Jul 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, say 88.  I’m rushing, because I have physical therapy in the morning, I’m tired, and I’m running out of day.  Depending on how badly the PT wipes me out, I may be AWOL for Saturday articles.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Having cash in the bank, stocks, a 401(k), and a house (or houses) full of stuff worth money — that’s all wealth. And it’s great to have for two basic reasons: (1) It’s handy when the goin’ gets tough (e.g., expensive medical emergencies, car troubles, making tuition, etc.), and (2) having more wealth means having more freedom to think about and plan for the future, including retirement.

But over the last several decades, rule changes that benefit the rich have made wealth harder to come by for most of us. Take a look below.

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If you haven’t guessed, in the GOP War on the poor and middle classes, they’re winning.

From Daily Kos: If you think House Speaker John Boehner’s pre-impeachment lawsuit against President Obama for failing to implement Obamacare quickly enough makes him look like an obstructionist jackass who is more interested in political stunts than doing the right thing for the country, you’re not alone:

A majority of Americans view House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) lawsuit over President Obama’s delayed implementation of ObamaCare’s employer mandate as a “political stunt,” according to a new poll released Monday.

The survey, commissioned by liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change, found that 51 percent of voters don’t believe the lawsuit is legitimate, versus just 41 percent who do.

Moreover, 56 percent say the lawsuit is wasteful spending, with just 36 percent saying it is a good use of taxpayer dollars.

That’s exactly what I said, when Agent Orange first announced it.

From AlterNet: The Associated Press is reporting that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was allegedly shot down in Ukraine near the Russian border Thursday. An advisor to the Ukraine’s Interior Minister confirmed the report at 11:40am. The plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, Ukraine officials are reporting on Facebook.

A Russian aviation industry source told Reuters news service that the 777 did not enter Russian airspace when it was expected, but crashed in eastern Ukraine.

The Boeing 777 had 280 passengers and 15 crew members,  Interfax reported citing an an aviation industry source. It is reported that all passengers and crew have been killed. Twenty-three Americans were reportedly on the flight. 

Political tensions and violence have been high in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. The Ukranian government is alleging that separatist rebels shot down the plane, and the separatists are blaming Kiev. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families. Of course Republicans say they know who is at fault.

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Jul 172014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 87.  It’s largely a rest day for me, except for cooking, cleaning and the many hours I spend in research and writing.  I am tired from being unable to sleep this morning.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: One Quote From Abraham Lincoln Might Just Surprise You

0717lincolnLaborQuote

It’s hard to believe that once, Republicans were the liberal party, not the class warriors for the greediest billionaires that they are today.

From Daily Kos: Boy, Dick Cheney really is determined to caricature himself:

During an event sponsored by Politico, Cheney said the next president needs to "turn around the whole trend" of cutting defense dollars.

"That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways or anything else," Cheney said. "Your No. 1 responsibility as president is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. [Obama] is the commander-in-chief and he’s absolutely devastating the United States military today.”

War always was ChickenHawk Cheney’s highest priority, except when he was hiding behind five deferments.

From The New Yorker: A new study released Tuesday indicates that wearing glasses does not make a person look smarter, but standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry does.

In the study, when participants were shown photos of a person with and without glasses, they registered little or no change in their view of the person’s intelligence.

However, when the photo of the same person was juxtaposed with a photo of Governor Perry, participants suddenly said that the person looked “much smarter” or “brilliant,” with some participants even using the phrase “like a genius.”

While Andy is certainly correct, wouldn’t comparing folks to Crawford Caligula have an even greater effect?

Cartoon:

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Jun 042014
 

Marie Antoinette got a bad rap for the statement “Let them Eat Cake.”  The statement was actually made my the wife of Louis XIV, Marie Thérèse.  So even if she is the wrong Marie. she still ende3d up a head shorter because of it.  The statement itself represents a callous disregard for the suffering of the common people.  That disregard is reflected by many in the 1% and the Republican Party represents them.  I found a fascinating article analyzing nine questions 1% Republicans use to blame the poor for the suffering that they cause.  Here is just one of them.

0604Marie-AntoinetteShouldn't we cut public assistance and force people into the job market?

At some point in any discussion of jobs, someone will drop the nuclear option: cut federal and state benefits and do away with most public assistance. That'll motivate people to find jobs — or starve. Unemployment money and food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) encourage people to be lazy. Why should tax dollars be used to give food to people who won't work for it? “If you’re able-bodied, you should be willing to work,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said discussing food stamp cuts.

The problem with such statements is 73% of those enrolled in the country’s major public benefits programs are, in fact, from working families — just in jobs whose paychecks don’t cover life’s basic necessities. McDonald’s workers alone receive $1.2 billion in federal assistance per year.

Why do so many of the employed need food stamps? It’s not complicated. Workers in the minimum-wage economy often need them simply to survive. All in all, 47 million people get SNAP nationwide because without it they would go hungry.

In Ohio, where I did some of the research for my book Ghosts of Tom Joad, the state pays out benefits on the first of each month. Pay Day, Food Day, Mother’s Day, people call it. SNAP is distributed in the form of an Electronic Bank Transfer card, or EBT, which, recipients will tell you, stands for “Eat Better Tonight.” EBT-friendly stores open early and stay open late on the first of the month because most people are pretty hungry come the Day.

A single person with nothing to her name in the lower 48 states would qualify for no more than $189 a month in SNAP. If she works, her net monthly income is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment. Less than fifty bucks a week for food isn’t exactly luxury fare. Sure, she can skip a meal if she needs to, and she likely does. However, she may have kids; almost two-thirds of SNAP children live in single-parent households. Twenty percent or more of the child population in 37 states lived in “food insecure households” in 2011, with New Mexico (30.6%) and the District of Columbia (30%) topping the list. And it's not just kids. Households with disabled people account for 16% of SNAP benefits, while 9% go to households with senior citizens.

Almost 22% of American children under age 18 lived in poverty in 2012; for those under age five, it’s more than 25%. Almost 1 in 10 live in extreme poverty.

Our system is trending toward asking kids (and the disabled, and the elderly) to go to hell if they're hungry. Many are already there…

Inserted from <Alternet>

As long as this excerpt appears, it is just a very small part of a very large article.  You owe it to yourselves to read it in it’s entirety to prepare you to handle the Republican lies you will hear over and over again.  I urge you to click through.

Finally the quote falsely attributed to Marie Antoinette is no longer appropriate.  It should be upgraded to Let Them Eat Koch!

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May 242014
 

I’ve been writing for tomorrow in spurts, while preparing a chicken, rice, broccoli, beans, onions, and chili dish.  Beware downwind!! :-)  I’ve also been boiling water, as the city water is infected with e coli.  We have a boil water alert on until further notice.  In all the years I’ve lived here, that’s a first.  I’ve also cat napping.  I started this morning, and it’s now evening.  Yesterday’s prison meeting went quite well.  It was the second half of the annual banquet, and my role was quite similar to last month.  The pride my guys take in introducing their families just puts a smile on my face.  Day 32.

Late (early) Update: That last cat nap was a doozie!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:38 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Some of the best practical advice, or just one of those things that we all eventually learn? Either way … wise words, Louis.

0524Up

He’ll never make the Republicans on Parade list.

From The New Yorker: In response to the international uproar created when he reportedly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler, His Royal Highness Prince Charles today issued the following letter of apology to the Russian people.

My dear Russians,

Yesterday, it was reported that I compared your President Putin to Hitler. If by making this comment I have in some way offended you, I am deeply sorry. Adolf Hitler was one of the horrible villains in world history, and comparing President Putin to him was uncalled for.

What I should have said, and what I say to you now, is that this Putin chap can be a bit Hitlery at times.

Let’s take, for example, his penchant for taking territory that doesn’t belong to him and then adding it to his country and so forth. Would you call that behavior Hitlery or not Hitlery? From where I sit, it’s more like something Hitler would do than something he wouldn’t do, and so the verdict must be, yes, the chap is being rather Hitlery when he does that…

LOL Andy!! But you messed-up! GOP-Pootie is more like Mussolini. Hitler’s follow-on will be announced at the 2016 Republican Convention.

From Daily Kos: This might just be the most ridiculous thing Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said during the entire 2014 campaign:

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he’s elected Senate majority leader.

But the veteran senator won’t say what would happen to the 421,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state’s health care exchange.

McConnell told reporters Friday that the fate of the state exchange is unconnected to the federal health care law. Yet the exchange would not exist, if not for the law that created it.

If Mitch wants to say he’s for Obamacare repeal, he’s got to acknowledge what repealing Obamacare would really mean, and that includes dismantling things like Kynect, the new health care exchange created because of Obamacare.

Is it time to change his name to "Bought Bullshit McConArtist", or should we just keep "Bought Bitch Mitch"?

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Apr 292014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow.  What’s unusual is that tomorrow is almost here.  Today was a rough one.  Because I had a two hour wait for the lift bus to pick me up, I spent over an hour of it in the dollar store next door.  Between too much time in my feet and the thoroughly uncomfortable chairs at the medical imaging place, I was hurting big time by the time I got home.  All I could do was crawl into bed.  So I’m rushing now to finish this on time, and it is tomorrow’s only article.  Day 8.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: It is, in a way, too bad that Cliven Bundy — the rancher who became a right-wing hero after refusing to pay fees for grazing his animals on federal land, and bringing in armed men to support his defiance — has turned out to be a crude racist. Why? Because his ranting has given conservatives an easy out, a way to dissociate themselves from his actions without facing up to the terrible wrong turn their movement has taken.

For at the heart of the standoff was a perversion of the concept of freedom, which for too much of the right has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for others.

Start with the narrow issue of land use. For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little — that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage. [emphasis added]

Paul Krugman did it again.  We the people should get paid a fair price for the use of our land. We should end the subsidies to these millionaires Krugman calls "High Plains Moochers".

From TPM: Win or lose — and they’ll probably lose — Democrats hope this week’s Senate showdown over raising the federal minimum wage reaps them benefits in November’s congressional elections.

Whether they’ll get an Election Day payoff is uncertain.

In a Senate vote expected Wednesday, Republicans seem likely to block the Democratic measure, which would gradually raise today’s $7.25 hourly minimum, reaching $10.10 as soon as 2016. Even if the bill, one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities, somehow survives in the Senate, it stands little chance of even getting a vote in the GOP-run House.

Who would the proposal most directly affect? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women and young people make up disproportionate portions of the 3.3 million people who earned $7.25 or less last year. Both groups traditionally skew Democratic, and the party would love to drive them to the polls in November as it battles to retain Senate control.

I fully expect the Republicans to give us another issue, along with the ACA, both of which can be used to hammer them.

From Think Progress: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told George Stephanopoulos Sunday that she left the Republican Party in the mid-90s because it was tilting the playing field in favor of Wall Street.

Warren has quickly become a populist hero to liberals. Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s The Week, noted something in her background that “might surprise” her supporters: the fact that she has voted Republican in the past, and was a registered Republican in Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1996. Warren said she left the party after that because she felt it was siding more and more with Wall Street

 

I do so wish she was willing to be the first woman President.

Cartoon:

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Many were executed for crimes far less heinous that those committed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc.

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Apr 232014
 

Americans seem to fixate on the notion that our society is the best there is, despite having slipped from that perch in longevity, health, education, happiness, and many other categories.  How ever, starting before I was born, The US has always had the most well-to-do middle class in the world, until now.

0423greedy-americans1The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

Middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Photo Credit: Big Fish Ink

Congrats to Canada, but their success may be short lived. because Harper’s Harlots are doing everything they can to mimic the US Republicans responsible for this.

In real terms, middle class income in the US has failed to keep pace with other nations, because virtually all the income goes to the 1%.

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Apr 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I don’t know why, but I feel lethargic.  I’ve gotten enough sleep, and I don’t feel ill.  Perhaps it’s that I’m taking Chantix again.  My last attempt to quit fell apart during the moving process, so I’m trying again.  Q-Day is Infernal Revenue day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s still early yet, but a monster El Nino might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile.  Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Nino.  Here’s what he has to say about the Kelvin wave:

The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Nino event.

more below the fold… [emphasis original]

Click through for an in depth report on this potential El Nino and what it means to you.

From NY Times: Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women, framing an election-year fight between the parties over whose policies are friendlier to women.

The bill was an attempt by Democrats to press what they see as their electoral advantage among women in the coming midterm elections, but they fell short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster and advance the legislation.

Now there can be no doubt. Republicans do not want to see equal pay for people they consider property that should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

From TPM: The House has passed a GOP budget blueprint that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts across the federal budget and eliminating health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the nonbinding framework takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government’s chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn’t in the cards.

The plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024. The sharpest cuts would come to health care programs for the poor and uninsured, food stamps, and array of domestic programs, including Pell Grants, education, and community development grants.

No surprises here.

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Prior to this, white southern racists were a bloc of Democrats known as the Dixiecrats.  They were so outraged by this event that they left the Democratic Party.  The Republicans, seeing there was no future in representing primarily billionaires and corporate criminals, adopted the Southern Strategy and embraced the racists’ hatred.  This is how racists became the base of the Republican Party.

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