Nov 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 15.  Tomorrow is almost here, and I just woke up.  Fortunately I had my research done this morning, but due to unpacking groceries, putting them away, and several other tasks, I just couldn’t get back to it before now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

The Jig Zone website is currently down.  Assuming that this is a temporary situation, I’ll include today’s puzzle with tomorrow’s.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here in the U.S., lots of politicians have pointed to China as the reason the U.S. should not sign climate treaties. What will opponents of climate change action use as an excuse now? Check out this spot-on video from Climate Desk of what the excuses sound like:

 

This is the 3rd of 8 reasons President Obama and the Democratic Party have made the world a better place by negotiating a greenhouse gasses agreement with China. Click through for the other seven. A must-read article.

From Daily Kos: When Congress voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline they committed an act of war against the Great Sioux Nation. Apparently they completely forgot to check with the Sioux who live on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, who in February adopted tribal resolutions opposing the Keystone XL project. Or maybe Congress didn’t forget but rather chose to ignore them.

Of course the U.S. government has hardly ever taken Native American concerns seriously, so it would be a surprise if that happened now, but Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) Tribal President Scott said his nation has yet to be properly consulted on the project, which would cross through tribal land. Concerns brought to the Department of Interior and to the Department of State have yet to be addressed, he said in a statement.

Kudos and thanks to the Rosebud Sioux. No doubt this will pass the Senate when it reconvenes with a Republican majority. Hopefully, Obama will veto it, but if not, I hope the Sioux sue.

From PRWatch: Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

But, according to the documents, this Canada-centric campaign would actually be run out of an office in Washington, DC. And the digital campaign is being led by a rightwing American political operative employed by the world’s largest public relations firm.

The documents were obtained by Greenpeace.

Ian Austen of The New York Times published some excerpts from the planning documents on November 17 that show how a new PR operation is in the works to persuade skeptical Canadians the "Energy East Pipeline" from Alberta to Quebec and to New Brunswick is a good idea.

Watch out Canada. They should be calling that Pollution East. It will be3 as bad for you as keystone XL would be for us.

Cartoon:

1120Cartoon

We still need one of these for Bush, Cheney, et al.

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Nov 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 14.  I’m feeling quite tired, but today I got started early enough to persevere. Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

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

Scores:

11Scores

Standings:

11Standings

Did I get my butt kicked, or what?

Short Takes (all Kos):

From Daily Kos: Gotta love her:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to oppose President Barack Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss, a Wall Street investment banker, to be Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, another sharp-elbowed move by the progressive movement’s most prominent leader.

Can't imagine what she would find objectionable to yet another Wall Streeter running the government ..

Gotta love her is right! The last thing we need as a regulator is the Bankster who put together the Burger King merger to evade US taxes.

From Daily Kos:

Poor Shell Oil can't get any relief in their quest to destroy the Arctic Ocean for shareholder profit.

EcoWatch has reported that Shell Oil's preemptive lawsuit against environmentalists to block any potential lawsuits against groups who oppose its drilling operations was thrown out of court.

Two years ago, Shell filed a preemptive lawsuit against 13 environmental, indigenous and community groups to prevent them from possibly suing Shell at some time in the future over its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The 9th Circuit Court panel yesterday called the legal maneuver “novel”and said that it was unconstitutional.

“Big News! David has taken down Goliath!” the Alaska Wilderness League posted on their Facebook page. “Shell tried to bully environmental groups like the Alaska Wilderness League by preemptively suing us to silence our voice. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, has officially told the oil giant: Shell NO! That behavior won’t fly!”

It's been a bad week for Big Oil. First Chevron lost its bid to take over a California town to duck lawsuit for injuries' Chevron caused, and now Shell lost their preemptive strike against heroes protecting the environment against them. I have two words for that. The first is "Wooo".

From Daily Kos: What was Black Friday shopping and is now Thanksgiving shopping gives us an amazing view on the race to the bottom when it comes to jobs and the notion that workers maybe deserve to have lives. Once it was a question of how early stores opened on Black Friday. Then some started opening on Thanksgiving. Now it's a question of how early they'll open on the holiday. You know, Thanksgiving, one of the big two holidays of the year in this country? Only now, it's a major workday for many retail workers who aren't paid enough to live on and don't get paid time off.

Click through for a list of stores. On a day we should be remembering what we did to the people that gave us the first Thanksgiving, the last thing we need is an extra day of hypocritical corporate Christmas greed.

Cartoon:

1119Cartoon

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Nov 072014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 2, even though 11-7 feels no luckier than Tuesday, which came up snake-eyes.  Obviously, I’m still not a happy camper, but I didn’t give up after the disasters of 2000, 2004, or 2010.  We should have another chance to save this nation in 2016, so campaign 2016 starts now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Congressional seats are on pace to fetch a whopping four billion dollars on Tuesday night, a record-smashing sales figure that has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic insiders.

The seats, which include four hundred and thirty-five in the House of Representatives and thirty-six in the Senate, have attracted buyers from a broad spectrum of industries, including investment banking, energy, pharmaceutical, and gun.

“With all of the uncertainty in the world today, the United States Congress is considered a very safe place for the rich to invest their money,” said Charles Michollot, of the auction house Sotheby’s. “Congressional seats are like Manhattan real estate—they aren’t making any more of them.”

But Anton Pickardin, of the rival auction house Christie’s, sounds more skeptical. “I hate to be a wet blanket, but these sales figures lack rhyme and reason,” Pickardin said. “When someone is willing to pay millions of dollars for a pre-owned Mitch McConnell, you know that people have lost their minds.”

Given that this came out on election morning, before any returns were available, Andy proved himself a prophet, not just a comic.

From Upworthy: The Great Barrier Reef is in real danger. A lot of good folks are drawing attention to what’s going on and calling out companies that are doing the literal dirty work. How dirty? Very dirty.

 

Sadly any help the US might have been in curtailing the use of fossil fuels in the next two years just went up in smoke. This is just one of the reasons campaign 2016 begins now.

From NY Times: All told, Republican outside groups spent about $205 million on television advertising in Senate races, according to a Democrat tracking media purchases, who agreed to share the information on condition of anonymity, while Democratic groups spent $132 million.

Note that this does not count the spending after the reporting deadline that has not yet been reported. Republican spending during this period was so massive that there was no ad time left for candidates to buy.  We have the worst Legislature money has ever bought.

Cartoon:

1107Cartoon

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Oct 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow day 193.  It’s very early in the morning, and I could not sleep because I feel so pissed off at Care2 that it took 22 attempts to upload an article.  No doubt, I’ll be exhausted when I return from my medical appointment.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: She Says 4 Words At The Very Beginning, And That’s All You Need To Know

 

This is right in line with what I was discussing in prison last week at the Victims Impact meeting. At the same time, the political party that considers bullying others their Constitutional right must be removed from all elected offices.

From Think Progress: On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from civil rights advocates to force Georgia’s Secretary of State to process an estimated 40,000 voter registrations that have gone missing from the public database.

Though early voting is well underway in the state, Judge Brasher called the lawsuit “premature,” and said it was based on “merely set out suspicions and fears that the [state officials] will fail to carry out their mandatory duties.”

Angela Aldridge, an organizer with the group 9 to 5 Atlanta Working Women who has been working to register voters for several months, told ThinkProgress she was “furious” when she learned of the outcome: “That impedes people’s rights,” she said. “People need information before they go out to vote and they don’t even know if they’re registered or not. They were discouraged, upset, kind of frazzled, not really knowing what was going on. What can you even say to people who want to vote but possibly can’t? They might get disengaged and say, ‘Why vote? It doesn’t matter.’ It’s really disheartening.”

One Republican judge just stole the right to vote to 40,000 Americans.

From NY Times: It would be the Wall Street equivalent of a parole violation: Just two years after avoiding prosecution for a variety of crimes, some of the world’s biggest banks are suspected of having broken their promises to behave.

A mixture of new issues and lingering problems could violate earlier settlements that imposed new practices and fines on the banks but stopped short of criminal charges, according to lawyers briefed on the cases. Prosecutors are exploring whether to strengthen the earlier deals, the lawyers said, or scrap them altogether and force the banks to plead guilty to a crime.

That effort, unfolding separately from a number of well-known investigations into Wall Street, has ensnared several giant banks and consulting firms that until now were thought to be in the clear.

Why is it that I’m not surprised? I’ll tell you. One of the biggest failings of the DOJ under Obama is that not one single Bankster is in prison. As long as they get away with their crimes with fines far smaller than their obscene profits, where is the incentive for them to stop? Perhaps if we treated these millionaires the way we treat poor people that rob a convenience store, we’d be better off.

Cartoon:

1031Cartoon

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Sep 282014
 

Go ahead, take a big whiff.  You can smell the criminal greed all the way from Drill Baby Dingbat’s front porch.  The entire oil industry has proven over and over again that they are ill prepared to deal with the effects of their negligent incompetence, so what do they do?  They are lobbying hard for permission to be even more negligent.

0928ShellOil companies hoping to find crude under Arctic waters north of Alaska are imploring the Obama administration to ensure new rules governing drilling in the region don’t force them to stash emergency equipment nearby or block them from using chemical dispersants to clean up any spills.

The pleas for flexibility were delivered by Shell Oil Co. and ConocoPhillips in private meetings earlier this month with the Office of Management and Budget, which is reviewing an Interior Department proposal that would set standards governing oil development in the remote Arctic frontier.

The actual proposal is under wraps during the government’s interagency review, but regulators have signaled their desire for companies operating in the region to have equipment on hand to combat a blown-out well, possibly including containment systems, cap-and-flow devices that provide a path for crude out of a damaged well in a destabilized formation and rigs that can drill a relief well.

But according to just-released documents from separate Sept. 10 and Sept. 18 meetings with OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, both Shell and ConocoPhillips want more freedom to respond to emergencies… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alaska Dispatch News>

What they actually want is not more freedom to respond to emergencies.  They want more freedom NOT to respond to emergencies.  This becomes both more apparent and more horrific in light of the background information provided by Rachel Maddow.

Readers, who cannot watch clips from MSNBC, can see this on YouTube.

What do you think?  When you smell Shell, does it stink?

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Jun 242014
 

Since many of our readers are animal rights activists, I trust they will know a lot more about this subject than I do and provide us with additional info.  I’ve been a meat lover for too many years to go vegetarian, and attempts to do so in the past have led to wet dreams about hamburger and fried chicken fantasies.  However, I do believe that food animals have a right to be treated humanely, and when they are not, the public has a right to know.  However Republican legislatures in many states are making it a crime to blow the whistle on the meat industry.  They are called ag-gag laws.

0624AgGag

In 2008, the Humane Society  released a shocking video taken in a Southern California slaughterhouse. The footage depicted workers using chains and forklifts to drag cows that were too sick to stand across the floor. The abuse was appalling; the cows’ condition, which indicated a food safety risk, led the USDA to order a recall of 143 million pounds of beef. It was the largest meat recall in U.S. history — and it was all brought about by the work of an undercover whistleblower.

Since then, Big Ag has been hard at work preventing this sort of thing from happening again, but not by actually working to stop abuse — at least, not completely. Instead, the industry’s been pushing states to implement laws, known collectively as “ag-gag,” aimed at silencing activists.

Nine states  currently have ag-gag laws on the books, the most recent of which, in Idaho, takes anti-whistleblower legislation to a worrisome new extreme.  Under the law, signed by Gov. C . L. “Butch” Otter, it is illegal for anyone not employed on the farms — and undercover activists don’t count — to make recordings of what goes on there without the owner’s explicit consent. In practice, that means videos taken of factory farms’ illegal practices — like  this one, which depicts three workers at an Idaho dairy farm beating cattle with a cane, kicking and stomping on them once they’ve fallen and dragging one cow across the floor via a chain around its neck — can no longer legally be made public.

But that these laws effectively allow animal cruelty to go undetected and unreported only scratches the surface of why critics find them so appalling. In the interest of protecting the agriculture industry, ag-gag laws criminalize whistleblowers and, ultimately, ensure consumers remain in the dark… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

Photo credit: Mother Jones (the graphic there is interactive.  Click through.)

In my younger days, I hunted for meat, not sport.  I considered it an obligation to have sufficient respect for the animal I hunted to send it to my table without suffering.  I passed up shots, because I was not fully confident in a clean kill.  I consider torturing food animals criminal.

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Jun 012014
 

There are companies out there that routinely steal money from their workers.  The practice is called wage-theft, and it’s a lot more common than you might think.  There should no question that companies who steal money from their employees should not be rewarded by our government, but Republicans just voted that they should.

0601wage-theftOnce again House Republicans prove that they have absolutely no interest in even pretending that they’re interested in looking out for the working class as opposed to the 1 percent that are lining their campaign coffers.

House GOP Votes Down Measure Aimed At Curbing Wage Theft:

Early Friday morning, House Republicans voted down a measure that would have discouraged the government from giving contracts to companies that have committed wage theft.

The Democratic-sponsored amendment to a funding bill would have denied taxpayer money to firms with documented wage violations while under government contract. The idea, championed by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was to make sure public dollars don’t go to companies with low-road labor practices…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

Photo credit: The Stand

Keith Ellison explained the problem.

Because Republicans support rewarding government contractors, who steal money from their employees, while on government contract, with even more government contracts, your tax dollars will continue to fund wage theft.  There is only one right way to reward Republicans for doing that.  On November 4, pull the lever, just like you do when you flush.

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