Feb 062016
 

Well here it is . . . Friday!  I was out most of the day teaching English to Lucia.  Jonathan got 100% on his math homework and he has quite a bit to do for Tuesday.  I am very proud of him!  I also helped him with a socials assignment, specifically his English writing skills.  All the kids need help that way and take special language arts classes because English is their 2nd language even though most of them were born in Canada.  Monday is a provincial statutory holiday so the kids will be home.  I agreed to help Jonathan again on Monday.  Loliyo, Jonathan's 9 year old sister, needs some help with math and English too so we are devising a programme for her.  There's no rest for the wicked, but yes Lona, I am trying to watch my time.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Islamophobia is real.  And it's not going anywhere.

Islamophobia

After last year's terror attacks in Paris and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California — and amidst a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. politicians — reports about Muslims in America facing violence, harassment, intimidation and bigotry have become omnipresent. Many Muslims say Islamophobia is worse now than it's ever been — even worse than it was after 9/11.

Islamophobia in the US is rampant, and IMO, unjustifiably so.  Many people go on about Sharia law and how they think it is taking over US law, but they are quite satisfied to live with Biblical law, or at least their version of it, and subject all people, including non Christians, to it.  Isn't that a double standard?  It is to me.  The 1st amendment to the constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.  Leave religion in the home and the place of worship.  Huff Post has committed to documenting instances of Islamophobia during 2016.  Click through to read the incidences of Islamophobia for January 2016.

Alternet — You know that “TrusTed” logo?   The one with TRUS and TED merged, yet separated via different colors?  

Turns out that when you Google “TRUS”, the logo at once becomes hilarious and hilariously appropriate . . . 

Click through for the reason Cruz's logo is so damned funny and appropriate.  Sorry TC, I know we agreed on restraint, but I couldn't help myself!  I was busting a gut laughing so wanted to share.

Truthout — Across America, corporate interests are taking aim at local government.

With Congress gridlocked and a majority of state legislatures controlled by right-wing interests, cities have become laboratories of democracy for progressive policies like a higher minimum wage, LGBTQ protections, or parental leave.

A demonstrator displays a flag decrying corporate spending in American political elections in front of the Waukesha Convention Center on July, 13, 2015, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo via Shutterstock)

In response, corporate interests and groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have increasingly been turning to state "preemption" measures – some of them unprecedentedly aggressive – to override an array of progressive policy gains at the city or county level.

"2015 saw more efforts to undermine local control on more issues than any year in history," said Mark Pertschuk, director of the watchdog group Preemption Watch.

So which is it . . . government of the people, by the people and for the people OR government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations?  With 2010's Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, it would seem the latter.  It certainly bears out that for there to be progressive reforms, the American people must start by changing local politics and moving up.  Changing local, state and federal representation can be done concurrently, but it still takes time to get all the ducks lined up.

My Universe — 

download

 

TGIF 5

fun1_zpsc5947875Happy Friday . . . and an even happier weekend!

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Feb 052016
 
furies

I have a few items this week which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. 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."

I have left out the water in Flint, MI, because that made such a stir that I expect you are already on to those people.  I have left out the seditious militants because I am confident you are on to them and indeed have already got some action from a grand jury (good going there).  I have also left out the "pharma bro" who seems to be digging his own grave.  Although any or all of these could possibly resurface in the future, they seem for now to be getting handled.

I do want to draw attention to what happened to Melissa Harris-Perry in Iowa.  A journalist with a news-opinion show on MSNBC, a professor of political science at Wake Forest, and an author, she was there, with students, to experience the caucuses.  She was sitting in the hotel lobby, eyes glued to the TV, when suddenly this guy was standing next to her.

When he started he speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

“…So what is it that you teach?”

“I am a professor of political science.”

“My wife is a professor of communications.”

“Does she teach here in Iowa?”

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

She jumped up and put a table between him and her.  Her friend jumped and put herself between them.  They raised their voices, starting to make a fuss.  The man ran out, jumped in a car, and drove off.  They spoke with hotel security, who listened politely, "but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours." 

This sounds like grudging to me.  Particularly “But why you? Why would they pick you?”  Perhaps, Megaera, you can find this – person – for counseling.  And, if you have time, stop off at Breitbart, who loudly dismissed and mocked her story (Republican not linked).  Thanks much.

Then, Tisiphone, I suspect you will be interested in the management of Tyson Foods in Arkansas.  Tyson comes in for a lot of flack over the way it treats chickens inhumanely, and the way it overfeeds them antibiotics, but this isn't about the chickens.  This is about the workers.

According to an email from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee,

A stunning 91% of surveyed poultry workers reported having no earned sick leave, and almost two-thirds reported working while sick. More than half of these workers said they experienced discrimination, a very troubling statistic for a workforce made up mostly of first- and second-generation immigrants, as well as minority workers from the United States.

 Women, in particular, cited gender discrimination in the way bathroom breaks are withheld by male supervisors. Some have even urinated on themselves because they were not granted breaks when needed.

Well, OK, maybe it is about the chickens too.  That last sentence can't have improved anyone's appetite, even for non-Vegans.  But I primarily was thinking of the vengeful destruction of the human spirit when you make people pee themselves to keep their jobs.  I suspect a lot of these women are mothers, incidentally.  Giving birth can be rough on the sphincters.

The stockholders' meeting was yesterday, and a Twitter/Facebook Thunderclap was planned.  Not being on either, I don't know how it went, but, I hope well.

Finally, Alecto, I don't even know whether there is anything you can really do about the uncea$ing issues of privatization, prisons, and immigrants; although if anyone can, it's you.  ITPI ("In the Public Interest") exists to study and bring to light the specific ills of privatization, which always ends up costing taxpayers more money for less service, while lining the pockets of people rich enough to own an empire to provide the private "service."  Immigration is no exception.  And whenever pri$on is a part of a cycle, and exists to make money, the stakeholders develop a vested interest in keeping people in them to make more and more money.  But, as this graphic shows, there are a lot more people making money from prisons than just prisons.  This contributes more and more to make the cycle never-ending – unceasing.

I think it speaks for itself.  If you need to see it larger to read it you can easily click through.  It does try to distinguish between civil offenders, who are offenders by just being here, and criminal offenders, who have actually committed a crime.  In practice, I don't know.

Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, and I will be back next time.  Whenever that is.  Meantime, we wish everyone perfect blood pressure.

 

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Feb 052016
 

Last night I watched one of the best debates I have ever seen.  It was hard fought from beginning to end. If you missed the debate last night, I have the complete video and transcript for you  I think Hillary was the winner on foreign policy, but Bernie was the winner on domestic policy and the economy.  This is how much.

0205Debate

Hillary Clinton appeared frustrated.

Dozens of prominent economists and academic experts have endorsed her plans to regulate the financial sector. Her policies would “try to prevent the problems of the future,” she explained in Thursday’s debate, in addition to reining in “the excesses of Wall Street.”

So why do so many voters not believe it?

Throughout the debate, Mrs. Clinton found herself cornered by Senator Bernie Sanders and the moderators about her ties to Wall Street, the political contributions that have bolstered her campaign account, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid speaking fees she received from Goldman Sachs and other financial firms in the months after she left the State Department.

Mrs. Clinton tried again and again to explain that her plans for Wall Street would be tougher and go further than Mr. Sanders’s proposals by also regulating the shadow banking industry, the insurance companies and other wrongdoers.

“I have a broader view,” Mrs. Clinton said, contrasting her plan to that of Mr. Sanders, whose anti-Wall Street message has turned him from a long-shot candidate to a serious contender for the Democratic nomination… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

While the Gray Lady was clearly attempting to plug their choice, Hillary, even they could not cover up the fact that the audience wasn’t buying part of what she had to say.  On one occasion, they even booed here for attacking Bernie.

If you missed the debate, here’s the complete video,

If you prefer, here is the full transcript.

In my opinion, the biggest difference was that, while hammering on his points, Bernie remained gracious, while Hillary let her frustration get the better of her.

What say you?

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Feb 052016
 

TGIF!!  I did not get the sleep I needed yesterday, because my helper friend came a day late.  We washed my hospital bed sheets and made the bed.  I need her help, because there is one corner where I cannot place the fritted sheet.  There is no room to get close enough in my chair.  That took up most of my afternoon nap time.  Then I watched the debate, and I won’t take today off, because it may be the last time Bernie and Hillary debate head to head. so I have to report on it.  Jeannie (Shower-Aide) has come and gone.  Arvilla (PT) was due in fifteen minutes  (now gone), and Tracey (OT) comes right after Arvilla!  When I finish blogging, I’m going to hide!  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Jeff Merkley Channel:

Merkley: Stop the wave of dark money in politics

 

Amen Jeff!!  He’s one of the reasons that Oregon leads the way!

From The New Yorker: In a feat that some observers called nothing short of miraculous, the embattled pharmaceuticals C.E.O. Martin Shkreli single-handedly made the American people side with Congress on Thursday morning.

According to polls taken after his appearance before the despised legislative body, Shkreli’s smug, smirking, and utterly douchey performance had the effect of temporarily transforming members of Congress into marginally sympathetic figures.

The University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, which tracks the American people’s attitudes toward the legislative branch, said that after Shkreli’s appearance Congress’s approval rating surged from eleven per cent to fourteen per cent.

Well the guy is an asshole (syn, Republican), but frankly, I think Andy has been smokin' that Wacky tobbacky. The only thing that could make Congress more popular is a Democratic majority!

From FAIR.org: A few months ago, I raised concerns about Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel (FAIR.org, 10/28/15) after she admitted taking money from agribusiness interest groups that she covers.

I pointed out that her columns are biased in favor of those industry groups, particularly on the topic of GMOs, even though her column is presented to readers as an unbiased effort to find middle ground in debates about our food system.

My article was met with crickets of silence from Haspel, her Post editor Joe Yonan and the band of biotech promoters who prolifically praise Haspel on Twitter. I figured that, soon enough, Haspel might write another column that would warrant raising the concerns another notch up the pole. She didn’t disappoint.

In her January column (Washington Post, 1/26/16), Haspel offered an investigation (“the surprising truth”) about the food movement—without speaking to anyone in the food movement—concluding that there isn’t much of a food movement after all, and most people don’t really care about labeling genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

Her sources? A two-year-old survey, another survey conducted by a food-industry front group, and consumer research by the agrichemical industry’s public relations firm.  [emphasis original]

Busted!! GMOs must be contained where grown and labeled for consumers. Click though for the rest of this extensive exposé.

Cartoon:

0205Cartoon

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Feb 052016
 

Almost two decades ago I first learned of Omaha’s Cathedral Arts Project annual Flower Show.  It’s occurs about the last weekend in January (close to Super Bowl time), because Nebraskans need a reminder that Spring WILL arrive … eventually!  And it draws 10,000 people over its two-day run!

One of the things that so striking about it is that it’s held at St. Cecilia Cathedral, one of the nation’s ten largest cathedrals – and it’s gorgeous!  Another is that they utilize about 30 local florists to develop arrangements based on a yearly Theme (somewhat similar to what the Rose Parade does) that are placed at different stations in the cathedral.  This year’s theme was “A Night at the Movies”.  Other ones have been Quilts, Garments, South Pacific, Harvests, Art from the Joslyn Museum, etc.

But to be honest, it’s frequently hard to tell how the flowers actually reflect or interpret the Theme – it’s pretty loosey-goosey.  The displays are mainly arranged along the Aisles where there are small chapels, altars and shrines, as well as along the Ambulatory in the part of the Apse behind the Sanctuary.  Other than a fairly large arrangement in the Crossing of the Nave (between the North and South Transepts) and a few in the Sanctuary, the Nave and Sanctuary are not a major area where arrangements are displayed..

It was their 31st Year last weekend, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone to at least six.  This year I took my “aunt” and “uncle”.  (They’re actually the brother [a retired Lutheran minister] and sister of my real aunt in Illinois.  But my real aunt is my aunt by marriage, so they’re not my “blood” aunt and uncle.)   I’ve taken them separately at least three other times, but they’re 10-15 years older than I am, and don’t like to drive.  It’s a great day-trip, as Omaha is only about 200 miles north of KCMO.

[But I got to tell you that one time when I took my “pseudo” aunt and sister-in-law it was so cold (well, it IS Omaha) my window washer fluid froze!  I always carry a refill-jug with me – which also froze!  So we stopped at a convenience store, and I put the jug in their microwave to thaw it out, and then added it to the reservoir.  It worked!  But to be fair to Omaha, last weekend it got up to ~ 50 degrees for our trip.]

I’ll share lots of photos of the floral displays.  I know there are quite a few, but it was actually difficult to winnow them down.  Some are my photos, some are from friends I’ve taken, and some are ones I found online. 

And I’ve got to say that the fragrance when you first enter the Cathedral … well, it’s heavenly!

It may be good to begin by orienting you to the layout of the Cathedral.

EXTERIOR

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DIAGRAM

01 St. Cecilia Diagram

Fish-Eye View Of The Sanctuary & About One-Quarter Of The Nave From The North Transept

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The Organ Balcony

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Small Clerestory Stained Glass Window

(Large Stained Glass Wikndows Are Gorgeous, But Without a Telephoto Lens, It’s Hard To Get A Photo Of Them – But You Can See Them in Several of the Other Photos)

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Sampling of Center Arrangements Throughout the Years in the Crossing Part of the Nave, Between the North & South Transepts

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DCF 1.0

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DCF 1.0[/caption]

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With 10,000 visitors there’s always a wait before you can actually begin the tour.  But they have constant musical programs of choirs, string quartets, pianists, vocal soloists, etc. perform in the sanctuary.  (It’s lost on me, but the friends & family I’ve taken always enjoy being entertained while we wait.)

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This “Theme” Was Interpretations Of Paintings From Omaha’s Joslyn Museum

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This “Theme” Was Interpretations Of Clothing

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The  Ambulatory in the Apse behind the Santuary has quite a bit of already installed artwork (as does the Cathedral as a whole) – but since it’s a relatively small area it’s usually pretty “free-form”

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This “Theme” Was Interpretations of Quilts

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This “Theme” Was Interpretations Of Paintings From Local Artists

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This One Below Is a Painting of St. Cecilia Cathedral

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And SOMETIMES They Actully Look Almost Like the Artwork

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Of course I wish you could view them in real-life – but this will have to do … unless you make it to Omaha in late January!

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Feb 042016
 

I have spent a good part of the day reading up about climate change and climate change denial.  That is when I wasn't watching and rewatching "The Littlest Husky".  Tomorrow is a teaching day so I'll have to remain strong to stick to my limits.

Short Takes

Alternet — And in the book the name of the chapter is “The Right is Right” because they’re not right about the science but I believe that they understand the implications of the science better than most liberals in the sense that they absolutely understand that if climate change is real, it is the end of their ideological project. The entire scaffolding on which their attack on regulations, attacks on collective action rests falls apart. Because of course you need collective action, of course you need to regulate corporations, it’s over, it’s game over for them. So they have to do everything possible to deny the science. And what’s amazing to me is how many liberal think tanks devote almost no energy to talking about climate change.

So the issue is how hard it is to change people’s minds when they’re as invested in these ideas ideologically but also funding-wise. Jim Inhofe gets a lot of money from the coal industry. So he was supposed to be the keynote speaker of this particular Heartland conference. It was advertised, people were extremely excited to hear from him. And Joe Bast announced in the morning that James Inhofe was sick and he was not going to be regaling them that morning. People were very disappointed. It came out later — we didn’t know this at the time — I looked into it after, what was wrong with Jim Inhofe because I wasn’t sure, was he really sick or did he just for some reason think it wasn’t a good idea to hang out with these crazies?

And it turns out he really was sick and he was sick because — and he explained this — he’d gone swimming in a lake in Oklahoma and it was in the middle of a heatwave and there was an outbreak of blue-green algae, which is linked to climate change. He basically had a climate change illness. [laughter] And this is why he could not speak at the climate denial conference.

We talk about climate change — rising sea levels, vicious storms, food scarcity, water scarcity — but rarely have I heard mention of health related issues.  They are there and they are manifest.

Foreign PolicyWith an estimated 3 to 4 million people having come down with Zika virus ailments since infected mosquitoes reached the Americas some nine months ago, 23 countries and territories have reported cases, and there are some 4,000 babies that have been born with the skull-misshaping microcephaly, according to the World Health Organization.

“Last year, the virus was detected in the Americas, where it is now spreading explosively,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a speech Thursday to the organization’s Executive Board. “The level of alarm is extremely high.”  

BRAZIL-SENEGAL-SCIENCE-HEALTH-ZIKA-VIRUSAedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University, on January 8, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

My conclusion is that public health leaders and politicians had better brace for a very long haul on Zika. The virus will hide, infecting a range of insects, perhaps monkeys, even birds. And it will return in seasonal cycles, as have other mosquito-carried viruses, such as yellow fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and dengue. Because so many “foreign” viruses carried by mosquitoes are now spreading across the Western Hemisphere at the same time, there will be misdiagnosis, mystery, and perhaps acute illnesses due to co-infections. Until we have an effective vaccine and have executed mammoth immunization campaigns in all of the nations of the Americas, Zika will haunt us, sicken some of us, and endanger our babies.

A long but interesting article.  On the news, I heard a tidbit that provoked more thought . . . the mosquitoes carrying the zyka virus require a warm, damp environment in which to survive.  Right now, it cannot thrive in Canada and northern Europe because it is too cool.  But it can thrive in the southern US in areas like the Louisiana Bayou or the Florida Everglades.  What will happen as the planet heats up and traditionally cooler climes start to meet the needs of these mosquitoes?

Scientific American — But experts are still piecing together Exxon’s misconception puzzle. Last summer the Union of Concerned Scientists released a complementary investigation to the one by InsideClimate News, known as the Climate Deception Dossiers (pdf). “We included a memo of a coalition of fossil-fuel companies where they pledge basically to launch a big communications effort to sow doubt,” says union president Kenneth Kimmel. “There’s even a quote in it that says something like ‘Victory will be achieved when the average person is uncertain about climate science.’ So it’s pretty stark.”

Since then, Exxon has spent more than $30 million on think tanks that promote climate denial, according to Greenpeace. Although experts will never be able to quantify the damage Exxon’s misinformation has caused, “one thing for certain is we’ve lost a lot of ground,” Kimmell says. Half of the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere were released after 1988. “I have to think if the fossil-fuel companies had been upfront about this and had been part of the solution instead of the problem, we would have made a lot of progress [today] instead of doubling our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Experts agree that the damage is huge, which is why they are likening Exxon’s deception to the lies spread by the tobacco industry. “I think there are a lot of parallels,” Kimmell says. Both sowed doubt about the science for their own means, and both worked with the same consultants to help develop a communications strategy.

This article dates to 26/10/2015 but is just as relevant since investigations are ongoing.  You might also be interested in reading Could a Legal Case Save Humanity From Climate Disaster? Exxon Could Face a Big Comeuppance​ in Alternet which is a discussion about Exxon Mobil's corporate accountability and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation of Exxon Mobil.

This from the study by the Union of Concerned Scientists called The Climate Deception Dossiers​, page 22:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that purports to stand for free-market principles, provides a venue for industry groups to influence policy makers behind closed doors. Leaked internal documents show that ALEC, backed by many industry groups including many major fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, and Shell, continues to serve as an important conduit for climate misinformation and policy proposals designed to block climate action today. 

    The Littlest Husky

    rosie-lilo-huskies.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartRosie the kitten now feels right at home with Lilo (far right) and her other husky friends.    (Photo: Lilothehusky/Facebook)

    When a husky-loving family discovered a tiny, sickly kitten, they weren't sure if the sweet little thing would make it through the night. They took their chances and introduced the kitty to Lilo, one of the most nurturing dogs in their pack.

    "A little kitten update! Her name is Rosie. She has been with us for about 5 days. She almost did not make it through the first night… Even with round the clock care. She was lethargic and limp," the owners wrote on Instagram.

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    Feb 042016
     

    Yesterday my helper=friend could not come, and that screwed up my schedule.  I have lots of house work to do.  I need to stay up late to watch the debate on MSNBC.  It will have one bad moderator, Chuck Todd, and one fantastic moderator, Rachel Maddow.  This will be today’s only article, and I will it be sending cards on Care2.  That way, I get some rest.

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:45).  Birdie for kitty-lunch?  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Daily Kos: I have always been a fan of Jimmy Carter, and once more he hits it out of the park. As reported today by the Guardian, here is what he has to say about the effect of money on our American political system, post Iowa caucuses:

    Former US president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

    He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

    Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

    SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is wrong. Money is NOT speech!!

    From The New Yorker: Declaring that “my time has come,” the former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced today that he was officially launching his 2020 campaign for President.

    “Washington is broken, and I’ve got some fresh new ideas about how to fix it,” Santorum told a small clutch of supporters and whatever family members were available, at an intimate rally in Des Moines. “Once the people of this great nation hear those ideas, there’s no stopping me.”

    “I’m in it to win it!” he exclaimed, to some clapping.

    Launching his campaign in Iowa, where the next Presidential caucuses will not be held for another forty-eight months, Santorum brushed aside suggestions that he was entering the race too early. “You’ll have to take that up with Jesus Christ,” he said. “He’s the guy who told me to do this.”

    Andy, did he slip and fall down in his own froth?

    From Alternet: Hungry for a bloodbath? Good, that's exactly what the election is, and guys Stephen Colbert are just waiting for candidates to stumble. Last night Colbert paid tribute to those who had fallen after the Iowa Caucus, as well as one who should have.

     

    The script must have been written before frothy was flushed. That would have been hilarious!

    Cartoon:

    0204Cartoon

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    Feb 032016
     

    After mucking about yesterday with a doctor's appointment (just a quick check in), a Costco run for Perrier water (I like the bubbles), and then some chores, I started my post but was tired.  So I decided to relax for half an hour.  I fell asleep not waking until this morning.  Off to the races again with physio, chiropractor, and a wonderful relaxing lunch with a friend.  Ah, a day in the life of a retired person!

    Short Takes

    Foreign Policy — Of our candidates, who do you think would be most popular in Russia?

    Feldman: On the surface, Trump is, of course, terribly similar to Putin.

    Because in Russia, the elections are more like a choice between different aesthetics. That is, you have no chance to have an effect on actual policy. You can vote for the Communists if you’re nostalgic, for the screaming [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky if you want to bang your fist on the table, for [the ruling party] United Russia if you want to show your loyalty, and for A Just Russia if you’re loyal, but not very.

    So in Russia, elections look different. It’s a ritual, a cult. You vote and it doesn’t change anything. Here it’s not like that — but in that way, on the surface, Trump is, of course, very similar to Putin. He’s the closest to this kind of Russian politics.

    FP: In that, by voting for him, you’re more showing who you are than voting for a policy?

    Feldman: Yes.  I was actually at a Trump rally in Cedar Falls, and I had this feeling that I had returned to the Motherland.  

    TC has often referred to Vladimir Putin as Pooty-R(Ru).  In this piece, the author interviews Russian photojournalist Evgeny Feldman who is in the US observing the Iowa caucuses, among other things.  He seems to think that Trump is very much like Putin.

    Right Wing Watch — “I believe that they are positioning themselves so that someday they could invade Israel to be able to take over the vast stores of oil and natural gas that Israel is controlling,” she said, adding that “this very unique new partnership between Iran and Russia in Syria” with the support of China “lines up with scripture.” All of these powers, she said, are seeking “a global world order to keep their game going into the future and to support them if they would invade against Israel.”

    And who will lead this global world order? Why, none other than Obama.

    NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!     NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!

    Oh my!  I thought Guano Girl could not get any more batshit crazy than she already was!  I stand corrected.  She out did herself, or maybe it's just been so delightfully quiet without her daily rants and shenanigans that I feel assaulted by her guanoness!

    Huffington Post — Real estate mogul Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz of fraud on Wednesday, claiming the Texas senator "stole" the Iowa caucuses and arguing that "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."  

    Trump posed with a bald eagle, named Uncle Sam, for a TIME magazine shoot when he was in the running for person of the year. Nothing is more satisfyingly ironic and metaphorical as this bald eagle-the symbol of American freedom and might-attacking Trump, who only wants to "Make America Great Again."  It is about time that Uncle Sam took Trump to task!

    Trump is a master at sucking the oxygen out of the race by drawing attention to himself with new controversies. The Twitter rant is just one more example of this media strategy, particularly at a time when Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are basking in the glow of their performances in Iowa.

    Cruz responded Wednesday afternoon, mocking the businessman for throwing a "Trumpertantrum."

    Trump sure doesn't like losing! . . . and if there was any doubt about that, his Twitter rant should allay all doubts.  I wonder if he'll threaten to hold his breath if he doesn't get his way?  I can hope can't I?  As much as I dislike Cruz, his response was cool — Trumpertantrum.  LOL!!!

    NBC — Rick Santorum on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Marco Rubio.

    "He is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together — not just moderates and conservatives but young and old," Santorum said of the Florida senator during an appearance on the Fox News program "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

    Santorum called Rubio a "born leader" best able to help the struggling middle class, support families and combat the terror group ISIS.

    In Open Thread–2/3/2016, TC posted about the Rand Paul, Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot, withdrawal from the Republican presidential race.  Now Rick Santorum has also withdrawn which doesn't surprise me at all.  Thankfully, the Clown Car is getting lighter and lighter.  To date, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have departed the Streetcar Named Desire, aka the Clown Car.  Seven ejected from the Clown Car, 10 to go.

    Politico — Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

    The billionaire presidential candidate, whose controversial comments and hard-edged policy proposals have upset many, was nominated for: "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China,” according to a copy of the nomination letter obtained by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. According to PRIO, Trump was nominated by an American.

    From the "OMG, it can't be true!" files, Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Whomever nominated the misogynistic hater is demented, even more than Trump himself.  Somebody please tell me that a snowball has a better chance in hell than Trump has as a successful Nobel candidate.When he does not get it, we'll be able to call him "Strike Three" . . . no to Time person of the year, no in Iowa, and no to the Nobel Prize.

    My Universe — 

    ATT530869

    Share
    Feb 032016
     

    His Iowa Caucuses victory was more than just a win for Sen. Ted Cruz, aka Uranus Inspector, the only Canadian import worse than filthy Tar Sands sludge.  It was also a big win for Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity, the exact opposite of authentic Christianity.  To see how significant a win this was, we a;so need to look what he defeated, and it was a lot more powerful than the Hateful Hairball.

    0203Cruz

    When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the stage last night to declare victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, he opened his triumphant speech with a direct appeal to the people who worked so hard to secure him his win — evangelical Christians.

    “God bless the great state of Iowa,” he said. “Let me first of all say: to God be the glory.”

    Cruz went on to make several more biblical references, working a litany of scripture passages and appeals to “Judeo-Christian values” into a 30-minute speech that often sounded suspiciously sermonesque. He then concluded by citing Psalm 30, stirring the crowd into a frenzy by reminding them that “joy cometh in the morning.”

    “I tell you tonight, Iowa has made clear to America and the world: morning is coming,” he said.

    Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy. He launched his run for president at Liberty University, an evangelical school, courted the endorsement of leading theological conservatives in the Iowa, and organized a passionate network of conservative Christian volunteers to help him get out the vote on caucus day.

    Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy.

    And in Iowa, at least, it worked. Evangelicals flooded caucus sites across the state last night, ultimately making up 64 percent of Republican caucus-goers — up 7 points from 2012according to entrance polls. And despite ample hand-wringing from political analysts over Donald Trump’s support among portions of the evangelical flock, the biggest slice of churchgoers sided with Cruz: he won the lion’s share of “born again” Christians at 34 percent, with Trump grabbing 22 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio — a Roman Catholic — pulling in 21 percent… [emphasis added]

    Inserted from <Think Progress>

    Note that Liberty University and Regent University has more graduates in permanent “nonpartisan” executive staff positions than the Ivy League, because so many “burrowed in” to permanent, “nonpartisan” positions, especially in DOJ, from political appointee positions during the Bush Reich.  Then last thing America needs is more pseudo-Christians sabotaging our freedom.

    Lawrence O’Donnell explained just how great an obstacle Uranus Inspector overcame.

    Overcoming corn in Iowa with pseudo-Christianity is no laughing matter.  While I have been laughing at the Cruz’ campaign of pseudo-Christian hatred, I’m not laughing any more, especially since so many front-end Republican primaries are dominated by the pseudo-Christians in their base.  This magnifies how important it is for Democrats to turn out and vote!

    Share
    Feb 032016
     

    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?

    Short Takes:

    From Upworthy: Take a minute to celebrate and discover these 25 black "firsts" from the last 25 years.

    1. First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry (2002)

    0203Halle

    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!

    Cartoon:

    0203Cartoon

    Share
    Feb 022016
     

    In January, Politics Plus was up from December in every category except page views.  I’m pleased to provide a full report for the first time since before I lost my leg.  It’s a long climb back.

    Here is our latest summary:

    Stats1-2016

    Data from January 2016:

    Reported period

    Month Jan 2016

     

     

     

     

    First visit

    01 Jan 2016 – 00:00

     

     

     

     

    Last visit

    31 Jan 2016 – 23:59

     

     

     

     

     

    Unique visitors

    Number of visits

    Pages

    Hits

    Bandwidth

    Viewed traffic *

    11,128

     

    32,480

    (2.91 visits/visitor)

    111,911

    (3.44 Pages/Visit)

    321,709

    (9.9 Hits/Visit)

    11.20 GB

    (361.42 KB/Visit)

    Not viewed traffic *

     

     

     

    400,825

    467,669

    8.34 GB

    Data from January 2015:

    Reported period

    Month Jan 2015

     

     

     

     

    First visit

    01 Jan 2015 – 00:00

     

     

     

     

    Last visit

    31 Jan 2015 – 23:59

     

     

     

     

     

    Unique visitors

    Number of visits

    Pages

    Hits

    Bandwidth

    Viewed traffic *

    10,329

     

    29,156

    (2.82 visits/visitor)

    79,523

    (2.72 Pages/Visit)

    241,305

    (8.27 Hits/Visit)

    3.34 GB

    (119.94 KB/Visit)

    Not viewed traffic *

     

     

     

    240,159

    281,038

    3.77 GB

    I’m most pleased that we are greatly improved, across the board, from last year.

    Here is our latest demographic data from Quantcast:

    QUS1-2016

    They miss a ton of raw data, but among those they can identify they are a valuable source of information.  We are still mostly older, well educated, poor, and politically active. 

    Here is our archived ClustrMap for January only.

    ClustrMap1-2016

    ClustrMap misses a lot of visits, because many visits can’t be easily traced to a location.  They have changed their format, since the last time I did this.  When you click the map in the left column, it shows the current month only, no longer the year to date..

    Here are our top five articles:

    Jane Smiley: Capitalist Pigs 1/17/2010 1,935
    Cruz’in Home to Canada 1/14/2016 239
    5 Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories as Crazy as Donald Trump’s Lie About Muslims Cheering 9/11 11/25/2015 188
    Open Thread–1/1/2016 1/1/2016 186
    The State of Our Union Is Strong 1/13/2016 169

    The count represents only the people who followed an external link to that specific article.  I’m quite pleased that three from January made the cut,  I’m especially pleased that one from one of our new co-administrators made it too.  Congrats Squatch! Thumbs up  Can you guess which is hers?

    Here are our top non-blog/news referrers:

    Care2 2,827
    Google 1,757
    Stumbleupon 351
    Google (Images) 136

    Here are our top  blog/news referrers:

    http://infidel753.blogspot.com
    http://bildungblog.blogspot.com/
    http://www.oakcreekforum.blogspot.mx/
    http://yournewswire.com/

    Normally I have included fifteen here, but these four are the only ones with two or more referrals.  This is the one stat that still disappoints me most, because it means that we are no longer a go-to site for bloggers.  However, we seem to have become a go to site for activists!.  Putting blogs’ links here increases the ratings of their sites, so this “linkey love” is our thank you for their support.

    Here are our top commentators.  As the resident Big Mouth, I don’t count.  Those who leave their URLs in their comment headers, normally also get “linkey-love” here.  However  I overslept and did not even get the names off in time.  Kudos and thanks to Lynn, our resident Sasquatch, that we have the names.

    Joanne Dixon (166)
    jla (144)
    Lona Goudswaard (111)
    Edie (107)
    Lynn Squance (98)
    Mitch D. (88)
    SoINeedAName (69)
    Pat B (65)
    Vivian B. (56)
    Jerry Critter (26)
    Jim Phillips (24)
    david (9)
    Dotti Lydon (8)
    dave c (7)
    Arielle (6)
    Avril Lomas (6)

    There are over 15, because of a tie.  People who submit articles to Care2 can use their submitted news link from there.  These are the people that kept PP alive during my hospitalization. 

    We have 315,672 links on other websites.

    As of Midnight on February 1, we have 6,203 articles and 74,591 comments.

    Kudos to Judi Angell for posting the 74,000th comment.

    I recommend using your own avatar. Go to Gravatar.  Sign up using the email address you use to post comments here and upload the image you want to use as your avatar.  Whenever you comment under that email address here or on any WordPress blog (several others too), that image will become your avatar.

    In Case you did not know, we are no longer a one-author blog.  Due to my reduced availability I appointed two Administrators, who are also authors.  They are Lynn Squance, aka Sasquatch or Squatch and SoINeedAName, aka Nameless.  I also appointed two more Authors.  They are Judi Angell, aka JL A, and Joanne Dixon, aka JD.  Please Join me in praising and thanking all four for a job well done.

    I have never really spelled out our policy on links.  We do not embed links to extreme Republican websites, like Faux Noise or World Nut Daily.  However I leave an editors note when I delete such links, so readers, who wish to follow them can click through to the source article.  I also remove topical links.  Finally, I blank the target on all links, so they open in a new tab or window.  Please do so, or if you commonly leave links and don’t know how to blank the target, please say so.

    To be clear, we’ve had some weak months, and that is not your fault in any way.  The  cause was my three month trip to the hospital.  With help from our new administrators and authors, we shall continue our new upward trend and overcome right wing insanity one day at a time.

    Thank you for all that you do, here and elsewhere.  You are why we are here!

    Share
    Feb 022016
     

    I have another very busy day today.  Jeannie (shower-aide) will arrive momentarily.  Arvilla (PT) is coming at 10 AM.  I have the Monthly Report to compose.  I need to set up a schedule for PT and OT after home health ends.  And I need to make a run to my bank.  Now Jeannie just left, and I’m the kind of kitty that’s fun to pet.

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Daily Kos: In an apparent attempt to set a new world’s record for projection, House Republicans are now accusing Democrats of wasting millions of dollars of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s money on partisan nonsense.

    Talk about partisan nonsense!

    Barf Bag Alert!!

    Forming the committee just to beat Hillary is partisan nonsense!

    From The New Yorker: Senator Ted Cruz’s stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses is serving as a beacon of hope to despised people across the nation, a number of disliked Americans confirmed on Monday.

    In interviews from coast to coast, dozens of pariahs said that the Cruz triumph meant that “the sky’s the limit” for widely hated people like them.

    Andy is reporting news again.

    From NY Times: Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont were locked in an intensely tight race in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday as Mrs. Clinton’s strong support among women and older voters was matched by the passionate liberal foot soldiers whom Mr. Sanders has been calling to political revolution.

    The close results were deeply unnerving to Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as her advisers, some of whom had expressed growing confidence in recent days that they had recaptured political momentum after weeks when Mr. Sanders was drawing huge crowds and rising in the polls. The Clintons had appeared optimistic at rallies over the weekend, thanking Iowans for their support as much as urging them to turn out to vote.

    The close vote means that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are likely to split Iowa’s share of delegates to the Democratic convention, and Mr. Sanders will be able to argue that the Iowa result was a virtual tie.

    I did not like watching a Hillary supported lying to uncommitted voters that Bernie favors a flat tax, and I thought Hillary’s victory announcement was disingenuous.  Since then Hillary has subsequently been declared the winner, and she gets 23 delegates to Bernie’s 21.

    Cartoon:

    0202Cartoon

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