Nov 252015


People of Faith Declare VICTORY in Effort to Pass Ban on CIA Torture

" Earlier today, President Obama signed into law the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA included a provision authored by Senator McCain and Senator Feinstein that makes permanent the ban on CIA torture."


If you want to refresh your memory a tad on this issue which has been alive for many years:


Obama signs defense bill, finalizing military retirement overhaul

Also addresses paid patriotism with sports teams, personal firearms on bases and gender neutral occupational standards.



Obama signs bill making Gitmo closure tougher


You decide, did he get the best he could from this Congress?  Did we make some progress?

And finally, will federal agencies like DOJ finally get to read the Senate Report?

Nov 252015

While Jon's rapier wit here was wielded quite awhile ago, it makes points still of concern and appropo to today's reporting besides still making us laugh…so I bring it to you to help set the tone for giving thanks (if you are in the US and celebrating this week).


Nov 252015

Because we’re about to start a long holiday weekend, I’ll leave you with something entertaining.

1125HairballI’d be laughing a little harder if all this fascist was doing was giving comedians like Stephen Colbert some food for fodder. That said I am grateful the comedic relief when what passes for supposedly “straight news” looks more and more like something out of The Onion, due to one of our political parties having lost their damned minds.

As we already discussed here, Donald Trump screwed the pooch once again, and just made up stuff about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the attacks on 9-11, and then changed his story but justified it by saying that he has “the world’s best memory.”

Colbert had a field day with that one, along with Trump pretending that he has the ability to see into the future, as he did when he claimed that he predicted that Osama bin Laden was going to be causing some trouble for the United States. As Colbert noted, who could have seen that coming?…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>


If Hairball had the world’s greatest memory, he’d know where he saw the video. I can do this too {Spooky Music}.

I predict that, next December, Hairball will NOT be president!!

Nov 252015

I’m getting as much done early as I can, because I expect a very busy day.  Sometime this afternoon my interim prosthetic leg will arrive.  I will use it for about six months, shrink out of it, and have a new cup made.  Today I will take my first baby steps on two feet.  I also expect visits from PT and OT.  OT plans to help me use the shower.  I’ll just have to suffer through that.  Winking smile

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 there was a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.

The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections happen each year in the U.S., with the majority affecting 15 to 24-year-olds.

Reports of gonorrhea and syphilis also increased in 2014. There was a 2.8% increase in chlamydia since 2013, and reports of syphilis, which has three stages, increased for the most infectious stages of the disease by 15.1%.

One of the reasons for this rise in STDs is the war being waged on public health in this country over the last couple of decades.

The increase in STDs is in many ways a result of cuts in funding to public health clinics, Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC.

“Most recently, there have been significant erosions of state and local STD control programs,” Bolan said. “Most people don’t recognize that the direct clinical care of individuals with sexually transmitted diseases is supported by state and local funds and federal funds.”

This leads to men and women not getting tested and treated early, before further infections occur. As the CDC report notes, it’s not particularly economic to cut our public health and then have to pay it out on the other end.

This is a direct result of the Republican sequester.  Thanks, Republicans!

From The New YorkerIn an announcement on Monday morning, Pfizer, the big drug company, whose headquarters are on East 42nd Street, in Manhattan, said that it is merging with one of its competitors, Allergan PLC. Ian Read, a Scottish-born accountant who is Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said that the proposed deal, which is valued at a hundred and sixty billion dollars, would “create a leading global pharmaceutical company with the strength to research, discover and deliver more medicines and therapies to more people around the world.”

On Wall Street and in the world of big pharma, that statement will raise chuckles. It is widely acknowledged that the primary impetus for the deal is a financial one. In merging with Allergan, which is based in Dublin, Pfizer intends to move its corporate residency to Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is just 12.5 per cent, compared to thirty-five per cent for a company of its size in the United States. Over the next few years, the merger could save Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes and deprive the U.S. Treasury of the same amount.

Tax-driven deals of this nature are known as “inversions,” and they are becoming increasingly common. Burger King, Liberty Global, and Medtronic are among the U.S. corporations to have carried out mergers that moved their headquarters abroad. Last year, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that inversions were “wrong,” and that he would try and restrict them. Only last week, the Treasury Department issued some new administrative guidelines in this area. Without actual legislation, though, there isn’t very much the Obama Administration can do to prevent these exercises in corporate tax-dodging, and Republicans on Capitol Hill have displayed little eagerness to coöperate in a crackdown.

It’s simple. If a company wants to do business in our marketplace, they should have to pay taxes here. To make this happen we must flush the Republican Party.

From NY Times: For more than a year, a rare coalition of liberal groups and libertarian-minded conservatives has joined the Obama administration in pushing for the most significant liberalization of America’s criminal justice laws since the beginning of the drug war. That effort has had perhaps no ally more important than Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by a pair of brothers who are well-known conservative billionaires.

Now, as Congress works to turn those goals into legislation, that joint effort is facing its most significant test — over a House bill that Koch Industries says would make the criminal justice system fairer, but that the Justice Department says would make it significantly harder to prosecute corporate polluters, producers of tainted food and other white-collar criminals.

The tension among the unlikely allies emerged over the last week as the House Judiciary Committee, with bipartisan support, approved a package of bills intended to simplify the criminal code and reduce unnecessarily severe sentences.

This makes it crystal clear that Republicans really don’t give a damn about sentencing reform. They’re just using it to mask protecting big corporate criminals from responsibility for their crimes.



Nov 252015

The right wing have more conspiracy theories than a junkyard dog has fleas . . . and the number keeps growing.  No wonder we call it insaniTEA!

Donald Trump claims thousands of Muslims in New Jersey rejoiced as the Twin Towers fell during the 9/11 attacks. He says he knows this because he saw it in the news, a magical news that no one else but Ben Carson saw, although Ben Carson now says oh wait, no he didn’t. So Trump is alone on this one, and I have a theory as to why: It never happened. Like 99 percent of the crap that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth (and Donald Trump’s garbage Twitter feed!), it’s just something he made up as he went along. Trump knows his followers love red meat almost as much as they love attacking black and Latino people (though not quite that much), so he throws it to them with regularity. The truth be damned.

These kinds of conspiracy theories are par for the course in the GOP these days. Muslim no-go zones, Benghazi, gun confiscations, FEMA concentration camps, yadda, yadda, yadda, the list goes on and on. Just throw Trump’s totally fabricated cheering jihadist Muslims on top of the pile, right between a million “false flags” and unopened boxes of Manchurian candidates.

While we’re talking conservative conspiracy theories let’s, well, talk conservative conspiracy theories. A roundup is below. And it’s just the teeniest, tiniest tip of the iceberg.

Click through for just 5 of these conservative conspiracy theories.  I know I am posting this, but I think I'm going to be ill!

Nov 252015

Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . it was an ordinary day with nothing untoward happening.  Something must be wrong! Even the weather was great and no sibling rivalries from the feline side of the family!  I'll celebrate while I can!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:41). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Kos  While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his "Outstanding Contributions to Society." 

This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 

1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as 'Honest Mistakes' 

Wealthy conservatives are pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that America's greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying "someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a 'guilty mind.'" 

One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke into a church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old Florida activist who boldly tried to feed the homeless

Of course, even without the explicit protection of Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008 financial crisis. 

Click through for 4 more signs of a decaying society.  These bring to mind scenes in Detroit where water and sanitation was cut off to thousands because they couldn't pay for water etc, bills usually being a couple hundred dollars.  But some golf courses etc owned and used by the wealthy, with arrears in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, had no water cut offs.  It isn't hard to see who has their priorities screwed up.

Politicususa — Now, it appears that Fox News, the religious right, and conservative pundits have another “war on Christmas” enemy to add to their growing list of atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Wiccans, Heathens, and Muslims who they say hate Christmas. The newest combatant joining the fake war on Christmas went beyond opposing saying Merry Christmas or protesting against Christian Christmas displays on government property and actually assailed the holiday celebration as a farce; likely because he is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church and not involved in conservative America’s silly Christmas outrage.

Pope On War

During a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, Pope Francis quietly committed one of the most heinous sins to American conservatives and religious right fanatics. There have been a world of things this “progressive” Pope has said to incite Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals to abject anger and outrage, and each and every time it is because he talks like the Christian bible’s humanitarian Jesus. This latest incident is no different and is another signal that on a couple of important issues, Francis is a progressive pope; and an honest-to-dog humanitarian.

Click through for the rest.  I can hear Bill O'Reilly now, totally apoplectic, screaming that the Pope has no idea what he's talking about!  I am not a catholic, but I can definitely get behind him on some issues, and this is one.  I have felt for years that Christmas is about excessive and conspicuous consumption.  The real Christmas comes every day wrapped in plain, unadorned paper.  It is the extended hand to refugees, a kind word, volunteering in a soup kitchen or a food bank so others might have food, holding the hand of someone who is afraid, and many more.

Talking Points Memo — Writing for the 7th Circuit majority, Judge Richard Posner called the contention that the law would protect women's health "nonexistent." He said the law would put more women in danger by increasing the waiting times for abortions, which could push some procedures into the second trimester.

"What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women's health — and the abridgement challenged in this case would actually endanger women's health," he wrote.

He also said that a woman who experiences complications from an abortion will go to the nearest hospital, which will treat her regardless of whether her abortion doctor has admitting privileges there.

Click through to read the rest.  Of course the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a Texas case come spring which will affect all states.

My Universe h/t John Gray, Care2

At least this young lady got the kitten's bumb and not claws as was my misfortune when I was the trampoline 7 yearrs ago!

Nov 242015

For some time I have been complaining that television media are helping the Republican Party and their allies, the Daesh, sow fear in Americans’ hearts for political gain.  However, I have seldom seen such blatant bigotry as I did from CNN’s Carol Costello, as she tried to put words in a mayor’s mouth.

1124CostelloIs everyone as tired as I am of the media’s pants-wetting about Muslims? You’d think we were living back in the McCarthy era when the Commies were all coming to get us and our best friends might have been — shiver — Commies.

Meanwhile, media ignores the brownshirt behavior of our Republican candidates, pretending they’re just engaging in the normal rhetoric of the day. Because Muslims can be scary to them. Scarier than Donald Trump doing his impression of Hitler’s political beginnings.

CNN’s Carol Costello just came right out with it during this segment with Hamtramck mayor Karen Majewski….

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>


I felt sorry for Costello over the pronunciation of the mayor’s name, but I was appalled at her many attempts to coax Majewski into admitting fear for the evil Muslims in her city.  On the other hand, Mayor Majewski was a superb example of how Americans should be acting.  Major kudos to her.

Nov 242015

Today I plan to dress in human clothes and explore the public areas on the first floor of the hospital.  Of course, that assumes that PT and or OT does not get here first and exhaust me.

Continuing much later, I did explore.  Then the prosthetic people came.  Surprise!!  New leg tomorrow.  Then PT came and worked me.  Then OT came and worked me.  I’m exhausted.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Warning: Proprietors are not responsible for reader aneurisms caused by the following sentence.

Sarah Palin takes to Facebook to say Jesus likes guns. [Dingbat delinked]


Taking concrete defense measures (ie. arming ourselves) away from the good guys? Yeah… that… we don’t want that. As this hilarious parody says, “…it will really suck when only the bad guys have guns.”

Let us not forget that Bloody Bullseye Barbie is the Republican who painted a bullseye on Gabby Giffords’ HQ shortly before she was shot. Jesus would take a coil of rope to drive out Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, today’s Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and money Lenders.

From NY Times: Planned Parenthood sued Texas officials in federal court in Austin on Monday, seeking to block the state from cutting off its Medicaid funding, the latest in a series of lawsuits it has filed against Republican-led states after the controversy over its use of fetal tissue.

Texas and a handful of other states — including Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana — have moved to eliminate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood amid the controversy. Secretly recorded videos that were released starting in July purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue and discussing the issue with abortion opponents who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm.

Planned Parenthood said that the videos were deceptively edited and that the group did not do anything illegal or unethical. Its officials said the state’s decision to eliminate the group’s Medicaid funding, set to take effect as early as Dec. 8, was politically motivated and without merit.

The nonprofit organization’s lawsuit alleges that Texas violated federal law and the so-called Medicaid freedom of choice provision, which allows those enrolled in Medicaid to seek services from a qualified provider of their choice. The lawsuit also accuses Texas officials of singling out Planned Parenthood for “unfavorable treatment without adequate justification,” a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The author is sacrificing truth for balance. The tapes were “edited”. Planned Parented makes tissue donations only with the consent of the patients. Reimbursements to Planned Parenthood only covered the cost of making the tissue donations, but there was never profit. As of 10/15, Planned Parenthood makes tissue donations with no reimbursement whatsoever. The Republican War on Women is still with us.

From Alternet: It’s that time of year again. Time for stuffing one’s face with delicious food while re-connecting with drunk aunts, racist uncles, and disappointed parents. Luckily, since 1981 the folks at Butterball have had a hotline for tips on cooking turkey to make the holidays run just a little smoother. Late Show host Stephen Colbert decided to take this goodwill and troll the hotline because, why not? 



Why don’t we leave the poor Turkeys alone. Instead, lets stuff and roast Republicans!!



Nov 242015

Sometimes I think my muse, my inspiration has vanished…yet somehow tidbits emerge which I hope will inspire you to commentary.  I just finished with being disconnected since the modem Comcast provided me could not handle software they rolled out just as I was cross posting yesterday's post to Care2 so am trying hard to catch up on communication, et al!

Transgender Day of Remembrance was last week:
As 2015 Sees A Record Number Of Documented Transgender Murders, A Glimmer Of Hope

Sure wish we had better data on hate crimes—do you think there a glimmer of hope though?

Middle Income and Upper Income Households

How did I miss it when demographers raised the top for their definition of middle class?

Pew used what I knew and now the twilight zone and:

Hillary Clinton's Strange Definition of "Middle Class"

What world is she in if not ours?


Since we’re taking mega-moolah, how about this type of making money:

How Prison Reform Could Turn the Prison-Industrial Complex Into the Treatment-Industrial Complex
The private prison industry is exploiting prison reform efforts by shifting from brick-and-mortar carceral facilities to outsourced social services.


Would this be an improvement if it happens?


I find I learn from hearing things from different perspectives so I share a comedian who is probably new to you:
“Azhar Usman performs polished standup at the Muslim Funny Fest 2015 at Comic Strip Live in NYC. Tackling a hacky premise–Muslims in airports–he manages to make it fresh and insightful.”


Nov 242015

It has been a busy day, first with physio and then teaching.  All was going well, although I was very tired, until we received a call from from my student's 10 year old son.  His middle school was in lock down because there was one, maybe two men with guns near the school.  That put everybody on edge until it was over and I could get over to the school to pick him up.  That stretched out my day and my planned cat nap had to wait.  But all is well that ends well.  Men with guns, other than police constables, is not something we are used to, thankfully.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

Rank Team Status W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers


7-3-0 .700 L1 7 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers


7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs


6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 948.50 844.04



6-4-0 .600 W1 5 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon


5-5-0 .500 W3 4 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers


5-5-0 .500 L1 3 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet


4-6-0 .400 L3 2 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers


3-7-0 .300 L3 10 884.98 1,059.66



1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Truth in Mediah/t Lona Goudswaard — In this episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media. Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by "inaction" by the United States government or by "direct" action.

Although this video is 8 months old, it bears watching again and again until we get it straight and can hold politicians, no matter the party, accountable.

Alternet — “The Pfizer-Allergan merger would be a disaster for American consumers who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” Sanders said, in a statement issued by his U.S. Senate office. It also would "allow another major American corporation to hide its profits overseas.”

Click through for the rest of the story.  I kept hearing about this proposed sale on the radio as I went about my business.  What makes this deal different from most so far (I'm sure that others will follow) is that Allergan, the Irish company, is making the purchase thereby getting around US laws regarding "inversions".  Bernie is right to call on Obama to squash this.

Think Progress — The mayor of Dallas is pushing back against politicians who say Americans should be skeptical ofSyrian refugees, saying he is “more fearful” of armed white men than people fleeing civil war in the Middle East.

Speaking to MSNBC on Saturday morning, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was asked to discuss the growing anxiety over Syrian refugees entering the United States, purportedly over concerns they could be potential agents for militant groups such as ISIS. Rawlings staunchly rejected the assertion that Syrians are somehow uniquely prone to violence, saying he is more concerned with the rise of white supremacy and the recent flurry of mass shootings committed by white men.

Click through for the rest and a video from the Rachel Maddow Show.  

My Universe — h/t to John Gray, Care2

Nov 232015

While I do not claim to be an expert on the politics of our neighbors to the north, the more I hear, since Harper and his Harlots got the boot, the better I like it.  The foul oil that comes from the tar sands is Canada’s biggest blight on the continent, so I am encouraged by good news from Alberta.

1123oil_sandsAlberta’s carbon footprint, spurred on by the tar sands industry, has been steadily growing in recent years. So when the New Democratic Party took power in a surprise victory earlier this year, environmentalists hoped it signaled a turning point for Canada’s largest oil-producing province.

On Sunday, new Alberta Premier Rachel Notely lived up to those expectations. Notely announced new pledges to limit fossil fuels in the province, by phasing out all coal power usage by 2030, imposing a carbon tax beginning in 2017, and placing a limit on carbon pollution from the tar sands industry.

“This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day when we start doing our part,” Notley said. “Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity.”

The announcement comes after months of statements by high-ranking government officials within Alberta signaling a change in the province’s approach to carbon emissions and climate change. In June, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips promised a “new era of responsible energy development and environmental sustainability,” suggesting that the province could as much as double its carbon tax by 2017. In September, Notley also told the Guardian that the province would look to diversify its energy portfolio in the coming years, steering away from fossil fuels and towards more renewable energy sources.

In the Guardian interview, Notley emphasized greater interest in regulating the tar sands industry’s carbon emissions rather than shutting it down altogether. But the industry itself has been battered in recent months by a slew of government rejections — from Keystone XL to oil tanker traffic in British Columbia — and thousands of lost jobs due to the falling price of oil…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

My one disappointment here is that the Tar Sands need to be shut down altogether.  The environmental regulations protecting Canada mean that the only place left for the industry is to ship the filth to or through our country.  I hope our government will ban shipping Tar Sands sludge here.

Nov 232015

Yesterday I finally got to take my first shower since 9/5.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is not to smell something rancid and know it’s me.  Because it involves a nurse leaving this unit with me, it’s hard to schedule, but I’m hoping to get a couple a week.  Fantasy football players, don’t forget to have your lineups set early this week, as there are two games on Thanksgiving Day.

Religious Ecstasy:


Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In 2014, Americans donated an estimated $350 billion to charities. A generous country we are, but how much of those funds actually benefit those in need? You might not want to know. There are good charities. There are bad charities. And there are the worst charities.

America’s “worst” charities have gained their titles by how much they raise in donations for their cause—and how little of that money goes towards the same cause. As these deceptive organizations ask you for your financial support, many lie about where or to whom that money is alloted, sometimes paying themselves “multiple salaries” and “consulting fees.” One cancer charity paid the company president’s son nearly $18 million over eight years, to solicit donations. The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Some nonprofits are little more than fronts for fundraising companies, which bankroll their startup costs, lock them into exclusive contracts at exorbitant rates and even drive the charities into debt.

How Republican!!  Click through for the list. I’m amazed that Susan G Komen for the Cure isn’t on the list. Considering all they have spent lobbying to prevent women form getting breast cancer screenings and other women’s healthcare from Planned Parenthood, they should be on it.

From NY Times: Donald J. Trump said on Sunday he was in favor of the actions of his supporters who reportedly punched and kicked a protester from the Black Lives Matter movement who interrupted Mr. Trump’s campaign rally the previous day in Birmingham, Ala.

“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Sunday. “This was not handled the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you.”

To support violence against a protestor is typical rabid Republican response.  But Hairball is a typical Republican.

The Squatch beat me to John Oliver, so you only get two short takes.



Considering yesterday’s cartoon, this is why.