Jun 242017
 

Here in Portland it reached 91° yesterday.  96° is forecast for today.  Even with AC, it’s oppressive, and I’m spending as much time as I can at rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:32 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): What if Trump Actually Fires Mueller? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

If average US citizens spent half as much time every day making themselves politically aware, as they do sitting on the toilet, the US would be a shining example of progressive governance. RESIST!!

From The Last Word: Paul Ryan’s challenger: Ryan not listening, Trump untrustworthy

Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce will challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan for re-election in 2018. If Bryce wins, it would be the third time since 1862 that a Speaker of the House has lost re-election. Lawrence O’Donnell talks to Randy Bryce

 

Kudos to Randy Bryce. I’m not holding my breath, but I’d love it, if Bryce dumped Lyin’ Ryan.  RESIST!!

From NY Times: Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, perhaps the most vulnerable Republican facing re-election in 2018, said Friday that he would not support the Senate health care overhaul as written, dealing a serious blow to his party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act just days before a showdown vote.

Using remarkably harsh language, Mr. Heller, who is seen as a pivotal swing vote, denounced the Senate-drafted bill in terms that Democrats swiftly seized on. He said the measure would deprive millions of health care and do nothing to lower insurance premiums.

“I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans,” he said at a news conference in Las Vegas, standing next to Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, who accepted federal funding under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid.

Heller, knows his career is over, if he votes for it, but he’s just one. Counting on Cruz, Paul, and Lee to oppose it would be crazy.  We need three Republicans to reject it or it will pass. RESIST!!

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Everyday Erinyes #80

 Posted by at 12:27 pm  Politics
Jun 242017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  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 am running late today, and short-handed, since I really needed to ask Tisiphone to do a favor for a friend (who has an ex-spouse who needs to be – explained – the meaning of “restraining order.”)  But – as I point out every week – no one knows the true total number of the Furies, and I need to ask them if any of them are children.  Because what is really needed for the first situation this week is about 400 baby Eumenides, primed to comfort children who need it.

We probably all cringed this week when the murderer of Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges (He is no longer a police officer, but now, what’s to prevent him from becoming one again?), and many of us re-lived that horrible night, particularly since, with the trial over, the dashcam video was now available and shocking.  Castile’s death, happening as it did in front of his girl friend and right before the eyes of her little girl, was devastating even to those of us who follow such killings, and was covered here at Politics Plus as well in all the mainstream media.

What went under the radar then, and which I only realized this week, was that Philando Castile had in life worked as the nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill, “a small bastion of diversity, a Montessori school that draws from surrounding progressive neighborhoods.”

It was a few weeks after his death in July 2016 when Sakki Selznick learned that her daughter had been giving imaginary high-fives to Philando Castile.

Castile ― or Mr. Phil, as students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School would call him ― often greeted students with high-fives while they waited on line to get breakfast in the cafeteria. Now that Mr. Phil was gone, Selznick’s young daughter worried she’d never get one of his famous high-fives again. One evening, she explained, she was thinking about it and she’d started high-fiving the air, hoping Mr. Phil would respond somehow.

A magical high-five didn’t arrive. Through tears, Selznick explained to her daughter that she would not be getting one. 

Ten-year old Miss Selznick is far from alone.  “395 adoring students … have spent the past year mourning Castile, a loss that was felt anew last week with the news that Yanez had been acquitted of any wrongdoing.

When the students returned to school last fall, they had been visibly changed.  The school has been doing its best to deal with the grief head on.  Teachers got special training, counselors had extended availabilty, visible memorials were created.  But  when adults cannot work through and make sense of a catastrophe. children really cannot be expected to do so.  400 or so baby Eumenides probably cannot resolve this either, but it couldn’t hurt, could it?

As one parent said, “It has been a hard year.  I don’t imagine the next year will be easier.”

Grief like this is immobilizing.  But the right is not immobilized right now.  It is invigorated.  And, while I would hesitate to call anyone on the right “intelligent,” you don’t gain as much power as they have without having something.  Call it low cunning if you will.  Shrewdness works for me.  And I am seeing a trend.  Some one, or some group, possibly not even organized, on the right, is is combining our grief and their projection to use against us.  They don’t need to immobilize us forever.  They just need to immobilize us long enough to destroy us.  From AlterNet

 You may have mocked claims about the existence of paid protesters as just another lie from the right. As it turns out, at least on this one issue, they’re actually telling the truth. The problem is, the right neglected to mention those paid protesters are part of the right-wing apparatus….  If it seemed incongruous that the “new right”—whose members have declared themselves the defenders of free speech and conservationists of Western culture—claimed to be so outraged by the recent staging of a Shakespeare play, this might explain why. And when the right talks about “paid protesters,” just assume they personally know whence they speak. 

If sending out paid protestors isn’t enough, consider how the right is complaining about left-wing violence – and using that as an excuse to knock a few heads themselves.  From Mother Jones:

“Did anybody get to bash a commie yet?” [Kyle] Chapman asked, addressing a group of “Western chauvinist” street brawlers known as the Proud Boys, who flashed “OK” hand signs as a videographer livestreamed the event for Chapman’s 34,000 Facebook followers. “Well, let me know when the time is right because I’m not going to miss out on any fun.”

Mike Cernovich, who has a lot of monty to spend on paid protesting, made it into this story too –

“These [left/right] labels are changing,” insists internet troll, vlogger, and self-proclaimed “national security reporter” Mike Cernovich, who is among the most prominent pro-Trump voices online and now works for Infowars. “Whether the liberals agree with us or not, we view the left as being the establishment now. The counterculture, the dissident thinking is now coming from the right.”

Of course where there are right wingers there will be money, and money pervades all of this activity.  Chapman is now looking to publish comic books.  Partly because:

“Marvel, DC have really let their readership down because they’ve moved so far to the left,” he told me. “They’ve gone and changed white characters to black characters. They’ve taken straight characters and made ’em gay. It’s not what people wanted. They want superheroes.”

May I digress a little bit here?  I am straight, and so white that I can’t spend more than five minutes in the sun without sunscreen.  But I can recognize a superhero when I see one – and it mostly ain’t white guys.  Anyone who is black or brown or gay or Muslim or any one of a thousand pther things these guys just can’t stand, IS a superhero.  They HAVE to be super heroes just to survive.  To not only survive but to stay positive, to stay away from hate (like the survivors at Mother Emanuel in Charleston) – these are the superest of superheroes.  Anyone who can’t see that is blind.  The blindness may or may not be deliberate.

The Nation also has an article on why political violence is necessarily on the right and of the right.  The Nation has a pretty fierce paywall, and when I see something there I might want to refer to again not in the same month, I “print” it to a pdf or an xps file to save on my computer, so as not to keep spending that same “view” over and over.  I did that with this one.

In the wake of the mass shooting in suburban Virginia last week that left House majority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three others wounded, conservatives have been furiously waving the bloody shirt. With LEFT-WINGHATE filling half the screen, Sean Hannity blamed Democrats, saying they “dehumanize Republicans and paint them as monsters.” Tucker Carlson claimed that “some on the hard left” support political violence because it “could lead to the dissolution of a country they despise.” Others have blamed seemingly anything even vaguely identified with liberalism for inciting the violence—from Madonna to MSNBC to Shakespeare in the Park.

This is all a truly remarkable example of projection. In the wake of the shooting, Erick Erickson wrote a piece titled, “The Violence is Only Getting Started,” as if three innocent people hadn’t been brutally murdered by white supremacists in two separate incidents in just the past month.

All of these articles are strong on what the right is in fact doing.  Unfortunately, they are weak on ideas about how to combat what the right is doing.  Because, unfortunately, just saying “Oh, they’re projecting,” is not going to work.  One either sees that or one doesn’t.  And they don’t.

But maybe Megaera and Alecto can come up with something. And, when she gets back, Tisiphone.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4059167

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RepubliCare Kills!

 Posted by at 1:09 pm  Politics
Jun 232017
 

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), aka Bought Bitch Mitch, and the Republican Party have released the Senate version of RepubliCare.  It’s easy to explain.  Are you rich?  Are you a senior?  Are you disabled?  Do you have a pre-existing condition?  Are you poor?  If you answered no to the first question, and yes to any of the rest, Bought Bitch Mitch and the Republican Party are trying to kill you.

0623trump-mcconnell

After throwing a celebratory garden party outside the Oval Office with all those white guys in suits who passed an Obamacare repeal plan that would take away the healthcare of 24 million Americans, President Trump seems to have had a change of heart. He began characterizing the scheme as “mean” and urged Senate Republicans to be more generous and less hardhearted as they recrafted the House bill.

Well, now that Senate GOP rewrite has been released from the backroom secrecy in which it was drafted under the guidance of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it appears no one really paid any attention to what Trump had to say. McConnell turns out to be just as mean as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

The Senate Republican bill would take away billions of dollars from Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, and spend that money on a big tax break for wealthy people. The bill would also sharply reduce subsidies that help low-income folks purchase health insurance. In these and most other ways, the Senate measure is not radically different from the House version of the American Health Care Act which, according to polls, is deeply unpopular with more than 80% of voters…

From <LA Times>

Since Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten has tweeted his approval of Senate RepubliCare, he takes his seat at the head of the Republican death panel.

Chris Hayes explained why the bill is the polar opposite of what Trump and the Republicans promised.

It was all a lie!

Rachel Maddow gives is the most in-depth coverage I’ve seen.

Kudos to ADAPT!

Do you want to save the millions on the Republican hit list?

RESIST!!

RepubliCare

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Jun 232017
 

Yesterday my appointment was successful, but altogether grueling.  They do make special replacement lenses that would give me vision at all distances, but Medicare does not cover them, and I can’t afford $2,700 to buy them myself.  I selected a standard mid-range lens, suitable for most indoor activities.  Then I can get a pair of sunglasses for long range outdoor use, seeing hazards to my chair at a distance, and a pair of reading glasses.  TriMet Lift delivered me an hour early, I was seen right away, and it took far less time than anticipated.  I was done at Noon.  I called TriMet, but they were unable to move my ride up from the 2:00 to 2:30 window.  They picked me up just after 2:30.  On the way home, someone sideswiped another TriMet Lift Bus, and mine was diverted to rescue their passengers.  I got to take an unwanted, but necessary, grand tour and finally returned home just after 5:00.  Exhausted, I ate, went to bed, and slept well.  We are now in the worst heat wave of the year so far, forecast at 92° today, 99° tomorrow, and 100° Sunday.  I’m afraid that when Wendy comes Sunday to de-stink the TomCat, the TomCat may also have to de-stink Wendy!!  Angel

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (RWW Channel): Sam Rohrer Says Opposition To Trump Is ‘Creating The Circumstances" For The Rise Of The Antichrist

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Bull. The home of the Antichrist is 666 Park Avenue.

0623-666

RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump cleared up one of the capital’s least suspenseful mysteries on Thursday, acknowledging that he did not record conversations with James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in anger over an investigation into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

Meeting a self-imposed deadline of this week to resolve questions he himself raised by implying that he had taped Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump said on Twitter [Traitor delinked] that he had not made tapes of what Mr. Comey has testified were attempts by the president to derail the Justice Department’s investigation.

But if few people believed that Mr. Trump actually possessed recordings, his motives in warning Mr. Comey that he might have taped him remain a mystery, particularly since it set off a chain of events that accelerated, rather than slowed, the investigation into Mr. Trump and Russia.

Mr. Comey testified that it was Mr. Trump’s veiled threat of tapes that led him to authorize the disclosure of memos of his conversations with the president — the details of which prompted the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to look into the case.

If Trump is now telling the truth, always a doubtful hypothesis, he committed Obstruction of Justice by using threats to temper with a witness. RESIST!!

From Raw Story: Life After Hate — a nonprofit group dedicated to de-radicalizing white nationalist and neo-Nazi extremists and combating the rise of right-wing extremism — is losing its funding under the Trump administration.

Politico’s Playbook Plus reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s $10 million grant program “Countering Violent Extremism” was stalled but is set to resume on Friday.

Life After Hate was supposed to receive a $400,000 grant in the last days of the Obama administration. That money was delayed as the program was reviewed and assessed.

“But,” Politico said, “the Trump administration dropped them from the new grant list that’s getting announced today.”

The group has had a “twenty-fold increase in calls for help” since Election Day from people trying to “disengage” from neo-Nazism and white supremacy as well as friends and family looking for help for someone they know.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all, if the Fuhrer and his Republican Reich gave the money to Stormfront instead. RESIST!!

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0623Cartoon

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Jun 232017
 

It was just a week ago that the month-long Sampling the Abyss marine biology expedition ended.  While they found thousands of rare deep sea creatures, about a third of which are new to science, they created a major internet sensation and got the most attention when they revealed just one – the Peanut Worm:

And that is NOT a typo – it is Peanut Worm (Sipuncula) – so you should not confuse it with the already discovered Penis Worm (Priapulida).

And of course as a physician, I took it right in stride with an ever so mature reaction:

The Sampling the Abyss mission was comprised of 40 scientists under the auspices of Australia’s Museums Victoria and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).  It set out on the ship Investigator to explore Australia’s Abyss off its eastern coast down to a depth of 4km (2.5 miles) – some of the most remote and unexplored area on earth in some of its most treacherous waters.

The lead scientist on the mission, Dr. Tim O’Hara, said, “Australia’s deep-sea environment is larger in size than the mainland, and until now, almost nothing was known about life on the abyssal plain.”

He added: “The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half the world’s oceans and one third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth. We know that abyssal animals have been around for at least 40 million years, but until recently only a handful of samples had been collected from Australia’s abyss.”

To corral new creatures, the team lowered nets to a depth so deep that it took seven hours to reach the ocean floor.  And in addition to looking for new life-forms, the team also used “high-tech multi-beam sonar” for mapping purposes to the previously unexplored area.

One can imagine the environment of the Abyss: crushing pressures, no light, little food and close to freezing temperatures.  So the creatures that call this home have developed extraordinary attributes to survive – from having no eyes, to producing their own light through bioluminescence.  Many are jelly-like, most likely to endure the pressures, while others have partially calcified skeletons and spines.  But they all have one thing in common: they are without a doubt some of the strangest creatures ever discovered.

So let’s meet a few of these new finds, and I’ll try to do them alphabetically.

Bamboo Coral

The delicate bamboo coral skeleton is made up of calcium carbonate with joint like nodes giving them the appearance of bamboo. They are incredibly long-lived with some having been recorded as old as 4,000 years.  And they have growth rings like trees, so it’s hoped they’ll be able to provide a past history of major oceanic events.

Blind Cusk Eel – or Faceless Fish

It has no eyes, and its mouth is underneath.  It’s actually a cusk eel with the scientific name Typhlonus nasus, which is derived from Greek, meaning “blind hake.”

 

Blobfish

The blob fish was collected at a depth of 2.5km and has soft watery flesh.  It nestles in on the ocean floor, lies very still and then ambushes unsuspecting prey as they pass by.

It’s a close cousin to Mr. Blobby, the social media phenom we’ve all probably seen that was collected in the Tasman Sea in 2003 and was voted the World’s Ugliest Fish in 2013.

Brittle Star – Game of Thrones

This was a new find, so Dr. O’Hara named it the Game of Thrones Brittle Star, Ophiohamus georgemartini, because of its sharp thorns similar to those depicted on the Game of Thrones crown.  It has no eyes and no brain – so I’m sure it’s a republican.  It’s just a protoplasm of pure nerves.

Cookie-cutter Shark

It has perfectly aligned serrated teeth and strange eyes that glow in the dark.  It preys on preys on pretty much anything including dolphins, whales and the occasional unfortunate human, latching onto them before gouging out cookie-sized chunks of flesh.

Dumbo Octopus

Dumbo Octopus flaps its ear-like fins to “fly” or glide through the deep abyss – just like the Disney movie Dumbo elephant.

Lizard Fish

The lizard fish (Bathysaurus ferox) is pretty much just a mouth with sharp hinged teeth.  They live at depths of 1,000-2,500 metres (3,280-8,202 feet) where there is very little food, so they tend to be sparse in number.

At that depth, it tends to be even harder to find a mate than a meal, so they have evolved to become hermaphrodites: they have male and female reproductive organs.  So when they do come across another one they’ll be able to mate – and have cute little baby lizard fishes.

Peanut Worm

They actually do look like a peanut – but it only happens when they are threatened and then assume a defensive posture.  The worm retracts its head inside itself, and so really does look similar to a peanut.

Sea Pigs

They found a herd of sea pigs on the ocean floor.  They act like little vacuum cleaners by using their tube-like feet to move across the floor, hoovering up microorganisms.  They are the only type of sea cucumber with ‘feet’ and tend to gather in large numbers where food is abundant.

Zombie Worm

Zombie worms are 1 to 3 inches long and were first discovered in the bones of a rotting gray whale on the ocean floor.  They have no functioning mouth, digestive tract or anus, but have bacteria that digest whale bone marrow.

They burrow into bones to feed, and according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, they secrete an acid from their skin that dissolves that bone, freeing up the fat and protein.  They then use the symbiotic bacteria living inside the worms to digest the fat and protein.

You can find lots more information at a number of sites – or just Google “Peanut Worm” in the last month, and you’ll find lots more!  But you may want to start w/ the expedition’s own blog site:

https://www.nespmarine.edu.au/abyss-landing-page

https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/news/2017/06/21/weird-and-unseen-fish-discovered-in-australian-abyss/103063292/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2017/06/21/australian-deep-sea-researchers-find-peanut-worm-other-creatures/415980001/

http://www.newsweek.com/faceless-fish-weird-underwater-creatures-626836

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/06/20/australian-deep-sea-expedition-dives-into-the-abyss-and-discovers-sea-creatures-from-your-nightmares

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4619510/Photos-deeps-ea-creatures-Australia-s-coast.html

 

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Jun 222017
 

I’m headed out to see Christine, my Ophthalmologist for my final planning and measurements appointment before my cataract surgery on 7/18.  I’ll be home late this afternoon, but will be visually impaired from being dilated.  I should be back in the saddle tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:40 (average 5:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Cartoon:

0622Cartoon

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