Oct 152017
 

Wendy is due in about 25 minutes to de-stink the TomCat and help with housework, so I’ll write until she arrives and finish after she leaves.  Today id a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are worshiping with the Giants in the night game, so I’ll eat supper early and be in full meditation mode afterwards.  May the holy Orb shine its blessed light on your team, unless they claim to be oversized.  Tomorrow I have an appointment to pick up and adjust my glasses.  It won’t take long, but by the time we factor in the lift bus, I’ll be gone for around four hours.  I’ll publish, if I can, but I may have only a Personal Update.

Wendy just left.  She thanks you all for your kindness, and JD for the earrings that she will wear watching football this afternoon.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:09 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (SNL Channel): Donald Trump Trucker Rally Cold Open

 

Alec led his Pence around by the nose just like the Fuhrer does his Pence. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Late Professor William T. Kelley taught Marketing at Wharton School of Business and Finance, University of Pennsylvania, for 31 years, ending with his retirement in 1982.  Dr. Kelley, who also had vast experience as a business consultant, was the author of a then-widely used textbook called Marketing Intelligence — The Management of Marketing Information (originally published by P. Staples, London, 1968).  Dr. Kelley taught marketing management to both undergraduate and graduate students at Wharton. www.upenn.edu/…  Dr. Bill was one of my closest friends for 47 years when we lost him at 94 about six years ago.  Bill would have been 100 this year. 

Donald J. Trump was an undergraduate student at Wharton for the latter two of his college years, having been graduated in 1968. www.thedp.com/…  

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this — “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  Dr. Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure.  Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

Isn’t it a shame that the state of Ivy League education was such that Kelly and his fellow profs passed Trump anyway, instead of flunking the dumb SOB? And why didn’t the Electoral College flunk him out?!!? RESIST!!

From NY Times: In a desolate corner of northeastern Australia, about 100 miles from the nearest town, a grassy stretch of prime grazing land sits above a vein of coal so rich and deep that it could be mined for decades.

The Australian government is considering a proposal to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in this remote locale, known as the Galilee Basin, where acacia and eucalyptus trees grow wild between scattered creeks.

An Indian conglomerate, the Adani Group, has asked for a taxpayer-financed loan of as much as $800 million to make the enormous project viable, promising to create thousands of jobs in return.

But the plan has met intense opposition in Australia and abroad, focusing attention on a question with global resonance: Given the threat of climate change and the slowing global demand for coal, does the world really need another giant mine, especially at the public’s expense?

I hope that the Land of Oz will prefer green energy. Aussies, would it be feasible to invest that $800 million in a giant solar farm or wind farm? RESIST!!

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2017 Russian Missiles Discovered in Washington DC.

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Sep 012017
 

Another month, another heat wave, and I was right.  They have already extended the excessive heat warning at least through Tuesday.  Because of my schedule, the Monthly Report for July will probably not be available until the third or fourth.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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This was the last and least significant of the preseason games as the starters and most of the second strings did not play.  It was still pleasing to win and great to have an undefeated preseason.  May the Holy Ellipsoid Orb grant that my Broncos maintain that status.

Fantasy Football Reminder:

The live online draft for our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends, is tomorrow on Saturday, September 2, at 10 AM PDT (11 AM MDT, 12 Noon CDT, 1 PM EDT).  I strongly recommend that players log into the league and participate in a mock draft between now and then.  If you cannot attend, the league will draft for you.  See you tomorrow!

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Could Trump Try to Pardon… Everyone? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

I think the only thing that will prevent mass pardons by the Fuhrer is that the recipients would lose their right to plead the Fifth and could be forced to testify against the Fuhrer. That’s the LAST things he wants!  RESIST!!

From The Last Word: Potential bombshell in Manafort notes on Trump Jr. meeting

NBC News reports Paul Manafort took notes in the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, and the notes include mention of political contributions next to "RNC." Now Robert Mueller has those notes. Ken Dilanian, Betsy Woodruff, & Mieke Eoyang join Lawrence O’Donnell.

 

Why should US $Billionaires pay for Republican Party activities, when Russians will do it for them. I never thought I’d say this, but "Woooo Hoooo IRS!!" RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: In today’s fresh hell news, Politico is reporting that Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education has hired former DeVry University dean Julian Schmoke to head the Student Aid Enforcement Office:…

…And now, thanks to Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump, the agency will be led by Julian Schmoke Jr., a former DeVry University dean—the same DeVry University that was forced to pay a massive $100 million settlement for deceptive practices in December 2016…

…So, Donald Trump—who paid a $25 million Trump University fraud settlement in December—will be appointing the former dean of a for-profit college that paid a $100 million fraud settlement in December, to oversee the agency responsible for policing fraud and protecting students and taxpayers.

This should not be considered unusual. It’s only natural for Republicans to appoint a fraudster to assist private colleges to defraud students and taxpayers.  This has been normal for Republicans for years. RESIST!!

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Everyday Erinyes #89

 Posted by at 5:17 am  Politics
Aug 262017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

On Wednesday, a vigil to honor of the life of a transgender woman of color who died there was held on the streets of The Grove in St. Louis.  About 100 people attended the candlelight event, and several staged a protest march down one street.  During the vigil, a car drove through those marching.  Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported.  The driver was as of Friday in custody, charged with felony fleeing (I believe that’s the technical term there for “hit and run.”)

The deceased was Kenny “Kiwi” Herring, 30, who leaves behind a wife and son.  The cause of death was a police officer’s bullet.  There is (hardly surprisingly) disagreement between the official police account and the stories of Herring’s neighbors.

I don’t know anything about Unicorn Booty’s reliability; its address line merely indicates that it is a news source (all kinds of news) which addresses the LGBT community.  However, the account is straightforward, free from loaded vocabulary, and appears to represent each party (victim, neighbors, police) fairly.  The author links to the Twitter account of David Carson, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where there is a discussion about the justifiability of running a car through a crowd of people.

I’m not sure what world a person lives tham who thinks that their personal annoyance (or avoiding it) is of more value than the lives of people in the street.  The answer to the question, “Is (whatever it is that you are saying is wrong) a capital crime?” for many people appears to be “Yes.”  Perhaps these are the same people who think White Christians are the most discriminated against group in the country.  It has proven to be pretty well impossible for humans to get through to these people on a level of logic and reason.  Megaera, maybe you have a chance.

 

In a way, it’s almost a relief to turn to a story where the actors are motivated by money.  I can kind of understand that.  We all need it to provide shelter, food, and other necessities of life.  And many of us want a little more because we want to be able to have nice things.  But – OK, forget I said all of that.  Because I can’t understand wanting so much of it so badly that you need to make other people to suffer to get it.

We all know about the Governor of Florida, Rick Voldemort Scott, pushing for drug testing of anyone who is desperate enough to want benefits in Florida, and pushing it long after it had been proved to be horribly expensive for the State, saving something on the order of $1 in benefit payments for every $1000 spent (that’s from very skimpy memory, so I’m sure the figures won’t check.  But it was on that order of magnitude.)  Pushing drug testing – while his wife was the owner of all the drug testing facilities used by the state.  This story from Iowa is similar.

Judge Linda R. Reade was the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa in 2008.  Appointed by George W. Bush in 2003, she was married to Michael Figenshaw, who owned stock in both the Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic) and Wackenhut Correctional Corporation (now GEO Group), the USA’s two largest prison companies) as part of his retirement account.  Between Reaade’s appontment in 2003 and 2011, when Figenshaw sold these stocks, CA’s stock price rose 434%, and GEO’s rose 642%.

In 2008, in Postville, Iowa, the then-largest workplace immigration raid ever was sprung on the Agriprocessors plant there, which was, at the time, the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the country.  Nearly 400 workers were arrested, of whom about 270 were sentenced to five months in federal prison.  That was not usual in 2008.  It was then customary to charge workers with civil violations and then deport them.  So many people were charged that several federal judges, of whom the most senior was Reade, took nine business days to handle their cases.  This was not done in courtrooms, but at the National Cattle Congress, a fairground in Waterloo.  Five days BEFORE this raid, Figenshaw bought a lot more CCA and GEO stock – somewhere between $30K and $100K.

Not every federal prison is run by CCA or GEO – but a lot of them are.  And in my opinion it’s not important to determine which defendants from this circus were specifically sent to CCA/GEO prisons.  If they weren’t, they made it possible for others to be.

Judge Reade received a lot of flak for the circus-like atmosphere in which the proceedings were conducted, and for the fact that she had met repeatedly with ICE before the raid.  Those meetings were put forward as a reason she should have recused herself.  There were a couple of other resons put forward why she should recuse, yet she persisted (it isn’t always a good thing.)  Had the stock ownership been publicly known, I’m thinking her failure to recuse might have led to her learning even more about those prisons – from the inside.

Today, dozens of people who were sentenced by Reade while her husband owned prison stock remain behind bars….  In January, Reade was honored for her decade of service as the top federal judge in Iowa’s Northern District at a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids. She remains on the bench and has a lifetime tenure.

Tisiphone, do you think this is right?

 

Meanwhile, Alabama is proving that ignorance and difficulty understanding how government works are not confined to racists.  Also, I suppose, that no matter how badly the group you are in has been treated, you can always find another group to misunderstand.

I probably hardly need to point out that none of this story would have happened had our entire country not gone nuts about public education and decided that the only way to assess how the schools are doing is through standardized test scores.

This leads to the spectacle of a State Board of Education member saying at a school board meeting,

“Is it against the law for us to establish perhaps an academy on special education or something on that order,” asked Bell, “so that our scores that already are not that good would not be further cut down by special-ed’s test scores involved?”

This led to a vicious Op-Ed at AL dot com, including

Bell doesn’t seem to have a clue about Alabama’s public education system for special needs students, but she is pretty concerned that those students “bring down” the rest.

Alabama has a process for building out IEPs consistent with LRE requirements. The underlying idea is that our students are better off in the classroom together. The idea that a SBOE member would even seriously ask the question about returning to a practice of institutionalization demonstrates a tragic lack of knowledge and thoughtfulness.

Now, I do think that the author of the Op-Ed may well be overreacting – both because I for one don’t even see “academy” and “institution” in the same ball park – and also because the Op-Ed author doesn’t seem to me to have established his own bona fides of thoughtfulness (he seems to think that Sessions hung the moon, for one thing.)  And I don’t think it’s entirely Ms. Bell’s actual qualifications he has in mind, either.

No, I think the true villain of this piece is our national obsession with standardized testing – which has repeatedly been demonstrated to interfere with learning far more than it assists.  And I don’t mean the testing interferes so much  – it’s the obsession that gets in the way.

Weren’t we already fighting this battle when I was in junior high and high school?  I don’t suppose it will ever be permanently settled, but maybe you, Alecto,  can help calm things down a little.

 

I do have one piece of good news I want to share.  In Colombia, the indigenous U’wa people, whose ancestral territory includes over a million and a half mountainous acreage in tundra and cloud forests, have long been displaced to a single reservation about a third of that size.  They have been working, through legal means and community action, to reclaim some of that.

Last month, ten families packed up and returned to a location from which they had been removed in favor of salt mining.  If all goes well, over the next six months, fifty more families will join them, and hopefully, they all can be incorporated into a new reservation.

This is important for us as well as for them, since their presence is the best insurance we have against further climate-destroying development.  If you ladies have time to put on your Eumenides hats and drop by, maybe with supplies, it would be greatly appreciated.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

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Aug 022017
 

I’m having a busy day in spite of the oppressive heat, but they did lower today’s forecast to 107°.  That will still beat the old record high by 14°.  I cleaned out the fridge and organized the freezer.  Store to Door has delivered groceries, and I put them away.  I changed the poll.  I prepared the graphics and collected most of the data for July’s Monthly Report.  Wendy will be coming this evening.  I expect her to wear a swimsuit, so she can cool off too.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:33 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Why is Trump Reminding Us of the Pee Pee Tape? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

I think Putin’s Piddle Pervert keeps bringing up the pee tape, because he’s suffering from withdrawal. Putin won’t provide hookers for Trump, because the investigation is interfering with Putin’s quo. RESIST!!

From YouTube (RWW Channel): Jim Bakker: Buy My Food Buckets Because We’re Heading For ‘A Hellish 42 Months On Planet Earth’

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Bakker illustrates the difference between taxpayers and pseudo-Christians. Republicans tax taxpayers to rip us off. Pseudo-Christians are so stupid that they hand it over despite Bakker’s long history of criminal con games. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities.

The professionals in the Educational Opportunities section would not carry out Trump’s and KKK Beauregard’s racist Republican scam! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Can you blame Abe for portending he has never heard of them?

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Jul 042017
 

The heat wave is back with highs forecast of 86° today, 93° tomorrow, and 91° Thursday.  A pipe broke in the only handicapped bathroom that is safe and easy for me to transfer, when I’m not wearing George.  It’s now out of order.  I hope they fix it before the weekend.  It’s a  major pain.  I want to try to get some sleep this afternoon, as fireworks will keep me up tonight.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 6:14 (average 6:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Alternet: Don’t Call It the Trump Administration—This Is a Regime

Trump has no desire or intention to govern. He wants to rule and make his word our command.

I disagree. The Trump Administration is not a regime. It’s a Reich. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: In Arizona—where Confederate monuments continue to be on public display despite pleas from residents to have them removed—a trial over whether state Republicans intentionally discriminated against Latino students by ending a Mexican-American studies program in public schools started last week. Commemorating history is fine so long as it’s white history, apparently:

The Arizona trial strikes at the issue of how to teach students about race and social injustice in public schools that often exemplify the country’s inequality. After Arizona conservatives moved to eliminate the classes, Hispanic educators and activists have come to Tucson to champion the battle over ethnic studies as one of the country’s most pressing and under-the-radar civil rights issues.

“This was an innovative program, your honor,” Jim Quinn, a lawyer representing Tucson students, told Judge Tashmina. “It was snuffed out for all the wrong reasons.”

The program’s proponents have argued that the course was instrumental in boosting both grades and self-worth of Latino students, with research showing “the program’s students graduated at higher rates and performed better on state tests.” But Republican state legislators, seeking a safe space from brown people, were having none of that, in 2010 “passing a law prohibiting classes that encouraged the overthrow of the U.S. government; encouraged racial resentment; treated students as members of a group rather than individuals; or were aimed at a specific ethnicity.”

I can understand why Alaska does not offer Mexican-American studies, but around 30% of Arizona’s population is Latino. Banning it there is just an act of Republican Racism. RESIST!!

From Politico: The American War of Independence was fought from April 19, 1775 (Lexington and Concord) to September 3, 1783 (the Peace of Paris), and although Massachusetts and some other states observe the first of those dates as Patriots’ Day, neither has become a national holiday. It’s July 4, of course, that reigns as our undisputed Independence Day—the occasion for picnics and parades, festivities and fireworks, and star-spangled, red-white-and-blue kitsch. That was when the representatives at the Second Continental Congress, the 13 colonies’ newly formed governing body, signed the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s founding document, which is still often read aloud, 241 years later, at July 4 celebrations across the land.

Since 1776, the Declaration of Independence has assumed a near-biblical status in America’s national mythology—its opening paragraphs memorized by schoolchildren, its formulation of liberal principles of equality and self-government venerated by citizens of all political stripes. It still provides a trump card for its chief author, Thomas Jefferson, who in recent years has been increasingly scorned for the libertarian elements of his thought and for his slaveholding.

But in truth the Declaration wasn’t quite the singular achievement we remember it to be. As it turns out, nearly 100 other “declarations of independence” had already been issued in the months leading up to July 4th, 1776, by states, towns, counties, and assorted other bodies. The Declaration of Independence endorsed at the Continental Congress that July wasn’t a bolt out of the blue: It was more like a final draft in a loose, many-centered, wide-ranging process, authored not by one man but by a chorus of voices in a fledgling nation whose people had caught independence fever and were suddenly proclaiming it with contagious enthusiasm.

I didn’t know that. I declare independence from Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Jun 172017
 

While not completely painless, yesterday’s repairs were successful.  The culprit was CKEditor, which has always given me compatibility issues that I could work around, until now.  In some ways, I prefer ARK, which is an improved front end for either CKEditor or TinyMCE, and I configured it for the latter.  It gives all commenters features that only administrators used to have.  However, we did lose the ability to change fonts and sizes.  I’ll look for a fix when time permits.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise, who has made a career of “protecting” “traditional” marriage in the House, and the rest of his gay bashing caucus, can thank their lucky stars for the brave actions of same sex married Law Enforcement Officer Crystal Griner and Patrolman David Bailey, two AA Capitol Police Officers who took on the deranged gunman yesterday.

And, in fairness, they did.

But also in fairness, Scalise has been a leading opponent on the Hill of marriage rights for gay couples as a look at his record shows.

Scalise-

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013)
  • Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)

Will Scalise now “evolve” on this issue now that he owes Crystal, and her wife, his life?

In a word… No, Nevertheless, I wish him a complete recovery, followed by a 2018 election loss RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.

According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

What else would we expect from DeVos, Trump, and the Republican Party? RESIST!!

From Oregon Live: Rainbow flags, drag queens, family ties: A visual history of Portland’s Pride Parade

Click through for some great pics. Here in Portland the annual Pride Parade is tomorrow, and it will pass first four blocks west and then three blocks north of my place. Kudos to the marchers. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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She was last seen trying to swim back to France.

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