Feb 042016

Yesterday my helper=friend could not come, and that screwed up my schedule.  I have lots of house work to do.  I need to stay up late to watch the debate on MSNBC.  It will have one bad moderator, Chuck Todd, and one fantastic moderator, Rachel Maddow.  This will be today’s only article, and I will it be sending cards on Care2.  That way, I get some rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:45).  Birdie for kitty-lunch?  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: I have always been a fan of Jimmy Carter, and once more he hits it out of the park. As reported today by the Guardian, here is what he has to say about the effect of money on our American political system, post Iowa caucuses:

Former US president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is wrong. Money is NOT speech!!

From The New Yorker: Declaring that “my time has come,” the former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced today that he was officially launching his 2020 campaign for President.

“Washington is broken, and I’ve got some fresh new ideas about how to fix it,” Santorum told a small clutch of supporters and whatever family members were available, at an intimate rally in Des Moines. “Once the people of this great nation hear those ideas, there’s no stopping me.”

“I’m in it to win it!” he exclaimed, to some clapping.

Launching his campaign in Iowa, where the next Presidential caucuses will not be held for another forty-eight months, Santorum brushed aside suggestions that he was entering the race too early. “You’ll have to take that up with Jesus Christ,” he said. “He’s the guy who told me to do this.”

Andy, did he slip and fall down in his own froth?

From Alternet: Hungry for a bloodbath? Good, that's exactly what the election is, and guys Stephen Colbert are just waiting for candidates to stumble. Last night Colbert paid tribute to those who had fallen after the Iowa Caucus, as well as one who should have.


The script must have been written before frothy was flushed. That would have been hilarious!



Feb 032016

After mucking about yesterday with a doctor's appointment (just a quick check in), a Costco run for Perrier water (I like the bubbles), and then some chores, I started my post but was tired.  So I decided to relax for half an hour.  I fell asleep not waking until this morning.  Off to the races again with physio, chiropractor, and a wonderful relaxing lunch with a friend.  Ah, a day in the life of a retired person!

Short Takes

Foreign Policy — Of our candidates, who do you think would be most popular in Russia?

Feldman: On the surface, Trump is, of course, terribly similar to Putin.

Because in Russia, the elections are more like a choice between different aesthetics. That is, you have no chance to have an effect on actual policy. You can vote for the Communists if you’re nostalgic, for the screaming [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky if you want to bang your fist on the table, for [the ruling party] United Russia if you want to show your loyalty, and for A Just Russia if you’re loyal, but not very.

So in Russia, elections look different. It’s a ritual, a cult. You vote and it doesn’t change anything. Here it’s not like that — but in that way, on the surface, Trump is, of course, very similar to Putin. He’s the closest to this kind of Russian politics.

FP: In that, by voting for him, you’re more showing who you are than voting for a policy?

Feldman: Yes.  I was actually at a Trump rally in Cedar Falls, and I had this feeling that I had returned to the Motherland.  

TC has often referred to Vladimir Putin as Pooty-R(Ru).  In this piece, the author interviews Russian photojournalist Evgeny Feldman who is in the US observing the Iowa caucuses, among other things.  He seems to think that Trump is very much like Putin.

Right Wing Watch — “I believe that they are positioning themselves so that someday they could invade Israel to be able to take over the vast stores of oil and natural gas that Israel is controlling,” she said, adding that “this very unique new partnership between Iran and Russia in Syria” with the support of China “lines up with scripture.” All of these powers, she said, are seeking “a global world order to keep their game going into the future and to support them if they would invade against Israel.”

And who will lead this global world order? Why, none other than Obama.


Oh my!  I thought Guano Girl could not get any more batshit crazy than she already was!  I stand corrected.  She out did herself, or maybe it's just been so delightfully quiet without her daily rants and shenanigans that I feel assaulted by her guanoness!

Huffington Post — Real estate mogul Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz of fraud on Wednesday, claiming the Texas senator "stole" the Iowa caucuses and arguing that "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."  

Trump posed with a bald eagle, named Uncle Sam, for a TIME magazine shoot when he was in the running for person of the year. Nothing is more satisfyingly ironic and metaphorical as this bald eagle-the symbol of American freedom and might-attacking Trump, who only wants to "Make America Great Again."  It is about time that Uncle Sam took Trump to task!

Trump is a master at sucking the oxygen out of the race by drawing attention to himself with new controversies. The Twitter rant is just one more example of this media strategy, particularly at a time when Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are basking in the glow of their performances in Iowa.

Cruz responded Wednesday afternoon, mocking the businessman for throwing a "Trumpertantrum."

Trump sure doesn't like losing! . . . and if there was any doubt about that, his Twitter rant should allay all doubts.  I wonder if he'll threaten to hold his breath if he doesn't get his way?  I can hope can't I?  As much as I dislike Cruz, his response was cool — Trumpertantrum.  LOL!!!

NBC — Rick Santorum on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Marco Rubio.

"He is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together — not just moderates and conservatives but young and old," Santorum said of the Florida senator during an appearance on the Fox News program "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

Santorum called Rubio a "born leader" best able to help the struggling middle class, support families and combat the terror group ISIS.

In Open Thread–2/3/2016, TC posted about the Rand Paul, Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot, withdrawal from the Republican presidential race.  Now Rick Santorum has also withdrawn which doesn't surprise me at all.  Thankfully, the Clown Car is getting lighter and lighter.  To date, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have departed the Streetcar Named Desire, aka the Clown Car.  Seven ejected from the Clown Car, 10 to go.

Politico — Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The billionaire presidential candidate, whose controversial comments and hard-edged policy proposals have upset many, was nominated for: "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China,” according to a copy of the nomination letter obtained by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. According to PRIO, Trump was nominated by an American.

From the "OMG, it can't be true!" files, Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Whomever nominated the misogynistic hater is demented, even more than Trump himself.  Somebody please tell me that a snowball has a better chance in hell than Trump has as a successful Nobel candidate.When he does not get it, we'll be able to call him "Strike Three" . . . no to Time person of the year, no in Iowa, and no to the Nobel Prize.

My Universe — 


Feb 032016

His Iowa Caucuses victory was more than just a win for Sen. Ted Cruz, aka Uranus Inspector, the only Canadian import worse than filthy Tar Sands sludge.  It was also a big win for Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity, the exact opposite of authentic Christianity.  To see how significant a win this was, we a;so need to look what he defeated, and it was a lot more powerful than the Hateful Hairball.


When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the stage last night to declare victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, he opened his triumphant speech with a direct appeal to the people who worked so hard to secure him his win — evangelical Christians.

“God bless the great state of Iowa,” he said. “Let me first of all say: to God be the glory.”

Cruz went on to make several more biblical references, working a litany of scripture passages and appeals to “Judeo-Christian values” into a 30-minute speech that often sounded suspiciously sermonesque. He then concluded by citing Psalm 30, stirring the crowd into a frenzy by reminding them that “joy cometh in the morning.”

“I tell you tonight, Iowa has made clear to America and the world: morning is coming,” he said.

Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy. He launched his run for president at Liberty University, an evangelical school, courted the endorsement of leading theological conservatives in the Iowa, and organized a passionate network of conservative Christian volunteers to help him get out the vote on caucus day.

Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy.

And in Iowa, at least, it worked. Evangelicals flooded caucus sites across the state last night, ultimately making up 64 percent of Republican caucus-goers — up 7 points from 2012according to entrance polls. And despite ample hand-wringing from political analysts over Donald Trump’s support among portions of the evangelical flock, the biggest slice of churchgoers sided with Cruz: he won the lion’s share of “born again” Christians at 34 percent, with Trump grabbing 22 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio — a Roman Catholic — pulling in 21 percent… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Note that Liberty University and Regent University has more graduates in permanent “nonpartisan” executive staff positions than the Ivy League, because so many “burrowed in” to permanent, “nonpartisan” positions, especially in DOJ, from political appointee positions during the Bush Reich.  Then last thing America needs is more pseudo-Christians sabotaging our freedom.

Lawrence O’Donnell explained just how great an obstacle Uranus Inspector overcame.

Overcoming corn in Iowa with pseudo-Christianity is no laughing matter.  While I have been laughing at the Cruz’ campaign of pseudo-Christian hatred, I’m not laughing any more, especially since so many front-end Republican primaries are dominated by the pseudo-Christians in their base.  This magnifies how important it is for Democrats to turn out and vote!

Feb 022016

I have another very busy day today.  Jeannie (shower-aide) will arrive momentarily.  Arvilla (PT) is coming at 10 AM.  I have the Monthly Report to compose.  I need to set up a schedule for PT and OT after home health ends.  And I need to make a run to my bank.  Now Jeannie just left, and I’m the kind of kitty that’s fun to pet.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In an apparent attempt to set a new world’s record for projection, House Republicans are now accusing Democrats of wasting millions of dollars of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s money on partisan nonsense.

Talk about partisan nonsense!

Barf Bag Alert!!

Forming the committee just to beat Hillary is partisan nonsense!

From The New Yorker: Senator Ted Cruz’s stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses is serving as a beacon of hope to despised people across the nation, a number of disliked Americans confirmed on Monday.

In interviews from coast to coast, dozens of pariahs said that the Cruz triumph meant that “the sky’s the limit” for widely hated people like them.

Andy is reporting news again.

From NY Times: Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont were locked in an intensely tight race in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday as Mrs. Clinton’s strong support among women and older voters was matched by the passionate liberal foot soldiers whom Mr. Sanders has been calling to political revolution.

The close results were deeply unnerving to Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as her advisers, some of whom had expressed growing confidence in recent days that they had recaptured political momentum after weeks when Mr. Sanders was drawing huge crowds and rising in the polls. The Clintons had appeared optimistic at rallies over the weekend, thanking Iowans for their support as much as urging them to turn out to vote.

The close vote means that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are likely to split Iowa’s share of delegates to the Democratic convention, and Mr. Sanders will be able to argue that the Iowa result was a virtual tie.

I did not like watching a Hillary supported lying to uncommitted voters that Bernie favors a flat tax, and I thought Hillary’s victory announcement was disingenuous.  Since then Hillary has subsequently been declared the winner, and she gets 23 delegates to Bernie’s 21.



Feb 012016

On a scale of one to ten, today is a brutally busy day.  I have a heavy load of  personal tasks, like preparing my grocery order, editing a letter to the Governor for the President of our volunteer organization, arranging my lift ride for next Monday’s Podiatry appointment, and routine cooking and cleaning.  In addition, I had to compose a new poll, collect all the data and make all the graphics for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, and am writing today’s articles.  On top of that, I’m trying to keep track of the Iowa Caucuses.  The winners I predict in Iowa are Bernie and Hateful Hairball.,

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: On a May 19 CNN broadcast with Blitzer, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to eliminate college tuition by taxing Wall Street speculation.

Sounds pretty simple and straight forward doesn’t it?  Yet, Blitzer just couldn’t wrap his mind around it…..  watch……https://www.youtube.com/…


That’s why Bernie is the one!

From NY Times: …Voters on the ideological edges, who dominate both parties in Iowa, have made Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, and Donald J. Trump and Mr. Cruz, whose views are anathema to Republican leadership, the standard-bearers of the left and the right.

Iowa’s left can be as right as Iowa’s right is wrong. We’ll see tonight.

From Think Progress: An important but little-discussed aspect of American elections is the built-in advantage that Republicans have in the nation’s gubernatorial races.

The reason why is simple. Turnout is far higher in years when there’s a presidential election, and that boost in turnout is predominantly reflected in minorities and young people, constituencies that tend to vote Democratic. Conversely, turnout is typically over 20 points lower during midterm elections, with far fewer minorities and young people going to the polls. But just nine states have gubernatorial elections that exclusively coincide with presidential votes, whereas 34 states vote for governor during midterm elections. (Five states vote in odd-numbered years and the remaining two elect their governor every two years.)

This bias towards midterm elections is a contributing reason why swing states that twice voted for President Obama, such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, also elected Republicans during the last two gubernatorial races.

But one of those purple states could soon shift its gubernatorial elections to presidential years: Michigan.

According to the Detroit Free Press, an unidentified group of Democrats and independents are considering a ballot initiative to move gubernatorial races by two years so as to line up with presidential elections. Other statewide races, such as those for attorney general and secretary of state, would also be moved. If the initiative comes together and is passed by voters this year, the elections could shift as soon as 2020.

This may be the end of Sturmbannführer Snyder, if he isn’t in a prison cell first.  However, we need to get this on ballot measures all over the country.,



Jan 292016

Sorry I wasn't here yesterday to post an Open Thread but my arthritis flared up, swelling my fingers and making it too painful to type or use the mouse, although I managed to respond to TC's articles.  I suspect the heavy rains were the catalyst.  It wasn't until late this afternoon that things started to normalise.  Well I know I am in the dog house, so to speak, with my furbabes as Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday they ignored me, completely!  I suspect it may be the reduced rations.  It is amazing though — the power of food — as they started coming to me a bit more.  I think I am forgiven now.

The Intercept — New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen — including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.


Call the PAC something that it is not in hopes that it will convince some African American voters to get behind Ted Cruz . . . Black Americans for a Better Future, thy name is deception.

Huffington Post — California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is asking voters to overturn a strict sentencing law he signed nearly 40 years ago because of its "unintended consequences," including a surge in the prison population.

Brown, in a call with reporters Wednesday, announced a ballot initiative called the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, which he said would likely reduce prison time for many of the 127,000 nonviolent offenders locked in the state's overcrowded correctional facilities. 

Personally, I think this is  a great move.  Couple it with Obama's recent call to ban solitary confinement for juveniles and as punishment for low-level infractions in federal facilities, and you have the first steps of prison reform.

Global News — Months after being released from an Egyptian jail, Mohamed Fahmy is adjusting to the life of an academic at the University of British Columbia, talking to students about his experiences as a journalist.

“It feels very inspiring that I’m actually lecturing students and getting feedback about various topics,” he said.

He has no shortage of things to talk about. Fahmy spent more than 400 days in prison on terrorism charges after an Egyptian court case that was the subject of broad international criticism.

From CBC News

Click through for the interview and short videos to see what Fahmy is trying to do.  I really don't know how much Americans know about the Mohamed Fahmy case in Egypt.  Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera English and an award winning journalist, was arrested  29/12/2013 and accused of conspiring with a terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and fabricating news to portray Egypt in a state of civil war.  His journey has been long, unnecessarily so, courtesy of ex-PM Stephen Harper who would not speak to the Egyptian president on behalf of Fahmy.  I support Fahmy.

My Universe — h/t Ted W and Carol D, Care2


Dec 182015

Well it rained today but not as hard as it has been raining.  We are promised a snow/rain mix on Monday and very probable snow for Christmas day.  We'll see!  I was able to get to the doctor's today and thankfully I do not have pneumonia, but I do have a respiratory infection so it is anti biotics for 5 days.  

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 5:08). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet  But as it turns out, the music-less music television station is working to educate their audience on the racist origins of some commonly used phrases.

It is interesting to note where expressions come from and how their meaning changes.  I remember a rhyme for childhood — Eenie, meenie, miney, mo — in which the second line was "catch a n…r by the toe".  I had no idea what a n…r was but when I found out, that rhyme was never spoken again.

Huffington Post — The United States holds a presidential election — and many of its citizens claim they will move to Canada if one of the contenders is elected.

This year, with the advent of people like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the right (and Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on the left), these mutterings have become increasingly louder.

As one who travels frequently across the border, both for business and personal reasons, one can get the impression that entire Blue (Democratic) states will be depopulated the moment President Trump puts his hand on the inaugural bible. And a President Sanders, if you believe the cocktail-fueled rhetoric at certain conservative functions, would have a similar effect on Red (Republican) states.

When Democrats take the White House and the senate in 2016, red state populations best not think about coming north.  No Republicans or Teabaggers  allowed.  We like our democratic socialism, warts and all.  But seriously, any time I mention Trump in discussions, there are loud sighs! Dump Trump!!!

CBC — Canada's welcoming reception of the first planeloads of Syrian refugees has prompted an overwhelmingly positive response in the Arab media, with one Jordanian news site going so far as to call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "Superman" for his acceptance of refugees.

Online interest in Canada has seen a huge upswing among Arabic speakers in recent weeks. The number of people searching for the word "Canada" in Arabic doubled in the past month, according to Google Trends. The primary source countries of the queries were Jordan and Lebanon, but internet users in Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Libya also generated some of the searches.  

CBC News found tens of thousands of Arabic searches within the past week (Dec.8-15) for "Canada + Syrian refugees."

With the current refugee crisis and Canada's actions so far under Justin Trudeau, I feel like my Canada is coming back to its values, the ones that made me proud to be a Canadian.  And it feels good.

Huffington Post — The CP Holiday Train is an annual tradition that sees the rail company decorate two trains in Christmas lights and send them on a journey through 150 communities in the U.S. and Canada.

The trains are fast approaching the end of their journeys, which will conclude in Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, B.C. on Dec. 19.

A sunset sky over the Elk River Valley as we steamed toward Fernie, BC.

The trains will finish their journeys in Port Moody about 5 blocks from my house.  There is always a celebration in the older part of town by the trackside.

My Universeh/t Ted W and Laurie H, Care2

Gifs with a g like in goat

Dec 152015

I was hoping to pamper myself tomorrow with a hair cut but my stylist had to change the appointment so I'll have to look and feel like Shaggy for several days yet.  So instead, I'll get poked for my quarterly blood tests.  I hope Draculette finds a vein that does not roll all over the place.  Then home to rest as I have come down with something.  After teaching today, I was really done in and came home for a cat nap, a too long cat nap which is why I am up now . . . but not for long.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:59 (average 5:48). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

CBC — The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will make public on Tuesday its final report documenting the history and legacy of Canada's residential school system, raising serious concerns for current and future generations of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children.

The final report, titled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, is the culmination of thousands of hours of heart-wrenching testimony heard in more than 300 communities over a span of six years, from more than 6,000 indigenous women and men who were abused and lived to tell their stories.  

Gordon's Reserve residential school

A 1945 investigation in parental complaints at the Gordon's Reserve school in Saskatchewan reported that for one dinner children were fed a single slice of bologna, potatoes, bread and milk. (General Synod Archives/Anglican Church of Canada)

"Removed from their families and home communities," Sinclair said in the final report, "seven generations of aboriginal children were denied their identity through a systematic and concerted effort to extinguish their culture, language and spirit."

"It is clear that residential schools were a key component of a Canadian government policy of cultural genocide."

I doubt that any nation which has embraced colonialism has dealt with their indigenous "conquests" in an equitable and just manner.  Certainly Canada has not, even up to including the Harper government.  The Harper government had to be dragged by the hair, and even then, grossly failed First Nations peoples on even basic matters of daily life. The Trudeau government is too new yet at only 6 weeks old to be evaluated.  However, the Trudeau government has made promises and has begun some work in consultation with the Peoples.  One thing is for sure in my mind, it is not just the government's job but the responsibility of all Canadians to embrace First Nations, Inuit and Métis with justice.

Maclean's — The contrast could not be greater. As Justin Trudeau announces that the first Syrian refugees will arrive in Canada on Thursday and Saturday, Donald Trump has doubled down on his promise to shut the door to all Muslims coming to the U.S.

Trump’s remarks have been condemned around the world as bigoted, racist and inflammatory—and yet he remains the frontrunner to be the Republican presidential nominee.

There is an 18 minute interview with David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic and George W Bush's former speech writer, who refers to Trump as a flim-flam man.  Sounds about right to me.  Frum is a neo conservative.

Salon — Veteran journalist Ted Koppel appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday to excoriate the networks and pollsters for giving Donald Trump “the oxygen that [his] campaign requires,” which is dangerous because the real estate magnate is currently acting as “the Recruiter-in-Chief for ISIS.”

The ultimate measure of the success of television news programming, and all other programming for that matter, is the size of the audience.  How does a network potentially increase audience size? . . . by playing to the most outrageous aspects of a story.  Trump is playing the media and it is accommodating him.  Check the video.  Many of us have said that Trump, being his bombastic self, is helping Daesh, more than anything else.

My Universe — 

Dec 132015

A busy day with church activities that taxed my bad knee in particular.  It was ice pack time when I arrived home, which turned into ice pack and cat nap time.  Tomorrow is teaching and physio.  I hope you are all getting as ready as possible for all the holiday activities, but are remembering to take some time for yourself.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:26 (average 7:51). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Washington Post — "What he wanted to do was get the state of Virginia out of the business of deciding which was the best religion, and who had to pay taxes to support it," said Spellberg, a professor of history and Islamic studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

During the bill's debate, some legislators wanted to insert the term "Jesus Christ," which was rejected. Writing in 1821, Jefferson reflected that "singular proposition proved that [the bill’s] protection of opinion was meant to be universal."

He continued:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Muslim], the Hindoo [Hindu], and Infidel of every denomination."

An interesting article that I encourage everyone to read.  There are plenty enough people today who state that the US was founded by Christians and should have biblical law as the basis for its laws.  I know, having studied history, that the Founding Fathers would not have sanctioned this but would support the separation of church and state.  They came out of Britain where there was great strife between Roman Catholics and Protestants in the 1500's.  To read Jefferson's words provides additional evidence of this.

Alternet —  As the Donald Trump campaign turns from farce to tribulation, it’s worth noting that millions more Americans support Bernie Sanders than the Republican frontrunner.

Trump’s level of national support is 30.4 percent of GOP primary voters, according to the average calculated by Real Clear Politics, while Sanders remains in second place among Democratic primary voters with a 30.8 percent average level of support.

Ah, truth in numbers?  Let's hope that Bernie and the Democrats prevail.  To be sure though, it is vitally important to get out the vote!

Politico — They must find a way home to the countries they have chosen to adopt, and which are still willing to adopt them. For Muslims to be at home in France or in America means that they have to develop and evolve through constant reinterpretation of the sacred texts, and their historic experiences. Above all, we must see ceaseless efforts to synthesize the core values of their religion with the very ethos of the countries in which they live. Otherwise the war will go on forever.

An interesting article I thought.  This last part had me thinking about my own Christian beliefs.  The plethora of Christian sects each has an interpretation(s) of key tenets.  Roman Catholics differ from Protestants, Baptists from Methodists, Roman Catholics from Eastern Orthodox, etc. on some tenets.  And undeniably there has been blood shed in the name of religious differences.  But I hope that all religions will not be so "stuck" on their own dogma that they remain in the past and fail to grow with the people that believe.

My Universe

Dec 122015

Last night was a mostly sleepless night, or it certainly felt that way.  Hence I indulged in a needed cat nap this evening which put me behind.  I was teaching today and running interference with young Simon who chose to be especially naughty today.  I think it is time to have a discussion with the kids about acceptable play.  I think that Simon is following their lead in roughhousing without knowing the consequences.  The work of a teacher is never done.  Tomorrow, it's off to Costco with Lucia, my student, for a major shop . . . 6 mouths to feed!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:43 (average 5:51). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

CBC — "Now, we feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise," Jamkossian told Trudeau through an interpreter. "That's how we feel."

In Syria, Zires worked as a clerk in a women's clothing shop and Jamkossian worked as a blacksmith.

A better life for their daughter Madeleine was the main motivation for coming to Canada. 

"She is the reason for us to come here because here she can do many things," Zires said, also through an interpreter. "In other countries, she can do nothing."

Read through to hear some of the experiences that these refugees have had to endure.  My physiotherapist fled Iran 7 years ago because he and his wife wanted a better life for their children.  My ESL student fled South Sudan and then Uganda with her two oldest children because of the violence and war.  The military/industrial complex, the merchants of death, grow fat while children die.  The US needs to get its act together to live up to the words on the plaque at the Statue of Liberty, or maybe we should take the statue away.

CBC — Calls are growing to remove Donald Trump's name from a Vancouver tower following the Republican presidential candidate's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

After Trump made the remarks on Monday, former Vancouver city planner Brent Toderian tweeted that the developers building the Trump Tower in Vancouver should remove his name from the building. 

"I seriously suggest that Vancouverites call on @TrumpVancouver to remove his name," Toderian said on Twitter.

That call was then echoed by Vancouver city councillor Kerry Jang on Tuesday, who says the city can't do anything to stop the building from bearing Trump's name, but he has written to the developer asking them to part ways with Trump.

Trump's hate rhetoric is having more than just political consequences and goes beyond the US borders.  There are petitions to have him banned in Australia and I believe the UK.  Here in Vancouver, a petition with over 45,000 signatures and a movement to boycot the new Trump Tower are proceeding.  Dubai has taken Trump's name from a Dubai golf course.  It must really suck to be Trump with so many people world wide disliking you intensely.

The Nation — So what is really being discussed in DC by the party establishment is a strategy to unite all the delegates who are not Trump backers behind an alternative candidate. Under this theory, Trump might arrive with 49 percent of the delegates and get beat by some united-front alternative like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney.

This is a lot like what was said to be happening during Canada's last election . . . strategic voting . . . with the goal of anyone but Harper!  It is too bad that the RNC didn't act sooner to contain Trump earlier.  Or perhaps as a progressive, I should say "way to go RNC!".  Trump could split the vote if he goes independent.

My Universe

Nov 122015

Well it poured rain last night, pinging off the rain spout at a ferocious rate.  I was very glad to be inside!  The rain continues this morning but not hard like last night.  Thanks to Lona who sent me a fresh supply of cat naps.  I availed myself of two yesterday which was good for the cold/cough.  Today is scheduled to be a low key day with laundry a prime concern.  Can't have a "furless" sasquatch!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:51 (average 6:11). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — To winnow the field of candidates who would hold the main stage in the second G.O.P. debate, in September, CNN had intended to use the average of national polls conducted over the summer. But after Carly Fiorina’s campaign complained that the method was unfair CNN changed its formula. The decision had very little to do with American democracy or social science. It had to do with the practice of American journalism. It would make better television if Fiorina was on the same stage as Trump, since he’d made comments about her appearance. (“Look at that face!” he said.)

“No one tells me what to say,” Trump had said in August. By September, on the defensive about Fiorina, he insisted—he knew—that he had the will of the people behind him. “If you look at the polls,” he said, “a lot of people like the way I talk.”

Donald Trump is a creature of the polls. He is his numbers. But he is only a sign of the times. Turning the press into pollsters has made American political culture Trumpian: frantic, volatile, shortsighted, sales-driven, and anti-democratic.

He kept his lead nearly till the end of October. “Do we love these polls?” he called out to a crowd in Iowa. “Somebody said, ‘You love polls.’ I said that’s only because I’ve been winning every single one of them. Right? Right? Every single poll.” Two days later, when he lost his lead in Iowa to Ben Carson, he’d grown doubtful: “I honestly think those polls are wrong.” By the week of the third G.O.P. debate, he’d fallen behind in a national CBS/NYT poll. “The thing with these polls, they’re all so different,” Trump said, mournfully. “It’s not very scientific.” 

This is a long but interesting article about polling and the reliance on and influence of polls in the electoral process. The uneducated mind may rely on polls too much as politicians may rely on them to inform their policy positions rather than listening to their constituents.  Click through for the rest of this article.

Think Progress — In August, New York-based Amalgamated Bank announced it would immediately raise its minimum pay to at least $15 an hour.

At the time, the bank noted that it was the first to make such an announcement. But it’s also committed to making sure more follow its lead.

The bank, which is owned by the union OPEIU, came to the $15 wage floor in the midst of contract negotiations with the union. The contract also specifies automatic 3 percent increases each year, ensuring annual raises for its workforce. “It’s a bold move,” said CEO Keith Mestrich. “We need to be bold like that.”

This is great news!  When I started as a teller, I was paid about $1.55 per hour.  That was 45 years ago.  But even then, I could not afford to share an apartment with rent of $250 per month.  Click through for the rest of the story.

Huffington Post — Republican presidential candidates debated once again on economic issues and offered some misleading takes on jobs, tax plans, immigrants and state budgets.

  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that “welders make more money than philosophers.” Actually, those with undergraduate degrees in philosophy earn a higher median income than welders.
  • Businessman Donald Trump said that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had forced out 1.5 million immigrants who were in the country illegally. The federal government claimed it was 1.3 million, but historians say that’s exaggerated.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the Tax Foundation calculated that his tax plan “costs less than virtually every other plan people have put up here, and yet it produces more growth.” But the foundation said Bobby Jindal’s and Rubio’s plans both would lead to higher gross domestic product growth over a decade.
  • Cruz also repeated the years-long falsehood that there’s a “congressional exemption” from Obamacare. Members of Congress and their staffs face additional requirements than other Americans, not fewer.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that his state has had “eight credit upgrades,” but two credit rating agencies moved the state to a “negative” outlook in February. And it faces a $117 million deficit in its most recent budget.
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he had cut his state budget by 11 percent during the 2001-2003 recession. Over his entire tenure, however, spending went up by 50 percent.
  • Jindal claimed that there were “more people working in Louisiana than ever before.” That’s wrong. There were fewer Louisianans working in September than there were in December 2014.
  • Huckabee said that Syrians make up only 20 percent of the refugees arriving in Europe. The figure is actually 52 percent for 2015.

Click through for the analysis of these claims.  I was very surprised when I didn't see statements from Fiorini reported. But then I saw the following article.

Think Progress — “We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation,” Fiorina told the debate audience, referring to an obscure bill intended to hobble federal agency action. Though it is unlikely that many people in the audience know what the REINS Act is, this bill has long been one of the top priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the primary lobbying group representing big business as a whole. Moreover, the bill has a fairly high chance of becoming law if Republicans gain control over both houses of Congress and the presidency. The bill passed the GOP-controlled House on multiple occasions.

The Congress is already known as the "do nothing Congress" and this would only make it worse.  This is an asinine suggestion from a business person who was a complete failure!  Click through for the remainder of the article about a bill that few know about.

My Universe — 

Nov 032015

Today was rather cloudy, but DRY!  Last night there was snow on the North Shore mountains where many of the ski hills are located.  It has been cool but pleasant.  And best of all, no fireworks!  There are some stores already in full Christmas mode, and even some houses with Christmas lights.  Just a tad early, don't you think?  TC has had his surgery and is safely back.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:08 (average 5:11). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Fantasy Football — I almost forgot to post this!  Look at those Lefty Hillbillies rocket through the standings!

Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

6-2-0 .750 W1 10 803.58 582.02

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

5-3-0 .625 W3 9 706.08 656.50


5-3-0 .625 W1 8 768.02 645.58

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

5-3-0 .625 W2 7 757.20 629.68

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-4-0 .500 L1 6 713.14 806.38

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

4-4-0 .500 L1 5 720.58 727.18

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

4-4-0 .500 L2 4 715.46 715.80

Purple DemonPurple Demon

3-5-0 .375 W1 3 747.42 819.52

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-5-0 .375 L1 2 717.54 782.66


1-7-0 .125 L7 1 529.72 813.42

* Rank change shown is from week 7 – 8

Short Takes

CBC — Inside the unofficial think-tank of the U.S. Democratic party, the Liberals' winning election playbook is being analyzed and its lessons shared with left-leaning parties around the world.


One observer says prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau's decision to embrace deficits on the campaign trail could play well for some European parties. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Matt Browne has prepared a briefing paper on the Liberal win for allies in different countries where he's heard curiosity or seen applicable lessons — including the U.K., Denmark, Holland, France, Italy and Germany.

"It's been a pretty amazing week or so," Browne said in an interview. "Amongst the progressive community in particular, people have been trying to figure out what the lessons of this are."

He works on international partnerships at the Center for American Progress, founded and run by high-ranking figures in Democratic politics. Some of its senior members had met Trudeau and his team in opposition and they offered congratulations on the Liberal election victory.

Click through for the rest of this interesting article.  Sometimes it only takes one to dip his toe, and others will start to notice and maybe follow. We know that austerity has not worked, nor has US trickle-down economics worked.  But responsible investment in infrustructure, in the country and the people will work.

The New Yorker According to a format negotiated between the Republican National Committee and the television networks, future Presidential debates during the 2016 campaign will strictly forbid questions about things the candidates “said” or “did,” the R.N.C. confirmed on Monday.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the R.N.C., said that the deal addressed the candidates’ concerns about the previously broadcast debates, which he called “abusively fact-based.”

“In some cases, moderators were asking candidates questions about statements they made two or three weeks earlier,” Priebus said. “This new format will eliminate that kind of ancient history.”

Priebus said that the new format would satisfy not only the candidates but also Republican voters, many of whom have complained about moderators’ ”out-of-control obsession with verifiable information.”

“This is a Presidential debate,” Priebus said. “If people want facts, they can watch ‘Jeopardy.’ ”

Click through for the rest of the article.  Damn, Andy is straight reporting again!

Alternet — What the candidates are really protesting here isn’t the length or format of the debate. What they want is for the debate to resemble the echo chamber of Fox News and talk radio. They complain about the pressure to engage and confront one another, but isn’t that what debates are for? Ted Cruz wants sycophants to ask loaded questions that allow candidates to deliver rehearsed soliloquies, but that’s what stump speeches are for – debates are about forced collisions.

It’s revealing that amidst all the calls for protest and cancellations, the candidates agreed not to implement debate changes until after the upcoming Fox Business Network debate. According to the Washington Post, everyone in that room is “afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.” And they should be. Fox News is the fount of propaganda for the conservative movement. Fox is where candidates go to be fellated by know-nothing anchors who ask inane but friendly questions of GOP candidates.

Talk about the tail wagging the dog!  Click through for the remainder of the dog wagging.  The Republican Party is so fractured and so lame as evidenced by the conduct of the presidential candidates, I question whether the party can survive.

CBC — The decision by TransCanada was likely made for strategic reasons, said Michal Moore, an expert on the oil and gas industry with the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

Since no progress was being made, the company likely wanted to wait until Obama leaves office, in January 2017.

"With this pause in place, they literally can re-create the project or reimagine it and certainly revisit it in the presence of a new president," Moore said. "They've at least got some negotiating room later on, no matter who's elected president."

Keystone XL is an $8-billion project that would carry U.S. and Canadian oil to American refineries.

A new federal government was recently elected in Canada, oil is below $45 a barrel, and a U.S. presidential election is a year away. All of that seems to lead to the logical conclusion that the company wants to wait for more favourable climate, both economically and politically, said David Gantz, who teaches international trade law at the University of Arizona.

Click through for the remainder of the article.  As I started reading, I felt this request was likely a strategic move on the part of Trans Canada.  Mr Trudeau has stated that he is not in favour of the Embridge pipelines, nor tanker traffic on the coasts.  But he has not come out definitively against the Keystone XL.  With Hillary Clinton coming out against the Keystone XL, it could be that Trans Canada is waiting in hopes of a Republican in the White House. (God forbid!)

My Universe — 


This is how the world should be . . . how I want it to be!