Oct 262016

I'm having a very busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming in the next couple hours, and need to unpack them and put them away.  Later Wendy is coming to scrub and de-stink the TomCat, tighten down the nuts and bolts on my power chair, do some light cleaning, and eat both the supper I prepared for her and some sweets to contribute to the Southern Exposure Project.  Tomorrow I'm going to the prison to help facilitate a Victims Impact Meeting, involving several outside victims and up to 100 of my guys.  Because I won't be home until quite late, please assume that I will be publishing Personal Updates only and Thursday and Friday and will not be sending links messages on Care2, so please don't worry.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:10 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop clawing-back the bonuses that thousands of soldiers got for reenlisting to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is no more important responsibility for the Department of Defense than keeping faith with our people," Carter said in a statement. "That means treating them fairly and equitably, honoring their service and sacrifice, and keeping our word. Today, in keeping with that obligation, I am ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers who may have received incentive bonuses and tuition assistance improperly as a result of errors and in some cases criminal behavior by members of the California National Guard."

Carter's announcement was greeted with cheers in Kempner, Texas where Don and Susan Haley — both Iraq War veterans — had been struggling to pay back the bonuses they got when they reenlisted a decade ago in the California National Guard.

I trust JD will be most pleased with this.

From US News: A new report finds that the global gender pay gap will not be closed for another 170 years if current trends continue.

 Click through to watch the video.  I had to remove it because it autoplays.

A woman's place is in the House… and the Senate… and the White House… and above the glass ceiling!!

From NY Times: Thanks to recent gains, the Democrats now have a clear but vulnerable lead in the race for Senate control. Prediction markets give them a 78 percent chance of winning control, according to PredictWise.

There are nine competitive races, and the Democrats need to win at least five of them (if they also win the vice-presidency, which breaks Senate ties).

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

Democrats have seemingly safe leads over Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin and are also favored in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Missouri is a toss-up.

If you see new polls from Pennsylvania and Missouri, pay particular attention. Recent polls have shown the Republicans slightly ahead, but the prediction markets seem to think the polls haven’t yet caught up to the Republicans’ Trump-inflicted wounds.

Keep an eye on North Carolina and Florida, too. The Republicans — Richard Burr in North Carolina and Marco Rubio in Florida, both incumbents — are still favored, but the Democrats have a shot.

I happily endorse every Democrat. Even a DINO is better than a Rump Dump Rectumite!



The military doesn't want the F-22, but Republicans won't allow its removal from the budget.

Oct 202016

I’m trying to catch up on a bit of rest today, because tomorrow, I go for my appointment with Courtney, my Physical Terrorist.  As a result, please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:15 (average 6:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: How Democrats Take Back the Senate


The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right about the absolute need to wrest control of the Senate from the Reich on the right, the Republican Reich. I’m particularly proud that he listed Jeff Merkley third in his list of progressive Senators, behind only Liz and Bernie.

From The New Yorker: After learning that Donald J. Trump was still stinging from having lost an Emmy for “The Celebrity Apprentice,” the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences offered to give the former reality-show host a belated Emmy if he will drop out of the 2016 race.

“We never imagined that if we had simply given you an Emmy back in the day our current national nightmare might have been avoided,” a Television Academy spokesman said in an online video.

Displaying an Emmy statuette, the spokesman said, “Here’s your Emmy, Mr. Trump, all gold and shiny, just the way you like things to be.”

Andy, what a wonderful idea!

From Think Progress: Chris Wallace, a veteran Fox News journalist, was already a controversial choice to host Wednesday night’s final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Wallace is noted for his close relationship with Roger Ailes, who is currently advising Trump on the debates, prompting media experts to raise ethical questions about his involvement.

Ultimately, Wallace did win praise for holding Trump accountable on several issues and keeping both candidates on task throughout the debate. Yet as much as he tried to play things equally, several of his questions showed a clear bias towards conservative ideals, policy positions, and talking points.

Here are a few.

Wallace frames his question using the term “partial-birth.”
“I’m going to give you a chance respond but I want to ask you Secretary Clinton I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions. Why?”

“Open borders”
This quote mentioned below, often cited in conservative media, has been taken out of context.
“Mr. Trump you want to build a wall. Secretary Clinton you have offered no specific plan or how you want to secure our southern border. … We’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this, and I want to quote ‘My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders,’ so that is the question…Is that your dream, open borders?”

I shared two of five examples of Wallace’s clear Republican bias. Click through for the other three.



Sep 292016

Getting my Lift permit renewed this morning took ten minutes.  Factoring-in waiting for rides, it took three and a half hours.  ARGH!!  I’m very tired, but as the effects of the Cymbalta are starting to wear off, I’m feeling a bit more human, and I know tomorrow’s appointment with Megan will limit me to a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: PPP has put up a number of tweets this morning, which can be seen here

The descriptive story is here from which we learn

Colorado    4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                     2-way  Clinton 51, Trump 44

Florida        4-way  Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 3, Stein 1
                      2-way   Clinton 48, Trump 45

North Carolina     4-way  Clinton 44, Trump 42, Johnson 7
                      2-way   Clinton 49, Trump 45

Pennsylvania       4-way Clinton 45, Trump 39, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                       2-way Clinton 49, Trump 44

Virginia                4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1
                       2-way  Clinton 49, Trump 43

Further, they polled who won the debate, in each case it was Clinton

CO  53-31
FL   52-35
NC  53-31
PA  51-32
VA  54-30

That’s great news for America, especially since it shows a shift in support away from the minor candidates, whose candidacies help Trump.

From NY Times: Congress averted a government shutdown Wednesday as the Senate and then the House approved a short-term spending bill, allowing lawmakers to avoid a crisis and return home to campaign.

The stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 9, had been ensnarled in a debate over financing for the lead-tainted water system in Flint, Mich.

But an agreement between congressional leaders late Tuesday — which would authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects — appeared to ameliorate Democratic concerns, clearing the way for the Senate to pass the spending bill, 72 to 26. The House followed suit late Wednesday, approving the measure 342 to 85.

I’m glad a government shutdown was avoided, but I am skeptical of any measure that includes the Democratic benefits as part of future legislation, especially when Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) oppose it. I am skeptical,because of the Republican track record for honoring agreements: virtually never.

From Think Progress: Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to unwittingly confirm an explosive Newsweek story on Thursday, telling ABC’s The View that a Trump company did indeed spend money in Cuba in 1998, in violation of a longstanding U.S. embargo that Trump has vociferously defended.

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald reported on Thursday that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts spent at least $68,000 in 1998 in Cuba, “at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.” The story notes that “with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm.” After the consultants traveled to Cuba and spent the funds, the consultants instructed Trump’s company on “how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.”

As I have opposed the embargo of Cuba for many years, I would have supported doing business with that nation as an act of civil disobedience, as Michael Moore did, but Trump violating the law, at the same time that he campaigns to reinstate the embargo, is both hypocritical and criminal. It should disqualify his candidacy without further ado.



Sep 262016

I finally had a decent night’s sleep, last night, but feel no better, because it will take several more before I’m back to speed.  I’ll be stocking up on Barf Bags for tonight’s media circus.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:41 (average 4:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:


Short Takes:

From NY Times: The pitched battle over President Obama’s signature climate change policy, which is moving to the courts this week, carries considerable political, economic and historical stakes. Yet its legal fate, widely expected to be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, could rest on a clerical error in an obscure provision of a 26-year-old law.

That error, which left conflicting amendments on power plant regulation in the Clean Air Act, will be a major focus of oral arguments by opponents of Mr. Obama’s initiative when the case is heard on Tuesday in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The initiative, known as the Clean Power Plan, which Mr. Obama sees as at the heart of his climate change legacy, gave the United States critical leverage to broker the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord. If the plan is struck down, the United States, the world’s largest carbon polluter over the centuries, will lose its main tool to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If it is upheld, it will transform the nation’s electricity system, closing hundreds of coal-fired power plants and setting in motion a wholesale shift to wind, solar and nuclear power, as well as to improved electric transmission systems.

As things stand now, the Supreme Court will probably vote 4-4, meaning that whatever decision the last Appeals Court will have made will stand. This should demonstrate just how critical it is for Democrats to hold the Presidency and take the Senate.

From Think Progress:

Hours after the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times published separate stories outlining the lies Donald Trump has told during his presidential campaign, Trump’s campaign spokesperson told ABC’s “This Week” that it isn’t the media’s job to factcheck the presidential debate.

“I really don’t appreciate the campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers,” Kellyanne Conway said, in an apparent attempted jab at the Clinton campaign. She also opposed debate moderators questioning the candidates’ truthfulness in any way…
…Conway went on to praise Matt Lauer’s performance during a candidate forum earlier this month, during which he pressed Clinton on several issues, but accepted Trump’s (false) claim that he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning.

“We thought he did a great job,” Conway said.

No surprises there.

From Robert Reich: Last week, Congress engaged in a bipartisan barrage of CEO bashing…

…Such shaming before congressional committees tends to reassure the public Congress is taking action. But – especially with Republicans in charge – Congress is doing nothing to prevent the wrongdoing from recurring.

Can we be clear? CEOs have only one goal in mind – making money. If they can make more money by misleading or price gouging, they’ll continue to do so until it’s no longer as profitable…

…So instead of setting up further rounds of CEO perp walks for the TV cameras, Congress should give the Justice Department and regulatory agencies enough funding to do their jobs.

While they’re at it, break up the biggest banks. And regulate drug prices directly, as does every other country.

It’s easy to holler at CEOs. It’s time for to stop hollering and take action.

The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right. The problem is that the Reich on the Right, the Republican Reich, is still deplorable. They will block reform as long as they have the power to do so.



Sep 212016

I’m starting late again, but today it’s intentional.  I napped this morning, because I sleep best when it’s chilly, and because I have to stay up all afternoon.  It’s a grocery delivery day, and I have to stow them.  Later Wendy is coming to ruffle and rinse the stinky TomCat.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:18 (average 6:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Staff Notice:

Both AlterNet and Crooks and Liars have returned to insisting blogs embed their entire article using their embed widget, that includes their advertising, or pay even for a short excerpt, so we may no longer use Creative Commons Attribution.  Either use their free method or paraphrase with a link back.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: If Chris Christie faces prosecution for an alleged role in the so-called Bridgegate scandal, his endorsement of Donald Trump could play a crucial role in an insanity defense, legal experts believe.

Harland Dorrinson, a defense attorney who has represented many politicians in high-profile criminal cases, believes that Christie’s endorsement of Trump earlier this year could persuade a jury that the New Jersey Governor is “completely incapable of rational thought.”

“An insanity defense is always a long shot, because the bar for insanity is set very high,” Dorrinson said. “Having said that, I believe that Christie’s endorsement of Trump easily meets that standard.”

If Christie is prosecuted, his defense team is likely to show the jury footage of Trump routinely humiliating the New Jersey Governor on the campaign trail. “It will become abundantly clear that Christie endorsed Trump and received absolutely no conceivable benefit for doing so,” Dorrinson said. “Legally speaking, the only word for that is insane.”

Andy has returned to reporting again, but how about an InsaniTEA defense?

From NY Times: The Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson and his wife are giving more than $40 million to groups backing Republican congressional candidates, according to campaign filings and interviews with Republican strategists, disregarding repeated entreaties for support from allies of Donald J. Trump and dealing a major setback to Mr. Trump’s efforts to rally the deepest-pocketed Republican givers.

The contributions will again make Mr. Adelson and his family among the largest known donors in American politics, after several years in which they played a more subdued role in national Republican fund-raising. But Mr. Adelson’s decision to deploy his wealth down ballot, less than two months before Election Day, also reflects the reluctance of most of the biggest Republican donors to invest in their party’s standard-bearer.

Adelson’s biggest hot buttons are more welfare for the super-rich, and unqualified support for and unlimited spending on Butcher Bibi’s criminal one-state solution in Palestine. We can’t compete with his money, but we must do all we can to defeat Republicans in down-ballot races.

From TPM: Despite Donald Trump’s admission that President Obama was born in the United States, Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, on Tuesday pledged to continue pushing birtherism.

“I don’t care where he’s from,” Arpaio said while speaking to the Surprise Tea Party, according to the Arizona Republic. “We are looking at a forged document. Period.”

I’m so glad I left Phoenix in 1979!



Aug 262016

Actually, I'll mention two days you probably didn't know about – with a tip of the hat to Lona the Napster.

First – August 26 was designated by Congress as Women's Equality Day by Congress in 1971 at the behest of Bella Abzug (remember her?)  The date was chosen because it was the day in 1920 that Congress certified the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote (and incidentally to hold public office).

Second – August 26 is also National Dog Day.  National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by Animal Advocate Colleen Paige, who chose August 26 because it was the date that her family adopted her first dog "Sheltie" when she was ten.  Colleen is also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day, National Cat Day, and other national days to bring attention to, and encourage adoption of, animals.  I hadn't planned to include this, but when I learned that more Americans are aware of National Dog Day than are aware of Women's Equality Day,  I thought I had better mention it, before someone else did, and get it out of the way.

Back to Women's Equality Day, which is what the column is really about, it was, as I said, created in 1971, by a joint resolution of Congress:

Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971
Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

The responsibility for keeping it going seems to have (appropriately) fallen to/been adopted by the National Women's History Project, a non-profit educational organization, which, among other achievements, got March designated as National Women's History month.  They produce and provide resources for educators, speakers for groups, guides for historic site tours, and – well, you name it.  They offer an on-line trifold brochure in color about the Day and detailed instructions on how to print it.

Mrs. Abzug spearheaded the Day as a celebration of women getting the right to vote, but it has become more general in focus, and, while you may notice the brochure has a voting quiz, they also pick a different theme each year to highlight, connected to women's history in general rather than just voting.  This year the theme is "Working To Form A More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Servide and Government."  A very appropriate theme for 2016.  Last year, Time magazine developed and published the graphic on the right for National Women's Day, which is, alas, still pretty accurate.

But I also want to mention two other organizations who work every day to make it easier for women to vote.

We probably know each major party has a GOTV effort in place this very important year.  But the American Association of University Women, along with their other projects, is providing non-partisan GOTV skill training free through webinars, specifically aimed at registering women in the milliennial generation, through their "It's My Vote: I Will Be Heard" initiative.  This program also includes providing voter guides, and goes beyond that to training participants how to create their own voter guides if none are available which are specific to their area.  Yes, they have "University" in their name, but they are far from an elitist group.  They are envisioning holding these drives on campuses, but that's because they are timing this set of webinars with back-to-school.  I can't imagine them being upset if someone wanted to hold a drive in, say, a mall, nor if someone signed up a male or two while registering women.

Then of course, probably the grandmamma of all organizations which pair women and votes – it was founded, by Carrie Chapman Catt, six months before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified – is the League of Women Voters.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

To this day the League concentrates on educating voters on issues rather than on candidates.  It is committed to being grassroots and non-partisan.  And it does register voters.  Last spring, League volunteers registered nearly 15,000 high school and community college students throough 350 registration drives.  They are looking to repeat or expand on this on National Voter Registration Day, which will be Tuesday, September 27.

However, the league does not stop at educating and registering.  It does get involved in fighting on issues.  Money in politics and defending the environment are the biggest, but there are some others as well.  You might be surprised how many others.  Click thrugh to the site and scroll down for a look.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4007182