May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

My Universe

ccat30

ccat35

 

Share
May 212016
 

Well I still have sinusitis, albeit the end stages I hope.  I am at least able to, for the most part, wear my glasses and read.  Tonight is my last anti-biotic but I am still without a lot of energy.  I have been resting a lot and drinking a lot . . . the hard stuff . . . H2O.  I had physio on Wednesday which, despite being at a reduced intensity, tuckered me out.  Thursday, I took my mother for her annual eye exam and then later in the evening attended my course (next week is the completion).  Friday was more physio and then teaching.  I was really tired by the end of yesterday but had a good night's sleep.  So this long weekend is very low key, a gift I give to myself to hopefully build up some reserves.  This Canadian long weekend celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday and is unofficially the start of the summer season, although summer does not really start until about 21 June.  This is often the "first" camping weekend of the season, and, in many areas of Canada, flowers and vegetable gardens are not planted until after 24/05 because it is generally considered too cold.  When I lived in northern BC, the last snowfall was usually around the end of May.  Here in greater Vancouver, this is not the case as we have a more temperate climate.  Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

National Law Journal In the alternate universe of John Banzhaf ("When the Rabble-Rousing Turns Criminal, There's A Civil Solution," The National Law Journal, March 28), protesters have taken over the streets and hijacked the political process. Police step back and do nothing. They "yield the streets," sometimes because they are "afraid to make arrests," sometimes because "there is sympathy with their cause." If arrests take place, protesters end up in court and "face only a token fine."

The real world of street protest bears no relation to what Banzhaf describes. In fact, the post-9/11 trend, of which his anti-protester screed is symptomatic, is of increasing hostility to street protest. In the crackdown on peaceful ­protesters, police show no "sympathy with their cause" and are entirely "[un]afraid to make arrests." As a consequence of the amped-up focus on security since 9/11, the "war on terror" has also become a war on dissent.

In my last post, I brought you a piece by law professor John Banzhaf.  In it, Banzhaf argues that protesters who prevent others from hearing a speaker, specifically Trump in that case, are guilty of obstructing freedom of speech and assembly for those attending a Trump rally.  He goes on to say that protesters face few penalties and that police are afraid to arrest protesters etc.  I think you and I would for the most part disagree with Banzhaf on his police point having witnessed police actions in Ferguson, Missouri and other locales.  Author Alan Levine, himself a practising civil rights and constitutional lawyer in NY, sees the current police attitude in general, as impinging upon the freedom of assembly and  the freedom of speech.  Have a look.

MSN — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from the floor of an institution that once enacted racist policies against large-scale immigration from Asia until the 1960s, apologized Wednesday for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” he said, triggering a standing ovation with MPs of all major parties applauding. 

“More than a century ago a great injustice took place.”

Trudeau spoke in a chamber filled with MPs and Indo-Canadians from across the country, including a delegation of more than 100 from B.C. who were led by Premier Christy Clark.

Trudeau said Canada would have been richer if the 376 passengers – mostly Sikh along with a handful of Muslims and Hindus – had been allowed to disembark from that Japanese ship.

Many people, including many Canadians, are not aware of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 in Vancouver.  It is not a proud moment in Canadian history, but I am sure that it is something that Herr Drumpf in the US would endorse.  This from Wikipedia:

The Komagata Maru incident involved a Japanese steamship, Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong, then a holding of the British Empire, through Shanghai, China, then on to Yokohama, Japan, and then finally to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, British India. Of them 24 were admitted to Canada, but the other 352 passengers were not allowed to land in Canada, and the ship was forced to return to India.[1] The passengers comprised 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the history of early 20th century involving exclusion laws in both Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of only Asian origin.

In the park where I walk, there is a memorial to the people of the Komagata Maru.  I'd like to think that we have come a long way since 1914, and maybe we have, but there is still a long way to go before we become a totally inclusive society.

The Economist He was for far too long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.  …

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party. This is a harvest the party sowed in two ways. First, though it is a caricature to suggest, as Mr Trump and others have, that the Republicans have long made fools of distressed working-class whites by offering them God, the flag and tax cuts to the rich, it is a caricature with some truth to it. None of Mr Trump’s 16 rivals spoke convincingly to the concerns of wage-distressed workers; none had a thoughtful answer to them.

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible. The several recent crises Republican congressmen have engineered over the passage of the federal budget, which they sought to hold hostage to their unrealistic and unconstitutional demands of Mr Obama, have earned the voters’ disdain. In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Fear trumps hope!  There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are finding themselves in a pickle.  But  Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not backing down.  In this article and another, Trump's articulated platform will lay waste to just about everything.  To me, it seems that Trump is playing the "American exceptionalism" card.  Has he forgotten that negotiation is not the same as dictating the terms?

CBC WIL-bur-r-r-r-r-r

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed, has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

I am sure that many of you will remember Mr Ed, the talking horse.  I used to delight in watching the programme and wondered how the horse learned and said his lines.  I was young and naive . . . what can I say!  Anyway, Alan Young, who played the "straightman" to the horse, passed away 19/05/2016.  Bamboo Harvester, the original Mr Ed, died in 1970.  Here is an episode of "Mr Ed" to take you back down memory lane.

And of course, the theme song for the programme is yet another earworm that Nameless mentions in his Friday post Friday Fun: A Coke – OR Koch – Earworm (In Memoriam) .

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

Unless the horse of course, is the famous Mr Ed.

My Universe

Share
May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

My Universe

 

Share
May 142016
 

Well it has taken me several days to get this OT finished because I am in the midst of a bout of sinusitis, which among other things, has played havoc with my eyes and my ability to concentrate (headaches).  So now, with too much rest and some anti-biotics, I am starting to feel better.  I must say though, the sun has been too bright for the eyes, and the temperatures too hot — 27C (80F).  I have been binge watching Games of Thrones videos and NCIS:Los Angeles videos, which while enjoyable programmes, are too much for 3 days straight.  My sweet Primo, who I affectionately call Primolicious, has been close at hand the entire time.  He's not a lap cat but likes to be close.

Short Takes

CBC — The blackened landscape around Fort McMurray is far from a dead zone, despite a wildfire that has reduced more than 229,000 of hectares of boreal forest to cinders and ashes.

Amid the charred skeletons of spruce and still smouldering muskeg, Alberta's fire-loving insects are on the move.

"Its really spooky if you ever go to a burn after it's gone out," said Peter Heule, an insect expert with Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum.

Tar sand beetle

These long-antennaed creatures move quickly into areas torched by wildfire to find a nicely charred spot to lay their eggs. (Royal Alberta Museum )

"Every step you take, there is just ash and soot, and you see these little beetles shimmering like little jewels on these black-burned trees, laying their eggs and doing their thing."

Out of the ashes of destruction springs new hope.

Politico — Nine House committee chairmen are formally uniting behind Donald Trump’s campaign, announcing their endorsement of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Friday as the only pathway to winning the White House in November.

02_Donald_Trump_gty_1160.jpg

Trump’s camp announced the endorsements of chairs Steve Chabot (Small Business), Michael Conaway (Agriculture), Jeb Hensarling (Financial Services), Candice Miller (House Administration), Jeff Miller (Veterans’ Affairs), Tom Price (Budget), Pete Sessions (Rules), Bill Shuster (Transportation and Infrastructure) and Lamar Smith (Science, Space and Technology). Though publicized in a statement encompassing the support of the range of chairs, some of the individuals named Friday had already voiced their support of the real estate mogul as recently as this week.

How the general election shakes out will largely be dependant on how Democrats respond to the Drumpf challenge.  There is no room for complacency.  No room for Bernie/Hillary supporter divisivness.  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!! 

NY Times — After meeting with Donald J. Trump this week, SpeakerPaul D. Ryan uttered the words many in his party longed to hear: “I do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified.”

It is hard to win without party unity, as both Democrats and Republicans have learned. But neither party has confronted the prospect of a candidate denounced by some of its leading lights as a pathological liar unfit to be commander in chief and in need of therapy.

Here are four reasons congressional Republicans are desperate for unity this year, and for Mr. Ryan to endorse Mr. Trump.

1. Do the math

Congressional districts are far more gerrymandered than they were even 20 years ago; Republican members of Congress, by and large, come from very Republican districts. In the relatively few swing districts, Republicans cannot afford to alienate their base voters, many of whom may have voted for Mr. Trump in the primary (or other Republican presidential candidates) but could stay home in November if they are put off by party infighting.

And in Senate elections, no-show voters are a threat to incumbency. “Parties want to win, and if they have sharp divisions it makes it that much more difficult” down the ballot, said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.

Click through for the other three reasons.  Are Republicans really starting to unify behind Drumpf or is this all smoke and mirrors trying to present a unified face to voters?

Huffington Post — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday his state would give up all federal education funding in order to avoid complying with the gender equity law Title IX in how trans students are treated.

The result of forfeiting the $10 billion currently flowing from the U.S. government to schools and public universities in Texas could leave thousands of college students without a way to pay tuition, grind to a halt a majority of research taking place on the campuses, and leave low-income children without support for meals. 

“[President Barack Obama] says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” Patrick said Friday at a press conference. “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”

The bluebonnet state is at it again, or should that be still!  It would endanger the lives of all Texas students by denying them a proper education rather than complying with a gender equality law.  They sure do grow them bigger in Texas . . . right wing nutjobs that is!

NY TimesThe casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson told Donald J. Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more to help elect him than he has to any previous campaign, a sum that could exceed $100 million, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge of Mr. Adelson’s commitment.

As significant, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire based in Las Vegas, has decided that he will significantly scale back his giving to congressional Republicans and direct most of his contributions to groups dedicated to Mr. Trump’s campaign. The two Republicans familiar with Mr. Adelson’s plans spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

A while ago, I seem to recall that Adelson (and the Kochs among others) said he was stepping out of campaign financing finding the then crop of Republican presidential misfits lacking.  Fast forward to today and the dye is cast with the drumpfing of all other candidates but he who must not be POTUS.  Should we maybe say that Adelson is holding his nose as he writes the cheques?  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!!

My Universe

 

 

Share
May 102016
 

I was seeing triple or more, until I awoke this morning.  When it comes to malignant nevi, Allison is the premiere Ocular Oncologist in the Pacific Northwest, so I feel confident that I am good hands.  I do have cancer, a Uveal  melanoma in my right eye,  I will need two outpatient surgeries, one to insert and one to remove a radioactive plaque.  It is close enough to the optic nerve, that I will probably lose vision in that eye from radiation damage two to three years later.  However the alternative is to lose the eye to the tumor in the same amount of time, while greatly increasing the risk of metastasis.  Before the surgery, there are a bunch of hoops I need to jump through.  I’ll need a complete physical, a CAT Scan of liver and lungs, an OK from my Pulmonologist, arrangements for home care for 24 hours after both surgeries, a consultation with a Radiation Oncologist.  I had so hoped my medical mayhem would level off, but it looks like it will continue through much of the summer.  ARGH!! Disappointed smile  TriMet called me to apologize.  The driver that screwed up George’s appointment with Sarah did not find me, because she announced at the building next door.  The rep said they will emphasize the importance of making sure they are in the right location to all drivers.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 7:44 (average 5:26),  (I saw 4 dawgs.)  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: President Obama’s commencement speech today at Howard University firmly and repeatedly challenged the central message of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. (C-Span link offers video and full text.)

The president was not attacking Sanders’ ideology of fairness. But he was clearly separating himself from Sanders’ dogmatic insistence on revolutionary transformation.

If you want to make life fair, then you have to start with the world as it is.

The balance between idealism and pragmatism was clearly at the forefront of the president’s mind.

Democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100% right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right and you still have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral security, but you will not get what you want.

This is one reason there has been somewhat of a class divide between Bernie and Hillary supporters. The “moral security” Obama refers to is an emotional and intellectual luxury if it doesn’t contribute to substantive change.

Obama makes a valid point, but his beef should be more with a small, but vocal, idealist minority of Bernie’s supporters, not with Bernie himself. Bernie has stated that his positions are goals and touted his own ability to compromise and work across the aisle.  Compromise has been impossible over the last several years, because Republicans have been unwilling to compromise.  Every time Democrats have agree to a compromise Republicans have proposed, Republicans have demanded even more concessions.

From NY Times: Austria’s chancellor resigned abruptly on Monday after seven and a half years in office, having lost control of his center-left Social Democratic Party amid a rightward shift fueled by anxiety over migration.

The chancellor, Werner Faymann, initially supported the decision last year by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, to welcome migrants fleeing war and poverty and to refuse to set a limit on how many might come. But after a ferocious backlash, Mr. Faymann switched course, joining his coalition partner, the center-right Austrian People’s Party, in supporting border restrictions.

The policy reversal was not enough to stop the right-wing Freedom Party, which has run on a strident “Austrians First” platform, from capitalizing on the influx of migrants. In September, the party finished second in regional elections in northern Austria.

An even greater shock to the establishment occurred on April 24, when the Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, won the first round of the presidential election, capturing more than one-third of the vote. He will face a former Greens leader, Alexander Van der Bellen, in a May 22 runoff.

The two establishment parties — which have governed for the past decade in a so-called grand coalition, a political constellation that has dominated postwar Austria — together received just 22 percent of the first-round vote. No matter who wins the second round, the next president will not be from either mainstream party, for the first time in decades.

I offer condolences to the good people in Austria.  Could Hofer be following in the footsteps of a fellow Austrian, whose name also began with an H? That Austrian is the inspiration for today’s Republican Party, here in the US.

From Crooks and :Liars: Going into the West Virginia primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to a "lame duck" vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This takes her beyond her previous statements mildly opposing TPP. Clinton also made a strong statement criticizing our country’s trade agreements in general.

As reported in The Hill, in "Clinton opposes TPP vote in the lame-duck session," Clinton replied to a questionnaire from the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, which consists of more than 25 labor, environmental and human rights organizations. When asked, "If elected President, would you oppose holding a vote on the TPP during the ‘lame duck’ session before you take office?” she replied, "I have said I oppose the TPP agreement — and that means before and after the election."

I know just how to respond to Hillary’s change of heart. Thank you, Bernie!

Cartoon:

0510Cartoon

Share
May 072016
 

George is furious at TriMet.  We saw the lift bus pass the door three times yesterday, but we often see Lift buses that aren’t mine go by.  I called, and dispatch told me that the driver had come here at 12:35, and I was not here.  I told her that was untrue.  I’m guessing that the driver went to the wrong building, because I had been waiting in the lobby since 12:20.  I talked to customer service and filed a complaint.  I had to cancel my appointment with Sarah, and George did not get his new ankle.  I’ll have to reschedule, after I know what’s going on with my eye.  I’m getting a late start today, because Julie was here from 7:30 – 11:30,  She helped me shower.  I’m a pampered puddy tat.  Then we worked together to do the dreaded task, cooked a half a dozen chicken breasts, and did some light cleaning.  After she left, I had lunch and did my research.  I’m getting tired already.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Jeff Merkley Channel): Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley outlines the ‘Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act,’ legislation to crack down on some of the worst abuses of the payday lending industry and protect consumers from deceptive and predatory practices that strip wealth from working families.

 

Oregon and Senator Jeff Merkley still lead the way!!

From Daily Kos: Cassandra McWade got into a car accident on a stretch of highway in North Carolina. The 25-year-old McWade was fine, but her car wasn’t in any shape to drive and she needed a tow. Enter self-described “conservative Christian” Kenneth Shupe. He’s the tow truck driver that was called in to help McWade out.

When he saw “a bunch of Bernie Sanders stuff” he said he told the woman, “very politely,” that he could’t tow her car because she was “obviously a socialist” and advised her to “call the government” for a tow.

"Every business dealing in recent history with a socialist minded person I have not gotten paid," Shupe said. "Every time I deal with these people I get ‘Berned’ with an ‘e’ not a ‘u’."

Holy. Shit. There are too many things wrong here. First, should McWade call the government that employs tons of tow truck operators and pays for their services with citizens’ money? Second, I’m not calling Kenneth Shupe a liar when he says that “socialist minded” people have not paid him but let me put it this way—Kenneth Shupe is a liar.

Shupe, who runs Shupee Max Towing in Travelers Rest, said he is a conservative Christian who supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Shupe said he has drawn a line in the sand not to do business with Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Trump supporters reflect the love passed down from their Fuhrer, Rump Dump Trump.

From NY Times: In a Europe struggling with a rise in Islamophobia, riven by debates about the flood of Syrian migrants and on edge over religious, ethnic and cultural disputes, London has elected its first Muslim mayor.

Sadiq Khan — a Labour Party leader, a former human rights lawyer and a son of a bus driver from Pakistan — was declared the winner after a protracted count that extended into Saturday. He will be the first Muslim to lead Britain’s capital.

The victory also makes him one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in the West.

If Rump Dump is elected, he would make the Mayor of London ineligible to visit the US.

Cartoon:

0507Cartoon

Share
May 062016
 

Yesterday I celebrated Cinco de Mayo by having a couple Burritos delivered.  Today I’m rushing to finish in time to go get George a new ankle.  It’s a hot humid day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: How do Republican women feel about Donald Trump as the likely presidential nominee for the Republican party?

 

On the other hand, some Republican women are so brainwashed, that they want to be kept the way Rump Dump wants them:

0506TrumpGal

From, NY Times: In an extraordinary rebuke of his party’s presumed nominee, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking elected Republican, said Thursday that he was “not ready” to endorse Donald J. Trump for president.

Mr. Ryan’s announcement represented a split among Republicans not seen in at least a half century, and it came only two days after Mr. Trump said he would unify the party after essentially clinching the nomination with his victory in the Indiana primary.

A rejection, albeit temporary, from Lyin’ Ryan is a failure to top a VERY low bar!!

From Media Matters:News networks frequently use the word “controversial” to describe Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican comments, and it’s setting a dangerous precedent for the way the media talks about bigotry in American politics..

 

There’s nothing controversial about Rump Dump! Hid fascist hate mongering is just plain anti-American!!

Cartoon:

0506Cartoon

Originally posted on this date in 2012.

Share
Apr 192016
 

I’m getting a late start today, because I needed a cat nap, and I had a lot of scheduling to get done.  I’m pleased to announce that the Squatch, Nameless and I have agreed to promote another person to our staff in the position of Author.  I won’t actually come out and say who it is, but our new Author must get confused about whether to plant a bulb or kiss a roo.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Better than a transcript, here is an actual video of Hillary Clinton giving a speech at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women: Proving the Case for Women Entrepreneurs dinner. The video was posted October 22, 2014. I’m not sure if this is what Bernie Sanders is demanding (snark), but it does fit the three criteria, yes? Hillary Clinton, Goldman Sachs, and Speeches. This particular Hillary Clinton “unpaid” speech is about the empowerment of women — an issue the former U.S. Secretary of State has made a priority throughout her political career.

To be fair there were two ways this speech did not meet Bernie’s criteria. He wanted the speech to be paid. This was free. He wanted the speech to have been presented behind closed doors. This was not.

From TPM: Rep. Pete King (R-NY) went on a tear against the Republican presidential frontrunners in a blistering Tuesday interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” joking that he would commit suicide if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) earns the nomination.

“I’m not endorsing Ted Cruz, in case anyone is confused,” King said. “I think I’ll take cyanide if he got the nomination.

Cyanide? He will?!!? Dang!! Maybe there actually is a valid reason to support the TRUSed Uranus!!

From Common Dreams: The U.S. Supreme Court reportedly appeared divided on a challenge to President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions, as a 90-minute oral argument session wrapped up on Monday afternoon.

The case, brought by 26 Republican-led states and spearheaded by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, concerns two deportation protections that would shield roughly 5 million undocumented parents of American citizens and legal residents, as well as about 100,000 people brought to the U.S. as children.

Now, with only eight members sitting on the panel following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the court could end in a 4-4 deadlock—which would leave in place a previous ruling by a lower court that blocked the plan, without setting a Supreme Court precedent.

This is a case where 4 – 4 equals SCROTUS, (Republican Constitutional VD).

Cartoon:

0419Cartoon

Share
Apr 142016
 

Yesterday Lu came for the last time.  She was about four hours late, but getting the day right was an improvement.  So I’m a perfumed puddy tat.  My groceries came.  I put them away.  I also did the dreaded task! Eye rolling smile  Tomorrow I have an appointment with a Retinal Ophthalmologist to check out my choroidal nevi.  The appointment will take three hours, and I’ll be unable to use a computer afterwards until late tomorrow night.  So expect only a Personal Update, please.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily KosWhen Scott Walker came into office, he claimed that he had no interest in trying to get “Right to Work” laws passed. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is a liar and a terrible person. In fact, he and his fellow Republican legislators introduced an ALEC inspired written bill making Wisconsin a Right to Work state. Since the bill was signed into law, Wisconsin’s workforce has diminished by at least 10,000. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs because Right to Work laws don’t have anything to do with generating living wage jobs, or much in the way of real work, at all. Three unions filed lawsuits against the bill, arguing that the law posed an unconstitutional seizure of union property, and on Friday they received some good news:

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed. He said the law amounts to the government taking union funds without compensation since under the law they must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote.

"While (union) losses today could be characterized by some as minor, they are not isolated and the impact of (the law) over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability," he wrote.

This judgement, [sic] calling the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it is an “existential threat,” could have some far-reaching ramifications in the many Republican-backed legislatures that really want to put the screws to the working folk of this country. The importance of this ruling also means that there will be further appeals.

This issue is far from settled, but any day the Koch-sucking Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan takes a loss at any level is a better day for America.

From Real Clear Politics:

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

MoE

Cooper (D)

McCrory (R)

Spread

RCP Average

1/18 – 4/11

44.0

41.0

Cooper +3.0

WRAL-TV/SurveyUSA

4/8 – 4/11

701 LV

3.8

47

43

Cooper +4

Elon University

2/15 – 2/17

1530 LV

2.5

42

40

Cooper +2

PPP (D)

1/18 – 1/19

948 RV

3.2

43

40

Cooper +3

It looks like the Religious Reichsfuhrer of the Theocratic Republican Dictatorship of McCrorystan is also experiencing backlash from his hatred and bigoted policies.

From TPM: Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will not be prosecuted in Florida for battery after he allegedly manhandled a reporter, Politico reported on Wednesday night, citing unnamed sources.

CNN also reported that Lewandowski will not be prosecuted early Thursday morning, citing unnamed sources.

What a travesty!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have no bias favoring his victim.  The reporter he assaulted worked for Breitfart, a source for which I have so little regard, that I refuse to embed links to it.

Cartoon:

0414Cartoon

Share
Apr 122016
 

This week is very busy again.  I have at least one event every day, but usually more.  I am trying to ready myself for the Alzheimer's Walk for Memories and raising money for research and programmes.  As in the US, it is tax preparation time so that is on my list to do.  And of course there is spring cleaning . . . always spring cleaning no matter what season it is!

Short Takes 

Politico — Dispirited over a Republican Party primary that has devolved into an ugly, damaging fight, some of the GOP’s biggest financiers are reevaluating whether to invest in the 2016 presidential contest at all.

Among those on the sidelines: Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who hosted the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting at his Venetian hotel this weekend. His apparent ambivalence about 2016 was shared by many RJC members here. With grave doubts about the viability of the few remaining Republican contenders, many of these Republican donors have decided to sit out the rest of the primary entirely. And while some are reluctantly getting behind a remaining candidate, others are shifting their attention to congressional contests.  …

The jewish community and @RJC honoring the great prime minister of Canada Stephen Harper – great friend of Israel

Photo from Huffington Post

While the RJC spring meeting is traditionally a celebration of Adelson, with politicians of all stripes venturing to the Venetian to pay homage, this year’s was different.

On Thursday evening, Adelson hosted some of the organization’s top officials at his palatial mansion. While former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed how fractured parties can unite, Adelson listened but said little, according to three people who were present. And on Friday, rather than preside over the deliberations, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, departed for a wedding.

The lack of interest is partly rooted in exhaustion. After watching many of the party’s establishment prospects — from Scott Walker to Marco Rubio — go up in flames, many top donors say they’ve simply grown tired of opening their wallets. Some here have given to multiple candidates, only to watch them suffer defeat.

And you thought Canada was nasty refusing to take Cruz back!  Now Adelson is importing Canada's Republican demagogue, Stephen Harper.

Think Progress — Nearly a week after pipeline operator TransCanada shut down a section of its Keystone line over an oil leak, the company reported Thursday thousands of gallons of oil were spilled, not less than 200 as it first said.  …

After the spill was reported earlier this week, environmental groups said Keystone’s spill proves the threat that the Keystone XL expansion would have posed. They also noted that the Keystone pipeline, approved by President George W. Bush in 2008, leaked oil 12 times in its first year of operation. “TransCanada’s Keystone I disaster is a stark reminder that it’s not a question if a pipeline will malfunction, but rather a question of when. This is one of the reasons President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline and it’s why he should reject all dangerous fossil fuel pipeline proposals,” Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement.

Oil transportation largely relies on trains and pipelines. Out of those two, pipelines spill more often than trains, yet train accidents can be deadlier as trains are more likely to explode. U.S. pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains over the period of 2004 to 2012, …

And Trans Canada thinks it is their right to pollute with impunity?  I hope its lawsuit in federal court and their NAFTA challenge fail miserably.

Raw Story — Bill O’Reilly questioned Donald Trump’s ability to provide jobs in African-American communities during an interview on Monday by painting black Americans as being ill-equipped for the labor force.

“How are you going to get jobs for them?” O’Reilly asked. “Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to give jobs to people who aren’t qualified for jobs?”

Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     

Openly racist comments . . . but that is to be expected from a pair of Republicans!

My Universe — Chilling with some friends!

Share