Oct 142014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 176.  I spent most of the day finding a video made by the newest board member of my prison volunteer group.  He was speaking against the death penalty, from perspective of the murder of his father.  I’m used to getting things converted to use ON the web, not to use OFF the web , but I had to convert it and burn it onto a DVD.  It’s for my group’s Victim Impact Meeting on 23rd, which he is unable to attend. To get it approved I have to turn it in to the prison tomorrow, when I’m there for my normal volunteer work.  I never play DVDs so, when done,  I had to find a neighbor with a DVD player to make sure it would work somewhere other that my computer.  Tonight is a Holy Night in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, and my fantasy team has to beat back the thunder-toed Canuck.  I’m hoping that I can get articles for Wednesday prepared before I leave tomorrow.  Then when I get back from prison, I can crash and post them when I wake up.  We’ll see.

(Late update:  she sasquatched me in the last minute of the last game) :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: This is incredible:

All German universities are now free to Americans and all other international students. The last German state to charge tuition at its universities struck down the fees this week.

Why are they offering such a generous plan?

In explaining why Germany made this move, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a Hamburg senator, called tuition fees "unjust" and added that "they discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."

Major Kudos to Germany!  Click through for more.

From NY Times: Among the rolling hills and Spanish moss of Florida’s panhandle, voters have long demanded that politicians walk a wobbly tightrope between the two dominant political parties: Lean too far one way and a tumble is all but certain.

Navigating that kind of crossing in this part of Florida, which looks to the South for cultural kinship but still has a solid core of Democratic-leaning voters, is particularly treacherous these days. More than two dozen Blue Dog House Democrats, a near-extinct group of socially moderate, fiscally conservative lawmakers, have been defeated by Republicans or left office since 2010. The congressional district here, Florida’s Second, has followed that pattern: Four years ago, Representative Steve Southerland II, a political novice backed by the Tea Party, defeated a longtime moderate Democrat.

But in an election season full of dire predictions for Democrats, the party is pinning one of its few genuine chances to reclaim a House seat on a little-known northwest Florida woman with a well-known name. Voters know her just as Gwen, but it is her last name, Graham, that resonates — a marquee Florida brand brimming with centrist political currency. And her father, Bob Graham, who was a popular longtime United States senator and governor, is usually by her side these days, chewing on pork at a fund-raiser, gobbling peanuts at a rally and extolling his eldest daughter’s pledge to put people before party as a Graham Democrat.

She has my support, my endorsement, and if she wins, my deepest condolences over the company she will have to keep for the following two years.

From AlterNet: On Average, Most of Us Got ONE DOLLAR for Every BILLION DOLLARS of New Wealth

A look at the numbers compiled by  Us Against Greed shows how personal it really is. Out of that $5,350,000,000,000 ($5.35 trillion) made since the start of 2013, the bottom 80 percent of America took an average of less than $5,000 each. The richest 6 to 20 percent fared better, taking an average of about $65,000.

Now it begins to heat up. From that $5.35 trillion, the richest 2 to 5 percent took an average of about $343,000. The one-percenters need to be split up into the rich, the super-rich, and the filthy-rich:

—-The more common members of the one-percent (1,068,000 families) made over $1,000,000 each ($1,068 billion total)

—-The .1 percent (108,000 families) made about $4 million each ($480 billion total)

—-The .01 percent made about $40 million each ($480 billion total)

The unimaginably rich Forbes 400 each took, on average, almost $1,500,000,000 ($1.5 billion) since January, 2013.

That brings us to the Final 9 (Gates, Buffett, 2 Kochs, 4 Waltons, Zuckerberg). Each of them  has accumulated, on average, over $13,000,000,000 ($13 billion) since January 2013.

This is just one of four reasons why we should be taking America’s inequality very seriously. Click through tor the other three.

Cartoon:

1014Cartoon

In Like manner, the Republican Party hates the UN and has tried to get us out of it.

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Sep 282014
 

Go ahead, take a big whiff.  You can smell the criminal greed all the way from Drill Baby Dingbat’s front porch.  The entire oil industry has proven over and over again that they are ill prepared to deal with the effects of their negligent incompetence, so what do they do?  They are lobbying hard for permission to be even more negligent.

0928ShellOil companies hoping to find crude under Arctic waters north of Alaska are imploring the Obama administration to ensure new rules governing drilling in the region don’t force them to stash emergency equipment nearby or block them from using chemical dispersants to clean up any spills.

The pleas for flexibility were delivered by Shell Oil Co. and ConocoPhillips in private meetings earlier this month with the Office of Management and Budget, which is reviewing an Interior Department proposal that would set standards governing oil development in the remote Arctic frontier.

The actual proposal is under wraps during the government’s interagency review, but regulators have signaled their desire for companies operating in the region to have equipment on hand to combat a blown-out well, possibly including containment systems, cap-and-flow devices that provide a path for crude out of a damaged well in a destabilized formation and rigs that can drill a relief well.

But according to just-released documents from separate Sept. 10 and Sept. 18 meetings with OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, both Shell and ConocoPhillips want more freedom to respond to emergencies… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alaska Dispatch News>

What they actually want is not more freedom to respond to emergencies.  They want more freedom NOT to respond to emergencies.  This becomes both more apparent and more horrific in light of the background information provided by Rachel Maddow.

Readers, who cannot watch clips from MSNBC, can see this on YouTube.

What do you think?  When you smell Shell, does it stink?

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Sep 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 160.  After sleeping from 2 PM until 7 AM with three short breaks for food, posting and equestrian events, I’m feeling almost feline again.  Tomorrow is a Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, but my Broncos will not have a service.  In solidarity with the LFBT community, they are observing their bi week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

My Prison Volunteer Trip:

All things considered, it was a highly productive trip.  I took the bus down to Salem on Wednesday.  We had a Board Meeting, and inducted two new members to our Board.  On Thursday I made two trips to the prison.  In the first we had an Executive Body meeting.  That consists of the Officers if the club (the inside group) and the foundation (the outside group, of which I am the Treasurer).  We discussed plans for meetings for my guys in 2015, including a Community Impact Meeting between my guys and a group of university students in criminology and sociology, an Essay Presentation meeting featuring writers from inside and outside, a Victim Impact meeting between my guys and crime victim, two months of banquet where my guys’ families come in, several charity events that my guys are organizing to help others, and more.  We also discussed improving the communications between my guys and their outside supporters, which had fallen off, because our former President had some personal issues, and needed to be replaced, and because my guys have not been feeding me the information I need to maintain a website.  The second meeting was a general meeting with about seventy of my guys.  DOC informed us that they have a new staff advisor.  She seem personable.  I particularly enjoyed introducing her to the newest member of our Board.  She knew who he was, but had never met him.  Until a few months ago he used to be her boss’ boss’ boss.  He was in charge of Inmate Activities for all of DOC, not just the one prison where we volunteer.  The meeting was primarily housekeeping, informing my guys of the plans we made, and planning a charity event, but we did hear a presentation from a college teacher seeking help to continue a limited opportunity for higher education inside.  I also learned that a good friend of mine was just elected President of the Lakota Club, the prison’s Native American group.

Now a couple commented about how non-intimidating the prison entrance seems.  As prisons go, these folks do a better job than most in that respect, but so you don’t get the wrong impression, here are a couple more pics.  The first is the same entrance from a different angle.

0928OSPWall

The second is a view od the wall from inside.

0928OSPWire

Is that more prison-like?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In a Thursday appearance on the Fox News Channel, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said that it was “no fair” that President Obama gets to bomb Syria.

“I’m envious as hell,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That was on my bucket list.”

Asked if he had any advice for the President on bombing Syria, Cheney said, “Just enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Andy has captured ChickenHawk Cheney, aka Five Deferment Dick, perfectly!

From Upworthy: Actor, advocate, and creative dreamboat Joseph Gordon-Levitt ponders aloud how his views on gender equality went viral not once, but twice. He has some interesting thoughts to share. Take a look — at 3:45, he asks something of all of us, especially if you have a webcam on your computer!

 

I consider myself a feminist and have been since the 1960’s for the reasons he mentioned. To my surprise, the movement had a lot of financial support from high end corporations back then. In my youthful naiveté, I thought they were practicing good community relations. In fact, they had figured out that, once women were established as workers, they could stop paying men a living wage. So now it takes two workers to support most families. Some blame the women’s movement for this, but that is absurd. Republicans want you to blame the victims of corporate greed, not the perpetrators.

From NY Times: With a competitive election for governor of Wisconsin less than six weeks away, a federal appeals court on Friday narrowly decided against hearing arguments on a recently instituted photo identification requirement for the state’s voters.

In an order that evenly split the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit here, the judges turned down pleas for a hearing by the full court from people who argue that the requirement has created confusion and chaos. The decision came about a month before in-person early voting begins and after some in Wisconsin may have mailed in absentee ballots.

The matter could ultimately wind up before the United States Supreme Court, and the Wisconsin case is seen as noteworthy among the numerous legal fights playing out around the country over voting regulations. Many of the regulations have been introduced in the last four years in states with Republican-dominated governments, like Wisconsin.

Voting officials and clerks in Wisconsin have been racing to prepare voters and poll-watchers for the identification requirement since a three-member panel of the Seventh Circuit court decided on Sept. 12 that the law, delayed for more than two years, could take effect immediately.

This is s tragic loss for the oppressed people of Fitzwalkerstan, living under the criminal tyranny of Fartfuhrer Walker.

Cartoon:

0928Cartoon

I originally published this cartoon on this date in 2011. Sadly little has changed.

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Sep 242014
 

One of the most important jobs in the works is that of a Secret Service Agent in the Presidential Detail.  Our National Security depends on the President’s safety.  I therefor consider it horrendous that  mentally challenged individual was able to hop the White House fence, stroll across the lawn, and walk into the White House.  Lets start with the basics.

0924lafayette-square

Secret Service officers stopped Omar Jose Gonzalez last month as he carried a hatchet in front of the White House, but let him go even though he had been arrested this summer in Virginia with a mini-arsenal of semiautomatic weapons, a sniper rifle and a map clearly marking the White House’s location.

Prosecutors on Monday also said Mr. Gonzalez, 42, an Iraq war veteran who on Friday scaled an iron fence and made his way through the front door of the White House before he was apprehended, had 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car when law enforcement officers searched it after Friday’s incident.

A judge on Monday agreed to a request by the prosecutors that Mr. Gonzalez, who is from Copperas Cove, Tex., and believed to have been living out of his car, remain in custody until a hearing next month because he posed a danger to President Obama.

The disclosures raised further questions about whether the Secret Service, which has the responsibility for protecting the president, could have prevented the breach into the White House, one of the most secure facilities in the country… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

More than one Republican has called this incompetence on Obama’s part.  That notion is absurd, but there have clearly ben a few blunders.  First, after apprehending Gonzales the first time, he should have been held for evaluation.  At all times every part of the White House grounds should be under direct observation. Every doorway into the White House should be locked and guarded.  Part of the reason these things were not done is negligence, and the parties responsible for that negligence should be reassigned to Sitka or Kiska.  However, part is also funding.

Because of Republican cuts to Secret Service budget, they have a severe staffing shortage.  People are being used on the Presidential Detail who are not normally part of it. Although expenses are up, Republicans cut their funding by $5 million, with even bigger cuts about to take place because of sequestration.

Perhaps the shortfall should be made up by further cutting the Congressional security detail

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Sep 072014
 

I have often said that not all Reichs are wrong, although Reichs on the right, like the Third Reich and the Republican Reich are certainly almost always wrong.  On the other hand, the Reich on the left is almost always right, and Robert Reich is certainly right about how the affluent have learned to take advantage of the economic and cultural benefits and opportunities offered by big cities, like Detroit, while ducking their responsibility to pay for them.  They do this by beating feet to the burbs.

0907Detroit

Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

But Detroit is really a model for how wealthier and whiter Americans escape the costs of public goods they’d otherwise share with poorer and darker Americans.

Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is now weighing Detroit’s plan to shed $7 billion of its debts and restore some $1.5 billion of city services by requiring various groups of creditors to make sacrifices.

Among those being asked to sacrifice are Detroit’s former city employees, now dependent on pensions and healthcare benefits the city years before agreed to pay. Also investors who bought $1.4 billion worth of bonds the city issued in 2005.

Both groups claim the plan unfairly burdens them. Under it, the 2005 investors emerge with little or nothing, and Detroit’s retirees have their pensions cut 4.5 percent, lose some health benefits, and do without cost-of-living increases.

No one knows whether Judge Rhodes will accept or reject the plan. But one thing is for certain. A very large and prosperous group close by won’t sacrifice a cent: They’re the mostly-white citizens of neighboring Oakland County… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Robert Reich>

I’ve just shared the introduction to whet your appetites.  Click through for his detailed explanation of how the 1% are reaping the benefits of urban life and saddling the poor and middle classes with all the costs.   Republicans help make this possible by stacking the economic deck against you and I.

Every Republican in office is one Republican too many!

VOTE THEM OUT!!

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Sep 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 133.  Except for blogging, I’m being as lazy as I can.  Whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, I hope and pray you stay safe.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:00 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From AlterNet: Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly: If women were more focused on getting married, maybe men wouldn’t sexually assault them so much.

Phyllis Schlafly shared some pearls of wisdom with young women on her radio show this week: Stop focusing on your career so much and get hitched. That’ll stop the menfolk from raping.

Brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that?

Wise old Phyllis asked a question she already had an answer for: “What’s the answer for women who worry about male violence?" (Wait, isn’t that all women? And all people?) "It’s not to fear all men," Schlafly continued. "It’s to reject the lifestyle of frequent ‘hookups,’ which is so much promoted on college campuses today, while the women pursue a career and avoid marriage.”

Hell, what are young ladies even going to college for? To selfishly get educated? What’s next? Are they going to selfishly go out and support themselves? And have boyfriends or girlfriends? That is pretty much asking to be raped.

Had enough crazy? Here’s more.

You read right. The Republican view is that women who opt to support themselves are asking to be raped. This is just one of six unhinged Republican moments from last week alone. Click through for the other five.

From Crooks and Liars: The gasbags from Fox’s Business Channel who make up the Saturday morning lineup on their sister network every weekend were hard at work this Labor Day weekend participating in one of their favorite activities — bashing anyone in the United States who believes that workers here ought to be able to earn a living wage, and attacking minimum wage workers who are out there protesting to have their wages raised.

Barf Bag Alert!

The job market has improved in states that have raised the minimum wage. But the 0.1% wants you to pay their employees’ food bill, so they can suck up more profit.

From Daily Kos: The 2014 campaign is well under way, and the ads have been flying. Most spots are unmemorable, but there are a few that stick out. Some of them offer a compelling and memorable case to voters, either in a primary or general election. Others … don’t.

What follows is a look at 10 spots from up to this point in the 2014 cycle. Five of them are good, and five of them have a serious flaw. There are plenty of great and terrible ads that didn’t get included. These 10 spots were chosen because each offers a lesson in political messaging, and they are worth learning from.

Let’s start with the above commercial, a spot that is almost universally mocked.

Boredom Bag Alert!

 

Every one of the other nine ads are more interesting, good or bad, than that one. Click through.

Cartoon:

0901Cartoon

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Aug 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 105.  I got a very late start on the day.  As I was cooking up a batch of my infamous chili, I broke my only can opener.  I has to dress and go out, because tomato sauce is a key ingredient.  Of course the corner store was closed, so I walked to another almost a half mile away.  I made it back and finishes cooking.  Although I am very tired, I have the power to produce a green cloud that sets off smoke detectors in my wake. Angel

Late/Early Update:  I overslept big time.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:23 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Neil deGrasse Tyson is more than just an excellent tour guide through the cosmos — he’s a true voice for our endangered space program. In this piece, he reminds us how our passion for space missions began and makes a compelling case that we must not abandon our quests and dreams.

Let us renew our commitment to lead the world in space exploration and let us resolve to reach to the heavens once again so that our species may one day truly go where no one has gone before.

 

I fully agree with George Takei’s introduction and Neil deGrasse’s presentation. We need to invest in the future, not the 1%’s Republican greed.

From Daily Kos: Since Rep. Steve King says that Central American families have been lured by U.S. policies to "give their daughters birth control pills and send them down a rape path all the way through Mexico, and it’s a death path on the death train" to get to the United States, a more observant person than Steve King might wonder what is going on in some parts of Central America that would cause anyone to contemplate taking the "death train" that Steve King warns about.

According to fellow Congressional Three Stooges member Louie Gohmert, the answer is nothing. Those children aren’t fleeing from anything, they’re all are just filthy liars.

“Texas and the United States is [sic] being invaded and we’re in danger,” Gohmert said, before alleging that most of the unaccompanied minors are lying when they tell border patrol agents that they are escaping gang violence in Central America and have been coached to make such claims. Gohmert said minors end up telling officers that “we were told to say that we were fleeing gang violence.”

The author calls Go-Go Goosestep the dumbest Congressman in America. There is too much competition for that title for certainty, but Loony Louie is certainly in the running.

From TPM: Rep. Steve King (R-IA) refused to utter the word "impeachment" on Sunday, but warned that if President Obama used executive action to defer more deportations of undocumented immigrants, it might be the only option left for Congress.

"None of us want to do the thing that’s left for us as an alternative," King said on "Fox News Sunday" when host Chris Wallace asked if Obama delayed more deportations could lead to impeachment.

"I think Congress has to sit down, have a serious look at the rest of this constitution, and that includes that ‘i’ word that we don’t want to say," King continued, explaining that executive actions would trigger impeachment talk. "And I only say that now on this program because I want to encourage the president, ‘Please don’t put don’t put America into a constitutional crisis.’"

When Wallace pressed King on whether impeachment was "on the table," King echoed his concerns on immigration.

At the same time they Republicans claim that Democrats’ concern about impeachment is an Obama conspiracy.

Cartoon:

0804Cartoon

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