Aug 012015
 

Here are the results of our “Republicns Blocking Peace” 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.

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Our Polling Host no longer allows us to copy and paste your comments made when taking the poll.  To read them, click here.

I voted no.  Although I strongly suspect that Congress will pass a bill to block the deal, Obama will veto it.  Republicans will not have enough votes to override the veto.

The new poll is up.  Please vote.

Editing error corrected.

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Aug 012015
 

I won’t be too verbose. because I’ve been up since 4:00 this morning, making the graphs and collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report.  I also made a rice, eggs, veggies, and chili concoction for two or three dinners.  After I get my articles up, it’s nap time.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (4:32 Average).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Republican insiders are complaining that the right-wing media "is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections," according to a new Harvard report.

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes, a Joan Shorenstein fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, spent nearly four months researching how the conservative media is increasingly influencing the Republican Party. She found "unanimity among establishment Republicans — many of them conservatives by the definition of anyone but purists — that rightwing media has become a big problem for the party, and their readiness to talk about it, was something of a surprise to this reporter of three decades’ experience in Washington."

Since its founding in 2004, Media Matters has documented the increasingly extreme rhetoric and policy positions of conservative media. But party Republicans are now complaining that conservative commentators, many of whom are lining their pockets with big salaries, are making it difficult for Republicans to govern and win national elections.

Dave Schnittger, a longtime former top aide to House Republican leaders, told Calmes that conservative media are loudest in opposing actions "that leaders have to get done as part of governing," such as meeting basic fiscal deadlines.

Another top Republican aide, who asked for anonymity, complained of the conservative media: "There’s no money, ratings or clicks in everyone going along to get along." Calmes added, "Asked whether he could offer examples of legislative outcomes affected by conservative media, this Republican all but snapped, ‘Sure. All of ’em.’ Does he worry more broadly then about the small-d democratic process? ‘Yeah, absolutely. Because the loudest voices drown out the sensible ones and there’s no real space to have serious discussions.’"

While what they say is essentially true, the article misses the real point. The biggest reason that the Republican Bubble Machine is so harmful to establishment Republicans is that by saying what the rabid base, recruited by those same establishment Republicans, wants to hear, they are making it more difficult for those establishment Republicans to mislead voters about their true intentions.

From Daily Kos: In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy of some in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

"I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

This quote applies well to many Republican lawmakers and anti-choice extremists who continue to introduce/pass misogynist laws restricting a woman’s reproductive rights.

While I may disagree with the Sister’s views on a woman’s right to choose, I have to respect her belief. No respect is warranted for the beliefs of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, who preach that the right to life ends at birth, because they would impose their will on people who do not share their beliefs.

From YouTube: Hillary Clinton: ‘Racial disparities go against everything I believe in’

During a speech at the National Urban League conference, Hillary Clinton talks about racial inequality in America, saying unfortunately, race determines who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. She says this occurs because of discrimination that is still ongoing.

 

You decide for yourselves, but I found her speech brilliant. I particularly like her political savvy in choosing Strike Three as the occupant of the Clown Car important enough to call out for his lies.

Cartoon:

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Jul 312015
 

Dang!  Being out and about in that heat is miserable.  I’m sure glad I took water along.  The surgery went very well, it was painless, and my foot was much more painful when I went in than when I left.  I had to walk over a block from the lift bus to get home.  It was 95° at the time, and that really wiped me out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I am so proud of my fellow Portlanders’ heroism in yesterdays 103° heat, I just had to include this.

Cartoon:

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Jul 302015
 

Let me begin by saying that I am not opposed to Israel.  I fully support that nation’s right to exist in peace and safety.  That said, I oppose Israel’s current government, because, contrary to international treaties, that government is denying the same right to exist in peace and safety to the Palestinians.  There is now solid evidence of Israeli war crimes from Amnesty International.

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Amnesty International says its new report provides "some of the most compelling evidence yet" that Israel committed war crimes during its attack on Gaza last summer.

‘Black Friday': Carnage in Rafah during 2014 Israel/Gaza conflict states that findings indicate that Israeli forces acted in retaliatory manner, with disregard for civilian life, after Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured by Hamas fighters, and that the events demand urgent, independent investigation.

"The ferocity of the attack on Rafah shows the extreme measures Israeli forces were prepared to take to prevent the capture alive of one soldier—scores of Palestinian civilian lives were sacrificed for this single aim," said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

The report from the human rights organization and Forensic Architecture, a research team based at Goldsmiths, University of London, focuses on a three-day period, from August 1 until August 4, during what Israel called Operation Protective Edge.

Researchers reconstructed events using evidence including videos, photos, satellite images, news reports, and eyewitness accounts… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

The following video shows Amnesty International’s forensic analysis.

Here in the US, Black lives matter, and the Republican Party do everything possible to make sure that they don’t. In the Middle East, Palestinian lives matter, and Likud, led by Butcher Bibi Netanyahu (R-IS), do everything possible to make sure that they don’t.

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Jul 302015
 

Yesterday brought a lot of frustration, because I spent most of it fighting with the Care2 Glitch monster, who insisted that I would not distribute my articles.  The heat wave has arrived in full force with 100°+ highs forecast for both today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow I have to go out in it to get my routine quarterly foot surgery.  I will be gone from early morning to middle afternoon, so expect no more than a Personal Update, and that late in the day.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 5:06).  To di it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: For I will consider my Cat Cherie
for she is the very apotheosis of Cat-Beauty
which is to say, nothing extraordinary
for in the Cat, beauty is ordinary
like the bliss
conferred
upon us
in the hypnosis
of purr-
ing.
She has been known
to knead her claws
upon a sleeve.
And on a knee.
And on bare skin,
sharp claws sinking in—
just a warning.
For she is of the tribe of Tyger
and eyes burning bright
though cuddling
at night
until you wake to discover—
where is she? Cher-ie?
Don’t inquire.

Since we cats are infinitely worthy of homage, I have shared the first verse of a homage to cats. It’s purrrrfect, in my opinion. Click through for the rest.

From Daily Kos: Walter Palmer, the man who allegedly shot and killed Zimbabwe’s world-famous lion, is upset over the backlash:

In a statement to the Guardian, Palmer confirmed he had been in Zimbabwe in early July on a bow hunting trip. “I hired several professionals and they secured all proper permits,” said Palmer. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.

This is so hideous. Honest disclosure demands that I share that I hunted in my youth. However, I was hunting for food, not trophies. I never killed anything I didn’t eat. Also, at least I hunted in the wild. This was a canned hunt where "guides" bring trophy animals to the lazy rich guy, who wants to kill it. As a measure of Palmer’s character, guess who else likes canned trophy hunting?

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From NY Times: A veteran House member from Philadelphia, one of his staff members, a lobbyist and two others were indicted Wednesday by the federal authorities in connection with bribery schemes and the misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, charitable and campaign funds.

The representative, Chaka Fattah, a Democrat, spoke with members of the executive and legislative branches in 2008 to help the lobbyist get an ambassadorship or appointment to the United States Trade Commission. In exchange for his efforts, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Fattah received $18,000 from the associate that had been disguised “as a payment for a car sale that never actually took place.”

Mr. Fattah, 58, who ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007, also took funds from his mayoral and congressional campaigns to repay his son’s college debt, the F.B.I. said. In that scheme, Mr. Fattah and his staff member had his campaign pay a political consulting firm, which in turn made 34 payments on the loan for about $23,000.

Sadly corruption also exists on our side of the aisle, especially in cities known for big political machines, like Philadelphia and Chicago. The best things Democrats can do is root out the corruption within our party, instead of protecting corrupt politicians like Republicans do.

Cartoon:

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Jul 292015
 

If you are prone to anger, you might want to skip ahead, because I find if difficult to contain the outrage I feel over the vile acts of some Georgia Republicans.  They dressed in full Republican regalia, put the Republican flag, the stars and bars, on display and attacked a child’s birthday party.

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I kid you not, it feels like we are going back in time in America.

In an Atlanta suburb this past weekend, Melissa Alford (a black woman) and her family were hosting an outdoor birthday party in Douglasville, Georgia, when a convoy of seven large pickup trucks donning Confederate flags interrupted the party and pulled into the grass. The occupants then called them niggers and threatened them with violence, according to multiple eyewitnesses, who also stated that the men actually flashed guns at them:

One of at least two cellphone videos from the incident shows Douglasville police officers holding back a group of black men and women as at least seven pickup trucks drive off. The trucks’ white passengers wave as the Confederate, American and military flags mounted on the vehicles flap in the air. .

“This is a child’s birthday party,” one woman in the crowd can be heard saying.

A second video shows the trucks gathered on a grassy area, and the N-word can be heard. A woman who shared the video said the trucks were on her property and their passengers were armed and threatened to “kill y’all [N-words].”

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

I just can’t get my head around such vile, unbridled, Republican hate.

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Jul 292015
 

Last week I had a small but thoroughly enjoyable meeting with five of my guys.  The prison fouled-up the turnout, so ten were not released for it.  We discussed the importance of maintaining an ongoing personal inventory, and using it as a tool to recognize when we are wrong, admit it, make amends, and learn from it.  As always, I could not be more proud of them.  It was very hot, as the Activities section is over the kitchen.  I feel tired and sore, but I did get some good sleep last might.  Today is a grocery delivery day, so I have some cleaning to do in preparation.  The forecast high is 95° and will not dip below 90° until 8/3 at the earliest, so the next heat wave is officially here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 5/26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Changing austerity measures starts with changing how we value our own work.

Like the frog in the pot that didn’t know it was boiling until it was too late, some of us have gotten used to these things. But some of us haven’t and aren’t willing to. Like Agnes Török, who filmed this moving poem that puts into words the frustrations so many of us have felt.

Her words are inspiration for those of us who’ve internalized economic disparities as our own character failures.

 

This hero truly understands Republican tinkle down policies. Kudos.

From The New Yorker: In what critics are calling a desperate attempt to draw the media’s attention away from Donald Trump, the other fifteen candidates for the Republican nomination have released a joint sex tape.

The tape, including such luminaries as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, appeared briefly on major news Web sites before an avalanche of viewer revulsion demanded it be taken down.

According to Carol Foyler, a viewer who happened to catch the tape during its brief appearance on the CNN Web site, the video contained images “I may never be able to get out of my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe that these people would participate in such a thing,” she said. “Except maybe Santorum.”

Dang Andy! Lindsey Poo was a bottom.  I have no doubt that Frothy was the man on dog, but do we need to change a name from "Upchuck Huck" to "Buttf*** Huck"? Smile with tongue out

From Washington Post: Openly gay Americans can now legally marry, serve in the military (as long as you’re not transgender) and, as of Monday, lead a Boy Scout troop.

So what can’t they do? In fact, there are still several things gay Americans can’t do that straight Americans might take for granted.

We did some research and talked to the Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, Sarah Warbelow, to find out what openly gay Americans are still fighting for.

1. Give blood

This prohibition is specifically for gay and bisexual men, whom the federal government prohibited from donating blood in 1983, during the AIDS epidemic.

The Obama administration recently lifted the ban, but with one very important caveat: A man can only donate blood if he hasn’t had sexual relations with another man in the past year. The ruling was disappointing to LGBT rights groups.

"That’s really unrealistic to ask people," Warebelow said — "especially those who are in long-term relationships."

2. Be protected from housing discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states that don’t include sexual orientation in their housing discrimination laws, gay and lesbian Americans can be denied an apartment to rent, a home to buy or obtain a mortgage on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In the 30 states that don’t ban housing discrimination based on gender identity, transgender Americans face the same possibility.

3. Be protected from business discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states, gay and lesbian Americans can get kicked out of a restaurant, be refused services by a hairdresser or asked to leave a shopping mall. That number’s even higher for transgender people, who don’t have similar protections in 32 states.

The federal government also has no law prohibiting LGBT discrimination in public spaces and services.

In the states and cities that do have anti-discrimination laws — including about a dozen cities in Indiana — some conservatives have successfully pushed for a religious freedom bill to give extra legal protections to service providers who refuse LGBT Americans.

Click through for the other four. The battle against the Republican Reich for LGBT equality has just begun.

Cartoon:

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Where InsaniTEA rules supreme.

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