure to abstain, and her conflict of interest on the CBIZ contract.  A totally valid point.  And, even with the new gag order, Zila is NOT an employee of the district, so the Open Forum rule didn't even apply to her.  (Goodburn admitted that later.)

One clever parent threaded the needle at the last meeting asking pointedly, without naming any names:
1.  "Will the contract for the NEXT SMSD superintendent have a moral turpitude clause?"

2.  "Is anyone on this board currently having an inappropriate relationship with any district employee?"

The board and the audience gasped audibly.  Stunned silence.  Absolutely NO response!  The dead elephant in the middle of the room cinched up his necktie, and stared at his shoes during the awkward silence, till Sara Goodburn asked for another patron to approach the mike.

Question: Do we think the district, or the superintendent, before he leaves this month, will respond in writing????  Or maybe on his way out the door, he will start tweeting...

Here are excerpts from Doug Bonney's great ACLU letter:
“…I write to emphasize that people have a well-established First Amendment right to criticize both elected officials and other public servants,” Bonney wrote. “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment reflects ‘a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.’ New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 271 (1964). ‘Criticism of their official conduct does not lose its constitutional protection merely because it is effective criticism and hence diminishes their official reputations.’ Id. at 273.”
Bonney went on to suggest that the policy, as currently written, would prohibit both public criticism of the district’s superintendent, who is vested with great authority over decisions about the district’s position on matters of public policy, as well as praise of current teachers or building principals:
“By prohibiting commenters from discussing ‘matters related to a specific student or employee,’ the Board’s current guidelines are overbroad and inconsistent with the First Amendment. Specifically, the guidelines prohibit citizens from making public comments — whether good or bad — about the stewardship of school employees who have key responsibilities for carrying out the public functions of the school district. For example, the guidelines would prohibit a parent from criticizing Superintendent Hinson by name for his public statements about the on-going legislative and public debate over school funding in Kansas. Similarly, the guidelines would prohibit a parent from extolling the selfless dedication of a particular teacher or principal in the district who has made extraordinary efforts to help immigrant students. Because such comments fall squarely within the people’s First Amendment right to comment on stewardship of public officials, the Board’s current guidelines for the Open Forum agenda item are unconstitutional.”

Read Doug Bonney's ACLU letter to SMSD in full, here.
See related post about SMSD in RH column.

also, read www.kcmopost.com for other news that will make you so glad you live in Kansas.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

KCMO suckers!!! Giving KCI away like a bride's dowry to Burns & Mac--Despite most of their employees living in Joco. And one puny KCMO storage barn paying property taxes.

Thanks to Chuck Palah, the best researcher I've ever found, for this undeniable statement of the facts.

Mayor Sly James is giving away KCI terminal in a no-bid contract to the bride,
Burns & Mac--as a form of dowry.
Even tho Burns & Mac owns only a car barn in KCMO.
And 85% of her employees live outside of KCMO,
mostly in Joco.
Conspicuously absent from the tax rolls?  Their headquarters building, with the recent expansion completed, after KCMO granted them blight designation, millions in tax breaks, partial earnings tax exemption, all while the city financed the project for them.

So where is it?  Lost in the fog at KCI???

In the wake of Burns and McDonnell's recent surprise announcement, requesting to be given a no-bid billion(+) dollar airport terminal construction contract,  the public is being told by Mayor James, City Manager Troy Schulte, CEO Ray Kowalik, and most of our local media, that Burns and McDonnell is an outstanding  exemplary member of the Kansas City Missouri community.  But is that really true?  Let's take a look, because everyone else seems to quickly accept whatever they're told without question. 

First, just a quick refresher on Burns and McDonnell.  They are a privately-held, employee-owned, wealthy Kansas City-based engineering, architecture and construction firm, headquartered at 9400 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64114.  For 2015, Burns and McDonnell reported $2.6 billion in total revenue.  Average compensation for the most common salaried job (electrical engineer) is $136,955.  Their workforce is comprised of 84-percent White Caucasian, 6-percent Asian, 5-percent Latino, and 4-percent Black.  Women hold 24-percent of positions. 

The board of directors is composed entirely of White males.

Now, let's go to the  website for JACKSON COUNTY MISSOURI and see if Burns and McDonnell pays taxes on real estate/personal property. 

Below, you'll see all the listings on the site for Burns and McDonnell, and remember that their headquarters is 9400 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64114:

404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
12/16/2016 00:00
This is the only real estate listing found for Burns and McDonnell.  This is a parking lot/storage facility, several blocks from their headquarters, where they keep vehicles/trailers.
Inactive account
Burns and McDonnell occupied 3 floors of this building.
404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
No activity on this listing since 2015.
Inactive account
Listed as an active account, but no values found.
11/30/2016 00:00
Listed as a MACR 7-year personal property for tax depreciation purposes.
404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
11/30/2016 00:00
Personal property
11/30/2016 00:00
Personal property for the 3 floors of the building which they occupied.
11/30/2016 00:00
Personal property
11/30/2016 00:00
For the personal property listed below.
34 Chevrolet Impalas, 2 boats with motors, 3 flatbed trailers, 12 other trailers, 13 Chevrolet truck/SUV, 1 Ford Transit, 142 GMC truck/SUV, 1 Lincoln MKT SUV
Listed as an active account, but no values found.
So, you can see that Burns and McDonnell pay a modest amount of taxes on personal property (vehicle fleet, trailers, boats, furniture, office equipment, etc.) held in all the buildings they occupy, yet only have one real estate holding at 404 W. 90th KCMO 64114.  You can Google this address to view their modest non-descript vehicle storage facility.
Conspicuously absent is their headquarters building, with the recent expansion completed, after KCMO granted them blight designation, millions in tax breaks, partial earnings tax exemption, all while the city financed the project for them.

Next, let's see where the Burns and McDonnell leadership team reside.  Do you think they live within KCMO?  Based on a sampling of several hundred Burns and McDonnell employees who contributed to Mayor James reelection campaign during a single quarterly reporting period, we know that approximately 85-percent or more of their  employees do not reside within KCMO.  And if you don't reside in KCMO, then you don't pay property taxes/buy groceries/merchandise in KCMO, and don't send your children to school in KCMO.

Ray Kowalik, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, lives in Lee's Summit, MO.
David Yeamans, Director and President of Aviation & Facilities Division, lives in Leawood, KS.
John Nobles, Director and President of Process & Industrial Division, lives in Leawood, KS.
Paul Fischer, Vice President and Director, lives in Overland Park, KS.
John Olander, Vice President and Director, lives in Leawood, KS.
Dave Ruf Jr., Chairman Emeritus, lives in Overland Park, KS.
Greg Graves, recently retired CEO, lives in Stilwell, KS.

After doing this cursory review on Burns and McDonnell, it seems rather apparent that they leverage their position as a large employer to extract maximum benefits from the city, while simultaneously choosing to grow and contribute to the economic vitality of the non-KC Missouri suburbs and state of Kansas.

Do you think KCMO should grant an exclusive no-bid billion(+) dollar construction project to a company whose management team are non-residents?  Have you ever wondered why Mayor James, Troy Schulte, and many on the KCMO Council seek to impress and enrich non-residents?  Follow the money-trail and your questions will be answered.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sly James' 123GO Bond game--rather than his 23Skidoo out of KCMO/"Little Detroit" by copying Senator Pat Roberts LaZBoy strategy

Sly, I am so sorry I couldn't airlift you immediately out of KCMO to WDC for your 23Skidoo exit strategy.  Good luck peddling your craycray 123GOBond issue!  If you can con the public into believing that NON-MANDATED EASTER BUNNY WISH LIST, you'd be such an asset to the nation.  Now whatever you do, delete this Instagram!

KCMO Mayor Sly James RENTS, and resides in tony Union Hill at 108 E 30th St., a few houses east of Walnut--a block and a half east of Main. Where the yard sign and his bodyguard are on the street. That's open record.

He does not own any home in KCMO --he sold Mannheim, and relocated from a rental north of the river.  Therefore, ipso facto, SLY JAMES DOES NOT PAY PROPERTY TAX!
You may recall he left his wife--and his kids' cars--listed on Mannheim Rd personal property--when he sold that house and encamped to rent in the Northland.  But sloppy Joe--I mean Sly--then failed to pay his personal property taxes on time.  That should have been grounds for the Election Board to refuse to allow him to run for re-election.  But he was running against The Colonel--a homeless man.  (never reported by Micheal Mahoney or the STAR.) And annoying Clay Chastain, who rents a room here from his sister in Westport--but lives and drives and votes in West Virginia.  So the Election Board let that SLYde.
Currently in Jackson County, one in ten homes are already abandoned!!!!  No property taxes paid there!
Sly's exit strategy out of Little Detroit--aka KCMO--got busted when Hillary ran a dreadful campaign, barking like a pit bull, and lost the Presidency. (I used to like her, and once wrote her 7 checks, so back off.) Sly's plan was: Hillary appoints Cleaver to a post, then Sly takes Cleaver's unexpired seat--requires just the votes of the local Democratic Central Committee--those nameless loyal precinct committeemen and women. Sly tells his landlord, do like Senator Pat Roberts does in western Kansas--rent me a back bedroom or just this Union Hill basement-- with a LaZBoy recliner for when I circle back to gladhand.

But instead of 23 Skidoo, now he's peddling 123GO.
Like Sen. Pat Roberts (R)KS, who rents a back bedroom from a landlord in his home district, Mayor Sly James hopes to one day replace Congressman Cleaver and move to Washington DC.  James would have the taxpayers buy him a LaZBoy recliner in the townhome he currently rents on Union Hill, 108 E 30th St.  Mayor Sly James does not pay property taxes.  Yet his boondoggle 123GO Bond issue would raise property taxes in KCMO for 40 years.  $100 a month compounding annually.  (per the CITY MANAGER, WHO TOLD DAVE HELLING THAT GLORIOSO'S NINE BROCHURES ARE FULL OF FALSE INFORMATION AND PROMISES.)    For a wishlist where not one puppy kennel, not one sidewalk or bridge is mandated.  Just a Hallmark card of "wouldn't this be nice..."

For more information and news, log onto www.kcmopost.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shawnee Mission School District allows nepotism hires--and overcharges $1054 upfront if you dare to request Open Records search

Here's to my esteemed and finally emboldened leader friends at the news reporting website, www.ShawneeMissionPost.com!  Generally they just kiss the asses in power.  But FINALLY, THEY TOOK A STAND.  And got punished for daring to report the news.

They outed the Shawnee Mission School District for allowing the hire of the daughter of one of their school board members, Deb Zila.

Photo from SMPost.com: Deb Zila, the smug silent Mom who approved the contract with CBIZ to be
benefits MANAGER for the school district where she was elected to serve on the board!!
Hey, Deb.  Save us all the trouble of  a KORA records search--divulge the answers for FREE! 
Meet Mallory Zila.  Fresh from KState, until last April, when this former Nordstrom employee became a highly paid Employee Benefits Manager for CBIZ.  She manages insurance and benefits for SM School District,
where Mommy Deb Zila serves as SM South area's elected school board member!
Note: this ruffled grey sweatshirt is NOT from Ivanka Trump.

And then, when the website made a KORA request (Kansas Open Records Act) Shawnee Mission Post was gobsmacked to be told they were slugged with a preposterous $1000 downpayment demand!!!

Here's that link:

Note that the rate for searching and copying is $56 per hour, when the district publishes a rate of $30 to respond to KORA requests.  But working at the copier at SMSD comes with a benefit: all the Koolaid you can drink.

Today Shawnee Mission Post ran a survey on their web site.  Asking inoccuously:  "Are you satisfied with the level of transparency of the Shawnee Mission School District?"  

Knowing the facts, what fool would answer "yes"??  None.  But that doesn't count the district's horde of employment slaves...and Facebook and LinkedIn friends of Mallory and Deb Zila.!!
Well, so far the tally is 65 yes, 458 no. I thus conclude that the staff of the Shawnee Mission School District logged on after drinking their morning Koolaid, to vote yes. Couple that with the new policy of charging a deposit of a preposterous $1000 for Open Meetings requests for documents, which will likely be overturned as burdensome and thus illegal. Shame on overpaid Jim Hinson and the school board that condones this crap. 
The SM Schools should be merged with Blue Valley School District, and Olathe and Desoto. Fire some administrators, consolidate and save the taxpayers money. Then the Mom on the board, Mrs.Deb Zila, should submit the answers now, for free--and then resign based on conflict of interest.  Did she abstain from a line item on a SMSD board consent agenda that authorized her daughter's company's employment contract?  That's how these things sneak through. 
And folks wonder why the Ks. Legislature wants to cut down on wasteful taxpayer subsidies of public schools. We all have the governance we are willing to put up with. And yes, I know that's a dangling participle...I'm from Iowa, a "state of minds"... 
Note: if you like being informed about government transgressions and consumer issues, check regularly with www.jocopost.com and www.kcmopost.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Justice!!!! Schlitterbahn to close and remove Verruckt death machine!!!

Verruckt slide at Schlitterbahn with the killer netting above innocent unsuspecting riders.  When the raft went airborn this summer, the hook and loop belts (not Velcro brand) gave way, expelling young Caleb Schwab into the netting, and decapitating him.  JocoPost.com was the first to report the decapitation.  Confirmed the news with an eyewitness and an investigator sworn to secrecy for fear of losing their job in law enforcement--due to the cozy relationship of county government and their big money-generating local business.  We shared the decapitation details with Tonyskansascity.com--and Tony shared it with the world.  For the first week, local TV refused to say the word "decapitation".  The public was so misled, families were still attending the water park as if this was some trivial accident, rather than a horrific and preventable death trap.

KCTV 5 reported it as their lead story at 6pm today.

The results of the investigation must have been brutal!  Waiting for more details tomorrow, but here is Steve Vockrodt's initial report in the STAR.   (Just last week, he and I had speculated on whether the report would be buried and the victims paid for their silence.)

KC STAR reports Verruckt removal, three minutes after TV5 broke the story at 6pm

Schlitterbahn can never compensate Scott Schwab's family for the decapitation of their sweet son, Caleb.  But this is the right thing to do.

That slide was a blight on the landscape.

Good riddance.

I hope someone goes after the man, the son of the original owners of the water park, and send him to prison.  This was his doing.  He was so desperate to be the lead story on XTreme Sports cable show that he committed to building the world's tallest water slide.  With insufficient planning and design time.  Without telling his family/business partners.  Without knowing how to do it safely.  And according to a local engineer, he ignored phone calls from a structural engineer who tried to warn him--the design was defective, and would kill ejected passengers.

More to follow.

TV5 breaks story: Schlitterbahn says Verruckt will be coming down

Thursday, November 10, 2016

OK, Hillary-in-mourning folks: Change the channel in your head! Last night for KIFF film festival, Glenwood Arts/Ranchmart. "Dying of the Light", Eagle Huntress, KIFF local shorts or The Kandidat, thriller about a Slovakian Presidential campaign!

All over town, I find folks in mourning for Hillary's loss.

To gain perspective, here's how to change the channel in your head.  Come to the final night of this town's best film festival, Kansas International Film Festival.  At Ranchmart South, 95th & Mission.

Here are my picks:

5:25  Dying of the Light
          (No, it's not about the meltdown of the Democratic party!!!)  It's an excellent documentary about the fact that movies (and cameras) are now all going electronic--being made digitally, without the special qualities afforded by photochemical film.  This compares to the paintings of The Masters being no longer painted in oil.  It's a funeral for the past.  See how I related it to the thoughts on instant replay in your head???

5:30pm  The Eagle Huntress
          This is a sneak preview, and will have more screenings, starting around December.  A 13 year old girl in Mongolia becomes the first female in her family's centuries' old tradition of hunting, using giant golden eagles, atop horseback.  In deep snow.  On the steppes of Mongolia.  Which is really really hard to do!!!!  Harder than being paid to be a protester on the Country Club Plaza.  You'll see some of the best cinematography ever captured on film.  Stop feeling sorry about America!  Stop being afraid.  This might be the perfect film for you--and any brainwashed children who are crying today!!!  Stop watching TV news networks and liar-for-hire pollsters try to explain how they quit reporting and actually tweeted out insults and campaigned rather than reporting on our elections!!

7:30 pm: KIFF Local #2
           See seven short films made by local filmmakers.  Maybe discover the next Steven Spielberg!

Getty image.  Melania is from Slovenia, not Slovakia, where KIFF film The Kandidat was filmed... but still--it's about a maniuplative Presidential campaign!  Art imitates life???  ps, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY SHE ALWAYS SQUINTS.

7:35pm:  The Kandidat
             A cynical black humor thriller, takes place in Slovakia during a presidential campaign.   Based on a novel about a manipulative game of promoting an unknown into the Presidency of a country.  Go figure:  Art imitating life!!!  This is why KIFF is such a terrific film festival.
 Ironically, and no part of this film, Slovakia is right next door to Slovenia, the home country of our next First Lady--Melania Trump!!!  (I guess we have four years to figure that one out.)

 For more details, see www.kansasfilm.org

Great food at KIFF cafe--I love Chef Kat Irons' special curried chicken salad on croissant with Sun Chips...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

CABARET: Wowsers at Musical Theater Heritage in Crown Center.

I love musicals--and so do many of the women who live with the good readers of Tonyskansascity.com.  And even those who sleep with the trolls there.   So here is a NO FAIL DATE NIGHT SUGGESTION for Tony's readers.  Courtesy of KC's local musical and theatrical expert, Bill Doty.

CABARET is one of those musicals you see again and again, not only if you have been out of touch for a long time (40+ years), but  to see how it is staged and performed.  Having been described as (Kansas City’s) John Kander and the late Fred Ebbs’ masterpiece, CABARET is one of  the best musicals ever to trod the boards.   Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman) are already right there with the Sondheim,  Schonberg/Boubil (Les Mis...) and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber as institutional forces in American musical theatre.  So, there you have them “Cabaret” and Kander and Ebb – venerable, indelible, incomparable.  Armed with that, you can take your seat.

Executive Producer Chad Gerlt and Artistic Director Sarah Crawfords’ just- opened Musical Theater Heritage (MTH)/Crown Center production of CABARET is an unqualified rave!
First, the concert-style musical format, a force unto itself, takes us to the madness of 1931 Berlin where we are constantly surprised and seduced.   Artistic Director Sarah Crawford’s masterful casting, directing and her use of the syncopated choreography of the late Bob Fosse (OMG, FOSSE!) are reason enough to get tickets now..  The play is sensitively enacted – as Nazism takes hold, we care about the storyteller (author Christopher Isherwood) as Cliff, his landlady, Fraulein Schneider, the androgynous emcee of club Kit-Kat Klub/his “girls,” and the unwieldy faux Brit, Sally Bowles.   
I’ll leave theatre-goers to see these consummate performances, this incredible story – except to say that they are all stunning – perfectly researched and imagined – brilliant and (oops, a slip) Stefanie Wienecke as Sally Bowles may be the best Sally you (or anybody) has ever seen.  

Doty postscript: I am booked to see CABARET at least two more times. 

Tracy adds:   
Bill Doty is not just some guy in a diner with an untrained ear and eye for theatre.  He has had dinner with Andrew Lloyd Webber in London.  He is a playwright with a current work in previews in NYC..."Children of the April Rain".  He worked in Hollywood and at the National Archives for 49 years--with all the Hollywood stars.  He's our version of Forrest Gump.  He knows everyone worth knowing.  Tennessee Williams once rang his doorbell at 8:30 in the morning, in his skivvies, holding out a coffee mug and asking: "Got vodka?"

And Doty buys his tickets.  These are not the rahrah writings of a reviewer sitting in the comped seats.  So when he says, this is the musical of the year, you can trust him.

For tickets to Cabaret 
at MTH/Musical Theater Heritage, 

You are Willkommen!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

HOT TICKETS! Win 2 free tickets to meet Ed Asner, Sunday night 5pm at KIFF/Ks Intl Film Festival, Glenwood Arts, Ranchmart South, 95th & Mission. See his doc: "My Friend, Ed."

KCK's loveable hometown movie star, Ed Asner, (aka Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, plus 101 other roles on film and TV), will be our town's version of Robert Redford at Sundance--at the 16th annual KIFF/Kansas International Film Festival running now thru Nov. 10.

About "My Friend, Ed":
Sunday, Nov. 6   one showing only!  5:05pm    

Special Events:
3:30 to 4:15pm            Autograph Party   (one item per person)
4:15 to 4:30pm            Media Interviews
4:30 pm                       Seating for the one showing.  
                                   Festival passes seated first, 
                                    {$60/see 18 possible films in one week. 
                                    Fri. Nov. 4-10 plus mingle all week: attend 2
                                    exclusive parties with filmmakers and stars}

5:05 pm                       Screening of "My Friend, Ed"
                                    55 min. documentary
6p-6:30pm                   QandA: Ed Asner; daughter Liza Asner, and 
                                   Sharon Baker, Director/Writer 

Tony is helping me and my favorite local film festival give away free tickets to selected films this year.
To win, send me a polite request via comment (not on Tonyskansascity but on www.jocopost.com).
You may log on, or click the link Tony provides, or click this blog in the RH column of Tonys site.

I will need your name and email address and phone number--so you can't just be anonymous.  Since I screen all comments first, I won't publish your info, just use it to see if I can score you two free tickets.

I will give away as many tickets as I can.
This one will be VERY popular.
If you win, I will immediately send you the form, and notify the Will Call Desk at the Glenwood Arts.  I will also let you know if you did not win FREE tix, but encourage you to buy them early, as they are selling FAST.
Winners will take your Confirmation Email (print out or just show your phone) to the Will Call in the vast underground theatre lobby Ranchmart South to pick up your tickets.  (You may park on the 95th St. side and walk down the 20 steps, or park in back, off 95th Ter. just east of Mission Rd.)
You may also buy extra tickets there --if it's not sold out.  Goin' fast!

Each of the 35 FULL LENGTH films at this year's KIFF film festival ONLY AIRS ONCE!!!
Tickets are not exchangeable for another film.  Five different indie films (docs, narratives or animations) are screened in the five auditoriums, one time only, at any given time.   Audience members vote on their favorites, to earn additional showings in the future.

This year a record number of filmmakers and performing artists are flying in for the festival.  It's a big deal in the independent film world.  The stars and producers will be partying in Westport, and mingling with fans and other movie producers at the Glenwood Arts, at the KIFF Cafe, where Kat Irons prepares gourmet food.  Paparazzi welcome.  So chew your curry chicken salad on croissant with your mouth closed--please!!!

In addition, KIFF President Brian Mossman has arranged for Sneak Previews one time only of three highly anticipated films that will not open for general release until Christmas!:
Friday, Nov. 4  "Jackie"     7:30pm  one screening only.  Stars Natalie Portman,
                                            drama, Jacqueline Kennedy AFTER JFK was assassinated

Sat, Nov. 5        "Lion"         4:45pm one screening only.  Stars Dev Patel.  True story.
                                              Six year old Hindu boy jumps train, can't get home.
                                              Adopted in Australia.  25 years later, uses Google Earth
                                              to view every train station in India.  Mom???

Sun. Nov. 6       "Neruda"    7:15pm, one screening only.  Right after Asner.
                                             An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize Laureate,
                                             fugitive Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

The KIFF Festival is the best in Kansas City--like going to Cannes or Sundance, only you can still get tickets!  Independent films, animations, shorts and the three studio sneaks.

For details, go to www.kansasfilm.com

Here's the complete Ed Asner press release/bio

For more offers of free tickets, and info about the great indie films at KIFF, see our sister site: www.KcmoPost.com

Saturday, September 3, 2016

How much did local officials know last week--when they held an Earthquake Drill--right before the Sept. 3rd Oklahoma tremor hit Joco??

So just last week the morning local news reported an Earthquake Drill.  Just in case the New Madrid Fault gave Joco and the metro its first earthquake since 1812.

Wikipedia, New Madrid Fault earthquakes, 1811-1812

The Mississippi ran backwards during KC's last big earthquake.  Barge drivers hate it when that happens!!!!

Odd?  Why now??  Out of the blue???  Or did they know something.  In the Watergate hearings, the big question was, what did they know, and when did they know it?

Or, as Arsenio Hall would say, HMMMMMMMM.

I forgot to call my insurance agent to ask about earthquake coverage.  Perhaps I should have. I bet the rates go up Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just downloaded the app, EarthquakeAlert from the Android play store. Thank you, Josh Klemm for making this free.
Google Play store free EarthQuakeAlert app here

Now there are those critics that think me terrible for criticizing madman Jeff Henry for designing Verruckt water slide so ineptly, on the back of a cocktail napkin perhaps, in a dare and a big damn hurry, just so his family-owned Schlitterbahn could be the lead story on XtremeSports reality TV show Season III by Animal Planet.  Jeff Henry refused to even listen to or meet with the local engineer who WROTE him documenting the "attractive nuisance" of his misloaded, badly designed water slide.  Jeff Henry's narcissism and stubbornness and GREED led directly to the decapitation of young Caleb Schwab, may he rest in piece.  I mean peace.

Well, Jeff Henry's deadly screw-up, still unacknowledged, has put me on alert.  I am not waiting around for a bunch of greedy thoughtless business owners and their lawyers to cover up their clients' messes.  And delay the fixes to protect the public.  I am once again sounding the alarm.

My job is not to be an engineer.  My job is to warn the public.  We need to stop letting politicians and less-than-bright bureaucrats sociopathic profit-obsessed businesses without a conscience risk our lives.  And in the case of earthquakes, the foundation of my biggest investment, my home in Shawnee Ks.

February 7, 1812, 0945 UTC (3:45 a.m.); (M 7.5‑8.0[2][3]) epicenter near New Madrid, Missouri.  New Madrid was destroyed. In St. Louis, Missouri, many houses were severely damaged, and their chimneys were toppled. 

So today we had our first earthquake since 1812.  And fortunately, it was NOT the New Madrid Fault, beneath us.  Just a tremor from a 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma.  There have also been many more such quakes the past three years in Kansas, but I don't see Sam Brownback doing anything about that.
"Hey, the Koch brothers are oil and gas producers.  I made all their LLC's tax free in Kansas. So what if salt water is a byproduct of their extractions.   Not many Kansans even HAVE chimneys that can be toppled.  Let the people eat beef jerky.  What's a few cracks in your walls?  Stop whining...  Buy some spackle at Home Depot and let's get on with 'reinventing government' among friends!!!

So I don't expect Sam to fix this.  He's bought and paid for.  But how about you, Congressman Kevin Yoder?: You're in Congress.  This problem is bigger than Kansas.  It's your turn to lead.  Force oil and gas producers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, wherever, to stop pouring their salt water into the ground, right on top of the crystalline layer full of faults.  That could set off our own New Madrid Fault any week now.

Yoder--How about you do this now, BEFORE our houses fall down, go boom. 

 And you, worthless Senator from oil country in western Kansas, the Big Red 1, Jerry Moran.  Mr. "last one to vote every time in the Senate, after you have your finger in the wind so long it dries out"----You too.
Senator Jerry Moran.  Supported largely by oil and gas producers in western Kansas, who then pour their salt water refuse back into the earth.  Kansas has had a marked increase in earthquakes.  Caused by this.  Moran has NEVER voted first on any bill in the US Senate, EVER!!!  Not even the one bill he co-sponsored!!! He waits to vote with the majority.  

If  you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  
I learned in my high school science classes in Iowa, (a "state of minds"), you don't put salt water into a fresh water river.  

So here's the deal, boys.  Make the oil and gas producers either haul their salt water byproduct of oil and gas production to an ocean.  Or desalinate that waste water, and then it can go in the nearest river.

Here's the link to a great story.  
60 Minutes story documents recent quakes from manmade causes

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Due to an RSS linking error in my site, Tonyskansascity.com cannot auto-link to my feed at www.jocopost.com.  I need an expert in blogger.com to fix this for me, thanks for telling your friends.  Tracy Thomas, publisher.  

Tony's site does auto-link in the right hand column of his site, to www.KcmoPost.com.  read the companion stories there.