Dec 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 40.  I’m still down.  It’s halftime.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:52 (average 5:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1214-Broncos22-Chargers10

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The banking giant Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015.

Tracy Klugian, a spokesperson for Citi, said that the company had leased thirty thousand square feet of prime real estate on the floor of the House of Representatives and would be interviewing “world-class architects” to redesign the space to suit its needs.

According to sources, Citi successfully outbid other firms, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, for the right to move its headquarters to the House floor.

The Citi spokesperson acknowledged that the extensive makeover of the House is expected to cost “in the millions,” but added, “It’s always expensive to open a new branch.”

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Klugian told reporters, “Instead of constantly flying out from New York to give members of Congress their marching orders, Citigroup executives can be right on the floor with them, handing them legislation and telling them how to vote. This is going to result in tremendous cost savings going forward.”

I bet Andy thinks they’ll wallpaper with $100s.

From Daily Kos: A member of the Open Carry Texas rallies that have seen members marching through restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses with assault rifles has been arrested after two people were found dead in their home.

Veronica Dunnachie, 35, was arrested without incident 11 miles away at Millwood Hospital on North Cooper Street, a mental health facility. She is facing a capital murder charge. […]

Family members who arrived at the scene identified the victims as Russ Dunnachie, Veronica’s husband, and an adult daughter of his.

Dunnachie has been active in the Open Carry movement.

The problem with Republican Ammosexuals carrying guns is their tendency to use them.

From NY Times: After moments of high drama, dry process and acrimony, the Senate passed a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night, abruptly ending several days of chaotic legislative maneuvers and clearing the bill for President Obama to sign.

The legislation, which will fund most of the government through the fiscal year that ends in September, passed in a bipartisan vote, 56 to 40, after a turbulent process — a fitting coda for a governing body that has often failed to govern.

Here are the Democrats with the courage and integrity to vote no. Thank them.

Member

Party

State

Richard Blumenthal

D

CT

Cory Booker

D

NJ

Barbara Boxer

D

CA

Sherrod Brown

D

OH

Maria Cantwell

D

WA

Al Franken

D

MN

Kirsten E. Gillibrand

D

NY

Tom Harkin

D

IA

Mazie K. Hirono

D

HI

Amy Klobuchar

D

MN

Carl Levin

D

MI

Joe Manchin III

D

WV

Edward J. Markey

D

MA

Claire McCaskill

D

MO

Robert Menendez

D

NJ

Jeff Merkley

D

OR

Jack Reed

D

RI

Jon Tester

D

MT

Elizabeth Warren

D

MA

Sheldon Whitehouse

D

RI

Ron Wyden

D

OR

Now, excuse me, please, while I go puke, because it passed.

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Dec 122014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 37.  I’m still feeling quite ill.  Watching Congress has not helped.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Todays took me 5:48 (average 7:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher and a practicing Christian himself, has made note of his common ground with the Jewish faith …

In an undated letter unearthed by the liberal group One Wisconsin Now … Walker told Gimbel his office would be happy to display a menorah celebrating "The Eight Days of Chanukah" at the Milwaukee County Courthouse …

The letter is signed, "Thank you again and Molotov."

Oy! The Fartfuhrer of the Fascist Republican Plutocracy of Fitzwalkerstan is a schmuck!

From NY Times: Most of the possible presidential candidates have not plunged into Washington’s debate over the Senate Intelligence Committee’s withering report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s brutal interrogation tactics — and some are ducking questions entirely, illustrating the delicate politics of national security.

These are Republicans doing the ducking. Even Hillary the Hawk opposes torture on our side.

From USA Today: In a dramatic vote late Thursday evening, the U.S. House narrowly approved a $1 trillion government spending package despite a rare uprising from House Democrats. The bill passed on a 219-206 vote.

Initially all but two Democrats voted against it. Later approximately seventy caved-in, under pressure from Barack Obama. I understand his reasons, but shame on him. The cost is too high. Tomorrow in the Senate Elizabeth Warren will be debating the tag team of Bought Bitch Mitch and the Nevada Leg Hound.

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Jul 092014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 79.  It’d 89° outside, but my A/C is keeping me in cool cat mode.  Stepping into the hallway of the building is like walking into an oven.  Tomorrow is grocery delivery day from Store to Door.  I’ll have ice water ready for Mary.  She deserves it.  On Friday I have physical therapy, and on Saturday I have a meeting I can’t postpone.  Both involve a few blocks walk in the heat, so I’ll probably be pooped this weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: The below video from Vice News has me feeling pretty apoplectic. That’s right, I had to use a 5-cent word for angry because I’m afraid the landlords below will evict me from this post if I don’t.

 

As a former landlord, I can appreciate the plight of property owners, when tenants become squatters, who refuse to pay. However, Arkansas is on the other extreme, and it’s gross injustice. Although the video maker evades assigning blame, Republicans control the AR legislature.

From TPM: House Republicans escalated their confrontation with President Barack Obama on climate change Tuesday with the release of government funding legislation that reverses the administration’s new rules to limit coal pollution.

The legislation, released by the House Appropriations subcommittee on interior and environment, is one of 12 appropriations bills to keep the government running when money expires on Sept. 30…

…Page 129 and 130 of the bill state: "None of the funds made available by this Act shall be used to propose, finalize, implement, or enforce" any regulation under the two key sections of the Clean Air Act "establishing any standard of performance for emissions of any greenhouse gas from any modified or reconstructed source that is a fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating unit." The sections, 111(b) and 111(d), are the ones that the EPA cited as legal justification for its carbon pollution standards.

Republicans seem bound and determined to kill us for the Koch Brothers and their ilk. What this means is that, barring a continuing resolution, Republicans are refusing to fund the government unless they can hamstring the EPA in the process. As I predicted, this is the next round of Republican sedition.

From Think Progress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is facing a tough re-election fight against former Gov. Charlie Christ (D) kicked off a tour on Monday highlighting his tough-on-crime law enforcement credentials and his support for 85 percent mandatory minimums [GOP criminal delinked] for anyone convicted of a crime. But while the presence of uniformed police officers at the event made it appear that they were there to support his approach, many apparently were simply on-duty officers who thought they were there to provide security — in violation of state’s ethics law.

The Tampa Tribune reported Monday that Scott’s Tampa “Let’s Keep Florida Safe [GOP criminal delinked]” event at Patrick’s Uniforms featured “at least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform” providing the Governor with a “backdrop of uniformed law officers.” Their presence apparently was in violation of Section 104.31 of the Florida Statutes, which explicitly prohibits any “employee of the state or any political subdivision” from participation “in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.”

Once again, a Republican has demonstrated that they consider the law mandatory for others, but optional for themselves.

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Apr 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I don’t know why, but I feel lethargic.  I’ve gotten enough sleep, and I don’t feel ill.  Perhaps it’s that I’m taking Chantix again.  My last attempt to quit fell apart during the moving process, so I’m trying again.  Q-Day is Infernal Revenue day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s still early yet, but a monster El Nino might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile.  Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Nino.  Here’s what he has to say about the Kelvin wave:

The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Nino event.

more below the fold… [emphasis original]

Click through for an in depth report on this potential El Nino and what it means to you.

From NY Times: Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women, framing an election-year fight between the parties over whose policies are friendlier to women.

The bill was an attempt by Democrats to press what they see as their electoral advantage among women in the coming midterm elections, but they fell short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster and advance the legislation.

Now there can be no doubt. Republicans do not want to see equal pay for people they consider property that should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

From TPM: The House has passed a GOP budget blueprint that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts across the federal budget and eliminating health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the nonbinding framework takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government’s chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn’t in the cards.

The plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024. The sharpest cuts would come to health care programs for the poor and uninsured, food stamps, and array of domestic programs, including Pell Grants, education, and community development grants.

No surprises here.

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Prior to this, white southern racists were a bloc of Democrats known as the Dixiecrats.  They were so outraged by this event that they left the Democratic Party.  The Republicans, seeing there was no future in representing primarily billionaires and corporate criminals, adopted the Southern Strategy and embraced the racists’ hatred.  This is how racists became the base of the Republican Party.

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Apr 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this is last article until after I return from my volunteer training.  I will be off the grid, as there will be no time to even set up a computer, while I’m away.  I spent the day running errands, preparing my material and packing,  Although I had little time for research, I think I have some interesting material for you.  I will post missed puzzles with my next Open Thread or Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:31 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.

Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”

The California Republican said that the seven million co-conspirators targeted by his subpoenas would be required to travel to Washington to testify before his committee or risk being found in contempt of Congress.

Andy’s great satire aside, I wouldn’t put it past him. Darrell Issa jerk!!

From Daily Kos: Wow! According to an analysis of financials for Hobby Lobby. Reporters for Mother Jones discovered $73 million in mutual funds with investments in the companies that manufacturer contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs used to perform abortions.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

They deny women, but take the money. How do you spell Republican? H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!

From NY Times: The Republican budget for 2015, released Tuesday by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, will never come close to being law, so it doesn’t have to pretend to be serious. This is a document designed solely to be reduced to a few bullet points so House Republicans can have something to show their most antigovernment voters.

That might work in their most carefully gerrymandered districts, but does the Republican Party really want to coalesce around a budget this destructive to the country’s future: harming the middle class and the poor; undercutting popular safety-net programs, including Medicare and Pell grants; and heaping tax benefits on the rich? Apparently it does, and the full House will probably support it in a few days. Voters should look closely at the details to see if they would choose the same course.

Lyin’ Ryan’s plan to fight poverty is still to take from the poor and give to the rich. Click through to see how his new budget is the same as his old budget, only worse.

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TC signing off with a sore butt, because SCROTUS didn’t use Vaseline.

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Feb 232014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this will be the only article, because I cut my search for material short.  Although I spent more time in research than usual, I did not find much that grabbed me, and I didn’t want to keep pushing, because I’ll be quite busy for the next couple days.  On Monday, I’ll be hosting a Board Meeting of my prison volunteer organization here in the Cat Box, including dinner, so I’ll have a lot of cleaning and food prep to do for the next couple days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:52 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: If what he said in 1996 is any guide, House Speaker John Boehner really, really does not plan to allow a vote on raising the minimum wage:

“I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill,” Boehner, then the head of the House Republican Conference, said at the time.

How’s that for an extreme position? He wouldn’t just die before doing it, he’d actually kill himself. Take his own life rather than lift hundreds of thousands out of poverty by requiring businesses to pay a minimum wage that a small family can come somewhere close to living on. It’s almost like he’s not the moderate figure trying to balance the demands of his party’s teabagger extremists with responsible governance that so many political reporters have painted him as.

What better reason could there for Democrats to circulate a discharge petition on this issue, Not only would it me a major victory against vulture capitalists and their Republican lackeys, but also, the fringe benefit is fantastic!! ;-)

From NY Times: The phony budget games finally came to an end this week. After years of trying to entice Republicans into serious negotiations over a fiscal deal — years of instant rejection and painful austerity — the White House announced it was giving up.

In President Obama’s 2015 budget, scheduled to be unveiled next month, there will be no more proposals to cut entitlement programs. Instead, the president will demand what the country needs the most: new investments in education, in energy efficiency, in job training. When Republicans turn away, as they will, they will have to explain to voters why they prefer tax loopholes for the rich over programs to create jobs and rebuild the economy.
Mr. Obama will not include an offer that marred his 2014 budget plan: reducing the cost-of-living increase for Social Security in exchange for higher spending and the end of some of those loopholes. The Social Security cut, known as a “chained” Consumer Price Index, was never a good idea. It was likely to hurt vulnerable retirees, but had been long advocated by the right. Nonetheless, Republicans refused to consider that change if it meant touching the tax breaks of their wealthiest donors, so they passed up a chance to achieve their stated goal of reducing entitlement spending.

In my opinion, the authors have this wrong in one key way. I trust you remember that, at the time, I said that the only reason Obama was offering chained CPI was the certainty that Republicans would refuse it, because it came paired with cuts in welfare for the 1%. Now, in my opinion, Obama is making no such offer, because Republicans have become so desperate to appear reasonable in an e3lection year, that they might accept it, if he did.

From TPM: The United Auto Workers union is appealing a union representation election for Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen workers citing interference from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and other groups and lawmakers in the state.

The UAW announced its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday.

The appeal argues that Corker, Tennessee Gov. William Haslam and State House Speaker Beth Harwell, among others, "conducted what appears to have been a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign. They worked, in concert with their staffs and others, to deprive" Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "workers of their federally-protected right, through the Election, to support and select the UAW as their exclusive representation under Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"), free of coercion, intimidation, threats and interference."…

…Read the appeal here.

Having read the appeal myself, as I strongly recommend that you do too, I agree that the UAW complaint is accurate, and that the NLRB should set aside the election and order a new one.

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This effectively makes any Voter ID laws that require voter expense, either for the ID, or for the documents needed to obtain it, unconstitutional.

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Jan 242014
 

I’m writing this article in my motel room, for tomorrow, before leaving for today’s meetings.  I’m thoroughly disappointed with Motel 6, and will tell more of that when I return home.  Yesterday, we had an outside board meeting here, in which we discussed problems and goals.  This afternoon the outside board will meet with the inside executive committee inside the prison.  This evening we’ll have our normal meeting with around 100 of my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:37 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warned Congress on Wednesday that the government would most likely exhaust its ability to borrow in late February, setting up yet another fiscal showdown with Republicans, and this time earlier than congressional leaders had anticipated.

In a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner and the other top three congressional leaders, Mr. Lew said a surge of February spending, mainly tax refunds for 2013, would leave the Treasury with little room to maneuver after the official debt limit is reached on Feb. 7.

The letter amounts to an early alarm bell, coming just weeks after Congress passed its first bipartisan budget and comprehensive spending bill in years. Those bills were supposed to serve as a cease-fire in the budget wars that have rattled the country and the economy since Republicans took control of the House in 2011.

No matter what Republicans threaten, there can be no compromise on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, ObamaCare, or any other part of the safety net, already stretched far too thin by Republican class warfare.

From Upworthy: Here Are Just 3 Of The *Smaller* Lies SeaWorld Makes Its Employees Tell Its Guests

 

I hope that, if more people learn about these lies, they will stop supporting this criminal abuse with their patronage.

From Daily Kos: Virginia has only just switched from extremist Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to Democrat Mark Herring, and already we’re seeing big changes:

Herring said his office will no longer defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

"As attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians’ rights," Herring said. "The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied."

A win for justice!

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