Dec 072014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 32.  It’s official.  My annual winter flu has hit.  My COPD is severe, and I’m running a fever.  The cartoon describes how I feel, so this is the only article.  Yesterday Providence Home Services stood me up.  Apparently they forgot to put my order on the delivery truck  They finally delivered it this afternoon, after three fights with their Customer Disservice department.  When they told me they didn’t know why it hadn’t occurred to them to call me, when they discovered my order, I suggested that they have all the competence of the US Congress.  This is the only article.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are worshiping with the Bills, but it won’t be televised locally.  Our local CBS affiliate thinks we’d rather have paid programming, because the damn Seachickens are on the other network at the same time.  ARGH! :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:57 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Subsequent to a previous report from Lawrence O’Donnell, the Missouri Attorney General has confirmed with "Last Word" that instructions given the Michael Brown grand jury describing the police "use of force" laws was incorrect and misleading.

Video from Program

 

If you believe it was not intentional, contact me about buying my alpine ski resort in Florida.

From YouTube: Weekly Address: Ensuring Americans Feel the Gains of a Growing Economy

 

Where was this speech BEFORE the election?

From Think Progress: As voters across Louisiana head to the polls today to cast their runoff ballots for senator and a handful of local races, voting rights organizers across the state and country are drawing attention to policies and practices that make it more difficult for Louisianians to vote.

Volunteers from the Election Protection Network, who will be on the ground Saturday to monitor voting issues during the runoff, report concerns stemming from the state’s long history of voter suppression and problems that have surfaced in recent years.

Recently, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other national voting rights groups took Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to court over a statewide practice that prevented many low-income, minority Louisianians from registering to vote. Just last month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled partially in their favor, finding that Louisiana violated the National Voter Registration Act by failing to provide voter registration services at the state’s public service agencies — such as the departments where residents can sign up for Medicaid and food stamps. Attorney Natasha Korgaonkar with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who worked on the case, told ThinkProgress that the lawsuit targeted two state agencies and the Secretary of State who were all knowingly preventing public service recipients from easily registering to vote.

I’m sure we’ll learn of Republican criminal “irregularities”, but think Landrieu might have won, had she not shot herself in the foot, which was in her mouth, when her head was up her own butt.  Late update.  She got her ass kicked.

Cartoon:

1207CartoonTCBury

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Oct 112014
 

Everywhere you turn you hear bad news about the economy.  According to conventional wisdom, we are spending like there is no tomorrow and running up record budget deficits.  In the process, we arwe destroying the economy.  Is this true?  What’s really going on?  Shhhh!  It’s a secret!

1011Deficit

What if they balanced the budget and nobody knew or cared?

O.K., the federal budget hasn’t actually been balanced. But the Congressional Budget Office has tallied up the totals for fiscal 2014, which ran through the end of September, and reports that the deficit plunge of the past several years continues. You still hear politicians ranting about “trillion dollar deficits,” but last year’s deficit was less than half-a-trillion dollars — or, a more meaningful number, just 2.8 percent of G.D.P. — and it’s still falling.

So where are the ticker-tape parades? For that matter, where are the front-page news reports? After all, talk about the evils of deficits and the grave fiscal danger facing America dominated Washington for years. Shouldn’t we be making a big deal of the fact that the alleged crisis is over?

Well, we aren’t, and once you understand why, you also understand what fiscal hysteria was really about.

First, ordinary Americans aren’t celebrating the deficit’s decline because they don’t know about it… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Click thr4ough to read how Paul Krugman continues to explain how the media focuses on bad news and ignores good news.  Of course that’s true. If it bleeds, it leads.  However, another dynamic is at work here., as Rachel Maddox explains.

Naturally!  The media is parroting Republican lies!  But part of the fault lies with Democrats.  Those of you who also worship the Holy Ellipsoid Orb are familiar with the Iggy Shuffle and other End Zone Celebrations.  Here’s what I mean.

Democrats need Bodacious Barack, Hot Stuff Harry, and Fancy Nancy to get together, spike the ball, and do a good old fashioned end zone dance.  Republicans have us outclassed at this.  They blow their own horn to claim that their most egregious failures are spectacular successes, while we actually have successes and keep quite.

It’s been a secret too long.

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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:

1Scores

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.

Cartoon:

0910Cartoon

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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.

0810Chart1

0810Chart2

0810Chart3

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

Cartoon:

0810Cartoon

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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.

Cartoon:

0725Cartoon

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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:

0723Cartoon

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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