Sep 102014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 142.  The plan is to write before I leave for prison, crash when I come back, and post these whenever I wake up.  I have not seen my guys in over a month.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:25 (average 5:12).  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:

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Standings:

1Standings

Watch out for the big footed one who took down the winner of last year’s playoffs!  Those who wish to follow our league, may do so here.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Hardly a bastion of liberal thought, A Forbes magazine article says Obama not only outperformed conservative hero Reagan, but also has reduced the national debt.  Here’s the last paragraph of the article: 

Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories.  Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan.  Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel,) and truly delivered a “smaller government.”  Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy.

Forbes has obviously joined a Socialist, Kenyan conspiracy.

From The New Yorker: CNN kicked off its coverage of the latest royal pregnancy on Monday by simulating the journey of Prince William’s sperm to Kate Middleton’s egg.

Holding two plastic models of the Windsors’ reproductive cells, the CNN host Don Lemon offered viewers a dramatic re-creation of the path taken by the royal spermatozoon.

The CNN president Jeff Zucker praised the demonstration, calling it “the perfect way to kick off our twenty-four-hour coverage of this story for the next nine months.”

What Andy isn’t telling you is that, if this was a black couple, The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, would be covering it as porn, because Kate has worn shoes since conception.

From Crooks and Liars: As Karoli already discussed last week, Fox is now moving the goal posts on their BENGHAZI!!!! "scandal" and whether there was a "stand down order" given by Hillary Clinton — and as she already noted in her post, they couldn’t even manage to make it through Bret Baier’s show hyping their upcoming special over the weekend without one of the guests killing their conspiracy theory before it got off the ground.

That didn’t stop Fox’s Greta Van Susteren and her fellow host Sean Hannity from piling on with their latest bit of outrage on the subject. Apparently someone at the White House called Van Susteren and asked her if she could get her cohort Jennifer Griffin to please quit lying about the stand down order.

Now that Fox has moved the goal posts from their original story and the lie they kept repeating that Hillary Clinton gave a stand down order that delayed any rescue attempts at the consulate, they’re claiming that Griffin’s reporting was vindicated.

Never mind that it was the CIA officer in charge of the Benghazi mission security who gave the order because he was trying to get to get the local Libyans to back up their security team. Facts don’t matter much when you’ve got a narrative to sell.

Barf Baq Alert!!

 

There is a spectrum of truth ranging from absolute truth at one end to the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, at the other.

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Aug 102014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 111.  It’s late, and I’ve had a hard time getting untracked today.  I don’t know why.  I just feel a bit lethargic.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

Players, the live draft of our fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends, is Saturday at Noon Eastern, 11 AM Central, 10 AM Mountain, and 9 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time.  You each get to keep up to two players from last year’s team.  If you do, they are your first and second round draft picks.  If you do not, you get the draft picks instead.  It’s a good idea to participate in a couple mock drafts now to get familiar with the procedure.  Pay attention to bye weeks so you don’t have multiple players at the same positions with a week off at the same time.  Enjoy!!

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Julion Evans passed away on July 26, 2014, after a battle with a rare disease called Amyloidosis. He had a large family and an even larger group of friends who wanted to come together to remember his life. His family booked a large church in Tampa, Florida. One day before the service, they were shocked to receive a call from the pastor, telling them the church was canceling after finding out Julion was gay and married to Kendall Caper, his partner of 17 years:

Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian hatred of the LGBT community extends to the grave. Shame!

From PRWatch: The American Legislative Exchange Council, or "ALEC," met in Dallas on July 30 for its annual meeting. ALEC brings together state legislators and corporate lobbyists to vote on "model" legislation behind closed doors, before those bills are introduced in state houses across the country, stripped of their ALEC origins. As the Kansas City Star has noted, what happens at ALEC meetings "provides a preview for the next state sessions" in legislatures around the country.

What was on tap at ALEC this year? New bad bills, dirty energy, a new lobby shop, and the launch of a spin-off group targeting local governments. Here’s a roundup of last week’s ALEC coverage.

Click through to see what Republican legislators will be parroting nationwide. ALEC bills have one thing in common. When they pass, you get screwed.

From Huffington Post: Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about "Obama spending" and "Obama deficits" and how the "stimulus" just made things worse.

Solution: Here are three "reality-based" charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.

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Dang! These are good enough to get you unfriended by Republican relatives!

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Jul 252014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 95, before leaving to do volunteer work in prison.  The plan is to go to bed, when I return tonight, and then do the puzzle and upload the articles whenever I wake up.  I’ll be meeting with around 100 prisoners.

Late (Early) Update:

Meeting was fantastic.  I’m frazzled.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:21 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Britain’s Prince George, who is celebrating his first birthday this week, is facing a rising chorus of criticism within the United Kingdom, with many calling the first year of his reign a major disappointment.

Alistair Strott, a journalist and one of George’s most outspoken critics, calls the Prince’s first year “long on hype and short on solid achievement.”

“Like a lot of us, I followed the royal birth last year with a great deal of excitement and anticipation,” says Strott. “But one year in, we all have to look at each other and say, ‘That’s it?’ ”

While defenders of Prince George cite a packed schedule of events during his first year, Strott is unimpressed. “Yes, he’s been on TV and magazine covers,” he says. “So have the Kardashians.”

I trust Andy realizes that, on this side of the pond, the media have had little trouble assigning blame: it’s Obama’s fault.

From Daily Kos: In a new ad similar in style to her previous ad on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare budget, Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking aim at McConnell’s statement earlier this year that creating jobs isn’t one of his jobs.

 

Bough Bitch Mitch’s job is to squeeze quarters so tight between his butt cheeks, that it kills the eagles.

From NY Times: The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

So let me satisfy this demand with my own “Idiot’s Guide to Inequality.” Here are five points:

First, economic inequality has worsened significantly in the United States and some other countries. The richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Oxfam estimates that the richest 85 people in the world own half of all wealth.

The situation might be tolerable if a rising tide were lifting all boats. But it’s lifting mostly the yachts. In 2010, 93 percent of the additional income created in America went to the top 1 percent.

This is worth the read. Click through for the other four points.

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Jul 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 92.  It’s also a prison volunteer day and I will be facilitating a CoDA meeting for a small group of my guys.  I will;return home late having missed a sleep cycle.  In addition, I’ll be going back on Thursday to meet with around 100 of my guys.  So please don’t expect anything for the rest of the week, except personal updates, and if I can do more. I will.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:06 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Vice President Joe Biden visited Netroots Nation yesterday. The room was full of excitement as he was introduced. The vice president thanked the Netroots Nation community for demanding and coaxing politicians to effect a progressive agenda. He stated the fact that it would not be possible without Netroots.

In the middle of the speech Vice President Biden was heckled. It first started softly and progressively got louder. A group of attendees stood up in the front side of the room and started yelling "stop deporting our families." The vice president did not get frazzled or perturbed.

 

I appreciate both sides of this issue. The Obama administration is bound to enforce the law we have. It has pushed for extensive immigration reform, but their efforts have been sabotaged by the Republican Party.  On the other hand, that matters little, if the ass on the deportation bloc is yours.

From NY Times: For much of the past five years readers of the political and economic news were left in little doubt that budget deficits and rising debt were the most important issue facing America. Serious people constantly issued dire warnings that the United States risked turning into another Greece any day now. President Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged fiscal crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans.

That bargain never happened, because Republicans refused to consider any deal that raised taxes. Nonetheless, debt and deficits have faded from the news. And there’s a good reason for that disappearing act: The whole thing turns out to have been a false alarm.

I’m not sure whether most readers realize just how thoroughly the great fiscal panic has fizzled — and the deficit scolds are, of course, still scolding. They’re even trying to spin the latest long-term projections from the Congressional Budget Office — which are distinctly non-alarming — as somehow a confirmation of their earlier scare tactics. So this seems like a good time to offer an update on the debt disaster that wasn’t.

As usual, Paul Krugman is spot-on. Click through for an excellent analysis ods why to ignore Republican economic InsaniTEA.

From The New Yorker: Historians studying archival photographs from four decades ago have come to the conclusion that the U.S. must have believed in science at some point.

According to the historian Davis Logsdon, who has been sifting through mounds of photographic evidence at the University of Minnesota, the nation apparently once held the view that investing in science and even math could yield accomplishments that would be a source of national pride.

I’m sure Andy must realize that science and truth are for too closely related to be tolerated by Republicans.

Cartoon:

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We still need one for Republicans.

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Jul 082014
 

In a military conflict, the general who determines, when, where, and how a battle will be fought is almost almost victorious.  Debate is similar.  Whoever defines the terms of the debate has the ability to influence the outcome by skewing the rules one way or the other.  But in a nation’s economy policies derived from skewed definitions spell failure.

T0708OPEDnabaum-masterODAY’S polarized debates about the role of government often boil down to a single issue: the size of government compared with the size of the overall economy, as measured in gross domestic product.

This is true on both sides of the debate. One recent proposal featured in The Wall Street Journal argues for a “golden fiscal rule” that the size of government as a percentage of G.D.P. should always be shrinking; liberals frequently cite the higher ratio of government spending to G.D.P. in many European countries.

But such comparisons are not very meaningful: The way we measure government’s role in the economy is limited, inaccurate and unrealistic. If we want to understand how government and the overall economy interact, knowing the size of government tells us little if we are not measuring how government activities contribute to our economy over time.

The problem is that most government goods and services are provided free, so they do not have market prices like, say, mouthwash or financial planning. Standard national accounting — in G.D.P. and related economic indicators — addresses this by assuming that the value of government is exactly equal to what government spends, without any consideration of what government actually produces or of the value of this public output.

In a report released by my organization, Demos, this week, we make the case that, in at least four critical ways, this G.D.P. framework ignores or obscures public value in our economy, leaving us ill equipped to fashion policy to drive national success in the 21st century… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Over they years, Republicans have skewed the rules so far to benefit billionaires for so long, that even Democrats are now using them,  Click through to learn the four ways we need to start measuring the economy to accurately reflect and plan government’s role in it.

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Jul 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 78.  I’m feeling much better, and I hope I have my sleep schedule back on track.  It’s early morning, so news is still slow, but I think I found an excellent theme for the day.  I have a lot of house work to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:44 (average 4:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: …Some background: On the eve of the Great Recession, many conservative pundits and commentators — and quite a few economists — had a worldview that combined faith in free markets with disdain for government. Such people were briefly rocked back on their heels by the revelation that the “bubbleheads” who warned about housing were right, and the further revelation that unregulated financial markets are dangerously unstable. But they quickly rallied, declaring that the financial crisis was somehow the fault of liberals — and that the great danger now facing the economy came not from the crisis but from the efforts of policy makers to limit the damage.

Above all, there were many dire warnings about the evils of “printing money.” For example, in May 2009 an editorial [Faux Print delinked] in The Wall Street Journal warned that both interest rates and inflation were set to surge “now that Congress and the Federal Reserve have flooded the world with dollars.” In 2010 a virtual Who’s Who of conservative economists and pundits sent an open letter [Faux Print delinked] to Ben Bernanke warning that his policies risked “currency debasement and inflation.” Prominent politicians like Representative Paul Ryan joined the chorus.

Reality, however, declined to cooperate. Although the Fed continued on its expansionary course — its balance sheet has grown to more than $4 trillion, up fivefold since the start of the crisis — inflation stayed low. For the most part, the funds the Fed injected into the economy simply piled up either in bank reserves or in cash holdings by individuals — which was exactly what economists on the other side of the divide had predicted would happen.

Needless to say, it’s not the first time a politically appealing economic doctrine has been proved wrong by events. So those who got it wrong went back to the drawing board, right? Hahahahaha.

In fact, hardly any of the people who predicted runaway inflation have acknowledged that they were wrong, and that the error suggests something amiss with their approach. Some have offered lame excuses; some, following in the footsteps of climate-change deniers, have gone down the conspiracy-theory [TEAbuggery delinked] rabbit hole, claiming that we really do have soaring inflation, but the government is lying about the numbers (and by the way, we’re not talking about random bloggers or something; we’re talking about famous Harvard professors). Mainly, though, the currency-debasement crowd just keeps repeating the same lines, ignoring its utter failure in prognostication…

Paul Krugman is spot on! This is a small excerpt from the middle of an extensive article. Click through for a stunning exposé on how Republican choose what they want to believe over what they actually know in economics, just like they do in the physical sciences.

From Alternet: GOP lawmaker calls climate control biggest deception in history of mankind.

Similar to abortion foes, climate denialists are in competition for who can be more hyperbolic about the threat real science poses to mankind. Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney (R) threw her hat in the climate denial ring this week when she released a campaign video accusing liberals, such as former Vice President Al Gore, of advancing "the greatest deception in the history of mankind" (manmade climate change) in a fiendish scheme to empower the executive branch and increase taxes.

Brilliant! Wish we had thought of that.

“A specter is haunting America,” Whitney warns ominously in the video. She goes on to claim, entirely inaccurately, that the planet "has done nothing but get colder each year” since the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.

“Quite inconveniently for Al Gore, and for the rest of the politicians who continue to advance this delusion, any 10-year-old can invalidate their thesis with one of the simplest scientific devices known to man: a thermometer,” Whitney said, citing record sea ice in the Antarctic sector.

Yes, her argument is very much like that of a 10-year-old, who decides that because today is chilly, or it snowed last month, climate change is a hoax, scientists be damned.

As Huffpo points out, “Whitney’s own state is one of the most vulnerable regions in the country to climate change, with rising coastal sea levels estimated to submerge the Louisiana coastline by 2100.”

Speaking of physical sciences, there they go again! This is only the seventh of seven vile Republican statements from last week alone. Click through for the other six.

From Crooks and Liars: …Out of nowhere, Bob Schieffer dropped The Question. "I have to ask, Senators, how do you feel about being part of a Congress that doesn’t do anything?"

Suddenly the sounds of pins dropping could be heard across the nation. John McCain stepped up first, proclaiming his commitment to keep on fighting while respecting his colleagues in the House, but rapidly pivoted to the bogus argument that it’s all Obama’s fault because he ‘changes every law he doesn’t like.’

 

And speaking of conspiracy theories, McConJob and Lindsey Poo have their heads buried so far up that they can see their own tonsils from below.

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Jul 062014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 76, and this my only article.  Last night’s unintended, multi-hour cat nap has my sleep schedule discombobulated, and it’s a very slow day for news, except for 653,087 new analyses of Hobby Lobby. Winking smile

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:03 (average 6:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: 1. Conservatives opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.

By definition a conservative is one who wishes to preserve and/or restore traditional values and institutions, i.e. to “conserve” the established order. No surprise then that 18th century American conservatives wanted no part of breaking away from the British Empire and the comforting bonds of monarchical government. Those anti-revolutionary conservatives were called Tories, the name still used for the conservative party in England. The Founding Fathers? As radically left-wing as they came in the 1770s. The Boston Tea Party? The "Occupy Wall Street" of its day.

Some of the other "traditional" values supported by conservatives over the course of American history have included slavery (remember that the Republican Party was on the liberal fringe in 1860), religious persecution, the subjugation of women and minorities, obstacles to immigration, voter suppression, prohibition and segregation.  Conservatives started off on the wrong side of American history, and that’s where they’ve been ever since.

2. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:

John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)

James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbing fundamentalist trend today would have it be.

These are just two of thirteen facts about America that Republicans want you for forget. Click through for the other eleven, please.

From Crooks and Liars: Another one for your Saturday C-SPAN hit parade. This call was taken on July 4th during a discussion of American exceptionalism. The topic itself invites trolls, and they obliged.

 

He proved my eleventh commandment: Thou shalt NOT commit TEAbuggery!

From McClatchy DC: Five years after the recession, the job market is finally hitting stride as small businesses add workers and local governments restore battered payrolls.

U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in June across a broad spectrum of businesses, the Labor Department said Thursday. The growth flew past analysts’ forecasts and marked the fifth consecutive month of payroll gains in excess of 200,000 – a hiring spree not seen since the 1990s tech boom.

The unemployment rate, which has fallen surprisingly fast lately, dropped to 6.1 percent in June from 6.3 percent in May. Both the jobless rate and the number of officially unemployed, totaling 9.5 million last month, are the lowest in nearly six years. As recently as November, the nation’s unemployment figure was 7 percent.

The big problem here is that many of these are low paying service jobs that will not stimulate the economy as much as the family wage jobs that Republicans used your tax dollars to offshore.  It is still considerable improvement from the Republican recession, but no where near what it could be, if Republicans were not seditiously sabotaging America to prevent recovery falsely blame Democrats.

Cartoon:

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