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:

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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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Jul 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 100.  I’m feeling better, and have recovered from the evil task.  Temperatures here have been high for the last few days, and the laundry room has no A/C, so I imagine that contributed.  In addition to that, the arthritis in my hands was so severe that I could barely type.  I guess the next obstacle is physical therapy on Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:00 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

The information I gave you a couple days ago is incorrect.  We have two openings in our fantasy football league, not one.  We can play with either eight or ten players, so we don’t have to fill them, but more is more fun for all, so please let me know if you’d like to play.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: In April 2009, after a court ruling, gay marriage became legal in the state of Iowa. On Jan. 11, 2011, a young man named Zach Wahls went before the Iowa Legislature to speak on behalf of his two moms after the legislature took up a bill to ban gay marriage. Over 18 million people watched and shared it. At 2:50, he nails what family really means.

 

Wahls is stunning, but you can tell who the Republicans in the background are by watching the hate on their faces.

From The New Yorker: Sarah Palin’s online video service starring herself had a hugely successful launch on Monday, as millions of Americans paid $9.95 for the rare opportunity of hearing the former Alaska Governor speak.

The Web site for The Sarah Palin Channel reportedly crashed several times during the day, as it was overwhelmed by subscribers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of the reclusive Palin sharing her opinions.

At the corporate headquarters of the Palin Channel, the marketing director Tracy Klugian attributed the site’s mammoth success to “the simple law of supply and demand.”

I’m not sure what Andy has been smoking, but it’s clearly premium grade.

From NY Times: House and Senate negotiators announced an agreement Monday on legislation that would allocate about $17 billion to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sprawling and beleaguered health care system. But the deal does not give the department everything that officials there have said is needed to fix its problems.

The agreement set off a frantic rush on Capitol Hill to gather signatures from members of the conference committee working on the bill so that it could be put to a vote of the full House and Senate before lawmakers adjourn for an August recess on Friday.

If approved, the legislation would end a sometimes rancorous standoff over how much to spend to begin to fix the department, and it would help ensure that veterans who face long waits to see doctors at the department’s facilities could get appointments more quickly with private physicians. A few details were still being worked out even after the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees announced the agreement Monday at an afternoon news conference.

Click through for more details. Sadly, this appears little more than an attempt to treat cancer with a Band-Aid. On the other hand, getting anything at all for vets from Republicans is a minor miracle.

Cartoon:

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Jul 272014
 

Corporations are taking advantage of a tax loophole that Republicans created to kelp them avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  Democrats have made several attempts to close that loophole, and of course Republicans blocked them.  Barack Obama and one of America’s national treasures are calling them out on it.

0727CorporateInversionU.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday hammered U.S. companies that avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas in deals known as "inversions" and called on Congress to pass a bill to end the practice.

During remarks to a rowdy crowd at the Los Angeles Technical College, Obama promoted what he called "economic patriotism" and made clear he believed the companies that were engaging in such practices were not being patriotic. The president is in California on a three-day fund-raising swing for Democrats.

So-called inversion deals occur when a U.S. company acquires or sets up a foreign company, then moves its U.S. tax domicile to the foreign company and its lower-tax home country.

Nine inversion deals have been reached this year by companies ranging from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International Inc to drugmaker AbbVie Inc, and more are under consideration. The transactions are setting a record pace since the first inversion was carried out 32 years ago…

Inserted from <Chicago Tribune>

Photo credit: Nation of Change

I do disagree with Obama on one point.  There is only on corporate emotion.  It is not patriotism.  It is greed.

Ed Schultz interviewed our national treasure on this issue and on the Republican attempt to stall VA funding.

According to the article, Republicans say they support closing the Inversion Loophole, but only as part of restructuring the tax code.  That’s RepubliSpeak for raising your taxes and giving massive tax cuts to billionaires and giant corporations.

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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.

Cartoon:

0718Cartoon

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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:

0717Cartoon

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