Jun 202016
 

Well it has been a while since I posted and my laptop is acting up thereby taking me longer . . . and resulting in an incomplete post.  It has been very busy lately.  Teaching progresses and little Simon is a little monkey as usual.  Last Friday, he learned "ABCDE" as I was doing flashcards with Lucia.  At church he learned AMEN so says the word often.  My brother and his wife will be travelling from Toronto to Vancouver to board a cruise to Alaska.  They will come out 2 days early to see mother whom they have not seen since 2013.  Her condition will be a real shock.  I saw my mother last night and spent almost 3 hours brushing her hair.  At almost 88 years, she has had quantity of life so now my goal is strictly quality and brushing her hair fills the bill.  My furbabes always send a message to Nana — meow, meow, meow! — which makes her smile.  As many will know, TomCat's surgery was successful.  He posted a brief statement which I will post over to Care2 so everyone will know.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

NY Times — It was April 1990, and Mr. Trump was officially opening his third gambling resort in Atlantic City, the biggest project of his career: the, and $1 billion Trump Taj Mahal.

“It’s truly going to be an incredible place,” he told reporters. “We’re calling it the eighth wonder of the world.”  …

Then Mr. Trump bought Hilton’s nearly completed casino in the marina district for $320 million, calling it Trump Castle. His company issued $352 million in bonds to finish construction and open the casino, and tacked on an additional $32 million. That casino opened in 1985 and competed directly against his partner’s first casino, Harrah’s Marina.

The following year, Harrah’s scuttled its partnership with Mr. Trump and sold him its stake in Trump Plaza for more than $220 million.

Next Mr. Trump went after the biggest casino of all, the Taj Mahal, which Resorts International, builder of Atlantic City’s first casino, was erecting. After buying a controlling interest in Resorts from the estate of its founder, Mr. Trump battled the talk show host Merv Griffin for control of the company.

In the end, Mr. Griffin got the company, while Mr. Trump won the still-unfinished Taj Mahal.

Even before the Taj opened, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission was concerned about the casino’s viability given its rapidly escalating costs and considered revoking its operating license. Regulators closely monitored the financial performance of the Trump casinos and the developer’s empire.

Mr. Trump told the commission in 1988 that he could rein in expenses, because conventional lenders were lining up to give him money at low interest rates. He said he abhorred junk bonds, which were then popular, because they carried a bigger risk of default and thus came with higher interest rates.

Within months, he reversed course, issuing $675 million worth of junk bonds, with a 14 percent interest rate, to finish construction and get the Taj open. In recent interviews, Mr. Trump has said that with each financing he routinely took money out of the casinos to invest in Manhattan real estate. Total debt on the Taj exceeded $820 million.

Less than two weeks before the casino opened, Marvin B. Roffman, a casino analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, an investment firm based in Philadelphia, told The Wall Street Journal that the Taj would need to reap $1.3 million a day just to make its interest payments, a sum no casino had ever achieved.

“The market just isn’t there,” Mr. Roffman told The Journal.

Mr. Trump retaliated, demanding that Janney Montgomery Scott fire Mr. Roffman. It did.

“It was doomed way before the start,” said W. Bucky Howard, who was promoted by Mr. Trump to president of the Taj five days after it opened, in a recent interview. “I told him it was going to fail. The Taj was underfunded.”

Almost immediately, Mr. Trump had trouble making the debt payments on the Taj and his other casinos. It was also clear that the Taj was cannibalizing the Castle and the Plaza, whose combined gambling revenues dropped by $58 million the year it opened.

Video from Democracy Now.  Click on the link for a transcript.

While I was out at physio, I heard a report, or perhaps it would be better put as a prediction, that a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the US economy and indeed the global economy.  Think Progress has an excellent article on this prediction. 

The heart of Trump’s economic proposals come down to tax, trade, and immigration policy. He’s put forward a tax package that experts have found would cost $9.5 trillion and hand nearly all of the benefits to the wealthiest. He’s promised to levy huge tariffs on imports from countries like China and Mexico and he’s railed against trade deals. And he says he’ll deport 11 million undocumented immigrants while building a wall along the Mexican border.

If all of that were to happen just how Trump proposes it, Moody’s analysis finds that the American economy would dip into a recession beginning in 2018 that would last through 2020 — longer than the Great Recession. It estimates there would be 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate would rise to a peak of 7.4 percent, as opposed to the current rate of 4.7.

This post is a detailed article by Russ Buettner and Charles V Bagli outlining Trump's "business acumen", something touted by his supporters as being very important to them.  If they only knew that Trump, in venture capital fashion, transferred debt to his properties, cheated contractors, investors and employees, and then declared bankruptcy, not once but four times.  He made millions while he left others holding the bag.  Is this the kind of performance that supporters want?  Unfortunately, his supporters won't understand what he has done or will do.  They believe and like his "straight talk", but it is all show and no go.  It is pure unadulterated bullshit!

CBC — Donald Trump suggested Sunday that the United States should "seriously" consider profiling Muslims inside the country as a terrorism-fighting tool, the latest example of the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting increasingly backing positions that could single out a group based on their religion.

"Well I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country," Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation. "It's not the worst thing to do."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee added that he "hate(s) the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense" over "political correctness."

And the hate just keeps on!  The Republicans allowed this travesty to happen so now they must own it even if it means the destruction of the party.  We can hope can't we?

Think Progress — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can still arrest someone for an outstanding warrant even if they had no right to stop the person in the first place.  …

“This Court has given officers an array of instruments to probe and examine you,” she writes. “This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants — so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved. The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction — even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.”

IMO, Sotomayor is correct and the Injustices, particularly Teabag Thomas, are wrong.  The 4th amendment to the US Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What part of "unreasonable searches and seizures" doesn't Teabag Thomas understand?  I suppose he would argue that it is all in the meaning of the word "unreasonable", which I have to admit is rather subjective.  I wonder what would happen if a cranky old whirte man were stopped and searched.  Can we please have a fair impartial justice to replace Scalia!

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Jun 112016
 

I was hoping to sleep-in, but Grand Floral Parade goers started staking out their spots and blowing their air horns at about 5:00 AM.  I’d guess that the parade will get here between 11:00 AM and 12:00 N.  Julie and I rescheduled shower day to tomorrow, so I’m a stinky puddy tat!!  I’ll scoot down and take a few pictures, if it isn’t raining.  Rain is bad for my chair.

My first surgery is a week from Monday.  The radioactive plaque they will be inserting behind my right eye is about the size of an old pop bottle cap.

0611melanoma_plaque

Mine will have a notch in one side to fit around the optic nerve.  The second surgery, a week from Friday, will be to remove it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:49 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Politico has an excellent piece of reporting from within the Sanders campaign on their future efforts. A great read and very encouraging for those of us who are anticipating unity within the party. It appears that staff within the Sanders group are already starting to shift their focus toward assisting Clinton in the general.

Sanders’ tech team is already expressing interest in working on Clinton’s behalf to drum up enthusiasm among young voters — a critical demographic for Democrats that Sanders dominated and Clinton struggled with during the primaries.

“Getting a bunch of kids stoked on the process is very important to ensure a Trump presidency is not possible,” said Arun Chaudhary, the Sanders videographer who joined the senator’s team at the White House on Thursday to take pictures surrounding his meeting with Obama.

As I said, the problem is not and never was Bernie. It’s the bots, who say they support him, but act at cross-purposes to what he is doing.

From Think Progress: Texas, so fond of seeing the environmental regulators in court that it has sued the Environmental Protection Agency dozens of times, wants to take the EPA to court for a brand new reason.

The Texas Railroad Commission recommended that the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, file another lawsuit targeting new EPA regulations seeking to limit methane emissions. Texas would be the first state to do so.

I don’t know why the Railroad Commission is doing this, when the Texas Republican Party is the biggest source of methane in the Southwest US.

From Alternet: A potentially massive fine levied against three telemarketing companies could finally force others in the industry to comply with federal rules—and stop nuisance calls.

Local news station KSL.com reports that the three companies—Feature Films for Families, Corporations for Character and Family Films of Utah—made more than 117 million illegal calls to consumers who had signed up with the “Do Not Call” registry. If the court assigns the regular fine amount for all of the 117 million illegal calls, the firms could end up paying over $1 trillion.

It goes without saying that the companies would not be able to afford such high fines and would be financially ground into dust by such a verdict, although the companies are still waiting for the judge’s decision on whether the full fines will be enforced. Eric Allen, an attorney for the law firm that is representing the companies, said a $1 trillion fine could have a chilling effect on other telemarketers.

Frankly, I hope the judge puts them out of business. Companies with such a Republican lack of respect don’t deserve to operate, and it would put other telemarketers on notice to respect the Do Not Call list, OR ELSE!! Enough don’t that it’s a rare day that I don’t get at least one scam robocall, usually for timeshare scams or loans

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May 072016
 

George is furious at TriMet.  We saw the lift bus pass the door three times yesterday, but we often see Lift buses that aren’t mine go by.  I called, and dispatch told me that the driver had come here at 12:35, and I was not here.  I told her that was untrue.  I’m guessing that the driver went to the wrong building, because I had been waiting in the lobby since 12:20.  I talked to customer service and filed a complaint.  I had to cancel my appointment with Sarah, and George did not get his new ankle.  I’ll have to reschedule, after I know what’s going on with my eye.  I’m getting a late start today, because Julie was here from 7:30 – 11:30,  She helped me shower.  I’m a pampered puddy tat.  Then we worked together to do the dreaded task, cooked a half a dozen chicken breasts, and did some light cleaning.  After she left, I had lunch and did my research.  I’m getting tired already.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Jeff Merkley Channel): Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley outlines the ‘Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act,’ legislation to crack down on some of the worst abuses of the payday lending industry and protect consumers from deceptive and predatory practices that strip wealth from working families.

 

Oregon and Senator Jeff Merkley still lead the way!!

From Daily Kos: Cassandra McWade got into a car accident on a stretch of highway in North Carolina. The 25-year-old McWade was fine, but her car wasn’t in any shape to drive and she needed a tow. Enter self-described “conservative Christian” Kenneth Shupe. He’s the tow truck driver that was called in to help McWade out.

When he saw “a bunch of Bernie Sanders stuff” he said he told the woman, “very politely,” that he could’t tow her car because she was “obviously a socialist” and advised her to “call the government” for a tow.

"Every business dealing in recent history with a socialist minded person I have not gotten paid," Shupe said. "Every time I deal with these people I get ‘Berned’ with an ‘e’ not a ‘u’."

Holy. Shit. There are too many things wrong here. First, should McWade call the government that employs tons of tow truck operators and pays for their services with citizens’ money? Second, I’m not calling Kenneth Shupe a liar when he says that “socialist minded” people have not paid him but let me put it this way—Kenneth Shupe is a liar.

Shupe, who runs Shupee Max Towing in Travelers Rest, said he is a conservative Christian who supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Shupe said he has drawn a line in the sand not to do business with Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Trump supporters reflect the love passed down from their Fuhrer, Rump Dump Trump.

From NY Times: In a Europe struggling with a rise in Islamophobia, riven by debates about the flood of Syrian migrants and on edge over religious, ethnic and cultural disputes, London has elected its first Muslim mayor.

Sadiq Khan — a Labour Party leader, a former human rights lawyer and a son of a bus driver from Pakistan — was declared the winner after a protracted count that extended into Saturday. He will be the first Muslim to lead Britain’s capital.

The victory also makes him one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in the West.

If Rump Dump is elected, he would make the Mayor of London ineligible to visit the US.

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Apr 072016
 

The A/C came yesterday, but is still not installed.  It was warm enough inside yesterday night that I did not sleep well,  Tomorrow I have PT with Courtney.  Since no rain is forecast, I’m going the take the regular bus.  The trip takes longer, but I spend such a shorter time waiting that my total time spent will be less.  Still, I’ll be tired enough that I’ll probably have just a Personal Update.  Later:  The A/C is in and working great!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:45 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Within hours of news Tuesday that PayPal had pulled the plug on a 400-job facility in Charlotte because, it said, the state’s new law "perpetuates discrimination," the Republican Party started a mad display of Yosemite-Sam style finger pointing.

First, the state’s GOP Vice-Chairman Michele Nix questioned whether PayPal was ever even worthy of North Carolina.

So after PayPal was forced to settle after violating economic sanctions on Cuba, Sudan, and Iran, and even processed payments for someone looking to buy nuclear-weapon technology on the black market, the California-based company now has a problem doing business in North Carolina?

Yeah, we didn’t want your nasty 400-job expansion anyway. Hurrumph. Now those are some serious biz-dev skills. Work it, Michele!

My, how times have changed. Just a couple weeks ago, McCrory was singing PayPal’s praises:

“North Carolina is the ideal destination for innovation-based, worldwide companies like PayPal,” said Governor McCrory. “Today’s announcement means that we can add another prominent name to the state’s growing list of technology businesses with major operations here.”

Kudos to PayPal!! May thousands of companies pull the plug on the Fascist Republican Theocratic Dictatorship of McCrorystan.!!

From YouTube and YouTube:

Rest in peace.

From NY Times: Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company catapulted him from a working-class West Virginia childhood into a life as one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Appalachia, was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

The prison term, the maximum allowed by law, came in Federal District Court here six years and one day after an explosion ripped through Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine, killing 29 men. Although Mr. Blankenship was not accused of direct responsibility for the accident, the deadliest in American coal mining in about 40 years, the disaster prompted the inquiry that ultimately led to his conviction. Federal officials have said that last autumn’s guilty verdict was the first time such a high-ranking executive had been convicted of a workplace safety violation.

This is one Republican I’m happy to see in a cell, but serving less than 13 days for every miner he murdered is a major understatement. He’d do more time had he stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family.

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Mar 052016
 

Lu was here this morning.  She cut my hair, spotted me while I walked around my hallways using a walker, stopping twice to sit and rest, and she helped me shower, leaving me as a perfumed puddy tat with soft, glowing fur.  I’m feeling tired, but I have two articles today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:18 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Marco Rubio has lost Fox News.

[T]his alliance now seems to be over. According to three Fox sources, Fox chief Roger Ailes has told people he’s lost confidence in Rubio’s ability to win. "We’re finished with Rubio," Ailes recently told a Fox host. "We can’t do the Rubio thing anymore."

Which is bad news for Rubio, since his entire base of support is establishment and press Republicans who are willing to inexplicably pump up Marco Rubio. Apparently, though, Ailes has seen the writing on the wall; Rubio can’t win, and Fox News is only going to humiliate themselves pretending otherwise.

This leaves America’s Worst Network in an even bigger bind than before. The network that is used to playing kingmaker has no potential king to make—and the current front-runner, Donald Trump, is openly dismissive of the network and eager to pit his supporters against them. None of the corporate-friendly Republicans that Fox News would usually be hitching their wagon to, from Scott Walker to Chris Christie to Jeb Bush to, now, Marco Rubio, have gone anywhere. Suddenly rallying to podium barnacle John Kasich would be more humiliating than standing behind Rubio.

That leaves Ted Cruz, and while Ted Cruz is certainly a model of the sort of extremist burn-down-the-government type that Fox News has endlessly promoted, Nobody Likes Ted Cruz.

What will the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda do? I think Faux Noise will goose-step behind the Republican nominee, whoever or whatever that is.

From PRWatch: Hold onto your Prius!

The Kochs and their fossil-fuel-fed political network are reportedly gunning for the electric car.

According to an anonymous industry source who spoke to journalist Peter Stone, a new advocacy group will "make the public aware of all the benefits of petroleum-based transportation fuels."

If you think this sounds a bit nutty, you have to remember Koch front groups have also fought the implementation of street cars in city after city.

If the group follows the usual Koch playbook, expect bogus "research" studies by Koch-funded "think tanks," well-placed op-eds that repeat Koch talking points without disclosing ties to the network, and fear-mongering ads that hide their fossil fuel funding behind bland names like "Americans for Energy Freedom." (The group’s actual name has yet to be announced.)

The primary benefits of burning petroleum fuels are obscene profits for Big Polluters and the RepubliCare Death Benefit for everyone else.

From Crooks and Liars: This is a really fascinating video. Governor Kate Brown shows that real people have a need for increasing the minimum wage. She also shows how listening to the needs of various stakeholders gets things done. OregonLive:

The bill gives Oregon the highest statewide minimum wage rates in the nation, to $14.75 inside Portland’s urban growth boundary, $13.50 in midsize counties and $12.50 in rural areas by 2022.

President Barack Obama lauded Brown, saying in a statement: "I commend the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown for taking action to raise their state’s minimum wage…Congress needs to keep up with the rest of the country. They need to act, and finally give America a raise. And until they do, I’ll continue to encourage states, cities, counties and companies to act on their own to support hardworking families."

Kate, America’s only openly LGBT state governor, keeps doing good things for Oregon, and Oregon leads the way!!

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Feb 162016
 

It was a busy day yesterday with physio, teaching and then a shopping run with Lucia.  I managed 40 minutes of bicycling and no pain.  The pain and swelling came later after walking around the grocery store with Lucia. Today is a haircut which is sorely needed . . . my hair is sticking straight out so far it is signaling a left turn.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — The growing risk of worldwide water shortages is worse than scientists previously thought, according to a new study. 

More than 70 percent, which is 4 billion people, of the world's population lives without sufficient access to fresh water for at least one month of the year, according to a new paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances

With such low water supplies, why are we allowing fracking which uses inordinant amounts of fresh water, mixes it with toxic chemicals, and then shoots it into the ground where it can't be used again?  Desalination of sea water works so why aren't we doing more there?

Alternet — The second week of February 2016 was a banner week for racism in Israel, with shockingly racist rhetoric from Prime Minister Netanyahu, genocidal references from his backbenchers and fulsome attacks on Palestinian leaders from his entire government. These attacks appear not only to lack legitimate basis, they reveal the government's own hypocritical alliances with convicted terrorists.

5.The Genocide convention.

At the end of Arad’s report, he notes the absurd hypocrisy in the Israeli government accusing Palestinian MKs of sympathizing with terrorists. Arad recalls a shocking October 2014 conference he attended in which Deputy Minister Eli Ben Dahan and soon-to-be-Minister Miri Regev shared a stage with Temple Mount Institute head Rabbi Yisrael Ariel.

Ben Dahan and Regev are known as some of the most racist representatives of the Israeli government. Dahan has said Palestinians “are beasts, they are not human,” while Regev called African asylum seekers “a cancer in the body” of Israel. 

But the man they shared a stage with, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s former deputy Yisrael Ariel, embodies another level of fanaticism altogether.

In September 2015, Ariel called upon Jews to march on the rest of the Middle East and to exterminate all men who refuse to abandon Christianity and Islam. To this day, Ariel draws a salary from the Israeli government, with Bennett’s Education Ministry paying his organization, the Temple Institute, to lectureIsraeli high school students, religious and secular.

This is the fifth of five incidences of Israeli racist rhetoric this past week. Click through for the other five.  Donald Trump, eat your heart out.  Israel is building a wall, not just bloviating about it.  Why are ultra conservatives so damned afraid?

Mother Jones — A group of families in the United States whose relatives were killed by Mexican drug cartels filed a lawsuit against the large financial institution HSBC this week, alleging that the bank's admitted laundering of roughly $881 million for the Sinaloa, Juárez, and Los Zetas cartels played a key role in the deaths of their loved ones.

"Money laundering is the lifeblood of the Mexican drug cartels, enabling them to construct a façade of legitimacy through which they establish, continue, and grow their global enterprises," the families' lawyers wrote in the complaint filed in federal court, alleging that cartels use that money to buy the weapons, vehicles, and the public officials needed to operate. "Thus, by facilitating the laundering of billions of dollars of drug cartel proceeds through its banks, HSBC materially supported the terrorist acts of the cartels, including the terrorist acts committed against the [families]."

Whenever I see "HSBC" in the news, I know it is bad news.  I take an interest in it because 1) I worked for HSBC Canada for almost 10 years; 2) I receive my pension from HSBC; and 3) it has a history of questionable acts, not the least of which was aiding clients to evade taxes.  They have also had issues with securities trades, not unlike those of JP Morgan Chase that landed Jamie Dimon in hot water.  HSBC has had the dubious misfortune of getting caught.  It will be interesting to see how HSBC deals with this lawsuit.

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doggie buttEau de butt!

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Feb 082016
 

Well, it seems that after a 2 day rest, my DVD player works again.  I had tried quite a few DVDs and all were "bad disc".  Right now, only one of those discs is not coöperating.  Go figure.  I arrived home earlier than normal as they put mum to bed at 18:30, right after dinner.  She was out cold before the aid left the room, but I went and sat by her bed for about an hour anyway.  She looks so at peace, relaxed, and thankfully in no pain when she is sleeping.

Short Takes

Alternet — In 2015, Young released his 36th studio album, The Monsanto Years, a concept-based criticism of multinational agrochemical and biotechnology giant Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company. A collaboration with Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah, the album also condemns other industrial agriculture giants like Syngenta, Dow, Dupont and Bayer — corporations that, like Monsanto, have garnered control of global seed production.

By creating patents for genetically engineered seed, these firms have taken away farmers’ right to save their own seeds.

“Monsanto wants to sell the farmers the seeds and they want to license the seeds,” said Bob McFarland of the California State Grange. “So the farmers can only use those seeds for one cycle, then they have to go back to Monsanto and buy the seeds again.”

Click through for the complete article.  Following are 2 petitions for your signatures.  Of course there are many, many more out there.

Help STOP GMO's from being produced    U.S. GMO Foods Petition

Common Dreams — 

Warren’s timing, judgment and courage are all now being challenged.  It’s not enough to be independent, articulate, and passionate from the bully pulpit.  Achieving leadership’s full capacity inevitably involves taking a stand that is by nature risky, but all the more necessary because one’s deepest convictions will not allow any other course of action.  One feels compelled within to seize the moment.  Whatever the risks of taking a stand, the risks of letting the moment pass are greater.  However, unconventional the action required is, that action remains the most obviously impactful.

sanders-warren

If destiny offers someone like Warren the opportunity to swing the tide of the nation toward a more honest and just governance and they hesitate, well then ultimately they weren’t the leader we hoped for.  Warren has had this opportunity served up to her by Bernie Sanders in the most admirable way.  There is no room for her to pretend the moment of decision is not upon her.

Click through for this opinion piece.  I agree that Bernie and Elizabeth Warren are a good fit.  I also think that she should take a stand on just who she supports.  However, I didn't think that decisions about VP candidates were made until after the nominees were chosen.

Mother Jones — At a campaign stop in Henniker, New Hampshire, last week, Ted Cruz was asked what he'd do as president to combat climate change. Cruz's answer—an eight-minute rant that you can watch below—was essentially that he would do nothing. Because global warming isn't happening. It's "the perfect pseudoscientific theory" to justify liberal politicians' quest to expand "government power over the American citizenry," he said.

Like Cruz, the two GOP front-runners in the state—Donald Trump and Marco Rubioreject mainstream climate science. Trump has repeatedly called global warming a "hoax," and Rubio has said, "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it." John Kasich, who's been rising in the New Hampshire polls in recent weeks, has made a number of contradictory comments about climate change.

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

Listen to Cruz's rant.  I had to laugh when he tried to make the point that liberals changed the wording from global warming to climate change when they realised that the globe isn't warming.  As head of the senate science committee he called scientists to testify about climate change and the anthropogenic effects.  What he doesn't say is that he cherry-picked the scientists so that he got what he wanted.  Republicans are such idiots when it comes to climate change.

Alternet myths are built on half-truths, white lies and downright fabrications. So it is with the American presidency. Presidents lie, even our most admired ones. Some of them were really good at it, like Franklin Roosevelt. Others, like shifty-eyed Richard Nixon, were just pathological.

richard m nixon

When we got a president who promised never to lie to us, as Jimmy Carter did in 1976, many thought he was not particularly effective and voters tossed him out on his ear in 1980, for a master Machiavellian prince named Ronald Reagan. Republicans pounced on President Obama when, pushing the Affordable Healthcare Act, he promised Americans that if we wanted to keep our current health insurance, we could. That turned out to be not completely true, and surely Obama knew it even as the words were coming out of his lips. Still, for President Obama, the end—a broader, fairer healthcare system—justified the means. His signature accomplishment in office, Obamacare, might not have passed had he been totally forthright.

Click through to see who the biggest liars were.  It has always bugged me that one of my family names is Nixon.  In the past I'd always add "no relationship to Tricky Dicky".

My Universe — 

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Pillow talk in the animal kingdomPillow talk!

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Feb 052016
 
furies

I have a few items this week which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I have left out the water in Flint, MI, because that made such a stir that I expect you are already on to those people.  I have left out the seditious militants because I am confident you are on to them and indeed have already got some action from a grand jury (good going there).  I have also left out the "pharma bro" who seems to be digging his own grave.  Although any or all of these could possibly resurface in the future, they seem for now to be getting handled.

I do want to draw attention to what happened to Melissa Harris-Perry in Iowa.  A journalist with a news-opinion show on MSNBC, a professor of political science at Wake Forest, and an author, she was there, with students, to experience the caucuses.  She was sitting in the hotel lobby, eyes glued to the TV, when suddenly this guy was standing next to her.

When he started he speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

“…So what is it that you teach?”

“I am a professor of political science.”

“My wife is a professor of communications.”

“Does she teach here in Iowa?”

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

She jumped up and put a table between him and her.  Her friend jumped and put herself between them.  They raised their voices, starting to make a fuss.  The man ran out, jumped in a car, and drove off.  They spoke with hotel security, who listened politely, "but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours." 

This sounds like grudging to me.  Particularly “But why you? Why would they pick you?”  Perhaps, Megaera, you can find this – person – for counseling.  And, if you have time, stop off at Breitbart, who loudly dismissed and mocked her story (Republican not linked).  Thanks much.

Then, Tisiphone, I suspect you will be interested in the management of Tyson Foods in Arkansas.  Tyson comes in for a lot of flack over the way it treats chickens inhumanely, and the way it overfeeds them antibiotics, but this isn't about the chickens.  This is about the workers.

According to an email from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee,

A stunning 91% of surveyed poultry workers reported having no earned sick leave, and almost two-thirds reported working while sick. More than half of these workers said they experienced discrimination, a very troubling statistic for a workforce made up mostly of first- and second-generation immigrants, as well as minority workers from the United States.

 Women, in particular, cited gender discrimination in the way bathroom breaks are withheld by male supervisors. Some have even urinated on themselves because they were not granted breaks when needed.

Well, OK, maybe it is about the chickens too.  That last sentence can't have improved anyone's appetite, even for non-Vegans.  But I primarily was thinking of the vengeful destruction of the human spirit when you make people pee themselves to keep their jobs.  I suspect a lot of these women are mothers, incidentally.  Giving birth can be rough on the sphincters.

The stockholders' meeting was yesterday, and a Twitter/Facebook Thunderclap was planned.  Not being on either, I don't know how it went, but, I hope well.

Finally, Alecto, I don't even know whether there is anything you can really do about the uncea$ing issues of privatization, prisons, and immigrants; although if anyone can, it's you.  ITPI ("In the Public Interest") exists to study and bring to light the specific ills of privatization, which always ends up costing taxpayers more money for less service, while lining the pockets of people rich enough to own an empire to provide the private "service."  Immigration is no exception.  And whenever pri$on is a part of a cycle, and exists to make money, the stakeholders develop a vested interest in keeping people in them to make more and more money.  But, as this graphic shows, there are a lot more people making money from prisons than just prisons.  This contributes more and more to make the cycle never-ending – unceasing.

I think it speaks for itself.  If you need to see it larger to read it you can easily click through.  It does try to distinguish between civil offenders, who are offenders by just being here, and criminal offenders, who have actually committed a crime.  In practice, I don't know.

Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, and I will be back next time.  Whenever that is.  Meantime, we wish everyone perfect blood pressure.

 

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Feb 052016
 

TGIF!!  I did not get the sleep I needed yesterday, because my helper friend came a day late.  We washed my hospital bed sheets and made the bed.  I need her help, because there is one corner where I cannot place the fritted sheet.  There is no room to get close enough in my chair.  That took up most of my afternoon nap time.  Then I watched the debate, and I won’t take today off, because it may be the last time Bernie and Hillary debate head to head. so I have to report on it.  Jeannie (Shower-Aide) has come and gone.  Arvilla (PT) was due in fifteen minutes  (now gone), and Tracey (OT) comes right after Arvilla!  When I finish blogging, I’m going to hide!  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Jeff Merkley Channel:

Merkley: Stop the wave of dark money in politics

 

Amen Jeff!!  He’s one of the reasons that Oregon leads the way!

From The New Yorker: In a feat that some observers called nothing short of miraculous, the embattled pharmaceuticals C.E.O. Martin Shkreli single-handedly made the American people side with Congress on Thursday morning.

According to polls taken after his appearance before the despised legislative body, Shkreli’s smug, smirking, and utterly douchey performance had the effect of temporarily transforming members of Congress into marginally sympathetic figures.

The University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, which tracks the American people’s attitudes toward the legislative branch, said that after Shkreli’s appearance Congress’s approval rating surged from eleven per cent to fourteen per cent.

Well the guy is an asshole (syn, Republican), but frankly, I think Andy has been smokin' that Wacky tobbacky. The only thing that could make Congress more popular is a Democratic majority!

From FAIR.org: A few months ago, I raised concerns about Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel (FAIR.org, 10/28/15) after she admitted taking money from agribusiness interest groups that she covers.

I pointed out that her columns are biased in favor of those industry groups, particularly on the topic of GMOs, even though her column is presented to readers as an unbiased effort to find middle ground in debates about our food system.

My article was met with crickets of silence from Haspel, her Post editor Joe Yonan and the band of biotech promoters who prolifically praise Haspel on Twitter. I figured that, soon enough, Haspel might write another column that would warrant raising the concerns another notch up the pole. She didn’t disappoint.

In her January column (Washington Post, 1/26/16), Haspel offered an investigation (“the surprising truth”) about the food movement—without speaking to anyone in the food movement—concluding that there isn’t much of a food movement after all, and most people don’t really care about labeling genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

Her sources? A two-year-old survey, another survey conducted by a food-industry front group, and consumer research by the agrichemical industry’s public relations firm.  [emphasis original]

Busted!! GMOs must be contained where grown and labeled for consumers. Click though for the rest of this extensive exposé.

Cartoon:

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Feb 012016
 

A very light day today, thankfully, but the week ahead is busy.  I spoke with my brother in Toronto this morning.  He and his wife are taking an Alaska cruise leaving from Vancouver in July so they will spend a few days visiting with me and seeing my mother.  This will be good as they haven't seen her for almost 3 years, or is it 4 years.  Tomorrow is physio and teaching but I shant be lingering to do extra tutoring or Costco runs.

Short Takes

Alternet — Oklahoma legislators are trying to pass an expressively cruel bill that would bar depressed LGBT youngsters from seeking gay-affirming counseling at school, Slate reports.

The state House bill, proposed by Republican Sally Kern, is part of a slew of anti-gay legislation she wants to pass, which would sanction discredited gay “conversion” therapy and prevent HIV-positive people from getting married.

I was absolutely sickened by this legislation.  The party of hate strikes yet again, and this time takes aim at children, children with severe mental health issues such as depression.  If this legislation is passed, I hope the courts will deem it unconstitutional!

Huffington Post — Republicans have spent nearly six years promising to repeal Obamacare and, for most of that time, they have refused to acknowledge what that would mean for the millions who would lose their health insurance.

On Saturday afternoon in Iowa, for at least a few minutes, one Republican couldn't get away with it.

It happened at a Ted Cruz campaign event in Hubbard, a small town smack in the middle of the state. According to reports in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico, Cruz fielded a question from Mike Valde, a Democratic voter who had come to the event with a story to tell and a simple question to ask.

The story was about his brother-in-law, a barber named Mark. As Valde told it, Mark was a small business owner who worked so hard that he didn’t even take paid days off. But Mark was unable to afford health insurance until the Affordable Care Act became law. When it did, Mark bought insurance and then, when he started feeling ill, saw a physician — who promptly diagnosed him with cancer with no hope for recovery. He died last year.

Good on Valde to confront Cruz and persist in getting an answer.  I think Cruz was flumoxed by Valde, such that he tried not to answer. Obamacare is not perfect but it is a step in the correct direction.  There are still people not covered because many red states have refused Medicaid expansion.  Others because they make too much for Medicaid coverage but still can't afford the premiums.  Republicans only have the Republicare death benefit — die fast, as Rep Alan Grayson coined.  Cruz was caught between a rock and a hard place and had nowhere to go.

CBC — Two parents watching over an awkward child with weight issues that's still living with them isn't really news. Unless the child in question is a king penguin. 

Nero is, well, different than the adult penguins in his life. While mom, dad and the rest of the colony are decked out in their finest black and whites, the only child is big, fluffy and brown.

Did we mention big?

Nero the penguin

Nero, the first king penguin chick born at the Calgary Zoo, stands out with his fluffy appearance. (Ayesha Clough/CBC)

"He's five months, a little over five months, and he weighs around 15 and a half kilos, which means he is the heaviest bird in our colony," said Malu Celli, a curator at the Calgary Zoo. "He's heavier than his mom, who's quite a big, chunky penguin too, and he still has some growing to do."

OK, this is cuteness overload time!  Nero is 5 months old and only one half kilo bigger than my 8 year old cat!  I love watching penguins play, although I don't particularly like seeing them in an artificial environment such as a zoo.  Play away Nero and happy puberty!

Common Dreams"Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct."

This is the damning verdict of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) report released Friday,Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy (pdf). 

Described as "the first in an annual series on enforcement," the 12-page booklet "highlights 20 of the most egregious civil and criminal cases during the past year in which federal settlements failed to require meaningful accountability to deter future wrongdoing and to protect taxpayers and families," according to a press statement from Warren's office.  

"Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars," Warren said in the op-ed.

This from the report, Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy, prepared by Elizabth Warren's office.  Cllick through for more details.

The failure to punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie. The failure to prosecute big, visible crimes has a corrosive effect on the fabric of democracy and our shared belief that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. 

Corporate criminals like Jamie Dimon and Don Blankenship need to be held criminally  accountable for the actions of their corporations.  Federal agencies need to conduct robust investigations and see that all charges and penalties are pursued.  Further, corporations should not be able to write-off penalties from a tax perspective.  That is just plain wrong.

My Universe — 

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Dance til you drop!

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