Mar 132014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling tired, because it’s been a busy day.  My stovetop percolator arrived, and I must say, even though it’s not yet “broken in”, brewed coffee is far better than dripped.  I’ll need to get more tubing, though, because running an IV from the stovetop is further than from the countertop.  Store to Door delivered groceries, so I had to clean first.  It’s a beautiful 62° day, so I took an hour to go out and cat-bask in the sunshine.  I should probably go lazy, but the tomorrow’s lead article just needs doing too much.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: FL-13: After an intensely hard-fought special election where total spending likely topped $13 million, Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink by a margin of 48.4 percent to 46.6 percent in Florida’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday night, holding the seat for the GOP. Libertarian Lucas Overby ended up with 4.8 percent of the vote. Even though Barack Obama narrowly carried the district in 2012 by about 1.5 points, it appears Sink couldn’t overcome the troubling tendency for key chunks of the Democratic electorate to stay home during non-presidential elections.

Republicans will crow that unhappiness with Obamacare, which was the focus of much of their advertising, led to Sink’s undoing, and it’s possible those attacks provided Jolly’s winning margin—but of course, with such a tight outcome, anything could have been responsible, such as Sink’s personal flaws as a candidate. And importantly, the November electorate will likely be less Republican, on a relative basis, than you’d find in a March special election, so Democrats should likewise exercise caution before panicking that the Affordable Care Act spells doom.

Of course, a win is still a win, but there’s a constant Beltway temptation to read far too much into a single special election. Close races also make for poor object lessons, as luck tends to play an outsize role, much like in a baseball game decided by a single run. But at the same time, even if this election augurs nothing for November, this was still very much the sort of district that Democrats need to capture in order to have a shot at some day taking back the House.

Voters, if you vote for the Democrat, you’re voting for the Democrat. If you vote for the Republican, you’re voting for the Republican. If you vote for a third party, you’re voting for the Republican. If you do not vote, you’re voting for the Republican. All the people of FL – 13 will now be punished for the stupidity, apathy, and laziness of their district. The ones who stayed home deserve it most of all.

From The New Yorker: In a preview of what promises to be a heated race for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) head-butted his rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the floor of the United States Senate this morning.

The melee “came without warning,” one observer said, as Sen. Paul took to the well of the Senate to give a speech recommending a strong but measured response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Almost immediately, a furious and beet-red Sen. Cruz began heckling Sen. Paul, calling him a “Kentucky-fried Communist” and demanding that he “apologize to Ronald Reagan this very instant.”

Sen. Paul seemed to ignore the heckling at first, but as Sen. Cruz’s taunts descended into a stream of profane name-calling, the Kentuckian leapt from the well of the Senate and began throttling Sen. Cruz before administering the decisive head-butt.

Andy has reminded me of Mad Magazine’s scenes we’d love to see.

From Think Progress: The largest American multinational companies parked an additional $206 billion of profits in offshore accounts last year, according to Bloomberg, bringing the total amount of profits stashed where U.S. tax officials can’t touch them up to about two trillion dollars.

The 307 companies that Bloomberg examined now hold a combined $1.95 trillion offshore, allowing them to avoid paying U.S. taxes on those earnings. The majority of the total is concentrated in just a few corporate hands. The largest 22 of those companies hold more offshore than the other 285 combined.

General Electric leads the pack, with $110 billion held offshore. Tech companies like Microsoft ($76.4 billion), Apple ($54.4 billion), IBM ($52.3 billion), and Google ($38.9 billion) also dominate, along with drug companies like Pfizer ($69 billion) and Merck ($57.1). The tech giants have drastically accelerated their offshore holdings in recent years, with Microsoft and Google more than doubling and Apple more than quadrupling offshore profit holdings from 2010 to 2013.

I’d say it’s time for an offshore profits penalty of 90%. That would move those funds onshore in VERY short order!!

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Dec 292013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos will be worshiping at Oakland, and it will be televised here, so you what I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon.  It’s also the last game in our Fantasy Football league.  After taking 2nd place in the regular season, the best  I can to in the playoffs is 5th, and that only if that Patty Monster doesn’t MASH me AGAIN!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:17 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

My Window – Out and In:

The first picture was out my window.  Note the red X to the right of the grocery store sign.

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The second picture was from that red X.  You can see my headboard in the window.

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The interior is not yet sufficiently organized for pictures.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Here’s a cool map from artist and urban planner Neil Freeman, who engaged in a thought experiment to rectify a serious problem with the electoral college: namely, that California has 66 times the population of Wyoming but only 18 times the electoral votes. Of course, this size disparity is an even bigger problem in the Senate, though Freeman’s radical plan would remedy both—by redrawing the 50 states to make them all equipopulous…

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Of course, this will never happen, but it sure explains the inequities in the electoral college. It also would deal with the extreme advantage in Senate influence small state residents have.

From Truthdig: Droughts by the end of this century somewhere in the world will be 20% more frequent. But the catch is that nobody right now can predict with any certainty which places will feel the effects soonest, or more frequently.

Thirty research teams from 12 countries report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced on a global scale, an extra 40% more people are likely to experience real water scarcity.

While some will have too little water, others might have too much. Of the areas investigated, more than half could also expect increases in river flooding.

Mene mene tekel upharsin!

From Crooks and Liars: Occupy Madison volunteers have been working to combat homelessness in Madison, Wisconsin. This year they launched an ambitious project to start building small, portable homes for Madison’s homeless population. The first residents moved in on Christmas Eve.

The two finished homes are both approximately 98 square feet and have a bed, kitchen, bathroom and storage.

 

Kudos to Occupy Madison. Every little bit helps, especially when it’s right under Fartfuhrer Walker’s nose!

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An American tragedy!

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Nov 072013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I just returned from the building where I expect to move.  I saw the unit, and although not as large as I hoped, it’s bigger than where I am now.  It has three big windows, facing East and an elevator.  I can’t wait!  I’m coming down with a bronchial bug and feeling like something I forgot to bury in my kitty box, so this is tomorrow’s only article.  Fantasy football players, be sure you’re ready for Thursday night’s game.

Update:  I’m feeling really crappy, so I need to skip replying to yesterday’s comments, at least for now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:40 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: What the 1 percent thinks about you

It’s all so easy if you’re part of the one percent.

(Reuters) – I asked a financial services executive recently how our retirement saving system can be considered a success, considering that all but the highest-income households are approaching retirement with next to nothing saved.

His reply: "They don’t have any money while they’re working, so why would they have any money in retirement?"

It’s just that simple…

This is the super-rich reality upon which Republicans base their War on the 99%.

From NY Times: Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Democratic fund-raiser and ally of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, was elected governor of Virginia on Tuesday, narrowly defeating the state’s conservative attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, and confirming Virginia’s evolution as a state increasingly dominated politically by the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs.

Add Rachel!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Cooch screwed the pooch!!

From Truthdig: By trumpeting economic and civil rights issues, New York Public Advocate Bill De Blasio got himself elected Tuesday night to the highest office in the biggest city in America.

The New York Times reports that De Blasio’s win “cut across all of New York’s traditional divides. He won support from voters regardless of race, gender, age, education, religion or income, according to the exit poll.”

The triumphant candidate, who easily defeated his Republican rival, will be the first Democrat to run the city in nearly 20 years. He ran against the heavy-handed police tactics and pro-business policies put in place by his predecessors, Rudolph Giuliani and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Great for NY,NY!!

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Nov 062013
 

By the time you read this, the results will be in, so please understand that I’m writing while the polls are still open.  The two high profile races are the gubernatorial contests in NJ and VA, and they appear to be done deals, but one can always hope and/or fear depending on the state.  There are other very important issues, especially determining who will be allowed to exercise their right to vote and who will have it stolen.

1105ElectionWelcome to Election Day 2013, where two gubernatorial contests and the race for mayor of the nation’s biggest city will be settled and a GOP primary battle for a U.S. House seat in Alabama is getting outsized attention.

But what makes most of these 2013 elections interesting is what they may tell us about 2014 midterms and the 2016 race for the White House.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold elections for governor in the year after a presidential contest, putting them directly in the national political spotlight. In New Jersey, public opinion polls indicate tough-talking Gov. Chris Christie, one of the biggest names in the Republican Party, will easily win re-election over little known Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.

With Christie considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, his re-election campaign is seen as a tuneup or stepping stone for that likely White House bid.

In Virginia, national issues like the government shutdown and the health care law are playing a large role in the battle between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. For months McAuliffe has held a consistent small lead in public opinion polls over Cuccinelli, who is considered a hero to many tea party supporters and other grass-roots activists thanks to his very public conservative crusades, including his push against Obamacare…

Inserted from <CNN>

Rachel Maddow covered the topic in two segments. In the first, she talked about the Republican War on Voting.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Perhaps the reason Republicans now admit that they are excluding minorities to help Republican chances is to make this seem practical rather than racist. They ignore the reason most minorities vote for Democrats. Minorities object to the racism inherent in Republican economic policy and the overt racism embraced by so many prominent Republicans in their quest to capture the hate vote.

In the second segment, she covers Republican v. Republican contests.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’d love it if Sen. Cornhole lost to Bagger Barton!! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Young beats Byrne in Bama.

But most of all, may the Cooch screw the Pooch!

(these should be visible in Europe, because I was able to find a back way in to MSNBC’s old video player, but it works for Rachel Maddow only. I cannot say how long it will last.)

Update: The Cooch screwed the pooch!

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Nov 062013
 

Washington TEAbuggery has kept the focus away from  several local races and measures that are worthy of note by the nation as a whole.  One is in neighboring Washington State, where I-522 will require labeling on all food containing GMO’s.  I am for it, because we have a right to know what we’re eating.

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Washington State’s I-522 would require foods that have been genetically modified, or GMOs, to be labeled as such for retail purposes in the state.

Following legal pressure from anti-GMO campaign groups such as Moms for Labeling and Yes on 1-522 and the Washington State Attorney General’s office, the pro-GMO trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association was forced to release a list of its high rolling donors who have financed the NO on I- 522 drive.

As was expected, major food corporations and GMO users such as PepsiCo, Nestle USA, The Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills, among many others, had secretly donated millions of dollars to the GMA campaign.

GMA spending made up $7 million of the $17 million dollar No on I-522 push.

A similar initiative in California, Proposition 37, lost on last year’s ballot due to a similar flood of campaign money from pro-GMO food companies.

The following is the ballot text:

Initiative Measure No. 522 concerns labeling of genetically-engineered foods.

This measure would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale…. [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

I certainly hope it passes!

As important as this issue is, it is only one of six key election day races/measures covered in the same article. Click through for the other five.

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Oct 152013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and like most of us, waiting to see what comes of the Senate talk, and waiting to see if I can catch Patty, who is beating my butt!  Out of respect for the folks who were already here, I am NOT celebrating Columbus Day.

Update: I’m taking a partial day off.  I have been unable to sleep between noise in the building, worry over the impending default, the shame of having my fantasy football team Mashed by the Patty Monster, and guilt that some poor Canadian could not be thankful yesterday, being deprived of ownership by a fine fellow like me.  I hope to be back to speed tomorrow, but back to bed for now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:45 (average 4:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: So you have this neighbor who has been making your life hell. First he tied you up with a spurious lawsuit; you’re both suffering from huge legal bills. Then he threatened bodily harm to your family. Now, however, he says he’s willing to compromise: He’ll call off the lawsuit, which is to his advantage as well as yours. But in return you must give him your car. Oh, and he’ll stop threatening your family — but only for a week, after which the threats will resume.

Not much of an offer, is it? But here’s the kicker: Your neighbor’s relatives, who have been egging him on, are furious that he didn’t also demand that you kill your dog…

What can I say? Paul Krugman’s analogy is brilliant!

From MSN News: Ken Cuccinelli is running for governor, not Congress, but the Virginia Republican is still struggling to dodge the political fallout from Capitol Hill.

His campaign in this crucial battleground state is in danger of becoming the first political casualty of the federal government shutdown, which Americans largely blame on Republicans.

With the election just weeks away, Cuccinelli’s poll numbers have tumbled since federal agencies were shuttered Oct. 1. The conservative state attorney general was already lagging, but he went from within striking distance of a vulnerable Democrat to trailing by 8 to 10 percentage points in three independent polls.

The Republican shutdown is certainly a dark cloud, but this is a silver lining.

From Truthdig: America’s great minds of business and finance have reached a consensus on the government shutdown and worse, the prospect of a debt default: While the latter is worse, both are bad. Those same great minds are well aware how the shutdown came to pass and why default still looms on the horizon, whether next week, next month, or next year.

Yes, the frightened corporate leaders surely know how this happened—because their money funded the tea party candidates and organizations responsible for the crisis.

Vulture capitalists got so greedy that they forgot that karma is a bitch!

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Sep 122013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 90.  Yesterday I enjoyed working with a dozen of my guys in our prison CoDA group.  We talked about no effort being too great to achieve change.  Critter sends greetings from prison to Critter for the last time.  Critter will be a free man on Friday.  I told him he will have to get used to some changes, after 46 years in prison.  I explained: “When you see brown stuff on your plate, that wont be your veggie anymore.  It will be your meat.  And when you see green stuff on your plate, that won’t be your meat anymore.  It will be your veggie.”  We’re now under a high heat warning until 9:00 PM, and I expect temperatures at my desk well in excess of 100° today.  I also have a medical appointment tomorrow, so Friday blogging is iffy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:44 (average 4:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The claim has become a staple of Republican efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and transform Medicare into a system in which future elderly receive vouchers to purchase health insurance in the private market. "We are starting to see physicians turn away from taking patients who are on Medicare," the GOP.gov website [fascists delinked] warns, with "more and more physicians are choosing to opt out of Medicare altogether." In July, the Wall Street Journal dutifully picked up that cudgel, cheering one "doctor goes off the grid" [Murdoch delinked] while fretting "more doctors steer clear of Medicare [Murdoch delinked]."

Unfortunately, there’s only one problem with the conservative claim that America’s doctors are fleeing Medicare—and Medicare patients—in massive numbers. As a new study from the Department from Health and Human Services reveals, it’s simply not true.

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Of course Republicans lie about matters like this. If they told the truth, even the most stupid sheeple would not vote for them.

From NY Times: Bill de Blasio, whose campaign for mayor of New York tapped into a city’s deepening unease with income inequality and aggressive police practices, captured far more votes than any of his rivals in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

But as Mr. de Blasio, an activist-turned-operative and now the city’s public advocate, celebrated a remarkable come-from-behind surge, it was not clear if he had won the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff election on Oct. 1 with William C. Thompson Jr., who finished second. At night’s end, he had won just over 40 percent of the ballots counted; thousands of paper ballots had yet to be tallied, which could take days.

I hope he avoids the runoff. He is, in my opinion, NYC’s best choice.

From Bill Moyers: The top 10 percent of earners in the United States took home more than 50 percent of all income in 2012, the highest amount ever recorded since data was first collected in 1917, according to an updated report from economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.

While the wealthiest took a big hit during the financial crisis, they’ve almost fully recovered. Last year, income for the top 1 percent of earners “increased sharply,” the report notes, growing by nearly 20 percent, while the bottom 99 percent only saw money rise by 1 percent. “In sum,” the authors write, “top 1 percent incomes are close to full recovery while bottom 99 percent incomes have hardly started to recover.”

Until now, America had the most inequitable distribution of wealth since it caused the Great Republican Depression in 1929. Now it is the most inequitable distribution of wealth in our nation’s history.

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