Mar 132015
 

I have a cold or the flu.  I’m running a fever and have nasal congestion in addition to severe COPD.  I got it from chilling myself outside a bureaucrat’s office.  On the other had, it could just be what I get for turning 67 on Friday the  13th.  Obviously, this is today’s only article.  Some of the material is slightly outdated, but, as bad as I feel, it’s the best I can do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Stating that “their continuing hostilities are a threat to world peace,” Iran has offered to mediate talks between congressional Republicans and President Obama.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, made the offer one day after Iran received what he called a “worrisome letter” from Republican leaders, which suggested to him that “the relationship between Republicans and Obama has deteriorated dangerously.”

“Tensions between these two historic enemies have been high in recent years, but we believe they are now at a boiling point,” Khamenei said. “As a result, Iran feels it must offer itself as a peacemaker.”

He said that his nation was the “logical choice” to jumpstart negotiations between Obama and the Republicans because “it has become clear that both sides currently talk more to Iran than to each other.”

He invited Obama and the Republicans to meet in Tehran to hash out their differences and called on world powers to force the two bitter foes to the bargaining table, adding, “It is time to stop the madness.”

I’m afraid it won’t work Andy. Some terrorists are just too far gone for Iran to be able to help.

From Media Matters: Sean Hannity lectured criminal defense and civil rights attorney Tamara Holder about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s impact on women’s issues, telling Holder, "let me educate you."…

…Hannity’s lecturing became so egregious, his female producer challenged him, asking if he was treating Holder this way because she is a woman:

 

If women follow the advice Hannity is giving, they will have nothing to do with him.

From Daily Kos: Six years too late, media call congressional Republicans ‘traitors’

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Now Republicans are claiming they were just being "cheeky". That’s the truth, if the cheeks in question are the ones, between which their heads are inserted.

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Mar 102015
 

I’ve been up since about 4:00 AM, working on necessary tasks.  I’m waiting for Safeway.  They will be delivering my groceries sometime within the next four hours.  I have to stay up, until they get here.  Today is the last of the 70° days, but I can’t bask until I put my groceries away, either.  Tomorrow’s appointment will take all morning, so figure on a Personal Update only.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 6:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Some Republicans in Congress are calling for cuts to the Census Bureau’s budget that would impair the agency’s already strained ability to gather basic data.

An accurate census is essential to determining the correct number of representatives from each state, the effectiveness of voting laws and the allotment of federal aid to states. In fact, information from the census and other surveys by the bureau is crucial to anyone — policy makers and businesspeople, researchers and citizens — who wants to understand the United States, assess where it is headed and influence its course on the basis of hard data.

The White House has requested a slim $1.5 billion for the bureau for fiscal year 2016. Much of that would be for the 2020 census, the planning of which is already behind schedule because of previous budget cuts. Next year is critical for the testing of data-gathering technology; Congress’s failure to provide timely financing to try out hand-held computers before the 2010 census forced a last-minute reversion to paper forms, which proved costlier than an orderly roll out of the computers would have been.

Congress looks set to make the same mistake again.

There’s no mistake about it! With the Census Bureau starved tor funding, the people who will fall through the cracks, because they are not counter are the poor. Those are the people Republicans want to be under-represented.

From Alternet: Google could launch an effort to keep trolls and bad information at bay, with a program that would rank websites according to veracity, and sort results according to those rankings. Currently, the search engine ranks pages according to popularity, which means that pages containing unsubstantiated celebrity gossip or conspiracy theories, for example, show up very high.

New Scientist’s Hal Hodson reports on the proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score:

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.

Google has recently implemented a kind of Knowledge-Based Truth score lite with its medical search results. Now, doctors and real medical experts vet search results about health conditions, meaning anti-vaxx propaganda will not appear in the top results for a “measles” search, for instance.

Even though the former program is just in the research stage, some anti-science advocates are upset about the potential development, likely because their websites will become buried under content that is, well, true.

I fully hope Google does it. It would be catastrophic for the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and the entire Republican bubble machine.

From TPM: Even if Obamacare tax subsidies survive in the Supreme Court, a future president may have a lawful way of unilaterally blocking them, legal experts say.

The justices met privately on Friday, two days after contentious oral arguments, to cast their votes in King v. Burwell, a case about whether the text of the Affordable Care Act allows the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax subsidies to Americans in three-dozen states who buy insurance on the federally-run exchange.

There are three ways the justices could rule: 1) They could side with the plaintiffs and say the law unambiguously forbids the subsidies, in which case no president can provide them; 2) They could side with the government and say the law unambiguously authorizes the subsidies, in which case no president can deny them; 3) They could say the statute is ambiguous and therefore defer to the agency that implements it — in this case, the IRS — under the longstanding legal theory of "Chevron deference."

If Obamacare subsidies survive — still an "if" — it’ll likely be because the justices find the law ambiguous and defer to the agency. That’s the basis on which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, from which the Supreme Court took the case, upheld the federal exchange subsidies.

If that does turn out to be the third option, that’s all the more reason why Republicans must be denies the White House until pork is kosher.

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Feb 282015
 

My helper friend called yesterday and said she could not make it until 10 AM today.  It’s Noon and I’m still waiting.  I slept most of yesterday, needed it, and could probably use another few hours.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: By a huge majority, Americans support laws legalizing marijuana and criminalizing Congress, according to a poll released on Thursday.

While the poll reflects a relaxation of attitudes about recreational pot use, it also suggests that many Americans now view membership in Congress as a problem ravaging the nation.

Harland Dorrinson, an activist who has spent years mobilizing support for the criminalization of Congress, said that “this poll reinforces what many of us have been saying for a long time: Congress destroys lives.”

Never has Andy’s satire been more true.

From Media Matters: Fox News Host Sean Hannity is criticizing singer John Legend’s Oscars speech, which invoked the civil rights movement and the ongoing fight for racial and social justice. In response to Legend’s completely accurate statement that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is under attack today, Hannity disagreed and appeared to argue that the seminal civil rights law was irrelevant to strict voter ID laws.

On February 22, Legend and co-writer Common won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Glory," from the film Selma, a historical drama about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for equal voting rights. In his acceptance speech, Legend noted that the civil rights struggle represented in the movie continues "right now": "We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now, in this country, today."

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Everything Legend said was true. Fowler was completely accurate when Hannity wasn’t overwhelming him with the loudest mic. Innis is just a token paid to betray his people, and said nothing of import. Hannity opened his mouth, with no food going in. You know what that means.

From Daily Kos: Earlier today, when asked about ISIS, presidential hopeful and current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his response to the peaceful labor protests in Madison in 2011 prepared him to stamp out international terrorism. Apparently that means that in case of a terrorist attack he would sneak in and out of the White House via a not-so-secret rat tunnel and consult on the phone with bloggers pretending to be billionaire David Koch.

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Here’s just one image the foolish Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan inspired. Click through for a bunch more.

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Feb 172015
 

I’m feeling very tired.  I slept poorly last night due to muscle aches from yesterdays walking.  Now I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order and for my O2 order to be delivered.  That could keep me awake all day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:08 (average 5:05).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: As reported in this diary, San Diego Fox News 5 used a picture of President Obama with the caption reading NO CHARGES while head anchorwoman Kathleen Bade  was discussing a rape suspect.

Although it was up there the entire time during her lead-in,  assignment editor Mike Wille said it was just a mistake. Since they knew it was a mistake, (and left it up there the whole time), why didn’t they at least offer a correction or apologize? 

Good question:

Asked why there was no on-air acknowledgment or apology for the error, Wille said: “They really don’t do that when it’s a small thing like that.”

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Small thing? Look at the picture. You decide.

From Upworthy: Kids go to school to learn. So why are so many of them, as early as kindergarten, leaving in handcuffs?

 

You won’t find such intolerance in upscale all white schools.

From Washington Post: We are now just days away from a potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, and according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, Republicans would earn the majority of the blame for it:

The survey finds 53% of Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if the department must shut down, while 30% would blame President Barack Obama. Another 13% say both deserve the blame.

That means that 47% are wrong!

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Feb 072015
 

Day 94.  I’m feeling quite tired, so I’ll try to be brief, so I can rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:26 (average 6:51).  To do it. click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The Guardian has posted  an article about FOX New’s embedding ISIS’s latest snuff film, unedited on their webpage:

Fox News has chosen to embed on its website the video of Islamic State burning a hostage to death, a move which makes them the only US media organisation to broadcast the video in full.

The extremely graphic 22-minute video shows Muadh al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, being set on fire and burned to death in a cage. Fox News did not post the videos of the killings of previous Isis hostages, and no other media company has hosted this video.Rick Nelson, a senior associate in homeland security and terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that posting the video actually empowers Isis.

… “These groups need a platform, and this gives them a platform,” he added.

Malcolm Nance, the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology thinktank and an expert on counter-terrorism and radical extremism told the Guardian that by posting the video Fox News was propagating “exactly what Isis wants to propagate”.

…..

“[Fox News] are literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’s media arm,” he added.

“They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”

Considering the extent to which both ISIL and the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, hate Obama, they are natural allies.

From The New Yorker: The reanimated corpse of Dr. Jonas Salk, the medical researcher who developed the first polio vaccine, rose from the grave Friday morning on what authorities believe is a mission to hunt down idiots.

The zombie version of Salk, wearing a tattered white lab coat and looking “incredibly angry” according to one eyewitness, was seen advancing on the U.S. Capitol building at approximately 11 A.M.

While Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, hid in the Senate cloakroom, armed security forces repelled the zombie virologist, who, seemingly unharmed, moved on in search of new prey.

According to law enforcement, the reanimated Salk then stole a car and headed off in the direction of Trenton, New Jersey.

Dang Andy!! He should have persisted until he got Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot. Rand Paul is the idiot trifecta!!

From Crooks and Liars: On March 4th, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case that they should never have agreed to take, brought by an organization funded by the Kochtopus and raising issues which are completely bogus. If Chief Justice John Roberts has his way, they will rule on this bogus case and gut the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s the kicker: Three of the four plaintiffs in the case aren’t even eligible to participate on the exchanges, rendering this case even more bogus than it was when they started it.

As much as I hope the author is wrong about this, I fear she is spot-on.

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Feb 022015
 

Day 89.  Woe is me!  The Holy Orb has gone dark and will shed no more light on the world until Autumn. :-(  The Seachickens demonstrated, once again, why I have not become a fan.  The game was theirs to win, but bwaaaack-buk-buk… They did the Seachicken Choke.  Nevertheless, it was an excellent game.  I have  a pants-load of work to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip Lynn Squance): Fox News has been proven repeatedly to be a purveyor of disinformation and outright lies presented as facts. Knowledgeable observers long ago ceased to take their reporting seriously. However, it’s one thing to be called out for shoddy journalism by experienced media analysts and news professionals. But when a high school class can demolish the highest rated cable "news" network with ease, the folks responsible should reconsider their career choices.

Last July O’Reilly sent his stalker/producer Jesse Watters to Bennington, Vermont in order to malign the residents of the city and the state as liberal, pot smoking, ski bums. It was a purely vicious exercise in childish insults that had no news value of any kind. But it is the sort of mean-spirited filler that Watters has made his specialty. Watters is also the founder and editor of Fox’s community website, Fox Nation, mangling the truth is the primary objective. [Note: don’t miss this epic and hilarious take down of Watters by Stephen Colbert]

The students at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington happened to be studying journalism when they came upon this piece. So they used it as a case study to conduct a "professional integrity audit" based on the ethics codes of the Society of Professional Journalists. What they discovered was that O’Reilly’s program violated the ethics codes so many times they lost count.

 

Kudos to these kids, but were they right to hold O’Lielly and Faux Noise to ethical standards for journalists? The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda are not journalists. They are Republican propagandists.

From NY Times: Alma Ramos, a soft-spoken prep cook at a Tex-Mex restaurant, was eager to sign up for health insurance through the new HealthCare.gov marketplace last year. But Ms. Ramos, a single mother of three, quickly hit a baffling hurdle.

Because of a wrinkle in the Affordable Care Act, Ms. Ramos made too little money to receive federal aid for buying private insurance — and too much to qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor. But she found a solution…

…All told, four million adults in nearly two dozen states fall into the gap, and Texas has the most, nearly one million.

Republicans blame Obama for this, as do even some Democrats, but such blaming is incorrect, not just unfair. The ACA required states expand Medicaid to remain eligible for Medicaid funds, because the federal government would pay for it. However, Republicans filed suit and the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) sided with them. This left Republican governors free to inflict this harm on their own citizens, trying to make Obama look bad. The fault here lies entirely with the Republican Party.

From Washington Post: HOW FAR will Republicans in Congress take their reckless flirtation with undermining government this time?

Will they, as seems increasingly likely, fail to pass a bill that the president can sign ensuring adequate funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 280,000 employees before the agency’s support expires Feb. 27? Are they ready to let funding lapse, secure in the knowledge that Border Patrol officers, Secret Service agents, airport security personnel and other so-called essential employees would still have to report to work — even though they would not be drawing paychecks?

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers clearly believe that denying funding to the nation’s premier organ of domestic security is no big deal, as long as the move expresses the GOP’s anger about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

As Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) put it to Politico: Letting the department’s funding lapse would not be “the end of the world.”

The Republican Party care nothing for our nation’s security. Everything the do is intended to do one of two things. One is the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to billionaires. The other is the establish a permanent, totalitarian, Republican Reich, in which elections exist for show only. In this case, every penny spent keeping America safe is a penny Republicans can’t give to a billionaire. Also, they hope that blaming Obama for their sedition will help them win the presidency.

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Jan 162015
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 72.  I’m getting a late start, because I slept late and I’ve been busy with other things, but I do have articles for you.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:42 (average 5:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Mitch McConnell was full of promises last November about how things were going to be different in the Senate when he was in charge. Like how the Senate was going to start working on Fridays. That promise was broken last Thursday, the first week of the session. The other thing the Senate was going to do under his watch—open amendments. Republicans had grumbled incessantly over the last six years about how Harry Reid was a dictator who refused to allow them to offer up their amendments, almost all of which were poison pills that had little or nothing to do with the underlying legislation. Well, the worm has turned with Republicans now in power, and McConnell doesn’t like it one bit. In fact, he’s pretty whiny about it.

"Some of our colleagues on the other side continue to filibuster the motion to proceed to this bill. All senators should know that we will get on this bill today and begin the amendment process—either this afternoon by consent, or shortly after midnight without consent,” he said. […]

McConnell vowed he would not let Democrats use their ability to offer amendments to stretch out floor debates for weeks simply to burn up the calendar.

"We will conduct a fair and open amendment process but not an open-ended one," he said.

And so much for open amendments. That fair and open process apparently won’t include one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) intended to put Republicans on the record about the connection between humans’ greenhouse gas emissions and global warming in the Keystone XL debate.

Speaking of greenhouse gas emissions, one of the biggest sources of methane in Washington, DC is Bought Bitch Mitch.

From The New Yorker: Citing what he called “security concerns,” House Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday that he would do all of his drinking at the office for the foreseeable future.

Boehner said that he may have to stay at work later in order to get his drinking done, but added, “I’m doing it for the American people. They need to know that their Speaker is safe.”

I wonder if Andy equates “safe” with preserved by pickling.

From Media Matters: Fox News hosts have repeatedly denied that moderate Muslims denounce violent extremists following terror attacks, ignoring that on their very network, Muslim guests have condemned terrorism and defended their faith. Watch five Muslim guests make their case on Fox:

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

When a Muslim makes a good point, when Faux is live, we see it once only, and they hate it when anything like that slips through, as their reactions divulge.

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