Friday, February 29, 2008

When Ideas Count......

Didn't I read in the SN-L a couple of weeks ago where the police officer's association was suing the city for access to exit interviews of their members? Why didn't they just ask their members what they said in the interviews?

Are we under contract with the company that provides the red light cameras? Laser craft charges $4,195 per approach per intersection. I guess this means, although the newspaper reports aren't clear, that each intersection has four approaches, north, south, east and west. $4,195 time 4 = $16,870 per intersection per month times 15 intersections (city says eventually 16 intersections will have cameras, you can adjust the math) = $251,700 per month times 12 months = $3,020,400. I seem to recall reading somewhere that revenues weren't as expected. Are the cameras paying for themselves yet?

Why does the third largest city in the state have a volunteer part-time mayor and volunteer part-time city council? The county doesn't. If the answer is because of the city charter, which was adapted in 1953, maybe now is the time to revisit the charter, make adjustments or even adapt a different system of governance.

There was an editorial in the SN-L last week about combining the city police and county sheriff's department into a metro area police department. Would that mean one big police department for the whole county? We already share a parks department and a health department. Why stop there? Why not just merge the city and county governments into one big government?

Does anyone else notice how downtown seems to be turning into a concrete jungle, especially the area around Campbell and College? Up by the courthouse by that new justice building also. And, of course, the heaviest park in the city/county parks system: Founder's Park.What's the difference between a 'parking garage' and a 'car park'? Or is it one of those 'snails' - 'escargot' things? "Waiter, there are snails in my escargot!"

I was having a discussion with a friend recently and I was talking about how I was not a fan of the ice skating rink. He asked if I had ever been there and I haven't. He believed that if I hadn't visited the place, I had no right to have an opinion about it. I disagreed with him then and I disagree with him now. But I am going to go down to the ice skating rink and check it out. Using his line of reasoning, no one can have an opinion about gay sex if you haven't had gay sex.

The friend also believed if City Council had let the rink have a liquor license and sell beer, it would be a money maker instead of a money loser. They sell beer at the ball park, don't they? Springfield Cardinals, Anheiser Busch, bet I know what brand of beer they sell: Budweiser.

Speaking of City Council and liquor in the park (I believe we voted on that in November, 2002), why did City Council put that to a public vote instead of deciding the matter themselves for us. If the reply is the people have to decide on matters like this, then why even have a City Council, just put everything to a vote. Who decides what issues will be decided by City Council and what issues will be decided by voters. Now, I know taxes and stuff like that have to be voted on, but the decision to allow beer in the parks should have been made by Council...unless Council members were afraid if they voted for beer in parks they would be voted out the next election.

I was exchanging emails with another friend recently and I asked: What is the city? Is it the guys who change the bulbs in the streetlamps in front of my house when they burn out? Is it the guys who drive the big yellow trucks and clear the streets? Is it the lady who gives my dogs treats as she reads my electric meter? Is it the bus driver who slows down to let me go around him at Pricecutter? She answered, "yes." She's right and I knew the answer even as I wrote those words. My wife and I choose to live in Springfield. I believe the city functions best when it is looking out for the greatest good for the greatest number of its citizens. And right now I got this sinking feeling that special interests are in control.

I would be interested in knowing how the questions on the phone survey are posed. Right now, I am not inclined to support a new sales tax, regardless of how well intentioned it may be. I believe we would be better to take a current tax and divert the funds generated by that tax to the pension fund. Sales taxes are a regressive tax. It seem so simple to just add another tax when we need more money, and that is simple. But there is also the theory of living within your means and taking care of core responsibilities and cutting out non-essentials.

I wonder if alcoholics can drink cough syrup with alcohol? I am color blind, I see colors but the colors I see are not the same colors you see. The color I see as red is not the same color a non-color blind person sees as red. Being color blind kept me out of flight school for helicopters when I was in the army. I like bright colors, reds, greens, yellows, oranges. Here is one of many tests for colorblindness: this is the Ishihara test. I can see '25' and I can seen enough of '56' to realize it is '56', but it's not really clear. The rest of the circles, I just see dots. One thing I do know about being colorblind: if you don't know you are colorblind, you don't know you are colorblind.

Change Involves A Whole Lot More Than Just Talking About Change

Read this article.

The House voted two weeks ago to cite Bolten and Miers for contempt of Congress and seek a grand jury investigation. Most Republicans boycotted the vote...Republicans call the whole affair a political game and walked out of the House vote on the contempt citations in protest.

Unless EVERYONE buys into change, change ain't gonna happen. And it looks like not everyone in Washington wants to change.

Now, read this article.
McCain's war hero ethos is embedded in his speaking style. Because of the injuries he suffered after his plane went down and the ensuing beatings he received over five years of torture, he cannot raise his arms above shoulder height when gesturing or waving. The result for those who know is one of strength. For those who don't, McCain's podium presence can seem stiff and stilted.

Clinton's technocratic command of policy ripples through her speeches. And in moments such as the now famous "crying episodes," voters have seen flashes of warmth that those closest to her say typifies her private persona. Whether that human touch emerges on the rostrum before the all-important Texas and Ohio primaries remains to be seen.

Much has been written and said about Obama's ubiquitous message of "hope" and oratorical flights of fancy. Critics contend he is a cotton-candy communicator long on saccharin speeches and short on experience. His platform skills are real, but so is McCain's gravitas. The matchup would be one for the ages.
And finally, just to refresh our memories about constraints to change, re-read this post.

Some Days I Just Get This Feeling That I Am Only As Smart As The Last Person I Talked To

Spent all day just lying around the house. My private nurse told me to quit drinking grapefruit juice to hydrate myself, drink water with lemon. She also suggested I go to the doctor or urgent care clinic. But to suit myself if I didn't want to do it. Now that was a trick question. The real meaning was this: if I don't go to the doctor to get some medicine to feel better, don't expect any sympathy from the nursing department.

I hate going to the doctor's. I made the call to the appointment desk, the lady put me though to the doctor's nurse. She asked my symptoms, I told her, she said I got whatever is going around and keep fluids in me and let it run it's course. The hospitals are full of people who are sick (duh!) with the bug and if I really felt bad, I could go to urgent care. She gave me the names of some over the counter remedies I could pick up from Skagg's.

I decided against going to urgent care, I'll save my insurance for a real emergency. I'll just tough it out.

I have been running a fever off and on all day. One minute I am soaked in sweat, the next minute I am chilled to the bone. I get these 'rolling' coughing spells that hurt and I can't catch my breath. They aren't deep coughs, but lots of aches.

I am going to get some musinex or theraflu, when I get up the gumption to go to skaggs. Austin and Blake and maybe Trey came over for Ramon Noodles, I didn't even get out of bed to see them. Just told them not to come near me. They start baseball practice tonight. Life In The Garden says the first chink of the baseball bat is a sure sign of spring around here. She must be able to hear the practice at the Parkview ballfield. We told the three boys that it's probably not a good idea to play baseball in our backyard anymore, they can play catch, but no more hitting. We got new windows on the house and the boys are just getting too dang good, what with hitting the ball over the fence just about every time. The good news is they are becoming power hitters, the bad news is every truck and bus that is parked on the street has been hit. Last year one of the boys (I didn't ask which one and they didn't volunteer--I did tell them I wasn't mad, but maybe next time pull their swings) hit the side window of the 53 Chevy pickup and spider webbed it, so I got another window for $8.00, put it in, which is a j.o.b., went to the leaf dump with a load of leaves, got out of the truck, slammed the door and shattered the window. Dang.

Oh I tell ya, though, ain't life grand! I do enjoy those boys and they all think I am a pretty neat grandpa who can fix or make anything.

My little brother John, who lives in Ocala, Florida--he's the one who picked up the Cushman doors, sent me an email that said, among other things,

also, check out this site.... The actually saw this beast in person on my way home from getting these doors. it was parked outside the rough biker bar out in the Ocala National Forest. So goofy looking that i had to turn around and get a closer look. good sentiment though.

"I'll Take Fat Men Who Used To Be Meaningful And Who May Or May Not Be Still Alive, For $600.00, Art"


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Career Expo Held In Springfield

A couple of weeks ago, there was a Career Expo held in Springfield, MO. The Bus went and visited with companies that exhibited at the expo. We wanted to find out what were the hot degrees, what skills are in demand and what employers are looking for in potential employees.

I picked out a mix of locally owned and national companies, health providers and media outlets. I identified myself as a civilian journalist and blogger. I took copious notes. I brought all these notes home and started to go through them when a budget crisis erupted.

Communication skills and flexibility were two main qualities employers were seeking in potential employees. Hard skills in sales were important to insurance and money management firms. Media outlets were looking for media sales people, a highly competitive venture. The two major health care providers in Springfield, Cox Medical Centers and St. Johns Health System, were looking for clinical and support staff.

The people I visited with that day were professional and, once I explained who I was and what I was doing, were eager to share information about their companies.

Which Of These Is Not Like The Other

The Bus is not the only blog that likes to use pictures and photos to make a point.

Who Made The Decision NOT To Fully Fund The Pension Plan, Why Was It Made And When Was It Made? Revised 5:36 PM

At the media budget briefing last Tuesday, the city basically said that everything would be ok if it weren't for the shortfall in the police and fire department pension plan.

Sometime, somewhere back in time a decision was made NOT to fully fund this plan. Sometime in the past, someone had to have looked at the plan and noticed that is was coming up short on funding. A conscious decision had to have been made NOT to fully fund the plan.

If a decision wasn't made and the fund just drifted along, getting deeper and deeper in the hole each year, then someone in city government, present or past, needs to be held accountable.

How do I find out this information? If you know the answer or know where to send me to look, email me, the link is in my profile. Replies and inquiries may be published unless requested otherwise.

Reading the forums on the SN-L,it seems that the pension fund was having difficulties when the City Council took it over several years ago. One commentator who goes by the moniker "Ben There", has opined on the subject of pension board in several posts. Ben There says, (speaking of the pension fund shortfall):

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:25 pm Many of you are just wrong. First, spending money or not spending money on the square has no effect on the pension issue. It is apples and oranges. Secondly, the hole in the pension (to make it fully funded) is between $70 and $100 million dollars. Salaries and benefits for the city's operating budget are about $75 million.

You can't "steal" earmarked money and put it toward the pension money. You go to jail for that.

According to the pension board, there are 3 reasons the pension fund is underfunded: the board whose members were selected by the police and firemen did not invest the money in the right assets, the actuary hired by the board changed his assumptions (in other words he decided people were going to live a lot longer than the board originally thought so that meant all of a sudden you had to have more money in the retirement fund), and finally the benefits were too rich.

Changes have been made. The board has been reconstituted, and the investment policy has been changed, and the benefits for new hires have been changed. All this was done over the opposition of the police and firemen.

But it may still be too late. The solutions at this point are simple if painful. You can vote in a tax increase to shore up the fund, you can ask the voters to reduce benefits (it takes a public vote), or you can lay off enough people at city hall to make up the shortfall.

But those of you who think cutting the salary of "the person in charge," or not spending money on the square will fix the problem should go back to your comic books.

Ben There was answered by "EasyDoesIt":
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:49 pm. Not sure where Ben There is getting his facts, but he is wrong on his. I just checked with three different board members to see if that is what they said. The 3 reasons been there stated are flat wrong. First of all, the board members do not invest any funds, they are not allowed to. The hire a variety of money managers, who in turn invest the funds. The board members were never allowed to set the perameters for investing, that has always been done by Tom Finnie and city council, and just recently, when they finally figured out they were way off base, they have now allowed the board to tell the money managers, that they have loosened the parameters, and can do some other investing that Finnie would not allow. Second of all, Tom Finnie wanted the assumption set at a hire rate, and the board argued for years it was to high, and now since Finnie is gone, they have been able to lower that rate, which is better for the plan. The board has never said the benefits are too rich. These were all negotiated by the members, and were only obtained by giving up raises, as suggested by Tom Finnie. The members gave up cash money, in exchange Finnie increased the benefits. It is cheaper for the city to increase benefits than it is to give money. In other words, Finnie kept adding these benefits, and instead of taking the cash that was saved and putting it into the plan as promised, he built failed ice rinks, bought and sold the Heers building a few times, and built parking garages at a loss, then sold them at a huge loss. Now it is time to pay the piper, and Tom is long gone. Perfect plan on his part, put the members of the fund off for years to come, then retire, and leave the bill to somebody else. Ben There should finish the comic book he was reading instead of making comics up.

If you care to take the time, go and read all the posts by Ben There and EasyDoesIt. They have different viewpoints on the pension fund problems and other subjects as well. Here is the link, you will have to enter their screen name in the search area next to "search for author".

I should mention that Ben There commented on a piece I wrote for "Ozarks Left" when the budget crisis first developed. He comments:
Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:10 pm The one thing that is clear after reading your blog is that you really don't know what you are talking about. You go from apology to certain statement to apology. Anyone who tried to follow your thinking would be confused. I have an idea: why don't you try getting the facts before you just hold forth?
Dear Ben There, You may be right. Sincerely, Jim Lee.

It's Time To End The Parks Tax reviised 6:19 pm

If voters or City Council voted to earmark tax dollars for Capital Projects, why can’t they vote to un earmark these tax dollars. I know I would support suspending the park sales tax and putting the money generated by that tax into the general revenue fund to cover the budget shortfall.

I mean if City Council voted to do something—say like take the Cadillac garage and later change their mind and give it away, that is ok. So why can’t they vote to end the park sales tax. Heck, put it on the ballot, end the park sales tax and put it to wards general revenue.

I do know that when I asked Mayor Pro-Tem Deaver about diverting special sales taxes to the general fund he told me that the transportation tax was very well liked by the citizens, that that tax is fixing up intersections and helping to make traffic flow smoother in Springfield.

All right, Gary, I’ll grant you that one. But let’s talk about the park tax. How much sales tax are we paying to the park board? When does it sunset? We voted in the sales tax for the park, indeed I voted for it, in good times. Now that we are hitting bad times, there are probably more important things to spend our money on than million dollar horse and pony shows and a tricycle park. I know that money is earmarked money.

My question is this: who earmarked it and why can’t it be un earmarked until things straighten out. I know there was a huge push in City Council to pass the CIP last month. Councilman Manley pulled out all the stops, saying the people want this, etc.

I still believe until evidence shows otherwise, that the city knew the revenue wasn’t coming in as strong and pushed the CIP through before the people found out.

I am not an attorney but it appears to me that if the legislature can ignore a vote of the people on issues like term limits or campaign contribution limits. Or if someone doesn’t like a vote turned out, they can resubmit it (stem cell), that our City Council could say we are in financial straits and ask the people to vote to stop the sales tax going to the parks and vote to put that into the general revenue or the police or fireman’s pension plan?

I know I would support that.

I don’t want Springfield to end up like Branson with dang near 10% sales tax and a Branson landing that could be any mall anywhere. But we’re pretty dang close.

One problem that comes up: The parks are a city/county partnership. The county is not in a budget crisis but the city is. Would sales tax in the county still go to the parks and sales tax in the city go to budget fixes? I wouldn't want that if I were a county resident, why should they bail out Springfield, individualistic, what's in it for me type of question. I don't know the answer and I bet no one thought of this when the departments were combined.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We're Limping Along.....

Well, today I've pissed off just about everybody, so why should you riders be any different?
And my dang computer still ain't right and my teeth still hurt. I still can't get into the blog from my home browser, I am using internet explorer 6. Most of the clitches came when I downloaded IE7 and google earth. This is just coming over the news right now....
And I just wrenched my back sneezing. those damn methheads ruined the good cold medicine. The stuff we get now ain't got enough pizzazz to knock a sick whore off the pot.

Dang I ain't usually this sick. Hope I'm better for the blogaronis tomorrow!

The Bus Is Going To The Bus Barn

Something is still wrong with the computer. It starts and stops, if it were a vehicle, I'd say I accidentally put some ethanol in the tank.

I tried resizing my cache and in doing that lost all my favorites, all when deleting internet files and clear browser cache, the computer goes into an endless loop, when I press control. alternate, delete, it comes up as the program is not responding. I think I picked up some spyware or a bug that is causing that program to act up.

Speaking of bugs, in March 2006, we had a pretty bad hail storm in Springfield. I lost a lot of roofs and patio covers. I also got tangled up with a storm chaser who beat me out of a lot of money.

But, in speaking to an insurnace adjuster, after I finished all the work, after they paid off for the same work at my son's house, the adjuster told me that when the insurance company says they will replace a patio cover, they don't mean they will replace the patio cover, they just mean they will replace the patio cover, just the part that covers the patio. If, like me, you always thought a patio cover was the whole thingie, and if, like me, you saw how they paid off for the whole patio cover on one house, I just thought they would on my house. Not so. According to the Insurance adjuster , a patio cover is just that, the part of the whole apparatus that covers the patio. It doesn't include the posts that hold the patio cover roof up, it doesn't included the trim around the side, it doesn't include the gutter or downspouts. NOw, when you go out to Lowe's or Home Depot or even HB Wall, and price out a patio cover, you get a price for the whole thing, not just the part that covers the patio.

I called my agent, Help ME, HELP ME PLEASE!

I went to get into quicken but it ain't workign either. I wanted to see how much money I pay in insurance premiums each year. And my computer is acting really odd, slow and windows installer keeps popping up. I downloaded norton from my dsl provider, don't know if that is the problem.

I am going to hvae to get this fixed. I don't like ti when the bus ain't running right. I also got a horrible cold. I mean like I haven't had one like this in years. MY skin hurts! My teeth hurt. Sneezing hurts.

I brought my mom down some chili and tuna salad the nurse made, but I didn't stay long, she had a heart monitor put on today and was tired. I filled up her O2 bottles and tried to get her new modem hooked up on her computer, was't successful, got in an argument with the guy on the phone who had an accent so thick I couldn't understand but only the part where he told me there were two ways to get her dsl, my way and his way and my way wasn't going to work. I copped an attitude right then

But I guess I had an attitude ever since I met with the insurance adjuster. I think I just stay home tonight and watch Antiques Roadshow. Wait, that's on Monday night. Maybe I'll watch the Pete Seeger special.

Maybe I'll just tank up on nyquil and go to bed.

I just sneezed seven times in a row, it took my breathe away. My grandson told me to sneeze into the crock of my arm, I prefer to use a handerchief, I don't like wet shirt sleeves. My eyes are watering, my nose is running, my back teeth hurt. I feel miserable.

This has been a three handkerchief day. I told you that room was cold last night and I had a hard time getting warm!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

City Academy This Evening

It's gonna be alright. I am looking forward to the next 10 Tuesdays. We got a good lesson on Missouri history starting back from 1820. George Connor a polysci professor from MSU was the speaker. His style of delivery is interesting and riveting.

The Bus still ain't runnin' right, I think it has something to do with all those maps I put up from Google Earth. I took them down, Dang that Google Earth is a neat thing to play with.

Bought a set of doors for the Cushman off of Ebay. The seller lived about a mile from my little brother Edward who lives in Daytona Beach, Florida. Ed called me a few minutes ago and has a way to get the doors to St. Louis next week. He wanted to know if I could get to St. Louis and pick them up. I told him anyday but Tuesday.

Too Much Plunge, Not Enough Bus

Soemthing is wrong with the Bus. Received this email from a rider:

Yo, Missouri's most influential blogger! I think you have some weird glitch
on your blog ... every time I go to the BusPlunge site, my web browser crashes
.... somebody has put some bad mojo on you ... what's up with this?

I can't get on the bus from ATT Yahoo, I have to transfer in from Internet Explorer.

Is anyone else on blogspot having this problem?

Computer Acting Up

I had to compose this in Internet Explorer. On my other platform I keep getting Internet Script Errors Line 53, Character 3, Error: Object required, Code 0, URL, Do you want to continue running scripts on this page? yes no

When I click on yes, nothing happens and if I move the box, it cascades like the cards do after you win a game of solataire.

Driving me crazy! I have to reboot and start all over again, Everything is fine until I get to my blog, then the script errors start.

See, you thought I was just making that stuff up about the black helicopters!

So Much For Transparency And Openness In City Government

Say, remember this blog post from a couple of days ago? Money quote: they all just end up acting like my old dog: he acted like he was listening to you, but after you said your piece he went and did what he dang well pleased.

KY3's Political Blog says: Rushefsky walked out of the room, so other council members could "unanimously" pass the resolution.

The SN-L says: Rushefsky moved to strike the second part of the resolution, but her motion was met with silence — her fellow council members clearly backed sending a sharp message to the federal government.

The City says; 16. COUNCIL BILL 2008-059. (City Council)
A joint resolution of the School District of Springfield, R-12, The City of Springfield, Missouri, and Greene County, Missouri. (Eight members of the public spoke. A motion was made to strike the second paragraph of the “be it resolved.” There was no second on the motion. The bill was approved.)

NOW: somebody in all honesty tell me this wasn't discussed prior to the meeting and a course of action was laid out and followed. Council knew what they were going to do before they did it. This was discussed and City Attorney Dan Wichmer.gave them a strategy.

Our little moment of 'high drama' appears to have been scripted. So much for openness and transparency in our city government.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What If This Photo Flap Was From Obama's Campaign?

My wife and I went to Steak and Shake on South Campbell for dinner this evening. Double steakburger and small fries are $2.99. We had wanted to go to Pizza House but they are closed on Mondays. So we ended up at Steak and Shake.

We sat next to two men -- the one guy was not a Clinton fan, the other guy didn't talk too much. The guy who wasn't a Clinton fan used to be in the army. He told the other guy all about the torture methods he used when he was in the Green Berets and that the Pentagon wanted him to come back into the army and work at the Pentagon but he wasn't going to do it if Clinton was elected president.

Then some other guy whom the two guys evidently knew came up to the table and the talk turned to how Obama was fulfilling a prophecy from the bible. I couldn't tune them out because they were talking too loud. I almost said something but I wasn't in a mood to get stomped.

But my wife and I did share some thoughts and I really don't know how fleshed out they will be:

Obama dresses in Somalian dress..who cares. Evidently no one does but Obama's camp. What if they were responsible for releasing the photos to throw up a smokescreen abd divert attention from how the man has no plans other than oratory. And the American electorate is so sick of Bush and Cheney and Rove's dirty politics that all it takes is for Obama to say these are coming from HRC for them to ditch her and go over to him.

Look how the flap over not wearing the flag pin is resurfacing again.

If I were Obama and I was weak in foreign policy, domestic policy, nuclear policy, etc, etc, etc, I would CERTAINLY want people to be thinking HRC is dumping on me or the Repubs are dumping on me. It would focus attention on stuff like that that doesn't mean squatt and take away attention from areas I am weak in, which is just about every area.

And the American Public is so tired of Bush and his crew that anybody looks like a superman. And poor Hillary, she gets branded as a bee-atch. Not fair.

Why Robin Morgan Is Supporting Hilary Clinton

Why Robin Morgan is supporting Hillary Clinton. Thanks to Missouri Politics website for steering us to this piece.

The Scientific American Tells Us Why We Kiss, Youtube Shows Us How To Kiss.

The Scientific American tells us why we kiss, Youtube shows us how we kiss.

Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation With Wish For Unlimited Wishes

Story here.

Visiting With Barak Obama's Grandmother

The link is here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Karl Rove And The U.S. Justice Department

This, from "60 Minutes", linked from Wake Up Call, Missouri is a story of how the former Democratic governor of Alabama was convicted of bribery and is currently serving a 7 year prison term in a federal prison in Louisianna. The main charge against Siegelman was that he gave a position on a state board to businessman Richard Scrushy, in return for a substantial contribution from Scrushy to a campaign to bring a lottery to Alabama. Siegelman was a proponent of the lottery.

The 60 Minutes story looks at two issues with the case, (1) Was Siegelman targeted by the Justice Department for political reasons; and, (2) Was Siegelman guilty. Karl Rove, who played an integral role in the Siegelman case, has refused to discuss his role and the White House and Justice Department have not cooperated with an investigation by Congress. The Siegelman case is just one part of a series of allegations regarding the Bush administration's use of the Justice Department for political purposes.

Here is an Alabama Blog that has a lot of postings about the Siegelman affair: The Legal Schnauzer.

Bus Riders: do you think this could happen, has happened, in Missouri? From little acorns do mighty trees grow?

Why Did We Ever Sell This Car: Part 1

This is my Mother sitting on the front fender of a 1939 0r 1940 Ford Fodor Woody Station Wagon in the summer of 194 something.
My Grandfather liked Budweiser in long neck bottles. There is a distinct taste to that brand of beer in long neck bottles. My son-in-law is a Bud drinker. Note I said Bud drinker. My Grandfather always called the beer by its correct name: Budweiser. "Jimmy", he'd say, "Go get me another Budweiser." Some of my best memories are sitting on a metal glider at the "B'S NEST*", the cabin on the Big River at House Springs, MO, on warm summer nights, listening to St. Louis Cardinal baseball from KMOX radio while my Grandfather drank Budweiser and I drank Pepsi. That's how I learned baseball. I'll have go to Pricecutter's tomorrow (our Pricecutter still sells beer) and get a six pack of Budweiser in 12 oz bottles and drink a toast to his memory.

Mom didn't remember how the left front fender got scraped, only that she didn't do it. She didn't remember the year either, only that it was during the war and she was about 15 years old. She was born in 1928, so it could have been in 1943 when the photo was taken. Looking the bald front tire and how hard tires were to obtain during the war, that date is probably reasonably correct.
This car today, in the same condition as in the photo, would be worth how much at a well advertised auction? (Can you tell I watch "Antiques Roadshow"?).

*When my Grandparents got so old they could no longer keep up the cabin, my two little brothers, John and Ed, and I went out there for one last look around. I took down the sign and kept it. Years later when we bought one of the original Merriam cabins in Rockaway Beach (Brookside Bungalows), we hauled out the old sign and put it on our cabin. The man who owned the cabin next to the original B'S NEST, his name was Wolfe. He named his cabin "Wolfe's Den". My Grandparents last name was Bansbach. Now you know the story of how the "B'S NEST" got it's name.

Recommended Reading For Springfield Residents: Jackehammer Hits The Nail On The Head

I started moderating comments on this blog soon after I wrote this:

What they do is they form a committee to get where they want to go and get them what they want (Vision 20/20, SP5). Or they will hire a consultant to tell them what they want to hear. And if you disagree or call them out, well you turn into an 'aginner' and eventually they all just end up acting like my old dog: he acted like he was listening to you, but after you said your piece he went and did what he dang well pleased.

Read Jackehammer's blog.
In response to a comment on Council Bill 2008-058
I decided to post this response to (a) question on my last post (JackeHammer: Council Bill 2008-058) about the City's Green Building policy resolution, Council Bill 2008-058, as an entry rather than in the comment section. Mainly, I just felt it was too long and covered too much territory to post in the comment section. in response to his comment on concerns I raised about the Green Building Policy. He asked:
"Well, a question...if they (Council) had just done it and citizens found out later about the green building standard and perhaps higher construction costs...would we have a whole host of blog entries/talk radio show rants/talk radio phone calls/letters to the editor from all around the Ozarks about it being "done in secret"? At least they're being open about it."

My response:

...certainly the City Council makes requests of staff all the time. When they, as a whole, make requests of staff it is usually done in an open forum, at least that's what the Sunshine Law requires and we assume it is so unless they cite state law which makes it legal for Council to meet in closed session. Generally, when the public perceives they haven't had an opportunity to weigh in on an issue it's because they weren't paying attention and LOST their opportunity, not that there wasn't an opportunity in the first place.

Then, that scenario brings rise to what I think is the deeper question.

Look at the Storage Container issue for an example, and honestly I haven't had a chance to look over the proposed ordinance closely yet, but I did attend the last storage container meeting before they drafted it. At that meeting the owner of "Pods" was there and he was concerned about the signage being restricted to 12" x 12" for very legitimate reasons. His signage is larger and it is EMBEDDED into the pods but the limitations of signage wasn't changed when the draft was released. So sometimes, it seems that regardless of public input and how legitimate it is the City makes decisions, after celebrating a whole host of public input sessions, that appear to disregard legitimate issues. It makes it appear to be almost a bait and switch, the City has public input, is able to pat themselves on the back for providing ample opportunity for it and then, BAM! The City disregards it and does what they want anyway.

Offering an opportunity for public input isn't enough. There has to be a genuine want to listen, consider and make changes that legitimately rise out of those input sessions.

Look at Park Central Square, lots of opportunity for public input but no real consideration of the fact that it is a Halprin design. Should it have been a part of the process for the City to acknowledge and educate the public about the renowned landscape architect who designed it? Well, I think so, because clearly, now we may have a legal problem brewing because the public didn't realize the value of a Halprin design until it was, in the City's mind, too late to incorporate it and stay within the timeline of the Heer's development agreement. That was poor planning, in my opinion. Now, it seems to be a ticking time bomb, an unnecessary ticking time bomb that if handled correctly from the beginning could likely have been defused months ago, when there was time to handle it. To further complicate things, Councilman Chiles, on the Vincent David Jericho program said he DID raise that question at one of the first public input meetings. Tim Rosenbury later told me that if he'd considered Halprin's design earlier, right after Ruth Kelley's letter hit the News-Leader, the consideration wouldn't have effected the timeline.

The question in this posting is, and was in the previous posting I made about the Green Building Policy: Is it necessary to pass a resolution in order to build green? The city's attorney said no, it isn't. I question taxpayer money and resources being spent unnecessarily for really, no other reason than to make a statement about "being a leader in sustainability." There's nothing wrong with being a leader in sustainability but taxpayer MONEY could have been "sustained" without passing an unnecessary resolution meant to do nothing but make a statement.

Your question about, "if they had just done it and citizens found out later about the green building standard and perhaps higher construction costs...would we have a whole host of blog entries/talk radio show rants/talk radio phone calls/letters to the editor from all around the Ozarks about it being "done in secret"? With the addition of your statement: "At least they're being open about it." Do you mean to imply they've done something special by being open about it? There shouldn't be anything "special" about the Council doing something in the open. Under the Sunshine Law they are very limited in what they can do "in secret." Certainly, when the City does a good job they should be commended however, the openness of government, by law a requirement, should not be viewed as something "special".

It is a welcome thing to ask for public input and a good START, but then, when looking back over the process later, after all is said and done, the real proof in the pudding is whether the City Council holds the staff and contracted employees accountable for actually considering that input, all of it, not just the part that supports what they want to accomplish. There's where public input counts. It isn't in the opportunity to have it, it isn't in the opportunity the City then has to hear it, it is in the opportunity the city has to utilize it when it is legitimate. The Council is supposed to be representative of the people who voted them into their positions

I've heard Mayor Pro Tem Deaver on more than one occasion say, "We can't please everyone" and that's true. They'll never please everyone BUT, that said, I don't recall ANY member of the public making a statement that they think Council's actions SHOULD please everyone. That makes that statement a straw man argument, because no one has ever indicated the people expect the Council to please everyone. So, why bring that up? Is that an appeasment meant to excuse the Council for making decisions that don't consider legitimate complaints from the public they are supposed to represent?

I suspect your question wasn't raised to be answered, it was raised to make a statement but if asked in question form you are protected from being questioned about your assumption. The fact is, we don't and can't know the answer to your question. This is why I suspect it was raised to raise suspicion about someone who expressed a legitimate concern about the Green Building Policy. That's my take on it because it certainly didn't address my concern about the policy or anything I actually wrote. What does your question have to do with my concern about the unnecessary and perhaps untimely taxpayer money and resources spent to bring this bill to Council?

1822 South National, SE Corner of National and Sunshine

A While back I posted the following:

Then we moved to 1822 South National, in a big red brick house on the Southeast corner of National and Sunshine, across from BJ Marsh's house (isn't that interesting). The house is long gone, it location is now a St. John's parking lot. But I think the magnolia trees that lined the driveway are still there.
I found some negatives of that house and was able to manipulate them while I scanned them. The top photo were taken from what is now BJ Marsh's parking lot.

I drove by there the other day, the magnolia trees are gone. Nothing there indicates this house was once there. I wonder if the treasure my brothers buried underneath the big tree was found when they excavated for the car park there.

How Terribly, Terribly Sad

Andrew Sullivan, who's dislike for the Clintons has been documented almost daily on his blog, The Daily Dish, has another heartbreaking, at least to HRC supporters, post about Clinton's Last Stand.

It has been uncomfortable, to say the least, watching her campaign destruct. She can't land a punch. But not all the pundits are piling on. Money quote:

Clinton is now running against a man who received a huge ovation in Dallas this week when he pulled out a handkerchief to blow his nose.
Clinton is flailing at a guy who can boast without being accused of arrogance.
"I've got to admit, some of them are pretty good," Obama said of his speeches at the Texas debate.
She must prod voters to ask themselves if they really want to take a flyer on a foreign affairs neophyte, a 46-year-old with no substantive legislative record who is barely three years removed from a seat in a state legislature.
She must get them to ask a defining question: "Yes we can ... do what, exactly?"

Margaret Truman, 1924 - 2008

Margaret Truman was laid to rest last Saturday. The ashes of Margaret Truman Daniel were interred, along with those of her husband, E. Clifton Daniel, at the burial plot of her parents, Harry and Bess Truman, at the Truman Library and Museum.

When I posted this, I wasn't aware she had passed over to the other side. Or maybe I was, just not on a conscious level.

What's The Frequency, Kenneth?


Red 1964 Corvair Monza Convertible, updated 2:12 pm

Back in 1966, my Dad bought my Mom a 1964 Red Corvair Monza convertible with a white interior and white roof. The car had been bought new by a Navy pilot named Rausch(er)(?), can't remember his first name, whose family sold it to my Dad.
That was the car I drove in high school and to my summer job of driving a water truck for the Greene County Road and Bridge Department. That water truck was a 1953 GMC tanker truck. My job was to water down the gravel roads. Sort of looked like this: Rokey Langsford worked with me. I drove the truck and Rokey sati on top of the tank part and he sprayed the roads with a fire hose. We would fill the truck up from the James or Finley Rivers.

Fred Schaeffer was the county judge who got us the jobs. When I was assigned the job of driving the water truck, I was told to just pull up to a stream and fill it up. The pump had lawn mower type motor. One hose went into the river, the other went into the opening at the top of the tank. When the tank was full, the hoses were reversed to spray the roads. I think all the Greene County roads are now paved, but that wasn't so back in 1966. Rokey passed away some years ago. His father was Les Langsford, a Springfield State Representative who also owned several trade publications. His family owns the Community Free Press. They used to publish Undercar Digest which I always thought was a keen name for a trade publication. Rokey and I did our share of swimming in rivers that summer when it was hot.

Looking back, the county road overseer, Marion Osborne, let two teenaged boys take a tank truck and told us to go out and water roads. Those were our instructions. When the crew would "athey" roads, we would go all over the county and water the piles of dirt in the middle of the roads. Graders would pull the ditches and scrape all the gravel into a long row in the middle of the road. The athey would scope up the row of gravel and dump it into the dump trucks that were backing at the same speed as the athey, so that the gravel would dump into the bed of the truck. It was an experience, lots of heavy equipment, flag men, pick up trucks, dump trucks and Rokey and I in the tank truck! Gosh, those were good times. Just driving around in a big old truck, drinking pop and stopping at rivers and creeks to fill up the truck.

Back to the car: I would put a blanket over the seats so I wouldn't get them dirty from my work clothes. I liked how it looked with the rear windown unzipped and folded in the storage area. The top was manual. These photos aren't the actual car, but look just like it. Yep, I really liked that car. Remember when "Unsafe At Any Speed" came out and slammed the car.

Oh, BTW, look who's running for president again. He's a year older than McCain and arguably cost Gore the election in 2000. Time to pack it up Ralph.

There's a Corvair Convertible on Ebay right now.I need to visit with my Mom about this car. When my Dad first started editing The Mirror, he used a Glendale high school student as a free-lance photographer. The photographer's name was Ron Rauscher, I think. He owned a cream colored 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. His older brother was a pilot, I always thought a Navy Pilot, who was shot down during the Vietnam war. Ron's brother had bought the Corvair new and had it garaged while he was overseas. I seem to recall that the brother died in the crash and the parents wanted to get rid of the car, it just held too many memories of the son for the family. (I understand that perfectly. After my wife's mother died, my wife and I moved into her house while rehabing our house. We couldn't get her mother out of the house.)

I decided to track down the family. If he died in Vietnam, he would be on the Wall. I found this:

Air Force - MAJ - O4
Age: 35
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth May 22, 1938
Marital Status: Married

His tour began on Apr 16, 1970
Casualty was on Oct 9, 1973
Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - CREW
Body was not recovered

The dates and my memories don't jive. I'll have to talk to my Mother and get more information. She hasn't been feeling too good lately, so it may be a while before I update this post. She did think that Ralph is out of touch to run for president again.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

McCain and Iceman? Heck, I Never Even Knew They Knew Each Other, Small World, Ain't It?

Hold on tight, don't look back, deny everything and quit buying us these stupid techno glasses!

Blogaronis or Delegates

The Blogaroni Awards are being announced on February 28, 2008 at the Panera Bread Company on National and Elm, across the street from the old Ralph Brown Supermarket and next to the College's Brown Derby. The Bus has posted on the big night earlier.

But what the Bus didn't realize is that night is also the night Democrats across Missouri will gather together and select delegates to the state Democratic convention. Caucuses will be held on Thursday, February 28. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and close at 7:30 PM. Observers will be permitted in after 7:30 PM, but they will not be allowed to participate in the caucus.

In Greene County, the meeting places are:
Legislative Disrict 134 Republic Middle School, 518 North Hampton, Republic.
Legislative Disrict 135 The Library Center, 4653 South Campbell, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 136 Carver Middle School, 3325 West Battlefield Road, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 137 Library Station, 2535 North Kansas Exressway, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 138 Delaware Elementary School, 1505 South Delaware, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 139 Library Station 2535 North Kansas Expressway, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 140 Teamster's Hall, 1850 East Division Street, Springfield.
Legislative Disrict 145 Strafford High School, 201 McCabe, Strafford.

If you have questions, the person to call for Greene County information is Matthew Patterson 417-886-8980.

A link to information on all the caucuses is located on the Missouri Democratic Party's website.

Here's a nifty little 8 page PDF file document that tells what it means to be a delegate and other good stuff.

Let's Go Swimming: Jumping Into Victoria Falls

Swimming at the edge of Victoria Falls. For more about Victoria Falls, link here and here

I removed the map because it took up too much bandwidth.

Currently working on a post about how living on a fixed income (retirement check or social security) can change a person's perspective on voting for tax increases.

How To Blow $1.2 Billion Really Fast

Crash a B-2
A B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed late Friday evening, Springfield time, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The two pilots ejected safely and are reported in good condition.

This is the first crash of the 1.2 billion dollar bomber. All 21 of the B-2 bombers are stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, outside of Warrensburg, MO. (Should that be changed to all '20' of the B-2 bombers are stationed at Whiteman AFB?)

I had links to Google Earth coordinates for Andersen AFB on Guam and Whiteman AFB near Warrensburg but they were so huge they interfered with my computer. So I took them off.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Reason Why I Like Harry Truman

Another Reason Why I Like Harry Truman

Found In The Bus

Ernie, down at the bus barn, was working on Plunge, testing the electrical circuits and trying to get the heaters working for another one of Plunge's annual excursions, this time to the Springfield St. Patrick's Day Parade. This will be our 25th(?) year to be in the parade, but who's counting? We fill Plunge up with Irish Couch Potatoes and run the heaters full blast! There is nothing worse than riding in a cold bus during a parade in March. Well. that is a pretty absolute statement, let's just say there are DANG few things worse than riding in a cold bus on parade day in March. (Editor's Note: according to the
Bright Yellow Gun, a cold school bus in Wisconsin is DANG worse.) Ernie took off the heater cover and found these comic books stuck in between the heater fan and the vent. He brought them to us, wondering if this was the kind of stuff Graphic Classroom was interested in. We weren't sure.

Best. Video. Ever.

best. video. ever.

Frisco Train Depot, Springfield, MO Fred Harvey Restaurant Floor Tiles

Remember this post? It is all that is left of the Frisco Passenger Depot on Main Street in Springfield, MO. It got tore down over a weekend back in the early 1970s. What a shame. It would have fit in nicely with all the stuff on Jordan Creek. Notice the "Hotel Of Terror" in the aerial view. In one photo, you can see the old Springfield Seed Company Building which turned into Universal Paint which is now the Universal Art Studio on Water Street.
Ticket Agent, December 1960This guy looks like someone who used to go to our church and was maybe an usher?
Aerial View of Depot
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, 1947
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, August, 1947
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, 1955
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, 1955
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, 1967
Springfield Frisco Passenger Depot, 1970

Founders Park, Springfield, MO, February 2008Founders Park
More photos here.

What The Heck Was This All About?

From last October, 2007, this strange blog posting. Not that we ain't got ethical dilemmas down here.

"No We Can't"

He's In Dallas, For God's Sake!

The headline in the online edition of the Dallas / Fort Worth newspaper the Star-Telegram was startling in its implications: Police concerned about order to stop weapons screening at Obama rally.

Motorcycle Cop Killed In Motorcade Accident

Death knows no political party: It has happened before and it has happened again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Like Vanilla Ice Says, It's A Different Base Line

Together Again, For The First Time: Vanilla Ice and Barak Obama!

Bush Lied, Again.

After awhile, this ceases to be news. But, here we go again. Remember that spy satellite?

Red Light Camera Operational At National Avenue And Sunshine Street

The formal citation period for the photo-enforced red-light cameras at National Avenue and Sunshine Street will begin on Friday, Feb. 22, 2008.

This ends the 30-day warning period enacted on Jan. 22, 2008.

This is the fourth activated red-light camera. The other locations are on southbound National at Battlefield Road; southbound Campbell Avenue at Battlefield and eastbound Battlefield at Campbell.

A red-light violation is defined as crossing the wide white line (known as the stop bar) at the intersection after the signal has turned red. Motorists who cross the stop bar on yellow or are in the intersection when the light turns red are not in violation of the red-light ordinance.

The fine for running a red light is $100. The photo-enforced violations will be a civil penalty and will not result in points on a driver’s record. Each photo-enforced intersection approach is clearly marked with signs, while other signs at various locations state that Springfield uses photo red-light enforcement.

For more questions and answers involving the red light photo enforcement, visit CityConnect at: and look under FAQs or call the City’s Citizen Service Request Office at 864-1012.

For media information, contact: Earl Newman, Assistant Public Works Director/Traffic Engineering, 864-1980; or Louise Whall, Director of Public Information, 864-1010.

Cindy Steps Up To The Microphone And Channels Tammy

Libby Quaid, a writer for the Associated Press, is reporting from Toledo, Ohio, this evening that Cindy McCain did not hesitate as she stepped toward the microphone, taking her place in the history of political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity.


In a previous post titled "Majority Believe Obama Is A Plagiarist, But Not Sure What That Word Means, Exactly" (that we copied off of another blog, but hey, I'm not posting the link here, I may want to use some of his stuff again, it's pretty good sometimes, if you like that kind of stuff ;>), we implied the following statement was made by B. Obanna: "The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."

The Bus thought some Rider would call him on that quote for two reasons: 1. Who the heck is B. Obanna? 2. Those of us who came of age in the 1960s might have flashbacked to LBJ saying those words as he signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A Model Train Enthusiast's Symbolic ReCreation Of The New York Times

Story Published This Morning On Senator McCain's Relationship With That Female Lobbyist And The Effect It Might Have On His Campaign For The Republican Nomination For President Of The United States. The Tree Represents The Story, The Two Men Cutting Down The Tree Represent The Reporters, The Train Represents McCain's Campaign. The Times' story is here.


In a previous blog post titled"Correction", once again the word "not" was inadvertantly left out of the body of the post. The corrected sentence should read:


In a post titled, I'll Be Right Back, I Gotta See A Man About A Dog, the word "not" was inadvertantly left out of the body of the post. The corrected sentence should read: Computers, telephones, cameras, Blue Ray, blackberries, ipods, wii, these are not the only things that are high tech.

The Busplunge regrets the error.

The Busplunge regrets the error. Our copy editor has been taken out behind the barn and severly reprimanded and forced to watch this video over and over again.


In a previous post titled, I'll Be Right Back, I Gotta See A Man About A Dog, the word "not" was inadvertantly left out of the body of the post. The corrected sentence should read: Computers, telephones, cameras, Blue Ray, blackberries, ipods, wii, these are the only things that are high tech.

The Busplunge regrets the error.

I'll Be Right Back, I Gotta See A Man About A Dog....

Computers, telephones, cameras, Blue Ray, blackberries, ipods, wii, these are the only things that are high tech.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

That's Why It's Called "Hardball"

Links to American Idol and Missouri Idol And That Spy Satellite Got Shot Down

The Turner Report is blogging about the hit television show, American Idol and its connection to SW Missouri
Up by St. Louis, Wake Up Call, Missouri features a local access program called Missouri's Political Idol.

The Washington Post is reporting that spy satellite got shot downa. There must have been some pretty embarrassing stuff in that satellite.

The Major Difference Between Life Of Jason And The Bus Plunge.

Click here to find out.

Separated At Birth?

John Ashcroft
John Wooden

Thanks to Jim A., a bus rider from warm and sunny Florida, who noticed the likeness.

Hey Jim, here's a picture of our granddaughter Sophie: