Oct 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 163.  It’s a busy day, and I have much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:46 (average 5:43).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

4Scores

Standings:

4Standings

Since my best players have returned from a bye week, I hope to do better.

Short Takes:

From Rolling Stone (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): [T]he enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers’ fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America’s second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company’s stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don’t disclose this information."

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP…

Click through for the rest of this inclusive exposé on the evil brothers Republicans love to … nevermind.

From Slate (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): Many of the police officers present during protests that followed the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, did not wear nametags and refused to identify themselves to members of the public when asked, a practice that is prohbited by law in some places and by department policy in many others. Per a Department of Justice letter sent to Ferguson police on Tuesday, Ferguson officers are in fact required to wear identification by the department’s own regulations. The DOJ instructed officers to begin following this requirement immediately. From Reuters: 

… the Justice Department said its investigators had observed Ferguson police officers not wearing, or obscuring, their name tags on their uniforms, a violation of the police department’s rules.

"The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity," the letter said.

The Justice Department then reiterated the identification requirement in a second letter to Ferguson police (whose main purpose was demanding that officers stop wearing "I Am Darren Wilson" solidarity bracelets):

It further was reported to us that some officers affirmatively displaying these bracelets had black tape over their name plates. The practice of not wearing, or obscuring, name plates violates your own department’s policies, which we advised you earlier this week when we requested that you end the practice imrnediately.

The second letter is dated Friday.

Indict the pigs! (I use this not a generic term for police officers, but an insult to these racists, who should not be wearing the uniform.)

From NY Times: The Supreme Court on Monday blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of early voting in Ohio.

The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and contained no reasoning. But it disclosed an ideological split, with the court’s four more liberal members noting that they would have denied the request for a stay of the lower court’s order extending early voting. Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court’s action “will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.”

The ruling, which reflected a partisan breakdown in many court decisions nationwide on voting issues, saw the five Republican-appointed justices uphold the voting restrictions enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The new limits removed the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early voting period, in the process eliminating the only week that permitted same-day registration, a feature most often used by minorities.

The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) just took another bite out of Democracy. Only Democrats can occupy the White House until these totalitarian bastards are gone!

Cartoon:

1001Cartoon

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Sep 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 162It’s a busy week.  Today my helper friend is coming to help finish the major cleaning.  Tomorrow, I order groceries.  Wednesday is grocery delivery day, and Thursday, I have a doctor’s appointment with a complete blood workup.  That means fasting and all day waiting for Lift vans.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:57 (average 4:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: One nominee proposed reclassifying single parenthood as child abuse. Another suggested that four “blood moons” would herald “world-changing, shaking-type events” and said Islam was not a religion but a “complete geopolitical structure” unworthy of tax exemption. Still another labeled Hillary Rodham Clinton “the Antichrist.”

Congressional Republicans successfully ended their primary season with minimal damage, but in at least a dozen safe or largely safe Republican House districts where more mild-mannered Republicans are exiting, their likely replacements will pull the party to the right, a move likely to increase division in an already polarized Congress.

I predict an increase in the level of Republican criminal sedition in 2015.

From Buzzfeed: 27 Snapchats From Your Cat

0930Catshot

Here’s one I like. Click through for the other 26.

From Daily Kos: A party in disarray: the California GOP can’t find its ass with both hands.

Click through for an interesting read, but I can help them find their ass. Here!

0930Darrell_Issa

Cartoon:

0930Cartoon

Neither should we appease the Republican Party, which is just as dangerous.

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Sep 292014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 161.  I’m also waiting tor the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, although today’s will be lesser meditations, since my Broncos have their bi week.  I also have a busy week upcoming.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:57 (average 4:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip JL A from Care2):

Mother Jones offers up a short bio of likely new House Republican Glenn Grothman, the notorious Wisconsin state senator who won the Republican primary and now looks to be a shoe-in in the hard-right 6th district. Think Michele Bachmann without the charm, or Steve King without Steve King’s kind and gentle demeanor. Anyway, he is a terrible person and that a bunch of people in one Wisconsin district are actually willing to vote to send this specimen of underripe humanity off to govern us all makes a good case for quarantine.

In January, Grothman proposed rolling back a Wisconsin law requiring employers to give workers at least one day of rest per week. He told the Huffington Post the existing state law was "a little goofy" and his proposal was about "freedom." "Right now in Wisconsin, you’re not supposed to work seven days in a row, which is a little ridiculous because all sorts of people want to work seven days a week," he said.

You’ll find even more TEAbuggery if you click through. Poor Fitzwalkerstan!!

From The New Yorker: A Republican Super PAC defended the broadcast, on Saturday morning, of an attack ad highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s newborn granddaughter, Charlotte, who was born on Friday.

The ad raises several serious questions about the newborn, at one point accusing her of being “related to Benghazi.”

In criticizing a one-day-old infant, the ad is believed to be the earliest political attack ad on record…

Andy may have detected a northward trend. A Kenyan baby scandal for the 2008 election to a Benghazi baby scandal for the 2016 election. Hopefully the Republican will no longer exist by 2024, but if they do they may scam voters with an Italian baby scandal.

From NY Times: Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.

The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor…

…Twenty-seven states have expanded Medicaid eligibility since the passage of the health care law in 2010, and President Obama is urging other states to do so.

Most states hire insurance companies to manage care for Medicaid patients. In return for monthly fees, the insurers provide comprehensive services through networks of selected doctors and hospitals. Federal rules say managed-care organizations must “provide adequate access to all services covered,” but states can define what “adequate” means.

The Times is wrong to blame the Obama Administration for an entirely state demesne. I’m sure they would love to fix the problem, but the Republican House will go along the day after hell freezes over. Some red states have figured out that they can get the Medicaid money from the feds, while defining adequate services as preserving the RepubliCare death benefit.

Cartoon:

0929Cartoon

I consider this one too good not to resurrect it from last year.

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Sep 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 160.  After sleeping from 2 PM until 7 AM with three short breaks for food, posting and equestrian events, I’m feeling almost feline again.  Tomorrow is a Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, but my Broncos will not have a service.  In solidarity with the LFBT community, they are observing their bi week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

My Prison Volunteer Trip:

All things considered, it was a highly productive trip.  I took the bus down to Salem on Wednesday.  We had a Board Meeting, and inducted two new members to our Board.  On Thursday I made two trips to the prison.  In the first we had an Executive Body meeting.  That consists of the Officers if the club (the inside group) and the foundation (the outside group, of which I am the Treasurer).  We discussed plans for meetings for my guys in 2015, including a Community Impact Meeting between my guys and a group of university students in criminology and sociology, an Essay Presentation meeting featuring writers from inside and outside, a Victim Impact meeting between my guys and crime victim, two months of banquet where my guys’ families come in, several charity events that my guys are organizing to help others, and more.  We also discussed improving the communications between my guys and their outside supporters, which had fallen off, because our former President had some personal issues, and needed to be replaced, and because my guys have not been feeding me the information I need to maintain a website.  The second meeting was a general meeting with about seventy of my guys.  DOC informed us that they have a new staff advisor.  She seem personable.  I particularly enjoyed introducing her to the newest member of our Board.  She knew who he was, but had never met him.  Until a few months ago he used to be her boss’ boss’ boss.  He was in charge of Inmate Activities for all of DOC, not just the one prison where we volunteer.  The meeting was primarily housekeeping, informing my guys of the plans we made, and planning a charity event, but we did hear a presentation from a college teacher seeking help to continue a limited opportunity for higher education inside.  I also learned that a good friend of mine was just elected President of the Lakota Club, the prison’s Native American group.

Now a couple commented about how non-intimidating the prison entrance seems.  As prisons go, these folks do a better job than most in that respect, but so you don’t get the wrong impression, here are a couple more pics.  The first is the same entrance from a different angle.

0928OSPWall

The second is a view od the wall from inside.

0928OSPWire

Is that more prison-like?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In a Thursday appearance on the Fox News Channel, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said that it was “no fair” that President Obama gets to bomb Syria.

“I’m envious as hell,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That was on my bucket list.”

Asked if he had any advice for the President on bombing Syria, Cheney said, “Just enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Andy has captured ChickenHawk Cheney, aka Five Deferment Dick, perfectly!

From Upworthy: Actor, advocate, and creative dreamboat Joseph Gordon-Levitt ponders aloud how his views on gender equality went viral not once, but twice. He has some interesting thoughts to share. Take a look — at 3:45, he asks something of all of us, especially if you have a webcam on your computer!

 

I consider myself a feminist and have been since the 1960’s for the reasons he mentioned. To my surprise, the movement had a lot of financial support from high end corporations back then. In my youthful naiveté, I thought they were practicing good community relations. In fact, they had figured out that, once women were established as workers, they could stop paying men a living wage. So now it takes two workers to support most families. Some blame the women’s movement for this, but that is absurd. Republicans want you to blame the victims of corporate greed, not the perpetrators.

From NY Times: With a competitive election for governor of Wisconsin less than six weeks away, a federal appeals court on Friday narrowly decided against hearing arguments on a recently instituted photo identification requirement for the state’s voters.

In an order that evenly split the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit here, the judges turned down pleas for a hearing by the full court from people who argue that the requirement has created confusion and chaos. The decision came about a month before in-person early voting begins and after some in Wisconsin may have mailed in absentee ballots.

The matter could ultimately wind up before the United States Supreme Court, and the Wisconsin case is seen as noteworthy among the numerous legal fights playing out around the country over voting regulations. Many of the regulations have been introduced in the last four years in states with Republican-dominated governments, like Wisconsin.

Voting officials and clerks in Wisconsin have been racing to prepare voters and poll-watchers for the identification requirement since a three-member panel of the Seventh Circuit court decided on Sept. 12 that the law, delayed for more than two years, could take effect immediately.

This is s tragic loss for the oppressed people of Fitzwalkerstan, living under the criminal tyranny of Fartfuhrer Walker.

Cartoon:

0928Cartoon

I originally published this cartoon on this date in 2011. Sadly little has changed.

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Sep 272014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 159.  I’m back at home and thoroughly exhausted.  The bus home was over an hour late, getting to Salem.  The driver was new and had never driven that route before.  My “priority disability” seating was almost at the back of the bus sharing with a gent that makes even TC Lard Butt seem petite by comparison.  I was hanging on by half a cheek.  In Portland, the driver need passengers help to find the bus depot.  If I had been smart, I would have packed myself in the suitcase.  I’m pillow bound, but I’ll discuss the volunteer work in Sunday’s Open Thread.

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

0927Cartoon-TCPacked

ZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzz!

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Sep 252014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 157.  When this posts I won’t be here.  I’ll be in Salem for prison volunteer work.  I’m uploading my articles this morning, set to post themselves shortly after midnight.  I know what the puzzle link will be.  Hopefully, I can get back in and edit in my time tonight.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:02 (average 5:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: …There were two important articles in Foreign Affairs, the quarterly journal and associated website run by the Council on Foreign Relations. Yeah, yeah, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilaterals and all the tin-foil hat stuff notwithstanding, the simple fact is that some very powerful and very influential people have paid some eye-popping amounts of money to be counted as members of the CFR. And Foreign Affairs has a long, and I would even dare say, proud and enviable, history of publishing important articles that signaled major shifts or developments in USA policies, such as George Kennan's July 1947 X article explaining the new policy of  "containment" of the Soviet Union… 

For the last couple of days, JL from Care2 and I have been trying to figure out a way to post a legal excerpt of this article that conveys its bottom line. Frankly, it's just too complex and convoluted to do so. However it's just too important not to share. Therefore, please just take my word that you owe yourself this read and click through.

From Upworthy: A special Upworthy partnership with the UN Climate Summit 2014. Made possible by Unilever Project Sunlight. Read more.

There are 45,000 wildfires per year in the southeastern U.S. alone, and since 2000, we've had eight of the worst years for wildfires. Now, of course, it's not just climate change that's causing this, but after you watch this video, you'll understand reason number gazillion for us needing to do something about what's happening to our planet.

 

Climate change may not be beheading Journalists like ISIL, but it's here, it's npw, and ultimately, it's even more deadly.

From TPM: The recurring image in the latest Republican campaign ads is a lone militant walking across a barren land with the black banner of the Islamic State group.

Six weeks to Election Day, the once back-burner issue of national security is suddenly at the forefront amid rising American fears and the U.S. military's expanded campaign to destroy extremists in Iraq and Syria. The GOP, more trusted by the public in recent national polls to deal with foreign policy and terrorism, is using the threat as a political cudgel against Democrats in several Senate and House races.

"Radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country," Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator trying to unseat first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, says in a commercial. "President Obama and Sen. Shaheen seem confused about the nature of the threat. Not me."

Scott Brown and the Republican party, in addition to lying, are committing criminal sedition by trumpeting ISIL's intimidating propaganda against fellow Americans. How Shameful!

Cartoon:

0925Cartoon

Republicans would repeal all but #2.

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Sep 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 156.  It’s another busy day, because I’m packing for tomorrow’s trip to Salem for prison volunteer work.  I’ll be leaving shortly before noon and returning early Friday afternoon.  I expect to post at least a brief Personal Update each day, while I’m gone.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

3Scores

Standings:

3Standings

I’m in trouble.  I play the other undefeated team on Peyton’s bye week. :-(

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: A homeless man named Sandy and some vloggers on YouTube decided they wanted to explore the idea of transforming a "homeless man" into a suit-sporting "businessman." Same man, different duds, and a completely different way of how people treated him. It’s a true lesson in "clothes do make the man."

 

It tells us a lot about our cultural attitude, doesn’t it?

From Daily Kos: Connie Wilson, who just moved from California to the Houston area with her wife Aimee and their three children, received a hell of a welcome from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The couple has been together nine years, and they finally tied the knot last year in California, after which Connie took Aimee’s last name. Connie was able to get all of her records updated with her new name, from her California driver license to her Social Security card to all of her financial and medical records. And then, upon moving to the Houston area, she visited the DPS office in Katy to obtain a Texas driver license. No big deal–when I moved to Texas, aside from waiting in a horrendous line at DPS, getting my driver license was painless. But I also didn’t have my name changed to that of my same-sex spouse. Wilson’s experience with DPS in Texas, where gays are barred from marriage by both statute and constitutional amendment (just to be safe, you know), has been quite different:

With her California driver’s license nearing expiration, Wilson took her documents to a DPS office in Katy last week to obtain a Texas driver’s license. When a DPS employee noticed that Wilson’s name didn’t match her birth certificate, she produced the couple’s California marriage license identifying her spouse as Aimee Wilson.

“Her only words to me were, ‘Is this same-[sex]?’” Connie Wilson recalled. “I remember hesitating for probably 10 seconds. I didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t want to lie, but I knew I was in trouble because I wasn’t going to be able to get a license.”

[...]

“She immediately told me, ‘You can’t use this to get your license. This doesn’t validate your last name. Do you have anything else?’” Wilson said. “She told me I would never get a license with my current name, that the name doesn’t belong to me.

This is why we need a Federal law that requires states to recognize marriages from other states without prejudice. And, if this treads too heavily on Bubba Bagger’s states’ rahts, let states do as they please, but make it a requirement for them to get federal highway funds.

From AlterNet: While most would argue that this is place where the people get  screwed many different ways [Faux Noise delinked], in  Washington, D.C., engaging in any sexual position other than missionary is illegal.

Dang!  No wonder Congressional Republicans always want to get out of town.  DC hookers must be more boring that the ones from home.  This is just one of the ten craziest sex laws in the US.  Click through for the other nine.

Cartoon:

0924Cartoon

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