Today is another relatively busy day. I have a grocery delivery coming to put away, volunteer editing to do, meals to prepare, and my helper friend coming to help me wash and change the sheets on my hospital bed. I did managed to get a full night’s sleep last night, and I needed it. I still feel tired today.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 2:42 (average 5:11). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From Upworthy: Take a minute to celebrate and discover these 25 black "firsts" from the last 25 years.
It’s Black History Month. I shared the first Black “first” listed. Click through for the other twenty-four.
From NY Times: The state-appointed emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools, who had also managed the city of Flint and oversaw its decision to draw its water from the Flint River, resigned on Tuesday, the day before a congressional committee hearing in Washington on Flint’s water.
Michelle Zdrodowski, a spokeswoman for Detroit Public Schools, said the manager, Darnell Earley, had declined to testify before a panel investigating the widespread contamination of Flint’s tap water after the city switched its water source, which led to elevated blood lead levels throughout the city.
On Tuesday evening, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena for Mr. Earley to testify on Wednesday, but his lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, said Mr. Earley would not be able to appear.
I’m glad this Republican race-traitor lost his job. Rachel Maddow explains why the Republican House hearings are just a smoke screen to protect Sturmbannführer Snyder.
I bet a fiver against a donut that the goose-stepping, sham committee will blame it on Obama or Hillary.
From Crooks and Liars: Rand Paul, the libertarian-minded freshman senator who was once viewed as a formidable presidential contender, is suspending his White House bid on Wednesday, several sources close to Paul told CNN.
I was happy to see that the Clown Car had barfed Upchuck Huck. I’m equally happy to see that it puked Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot!
I should never have changed the channel. See today’s Open Thread to learn why I wish I’d been wearing George. Clown Car Destruction Derby VII was a debate that reflected the century. Unfortunately, it was the 19th century, and the Republicans reflected only its low points. Unless they are successful at undermining the tattered remains of this Republic, that American apathy has allowed Republicans to shred, and establishing a Republican Reich, in which predetermined elections exist for show only, we may be watching the implosion of the Republican Party.
Things felt a lot more predictable in the Republican debate Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, without the party’s bombastic front-runner.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump made good on his promise not to show up for the debate after feuding with Fox News over its moderators, a risky move just days before Iowa’s caucuses kick off the election season next week. But Trump’s opponents made sure he was not forgotten.
“I’m a maniac, and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz said at the debate’s outset. “And now that we’ve got the Donald Trump portion out of the way…”
Trump’s absence meant less ad-hominem attacks, but also a lot less spontaneity. Most of the exchanges felt familiar, a rehashing of many of the same disputes seen in previous debates. Cruz once again attacked his Senate colleague, Florida Republican Marco Rubio, for flip-flopping on immigration when he worked on a failed bipartisan reform plan. Rubio, in turn, critiqued Cruz for not supporting defense budgets in the Senate.,,
Yesterday Arvilla (PT) worked me hard. We needed to ascertain whether I could support myself well enough with a quad-cane to make transfers to a doctor’s table, a barber chair, a toilet without handicapped rails, etc., when I’m out and about, so I don’t have my walker for transfers. It worked well. I also tired myself out, so today, I’m taking a much needed rest day.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
today’s took me 2:44 (average 4:16). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The New Yorker: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin continued to air her grievances against President Obama on Friday, telling an audience at a Trump rally in Iowa that Obama was “single-handedly to blame” for her defeat in the 2008 general election.
“Like a lot of American families, we Palins had big plans and dreams—in this case, regarding me becoming Vice-President,” she said. “But you know who had to go and ruin those plans and dreams? President Obama.”
Palin said that Obama insured her defeat in 2008 “just like he has defeated so many other great Americans,” and that her family had paid the price.
“I can’t help thinking that, if I had been elected Vice-President, Bristol and Willow wouldn’t have gotten into that drunken brawl and Track wouldn’t have threatened his girlfriend and whatnot,” she said. “Thanks, Obama.”
Andy sure understands Bloody Bullseye Barbie!
From NY Times: A massive winter storm that threatens to dump two feet of snow on the nation’s capital began pummeling the East Coast on Friday afternoon, as millions of people from the Carolinas to New York braced for a weekend of severe winds, power losses and coastal flooding. Thousands of flights were canceled; governors and mayors warned people to stay indoors and off the roads.
Governors in at least 10 states declared states of emergency, and travel was disrupted in at least five major airport hubs, with 6,300 flights canceled on Friday and Saturday and 4,675 more delayed. In North Carolina, more than 114,000 homes lost power. The Washington region’s mass transit system took what an official called an “exceedingly rare” step of shutting down for the weekend.
Cities from Nashville to New York started emergency operations to respond to what the National Weather Service deemed a “potentially crippling winter storm.” In Virginia, where snow began falling Friday morning in the southern part of the state, Gov. Terry McAuliffe put 700 National Guard members on standby; by Friday evening, hundreds of accidents had been reported. In Baltimore, shelters added hundreds of extra beds to accommodate the homeless.
To you, who are in the path of this fossil-fuel weather, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Please be careful and stay safe.
From Crooks and Liars: Oops! Trump Campaign Runs Veterans Ad Featuring Russian Soldiers
I bet Vladimir Putin (R-RU), aka GOP Pootie, hopes Hateful Hairball wins, so his vets get US taxpayer money!
I decided that after spending so much time on the negativity of US politics, I wanted to finish the year with some positive notes. So here are 6 short takes that made me feel good, and I hope they will do the same for you!
Happy New Year!
The Province — Two children seized from their British Columbia home on Christmas Eve weren't overlooked by Santa thanks to a couple of Mounties and a businessman.
RCMP in the Interior city of Trail say the constables visited a local home on Thursday to check on the well-being of five- and nine-year-old girls.
The visit resulted in a social worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development apprehending the children and taking them to a foster home at 10 p.m.
So Santa has a bigger wardrobe than just that red suit with chimney soot on it! Click through for the rest of the story.
Upworthy — No matter where he is in the world, Santa Claus appears to be a popular guy.
Case in point: His recent visit to a shelter for migrants and refugees in Sarstedt, Germany, on Christmas Eve. The facility has been a temporary home for those from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan.
Santa's pit stop there shows that, regardless of where they are in the world, children go through the same stages of excitement when Santa comes to town.
Click through for more pictures of Santa's visit to a refugee centre in Germany.
The Province — When Erin Barrett decided to take her personal battle with ovarian cancer to Facebook, she had no idea her message about the “silent killer” would travel the world and be shared more than 240,000 times.
“It made me sort of a bit anxious putting it out in public like that — I’m a very private person,” the 35-year-old Vancouver mother of two told The Province, as she sat waiting for her third and final chemotherapy appointment at the B.C. Cancer Agency on Tuesday.
But Barrett felt a “moral and ethical responsibility” to post about the disease, because she considers herself lucky for being diagnosed at stage one — most women don’t get the diagnosis until stage three or four, when it’s often too late.
She was diagnosed early because she was in “overwhelming pain” during her second pregnancy, so her doctor ordered some scans. On Sept. 21 he found the tumour, which was “bigger than a volleyball.”
Erin Barrett cuddles her daughter Edie, born on Sept 24.
Three days later they delivered her daughter Edie while also removing Barrett’s left ovary, Fallopian tube and the nearly six-pound tumour.
Thinking beyond herself in hopes of helping others. Her reward, not that she was looking for one, was a show of support from people around the globe! Click through for the rest of the story.
CBC — A recent strong solar storm is expected to give Canadians across the country a special New Year's Eve northern lights show.
The aurora's swirling colours may light up night skies as far south as 50 degrees geomagnetic latitude, says the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This means that cities along the Canada-U.S. border and farther north might get a chance to see the display.
Photographer and tornado hunter Greg Johnson took this photo in Saskatchewan. The photo was taken at night, and the lights seen are the from the full moon and aurora borealis.
It doesn't get much more beautiful than this! The first time I was the northern lights was in the summer of 1960 in central Ontario. I have seen them many times since, especially when I lived in the north . . . almost a daily occurrence especially during the winter where the light reflects off the snow.
When I first saw this story, I was proud to call Trudeau my Prime Minister. Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect and I don't "worship the ground he walks on". But he looks at the seemingly inconsequential like this boy, and takes the time to listen. This has shown up also as he greeted refugees. The greatest gift we can give to another is our time, our heart and listening.
Upworthy — This kid has a point. About life. About relating to other human beings.
This lad is spot on! I am learning Persian and when I use a few words at the market or at physio, faces light up. I have noticed the same when I greet Julio and Alberto at the grocery store in Spanish. My pronunciation is not perfect, but I try. It is about respect.
Although I am still hurting from my fall, I’m back in the saddle, albeit barely. Groceries are coming today.
From Daily Kos: Hillary has an extensive record that cannot be disputed (although people try).
This will be part one of a series that could take a lifetime to go over. Here we start with a list of portions of Hillary’s record and some of her achievements. Feel free to discuss. I hope there are no duplicates in this batch.
As critical as I am of Hillary, I have to agree that she has done many positive things. I’ve shared five. Click through for a long list.
From NY Times: Many of the indelible images of the Middle East refugee crisis this year are haunting. There was the heart wrenching photo of Aylan Kurdi, a lifeless 3-year-old boy who drowned at sea and washed up ashore on a beach in Turkey in early September. A photographer in Greece captured the moment Laith Majid, an Iraqi refugee, walked off a deflating boat in Greece in tears, tightly clutching his son and daughter. And it’s hard to forget the spiteful Hungarian journalist who tripped a Syrian refugee carrying a child, making them stumble.
The simple but powerful words with which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada greeted the first group of Syrians resettled under an expedited program stood in sharp contrast to the misery and monumental injustice the earlier images represent.
“You are home,” he said when the refugees disembarked in Toronto on Thursday after a 16-hour flight from Beirut. To a man holding a toddler wearing a headband with flowers, he repeated the sentiment: “Welcome to your new home.”
Kudos to Canada. They got rid of their Republicans, Harper and his harlots. We could be like Canada, if we would flush ours!
From Think Progress: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) likely knew that there was unreleased video evidence of Officer Jason Van Dyke killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald within 50 days of the shooting, internal emails obtained by NBC Chicago indicate.
The emails show Emanuel staffers discussing the existence of dashcam video of the killing in early December of last year, as Emanuel’s re-election effort was entering the home stretch. The city sought to suppress the video for over a year before a judge forced Chicago to release it to the public last month. In the early weeks after the killing, police insisted McDonald had lunged at Van Dyke with a knife — something the video proves to be untrue.
I’ve said it before, so I’ll repeat: Rahmbo must go!
Made in 2012, before I coined the term SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD).
In politics it is said, that when not fueled by hope there is a vacuum for fear to fill. Since artists turn to the muses, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope we are exploring what they can offer us for inspiration to have the hope fueling politics. Last week we were in the wake of Paris; this week we follow two violent events on American soil (covered in other threads) in Minneapolis and in Colorado Springs yet do not hear near the cacophony of voices loudly urging actions to keep Americans safe. We also follow the holiday most associated with gratitude in the U.S.: Thanksgiving. One Thanksgiving email I received began with this quote: “I saw…that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love…flowed over the ocean of darkness.” — Journal of George Fox (1647)
Then continued with: ”It can be hard to look into the darkness we find all too easily today: in the suffering and fear of so many, in the cycles of violence. Yet, when we come together with compassion, understanding, and openness, we find the Light in dark places.” It was from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Calliope is considered the strongest of the nine and imposes serenity. Researchers have been exploring this area and one finding that goes with post-Thanksgiving is:
Gratitude can be transformative:
“The Thanksgiving holiday began, as the name implies, when the colonists gave thanks for their survival and for a good harvest. So perhaps November is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind.”
“Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Didn’t he make it crystal clear and easy to understand—did he also communicate hope?*
One thing events in Paris affected was people’s plans with COP 21 Nov. 30th-Dec. 11th…I’ve seen one group that is collecting photos of people holding empty shoes to represent people who would’ve been marching in Paris to address climate change. Greenpeace is matching individuals who would’ve marched in France with someone marching in another country…the resilience to this purpose in this one (check out the video) is it an example of what Dr. Rignot said was our hope? Is it a love Erato might claim?
Can’t the world always use more love? Is it always the answer?
And thank you dear reader for joining me on this journey of discovery!
*Note: Physics is the one field where research questions with answers using statistics often have no error rate so results are not a probability of truth/fact on the subject but are actually the truth or fact of the matter.
If you missed the first installment of this series and would like more information about the muses by reading it:
This essay comes from a friend of a friend. I do not know who she is. However, I have heard many stories from people who believed in the criminal justice system in this country, until they or a member of their family learned first hand that their experience was the polar opposite of what they had believed. This is one mother’s reaction to such an experience.
July 26, 2015
What I want people to know is what I’ve learned over the past two years – how my life is upside down both philosophically and emotionally. Philosophically, because what I learned, believed about our justice system is just thrown under the bus. I am angry. Angry at people who are charged with our wonderful, ideal system and have perverted it and made us all accomplices in torture and harm. We were standing shoulder to shoulder with prison guards who abuse prisoners; DAs and police who lie, who give up honesty and integrity to convict.
We became part of the problem. Only we didn’t even realize there was a problem. They lie. They suck us in to be their accomplices. We asked no questions. We believed them. No. We believed the idea of a system. We believed they were the embodiment of truth. They kept us safe from people who would harm us, who were really terrible people.
But what do they do? “Lose” evidence, lie to protect themselves, serve as judge and jury to convict whom they have decided is guilty. Screw looking at evidence. How did they get to the place where they are in such a hallowed system of our country, protecting our country’s ideals, being the keeper for those ideals and now corrupting those ideals.
Am I naïve? Not now. Was I? Yes. But I’m in the company of the majority of our country. I listen over and over and OVER again to “I had no idea how this system works! I was shocked to learn how it really works.” Problem is – no one does know until it happens. No one believes until it does happen.
I’m angry that I was blindsided. Is it my fault? Should I have known better? WHY SHOULD I!?!! Where’s the disconnect here? That our system as taught to high-schoolers is just too much of a fairy tale? I should know better than to believe such a fairy tale could actually work? Are the people in the justice system just laughing at me for being so naive?
Or is the disconnect in how people have subverted the ideal? The people who have gotten used to having it their way? People who have decide they are smarter than tedious “truth and justice” and will improve a hopelessly naïve system?
Are we in The Matrix*? They have created this fake world that they’ve sold us on that every thing is right in our world, that they have the knowledge and expertise to keep it the ideal it is.
But behind their words and assurances that create the perfect illusion is a world of crumbling, moldy, derelict laws. A blighted world wildly out of control with more and more laws, penalties, and incarcerations for longer and longer times. A world destroyed with smoking embers, blown out, burned down buildings, haunted people. Out of sight behind the illusion they create with their paternalistic, mesmerizing lies! Do we choose to believe their lies because it’s just easier? No! I think we believe because we truly believe that they are the pillars of our justice system. We hear their excuses—which they call “reasons”—and that reinforces what we already instinctively believe.
But now pieces of their façade may be cracking. Can they hold it together and continue to make us believe their fake world? We know what is really behind their world of “safety, justice and truth”. We’ve seen and heard the destroyed lives, the money taken from society and spent to warehouse people and then return wasted people with wasted lives and difficult options. The LIES – The harm – The self-supporting arguments.
What will it take to bring down the phony façade of a tough on crime, retribution, vengeance model of justice and return us to where most people already think we are: convicting wrong-doers but with consideration of mitigating or extenuating circumstances, incarcerating only people who are a threat and then rehabilitating them so they can live as successful citizens. Giving people a chance to pay for their crime and then re-joining society. Being humans helping humans.
My passion. I want people to know what I’ve learned. I want to shock them awake to what our criminal justice system has become. No, ladies and gentlemen, it is not what you believe it is.
Unfortunately, most of you will never really find that out. No, it’s not fortunate that you will never have a loved one, or yourself, caught up in this horrible system. It’s not fortunate that you’ll never have an accusation made at you of something you never did. It’s not fortunate that you get to keep living oblivious to how our criminal justice system has lost its way in mandatory sentencing. Because unless you are unfortunate enough to have personal contact with this devastating system, you won’t try to do something about it.
(From Wikipedia: The Matrix movie depicts a dystopian [an imaginary community or society that is undesirable or frightening] future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines to subdue the human population,)
Personally, I find what she has to say believable and compelling.
I’m swamped! That’s always the case at the first of the month. Between today’s normal research and collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, I have already put in over eight hours on the4 blog today. in addition, I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order. Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day. I have bills to pay, and a guy has been using a jackhammer in the street below me for the last three hours. Other than that, not much is going on.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:37 (average 5:16). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From: I Side With (Hat-Tip Mamabear): Answer the following questions to see how your beliefs match each political party
Click through to take the quiz to see which candidate is most like you. Mt Results: Bernie Sanders 98%, Hillary Clinton 85%, Martin O’Malley 80%.
From The New Yorker: As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.
Across the U.S., whose rail system is a rickety antique plagued by deadly accidents, Americans are increasingly recognizing that building a wall with Mexico, and possibly another one with Canada, should be the country’s top priority.
Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.
“The estimated cost of a border wall with Mexico is five billion dollars,” he said. “We could easily blow the same amount of money on infrastructure repairs and have nothing to show for it but functioning highways.”
Andy is clearly doing straight news again.
From NY Times: President Obama on Monday issued a global call for urgent action to address climate change, declaring that the United States was partly to blame for what he called the defining challenge of the century and would rally the world to counter it.
“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now,” Mr. Obama said here at an international conference on the Arctic. “We’re not acting fast enough. I have come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second-largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating the problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it.”
Clearly Obama has dome more to combat climate change than any other president in history. Now he needs to shut down drilling in the arctic.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said today that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein was a “pretty good deal.”
Bush was speaking at an event sponsored by Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security (APPS), a group formed and backed by a number of people associated with major defense contractors.
Bush Bag Alert!!
Shouldn’t that group be renamed "Americans for Conquest, Greed and Imperialism"? Strike three fits right in with that crowd!
From NY Times: This is an alarming new direction in modern campaigning that arose along with the nation’s growing income disparity and is empowered by shadowy new methods of raising unlimited, untraceable money from the richest donors.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s formal campaign celebrates large-scale support from small-dollar donors, but her affiliated super PAC reported that most of its $15 million came from nine donors giving $1 million each. Some of the money, as is the case in rival campaigns, is untraceable because of another cynical innovation — “social welfare” nonprofit groups. Fueled by the Supreme Court’s reckless Citizens United decision in 2010, which ended limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, spending by exempt organizations that do not have to disclose donors increased 60-fold to more than $300 million in the 2012 presidential cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. An even bigger infusion is expected in 2016.
Mrs. Clinton has, to her credit, promised to make campaign reform one of her main priorities if she wins the White House and to stop “the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money.” This is a crucial but increasingly tall order, as she and all the other candidates find their dependency on the richest Americans deepening with the election cycle.
And Mrs. Clinton is not, by any means, the biggest offender in the campaign grabfest. The Times’s survey showed that Republicans have been the main beneficiaries of the new platinum circle of givers.
Jeb Bush has made an art of super PAC politicking, raising $103 million from a small group of super givers free to circumvent the formal campaign’s far lower limits; 26 are in for more than $1 million each. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has raised the most cash from the fewest donors: Just three families donated most of his $37 million in super PAC money. Of $16 million reported by the super PAC for Senator Marco Rubio, $12.5 million was from four donors, including a Florida billionaire and longtime political patron.
Although I support Bernie, I do not blame Hillary for her $15 million in billionaire bucks. SCROTUS set the rules, and unless she takes advantage, she has little chance to win, if nominated. I do expect that she will follow through on her promise. On the other hand, I expect Strike three to win the Republican nomination, because he is the most "bought and paid for" candidate in history.
I’m feeling thoroughly tired out after watching the Cavalcade of Criminal Clowns on Faux Noise. Today will be hot, 85°, but it will be followed by several days in the 70°s. I can’t wait!
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:40 (average 5:06). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The New Yorker: Psychologists at the University of Minnesota have issued a research study recommending that people suffering from low self-esteem watch Thursday night’s nationally televised Republican debate.
The recommendation came after the psychologists spent weeks showing research subjects video clips of the debate’s potential participants and observed striking improvements in the subjects’ overall morale and sense of worth.
“We interviewed the volunteers before we exposed them to the Republican candidates and afterward,” said psychologist Davis Logsdon. “The spike in their self-esteem was off the charts.”
Of the candidates who most improved the research subjects’ sense of self, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush were found to be consistently helpful, but the most marked increase in self-esteem levels came after the subjects were exposed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
According to the data, people who viewed Walker for approximately three minutes reported feeling better “right away” about their intelligence, knowledge, and prospects for obtaining high-status employment that they had previously considered well beyond their reach.
LOL Andy! Aren’t you overstating the clowns’ worth?
From Daily Kos: She has a way with words, she does. Sort of like presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gets to the point without apology and holds nothing back. It was no different when she spoke on Monday before Congress – the day Republicans put up a vote (again) to defund Planned Parenthood. In her first sentence she asks the GOP if they fell on their heads and woke up in another century. (Oh, to be true.)
Go Liz! Friends, can you believe that Republicans are actually claiming that the Republican War on Women does not exist?!!?
From NY Times: Jon Stewart, From Parody to Politics
He will be so missed. I will have more on his exit when time permits.