Jun 172017
 

While not completely painless, yesterday’s repairs were successful.  The culprit was CKEditor, which has always given me compatibility issues that I could work around, until now.  In some ways, I prefer ARK, which is an improved front end for either CKEditor or TinyMCE, and I configured it for the latter.  It gives all commenters features that only administrators used to have.  However, we did lose the ability to change fonts and sizes.  I’ll look for a fix when time permits.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise, who has made a career of “protecting” “traditional” marriage in the House, and the rest of his gay bashing caucus, can thank their lucky stars for the brave actions of same sex married Law Enforcement Officer Crystal Griner and Patrolman David Bailey, two AA Capitol Police Officers who took on the deranged gunman yesterday.

And, in fairness, they did.

But also in fairness, Scalise has been a leading opponent on the Hill of marriage rights for gay couples as a look at his record shows.

Scalise-

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013)
  • Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)

Will Scalise now “evolve” on this issue now that he owes Crystal, and her wife, his life?

In a word… No, Nevertheless, I wish him a complete recovery, followed by a 2018 election loss RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.

According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

What else would we expect from DeVos, Trump, and the Republican Party? RESIST!!

From Oregon Live: Rainbow flags, drag queens, family ties: A visual history of Portland’s Pride Parade

Click through for some great pics. Here in Portland the annual Pride Parade is tomorrow, and it will pass first four blocks west and then three blocks north of my place. Kudos to the marchers. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0617Cartoon

She was last seen trying to swim back to France.

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Jun 062017
 

I have a meeting to go to shortly.  I am a member of the Family Council and a liaison to the Board of the care centre where my mum lived and the board is meeting tonight.  The Family Council meets next week.  Tomorrow is physio and teaching so there will likely be no Open Thread for tomorrow.  We have had no additional word from TC yet, but when we know, we will pass it on.  In the mean time, please keep TC in your thoughts and prayers.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 5:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? Try not to get all wet with this one!

Short Takes

YouTube — If He Were Doing Any Other Job, Donald Trump Would Have Been Fired by Now | The Resistance | GQ  

I should think that Trump would understand this phrase: "You're fired!"  Or perhaps this one: "Go straight to jail.  Do not pass Go."

Resist and Persist!!!

The New Yorker — In a dramatic announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Donald J. Trump pronounced the planet Earth a “loser” and vowed to make a better deal with a new planet.

“Earth is a terrible, very bad planet,” he told the White House press corps. “It’s maybe the worst planet in the solar system, and it’s far from the biggest.”

When asked which planet he would make a new deal with, Trump offered few specifics, saying only, “The solar system has millions of terrific planets, and they’re all better than Earth, which is a sick, failing loser.”

Trump’s remarks drew a strong response from one of the United States’ NATO allies, Germany’s Angela Merkel. “I strongly support Donald Trump leaving the planet Earth,” she said.

I'm with Angela Merkel!

Resist and Persist!!!

Think Progress — …Sen. John Wiles (R) knew that if he could lift Georgia’s law that banned outside groups from purchasing anonymous mailers, he could transform the way his party conducts campaigns. He declared at the time that he would “not support any effort to regulate anonymous political speech.”

Wiles was able to get his colleagues on board, and they quietly passed legislation removing the ban. But the move earned him critics, including the top Republican in the state tasked with running elections.

Karen Handel, then Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, said she was “adamantly” opposed to Wiles’ political maneuver—she had recently launched a “transparency in government” program.

Handel is relying heavily on the same kind of spending she so recently fought against.

Outside groups have spent roughly $9 million supporting Handel’s campaign during the primary and leading up to the June 20 runoff. More than $250,000 of that total has been spent on anonymous direct mail. 

“Karen Handel was for a ban on secret political spending, but now that it’s clear she can’t compete with Jon Ossoff and his small-dollar, grassroots donors, her campaign is almost completely reliant on special interest money from groups that refuse to disclose their donors.”

So much for being "adamantly opposed" to dark money.  I did not like Karen Handel and her shenanigans when she was with Susan G Komen and I am disappointed to see her back in the limelight with her Republican talking points and lack of ethics.  The special election in Georgia's 6th district is set for 20 June 2017.  May it turn blue with Jon Ossoff who garnered 48.1% of the vote in the jungle primary.

Resist and Persist!!!

My Universe

Kung Fu Kitty!

Break dance kitty!

 

 

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May 302017
 

At last we have a cool day, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.  It was a slow morning for news.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:58 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Announcement:

Our own Fantasy Football league, Lefty Blog Friends, will be holding our live draft for next season on Saturday, August 19 at 10 AM PDT (11 AM CDT, 12 Noon MDT, 1 PM EDT).  If you played last year and are going to quit, please let me know immediately.  May the Holy Ellipsoid Orb bless your team.

Republican Diseases (at Nameless' request):

Republicitis: You're so full of shit that everyone thinks you're a Republican.  You need Dulcolax to unload the excess shit.

Republicosis: You're spraying so much shit around that everyone thinks you're a Republican.  You need Immodium to get your shit together.

Short Takes:

From The Guardian: As tensions continue in Portland following the racially charged murder of two men on Friday, the top Republican in the city said he is considering using militia groups as security for public events.

How insane! Republican militia groups would have joined the attack on the Muslim women! RESIST!!

From The Hill: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday said Russia's “aggressiveness” in interfering in last year's U.S. election was unlike anything he'd seen before.

“Across the board, the aggressiveness in this campaign was unprecedented,” Clapper told CNN’s “New Day.”

“An American citizen should be very concerned about a foreign government, particularly our primary adversary, interfering with the most important foundational process that we have in this country, which is free and fair elections.”

Clapper noted that the Russians have long tried to interfere in presidential elections, but characterized the 2016 efforts as the most aggressive and direct.

They could get away with being so aggressive only because one of the candidates was an active partner in their interference. RESIST!!

From NY Times: In the northern suburbs of Atlanta, where what is likely to be the most expensive House campaign in history is being waged, a band of conservative advocacy groups is grappling with a question that may decide whether the Republican Party keeps its House majority after 2018: Do you run with President Trump or against him?

Somehow, the groups are discovering, they will have to do both.

While this does not apply to the race between Jon Osoff and Karen Handel, former attack dog for Komen Hates Women, current Republican office holders, who want to run against Trump need to prove it NOW. Otherwise it's just BS. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Mar 152017
 

Today is the Ides of March or Idus Martiae in Latin, a day for religious observances in ancient Rome, but also an inauspicious day for Julius Caesar.  He was assassinated in 44 BCE on the Ides of March.  Let's hope your day goes much better for you than it did for Caesar all those years ago!

Well tonight, we are having thunder and lightning which is relatively unusual for here.  It was very close to my house, just north in the mountains, and the house shook with the display.  TC is still feeling significantly under the weather but he did post an Open Thread today.

Short Takes

Maclean'sAs for who first noticed that Moscow was gunning for Freeland, that’s something that has yet to show up in any banner Canadian headlines. It was the European Union’s East StratCom Task Force, a unit of the External Action Service (the EU’s foreign ministry and diplomatic branch). The Task Force was set up in March 2015 as a kind of early warning system to detect incoming Kremlin disinformation campaigns.

In its January 26 Disinformation Digest, the Task Force specifically identified the “Freeland Lied About Her Family’s Nazi Past” hoax, which by then was already circulating within the nether regions of the pro-Kremlin web, under the category of “pro-Kremlin disinformation” and “fake media stories that support Russia’s policies.” The Task Force flagged the Freeland smear project under the campy headline “And you are a Nazi, too!” along with several ongoing efforts to affix the Nazi tag to “anyone opposing the Kremlin’s interests,” especially in Ukraine and the Baltic states. Canadian Forces personnel are active in both arenas.

Usually, Moscow enjoys a degree of marginally plausible deniability by circulating its nastiest propaganda via merely Kremlin-admiring webzines and usefully idiotic “anti-imperialist” pseudo-news operations. But the effort to attack Freeland’s character and undermine her credibility first came straight out of Russia’s embassy in Ottawa, on January 11, the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Freeland to the foreign-affairs post.

In Squatch’s Open Thread 10 March 2017, I included another Maclean's article about how Russia was turning its predatory disinformation sights on Canada, and I made reference to an article in the Ottawa Citizen about Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Maclean's has now covered this aspect beginning with how some western journalist aided and abetted Putin's disinformation ritual.  But why Freeland?  The article goes into detail on that point.  I urge you to read the entire article.  The new Russian Czar, Vladimir Putin, is certainly busy trying to destabilise western nations.

CBC — Girl Guides of Canada has announced it will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity. 

"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon. 

"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.

The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.

More fallout from Drumpf's travel ban.  Interesting that a group of young Canadian girls can show up Drumpf when it comes to ethics, loyalty and inclusivity.

YouTube — Trump Can’t Even Watch TV Correctly | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Kudos to Keith!  Spot on as usual!  Is this what the "age of television" has become?

CBC — For the second time, a federal court on Wednesday blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations, putting the president's revised travel ban on hold just hours before it was to take effect.

This time, the ruling came from a judge in Hawaii who rejected the government's claims that the travel ban is about national security, not discrimination. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order constricted the flow of students and tourists to the state, and that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.  …

U.S. President Donald Trump held a rally at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday, vowing he would not stop defending the security of Americans despite the latest legal setback, which the government will likely appeal. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump called the ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach" and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also called his new travel ban a watered-down version of the first one, which he said he wished he could implement.  …

The hearing was one of three held Wednesday in federal courts around the country. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who blocked the initial travel ban last month, did not immediately rule on a request from an immigrant-rights group to block the revised version. Neither was there a ruling from U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland in a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.

In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban. A case brought by Washington state argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.

Judicial overreach?  What a load of horse pucky!  It is only judicial overreach to Drumpf because he isn't getting his way!  I am glad that there are some members of the judiciary and legal profession that see this Muslim travel ban for what it is — outright discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.  As Drumpfenfarten said when US District Judge Robart of Washington state turned aside the first ban, "See you in court!"  While Robart and US District Judge Chuang of Maryland both heard arguments today, neither has announced their ruling.

My Universe 

OK, so I am almost 3 months behind the times but this commercial for Temptations cat treats is "so cat"!

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Mar 112017
 

It has been raining all day today . . . but no snow!  You've probably noted that TC is still sick but a physician's assistant did visit him at home and has him on medication.  Rest my friend, drink lots of water and take your medicine.  I am sure Wendy will be in to make sure you are fluffed and buffed, and ensure you are eating properly . . . maybe some chicken soup?  Personally, I am going to have some beans and toast, comfort food for a rainy day!

Short Takes

Otherwords.org —

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

Khalil [email protected] has a way with 'alternate' words!  I think this sums up much of the current situation as far as Drumpfenfarten and Putin are concerned.  Of course, this does not explain the 'why?', but it certainly does speak to the extent of the, shall I say, collusion.

The Hill — Preet Bharara, one of the most high-profile federal prosecutors in the country, said Saturday he was fired from President Trump's administration after he refused to resign when asked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

"I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life," tweeted Bharara, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.  …

"One hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone every day that I served," he [Bharara] said in the statement released by the U.S. attorney's office.  …

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) heralded Bharara as an "exemplary U.S. attorney."

"His relentless drive to root out public corruption, lock up terrorists, take on Wall Street, and stand up for what is right should serve as a model for all U.S. attorneys across the country. He will be sorely missed," Schumer said in a statement.

Rachel Maddow covered the replacement of 46 federal prosecutors and Bharara's firing in the following segment of her show.

Bharara was told by both Drumpf and Sessions that they wanted him to stay on as the chief federal prosecutor in the SDNY.  Could it be that Bharara was just too damned good at his job and Drumpfenfarten and Sessions became nervous after looking at his accomplishments?  After all, as Rachel says, Drumpf Tower where Drumpf carries out all his business dealings — you know, those dealings that are supposedly in the hands of his sons who do not discuss anything with their father — is within the SDNY!

Truthout — Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn't afford it — even with student loans. Besides, he wasn't thrilled with the prospect of ending up in "debt up to the neck." Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn't need a college education to become successful.

But now he's on his way to obtaining a bachelor's degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That's thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria. Students have 10 years from the day they graduate high school to use the scholarship.  …

After Kalamazoo, Michigan, offered college tuition for nearly all high school graduates, dropout rates declined and the city's population began to rebound. (Photo: The Kalamazoo Promise / Facebook)

"The donors believe that a community's vitality — politically, socially, and economically — is closely related to the educational level of the community," says Bob Jorth, executive director of the Kalamazoo Promise. "In the knowledge-based economy that we're in, almost all good jobs require some kind of training and education beyond high school."

Kudos to the Kalamazoo Promise!  I wonder how fast Betsy DeVos can put the brakes on such an innovation? . . . not that it is within her purview.  When did that ever stop a Republican!

Huffington Post — Most of the migrants who recently made the difficult journey across the border into Canada were in the United States legally, making the trend hard to explain, says U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

The majority travelled to the United States with the necessary visas, Kelly said Friday after a meeting in Ottawa with cabinet members including his Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

"Everyone was perplexed," Kelly said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"Many of them have only been in the United States a few days before they made the trek north, so it's something we're certainly trying to figure out."

"… it's something we're certainly trying to figure out." ?????  There have been Somalis crossing into Manitoba in the dead of winter, literally risking life and limb — 2 have lost many of their fingers to frostbite.  In Québec, at a well known crossing point, RCMP officers are often waiting there to arrest the people until they can chat them up properly and they can make their requests for asylum.  And U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly is 'perplexed' about the migrant surge into Canada?  Let's see 1) Donald Trump; 2) pervasive American discrimination of foreigners, particularly Latinos and Muslims; 3) overly zealous border agents; 4) keep adding to the list.  My apologies to my American friends, but with the current administration, the US has lost ownership of Emma Lazarus' poem that is on a plaque in the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome
; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

YouTube (GQ Channel) — Trump’s Amazing Speech Sure Didn’t Age Well | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

Romney has been supplanted as Mr Flip-flop by none other than Drumpfenfarten.  I remember a line from the movie "Clear and Present Danger" that went like this: "He cannot be clear when clarity is not exactly what he wants."  White House aide or a Cabinet person talking about the president played by Donald Moffat.  Sure seems appropriate to Drumpfenfarten.

Huffington Post — The idea was simple enough: publish as many absurd, obviously fake stories imaginable, and see if anyone actually falls for it. The results of this experiment were both fascinating and disheartening. 

“BREAKING: Satire Makes Fools Of Gullible Trump Supporters.”

That’s the headline James McDaniel published on his intentionally fake news website, UndergroundNewsReport.com, earlier this month.

Within just two weeks of his website going online, McDaniel had already amassed more than a million views, thousands of comments on his stories, and hundreds of thousands of “likes” and “shares” on Facebook. 

“While writing them, I was aiming for stories that no one would believe, but rather would be satirical in an age where disinformation is so prevalent,” McDaniel wrote on his website. “Just for fun, I decided to post some of the stories in Trump fan groups on Facebook to see the reactions.”

I just had to share this piece with you to give you some light fare, if not depressing, on the intelligence state of Drumpf supporters.  Go to http://undergroundnewsreport.com/the-truth/former-white-house-aide-obama-gay-man/ or http://undergroundnewsreport.com/the-truth/obama-tweet-trump-must-removed-means-necessary/  and read the comments at the end of each article.  There are several other satirical articles as well.  These are SATIRE but sadly, Drumpf supporters believe it all.  The world is becoming more dangerous every day.

My Universe

 

Resist and Persist!!!

 

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Mar 112017
 

Sorry this is so late.  With TomCat down, I told him I would put out an Open Thread but I wasn't anticipating computer issues.  It kept freezing so I had to put it to bed for several hours.

Short Takes

msn.com — A first-term congressman who spent three decades as a physician — and is now part of a group of Republican doctors who have a major role in replacing Obamacare — is facing backlash after saying that poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Rep. Roger Marshall, (R-Kan.), a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said comments he made to Stat News were not meant to suggest that poor people take health care for granted. The comments were published in a story last week about his burgeoning role in the fight to replace the Affordable Care Act.  …

He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” the poor, including the homeless, “just don’t want health care.”

Well isn't he just precious.  I suppose this Republican idiot thinks everyone is made of money.  Take a WalFart employee who is being paid the minimum wage.  Many have used SNAP because their paycheques do not cover the cost of food for the family.  It is people like this, the working poor, that want healthcare but cannot afford it.  The arrogance of this doctor is astounding, but then I guess it should not be . . . he's a Republican.

Maclean's — Moscow has been waging an increasingly daring clandestine war against western democracies. Under the direction of President Vladmir Putin, Russia is targeting most of the major members of the western alliance. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of Russian attempts at cyber attacks. In France, Moscow has funded right-wing populist Marine Le Pen and is alleged to be spreading false propaganda about her opponents. There are now reports from British parliamentarians that Russia may have meddled with the Brexit campaign. And, of course, Putin’s interference in the U.S. Presidential election has lit a tire fire in Washington that may bring down the Trump administration, and at the very least has left America’s political institutions reeling, and its alliances weakened.

So is Canada next?  Or have the Russians already started their campaign of disinformation and lies.  As the sub headline of the article says "The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start."  The Ottawa Citizen outlines just one such attempt.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s ambitious foreign affairs minister, is secretly itching to draw Canada into a showdown with Russia because of the seething hatreds she inherited from her Ukrainian grandfather, a Nazi collaborator and war profiteer she never told us about. She’s been lying about her family’s sordid past all along, and she’s been lying to Canadians about what’s really going on in Ukraine. She’s dangerous.

The main problem with all this is that it’s rubbish, from top to bottom. It’s also the hottest political news story in Canada right now.

All countries must keep their wits about them.  And coming back to the recent US experience with Russia,  it is interesting to note that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian influence investigation but has not called for a special independent prosecutor, but he has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the accusations made by Drumpf that Obama authorised the wiretapping of Trump Tower.  While wiretapping American citizens is illegal, the Russia affair is far more dangerous from a national security perspective.  Misplaced Republican priorities?

The Hill — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said his office on Monday would formally join a suit filed by four other states, Reuters reported

"The administration persists in an effort to implement a policy that is inhumane and unconstitutional, but also makes us less safe, not more safe," Frosh said in a statement.

The states are pushing for a temporary restraining order similar to the one that halted President Trump's first order.

Maryland joins New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and Washington state in challenging the new ban.

In addition to these five states, Hawaii is also launching a suit against the travel ban, but its suit is based on economic criteria and not constitutional criteria.  May the force be with them!  Update — Seattle U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday declined to apply his first order to the new ban.  Lawyers need to file more extensive court papers.

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