Nov 242015

For some time I have been complaining that television media are helping the Republican Party and their allies, the Daesh, sow fear in Americans’ hearts for political gain.  However, I have seldom seen such blatant bigotry as I did from CNN’s Carol Costello, as she tried to put words in a mayor’s mouth.

1124CostelloIs everyone as tired as I am of the media’s pants-wetting about Muslims? You’d think we were living back in the McCarthy era when the Commies were all coming to get us and our best friends might have been — shiver — Commies.

Meanwhile, media ignores the brownshirt behavior of our Republican candidates, pretending they’re just engaging in the normal rhetoric of the day. Because Muslims can be scary to them. Scarier than Donald Trump doing his impression of Hitler’s political beginnings.

CNN’s Carol Costello just came right out with it during this segment with Hamtramck mayor Karen Majewski….

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>


I felt sorry for Costello over the pronunciation of the mayor’s name, but I was appalled at her many attempts to coax Majewski into admitting fear for the evil Muslims in her city.  On the other hand, Mayor Majewski was a superb example of how Americans should be acting.  Major kudos to her.

Nov 232015

It feels like it has been a long day.  I visited with my mother and we had our little fashion show.  Her care aid this evening, Fatiha, helped me with the clothing.  Mum smiled when I held them up.  She always likes what I choose. Temperatures are heading down to the -5 to -10 C range for the rest of the week.  We may even see some snow flurries Monday night.  If it gets any colder, I'll have to put longjohns on my computer!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:38). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Beast  In the week-plus since the ISIS-commissioned terrorist attacks on Paris claimed the lives of 130 people and sent the world into a state of panic, Republican politicians—and that maladjusted person from your high school you’ve lost touch with—have been stoking the fears of Americans by espousing virulent anti-refugee rhetoric. Leading GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio have said we shouldn’t allow in any Syrian refugees, while 31 governors across the country have pledged not to allow these war-torn survivors into their states—this despite the fact that they have zero authority to do so.

And Trump, who by the way is married to an immigrant from then war-torn Slovenia (see: the Ten-Day War), has even argued that all mosques in the U.S. should be surveilled, and under a Trump presidency, that all U.S. Muslims could be forced to enter themselves into a database to monitor them. If this sounds like fascism, that’s because it is.

This past week, the House of Representatives passed a bill (that will surely be vetoed by President Obama) calling for tougher screening procedures for Syrian refugees, including that the FBI director must sign off on each and every one of the 10,000 refugees Obama’s pledged to accept over the next year.

Click through for the rest.  John Oliver certainly has a way with words.

Huffington Post — "That's the danger and that somehow talking about security allows us to tap into that racist vein, when that isn't who we are," Wynne said.

Couillard said Canada is not uniquely better or worse than any other society.

"We have those two devils within our society: racism and xenophobia. They exist," said the Quebec premier.

"And it is the responsibility of political leaders – and I got into trouble a few days ago because I said that publicly – it is the responsibility of political leaders not to feed the fire in a very negative way."

The 11-week federal election campaign that resulted in a resounding Liberal majority last month included highly charged debates over the wearing of face-coverings by less than a handful of Muslim women at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and a Conservative proposal for a "barbaric cultural practices" hotline where it was suggested neighbours might report suspect behaviour.

Click through for the rest.  The thought of the barbaric cultural practices hotline called to mind an article I had read in the NY Times about ISIS women, Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State.  ISIS turning people against their own.  Government leaders, in this case, Harper and his harlots encouraging people to turn against others. And it reminds me of what Hitler was doing during WWII.

Think Progress — Speaking to a bipartisan group of black lawmakers and community leaders on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he has yet to see evidence that black men and women are being disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

During the 2020 Club’s Presidential Justice Forum at Allen University, a historically black university in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson said that he’s not convinced that there are racial biases in policing or that law enforcement singles out African Americans.

“I’m not aware of a lot of cases where a police officer comes up to someone like you and says ‘Hey, I don’t like you. I’m going to shoot you,’” he said to moderator Jeff Johnson from Black Entertainment Television. “I’m still waiting for the evidence.”

Click through for the rest.  It has to be true . . . Carson gave himself a lobotomy!  Either that or he just doesn't give a damn.  Does the US want someone for POTUS  who isn't in touch with reality?

My Universe — 

Nov 222015

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how nutty InsaniTEA can become.  As TC would say, I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Republican politicians and presidential aspirants fell all over each other this week, trying to be as offensive, spiteful and Islamophobic as possible. Let’s review some of the lowest of the legion of low-lights.

1. Ben Carson’s truly offensive and clearly intentional metaphor.

Reports of Ben Carson’s stupidity and inability to grasp foreign policy may (or may not) have been greatly exaggerated. But reports that he is an evil mother*cker have not. In his usual semi-somnambulant state, Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” this week in a piece of rhetoric that really does, no exaggeration, rival Hitler.

"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you're probably going to put your children out of the way," Carson said at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama. "Doesn't mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking, how do I protect my children?

Hmmm, let’s see, how many dog whistles can he blow at one time?

"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," Carson continued obviously pleased as punch with his metaphor. "Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening." 

The fact that these horrifyingly inflammatory remarks are uttered in Carson’s soft cadence, and by a doctor no less, somehow compounds their vileness. He’s fully capable of generating lots of metaphors, but he chooses this one. In what way exactly is that not evil?

Click through the rest of the Alternet article.  It defies logic how some Americans can become so enthralled by these idiots.  But then that is playing on fears, and they are masters of fear.

Nov 222015

I have been able to accomplish quite a bit today so I am a happy camper. Tomorrow will be a day to visit with my mother.  I bought her some adaptive clothing so we may have a "fashion show" to try them on for fit and hopefully to see my mother smile.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:20). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Vancouver Sun — But he believes that building cities is about more than just constructing houses and towers and roads to connect them. It’s also about creating social infrastructure and inclusive societies.

Vancouver property developer Ian Gillespie is offering Syrian refugees temporary accommodations. 'We're in the property business, so it seemed an obvious place to start.'

So, Gillespie’s Westbank Properties is handing over 12 fully furnished and fully stocked apartments downtown to the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. for a minimum of four months. Those multi-bedroom units will be used as transitional accommodation until more permanent housing can be found for some of the 3,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Vancouver within the next several months. 

Click through for the rest.  This attitude is certainly in contrast to that of US state governors, many of whom have said flat out "no refugees", and to the US House which voted "no" to refugees.  But many US Christians are seriously stepping forward in support of the Syrian refugees.  Vancouver developer Daljit Thind, himself an immigrant, has housing available. Vancouver's Temple Sholom has raised money to sponsor a family and is working with Mosaic immigrant services.

Washington Posth/t JLA — Completing a long-shot bid that ran counter to the conservative tide sweeping the Southern states, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana on Saturday, defeating his Republican rival, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

Edwards was the top vote-getter in the state’s open primary last month and then built a lead over Vitter that he never surrendered.

With 1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting, Edwards led Vitter 55 percent to 45 percent, prompting the Edwards campaign to declare victory late Saturday evening.

Click through for the rest of the story.  Although this article states "1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting", the Huffington Post's story says "Edwards won 56 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.".  And from Mother Jones

Edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of the program on his first day in office. That's a really big deal. Such a move would provide coverage to about 225,000 residents in one of the poorest states in the nation.

It certainly looks like things are looking up for Louisiana.  About time!

Think Progress — When a parking lot attendant dared to recycle trash he picked up outside an upstate New York Walmart, the store fired him. Now generous strangers are trying to help cushion his sudden fall.

Thomas Smith, 52, had been earning $9 an hour at an upstate New York Walmart for less than three months when his manager terminated him over the cans. Smith was in charge of rounding up shopping carts from the lot outside the store, and started collecting trash from the lot while making his rounds. After storing up cans for a couple months, he recycled them in the store’s machines in early November. He got $5.10 for them.

Click through for the rest of the story.  I think the following line from the story sums up the situation: "That thief was white. Smith collected trash while black."

My Universe — 

Nov 212015

This is my only article for today.  Fear mongering over the Daesh is dominating the news.  Hopefully I can find more  material tomorrow.  I’ll be fitted for a prosthetic Monday or Tuesday.  Since there are still no openings in an approved  SNF the plan has changed to complete my rehab here and discharge to home.  I’m guessing that.s a month away.  Reorganizing my home for amputee use without being there is boggling my mind.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Roanoke Mayor David A. Bowers released a public statement yesterday saying that he was calling for an end to any assistance for Syrian refugees and calling it “imprudent” to help relocate any refugees to Virginia. Taking it a step further, he also referenced a painful chapter in American history:

“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl,” he said, “and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Actor George Takei, who played the iconic Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek franchise, was a prisoner in an internment camp for four years when he was a young boy. He has opened up in recent years about the pain it caused his family and the damage it did to thousands of Japanese-American families. So, it’s no surprise he penned the perfect response to Mayor Bowers:

Click through to read Takei’s brilliant response to this bigot. I’m ashamed to admit that he’s a Democrat, when he is acting so Republican.

From TPM: Federal prosecutors continue to pursue criminal charges against three top campaign advisers to 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul.

In a new grand jury indictment filed Thursday in federal court in Des Moines, Paul’s 2012 campaign chairman Jesse Benton, campaign manager John Tate and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari are charged with conspiracy to cover up $73,000 in campaign payments to former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sorenson dropped his support for Michelle Bachmann and endorsed Paul in December 2011, six days before the Iowa caucuses.

Benton, Tate and Kesari also are charged with causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme. Benton and Tate are charged with causing the campaign to file false records of the payments. Kesari was convicted of that charge last month.

Benton is now a top strategist for America’s Liberty PAC, a dirty money front for the campaign of Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot. Republicans have a special way of dealing with criminals. They hire them.

From Think Progress: While the world has made progress closing the gap between women and men in health, education, economic participation, and political empowerment over the last decade, the United States is not keeping up.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) just released its 2015 Global Gender Gap report, which showed that the gap has dropped by 4 percent in the last ten years. While this marks progress, it could take another 118 years to completely close the gap. Gender equality will not be reached until the year 2133 at this rate.

Progress also isn’t even across the globe. Over those 10 years, Nordic countries have consistently been doing the most to close the gender gap. Iceland came in at number one over the past six years, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The United States, on the other hand, has actually moved backward. On the list of 145 countries, the United States has never broken into the top 15 countries with the lowest gender gap. Worse, it fell eight places over the last year, to a rank of 28 for overall gender equality

The Republican Solution:




Nov 192015

Well the wind finally stopped yesterday afternoon and the rain along with it . . . well at least for now.  More rain is on the way and Friday promises to be wet.  With colder temperatures and rain wherre I am, the mountains behind my house are guaranteed to be getting snow.  Some of the local ski hills are scheduling to open this weekend,  Some did not open at all or only for short periods last year because of the lack of snow.  May this year be better for them.  Today is a "lazy" day with 2 chores . . . the litterbox and some laundry, mostly linens.  Of course, I have tomorrow's articles and cat snuggling too!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:24). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Alternet — Twitter user @HistOpinion (Historical Opinion) tweeted out polls from 1939 and 1938 showing what Americans thought of political refugees, most of whom were Jewish, on the eve of World War II. On the question, "What’s your attitude towards allowing German, Austrian & other political refugees to come into the US?" the numbers are, in retrospect, devastating:

Indeed, a fear of "Jewish-Bolshevism" was very real as Juan Cole noted in Truth Dig:

Jews were also seen by some US Neanderthals as having socialist tendencies and so were kept out as radicals. There was talk of the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. (Hatred of Jews was irrational, so that they were blamed for being bankers [they were less than 1 percent of bankers] at the same time they were excoriated for being Marxists.) There was also the Society for the Defense of Christianity, so fundamentalists did their part.

An article in the Huffington Post takes a more personal look at the issue of admitting refugees, postulating that we should be proclaiming "never again" when it comes to ethnic refugees desperately fleeing their foe. Anti-refugee attitudes of the late 1930s have returned with a new Islamic target.

Déjà-vu?  I am inclined to think that the hysteria exhibited by many politicians, particularly Republicans, is reminiscent of the 1930s.  There are parallels that we should examine if the "never again" is to survive.  It is true that there have been genocides in the world since WWII, but none on the magnitude of the Holocaust.  We must ensure "never again" is very literally NEVER AGAIN and be compassionate.

Daily Kos — How ISIS is funded:

As ISIS fighters expand their control, it is in the border region, in villages like Besaslan, where the Islamic State group can make some of the money it needs to finance its wars. Oil-smuggling operations involving millions of barrels have recently been uncovered […]

Besides revenue from oil smuggling, the group receives money through donations from wealthy sympathizers in countries including Qatar and Kuwait.

There’s a reason the US is bombing ISIS/Daesh’s oil infrastructure. 

"We know the oil funds more than 50 percent of ISIL's operations," Warren said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "This is something we want to take away from them."

baiji oil refinery - iraqi forces guard

Iraqi soldiers guarding Baiji oil refinery after taking back from Daesh

Click through for the rest of the article.  In an article from the Wall Street Journal: U.S. Airstrikes Target Islamic State Oil Assets 

The U.S. has stepped up its attacks on Islamic State’s industrial base, striking more than 100 tanker trucks used to transport oil that helps the militant group earn tens of millions of dollars each month, an American military spokesman said Monday.

I remember hearing a saying about defeating something: you must cut off the head of the snake so the body will die.  This seems appropriate for Daesh.  Remove the source of much of its funding and Daesh will be weakened, perhaps easier to defeat.

Think Progress — Responding to the Paris attacks in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presidential candidate and former governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) said that he could not think of any group targeting innocent civilians except for radical Muslims. Huckabee used this argument to justify the intensifying call for discriminatory policies toward Muslims seeking refugee status.

Click through for some statistics on terrorist attacks.  To quote Assistant Attorney General John Carlin,

“[O]ver the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,”  “[I]t doesn’t get discussed as much as it should.”

My Universe — One of these is different.  Can you tell which one it is?


Nov 152015

Individually and as a society, we must examine our attitudes towards terrorism, and our response to terrorist attacks.


Anytime there is an attack on civilians in the post-9/11 West, demagogues immediately blame it on Muslims. They frequently lack evidence, but depend on the blunt force of anti-Muslim bigotry to bolster their accusations.

Actual evidence, on the other hand, shows that less than two percent of terrorist attacks from 2009 to 2013 in the E.U. were religiously motivated. In 2013, just one percent of the 152 terrorist attacks were religious in nature; in 2012, less than three percent of the 219 terrorist attacks were inspired by religion.

The vast majority of terrorist attacks in these years were motivated by ethno-nationalism or separatism. In 2013, 55 percent of terrorist attacks were ethno-nationalist or separatist in nature; in 2012, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of terrorist attacks were inspired by ethno-nationalism or separatism.

These facts, nonetheless, have never stopped the prejudiced pundits from insisting otherwise.

On Friday the 13th of November, militants massacred at least 127 people in Paris in a series of heinous attacks.

There are many layers of hypocrisy in the public reaction to the tragedy that must be sorted through in order to understand the larger context in which these horrific attacks are situated — and, ultimately, to prevent such attacks from happening in the future.  

The Paris attacks, as horrific as they are, could be a moment to think critically about what our governments are doing both abroad and here at home. If we do not think critically, if we act capriciously, and violently, the wounds will only continue to fester. The bloodletting will ultimately accelerate.

In short, those who promote militarist policies and anti-Muslim and anti-refugee bigotries in response to the Paris attacks are only going to further propagate violence and hatred.

Click through for the rest of this inward looking article from Alternet.  Do we want a world at peace?  How far are we willing to go to bring about peace?  Are we even capable of bringing about peace?  Such will require a great deal of hard work.

Nov 132015

Well, it has been raining all day.  Tonight, ferry sailings have been cancelled due to heavy seas, rain and wind warnings.  Believe me, it takes a lot to cancel a ferry sailing.  I was on a sailing years ago when cars were bouncing as much as 25 cm off the deck and then coming down with a thud.  Subsequent sailings were cancelled.  So here I sit with my little girl curled up at my feet, all warm and toasty and dry!  For us, at least half the weekend is supposed to be like this.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 4:46). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

The New Yorker — These are not abstractions. And this is where the arguments about the freedom of speech become most tone deaf. The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of one’s liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two current flashpoints.  But should they be flashpoints?  I don't think so . . . my freedoms end at the tip of my nose, while yours end at the tip of your nose.  The systemic racism and definition of rights in the US leaves me scratching my head.

Common Dreams — On September 21, Pah, a 16-year-old student at Oakland’s Street Academy, spoke out against the export of coal through the Port of Oakland to City Council members: “I’m opposed to this coal export because it will make my community in West Oakland sick. I support jobs, but not the kind of jobs that make us sick. There are clean job alternatives, like Community Choice energy, and this will be good for the health of my community. This is my generation; I want to have a healthy life.” 

Click through for the rest of the article.  A promising arrangement for greener and cheaper power.  What's not to like?  Living in British Columbia where power is controlled by a Crown Corporation and utilities are currently highly regulated, I wonder how such a system could work here, if at all.

Washington Post — Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I know that I cringe at the thoughts of a President Trump or a President Carson.  Neither is fit, in my mind, to be president.  But then, I don't think any of the current Republican aspirants is fit.

Mother Jones — One thing every Republican presidential candidate can agree on is that they hate President Barack Obama's plan to tackle climate change. Now Hillary Clinton might have a way to remedy one of their biggest concerns.

… Today Clinton produced her own $30 billion plan, which would use a smattering of tax incentives and grant funding to support public health, education, and entrepreneurial initiatives in coal communities from Appalachia to Wyoming. 

You can read the full plan here. It follows the lead of a similar but much smaller initiative Obama rolled out last month. Much of it is targeted at rebuilding infrastructure—highways, bridges, railroads, broadband networks. The Clinton campaign says that kind of development would not only create new jobs to replace those lost in the coal industry, but be vital for growing new industries.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I remember coal being delivered to my home, and later to the apartment building where I lived.  Unfortunately, our apartment was directly above the coal bin and coal dust was a part of life unfortunately.  But that was in the 1950s and 60s.  Coal has been in decline for years but politicians in coal states are mired in the coal dust of the past rather than looking forward to new opportunities.  It seems that Hillary has beat them to the punch!

My Universe Cuteness overload to usher in the weekend!

Yeah Weekend cat

Nov 022015

From "Kossack" Steeler Grrl at Daily Kos:

A church in Concord, NC, called Showers Of Blessings has become the target of complaints from its neighbors for following the teachings of the Bible.

Residents living next to a Concord church are frustrated because they said no one told them a program that houses homeless people opened up inside the church.  That program has been operating for one-and-a-half years.

For a year and a half, nobody noticed the homeless people were there. What tipped the neighbors off? Construction. Nothing perks up Southerners' noses like construction vehicles in the neighborhood. The facility is called My Father's House. There's even a sign out front.  Run by Concord-based Cooperative Christian Ministry, it currently has housing for four families and has been approved to build four additional units in the church sanctuary.

Cooperative Christian Ministry (CCM) began in 1981 when seven Concord (NC) churches decided that by combining their efforts they could reach more people in need and provide greater assistance to the community as a whole. Today churches, businesses and other organizations work in conjunction with many, many individuals to actively support the ministry.

CCM has the support of Concord city government and city leaders have confirmed that the ministry is operating within the law. Nonetheless, at least two neighbors are angry they weren't notified Christianity is being practiced inside God's house.

Jeffrey Collins: "We just don't want them walking around, this neighborhood has been quiet."

Lindsay Coronis: "We weren't notified about it and I don't think that's fair for any of the neighbors….  I just don't think its good for my kids to be around it."

The CCM executive director, Ed Hosack, points out "These are families from our communities that may have experienced job loss.  There may have been medical bills, the break up or loss of a family member.  All of the residents remain engaged in purposeful, intentional activities and most of them go to work each day.  Residents are screened and drug tested and the facility has 24-hour management."

You can see all that in the video, which is difficult to embed, but can be viewed here:

CCM is holding (by today, has held, but I have no update yet) a community meeting in the church fellowship hall on Sunday to address neighbors' concerns. When the legal practice of religious freedom puts Jesus' teaching into action and is met with hostility in a red Southern city, the demonization of poverty must be nearly complete.


Oct 182015

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how nutty InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

1. There’s a reason Rand Paul has become completely irrelevant.

The fact that Rand Paul was once touted as the savior of the Republican Party does not speak well of either of them. But just to drive the point home that Paul is definitely not suited to play the role of level-headed grown up in the room, the Kentucky libertarian got a little hysterical this week about Bernie Sanders.

Just a tad.

The word “socialist” can do that to right-wing libertarian types—sending them into paroxysms of wild-eyed terror. On a conservative South Carolina radio show, Paul suggested that a Bernie Sanders presidency might set off “mass genocide.” In his view, that’s what happens when you try socialism. Apparently, he has never heard of Scandinavia, where genocide really hasn’t been a thing.

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul told radio host Vince Coakley. “I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people.”

Granted, Paul is not the only Republican who is confused about Sanders’ use of the word socialism, and certainly not the only one using ridiculous rhetoric to scare people to death. Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba,

Villalba compared him to Hitler on Tuesday, later backing off, and going the other way to Stalin.a

So clearly, we can expect a lot more of this nonsense.

This past week, the former staffers of Rand Paul, who are also former staffers of his father, were on trial and Ron Paul was testifying.  But in addition to waxing stupid over Bernie Sanders, Paul tried to, in his own inane way, divert attention from the trial.  In the process, he managed to make himself even more irrelevant. 

This is just one of the absurdities of right wing America.  To be sure, there are more than five, but publishing space is limited.  Read about the other four enumerated in Alternet.  

Sep 272015

The first part of the day was steady with trying to finish some research and work on a more involved article.  Then it was off to see my mother who lives in a care centre.  She needs 24/7 care as she is in the late stages of dementia.  I fed her dinner which smelled really good.  There was an extra dinner at the table which staff said I should eat, so I did and it tasted even better than it smelled.  As a member of the Family Council advocating for family members, I will be able to report back on the quality of food.  Again this evening, I was breaking up fisticuffs between several women — I wonder if the full moon has anything to do with it.  In addition to sitting with my mother and rubbing her back and shoulders which she really likes, I am an extra pair of eyes and hands to help staff.  When I arrived home, I was exhausted but also anxious.  It is hard to watch a parent die a little bit every day.  So now I am calm again and I am off to bed.  My three cats will be soothing to me, their gentle breathing and purring.  Good night all.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:13 (average 4:34). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

CBC — A U.S. drug company is taking the Canadian government to court for its attempt to lower the price of what has been called the world's most expensive drug.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion in Federal Court, arguing that Canada's drug price watchdog has no authority to force the company to lower its price for Soliris.

A University of Ottawa professor who specializes in health law said he was shocked that Alexion would challenge Canada's authority to regulate drug prices. If Alexion's case is successful, it could end Ottawa's ability to control the cost of patented drugs, Amir Attaran told CBC News.

"This is the single greatest threat to pricing of drugs in Canada ever," he said Thursday.

The provincial governments in Canada negotiate drug prices directly. Medical associations are currently pushing the federal government to do this nationally.  In the past, some Americans have also arranged to get their medications from Canadian pharmacies to take advantage of our lower prices.  So, if Alexion Pharmaceuticals wins this case, the whole idea of affordable medicines goes out the door.  For Alexion, this is all about their profits.  For Canada, this is all about healthcare for 33 million Canadians.  Watch also the rise in such things should the TPP come to fruition.

Daily Kos — Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Often, America's cover is quite, well – different. This week offers a stark example.

time magazine

How much does this contribute to the "dumbing down" of the US population (and Canada's since we get the same US cover)?  In general, the US population is wildly ignorant on international events, and often ignorant on domestic issues.  Have a look at the current political rhetoric, particularly from the Republican side.  It's a lot of marketing by fear . . . fear of diversity, fear of Iran, fear of Islam, and the list goes on.  Faux Noise aka Fox (I refuse to call Fox news because it is at best, opinion) is a prime example, but not the only one by far.  The author asks "do these moments of marketing (through a choice in covers) reveal more about Americans, or about the state of American journalism?"  I think both because the magazine in this case is pandering to make more money and increase its market share.  But it also serves to increase American xenophodia.

The Nation — Not content with alienating single women, Latinos and the LGBT community, the two front-runners for the Republican nomination indulged in some naked Islamophobia this past week.

Then Ben Carson appeared on Meet The Press, where he told Chuck Todd that Islam was inconsistent with the Constitution and said that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” 

…and there’s no evidence that they embrace extremism at a higher rate than Christians or Jews. 

It’s time for this to stop. After 400 years in the Americas, and having helped build and defend this country, we need to accept that American Muslims are just as American—and just as loyal—as anyone else. 

An excellent piece from The Natiion which I hope you'll read in its entirety. No one people or religion has a lock on extremism.  Timothy McVeigh, a white Anglo Saxon Roman Catholic, blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK where 168 were killed and over 680 were wounded.  

My Universe — The Box!

Sep 172015

By now, most of us are familiar with the plight of Ahmed Mohamed and his "BOMB" that was masquerading as a Clock that got him arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted and suspended.


NOTE to the Irving school authorities and police who were repeatedly told by Ahmed that it was just a CLOCK – but dedmanded getting a "broader explanation" from the Muslim teen:

If you're told the item is a clock …

If it ticks like a clock …

If it tells time like a clock …

Then it's probably a clock!

BUT if your name is Mohamed

AND you're brown-skinned

Then, of course, it's a BOMB!

And two extremely important questions for the Irving school authorities and police:

If you thought it was a bomb, why didn't you evacuate the high school?

What "broader explanation" than "It's a clock" do you think was available?