May 022016
 

In politics it is said, that when not fueled by hope there is a vacuum for fear to fill. Since artists turn to the muses, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope we are exploring what they can offer us for inspiration to have the hope fueling politics.

“Hope is the pillar that holds up the world. Hope is the dream of a waking man.”
-Pliny the Elder

“Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we can give one another.”   forgotten-muses-1226788
-Elie Wiesel

Let us first turn to some history courtesy of Clio:
This chef is much bigger than her 'Lemonade' cameo, though that was pretty great too.

http://www.upworthy.com/this-chef-is-much-bigger-than-her-lemonade-cameo-though-that-was-pretty-great-too?c=upw1

and
Robert Scheer Talks With Eddie Conway About Making Real News After Prison
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=16243

Gave me a kind of hope, how about you?

 

Now to Euterpe and Polymnia (musical instruments and divine “hymns”):
Musicians Raise Their Voices in Song to Help Children in Gaza
http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/05/01/album-2-unite-all?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2016-05-02

My hope for the future in hands such as these went up, how about yours?

Erato would claim (love):
This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.
http://www.upworthy.com/this-australian-guy-is-buying-300-charter-buses-for-an-incredible-reason?c=upw1

Did you grab a hanky like me?

 

On to Ourania (celestial):

The Amazing Sky
https://amazingsky.net/

Looks wonderful to me, how about you?

 

Who would claim this one?
Scientists gave a camera to an octopus, and she only needed 3 tries to learn to use it.
http://www.upworthy.com/scientists-gave-a-camera-to-an-octopus-and-she-only-needed-3-tries-to-learn-to-use-it?c=upw1

I feel hope after watching these, how about you?

Thank you dear reader for joining me on this journey of discovery and quest for hope.

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May 022016
 

In April Politics Plus was slightly down from March in every category, except visits.  The differences are so small that the length of the month accounts for almost the entire drop-off.

Here is our latest summary:

Stats04-2016

Reported period

Month Apr 2016

 

 

 

 

First visit

01 Apr 2016 – 00:00

 

 

 

 

Last visit

30 Apr 2016 – 23:59

 

 

 

 

 

Unique visitors

Number of visits

Pages

Hits

Bandwidth

Viewed traffic *

9,632

 

30,422

(3.15 visits/visitor)

90,401

(2.97 Pages/Visit)

238,894

(7.85 Hits/Visit)

6.47 GB

(223.01 KB/Visit)

Not viewed traffic *

 

 

 

404,409

472,520

8.27 GB

Reported period

Month Apr 2015

 

 

 

 

First visit

01 Apr 2015 – 00:00

 

 

 

 

Last visit

30 Apr 2015 – 23:57

 

 

 

 

 

Unique visitors

Number of visits

Pages

Hits

Bandwidth

Viewed traffic *

9,838

 

26,580

(2.7 visits/visitor)

80,467

(3.02 Pages/Visit)

233,368

(8.77 Hits/Visit)

3.36 GB

(132.35 KB/Visit)

Not viewed traffic *

 

 

 

321,700

365,533

5.15 GB

However, we are up significantly from last April in every category.

Here is our latest demographic data from Quantcast:

Q!US04-2016

They miss a ton of raw data, but among those they can identify they are a valuable source of information.  We are still mostly older, well educated, poor, Democrats, and politically active. 

Here is our archived ClustrMap for April only.

Clustrmap04-2016

ClustrMap misses a lot of visits, because many visits can’t be easily traced to a location.  They have changed their format..  When you click the map in the left column, it shows the current month only, no longer the year to date..

Here are our top five articles:

Jane Smiley: Capitalist Pigs 1/17/2010 1,751
Republicans on Parade–8/18/2014 8/18/2014 232
BEEautiful Shot at Ammosexuals 4/12/2016 161
Koch Brothers Finance Racism 8/18/2011 154
Could This Kill the Reich? 4/20/2016 153

The count represents only the people who followed an external link to that specific article.  I’m quite pleased that two from April made the cut,  Unfortunately none are from authors other than me.

Here are our top non-blog/news referrers (100 referral minimum):

Care2 2,542
Google 2,016
Stumbleupon 222
Google (Images) 132

All are slightly down from March, except Stumbleupon.

Here are our top  blog/news referrers:

http://bildungblog.blogspot.com/
http://infidel753.blogspot.com/
http://www.oakcreekforum.blogspot.com/
http://fair.org/
http://disaffectedanditfeelssogood.blogspot.com/
http://okjimmseggrollemporium.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloomberg.com/

Once upon a time I included fifteen here, but these seven are the only ones with two or more referrals.  We also had seven in March.  This is the one stat that still disappoints me most, because it means that we are no longer a go-to site for bloggers.  However, we seem to have become a go-to site for activists!.  Putting blogs’ links here increases the ratings of their sites, so this “linkey love” is our thank you for their support.

Here are our top commentators.  As the resident Big Mouth, I don’t count.  Those who leave their URLs in their comment headers, also get “linkey-love” here, unless I forget to copy the data before it resets.  We had a four way tie for fifteenth place.

Joanne Dixon (115)
Lynn Squance (94
)
Lona Goudswaard (90)
Edie (84)
Pat B (81)
jla (74)
SoINeedAName (58)
Mitch D. (50)
Vivian Birdwell (45)
Jim Phillips (42)
Jerry Critter (14)
Arielle (11)
dave c (4)
Phil Hanson (4)
Cheryl A. Aaron (3)
gene jacobson (3)
Patty Lasek (3)
Yvonne White (3)

People who submit articles to Care2 can use their submitted news link from there.. 

We have 326,457 links on other websites, down slightly from March.

As of Midnight on May 1, we have 6,480 articles and 77,837 comments.

Kudos to Lona Goudswaard for posting the 77,000th comment.

I recommend using your own avatar. Go to Gravatar.  Sign up using the email address you use to post comments here and upload the image you want to use as your avatar.  Whenever you comment under that email address here or on any WordPress blog (several others too), that image will become your avatar.

In case you did not know, we are no longer a one-author blog.  Due to my reduced availability, from ongoing medical mayhem and learning to live as an amputee,  I appointed two Administrators, who are also authors.  They are Lynn Squance, aka Sasquatch or Squatch and SoINeedAName, aka Nameless.  I also appointed two more Authors.  They are Judi Angell, aka JL A, and Joanne Dixon, aka JD.  I’m also very proud that last month we added another Author to our staff.  She is Lona Goudswaard and a prime catch!  Please Join me in praising and thanking all five for a job well done.

This is our policy on links.  We do not embed links to extreme Republican websites, like Faux Noise, Breitfart or World Nut Daily.  However I leave an notes in square brackets when I delete such links, (example: [faux noise delinked]) so readers, who wish to follow them can click through to the source article.  I also remove topical links.  Finally, I blank the target on all links, so they open in a new tab or window.  Please do so, or if you commonly leave links and don’t know how to blank the target, please say so.

I’m not concerned with the downswing,. because it is so small,  Given our expanded talent, I expect to continue our upward trend.  One way you can help is to share our articles, not only with your family and friends, but also, on other sites, linking back to the article here.  The more exposure we get, the better we shall do at fulfilling our stated purpose, “Overcoming Right Wing Insanity One Day at a Time!”

Thank you for all that you do, here and elsewhere.  You are why we are here!  You are the reason we are a success!!

Now lets go kick some Bagger butt!! Winking smile

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May 022016
 

Yesterday and today have been unseasonably warm and quite humid with highs in the 80°s.  That has interfered with my sleep, as I still have not gotten used to the loud A/C next to my head.  In addition to that,. I missed a nap yesterday, collecting the data for today’s Monthly Report.  After doing my research this morning, I felt so tired that I uncorked a Lona-nap, so I’m running late today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:39).  To do it click here,  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY TimesIt is an old congressional ritual: loading up vital spending bills that are meant to keep the government running with dangerous amendments aimed at satisfying ideological causes and benefiting special interests.

The Republicans have become adept at this practice in recent years, and this year is no different. Legislative riders attached to appropriations bills would undermine the Iran nuclear deal, weaken highway safety and reduce the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over tobacco products.

These measures would be unlikely to succeed as stand-alone bills, either because they could not get enough votes on their own or because President Obama would veto them. So better to sneak them in without even holding hearings to make a case on their behalf.

Thankfully, Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups are calling attention to these stealth attacks. In the Senate, Democrats managed on Wednesday to block a vote on a water and energy spending bill after Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, tried to attach a provision that would have dealt a severe blow to the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Cotton’s measure would have blocked the administration from purchasing heavy water used in Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran has to get rid of the water to comply with the deal. By denying Iran an American market, Mr. Cotton and other Republicans hoped to undermine the deal, which they hate.

Click through for more. One big irony here is that by trying to block Iran’s sale of heavy water to the US, Republicans are actually helping to enable the development of an Iranian nuke.

From Think Progress: Teachers across Detroit called in sick to work on Monday — a “sick-out” protest that ultimately shut down all but three public schools in the city because there weren’t enough teachers in class.

The coordinated protest, which was organized by the Detroit Federation of Teachers, came soon after the school district’s emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, announced that there won’t be enough money to pay teachers after June 30.

“Detroit teachers deserve to be paid fairly for their work like every other working person… But Detroit Public Schools has just informed us that it cannot guarantee to pay these dedicated men and women for their work. This isn’t right. It isn’t fair,” the president of the teachers union, Ivy Bailey, told the Detroit News.

In January, in an effort to bring attention to the condition of Detroit schools, teachers used the same “sick-out” tactic to shut down many schools. They posted photos to social media of inedible food, dead rodents, and cracks in the floors, among other problems. After the sick-outs, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) called for inspections of all of the schools and found evidence of many of the same problems teachers cited.

Detroit Public Schools is in major financial distress, and lawmakers and educators have been concerned the school system will go bankrupt. After being sued by the teachers union and dealing with weeks of sick-outs, DPS filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that the state violated the civil rights of students through its emergency manager law.

How many more examples do we need before American voters know that the mix of greed and incompetence Republicans bring to public office invariably spells tragic deprivation for those they govern.

From Liberals Unite: Wayne Simmons, a frequent Fox News “CIA expert,” pleaded guilty on Friday after being indicted last October by a federal grand jury on charges lied about his service with the CIA.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a press release announcing the plea:

Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.

“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.  His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.  This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”

“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain.  I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”

Nevertheless Simmons still met the standards needed for employment by the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and for them to present him to their sheeple as an expert.

Cartoon:

0502Cartoon

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May 012016
 

Here are the results of our “Republican Nomination Theft” poll.  Politics Plus Polls are not scientific, because those who respond are not balanced according to demographic categories.   Therefore, we do not accurately reflect the makeup of the US population.  Nevertheless, our polls are usually factually accurate, and more often than not, they reflect thinking or will of the national majority.

0501Poll

Since our polling site no longer enables us to copy and paste your poll comments, you may read them here.

I voted with the plurality, but I feel no confidence, as much has changed in the last month.  Perhaps I should have included a “Nominate an evil asshole” response.  That would have been a sure winner.

The new poll is is and some of you may think there should be an “Other” response.  I did not include it, because in real life, no other choice exists.

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May 012016
 

It’s already been a very busy day, as I have been working since early this morning, changing the poll, preparing the graphics and collecting all the data I will need for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, and researching today’s articles.  Needless to say, I’m getting tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: President Obama poked fun at Hillary Clinton’s lack of appeal among young people Saturday night, joking at the annual White House press corps dinner that Mrs. Clinton was like an aging relative who cannot figure out how to use Facebook.

“Did you get my poke? Is it on my wall?” he said, imagining Mrs. Clinton trying to use the popular social media site. “I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.”

 

Policies aside, when it comes to the White House Correspondents Dinner, Obama stands heads and shoulders over every other President in my lifetime.

From Think Progress: On Thursday, 98 members of Congress wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TEN), asking that they disband the panel and end the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue research.

The investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices began last summer, when a heavily edited video surfaced claiming that the organization was “selling aborted baby parts.” Conservatives, especially former Presidential candidate and current Ted Cruz “running mate” Carly Fiorina — called for a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices.

But the claims made in the video have been repeatedly debunked, and in January, after a three-month-long investigation, a Texas Grand Jury decided not to indict Planned Parenthood. Instead, the jury moved to indict the videographers who were responsible for the video in the first place.

However, the select panel has continued to operate, going after not only Planned Parenthood, but also the scientists who are researching fetal tissue as they search for cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

That the basis for the investigation has been proven to be devoid of factual basis does not matter to Lyin’ Ryan and his misogynist Republican cronies. They simply want a platform from which to broadcast lies,

From Daily Kos: A group of the nation’s most important defenders of LGBT rights have written to ask the Obama administration to pull federal education funding from states that pass laws legalizing transgender discrimination in their schools.

It was sent by the American Civil Liberties Union, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. A Justice Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “The department has received and is reviewing the letter.” […]

“We are talking about official discrimination required by the state,” said [ACLU LGBT Project director James Esseks], arguing North Carolina should lose federal education funds. “This is something that is egregious and demands a different kind of response.”

This isn’t an idle threat. The Obama administration has been aggressive in enforcing transgender rights in individual districts; a law like North Carolina, that requires public schools to engage in discrimination specifically barred by the federal government, states must either choose to follow the state law or the federal one. That runs afoul of the $4.5 billion of education funds that North Carolina could otherwise expect to get from the federal government; we can only presume that the North Carolina legislature will then have to cover the cuts with the proceeds of their personal swear jars.

This sounds to me like a perfectly reasonable response to states where bigoted Republicans have written discrimination in schools into the law.

Cartoon:

0501Cartoon

The Republican elephant rides the rest of us.

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Apr 302016
 

I became a fan of George Takei as Lieutenant Sulu, Helmsman of the Enterprise in Star Trek.  That continued through his support of LGBT people, the Occupy movement, and most recently, Bernie Sanders.  Beyond question, fellow progressives, George is clearly one of us.  However, in the face of movement toward staging a write-in campaign valled “Bernie or Bust”, George endorses a far better slogan.

0430VoteBlue

There is nothing for me to say here — nothing more to describe or explain. The message that activist George Takei sends out in this video to progressives, Democrats, and liberals around the country, is simple and clear. Here is the full transcript [click through] followed by the video,,,

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Bernie says that on Hillary’s worst day, she’s infinitely better than the Republican.  “Bernie or Bust” helps the Republican only.  That’s not what Bernie wants.

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Apr 302016
 

Even though I slept well yesterday, I still feel tired today, so I plan to rest quite a bit.  Julie is due in about 40 minutes to fluff and buff me and do some light cleaning,  Later: Julie a couple hours ago, and I’m now a cuddle-ready kitty!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 3:57 (average 5:04).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PR Watch: Ironies abound in the 2016 agenda for the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators at luxury hotels to vote side-by-side on "model bills" that then pop up in states across the country.

This spring’s Task Force Summit, to be held in the glittering Omni William Penn hotel on May 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, features [Koch suckers delinked] a discussion on "Taxpayer Funded Lobbying Disclosure."

ALEC is not worried about the corporate lobbyists stacking its board and committees, or the taxpayer money being shelled out so some politicians can afford the swank Omni, or direct government subsidies to ALEC (like Tennessee’s $100,000 grant approved recently to underwrite a future ALEC conference in Nashville). No, ALEC is worried about city and county governments that join statewide associations to lobby state government for funds to provide services to everyday people. Stomping out this type of public interest "lobbying" is a big agenda item of the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity and part and parcel of ALEC’s agenda to preempt local democracy.

ALEC’s efforts to handcuff local democracy are just one of the highlights of ALEC’s 2016 Spring Task Force Summit agenda.

Click through for an excellent overview of the ALEC agenda, Take toilet paper because of what it will scare out of you.

From NY Times: In the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court held in 1963 that the state or local government had to provide a lawyer to any defendant facing prison time who could not afford his or her own. This was no minor decision. Approximately 80 percent of all state criminal defendants in the United States qualify for a government-provided lawyer.

Yet despite this constitutional guarantee, state and county spending on lawyers for the poor amounts to only $2.3 billion — barely 1 percent of the more than $200 billion governments spend annually on criminal justice.

Worse, since 1995, real spending on indigent defense has fallen, by 2 percent, even as the number of felony cases has risen by approximately 40 percent.

Not surprisingly, public defense finds itself starved of resources while facing impossible caseloads that mock the idea of justice for the poor… [emphasis added]

When you combine this travesty with the all too common problem of prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence because every case lost jeopardizes their careers, it should not surprise you that there are many innocent people behind bars. Click through for more info.

From Crooks and Liars:

If only our politicians had any common sense whatsoever many people would not have to die so needlessly for these politicians’ NRA indebtedness.

 

It’s getting hard to tell the difference between comedians pretending to be Republican Ammosexuals and real Republican Ammosexuals.

Cartoon:

0430Cartoon

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Apr 302016
 

I went to Lucia's house for an English lesson but she wasn't there.  I waited a bit in my car until I saw her walking up the hill with Simon and Regina in tow.  The minute Simon saw me, he started running towards me with a big smile on his face, calling my name.  Lucia had to let go of the harness so he wouldn't get hurt.  I got a big hug and all was right in the world.  Other than that, a very ordinary day with beautiful weather.  This weekend is supposed to be warmer than usual and dry.  Good for the Alzheimer's walk on Sunday.

Short Takes

The Guardian — An Oklahoma court has stunned local prosecutors with a declaration that state law doesn’t criminalize oral sex with a victim who is completely unconscious. 

The ruling, a unanimous decision by the state’s criminal appeals court, is sparking outrage among critics who say the judicial system was engaged in victim-blaming and buying outdated notions about rape.

But legal experts and victims’ advocates said they viewed the ruling as a sign of something larger: the troubling gaps that still exist between the nation’s patchwork of laws and evolving ideas about rape and consent.  

But several legal experts declined to fault the appeals court, saying instead that the ruling should be a wake-up call for legislators to update Oklahoma’s laws.

Michelle Anderson, the dean of the CUNY School of Law who has written extensively about rape law, called the ruling “appropriate” but the law “archaic”.

“This is a call for the legislature to change the statute, which is entirely out of step with what other states have done in this area and what Oklahoma should do,” she said. “It creates a huge loophole for sexual abuse that makes no sense.”

So, will this Republican state amend its laws to close the loop hole?  I think the answer to that lies in the word "Republican".  There is a petition on Care2 — Oklahoma: Stand United Against Rape

"The bill that will stop this kind of injustice in the future is named for this young victim. “Justice for J.W. Act of 2016” aims to include unconscious persons in the list of those who can’t give consent for sexual acts. The bill’s author, Representative Scott Biggs, said: “I am horrified by the idea that we would allow these depraved rapists to face a lower charge simply because the victim is unconscious.”"

This young woman, indeed all women, should not have to be victimised by a rapist and then victimised by the law.

Truth-outHouse Judiciary Committee hearing room on April 21, when nine members of Congress, their staff and 200 activists gathered to address the present crisis in US democracy: voter suppression and the manipulation of US elections.

In 2016 – the first presidential election since the US Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act – a slew of new malicious laws and tactics are disenfranchising millions of Americans, even as the private control of US vote-counting technology has come under renewed scrutiny in a primary season marked by allegations of fraud and election rigging.  

"The most dangerous thing in our democracy right now is the fact that partisan, for-profit corporations using secret proprietary software provide the voting hardware and the software to register us to vote, count our votes and report election results," Fitrakis said. "I want to know why these private companies who are not using open-source software are counting our votes, registering our votes and then doing the central tabulation."

I find it interesting that there are some Republicans seemingly breaking with the party and look at voter suppression and the manipulation of US elections.  Or am I not reading this correctly?  Everybody should be very concerned about the level of voter suppression.  It should be one citizen, one vote . . . and no, corporations are not people and money is not free speech.  Can the Congress have this in place for the November 2016 general election?

Raw Story — Stephen Colbert mocked Ted Cruz for selecting Carly Fiorina as his running mate after suffering another round of devastating primary losses.

“That is bold,” Colbert said. “After Tuesday’s huge wins by Clinton and Trump, Bernie Sanders saw the writing on the wall and laid off hundreds of staffers. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz saw the writing and covered it up with a ‘hang in there, baby’ poster.”

Of course he mocked them!  And now there is more reason — Mike Pence of Indiana has endorsed Cruz.  When will they learn?

Politico — The word “Lucifer” lit up the Internet in the past 24 hours — after news surfaced that former House Speaker John Boehner used the name to describe his former congressional colleague and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Nice to see that Agent Orange has not lost his acerbic touch in retirement.

My Universe

ccat10

I have some hang ups!

ccat6

I'm hiding from the dog!

ccat13Will somebody get me a ladder please!

ccat1Working in the packaging department!

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Apr 302016
 
furies

I only have one article this week which I feel calls for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction." But I have a little bonus at the end.

I'll quote a lot of the article with just a few comments at the end –  it's from the Sikh Coalition and passed on by Wired for Change.  H/T JL.

April 27, 2016 (Amarillo, TX) – The Sikh Coalition filed a complaint with Texas law enforcement agencies on behalf of Mr. Daljeet Singh today, demanding that criminal charges be brought against individuals who falsely accused Mr. Singh of making a bomb threat and who unlawfully restrained him on a bus.  Mr. Singh was a passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Amarillo, Texas on February 21, 2016, when he was falsely accused by a fellow passenger of making a terroristic threat.

“The only crime I committed was wearing a turban, having a beard, and speaking in a different language to another brown man on a bus,” said Mr. Singh. “I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America.” Mr. Singh, a limited English proficient asylum seeker from India, wears a turban and beard as part of his Sikh articles of faith.

The allegations, which were made by a fellow passenger, were completely fabricated. The passenger profiled Mr. Singh and then alleged that he had been discussing a bomb threat with a second passenger. Mr. Singh was jailed for approximately 30 hours. During that time, local news outlets linked Mr. Singh’s name to terrorism charges.

“When you actually see something you should say something,” said Sikh Coalition Senior Staff Attorney, Gurjot Kaur. “However, what happens when you see nothing and concoct a story that is completely baseless because you don’t like the color of someone’s skin, their religious headwear, and the fact that they speak a different language? There must be consequences when bigotry and xenophobia trump common sense on a bus deep in the heart of Texas.”

The Sikh Coalition filed a complaint in Potter County against the first passenger for knowingly filing false charges against Mr. Singh, and an additional complaint was filed against two other passengers who unlawfully detained him on the bus. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Potter County prosecutors' offices cleared Mr. Singh of all criminal wrongdoing.

“Nobody deserves to be treated this way in our country,” said Ms. Kaur. “We trust that local law enforcement will treat our complaint with the same vigilance and vigor as the initial complaint received.”

One wonders, doesn't one, how an English-only speaker, listening to a conversation in Punjabi, could tease a bomb out of what was heard.  In fact, I mentioned to JL that the story reminded me a little of a story by Isaac Asimov, without Asimov's sanity.

Asimov's eavesdropper's first language was Russian, and the story was writtten while the Cold War was alive and well.  This Russian eavesdropper was holding his own conversation in Russian with a friend, while at the same time listening to a conversation in English between two Columbia University students.  He was absolutely convinced that these students were plotting in broad daylight and before witnesses to grab a third person, tie him up in a dark place, and murder him.

In this series, the "Black Widowers," each story takes place in a restaurant.  All the club members try to figure out what really happened, and all fail.  Only the waiter, Henry, can see through the mystery – because, as he claims, he has no sense of drama and therefore doesn't get distracted.  You can find the story on line here, or if you have access to physical books, it's the fifth story in the second collection. 

Henry's explanation of how he solved it is, I think, very revealing of the state of mind which leads to false reports like this:  "You felt New York to be a jungle, so you heard jungle sounds. For myself, I prefer to suppose college students would sound like college students.”

Dear Furies, I do believe the passenger who made this false report, as well as the two who didn't but who physically restrained Mr. Singh to keep him on the bus, need some re-educating.  However, it is also possible that the local authorities will need some prodding and/or persuasion to pursue charges.

I have one other item to share which is not directly a job for the furies, but is an educational tool for all of us.  It's being Podmade available now in advance of June being Torture Awareness Month.  It's really designed for smartphones, and to be viewed through a cardboard "blinder" to enhance the sense of isolation.  It is a simulation of solitary confinement.  Because descriptions are not enough.  Since not everyone has a smartphone (I don't), there is also a PC version.

I heard about it from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.  But the app and 360-degree video were created by The Guardian (Kudos to them).

The Furies and I will be back.

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Apr 292016
 

Republicans keep saying that they want to replace ObamaCare with something else, but they never want to discuss the details, because that something else is RepubliCare. Those who can afford high-end health care coverage get it, but only until they become chronically ill.  Then they, and those who can’t afford high-end coverage get the RepubliCare Death Benefit.  They get to die at no additional charge.   On the other hand, it seems that some Democrats are interested in replacing ObamaCare.

0429colorado-care-yes

For years, voters in this swing state have rejected tax increases and efforts to expand government. But now they are flirting with a radical transformation: whether to abandon President Obama’s health care policy and instead create a new, taxpayer-financed public health system that guarantees coverage for everyone.

The estimated $38-billion-a-year proposal, which will go before Colorado voters in November, will test whether people have an appetite for a new system that goes further than the Affordable Care Act. That question is also in play in the Democratic presidential primaries.

The state-level effort, which supporters here call the ColoradoCare plan, would do away with deductibles. It would allow patients to choose doctors and specialists without distinguishing between those “in network” and those “out of network.” It would largely be paid for with a tax increase on workers and businesses, and cover everyone in the state. Supporters say most people would end up saving money.

Insurance groups, chambers of commerce and conservatives have already lined up in opposition. They say the plan’s details are vague, its size and cost galling. The proposed health system would have a budget bigger than that of Colorado’s entire state government. A new 10 percent tax on payroll and incomes to pay for the system would push Colorado’s tax rates to some of the highest in the nation.

The proposal’s chance of success is dubious…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Before signing off on it, I’d want to have more detail, but this sounds a lot like Medicare for all, which I do support.  Of course there is one plan that would be tragic for America.

RepubliCare

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