Apr 202014
 

Easter

Whether or not you are a Christian, I respectfully invite you to join me in the celebration of the my faith’s most central holiday, even though many of its traditions are borrowed.

Jesus was a fascinating man.  He associated most closely with the social rejects of his day.  He respected people with faiths different from his.  He did not burn their religious writings or try to prevent them from their own forms of worship.  Sometimes he used them as an example of what is right, like the Good Samaritan.  He had a heart for meeting the needs of the poor, and admonished us to care for them.  His concern  for the rich was that their own greed would blind them.   He had no trouble getting along with sinners.  He met people at the point of their need, and accepted all, except for the religious hypocrites who used their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and to force their own piety codes, which they often ignored themselves, onto others.  Those were only people Jesus condemned.  Sadly, they are still among us.

If we are followers of Jesus, our faith will help us to follow the example of what he did.  Of course, none of us is perfect in that way.  God knows that I fall short every day.  It is important to know that those who preach the things Jesus was against, but condemn those who contend for the things Jesus supported, are not followers of Jesus.  They are pseudo-Christians. Authentic Christians try to follow Jesus’ example.

And now, for your listening pleasure:

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Apr 142014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow early in the morning.  Because I’m swamped with prison volunteer Board Meeting preparations, this is today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:43 (average 4:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Why Birth Control Needs To Be Covered By All Insurance Plans, In One Simple Graphic

0414BirthControl

In addition, nothing else prevents more abortions.

From Daily Kos: Rick Wiles is one of the more prominent talk show hosts on the right-wing fringe.  Among his guests in the past have been Tom Tancredo, John Fleming, Matt Barber, Harry Jackson and other big names on the far right.  They’ve continued to troop to his show even though he claims, among other things, that expanded rights for gays prompted North Korea to threaten nuclear war, that Columbine and Sandy Hook were carried out by "mind control assassins" and that North Korea threatened nuclear war with us because we’re moving toward expanded rights for gays.

Well, yesterday Wiles outdid himself even by his standards.  He called for President Obama to be thrown out of office by a military coup.  People for the American Way got a clip.

I warned in 2008 that Barack Obama’s mission is to instigate a second Civil War in America. His regime is deliberately ripping the country apart and if the US Military doesn’t take action soon to arrest Barack Obama and remove him and his regime from the White House, there will be no country left for the military to defend. We are on the edge of collapse as a nation. Jesus Christ is America’s only hope. Let us pray that Almighty God delivers us from this very real tyranny that seeks to persecute the saints of God.

If I had time, I’d give this seditionist Republican scumbag a "parade".  Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity is NOT Christian.  It is the opposite.

From Alternet: Detroit columnist Nolan Finley: Woman candidate is “milking the vagina business.”

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist Nolan Finley displayed his ability to keep it real classy this week. Notoriously anti-Democratic and pro-corporate, he has long been using his perch to rabidly oppose the candidacy of Democrats, most recently Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schnauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown. This week Finley wrote:

[Brown’s] confrontational style will give the ticket the spunk the colorless Schauer lacks, but won’t broaden his appeal. Brown could help bring in campaign cash, however. She’s still milking the vagina business, and is a minor celebrity among feminists.

Wait, there’s a vagina business that can be milked? How come we did not know that?

What that curious term means to Finley is that Lisa Brown favors reproductive rights for women, which in his world (roughly the 1950s) makes her an extreme left-wing liberal.

Milking the vagina business.

What will the Republican woman haters club come up with next?

This is just one of seven Republican absurdities from last week alone. Click through for the other six.  Thou shalt NOT commit TEAbuggery!!

Cartoon:

0414Cartoon

Ben Franklin was its first President.

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Apr 102014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite groggy, having just awakened from a much needed cat nap.  I did research early this morning, so I have articles now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:46 (average 5:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A new poll released today shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans would support the idea of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush taking up painting.

According to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, seventy-four per cent of those surveyed “strongly agreed” with the statement: “Jeb Bush painting would be a really good thing for the United States and also for the rest of the world.”

A spokesman for Mr. Bush said that, as of yet, the former governor had made no decision to start painting but would “try to make up his mind by the end of the year” at the latest.

The last thing the US needs is another "painter” from this Nazi loving family.

From AlternetA new documentary titled “The Principle” is the latest from creationists and geocentrists.  The film perpetuates the long disproven notion that the sun revolves around the Earth. It is narrated by “Star Trek’s” Kate Mulgrew, who starred as Capt. Kathryn Janeway in both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Nemesis.” From the looks of the trailer, this film is the antithesis of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s scientific look at the universe in “Cosmos.”

The film was funded by the ultra-conservative, ultra-Roman Catholic Robert Sungenis, who also appears in the film. Sungenis is also known for denying the Holocaust, and for his  anti-Semitic articles, which his bishop demanded he stop writing.

According to  Raw Story, the film features several scientists — some without permission.

Click through for more. Sometimes you have to shake your head in disbelief that people could be so stupid. Many of the scientists quoted were taken out of context to represent the opposite of what the scientists actually believe. This ruins Voyager for me.

From Crooks and Liars: Pat Robertson is either drinking heavily before each broadcast, swilling a ton of prescription pills or hitting his head with a hammer. Because if not, he’s a very sick man and needs a long rest someplace. [BARF BAG ALERT!!]

 

In context, Obama was calling for religious tolerance and respect, the proper demonstration of authentic Christianity, and the polar opposite of the deception, hatred, and veiled calls for violence from this Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian.

Cartoon:

0410Cartoon

In spite of this convention signed by the US, the USSR and seventy other countries, Republicans still sold biological weapons technology to Saddam Hussein.

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Mar 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe that this month has gone so quickly.  I’ll continue to be scarce in April.  My schedule makes this month’s seem tame, by comparison.  Please pardon my brevity, lest I run out ofday, before running out of tasks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration.

It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is that he, like many others in agriculture here, is increasingly fed up with immigration laws that he says prevent him from fielding a steady, reliable work force.

“What we have going on now is a farce — a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Herrin, a lifelong Republican who grew up in central California, adding that the country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out. “We need these people to get our food to market.”

Even Republicans recognize the need to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but the Republican Party continues to sabotage it. To intentionally harm our economy for political gain, however ineptly done, is sedition.

From Think Progress: Last month, Uganda made international headlines when President Yoweri Museveni signed the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, calling for the imprisonment of gay citizens. But one religious leader refuses to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation, and has become a hero to the country’s gay community.

In defiance of the legislation, commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, Rev. Christopher Senyonjo hosts weekly prayer sessions and counseling services to LGBT worshipers and supporters. He also critiques fellow clerics’ “healing” approach to addressing the gay community, whereby church leaders attempt to fix people through prayer. “They said I should condemn the homosexuals,” he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.”

Citing questionable evidence provided by Ugandan scientists, the President justified signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February by arguing that being gay is a choice. According to the harsh law, first-time offenders can spend at least 14 years in jail, while others can serve lifelong sentences. As a result, LGBT people are ostracized and subjected to violence.

Reverend Senyonio aptly illustrates the difference between authentic Christians and Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, like the members of the US Congress, who coined this legislation, and even intended it to include capital punishment for gay people.

From Daily Kos: Mississippi has not been what you’d call a pro-union state, but it’s really hammering that point home this week, with the state Senate passing not one, not two, but THREE anti-union bills and sending them to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature:

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it. [...]

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict mass picketing of a residence or place of business. It says pickets would be legal as long as they weren’t violent and didn’t block entrances. But it also makes getting a court stop order against picketing easier.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs.

So basically, "unions GTFO. We will sue you for breathing."

The Republican Party is dedicated to create slave labor that the 1% can exploit without having to build in the third world.  You’re it.

Cartoon:

0331Cartoon

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Mar 282014
 

There is no depth of depravity to which Republicans refuse to stoop to get their way, and the Koch Brothers, fathers of InsaniTEA, lead the pack in that area.  Now they are bribing college students, some of whom may even be underage, with booze to oppose ObamaCare by refusing to sign up.

0328KochIlls

Billionaire Koch brothers funded groups Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity are supplying University of New Hampshire students with free alcohol tonight to encourage them to oppose Obamacare and not sign up for health coverage.

The “Thirsty for Freedom” event will be held at the Dover Brickhouse just off campus. It provides students with two free drink tickets to hear about “big governments war on youth” and is hosted by Koch-funded AFP, Koch-funded Generation Opportunity, Young Americans for Liberty, and the College Republicans… 

Inserted from <NH Labor News>

Hat-Tip to Jo (a regular, both here and at Care2) for telling me about this event.

This is not new for Republicans. For example, in election year 2004, I left work downtown and saw a group of transients gathered around two Republicans, wearing Bush/Cheney buttons. They had apparently previously registered the transients. The Republicans found each transients names in a stack of prefilled ballots, got their signature, and handed it to them. Each transient then took their ballot to a van parked at the curb and traded it for a six pack of beer or a bottle of wine. I yelled at them, and pulled out my cell phone, intending to take a picture. Before I could, the Republicans jumped into the van and drove away. Then I had to run, confronted with some very angry transients. One more thing, the Republicans were both wearing "Jesus Saves" buttons too. I guess Republican Supply-side Jesus (the polar opposite of the real Jesus) saves by shopping at the beer and wine wholesaler.

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Mar 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow very early in the morning, before leaving for prison volunteer work, so these articles will be ready for me to post some time tomorrow morning.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:40 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: I went to the doctor for the first time in five years today. Although I’m young, I had neglected a couple of health issues for at least a year. I couldn’t afford care and was left hoping none of them developed into anything more serious. As a small business owner who narrowly missed the threshold for buying on the exchanges, I’m enrolled in Medicaid for this year until I can bump my income up a bit. The day my confirmation of benefits and card came was among the best of my life. I nearly broke down in tears.

But that isn’t what this diary is about. Today, I went to the doctor for the first time in five years and saw first hand why Republicans have fought tooth and nail for a system that was so broken for every single stakeholder – except the insurers and the politicians who enable them.

What I found made my blood boil. Follow below the fold for a living example of what our "health care system" could have done to me and millions of others before the ACA. Let’s just say the cheesy poof holding the fold would have been more than the food in my pantry.

Click through for a most excellent read. Like the author says in the last sentence, lets go to work.

From Alternet: Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle’s family says that she has never had any disciplinary problems. They say that as a student at Virginia’s Timberlake Christian School she has maintained a 4.0 academic average. School administrators confirm this. But Kahle’s great-grandmother and legal guardian Doris Thompson says that the child was nonetheless recently invited to leave the school anyway. Why? Because she’s not feminine enough.

Sunnie has short hair, a style she first adopted when she turned five and declared she wanted to donate her long locks for kids with cancer. Since then, she’s preferred jeans and t-shirts and has decided, Thompson says, “She didn’t want to wear her frilly dresses anymore.” Today, she likes teddy bears and bracelets — as well as collecting autographed baseballs and playing “rough and tough. And sadly, in a world in which the pressure on little girls and boys to conform to rigid gender roles is more ramped up than ever and eschewing pink is somehow suspect, Sunnie’s style would likely be questioned almost anywhere. (And yes, I am saying this as a parent whose daughters have attended hippy-dippy New York City public schools.) But in a strictly conservative environment, her demeanor could be interpreted as tantamount to revolution. Last month the school sent home a letter, which has been obtained by local news station WDBJ7, reminding Sunnie’s caregivers of its right to decline students who do not follow a “biblical lifestyle.”

When Republicans push for school vouchers, they are demanding that YOU pay for this kind of illegal discrimination with your tax dollars.

From Crooks and Liars:

The GOP says they pride themselves on fiscal responsibility, but they have been exposed as frauds because a Pentagon report said they’ve wasted millions and millions of dollars on the trumped up Benghazi investigations.

If you ever hear Rep. Darrell Issa say he’s a fiscal conservative, just laugh in his face and ask him how can he then explain wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers money on repetitive and wasteful hearings on Benghazi? Not only has he spent millions like a drunken sailor, but they’ve also put a huge strain on our military. [BARF BAG ALERT!]

 

Issa continues to parrot the same lies that have all been thoroughly proven false. I fully agree with the author. And lets not forget that it was Republicans who slashed the funding for embassy security.

Cartoon:

0328Cartoon

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Mar 252014
 

SCROTUS (Constitutional VD) is my term for the Fascist Five Supreme Court Injustices, who almost always favor their extreme Republican ideology over our Constitution.  Worst among them (along with Clarence “TEAbag” Thomas) is Antonin “SS” Scalia.  In two cases coming before the Court today, I expect Scalia to renege on an earlier opinion in a most hypocritical manner.  Ironically, even with opposite opinions, he will be as wrong now as he was then.

0325ScaliaWhen the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases about birth control on Tuesday, few observers doubt that Justice Antonin Scalia's sympathies will be the Catholic business owners who charge that the mandate violates their religious liberties.

The Reagan-appointed jurist is a devout Catholic who has extolled "traditional Christian virtues." He insists the devil is "a real person" and has a son who's a Catholic priest. He voted in 2012 to wipe out Obamacare in its entirety and has been President Barack Obama's most outspoken foe on the Supreme Court.

And yet, Scalia's past jurisprudence stands contradictory to the argument for striking down the Obamacare rule in question, which requires for-profit employers' insurance plans to cover contraceptives (like Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices) for female employees without co-pays.

In 1990, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, concluding that the First Amendment "does not require" the government to grant "religious exemptions" from generally applicable laws or civic obligations. The case was brought by two men in Oregon who sued the state for denying them unemployment benefits after they were fired from their jobs for ingesting peyote, which they said they did because of their Native American religious beliefs.

"[T]he right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability," Scalia wrote in the 6-3 majority decision, going on to aggressively argue that such exemptions could be a slippery slope to lawlessness.

"The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind," he wrote, "ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Scalia was wrong in opining not to give a religious exemption to followers of Native American beliefs, because he was denying their right to freely practice their religion. I expect him to opine that business should get a religious exemption to refuse to cover birth control under ObamaCare.  He will be wrong, because such an exemption allows businesses to force their religions practices on others.

Scalia and his Republican Party would ignore the First Amendment by establishing a pseudo-Christian state religion and denying the free exercise of other religions.

Late Update:

On tonight’s show, Chris Hayes covered the same issue.  Because this just aired, I cannot get it in an internationally viewable format, but his and his guest’s analysis echoed mine so closely, I had to include it.

It was always intended as a shield, and not a sword,  Well said.

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