May 222015
 

Last night I returned from the shower and reached into my drawer for clean underwear.  Imagine my horror when I discovered a handful of air!!!  So I rose early this morning and did the dreaded task, but am now even more tired and further behind than before.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:05 (average 7:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Her neighbors are paying $18 a month. Joyce Villegas has been paying almost $400 a month for over three years because of delays from Hawaiian Electric, the state’s utility company.

 

Here we have a case of a blue state trying to do the right thing, but failing to organize it properly. The result is that people still waiting are subsidizing the utility service of people who have installed panels. 1:1 buyback sounds nice, but it’s not realistic, because it ignores the need to maintain the power grid.

From The New Yorker: Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, voters who were presented the names of a biker-brawl suspect and a Republican Presidential candidate correctly identified both only thirty per cent of the time.

For example, fifty-seven per cent of voters erroneously identified the former Texas Governor Rick Perry as a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, while forty-one per cent believed he belonged to the Cossacks.

Adding to voters’ confusion, the biker brawlers and G.O.P. candidates have identical views on a host of issues, such as gun rights and whether they would feel comfortable attending a gay wedding.

Andy is off in a couple places here. First, isn’t "Wacko" a better way to spell the town’s name? Second, he missed an obvious solution. Just replace the current clown car with the biker brawl suspects, who are eminently more qualified to govern.

From Media Matters: Fox News’ misleading smear of food stamp recipients as surfing freeloaders found its way into a congressional hearing aimed at examining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

On May 20, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing addressing the "Past, Present, and Future of SNAP." Throughout the hearing, Fox News’ misleading 2013 special, "The Great Food Stamp Binge" that attempted to make a surfing freeloader "the new face of food stamps" was referenced several times as evidence of abuse within the program.

Fox’s misrepresentation of food stamp recipients found its way into the hearing when two members on the committee used the special as anecdotal evidence of abuse within SNAP. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) used Fox’s example of a "surfer out in California living on food stamps and eating lobster" as evidence of abuse within the program, though he "forg[o]t which network" aired the special.

Later, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) also referenced "the surfer that was on one of the news channels," claiming, "unfortunately, we see that in our districts, and I hear stories about that every day."

The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, has become the Republican Reichsministry of Policy.

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May 202015
 

The class warfare perpetrated by the 0.1% and their representatives, the Republican Party, has been a central theme of the 2016 campaign, even as it’s just getting started.  Rather than deny that it exists, the Republican party is trying to redefine it.  To that end, they are employing the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda, Faux Noise.  Their spin is that Democrats are committing class warfare against poor, defenseless billionaires.

FoxPropRemember all that wailing and gnashing of teeth we’ve seen from Faux "news" in recent weeks over President Obama rightfully calling them out for routinely demonizing those living in poverty and calling them a bunch of lazy moochers that don’t want to work?

It seems that Fox’s Neil Cavuto was shameless enough to complain about President Obama over the weekend on his Saturday show, and then turn right around on his weekday show and allow Ben Stein to give Jon Stewart, this blog, and Media Matters some more material for our archives of Fox and their poor-shaming.

Cavuto started out the segment with Stein with another of their Fox "news" ALERTS saying Warning, warning!!!! Hillary Clinton said the deck is stacked for the rich, and so did Bernie Sanders… so OMG!!!!! Hillary is a dirty f**kig hippie Socialist now!!! The horror!!

Which is what Neil Cavuto and his buddy Ben Stein believes is "class warfare" against those poor downtrodden rich people…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

Here’s the video.  Barf Bag Alert!!

They are presenting a false choice.  Their alternatives are letting the deserving rich keep what they earned, or squandering it on undeserving masses who will just waste it.

The truth is that that most of the very rich who actually earned their money appreciate that they did so on the shoulders of the entire nation and recognize that their continued success requires a strong middle class.  Sadly, they are few, and most wealth is concentrated in the hands of people who inherited it.  Since they depend on the government to provide them favorable treatment that transfers even more wealth from the poor and middle classes to them, they are the true underserving welfare recipients now.  On the other hand, Democrats want to spend money on projects like infrastructure, education and research.  These are designed to grow the entire economy for everyone, rich and poor alike, making America a place where both entrepreneurs can succeed, and none need suffer from hunger.

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May 152015
 

Today is so busy that I must remain as brief as possible.  TGIF Hugs!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Jon Stewart: Fox News’ Poor-Shaming Is "Easily Provable And Decidedly True"

Stewart On Fox’s Denial: How "Removed From Reality Is Fox’s Perception Of Their Own Coverage On Poverty?"

Is it any wonder that people who depend on the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda know less that people with no access to TV news.

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Expand Social Security

We need to expand Social Security to prevent the looming retirement crisis, and we can do it simply by asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

 

Amen to Scrap the Cap!! This is the third video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn, and share it from there.

From The New Yorker: After several days of controversy over whether he would have authorized an invasion of Iraq, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Thursday that the question was unimportant since it is now painfully clear that he will never be President.

“Look, I can understand people wanting to know where I stand on this Iraq business if I actually had a chance of being elected,” he told an audience in Arizona. “But since I’ve pretty much pissed that away, what’s the point, really?”

Bush urged those who sought out his opinion on policy matters to take a look at how poorly his campaign is going “and get a reality check about the odds of me ever being President, which are hovering in the vicinity of zero.”

May Andy be speaking prophetically!

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May 032015
 

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 incredibly demented InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

No one is more eager to believe the cops’ crazy leaked story about Freddie Gray than Sean Hannity, because now he can blame Obama.

Hannity-tinThe Baltimore police’s outrageous leak to the Washington Post of an absurd explanation for how Freddie Gray sustained his life-ending injury was insane on its face. But not to Sean Hannity. Envisioning the already suffering Freddie Gray purposely flinging himself around in the back of the police van to break his own spine had the ring of truth to the Fox newsian. It has to be true! It was in a good newspaper, after all!

Hannity went nuts, pouncing on the report to attack, who else, Obama for his “rush to judgement” in the Gray case. Enter voice of reason Geraldo Rivera (yes, Sean Hannity has the ability to make Geraldo Rivera appear as the voice of reason. Quite a remarkable feat, actually.)

Rivera, who is primarily known for suggesting that black people’s attire is what gets them killed, did think something about the report was fishy. Namely, that it was crazy. He told Hannity that he doubted very much that the Baltimore protesters would buy it, either, saying, "They will not be convinced by the Washington Post report that this fellow died as a result of self-inflicted wounds."

This outraged Hannity. "So the facts be damned!" he bellowed.

That’s right. He said facts. Facts are those things that police say in Hannity’s world. No matter how nonsensical. Why was Rivera not on board with this?

Mainly Hannity just wanted to attack Obama, though. If the Washington Post report is true, Hannity said, which no one in their right mind thought for a moment, “That means the President of the United States has injected himself wrongly four times in four high-profile race issues. That makes him a four-time loser.”

Oh God. Shut up, Hannity, you million-time loser. We hear there's an opening on Clive Bundy's ranch for you…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I don’t know.  Clive Bundy just might consider Sean Hannity too extreme to allow on the property.

This is just one of six incredibly demented Republican moments from last week alone.  Click through for the other five.

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May 032015
 

As always, I have a very busy day on tap.  I spent a couple hours doing overdue computer maintenance, and I planned my itinerary, bought my tickets and paid for my room for my trip to Salem during the last week of the month for prison volunteer work.  I’m still in pain, but not so bad as to stop me.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

Republican lawmakers know very well that they’re in an awful bind completely of their own making. They insisted on pursuing every possible avenue for destroying Obamacare, and now one might work out for them. The Supreme Court could very well decide in June to strike down subsidies to the around 8 million people who have purchased insurance on the federal exchange, making keeping that insurance impossible for many, and making those 8 million people very, very angry. Most Republicans have now come around to the idea that maybe that’s not going to be such a great thing for them, particularly those who have to be re-elected next year. One of them, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has introduced legislation that would extend the subsidies into 2017. But Johnson isn’t the only one who has some kind of fix, and most of those "fixes" create real problems going forward.

The Johnson plan would prohibit new customers in both the state and federally operated exchanges from receiving subsidies and repeal the individual and employer mandates. In addition, it would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s minimum essential benefit requirements, allow states to set those benefit rules, and grandfather in existing health plans that are not compliant with the ACA.

Another proposal, by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), would continue premium subsidies for 18 months but phase them out over that period. For six months after the court rules, financial assistance for all subsidy-eligible exchange customers would be set at a flat 65% of premium costs. That would decrease by 5 percentage points each month until the subsidies were completely eliminated. During the transition period, insurers would be prohibited from raising premiums. In addition, the Sasse bill would prohibit HHS from providing federal exchange technology to states interested in establishing their own exchanges. […]

On the House side, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and two other committee chairmen have proposed to offer a flat tax credit to people now receiving subsidies through the federal exchange. In addition, they would let states opt into an alternative Republican reform model without insurance mandates and including traditional GOP policy nostrums such as allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines.

In Short, the Republican fixes would all pretend to save ObamaCare, but would really convert it to standard RepubliCare, complete with the free RepubliCare Death Benefit. If you can’t afford to pay, you get to die.

From NY Times: A bill that would end prescribed wages on public construction projects in Indiana awaits the signature of Gov. Mike Pence. And Henry Burks, a union electrician who lives near Indianapolis, is bracing.

Mr. Burks, 57, is putting off plans to build a patio at his house. He is delaying painting and landscaping, too. And he said he is worried about how to continue helping his grown children with college costs if his income drops, as he firmly expects.

“This is going to inhibit me from taking care of my family,” Mr. Burks, who makes about $60,000 a year, said the other day as he took a break from installing conduit inside a corn processing plant in Lafayette. “Our wages will go down. The contractors we work for won’t get as many jobs. Maybe I’ll have to find work outside of Indiana.”

Sadly, it’s not just Indiana. The Republican War on Workers is a nationwide campaign.

From Crooks and Liars: Never mind decades of failed trickle-down economic policies on a national level, the talking heads at Fox want to pretend what happens in our cities takes place in a vacuum.

From this Saturday’s Cashin’ In on Faux "news," the usual suspects were on there bashing liberals, our social safety nets, and pretending that liberals running our big cities in America are solely responsible for all of the economic woes in communities across the United States, and with impoverished areas that haven’t seen the same sort of recovery as a lot of the country following the financial crisis that took place just as President Obama was being sworn into office.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

When it comes to inner city streets being a prison pipeline, I have to say that Democrats share the blame for that aspect of the unrest. Republicans had targeted Democrats as "soft on crime" so many times, that Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress went overboard in the opposite direction. However, Republicans are far more to blame overall. Starving inner cities for finding, exporting urban jobs to the third world, the decimation of labor, the war on the poor, and the rabid racism that the Republican Party employ are just some of the reasons why.

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Godwin’s Law – a common meme used by fascists, pseudo-intellectuals, and people with their heads in the sand (or in smellier places), whenever anyone points out the verifiable commonalities between today’s Republican Party and Germany’s National Socialist Party.

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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’

0312daily_news_traitors

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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