May 242016
 

I had a rough night last night.  I was awakened by an intermittent sharp stabbing pain in my left ankle, and it remains.  What make it particularly difficult, besides ruining my night’s sleep and my morning nap, is that my left ankle is made of titanium and is about three feet away from me.  On the plus side, I called my medical equipment company and told them to come pick up my O2 tanks and concentrator, because my Pulmonologist told me that he doesn’t think I need them anymore.  I really needed that good news.  My turn for some was overdue.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Think Progress: Climate education in Oregon just took a big step forward.

Last week, the Portland Public Schools board voted to eliminate the use of any textbooks or other materials that are “found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

“A lot of the text materials are kind of thick with the language of doubt, and obviously the science says otherwise,” Bill Bigelow, a former Portland public school teacher, told the Portland Tribune. “We don’t want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry.”

In his testimony to the board, Bigelow quoted from the book Physical Science, published by Pearson.

“‘Carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles, power plants and other sources, may contribute to global warming,’” he read. “This is a section that could be written by the Exxon public relations group and it’s being taught in Portland schools.”

Other books have also been found to cast doubt on climate science: A review of sixth-grade textbooks in California, for instance, found that the books “framed climate change as uncertain in the scientific community — both about whether it is occurring as well as about its human-causation.”

No doubt the problem of Republican skience replacing science in many of our nation’s textbooks stems from the influence Texas exerts on the publishers. Kudos to the Portland School Board. Oregon leads the way!

From American Bridge PAC: Donald Trump Profited From Companies He Blasted For Outsourcing

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Rump Dump Trump remains Republican in all the ways that count. What he says bears no relationship to what he does.

From NY Times: Palestinians, settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rendered him effectively unwelcome in Washington and toxic to Palestinians. Yet to shore up his coalition in the Israeli Parliament, Mr. Netanyahu has now offered Mr. Lieberman the office of minister of defense — widely considered to be the second most powerful position in the Israeli government, with a critical role in dealing with the United States and the Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu may think his political needs are more important than relations with the soon-to-end Obama administration, relations that are already severely strained by the nuclear agreement with Iran. But the administration had at least established a working relationship with Moshe Yaalon, the tough but pragmatic defense minister who resigned once the offer to Mr. Lieberman became known. The timing of this changing of the guard is particularly sensitive because a critical 10-year defense agreement establishing new levels of American military aid for Israel is in the final stages of negotiations.

All US military aid to Israel should be suspended, as long as Bibi the Butcher continues to slaughter Palestinians, while ignoring Israel’s treaty obligation to pursue a two-state solution.

Cartoon:

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May 212016
 

Well I still have sinusitis, albeit the end stages I hope.  I am at least able to, for the most part, wear my glasses and read.  Tonight is my last anti-biotic but I am still without a lot of energy.  I have been resting a lot and drinking a lot . . . the hard stuff . . . H2O.  I had physio on Wednesday which, despite being at a reduced intensity, tuckered me out.  Thursday, I took my mother for her annual eye exam and then later in the evening attended my course (next week is the completion).  Friday was more physio and then teaching.  I was really tired by the end of yesterday but had a good night's sleep.  So this long weekend is very low key, a gift I give to myself to hopefully build up some reserves.  This Canadian long weekend celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday and is unofficially the start of the summer season, although summer does not really start until about 21 June.  This is often the "first" camping weekend of the season, and, in many areas of Canada, flowers and vegetable gardens are not planted until after 24/05 because it is generally considered too cold.  When I lived in northern BC, the last snowfall was usually around the end of May.  Here in greater Vancouver, this is not the case as we have a more temperate climate.  Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

National Law Journal In the alternate universe of John Banzhaf ("When the Rabble-Rousing Turns Criminal, There's A Civil Solution," The National Law Journal, March 28), protesters have taken over the streets and hijacked the political process. Police step back and do nothing. They "yield the streets," sometimes because they are "afraid to make arrests," sometimes because "there is sympathy with their cause." If arrests take place, protesters end up in court and "face only a token fine."

The real world of street protest bears no relation to what Banzhaf describes. In fact, the post-9/11 trend, of which his anti-protester screed is symptomatic, is of increasing hostility to street protest. In the crackdown on peaceful ­protesters, police show no "sympathy with their cause" and are entirely "[un]afraid to make arrests." As a consequence of the amped-up focus on security since 9/11, the "war on terror" has also become a war on dissent.

In my last post, I brought you a piece by law professor John Banzhaf.  In it, Banzhaf argues that protesters who prevent others from hearing a speaker, specifically Trump in that case, are guilty of obstructing freedom of speech and assembly for those attending a Trump rally.  He goes on to say that protesters face few penalties and that police are afraid to arrest protesters etc.  I think you and I would for the most part disagree with Banzhaf on his police point having witnessed police actions in Ferguson, Missouri and other locales.  Author Alan Levine, himself a practising civil rights and constitutional lawyer in NY, sees the current police attitude in general, as impinging upon the freedom of assembly and  the freedom of speech.  Have a look.

MSN — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from the floor of an institution that once enacted racist policies against large-scale immigration from Asia until the 1960s, apologized Wednesday for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” he said, triggering a standing ovation with MPs of all major parties applauding. 

“More than a century ago a great injustice took place.”

Trudeau spoke in a chamber filled with MPs and Indo-Canadians from across the country, including a delegation of more than 100 from B.C. who were led by Premier Christy Clark.

Trudeau said Canada would have been richer if the 376 passengers – mostly Sikh along with a handful of Muslims and Hindus – had been allowed to disembark from that Japanese ship.

Many people, including many Canadians, are not aware of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 in Vancouver.  It is not a proud moment in Canadian history, but I am sure that it is something that Herr Drumpf in the US would endorse.  This from Wikipedia:

The Komagata Maru incident involved a Japanese steamship, Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong, then a holding of the British Empire, through Shanghai, China, then on to Yokohama, Japan, and then finally to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, British India. Of them 24 were admitted to Canada, but the other 352 passengers were not allowed to land in Canada, and the ship was forced to return to India.[1] The passengers comprised 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the history of early 20th century involving exclusion laws in both Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of only Asian origin.

In the park where I walk, there is a memorial to the people of the Komagata Maru.  I'd like to think that we have come a long way since 1914, and maybe we have, but there is still a long way to go before we become a totally inclusive society.

The Economist He was for far too long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.  …

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party. This is a harvest the party sowed in two ways. First, though it is a caricature to suggest, as Mr Trump and others have, that the Republicans have long made fools of distressed working-class whites by offering them God, the flag and tax cuts to the rich, it is a caricature with some truth to it. None of Mr Trump’s 16 rivals spoke convincingly to the concerns of wage-distressed workers; none had a thoughtful answer to them.

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible. The several recent crises Republican congressmen have engineered over the passage of the federal budget, which they sought to hold hostage to their unrealistic and unconstitutional demands of Mr Obama, have earned the voters’ disdain. In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Fear trumps hope!  There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are finding themselves in a pickle.  But  Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not backing down.  In this article and another, Trump's articulated platform will lay waste to just about everything.  To me, it seems that Trump is playing the "American exceptionalism" card.  Has he forgotten that negotiation is not the same as dictating the terms?

CBC WIL-bur-r-r-r-r-r

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed, has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

I am sure that many of you will remember Mr Ed, the talking horse.  I used to delight in watching the programme and wondered how the horse learned and said his lines.  I was young and naive . . . what can I say!  Anyway, Alan Young, who played the "straightman" to the horse, passed away 19/05/2016.  Bamboo Harvester, the original Mr Ed, died in 1970.  Here is an episode of "Mr Ed" to take you back down memory lane.

And of course, the theme song for the programme is yet another earworm that Nameless mentions in his Friday post Friday Fun: A Coke – OR Koch – Earworm (In Memoriam) .

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

Unless the horse of course, is the famous Mr Ed.

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May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

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May 072016
 

Here I am, wide awake at 2 am having gone to bed at 10 pm because I have a very early start Saturday morning.  Young Loliyo has a dance competition and I will babysit her younger brother and sister, Simon and Regina, while Lucia goes to watch Loliyo compete.  I have to be at Lucia's house at 7 am.  OMG!!!  That's too early for this old Sasquatch!  I was up very early Friday because I was originally told that the competition was Friday.  Speaking of Friday, Simon is now officially 2 years old and a little devil.  I would like to take he and Regina for a walk but my knee won't take it so they'll have to be content to have a water fight with a soaker gun in the yard.  The weather is scheduled to be hot today, around 28 C (80F) so hopefully the water will cool the kids off and run off some energy.  Of course I'll have to be careful as we already have water restrictions in force.  Please say a prayer for me that I survive the diaper changes.  I haven't changed a diaper in 45 years!

Short Takes

CBC — No, Donald Trump is not going to be president, or invade Mexico, or deport all immigrants, or disenfranchise women voters, or drop nuclear bombs in Syria and Iraq.

What he almost certainly is going to do, though, is trigger an enormous disruption of the Republican Party, or even its breakup.

As much as the Republican Party establishment loves to hate Donald Trump, he won't be the one to ultimately bring down the party, writes Neil Macdonald.I use the word "trigger" deliberately here, because Trump himself won't actually bring about the end of his party. He's only the catalyst.
But let's be clear: it isn't the hated liberals or the politically correct left that are doing this to the GOP. It's a gloriously Republican self-immolation.

President Barack Obama was wrong when he snarked at the media last weekend, asking us if we're proud of ourselves for paying so much attention to Trump, whose candidacy, according to Obama, was really just an attempt to boost his hotel business and not worthy of constant coverage.

In fact, Trump's run has been democracy in action.

Creative destruction and all that. A perfect free market solution for a party that adores market forces.

How can we not cheer such a thing? You go, GOP.

Isn't that just a great description . . . Republican self-immolationThere are so many divergent factions within the Republican party — the pseudo Christian fundamentalists, the xenophobic white nationalists, the Tea Party, the corporatists etc — and they don't know how to come together.  Trump has said he will unite the party, but his actions and the temperment of the party say otherwise.  It will an interesting and chaotic 6 months.

MSN“I think the real subliminal message Trump is saying is this: The U.S. can afford to survive and prosper without any allies if it was forced to cut off all ties, but the converse isn’t true,” said Chung Min Lee, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul. He added that Mr. Trump was forcing allies “to come up with convincing elevator speeches on the key benefits they bring to the U.S., and thus far, none of them have done so.”

There is no doubt that Trump's vague and off-the-cuff foreign policy pronouncements have set tongues a wagging internationally.  And while I might agree that 70% of NATO costs is a bit steep for the US to bear, the US has also, IMO, assumed that cost when it declares itself to be the leader of the free world.  Trump talks about negotiations, but he does not have the temperment for international negotiations.  He has demonstrated that diplomacy is far from being his forté.

Alternet — You’ll recall that after the last shellacking in 2012, the Republicans famously did an “autopsy” of what went wrong. And they identified a very specific list of problems that contributed to their loss, not the least of which were their problems with young people, Latinos and women. The party’s perceived hostility to these groups or simple lack of interest in their concerns were found to be so severe that unless the GOP changed course and found ways to better appeal to them, it would sink into a demographic quagmire from which it could not recover.

It’s obvious that Donald Trump (and, frankly, the rest of the field as well) has gone in the opposite direction. Trump is working overtime to alienate women, at this point sitting on a 70 percent disapproval rate among that half of the population. A recent poll of millennials conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics revealed 61 percent of young Americans likely would vote for Clinton while 25 percent would support Trump. Only 17 percent have a positive opinion of him.

And since Trump’s signature issue is deportation of millions of Latinos and building a wall to keep them out of the country, it goes without saying that the GOP outreach to that demographic isn’t going too well. He has a 77 percent unfavorable rating.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out yesterday that despite the best efforts of Speaker Paul Ryan to do the right thing for once, the GOP Congress is helping Trump alienate Hispanics even more with its inane refusal to help Puerto Rico restructure its debt. (This by Matthew Yglesias at Vox is a good explanatory piece on the issue.)

And the party has not learned its lesson.  Go through the motions to identify issues around the 2012 defeat, but Republicans have failed to actively cultivate a change in the party.  Instead, they have set themselves up for defeat again like an out-of-control train.  This time though, the train is accelerating with Drumpf at the helm.  Republicans are going backwards . . . but then, that is nothing new for them.

Alternet — Here are seven things we know about Trump and what his candidacy will likely mean, even as the country heads into new territory led by a crazed super-celebrity billionaire.

1. Trump won’t keep his mouth shut. Any notion of better behavior or a classier act has repeatedly shown itself to be a mirage. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has said that Trump will continue to be Trump, because he is “a person who tells it like it is.” That means building himself up by putting others down, whether it’s attacking Mexicans, Muslims, women who question him or his values, and anybody else for any headline-grabbing reason.

4. He’ll split the party into factions. After Trump won Indiana, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called for the party to line up behind the presumptive nominee. That will be much harder for Republican candidates running this fall, who, looking at their own futures, will have to decide if they’ll run with him, in spite of him, or against him. All those shades are already occuring, with many longtime party leaders saying never. These fissures are likely to cost the GOP its U.S. Senate majority.

Before Trump’s clinching the nomination, there were predictions the Senate was ripe for a Democratic takeover. Twenty-four of the 34 Senate seats in play this fall are held by Republicans. Democrats only need to pick up five for a majority. The party has strong candidates in states that turn out blue majorities in presidential years, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania. Trump not only weakens these GOP incumbents, his candidacy raises a question of what may happen in the House, though GOP gerrymandering after 2010’s redistricting still deeply favors House Republicans. Nonetheless, there’s little to suggest that Trump is about to become the great unifier, meaning Republicans could face a historic meltdown and defeat this fall.

Click through for the remaining 5 ways Trump Is About to Turn the GOP into a National Freak Show.

 

Huffington Post — Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and is open to being his running mate, CNN reported on Thursday.  …

In July 2015, Perry said Trump’s campaign was a “cancer” to conservatism.

OMG!  Perry is at it again . . . thinking he is still relevant.

 

My Universe

cat-eats-raven-birdA poet is born !

ccat24All boxed in!

ccat18Talk about being fenced in!

ccat14Just been shopping and I'm bagged!

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May 062016
 
furies

I only have two articles this week which really call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them – and one that announces a way that people with talent (different kinds of talent, so don't disqualify yourself without reading further) can help them out. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

The first story is happening in my home state of Colorado.  Michael Bennet's term as a Democratic US Senator is expiring, he is running for reelection, and the Republicans want him out, naturally.  Though he's kind of a DINO, he is infinitely better than any Republican.  The Daily Kos Election Digest has the race listed as "safe Democrat," so it is unlikely that whoever gets the Republican nod will win.  But apparently, whether it matters or not, they just can't seem to help cheating.

One of them, Jon Keyser, was told he didn't have enough signatures to get on that ballot, since numerous signatures were disqualified because the petition circulator's address on the petitions did not match his (I think it was a he) address of registration.  Turned out he had moved and forgotten to change his address  with the election department.  OK, technically that's illegal.  But a technicality is exactly what it is.  I have no problem with the Secretary of State deciding to go ahead and put him on the ballot after all.  Two other Republicans were told the same thing – one is not now on the ballot, the other managed to get onto the ballot but is suing the (Republican) Secretary of State anyway.  That's typical Republican circus, and not the issue.

Here's the thing: after Jon Keyser was put onto the ballot, someone looked a little harder, and discovered possible fraud – so now he's off again.  Here's the deal.  One Republican in Littleton has her name on both Keyser's petition and also that for Jack Graham.  That's kind of illegal too – you're only supposed to be supporting one candidate.  After all, you can't vote twice (legally).  But the potential for actual, tangible, provable fraud comes in when you look at both petitions and see that the same name is in totally different handwritings, with totally different signatures.

You can see this is PROBABLY not a case of two voters with the same name (who also just happen to live at the same address.)  In any case one now wonders whether ANY Republican will now make it onto the Colorado Senate ballot.  Under one of probably the ten most Republican Secretaries of State in the nation.  I'm sure this is boring for you ladies – but maybe you can crack the whip a little to encourage the people sorting through these documents to get it right.  They don't have a lot of time.

The other story comes from California, but is national in scope.  I heard it through In The Public Interest, a group which I learned about through their work on exposing private prisons and the private contractors who supply them substandard food, poor medical care, expensive prisoner-to-family communications, etc.  Now ITPI is looking at for profit schools in direct competition with public schools in kindergarten through high school.

Despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from California’s taxpayers, California Virtual Academies (CAVA), the state’s largest provider of online public education, is failing key tests used to measure educational success. According to an investigation by The San Jose Mercury News, fewer than half of the thousands of students who enroll in CAVA schools graduate, and almost none of them are qualified to attend the state's public universities.
 All the while, the publicly traded corporation that owns the network, K12 Inc., continues to rake in massive profits.

Just like a brick-and-mortar charter school, an on-line charter school receives taxpayer funding which would (IMO should) have gone to the local public school.  And, since those funds are based on attendance, just how does an online school take attendance?  Simple – if you log in, you are "present."  When you log out is no one's business.  And this also irks me: "(W)hile records show that the company’s employees launched each of K12 Inc.’s 17 online schools in California, the applications they filed to open the schools described the founders as a “group of parents,” none of whom were named."

Probably not that surprising for an enterprise launched by a former Goldman Sachs bankster.  Tisiphone, I usually ask for you when some vile human is being vengefully destructive.  But if you decided to vengefully destroy these corporations, I wouldn't shed a tear.

Finally, the call for entries – "Calling all painters, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, graffiti artists, fine art students, animators, sculptors, designers, actors, advertisers, poets, writers, illustrators, tech specialists, crafters and anyone with a passion for creating, we’d love to hear from you."  The topic is "Where's wetiko?"

I personally am more familiar with the Ojibway form of the word, "windingo," than the Algonquin form they chose, but I suspect they chose it because it moves faster in the mouth, like the "Waldo" they are probably alluding to in the topic title.  But, you may be asking, WHAT is it?  Well …

All over the world, there is a feeling that something is deeply wrong. It is often felt more than seen, an unnamed darkness that keeps millions (even billions) of people disconnected from the reality of authentic life-affirming experience….

Wetiko is an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess and selfish consumption (in Ojibwa it is windingo, wintiko in Powhatan). It deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others (others in the broad sense, including animals and other forms of Gaian life) is a logical and morally upright way to live.
•Every time someone is seen justifying the destruction of life for profit – it is wetiko.
•Every time compassion is vitally missing during a time of suffering – it is wetiko.
•Every time a privileged person uses another as a “throw away” toy – it is wetiko.
•Every time, in every way a community or country is impoverished so that others can be rich – it is wetiko.

So the answer to "Where's wetiko?" is "EVERYWHERE – but it needs to be SEEN."

The call for entries I have linked to has itself further links for anyone who wants to go deeper – but it's a good introduction, it's short and to the point, and repays reading through even if you think you do not have a creative nerve in your body.  And maybe we can help out the furies by raising awareness of injustice and consequent opposition to it.

The Furies and I will be back.

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May 022016
 

Yesterday and today have been unseasonably warm and quite humid with highs in the 80°s.  That has interfered with my sleep, as I still have not gotten used to the loud A/C next to my head.  In addition to that,. I missed a nap yesterday, collecting the data for today’s Monthly Report.  After doing my research this morning, I felt so tired that I uncorked a Lona-nap, so I’m running late today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:39).  To do it click here,  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY TimesIt is an old congressional ritual: loading up vital spending bills that are meant to keep the government running with dangerous amendments aimed at satisfying ideological causes and benefiting special interests.

The Republicans have become adept at this practice in recent years, and this year is no different. Legislative riders attached to appropriations bills would undermine the Iran nuclear deal, weaken highway safety and reduce the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over tobacco products.

These measures would be unlikely to succeed as stand-alone bills, either because they could not get enough votes on their own or because President Obama would veto them. So better to sneak them in without even holding hearings to make a case on their behalf.

Thankfully, Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups are calling attention to these stealth attacks. In the Senate, Democrats managed on Wednesday to block a vote on a water and energy spending bill after Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, tried to attach a provision that would have dealt a severe blow to the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Cotton’s measure would have blocked the administration from purchasing heavy water used in Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran has to get rid of the water to comply with the deal. By denying Iran an American market, Mr. Cotton and other Republicans hoped to undermine the deal, which they hate.

Click through for more. One big irony here is that by trying to block Iran’s sale of heavy water to the US, Republicans are actually helping to enable the development of an Iranian nuke.

From Think Progress: Teachers across Detroit called in sick to work on Monday — a “sick-out” protest that ultimately shut down all but three public schools in the city because there weren’t enough teachers in class.

The coordinated protest, which was organized by the Detroit Federation of Teachers, came soon after the school district’s emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, announced that there won’t be enough money to pay teachers after June 30.

“Detroit teachers deserve to be paid fairly for their work like every other working person… But Detroit Public Schools has just informed us that it cannot guarantee to pay these dedicated men and women for their work. This isn’t right. It isn’t fair,” the president of the teachers union, Ivy Bailey, told the Detroit News.

In January, in an effort to bring attention to the condition of Detroit schools, teachers used the same “sick-out” tactic to shut down many schools. They posted photos to social media of inedible food, dead rodents, and cracks in the floors, among other problems. After the sick-outs, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) called for inspections of all of the schools and found evidence of many of the same problems teachers cited.

Detroit Public Schools is in major financial distress, and lawmakers and educators have been concerned the school system will go bankrupt. After being sued by the teachers union and dealing with weeks of sick-outs, DPS filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that the state violated the civil rights of students through its emergency manager law.

How many more examples do we need before American voters know that the mix of greed and incompetence Republicans bring to public office invariably spells tragic deprivation for those they govern.

From Liberals Unite: Wayne Simmons, a frequent Fox News “CIA expert,” pleaded guilty on Friday after being indicted last October by a federal grand jury on charges lied about his service with the CIA.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a press release announcing the plea:

Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.

“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.  His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.  This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”

“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain.  I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”

Nevertheless Simmons still met the standards needed for employment by the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and for them to present him to their sheeple as an expert.

Cartoon:

0502Cartoon

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Apr 282016
 

I'm back again.  I have my course in liberal biblical studies tonight which is interesting but somewhat time intensive — 4 hours of homework in addition to 3 hours of class time plus dinner each week.  The course goes for another four weeks after tonight.  Tomorrow is teaching at Lucia's house, and then Sunday is the Alzheimer's Walk for Memories and a visit with my mother.  Once the course is done, I'll have a bit more time.

Short Takes

NY Times — Senator Ted Cruz of Texas often casts himself as the rightful heir to Ronald Reagan’s mantle of conservatism, and on Wednesday he took a page directly out of the former president’s playbook.

By tapping Carly Fiorina to be his running mate, Mr. Cruz becomes the first presidential candidate since Reagan to name a vice-presidential pick without having the nomination locked up. In 1976, Reagan teamed up with Richard S. Schweiker, a Pennsylvania senator, in a desperate attempt to grab the nomination from President Gerald R. Ford as it was slipping away. At that point, Mr. Ford’s delegate lead had become virtually insurmountable.

Rachel had this to say about Cruz's announcement.

Carly Fiorina??  The word 'dafted' comes to mind as a description for Cruz.  He is trying to reignite his campaign but he may just blow it up!  After all, this tactic didn't work so well for the patron saint of Republicans, Saint Ronnie Reagan in 1978.  He lost to Gerald Ford who then lost the general election to Jimmy Carter.

Daily Beast — As the self-proclaimed Islamic State trumpets its global terrorist campaign, U.S. special operations forces have quietly killed more than three dozen key ISIS operatives blamed for plotting deadly attacks in Europe and beyond.

Defense officials tell The Daily Beast that U.S. special operators have killed 40 “external operations leaders, planners, and facilitators” blamed for instigating, plotting, or funding ISIS’s attacks from Brussels and Paris to Egypt and Africa.

That’s less than half the overall number of ISIS targets that special operators have taken off the battlefield, one official explained, including top leaders like purported ISIS second-in-command Haji Imam, killed in March.

The previously unpublished number provides a rare glimpse into the U.S. counterterrorist mission that is woven into overall coalition efforts to defeat ISIS, and which is credited with crippling ISIS efforts to recruit foreign fighters and carry out more plots like the deadly assault on Paris that killed 130 last fall.

As proof of the campaign’s overall success, Pentagon officials this week said the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria had dropped from up to 2,000 a month last year to just 200, and the overall size of ISIS from a high estimate of 33,000 a year ago to between 19,000 to 25,000 fighters.

I spoke with an Iraqi woman yesterday who said that she hoped Trump would become POTUS for only one reason . . . he'd go after ISIS.  Well I don't support her choice of Trump and told her so.  But no worries, she lives in Canada. She is sick of the destruction of her native country by ISIS and is quick to say that ISIS does not believe in Islam. They are about power and greed, nothing more.

Alternet — White, who’d been sickened by the debilitating, irreversible and often fatal disease at work in a foundry, watched in disgust as Republicans attempted to overturn the rule that the Labor Department said could save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis annually.

Last week, GOP House members conducted a hearing to further their case against saving those lives. They did that just days before Workers Memorial Day, April 28, when organized labor renews its solemn pledge to strive for workplace safety rules and formally commemorates those who have died on the job in the previous year.

The totals aren’t in for 2015 yet, but the year before, 4,679 workers died on the job. That’s nearly 90 a week, 13 a day, seven days a week. Twenty-eight members of my own union, the USW, died on the job since Workers Memorial Day 2015.

But the GOP position is clear. Republicans will do whatever it takes to ensure that corporations can sicken and kill workers with impunity. (emphasis added)  If the argument is that workers’ lives and lungs must be sacrificed to ensure that foundries and fracking operations and construction companies can make bigger profits by releasing silica particles under 40-year-old standards now considered dangerous, then the GOP will take the side of CEOs who value workers as trivial.

This one image from TC says it all:

RepubliCare

My UniverseThere is nothing cuter than baby animals.  Be prepared for the Aww factor!  Here are just a few but click through for the rest of them.

The smiley bunch . . .

baby giraffe

baby sloth

The hungriest . . . 

baby hippo

The cuddliest . . .   ?

baby alligator

The most timid . . . 

baby foxes

Aw shucks . . .

baby duck

Y'all come back now, ya hear!

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Apr 172016
 

I got up super early this morning to do my taxes on the last possible day.  It went quite well.  I posted the Squatch’s birthday  article first, because I wanted to be sure that was up, no matter what else happened,  I don’t owe Infernal Revenue or the State of Oregon any money.  I did, however, have to pay a $35 Portland Arts Tax.  The poor and middle classes get to pay for the rich to attend events that the rest of us can’t afford.  It’s been a pet peeve of mine for years.  Also on a positive note, I’m stable enough on George that I can now pee standing up.  At this rate, it won’t be long, before learn how to miss the pot like a normal guy.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with one of Megan’s (PCP)associates.  Julie, cannot approve my Oxycodone, because she’s a PA.  It should be an interesting trip, because I’m taking the normal bus, and the forecast high is 88°.  I may have  only a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:56 (average 5:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump’s father, Fred, was a pretty crummy guy. He was a low-income housing profiteer who used state and federal subsidies in developing his real estate empire—the one his son Donald benefits from—and abused his position. 

As the man who controlled the FHA’s New York office, Powell controlled the flow of money for Beach Haven, a big apartment complex Fred Trump built with FHA loans. He allowed Trump to start building before Beach Haven was actually approved and start renting to vets and others six months before he had to start repaying his loan.

In that time Trump pocketed $1.7 million in rent payments. Trump was also allowed to pocket most of a fee—5 percent of the Beach Haven development’s cost—that was earmarked for architectural work. Trump was also permitted to borrow more in federally subsidized funds—$3.7 million, to be precise—than he actually needed.

Beach Haven was the apartment complex Woody Guthrie moved into in 1950. Unfortunately for Woody, Trump was a racist shit (apples and trees).

Here’s Woody!

Like Republican father, like Republican son!!

From TPM: In an extraordinary display of internal discord, the chairman of the Republican Party’s rules committee is accusing top GOP officials of "a breach of our trust" by improperly trying to impede a proposed change in bylaws that would make it harder for party leaders to nominate a fresh candidate for president.

Bruce Ash, RNC committeeman from Arizona, wrote the harshly worded email to the other 55 members of the GOP rules committee that he chairs. The confidential email, obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday, was written days before party officials gather in Hollywood, Florida, for preliminary discussions about what rules the GOP will use at its presidential nominating convention this July.

Ash wrote the note at a time when some top Republicans consider the party’s two leading presidential contenders, billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, to be likely November election losers and have discussed how to replace them with alternatives at the summer convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It is possible that no contenders will have the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at that gathering, which would produce the first GOP convention without a presumptive nominee since 1976.

Because this has become such a contentious issue, I’m going to leave the current poll up for the rest of the month. May Republicans have a civil war between themselves. Nothing could be better for our down-ballot candidates.

From Raw Story: Saturday Night Live took aim at a multitude of subjects associated with the rise of religious freedom laws that are anti-LGBT legislation in disguise, with a parody film preview of an “oppressed Christian” baker forced to not only make a cake for a same-sex couple but also to declare that “God is gay.”

 

Dang!! It looks like God and I have something in common!! Smile with tongue out

Cartoon:

0417-2Cartoon

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Apr 142016
 

Yesterday Lu came for the last time.  She was about four hours late, but getting the day right was an improvement.  So I’m a perfumed puddy tat.  My groceries came.  I put them away.  I also did the dreaded task! Eye rolling smile  Tomorrow I have an appointment with a Retinal Ophthalmologist to check out my choroidal nevi.  The appointment will take three hours, and I’ll be unable to use a computer afterwards until late tomorrow night.  So expect only a Personal Update, please.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily KosWhen Scott Walker came into office, he claimed that he had no interest in trying to get “Right to Work” laws passed. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is a liar and a terrible person. In fact, he and his fellow Republican legislators introduced an ALEC inspired written bill making Wisconsin a Right to Work state. Since the bill was signed into law, Wisconsin’s workforce has diminished by at least 10,000. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs because Right to Work laws don’t have anything to do with generating living wage jobs, or much in the way of real work, at all. Three unions filed lawsuits against the bill, arguing that the law posed an unconstitutional seizure of union property, and on Friday they received some good news:

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed. He said the law amounts to the government taking union funds without compensation since under the law they must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote.

"While (union) losses today could be characterized by some as minor, they are not isolated and the impact of (the law) over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability," he wrote.

This judgement, [sic] calling the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it is an “existential threat,” could have some far-reaching ramifications in the many Republican-backed legislatures that really want to put the screws to the working folk of this country. The importance of this ruling also means that there will be further appeals.

This issue is far from settled, but any day the Koch-sucking Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan takes a loss at any level is a better day for America.

From Real Clear Politics:

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

MoE

Cooper (D)

McCrory (R)

Spread

RCP Average

1/18 – 4/11

44.0

41.0

Cooper +3.0

WRAL-TV/SurveyUSA

4/8 – 4/11

701 LV

3.8

47

43

Cooper +4

Elon University

2/15 – 2/17

1530 LV

2.5

42

40

Cooper +2

PPP (D)

1/18 – 1/19

948 RV

3.2

43

40

Cooper +3

It looks like the Religious Reichsfuhrer of the Theocratic Republican Dictatorship of McCrorystan is also experiencing backlash from his hatred and bigoted policies.

From TPM: Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will not be prosecuted in Florida for battery after he allegedly manhandled a reporter, Politico reported on Wednesday night, citing unnamed sources.

CNN also reported that Lewandowski will not be prosecuted early Thursday morning, citing unnamed sources.

What a travesty!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have no bias favoring his victim.  The reporter he assaulted worked for Breitfart, a source for which I have so little regard, that I refuse to embed links to it.

Cartoon:

0414Cartoon

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Apr 032016
 

Last night I slept poorly and felt so tired this morning, that I was dozing off, while doing my research, so after I finished, I uncorked a much needed Lona nap.  That’s why I’m running late today.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my kitty cousin Scanner.  Sadly he’s quite aloof, and every time I go in for my annual Cat Scan, he refuses to come out and play.  In any case, I may have no more that a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:46 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 9/2011): Why would anyone vote Republican? Well, here are 10 reasons.

1. You are a bigot

It’s true that not all Republicans are bigots. But if you ARE a bigot, the Republican party will be much more your group than the Democratic party. Remember that there are lots of ways to be a bigot: You could be a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, or lots of other things.

2. You like eating, drinking and breathing poison.

Many Republicans are calling for or voting for shrinking or eliminating agencies that protect us against poison. They seem to think that the corporations will do the right thing, without any pressure from the government. Uh huh. Read The Jungle.  Look at the way Monsanto is hiding facts about Round Up. Look at food safety and outbreaks of E. Coli. 

Corporations exist to make money. They will do so any way they can. The government needs to stop them from doing so in ways that hurt people.

3. You think the rich don’t have enough money

The idea that giving more money to rich people (via tax breaks) will help poor people is nonsensical and has been shown wrong time and again in history. Huge tax breaks for the rich (a la George Bush) don’t work.

4. You don’t support our veterans

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s Association (IAVA) rates every member of congress on how well they support our veterans.  In the Senate, 9 people got A or A+: All were Democrats. 30 got D or F: 29 Republicans and one Democrat.  More on this

How little they have changed!! I shared the first four. Click through for the other six.

From NY Times: The wall of Republican opposition to the nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court has been shored up by two Republican senators revoking their support for holding confirmation hearings.

Their moves highlight the immense pressure that Republican leaders are placing on senators as they try to build unified opposition to President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

As the White House heralds the growing number of Republicans agreeing to meet with Judge Garland, Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have reversed themselves and say they now back the decision made by Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, not to hold hearings.

The Republicans who agreed to meet with him were trying to appear responsible, but were really, as I predicted, just stalling for time.

From Raw Story: SNL took on one of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters who frequently pops up on cable broadcasts to defend the actions and words of the consistently offensive candidate.

 

I hope you enjoyed the laugh. Sadly the blonde on the right caricatured a voter even smarter than Fecal Dump Trump’s actual supporters.

Cartoon:

0403Cartoon

The previous summer, while planning events for Vietnam Summer, he said the government would not allow him to live much longer.  Watch this excerpt.

Less than 24 hours later, he was dead.  Isn’t it clear that he knew they were closing in?

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