Jun 302014

Day 70.  I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling a bit groggy, having just awakened from a much needed nap.  Where have the weekend and the month gone?

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:53 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer is no dummy. He sees the writing on the wall.

I’d strongly suggest you read this entire piece titled "The pitchforks are coming . . . for us Plutocrats"

And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/…

It’s rare to see truth coming from a billionaire. Click through.

From NY Times: The Libyan militia leader charged in connection with the 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed the United States ambassador and three others was brought to Washington early Saturday, where he entered a not guilty plea at the federal courthouse, formally opening one of the most complicated terrorism cases the Justice Department has mounted in recent years.

The suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was flown to Washington by helicopter from a Navy warship that had steamed across the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea after he was captured by American commandos at a seaside villa near Benghazi two weeks ago.

Obama is getting away with doing exactly what he is supposed to do.  Republicans must be livid!

From Crooks and Liars: This is becoming a habit for Meet the Press host David Gregory. Does anyone think he really does not know that the Republicans and their continued obstruction, blocking rebuilding our infrastructure and President Obama’s jobs plan, shutting down the government and costing the economy billions of dollars and refusing to cooperate on anything if heaven forbid it might make the president look good has harmed our economy?

Whether he does or not, it didn’t stop him from playing concern troll for John Boehner and the Republicans during his interview with former President Bill Clinton this week, from the way he framed this question to begin with, to the follow up question where he pretended to be clueless on the way they’ve governed.


David "Raps with Rove" Gregory could not have been more biased, calling the Republican Recession the “Obama economy”. On the other hand, Slick Willie did a horrible job at debunking Gregory’s BS.



Mar 232014

Writing for tomorrow, I’m quite tired, after doing some long overdue housework.  It was afternoon, before I even started my research, and with more housework to do, I’m making this tomorrow’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:10 (average 5:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: An Iraq War veteran who was wounded by police during a 2011 Occupy protest in Oakland, Calif. has reached a $4.5 million settlement with the city, The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday.

Scott Olsen, 26, was struck in the head by a beanbag fired by a police officer on Oct. 25, 2011. He was part of a protest against the police clearing of an Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall.

It’s not often that I get to share such good news. I just hope he doesn’t become a Republican now. 😉

From Think Progress: One reason Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) opposes the Senate’s bipartisan answer to immigration reform is because he insists it would force immigrants to become unwilling citizens of the U.S.

“There are a lot of people who come here, just want to work and go back home and not be a legal citizen that the Senate bill would actually force onto an amnesty track,” Scalise told ThinkProgress after a town hall in his district Friday. “If you look at the 1986 law, 40 percent that were eligible for amnesty chose not to go that route because they just wanted to work and go back home. And yet the Senate bill would force them to become American citizens and that’s not even what they want.”

He proposed that the country strengthen immigration enforcement and secure its borders instead.

This Republican liar completely ignores the guest worker program in EVERY Democratic proposal.  He might as well say that disenfranchising voters prevents them from being forced to vote.

From Robert Reich: Despite the worst roll-out conceivable, the Affordable Care Act seems to be working. With less than two weeks remaining before the March 31 deadline for coverage this year, five million people have already signed up. After decades of rising percentages of Americans’ lacking health insurance, the uninsured rate has dropped to its lowest levels since 2008.

Meanwhile, the rise in health care costs has slowed drastically. No one knows exactly why, but the new law may well be contributing to this slowdown by reducing Medicare overpayments to medical providers and private insurers, and creating incentives for hospitals and doctors to improve quality of care.

But a lot about the Affordable Care Act needs fixing — especially the widespread misinformation that continues to surround it. For example, a majority of business owners with fewer than 50 workers still think they’re required to offer insurance or pay a penalty. In fact, the law applies only to businesses with 50 or more employees who work more than 30 hours a week. And many companies with fewer than 25 workers still don’t realize that if they offer plans they can qualify for subsidies in the form of tax credits.

Click through for much more. Once again, Robert Reich trumps the Republican Reich. Remember, under the Republican alternative, the RepubliCare Death Benefit guarantees that there’s never a charge to die, for those who cannot pay for medical care.



Nov 072013

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I just returned from the building where I expect to move.  I saw the unit, and although not as large as I hoped, it’s bigger than where I am now.  It has three big windows, facing East and an elevator.  I can’t wait!  I’m coming down with a bronchial bug and feeling like something I forgot to bury in my kitty box, so this is tomorrow’s only article.  Fantasy football players, be sure you’re ready for Thursday night’s game.

Update:  I’m feeling really crappy, so I need to skip replying to yesterday’s comments, at least for now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:40 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: What the 1 percent thinks about you

It’s all so easy if you’re part of the one percent.

(Reuters) – I asked a financial services executive recently how our retirement saving system can be considered a success, considering that all but the highest-income households are approaching retirement with next to nothing saved.

His reply: "They don’t have any money while they’re working, so why would they have any money in retirement?"

It’s just that simple…

This is the super-rich reality upon which Republicans base their War on the 99%.

From NY Times: Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Democratic fund-raiser and ally of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, was elected governor of Virginia on Tuesday, narrowly defeating the state’s conservative attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, and confirming Virginia’s evolution as a state increasingly dominated politically by the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs.

Add Rachel!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Cooch screwed the pooch!!

From Truthdig: By trumpeting economic and civil rights issues, New York Public Advocate Bill De Blasio got himself elected Tuesday night to the highest office in the biggest city in America.

The New York Times reports that De Blasio’s win “cut across all of New York’s traditional divides. He won support from voters regardless of race, gender, age, education, religion or income, according to the exit poll.”

The triumphant candidate, who easily defeated his Republican rival, will be the first Democrat to run the city in nearly 20 years. He ran against the heavy-handed police tactics and pro-business policies put in place by his predecessors, Rudolph Giuliani and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Great for NY,NY!!



Jul 082013

I’m writing early for Day 23, and I’m still running short on sleep, because I have not yet had the good sense to sacrifice my neighbor to the :evil:.  😉

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:58 (average 4:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: I RECENTLY spent a week in Berlin, where the entire city seemed under construction. In every direction, cranes and other heavy equipment dominated the landscape. Although many projects are in the private sector, innumerable others — including bridge and highway repairs, new subway stations and other infrastructure work — are financed by taxpayers.

But wait. Hasn’t Germany been one of the most outspoken advocates of fiscal austerity after the financial crisis? Yes, and that’s not a contradiction. Fiscally responsible businesses routinely borrow to invest, and so, until recently, did most governments.

Lately, however, fears about growing public debt have caused wholesale cuts in American public investment. The Germans, of course, yield to no one in their distaste for indebtedness. But they also understand the distinction between consumption and investment. By borrowing, they’ve made investments whose future benefits will far outweigh repayment costs. There’s nothing foolhardy about that.

The trick is that Republicans are only austere when it comes to spending that benefits all Americans, but are gung ho for spending that benefits the 1% only.

From Crooks and Liars: …Many observers instantly believed that Thomas had perjured himself, as soon as he made the claim. Roe was one of the most controversial and important cases decided at the time when Thomas was in law school—precisely the sort of case that every law student in the land with the slightest bit of professional ambition absolutely had to have an opinion on. One might fairly say, if you didn’t have an opninion on Roe, you didn’t have a pulse. Even if no one could immediate prove that Thomas was lying, it was such a preposterous claim that when Anita Hill’s claim of sexual harrasment became known, there were justifiably severe doubts about Thomas’s self-defense. The balancing-worshiping media media gleefully spread the meme of “two very credible witnesses,” but anyone paying attention before Hill’s accusations emerged knew this was a lie. There was nothing very credible about Thomas’s claim to have no opinion about Roe. And, indeed, it took very little time for Thomas, once approved, to show just how extreme his previously non-existent views were.

It says a lot about the man and the party he represents that he considered it ethical to lie in order to steal an appointment to the Supreme Court.  Click through for more of Teabag Thomas’ confirmation lies.

From Daily Kos: Conservative policy in this arena centers on the following, interconnected axioms:

1) with very few exceptions, wealth is totally earned and deserved.

2) social programs unfairly confiscate and redistribute wealth from those who have earned it to those who have not, from the "worthy" to the "unworthy."

3) the unworthy recipients of such largesse are then trapped in what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) referred to as a "culture of dependency," i.e., they’d be better off if they were allowed/forced to survive on their own.

4) as Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano wrote—"Taxation is theft."

On taxes and wealth, conservatives ignore (or pretend to) the fact that the current distribution of wealth—one that sees greater inequality and a higher concentration of wealth at the very top than at any time since just before the Great Depression—is not a "natural" occurrence, it’s not simply the result of merit

Click through for an excellent article that thoroughly debunks the Republican lie that the rich are rich solely through merit, and the poor are poor solely through their own choice.



Jul 062013

I’m writing early again for Day 22, and the temperature at my desk has actually dropped to 78°.  I even put on clothing!  Sadly, the temperature is slated to start going back up again today. :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:12 (average 6:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

The live draft for our fantasy football league is at 11AM PDT (2PM EDT) on  Sunday July 28.  We still NEED  two more players in our lefty league.  For more info, click here.  Let me know right away, please.

Short Takes:

From PR Watch: Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson’s "astroturf supergroup," the Campaign to Fix the Debt, won’t have much to celebrate this Independence Day weekend after missing its goal of achieving a "Grand Bargain" on austerity by July 4, 2013.

The Center for Media and Democracy exposed the Campaign to Fix the Debt as the most hypocritical corporate PR campaign in decades. The list of corporate CEOs pushing for a "Grand Bargain" on the deficit include some of the worst tax dodgers in the nation — such as GE and Honeywell — who are secretly using Fix the Debt to push for even more tax cuts. One goal is the implementation of a “territorial tax system” that would exempt certain firms from U.S. taxation of their offshore profits.

Obama knew that Republicans would never accept a plan that required 1% vulture capitalists t6o give back a small portion of the ill gotten gains they received from Republicans transferring wealth to them from the poor and middle classes. Nevertheless he continued to insist in just that, despite the mistaken belief on the left that he was selling us out. He knew, as I said repeatedly at the time, that he would never have to deliver on cuts to the big three in return for a grand bargain.

From Crooks and Liars:

American Prospect reporter Jamelle Bouie received a toxic email from a typical Tea Party conservative reacting to an article Bouie wrote about the fatigue associated with systemic racism. Bouie’s troll cited statistics about how the welfare state had forced Jamelle’s "people" into more illegitimate births and posed false comparisons to prove white supremacy. Among other things, the writer asked this:

You are surprised that GOP conservatives don’t turn toward your viewpoint, yet can you say your own people are not neck deep in family and academic failure over the past few decades?

Bouie decided to go beyond a bit of Twitter mockery and try to have a real conversation with the guy. He got his telephone number from the email address on the email, and called him. What ensued was about 30 minutes of the guy talking at him instead of with him, but it seems to have been enlightening.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I think the term Chris sought was white nationalism. While the TheoCon and InsaniTEA wings of the Republican Party may not care about the NeoCon, CorporaCon and PlutoCon wings, the continue to goose-step behind their 1% agenda, because the 1% are footing the bill to implement the pseudo-Christian and racist legislation TheoCons and Tea Baggers want.

From Daily Kos: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that, seasonally adjusted, the private sector added 202,000 new jobs in June while government shed 7,000. The official unemployment rate remained steady at 7.6 percent.  The private sector has now added more jobs than it has lost for 39 consecutive months.

A net gain of less than 200,000 jobs is still insufficient for robust jobs growth, and underlies, once again, that during a slowly recovering economy is the wrong time to cut public sector jobs. Obama and the Democrats have tried to implement policies that would foster more robust jobs growth, but Republicans have sabotaged them.



Jul 042013

I’m writing early for day 20, and the inside temperature has finally dropped below 80°.  I’m not sufficiently recovered to take on the Monthly Report, but I do have more articles today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me  3:22 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Alternet: A San Diego protester who faced over a decade in jail for drawing anti-bank slogans in chalk was acquitted yesterday by a jury. The victory for 40-year-old Jeff Olson, who was inspired by Occupy Wall Street, came despite the prosecutor’s zeal for imposing a heavy jail sentence on him for the misdemeanor charges.

He was prosecuted for drawing chalk slogans outside Bank of America locations from April to August 2012 that read, “Shame on B of A” and “No thanks big banks.” He also drew a picture of an octopus reaching for dollar bills.

Bank of America had contacted the city’s attorney to urge the prosecution.

Olson faced 13 years in jail for drawing the chalk slogan, and also faced the possibility of a $13,000 fine–an unusually harsh punishment for graffiti. But the jury was convinced of Olson’s innocence–and agreed with the San Diego mayor, who called the prosecution “stupid.” Olson was acquitted despite the fact that his lawyers were hamstrung by the judge’s decision not to allow them to argue that Olson’s actions were constitutionally protected.

Right on, Jeff Olson!! The prosecution was stupid, and the judge had his head so far up his butt that he could see the bottom of his tonsils. The jury cared more about the Constitution than the fascist five Injustices of SCROTUS!

From Crooks and Liars: AMERICABlog’s Gaius Publius reminds us the demolition of public education is not a byproduct of a declining economy — it’s something the elite have wanted to do for a long time:

In our Deadlines post — “America faces more than a dozen deadlines, all caused by billionaires and wealth transfer“— we noted that public education was in a crisis of privatization from which it may never recover (some editing and added emphasis below):

Number 15 on the list is “Destruction of public education.” Does that really have an end-point? If so, what does it look like? Extrapolate the charter-school / “for-profit school funded with public money” process — which is, again, both uni-directional and accelerating — to its end-point and you get a two-tiered school system with a sloppy middle.One tier is an aging, decrepit, under-funded, useless-for-education factory-school system for the middle and lower classes (most of the country). The other tier has bright shiny (private) charter schools for the billionaires and their millionaire administrators and friends.

A good example of this bifurcation is the charter school that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children to, in which music and the arts are taught, which he supports at the same time he’s destroying public school funding for the poor and middle class of his own city.


I can see the effects of the decay already. When I was a kid, I learned how to think in school. Today is about passing a test and what to think, and the product is often functionally illiterate. Kudos to the many teachers fighting to hold the line against Republicans and sold-out Corporate Democrats like Rahmbo.

From Think Progress: The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001-2010 decade, which was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850 and continued an extended period of pronounced global warming. More national temperature records were reported broken than in any previous decade, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO News Release).

A picture is worth a thousand words.





Jun 032013

ARGH!  The best laid plans of mice and men.  Before leaving to my doctor’s appointment, I swapped in my last unused O2 bottle to meet my needs during the trip.  It was empty, and with no oxygen  I cannot go.  I called and left a message.  I just hope I don’t have to pay for a missed appointment.  ARGH!   That is why I have this for you today, albeit late.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

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

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

“The Chinese are the biggest beneficiary of this post-Saddam oil boom in Iraq,” said Denise Natali, a Middle East expert at the National Defense University in Washington. “They need energy, and they want to get into the market.”

Instead of the issue of 4 US deaths in Benghazi, shouldn’t we be still be asking about 4,000+ US deaths in Iraq. It is ultimate failure that $1 Trillion+ and all those irreplaceable lives spent on Bush’s Republican War for Oil and Conquest has brought Oil for China and a new client state for Iraq.

From Alternet:

In football terms, "piling on" means jumping on a player when he’s down. In the economic new normal described by Bernie Sanders, it means taking most of the wealth and all of the income, moving profits and jobs overseas, and making impoverished people pay the bills.

1. Taking ALL the Income

Charles Koch said, "I want my fair share — and that’s all of it." He’s been getting his wish lately. In the first two years of the recovery, the richest 1% seemingly impossibly captured  121% of the income gains, while incomes for 99% of Americans declined, with the median household income  dropping by 7.3 percent.

More and more people are working in respectable but  low-wage positions in food service and retail.  Low-income jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) made up one-fifth of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for three-fifths of the jobs regained during the recovery.

I urge you to click through to see three more ways in which the 1%, aided by their Republican lackeys, are screwing the rest of us.

From Crooks & Liars: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Sunday said that Washington should stay out of the business of ensuring equal pay because "what women want" is just to be "recognized."

During a panel discussion on NBC about a recent Pew report that found women had become primary source of income in 40 percent of U.S. households, Blackburn said that it was "up to companies to make sure there is a level playing field and that women are not shortchanged as they try to get on that latter to success."


It’s up to companies to ensure equal pay for equal work, just like it’s up to foxes to ensure safety for the residents of hen houses. She says that recognition is more important for women that equal pay. TEAbuggery!! Companies recognize the value of workers through pay and benefits, because the only language spoken in corporate America is $$$.



Republicans are already trying to ban what they consider degenerate art.  Notice any similarities with how Republicans portray Obama?

May 312013

Although I am pretty tired, I have two more for you today.  I plan to catch up on sleep later.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:00 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Like many observers, I usually read reports about political goings-on with a sort of weary cynicism. Every once in a while, however, politicians do something so wrong, substantively and morally, that cynicism just won’t cut it; it’s time to get really angry instead. So it is with the ugly, destructive war against food stamps.

The food stamp program — which these days actually uses debit cards, and is officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — tries to provide modest but crucial aid to families in need. And the evidence is crystal clear both that the overwhelming majority of food stamp recipients really need the help, and that the program is highly successful at reducing “food insecurity,” in which families go hungry at least some of the time.

Food stamps have played an especially useful — indeed, almost heroic — role in recent years. In fact, they have done triple duty…

This Krugman editorial is a must read to understand the positive effects food stamps have, both for the families who receive them, and for the economy as a whole. He also covers Republican class warfare and their intent to eventually eliminate the program altogether. I encourage you to click through to read the entire article.

From MSNBC: Rachel Maddow discusses the use of political threats.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Considering the targets, the violence, and the ignorance, this can be nothing other than InsaniTEA, although I would think that making seditious threats against the President should be sentenced to only six months, when the penalty for Sedition is up to ten years.

From Daily Kos: Surprise! CBO report shows 50% of government tax expenditures go to top 20% of earners

And that’s not all. According to 29-page Congressional Budget Office report, The Distribution of Major Tax Expenditures in the Individual Income Tax System, the top one percent of earners get 17 percent of tax expenditures. People in the bottom 20 percent only receive eight percent of the total benefits from tax expenditures.

Welfare for the top 1% is more than double that for the bottom 20%. Isn’t that bass ackwards? Of course the Republican solution is to cut taxes for the 1%, but to raise YOUR taxes.



Republicans want to give us the freedom to lose the right to elect our Senators by repealing the 17th Amendment, because they cannot gerrymander Senate seats.

May 292013

To a recent article I wrote on ObamaCare, a friend commented that the problem is not that it is socialist, as Republicans claim, but that it is not socialist enough.  We do have one self-avowed socialist in the US Senate, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  He penned an article comparing the us with socialist Denmark.

29DanishHCDanish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen spent a weekend in Vermont this month traveling with me to town meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark.

Today in the United States there is a massive amount of economic anxiety. Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.

While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity. Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries

Denmark is a small, homogenous nation of about 5.5 million people. The United States is a melting pot of more than 315 million people. No question about it, Denmark and the United States are very different countries. Nonetheless, are there lessons that we can learn from Denmark?

In Denmark, social policy in areas like health care, child care, education and protecting the unemployed are part of a "solidarity system" that makes sure that almost no one falls into economic despair. Danes pay very high taxes, but in return enjoy a quality of life that many Americans would find hard to believe. As the ambassador mentioned, while it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor. The minimum wage in Denmark is about twice that of the United States and people who are totally out of the labor market or unable to care for themselves have a basic income guarantee of about $100 per day.

Health care in Denmark is universal, free of charge and high quality. Everybody is covered as a right of citizenship. The Danish health care system is popular, with patient satisfaction much higher than in our country. In Denmark, every citizen can choose a doctor in their area. Prescription drugs are inexpensive and free for those under 18 years of age. Interestingly, despite their universal coverage, the Danish health care system is far more cost-effective than ours. They spend about 11 percent of their GDP on health care. We spend almost 18 percent… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

Photo credit: Invest in Denmark

I strongly encourage you to click through for the rest of Bernie’s article.

The immediate Republican objection would be that making it difficult to become very rich in Denmark is an affront to freedom, but in case they have not noticed, it’s difficult to become very rich here too.  The difference is that here, the 1% get so much that what’s left is insufficient for the 99%, but in Denmark, they spend the resources on better quality of life for the 99%.

Which is more desirable, a society that grossly favors 1% of it’s citizens, or one that favors 99% of it’s citizens?  You be they judge.  Two things are clear.  First the average Dane has a much higher standard of living than the average American.  Second, Bernie Sanders is still a national treasure.

May 252013

Yesterday was pretty busy with paperwork catch-up and a long chat on the phone with my quit coach.  However, I managed to get a long nap in and slept well, so I have another article for you today.  Please take extra care, when travelling this holiday weekend, and have a great one in the process.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MSNBC: Lets be kind to our friends from the land of ‘eh’. 😉

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That pic of the mayor could have easily been altered.

From MoveOn: The Robert Reich Reality Check All Of Your Friends Need To See


While we have not been living beyond our means, the 1% have been living beyond our means to maintain their greed with welfare.

From NY Times: The partial collapse here on Thursday night of a heavily used river bridge on Interstate 5 caused no deaths, but as the long holiday weekend began it underscored the vulnerability of a transportation system that hinges not just on high-profile water crossings and tunnels, but on thousands of ordinary and unremarked components that travelers mostly take for granted.

A 160-foot section of the 58-year-old four-lane steel truss bridge, which crosses the Skagit River about an hour north of Seattle, crumpled around 7 p.m., apparently after being struck by a truck carrying an oversize load, state officials said. Three people were injured, none of them seriously, when vehicles went into the river.

But the ripple effects of the collapse could be huge — for commuters, freight haulers, residents and businesses around the bridge on detour routes and for politicians in Olympia, Washington’s capital…

How many more bridges need to collapse before Republicans stop sabotaging their repair by blocking infrastructure legislation?



Republicans still support the verdict.

May 212013

Very rarely do I repost an article in it’s entirety.  As a rule, I include  just enough for you to get the gist of it, and link back so you can read the rest.  However, in Moyers’ case, he not only invites, but encourages reposting his work, and in this case, that work is critically important.

21MoyersAt the end of a week that reminds us to be ever vigilant about the dangers of government overreaching its authority, whether by the long arm of the IRS or the Justice Department, we should pause to think about another threat — from too much private power obnoxiously intruding into public life.

All too often, instead of acting as a brake on runaway corporate power and greed, government becomes their enabler, undermining the very rules and regulations intended to keep us safe.

Think of inadequate inspections of food and the food-related infections which kill 3,000 Americans each year and make 48 million sick. A new study from Johns Hopkins shows elevated levels of arsenic — known to increase a person’s risk of cancer — in chicken meat. According to the university’s Center for a Livable Future, “Arsenic-based drugs have been used for decades to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. The drugs are also approved to treat and prevent parasites in poultry… Currently in the U.S., there is no federal law prohibiting the sale or use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry feed.”

And here’s a story in The Washington Post about toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals used in poultry plants to clean more chickens more quickly to meet increased demand and make more money. According to Amanda Hitt, director of the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign, “They are mixing chemicals together in these plants, and it’s making people sick. Does it work better at killing off pathogens? Yes, but it also can send someone into respiratory arrest.”

As long as there are insufficient checks and balances on big business and its powerful lobbies, we are at their mercy.

So far, the government has done next to nothing. No research into the possible side effects, no comprehensive record-keeping on illnesses. “Instead,” the Post reports, “they review data provided by chemical manufacturers.” What’s more, the Department of Agriculture is about to allow the production lines to move even faster, by as much as 25 percent, which means more chemicals, more exposure, more sickness.

Think of that and think of the 85,000 industrial chemicals available today – only a handful have been tested for safety. Ian Urbina writes in The New York Times, “Hazardous chemicals have become so ubiquitous that scientists now talk about babies being born pre-polluted, sometimes with hundred s of synthetic chemicals showing up in their blood.”

Think, too, of that horrific explosion of ammonium nitrate in the Texas fertilizer plant. Fifteen people were killed and their little town devastated. The magazine Mother Jones noted, “Inspections are virtually non-existent; regulatory agencies don’t talk to each other; and there’s no such thing as a buffer zone when it comes to constructing plants and storage facilities in populated areas.” For years, the Fertilizer Institute, described as “the nation’s leading lobbying organization of the chemical and agricultural industries,” resisted regulation and legislators went along. People can lose their lives when federal or state government winks at bad corporate practices — 4,500 workplace deaths annually at a cost to America of nearly half a trillion dollars.

An investigator looks over a destroyed fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Pool/ LM Otero, Pool)

As Salon’s columnist and author David Sirota observes, “If all this data was about a terrorist threat, the reaction would be swift — negligent federal agencies would be roundly criticized and the specific state’s lax attitude toward security would be lambasted. Yet, after the fertilizer plant explosion, there has been no proactive reaction at all, other than Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry boasting about his state’s ‘comfort with the amount of oversight’ that already exists.”

Finally, consider this story from ProPublica’s investigative reporter Abrahm Lustgarten about a uranium company that wanted a mining project in Texas that threatened to pollute drinking water. The EPA resisted — until the company hired as its lobbyist the Democratic fundraiser and fixer Heather Podesta, a favorite of the White House. Her firm was paid $400,000, she pulled the strings, and presto, the EPA changed its mind and said yes, go ahead and do your dirty work. In fact, ProPublica found that “the agency has used a little-known provision in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to issue more than 1,500 exemptions allowing energy and mining companies to pollute aquifers, including many in the driest parts of the country.”

Of course, in a free society we’ll always be debating the role of government and its agencies. What are the limits, when is government oversight necessary and when is it best deterred? But it’s not only government that can go too far. As long as there are insufficient checks and balances on big business and its powerful lobbies, we are at their mercy. Their ability to buy off public officials is an assault on democracy and a threat to our lives and health. When an entire political system persists in producing such gross injustice, it is making inevitable wholesale defiance.

Inserted from <Bill Moyers Journal>

Of course Moyers is spot on.  We have one party brought about half the time and the other party owned lock, stock, and barrel by corporate criminals like the Koch Brothers.  We need more oversight.  To get ity we need to make the Democratic Party more progressive and the Republican Party more extinct.

May 172013

I’m in quite a bit of pain from my bad leg, but at least I have an Open Thread today.  I’d like to share a quote from the writing of one of my guys in prison: “We cannot find peace or freedom while sowing the seeds of discord with dishonesty, intolerance, irresponsibility or disrespect.”  If only someone would teach this to the Republican leadership.  My activity here should increase gradually.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: With the House set on Friday to convene the first of its hearings into the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, the lessons learned from the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, which cost Republicans in elections in 1998, have been on display in recent days.

Listening to the hearings, I learned that the abuse, which Republicans are blaming on Obama, occurred during the Bush Regime under his appointees.  Under Obama, the same people continued the same policies.  In any event, this is clearly not a Democratic attack on Teabaggers.  If anything, it’s an attack by the 1% wings of the Republican Party to limit the power of their Tea Party storm troopers, the monster they created, and now, cannot control.

From The New Yorker: Today Speaker of the House John Boehner issued the following letter to the American people:

Dear American People,

Yesterday, your hardworking House Republicans tried, once again, and failed, once again, to repeal Obamacare. And I really thought we had a good chance this time.

That’s because we were all united in our hatred for this infernal and takes-too-long-to-read law. Every last one of us cast his vote to strike it down, from crazy little Paul Ryan to that arrogant bastard Eric Cantor.

And I wish you could have seen the faces of those freshman Republicans as they voted to repeal Obamacare—so innocent, so full of hope and wonder. As I told them yesterday, “You’ll never forget your first time.” …

Since retaking the House in 2010, Republicans have averaged 5.4 minutes out of every hour to repealing Obamacare.

From MSNBC: Deficits are shrinking at a historic pace.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In spite of everything Republicans have done to sabotage our economy for political gain, the policies taken by Obama and the Democrats are working. The reason Republicans don’t cake is this. Everything their party does is a smokescreen for one of two Republican goals: either transfer of worth from the 99% to the 1%, or establishing a permanent regime of totalitarian Republican rule.