Apr 182017
 

Last night the pain in my side kept me up most of the night.  This is my only article today, and I won’t be distributing links on Care2.  Please3 expect no more tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos Elections: Daily Kos Elections’ 2016 presidential results for congressional and legislative districts

0418State_LegislativeHexmap

Therein lies the problems we’ve had long term and what we must correct. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: In a major foreign-policy coup for the Trump Administration, North Korea offered to unconditionally abandon its nuclear program on Monday, after Mike Pence spent several minutes angrily squinting at the nation from just across the border.

Warning North Korea that the United States had jettisoned its policy of “strategic patience” and that “all options were on the table,” Pence fixed his steely glare on the isolated Communist nation and began furiously staring it down.

After Pence spent between five and six minutes demonstrating U.S. resolve by squinting indignantly, the government in Pyongyang released a statement indicating that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were a thing of the past.

Dang Andy! Fat chance! RESIST!!

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is There an Actual Tape of Trump’s Russia Collusion? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

LORD! Let it be so and fully exposed.  RESIST!!

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Jan 122017
 

Good news.  My insulin syringes should be arriving today.  Yesterday’s tribulations tired me considerably, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:15 (average 5:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Think Progress: On Thursday morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called him “to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated” about Russia being in possession of compromising information about him.

But Trump was actually spreading a falsehood of its own. In a statement about the call, Clapper said, “the IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”

What Clapper did claim is that the report was not a product of US intelligence.  RESIST!!

From Metro: A former British intelligence officer has been named as the man behind a controversial but unverified document claiming Russia has leverage over the

Christopher Steele, 52, who runs London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, was named in reports as having compiled the file on Trump.

The 35-page dossier contains unconfirmed allegations that Russian security officials have compromising material on Trump that could be used to blackmail him. Steele’s brother Kevin has denied his sibling’s involvement in the document.

It was claimed that Russia has footage of Trump in a Moscow hotel room accompanied by prostitutes who performed golden showers on a bed previously slept in by President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle…

Clapper has said the document is unverified by US intelligence, not that it is untrue. Steele, the former MI6 agent, who compiled it, has gone into hiding. That’s only understandable, if Putin want’s Steele dead for jeopardizing the fruits Putin’s hard work, spent establishing his ownership of the Piddle Puddle Pervert.  RESIST!!

From NY Times: As he prepared last week to deliver his farewell address, President Obama convened three Democratic leaders in the White House for a strategy session on the future of their party. The quiet huddle included Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the top Democrats in Congress, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.

One topic of urgent concern, according to people briefed on the meeting: how to break the Republican Party’s iron grip on the congressional map.

Thwarted for much of his term by a confrontational Republican Congress, and criticized by his fellow Democrats for not devoting sufficient attention to their down-ballot candidates, Mr. Obama has decided to make the byzantine process of legislative redistricting a central political priority in his first years after the presidency.

Emerging as Mr. Obama’s chief collaborator and proxy is Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general of the United States and a personal friend of the president. He has signed on to lead the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a newly formed political group aimed at untangling the creatively drawn districts that have helped cement the Republican Party in power in Washington and many state capitals.

We need all the help we can get!  RESIST!!

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Republicans may be planning a sequel.  RESIST!!

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Nov 222016
 

Store to Door is closed for the holiday week, so I’m getting a grocery delivery today from Safeway.com.  Their delivery fees are higher than Store to Door’s, and they just leave the bags instead of handing me one item at a time, so putting everything away is much more work.  I’m not complaining.  They have good products and good service.  I’m celebrating Thanksgiving a day early tomorrow, because Wendy is bringing dinner with her when she comes to do her normal deodorizing of the stinky TomCat.  Is she a gem, or what?  She’ll be bringing her niece, so I’ll get to stuff and purrrr bookended by two gorgeous women.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:44 (average 4:38).  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

The universe must have been disrupted by a cosmic tear in the space-time continuum.  I actually won a game.

Standings:

11Standings

Congrats to Rob for leading the league.  It will take far more cosmic chaos to get me out of last place.

Short Takes:

From NY Times: A panel of three federal judges said on Monday that the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2011 redrawing of State Assembly districts to favor Republicans was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, the first such ruling in three decades of pitched legal battles over the issue.

Federal courts have struck down gerrymanders on racial grounds, but not on grounds that they unfairly give advantage to a political party — the more common form of gerrymandering. The case could now go directly to the Supreme Court, where its fate may rest with a single justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, who has expressed a willingness to strike down partisan gerrymanders but has yet to accept a rationale for it.

Given the Injustices the Fuhrer will appoint to SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD), redistricting that does NOT favor Republicans will soon be illegal.

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Look What Happens When You Criticize Trump

 

Keith has given us an excellent description of what Henry David Thoreau meant when he wrote Civil Disobedience. RESIST!

From Common Dreams: The Atlantic published a video on Monday that shows attendees of a white nationalist conference giving Nazi salutes and cheering as movement leader Richard B. Spencer, who has been credited with coining the term "alt-right," delivers a speech describing the U.S. as "a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity…it belongs to us."

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Welcome to the Fuhrer’s AmeriKKKa.

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Oct 242016
 

I’m rushing today, because my Broncos are on Monday Night Meditation in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  I need to do some schedule juggling for that, and it’s more difficult today, because I’m suffering a mild case of Republicosis.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:58 (average 5:47).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Politico: President Barack Obama will make a late splash into races for state senate and assembly over the next week, endorsing roughly 150 candidates across 20 states.

He’ll also back a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The endorsements — which will come along with a variety of robocalls, social media posts, mailers, photos of Obama with the candidates taken as he’s been traveling to campaign in recent weeks, and even a few radio ads — are Obama’s biggest investment in state races ever by far, and come as he gears up to make redistricting reform at the state level the political priority of his post-presidency.

This is the beginning of that effort, an unprecedented engagement all the way down-ballot for any president.

Kudos to Obama. Wherever there is so much as a Republican dog catcher, even dawgs should lift their legs in opposition!

From LA Times: Tom Hayden, a 1960s radical who was in the vanguard of the movement to stop the Vietnam War and became one of the nation’s best-known champions of liberal causes, has died in Santa Monica after a lengthy illness. He was 76.

Hayden vaulted into national politics in 1962 as lead author of a student manifesto that became the ideological foundation for demonstrations against the war.

President Nixon’s Justice Department prosecuted Hayden in the raucous “Chicago 7” trial following the violent clashes with police at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

I knew Tom, and although I often disagreed with him over whether to respond to police brutality passively or violently, he was a great leader in a troubled time, who stayed the course. Thoughts and prayers for all who loved him.

From Daily Kos: …In 2015, Daily Kos Elections published a series of articles where we attempted to draw entirely nonpartisan congressional maps for every state—the sort of maps you’d expect a court or a non-political redistricting commission to produce. These hypothetical maps take into account traditional nonpartisan redistricting criteria, such as respect for the Voting Rights Act, city and county integrity, communities of interest like shared culture or demographics, and geographic compactness, and they ignore things like partisanship or where incumbents live.

We then calculated the 2012 election results for president and other races for these hypothetical districts on the map shown at the top of this post (you can find a larger version here). From there, we estimated how the 2012 House elections might have turned out under these nonpartisan districts to try to measure the impact of gerrymandering.

Our conclusion was both astounding and infuriating: Gerrymandering likely cost Democrats a net of 25 seats in 2012, more than the 17 they needed to claim a majority that year, and far more than the eight they actually did gain.

With only some small exceptions, the same maps will be used again this year, and Daily Kos Elections and other analysts currently project Democratic gains of only around 10 to 20 seats, well short of the 30 the party now needs for a majority, following heavy losses in 2014. As a result, gerrymandering could once again cost Democrats a majority in 2016 even if they win more votes cast in House races nationwide than Republicans do—as they did in 2012.

It is critical that Democrats gain control of State governments in time for the redistricting that follows the 2020 census. Far more Americans will vote for a Democratic Representative than for a Republican next month. Nevertheless, I expect Republicans to hold the House Majority.

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Thanks labor!

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Jun 042016
 

It’s a hot day, and Julie was here.  We ordered a new Service Animal Vest for Killer Dawg, shined and polished the Puddy Tat, did some housework, installed a new mouse and keyboard for the computer, and cooked and shared a big spaghetti dinner.  The Portland Rose Festival is upon us, and tonight we have the Starlight Parade in high heat.  The temperature may drop to 90° by the time the parade begins a little after 8:00 PM.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.

Short Takes:

From PR Watch: A case that advocates hope could go up to the U.S. Supreme Court and set a new standard against partisan gerrymandering is being heard in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin this week.

A group of Democratic Wisconsin voters are suing the State of Wisconsin, arguing that the legislative district maps drawn by GOP politicians in 2011 are so skewed and long-lasting that their voting rights were violated.

University of Chicago Law School Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulous charged that Wisconsin’s Republican party engaged in the "worst gerrymander of modern American history" in opening arguments today. Stephanopoulous asked the three judge federal panel to "intervene to safeguard the democratic process."

The Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan and all his minions belong in cells.

From Daily Kos: Hillary’s take down today [Thursday] of a befuddled Donald Trump was absolutely epic.

 

As a public speaker, Hillary has never impressed me, but on this occasion, she outdid herself.

From NY Times: After running a congressional oversight committee like a Republican opposition research shop for more than two years, Representative Trey Gowdy appears to be gearing up for the finale. Democrats on the Select Committee on Benghazi expect that a final report will drop soon, just as Hillary Clinton appears poised to clinch the Democratic nomination.

If things had gone his way, Mr. Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, would have found a way to torpedo Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions. After all, Republican lawmakers have admitted that this is precisely what they set out to do.

But things have not gone well for Mr. Gowdy, who has run the investigation with the dexterity and grace of a blindfolded toddler swinging at a piñata. Having pored over reams of documents, grilled Mrs. Clinton in an 11-hour session in October and hauled in more than 100 people for interviews, the Republicans seem to have come up with nothing.

Could this spell the end of Benghazi Bullshit?

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May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

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