Aug 252015
 

After the stresses of the last few days, I am feeling quite tired.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day, and I have some extra cleaning to do for that.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:21 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: They don’t pay taxes. They circumvent our laws. They get free stuff from the government. They are America’s billionaires, and many would like to see them gone.

According to a new survey by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, the American people hold the nation’s billionaires in lower esteem than ever before, and a majority would like to see new laws enacted to deport them.

“They come here, take thousands of our jobs, and export them overseas,” one respondent said, in an opinion echoed by many others in the survey.

“They are part of a shadow economy that sucks billions of dollars out of the United States every year and puts it in Switzerland and the Caymans,” another said.

Images of hedge-fund managers arriving via helicopter in the Hamptons this summer have only reinforced the impression that authorities have turned a blind eye to their movements.

“Many of these people should be in prison, and the government is looking the other way,” one respondent said.

Stirring even more controversy is the billionaires’ practice of having babies in the United States and using the nation’s porous estate-tax laws to pass down untold wealth to the next generation.

“They should leave and take their children with them,” one respondent said.

At times, Andy makes a brilliant suggestion. This is one of those times. Lets start with the nevermind brothers.

From Daily Kos: "Ted Cruz Criticizes Carter Day After Wrenching Talk on Cancer," says the Bloomberg headline, and so we are obliged to take another rubbernecking glance at the most repellent man in politics.

A day after Jimmy Carter appeared on national television to talk about the cancer that's ravaging his body, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz criticized the former president's administration in a speech in Iowa.

"I think where we are today is very, very much like the late 1970s," the senator from Texas said on the Des Moines Register's political soapbox stage at the Iowa State Fair.

"I think the parallels between this administration and the Carter administration are uncanny: same failed domestic policies, same misery, stagnation and malaise, same feckless and naïve foreign policy," Cruz said. "In fact, the exact same countries—Russia and Iran—openly laughing and mocking at the president of the United States."

Uranus Inspector could not be further from the truth. The real similarities are that Carter and Obama both are decent men, doing their best, and were sabotaged by Republicans. Republicans even made a secret deal with Iran, giving them better terms on the hostage release, in return for KEEPING OUR HOSTAGE CITIZENS CAPTIVE, so they could win the election. I think that covering up proof of which individuals committed this treason is one of the reasons that Republicans oppose the Iran deal now.

From MoveOn: If you have friends who’ve been tricked, duped, or bamboozled by the war lobby into opposing the Iran nuclear deal, share this new ad with them from our friends at Americans United for Change:

 

Please click through to share this wherever you can.

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…then buy my bridge from me!

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Aug 192015
 

It’s another very hot very humid day.  After today, we should get two temperate days, before the 90°+ weather returns on Saturday.  Yesterday afternoon, I learned that my friend with cancer was in recovery, after a successful mastectomy.  I feel quite relieved about that.  Store to Door delivered groceries early.  I have them put away.  Now, if I can just stay conscious until after my articles are up and out, it’s A/C hunker time again.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:21 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker:

On the evening of August 6th, when the news broke that Senator Charles Schumer would vote against the Iran accord, the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid, was as stunned as the rest of his caucus. The two men are close friends. When Reid became the leader, in 2005, Schumer was a backbencher, who mused about running for governor of New York. Reid took an interest in him, came to rely on both his fund-raising prowess with Wall Street and his counsel on a range of matters, and always advised his ambitious protégé, “Be patient, be patient.” Last March, when Reid announced that he would retire at the end of 2016, he endorsed Schumer to succeed him and announced that another contender, Richard Durbin, the Democratic whip (and Schumer’s former roommate), would stand down. For those progressives who questioned whether Schumer should be leader, Reid said that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would keep the caucus honest. Now, because of Schumer’s position as presumptive leader, Reid felt that Schumer should have informed him of his decision on the Iran deal, given its importance, according to a Senate aide. Still, when a White House official called Reid that night to ask if he would announce his support of the deal to counter Schumer’s opposition, Reid refused, saying he wasn’t ready, a close associate said. (A spokesman for Senator Reid later issued a statement denying that Reid was surprised by Schumer’s announcement. “Their relationship is as close as ever. On Iran, Senator Reid respects the decision of conscience Senator Schumer made and he did not raise concerns with the announcement or the timing.”)*

More than a week has passed, and Reid still wonders why Schumer decided to announce his opposition when he did. Schumer was the first Democratic senator to oppose the deal. And it was his timing, perhaps even more than the substance of his decision, that has upset his pro-deal colleagues and, most unmistakably, the White House. Josh Earnest, the President’s press secretary, said he wouldn’t be surprised if some members of the Senate Democratic caucus “consider the voting record of those who say they would like to lead the caucus,” and he went on to liken Schumer’s decision to oppose the Iran deal to his support for the Iraq War, in 2003. It always seemed implausible that Schumer—an AIPAC stalwart who boasted that he is Benjamin Netanyahu’s best friend on Capitol Hill—would oppose AIPAC and Netanyahu on a deal they both claim is an existential threat to Israel. (I have written about AIPAC’s influence on politicians for the magazine.) “Chuck was always among the least likely Democrats to support the deal,” a longtime close friend of Schumer’s told me. And, after Schumer’s announcement, Durbin said, “I always expected him to be against the agreement.”…

Click through for the rest of this highly informative piece. If your Senator(s) are Democrats, call them regularly to tell them to strip this Bankster-bought traitor of any and all party leadership positions.

From NY Times: Russians are experiencing the first sustained decline in living standards in the 15 years since President Vladimir V. Putin [R-RU] came to power. The ruble has fallen by half against the dollar, driven by the plunging price of oil, the lifeblood of Russia’s economy. As a result, prices of imported goods have shot up, making tea, instant coffee, children’s clothes and back-to-school backpacks suddenly, jarringly expensive.

The Russian people are learning first hand the steep price they have to pay for putting a Republican in charge of their nation.

From Alternet: Ann Coulter knows who she wants to be the Democratic nominee for president, and who that person is, well, it may surprise you.

She wants Hillary Clinton to be the nominee, and thinks that if Bernie gets the nod, he’ll beat whoever the Republicans come up with to run against him.

You won’t hear me say this often, but Ann Coulter is right.

If Bernie Sanders ends up being the Democratic nominee for president, and it looks more and more every day like he will be, his Republican opponent is going to have a very hard time beating him.

And that’s because of all the Democratic candidates running, Bernie Sanders has the best chance of capturing Republican votes.

I’ve seen how Bernie does this, up close and personal.

Despite its reputation as a place filled with liberal hippies, Vermont, like most of rural northern New England, is home to a lot of conservatives.

Anyone running for statewide office there needs to win these conservatives’ votes, and Bernie is great at doing that.

As much as I’d like to echo this author’s optimism, northern NH Republicans are more like the old time back woods Republicans that were somewhat progressive in their views and opposed to the old time Dixiecrats, that now hold the Republican Party in thrall. To get lots of Republican support, nationwide, Bernie would have to convince a lot of willfully ignorant voters, too lazy to want to learn, not to be afraid of media-hyped "Socialism". That’s a tall order, not because Bernie lacks skill, but because he would be trying to plow a swamp.

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Jul 202015
 

Fortunately, today should be the last day in the heat wave.  85° is the forecast high, but the last two days have both been more than 5° hotter than forecast.  It will then take a couple days for the building to bleed off the heat.  I’m so ready.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:03 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: Israel’s ambassador to the United States raced in and out of offices on Capitol Hill, trying to persuade lawmakers that the nuclear deal with Iran is a historic mistake.

On the other side, liberal groups ramped up the pressure, warning of political consequences for Democrats who undermine the agreement and casting opposition as a vote for war.

The lobbying fight is on over the pact that the U.S. and other world powers just signed with Iran. The State Department said Sunday it had submitted the agreement to Congress, kicking off a 60-day review period on Monday.

A foreign government has no business lobbying the US Congress! Keep contacting your Congress Critter and Senators.

From Think Progress: The state of the world’s climate is complex enough that it takes 413 scientists from 58 countries half a year to completely summarize a year’s worth of data.

And 2014 was a doozy…

…For those without the time to peruse nearly 300 pages of scientific summaries, here are seven records that fell in 2014.

0720temps

There’s one. Click through for the other six.

From Raw Story: John Oliver bashes ‘a**hole’ Donald Trump while tackling America’s astounding food waste

 

He does cover the subject, doesn’t he? However, I do have to disagree with his statement that dog balls are delicious. CAT is where it’s AT!! Seriously, do you waste a lot of food? I throw little away, but I do convert quite a bit to methane.

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Jul 012015
 

I’m still feeling quite ill, but it’s a new month and I’m swamped.  It’s a grocery delivery day, and I have a Monthly Report and a new poll to prepare.  I did get some sleep, but need more.  The record heat wave goes on and on and on.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:43 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need one or two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  We’re trying to get Viv in, but are not sure if it will support her smart phone.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: A man with a headache walks into a hospital and is whisked into the rigmarole of American health care. He’s floored by what he learns at the end of his visit. Hint: It isn’t his diagnosis. It’s his hospital bill.

 

Now that the battle for the ACA is won, it’s time grow it into Medicare for all.

From National Popular Vote: TELL YOUR LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT A NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT

Oregon is ignored in presidential races by both parties because candidates have no reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Presidential campaigns are conducted in only about 9 closely divided "battleground" states — making Oregon and most other states into mere "spectators" to the presidential election.

Tell your State Legislators to support the National Popular Vote Bill. The bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. This would make every vote equal throughout the United States. That, in turn, would ensure that every Oregon voter would matter in every presidential election.

Click Through to find the National Popular Vote project in your state. Oregonians, click through to contact your legislators.

From MSNBC: Chris Christie political bridge burning haunts him for 2016

Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about how New Jersey governor Chris Christie made enemies of his fellow Republicans during the Romney campaign and now works from a deficit for 2016.

 

Rachel leaves no stone unturned here. For the effect of PIGnocchio boarding the Clown Car, see below.

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Jun 222015
 

Outside there is a huge racket as the maintenance people are working on my side of the building this week.  I’m not complaining, but I do hate being blasted out of a cat nap, after sleeping poorly, and if I want to do any solar basking, I’m likely to get drenched while walking out of range.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Robert Reich: #11. WHY MEDICARE ISN’T THE PROBEM; IT’S THE SOLUTION

 

The Reich on the left pulled a fast one on me and came up with number 11, but true to form, our Reich is right, and the Reich in the right, the Republican Reich, is wrong. I could not find this on MoveOn, so please click through to Robert Reich, and share it from there.

From Daily Kos (classic: 1/2013): A reporter for NPR discovered a strange new light (see circled area above) where there used to be only North Dakota grassland.  The light is produced by a massive 15,000 square mile area of fracking natural gas flareoffs produced by over 150 companies who have determined that it’s cheaper to burn-off about 29% of the natural gas that is produced by their oil wells.  

The current levels of burning gas from the field inject two million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year which is the equivalent amount of pollution caused by 2.5 million cars.  The flares produce carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

The burnoff is equivalent to 30% of the total U.S. natural gas production. Currently, there is no legislation that requires fracking companies to recapture the natural gas they produce through fracking, although it’s only slightly more expensive to recapture the natural gas.  Most of the companies have obtained government permission for the flare-offs with annual renewals.  The industry argues that until the wells are completed it’s too expensive to recapture the natural gas. 

NASA image acquired April 18 - October 23, 2012

This image of the United States of America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight.

“Nighttime light is the most interesting data that I’ve had a chance to work with,” says Chris Elvidge, who leads the Earth Observation Group at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center. “I’m always amazed at what city light images show us about human activity.” His research group has been approached by scientists seeking to model the distribution of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to monitor the activity of commercial fishing fleets. Biologists have examined how urban growth has fragmented animal habitat. Elvidge even learned once of a study of dictatorships in various parts of the world and how nighttime lights had a tendency to expand in the dictator’s hometown or province.

Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, NPP flies over any given point on Earth's surface twice each day at roughly 1:30 a.m. and p.m. The polar-orbiting satellite flies 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface, sending its data once per orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users distributed around the world. Suomi NPP is managed by NASA with operational support from NOAA and its Joint Polar Satellite System, which manages the satellite's ground system.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

Instrument: Suomi NPP - VIIRS 

Credit: <b><a href="http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/" rel="nofollow"> NASA Earth Observatory</a></b>

<b>Click here to view all of the <a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/NightLights/" rel="nofollow"> Earth at Night 2012 images </a></b>

<b>Click here to <a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=79800 " rel="nofollow"> read more </a> about this image </b> 

<b><a href="http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelines.html"rel="nofollow">NASA image use policy.</a></b>

<b><a href="http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/home/index.html" rel="nofollow">NASA Goddard Space Flight Center</a></b> enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

<b>Follow us on <a href="http://twitter.com/NASA_GoddardPix" rel="nofollow">Twitter</a></b>

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What a bunch of mother frackers!! Since this is visible from outer space, at least aliens touring the solar system will know that the earth is not a safe place to land, without having to risk being gunned down by a Republican Ammosexuals.

From NY Times: The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

"Uranus Inspector" said he’ll return the money, and I suspect that "Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot" and "Frothmeister" will both do likewise, although none had any objection to taking money, in the first place, from an organization widely known as White Supremacist and listed as such by SPLC. They will get the money funneled back into their campaigns through white supremacist Republicans that haven’t been caught killing anyone recently.  Click through for more Republicans in thrall to murderous white supremacists.

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Jun 192015
 

I’m still very tired after yesterday’s visit to the Orthopedist, but not so much so that I come empty handed.  One thing really impressed me about them.  When I was done, I had to wait for the LIFT bus for an hour and a half in a small alcove on the ground floor.  Knowing I would be stuck there people from their office came down to check on me three separate times.  I consider that superior service.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:29 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: Ideas to Save the Economy: End Mass Incarceration

 

The Reich on the left is right again, as I know so well. I would add a #5. Switch from retributive justice to restorative justice. This is the tenth and final video of the series. Click through to MoveOn to share it from there. Bringing this series to you has been a privilege.

From Daily Kos:

In 2014, I published two stories about the surreptitious attempts by the Koch brothers to bribe their way into the academic freedom and integrity of FSU/Florida State University. The most recent story can be found in this link. For several years, FSU students, along with faculty, alumni, and concerned citizens have been adamantly dissenting the Koch influence on campus. One of the many dedicated and relentless activists in the movement is Ralph Benton Wilson. This week he contacted me with some promising news:

"FSU students have released a report (May 28th) revealing new evidence regarding the university’s agreement with the CFK/Charles Koch Foundation. Not only does the report find that the Koch agreement violates FSU’s donor policy but, contrary to university claims, the agreement was found to violate academic policy by a 2011 faculty senate investigation whose numerous findings appear to have been suppressed until being published in the student report. (Other suppressed findings include the manner in which the agreement was "forced" upon the department through threats and intimidation despite severe faculty dissent.)"

"The student report makes several recommendations which have been submitted as public comment in FSU’s current review of its donor policy. As of June 4, FSU has conceded to half of the recommendations in the student report, but we are continuing to pressure them to accept the remaining recommendations. A new public comment period is open until midnight, June 25. We are calling on the public to submit comment so that we may once and for all have a donor policy that protects FSU from the undue influence of any donor."

Wilson also sent several links, which I have included below.

If the Koch Brothers are trying to steal FSU and convert it to a propaganda mill, you can be sure they are doing so all over. Check locally to make sure you’re colleges and universities are not forced to teach only how to suck … nevermind.

From Media Matters: Fox’s Steve Doocy: It’s Extraordinary That Charleston Church Shooting Is Being Called A Hate Crime

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

I don’t know where they got that "pastor", but because is title is "Bishop" I have a pretty good guess. The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, is acting as if SC did not already have a long history of racist violence against black churches, so they can misrepresent this incident as part of the left wing war, which does not exist, against Christianity. Not only that, the shooter is clearly a White Supremacist.

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Jun 132015
 

I’d be willing to bet that you already know that House Democrats had the integrity to deny Obama Fast Track authority on the TPP.  I hope you also know that the lid in the coffin is not sealed, because John Boehner, aka Agent Orange, is bring it back for another vote on Tuesday.  On this issue, I’m proud of House Democrats and very ashamed of my President.

0613FastTrackHe made it personal. He appealed to their loyalty. He asked them to give him what every modern president has had. He argued the facts, disputed the politics, quarreled over the history and at times lashed out at those who still refused to stand with him.

Yet in the end, after years of frustration with Republicans blocking his ideas in Congress, President Obama on Friday found the most sweeping legislative initiative left on his agenda thwarted not by the opposition but by his own party. If not for his fellow Democrats, Mr. Obama would have a landmark trade bill heading to his desk for signature.

The sting of defeat may be temporary. The White House adamantly insisted on Friday that it made important progress by passing part of the trade package and still has a chance to turn around the vote on the other part. If that proves true, Mr. Obama may yet secure the negotiating authority he needs to seal a legacy-building 12-nation Pacific trade agreement and the day’s setback may ultimately be overshadowed.

But for the moment, at least, the defeat laid bare a fundamental schism within the party over economics and, according to some analysts and officials, exposed a stark divide between Democratic lawmakers and a Democratic president late in his tenure. Once eager to support Mr. Obama, Democrats now are less willing to buck their own labor-dominated base or their own convictions to advance their president’s program… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Chris Hayes and his panel covered the story quite well.

Oregon and Pete DeFazio helped lead the way. It’s coming again Tuesday. Rattle your Congress Critter again.

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