Aug 152015
 

The weekend has arrived. add with it, 80°s weather.  I plan to spend as much of the day mapping as I can.  I’m still quite tired from staying up for religious services, as noted below.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:10 (average 5:27).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Seattle’s special teams played such outstanding football that the made the score much closer than the game actually was.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: The Tree of 40 Fruit is a living, breathing tasty work of art. And you can see it come to life in this short video by National Geographic:

 

Dang! If I had a couple trees like that, maybe I could give up puzzles!!  Smile with tongue out

From Daily Kos: From First Look:

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.

Cartoon:

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Aug 082015
 

0808JonStewart

I did not want Jon Stewart’s tenure on the Daily Show to pass without posting a tribute to mark the occasion.  I have two video clips.

The First is an interview with Rachel Maddow.

The second is his final show, in case you missed it, or you would like to view it again.  I do hope that it does not disappear from YouTube.

It disappeared.  You can see it here.

Jon will be missed!

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Aug 072015
 

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?

Short Takes:

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.

Cartoon:

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Aug 042015
 

Today’s high is forecast at 80°, but the building is still hot.  Tomorrow will be busy because I have a nurse coming in the morning to do an annual health care evaluation, and tomorrow afternoon is a grocery delivery day.  I’m sad to report that I’m taking Immodium AD for Republicosis.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

I received the link in email, but the site is still down.  If you’d like to try it later, click here.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Political life in America never ceases to astonish. Take last week’s pronouncements from the Republican Presidential field. Please. Mike Huckabee predicted that President Obama’s seven-nation agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Ted Cruz anointed the American President “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.” Marco Rubio tweeted, “Look at all this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the planned parenthood dead babies.” And the (face it) current front-runner, the halfway hirsute hotelier Donald Trump, having insulted the bulk of his (count ’em) sixteen major rivals plus (countless) millions of citizens of the (according to him) not-so-hot nation he proposes to lead, announced via social media that in this week’s Fox News debate he plans “to be very nice & highly respectful of the other candidates.” Really, now. Who’s writing this stuff? Jon Stewart?

Over the decades, our country has been lucky in many things, not least in the subversive comic spirits who, in varying ways, employ a joy buzzer, a whoopee cushion, and a fun-house mirror to knock the self-regard out of an endless parade of fatuous pols. Thomas Nast drew caricatures so devastating that they roiled the ample guts of our town’s Boss, William Marcy Tweed. Will Rogers’s homespun barbs humbled the devious of the early twentieth century. Mort Sahl, the Eisenhower-era comic whose prop was a rolled-up newspaper, used conventional one-liners to wage radical battle: “I’ve arranged with my executor to be buried in Chicago, because when I die I want to still remain politically active.” Later, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, and Joan Rivers continued to draw comic sustenance from what Philip Roth called “the indigenous American berserk.”

Four nights a week for sixteen years, Jon Stewart, the host and impresario of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” has taken to the air to expose our civic bizarreries. He has been heroic and persistent. Blasted into orbit by a trumped-up (if you will) impeachment and a stolen Presidential election, and then rocketing through the war in Iraq and right up to the current electoral circus, with its commodious clown car teeming with would-be Commanders-in-Chief, Stewart has lasered away the layers of hypocrisy in politics and in the media. On any given night, a quick montage of absurdist video clips culled from cable or network news followed by Stewart’s vaudeville reactions can be ten times as deflating to the self-regard of the powerful as any solemn editorial—and twice as illuminating as the purportedly non-fake news that provides his fuel.

Kudos to the David Remnick for a most fitting tribute. Click through for the rest of it.

From Common Dreams: New Jersey Republican governor and straggling 2016 presidential hopeful Chris Christie faces a call to resign after he declared Sunday that teachers’ unions are "the single most destructive force in public education in America" and deserve to be punched in the face.

Christie made the comments on CNN’s State of the Union program with host Jack Tapper, who asked: "At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?"

Christie responded: "Oh the national teachers union," referring specifically to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Extra-wide Barf Bag Alert!!

 

PIGnocchio is typically Republican in his preference to respond to learning with violence.

From The New Yorker: As preparations get under way for the first Republican Presidential debate, on Thursday night, a new poll shows that Americans are deeply concerned that the rest of the world might see it.

According to the poll, there is widespread fear that, if the debate were to be viewed in foreign countries, the cost to the United States’ prestige around the world would be incalculable.

On a more personal level, many expressed concern that any international broadcast of the debate would greatly diminish their desire to ever travel abroad or talk to foreigners.

As Andy later suggests international broadcast of the Criminal Clown Cavalcade should be blocked. Out reputation requires that the world never know.

Cartoon:

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Today’s Republicans would celebrate the arrest.

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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 092015
 

I have some good news today that will be better news tomorrow.  Today is forecast to be the last day of the longest and worst heat wave I remember in  36 years as an Oregonian.  Friday’s high is forecast at 82° and Saturday’s at 77°!  It’s taken much too long to end.

Care2 Cares:

Most of you know that I share the articles I post here at Care2.  One of their features are Butterfly Credits that you get for various activities.  You can then spend these planting trees, offsetting carbon, helping animals and other socially conscious things.  Because I had been there over 100 days in a row, I was getting 100 credits a day, just for showing up.  I don’t think I’ve missed a day since I went to the hospital in 2013… until Tuesday, when I was so sick.  That reset my daily credits to 1, requiring me to work my way back up.  I mentioned this in the card I sent friends yesterday.  Care2Support left the following comment on my profile:

Hey there, cool cat!  I’ll get your Butterfly Rewards Totals and Daily Streak back online for you today.  Hope you are doing well my friend!!

Thank You!  I am most grateful.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:14 (average 4:49).  To do it, click hereHow did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need one or two new player for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  Viv ans her Hillbilly Lefties are now onboard. How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

According to Fuel Fix, Shell has discovered a ballast hole leak in the hull of their 22 year old icebreaker, the MSV Fennica.

The 22-year-old icebreaker has since returned to the port in Dutch Harbor and is being examined by marine experts, but it is uncertain how quickly the breach in its hull can be repaired and whether this will delay Shell’s hopes to begin drilling an oil well in the Chukchi Sea later this month.

The Fennica is just one of the 29 vessels in Shell’s Arctic fleet, which includes another icebreaker, the MSV Nordica, and at least two other anchor handlers tasked with helping to keep ice away from the company’s drilling site. But Shell’s contracted Fennica is unique in that it is carrying a critical piece of the company’s Arctic containment system: a capping stack designed to fit on top of a damaged well in case of a blowout or other emergency.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the company does not believe the Fennica damage will delay the company’s planned Chukchi Sea operations.

“Any impact to our season will ultimately depend on the extent of the damage,” Smith said.

This is not good news for Shell. They had hoped that with the Obama Administration approving their permits to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea they would finally be able to destroy the arctic ecosystem in order to make a buck for their shareholders. But problems have somewhat delayed their mission in the Arctic.

While I would certainly not want any fatalities, I’m sorry the damn thing didn’t sink!

From NY Times: Medicare, the federal program that insures 55 million older and disabled Americans, announced plans on Wednesday to reimburse doctors for conversations with patients about whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.

The proposal would settle a debate that raged before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, when Sarah Palin labeled a similar plan as tantamount to setting up “death panels” that could cut off care for the sick. The new plan is expected to be approved and to take effect in January, although it will be open to public comment for 60 days.

This is a good and necessary part of medical care. Patients will get to decide for themselves what heroic measures should be taken under what circumstances, with explanation of the terminology by their own doctors. When the death panel cries come from Republicans, as they surely will, remember one thing. The proposal to include this service originally came from a Republican, before they all became drunk on InsaniTEA.

From Alternet: A video of two gay men in Morehead, Kentucky calling the police after being refused a marriage license by Rowan County went viral last night, mounting over 327,000 views in less that a day.

 

It takes about 7 minutes before the action starts. You might want to jump ahead to that point.Denting them the license was illegal. The complete disrespect these Republicans showed while doing so is intolerable.

Cartoon:

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I first posted this cartoon four years ago today.  It saddens me that it is still valid.\

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Jun 302015
 

I feel exhausted.  My COPD is flaring up severely.  Every time I try to sleep, coughing prevents it.  Today I have an all MSNBC Short Takes section for you., and a second article.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From MSNBC: GOP candidates resist gay marriage

Republican presidential hopefuls vow to continue the fight against marriage equality despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. Ed Schultz, Rep. Mark Pocan, Mike Rogers and Tobias Wolff talk it out.

 

Hypocrites all! Mike Rogers had it right: "It looks like sheer InsaniTEA." Retention elections for SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD, is a terrible idea. I would support however term limits for both Democratic Justices and Republican Injustices.

From MSNBC: Who is burning black churches?

The FBI and ATF are now helping investigate a string of fires at black churches in the South since the massacre in Charleston, at least three of which are being investigated as arson, prompting #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches to trend nationally on Twitter.

 

Chris didn’t quite come out and say what he is thinking. I did. See my cartoon below.

From MSNBC: Top tier GOP candidate Trump dealt blow to business for Mexico remarks

Rachel Maddow reviews the latest developments in the crowded Republican 2016 primary field, including Donald Trump polling in second place nationally but suffering for his remarks about Mexican immigrants, with NBC now severing ties with him.

 

Kudos to NBC. Nobody has ever deserves to get fired more than Hairball does. But I want him on that debate stage to give the clown car a flat tire. I hope PIGnocchio is indicted before the debates begin, Morfan has him perfectly pegged.

Cartoon:

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