Nov 262015

I have been out for a good part of the day and am back now.  A wonderful sunny day.  I hope my American friends are enjoying a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:33 (average 5:29). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

The Nation — After 9/11, French President Jacques Chirac rejected the “war on terror” proposed by George W. Bush, urging the United States to treat terrorism as a form of criminality. His refusal to go along with Bush adviser Karl Rove’s Orwellian use of language is perhaps the only thing that Chirac
 will be remembered for, but in some ways it’s legacy enough. In contrast, after the November terrorist attacks on Paris, President François Hollande, a Socialist, made the grave error of announcing that France is now at war. Actual states should not grant such legitimacy to small bands of violent criminals, and the deployment of the language and techniques of war is the best way to lose a campaign against them.  

The language of war elevates terrorists to the very status to which they aspire: that of legitimate combatants. The fevered hothouses of extremism, whether in Belgian slums or Saudi Wahhabi mosques, generate a narrative that serves as the pretext for violent action. A country like France is depicted as engaging in monstrous acts, killing defenseless children and women from the air. Gullible teenagers are challenged by a jihadi recruiter with the need to do something to halt the atrocities. They are groomed as heroes, as soldiers saving their people. War is, after all, the one social context in which heinous actions are permitted.

Jacques Chirac has a point.  Daesh is nothing more than a criminal syndicate, so why are the US, the French and their allies giving Daesh legitimacy by calling it a 'state' and declaring war?  Continue reading.

Truthout — Instead of following the White House tradition and "pardoning" a turkey destined for a holiday dinner table, Obama should extend that courtesy to some of the thousands of human beings caged up in America's federal prisons.

Leonard Peltier should be one of them.

Peltier was a Native American activist on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1970s. On June 26, 1975, two FBI agents went to Pine Ridge to look for a young man named Jimmy Eagle, who was wanted for robbery. Soon after they spotted his car, a shootout ensued.

Presidents have been pardoning turkeys yearly . . . it's a longstanding tradition.  So why can't POTUS pardon Leonard Pelltier?  Despite new evidence, Pelltier still sits in Florida, incarcerated for murders he did not commit.  Click through for the remainder.

CBC — Canada has so far issued 928 permanent resident visas to Syrian refugees — but there is still no timeline for when they could start arriving.

Immigration Minister John McCallum blames red tape overseas for the delays.

"Not all of them yet have exit visas from Lebanon, and we are working really, really hard to expedite that so they can get those exit visas as soon as possible," McCallum said an interview with Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House.

Canada is contributing an additional $100 million to help the UN care for refugees in their camps, it was announced Thursday in Ottawa.

McCallum also said the first group of new refugees will be flown to Canada on a military plane — although the date for that flight has yet to be set because of the lack of exit visas.

Click through for the rest of the story.  It has started.  The Metro Vancouver South Asian community is lining up its ducks — 1 year free tuition at the Khalsa school for Syrian refugee children with the availability of Islamic teaching as well; clothing; household items; and many more things. Teachers in the provincial school districts are taking courses to assist with integration and how to recognise and deal with potential mental health issues.  Here is another piece about a Syrian refugee family told Canada is next destination.  The trauma that the refugee families endure, the choices they have to make.  This is huge and we must ensure that we are prepared.

The Daily Beast — Long before Syrians fled ISIS and Jews fled the Nazis and Irish fled the famine, the Puritans fled persecution to become the original refugees to alight on our shores.

In gratitude for having found refuge and for the assistance they received from the Native Americans after landing at Plymouth Rock, the Puritans we call Pilgrims held what we know as the first Thanksgiving.

Just a thought on Thanksgiving from a modern refugee.  Click through.

My Universe h/t John Gray, Care2

I'm not buying one of these!  It does not pick up the cat hair, it just moves it about!

Nov 262015

Yesterday my first baby steps were most unsteady, and I would have nosedived without help.  It was too late for the shower.  I did most of my research last night, because I want to finish early.  I have a couple friends coming, and we’ll eat in the café on the first floor of the hospital.  Rush mode engaged.

Short Takes:

From FAIR: CNN host Michael Smerconish (Huffington Post, 11/23/15) brought onto his November 21 show former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who said that if the US is going to go after ISIS, it should

take out every piece of infrastructure—hospitals, universities, irrigation systems—that make it impossible [sic] for the Islamic State to raise money, to provide electricity, sanitation, potable water. Do exactly what we did to the Germans.

Asked by the CNN host whether the US public would tolerate the “so-called innocent civilian death count,” Scheuer replied:

They should. What’s the difference? They’re not Americans.

Here is the peak of Republican love.  Kill a Muslim for Republican Supply-side Jesus (the polar opposite of the real Jesus).

From Daily Kos: Chalk up another win for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and in fact, another win for the American consumer. In this case, it’s members of the military who have new protections from predatory lenders. The CFPB worked with the Pentagon to develop new rules for how the military discretionary allotment system works. Military personnel can designate a portion of their paycheck to be paid automatically to financial institutions or to people, and previously had no legal protections if they used those automatic payments for personal property—vehicles, appliances and consumer electronics. That’s where unscrupulous companies could exploit them.

The new rules shut down that loophole, and will only allow the automatic payments for “the purpose of savings, insurance premiums, mortgage or rent payments, support for dependents, or investments.” That’s one of the final loopholes closed by the CFBP—the agency that Republicans want to gut—for military personnel who have been big targets for consumer fraud. With all these protections, the CFPB has recovered over $98 million for thousands of service members. You know, the troops Republicans supposedly have so much respect and feeling for.

As of the agency’s third birthday back in July, it had recovered more than $4.6 billion—yes billion for consumers harmed by illegal practices by financial institutions.

No wonder Republicans have never stopped trying to hobble the CFPB!!

From Media Matters: Fox News host Megyn Kelly denounced the scene of a young African American protester standing in front of a police officer during a peaceful protest in Chicago following the announcement that police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with the first-degree murder of an African American teen.

Protests erupted in Chicago following the release of a video showing the shooting death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Fox News covered the peaceful protest noting the silent protest of one young black man looking at a police officer. Fox’s Megyn Kelly interrupted her show to comment on the protester, arguing that the protestor was not “appropriate,” because the police officer “hasn’t done anything wrong.” From the November 24 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:

Barf Bag Alert!!


Actually, I’m shocked that others on her show were able to counter Megyn Kelly’s racism, without having their microphones cut off.



Nov 262015

That’s Turkey talk for HAPPY  THANKSGIVING!

(Sure, Snoopy – that’s a given.  But I had NO idea Woodstock was a carnivore!)


I’ve so many things to be thankful for, but certainly one at the top of the list is getting to know and enjoy the many dear friends at this site.

My Mom & aunt made it down safely from Illinois yesterday, and said the traffic wasn’t too bad.  We’ll be getting together w/ about 15-20 of the relatives (depends on how many of the college kids bring their “significant others”) for the turkey dinner at noon.

I have a great roasted root vegetable recipe that’s a favorite, but given the carpal tunnel surgery that’s out!  So I’m bringing broccoli (frozen from Costco) that’s sautéed with raisins and toasted pecans.  (Think I can handle that much one-handed.)  It’s a recipe from PBS’s “America’s Test Kitchen” cookbook, and I’ve never had a bad dish from them … so far.

We’ll get together with the remainder of the relatives (who celebrate Thanksgiving w/ others) on Friday morning – but just for coffee.  They’ll go out for lunch, but it’s too much for my Mom w/ her walker, so she and I will enjoy some split pea soup from the freezer.

Looking forward to enjoying Turkey Day w/ my Mom and the relatives.  Hope yours is a safe and enjoyable one, too!

(PS – I’ll be thankful when the sutures come out in another eight days!)

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!!