Aug 292015
 

I’m starting a little late, because a thunderstorm interfered with my Wi-Fi. On the plus side, steam rose from the asphalt street.  What a relief!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me  2:58 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Hat-Tip Lynn Squance): Harperman is a protest song against the Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We are organizing a cross-Canada singalong of Harperman on September 17, just a month before the expected date of the Canadian federal election. Please contribute, if you can, to helping organize the singalong. Our first crowdfunding program on Indiegogo has finished and a new campaign has been launched at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cro…

 

Thanks Squatch!! This could apply to any US Republican too!!

From Daily Kos: In recent weeks, there has been a lot of political debate among the Republican presidential candidates about immigrants and aspiring citizens in our country.

And frankly, it has become ugly and dangerous.

Please take a minute to hear my thoughts below.

In Solidarity,

Rich.

 

I couldn’t have said it better.

From NY Times: …As Mr. Obama comes north for what the White House has described as an examination of the effects of climate change, Alaska is battling over oil — its chief source of revenue — and the thorny implications of drilling. Oil prices have fallen to multiyear lows, and production has declined from aging oil fields — with consequences rippling through a state that pays for just about everything with taxes from oil.

Mr. Walker, in an interview in his Anchorage office, said he planned to press Mr. Obama to loosen restrictions on exploration and to pledge support for a natural gas pipeline. More broadly, Mr. Walker said, he hoped to help the president understand Alaska’s dependence, because of climate and geography, on what can be extracted from the land or sea.

“From oil and gas development to fish caught in the ocean, we literally live off the resources,” Mr. Walker said.

But fossil fuels are also blamed for human-caused climate change, and that reality has set up a competing claim for the president’s attention. More drilling for energy, climate advocates say, is not the answer for Alaska or the planet. With a three-day trip for Mr. Obama planned out by the White House — including the first visit by a sitting president to some of Alaska’s most remote Arctic communities — the uncertainties and stakes are high, people on all sides of the energy fight say.

I hope that environmentalists hound President Obama wherever he goes. Allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic was one of his worst decisions while in office.

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Aug 282015
 

Barring a surprise that has not been forecast, I have a whole week of sub-80°s days, and I can’t wait for the building to bleed off the heat.  Today through Sunday are minor holy days in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  For one evening I’ll have to give up my solidarity with the LGBT community, because on Saturday my Broncos are having a service with the 69ers, a team notorious for wise receivers and very tight ends. Winking smile The game will not be televised live here, because the networks are showing only the damn Seachickens, as usual.  I will get to see the game later, though.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:02 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In another entry in the 2016 annals of "If Trump’s doing it, me too," Ted Cruz went after Fox News host Megyn Kelly after she dared to ask him a question on whether he would deport citizen children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants. Nick Gass reports:

When Kelly pressed the Texas senator on what he would do as president, Cruz said that he’s “not playing the game” and declined to answer the question.

“What would President Cruz do? Do American citizen children of two illegal immigrants, who are born here, the children, get deported under a President Cruz?” Kelly asked.

Donald Trump, she said, “has answered that question explicitly.”

“Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”

Asked whether it is an unfair question, Cruz said that it is “a distraction” from solving the issue.

“You know, it’s also the question that Barack Obama wants to focus on,” Cruz retorted.

Megyn Kelly? Mainstream?!? Liberal?!!? Bwaha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

From NY Times: President Obama came to this once-stricken city on Thursday to make a case for his entire presidency: that when disaster strikes, the federal government should help not only to rescue the stranded but also to rebuild better and fairer than before.

“The project of rebuilding here wasn’t just to restore the city as it had been,” Mr. Obama said to several hundred people at a new community center in the once-devastated Lower Ninth Ward. “It was to build a city as it should be — a city where everyone, no matter what they look like, how much money they’ve got, where they come from, where they’re born, has a chance to make it.”

The president explicitly linked New Orleans’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina, which struck 10 years ago this month, to the nation’s recovery from the 2008 recession. “That’s the story of New Orleans, but that’s also the story of America,” he said.

Frankly, I think Obama was wrong to pay lip service to the New Orleans recovery, because the recovery aid has been unfairly targeted to whites by Republican state officials. Obama should have called them out for that.

From Media Matters: CNN political commentator Jeffrey Lord attacked Univision anchor Jorge Ramos for playing the "race card" even though he is a "blue-eyed, light-skinned … European Mexican." Lord also connected Ramos to Virginia shooter Vester Lee Flanagan II and alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, claiming they all engaged in "dividing the country by race."

Ramos is an American, and every day CNN is looking more like Faux Noise Lite.

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Aug 272015
 

Because tasks here have given me a very late start, and because the news seems dominated by only two stories, I’m going to take an easy day and make this the todays only article, so I will not be sending links today on Care2.  After today we have several day’s of cool weather and forecast, and we may have something called “rain”, whatever that is.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:44 (average 4:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Beth Clarkson has extensively studied voting patterns in Kansas and noted several troubling statistical anomalies, ones that always benefited Republican candidates. She pressed for further transparency and was consistently rebuffed. She decided to sue Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman:

While it is well-recognized that smaller, rural precincts tend to lean Republican, statisticians have been unable to explain the consistent pattern favoring Republicans that trends upward as the number of votes cast in a precinct or other voting unit goes up. In primaries, the favored candidate appears to always be the Republican establishment candidate, above a tea party challenger. And the upward trend for Republicans occurs once a voting unit reaches roughly 500 votes.

“This is not just an anomaly that occurred in one place,” Clarkson said. “It is a pattern that has occurred repeatedly in elections across the United States.”

The pattern could be voter fraud or a demographic trend that has not been picked up by extensive polling, she said.

She wants to look over the hard copies to check the error rate. You’d think in America, the heart of democracy, this would be a fairly simple request. But, no. Last night, Kris Kobach asked a judge to block the release:

In areas where Republicans control voting machines with no paper trail, such statistical anomalies are especially common nationwide, and they always favor the Republican candidate. At times, to ensure a Republican win, they even count more votes than a precinct has voters. So the reason Kobitch wants to block the release is obvious.

From Vox: America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, and presidential candidates in other nations don’t cook bacon with guns. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.

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The article has 17 excellent maps and charts. I shared 1. Click through for the other 16.

From Raw Story: One of the Kentucky county clerks who is defying court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples said his religious faith requires him to notify LGBT people that they’re going to Hell…

…He argued that the U.S. Supreme Court lacked the authority to overturn Kentucky laws that were approved by a majority of voters — and he said he was willing to become a martyr over this “travesty.”

“Our law says ‘one man and one woman’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected,” Davis said. “If it takes it, I will go to jail over — if it takes my life, I will die for because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have. I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do. They fought and died so we could have this freedom and I’m going to fight and die for my kids and your kids can keep it.”  [emphasis added]

If this Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian is willing to die for his assumed right to harass LGBT couples, he certainly has my permission to do so. Smile with tongue out

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Aug 262015
 

I’m running late today because of the cleaning I had to do.  Now I’m waiting for Store to Door to groceries and I have to put them away.  I just turned on the news and two journalists were killed by a black guy, whose online manifesto has strong racial overtones.  No doubt the Republicans will run wild with this one.  Please joined me in condolences, thoughts and prayers for all who love the victims, Allison Parker and Adam Ward.  Store to Door came, while I was writing.  I stowed the food.

TCGroceries

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In North Dakota, a white supremacist looking for a town he can take over and turn into his dreamed-of white supremacist enclave says he’d name the town after his new hero, Donald Trump.

Cobb, a hate crimes fugitive from Canada who is currently on probation for brandishing a gun at Leith residents in 2013, joins a number of other individuals with known white supremacist leanings who’ve expressed their adoration for Trump.

At Donald Trump’s Alabama rally, a neo-Confederate handed out flyers, news crews were unnerved by open bigotry and at least one fellow occupied himself by shouting "white power!" throughout the speech.

"I don’t know about the individual you’re talking about in Alabama," Lewandowski said on "State of the Union." "I know there were 30-plus thousand people in that stadium. They were very receptive to the message of ‘making America great again’ because they want to be proud to be Americans again."

These are the Republicans that want Hairball to be President. How can you tell the difference between these Republicans and other Republicans? These Republicans aren’t hiding under their sheets and hoods for election season.

From NY Times: …As questions continue to dog Mrs. Clinton about her use of a private email account, a spotlight has landed on Ms. Abedin [Huma] the aide so often at her side that she has been called Mrs. Clinton’s “surrogate daughter.”

Ms. Abedin’s own emails on her boss’s private server have drawn increasingly intense scrutiny — as has an arrangement she made to earn income privately while she worked for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department. Ms. Abedin was on Mrs. Clinton’s personal payroll, and her other outside employers were the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm founded in part by Douglas J. Band, who was a counselor to former President Bill Clinton.

When that arrangement was revealed more than two years ago, political opponents including Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest. But those quieted until the email controversy provided a new opening — and the potential for new information to be unearthed.

In a recent letter to the State Department, Mr. Grassley suggested that Ms. Abedin, at Mr. Band’s request, may have asked Mrs. Clinton to urge President Obama to give a White House appointment to a Teneo client, Judith Rodin, the head of the Rockefeller Foundation…

Huma is a particularly tempting target for Republicans, because she represents three groups that Republicans hate with passion. First, she is a Democrat. Second, she is a Muslim. Third she is woman, who appears to be neither barefoot, nor pregnant. Nevertheless this remains problematic, because Hillary’s camp continues to dance so close to the fine line between illegal and unwise. While I’m convinced it’s the latter, there’s enough potential scandal for Republicans to use to cast public doubt.

From The New Yorker: With U.S. Presidential elections now costing more than five billion dollars, there must be a cheaper way to find the worst people in the country, experts believe.

According to Davis Logsdon, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, the United States could use current technology to find the nation’s most reprehensible people at a fraction of the five-billion-dollar price tag.

“Any search for the worst people in the country should logically begin one place: on Twitter,” said Logsdon, who recommends scouring the social network for users who consistently show signs of narcissistic-personality disorder, poor impulse control, and other traits common to odious people.

Once a comprehensive list of those Twitter users is compiled, Logsdon said, it could be cross-referenced with a database containing the names of people who have presided over spectacular business failures, have been the target of multiple ethics probes, or are currently under indictment for a broad array of criminal offenses.

“After we crunch the numbers and find the twelve or so worst people in our database, we could then put them on television to demonstrate just how awful they are as people,” said Logsdon, who noted that that part of the current system “works very well.”

Actually, Andy, there’s a cheaper way than that. Just compare the amount of money that they have gotten from the nevermind brothers.  The more nevermind they have sucked, the more reprehensible they are.

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Aug 252015
 

After the stresses of the last few days, I am feeling quite tired.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day, and I have some extra cleaning to do for that.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:21 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: They don’t pay taxes. They circumvent our laws. They get free stuff from the government. They are America’s billionaires, and many would like to see them gone.

According to a new survey by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, the American people hold the nation’s billionaires in lower esteem than ever before, and a majority would like to see new laws enacted to deport them.

“They come here, take thousands of our jobs, and export them overseas,” one respondent said, in an opinion echoed by many others in the survey.

“They are part of a shadow economy that sucks billions of dollars out of the United States every year and puts it in Switzerland and the Caymans,” another said.

Images of hedge-fund managers arriving via helicopter in the Hamptons this summer have only reinforced the impression that authorities have turned a blind eye to their movements.

“Many of these people should be in prison, and the government is looking the other way,” one respondent said.

Stirring even more controversy is the billionaires’ practice of having babies in the United States and using the nation’s porous estate-tax laws to pass down untold wealth to the next generation.

“They should leave and take their children with them,” one respondent said.

At times, Andy makes a brilliant suggestion. This is one of those times. Lets start with the nevermind brothers.

From Daily Kos: "Ted Cruz Criticizes Carter Day After Wrenching Talk on Cancer," says the Bloomberg headline, and so we are obliged to take another rubbernecking glance at the most repellent man in politics.

A day after Jimmy Carter appeared on national television to talk about the cancer that's ravaging his body, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz criticized the former president's administration in a speech in Iowa.

"I think where we are today is very, very much like the late 1970s," the senator from Texas said on the Des Moines Register's political soapbox stage at the Iowa State Fair.

"I think the parallels between this administration and the Carter administration are uncanny: same failed domestic policies, same misery, stagnation and malaise, same feckless and naïve foreign policy," Cruz said. "In fact, the exact same countries—Russia and Iran—openly laughing and mocking at the president of the United States."

Uranus Inspector could not be further from the truth. The real similarities are that Carter and Obama both are decent men, doing their best, and were sabotaged by Republicans. Republicans even made a secret deal with Iran, giving them better terms on the hostage release, in return for KEEPING OUR HOSTAGE CITIZENS CAPTIVE, so they could win the election. I think that covering up proof of which individuals committed this treason is one of the reasons that Republicans oppose the Iran deal now.

From MoveOn: If you have friends who’ve been tricked, duped, or bamboozled by the war lobby into opposing the Iran nuclear deal, share this new ad with them from our friends at Americans United for Change:

 

Please click through to share this wherever you can.

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…then buy my bridge from me!

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Aug 242015
 

I spoke with the prison’s head of Volunteer Services this morning and learned that the demand to pull my volunteer card dis not come from them.  It came from Security.  The problem is this.  Because of my COPD, I am more likely to suffer a medical emergency while climbing the stairs to the Activities floor than other people.  Were that to happen, they would have to call an ambulance and lock down the entire prison for my extraction.  Lockdowns are costly.  So there’s no way I could have gotten her to budge, as she was being overruled.  However, I did get one concession from her.  I will be able to enter the prison as a guest, not a volunteer (who can go to any venue), when my group’s events are boing held in the Visiting Room instead of the Activities Floor, as it is on the main level.  It’s still a huge loss.  I’ll be going from 2 to 3 times a month to 3 to 4 times a year and will have little opportunity for working on issues with them in depth.  But at least I got the most I could have gotten.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker:

Short TakesA rally featuring a racist speaker Friday night in Mobile attracted a crowd of just twenty thousand people, widely considered a disappointing turnout for a racist event in Alabama.

According to racist event planners in the state, a crowd of twenty thousand would rank the event as one of the smaller racist rallies in Alabama this year.

Organizers of the rally were quick to defend the size of the turnout. “There is always a lot of competition for the racist audience in Alabama,” an aide to the speaker said. “There were other racists speaking at other venues in the state Friday night. Plus, a lot of racists now prefer to stay at home and stream racist content on the Internet. Given all the options available to racists, I think twenty thousand is a solid number.”

Andy knows that Hairball picked AL for his rally because AL Republicans passed a Latino-hate law even worse than the infamous "papers please" law in AZ.

From Daily Kos (classic 2/2012): It is now the common wisdom of millions of interested parties that ALEC does not work for the vast majority of citizens, that it is a vicious corporate lobby and that it is thee main force behind the deterioration of personal liberties and workers’ rights in the United States.

Arguing against ALEC’s influence over state legislation has become more difficult thanks to efforts such as ALEC Exposed which display how similar bills advancing in GOP-controlled states are and from whence they originate.  Now, Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), a 29 year old former legislative aide and graduate of Moody Bible Institute, has made the task of indicting ALEC for undue influence in state politics that much easier by forgetting to remove ALEC’s mission statement from a bill (PDF) she suddenly "decided” to propose.  This bill calls on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685).

Burgin discovered her error, but not before Common Blog spotted it:

Let us not forget where the bills Republicans introduce and pass, especially at the state level, are written.

From NY Times: …Whatever the precise mix of causes, what’s important now is that policy makers take seriously the possibility, I’d say probability, that excess savings and persistent global weakness is the new normal.

My sense is that there’s a deep-seated unwillingness, even among sophisticated officials, to accept this reality. Partly this is about special interests: Wall Street doesn’t want to hear that an unstable world requires strong financial regulation, and politicians who want to kill the welfare state don’t want to hear that government spending and debt aren’t problems in the current environment.

But there’s also, I believe, a sort of emotional prejudice against the very notion of global glut. Politicians and technocrats alike want to view themselves as serious people making hard choices — choices like cutting popular programs and raising interest rates. They don’t like being told that we’re in a world where seemingly tough-minded policies will actually make things worse. But we are, and they will.

This is the conclusion of an excellent Paul Krugman editorial. Click through to see how he got there.

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Aug 232015
 

First, I want to thank you all for your support regarding my volunteer work.  I have decided to take a low key approach.  First, getting certified as a volunteer, one gives them all the power.  Second, I could have avoided it by staying home.  Third, when the system has a problems with individuals, they tend to punish groups.  Any lawsuit from me would engender retaliation against my guys, even though the people running volunteer services would oppose such action.  That takes any disabled access complaint off the table.  I plan to contact the head of volunteer services, with support from my group,  and try to work out a compromise that keeps me in the saddle.  I’ll keep you posted.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:25 (average 8:58).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Watching the Broncos win with less than 2:00 to go in the 4th quarter was far less exciting, because I already knew what happened the night before.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Wendy’s and Publix are the two biggest companies that haven’t signed on for ‘Fair Food.’ What is it?

 

I plan to call my local Wendy’s, where I have an occasional burger. Republicans have their own plan. Deport the workers.

From The New Yorker: Amid the growing debate over building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a new poll shows that voters who strongly favor building such a wall cannot successfully identify the border on a map.

Additionally, the more enthusiastic voters are about building a wall, the less likely they are to know where the border is actually situated, the poll finds.

Voters who could not correctly identify the U.S.-Mexico border provided no fewer than fifteen alternative locations for it. Nearly twenty per cent of respondents located it along the United States’ border with Canada.

Being told that they had incorrectly identified the U.S.-Mexico border did not in any way dampen voters’ enthusiasm for building a wall there, however.

To the contrary, voters believed that it would be easier to locate the border once it had a twenty-foot wall.

From Daily Kos: On Thursday, Texas conservative Steven Hotze launched his "Faith, Family, Freedom Tour" with the aim of influencing Huston’s [sic] upcoming municipal elections and, of course, trying to fight their civil rights ordinance, which will be decided at the ballot box in November.

The launch was nothing short of disturbing and disgusting.

From the Texas Observer:

On Thursday, he launched a multi-city tour of Texas, “The Faith Family Freedom Tour,” at a nearly half-empty event at a hotel ballroom in Houston. Sponsored by Christian conservative notables such as Cathie Adams and Jonathan Saenz, speakers included former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who explained why he thought the judiciary could be effectively overruled by the people, a radio host named Terry Lowry who told the crowd that “Satan and his demons are seducing the people of Houston,” and a reparative therapist who warned the audience that the science of making kids un-gay could someday be banned.

But it was Hotze who stole the show. He began his time on stage by showing his audience a video that warned of the audacious plans of the gay rights movement. “Just like there was a communist manifesto, there’s a homosexual manifesto,” Hotze said. “The hackles will stand up on the back of your neck when you see what they have planned.”

The Gay Manifesto is, of course, a satirical essay from 1987, not an actual LGBT conspiracy. If someone said the same thing about Jews, they would rightly be condemned as anti-semitic. So, this is, in and of itself, homophobic.

Click through for more Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian TEAbuggery, but even though there is no video, you’d better have a barf bag handy.  He openly calls for violence

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