Jun 172016
 

It’s almost time for me to leave for my blood test.  There probably won’t be time to post this before I return this afternoon.

I’m back.  I’m done.  I’m so tired I hear Lona calling from my pillow,.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:02 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Fox’s Geraldo Rivera Shames Orlando Victims For Not Fighting Back

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Isn’t it just like the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, to blame the victims?

From Daily Kos: Though the outcomes of the legislative votes are far from sure, the filibuster begun by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has succeeded in bringing Republicans to the table for a pair of votes.

Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed gun control measures.

The votes will supposedly include a proposal to provide universal background checks, and another to prevent those on the no-fly list from obtaining weapons. The second bill apparently addresses the no-fly list, not the much larger terrorist watch list. These are both positions that have wide, bipartisan support in the public, but which Republicans have either blocked from a vote or voted down in the past.

As wonderful as this sounds, Senate Republicans caved in, while secure in the knowledge that House Republicans will never allow either bill to come to the floor.

From NY Times: A member of Parliament was gunned down outside a library in northern England as she was wrapping up a meeting with constituents on Thursday afternoon, a rare act of gun violence in a nation that strictly regulates firearms.

The lawmaker, Jo Cox, 41, who was considered a rising star in the opposition Labour Party and a passionate advocate for victims of the civil war in Syria, was shot in Birstall, a town about six miles southwest of the city of Leeds. A 77-year-old man was slightly injured in the attack.

A 52-year-old man was arrested in Ms. Cox’s killing, and the police said they were not looking for any other suspects. No motive has been established, officials said.

The suspect was identified in the British news media as Thomas Mair.

On Thursday night, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on its website that Mr. Mair was a “dedicated supporter” of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization in the United States. The center, which tracks hate groups, said Mr. Mair bought a manual from the alliance in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol. It based its reporting on invoices it said it had obtained, copies of which were published on its website…

Please offer Prayers and condolences to the family and loved ones of Jo Cox, who may well be the first UK victim of terrorism by a Republican-supporting fascist.

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May 022016
 

Yesterday and today have been unseasonably warm and quite humid with highs in the 80°s.  That has interfered with my sleep, as I still have not gotten used to the loud A/C next to my head.  In addition to that,. I missed a nap yesterday, collecting the data for today’s Monthly Report.  After doing my research this morning, I felt so tired that I uncorked a Lona-nap, so I’m running late today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:39).  To do it click here,  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY TimesIt is an old congressional ritual: loading up vital spending bills that are meant to keep the government running with dangerous amendments aimed at satisfying ideological causes and benefiting special interests.

The Republicans have become adept at this practice in recent years, and this year is no different. Legislative riders attached to appropriations bills would undermine the Iran nuclear deal, weaken highway safety and reduce the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over tobacco products.

These measures would be unlikely to succeed as stand-alone bills, either because they could not get enough votes on their own or because President Obama would veto them. So better to sneak them in without even holding hearings to make a case on their behalf.

Thankfully, Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups are calling attention to these stealth attacks. In the Senate, Democrats managed on Wednesday to block a vote on a water and energy spending bill after Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, tried to attach a provision that would have dealt a severe blow to the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Cotton’s measure would have blocked the administration from purchasing heavy water used in Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran has to get rid of the water to comply with the deal. By denying Iran an American market, Mr. Cotton and other Republicans hoped to undermine the deal, which they hate.

Click through for more. One big irony here is that by trying to block Iran’s sale of heavy water to the US, Republicans are actually helping to enable the development of an Iranian nuke.

From Think Progress: Teachers across Detroit called in sick to work on Monday — a “sick-out” protest that ultimately shut down all but three public schools in the city because there weren’t enough teachers in class.

The coordinated protest, which was organized by the Detroit Federation of Teachers, came soon after the school district’s emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, announced that there won’t be enough money to pay teachers after June 30.

“Detroit teachers deserve to be paid fairly for their work like every other working person… But Detroit Public Schools has just informed us that it cannot guarantee to pay these dedicated men and women for their work. This isn’t right. It isn’t fair,” the president of the teachers union, Ivy Bailey, told the Detroit News.

In January, in an effort to bring attention to the condition of Detroit schools, teachers used the same “sick-out” tactic to shut down many schools. They posted photos to social media of inedible food, dead rodents, and cracks in the floors, among other problems. After the sick-outs, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) called for inspections of all of the schools and found evidence of many of the same problems teachers cited.

Detroit Public Schools is in major financial distress, and lawmakers and educators have been concerned the school system will go bankrupt. After being sued by the teachers union and dealing with weeks of sick-outs, DPS filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that the state violated the civil rights of students through its emergency manager law.

How many more examples do we need before American voters know that the mix of greed and incompetence Republicans bring to public office invariably spells tragic deprivation for those they govern.

From Liberals Unite: Wayne Simmons, a frequent Fox News “CIA expert,” pleaded guilty on Friday after being indicted last October by a federal grand jury on charges lied about his service with the CIA.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a press release announcing the plea:

Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.

“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.  His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.  This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”

“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain.  I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”

Nevertheless Simmons still met the standards needed for employment by the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and for them to present him to their sheeple as an expert.

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Apr 012016
 

I talked to Lu last night.  She says she will be here today by Noon.  Grrr!  I’m swamped.  I spent the morning collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:30).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: They're in their own little world over in the House Freedom Caucus. They've pretty effectively killed any actual budget coming out of the Congress this year, and now are arguing to kill the lame duck session, even though they haven't worked out all the details of how. If they put their plan into effect, they might just get their government shutdown fight. Before the election.

When the House returns from a two-week recess on April 12, a small group of members are gearing up to stop GOP leadership in both chambers, if they have their way, from holding a legislative session after the November election.

It's not that the members are lazy, though doing away with the postelection session would mean the House would be in session just 17 days for the rest of the year after July 15—and zero past Sept. 30. […]

This surprises me. Given the current Republican meltdown, I think the Republican Party will be in a much stronger position in the lame duck session than they will, after the new Congress takes office. I would think they would want to do as much damage to America as possible during the lame duck session.

From NY Times: San Francisco police officers sent dozens of racist and homophobic text messages in the past several months, even as another group of officers was being investigated by prosecutors for having traded similar messages, the city’s district attorney said Thursday.

The disclosure of the new round of text messages, which includes derogatory references to blacks, Asians, lesbians, gays and transgender people, comes as the Police Department is under federal investigation after complaints that some officers routinely behave in a racially biased manner.

Along with dozens of other police departments around the nation, the San Francisco police — who work in one of the nation’s most culturally diverse cities — have come under scrutiny during the past year.

Officers have been accused of using unnecessary deadly force and brutality, and of focusing enforcement efforts on black neighborhoods while ignoring similar infractions elsewhere. Police critics, including many among the city’s dwindling black population, have held protests and called for the resignation of the police chief, Gregory P. Suhr.

On Thursday, George Gascón, the city’s district attorney, said that the text messages were a worrying sign that the department had a problem with racism and homophobia that was more ingrained than investigators had anticipated.

Every officer who sent of forwarded one or more of these text messages must be terminated in such as a way as to end their law enforcement careers. The only way to get rid of racism and bigotry in our nation’s police departments is to get rid of the racists and bigots.

From Media Matters: Now they tell us the Republican Party is to blame? That the Obama years haven't been gummed up by Both Sides Are To Blame obstruction?

The truth is, anyone with clear vision recognized a long time ago that the GOP has transformed itself since 2009 into an increasingly radical political party, one built on complete and total obstruction. It's a party designed to make governing difficult, if not impossible, and one that plotted seven years ago to shred decades of Beltway protocol and oppose every inch of Obama's two terms. ("If he was for it, we had to be against it," former Republican Ohio Sen. George Voinovich once explained.)

And for some of us, it didn't take Donald Trump's careening campaign to confirm the destructive state of the GOP. But if it's the Trump circus that finally opens some pundits' eyes, so be it.

Recently, Dan Balz, the senior political writer for the Washington Post, seemed to do just that while surveying the unfolding GOP wreckage as the party splinters over Trump's rise. Balz specifically noted that four years ago political scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein examined the breakdown in American politics and zeroed in their blame squarely on Republicans.

"They were ahead of others in describing the underlying causes of polarization as asymmetrical, with the Republican Party — in particular its most hard-line faction — as deserving of far more of the blame for the breakdown in governing," Balz acknowledged.

If I had a nickel for every time I've said that since 2008, I could retire to my own string of mansions. . I wish the Washington Post would get another reporter like that. They really need a pair of Balz.

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Apr 012016
 

I don't know about where you live, but here in Metro Vancouver, BC it was sunny with nary a cloud in the sky and temperatures around 22 C (72 F) today as well as yesterday.  Many of the fruit blossoms are finished, but there are still many magnolia trees (Magnolia liliiflora) in full regalia but they too will be finished before long.Yesterday I was teaching English and French, and tomorrow I will be working with my first student.  My two adult students are at such different places in the command of the language.  My young French student gets very excited when she knows I am coming over and it is cute to behold.  Today is the last class in my Pastoral Care programme and we will be commissioned on 24/04/2016.  Next Thursday I start another study group called Immersion.  It is geared to we flaming liberal Christians and will be taught by our Pastor Dave along with the woman who was leading the Pastoral Care programme.  So lots going on!  So who said retirement was for relaxing?  Retirement is for doing what you enjoy but seldom had the time to do!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — On Oct. 21, Jessica Grubb flipped open her laptop and watched a live stream of her father telling President Barack Obama about her addiction to heroin.

Obama was in Charleston, West Virginia, Jessica’s hometown, to discuss the opioid epidemic. When the local newspaper solicited questions for the president from its readers, Grubb’s parents asked their daughter if they could tell her story.

“Absolutely,” Grubb said, hoping it might help somebody else in need.

If she’d been in Charleston, Grubb would have tried to attend the president’s visit herself. But she was in Michigan, where she’d moved for a residential drug rehab program.  …

GrubbJessica Grubb  1986 – 03 March 2016

Jessica Grubb “had a twofold reaction” to her story being shared with Obama, David Grubb recalled. “The one part was, ‘Wow, the president’s talking about me.’ The second reaction was, ‘Wow, the president’s talking about me. It was bittersweet.”

Hearing about a life lost so young; about parents fighting so hard for their daughter, and ultimately all daughters and sons, yet losing the battle . . . it leaves me hollow.  David Grubb is correct . . . something has to be done.  He lists some things that are being done, but more is needed.  Drug addiction is a health issue that needs to be addressed everywhere.  In Squatch’s Open Thread 29/12/2015, I presented an article about how Portugal had decriminalised drugs and began treating drug addiction as a healthcare issue rather than a punitive issue.  I then followed it up with a piece in Squatch’s Open Thread 30/12/2015.

From the internet — 

Need anything more be said?  I have never enjoyed his genre of writing, but on these  words I agree.

Daily Kos — When I watched the Chris Matthews interview with Trump on MSNBC tonight, I’d already seen the video exchange where Trump said that women who had gotten an illegal abortion should be punished.  But when I watched the entire discussion, Trump made an even more shocking, and I think, more newsworthy statement that no one even bothered to mention. 

The blogger has a point.  Here is the Chris Matthews interview with Drumpf.

Stephen Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     

Sometime later, Drumpf tried to clarify his position but only succeeded in making himself a pathetic figure in my opinion.  From The Guardian:

“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions,” the statement said.

Raw Story — Senator Orrin Hatch took to the New York Times op-ed page to try to make the case for the Senate refusing to take up President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

It didn’t go well.  …

If Hatch and his fellow Republicans want to vote against Judge Garland, they have every right to do so. But they should stop being cowards. They should make a substantive argument against him. vote against him, and accept the political consequences of that vote. They should stop pretending that this reckless path they have chosen is anything but a desperate attempt to hold onto a Supreme Court majority.

Amen!

My Universe — h/t Carol B, Ted W at Care2

Which one of these is not like the others?

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Dec 232015
 

The eyes are good today and no longer subject to the drops used in the eye exam, so I am good for another year!  It has rained most of the day, and it is particularly hard right now . . . I can hear it on the roof.  I sure hope Santa has swim trunks because he is likely to need them!  My post may be very brief tomorrow as I have Christmas dinner with friends and I am incharge of the roast yams in honey.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:25). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Huffington Post — When government officials came to collect children from Jean Marie River for residential school, residents of the remote village in the Northwest Territories said they'd keep their kids at home, thanks very much. 

In what may have been unique among Canadian First Nations, they decided to build their own school. And now, as Canadians grapple with the legacy of residential schools, Jean Marie River is trying to commemorate the fact it doesn't have to.  

Shingle Point Residential School & Home For Boys, Mackenzie District, N.W.T. in 1930

The Alert Bay Mission School in British Columbia in 1885

The school only taught the first six grades, but that was enough to ground kids before they went to Fort Simpson.

"It gave us a good, solid base as compared to people that went to residential schools that didn't have a nurturing mother, that didn't have a model of how to become a caring mother," Gladys Norwegian said.

"I think it helped me to become comfortable with who I am. I didn't really need to explain to anybody what being an aboriginal person means. I was comfortable in my skin."

For the people of Jean Marie River, saying no to the residential school system made for a stronger community, confident and proud.  I will make no apologies for strongly disliking former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative harlots.  Only with a new government lead by Justin Trudeau has there been a commitment to Canadian Aboriginal peoples, a commitment to work in partnership and respect.  Here is Trudeau's commitment, a renewal of the relationship between the government and Aboriginal peoples.  

Politico — But there is a far bigger problem with Cruz: Donald Trump is not the most self-absorbed Republican running for president—Cruz is. Whether you like Trump or not (and I don’t), at least Trump makes no effort to hide his narcissism. In that sense, Trump is oddly genuine.

Cruz, on the other hand, takes great pains to be whatever he thinks you want him to be. And the troubling thing is he’s really good at it.

I sure am glad that this Republican is all yours!  And if this conservative's view is not completely convincing of Cruz's narcissism, have a look at a Cruz campaign rally that turned into a prayer revival.

Global News — An Idaho lunch lady has been fired after she gave a hungry student a free meal.

Dalene Bowden, a former server at Irving Middle School in Pocatello, Idaho, was terminated from her position on Dec. 15 for “theft” when she gave a 12-year-old student free lunch because the young girl couldn’t afford the meal.

“I handed her the food and said ‘here we’ll take care of it in a minute,’” told Bowden to KPVI News.

How Republican of the school district and the supervisor.

Politico — As Iran prepares to announce it has dismantled its nuclear program and thus should have its sanctions lifted on what will be known as “Implementation Day,” probably in January, sniping is growing on all sides. Opponents of the nuclear deal in Congress are urging President Barack Obama not to go easy on Iran for its recent ballistic missile tests and other non-nuclear activities just to try to save the agreement. Iranian officials, meanwhile, are pointing to recent changes in U.S. visa laws as a potential violation of the deal, saying the new rules will damage Iran's economy by penalizing legitimate business travelers and innocent Iranian dual nationals.

If Implementation Day comes and goes without a problem, it will bolster Obama's theory that diplomacy is worth trying even with a longstanding U.S. nemesis. If it is delayed significantly or scuttled completely, it will damage a major piece of the president's foreign policy legacy.  

As part of the nuclear deal, the U.S. committed to refrain from policies that are “specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.” But Iranian officials view the new visa laws as damaging to their economy because they could scare off investors. Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif has called the new restrictions "absurd." Some European officials also have warned that the changes could violate the nuclear deal.  

But Iranian leaders haven't been mollified. Some suggested Monday that lobbying by Israel — a staunch foe of Iran and the nuclear deal — prompted the new visa rules. Many Iranians aren't buying that their country isn't being singled out, asking why Congress targeted Iran but not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan in a law ostensibly aimed at stopping terrorism.

It would seem that the Republican dominated Congress is just itching to go to war with Iran.  Personally, I think Iran has a point about the US targetting Iran.  The halls of power are too often filled with political intrigue to which we are never made privy.

My Universe

cat-5“I like to refer to it as aging gracefully, but whatever.”

cat-7

"Did you just fart?"

Via Giphy

“You’re getting sleepy. Very sleepy….”

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Nov 212015
 
Vets

This is a story of two very different veterans, both of whom have something to contribute to the discussion about who gets in, and who stays in, the US.  Both served in combat. Both served in Iraq. One is a USMC Reservist who has twice in eight years of service been called to active duty for "surges." The other is a 21-year career Army soldier.

Let's start with the latter – Republican Representative Steve Russell of Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District.  Our friend Vivian B, according to her Care2 profile, lives in this District, and is to be congratulated for having a Representative who, though far from perfect, as we shall see, has demonstrated some ability to think rationally and even compassionately.

Last Wednesday, on the floor of the House, Rep. Russell gave a passionate floor speeech decrying xenophobia, for all the right reasons.  I cannot do better than to re-quote parts of that speech to give you the flavor of it.

"“While I have tried to focus my comments on actions that we should take to eliminate ISIS, one action we should not take is to become like them. America is a lamp that lights the horizon of civilized and free mankind,” he said on the House floor.

"“The Statue of Liberty cannot have a stiff arm. Her arm must continue to keep the torch burning brightly,” Russell continued. “If we use our passions, anger, and fear to snuff out her flame by xenophobic and knee-jerk policy, the enemy wins. We have played into their hands, period.”

He then presented quotes from Congress on a similar bill to the SAFE Act:

I want you to listen carefully to these statements by Members of Congress in response to a refugee bill–not an illegal immigration bill or permanent residents, but refugees, a refugee bill. Listen to these comments by Members of Congress about people fleeing for their lives.

Fighting immigration is ‘the best vote-getting argument . . . The politician can beat his breast and proclaim his loyalty to America.’

‘He can tell the unemployed man that he is out of work because some alien has a job.’

'Congress must ‘protect the youth of America from this foreign invasion.’

‘American children have first claim to America’s charity.’

He then revealed that all these quotes were from 1939.  "While it was true that Germany was, indeed, a threat, the refugees were not. They were 20,000 children."

With regard to American principles:

We must not become them. They win if we give up who we are, and even more so, without a fight.

We guard our way of life by vigilance. We must be watchful. We have to have each others’ back and be alert to dangers around us. We must speak up when we see something unusual. By maintaining who we are amidst the threat, amidst the hatred, amidst the trials, we win.

I particularly liked his remark – bold indeed, I think  – about "the critic sitting on the couch in his underwear eating his bag of cheese puffs … pecking out hatred and vitriol on some social media."

You can read the whole speech.  It is marred by Obama-baiting and mis-attribution of the causes of Daesh's gains.  It is even more marred by the fact that after all this, he voted with his party anyway.  But there is some good stuff.

The second veteran, Ivano Rodriguez, was brought to the United States, specifically to Virginia, from Ecuador when he was a very young child.  He is not undocumented: he has a green card.

Upon graduating from high school, he signed up with the USMCR.  He served in Iraq.  He also served in Afghanistan.  While in Afghanistan, "his platoon was deployed to a Taliban-heavy village near the Pakistan border, where three of Rodriguez’s buddies were killed, and three others seriously wounded, in a suicide bombing. Several others, including Rodriguez, were casualties of a different kind: While sound of wind and limb, they suffered serious and lasting psychological trauma of the kind that fuels the horrifying suicide rate among combat veterans."

The VA prescribes (pushes) antidepressants, dream suppressors, pain pills for PTSD symptoms.  These have side effects.  Large numbers of veterans commit suicide as a result of these side effects.  Unreliable reporting of who is and is not a veteran make it nearly impossible to determine exactly how many, but enough not to be dismissed. 

While attending the Art Institute of Washington (that's State, not DC), he learned of medical marijuana for PTSD.  Medical marijuana is of course legal there, and his use of it is by prescription (even though the VA will not cover it).  The problem is, as a green card holder, he is still considered to be under the jurisdiction of Virginia, and it's not legal there.  And, under a 1996 law (ADEPTA) which was a reaction in part to the Oklahoma City bonbing in 1995, foreigh nationals, even with green cards, can be deported for "aggravated felonies" or crimes of "moral turpitude."  And both of those terms are vague enough that they can almost be anything the feds want them to be.

Mr Rodriguez didn't join the military as a means to citizenship, as many others have, though that seems to me a little like, as Mitch D implied in his "On The Edge" comment for 11/19, undergoing a near death experience and major surgeries as a means to meeting cute babes.  But I digress.  Mr. Rodriguez joined the military because he was young and wanted adventure.  But having served myself, not even in combat, my feeling is than any non citizen who serves in the US military is automatically entitled to citizenship, and we should by God give it to him.

His applications for naturalization have, however, been repeatedly rebuffed on the grounds of "bad moral character."  Oddly, the feds have previously cited only his juvenile offense record – which was certainly not a bar to him serving in the Marines.  And the Marine Corps is fairly picky.

His most recent brush with immigration autorities was in 2014 when he was returning from a trip to visit family in Ecuador.  A Customs official flagged him for misdemeanors for possessing marijuana and "drug paraphernalia" and initiated deportation proceedings on the grounds that any narcotics offense involved "moral turpitude."  (Funny, I always thought "moral turpitude" meant a pedophile at least.)  Apparently someone in the process had some intelligence, because at his hearing the presiding judge dismissed the complaint "without prejudice."  (The article I cite says "with prejudice," but the I listened to the linked radio interview, and what I heard was "without.")

Having survived this hearing, however, does not mean he is safe.  While he remains a non-citizen, Rodriguez lives with the possibility that the government he served may seek again to banish him as punishment for using an effective but unauthorized treatment to address the lasting trauma he experiences as a result of that service. Because of the federal government’s irrational commitment to pot prohibition, Ivano Rodriguez could still be forced to choose between death and exile.

This might be a good time and place for me to mention a petition sponsored by VoteVets in support of refugees.  It too has a very personal story attached (kleenex alert).

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Nov 182015
 

I don’t know why Republicans are so in love with enforcing climate change.  Ok, actually, I do.  Republicans love the huge bundles of secret cash that they get from corporate criminals, who think nothing of destroying our earth en exchange for more dirty profit.

1118EEPAegsThe Senate voted on Tuesday to block President Obama’s tough new climate change regulations, hoping to undermine his negotiating authority before a major international climate summit meeting in Paris this month.

The Senate resolution, which passed 52 to 46, would scuttle a rule that would significantly cut heat-trapping carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. That Environmental Protection Agency rule, released in August, is the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s efforts to address climate change. A second resolution, which also passed 52 to 46, would strike a related E.P.A. rule intended to freeze construction of future coal-fired power plants.

Three Democrats from states in which coal plays a major role in the economy, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, broke party ranks to vote in favor of the resolutions.

But three moderate Republicans, two up for re-election next year, Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, as well as Senator Susan Collins of Maine, broke from their party to vote against the resolutions and back the environmental regulations.

If the resolutions reach the president’s desk, Mr. Obama has promised a veto… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I think the author has it right when he says Republicans want to undermine Obama’s negotiating authority.  To intentionally sabotage the ability of President Obama to conduct foreign policy is criminal sedition.

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Nov 132015
 

I’m having a lousy morning.  I was lest sitting in a chair, without access to my computer, for over 90 minutes.  I need to trim my fingernails.  A “one size fits all” CNI refused to give me my fingernail clippers for fear that I might cut myself.  I’ve been cutting my own nails for over 60 years, and I have never cut myself yet.  ARGH!!  Continuing later, an Occupational therapy nurse came, gave me my nail clippers, and taught me how to move from the wheelchair to a real flush toilet.  I got to Republicate without using a bed pan!  Woo Hoo!!

Short Takes:

From You Tube (H/T Judi Angel aka JL A):

 

Every once in a while someone from the Religious Right does something truly funny.  Although I disagree with virtually all his Republican Supply-side pseudo- Christian political policies, I do appreciate his talent and humor.

From Daily Kos: When I read that the latest persecution of the rightwing Christian involved Starbucks changing their cups to red for the holiday season, I thought that the War on Christmas had officially hit rock bottom.

The MSM jumped all over the story about a video from a “pastor” saying the red cups Starbucks is using for the holiday season aren’t Christmas enough and that Starbucks literally “hates Jesus“. Video goes viral and rightwing is outraged.  This whole thing is beyond stupid, even for them…

…It wasn’t until I finally read one of the articles that I came across the name of the man who spawned this latest freak-out:  Joshua Feuerstein.  In none of the countless articles does the  MSM bother to discuss who this clown is.   So allow me:

Joshua Feuerstein is a self-described evangelist and “social-media personality”.  I recognized his name because he is the same asshat who harassed one of my local bakeries (and illegally recorded the phone call) because they refused to fill a fake order for an anti-gay cake.  His followers bombarded their Facebook site with Ben Carson-like yarns of their supposed “bad experiences” with the bakery.  Astoundingly, all of these reviews happened immediately after the date Joshua posted his hate-filled video.  The bakery had to temporarily close in response to the harassment, which included death threats. 

Click through for more about this purveyor of TEAbuggery and the media complicity that enables him to spread it.

From NY Times: Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have become snarled in the complex rules of the Senate, raising questions about whether the Republican-controlled Congress can fulfill its pledge to send a repeal measure to President Obama.

Repealing the law, passed five and a half years ago, is a goal cherished by Republican politicians, including those running for president, and by elements of the party’s base. Mr. Obama has repeatedly vowed to use his veto power if necessary to preserve the health care law, the biggest change in domestic social policy in a generation.

The House on Oct. 23 adopted a budget-reconciliation package that would repeal core elements of the Affordable Care Act. The bill would eliminate the requirement that Americans have health insurance, and that larger employers offer coverage to full-time employees. It would also repeal taxes on medical devices and high-cost employer-sponsored insurance.

In the Senate, Republicans are determined to dismantle or defund the law using a fast-track procedure that requires a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 votes needed for most hotly contested measures.

But the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled this week that some provisions of the House-passed bill were not eligible for expedited procedures, aides to Senate leaders of both parties said Thursday. Democrats said the ruling meant that Republicans would need a supermajority of 60 votes, which they do not have, to repeal the individual and employer mandates.

This is why that keeping the Senate in 2016 is an absolute imperative.

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Those Justices of SCOTUS sure were better than the fascist five Injustices of SCROTUS!

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Nov 112015
 

It’s been a busy day, pushing myself to learn new physical skills, while choking back the pain that accompanies the effort,  and doing the prep work for three articles.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to get a long-term transportation funding bill out of the House last week. While that first long-term funding bill in a decade was a pretty significant accomplishment, his conference is warning that they won’t let him do anything else without a fight. That fight: Noxious policy riders attached to spending bills that have to pass by December 11 to avert a government shutdown.

Asked early in the week whether he would press so-called “policy riders” to the spending bill that would condition the money—perhaps to defund Planned Parenthood or rein in the EPA—Ryan suggested he wouldn’t back down from the fight, noting Congress is the institution that holds the power of the purse and “we fully expect that we are going to exercise that power.”

Because the spending fight is a tough line to walk due to the warring factions inside the GOP conference demanding different things, Ryan put together an advisory group of key leaders representing the different ideological viewpoints. Representatives of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 members on the right who were Boehner’s toughest critics, will join members of the moderate Tuesday Group, and the Republican Study Committee, another large group of conservatives for weekly sessions to discuss policy ideas. […]

“I’m not going to pre-determine the outcome of negotiations that have not even taken place yet,” Ryan said. He also pointed out that Congress was separately moving a budget process — known as “reconciliation”—that stripped federal money for the group, and that path was a better bet to get a bill to the President’s desk.

But as Ryan tries to avoid saying specifically what House Republicans will do on the spending bill, Senate Democrats are insisting that the appropriations bills all be lumped together in a massive omnibus measure. That means party leaders like Ryan will have to get personally involved to hash out a compromise behind the scenes and push it through both chambers. That tactic could infuriate the right of Ryan’s conference, but Democrats say it’s the only way to go.

At the moment, Ryan is trying to take a hands-off approach, leaving it up to the appropriations committee to do the negotiating with various factions. That’s not going to fly. And it’s not going to be enough for the Freedom Caucus, the group of maniacs that seems to claim the largest membership. “We think he is going to want input from members of the Freedom Caucus as well as input from everyone else in the conference,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, when asked about the budget fight. “That’s how it’s supposed to work, he’s committed to do that.” Jordan and his members are already pushing hard to include those noxious policy riders—that Senate Democrats will not allow to pass.

Lyin’ Ryan is learning that dealing with Republican wackydoodles, bent on committing TEAbuggery, is just as impossible for him as it was for his predecessor, who has been demoted. Agent Orange was the Soused Speaker. Now, he’s just a Limp Boehner.

From The New Yorker: Arguing that the voters have tired of “gotcha questions,” the Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he hoped Tuesday night’s debate would “focus on the real issues facing this country, like finding the lost city of Atlantis.”

“The American people don’t want to hear personal attacks,” Carson told reporters. “They want to know which candidate has the best plan for locating Atlantis and recovering its storied treasures.”

Carson said that finding Atlantis was central to his plan for reviving the U.S. economy. “We could start paying down the national debt with one jewel-encrusted trident,” he said.

Andy should have added that many Americans can help search for Atlantis, from an underwater perspective, if Uncle Token wins the White House and implements his environmental policies.

From Upworthy:

You’ve probably never hung out on the moon.

But if you were to, that aerial view of Earth would surely get you thinking. It puts everything into perspective.

You’d probably be thinking: Huh, the Earth kind of looks like a little marble from here. Or, whoa, that little blue marble is home to everyone I’ve ever known — and everyone I haven’t.

When you take time to zoom out to see the bigger picture of the world, you realize that we all have one important thing in common: our home.

It’s that thinking that has some of the world’s most popular musicians coming together to sing about the home we all share and one major problem it’s facing: climate change.

If that doesn’t turn a few heads, nothing will!

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Nov 032015
 

The surgery went very well.  They removed dead tissue from my stump and covered it with a skin graft, cut from my thigh.  That donor site is very painful.  Keeping me doped up makes it barely tolerable.  It also makes it difficult to write, because I’m so drowsy.  I watched football.  Vivian…  GRRRRR!!

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: I’m not going to link to the list, but a list of purported KKK members began circulating this morning, allegedly leaked by the activist group Anonymous, which they are now denying they had anything to do with it.

None of the names have been remotely close to verified as members of the racist group.

One of those named was Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, who regretfully took to her Facebook page to put an immediate and decisive stop to the rumor.

I recently posted that I was looking forward to seeing this list. My bad for being hoodwinked. The problem with Anonymous is their anonymity. Anyone can claim to be the group.

From The New Yorker: According to a format negotiated between the Republican National Committee and the television networks, future Presidential debates during the 2016 campaign will strictly forbid questions about things the candidates “said” or “did,” the R.N.C. confirmed on Monday.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the R.N.C., said that the deal addressed the candidates’ concerns about the previously broadcast debates, which he called “abusively fact-based.”

“In some cases, moderators were asking candidates questions about statements they made two or three weeks earlier,” Priebus said. “This new format will eliminate that kind of ancient history.”

Andy knows that GOP would love to do that. However, only the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda would goose step with the RNC on this scheme.

From Huffington Post: House Republicans are angling to slip two pieces of bank deregulation into a major highway funding bill that is expected to pass with broad bipartisan support.

According to a source familiar with discussions, Republicans are trying to remove tighter regulations that were imposed on banks with at least $50 billion in assets after the 2008 financial crisis. They also are aiming to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — a brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), which has worked to prevent big banks, payday lenders and other financial firms from ripping off households.

The GOP doesn’t need Democratic votes to pass the broader highway bill — it has a wide majority in the House. But while securing federal highway funding is a top Democratic priority, controversial riders like the bank deregulation items may prompt a veto from President Barack Obama that would be impossible to override without Democratic aid. The riders could also serve as a potential test of new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his willingness to use major legislation to ram through conservative priorities.

Bankster deregulation is a poison pill far too bitter to swallow. We can’t stop it in the House, but be ready to call your Senators.

Cartoon:

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