Valentine: Proving Anything Is a Bad Slogan is Good Challenge

HRCThe problem with discussing national politics when you’re from Kansas City is nobody thinks you know much beyond what’s already been said by people in Washington D.C. or New York…

However sometimes you need to get a some distance from a problem in order to get a perspective that people more closely involved can’t.

Like that Hillary Clinton’s private server allowed her to trade state secrets. Because the Clinton Foundation actively traded this sensitive information for cash, influence and favors through her “unsecured” server.

Putting that information on the server was like leaving a folder on a table at a restaurant.

And informing “donors” where to find the information was the same as a covert drop. This really isn’t a hard concept to understand.

Thus the Clinton Foundation amassed several hundred million dollars in a short time.

And its only real product is access. Continue reading

Posted in Mark Valentine | 37 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Alice’ Shines Through The Looking Glass

 

Alice In Wonderland: Through The Looking GlassDisney’s sequel to its 2010 box office smash ALICE IN WONDERLAND is a visual extravaganza to behold…

Now some six years later with ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS the Mouse House taps back into the fertile imagination of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical world and delivers a striking fantasy playing out way beyond most expectations—including mine.

Attention to detail in this sequel is stunning.

The story has Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returning from her high seas adventure as the ship’s captain.

But things aren’t good upon her return thanks to deals made by her mother, and soon everything is lost.

However fearless Alice won’t be stopped as she travels through a magic mirror to return to the world of Wonderland where her old friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in a state of mad depression as he fears his family’s still alive, but is unable to locate them. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Delivers—Too Much?

xmenapocalypse-storm-apocalypse-psylockeWill the general public ever tire of superhero movies?

Well, 20th Century-Fox sure hopes it won’t be with their latest edition in the highly profitable ‘X-Men’ series poised to rule the box office this Memorial Day weekend.

Advance tracking has it opening in the $100 million range.

So here we are already at the end of May.

And we’ve already experienced DEADPOOL, BATMAN v SUPERMAN, THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR—and now here comes No. 5.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE brings the emergence of the world’s first mutant—forcing the X-Men to unite to defeat his plan of global extinction.

He is the immortal Apocalypse who rises in 1983 after thousands of dormant years.

Now, along with his Four Horsemen and unlimited powers, he sets out to create a new world order.

And as the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, Professor X, Mystique and a handful of new troops set out to stop this seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.

So far. So good. Continue reading

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Glazer: Hillary’s in Trouble With a Capital T(rump)

3_112015_b1hillarylgblackclo8201_c0-1415-1800-2464_s885x516Hillary Clinton was considered a shoe in to become President of the United States…

Then a funny thing happened. As in, Donald Trump. And now while most of her following still think Hillary will win – she’s still the favorite in Vegas – it’s gone from 5 to 1 down to 2 to 1 and falling.

Why?

That crazy Donald Trump guy.

Everyone knows – or think they know, anyway – that Trump’s anti women, a racist, that he’ll have his trigger finger on the button, wants to stop muslims from entering the counter and is talking about building a wall and kicking out illegal aliens.

Crazy stuff, huh?

Meanwhile, Hillary has her “secret weapon” – the ever popular (but fading) Bill Clinton.

Now Hillary plans to ask Wild Bill to “fix” the economy. He did it in the 1990’s, right?

So how can Hillary lose?

Oh yeah, there’s that pesky Bernie Sanders dude who won’t stop winning primary after primary. Even though Hillary has more delegates (mainly more super delegates and voters), he’s a total headache.

So why all the concern about the Clintons? Isn’t Hillary still a shoe in?

Well, older voters think so, but not so fast. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 104 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential:  ‘Neighbors 2’–Haven’t We Been Here Before?

Neighbors_(2013)_PosterWhy is it that sequels far too often disappoint?

It shouldn’t have to be that way. But there are reasons for this unfortunate phenomena.

Say a studio has a big blockbuster on its hands—maybe one they didn’t see coming.

All of a sudden there’s great chatter all over the entertainment media. And before the movie barely makes it through its second week, enthusiastic studio PR people are announcing definite plans for a sequel.

Now what?

They want to get rolling while the fire’s still burning and the concept’s fresh on the minds of the movie going public.

However there could be a couple of problems.

The first being that the script for the sequel is non-existent. The second that not everyone aligned to the original film has signed on for the sequel.

Net result: a new script is rushed out. After all, we know what the public liked about the first movie—so let’s just load up the new one with more of the same.

As for casting the picture? Okay, so we may have to dole out a few extra buck to get so-and-so back for the sequel. Continue reading

Posted in Jack_Poessiger | 7 Comments

Hearne: Jason Whitlock Rides Again!

_VfZQUzGTalk about smoke and mirrors…

Give it up for former Kansas City Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock.

As both Whitlock and the Star continue their slide into obscurity, it’s Whitlock who seems to be winning the battle to at least appear to remain relevant.

Case in point, when Big Sexy departed KC after an ugly falling out with the newspaper, he managed to trick former 610 Sports host Nick Wright into implying that his parachute was a golden one. Wright’s unsubstantiated implication was repeated and reported by other sports  media as fact, leaving many with the impression – however unlikely – that Whitlock’s new blogging career landed him on easy street.

Unfortunately blogging and making the odd guest appearance on cable sports didn’t turn out to be quite as as lucrative as taking down twin six-figure salaries in local radio and newsprint.

Especially in light of Whitlock telling the world know last year that he’d gone bankrupt.

Big Sexy then returned to blogging at Fox Sports 1

There followed a parting of company with ESPN after Whitlock’s failing to get a website off the ground that was to have served as an incubator for young, up-and-coming African American sportswriters.

After ESPN pulled the plug on Whitlock’s project, he left “voluntarily” and fell back on his old ways of tossing out haymakers like a column calling retiring NBA  legend Kobe Bryant “the most fraudulent superstar celebrity athlete” ever. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Lefsetz: Will Bernie Sanders Turn Hillary Into Hubert Humphrey?

maxresdefaultIs it 1968 all over again?

Wherein Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy put such a dent in Hubert Humphrey‘s campaign that despite garnering the nomination, the Minnesotan did not win.

Kinda like Al Gore in 2000. Humphrey was tainted by Johnson, and Gore was tainted by Bill Clinton. And despite both being reasonable, upright men – albeit politicians – they were defeated by their Republican competitors, the unelectable Richard Nixon (who’d been shunned by his home state of California) and doofus George Bush.

All the energy was with the antiwar protesters, the younger generation was sick of the establishment.

That’s why Lyndon Johnson declined to run. Vietnam was his Waterloo.

And while one can argue that President Obama‘s steered the ship with a steady hand, that ship has left so many out – college students are burdened by debt and the working class whites have been closed out.

Yes, we’re in an economic crisis, despite all the hogwash in the papers about GDP and the number of jobs. Truth is you may be able to make it in America today, but just barely.

Donald Trump is channeling this anger, rounding up all the nitwits and bozos who have anger but little knowledge. Whereas Bernie Sanders has rounded up the young, the educated…and these same damn people. That’s right, Bernie just killed it with working class whites in West Virginia.

All of which looks very bad for Hillary Clinton. Continue reading

Posted in Bob Lefsetz | Tagged | 28 Comments

Lefsetz: Elizabeth Warren, Hillary, Trump & Twitter Wars

elizabeth-warren-18.pngIt’s all about access…

Today people want to reach out and touch you, Facebook has flattened the earth – everyone feels equal – and if you stand above the fray…it’s only a matter of time before you’re taken down.

This is how Donald Trump can get away with the sappy comments about his family, and his inane statements regarding minority groups, i.e the Taco Bowl, and the uneducated.

People speak first and are analyzed never online.

It’s only the old wave players, working the refs, who believe gotcha politics still plays.

That’s so last century.

Today you keep talking and adjust along the way. Everybody makes mistakes! Social media is riddled with the cookies of your humanity – being inappropriate, misstating facts – but we all know the truth will out in the end. At least enough of it to make a difference.

Wikipedia rules the fact-based world,  even though there are inaccuracies on my own damn page. But better the wisdom of the crowd than the wisdom of Karl Rove and the rest of the fat cats who think they can sway society. That’s what’s utterly laughable, the big time news media and inside the beltway movers and shakers who have utter faith, however misplaced, that they can shape the minds of Americans.

No, we’re all a compendium of our influences. Continue reading

Posted in Bob Lefsetz | Tagged | 11 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: George Clooney—Irresponsible ‘Money Monster’

moneymonsterphotosThe re-teaming of George Clooney with his OCEAN’S 11-franchise co-star Julia Roberts sure built up my hopes…

So when MONEY MONSTER came along my expectations were sky high—a bit TOO high.

What I got out of it was an interesting hostage thriller that eventually turns into a typical melodrama—one that even with a relatively short running time of just 98 minutes sure SEEMED longer.

Co-produced by Clooney and directed by Jodie Foster, MONEY MONSTER has Clooney playing a bombastic financial talking head with more bells and whistles than Jim Cramer could ever hope for on his Mad Money show.

But Clooney takes risks.

When one of his highly touted stocks takes a giant dive, irate investor (Jack O’Connell) takes some drastic measures.

Seems he’s invested everything into what guru Clooney proclaimed a sure bet—and now he’s lost everything. Continue reading

Posted in Jack Poessiger | Tagged | 3 Comments

Glazer: The End of a Very Short Era for KC Royals

UnknownIt’s getting ugly…

It’s hard not to talk about the fall of the Kansas City Royals this season…

Everyone complains but then says,  “Well, it’s early. There are lots of games left.”

That’s true, however being seven games back in May and two games under .500 isn’t where anyone expected this championship ball club to be right now.

First let’s take a look at the good news – however little there is.

Eric Hosmer is coming out super hot with the league’s third best batting average at .325 and six home runs. He’s is the only real position offensive star on this team thus far.

Now the bad…

Moose started off hot with power, but now he’s out with a broken thumb. And even when he gets back in a few weeks that will likely slow down his home run production. Lorenzo Cain has picked up the pace batting .270 and had three home runs Tuesday’s loss to the Yankees. Alex Gordon and Sal Perez are okay but the rest of the team’s pretty cold. Kendrys Morales is batting just .193 with three home runs.

Hitting’s been the problem early, but now the starting pitching’s fallen off.

Chris Young was a huge help last season but this year he’s one and five with an ERA of 6.68. And Chris Medlen is worse with one win and three losses, including being shelled last night and an ERA of 7.77. Ian Kennedy has looked good with three wins and a 2.13 ERA to lead the team.

However, the teams been playing so poorly we can’t even use superstar Wade Davis who is stuck at eight saves, because we almost never have a lead late in the games.

At least the Royals are in a weak division.

I think even if KC plays just average they’ll finish second to Chicago.

So barring a total breakdown – which is where the Royals are now – KC still could still be a wild card contender. That helps to keep up interest and attendance up to a point. Hey, because everyone wants to go see the world champs play at home.

So after 30 years of , “Oh, brother” and two seasons of, “Oh, wow” is our team returning to the shadows? Unless something drastic happens I’m afraid that’s the case. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 32 Comments

Sutherland: Living in the ‘Guilted Age’

ooh child mixtape coverI have been fortunate enough to hear Tom Wolfe speak in person about his writing several times over the last 40 years.  The first time was in 1970, when he gave the Carolyn Cockefair Benton Lecture at U.M.K.C.

Wolfe talked about the book he was then writing; “Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.”

The first essay gave rise to a term that endures in political discourse to this day, “Radical Chic.”  This refers to the way it is fashionable to espouse left-wing beliefs among the educated and affluent as a badge of one’s intellect and sophistication.

The second essay was less celebrated, although its description of the way organized pressure groups intimidate bureaucrats into giving into their demands is still as topical as the latest headlines from colleges and universities all over the country.

I thought of Tom Wolfe’s phrase several months ago when I attended an event held at the downtown Kansas City Public Library.  It was a fund raising dinner for the Literacy Kansas City Project, a volunteer program to help adults to learn to read and write.  The Creative Writing Department at U.M.K.C. provides teachers to Literacy K.C. to encourage an interest in writing fiction by those participating in the program.

At the dinner held in the lobby of the old bank building where the library is now located, we were treated to a recitation by three recent graduates.  Two young African-American men and a young African-American woman took turns at the microphone set up on the stage for the occasion.  Each began their performance by singing the chorus from “O-o-h Child!”

“Oo-wee child, things gonna get easier, Oo-wee child, things’ll get brighter!”

One of the young men explained that the song was a lullaby sung by African slave mothers to their children in “the bowels of slave ships.”  It was further explained (in the form of rhyming doggerel, hip-hop style) that such songs were morally imperative to keep black people, then and now, from sinking into despair.  What else could you expect when their daily lives were lived to a backdrop  of “gun shots, “ “horse whips,” and “the clank of chains and foot shackles”? Continue reading

Posted in Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. | Tagged | 37 Comments

Glazer: Is KC”s ‘Downtown Dazzle’ Trolly D.O.A.?

kansas-city-fun-trolley-2Kansas City Mayor Sly James signature trolly project’s up and running…

And thousands of KC folks got to see and ride KC’s new Downtown Dazzle for free. It was a “party,” they claimed, but will it really help to promote Kansas City?

Seriously.

Will people who live downtown or in the City Market really actually use it? And as time goes by – after the novelty fades – will anybody continue to use it? Was it worth the estimated costs to the tax payers of $150 million?

At this point in time, it’s really not much more than a fun thing for tourists and locals, rather than a need item. I mean, if you have a car why would you ride the trolly over the 2.2 mile run from downtown to Union Station or Crown Center? Convenience? The Trolly makes 12 stops on the 2 mile run every 2 blocks. Will it make downtown busier? Will it help Power & Light be busier on weekdays and weekend nights?

Right now the answer’s, who knows?

Some of the possible issues are obvious.

Like that Kansas City doesn’t get many actual tourists. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 27 Comments

Lefsetz: Donald Trump Take Two; The Hillary Playbook

dc5e0bd9dd7dc886230d131f554d2fb5Stop making fun of Donald Trump!

If that had worked, somebody else would be the Republican nominee and he wouldn’t have increased his share of the electorate after the debacle in Wisconsin. The more the holier-than-thou say they know better, the more the downtrodden and alienated double-down.

And if you think continuing to label Trump a racist iconoclast works, you don’t realize that most of those voting for him don’t care what the man says. They just want to shake up the system. They believe in the man, not his outbursts.

And there are only so many redneck yahoos out there. Trump wouldn’t have won the nomination if they were the only ones who cared.

Hillary lost the nomination to Obama in 2008 and she’s doing a good job of losing here.

Because she’s not playing to win, she’s playing it safe. Utilizing the Clinton handbook of the 1990s, where you triangulate, comb the research and tell people what they want to hear.

That don’t work no more. In the 21st Century people don’t want artifice, they want AUTHENTICITY! Continue reading

Posted in Bob Lefsetz | Tagged | 25 Comments

Hearne: Local Life Resumes After Royals World Series Win

c700x420Of course the Kansas City Royals are still very popular…

However life goes on, and after two years of edge-of-your-seat baseball with back-to-back World Series appearances, the Kansas City area is overdue for a return to normalcy. A resumption of day-to-day life, minus the nightly quest to plop down in front of a television screen and burn three hours of prime time couch-potatoing the summer away.

Which is good news for area businesses not centered on package liquor, pizza and hot wings-to-go sales.

Put another way, the current Royals losing streak is a shot in the arm for the local economy and most businesses.

I know, some sports and baseball zealots will consider those words treasonous.

Hey, but it’s true.

Turning the Greater KC metro into a gigantic, empty ghost town night after night during the prime summer season is not a good thing. And human nature being what it is, two years straight of obsessing on a single entertainment option is more than enough.

It’s high time, locals resume other outside interests, because bunkering in front of a giant screen for six months during prime outdoor activity weather is just too one dimensional. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 21 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: Avengers Back In Full Force—But Divided

audi-sq7-captain-america-1-952x563What a way to jump-start the summer movie season…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR will have fans debating over which is the better of the two: THE WINTER SOLDIER or this latest addition to Marvel’s seemingly never ending cash cow universe.

(Side note: Industry forecasters are projecting a $ 190 million-Plus opening weekend at the domestic box office.)

CIVIL WAR will be viewed as a brand extension – or better yet, a cross pollination of the action franchise – delves into vigilantism with surprisingly strong doses of violence.

It offers up situations that ultimately divide the cinematic universe of Team Captain America and Team Iron Man —not to mention some incredible character incarnations.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. However after an incident involving the Avengers which results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team.

The bottom line: a new status quo which fractures the Avengers into two camps. Continue reading

Posted in Jack Poessiger | Tagged | 1 Comment

Lefsetz: Trump

donald-trump-grow-upThe more the intelligentsia tells me Donald Trump is unelectable, the more I want to vote for him…

Nobody knows anything. Especially the smart and educated. We continually laud the graduates of Ivy League institutions, those with money and fame can do no wrong. But then they do.

Like Nate Silver.

Nate got it half right. Trump does have sky high unfavorables. But those became secondary to an electorate pissed that the Republican majordomos had paid lip service to them for decades, but ignored them on the street. And no one likes to be ignored, no one likes to be manipulated, Revenge permeates all income brackets and social strata.

So how did this happen?

Trump started early. The New York Times said that was Bernie Sanders’ flaw – his late start, as if he never believed he could really win. We’ll never know if he could have, but we have learned that some rules are immutable. You have to be in it to win it; you have to lay the groundwork.

And Trump said the unsayable. The right wing may act prim and proper but it’s the left wing that has taken political correctness too far. Sure, racism should not be tolerated, but truth knows no bounds, it resonates with all. And if you’re so busy being hurt by literature that you need trigger warnings, good luck in business.

Which is where Trump triumphed. Continue reading

Posted in Bob Lefsetz | Tagged | 18 Comments

Hearne: Is the KC Star ‘Extorting’ Subscribers? You Decide

extortionRemember the expression, less is more?

That’s the polar opposite of the Harlinator, a walking, talking poster child of the More the Merrier school of thought.

I digress.

The other day one of our comments section regulars, Jim a.k.a. BWH, boasted of paying $90 a year for his Star subscription and included a link to that discounted rate plan.

Just one problem; Jim was dead wrong.

The actual 26 week rate is $94, but for new subscribers only.

Because after 26 weeks, when the honeymoon’s over, the rate skyrockets from $3.62 to $11.99 a week.

Do the math.

That brings the total for a year’s subscription to the Star to $623.48.

A far cry from Jim’s $90 claim.

There’s more. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 6 Comments

Glazer: The Royals Could (Not) Go All the Way!

royalsbagsI know, I now,  it’s early…

And I heard this last year when the Royals jumped out to a 7-0 start and pretty much maintained the division lead tis season’s end. They fell out of 1st briefly just before the All-Star break, and then followed that with a hot summer surge that had them in 1st into the playoffs.

One big reason: timely hitting with the position players all hitting well.

It was the old, “If the starters all hit at a level near the top of their games, the Royals can win it all.” And they did just that, mixed with great defense, strong pitching and baseball’s best bullpen.

However we saw some trouble brewing early this year.

Yes, the Royals jumped out to a nice start, mostly behind solid pitching and defense. But their offense was far below last season when six position players were hitting out of their minds, all over .300 for long enough to matter.

This year that hasn’t happened.

The bats have been cold for almost everyone. And yes, Eric Hosmer is having an outstanding start with a .337 batting average, 32 hits and four homers – nice. Mike Moustakes is showing good power with seven home runs, but his batting average is well below .300.

The rest of the team is ice cold.

Lorenzo Cain is a huge disappointment with a batting average of just .231, only two home runs and not one double thus far. Yikes. Many considered Cain the Royals most important weapon the last two seasons along with Hosmer.

Our DH, Kendrys Morales had a big year last season to help the club win the division, but this season he’s way down with a .217 batting average and only two home runs. Alex Gordon’s even worse with a batting average of just .205 and only two home runs. The rest of team is as bad or worse. Sal Perez is just OK at .241 with four home runs.

All of which has led to being in 3rd place and 4.5 games back of the White Sox.

The Royals are 1-6 over the last two weeks. This didn’t happen last season. We can say it’s early, but if the season ended today there’d be no playoffs, not even a wild card. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 25 Comments

New Jack City: Keep A Lid On It!

who_left_the_toilet_seat_up_card-rf34423fca156453a8e8592022f2da4cf_xvuak_8byvr_324It may be a two way street but etiquette shouldn’t always prevail…

The bathroom in our neighborhood gym is a unisex operation – as in both sexes use it.

And of course, half the time I use it, the toilet lid is down.

So the first thing I do generally is lift it.

And you know, I’m fine with that.

However why should I have to lower it again after doing my business?

That’s DOUBLE-LIDDING.

Besides, the next bathroom user may also be of the male persuasion.

And what of the previous female user who didn’t show the courtesy of lifting the lid for a possible next male user? Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Hearne: Just Another Manic Monday @ 18th & Grand

Slavery - Human Trafficking

It doesn’t make sense…

That the lowly Lawrence Journal World continues to choke out 30 percent more content than the once-mighty Kansas City Star.

Yet here we go again today, with a flimsy, 20 page, two-section Monday Star versus a three-section, 26 page Journal World.

Go figure.

As for news content – with the exception of the Journal World‘s excellent USA  Today section – neither newspaper’s knocking ’em dead.

Both lead, front page reports on the Kansas House delaying its vote on a proposed budget. However, where the Journal World follows with a giant photo and story about a female KU entomologist on a “quest to identify insects of Peru,” the Star gets down and dirty with a piece about truckers being trained “to help rescue sex slaves on the road.”

No contest.

I’ll take sex slaves and truckers over insects and Peru any day of the week!

Trouble with the Star’s trucker-sex slave story is there’s no there there. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged , | 18 Comments