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Archive for April, 2017

There’s a lot going on, internationally, nationally and locally.

Let’s start with the most distant events, geographically, and draw the circle tighter…

SYRIA

It appears that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria unleashed another chemical attack on his own people…Either that, or one or both of his closest allies — Russia and Iran — did it.

Here’s an image from The New York Times that makes you want to simultaneously weep in sadness and shriek in anger…

Yes, the girl is dead.

There are much worse images from this attack, which killed dozens of people, including many children and sickened many others. If you can stand it, video is readily available that shows people totally incapacitated and struggling to breathe…some of them who may well have been drawing their last breaths.

The Trump administration blamed former President Barack Obama, saying the attack was a consequence of the last administration’s “weakness and irresolution,” specifically in the face of a chemical weapons attack that occurred after he warned Assad that if he used chemical weapons, he would face consequences for crossing “a red line.”

Sorry, but blaming the previous administration is not an adequate response to this outrage. Obama blew it, for sure, but now it’s President Trump’s problem…What will he do with it? A nation waits.

GORSUCH

The judge will be confirmed because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’s going to change the rules and allow Gorsuch’s nomination to be approved by a simple majority of 51 votes. This is — will be, if it happens — another step down the road leading away from any semblance of bipartisanship in Congress. If that is the result, I think the Democrats will prevail in the long run. It will take a few years, but I believe a majority of Americans will come around.

TESLA

Here’s one that defies imagination: The New York Times reported today that on Monday Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric-car company, surpassed Ford Motor Co. in market value and “moved within striking distance of General Motors.”

The Times said: “While G.M. and Ford may have strong profits and healthy balance sheets, Tesla offers something Wall Street loves much more: the potential for dramatic growth.”

At the close of the stock market Monday, Tesla’s market capitalization hit $48.7 billion, compared to $45.6 billion for Ford and $51.2 billion for G.M.

That was the case even though G.M. and Ford are each selling about 250,000 vehicles a month in the United States. Tesla? Well, it sold 4,000 vehicles last month.

But Musk might be more of a con man than President Trump: His goal is that by 2018 — that’s next year — Tesla will be making more than 41,000 cars a month, a ten-fold increase over current production.

I say good luck to those who see “TSLA” stock as the path to riches…I’ll be sticking with my “NYT” stock.

ROY

I was rooting for the “Zags” in Monday’s NCAA basketball finals, but I couldn’t help admire the way North Carolina coach Roy Williams pushed all the right buttons. In the first half, he gave his biggest, most intimidating player, Kennedy Meeks, a tongue lashing that made me wince as I watched in my front room. At another point, he slapped the floor so hard that his hand took on the dynamics of a basketball as it rebounded upward. What I like most about Williams is that he doesn’t try to micromanage the game, like a lot of coaches do, running up and down the sideline and yelling themselves hoarse in their efforts to be puppeteers.

One coach who does that to absolute distraction is K-State’s Bruce Weber, who scurries around like a banty rooster, making a spectacle of himself. Whether they realize it or not, coaches like Weber undercut their players because their constant yammering signals to the players that the coach has no confidence in them to make decisions and smart plays on their own.

Williams, for the most part, watches the game — usually standing — and mostly applauds good plays, claps his hands and offers words of encouragement. He doesn’t call a lot of timeouts to draw up specific plays, and, like he did Monday, he throws a shit fit when he feels he needs to get his players’ full attention.

A recent story in The Washington Post summed up for me why Williams is so successful. (His Tar Heel teams have now won three national titles.) The story quoted Carolina player Theo Pinson as saying: “He trusts his players. He doesn’t call a timeout because he wants us to go make a play. Not a lot of coaches do. They want to control that situation and draw up a play. Players go win the game. He picks his spots and puts us in the best position to win games.”

ELECTION

With 97 percent of the votes counted, all three of Kansas City’s general-obligation bond proposals appeared to be on their way to passage. Each of the three bond questions stood at more than 60 percent approval, with each needing at least 57.1 percent approval.

Voters also were approving a measure to limit Municipal Court punishment for marijuana possession to a $25 fine, as well as a one-eighth-cent sales tax for economic development on Kansas City’s East Side. (For the record, I had come out for the G.O. bonds and against the sales tax.)

Overall, it was a very good night for Kansas City. Congratulations to Mayor Sly James, City Manager Troy Schulte, the City Council and the paid consultants who engineered a winning effort.

Next on the horizon — a new, single terminal at KCI. And away we go (I hope)!

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