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!

Oct 302015

Well today was one of those days when I was hoping to get something done . . . like laundry!  So that didn't happen but I did manage a nap of several hours.  I hear the rain so I think that is my clue to go to bed and snuggle with my babes!  Tomorrow is physiotherapy with the promise of neck traction and exercises I missed earlier because I was sick.  Update — It's Friday at 5:30 pm and I just arrived home after a full and tiring day.  I awoke with a blood sugar low (I am diabetic) which prevented me from getting the article up before going to physio.  Sorry about that!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:42). To do it, click here. How did you do?  Did I mention that I used to swim competitively in high school?  No umbrellas, but lots of lane markers!

Short Takes 

Common Dreams — "The conference of Presidents decided that the Sakharov Prize will go to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi,"said Martin Schulz, the Parliament’s president. "This man, who is an extremely good man and an exemplary good man, has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties that exist in this country which can only be described as brutal torture."

Schulz then went further, calling on the Saudi king "to free him, so he can accept the prize."

"Freedom of expression is the air that every thinker breathes, the spark that lights his thoughts. Over the centuries, nations and societies have only progressed thanks to their thinkers."
—Raif Badawi

I have signed many petitions for the safe release of Raif Badawi who has a home in Canada, where his wife and children were given asylum, when he is released.  Sweden announced some time ago that an arms deal with Saudi Arabia was cancelled.  Afterwards there were many apologies.  I am hoping that the new government in Canada will step up diplomatic efforts with Saudi Arabia.  Following are four petitions calling for the release of Badawi, some of which you may already have signed.

Amnesty International, UK with over 1 million signatures

Amnesty International, Canada with almost 92,000 signatures

AVAAZ     GoPetition

IBT — Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has become the latest in the restaurant industry to show his dislike for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his controversial position on illegal immigration. During a recent interview on SiriusXM's StandUp With Pete Dominick, Bourdain defended undocumented immigrants in the US and took a shot at The Donald. … According to Eater, Bourdain would go on to say that if Trump won the general election and fulfill his promise to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US, "every restaurant in America would shut down." 

I wonder if Trump will try suing Bourdain like he is suing two other chefs. Mind, they pulled their restaurants out of a Trump Hotel project.  I wonder, if Trump should ever become POTUS, would he ever put all his business dealings and assets in a blind trust?  Nah! . . . and I don't think he'll be POTUS!

Huffington Post — The new EU proposition specifically asks countries to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." 

Will the EU member countries stick to this or will some cave to US extradition attempts should Snowden leave Russia?  Will Russia allow him to leave if he chooses?  Some unanswered questions for now.

Alternet… debates took place in an alternate reality, where facts are made up on the spot and history doesn't matter.

Here are some of those lies, distortions, and misrepresentations.

1. The fake “forced…socialism” of Obamacare.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) said that the Democrats “forced Obamacare and socialism down our throats.” That ignores the fact that the Affordable Care Act is far from socialist; it was based on a plan implemented by Republican Mitt Romney in his state, and mirrors a proposal from the conservative Heritage Foundation. After all, Obamacare is based on expanding care through private health insurance plans. It's worth noting that we do have socialism in our system; the Veterans Administration and Medicare, and Americans love both.

Click through for the other seven lies and distortions.  With all the demonising of CNBC at the 3rd debate, word has it that the campaigns are plotting a revolt against the RNC  . . . "to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee."

My Universe — 





Oct 202015

For me, today has been hectic.  When I finally arrived home about 5 pm, I wanted to check on election results but that had to wait until I indulged in one of Lona's cat naps.  And what would a cat nap be without furry critters purring away?  Now, if I could only convince the critters not to shed!  But at least Canadians shed the Harper government!!!  Today's thread is a little longer with the Canadian election results included.  To say the least, I am a happy Canuck!!!  Too bad Harper wasn't defeated in his own constituency though.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:34 (average 4:45). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

Huffington Post — No, John Oliver's not going to a Canadian jail. He can also keep that $5,000 he was apparently ready to dish over to Canadian authorities.

The comedian devoted a segment to Canada's election on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," which culminated in mockery of a law forbidding foreigners from influencing Canadian elections.

He ridiculed its maximum six-month prison penalty and $5,000 fine. Oliver's seeming desire to fight the re-election of Stephen Harper was apparently so great that he was willing to risk it all, tossing money at the camera and practically daring Canada to arrest him.

Today, Monday 19/10/2015, is election day here in Canada.  It is 7:30 pm and the polls in BC and the Yukon are now closed and the counting begins.  We already know that the Liberals, headed by Justin Trudeau, have taken Atlantic Canada with 31 of 32 seats.  By all anecdotal accounts, the polling stations have been very busy, some with long line ups, but none to rival Florida's line ups in the last US election.  It will be interesting to see what the final results and the turn out are.  Enjoy John Oliver "reporting" on our election process with the aid of Canadian ex-pat, Mike Meyers.  It had me laughing!

Think Progress — “Whether it is in mosques, education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country,” Shuja Shafi, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary General, told Reuters.

And according to Reuters, an independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation named David Anderson warned that such measures could actually backfire, driving members of the Muslim community toward extremism and terrorism.

It seems that conservatives, whether American, Canadian, British, or any other, operate in a climate of fear rather than hope and reconciliation. Cameron's policies seem to have caught even some in his own party by surprise and with concern.  Is it correct to tar and feather everyone in a group, in this case British Muslims, along with extremists?

CBC — Canadians, he said, had sent a clear message that it's "time for change in this country my friends. Real change."

"We beat fear with hope," Trudeau said. "We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together."

At dissolution of the last government, the Conservatives held 159 seats, NDP 95, Liberal 36, Bloc Québécois 2, Green Party 2, Strength in Democracy 2, Independent 8, and 4 vacant seats.  As a result of the last census, 30 new seats were created for a total of 338.  For a majority government, a party will have to win 170 seats.  The results of today's election have Liberals with 184 seats, Conservatives 99, NDP 44, Bloc Québécois 10, and Green Party 1.  Stephen Harper retained his seat but has stepped down as the Conservative leader.  Justin Trudeau is the new Prime Minister of Canada.  Phew!!!

Huffington Post — Monday's federal election saw the biggest voter turnout in the country in over 20 years, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada.

The government organization said 17.5 million of 25.6 million registered voters cast a ballot — a turnout of 68.3 per cent.

This is what 'get out the vote' looks like, and yet, this turnout is nowhere near the 1958 turnout of 79.4% that brought Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker to power, nor the 79.2% turnout that ousted Diefenbaker in favour of Liberal Lester Pearson.

Daily Kos — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman keeps cracking down on wage theft, and around 250 workers will be sharing in a nearly $500,000 settlement from four current and former Papa John's franchisees.

Papa John's pizza sign

This is great news for the workers, but when will justice be served and these corporate criminals go to prison?  If you or I stole something and were caught, we would go to jail.  Why not these corporate criminals who have stolen wages etc?

My Universe — 

dogs fault


Oct 202015

Congrats to Canada!  (Sorry to steal your thunder, Lynn – but I could NOT resist the picture!)



OTTAWA — The nine-year reign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party came to a sudden and stunning end on Monday night at the hands of Justin Trudeau, the young leader of the Liberal Party.

Starting with a sweep of the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals capitalized on what many Canadians saw as Mr. Harper’s heavy-handed style, and the party went on to capture 184 of the 338 seats in the next House of Commons. The unexpected rout occurred 47 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, first swept to power.


Canada’s general elections have concluded with a landslide win for the Liberal Party and their leader, Justin Trudeau, ending the almost 10-year-rule of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Oct 132015

Well today was turkey day!  I say "was" because I have already consumed a wonderfully moist turkey dinner with all the trimmings and a piece of pumpkin pie.  I am satiated!  I can still smell that turkey! So now to finish up with that smell firmly planted in my mind. 

Puzzle — Today’s took me 4:40 (average 5:51). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Upworthy — Kids try to tell us things all the time that they don't know how to describe.

They don't have the words to say it. Or they're embarrassed, or terrified, like the child in this video. (And while the stat at the end of the video is specifically about India, I've included a look at other countries and here at home below.)

It pays to be very aware of what is going on with kids.  Listen to what theysay, and don't say.

Alternet — Why is Ryan likely to take the bait and become the next speaker? As he wrote in 2012, grousing about compromise after compromise that he had to vote for, “Taken together, these experiences taught me valuable lessons about how the House and Senate operate, and I came away with an even deeper appreciation for the role of congressional leadership. Who holds the top post really matters because the decisions they make at the outset determine the votes that ever member has to take and how much good we can achieve for the country and our fellow citizens.”

What follows are six examples of the “good we can achieve” if Ryan becomes speaker.

Read the entire Alternet article to get a flavour of Ryan's “good we can achieve”.  I don't think that there will much of any good coming out Washington with a severely conservative Congress. November 2015 is the time to make some changes at the state and local levels.  2016 is the time to make big changes in the Congress for a more balanced Congress, a progressive Congress. 

Huffington Post — Iran's parliament passed a bill on Tuesday supporting a nuclear deal with world powers, signaling a victory for the government over conservative opponents of the agreement and clearing the way for it to be implemented.

Athena Image

Many lawmakers strongly opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that President Hassan Rouhani's government reached with world powers on July 14, and Tuesday's vote removes an obstacle to putting the agreement into practice.

The article goes on to state that if sanctions are not removed as per the agreement, Iran will resume its nuclear activities.  With saber rattling by Sunni Saudi Arabia towards Shite Iran and Russia, there is more chance of a bigger war in the Middle East.  All parties must stick to the deal.  Spend some time reading The Historic Deal that Will Prevent Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon .

My Universe — 


Oct 122015

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here  in Canada.  I visited my mother and fed her a turkey dinner with all the trimmings today . . . although for her, it is all mashed as she can't chew well.  I usually sit between my mother and another resident alternating feeding.  It helps the staff to have another set of hands and eyes.  By the time I went home, I was exhausted.  So here I sit finishing the tail end of the Open Thread having just swallowed the last of my dinner.  I am thankful for many things but I am especially thankful for TC and everything that he has taught me; for the friendships of Nameless, JL and Joanne; and for all of you that keep me going.  Thank you.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:50 (average 4:23). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Upworthy — In recent years, we're seeing more and more artists explore new mediums that reduce their environmental impact, like salt, ice, and even trash. It's leading to some incredible work.  

Joanna's medium of choice?  Fallen leaves.

Having majored in fine arts in high school and been accepted to study fine arts at university, I feel I know a thing or two. Joanna's work is exceptional.  Read more at Upworthy.

Mother Jones — Perhaps realizing that Cruz does need to grab some early-state mojo, his campaign has decided to focus more on Iowa. Starting next week, Cruz will blast through the state with 20 campaign stops in seven days.

Is that enough? Robinson suggests that if Cruz wants his rivals to implode, he might have to start explicitly attacking candidates in his brackets, such as Carson, who has a strong presence in Iowa and major support among the evangelical voters whom Cruz needs. Instead, Cruz is acting like a front-runner, setting up a "firewall" and avoiding direct clashes with his primary rivals.

"What signs are there that these [other candidates] are just going to be a flash in the pan and Ted Cruz is going to pick up the crumbs?" asks Robinson. "I don't see any evidence of that."

So, how's it going for you, Cruz?  My prediction: Cruz won't last because his non plan is a bust.  Read more at Mother Jones.

Think Progress — USHCC President Javier Palomarez challenged the Ohio governor on the fact that women in his state working full time are getting paid roughly 78 percent of what men make — according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. For Latina women across the U.S., the gap is even greater: just 54 percent of what men made in 2014.

Palomarez pointed out that Kasich has daughters of his own, and asked how he explains this disparity to them.

“Well, a lot of it is based on experience,” Kasich replied. “A lot of different factors go into it. It’s all tied up in skills. Do you not have the skills to be able to compete?”

Kasich really knows how to step in it . . . and right up to his neck!  This is the same Republican candidate vying for the nomination to run for POTUS. This is also the same man that on 09/10/2015 said to a New Hampshire audience member that he would "get over" cuts to Social Security payments as a result of his reform plan.  A most despicable little man. Read the rest at Think Progress.

My Universe — Mornings can be a bitch. Especially Mondays.

Sep 292015

As Puddy Tat always says "Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how nutty InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception."

3. Jeb manages to insult black voters a la Romney’s 47 percent gaffe.

At a campaign stop in South Carolina, Jeb Bush was jawing away in front of one of his typical lily-white crowds, when someone asked him how Republicans might appeal to African-American voters. First, Bush mentioned that some of his best staff members are black, and explained how when he speaks Spanish, he does not mean it as an insult to America. Then he proceeded to insult black people in a way that immediately conjured up Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent remark.

Here’s what he said:

Think about it this way, Republicans get 4-7 percent of the African-American vote…If you double that, you win elections in Ohio, Virginia. And we should make that case, because our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division, “get in line, we’ll take care of you with free stuff.” Our message is uplifting, that says, “You can achieve earned success. We’re on your side."

You gotta hand it to him. Bush packed a remarkable amount of insulting and offensive racial stereotyping in that one little tone-deaf statement. Romney’s 47 percent theory was bad, but not explicitly about black voters, though certainly that code was embedded in his theorizing about the 47 percent of people who would vote for Obama no matter what and are dependent on the government.

Nope, Bush just came right out and said that black voters like free stuff, and they don’t know about “earned success,” so we'll teach them about it.

That "uplifting" message is bound to win over African-American voters big-time.


No doubt Bush, a la Romney, will attempt to explain how he did not actually say what he said, was quoted out of context, or perhaps did not understand the question, or was himself, misunderstood.

This is the third of 5 Nutty Right Wing Moments This Week.  Read the rest at Alternet.  If they were notso pathetic, they might be funny in their total stupidity!

Sep 262015

Today has been a very busy day for me.  After 2.5 hours of physio therapy which includes weights, bicycling, ultra sound etc, I was off to teach ESL. My student was upset from a meeting last Monday and a letter she received, so I spent some time advocating for her with a provincial government office. Once that was done, she was calmer and better able to concentrate on the lesson.  I finally came home about 4 pm, did some prep work for TC's blog, and then indulged in one of Lona's cat naps. Thank goodness she sends those by the gross!  So here we are.  My oldest boy just came into the den and is lying on the floor beside me.  If the chair were empty, he'd be in the chair!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:26 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?  For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

RSN — You are going to be hearing a lot about “Bernie Sanders, the Radical Socialist” in the coming months. So before that bandwagon rolls off down the great American highway let’s pin a little truth to its tail.

“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.”
– Noam Chomsky

Socialism for working people, maybe not so radical. Want to really make America great again? Do it the way FDR did it in the 1930s. That is where Sanders is leading the 99%.

Socialism in the US is a very misunderstood term, but it exists and possibly in places you never thought of before.  Read the rest of this short piece to learn more. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr had it right!

Raw Story — Prior to being fired herself, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina used tax incentives from the federal government, intended to increase research and development and employee hiring, to buy back stock before firing thousands of HP workers.

According to The Daily Beast, Fiorina — whose troubled tenure at HP has come under more scrutiny as she moves up in the polls for the GOP presidential nomination — was not the only high-ranking executive to take advantage of a corporate “tax holiday” and work it to her own advantage.

Is Fiorina the kind of leadership that the Republicans want in the White House?  She has failed in spectacular fashion in business; she allowed her company to commit fraud against the federal government all the while laying off tens of thousands of workers while shareholders were enriched (including herself); she managed to get one hell of a golden parachute despite tanking her company; she has lied about "Planned Parenthood" videos; and she thinks that she's done nothing wrong. 

Alternet — In addressing a question about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Chomsky assessed the political landscape: "Today’s Democrats are what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum. They’re so committed to extreme wealth and power that they cannot get votes … So what has happened is that they’ve mobilized sectors of the population that have been around for a long time. … Trump may be comic relief, but it’s not that different from the mainstream, which I think is more important."

…[Republican Party] It’s a radical insurgency; it’s not a political party.

I am a Chomsky fan and have been for a number years.  This 4 minute video is worth the time to listen.  The audience certainly gets into Chomsky's humour.

My Universeh/t Dandelion — It's Saturday and time to partay!

Sep 232015

This afternoon, I spent some time looking at Racel Maddow tapings as well as some other worthy videos on YouTube.  That's when I came across the video of Bernie Sanders speaking at Liberty University.  Here it is, approximately 53 minutes in length, speech and a Q&A.  It is refreshing to see someone, especially a politician, that acknowledges that he can't be all things to all people.



What do you think about his stance on family values . . . moral values?  I was suitably impressed.

Feel the Bern!

Sep 222015

Today turned out not to be as busy as I thought.  My ESL student is sick so cancelled our class.  That gave me a chance for a short Lona cat nap after physio before finishing this post.  The nap didn't last long as there were fire trucks and ambulances  in the street below my window.  I am blessed with the local hospital across the street to the east, and the main fire hall across the street to the west.  No matter their proximity, the truck engines and sirens were wailing away keeping me from a nap.  At least I managed a good sleep last night.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:28 (average 6:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?  For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Daily Kos — … Stewart also offered a "warning" to the first responders as they prepared to trek the halls of Congress. "Today, on [Capitol] Hill, you will be exposed to possibly toxic levels of bulls**t and arrogance," …

Now isn't that the truth!  As Jon said (paraphrase) to a gathered group of first responders, when the need was there, you jumped in right away to do what you were trained to do.  Why should you have to push to get the benefits needed as a result of your heroism?  Jon is so spot on, and we know where the problem lies . . . with Republicans!

CBC — "Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately," Walker said at a press conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

scott walker

"I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner," Walker continued. "This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and more importantly to the future of our country."

Read the rest of the story through the link.

Well, the darling of the Koch set has pulled the plug on his 2016 presidential aspirations.  I wonder how the Kochs are taking it?  A while back, I distinctly had the impression that the relationship between Walker, the Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan, and the Kochs had significantly cooled.

Here from the Huffington Post is a series of tweets from Liz Mair, a former aide to the Fartfuhrer describing why he couldn't win the White House in 2016.

Alternet — … The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars. … Shkreli claims that the higher cost for the drug is necessary for his new company to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, a claim which doctors quoted in the Times article call hollow as the side effects for Daraprim are manageable and there is no "clamoring" for a substitute. Interestingly, Shkreli's is the same type of claim pharmaceutical companies made in response to efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Read the rest.  I find it inexcusable for such price increases.  Ultimately, it hurts everyone and will lead to greater loss of life.

My Universe — h/t JL — Ah, the humble toilet paper roll that every cat parent understands!  My little Annie has shredded one or two, but her favourite is the famous paper towel roll.  She renders them useless . . . totally useless!

Sep 162015

Electronic voting machines in 43 states are at least a decade old, "perilously close to the end of most systems' expected lifespan," and could pose a risk to the 2016 election, a new study from the the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law finds.

After a 10 month probe that included interviews with over 100 election officials and experts in every state, the investigators concluded that the threat also extends to "significant percentages of machines" in swing states including Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

Entitled America's Voting Machines at Risk, the study warns: "Old voting equipment increases the risk of failures and crashes—which can lead to long lines and lost votes on Election Day—and problems only get worse the longer we wait."

The warning evokes the "hanging chads" scandal that swept George W. Bush into the presidency in 2000 despite the fact that he lost the nationwide popular vote. While the debacle prompted Congress to appropriate $2 billion towards electronic voting systems, that equipment is now quickly becoming outdated, the report warns.

"Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade," said Christopher Famighetti, co-author of the report, in a statement. "Several recent innovations show it’s possible to move toward more affordable and flexible voting machines. States must develop plans to deal with aging machines before 2016, and invest in the next generation of machines for future elections to come."

Common Dreams

In my early days at PP, I remember numerous articles about voting machine irregularities, particularly in Florida and South Carolina.

Perhaps you remember like I do, the testimony of Clinton Eugene Curtis. Click here for a video of his testimony.  

This from Truth-Out which was used in PP on 22/01/2012

22ess…And now we come to the "First-in-the-South" Republican primary in South Carolina, whereall evidence of how voters vote disappears entirely as the voters will be forced across the entire state to vote on easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems made by the nation’s largest voting machine company, ES&S. When the machine-reported results are announced tomorrow night they will either be accurate or not. Either way, there will never be a way for anybody to know one way or the other as there will be nothing to prove how voters voted and nothing to "recount", even if anybody wanted to.

Appropriately enough, perhaps, Saturday’s primary in the Palmetto State will offer100% "faith-based" voting, since it will be scientifically impossible to prove that even a single vote for any candidate on the ballot has been recorded accurately by the ES&S iVotronic touch-screens as per any voter’s intent. Known [sic] what we mean, Alvin Greene?…

The machines that will be in use on Saturday in South Carolina are the very same ones that reported an unknown, unemployed, seemingly-illiterate man named Alvin Greene — who had done no campaigning, had no campaign staff, had no campaign money and no campaign website — had unverifiably defeated Vic Rawl, a four-term state legislator and circuit court judge who had campaigned and raised money across the entire state, for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

They are the same brand and model of machines (some of them, quite literally, the very same physical machines!) that were used in Florida’s contested Congressional District 13 race for the U.S. Congress in 2006 when they inexplicably lost some 18,000 votes in a race ultimately awarded to the Republican candidate Vern Buchanan over Democrat Christine Jennings by just 369 votes…

I commented then and I stand by it now:

"And those damned voting machines!  Let them use the whitewash versions that allow more election fraud in the state and local contests if they really want to, but this is yet another reason that in federal elections, there should be consistency and transparency.  States rights be damned when it comes to federal elections.  To ensure some modicum of fairness, the system in every state, the rules, the procedures, the machines used should all be the same.  After all, this is the whole US that we are talking about, a country that has in the past be thought of as the bastion of democracy.  If the US can’t have consistency, fairness and transparency in their own elections, then how can they monitor those of other countries."


Regardless whether you vote with electronic voting machines or mail in ballots like Oregon, you need to be REGISTERED!

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, 22 September 2015

With many US jurisdictions having November elections with registration deadlines in advance of the election, it is imperative to register or update your registration if you have moved.  If you have questions about your registration, please contact the League of Women Voters .

Once you are registered, make sure that you