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 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 197, and more important, election day.  At this point, I think I can honestly say that I’ve done everything I possibly could to help influence the outcome, and now it’s time for me to do the one thing I hate doing most in politics: become a spectator.  Lets just hope that the Republican Party suffers from electile dysfunction, and that when it comes to turn out, they can’t get it up.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:31` (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip Pat A from Care2): …The header on this [Republican] mailing says "Your Voting Record is Public Information!"

Then, this ominous note: "The News and Observer reported last week that Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s operation plans to publish and share your voting records with your neighbors after this election."

That’s big news right there.  Raleigh has a newspaper?  But I digress.

The mailing continues…

"The Republican Party wanted to make you aware of this, so Reid and Obama don’t have the chance to embarrass you for staying home on election day."

And then… at the very bottom… is the (unintentional?) punchline…

…there’s a list with my wife’s name at the top and a note that she didn’t vote in 2010, but did in 2012.

Then, it lists the names of 4 of my neighbors, with notes showing whether they voted in 2010 and 2012.

Let me say that again.  They have the very voting record they say the scary and threatening president is going to send to my neighbors, and they’re sending it to my neighbors…

Click through for the whole story.  Have you ever seen a more classic example of criminal projection?

From NY Times: A stealthy coterie of difficult-to-trace outside groups is slipping tens of millions of dollars of attacks ads and negative automated telephone calls into the final days of the midterm campaign, helping fuel an unprecedented surge of last-minute spending on Senate races.

Much of the advertising is being timed to ensure that no voter will know who is paying for it until after the election on Tuesday. Some of the groups are “super PACs” that did not exist before Labor Day but have since spent heavily on political advertising, adding to the volatility of close Senate and House races.

Others formed earlier in the year but remained dormant until recently, reporting few or no contributions in recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, only to unleash six- and seven-figure advertising campaigns as Election Day draws near. Yet more spending is coming from nonprofit organizations with bland names that have popped up in recent weeks but appear to have no life beyond being a conduit for the ads.

Groups like B-PAC, supporting Joni Ernst, center, in Iowa, have poured millions into Senate races. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The groups’ last-minute fusillade of attacks helped push outside spending in races around the country to an average of at least $20 million a day last week. Total spending on Senate races reached $200 million in October alone, significantly more than in the same period before the 2010 midterms.

As much as the Times tries to paint the problem as bipartisan, click through and note that virtually all the examples are Republican.

From Think Progress: An federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity.

On Thursday, October 30, Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a ruling on American Humanist Association v. United States, a case that was brought by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Jason Holden, a federal prisoner. Holden pushed for the lawsuit because he wanted Humanism — which the AHA defines as “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces” — recognized as a religion so that his prison would allow for the creation of a Humanist study group. Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs in his decision, citing existing legal precedent and arguing that denying Humanists the same rights as groups such as Christianity would be a violation of the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which declares that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” the ruling read.

The decision highlights the unusual position of the Humanist community, which has tried for years to obtain the same legal rights as more traditional religious groups while simultaneously rebuking the existence of a god or gods. But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a “religion,” others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.

The Court correctly ruled what I’ve been saying all along. Atheism is a religion. In my opinion, it is the religion that requires the most faith of all.

Cartoon:

1104Cartoon

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Oct 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 180, and this is my only article.  Street noise last night was far worse than normal, as street sweepers took advantage of the rain and the neighborhood became an ambulance zone.  I finally slept for around four hours, cutting into my research and writing time, and I need to sleep more.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.

In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.

“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

Additionally, he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”

Andy has explained why Republicans want to substitute a travel ban dealing with the problem.

From Daily Kos: The Arkansas Supreme Court confirmed the decision of an appeals court Wednesday and overturned the state’s strict voter ID law on a 7-0 vote. Since the grounds for reversal related solely to a violation of the Arkansas Constitution, chances are the decision will not be subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s one more state that will be harder for Republicans to steal.

From Upworthy: \They Were Shooting A Beautiful Video From Space. Then They Sped It Up. Just WOW.

 

I’ll second that. WOW!

Cartoon:

1018Cartoon

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Oct 022014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 164.  I spent most of the day collecting and formatting data for the Monthly Report.  I also spent some time at Care2 deleting a bunch of “friends” that do not seem to be there anymore.  It has gotten so bad that I have to delete over two hundred notices a day in my email that my eCard (used to forwards links) from a couple days earlier had not been picked up.  If you’re reading this, and I deleted you by accident, appease add me again.  Store to Door will be delivering groceries this afternoon.  I have an extra large order to put away, because I had no delivery last week.  I was doing prison-volunteer work.  Tomorrow is my physical with fasting blood work with my primary care physician.  I will be leaving early in the morning.  God only knows when the Lift bus will get me back.  So in all probability, I will have only a Personal Update for Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 5:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Wendell Pierce, who played one of my favorite cops on HBO’s "The Wire," decided to share this personal story of the day he was dressed in a suit, had two toddlers in the backseat of his car, and was heading to a funeral. It was 100 degrees outside, he had the air-conditioner on and a police officer pulled him over. At 0:47, he starts sharing his story. At 2:28, he gets to the heart of the matter.

 

Ludicrous as that story is, it’s actually mild compared to other’s we’ve heard of late. Perhaps out police have been getting their information from Faux Noise. That would explain why they are so afraid.

From the New Yorker: President Barack Obama has decided to move his family into a full-service doorman building in Washington, D.C., saying that “it just makes more sense right now.”

“It really will work better for us,” Obama said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “In addition to the doorman, there’s a guy at the front desk, and, if anyone comes to see you, the desk guy will call up to your apartment first to make sure it’s O.K.”

The senior doorman at the Obamas’ new building, Alex Kornash, seemed unfazed about providing security for the President. “I’ve been a doorman for twenty-three years,” Kornash said. “Someone doesn’t belong here, you tell them to go away. What’s so hard about that?”

Sure, Andy’s being funny, but in light of recent events, it might actually be a pretty good idea!

From Daily Kos: Within minutes of the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision to leave Democrat Chad Taylor off the Kansas ballot for U.S. Senate (dealing a blow to Kris Kobach–worst secretary of state in the nation) a Kansas City-area Democrat named David Orel filed a challenge trying to force Democrats to name a new candidate. David Orel also happens to be the father of a Alexander Orel, regional director for ultra-conservative Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign.

Kris Kobach once again tried to intervene by joining the lawsuit, but the district court ruled against him and refused to let him join the suit.

Kris Kobach’s week was about to get worse. Yesterday, David Orel was set to have his day in court, but his case took a serious hit after he failed to appear before the Shawnee County District Court:

Poor Kobitch! Could it be that this so-called Democrat, who I have no doubt just registers that way, misses the court date, because someone forgot to remove his fur lined handcuffs, after rewarding him for his intended perjury with Gov. Brownback’s toy collection.

Cartoon:

1002Cartoon

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Sep 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 160.  After sleeping from 2 PM until 7 AM with three short breaks for food, posting and equestrian events, I’m feeling almost feline again.  Tomorrow is a Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, but my Broncos will not have a service.  In solidarity with the LFBT community, they are observing their bi week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

My Prison Volunteer Trip:

All things considered, it was a highly productive trip.  I took the bus down to Salem on Wednesday.  We had a Board Meeting, and inducted two new members to our Board.  On Thursday I made two trips to the prison.  In the first we had an Executive Body meeting.  That consists of the Officers if the club (the inside group) and the foundation (the outside group, of which I am the Treasurer).  We discussed plans for meetings for my guys in 2015, including a Community Impact Meeting between my guys and a group of university students in criminology and sociology, an Essay Presentation meeting featuring writers from inside and outside, a Victim Impact meeting between my guys and crime victim, two months of banquet where my guys’ families come in, several charity events that my guys are organizing to help others, and more.  We also discussed improving the communications between my guys and their outside supporters, which had fallen off, because our former President had some personal issues, and needed to be replaced, and because my guys have not been feeding me the information I need to maintain a website.  The second meeting was a general meeting with about seventy of my guys.  DOC informed us that they have a new staff advisor.  She seem personable.  I particularly enjoyed introducing her to the newest member of our Board.  She knew who he was, but had never met him.  Until a few months ago he used to be her boss’ boss’ boss.  He was in charge of Inmate Activities for all of DOC, not just the one prison where we volunteer.  The meeting was primarily housekeeping, informing my guys of the plans we made, and planning a charity event, but we did hear a presentation from a college teacher seeking help to continue a limited opportunity for higher education inside.  I also learned that a good friend of mine was just elected President of the Lakota Club, the prison’s Native American group.

Now a couple commented about how non-intimidating the prison entrance seems.  As prisons go, these folks do a better job than most in that respect, but so you don’t get the wrong impression, here are a couple more pics.  The first is the same entrance from a different angle.

0928OSPWall

The second is a view od the wall from inside.

0928OSPWire

Is that more prison-like?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In a Thursday appearance on the Fox News Channel, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said that it was “no fair” that President Obama gets to bomb Syria.

“I’m envious as hell,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That was on my bucket list.”

Asked if he had any advice for the President on bombing Syria, Cheney said, “Just enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Andy has captured ChickenHawk Cheney, aka Five Deferment Dick, perfectly!

From Upworthy: Actor, advocate, and creative dreamboat Joseph Gordon-Levitt ponders aloud how his views on gender equality went viral not once, but twice. He has some interesting thoughts to share. Take a look — at 3:45, he asks something of all of us, especially if you have a webcam on your computer!

 

I consider myself a feminist and have been since the 1960’s for the reasons he mentioned. To my surprise, the movement had a lot of financial support from high end corporations back then. In my youthful naiveté, I thought they were practicing good community relations. In fact, they had figured out that, once women were established as workers, they could stop paying men a living wage. So now it takes two workers to support most families. Some blame the women’s movement for this, but that is absurd. Republicans want you to blame the victims of corporate greed, not the perpetrators.

From NY Times: With a competitive election for governor of Wisconsin less than six weeks away, a federal appeals court on Friday narrowly decided against hearing arguments on a recently instituted photo identification requirement for the state’s voters.

In an order that evenly split the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit here, the judges turned down pleas for a hearing by the full court from people who argue that the requirement has created confusion and chaos. The decision came about a month before in-person early voting begins and after some in Wisconsin may have mailed in absentee ballots.

The matter could ultimately wind up before the United States Supreme Court, and the Wisconsin case is seen as noteworthy among the numerous legal fights playing out around the country over voting regulations. Many of the regulations have been introduced in the last four years in states with Republican-dominated governments, like Wisconsin.

Voting officials and clerks in Wisconsin have been racing to prepare voters and poll-watchers for the identification requirement since a three-member panel of the Seventh Circuit court decided on Sept. 12 that the law, delayed for more than two years, could take effect immediately.

This is s tragic loss for the oppressed people of Fitzwalkerstan, living under the criminal tyranny of Fartfuhrer Walker.

Cartoon:

0928Cartoon

I originally published this cartoon on this date in 2011. Sadly little has changed.

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Sep 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 147.  It’s been a long, busy day.  The friend that I pay to help me with the heavy cleaning  contacted me last night and asked if she could come a day early.  She actually showed up on time, something she has never done before, and that caught me by surprise.  I missed my morning sleep.  I had a brief cat nap after watching the Broncos, but I’m still very tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:30 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

09014-Broncos24-Chiefs17

What a magnificent Orb it is!

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: President Obama has had two sleepless nights since learning that Rush Limbaugh praised his speech about Iraq and Syria this week, a White House source confirmed on Saturday.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the President has been unable to sleep since Limbaugh complimented him on the air and has been seen pacing back and forth in the Oval Office in a way that aides described as “worrisome.”

“When he heard that [House Speaker John] Boehner and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell liked his speech, he seemed to take that in stride,” the source said. “But this Limbaugh thing has pushed him over the edge.”

Dang Andy!! We better keep an eye on him. Approval from Limbarf is ample justification for suicide!

From Daily Kos: This week House Republicans are messing around with yet another bill that would do something to damage Obamacare. This time, they want to allow insurers to keep selling shitty policies that don’t cover all of the stuff that the law requires until 2019. Because what’s another five years of people being underinsured and going into bankruptcy because of it? While they’re dithering around with it, their most serious thinker on healthcare policy has been working on an actual plan that would replace Obamacare, in the event that Republicans could actually get their act together and achieve consensus on a plan.

But what Avik Roy, a writer at Forbes and the conservative Manhattan Institute and Mitt Romney’s healthcare advisor, has come up with looks an awful lot like Obamacare. Except for the part where it forces people off of Medicare and Medicaid and into the private market. And the part where it would no longer be the Affordable Care Act. So says the Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik.

Click through for a more complete description. RepubliCare is a plan to die for.

From NY Times: Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy.

For the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents. The Democrats’ advantage has only grown since late last year when they stripped Republicans of their ability to filibuster the president’s nominees.

Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals. When Mr. Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat.

That’s great news. Now if only the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD, would take a junket tour of Liberia!

Cartoon:

0915Cartoon

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Sep 102014
 

The Affordable care Act, aka ObamaCare, has done some really wonderful things for many Americans  I ran across a story, that needs retelling, about how such care is literally saving a woman’s life.  Sadly that story also has a flip side.  It’s about how Republicans are trying to kill her, by taking away her care.

0910JennWhen I speak to Jennifer Causor for the first time, she rings with enthusiasm as she describes her new exercise program. It’s a “boot camp” themed program, “which is something I never thought I’d be able to do,” Jenn tells me over the phone. “It is so hard, but it is so awesome!” she proclaims, before describing a time when she was so tired from a kettlebell workout that she actually started crying.

Jenn’s ability to lift kettlebells, or, for that matter, to drive a car or to walk to her own mailbox, is nothing short of miraculous compared to the life she faced just a little more than a year ago. For her entire life, Jenn has lived with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that caused her lungs to fill with fluid and that still interferes with her digestive system. She takes medicine every time she eats to help her process food.

When Jenn first started exhibiting symptoms, they meant nothing more than “having a cough” and having “to take pills when I eat.” When she was in her 20s, however, the symptoms grew quite severe. She was constantly filling her body with expensive intravenous drugs. “I had to breathe lots of medicine through a nebulizer,” a process that “took hours a day.” Living with cystic fibrosis, Jenn says, was like having two jobs. “It was like, I worked full time. I worked 40 hours . . . but then, again, having CF was like a full-time job within itself.” In 2012, her health took an even worse turn when one of her lungs collapsed and she was hospitalized for a week. Not long after she was released, both of her lungs collapsed and her doctors struggled for two months to keep them inflated. She lived in the hospital that entire time.

In a five month span, however, two things changed that offered Jenn a new chance at life. The first was a double lung transplant. On August 29, 2013, Jenn received two new lungs that were free of cystic fibrosis. Not long thereafter, she drew her first breath as an adult from lungs that were not constantly filling up with choking mucus. Although Jenn will be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life, she can now speak on the phone again. Her husband Eder can touch her face again or kiss her cheek again without triggering a fit of coughing. Jenn is not confined to a hospital anymore. She lifts kettlebells instead.

Five men in Washington could sentence Jenn to the same uncertainty she endured before the Affordable Care Act. They could potentially sentence her to die

The second change came on the first day of 2014 when the most important provisions of the Affordable Care Act took full effect. That meant that, for the first time in her life, Jenn knew that, no matter what happened, she would have health insurance. For Jenn, Obamacare means that insurers must cover her, despite her expensive preexisting condition. And it means that she is not facing a death sentence if she is unable to obtain health insurance through her own job or her husband’s.

Except for the fact that a group of lawyers are trying to take this certainty away from her. Last July, two Republican judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted to defund much of the Affordable Care Act, including provisions which ensure that Jenn’s insurance is affordable. Moreover, although the full DC Circuit recently withdrew this decision and announced that it would rehear the case before a much larger panel of 13 judges, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit have not exactly hidden their desire to get this case before the conservative Roberts Court where four justices already voted once to repeal Obamacare. If the justices ultimately take this case, which is known as Halbig v. Burwell, and if one more of them agrees that Obamacare should be defunded, that could trigger a death spiral that could collapse the law’s health insurance marketplace in much of the country.

Five men in Washington could sentence Jenn to the same uncertainty she endured before the Affordable Care Act. They could potentially sentence her to die…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Click through for the rest of this extensive, in depth article. Republicans have a plan for Jenn. It’s the RepubliCare Death Benefit!

Save Lives! Get Out The Vote!!

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