Category Archives: Economics

A Vote For COMBAT Extension Is A Vote For Hyperbole

While the attention surrounding the Nov. 3 election has primarily focused on various national elections (the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, for instance), here in the metro area Jackson County voters are being asked to extend the one-quarter cent COMBAT (Community Backed Anti-Drug Sales Tax).

Well, a group called Citizens for Crime Reduction would like you to know what future awaits if said sales tax is NOT extended– take a look at this mailer that is circulating around town:


Yes, JaxCountians! If you see fit to reject this extension, prepare to become a veritable Heartland Hadithah, as COMBAT is the only thing preventing the city and county from becoming a military-occupied parcel of land! Better learn your Arabic characters, because the Shiite is about to go down!

While we’re indulging in overwrought similes, COMBAT is also like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life in that if the tax didn’t exist, that mean old Mr. Potter would run Bedford Falls Kansas City into the ground with his drug empire, and Mary Hatch would likely be turning tricks for an eight-ball of coke.

Listen, we get that COMBAT contributes to some worthwhile drug treatment and prevention programs. But drawing references to Iraq is waaaaay over the top. It has no relevance whatsoever to this discussion. If you’re looking for an Iraq “with drugs,” we have a more apt comparison for you: Afghanistan.


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Filed under City Government, Crime, Economics, In the News, Uncategorized

Time To End The War Of Attrition Plaguing The Star‘s Letters Section

Dear Kansas City,
Look, we get it. A lot of you are upset. A third of you think that President Hope is running this country into the ground. A third of you think racism is driving any and all criticism of the administration. And a third of you pretty much don’t care, which makes you the worst portion of the pie chart. But for now, let’s focus on the yeas and the nays — those all-too-vocal citizens who are reenacting the Thrilla in Manila in the pages of the Star‘s Letters to the Editor section. Every day for about three months, there has been a letter either warning of a looming apocalypse or warning of the lunatics saying such things. Today’s letter, a rambling, illogical, and shrill missive, from Leawood’s Pam Zubeck is evidence that the debate has finally gone too far. Some samples of its low points:

It doesn’t take a talk show host to make reasonable, rational individuals realize there is something wrong with the way this country is being run today… News flash to the left: You don’t own the First Amendment… It seems to me the 9/12 protesters are the very people who are trying to save this republic… The “progressives” of 1776 gave their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so we can be free. The “progressives” of 2009 in no way resemble the “progressives” of the American Revolution… The 2009 progressives want enslavement to the government… Don’t call yourself a progressive and then say you’re in the same league with Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, because you’re not even close.

Well. I’m not sure I have the energy to point out exactly why Ms. Zubeck has deep-sixed reality so fervently, but perhaps a message to the respective sides will help us end at least one theater of this war: the Star‘s letters section. Because, you know, we need more room for stuff like this. Anyway, to the lecturing. MORE

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Filed under Economics, Education, In the News, Media, Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Operation Rescue Needs… Well, Rescue

operationrescuesfinancialconditionWill you be the savior for Operation Rescue? No, not that savior, silly. A financial savior is what they’re looking for, given the precipitous drop in donations, membership, and positive word of mouth since that pesky lil’ murder a few months ago. According to Troy Newman, O.R. holy-roller-in-chief and deeply unsympathetic man, the group is in serious danger of folding completely. Uh… oh no?

Newman blames the economy. But the Wichita-based organization has also taken heavy criticism after the May 31 shooting death of abortion provider George Tiller — not only from abortion-rights supporters but also from anti-abortion militants.

Newman told The Associated Press that the group has only four paid employees left, compared with nine a year ago. Donations are down more than 30 percent, and Newman says he hasn’t been paid in two months.

Another anti-abortion group, Kansans for Life, says it hasn’t seen a noticeable drop in its donations.

Hmm? You mean a comparably crazy group hasn’t seen any decline in money flowing in from the nation’s holier-than-thou set? So it must just be you guys, then. What would the world do without Operation Rescue? Well… we’d probably see a sharp decline in apocalyptic rhetoric, I guess, and maybe fewer annoying obstacles outside clinics. So yeah, we’re okay with this. Time for O.R. to be Lehman’d.

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Religion

Will Herr Hesse Soon Prowl The Streets Of Bonn?

noyouwontsubduesprintThe boulevards of suburban Overland Park are abuzz this morning with news of the possible purchase of Sprint-Nextel-PCS-Global-Telephonium by DEUTSCHE TELEKOM! — because things in German must always be shouted — an action which would consolidate two losing companies under one roof. Hey, convenient!

But rumors of a deal between the two companies — the third- and fourth-largest carriers in the United States — keep popping up because Sprint and T-Mobile continue to lose money and lag far behind the larger Verizon and AT&T, said Michael Nelson, research analyst at Soleil Securities in New York.

“I think right now it’s clear that Sprint and T-Mobile are having an increasingly difficult time competing in the current environment, and there’s really no easy solution,” Nelson said. “It’s potential consolidation as a necessity.”

Ah, consolidation as necessity. Isn’t this like those sad middle-aged relationships that come about because neither party thinks he or she can do any better? So this divorcee from Gardner might just be the best option available? Sad, sad, sad. It’s of course been a long and winding road for Sprint, which acquired Nextel in an ill-advised joining of forces a few years ago. They’ve never quite been able to compete with the behemoths of Verizon or AT&T, and now it looks like another marriage is in the offing. Of course, this will again fail to answer that age-old question: why can’t I get service a mere mile from your sprawling and pretentious campus? And why do you keep hiring trenchcoat-ed men to stalk city streets?

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Filed under Economics, Local Business, Sprint

Olathe Man Unironically Blames Government Expansion On Obama, Conveniently Forgets 2001-2009

larryfromolathescredoLarry Seitter from Olathe is mad. And how’s he going to vent his anger? Why, the same way we all do it: by penning a letter to the Star‘s editor, of course. You see, Larry is upset about the massive government overreach we’ve seen under President Change-ama, and yet he’s thankful that the man in question has stirred the populist anger of the silent majority. Hey, nice! I thought we’d seen that phrase retired with Agnew. He goes on, in semi-logical fashion:

I would like to offer my deepest gratitude to the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress for the invaluable public service they have performed. By their aggressive actions they have done the impossible — awakened the sleeping giant of the silent majority.

They have unleashed their worst and most powerful of enemies — taxpayers — the ones paying for all these absurd, destructive and basically unconstitutional confiscations and redistributions of our private property. This rage is not a momentary passion. It is the result of decades of pent-up disgust and distrust at governmental undermining of the core American ethic of self-reliance, luring greater and greater numbers of citizens to become unproductive dependent wards of the state, always looking to government to resolve their every inconvenience.

This administration was the final straw, and it will discover that the deep opposition to expansionist government policies are only battlefronts in the larger war for limited government.

… land that I looooooooove…. Well-stated, Larry! There has been too much government expansion in the past decade. First there was that creation of an entirely new department in the federal government. Then there was that totally unnecessary use of government power overseas, costing billions of dollars a month. Let’s not forget the Medicare overhaul, or the expansion of government powers under that ludicrous acronym. And who could overlook the bank bailout package? Or the beginning of auto bailout money? Yes, it certainly has been a dark time for foes of federal power grabs.

Wait, what’s that? You say all those things occurred under the stewardship of Republican President George Walker Bush? The alleged fiscal conservative who left a gaping deficit the size of Iceland? Oh, silly us.


Filed under Economics, Media, Politics

Shameless Kansans Steal Money-Losing Project From Bankrupt KCMO

wycostealingthewizardsfromkcmoWell, score another one for the Sunflower State. Looks like those dastardly rogues in charge of the cesspool that is Wyandotte County thought it appropriate to swoop in and snatch the Kansas City Wizards stadium deal from the hands of the groveling KCMO taxpayers and city officials. And just when the project was going so… well? In an article entitled “Wizards stadium kicked over the state line to Wyandotte County” — ah, yes, I see what you did there — the Star‘s Kevin Collison details just how this highway robbery occurred. Imagine the nerve: wanting to put a sports stadium in the middle of a burgeoning development that’s actually making money, instead of a pie-in-the-sky plan to build a stadium where nothing else succeeds! It’s ludicrous.

The developer working for OnGoal LLC, the owner of the Kansas City Wizards, has prepared a stadium plan for a site owned by Nebraska Furniture Mart. The developer is asking state and county officials to use revenues from the existing sales tax revenue bonds, also known as STAR bonds, issued for the Village West retail district to help finance the project.

To sweeten its proposal, OnGoal, whose ownership group includes Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig, co-founders of Cerner, has included a 600,000-square-foot office project that Wyandotte County officials confirmed would house new Cerner employees.

Fear not, citizens of the MO side! Surely there is a tall, bearded crusader who shall fight to the death to retain what has long been rightfully ours… right?

Mayor Mark Funkhouser said the city had been working to do whatever it could to keep the development, but that STAR bonds presented a formidable competition.

“We have put together a very aggressive package,” the mayor said. “I would very much like to keep the development here, but not at any price.”

Oh, so… not so much. Fine, then. Take the team, WyCo. But just see how the team likes living amidst the poverty and boredom and strip mall megalopolis you offer. Eventually, the Wizards will come crawling back to us — and we’ll still be able to offer them the Bannister site, because what the hell else are we going to use it for?

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Filed under Crime, Economics, Funkhouser, Sports

Weep, Citizens! Know Ye Not That A SkyFox Has Fallen This Day?

thedeardepartedskyfoxDozens of business sectors have had a tough go In This Economy, and it appears that recessionomics has finally reached into that previously impenetrable world of useless local news station helicopters. Sadly, the Star‘s Aaron Barnhart is forced to report that Fox 4’s rotor-operated eye in the sky is no more — a victim, alas, of a) the economic maelstrom, and b) the totally pointless ownership of helicopters. Fox 4 GM Cheryl McDonald responds to Aaron’s queries, with typical PR flackishness and words that don’t really mean anything:

After careful consideration of the costs going forward and the ample technological developments that have become available in the process of news gathering and coverage, we have decided it more prudent not to renew our helicopter contract at this time and to utilize our financial resources elsewhere.

This decision does not signal in any way a reduced commitment to traffic and breaking news coverage for our viewers. In fact FOX 4 has the most advanced traffic system in the market, with more cameras, traffic sensors, e-mail and cell phone notifications, 3D renderings of every road and Highway, and the most precise drive time information available.

Wait, wait… 3D renderings of every road and “H”ighway? What are you, a wizard? And isn’t there a certain uselessness to all this? After all, you could summarize every piece of KC driving information and advice with the following:  Avoid 35 and 70 during rush hour. There, we just saved you millions of dollars a year.

We’ve never quite seen the point of local news helicopters. They seem to possess limited inherent worth; how many times do we need to see an aerial shot of a post-chase police scene, or see a wall of clouds which may or may not form a tornado? We’re calling the retirement of SkyFox — loss of an awesome name aside — a pretty sound decision.


Filed under Economics, Local Business, Media, Transportation