Sep 122015

It has been a long week for everybody, and the weekend is here. We can't do much more to check on the Puddy Tat until Monday, so I thought a "similar to TC's Open Thread" would keep us busy. I'd also like to thank all of you for your patience, but I would especially like to thank Nameless, JL and JD for all the behind the scenes work They have done and are doing. And lastly, but never lastly, please continue to hold Tom in your thoughts and/or prayers.

BTW, I can't seem to get the hot links to work so unfortunately, you'll have to copy/paste the links into your browser.

Fantasy Football — Don't forget to check your rosters. The games have started! . . . and you can bet that Tom's Teabag Trashers want to take the trophy home again this year.

Candy Fruits my time 3:47 average 5:17
Yacht Ropes my time 3:35 average 5:07
Key Blanks my time 3:51 average 6:31
How did you do?

Short Takes

Raw Story — An Oklahoma County judge on Friday gave the state a month to remove a 6-foot-tall (1.80-meter) granite monument containing the Ten Commandments from Capitol grounds after the state’s top court said it had been erected illegally.
District Judge Thomas Prince denied a motion from Attorney General Scott Pruitt to keep in place the monument that had been on Capitol grounds since 2012 and garnered strong support from Oklahoma’s Republican leadership.
In June, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the monument must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion.
The decision prompted Republican lawmakers to say they will look at impeachment for the justices who made the decision and legal briefs from the attorney general’s office to keep the monument in the shadow of the Statehouse.

Republicans like to think it is their way or the highway!

The New Yorker — Republicans, who mercilessly mocked Barack Obama’s lack of government experience before he became President, now favor Presidential candidates with no experience whatsoever, the head of the Republican National Committee has confirmed.
The R.N.C. chief, Reince Priebus, said that he sees “no contradiction at all” between Republicans’ contempt for Obama’s pre-White House résumé, which included eleven years spent in public office, and their rabid enthusiasm for G.O.P. rising stars Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, whose combined years in public office total zero.

Is Andy reporting straight news again? The anachronistic Republican bubble machine is at it again!

NY Times — Visitors to Japan are often surprised by how prosperous it seems. It doesn’t look like a deeply depressed economy. And that’s because it isn’t.
Unemployment is low; overall economic growth has been slow for decades, but that’s largely because it’s an aging country with ever fewer people in their prime working years. Measured relative to the number of working-age adults, Japanese growth over the past quarter century has been almost as fast as America’s, and better than Western Europe’s.
Yet Japan is still caught in an economic trap. Persistent deflation has created a society in which people hoard cash, making it hard for policy to respond when bad things happen, which is why the businesspeople I’ve been talking to here are terrified about the possible spill over from China’s troubles.
Deflation has also created worrisome “debt dynamics”: Japan, unlike, say, the United States after World War II, can’t count on growing incomes to make past borrowing irrelevant.

Another fine article by Paul Krugman.

Now normally, TC would have a cartoon. All I can offer you is "Kim Davis' stunt demolished in one brilliant tweet".

Aug 242015

I spoke with the prison’s head of Volunteer Services this morning and learned that the demand to pull my volunteer card dis not come from them.  It came from Security.  The problem is this.  Because of my COPD, I am more likely to suffer a medical emergency while climbing the stairs to the Activities floor than other people.  Were that to happen, they would have to call an ambulance and lock down the entire prison for my extraction.  Lockdowns are costly.  So there’s no way I could have gotten her to budge, as she was being overruled.  However, I did get one concession from her.  I will be able to enter the prison as a guest, not a volunteer (who can go to any venue), when my group’s events are boing held in the Visiting Room instead of the Activities Floor, as it is on the main level.  It’s still a huge loss.  I’ll be going from 2 to 3 times a month to 3 to 4 times a year and will have little opportunity for working on issues with them in depth.  But at least I got the most I could have gotten.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker:

Short TakesA rally featuring a racist speaker Friday night in Mobile attracted a crowd of just twenty thousand people, widely considered a disappointing turnout for a racist event in Alabama.

According to racist event planners in the state, a crowd of twenty thousand would rank the event as one of the smaller racist rallies in Alabama this year.

Organizers of the rally were quick to defend the size of the turnout. “There is always a lot of competition for the racist audience in Alabama,” an aide to the speaker said. “There were other racists speaking at other venues in the state Friday night. Plus, a lot of racists now prefer to stay at home and stream racist content on the Internet. Given all the options available to racists, I think twenty thousand is a solid number.”

Andy knows that Hairball picked AL for his rally because AL Republicans passed a Latino-hate law even worse than the infamous "papers please" law in AZ.

From Daily Kos (classic 2/2012): It is now the common wisdom of millions of interested parties that ALEC does not work for the vast majority of citizens, that it is a vicious corporate lobby and that it is thee main force behind the deterioration of personal liberties and workers’ rights in the United States.

Arguing against ALEC’s influence over state legislation has become more difficult thanks to efforts such as ALEC Exposed which display how similar bills advancing in GOP-controlled states are and from whence they originate.  Now, Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), a 29 year old former legislative aide and graduate of Moody Bible Institute, has made the task of indicting ALEC for undue influence in state politics that much easier by forgetting to remove ALEC’s mission statement from a bill (PDF) she suddenly "decided” to propose.  This bill calls on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685).

Burgin discovered her error, but not before Common Blog spotted it:

Let us not forget where the bills Republicans introduce and pass, especially at the state level, are written.

From NY Times: …Whatever the precise mix of causes, what’s important now is that policy makers take seriously the possibility, I’d say probability, that excess savings and persistent global weakness is the new normal.

My sense is that there’s a deep-seated unwillingness, even among sophisticated officials, to accept this reality. Partly this is about special interests: Wall Street doesn’t want to hear that an unstable world requires strong financial regulation, and politicians who want to kill the welfare state don’t want to hear that government spending and debt aren’t problems in the current environment.

But there’s also, I believe, a sort of emotional prejudice against the very notion of global glut. Politicians and technocrats alike want to view themselves as serious people making hard choices — choices like cutting popular programs and raising interest rates. They don’t like being told that we’re in a world where seemingly tough-minded policies will actually make things worse. But we are, and they will.

This is the conclusion of an excellent Paul Krugman editorial. Click through to see how he got there.



Jun 082015

I’m rushing to kitty sun bask early, because we’re looking at another 95° day.  Tomorrow will be about 10° cooler, and even that is inordinately hot for Portland at this time of year.  Fortunately I have nothing major on tap.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:44 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:From Daily Kos (classic: 2/2015):

When Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton took office in 2011, Minnesota had more than a $6 billion dollar deficit and an unemployment rate of 7%. Today, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is now below 4% and they have a budget surplus of over $1.2 billion dollars. How did Mark Dayton do this? Did he heed his Republican opponent Tom Emmer’s advice?

Make no mistake, government cannot create the jobs we need to turn our economy around, but private business people can. State government can either help improve the necessary business climate – as I will do if elected governor – or it can hurt job development, as my opponents’ proposals to maintain the status quo would do.

No. No, he didn’t.

During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly — a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He’s also agreed to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law guaranteeing equal pay for women.

For a healthy economy, list Republican plans, and do the opposite.

From Upworthy: In 2016, "the longest floating structure in world history" will be placed in the ocean.

Don’t worry — it’s not another super yacht or party barge or some other contraption that will further pollute the ocean

It’s called The Ocean Cleanup, and it’s a 1.2-mile-long system designed to collect and remove plastic from the ocean.

For two years, it will hang out in the ocean hopefully to begin undoing what we’ve done for decades: polluted the heck out of the water with plastic trash.

It’s basically a stationary array of barriers that uses the ocean’s natural currents to collect the plastic at a central location.


What can I say? Kudos to Ocean cleanup. I’m sure Republicans will fight it.

From NY Times: They arrived wearing whiskers and ears. They purred over new litter fragrances, and pawed through the cat clothes. Hissing? Well, the line was long for that keynote speech: “Photographing Cats — It Looks Easy, but It’s Not.”

Debunking the cat lady myth, it turns out, is easier said than done.

This was the first CatCon, billed as a celebration of the stylish side of cat fancying. More than 10,000 people crowded into a downtown convention hall here over the weekend to shop for cat-centric merchandise (for people, mostly), have their pictures taken with celebrity Internet cats (such as Lil Bub, famous for her dwarfism), and attend cat-focused panels and speeches.

Nip Bag Alert!!


CAT is where it’s AT!!



Jun 062015

Forty-nine years ago today, I graduated from High School.  There are bands and festive floats passing under my window, but I don’t think they are there to celebrate me.  It’s the Grand Floral Parade, the second and last of the Portland Rose Festival.  Unfortunately, it’s blocking my access to prime kitty basking in the sun.  By the time it’s over, it will be too hot.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:42 (average 10:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: Ten Ideas to Save the Economy: Raise the Estate Tax

Inequality slows economic growth. To prevent the rise of a new aristocracy, we need to raise the estate tax.


The Reich on the left is right. America does not want a privileged aristocracy, but those are the ONLY people Republicans, the Reich on the right that is wrong, actually represent. This is the eighth video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn, and share it from there.

From TPM: A panel of federal judges on Friday ruled that Virginia lawmakers must redraw the state’s congressional map because it places too many black voters in one particular district at the expense of their influence in other districts.

“Because plaintiffs have shown that race predominated in Virginia’s 2012 plan and because defendants have failed to establish that this race-based redistricting satisfies strict scrutiny, we find that the 2012 plan is unconstitutional and will require the commonwealth to draw a new congressional district plan,” the judges wrote in the 2-1 decision, as quoted by The Roanoke Times.

…The panel of judges ordered the Virginia House of Delegates to redraw the map by Sept. 1, which The Washington Post points out would force the state’s General Assembly to hold a special summer session. But the state’s Republican congressional delegation is likely to appeal the latest decision, according to the newspaper.

Republican attempts to steal elections never end!

From Think Progress: The Norwegian Parliament voted Friday to remove coal investments from the country’s $890 billion government pension fund, which is considered the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.

Under the new policy, power and mining companies whose activities or revenue are at least 30 percent coal-related will be removed from the portfolio.

Kudos to Norway. May this mark the start of an international landslide.



May 312015

Yesterday was a bad day for resting.  When  I went down to bask in the sunshine, I realized that all my spots were occupied.  The city rents put the sidewalk in front of my building for about $30 a head to watch the Rose Festival Starlight Parade.  The noise below my window magnified as the day progressed, and it did not abate until after 1 AM, when the street sweepers went through.  I’ve taken some shortcuts today, because I’m so tired.  The following video is four years old, but it will give you an idea od what it’s like from a sidewalk renter’s perspective.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes: (All Daily Kos Classics)

From Daily Kos: Pat Robertson advises 80 year old tither to get her butt to work

Barf Bag Alert!!


September, 2014. He personifies Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian greed.

From Daily Kos:

So there’s this thing that measures how happy people are:

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which interviewed more than 176,000 people from all 50 states last year, measures the physical and emotional health of Americans across the country.

So take a gander at the states with the most miserable people:

10. Louisiana
9. Oklahoma
8. Missouri
7. Tennessee
6. Arkansas
5. Ohio
4. Alabama
3. Mississippi
2. Kentucky
1. West Virginia

February, 2014. I’m not surprised. Are you? I see a direct correlation between degree of Republican rule and misery.

From Daily Kos: Which party is best for the economy? It’s not even close

September 2012 Click through for a great collection of graphics. Here’s just one:




May 252015

I’m completely worn out.  Yesterday I finally got around to completing the corporate tax returns and annual reporting paperwork for my prison volunteer organization.  It took the rest of the day.  I’m trying to rest as much as possible today, because tomorrow will be busy packing and doing last minute preparations for my three day prison volunteer trip.  Therefore my Memorial Day article will be a repost of last year’s.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:17 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Remember Douglas Adams’s 1979 novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”? It began with some technology snark, dismissing Earth as a planet whose life-formsas a planet whose life-forms “are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” But that was then, in the early stages of the information technology revolution.

Since then we’ve moved on to much more significant things, so much so that the big technology idea of 2015, so far, is a digital watch. But this one tells you to stand up if you’ve been sitting too long!O.K., I’m snarking, too. But there is a real question here. Everyone knows that we live in an era of incredibly rapid technological change, which is changing everything. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? And I’m not being wildly contrarian here. A growing number of economists, looking at the data on productivity and incomes, are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped — and some technologists share their concern.

Click through for this thought provoking editorial by Paul Krugman.

From Upworthy: Watch David Blight elaborate on the story of what happened those days in Charleston, S.C. in this PBS clip.


I consider this a most fitting commemoration.

From Crooks and Liars: Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on this Sunday’s Reliable Sources and spoke to host Brian Stelter about his recent criticism of the media and their demands for a food fight between Sanders and his opponent in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton.


As is his norm, Bernie is spot on.



Yes, I do know that a chimp is an ape, not a monkey.

May 082015

Here’s the rest of what happened yesterday.  Fortunately the LIFT bus dropped me off over an hour early, because I discovered that my doctor’s office sent me to the hospital Imaging Department, when I was supposed to go to the Professional Plaza Imaging Department down the street.  I called TriMet LIFT and they agreed to change my pickup location.  A walk up a steep hill later, I got to the Professional Plaza who discovered that my doctor’s office screwed up the paperwork for the X-Ray.  They called and found that her back office staff had just left for lunch.  I had to sit al hour waiting for them to return to fax them the right paperwork.  Apparently the order was unsigned.  After they got the paperwork I went into the queue.  The X-Ray only took 10 minutes, which was good, because I made it to the LIFT bus area with only a few minutes to spare.  I got to take the grand tour dropping off other riders, but there was no congestion from Obama’s visit.  I’ll be brief, because I’m worn out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Fight For $15

No one who works full-time should live in poverty. A decent nation ensures that all workers can pay their rent and feed their family.


Please click through to MoveOn to share this from there.

From The New Yorker: In a deepening humanitarian crisis, residents of the city of Austin report that they are completely surrounded by Texas, a situation that locals are calling “dire.”

Austin has traditionally enjoyed freedoms as a semi-autonomous region, hosting film festivals and literary events without the interference of its hostile neighbors, but there are growing fears that those days may be coming to an end.

Alarmingly, citizens of Austin report, extremists within the city limits have taken over the Capitol Building and installed a militant government with dominion over its residents.

In recent days, Austin has made desperate requests for assistance to the U.S. military, which will be conducting exercises in Texas in July.

From Andy we have the clarion call. Save Austin!!

From Reuters: Prime Minister David Cameron won a stunning election victory in Britain, confounding poll predictions that the vote would be the closest in decades to sweep into office for another five years with a clear majority and his Labour opponents in tatters.

My condolences to the people of the UK for demonstrating that the US does not have an exclusive on voter idiocy. Perhaps Pat can fill us in on why this happened.