Feb 112016
 

It turned out that my physio appointment was today, and not yesterday.  That said, yesterday was still a very busy day and I was so tired that I didn't have the energy for an Open Thread.  I did get to visit my mother for half an hour and sat brushing her hair.  She, like me, has always liked that and found it relaxing.  Today after physio, I had lunch with a friend and then spent some time reading a novel.  Very relaxing!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — The majority of Canadians say they're worried if Donald Trump becomes U.S. president, according to a new poll.

The survey conducted by Leger for Montreal dailies Le Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir asked 1,524 Canadians from across the country about the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

While Trump was among the most well-known contenders, 70 per cent of Canadians said they held a bad opinion of him. A majority of respondents — 65 per cent — said they were worried about him becoming president.

As I have said before, Canadians do not like this "Ugly American" American.  I cannot call Trump "The Donald" because it feels like I am giving in to his demagoguery!  If he becomes POTUS, I may build the wall along the 49th parallel myself just to keep that rabid fascist at bay.

Five Thirty Eight — Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign had one shining moment: thetripwire he set for Marco Rubio in Saturday’s debate (which Rubio somehow tripped over again and again and again and again).  

Christie otherwise made very little headway in the Republican race, and he ended his campaign Wednesday after receiving just 7 percent of the vote in New Hampshire.

Mr Christie, your cookies crumbled . . . thankfully!

Five Thirty Eight — Carly Fiorina dropped out of the presidential race this afternoon, via Facebook message, a day after her seventh-place finish, with just 4 percent of the vote, in the New Hampshire primary. 

But heading into the late fall, winter and the voting contests of 2016, Fiorina had all but disappeared from the conversation. Her ground game was virtually non-existent;

In her FB post announcing the suspension of her campaign, Mother Jones reports that Fiorina said:

This campaign was always about citizenship—taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well connected.  …  

Our Republican Party must fight alongside these Americans as well. We must end crony capitalism by fighting the policies that allow it to flourish. …

Republicans must stand for conservative principles that lift people up and recognize all Americans have the right to fulfill their God-given potential.

I like to know, what has this Republican been smoking?  

  • "taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the powerful, the wealthy…" — Isn't that the definition of a Republican and the party!
  • "We must end crony capitalism…" — Didn't Republicans "invent" crony capitalism?
  • "conservative principles that lift people up … " — Republicans are noteworthy for tearing down anything that serves the average American.

​My personal opinion, Fiorina is a whack job that had no business even being in the race.  I imagine there are some Hewlett Packard employees and investors that are glad she's out of the race.

Mother Jones — On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department was filing a lawsuit against Ferguson one day after the city council rejected a proposed settlement that sought to "remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies." The Justice Department spent more than six months negotiating a settlement with local officials after it identified widespread civil rights violations and racial discrimination in the Ferguson Police Department's stops, searches, and arrests. It also alleges that local court proceedings violated the due process of residents. The city council's rejection of the agreement, Lynch said, "leaves us no further choice."

the residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights – the rights guaranteed to all Americans – for decades.

Conservative intransigence!  When will they learn?

My Universe — 

"Something on my face? What are you even talking about?"

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Feb 082016
 

Right wing nut jobs never cease to amaze me with the things they say and do.  And this past week is no exception.  Next week will likely be the same.  Of course the number of absurdities reported is limited do to space constraints.

Marco Rubio 1

Fox Newsian has not heard of any anti-Muslim hate crimes, therefore they don’t happen.

To no one's surprise, the intrepid reporters at Fox News did not like the fact that President Obama visited a mosque any more than Marco Rubio did. On Tuesday, “The Five” hosts wondered why in the world the president found that necessary. Co-host Juan Williams mentioned the fact that hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. Really? Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle responded. It’s kind of amazing how much you can not know just by refusing to know it.

The conversation went like this:

Guilfoyle: I think that Christians are being driven out of the Middle East in droves, being raped and tortured, murdered. Religious Christian sites and churches not being allowed to be rebuilt. What is the president doing to stand for them? Instead every time he gives one of these speeches we hear a little excerpt from the book of Obama of how Christians should be living their life and that Muslim is a religion of peace. Show me the evidence.

Williams: The challenge at the moment has to do with the spike in attacks, hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. And don't forget you've had Donald Trump say we should ban….

Bolling: Are there a lot of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States? Because I haven't heard of any.

Guilfoyle: Where are the numbers for that?

Well, the numbers are to hard to find, of course. We could suggest Guilfoyle and Bolling check out this Washington Post article about a five-fold increase in attacks on Muslims since 9/11.

They won’t, but you can.

"Muslim is a religion"?  Oh really?  And I thought Muslims were people and Islam was a religion.  Silly me (said dripping with sarcasm)!  These obviously ignorant Faux Noise "newsians" could also reference the Huff Post which is tracking hate crimes against Muslims during 2016.  Additionally, I thought Obama was the POTUS for every American, which of course includes Muslim Americans.  Divisive my ass!  So tell me, is it wilful ignorance or are they just that stupid?

This is the third of 5 right wing absurdities this week.  Click through for the other four.

 

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Feb 062016
 

Yesterday I was completely exhausted.  This morning I did research, and felt so tired afterwards that I snaffled-up one of the naps Lona left and went back to bed for three hours.  Then I cooked pork chops, cornbread stuffing, and mixed veggies for four meals and froze three.  Then I made and ate a chicken sandwich and a mandarin for lunch.  Tomorrow is the highest holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are meeting the Panthers.  Even though the Panthers are fellow felines, may the Orb bless my Broncos with its divine light.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:28 (average 4:26).  Birdie for the hungry kitty?  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Because nothing says “I care about you” more than making it a little more affordable to drink unsafe water, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has presented a plan to provide $30 million in water bill discounts and retroactive credits for Flint citizens. Huffington Post reports:

Snyder, a Republican, will make the case for the $30 million plan when he presents his budget next week for the coming fiscal year. Pending the state legislature’s approval, his proposal would lower residents’ bills by about 30 percent until water is safe to drink, and credit their past bills going back to April 2014. Former residents would also be eligible for refunds.

“I agree with Flint residents, that they should not have to pay for water they cannot drink,” Snyder said in a statement.

[…]

Flint’s average monthly water and sewer bill was $140 in 2014, much higher than neighboring cities, according to the Flint Journal. Under Snyder’s proposal, a family paying $140 would get about a $40 credit.

Sturmbannführer Snyder is such a compassionate soul… NOT He’s a typical greedy Republican, who wants to charge poor people $100+ per month for poison for their children!

From The New Yorker: Scandal rocked Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign on Friday as the candidate was forced to admit that he received free checking from several big banks.

In a press conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, a chastened Sanders acknowledged that, over the past two decades, he received free checking from Bank of America, Citibank, and JPMorgan Chase in exchange for maintaining a five-hundred-dollar minimum balance.

“I should have acknowledged my relationship with these banks earlier,” a subdued Sanders told reporters. “For that, I am sorry.”

The Clinton campaign immediately seized on the revelation, with one senior Clinton aide alleging that Sanders’s cozy relationship with the banks “effectively strips him of the label ‘progressive.’ ”

Dang Andy!! Free Checking?!!? How could Bernie do such a thing?11? Surprised smile Winking smile

From Think Progress: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been offering increasingly tough talk on immigration as he steadily gains on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in New Hampshire ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on February 9.

As Trump has won over angry crowds across the state with speeches linking immigration to crime and terrorism, Rubio has begun to mimic his hard-line stance.

“The first thing we must do is make sure ISIS never gets into the United States using our immigration system,” he told a crowd in Laconia on Wednesday. He added that, if elected, he would hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, finish 700 miles of fences and walls along the U.S./Mexico border, and strip federal funding from “sanctuary cities” like Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Rubio also blasted the current system for legal immigration based on family reunification, saying that “maybe that worked okay in the 1950s,” but he would institute a system based solely on work skills.

You can count on the Latino hating Latino, Border Booter, to embody Republican bigotry.

Cartoon:

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Feb 062016
 

Well here it is . . . Friday!  I was out most of the day teaching English to Lucia.  Jonathan got 100% on his math homework and he has quite a bit to do for Tuesday.  I am very proud of him!  I also helped him with a socials assignment, specifically his English writing skills.  All the kids need help that way and take special language arts classes because English is their 2nd language even though most of them were born in Canada.  Monday is a provincial statutory holiday so the kids will be home.  I agreed to help Jonathan again on Monday.  Loliyo, Jonathan's 9 year old sister, needs some help with math and English too so we are devising a programme for her.  There's no rest for the wicked, but yes Lona, I am trying to watch my time.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Islamophobia is real.  And it's not going anywhere.

Islamophobia

After last year's terror attacks in Paris and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California — and amidst a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. politicians — reports about Muslims in America facing violence, harassment, intimidation and bigotry have become omnipresent. Many Muslims say Islamophobia is worse now than it's ever been — even worse than it was after 9/11.

Islamophobia in the US is rampant, and IMO, unjustifiably so.  Many people go on about Sharia law and how they think it is taking over US law, but they are quite satisfied to live with Biblical law, or at least their version of it, and subject all people, including non Christians, to it.  Isn't that a double standard?  It is to me.  The 1st amendment to the constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.  Leave religion in the home and the place of worship.  Huff Post has committed to documenting instances of Islamophobia during 2016.  Click through to read the incidences of Islamophobia for January 2016.

Alternet — You know that “TrusTed” logo?   The one with TRUS and TED merged, yet separated via different colors?  

Turns out that when you Google “TRUS”, the logo at once becomes hilarious and hilariously appropriate . . . 

Click through for the reason Cruz's logo is so damned funny and appropriate.  Sorry TC, I know we agreed on restraint, but I couldn't help myself!  I was busting a gut laughing so wanted to share.

Truthout — Across America, corporate interests are taking aim at local government.

With Congress gridlocked and a majority of state legislatures controlled by right-wing interests, cities have become laboratories of democracy for progressive policies like a higher minimum wage, LGBTQ protections, or parental leave.

A demonstrator displays a flag decrying corporate spending in American political elections in front of the Waukesha Convention Center on July, 13, 2015, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo via Shutterstock)

In response, corporate interests and groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have increasingly been turning to state "preemption" measures – some of them unprecedentedly aggressive – to override an array of progressive policy gains at the city or county level.

"2015 saw more efforts to undermine local control on more issues than any year in history," said Mark Pertschuk, director of the watchdog group Preemption Watch.

So which is it . . . government of the people, by the people and for the people OR government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations?  With 2010's Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, it would seem the latter.  It certainly bears out that for there to be progressive reforms, the American people must start by changing local politics and moving up.  Changing local, state and federal representation can be done concurrently, but it still takes time to get all the ducks lined up.

My Universe — 

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TGIF 5

fun1_zpsc5947875Happy Friday . . . and an even happier weekend!

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Feb 032016
 

After mucking about yesterday with a doctor's appointment (just a quick check in), a Costco run for Perrier water (I like the bubbles), and then some chores, I started my post but was tired.  So I decided to relax for half an hour.  I fell asleep not waking until this morning.  Off to the races again with physio, chiropractor, and a wonderful relaxing lunch with a friend.  Ah, a day in the life of a retired person!

Short Takes

Foreign Policy — Of our candidates, who do you think would be most popular in Russia?

Feldman: On the surface, Trump is, of course, terribly similar to Putin.

Because in Russia, the elections are more like a choice between different aesthetics. That is, you have no chance to have an effect on actual policy. You can vote for the Communists if you’re nostalgic, for the screaming [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky if you want to bang your fist on the table, for [the ruling party] United Russia if you want to show your loyalty, and for A Just Russia if you’re loyal, but not very.

So in Russia, elections look different. It’s a ritual, a cult. You vote and it doesn’t change anything. Here it’s not like that — but in that way, on the surface, Trump is, of course, very similar to Putin. He’s the closest to this kind of Russian politics.

FP: In that, by voting for him, you’re more showing who you are than voting for a policy?

Feldman: Yes.  I was actually at a Trump rally in Cedar Falls, and I had this feeling that I had returned to the Motherland.  

TC has often referred to Vladimir Putin as Pooty-R(Ru).  In this piece, the author interviews Russian photojournalist Evgeny Feldman who is in the US observing the Iowa caucuses, among other things.  He seems to think that Trump is very much like Putin.

Right Wing Watch — “I believe that they are positioning themselves so that someday they could invade Israel to be able to take over the vast stores of oil and natural gas that Israel is controlling,” she said, adding that “this very unique new partnership between Iran and Russia in Syria” with the support of China “lines up with scripture.” All of these powers, she said, are seeking “a global world order to keep their game going into the future and to support them if they would invade against Israel.”

And who will lead this global world order? Why, none other than Obama.

NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!     NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!

Oh my!  I thought Guano Girl could not get any more batshit crazy than she already was!  I stand corrected.  She out did herself, or maybe it's just been so delightfully quiet without her daily rants and shenanigans that I feel assaulted by her guanoness!

Huffington Post — Real estate mogul Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz of fraud on Wednesday, claiming the Texas senator "stole" the Iowa caucuses and arguing that "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."  

Trump posed with a bald eagle, named Uncle Sam, for a TIME magazine shoot when he was in the running for person of the year. Nothing is more satisfyingly ironic and metaphorical as this bald eagle-the symbol of American freedom and might-attacking Trump, who only wants to "Make America Great Again."  It is about time that Uncle Sam took Trump to task!

Trump is a master at sucking the oxygen out of the race by drawing attention to himself with new controversies. The Twitter rant is just one more example of this media strategy, particularly at a time when Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are basking in the glow of their performances in Iowa.

Cruz responded Wednesday afternoon, mocking the businessman for throwing a "Trumpertantrum."

Trump sure doesn't like losing! . . . and if there was any doubt about that, his Twitter rant should allay all doubts.  I wonder if he'll threaten to hold his breath if he doesn't get his way?  I can hope can't I?  As much as I dislike Cruz, his response was cool — Trumpertantrum.  LOL!!!

NBC — Rick Santorum on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Marco Rubio.

"He is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together — not just moderates and conservatives but young and old," Santorum said of the Florida senator during an appearance on the Fox News program "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

Santorum called Rubio a "born leader" best able to help the struggling middle class, support families and combat the terror group ISIS.

In Open Thread–2/3/2016, TC posted about the Rand Paul, Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot, withdrawal from the Republican presidential race.  Now Rick Santorum has also withdrawn which doesn't surprise me at all.  Thankfully, the Clown Car is getting lighter and lighter.  To date, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have departed the Streetcar Named Desire, aka the Clown Car.  Seven ejected from the Clown Car, 10 to go.

Politico — Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The billionaire presidential candidate, whose controversial comments and hard-edged policy proposals have upset many, was nominated for: "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China,” according to a copy of the nomination letter obtained by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. According to PRIO, Trump was nominated by an American.

From the "OMG, it can't be true!" files, Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Whomever nominated the misogynistic hater is demented, even more than Trump himself.  Somebody please tell me that a snowball has a better chance in hell than Trump has as a successful Nobel candidate.When he does not get it, we'll be able to call him "Strike Three" . . . no to Time person of the year, no in Iowa, and no to the Nobel Prize.

My Universe — 

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Jan 312016
 

I completed the Open Thread and went to save it only to get a message of an error, and the content went into cyber purgatory never to be seen again.  I wonder if it was something I said?  Yesterday was busy with teaching.  After finishing an ESL lesson, I tutoured grade 7 math and grade 3 English spelling.  By the time I arrived home at 20:30, the furbabies were ready to lynch me and I was too tired so no Open Thread yesterday.  Today has been much calmer, that is until I lost my thread.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — The poisoning of the majority-black population of the city is a product of a system failing the people of Flint on many levels over a long period of time. To really start unpacking the historical roots of the crisis, you have to go back to slavery itself, which debased the humanity and devalued the lives of black people from well before our nation's founding; followed by the Jim Crow era of legal segregation, discrimination, and violence against black Americans, which resulted in early 20th century migrations of black people from the segregated south to urban manufacturing centers of the northern United States. When they got there, they found cities without legal segregation, yet with de facto segregation and discrimination alive and well in both white attitudes and systems. The arrival and growth of black populations in northern cities was followed shortly thereafter by white flight to the suburbs, aided by discriminatory housing policies that effectively prevented the vast majority of black people from joining them and blocked the financing of black homes even in the cities.

I came across this piece and thought to share it and the following 28 minute video "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America".  Wallis talks of racism and white privilege as moral issues that are "…in the air that we breathe and the water we drink." At Politics Plus, we often talk about pseudo Christianity and authentic Christianity, especially as it relates to the political scene.  We talk also about white privilege and the political effects.  As Wallis says "So let's change the water — and the air."

Think Progress — The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

Another Republican nutter.

Mother Jones — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's presidential campaign never really caught steam. In Iowa, he's barely registering in the polls, and in New Hampshire (seemingly friendlier territory) he's generally in sixth place. So with the first votes fast approaching, he's settled on a strategy of attacking the non-Trump frontrunners, particularly Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as dishonest politicians who are lying to voters.

This from Pignocchio whose nose is so long that he would be unable to do a field sobriety test of touching his finger to the end of his nose!  That's rich!

Alternet — “It’s really frightening,” survivor Al Munzer told the newspaper. “When you see these mass rallies that Trump is able to attract, you really wonder: How are they buying into this message of hate?”

The most direct answer to Munzer’s question can be found in the words of Trump’s followers themselves, who aren’t so much buying into hate as they are enthusiastically supporting the guy boosting the hate and racism they already feel. For all his self-aggrandizement, even Donald Trump wouldn’t likely claim to have hypnotized his supporters. He’s merely speaking directly to a huge demographic of overwhelmingly white voters who want blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and others out of the country they believe belongs to them. This is what they mean by "making America great again."

We hear a lot of references to Adolf Hitler when talking about Trump and his racist, xenophobic ideas.  I am not enamoured of such talk, but some survivors of Hitler's final solution see distinct similarities.

Huffington Post — A veteran MP losing his voice to the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease found an innovative way to make himself heard in the House of Commons Wednesday.

mauril belanger

And Mauril Belanger made history in the process.

This is a story of perseverence and courage.  Mauril Bélanger, MP has represented Ottawa-Vanier for 20 years. Immediately following the Canadian federal election of 19/10/2015, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease.  Some thought he would step down, but that is not his style.  His voice is greatly affected so he has come up with an idea to allow him to continue.

My Universe — 

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Jan 272016
 

Today was a miserably wet day out and of course I had 3 waterphobic cats to get to the vet's for their annual exam.  They love their vet very much and were purring and rubbing up against him.  Winnie, my ginger, took the lid from the treats jar and almost got his head stuck in the jar.  The good news: they are all very healthy!  smiley  The bad news: they have all put on weight. sad  Primo, my tuxedo is now 15.05 kg (33.11 lbs), Winnie is 13.1 kg (28.82 lbs), and little Annie is 11.45 kg (25.19 lbs) . . . that is 39.6 kg (87 lbs) in my bed each night!  Is it any wonder that I was almost dumped on the floor a few nights back?!  They were already on reduced rations so we will see what happens with reducing them a bit more.  Apparently they are middle aged now . . . the boys turn 8 in mid April . . . so part of the problem is likely a slowing down of their metabolism.  My vet says they have fattened up with love (no, I don't over feed them).  Tomorrow is physio again so, as my stepfather would say, I'll be peddling my ass for another 40 minutes.

Short Takes

Alternet — Every candidate in the GOP presidential race is running on the same economic platform: slash taxes, slash spending, slash regulation. It’s the Republicans’ special formula, guaranteed to spark prosperity and opulence for all.

Deregulate the private sector, shrink taxes for everybody, but especially corporations and the rich. America has been here before. These ideas are not new. Throughout the 1920s, they were policy.

An excellent article that puts historical context around current Republican economic platforms.  Republicans just love their St Ronnie!  Interesting how Republicans don't want to acknowledge the cause and effect of the 1929 stock market crash and the depression.  It is laws like the original Glass Steagall that made a big difference.

CBC — The federal government discriminates against First Nation children on reserves by failing to provide the same level of child welfare services that exist elsewhere, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, along with the Assembly of First Nations, filed a complaint against Ottawa with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February 2007.  

Before final arguments were heard in October 2014, during which the tribunal heard from 25 witnesses, the federal government had racked up $5.3 million in legal fees.

A great ruling!  In February 2007, Stephen Harper was Canada's Prime Minister.  He ws not one to act on or coöperate in any way for the benefit of First Nations.  But to be fair, previous governments, both Conservative and Liberal, did not handle First Nations issues well at all.  It is past time that changed.  I watched a brief statement by Charlie Angus, MP Timmins-James Bay, earlier as he recounted how there were some 89 Aboriginal kids on suicide watch a few years ago and the federal Conservative government in concert with the Ontario provincial government fired all the social workers leaving the kids and their families in dire straits.  And of course trust the fiscally conservative Stephen Harper, like US Republicans, to spend money legal issues that should never have been done.  Imagine the good that $5.3 million could have done for First Nations kids.

Huffington Post — The Canadian government has fired off a pre-emptive strike before American lawmakers hold a hearing in which the northern neighbour's Syria refugee policy will be on the hot seat.

It sent a note to members of a powerful U.S. Senate committee that has scheduled a meeting next week titled, "Canada's Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for U.S. National Security."

The U.S. Senate homeland-security hearing is, for the Trudeau government, an unwanted flip-side to the praise it received from progressives and foreign media outlets last month when the prime minister personally greeted refugees at the airport.

This will be far less laudatory, judging from the list of witnesses invited to testify before the committee next Wednesday: most have already publicly challenged Canada's plan to quickly accept 25,000 refugees.

Here comes the American paranoia over Muslims from the Republican dominated Congress and it is directed at Canada.  The Canadian Ambassador to the US declined to testify "…citing a long-standing practice of avoiding appearances in that partisan domestic political chamber."  Partisan is an understatement!

My Universe — 

Australian Aboriginal Proverb

WiseWords08

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Jan 262016
 

Today was one of those days!  I missed my alarm and awoke 5 minutes before physio.  I was going to be very late so we rescheduled to 14:30.  I promptly fell back asleep for 2 hours.  So much for getting some chores done.  Over 2.5 hours of physio, which included 40 minutes of peddling my sasquatch butt on the recumbent bicycle, I was done. Tomorrow I take the furbabes for their annual checkups and vaccinations.  I am guaranteed to be tired after corraling the beasts and transporting them.  Their godfather (the vet) will be very glad to see them!  When I saw my mother Sunday, I told her that her grandcats said "meow, meow, meow!" and she gave me a big smile.

Short Takes

Alternet — … William J. Kruvant described the process in a 1975 journal article:

“Disadvantaged people are largely victims of middle- and upper-class pollution because they usually live closest to the sources of pollution—power plants, industrial installations, and in central cities where vehicle traffic is heaviest. Usually they have no choice. Discrimination created the situation, and those with wealth and influence have political power to keep polluting facilities away from their homes. Living in poverty areas is bad enough. High pollution makes it worse.”

Environmental racism.  I had not heard the term before, but it certainly makes sense.  And that same idea also extends to poor people.  I remember as a small child living in a small house in a very working class neighbourhood. Next to the house (within 20 feet) was a railroad line that carried industrial supplies so trains were heavy and rattling. On the other side of the tracks was a canal, heavily polluted with industrial waste. Directly across the street was a hydro-electricity plant, and just across the canal on the same side as the plant, was the Massey Ferguson plant (manufactured farm implements) and all it's spewing of pollution.  As soon as they could afford it, my parents moved us to a neighbourhood away from the pollution.  Click through to see 7 US communities of colour subjected to a toxic assault.  Here is the report mentioned in the article: Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987—2007 .  Look at pages 124-133 to see New Orleans, post Katrina, and pages 134-151 to view Dickson County, Tennessee.

Huffington Post — A Texas grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists in a case involving covert videos on fetal tissue procurement talks with Planned Parenthood and found there was no wrongdoing on the part of the health group, a district attorney said on Monday.

The grand jury decision was a result of a probe launched last year under Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, who accused Planned Parenthood of the "gruesome harvesting of baby body parts." No evidence was provided by Texas to back the claim.

Good news!  Now will there be a conviction when the case goes to trial?

Mother Jones — On Monday, the US Supreme Court permanently laid to rest North Dakota's controversial "fetal heartbeat" law that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

After a series of appeals, a federal judge again ruled the law unconstitutional in July. Once more the state appealed the ruling and it went to the Supreme Court. But the court on Monday refused to review the lower court's ruling, effectively overturning the ban.

More good news!  

My Universe — 

ATT530861

Brody in the powder roomAnd that's not all the dog blocked!

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Jan 242016
 

I took a break yesterday as I wasn't in the mood to deal with Republican BS!  Yesterday was my stepfather's birthday and he would have been 91 had he not died in March 2004.  We had pet names for each other . . . he was Mutt, I was Little Mutt;  he was Dummy, and I was Little Dummy.  If you wondered where I got my warped sense of humour, look no further.  We absolutely tortured my mother at the dinner table with our verbal antics as she was much more straight-laced.  Anyway, I'm back today and going up and down with laundry.  Tomorrow I will go to see my mother.

Short Takes

Alternet — The argument that Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president initially looked strong, then probable but uncertain. But closer examination shows it is surprisingly weak.

The constitutional text provides that a president, unlike other elected officials, must be a “natural born citizen.” This language could not mean anyone born a citizen or else the text would have simply stated “born citizen.” The word “natural” is a limiting qualifier that indicates only some persons who are born citizens qualify.  Moreover, when the Constitution was enacted, the word “natural” meant something not created by statute, as with natural rights or natural law, which instead were part of the common law.  

Unfortunately for Ted Cruz, that technical rule does not permit his candidacy.

Was it not Trump, Mr Birther himself, who suggested that Cruz get a court ruling on his eligibility for the presidency? In this article, Einer Elhauge, a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, concludes that Cruz is ineligible.  I know, this is only one opinion, but perhaps Cruz should take Trump's advice.

Raw Story — A Kansas lawmaker is under fire for imposing a dress code on women testifying before the state senate that would ban “low-cut necklines and mini-skirts,” the Capitol-Journal is reporting.

Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-St. Johns) said Rule No. 2 of his 11-point code of conduct for witnesses appearing before his Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, was intended to make certain each participant is dressed in a respectful manner.

Holmes did not make any mention over what men must wear — saying they should already be aware that a coat and tie is expected — but he did offer more detailed fashion tips to the ladies as to what he regards as “professional attire.”

"… how low a neckline might plunge before it raises his ire." I don't think it is his ire that he is concerned about rising!  According to this state Republican, men are smart enough to know what is expected, but women are not.  What a sexist pig! (apologies to the porcine community!)

Huffington Post — Three candidates have so far convinced Republican and Republican-leaning voters that they could be capable of pulling off a victory in November: Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). After them, there's a dramatic drop in confidence, with one-quarter or fewer thinking that any other candidate could win.

Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters consider former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton their most electable candidate, with 83 percent saying she's capable of winning the general election. Sanders, though, has also made his case: A 54 percent majority thinks he's capable of winning.

Click through for more information about electability.

Think Progress — Appearing at a town hall meeting Wednesday night, Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) argued that Washington, D.C. should not be a state because its residents make “irresponsible decisions.” District residents have been engaged in a decades-long fight for statehood in order to gain representation in Congress and full local control of their government.

they make irresponsible decisions like legalizing marijuana when the African-American unemployment rate is 40 percent and the African-American graduation rate from high school is 12 percent.”

Click through for the rest.  Isn't it just like a Republican to make things up and show himself to be a bigot to boot!

My Universe —

WiseWords06

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Jan 152016
 

I know the Republican debate was tonight, and I don't want to tread on TC's detailed report that I am sure he is preparing, but I couldn't help but shake my head at the stupidity of the Huckster and Santorum.  Is it any wonder why they are relegated to the kid's table?  And today I read somewhere that voters were supposed to pick their representatives, not candidates picking their voters . . . a response to gerrymandering.  It is sad that there are voters that would actually vote for these two, or any Republican for that matter!

Short Takes

NY Times — So what should we say about the Obama job record? Private-sector employment — the relevant number, as I’ll explain in a minute — hit its low point in February 2010. Since then we’ve gained 14 million jobs, a figure that startled even me, roughly double the number of jobs added during the supposed Bush boom before it turned into the Great Recession. If that was a boom, this expansion, capped by last month’s really good report, outbooms it by a wide margin.

Talk about being a fraidy cat!

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Jan 102016
 

How many times each day do we go to the water tap, run cold water, fill a glass, and then quench our thirst?  I drink about 4 litres of water every day, about 16 cups.  Do I even think about whether the water is fit to drink?  Not usually. But what happens when the water becomes unfit to drink , , , like in Flint, Michigan?

Flintwater

Democracy Now — In Flint, Michigan, a growing number of residents are demanding the arrest of Governor Rick Snyder over the ongoing water contamination crisis. Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint Wednesday, after learning federal prosecutors had opened an investigation into lead contamination in the drinking water. The poisoning began after an unelected emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the city’s water source to the long-polluted Flint River in a bid to save money. Lead can cause permanent health impacts including memory loss and developmental impairment. Researchers at Virginia Tech who have been testing Flint water say the city could have corrected the problem by better treating the water at a cost of as little as $100 a day. On Thursday, the mayor of Flint revealed it could now cost as much as $1.5 billion to fix the city’s water infrastructure. We speak to Curt Guyette, investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan, who has closely covered the story.

YouTube

Common Dreams — The Republican governor appointed Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley who enforced the April 2014 decision to switch from the Detroit system to the Flint River to source water. In an angry letter to Snyder, filmmaker and Flint native Michael Moore wrote:

Your staff and others knew that the water in the Flint River was poison — but you decided that taking over the city and "cutting costs" to "balance the budget" was more important than the people's health (not to mention their democratic rights to elect their own leaders.) So you cut off the clean, fresh glacial lake water of Lake Huron that the citizens of Flint (including myself) had been drinking for decades and, instead, made them drink water from the industrial cesspool we call the Flint River — a body of "water" where toxins from a dozen General Motors and DuPont factories have been dumped for over a hundred years. And then you decided to put a chemical in this water to "clean" it — which only ended up stripping the lead off of Flint's aging water pipes, placing that lead in the water and sending it straight into people's taps.

Moore, in fact, is circulating a petition calling on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to arrest Snyder for "corruption and assault."

Michael Moore's Arrest Governor Snyder Petition

Al Jazeera — This emergency goes beyond simply a public health problem. (Lead is a potent neurotoxin, which can cause irreversible brain damage in children.) It is something much worse: a human rights abuse in an American city. In 2010, the United Nations declared that “ … clean drinking water … [is] essential to the realization of all human rights.” Flint’s contaminated water will prevent children from realizing their human right to health, enumerated in Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Public reaction is understandably very heated.  This crisis is totally man made — Republican man made — and the result of Republican ineptitude, greed, and bigotry.  In Flint, 40% of the people live in poverty.  Many of the people are African American.  The old lead city water distribution pipes were corroded by the Flint River toxic water, so much so that a return to getting water from Lake Huron through Detroit is not working.  The pipes were corroded and continue to leach lead into the water.  The only solution is the replacement of the city water pipes at a cost of $1.5 – $2 BILLION.  On top of that, I would expect a class action lawsuit against the state, Snyder and a whole spate of other administrative persons who failed in their fiduciary responsibility to the people.

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Jan 082016
 

I’m hurrying to leave in two hours to see my Prosthetist.  Tomorrow and Sunday are high holy days in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  I will be worshiping, but my Broncos have a first round bye.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 4:18).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Me: The following is an email conversation with Pat A.

Hi Pat,
We’re all worried about you, because we have not heard frim you in so long.  Are you OK?
Hugs!!
TC

Dear TC
I’m still here, though not at all well (surprise!) – just lots and lots of things draining the energy out of me for decades.  I have spent years online typing cheerful encouraging things and so often it is with tears of pain and exhaustion running down my face, and I have quite run out of puff, and just don’t seem able to do it for the time being.  I do hope you are better – mind you with the support network you have, and all the prayers sent up for you by those who love and care for you, I should hope you are positively levitating with buoyant health!
Please give everyone my love, and if it is possible could you ask for some prayers for me –
Many thanks
Hugs
Pat

Hi Pat,
Just so you know, we who love you do not require you to say cheerful and encouraging things.  As much as you love to support others, we would consider it a privilege to support you.  So please stop in, even if only to say you’re alive and bitch a bit.  I’ll relay your message to the group.
As for me, I am gradually learning how to live as an amputee.  My brush with death was so close, that I’m just grateful to be alive.
Hugs, prayers, and love,
TC

I trust that you will all pray or however you connect with the infinite) for her.

From Media Matters: MSNBC’s Maddow Highlights WND’s Profitable Relationship With Trump And His Attacks Against Obama’s Citizenship

Rachel Maddow: "WorldNetDaily Has Proclaimed That Its Man Of The Year For 2015 Was Donald J. Trump"

 

Hairball’s World Nut Daily endorsement defines him as insane.  Rachel, as always, is spot-on.

From Think Progress: Young undocumented immigrants, beware: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will unabashedly tell you to your face that if he’s president, he would deport people like you.

At a campaign event in Iowa on Wednesday, Ofelia Valdez — an undocumented immigrant brought to the country as a teenager from Mexico — explained to Cruz that she was covered under President Barack Obama’s executive action known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary deportation reprieve and work authorization to some undocumented individuals. Almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants have been approved by the DACA program since its inception in 2012.

But Cruz has previously stated that he would strip the DACA program using any means necessary, including leading a government shutdown. Valdez told the GOP candidate that she’s worried about the 2016 election’s potential consequences for her future.

“As a DACA holder myself, I worried about whoever comes next to the presidency and what’s going to happen to people like us,” Valdez said in the video uploaded by the Democratic Party. “I think of myself as a part of this community and you know, first day of presidency, you decide to deport, you know, people like myself, you know, it’s just very difficult to process it.”

With Rep. Steve King (R-IA) standing in the background, Cruz nodded through her explanation, then told her that there were consequences for breaking the law — like deportation.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Coming from a fellow immigrant, that’s heartless.

Cartoon:

0108Cartoon

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