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.


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!

Jan 262016

Yesterday I finally found a way to exchange my sharps.  I cannot use the Metro facility, because it is hazardous for people in wheelchairs.  The Lift bus won’t wait for me.  Fortunately I found a private company that actually costs less than Metro, and they come right to my door.  Jeannie (shower-aide), just left, so I’m a perfumed pussycat with shiny fur again.   Arvilla (PT) will be here within the hour.  She’ll set-up my quad cane and work me out,  Tomorrow I hope to do part of the dreaded task, while Tracey (OT) checks me for safety.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:28 (average 5:32).  To do it click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The most hated man in America just gave another reason to be hated. As you know, there is a medical crisis going on in Michigan with every child in Flint potentially poisoned with lead. People, especially the poor, are still desperate for clean water. Ted Cruz has entered to do the Christian thing and donate—

But only for those who work in ultra-right wing, fake pregnancy “crisis” centers.

Likely, none of Ted’s water donation will get to the children who actually need the water. That would require working with a real charity, like the Red Cross. Instead, Ted’s campaign is coordinating water donations through Flint Right to Life only to be delivered to the ideologically-aligned wingnuts who work at these awful anti-abortion centers.

For those who don’t know, pregnancy "crisis" centers are places run by pro-life extremists, which are designed to fool women into thinking they are actual medical facilities. Instead, pregnant woman are bombarded with fake information in an attempt to trick them out of having an abortion. The people who work at these centers have no qualms about lying, instilling fear, or encouraging women in abusive relationships to stay put as long as there is no abortion.

It should be no surprise that, even in so-called charity, Uranus Inspector, however you spell it, acts just like a Republican.

From The New Yorker: On Saturday, the Times reported that the former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg “has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race.” From one perspective, that isn’t too surprising. The former mayor has long been eyeing a possible run at the White House, and there has been a lot of speculation about his intentions in 2016. Last week, a well-connected New York Republican told me that he thought Bloomberg would jump in if Donald Trump won the G.O.P. nomination.

While third party candidates on the left hurt progressives and only help elect Republicans, right-wing third party candidates are a blessing to America. They help elect Democrats.

From Alternet: Nationwide blowback targeting Muslim places of worship has now reached South Milwaukee, Wisconsin–where a group calling itself the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) is aggressively opposing the construction of a new mosque.

The religious facility–Masjid Al-Hudad–does not require prior approval from the city and has already acquired the property on which it will be built.

But that is not stopping the far-right, Christian fundamentalist group CCLU from mobilizing fierce opposition, including at a Common Council meeting last Tuesday.

At the public meeting, CCLU member Bob Braun issued an unclear–but highly alarming–warning. "There’s going to be, I predict, bloodshed one of these years coming up," he said, according to local media.

Here we have one more in the long list of examples of Republican domestic terrorism.



Vulture Capitalism is the Republican way!

Dec 272015

It’s a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos have the Monday Night service with the Bengals.  Otherwise I have to figure out how to combine six drawers into three and free up 1/3 of my desk space.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 5:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Best of 2015): I am a Christian business owner in Indiana…

…Not really. But If I were, this is the sign I would put in my door.

"Dear Valued Patrons.  

Due to my sincerely held religious beliefs, and in light of the RFRA, recently signed by our Dear Leader Pence, I will no longer be doing business with the following persons; nor permitting them in my establishment:

1.  Divorcees.  Matthew 19:9: “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”

2.  Anyone who has ever read their horoscope or called a psychic hotline.  Leviticus 20:6: "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

3.  Anyone with a tattoo.   Leviticus 19:28 "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord."

4.  Anyone born illegitimately.  Also, anyone who, back to ten generations, is descended from someone born illegitimately.  If you can not PROVE, using appropriate church sources, that ten generations of your family were born in wedlock, I will have to err on the side of caution and not serve you. Deuteronomy 23:2 "No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD."

Click through for the other four.  And don’t forget Leviticus 25:44. I get to own a Canadian!!

From The New Yorker:

Within this cycle, it’s been a delight to publish Andy Borowitz’s humor column—and to be continually reminded that, sometimes, the only way to make sense of what’s happening in American politics is to laugh. In that spirit, here are fifteen of my favorite Borowitz Reports from the past year, arranged chronologically.

Joe Biden Releases Both E-mails Written While Vice-President
Iran Offers to Mediate Talks Between Republicans and Obama
Indiana Governor Stunned By How Many People Seem to Have Gay Friends
New Hillary Clinton Ad Features Just Kittens
N.F.L. Sentences Brady to a Year with the Jets

Thanks Andy! Click through for the other 10 links.

From NY Times: After decades of debate in South Carolina over the Confederate battle flag, it seemed the matter had been settled in July, when state officials stopped flying the flag on State House grounds and relegated it to a museum for “appropriate display.”

Then came the price tag.

This month, consultants for the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum [Seditious state agency delinked] here introduced a $5.3 million plan to expand the facility and show off the flag, along with an electronic display of the names of the state’s Civil War dead.

That idea proved to be a bust among Democrats who view the flag as an affront to African-Americans, and among members of both parties who balked at the cost.

$5.3 million?!!? Dang!! For 50¢, I’ll commemorate that flag!! Just give me the flag, a big bowl of my five alarm chili, and an outhouse!!



Dec 242015

The War on Christmas is a right wing conspiracy being played out for political reasons, in my opinion.  

Every holiday season, the right-wing outrage machine fires up the masses by feeding them misleading, anecdotal stories about a "war on Christmas." The typical war on Christmas story follows a simple pattern: a small town or an obscure group of people make a tiny, harmless gesture toward secularism; local media gets a hold of it; and an echo chamber of outrage, from The Blaze to AM radio to Fox News escalates the situation to a fever pitch, making villains of the secular scrooges and heroes of the persecuted Christians. 

bill oreilly christmas

3. O’Reilly flunkie Jesse Watters harrases mayor in grocery story parking lot over alleged Christmas crimes.

Every year in the town of Plantation, Florida, Mark and Kathy Hyatt string 200,000 lights in their front yard and install a 20-foot ferris wheel as part of the “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” that draws thousands of spectators. This year, the town's mayor, Diane Veltri Bendekovic, sued the Hyatts to recoup the added cost to the city for hiring policemen and traffic cops to manage the spectacle, and lo and behold, the dogs of Christmas war were unleashed.

Noted stalker and Long Island fratboy Jesse Watters quickly descended on Plantation, hunting down the demure mayor in a grocery store parking lot where he berated her with his patented line of loaded and bad faith questions. Watch watch the shameful episode below if you can stomach it. 

Click through on Alternet for the other 7 Worst 'War-on-Christmas' Stories.   Yes, Christmas is a Christian observance, but many people of many faiths also celebrate Christmas, not as a religious observance, but as a time of compassion, love, unity and hope.  To celebrate these qualities requires the actions of good people, nothing more.

Dec 222015

Since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, peace loving Muslims here in the US have born the brunt of hatred stemming from fear, stirred by the Republican Party.  I am pleased to see that many are confronting the terrorism, not only from the Daesh, but also from the terrorist organization that threatens far more Americans.

1222MuslimsRepresentatives from American Muslim organizations met at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Monday to announce the launch of a two-pronged approach to combat extremism in the wake of the Paris attacks and San Bernardino and the ensuing anti-Muslim rhetoric and political incitement.

The United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, said this new program would focus on steering Muslim youths away from extremist propaganda associated with groups like ISIS and simultaneously oppose hate speech and inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric at Monday’s press conference.

The USCMO said that imams at mosques around the country will work to engage Muslim youth and steer them away from extremist rhetoric. The initiative is also working with interfaith groups in community outreach. One way they plan to spread awareness and understanding is to make mosques and Islamic centers more open to members of the general public.

Speaking at the event, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the Muslim Alliance in North America, said mosques would strive to do a “better job of reaching out to young people” about “how to avoid seductive approaches from ISIS and others on the internet.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

I consider it a most positive step for American Muslims to recognize that terrorists are created through the misuse of Islam in pursuit of an ultra-conservative political agenda, and to take steps to head off the propaganda.  It is equally positive to oppose the creation of terrorists through the misuse of Christianity in pursuit of a Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian political agenda.  Let us not forget that we are far more likely to suffer death or injury at the hands of Republican criminals, pretending to represent Christianity, than we are at the hands of Daesh or Al Qaeda criminals, pretending to represent Islam.

Dec 222015

The news is mostly good.  The shirker and elevation paid off, and George went on, without difficulty, both yesterday and today.  Despite horrid weather, the trip to TriMet was uneventful.  The lady explained why they have to measure chairs.  Sometimes they send lift-equipped Taxis, if that’s more convenient for them, nut different taxis have different capacity ramps.  Measuring lets them know which vehicles they can send.  In my case, they can send any.  My home health care begins today with a visit from my PT.  She will probably arrive. before I finish this article.  What I want most is my bath aide.  I’m, getting a bit ripe.  The news news is that the evil Patty Monster mashed my kitty butt!

Later:  PT and OT have come and gone, and the RN will be here in less than two hours.

Fantasy Football Report:


Congrats to the winners.  The bottom four seeds all won, except for me, of course.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: State of Kansas mental health facilities and have seen a rough year under Governor Sam Brownback. Continued budget cuts and problems with overcrowding left facilities like Osawatomie overwhelmed, forcing many employees to work repeated double and triple shifts in order to keep the facility within operating requirements.


With the patient count so high, many of the hospital’s direct-care staff were pressed into working one, two and sometimes three overtime shifts a week.

“The place is over census and understaffed,” said Rebecca Proctor, executive director at the Kansas Organization of State Employees, a labor union that represents many state hospital front-line workers. “Conditions there are really, really bad.”

Angela de Rocha, a spokesperson for Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, confirmed that the Osawatomie hospital’s patient count on July 15 was “an overall high for the past 10 years.”

On Friday, the The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed the state of Kansas it will cease sending federal funds to the facility. Citing failure to meet compliance standards funding for new patients will end today, December 21, at the end of business day.

This is especially heinous, considering that Kansas has so many Republicans that the need for mental health services is as extreme as Brownback's pseudo-Christian response to that need.

From YouTube: Your Holiday Guide to Dealing with Uncle Bob


As always, the Reich on the left is right. You might consider spiking Uncle Bob's apple pie with ex-lax, considering what he's full of.

From The New Yorker: The Democratic National Committee made a big mistake staging the third Presidential-primary debate, which was held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on a Saturday night, when millions of potential viewers wouldn’t be watching. The debate was lively, informative, and civil. Apart from a brief diversion into whether former President Bill Clinton, should he become the first First Gentleman of the United States, would be entrusted with selecting flowers and menus for official occasions—his wife said that he wouldn’t—it was also substantive. And excluding, for a moment, Martin O’Malley, it reaffirmed the choice facing Democratic voters: experience, moderate reformism, and vigorous engagement abroad (Hillary Clinton) versus passion, an assault on privilege, and an abiding skepticism about overseas military engagements (Bernie Sanders)… [emphasis added]

The New Yorker documented the key difference well. As much as I prefer the latter, I expect to have to settle for the former. I'm sure Slick Willie Clinton will have no trouble selecting flowers: consider Flower Tucci.




Dec 152015

Yesterday I went to TriMet to reestablish lift access in my chair.  The ten minute appointment took over three hours.  Today the Home Health Nurse is scheduled to come before noon, so this this goes up late, that’s why.  Tonight I’m expecting an experience that could be considered Angellic.

Fantasy Football Report:

This weekend it’s playoff time in Lefty Blog Friends, our own Fantasy Football League.  Kudos to our top three players in the regular season: Patty Monster, Seth, and Vivian.  Condolences to the two players who did not make the playoffs:  Dusty and Pam.  We look forward to your return next year.  Here’s the playoffs bracket.


Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Elahe Izadi runs down the well-documented efforts of Our Founding Fathers Themselves to ensure that yes, religious freedom even extended to Jews and "pagans" and Muslims.

So unlike Jews and Catholics, Muslims were discussed in the hypothetical — and often with negative opinions, including those held by Thomas Jefferson — to show "how far tolerance and equal civil rights extends," said Denise Spellberg, author of "Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders."

"In the formation of the American ideal and principles of what we consider to be exceptional American values, Muslims were, at the beginning, the litmus test for whether the reach of American constitutional principles would include every believer, every kind, or not," Spellberg said in an interview.

Ending collusion between the state and any state-preferred religion was not just Jefferson’s own objective, but the stance that would be codified in law and in the Constitution. There are ample writings to prove that non-Christian religions were specifically intended to be protected, and anyone who has the slightest intellectual interest in the American version of freedom of religion has read through them already. A few were in my old high school history textbook—but that was back in Ye Olden Days, so I have no knowledge of whether such quotes and letters have been scrubbed by the forces of Texas Jeebus, in the books your own offspring are thumbing through today.

The point is, there’s simply no way to claim you know either the Constitution or what America’s religious freedom was intended to "mean" unless you are aware of Jefferson’s own efforts to ensure sweeping inclusivity and that Jefferson was not operating in an intellectual vacuum but from a broader intellectual and legal movement to do that thing, both within the states and when the time came to piece together the national version people now carry in their shirt pockets.

Share this with Republican friends and family, and hope you aren’t uninvited for the holidays.

From The New Yorker: In what has become a tradition in the nation’s capital, the United States Congress on Monday notched the third anniversary of doing nothing in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

As on the first and second anniversaries of the tragedy, lawmakers took up no new measures to prevent future mass shootings in the United States, and instead chose to mark Newtown’s third anniversary with a day of inaction.

In that respect, the third anniversary of Newtown resembles the thousand-plus days that came before it, during which Congress took no action on guns except to periodically vote down expanded background checks.

Andy knows whose hands are bloody.

From Upworthy: A few days ago in a Bloomberg interview, businessman Michael Moritz was asked about the scarcity of women working at his company, Sequoia Capital.

His responses — among them that the firm is seeking women but is "not prepared to lower our standards" — were described by many as "open mouth, insert foot." Similar remarks across sectors and industries have been described this way, too.

But this foot-in-mouth characterization is wrong: It suggests that the speaker fumbled his words and misspoke.

What’s happening when Moritz talks about "lowering standards" is not a clumsy handling of speech. It’s this: In that moment, a deeply hidden synaptic pathway is temporarily illuminated.

When asked about Sequoia’s lack of women, Moritz said they were looking to hire more. But "what we’re not prepared to do is lower our standards," he said. Now, no one had asked, "Are you willing to lower your standards?" No: That was the question he heard when he was asked about hiring women. That was the association he made automatically.

Here, then, is a map of his synaptic firings: women → lower standards.

With the exception of Republican politicians and pundits, hiring women are is more likely to lead to higher standards.



Nov 302015

It’s a very slow day for news, so this is my only article today.  Yesterday I meditated on the blessed Orb, did laps around the unit, and went to the rehab room with PT to try to walk on George.

Religious Ecstasy:


Wooo Hooo!!!

Short Takes:

From TPM: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said the suspected shooter at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic was “deranged,” but dismissed any connection between anti-abortion rhetoric and the shooting as “left-wing tactics.”

“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” Fiorina said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace.” “The vast majority of Americans agree: What Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong.”

Crazy Carly and the other Republican candidates are bending over backwards to hide the blood on their hands.

From Think Progress:Friday afternoon, one week after elected officials all over the country tried to block Syrian refugees from entering their states in an apparent effort to fight terrorism, a white man in Colorado committed what appears to be an act of terrorism in a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Though the details of Robert Lewis Dear’s motives for killing three people in the clinic and injuring nine others are still being revealed, Dear reportedly told law enforcement “no more baby parts,” an apparent reference to heavily edited videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, which numerous politicians have cited to falsely claim that Planned Parenthood sells “aborted baby parts.” Dear’s actions, in other words, appear to be an act of politically motivated terrorism directed against an institution widely reviled by conservatives.

Though terrorism perpetrated by Muslims receives a disproportionate amount of attention from politicians and reporters, the reality is that right-wing extremists pose a much greater threat to people in the United States than terrorists connected to ISIS or similar organizations. As UNC Professor Charles Kurzman and Duke Professor David Schanzer explained last June in the New York Times, Islam-inspired terror attacks “accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.” Meanwhile, “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”

There you have it. You are seven times more likely to be killed by a Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian terrorist, than by a Muslim terrorist.

From Alternet:On Sunday’s edition of Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman couldn’t stop laughing about a man who got stuck in a chimney and died

Barf Bag Alert.!!


While I don’t defend the attempted burglary, the burglar deserved to be caught and prosecuted. That he was roasted to death was tragic, because he was still human. Only Republicans would laugh at it.



5 Injustices deserve the same today.

Nov 302015


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 withIt 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:gratitude

“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:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion;
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated.”


Anyone want to join me in giving thanks (just in case)?  Has it become harder to connect with gratitude when people have a lower standard of living than their parents did or they themselves did 10 years ago (e.g., stagnant wages, retirement accounts wiped out, foreclosure and/or the hidden housing bubble: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/11/09/1447788/-The-massive-real-estate-bubble-that-no-one-is-talking-about )?

Sometimes children see things more clearly:


Staying with science, let us hear from Ourania (astronomy) via :“In a 2-minute elevator speech, a NASA scientist shares his greatest hope for the future of earth.”


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?


Does it inspire faith and hope as people persist despite changed circumstances?


Clio (guitar) helps us think out of the box with this one and expand our vision of possibility (video):


And Thalia (architecture) might help us get creative (picture gallery):


Erato might claim this kind of love, too:



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:


Nov 242015

Today I plan to dress in human clothes and explore the public areas on the first floor of the hospital.  Of course, that assumes that PT and or OT does not get here first and exhaust me.

Continuing much later, I did explore.  Then the prosthetic people came.  Surprise!!  New leg tomorrow.  Then PT came and worked me.  Then OT came and worked me.  I’m exhausted.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Warning: Proprietors are not responsible for reader aneurisms caused by the following sentence.

Sarah Palin takes to Facebook to say Jesus likes guns. [Dingbat delinked]


Taking concrete defense measures (ie. arming ourselves) away from the good guys? Yeah… that… we don’t want that. As this hilarious parody says, “…it will really suck when only the bad guys have guns.”

Let us not forget that Bloody Bullseye Barbie is the Republican who painted a bullseye on Gabby Giffords’ HQ shortly before she was shot. Jesus would take a coil of rope to drive out Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, today’s Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and money Lenders.

From NY Times: Planned Parenthood sued Texas officials in federal court in Austin on Monday, seeking to block the state from cutting off its Medicaid funding, the latest in a series of lawsuits it has filed against Republican-led states after the controversy over its use of fetal tissue.

Texas and a handful of other states — including Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana — have moved to eliminate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood amid the controversy. Secretly recorded videos that were released starting in July purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue and discussing the issue with abortion opponents who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm.

Planned Parenthood said that the videos were deceptively edited and that the group did not do anything illegal or unethical. Its officials said the state’s decision to eliminate the group’s Medicaid funding, set to take effect as early as Dec. 8, was politically motivated and without merit.

The nonprofit organization’s lawsuit alleges that Texas violated federal law and the so-called Medicaid freedom of choice provision, which allows those enrolled in Medicaid to seek services from a qualified provider of their choice. The lawsuit also accuses Texas officials of singling out Planned Parenthood for “unfavorable treatment without adequate justification,” a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The author is sacrificing truth for balance. The tapes were “edited”. Planned Parented makes tissue donations only with the consent of the patients. Reimbursements to Planned Parenthood only covered the cost of making the tissue donations, but there was never profit. As of 10/15, Planned Parenthood makes tissue donations with no reimbursement whatsoever. The Republican War on Women is still with us.

From Alternet: It’s that time of year again. Time for stuffing one’s face with delicious food while re-connecting with drunk aunts, racist uncles, and disappointed parents. Luckily, since 1981 the folks at Butterball have had a hotline for tips on cooking turkey to make the holidays run just a little smoother. Late Show host Stephen Colbert decided to take this goodwill and troll the hotline because, why not? 



Why don’t we leave the poor Turkeys alone. Instead, lets stuff and roast Republicans!!



Sep 282015

Pope Francis has just concluded his first visit to the United States.  I am sure that the analysis will go on for weeks as American politicians and pundits try to grapple with, in my opinion, the admonitions of this Pope.

You can read thePope's speech HERE and read The 10 Most Important Lines From Pope Francis' Historic Speech to Congress which forms the template for this article.

Pope Francis in Congress

On climate change: "…to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States—and this Congress—have an important role to play. …"

From Alternet:  In response to a question during an interview,

"[Robert F Jr] Kennedy replied, “The public and press and corporate America begin recognizing that this is a moral imperative, that we can no longer lie to each other and lie to the public about global warming, that that’s a sin. A sin is an injury to a relationship, an injury to another person, and we are injuring whole generations of humanity as well as the rest of God’s creation. We need to start looking at it that way rather than looking at it as a political battle, or Republicans vs. Democrats, we have to understand that this is a moral issue.”

Kennedy is a Catholic so he speaks in somewhat religious terms but he is absolutely right in my opinion.  Climate change IS a moral issue, and a moral issue is not necessarily a religious issue. Likewise, a moral issue is not a political issue, but in the US, and elsewhere, politicians, our elected representatives, must embrace climate change and find workable comprehensive strategies to save the planet, future generations, animals etc.  Rape is morally wrong, yet that is what we are doing to the planet.

Also read The Nation for further commentary.

On abolishing the death penalty: "…every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. …a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."

From The Nation "… Harry Blackmun, wrote in 1994 that he would no longer “tinker with the machinery of death.” And in 2008, John Paul Stevens wrote that his review of hundreds of cases had persuaded him that the penalty is both profoundly unworkable and unconstitutional.

What has Breyer learned to put him in such company? Plenty. In his dissent, he argued that the death penalty is seriously unreliable and arbitrary in application; he believes the long delays undermine its penological purpose; and he is convinced that we have executed the innocent."

I do not agree with capital punishment, which in my opinion is state sponsored murder.  Look at the costs outlined in The Nation article: $3 million average cost to execute a death row prisoner versus $1.1 million to keep a prisoner incarcerated for life.  Too many prosecutors amp up their conviction rates for political and career gain.  And as Justice Breyer related "…we have executed the innocent."   Once a person is executed, there is no going back, guilty or innocent.

On abortion: "The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development." (This was his only direct reference to abortion in the speech.)

As Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times notes:

"Francis talks of the “responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage” but then instead of continuing on to talk about the need to end abortion, he pivots to the death penalty."

When I think about the intersection of various issues, how can a society endorse the death penalty but take a very staunch conservative stance on banning abortion, even in the direst of circumstances like rape, incest or the imperiled life of the mother?  To take the intersection further, how can a society then ignore children living in dire poverty where there is not enough food and social assistance (SNAP benefits) are cut back?  I could link other things in like a living wage, but I think you get my point.

On same-sex marriage: The closest he came to addressing same-sex marriage was in a passage about the importance of family. "I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, …"

What is FAMILY anyway?  Wikipedia defines family as follows:

"In the context of human society, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage), or co-residence and/or shared consumption (see Nurture kinship). "

Family is about commitment, love and nurture.  There is no reference to the absolute imperative of "one man and one women" as conservatives espouse.  The saying that "it takes a village to raise a child" is so true. But in the cloistered hall of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Francis did say more. Read more at Huffington Post.

On Iran and Cuba: "…This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces."

From The Nation

 Both sides, however, acknowledge that normal diplomatic relations have created a new framework for engagement—and a bilateral mechanism to conduct a dialogue about the issues that will need to be resolved before relations are fully normalized. … 

From Alternet — The last American that the Pope named, the theologian Thomas Merton, was cited as a direct call on Congress stop partisan bickering and start showing constructive results. He called Merton “a man of dialogue and promoter of peace for people and religions” and then reminded Congress what statesmanship consisted of.

With regard to Cuba, Republicans are caught in the McCarthy era looking for communist boogiemen behind every door.  But I also think that Republicans don't like having a defiant yet small nation just 90 miles off its shore. 

As to Iran, in the 20th century, it was a large producer of oil and natural gas.  There was heavy foreign investment in the oil and gas industry.  But then in 1951, the new prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, nationalised all oil and gas works including US operations.  In 1953, the US and Britain engineered a coup d'état taking back their oil and gas interests.  But the nationist Islamic revolution of 1979 put Iran back in control.  Is it any wonder then that such emnity should exist?  Republicans however, hawks that they are, will never give up that which they think was theirs, but never was theirs.  And Iran is not going to give up their sovreignty.

On the refugee crisis: "Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. … thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? …"

Much like today's refugees, many of our ancestors from the 17th and 18th centuries were refugees fleeing religious persecution in Europe.  Others were political refugees.  Why do we balk at providing the same opportunities that we received?

On immigration: "We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal solidarity, in a constant effort to do our best. …"

From Damien Cave at the New York Times:

"Francis is clearly reminding his audience that the United States is part of a larger whole — one America in the Americas, where immigration is a deeply rooted part of history. He offers guidance on how to respond to the world's latest migrant crisis, urging lawmakers to treat migrants “with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated."

In his article in The Nation, George Zornick commented:

He continued: “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”

Jeb Bush commented on immigration as seen in The Daily Kos 

We should not have a muticultural society … America has done immigration so much better than the other countries because it's a set of values that people share, that defines our national identity—not race or ethnicity or where you come from. And when you create pockets of isolation—and in some cases, the assimilation process has been retarded because they slowed down—it's wrong … So I think across the board, education, English—being able to speak English—a common language is important. We need to get back to that. We're creeping toward multiculturalism and that's the wrong approach.

The Pope would be apalled at this xenophobic attitudes towards immigrants.

Lucia, who is my ESL student, fled Sudan with her husband because of the civil war.  She fled to Uganda where she lived in poverty for about 8 years. During those 8 years, she gave birth to her oldest 2 children.  There were unspeakable crimes committed against her and her family.  They escaped Uganda and came to Canada.  Here she has been welcomed and supported by myself and other members of my church.  ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

On poverty: "I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. …"

A petition at Daily Kos says (follow the link to sign):

Government programs that feed the hungry and heal the sick must struggle for funding, while billions of our tax dollars are still being sent to Big Oil in the form of tax subsidies and other special interest giveaways.

Now, we need to send Congress a message about the social spending we need and the corporate handouts we don’t.

Getting the Republican dominated Congress to stand by programmes such as SNAP, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, a living wage and more is like asking the sun to go away or the stars not to shine in the night sky. But all must continue to push and push hard for a more compassionate society.

On the arms trade: "Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? …"

There can only be one answer to this question: GREED!  Think of the NRA.  Why does it push the 2nd amendment right to bear arms?  Surely, with the numbers of deaths caused by guns in the US, it would back off. But it is ostensibly "owned and operated" by the weapons manufacturers who are in business to earn profits.  How do you change this without changing the mindset of a nation?

On religious fundamentalism: "We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. … But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners."

All fundamentalism, whether Christian, Judaic, Islamic or any other religion or rite such as atheism, leads to the exclusion and marginalisation of many.  As the Pope says, fundalmentalism is "the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners."  I doubt few of us, no matter what religion would see ourselves in such black and white terms.  We also see this in the way that the right wing Christians in the US refer to the country as having been established as a Christian nation.  Republican presidential candidate said that he had no problem with a Muslim becoming POTUS providing he recanted Islam, became a Christian, and took the oath of office on a bible.  That is closeminded fundamentalism.


Sep 122015

It has been a long week for everybody, and the weekend is here. We can't do much more to check on the Puddy Tat until Monday, so I thought a "similar to TC's Open Thread" would keep us busy. I'd also like to thank all of you for your patience, but I would especially like to thank Nameless, JL and JD for all the behind the scenes work They have done and are doing. And lastly, but never lastly, please continue to hold Tom in your thoughts and/or prayers.

BTW, I can't seem to get the hot links to work so unfortunately, you'll have to copy/paste the links into your browser.

Fantasy Football — Don't forget to check your rosters. The games have started! . . . and you can bet that Tom's Teabag Trashers want to take the trophy home again this year.

Candy Fruits http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-10 my time 3:47 average 5:17
Yacht Ropes http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-11 my time 3:35 average 5:07
Key Blanks http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-12 my time 3:51 average 6:31
How did you do?

Short Takes

Raw Story — An Oklahoma County judge on Friday gave the state a month to remove a 6-foot-tall (1.80-meter) granite monument containing the Ten Commandments from Capitol grounds after the state’s top court said it had been erected illegally.
District Judge Thomas Prince denied a motion from Attorney General Scott Pruitt to keep in place the monument that had been on Capitol grounds since 2012 and garnered strong support from Oklahoma’s Republican leadership.
In June, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the monument must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion.
The decision prompted Republican lawmakers to say they will look at impeachment for the justices who made the decision and legal briefs from the attorney general’s office to keep the monument in the shadow of the Statehouse.

Republicans like to think it is their way or the highway!

The New Yorker — Republicans, who mercilessly mocked Barack Obama’s lack of government experience before he became President, now favor Presidential candidates with no experience whatsoever, the head of the Republican National Committee has confirmed.
The R.N.C. chief, Reince Priebus, said that he sees “no contradiction at all” between Republicans’ contempt for Obama’s pre-White House résumé, which included eleven years spent in public office, and their rabid enthusiasm for G.O.P. rising stars Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, whose combined years in public office total zero.


Is Andy reporting straight news again? The anachronistic Republican bubble machine is at it again!

NY Times — Visitors to Japan are often surprised by how prosperous it seems. It doesn’t look like a deeply depressed economy. And that’s because it isn’t.
Unemployment is low; overall economic growth has been slow for decades, but that’s largely because it’s an aging country with ever fewer people in their prime working years. Measured relative to the number of working-age adults, Japanese growth over the past quarter century has been almost as fast as America’s, and better than Western Europe’s.
Yet Japan is still caught in an economic trap. Persistent deflation has created a society in which people hoard cash, making it hard for policy to respond when bad things happen, which is why the businesspeople I’ve been talking to here are terrified about the possible spill over from China’s troubles.
Deflation has also created worrisome “debt dynamics”: Japan, unlike, say, the United States after World War II, can’t count on growing incomes to make past borrowing irrelevant.


Another fine article by Paul Krugman.

Now normally, TC would have a cartoon. All I can offer you is "Kim Davis' stunt demolished in one brilliant tweet".