Feb 122016

I awoke very late after chasing someone's pet rat all night long!  The furry critter kept getting away from me, so I chased it.  I finally woke up to find myself cuddling one of my furbabes who bears no resemblance to a rat.  Tomorrow is busy with physio and teaching.

Short Takes

Huffington Post  Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was charged in federal court on Thursday with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer and obstruction of justice in connection with the 2014 standoff on federal land near his ranch.

Bundy was arrested on Wednesday night in Portland, Oregon, near the site of another standoff that previously included his sons.  …

The takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which began on Jan. 2, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property in the vicinity of the refuge.

The standoff, which was originally led by brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, came to a head after the arrest on Wednesday in Portland of their father, Cliven Bundy. 

My first thought, I hope the cases against these characters is rock solid.  In my mind, they have demonstrated that their "rights" supersede those of everyone else.  I guess only time will tell.

Common Dreams — In a move being hailed as both "defiant" and common sense, Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House on Thursday introduced the "Keep It in the Ground" Act, which would permanently block all new fossil fuel leases on public lands and waters.

"Anyone who does the math of climate change knows we need to keep most fossil fuel underground," said Bill McKibben. (Photo: kris krüg/flickr/cc/with overlay)

The bill, introduced by California Rep. Jared Huffman and cosponsored by 16 colleagues, specifically bars new leases and ends non-producing leases for coal, oil, gas, oil shale, and tar sands on all federal lands, as well as for offshore drilling in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Further, the bill outright prohibits offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic.

Although this action is sorely overdue, this has about as much chance of suceeding as a snowball in hell with the current Republican dominated Congress.  Hopefully, that dominance won't last forever.

Mother Jones — Ted Nugent is no stranger to mounting outrageous defenses of the gun lobby. But this week, the musician's predictable inflammatory language reached new levels of offensive starting on Monday with the following anti-Semitic image posted to his Facebook page:

ted nugent rant

With a long list of seditious and other questionable acts, Nugent, the Pied Piper of Offensiveness, has outdone himself this time.  I didn't think that was possible!  Thanks to Cal M at Care2, here is a petition to TELL THE NRA: REMOVE TED NUGENT FROM YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Common Dreams — The Pentagon budget the Obama administration unveiled this week calls for quadrupling spending on efforts to counter Russia.

The money would move more troops, tanks, and artillery into position near the Russia border. This last Obama budget would also fund another installment in a $1 trillion and 30-year plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal with new land-based missiles, bombers, and submarines.  

4. We can’t afford it.
We’re now spending more than the next 13 countries put together, more than three times as much as China, and nine times as much as Russia. Meanwhile the water crisis in Flint, Michigan points to the consequences of our neglect of our country’s infrastructure. According to the National Priorities Project, foregoing the cost of beefing up our nuclear arsenal for one year would enable the U.S. to send nearly 600,000 more students to college for four years. Instead we want to spend more to rekindle the Cold War?

Click through for the other 5 reasons.  The proposed US budget would include funds for the nuclear weapons arsenal. Isn't the US a signatory to the Treaty for the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons?  Yes, and this appears to fly in the face of that treaty.  If the Republicans actually take the time to view the budget proposal, they are likely to start licking their chops.

My Universe


I you can't go around, and you can't go under, go over but be nice about it!


Dedicated to all the Big Mouth award winners and their big mouth friends!

Dec 262015

I’ve heard a lot of crowing about how funding for Planned Parenthood survived the budget deal passed by Congress.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’ll all for Planned Parenthood.  It’s one of few organizations that received a small year-end gift from me, in spite of all my medical expenses.  However, I almost wish their funding had been cut, instead of a couple of the provisions that Republicans slimed in there.

1226politicsdarkmoneyAs untold millions of dollars pour into the shadowy campaign troughs of the presidential candidates, voters need to be reminded of the rosy assumptions of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that legitimized the new spending frenzy.

In allowing unlimited spending on candidates by corporations and unions, the court’s decision, in 2010, blithely pronounced, “A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today.” Effective disclosure exists?

The court majority in the 5-to-4 decision should have been watching this month when the Republican-controlled Congress, which has firmly bottled up all campaign disclosure legislation, voted to further cripple disclosure at two of its most vital points.

In the new budget bill, Republicans inserted a provision blocking the Internal Revenue Service from creating rules to curb the growing abuse of the tax law by thinly veiled political machines posing as “social welfare” organizations. These groups are financed by rich special-interest donors who do not have to reveal their identities under the tax law. So much for effective disclosure at the I.R.S.

In another move to keep the public blindfolded about who is writing big corporate checks for federal candidates, the Republicans barred the Securities and Exchange Commission from finalizing rules requiring corporations to disclose their campaign spending to investors. It was Citizens United that foolishly envisioned a world in which: “Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Everything Republicans do is intended to further one of two goals.  The lesser goal is the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the 1%.  The second is the establishment of a permanent Republican Reich, a totalitarian plutocracy in which ece3ctions exist for show only.  These provisions support both goals.  To clarify my earlier statement, how long do you think Planned Parenthood funding will last, is Republicans succeed in establishing their permanent Republican Reich?

Nov 202015

It looks like I’ll have another busy day, as both OT and PT are coming this afternoon.   I took it easy this morning and only made two laps.

Short Takes:

From YouTube: Merkley decries Republican efforts to slip Wall St. favors into must-pass spending bills


Oregon leads the way! “Must-pass” spending bill s must not pass, until Republican attempts to enable Banksters to prey on YOU are removed.

From Daily Kos: Since the map went live, Oregon has gone green, so to speak, on this map. And so has Colorado. You red states? Keep on cringing and cowering.


I had no doubt that Oregon would go green and refuse to surrender to the Daesh and their helpers to spread terror, the Republican Party.

From Media Matters: O’Reilly Once Said Terror Attack Would Get Bush Reelected, Now Says It Would Tarnish Obama As Worst U.S. President.

Barf Bag Alert!!


Is there any question as to why I call him O’Lielly? He’s a senior propagandist for the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda, Faux Noise!



Nov 042015

It sickens me to share that, in their ongoing jihad to transfer all the nation’s wealth from the poor and middle classes to the 1%, Republicans are warring against disabled people applying for benefits.  Republicans are exaggerating the issue of fraudulent applications way out of proportion.


Having failed in numerous frontal assaults on Social Security, the Republican congressional leadership several years ago adopted a new strategy for dismantling the program: attack and demonize Disability Insurance, which they consider to be its soft underbelly. With last week’s passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, they drew blood.

We’ve been hearing it for years now: Disability Insurance is overgenerous, fraud-ridden, a well-intentioned program that’s mutated into a form of middle-class welfare. Criteria for awarding benefits need to be tightened, or the $150 billion DI trust fund will go bankrupt. The traditional solution for imbalances in Social Security’s trust funds—shifting money between the DI and the Old Age and Survivors’ (OASI) fund—shouldn’t be used unless “substantive reforms” [Murdoch delinked] are implemented.

How wonderful, then, that according to the Wall Street Journal [Murdoch delinked], “Social Security will get its first upgrade since the 1980s to fix Disability Insurance,” thanks to a kumbaya moment between the White House and congressional Republican and Democratic leaders. The two-year Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which just passed the House and the Senate, shifts money into the DI trust fund to keep it from running out of money in 2016.

In exchange, however, it launches a veritable national jihad against those dreaded disability fraudsters.

According to a summary of the House bill, it “prevents evidence submitted by unlicensed or sanctioned physicians and health care providers from being considered when determining disability.” It expands a pilot project to investigate fraud, in which “Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) units, jointly run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and consisting of staff from local SSA offices, the OIG, State Disability Determination Services (DDS), and local law enforcement, into a nationwide program.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

Republicans have made it even dif ficult for disabled people to get the benefits they have earned with their payroll deductions.  It’s already very hard.  For over 2.5 years I often had to choose between food and medicine.  I had to pull a tooth myself.  The judge said my case was so obvious that I should have been approved from day 1.

Democrats need to stop giving Republicans tactical victories when threatened with government shutdown.  That Republicans gave up a lot to drive in this wedge, but that does not ease the suffering of disabled people, whose benefits are withheld.

Oct 292015

I was so tired last night that I left this part of the Open Thread until today, Thursday morning.  It is great to see TC back producing his On the Edge–10/29/2015 which includes short takes today.  And Nameless produced the GOP Debate – Others Watched So You Didn’t Have To with his usual flair for humour which I am both appreciative of and in awe.  I still have my cold but hopefully yesterday's nap and a long sleep last night will boost me forward.  So here we go friends!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:49 (average 5:04). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

The Nation — But if Kasich were to call Carson, Trump, Bush and, yes, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former CEO Carly Fiorina and the rest, out for their extreme stances, if he were to say bluntly and without apology that what the other contenders propose is bad craziness, he would not just help his own candidacy.

He would restore a measure of common sense to a race for the Republican nomination that does indeed raise the questions: “What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement?” 

I remember reading a short time ago that Rachel Maddow commented that of all the Republicans, she was leaning towards John Kasich in the Republican residential primary.  I was surprised.  John Nichols seems to paint Kasich as "the reasonable one".  Scary, when an avowed conservative like Kasich seems to be "the reasonable one".

MSNBC — Carson also gave an odd response when asked about his reported involvement with a company called Mannatech that made fantastical claims that its nutritional products could cure cancer, autism and other diseases.

The former neurosurgeon said he “didn’t have an involvement with them” and it was “total propaganda” to suggest so. Bizarrely, he then went on to say he gave paid speeches for them and that he supported their business. “Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product,” Carson said. Clear as mud.

Who knows if it will matter to Carson’s current supporters when the next polls come out. But if his goal was to prove he can appeal beyond a hardcore conservative base and convince other voting blocs to take him seriously, his answers did not help.

The third Republican presidential debate in Colorado last night, a slugfest over the media, specifically the debate moderators..  Here Chris Matthews goes over three takeaways.  Click through for a video and the remainder of the takeaways.

Huffington Post — In his parting gift to the House, outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hammered out the deal with his fellow leaders in Congress and the White House, enraging the very members of his conference who edged him out.

The two-year deal, unveiled at midnight Monday, lifts the caps on sequestration — automatic budget cuts first put in place in 2011 — evenly across defense and nondefense accounts by a total of $80 billion. That money will be divided with $50 billion budgeted for the first year and $30 billion for the second. In addition, the bill also increases defense spending through the overseas contingency fund, a side piggybank that helps the White House pay for war operations, adding $32 billion to it over the two years.

In a 266-167 vote, the House passed the deal, which will keep the government from a default on Nov. 3, and increase the debt ceiling into March 2017. All Democrats and 79 Republicans voted in favor of it. 

There is a Telus commercial from a number of years ago in which a teenager is complaining to her grandfather about her mother.  After the conversation ends, the grandfather says "It's payback time!".  I somehow think that John Boehner must feel like that.  I thought that the agreement would never pass the House, and certainly the very conservative Freedom Caucus is wanting to rip Boehner a new pair.  The vote for the new Speaker is today, so will the Freedom Caucus repudiate Ryan as a tit-for-tat response to the budget decision?  Get your mittens out.  It is getting frosty.  Update: Ryan is the new Speaker

My Universe — It has rained heavily here last night and much of today, stopping briefly around 4 pm.  It is back to raining cats and dogs which more than pisses off the cats.  So this picture is for all the cat parents that forgot to ensure that Puddy was warm AND dry.


Sep 172015

Today has been one of those days.  It started out OK but then I had to go for my quarterly fasting blood tests.  It’s a diabetic thing.  Something that usually takes 20 minutes took 1.5 hours and by the end, I was well into low blood sugars.  Fortunately, I had my glucose tablets so half an hour later, I was fine.  Back to the keyboard, and don’t you know that I kept losing the Open Thread.  After 4-5 tries (I lost count), I’m going to go direct to publish.  If you see a low flying unpublished Open Thread, shoot it!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:58 (average 4:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

The Hill — The House voted Thursday to give GOP leaders flexibility next week in fast-tracking a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.


Democrats protested over the move, known as martial law, which allows the House to consider a rule that establishes procedural guidelines for debating legislation on the same day it is produced by the House Committee on Rules.

Under normal circumstances, the House must wait a day before conducting a floor vote on a rule reported out of the committee. 

House GOP leaders routinely deploy martial law around tight legislative deadlines. However, Democrats have not always forced the House to conduct a roll-call vote to adopt it.

Four Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the rule change in the 237-187 vote: Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.).

The Hill

They are at it again!  Republicans using anything and everything to get their agenda done.

Alternet — It’s a scenario straight out of The X-Files: A prehistoric pathogen, isolated for millennia in Arctic ice, comes to light in the modern world.

The catch is that it’s not science fiction—and thanks to the great Arcticthaw, the discovery suggests an emerging public health worry unless nations sharply cut fossil fuel use in the next few decades.

French scientists announced this week that working in the lab, they have found a “giant virus” in a 30,000-year-old sample of permafrost from Siberia.

It is the second giant virus isolated from the same permafrost sample in two years. The team found each one by infecting Acanthamoeba, a common contemporary protozoan, with viral material from the sample.


Yet another reason that we need to do everything possible to slow and stop global warming.  I remember watching a series episode where this very thing happened.  My reaction then . . . yeh, right.  My reaction now . . . oh crap!

The Guardian — The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said Russia has proposed talks between the two countries’ militaries on the situation in Syria, apparently in response to Washington’s concern over reports of a Russian military buildup there.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made the offer during a phone call on Wednesday, said Kerry, adding that he was in favour of such contacts because the US wants a better idea of what Russia’s current intentions are in Syria. Kerry said Lavrov had told him Russia was only interested in fighting the Islamic State militants.

The Guardian

This and the following article are related.  Yesterday while driving, I heard the briefest of notes, almost a footnote to the days events — Russia aproaches the US about the civil war in Syria and the war with ISIL.  OK, they got me hooked.  So the Guardian article is more about the coming together against ISIL while the Slate article is more about Russia's motives.  I am sure that Putin will find fertile ground in a Republican dominated Congress should he decide to pull a "Netanyahu".

Slate — A few weeks ago, I noted that with Russia’s economy sagging under the weight of both international sanctions and low oil prices, and the situation in Ukraine mired in stalemate, Vladimir Putin’s government was badly in need of a new foreign crisis in which the president could demonstrate decisive leadership. As it turns out, that crisis has been found not in the Baltics or the Arctic but in Syria, where Russia, in recent weeks, has launched both a military build-up and a diplomatic offensive.

The Pentagon says that Russia, one of the main international backers of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been building up its military forces in Syria, setting up a forward operating base near the northern coastal city of Latakia and using an air corridor over Iran and Iraq to fly in military equipment and personnel. Defense officials have compared the operation to the build-up of Russian forces in Crimea prior to the 2014 annexation.


My Universe — h/t JL — This is my version of heaven . . . absolutely purrfect!