Nov 282015

I said when I started calling upon the Furies they there would be no shortage of material for them to deal with, and there certainly isn't. Just 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."

This being Thanksgiving week, I want to start by calling on Megaera to listen to the tale Leo Gerard has to tell.  You see, every Thanksgiving, at the Old Homestaed Steakhouse in New York City, a very special meal is served.  This year three lucky families will spend $45,000.00 – each – for a Thanksgiving meal most of us can barely imagine.

Each meal includes two turkeys.  Because when would one, 20-pound free-range, organically raised bird at $75 a pound ever be enough?  It includes gravy made with Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, which goes for $4,900 a bottle. Because when would $9 worth of cooking sherry ever be good enough?  It includes whipped sweet potatoes festooned with $1,600-an-ounce Royal Osetra caviar. Because when would the red-light-special, $115-an-ounce can of fish eggs ever be acceptable?  (Let alone – shudder – marshmallows.)   The final course is pumpkin ice cream decked with 24-carat gold flakes and a $4,200 bottle of private reserve rum-infused eggnog sauce.

Oh, yes.  And a 2 carat diamond ring in the stuffing.  Mustn't forget that.

Leo points out that, while we don't have their names (and that must be a sad challenge for them – trying to get their names publicized enough to get them bragging rights, but not enough for the general public to show up at their homes with pitchforks), anyone who HAS that kind of money and CHOOSES to spend it on a single meal has essentially stolen it from working people via their trickling up of productivity gains away from the productive workers and toward overpaid bosses.  Since we don't know names, can we be certain they are people who are helping to take safety nets away from the poor, and keeep the minimum wage as low as possible?  No.  Would we bet money (not that kind of money, but something we could afford) that they are?  Oh, yes.

Of course, Megaera, you are a professional and probably don't need advice – but it did occur to me you might think of reserving standing room in Tantalus's lake for the patrons.  For the restaurateurs, maybe the Midas touch.  Only something other than gold.  They'd just sprinkle that on ice cream.

I certainly thought of Alecto when I saw this sub-heading in Bloomberg Business: "The retail giant is Always watching."

In the autumn of 2012, when Walmart first heard about the possibility of a strike on Black Friday, executives mobilized with the efficiency that had built a retail empire. Walmart has a system for almost everything: When there’s an emergency or a big event, it creates a Delta team. The one formed that September included representatives from global security, labor relations, and media relations.  More terrifying than the thought of a strike was the thought of labor organizing into unions.

The group working on the strike was (and is) called the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart).  Publicly Walmart pooh-poohed the size and potential influence of OUR Walmart.  “This is just another union publicity stunt, and the numbers they are talking about are grossly exaggerated,” David Tovar, a spokesman, said on CBS Evening News that November.

Privately, though – Walmart "hired an intelligence-gathering service from Lockheed Martin, contacted the FBI, staffed up its labor hotline, ranked stores by labor activity, and kept eyes on employees (and activists) prominent in the group. During that time, about 100 workers were actively involved in recruiting for OUR Walmart, but employees (or associates, as they’re called at Walmart) across the company were watched; the briefest conversations were reported to the 'home office,' as Walmart calls its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark."

Over a thousand pages of documents were produced in discovery ahead of a NLRB hearing into OUR Walmart’s allegations of retaliation against employees who joined protests in June 2013.  The testimony was given in January 2015, during the hearing. OUR Walmart, which split from the UFCW in September, provided the documents to Bloomberg Businessweek after the judge concluded the case in mid-October. A decision may come in early 2016.  So Bloomberg is able to go into quite a but of detail about what happened.

The "intelligence-gathering service from Lockheed Martin" is a very little known servce of Lockheed.  From the website: "LM WISDOM® ITI (Insider Threat Identification) is the industry leader in detecting and mitigating insider threats.  LM WISDOM® ITI is a leads generator tool based on employee attributes, behaviors and actions that may be indicators of potential insider threat.   This capability significantly improves the productivity of your security and counterintelligence organizations, allowing analysts to focus on the highest priority threats and take proactive mitigation steps.  Built on best practices from counterintelligence professionals with decades of commercial and government experience, LM WISDOM® ITI takes a holistic approach — seamlessly fusing data sources across the enterprise and modeling behavioral indicators on the individual."

Don't ask me when Lockheed Martin decided it needed to privatize intelligence, because I don't know.  Companies have always kept an eye on their workers, of course.  But this seems to be an unexpected level.  "While most of the OUR Walmart activists being watched expected to be, none thought it would be by a company like Lockheed Martin. 'We’re artists, not ISIS.'"

Training videos, executive memos, and various other anti-union materials have been leaked over the years by groups hoping to embarrass Walmart. A 49-page document from 1997, A Manager’s Toolbox to Remaining Union-Free, begins: “As a member of Walmart’s management team, you are our first line of defense against unionization.” Based on the documents from the ongoing case, many of the tools in the toolbox remain in use. The 1997 guide instructs managers to remain alert for signs of low morale or organizing among their employees. They’re supposed to address the causes of low morale and report the organizing to the Bentonville hotline.There is far too much detail in Bloomberg to give – you are welome to click thorugh.  This year, instead of striking, OUR Walmart has been staging a 15-day fast leading up to Black Friday. Workers want to wait until the NLRB ruling before walking off the job again…. The hunger strike is in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and to highlight the problems some Walmart workers have feeding their families.  Some 1,400 people have been participating in the fast as they see fit and about 200 of those are former and current employees.

On Black Friday there were demonstrations around the country, organized by groups connected to OUR Walmart and joined by employees who had already taken the day off or weren’t scheduled to work. In addition to the nation, I'm sure Alecto will have been watching.

Early in the morning of Sunday, November 15, 2015, a young man of color was shot and killed by police in Minneapolis, MN.  Yes, I know this happens all the time, though less often in Minneapolis, which is a fairly progressive city, but stay with me, Tisiphone and readers, I do have a point to make.

Witnesses say Jamar Clark, 24, was unarmed and handcuffed when an officer shot him.  Police, of course, dispute this.  Activists took to the street and protested outside the Minneapolis Police Department.  This too is hardly new.

"The young man was just laying there," Teto Wilson, a resident who claims to have witnessed the shooting, said. "He was not resisting arrest. Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar's body, and I heard the shot go off."  Black Lives Matter activists and the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP have called for the officers to be fired.  Still familiar ground.

On the night of November 23, the story took on a little different direction.  There is the background that activists representing several different organizations, including Communities United Against Police Brutality as well as the groups previously mentioned, started to notice on the furst night of the protest, and continuing every night, white supremacist groups (the participants described as masked men in military style clothing) were also out and threatening violence.  The activists were concerned enough to put together a safety committee.  On November 23, then, three men wearing masks and bulletproof vests were noted and were removed from the protest area.  They were confronted by the safety committee, and there was an argument.

The three men walked away from the crowd and through a gate, and some activists followed.  Witness said the three men ran off, with several activists chasing them.  They stopped in an area where there were no cameras, turned around, and opened fire.  Five protestors were shot, fortunately, none was seriously injured.  The shooters were not immediately identified.

Some social media users began claiming the shooters fired in self defense.  Well, we've heard that before too.

That was November 23rd.  On November 24, a suspect was arrested.   A 23 year old while male.  So close in age to Jamal.  So far away in spirit. 

It has now been learned that white supremacists have discussed various strategies online for sparking confrontation at the demonstration, which they described as a “chimpout.”

“Do you know if the BLM n*****s are planning to protest again tomorrow, and if so, at what time?” one white supremacist asked in an email chain.

They agreed to wear camouflage clothing and display a four of clubs to identify each other, and the white supremacist agitators argued over whether they should carry guns or wear Guy Fawkes masks.

SInce then, a total of five suspects have been arrested.  One was released because he was not present at the shooting.  The other four are being held.  The County Attorney has received an extension of time to determine charges; hate crime charges are being considered.

Here's the point I have been going for.  It appears there are numerous people in different groups shooting guns in Minneapolis.  However, only one group is being shot at.  Black Americans.  Tisiphone, I hope you are still with me.  Please, see what you can do.

For the rest of us, there is a petition on Force Change regarding this case.  We too can do something.


Nov 272015

Yesterday my friends were under the weather and could not come, But after PT worked ne with my prosthetic leg, I went down to the café by myself.  The open face turkey sandwich was good, but the raspberry cheesecake had flavor to die for.  I watched football for most of the day, but Pam is really kicking my kitty-butt at fantasy football.  Because this  is such a slow news day, this is my only article.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: …The shopping surge also means that many retail workers have to leave their loved ones and work on the day after (and sometimes the night of) Thanksgiving.

So if you only get one day-after-Thanksgiving every year, it’s silly to waste it at a crowded store with hundreds of other people who are willing to throw elbows to get a new Blu-ray player.

Instead, here are seven ways to spend Black Friday that are (at least in my mind) a whole lot better than shopping.

1. Take a trip to a state park.

I’m pretty sure that parks offer much better views than the inside of a Walmart. So load up your Thanksgiving leftovers into a picnic basket, find the closest park, and get some fresh air. If you live in Minnesota, you can even take advantage of free admission to all of the state’s parks this Nov. 27.

I do not shop on Black Friday.  I shared one. Click through for the other six.

From NY Times: Clasping hands with youngsters in red Communist Youth League scarves, contestants from more than 110 nations descended on the southern Chinese island of Hainan this week for the 65th annual Miss World contest.

But one contestant was absent from the opening ceremony: Miss Canada, otherwise known as Anastasia Lin, a 25-year-old actress and classically trained pianist who has been denied a Chinese visa to attend the monthlong pageant, apparently because of her outspoken advocacy for human rights and religious freedom in China.

After waiting in vain for weeks, Ms. Lin packed up her Canadian-designed eveningwear on Wednesday and quietly boarded a Hong Kong-bound flight with the hope she might obtain an on-demand visa at the border and perhaps slip unnoticed into mainland China.

It was not to be.

The Chinese authorities, tipped off to her arrival, barred her from flying onward to Hainan.


Kudos to Anastasia. We all should boycott Miss World.

From The Hill: The Obama administration is warning states that they cannot refuse to accept refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, saying that noncompliant states may be subject to penalties.

The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) said in a letter to state agencies on Wednesday that they cannot withhold services to refugees based on their country of origin or religion.

“Accordingly, states may not categorically deny ORR-funded benefits and services to Syrian refugees,” the letter said. “Any state with such a policy would not be in compliance with the State Plan requirements, applicable statutes, and their own assurances, and could be subject to enforcement action, including suspension and termination.”

The letter cited the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of race or country or origin.

“Thus, it is not permissible to deny federally funded benefits such as Medicaid or TANF to refugees who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements.”

After their big holiday dinners, you can rest assured that hundreds of Republican politicians and pundits will have huge loads in their pants over this one!



Nov 272015

Picketers playing ball outside closed mill during steel srike.  (Photo by Francis Miller//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Politico — The reason critics like Sheila Bair, Elizabeth Warren, Neil Barofsky, Simon Johnson, Paul Krugman and others (left, right and center) won the day—at least the intellectual debate and the war over public perceptions—was not that they were better communicators. It was that they had a more convincing message: There were alternative ways of rescuing the economy that were fairer and that would have resulted in a stronger economy. Instead, our politics and economics are now locked into a vicious circle: Economic inequality leads to political inequality, and this political inequality then leads to rewriting the rules to increase the level of economic inequality even further, and so on. The result? Ever greater disillusionment with our democracy.

Matters may well get worse. Recent research has uncovered a variety of other vicious cycles. Poverty traps mean those in the bottom remain there. The fortunes of a child of poor parents who does well in school are far bleaker than those of a child of rich parents who does much more poorly in school. About a quarter of U.S. college freshmen from the bottom income half finish college by age 24, compared with 90 percent of the upper quartile. And with wages of those who have only a high school diploma at 62 percent of the typical college grad’s earnings—compared with 81 percent in 1965—the prospects are they will be poorer than their parents.

Taken from Wikipedia, Joseph E Stiglitz is "…an American economist and a professor atColumbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and is a former member and chairman of the (US president's) Council of Economic Advisers.  He is known for his critical view of the management of globalizationlaissez-faire economists (whom he calls "free market fundamentalists"), and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  

Based on academic citations, Stiglitz is the 4th most influential economist in the world today, and in 2011 he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Stiglitz's work focuses on income distribution, asset risk management, corporate governance, and international trade. He is the author of several books, the latest being The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them (2015)."

From Alternet, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Joseph Stiglitz.

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about these candidates [Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders] and what they’re saying and what they actually do, what they support.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think we’re in a new moment in America, because I think we’ve had a third of a century of a—you might call, an experiment, a grand experiment, where, beginning with Reagan, we said, "Let’s lower the tax rates on the top. Let’s rip away the regulations. We’re going to free up the American economy. We’re going to incentivize it. The result will be the economy will grow so much—yes, the top will get a larger share, but everybody is going to get a bigger piece, and so everybody is going to be better off." Well, we’ve had a third of a century of this experiment, and it has failed. It has failed miserably. The fact is, the bottom 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate. Median income today is as low as it was a quarter-century ago. Talking about the minimum wage, minimum wage is the level, adjusted for inflation, it was 45, 50 years ago. You know, if an economy can’t deliver for most of its citizens, it’s a failed economy. What’s so striking is, we’ve had technological change, we’ve had globalization—all the things that were supposed the economy perform better—and in fact it’s performed worse.

Click through to read the rest of these two articles.  In the second, Stiglitz says "…I think the point is the American people have figured out that this model hasn’t worked, you know, the model that began a third of a century ago. So, they’re angry, and they want a change."  If Stiglitz's point is true, then what are the American people going to do to effect the necessary change?  It is, to my mind, imperative that the American people lead with their vote, shake up the establishment.

I also posted The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats on 31/10/2015 in which Nick Hanauer, billionaire, echoes Stiglitz.

What is the definition of insaniTEA?  Voting the same way time after time yet expecting a different and better economic outcome.



Nov 272015

Today is busy for me.  I'll be off teaching before too long and won't be back til late afternoon.  At least it will be sunny for those out doing Christmas shopping.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:20 (average 5:30). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

CBC — A Muslim group in Peterborough, Ont., will kneel and pray today at a local synagogue, where they will be welcomed after their own mosque was damaged in an arson attack earlier this month that police are investigating as a hate crime.

"As Canadians we have to stick together," said Larry Gillman, president of the  Beth Israel Synagogue, in an interview on  CBC's Metro Morning today. "It's not about religion, it's not about race. Canadians do this."

Click through for the rest.  In a post Paris tragedy, the Masjid al-Salaam mosque in Peterborough, Ont was burned.  But the Beth Israel synagogue extended a hand in friendship and now, both Muslims and Jews are using the same space for worship.  Kenzu Abdella of the Masjid al-Salaam mosque said "At the end of the day, it's a house of God."  Amen!

Alternet — And he said quite clearly that he believes,

“we’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule… And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago…”

Does that add up to fascism? Yeah, pretty much. In his book, “Rush, Newspeak and Fascism” David Neiwert explained that the dictionary definition of the word often leaves out the most important characteristics of the philosophy, which are “its claims to represent the “true character” of the respective national identities among which it arises; and its mythic core of national rebirth — not to mention its corporatist component, its anti-liberalism, its glorification of violence and its contempt for weakness.” If that’s not Donald Trump I don’t know what is.

Facism is like a contagious disease . . . it keeps on infecting.  It's not new, but the current crop of Republicans and Tea Partiers sure seem into ensuring its survival.  Dump Trump.

The Nation — China Labor Watch’s (CLW) report on China’s toy industry is a seasonal reminder of how American families’ appetite for cheap toys is fed by not-so-fun factory jobs, in which workers struggle to sustain their own families on pennies an hour. The advocacy group reports:

In workshops that are hazardous to their health, millions of workers toil under cruel management, 11 hours a day, six days per week. Over the course of a year, a toy worker may only be able to see her parents and children one time.

In low-wage factories that bring Star Wars andFrozen toys to big-box shelves, field researchers reported observing up to 80-hour workweeks, widespread wage theft, and apparent violations of both corporate ethical sourcing codes and Chinese labor law—including age-discriminatory hiring, nonpayment of mandatory social insurance, and inadequate safety training. For example, at two suppliers, Winson and Jetta, employers reportedly “diverted” overtime hours to discount weekend work. As a result, CLW claims, “employing up to 11,000 workers, the two companies may be cheating workers out of $1 to 2 million a year.”

Click through fore more.  How willing are consumers willing to finance the oppression of workers in other countries?  If these were American workers, would consumers still finance the oppression?  Given what happens with Walmart employees and with the media, the conditions would be more noticeable.  But overseas, out of sight, out of mind.

My Universe TGIF!!!  Getting ready for the weekend!


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!!