Apr 272016

So it has been almost 2 weeks since I last published an article, not because I did not want to, but because I have been very, very busy with all sorts of activities.  Something had to give and it was publishing.  Last Sunday during a church service, five of us were commissioned and anointed into the ministry of pastoral care having finished our training and police background checks.  Of course I have been teaching and attending physio.  Last Friday, I looked after Lucia's two youngest while Lucia took some "me time".  I was totally wasted by the afternoon when Lucia returned.  What's more, I managed to escape a nuclear diaper!  I'll do the same next week so Lucia can be with Loliyo at a dance competition.  There are also routine things like doctor's and dentist's appointments, and the most important, snuggles with the fur babies.  I still have to do the taxes but since neither of us owe any, it isn't a big worry.

Short Takes

The Nation — Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong.  

In February, Harvard researchers published an explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data and ground observations, they concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities. Between 2002 and 2014, the data showed that US methane emissions increased by more than 30 percent, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of an enormous spike in methane in the entire planet’s atmosphere.  

These leaks are big enough to wipe out a large share of the gains from the Obama administration’s work on climate change—all those closed coal mines and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years. The methane story is utterly at odds with what we’ve been telling ourselves, not to mention what we’ve been telling the rest of the planet. It undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster—and one that seems set to spread.

The Obama administration, to its credit, seems to be waking up to the problem. Over the winter, the EPA began to revise its methane calculations, and in early March, the United States reached an agreement with Canada to begin the arduous task of stanching some of the leaks from all that new gas infrastructure. But none of this gets to the core problem, which is the rapid spread of fracking. Carbon dioxide is driving the great warming of the planet, but CO2 isn’t doing it alone. It’s time to take methane seriously.

MSNBCI found this interesting segment of The Rachel Maddow Show that showcases some of the Republican bigotry, racism and total lack of sensitivity to history.

Politico — Republicans over the past seven years have come to view Barack Obama not just as an ideological enemy but as a “dictator”—an accusation hurled most recently by both Chris Christie and Glenn Beck—a president who has unconstitutionally abused his executive power with an array of unilateral actions.

But Republicans are hardly passive victims of an overweening executive; they are, in fact, paying for their own unilateral surrender of power. The GOP-dominated Congress has sought to weaken and undermine Obama and instead has achieved the opposite. Unable to pass significant legislation after the Affordable Care Act, the Obama White House filled the vacuum by creative use of executive authority, setting a potentially risky precedent for the future balance between the branches but spurred, ironically, by the very opponents who were trying to contain him.

Is this where we get to say to Republicans "You reap what you sow!"?  Personally, I do not see Obama as a dictator, but rather a man trapped by the incompetence and beligerence of political foes . . . foes willing to ruin the country in order to stick to their idiotological principles.

My Universe — 20 Reasons You Need A Cat In Your Life

You may view cats as evil creatures, and you may not be entirely wrong with that assumption. Still, you may not realize that owning a cat actually has a variety of benefits for you and your health. These are just a few reasons why you should open your home to a cat.

BTW, people don't own cats.  Dogs have owners.  Cats have staff!

3. They Do Not Need Baths

Giving cats a bath is not a fun experience. Fortunately, unlike dogs, cats really do not need baths. They are huge neat freaks that frequently groom themselves, making bathing unnecessary. This also goes back to the whole “low maintenance thing”. If you do dare to bath a cat, be sure to wear complete padding because this can get pretty messy though the results are pretty hilarious.

7. They Make Fantastic Alarm Clocks

When cats want their breakfast, they want it now. They do not care if you are sleeping, they will wake you up. In fact, they do not even need to have breakfast for an excuse to wake you up. They will wake you up for whatever reason they have decided to wake you up and you will have to deal with that.

11. They Will Keep You Grounded

All of those jokes about how cats think humans are their slaves? These are completely accurate. Cats believe that you are merely there to serve them and their needs. This will help put you in your place whenever you feel that you are better than you are.

Click through for the other 17 reasons you need at least one cat in your life.


Apr 242016

Yesterday, after my shower, Julie and I spent four hours doing the dreaded task, changing the bed linens, cleaning, dusting, sweeping and mopping.   In addition, I had risen early to finish blogging and to make a several day batch of γέεννα chili, before she arrived,  That all tired me so much that I’m getting a late start today, because I needed a morning Lona nap.  On the plus side, I’m enjoying the green cloud that’s starting to form.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 2:23 (average 4:28).  To so it, Click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic: 11/2014): NASA has released an amazing new video: A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2. It brilliantly illustrates how carbon dioxide travels around the world. The mesmerizing computer model makes it crystal clear that all countries of the world will have to act together to combat climate change:


Does that deflate Republican pseudo-science, or what?

From NY Times: Hillary Clinton’s advisers and allies have begun extensive discussions about who should be her running mate, seeking to compile a list of 15 to 20 potential picks for her team to start vetting by late spring.

Mrs. Clinton’s team will grapple with complicated questions like whether the United States is ready for an all-female ticket, and whether her choice for vice president would be able to handle working in a White House in which former President Bill Clinton wielded significant influence on policy.

While the nomination fight is still fluid, Mrs. Clinton is confident enough of victory that she has described a vision of a running mate and objectives for the search, according to campaign advisers and more than a dozen Democrats close to the campaign or the Clintons.

She does not have a front-runner in mind, they said, but she is intrigued by several contenders and scenarios.

Among the names under discussion by Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Clinton and campaign advisers: Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, former governors from the key state of Virginia; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who represents both a more liberal wing of the party and a swing state; former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a prominent African-American Democrat; and Thomas E. Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer.

Were Hillary to choose a progressive, it might make her more palatable, but her choice should not be a Senator. We need all our progressive Senators in the Senate. However, another reason to vote for Bernie is that Bill would be the ugliest first lady in history.

From YouTube: The Worst Person in Tennessee: Jeremy Durham | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS


LOL!!  And while we’re on the subject if bathroom behavior…




Apr 122016

This week is very busy again.  I have at least one event every day, but usually more.  I am trying to ready myself for the Alzheimer's Walk for Memories and raising money for research and programmes.  As in the US, it is tax preparation time so that is on my list to do.  And of course there is spring cleaning . . . always spring cleaning no matter what season it is!

Short Takes 

Politico — Dispirited over a Republican Party primary that has devolved into an ugly, damaging fight, some of the GOP’s biggest financiers are reevaluating whether to invest in the 2016 presidential contest at all.

Among those on the sidelines: Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who hosted the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting at his Venetian hotel this weekend. His apparent ambivalence about 2016 was shared by many RJC members here. With grave doubts about the viability of the few remaining Republican contenders, many of these Republican donors have decided to sit out the rest of the primary entirely. And while some are reluctantly getting behind a remaining candidate, others are shifting their attention to congressional contests.  …

The jewish community and @RJC honoring the great prime minister of Canada Stephen Harper – great friend of Israel

Photo from Huffington Post

While the RJC spring meeting is traditionally a celebration of Adelson, with politicians of all stripes venturing to the Venetian to pay homage, this year’s was different.

On Thursday evening, Adelson hosted some of the organization’s top officials at his palatial mansion. While former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed how fractured parties can unite, Adelson listened but said little, according to three people who were present. And on Friday, rather than preside over the deliberations, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, departed for a wedding.

The lack of interest is partly rooted in exhaustion. After watching many of the party’s establishment prospects — from Scott Walker to Marco Rubio — go up in flames, many top donors say they’ve simply grown tired of opening their wallets. Some here have given to multiple candidates, only to watch them suffer defeat.

And you thought Canada was nasty refusing to take Cruz back!  Now Adelson is importing Canada's Republican demagogue, Stephen Harper.

Think Progress — Nearly a week after pipeline operator TransCanada shut down a section of its Keystone line over an oil leak, the company reported Thursday thousands of gallons of oil were spilled, not less than 200 as it first said.  …

After the spill was reported earlier this week, environmental groups said Keystone’s spill proves the threat that the Keystone XL expansion would have posed. They also noted that the Keystone pipeline, approved by President George W. Bush in 2008, leaked oil 12 times in its first year of operation. “TransCanada’s Keystone I disaster is a stark reminder that it’s not a question if a pipeline will malfunction, but rather a question of when. This is one of the reasons President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline and it’s why he should reject all dangerous fossil fuel pipeline proposals,” Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement.

Oil transportation largely relies on trains and pipelines. Out of those two, pipelines spill more often than trains, yet train accidents can be deadlier as trains are more likely to explode. U.S. pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains over the period of 2004 to 2012, …

And Trans Canada thinks it is their right to pollute with impunity?  I hope its lawsuit in federal court and their NAFTA challenge fail miserably.

Raw Story — Bill O’Reilly questioned Donald Trump’s ability to provide jobs in African-American communities during an interview on Monday by painting black Americans as being ill-equipped for the labor force.

“How are you going to get jobs for them?” O’Reilly asked. “Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to give jobs to people who aren’t qualified for jobs?”

Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     

Openly racist comments . . . but that is to be expected from a pair of Republicans!

My Universe — Chilling with some friends!

Apr 042016

Is there a full moon today?  Sure seems possible!  I went to see my mother and enjoyed time with her.  As we were sitting around the nursing station, a resident, Margaret, came out in her underwear.  Because staff were very busy getting some ready for bed and giving medications to others, after getting a hospital gown on her, I walked Margaret back to her room.  That's when I found Shirley in Margaret's bed.  Seems Shirley had an accident in her room so Margaret's bed was fair game.  I got the two ladies into their respective rooms and then went for help.  I heard awhile later that Shirley took a swing at the care aid.  And strange things continued to happen.  On the other hand, I took Bunny Rabbit and Lambypie, 2 small stuffed animals, up for my mother.  When I said goodnight to mother, she had Bunny Rabbit clutched tightly in her hand as she dozed off to sleep.  It was quite an evening!  I suspect my week will be somewhat like that.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz has announced he's suspending his election campaign to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Cruz, the main challenger to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, said he never thought he would move back to Canada — he was born in Alberta in 1970 — much less get involved in its politics. But he said recent events have made him feel “obligated” to do so.

ted cruz

“Look, I understand this might come as a shock to many Americans and Canadians,” Cruz told reporters Friday. “But the truth is, though I have always wanted to help make Canada great again, I have recently started feeling morally obligated, as a Canadian, to run for the Conservative party back home.

“I must save it from Kevin O’Leary.”

OMG!!!  Say it ain't true!  This is absolutely unacceptable!

Alternet — The 2016 legislative session has been a competition between red states to see who can pass the most hateful anti-LGBT bills under the guise of “religious freedom,” but Mississippi state Republicans look like they’re going to emerge the winner. Friday, the state house passed the final version of a bill meant to protect and encourage business owners in the state to discriminate against LGBT people, while simultaneously enshrining, in violation of the Constitution, the idea that conservative Christianity is the only legitimate religion.  …

This law not only protects discrimination against LGBT people, but against any person who has sex outside of marriage. It also makes it easier for employers and schools to strictly police the way you dress to make sure it’s masculine or feminine enough. If your boss thinks proper ladies wear makeup, he can cite “religious freedom” as a reason to force you to do so, and the law will protect him for it.

I am totally flummoxed that a state can get away with such blatant unconstitutional behaviour.  Mississippi has surpassed the insanity of North Carolina.  It seems that states are getting bolder with their unconstitutional laws now that SCOTUS is generally impotent in its diminished numbers.  What can people do if their state goes too far other than waiting for the next election?

Truth-out — Montana communities won a victory against one of the world's biggest coal companies earlier in March, when Arch Coal abandoned the Otter Creek mine — the largest proposed new coal strip mine in North America. The story of how the project imploded is one of people power triumphing over a company once thought to be nearly invincible.

To many observers, the Otter Creek project once seemed unstoppable. It certainly appeared that way in 2011, the year I moved to Missoula, Montana for graduate school. Then-Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer enthusiastically supported the mine, and coal more generally. Forrest Mars, Jr., the billionaire heir to the Mars candy fortune, had just joined Arch and BNSF Railways in backing a proposed railroad spur meant to service Otter Creek. Arch and politicians like Schweitzer predicted a boom in coal demand from economies in Asia.

Protesters block a coal train from entering downtown Missoula in 2015.

But what they weren't counting on was a vocal and active region-wide opposition. The coming together of ordinary people — first in southeast Montana, then an ever-growing number of communities throughout the Northwest — to oppose the Otter Creek mine says much about how land defenders and climate activists are learning to fight back against the planet's biggest energy companies. The roots of this recent victory go back more than 30 years.

Good on them!  There are others who are trying to change things too.  In another article, Amid Price Plunge, North American Oil and Gas Workers Seek Transition to Renewable Sector​, some oil sands workers are changing things.

"…one top climate scientist has called "the biggest carbon bomb on the planet," Hildebrand came to realize that he was not the only oil worker in Alberta who felt "guilty about developing the infrastructure that is creating climate change."

… Hildebrand banded together with like-minded coworkers and began building an oil and gas worker-led nonprofit called "Iron & Earth," which officially launched this month during a press conference in Edmonton. Through the nonprofit, the oil sands workers hope to help others who have been laid off diversify their skill sets and facilitate the necessary training to transition them to the renewable energy sector. They also want to help incorporate renewable energy projects into oil sands workers' current scope of work."

My Universe — 

AmazingCats01 4This is the look I get from my Annie everyday and she is 7.5 years old, no kitten!

Melts my heart!

Apr 032016

Last night I slept poorly and felt so tired this morning, that I was dozing off, while doing my research, so after I finished, I uncorked a much needed Lona nap.  That’s why I’m running late today.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my kitty cousin Scanner.  Sadly he’s quite aloof, and every time I go in for my annual Cat Scan, he refuses to come out and play.  In any case, I may have no more that a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:46 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 9/2011): Why would anyone vote Republican? Well, here are 10 reasons.

1. You are a bigot

It’s true that not all Republicans are bigots. But if you ARE a bigot, the Republican party will be much more your group than the Democratic party. Remember that there are lots of ways to be a bigot: You could be a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, or lots of other things.

2. You like eating, drinking and breathing poison.

Many Republicans are calling for or voting for shrinking or eliminating agencies that protect us against poison. They seem to think that the corporations will do the right thing, without any pressure from the government. Uh huh. Read The Jungle.  Look at the way Monsanto is hiding facts about Round Up. Look at food safety and outbreaks of E. Coli. 

Corporations exist to make money. They will do so any way they can. The government needs to stop them from doing so in ways that hurt people.

3. You think the rich don’t have enough money

The idea that giving more money to rich people (via tax breaks) will help poor people is nonsensical and has been shown wrong time and again in history. Huge tax breaks for the rich (a la George Bush) don’t work.

4. You don’t support our veterans

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s Association (IAVA) rates every member of congress on how well they support our veterans.  In the Senate, 9 people got A or A+: All were Democrats. 30 got D or F: 29 Republicans and one Democrat.  More on this

How little they have changed!! I shared the first four. Click through for the other six.

From NY Times: The wall of Republican opposition to the nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court has been shored up by two Republican senators revoking their support for holding confirmation hearings.

Their moves highlight the immense pressure that Republican leaders are placing on senators as they try to build unified opposition to President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

As the White House heralds the growing number of Republicans agreeing to meet with Judge Garland, Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have reversed themselves and say they now back the decision made by Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, not to hold hearings.

The Republicans who agreed to meet with him were trying to appear responsible, but were really, as I predicted, just stalling for time.

From Raw Story: SNL took on one of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters who frequently pops up on cable broadcasts to defend the actions and words of the consistently offensive candidate.


I hope you enjoyed the laugh. Sadly the blonde on the right caricatured a voter even smarter than Fecal Dump Trump’s actual supporters.



The previous summer, while planning events for Vietnam Summer, he said the government would not allow him to live much longer.  Watch this excerpt.

Less than 24 hours later, he was dead.  Isn’t it clear that he knew they were closing in?

Apr 022016

As it turned out, Lucia was very sick yesterday so I did not have a teaching session with her.  It sounds like she has the same very bad cold that I had.  So I took some time to read my book, Labyrinth of Bones by James Rollins, and enjoy some sunshine.  Tomorrow, I am going to see my mother.  The cold is sufficiently gone that I won't infect others. This week is busy as I have to take my mother to a doctor's appointment on Tuesday in addition to physio and teaching sessions, and the commencement of a new course on Thursday evening.

Short Takes

Daily Kos (classic 25/09/2011) — Why would anyone vote Republican? Well, here are 10 reasons.

1. You are a bigot

It's true that not all Republicans are bigots. But if you ARE a bigot, the Republican party will be much more your group than the Democratic party. Remember that there are lots of ways to be a bigot: You could be a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, or lots of other things.


2. You like eating, drinking and breathing poison.

Many Republicans are calling for or voting for shrinking or eliminating agencies that protect us against poison. They seem to think that the corporations will do the right thing, without any pressure from the government. Uh huh. Read The Jungle.  Look at the way Monsanto is hiding facts about Round Up. Look at food safety and outbreaks of E. Coli. 

Corporations exist to make money. They will do so any way they can. The government needs to stop them from doing so in ways that hurt people.

Click through for the other 8.  Can you think of any more reasons?  The only other one that I can think of is that they all make my skin crawl!  These are all timeless.

Truthdig — As we struggle to come to terms with the latest terrorist attacks in Brussels, it is important that we understand the causes of such extremism. After all, Islamic extremism was virtually unknown fifty years ago and suicide bombings were inconceivable. And yet today it seems that we are confronted with both on a daily basis. So what happened to bring Islamic fundamentalism to the forefront of global politics? While there are many factors involved, undoubtedly one of the primary causes is Western imperialism. Western intervention in the Middle East over the past century to secure access to the region’s oil reserves established a perfect environment in which Islamic fundamentalists could exploit growing anti-Western sentiment throughout the Islamic world, with some establishing violent extremist groups. The most recent consequence of this process is the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which emerged out of the chaos caused by the US invasion of Iraq.

Islamic_State_(IS)_insurgents,_Anbar_Province,_IraqISIL fighters in Anbar province, Iraq

In order to understand the rise of the Islamic State we must first briefly review the history of Western intervention in not only the Middle East but throughout the world to reveal that Islamic extremism in not a unique phenomenon. For the past 500 years, peoples throughout the world have resorted to acts of violence that today would be classified as terrorism in efforts to resist Western imperialism. Indigenous peoples in the Americas often used violent tactics to defend themselves against the brutal European colonizers. There were also many violent slave revolts by Blacks who had been shipped from Africa to the Americas in the service of Western imperialism.

This is a long article, but from my view of history, very well thought out and true.  Only a comparatively few Muslims are terrorists.  But when will the West take responsibility for its part in the creation of Islamic terrorism?

Mother Jones — Boston and other coastal cities may want to batten down the hatches. A new study from climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Pennsylvania State University warns estimates of future sea level rise may be significantly underestimated. The real picture 100 to 500 years from now, they claim, will be ugly for US coastal cities from New York to Miami, which could be underwater or at risk of flooding. Boston, for example, could see about 5 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years, according to the researchers.

The most recent prediction by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that the sea level will rise as much as 38 inches by the year 2100 because of melting glaciers and the fact that warming makes water expand. Researchers Robert DeConto and David Pollard argue that this estimate fails to take into account atmospheric warming in Antarctica that will melt major ice shelves and elevate sea levels another three feet over earlier estimates by 2100 to six feet total, and by more than 49 feet by the year 2500.

To say the least, the southern US will be the big North American loser if climate change goes unchecked and sea level rises.  The following picture from Think Progress shows south Florida in 2100 if little is done.  Check the interactive picture of Miami in 2100.  You can also read the report, Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise, for more information.  And remember, this is just south Florida.  What would happen in the Gulf states, especially Louisiana which already has issues.

South Florida and "Miami Island" in 2100 after 5 feet of sea level rise (via Climate Central). From Think  Progress

Alternet — Millions of Nigerians are urging the Nigerian government to reject Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GMO) cotton and maize into the country’s food and farming systems.  …

In a press release, the groups said they are particularly alarmed about the commercial release of Bt cotton into Nigeria, which is being phased out in Burkina Faso due to the “inferior lint quality” of the GMO cultivars.

“We are totally shocked that it should come so soon after peer-reviewed studies have showed that the technology has failed dismally in Burkina Faso,” Nnimmo Bassey, the director of theHealth of Mother Earth Foundation, one of the leading opposition groups, said in a statement. “It has brought nothing but economic misery to the cotton sector there and is being phased out in that country where compensation is being sought from Monsanto.”

This greedy corporate juggernaut has to be stopped!  The lives of many Nigerians were ruined by the oil spills of Royal Dutch Shell, among others, and now Monsanto wants to exact a pound of flesh from Nigeria.  And Nigeria is only one of many targets on Monsanto's radar globally.  Here are just a few of the petitions on the internet.







My Universe — 

AmazingCats09 4Relaxing weekend!

Apr 012016

There were several things which happened or transpired last week which really should call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. I'll share one in some detail, and a couple of others in passing. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

When I saw the headline "Terrorism concerns: Chase Bank stops dog owner's check over pet's suspicious name," I knew it deserved some looking into.  Firstly, in the story but left out of the headline was the fact that this was a service dog.  "Bruce Francis depends on his dog, a nine-year-old pitbull mix named Dash, for more than just companionship.  Francis has a rare form of M.S. and Dash is a certified service dog."  To their credit, both Raw Story and AlterNet put this information into their headlines.  But to continue –

"Earlier this month, as was his routine, Francis paid Dash’s dog walker using his online banking account with Chase. On the memo line for the check Francis had typed Dash’s name."  The next thing Francis heard was that the dog walker had not received the check.  He went on line to look at his account, and found a message, "Please explain what Dash means.  To OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control, an office of the US Treasury)."

Francis called OFAC and was informed that the transaction had been flagged because "Dash" is similar to Daesh.  The bank stopped payment on the check.  Francis says he thought, "Great, they're stopping the world's stupidest terrorist."

dashKTVU, which originated the story, is a Fox affiliate, so I must give them credit for seeking comment from Edward Hasbrouck of Identity Project, a civil liberties group, who pointed out that many (perhaps most) people don't realize that "banks are required to scan all the financial transactions of their customers and turn over anything suspicious to the Treasury Department."  So Chase was simply following the law here. (A pity, because I had hoped to be able to bring Jamie Dimon into this, but it looks like he is off the hook.)  But the law itself is questionable to Hasbrouck, because it's all done in secret.  He says, "What happens is that the government requires the banks to become in effect, outsourced spies for the government.”

A spokesman for Chase told KTVU, “If a name on the OFAC list appears on a payment, we are required to review it.  This is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the us banking system. In this instance, the payment was flagged, reviewed and eventually released.”  Oh, yes, the dog walker did eventually get paid.

Francis himself says, “I think anything we can do to stop the terrorists and the funding of terrorists, let’s do it. And if it means an inconvenience to me and my dog walker then that’s a price I’m totally willing to pay.”  I think that's very understanding and kind of him.  I'm not (willing to pay that price).

As Hasbrouck points out, because this is all done in secret, no one but OFAC and the banks know what is on the list.  Are these terms, all IMO conceivable names of pet or service animals, on the list?  Brand, Alice, Baker, Ace, Deuce, Barnes, Brother, Knight, Duke, Pioneer, Storm, Hammer, White.  All these words come from the SPLC list of Hate Groups and have, or could have, some connection to one or more white supremacist hate group(s).  Because, if they are not, point one, that is discriminatory; and point two, more importantly, we are not really being protected from real dangers.

Dear ladies, Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, I apologize for not having done all the detective work here.  But I am only a citizen.  There are secrets that I can't access.  So, first, could you check out the list I compiled against the OFAC list?  And, second, could you find out what law or laws (I have suspicions of the Patriot Act, but there could well be others) dictated the existence of the OFAC list.  And then – well, you know what to do, probably better than I do.  After all, I am only a citizen.

In other news, there's a fellow in Florida who likes to play with guns.  A bit under two years ago, he was trying to show his guests how he could quick draw "like a cowboy" and ended up sending a bullet into the temple of a pregnant woman, killing her and incidentally the potential baby.  He was not charged.  He claimed to have sworn off firearms for life, but this month, he was caught trying to "teach his girl friend's daughter (16) how to shoot" and was therefore discharging a shotgun into the air.  At least this time he was arrested.  Convicting him of a felony would at least prohibit him from owning or purchasing firearms.  There's a petition to that effect.  If we can get enough signatures, the Furies may not have to go deal with him.



And one last thing – Lamar Seeligson Smith (R-TX) is the chairman of the House Science Committee.  Last year, he started a campaign, intending to discredit all legitimate scientsts, which is a tall order, but he could make them so tied up in red tape that he could slow down their work.  He subpoenaed thousands of emails – any email which contained the word "climate," "change," and "temperature."  Supported by people and organizations, the NOAA refused to release them.  But now Smith is asking (did I say "asking"? I should have said "demanding") again.  And, yes, he is still wrong.  I'm sure the Furies can instruct him.

The Furies and I will be back. 

Mar 272016

Yesterday I really slept late, later than ever before — 4:50 pm!  To say the least, this cold has knocked me for a loop. Although it is getting better, it has altered my schedule.  I hope to go see my mother tomorrow providing my cold is even better than today.  This week coming up will be busy.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — What Green realized was Syrian refugees are more similar to us than they are different.

rob green

"They're just like everyone else in the community that would be helping out. And he's part of the community now."

A short article with a universal truth that we all need to remember!

PoliticoCondemnation of the attacks in Brussels, as in Paris, Istanbul, Damascus, Baghdad, Bassam or Ouagadougou, has to be firm, absolute, and without exceptions, half-measures or attempts to distinguish between victims. Clarity is essential here, as it is in the terminology we use and the solutions we propose. But before we can formulate a response, we must face the problem head on and try to understand its origins (this in no way means justifying acts of terrorism, whatever George W. Bush may have said, and what Manuel Valls says today).

It is imperative that we untangle the reasons behind this hard swerve toward violent extremism — because it is not just “mad,” “irrational” and “inhuman.” These words only serve to confuse our vocabulary, and offer no political clarification on the elements of the equation. They add blindness to an emotional reaction already stoked by fear. What we need today is reason and measured conversation — we have to be tough, yes, but above all, reasonable.  

We cannot support dictatorships, be political and economic partners with states who export literalist Salafi doctrine, be silent when civilians are massacred south of our borders and hope that we will not receive a response to the injustice and humiliation we have provoked.

The author makes some very valid points.  As to this last point made above, how many people have said "Why is Saudi Arabia an ally of the US?" .  Saudi Arabia is engaged in war crimes in Yemen using weapons bought from the US and Great Britain.  That relationship is not lost on others.  We all need to look at our relationships and define them in terms of our values.

Huffington Post — This World Water Day, however, millions of people who share our planet are constantly thinking about water. How could they not be? Their children die from waterborne illnesses, because the local stream is contaminated. Others forfeit their schooling to trek long distances for water each day. Families lose their harvests — and their food supplies — because there's no irrigation for their parched crops.


22 March was World Water Day.  This year, the focus is on water and jobs.  Here is a short UN promo.

When I saw some of the pictures in the article, I immediately thought of my friend Lucia who is from South Sudan. The picture above could easily have been her — walking 10 kilometres to the river for water, and then 10 km home twice a day.  She and her sister did not go to school at all but rather worked in the fields and hauled water for the family to use.  What a difference a clean water source would have made to her community.  But the lack of clean potable water is not only an issue in third world countries.  This Global News piece outlines some of the problems that First Nations communities in Canada encounter.  Flint is another example.  We must ensure that clean water is available to all peoples — water to drink, water for bathing, water for food preparation.  

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Mar 182016

The end of another week and it is time to cast the nets for "unhinged right wing moments" from the past week.  Of course there are more than 6, but there is only so much room.

2. Insane Trump apologist #2 speaks out on violent protests.

Jeffrey Lord, a member of Trump's insane clown posse who has been hired by CNN as an “analyst” but whose actual title should be insane Trump apologist, was at it again this week, bizarrely blaming liberals for the problem du jour, which is, of course, violence at Trump rallies. You’ll remember that last week Lord attempted to whitesplain to Van Jones that the KKK was and continues to be the armed wing of the Democratic Party, a leftist organization and therefore not something Trump needs to disavow.

So that should give you some idea of the level of reality we’re operating on.

This week Lord continued his peculiar brand of insanity when he blamed liberals for the new curse that is spreading through the land, the fact that Trump’s thugs and acolytes are getting violent with protesters who attend the Republican frontrunner’s rallies.

Specifically, Lord was referring to the videotaped incident in which a 78-year-old white man suckerpunched a black protester in the head at a rally, an assault for which the white man was charged.

When asked if he thought it might be important for Trump to denounce this sort of violence, Lord expressed the view that the incident was the black protester’s fault as well as the left’s.

“The American left has a long and detailed history of doing exactly this,” Lord said. “What do you think the 1968 Democratic Convention was all about? It’s history!”

He continued to unfurl his wild illogic. Trump did not have a responsibility to denounce the violence because liberals had been using the same tactics for “decades.”

Scratching your head for examples? Yeah, us too.

Instead, Lord denounced the protesters for showing up, not being down with the Trump worship program, and not raising their hands to salute the great and powerful leader.

From Alternet

Click through for the other 5 moments.  Clearly, Lord has been over indulging in the Republican insaniTEA!  Will he ever get his facts straight?

Mar 152016

Yesterday turned out to be a thoroughly frustrating day.  My LIFT Bus arrived over 45 minutes late.  Once it became apparent that I could not make it to my appointment on time, I called my doctor’s office, explained, and asked if I could come in late.  They told me not to come and to reschedule.  I said I would call as soon as I could get to my computer, where I keep my calendar.  When I did, they told me that Megan is going on maternity leave until July.  (Rest assured, I didn’t do it).  She wasn’t even showing when I saw her before.  Fortunately Ellie, Megan’s PA, who took care of me, when I had pneumonia, can fill in for her until she returns.  I was very happy with her too.  In any case, I rescheduled my appointment for Thursday morning.  I’m waiting for Lu to arrive, as I really need to de-stink.

Jug Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:49 (average 5:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Republican front-runner Donald Trump was crying foul on Monday after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders allegedly dispatched an army of vegan thugs to attack a rally of peace-loving Nazis in Cincinnati.

According to Trump, he had begun to address a group of “orderly and civil Nazis” at a downtown arena when his audience was suddenly set upon by an unruly mob of angry vegans, many menacingly clad in Birkenstocks and sustainable garments.

The Sanders supporters, singing an alarmingly militant version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America,” marched into the arena and began “intimidating and threatening” the Nazis, Trump said.

“Make no mistake about who is starting the violence at these rallies,” Trump said. “It’s the vegans.”

Is Andy quoting Hateful Hairball? It sounds like one of his lies.

From Daily Kos: It is a probably too late, but a Republican SuperPAC is finally hitting Trump especially hard with a new ad.

These Republicans made an excellent ad. The irony here is that women would be no better off in their Republican role as chattel under any of the other three Criminal Clowns.

From NY Times: The Obama administration is expected to withdraw its plan to permit oil and gas drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast, yielding to an outpouring of opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashing the hopes and expectations of many of those states’ top leaders.

The announcement by the Interior Department, which is seen as surprising, could come as soon as Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the decision who was not authorized to speak on the record because the plan had not been publicly disclosed.

The decision represents a reversal of President Obama’s previous offshore drilling plans, and comes as he is trying to build an ambitious environmental legacy. It could also inject the issue into the 2016 presidential campaigns, as Republican candidates vow to expand drilling.

Kudos to Obama. Could it be that this decision might spark the reemergence of Drill Baby Dingbat, aka Bloody Bullseye Barbie?  Barf Bag Alert!!