Dec 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 33.  I spent most of the day in bed.  I still feel feverish and congested.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:03 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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A bad day for Peyton.  His touchdowns in consecutive games streak ran out at 151.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Here we go again with a bill protecting the religiously persecuted from evil LGBT citizens hoping to pay for services and participate in the U.S. economy. Michigan’s GOP House Speaker Jase Bolger pushed through a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which is now headed to the state Senate for consideration.

It’s a similar bill to the one we saw in Arizona earlier this year. Michigan Republicans apparently felt a real sense of urgency after they quashed an effort the day before to help LGBT individuals hold down jobs and be productive members of society.

No matter how caring and moderate Republicans try to sound for the mainstream, focus on what they keep doing.

From NY Times: The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”

Click through for more examples about how Republican State Attorneys General are conspiring with polluters against the interest of the people they are supposed to represent.

From The New Yorker: Two days after the release of an unusually strong jobs report, prominent Republicans appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to question President Obama’s “suspicious motives” for repairing the economy.

“When there have been so many months of job growth, it does make you wonder what he’s up to,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “You add in the rising stock market and falling gas prices, and the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Appearing on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President of “cynically fixing the economy to distract the American people.”

“This country faces serious problems, and I don’t think they can be swept under the rug by creating prosperity,” he said.

But the sternest rebuke came from House Speaker John Boehner, who warned, “If President Obama doesn’t stop fixing the economy, Congress has ways to make him stop.”

Andy may be on to something. It’s a Kenyan, socialist conspiracy.

Cartoon:

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They’re making a list.  They’re checking it Twice.  We’d be better off, if we could trade them for lice.

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Nov 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 19.  It’s early in the morning, and I plan to finish in time for some intense meditation on the Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  I may be scarce next week as I have a very busy schedule.  Store to Door is closed for Thanksgiving week, so I have a grocery delivery coming from Safeway tomorrow, and I’ll have to stow and put them away.  Tuesday is a prison volunteer day.  Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be cooking up a storm, so I’m not sure how much content I’ll be able to deliver.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Was that a nail-biter or what!  Wooo Hooo! :-D

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: These guys went across the world because there's a natural wonder that needs saving.

 

Kudos to Upworthy, but nothing is as clickable and shareable as a cat video. Nevertheless, I'd be honored to bring you more #reefreels.

From Right Wing Watch: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, said during his Sunday radio program [fascist delinked] that it’s possible that a Hispanic majority in the U.S. could conduct an “ethnic cleansing.”

Kobach made his remarks in response to a caller who asked, “What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race?”

Claiming that immigrant rights groups are “calling for the return of the Spanish territory, which could be almost half of the United States,” the caller warned, “When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them. And it’s a bigger issue than just being Democrats. And they know in numbers, once the numbers are so bad, they can pretty much do whatever they want to do.”

Here's the Audio. Barf Bag Alert!!

Kobitch is employing projection. If what he were saying about ethnic cleansing were true, there would be no Anglo communities in Mexico or other Latin American countries when Latino people took over. On the other hand, Republicans are the ones who love to threaten and employ violence when they don't get their way.

From NY Times: GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?

A century ago, this sweep of mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive.

In 30 years, there may be none.

A warming climate is melting Glacier’s glaciers, an icy retreat that promises to change not just tourists’ vistas, but also the mountains and everything around them.

I found some appropriate video.

I visited Glacier National Park in 1961. I remember my amazement at walking on glaciers in August and my awe at their number and immensity. It's a personal sorrow that most of the places, were I walked on glaciers, are now completely ice free.

Cartoon:

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Nov 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 15.  Tomorrow is almost here, and I just woke up.  Fortunately I had my research done this morning, but due to unpacking groceries, putting them away, and several other tasks, I just couldn’t get back to it before now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

The Jig Zone website is currently down.  Assuming that this is a temporary situation, I’ll include today’s puzzle with tomorrow’s.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here in the U.S., lots of politicians have pointed to China as the reason the U.S. should not sign climate treaties. What will opponents of climate change action use as an excuse now? Check out this spot-on video from Climate Desk of what the excuses sound like:

 

This is the 3rd of 8 reasons President Obama and the Democratic Party have made the world a better place by negotiating a greenhouse gasses agreement with China. Click through for the other seven. A must-read article.

From Daily Kos: When Congress voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline they committed an act of war against the Great Sioux Nation. Apparently they completely forgot to check with the Sioux who live on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, who in February adopted tribal resolutions opposing the Keystone XL project. Or maybe Congress didn’t forget but rather chose to ignore them.

Of course the U.S. government has hardly ever taken Native American concerns seriously, so it would be a surprise if that happened now, but Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) Tribal President Scott said his nation has yet to be properly consulted on the project, which would cross through tribal land. Concerns brought to the Department of Interior and to the Department of State have yet to be addressed, he said in a statement.

Kudos and thanks to the Rosebud Sioux. No doubt this will pass the Senate when it reconvenes with a Republican majority. Hopefully, Obama will veto it, but if not, I hope the Sioux sue.

From PRWatch: Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

But, according to the documents, this Canada-centric campaign would actually be run out of an office in Washington, DC. And the digital campaign is being led by a rightwing American political operative employed by the world’s largest public relations firm.

The documents were obtained by Greenpeace.

Ian Austen of The New York Times published some excerpts from the planning documents on November 17 that show how a new PR operation is in the works to persuade skeptical Canadians the "Energy East Pipeline" from Alberta to Quebec and to New Brunswick is a good idea.

Watch out Canada. They should be calling that Pollution East. It will be3 as bad for you as keystone XL would be for us.

Cartoon:

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We still need one of these for Bush, Cheney, et al.

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Nov 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 14.  I’m feeling quite tired, but today I got started early enough to persevere. Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

11Scores

Standings:

11Standings

Did I get my butt kicked, or what?

Short Takes (all Kos):

From Daily Kos: Gotta love her:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to oppose President Barack Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss, a Wall Street investment banker, to be Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, another sharp-elbowed move by the progressive movement’s most prominent leader.

Can't imagine what she would find objectionable to yet another Wall Streeter running the government ..

Gotta love her is right! The last thing we need as a regulator is the Bankster who put together the Burger King merger to evade US taxes.

From Daily Kos:

Poor Shell Oil can't get any relief in their quest to destroy the Arctic Ocean for shareholder profit.

EcoWatch has reported that Shell Oil's preemptive lawsuit against environmentalists to block any potential lawsuits against groups who oppose its drilling operations was thrown out of court.

Two years ago, Shell filed a preemptive lawsuit against 13 environmental, indigenous and community groups to prevent them from possibly suing Shell at some time in the future over its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The 9th Circuit Court panel yesterday called the legal maneuver “novel”and said that it was unconstitutional.

“Big News! David has taken down Goliath!” the Alaska Wilderness League posted on their Facebook page. “Shell tried to bully environmental groups like the Alaska Wilderness League by preemptively suing us to silence our voice. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, has officially told the oil giant: Shell NO! That behavior won’t fly!”

It's been a bad week for Big Oil. First Chevron lost its bid to take over a California town to duck lawsuit for injuries' Chevron caused, and now Shell lost their preemptive strike against heroes protecting the environment against them. I have two words for that. The first is "Wooo".

From Daily Kos: What was Black Friday shopping and is now Thanksgiving shopping gives us an amazing view on the race to the bottom when it comes to jobs and the notion that workers maybe deserve to have lives. Once it was a question of how early stores opened on Black Friday. Then some started opening on Thanksgiving. Now it's a question of how early they'll open on the holiday. You know, Thanksgiving, one of the big two holidays of the year in this country? Only now, it's a major workday for many retail workers who aren't paid enough to live on and don't get paid time off.

Click through for a list of stores. On a day we should be remembering what we did to the people that gave us the first Thanksgiving, the last thing we need is an extra day of hypocritical corporate Christmas greed.

Cartoon:

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Nov 162014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 11.  It was the coldest day so far.  Tomorrow will be colder.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are worshiping with the Cardinals, but it will not be televised locally.  I will nit get to watch for the third week in a row, because the game is on at the same time as the damn Seachickens!  ARGH!!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 5:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Congressional Republicans on Friday expressed outrage at the new leadership style that President Obama has demonstrated in the aftermath of the midterm elections, and demanded a return of the “passive and unassertive Obama to which we have grown accustomed.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker John Boehner and his counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accused Obama of “engaging in a flagrant display of leadership that we find deeply offensive.”

“For the past six years, we have enjoyed a President who has been conciliatory and acquiescent to the point of emasculation,” Boehner said. “We want that President back.”

McConnell threatened that if Obama does not return to his weak and ineffectual ways at once, “he will face the prospect of being a two-term President.”

LOL Andy! If only he had started this in 2009.

From NY Times: The House voted 252 to 161 on Friday to approve a bill that would direct the federal government to move forward on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ahead of a vote scheduled for Tuesday in the Senate that could send the measure to President Obama’s desk.

There is little chance that the votes will clear the way to construction of the long-fought, long-delayed pipeline, which would carry petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. In the Senate, where Democrats have a majority until the Republicans take over in January, it is unlikely, though not impossible, that the bill would attract 60 votes, enough to avoid a filibuster. But even if the bill does clear the Senate, Mr. Obama has signaled that he would probably veto it.

The vote count link above identifies the 31 Democrats who voted for the Landrieu Golden Parachute Act. If one of them is your Rep, please give them a call and tell them to take a long flying ____ off a short pier!

From AlterNet:

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Congress’s longest-serving independent, is reportedly seriously considering running for the White House. This is significant because Sanders openly declares himself to be a democratic socialist – a label which has been a taboo in U.S. political culture for decades.

But while Sanders will likely be attacked for identifying with socialism, it has a long history of being used by the reactionary right as a smear. In fact, that history pre-dates the Civil War. History blogger Matt Karp searched the Congressional record and found the very first instance that the word “socialism” was uttered in Congress. He found that the first time anyone used the phrase was when a North Carolinian congressman used it to attack opponents of slavery:

As far as I can make out, the first reference to “socialism” on the floor of Congress came  from North Carolina representative Abraham Venable in July 1848. During a debate over the Wilmot Proviso, Venable indulged himself in a familiar litany of destructive Northern manias, which ranged from “the wicked schemes of Garrison” to “the wild excesses of  Millerism, and of Latter-Day Saints, the abominations of Socialism, and of Fourieriesm …  and all the numerous fanaticisms which spring up and flourish in their  free soil…” […] This kind of pro-slavery, anti-Northern rant was the context for most mentions of “socialism” in Congress during the next several years.

Click through for more excellent information about how Republicans, and Dixiecrats (before the became Republicans) have been using socialism as a term to smear progressive gains. When 2016 comes, if Bernie is contesting for the Democratic nomination, I would support him over Hillary in a heartbeat.

Cartoon:

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The following day, the Republican Party hired her as a strategy expert.

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Nov 142014
 

In more than one spot of late, I have made the comment that I consider the DSCC pulling finding from Mary Landrieu’s runoff campaign an act of cowardice.  I disagree with her in a big bunch of ways, but I still support her candidacy.  However, she has come up with a desperation ploy so costly, that, even if it would work, her job isn’t worth the price.

1114Keystone…This week, though, Keystone XL has become a symbol for moderate Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — a demonstration that they can serve as the bridge between the new Democratic minority and the Republican majority in the next Congress.

"Si se puede!" Landrieu said Wednesday while pushing for the pipeline on the Senate floor, re-purposing another bit of progressive politics (this time from the United Farmworkers) in service of a project that’s not very popular with the left. That’s intentional. Landrieu faces a run-off against Republican Bill Cassidy next month — and is in deep trouble. Seizing upon the pipeline as a way to shift the politics in that race, though, is almost certainly not going to work.

Landrieu was joined Wednesday by other red-state Democrats to advocate for passage of a measure that would side-step the president on granting approval to the pipeline. (Since it crosses the Canadian border, the State Department has the ability to grant or reject a permit for the project — giving the administration an effective veto over it.) The subtext of the election was central to the floor speeches from Landrieu, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.); Manchin specifically noted how valuable Landrieu’s leadership on the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources had been, reinforcing the leadership that has been one of the central arguments to her campaign…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

This Hail Mary desperation strategy could not possibly save Landrieu’s seat, and I knew why as soon as I heard it, but Rachel Maddow explains it far better than I could.

If you can’t watch it here, try the direct link to the video.  If that doesn’t work, I found a partial clip on YouTube.

What really irks me is that they have time for this vote, but claim there is no time to confirm Loretta Lynch.  I think Harry Reid is returning to his returning to his Nevada Leg Hound ways in which he humps a few Republican legs, begs, whines, rolls over and plays dead.,  His willingness to waste the lame duck session makes me suspect that he made a “gentlemen’s agreement with Bought Bitch Mitch, under which Harry promised to do nothing and Mitch promised to be nice, just like he has falsely promised so many times before.

There is only one way to achieve even tiny successes, when these Republicans are in power.  Fight tooth and nail for every scrap.  Every time in the last 15 years they have promised quid pro quo, they lied.

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Nov 072014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 2, even though 11-7 feels no luckier than Tuesday, which came up snake-eyes.  Obviously, I’m still not a happy camper, but I didn’t give up after the disasters of 2000, 2004, or 2010.  We should have another chance to save this nation in 2016, so campaign 2016 starts now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Congressional seats are on pace to fetch a whopping four billion dollars on Tuesday night, a record-smashing sales figure that has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic insiders.

The seats, which include four hundred and thirty-five in the House of Representatives and thirty-six in the Senate, have attracted buyers from a broad spectrum of industries, including investment banking, energy, pharmaceutical, and gun.

“With all of the uncertainty in the world today, the United States Congress is considered a very safe place for the rich to invest their money,” said Charles Michollot, of the auction house Sotheby’s. “Congressional seats are like Manhattan real estate—they aren’t making any more of them.”

But Anton Pickardin, of the rival auction house Christie’s, sounds more skeptical. “I hate to be a wet blanket, but these sales figures lack rhyme and reason,” Pickardin said. “When someone is willing to pay millions of dollars for a pre-owned Mitch McConnell, you know that people have lost their minds.”

Given that this came out on election morning, before any returns were available, Andy proved himself a prophet, not just a comic.

From Upworthy: The Great Barrier Reef is in real danger. A lot of good folks are drawing attention to what’s going on and calling out companies that are doing the literal dirty work. How dirty? Very dirty.

 

Sadly any help the US might have been in curtailing the use of fossil fuels in the next two years just went up in smoke. This is just one of the reasons campaign 2016 begins now.

From NY Times: All told, Republican outside groups spent about $205 million on television advertising in Senate races, according to a Democrat tracking media purchases, who agreed to share the information on condition of anonymity, while Democratic groups spent $132 million.

Note that this does not count the spending after the reporting deadline that has not yet been reported. Republican spending during this period was so massive that there was no ad time left for candidates to buy.  We have the worst Legislature money has ever bought.

Cartoon:

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