Nov 232015

While I do not claim to be an expert on the politics of our neighbors to the north, the more I hear, since Harper and his Harlots got the boot, the better I like it.  The foul oil that comes from the tar sands is Canada’s biggest blight on the continent, so I am encouraged by good news from Alberta.

1123oil_sandsAlberta’s carbon footprint, spurred on by the tar sands industry, has been steadily growing in recent years. So when the New Democratic Party took power in a surprise victory earlier this year, environmentalists hoped it signaled a turning point for Canada’s largest oil-producing province.

On Sunday, new Alberta Premier Rachel Notely lived up to those expectations. Notely announced new pledges to limit fossil fuels in the province, by phasing out all coal power usage by 2030, imposing a carbon tax beginning in 2017, and placing a limit on carbon pollution from the tar sands industry.

“This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day when we start doing our part,” Notley said. “Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity.”

The announcement comes after months of statements by high-ranking government officials within Alberta signaling a change in the province’s approach to carbon emissions and climate change. In June, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips promised a “new era of responsible energy development and environmental sustainability,” suggesting that the province could as much as double its carbon tax by 2017. In September, Notley also told the Guardian that the province would look to diversify its energy portfolio in the coming years, steering away from fossil fuels and towards more renewable energy sources.

In the Guardian interview, Notley emphasized greater interest in regulating the tar sands industry’s carbon emissions rather than shutting it down altogether. But the industry itself has been battered in recent months by a slew of government rejections — from Keystone XL to oil tanker traffic in British Columbia — and thousands of lost jobs due to the falling price of oil…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

My one disappointment here is that the Tar Sands need to be shut down altogether.  The environmental regulations protecting Canada mean that the only place left for the industry is to ship the filth to or through our country.  I hope our government will ban shipping Tar Sands sludge here.

Nov 222015

Yesterday I was cleared to take a real human shower, with assistance and supervision.  The drive in shower is in another unit, presenting scheduling difficulties, but I’m hoping to take one today.  Today is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos’ service is with the Bears.  I will not be able to see it, because the damn SeaChickewns are playing at the same time.  My the Holy Orb bless your team, unless they shit in the woods.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Just days after withdrawing from the 2016 Presidential race, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said that he would return the seventy dollars raised by his campaign.

Speaking to reporters in Baton Rouge, Jindal said he was proud that his campaign war chest “came entirely from small donors.”

Dang, Andy!! Booby Butthead actually raised THAT MUCH?!!?

From Daily Kos: Since William Rehnquist joined the Supreme Court, it has made several rulings that have knocked the U.S. Constitution out of whack. Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who deliberated on most of those rulings, has written six amendments to fix the damage and tune-up the Constitution. Stevens published his proposed amendments last year in the book “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” The amendments are terse, surgical fixes, which seem to fit the Constitution’s style of saying much with few words. The book gives a good history and description of each problem. Here is a brief rundown with the text of each amendment:

1. The “Anti-Commandeering” Rule: In 1997, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court, created an “anti-commandeering” rule, which bans Congress from ordering state officials to carry out federal duties. The case was brought by two county sheriffs, who did not want to do background checks for firearm sales as ordered by the Brady Act. The new rule led to holes in the database that would allow persons prone to violence, like the killer in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, to get firearms. Stevens notes that the “anti-commandeering” rule could also cripple other Congressional acts, from routine administration of federal programs to emergency responses to national catastrophes or acts of terror. His fix adds four words (in bold below) to the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges and other public officials in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

I agree with virtually everything Justice Srevens has to say. I have shared one of six of his proposed Constitutional amendments. Click through for the other five.

From NY Times: Outside her two-story tract home in this working-class town, Debbie Alberts, a part-time food service worker, has torn out most of the lawn. She has given up daily showers and cut her family’s water use nearly in half, to just 178 gallons per person each day.

A little more than 100 miles west, a resident of the fashionable Los Angeles hills has been labeled “the Wet Prince of Bel Air” after drinking up more than 30,000 gallons of water each day — the equivalent of 400 toilet flushes each hour with two showers running constantly, with enough water left over to keep the lawn perfectly green.

Only one of them has been fined for excessive water use: Ms. Alberts.

Four years into the worst drought in California’s recorded history, the contrast between the strict enforcement on Californians struggling to conserve and the unchecked profligacy in places like Bel Air has unleashed anger and indignation — among both the recipients of the fines, who feel helpless to avoid them, and other Californians who see the biggest water hogs getting off scot-free.

What an Outrage! This injustice could not be more Californicated!!



Nov 172015

Well Monday is done and Tuesday is upon us.  There was no ice in the morning but the rain was vicious all day.  In West Vancouver, there was some snow, and I am sure there was some snow in the mountains above me . . . I just couldn't see it because of the thick rain clouds.  It has been raining today but rain and wind should intensify later this afternoon. After I have my hair cut this afternoon, I just might stop for a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (my favourite) and relax with a book.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:56). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

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

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

7-3-0 .700 L1 10 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

6-4-0 .600 W1 7 948.50 844.04


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon

5-5-0 .500 W3 5 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

5-5-0 .500 L1 4 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-6-0 .400 L3 3 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-7-0 .300 L3 2 884.98 1,059.66


1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Daily Beast — A series of interviews with Ben Carson prove once again that foreign policy isn’t brain surgery. No, seriously.

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris on Friday, Ben Carson has done a great job showing the world just how little he knows about foreign policy over and over again.

Click through for the rest of this short piece, which is apparently much longer than Carson's foreign policy knowledge.  And this is the pseudo politician that many Republican voters want in the White House?  I wonder how long it will take Carson to call this question a "gotcha question" and start railing against the "liberal press" [snark]?

Huffington Post — A video of a father explaining the Paris attacks to his son has captured our hearts.

In Friday’s aftermath, French news broadcast Le Petit Journal interviewed the unnamed child to ask if he understood what happened in his city and why the shootings happened. “Yes, because they’re really, really mean,” the boy said. “Bad guys are not very nice.”

As the boy began to worry that his family would have to move, the father stepped in. “No, don’t worry. We don’t need to move out,” the dad said. “France is our home.”

Click through for the rest of the article and a video of the boy and his father.  It is a hanky moment to be sure.  the innocence of a child juxtaposed against the carnage of bombs.

And here is something I received from Wendy Kelly @ Care2 that is very moving.

The husband of a young woman who died in the horrific Terrorist Attacks in Paris has written a heartbreaking letter to her killers.

Antoine Leiris, a journalist at France Bleu, declared that he and their baby son would not live in fear of terrorists.

In the tragic note, titled 'You will not have my hatred' he wrote: "On Friday evening you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred.

"I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife is a wound in his heart.

"So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.

"You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You have lost. The player still plays.

"I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than 12 years ago.

"Of course I am devastated with grief, I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived.

"I know she will be with us every day and we will find each other in heaven with free souls which you will never have.

"Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back to [my son] who has just woken from his sleep.

"He is only just 17 months old, he is going to eat his snack just like every other day, then we are going to play like every other day and all his life this little boy will be happy and free.

"Because you will never have his hatred either."

These two fathers also remind me of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian medical doctor, now resident in Canada, who wrote the book I Shall Not Hate following the killing of three of his daughters by Israeli forces in Gaza some years ago.

The Atlantic — In the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, today’s Republican leaders either deny climate science outright or insist that any solution, as Marco Rubio recently claimed, “would have a devastating impact on our economy.” This has relegated the GOP to playing defense at the moment that President Obama is turning climate mitigation into a central pillar of his legacy and heading to Paris to broker a global climate agreement. Republicans have backed themselves into a losing climate position that not only reflects poor science, poor economics, and poor strategy, but also betrays enduring conservative principles.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I think the following statement from the article sums things up.  

"But what makes for good policy does not necessarily make for good politics."

Republicans are much more interested in ideology than in governing for the public good.  The Conservative government in Australia has approved the Carmichael coal mine backed by India's Adani Enterprises in central Queensland.  The COemissions alone outstripe many of the world's major cities.  And what it means to the Great Barrier Reef is past appalling.

aitgraphWhat it means to a world already facing increasing temperatures is more trouble.  2015 is set to be the hotest year on record and 2016 will likely follow.

My Universe — 

Nov 142015

I just got back to bed after eating breakfast in a wheel chair and taking a hunting trip a around the unit.  I couldn’t ketch one today either.  Smile with tongue out    I’m hoping OT comes today so I can mount the porcelain throne to Republicate.

Short Takes:

From KPTV: In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Portland City Council passed a resolution opposing any project that increases the transportation or storage of fossil fuels in Portland.

Now, city workers will develop rules that move Portland away from projects that involve coal or oil.

Furthermore they recently passed a measure banning explosive oil trains from the city. Oregon leads the way.

From Daily Kos: That Ben Carson gets awfully creative with the truth is by now well established. Here’s one if his more interesting ones, that Medicare and Medicaid fraud  is “huge—half a trillion dollars.” Which is pretty much impossible, since total spending for the two programs is less than a trillion—$980 billion last year, to be exact. But here’s a new wrinkle on that specific claim: Carson has some very personal experience with Medicare fraud: his best friend and business partner has been convicted of it.

The friend in question, indeed Carson’s best friend and business partner, is a Philadelphia-area oral surgeon, Alfonso Costa. 

Carson and Costa have long been tight. They vacation together, and Carson holidays at an Italian resort villa owned by Costa’s company. Costa is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Ben Carson Scholars Fund, which awards $1,000 college scholarships to students who demonstrate good character and strong academics. And Costa’s real estate development firm helps to oversee a lucrative investment for Carson and his wife, one that last year netted the Carsons between $200,000 and $2 million, according to the GOP candidate’s financial disclosure forms.

As much as a quarter of Carson’s $8 million-plus personal wealth is tied up in various real estate ventures with Costa.

Why am I not surprised? If uncle Token weren’t a criminal, he wouldn’t be a Republican!

From NY Times: The Paris area reeled Friday night from a shooting rampage, explosions and mass hostage-taking that President François Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack on France. His government announced sharply increased border controls and heightened police powers as it mobilized the military in a national emergency.

French television and news services quoted the police as saying that around 100 people had been killed at a concert site where hostages had been held during a two-hour standoff with the police, and that perhaps dozens of others had been killed in apparently coordinated attacks outside the country’s main sports stadium and four other popular locations in the city. But estimates on the total number of dead varied.

Witnesses on French television said the scene at the concert hall, which can seat as many as 1,500 people, was a massacre, describing how gunmen with automatic weapons shot bursts of bullets into the crowd.

This is tragic. I’m sending thoughts and prayers to the survivors, the victims families, all who love them. However you connect with the infinite, please join me.



Nov 132015

Well, it has been raining all day.  Tonight, ferry sailings have been cancelled due to heavy seas, rain and wind warnings.  Believe me, it takes a lot to cancel a ferry sailing.  I was on a sailing years ago when cars were bouncing as much as 25 cm off the deck and then coming down with a thud.  Subsequent sailings were cancelled.  So here I sit with my little girl curled up at my feet, all warm and toasty and dry!  For us, at least half the weekend is supposed to be like this.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 4:46). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

The New Yorker — These are not abstractions. And this is where the arguments about the freedom of speech become most tone deaf. The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of one’s liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two current flashpoints.  But should they be flashpoints?  I don't think so . . . my freedoms end at the tip of my nose, while yours end at the tip of your nose.  The systemic racism and definition of rights in the US leaves me scratching my head.

Common Dreams — On September 21, Pah, a 16-year-old student at Oakland’s Street Academy, spoke out against the export of coal through the Port of Oakland to City Council members: “I’m opposed to this coal export because it will make my community in West Oakland sick. I support jobs, but not the kind of jobs that make us sick. There are clean job alternatives, like Community Choice energy, and this will be good for the health of my community. This is my generation; I want to have a healthy life.” 

Click through for the rest of the article.  A promising arrangement for greener and cheaper power.  What's not to like?  Living in British Columbia where power is controlled by a Crown Corporation and utilities are currently highly regulated, I wonder how such a system could work here, if at all.

Washington Post — Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I know that I cringe at the thoughts of a President Trump or a President Carson.  Neither is fit, in my mind, to be president.  But then, I don't think any of the current Republican aspirants is fit.

Mother Jones — One thing every Republican presidential candidate can agree on is that they hate President Barack Obama's plan to tackle climate change. Now Hillary Clinton might have a way to remedy one of their biggest concerns.

… Today Clinton produced her own $30 billion plan, which would use a smattering of tax incentives and grant funding to support public health, education, and entrepreneurial initiatives in coal communities from Appalachia to Wyoming. 

You can read the full plan here. It follows the lead of a similar but much smaller initiative Obama rolled out last month. Much of it is targeted at rebuilding infrastructure—highways, bridges, railroads, broadband networks. The Clinton campaign says that kind of development would not only create new jobs to replace those lost in the coal industry, but be vital for growing new industries.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I remember coal being delivered to my home, and later to the apartment building where I lived.  Unfortunately, our apartment was directly above the coal bin and coal dust was a part of life unfortunately.  But that was in the 1950s and 60s.  Coal has been in decline for years but politicians in coal states are mired in the coal dust of the past rather than looking forward to new opportunities.  It seems that Hillary has beat them to the punch!

My Universe Cuteness overload to usher in the weekend!

Yeah Weekend cat

Nov 112015

It’s been a busy day, pushing myself to learn new physical skills, while choking back the pain that accompanies the effort,  and doing the prep work for three articles.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to get a long-term transportation funding bill out of the House last week. While that first long-term funding bill in a decade was a pretty significant accomplishment, his conference is warning that they won’t let him do anything else without a fight. That fight: Noxious policy riders attached to spending bills that have to pass by December 11 to avert a government shutdown.

Asked early in the week whether he would press so-called “policy riders” to the spending bill that would condition the money—perhaps to defund Planned Parenthood or rein in the EPA—Ryan suggested he wouldn’t back down from the fight, noting Congress is the institution that holds the power of the purse and “we fully expect that we are going to exercise that power.”

Because the spending fight is a tough line to walk due to the warring factions inside the GOP conference demanding different things, Ryan put together an advisory group of key leaders representing the different ideological viewpoints. Representatives of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 members on the right who were Boehner’s toughest critics, will join members of the moderate Tuesday Group, and the Republican Study Committee, another large group of conservatives for weekly sessions to discuss policy ideas. […]

“I’m not going to pre-determine the outcome of negotiations that have not even taken place yet,” Ryan said. He also pointed out that Congress was separately moving a budget process — known as “reconciliation”—that stripped federal money for the group, and that path was a better bet to get a bill to the President’s desk.

But as Ryan tries to avoid saying specifically what House Republicans will do on the spending bill, Senate Democrats are insisting that the appropriations bills all be lumped together in a massive omnibus measure. That means party leaders like Ryan will have to get personally involved to hash out a compromise behind the scenes and push it through both chambers. That tactic could infuriate the right of Ryan’s conference, but Democrats say it’s the only way to go.

At the moment, Ryan is trying to take a hands-off approach, leaving it up to the appropriations committee to do the negotiating with various factions. That’s not going to fly. And it’s not going to be enough for the Freedom Caucus, the group of maniacs that seems to claim the largest membership. “We think he is going to want input from members of the Freedom Caucus as well as input from everyone else in the conference,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, when asked about the budget fight. “That’s how it’s supposed to work, he’s committed to do that.” Jordan and his members are already pushing hard to include those noxious policy riders—that Senate Democrats will not allow to pass.

Lyin’ Ryan is learning that dealing with Republican wackydoodles, bent on committing TEAbuggery, is just as impossible for him as it was for his predecessor, who has been demoted. Agent Orange was the Soused Speaker. Now, he’s just a Limp Boehner.

From The New Yorker: Arguing that the voters have tired of “gotcha questions,” the Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he hoped Tuesday night’s debate would “focus on the real issues facing this country, like finding the lost city of Atlantis.”

“The American people don’t want to hear personal attacks,” Carson told reporters. “They want to know which candidate has the best plan for locating Atlantis and recovering its storied treasures.”

Carson said that finding Atlantis was central to his plan for reviving the U.S. economy. “We could start paying down the national debt with one jewel-encrusted trident,” he said.

Andy should have added that many Americans can help search for Atlantis, from an underwater perspective, if Uncle Token wins the White House and implements his environmental policies.

From Upworthy:

You’ve probably never hung out on the moon.

But if you were to, that aerial view of Earth would surely get you thinking. It puts everything into perspective.

You’d probably be thinking: Huh, the Earth kind of looks like a little marble from here. Or, whoa, that little blue marble is home to everyone I’ve ever known — and everyone I haven’t.

When you take time to zoom out to see the bigger picture of the world, you realize that we all have one important thing in common: our home.

It’s that thinking that has some of the world’s most popular musicians coming together to sing about the home we all share and one major problem it’s facing: climate change.

If that doesn’t turn a few heads, nothing will!



Nov 062015

I spent the entire day working on my new computer.  I have barely scratched the surface.  They removed the bandages from my leg.  The pain was severe, but they were pleased with the results.  However, I am not returning to Vibra.  It turns out that I’m making too much progress for them.  I will be taken to a skilled nursing rehabilitation facility, anytime between Monday and ???.  I love the superior healing, but dislike the uncertainty.

I could not be more pleased that Obama put the kibosh on Keystone XL.  I plan to watch the Democratic Forum on my computer, as Legacy’s TV system does not include MSNBC.

Thanks and hugs!


Nov 052015

I spent a good part of today watching the swearing in of the new Canadian government and getting excited about the possibilities.  I am planning an article about it but it is still largely in my head.  Later I indulged in some down time with my babes.  What a purr-fest we had.  Tomorrow I have physio so things will be a bit busier.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 4:02 (average 6:02). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Given that today is the day after the 2015 elections, I thought for some this picture might be appropriate, especially in Republican circles.  H/t to Ted W and Carol B @ Care2.

Short Takes

Alternet — "Given the nature of class politics in America. Given the fact that we have a corrupt campaign finance system," Sanders said. "Given that we have an economy that is rigged. The major point that I am making is that establishment politicians cannot make the kind of changes we need. You can't run a super PAC and take money from Wall Street and say, I'm going to take on Wall Street."

Unfortunately, I cannot embed the video of Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders.  Please click through for the interview video.  As Charles Koch said to Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough when he asked about political donations "I expect something in return."

International Business Times — One of Iran’s commercial airlines last week bought a U.K.-manufactured jet with the aim of using it to deliver Iranian soldiers and weapons to Syria in support of the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad, International Business Times has learned. The purchase of the aircraft by an Iranian concern represents a clear violation of the deal brokered by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, under which Iran pledged to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, said senior American officials and attorneys who handle issues associated with sanctions compliance.

“Temporary sanctions relief … currently in place does not cover the sale or lease of complete aircraft to Iran,” said Betsy Bourassa, a representative of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence within the Treasury Department in Washington. And a representative of the State Department told IBT that it was aware of the sale and is investigating the transaction.

Click through for the rest of the story.  In my mind, this does not bode well for the success of the Iran nuclear agreement, but we'll have to wait to find out the results of the State Department's investigation.  Are Republicans going to try to pillory John Kerry over the deal?  They sure do like political lynchings.

Think Progress — “This bill is about recognizing that the fossil fuel reserves that are on our public lands should be managed in the public interest, and the public interest is for us to help drive a transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy future,” Merkley said on a press call Tuesday. “We don’t have a lot of time to do this, so there’s an urgency to it, and a place that’s readily available for us to act is on the fossil fuels that are on our public lands.”

Merkley referenced findings from earlier this year that 80 percent of coal reserves — along with a third of global oil reserves and half of global natural gas reserves — should stay in the ground between now and 2050 in order to keep warming to 2°C, the limit that many scientists agree we need to stay below in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Banning new oil and gas leases on public lands, as the bill would do, would be a step towards this target.

This is as it should be.  Unfortunately, as Senator Merkley said, he isn't expecting much action because of Congressional leadership [or lack thereof].

My Universe — From the Animal Rescue Site — Some silly cats are confused and think they aren’t cats at all. 

Nov 042015

There is little personal news.  If my wounds keep healing as they should, I’ll go back to Vibra  on Friday afternoon.  The pain should be more manageable by then.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

I cannot do today’s puzzle (average 6:26).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: In the long legal struggle against the death penalty, the future has in some ways never looked brighter.

In a passionate dissent in June, Justice Stephen G. Breyer invited a major challenge to the constitutionality of capital punishment. This fall, Justice Antonin Scalia all but predicted that the court’s more liberal justices would strike down the death penalty.

But lawyers and activists opposed to the death penalty, acutely conscious of what is at stake, are bitterly divided about how to proceed. Some say it is imperative to bring a major case to the court as soon as practicable. Others

“If you don’t go now, there’s a real possibility you have blood on your hands,” said Robert J. Smith, a fellow at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute of Harvard Law School. His scholarship was cited in Justice Breyer’s dissent from a decision upholding the use of an execution drug that three death row inmates argued risked causing excruciating pain.

worry that haste may result in a losing decision that could entrench capital punishment for years.

A dissent by Justice Stephen G. Breyer in June was seen as inviting a death penalty challenge. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

But others are wary. “There are reasons to be cautious about pushing the court to a decision too early,” said Jordan M. Steiker, a law professor at the University of Texas.

The divide is partly generational. Many veteran litigators have suffered stinging setbacks in the Supreme Court, and they favor an incremental strategy. They would continue to chip away at the death penalty in the courts, seek state-by-state abolition and try to move public opinion.

Some younger lawyers and activists urge a bolder course: to ask the Supreme Court to end capital punishment nationwide right away.

As much as I believe hat the death penalty is state sponsored murder that must be outlawed, I do not trust the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) to do it. We need an incremental approach as long as the Republican Reich controls the court.

From Daily Kos: This morning Scarborough appeared to have a severe cognitive collapse during a segment about the Republican Party’s debate-o-phobia (video below). Like most of his ideological allies, he is suffering from the delusion that the American media, owned by a handful of megalithic, multinational corporations, is dominated by liberals. Scarborough set off on a rant about the absence of conservatives on nightly news programs, Sunday shows, and in the executive suites. He badgered his guests to come up with examples of Republicans in those roles, and insisted that they could not do it.

Barf Bag Alert!!


Joe and the Republican Reich are not satisfied with normal pro-Republican media bias. They want a debate panel to include himself, O’Lielly, Hannity, and Glen Beck.

From Trans­Canada wants a Keystone XL timeout.

The company on Monday asked the State Department to suspend consideration of its controversial pipeline while Nebraska officials review its route through the state.

Rachel Maddow covered this topic very well.

Keystone pipeline dead? Company requests suspension of permit

Elana Schor, energy reporter for Politico, talks with Rachel Maddow about the broader context and likely political calculations behind TransCanada’s request that their U.S. permit for the Keystone XL pipeline be suspended.


Like Rachel said, TransCanada is trying to keep the pipeline alive by suspending it in their hope that Republicans take power and approve it. That must not happen.



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!

Nov 022015

It is pouring rain right now and I can here wind gusts whipping around my building.  My babes are snuggled in bed together having feasted on fresh cooked cod, their 3rd favourite dinner after chicken and turkey (white meat only thank you very much).  I have managed 2 loads of laundry so the world is a safer place.  I have physio in the morning followed by teaching.  I think I can say that my cold is gone, but I still intend to indulge in some cat naps.  Thanks to Lona for the supply!  You're such a sweetheart for those cat naps.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:56 (average 5:02). 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 Guardian — Carol’s grim demise forms the plot of Unexpected, one of hundreds of evangelical Christian theatrical twists on haunted houses that are produced by American churches each year in the run-up to Halloween. They aim to scare the wayward on to the path of righteousness with a rather more serious question than “trick or treat?” – heaven or hell?

I was taken aback by the whole idea of churches promoting a hell house to offer twists on haunted houses before Hallowe'en.  And their goal . . . to scare people to Jesus.  I should preface my comment here.  I am a Christian, a very liberal Christian, but I will not stand infront of someone and tell them what to believe.  I will not be as the very conservative fundamentalist Christians in the US, and elsewhere, forcing my beliefs down the throats of others, and trying to legislate that faith as the faith of the nation.  What to believe is a very personal choice. Creating a climate of fear to "scare souls to Jesus" is ludicrous, and only adds to the general fear in society.  When fear is the motivator, no matter the area of life, then we stop listening to each other.

Mother Jones — The massive size of the fire trucks' engines, combined with their inefficient combustion in cold weather, means that the air reaching us is replete with fine and ultrafine particles—specks of waste at least 36 times finer than a grain of sand, often riddled with toxic combinations of sulfate, nitrate and ammonium ions, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Though we have long known that these tiny particles cause and exacerbate respiratory problems—like asthma and infections and cancers of the lungs—they are also suspected to contribute to a diverse range of disorders, from heart disease to obesity. And now cutting-edge research suggests that these particles play a role in some of humanity's most terrifying and mysterious illnesses: degenerative brain diseases.

The good news is that air pollution is one of the United States' greatest environmental success stories. Particle emissions have been dropping steadily since the 1970s, along with other pollutants governed by laws like the Clean Air Act. The EPA regulates levels of coarse- and fine-particle pollution, and two years ago it strengthened the national standards for fine particles. But there is still no regulation for ultrafine-particle pollution, here or in any other country. 

Click through for the rest of the article.  As I read this long but interesting article, I could not help but think of my mother, succumbing to dementia. For 40 years, she lived in a mill town where the rotten egg smell of the pulp and paper mill was always prevalent.  Add to that the ever present thick coating of greasey black ash which burned paint off of vehicles and buildings.  I can't help but find the information in the article compelling.  I remember several years ago reading about a town in Wisconsin (?) where whole neighbourhoods had higher than average cancer diagnois and death rates thought to be brought on by high toxic pollution in the river that runs by a Koch Industries plant. We know from their actions that Republicans don't give a tinker's damn about clean air and water if it comes at the expense of their profits.  Just read The Fall of King Coal which I posted here on 05/10/15 to look at profit versus people.  It is past time to demand more be done . . . to put people before profits.

Alternet — In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word “fascist”—the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)

fascist america

As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is, “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”

Click through for the rest of this interesting article.  The word "fascist" is thrown about a fair amount, but do we have the correct context and meaning?   For some, this discussion is not new.  For others, it may well be.

Think Progress — Ben Carson is seeking to rally Republican candidates to end most actual debating at future Republican debates. Instead, candidates would spend most of their time taking turns delivering speeches.

Click Rachel Maddow to see Friday's segment where Rachel explores the fallout from the last Republican debate and what is likely ahead.  She certainly does become very animated.

GOP candidates plot RNC mutiny over debates

Sorry, I can't embed the show as it isn't on YouTube yet.

My Universe —


I found IT!!!

Nov 012015

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.

No one can top Donald Trump’s comically clueless statement this week that he knows hardship because his dad only gave him a small loan of a million dollars. And he had to pay it back! With interest! Still, the right wing is honing its comic skills and perfecting it’s lift-off from any semblance of reality whatsoever.

3. Ben Carson’s his fool-proof plan to deal with sea level rise.


Ben Carson is kind of a Republican superhero. He separates conjoined twins, lies through his teeth about his relationship with the shady nutritional supplements company Mannatech, and solves the problem of the drastic seal level rise that is coming our way all in a single bound, and while he is seemingly half awake. See? Superhero!

The GOP presidential frontrunner, who unlike his peers is a man of science, never lets that extensive medical education stand in the fantasy world he lives in. He has previously gone on record questioning the Big Bang, evolution and gravity, and compared women who get abortions to slave-owners. This week, he unveiled his plan to deal with the watery effect of climate change.

The good doctor tweeted:

“It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.”

Yeupp, arks. Arks are the solution to the coming flood. It’s right there in the Bible. Don’t worry. God will show you how to build them. Just as god has shown us the best tax system, tithing.

No wonder Dr. Carson seems so relaxed all the time. He knows we’re in good hands.

Click through for the other four examples.  A 20 kilo fruitcake has less fruit in it than theses Republicans!