May 202015
 

Of course I’m still buried with work to do.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  Tomorrow I have an appointment to get my MRI results.  It’s with my doctor that moved across town, so I’ll be gone most of the day.  Expect a Personal Update at most.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes: (all Kos to save me time)

From Daily Kos: Bill O’Reilly is a terrible, dumb, vicious, hypocrite. Now you might add wife-beater to that litany of the obscenities that come to mind when O’Reilly crosses your radar. Gawker is reporting that, according to documents from O’Reilly’s recently lost custody case against his ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy, O’Reilly is not just a vulgar verbally and mentally abusive, bullying type—he’s also a physically assaulting type of bully:

According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, a court-appointed forensic examiner testified at a closed hearing that O’Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching.

O’Lielly must have a Republican reason for such a Republican crime. Could it be that she demanded to wear shoes?

From Daily Kos: Today the Arizona legislature did what no other state in the nation has been mean-spirited enough to do: they cut lifetime welfare benefits to one year for everyone — adults and children, the physically and mentally disabled. Most states have a five-year limit, while thirteen others impose a two-year cutoff. Texas (of course) has a flexible limit that can be as short as one year, but even children are exempt in the Lone Star State. Not so for Arizona! We’re Number 1!

As a result, the Arizona Department of Economic Security will drop at least 1,600 families — including more than 2,700 children — from the state’s federally funded welfare program when the budget year begins in July.

It does not matter to Arizona Republicans that the federal government is paying for the aid. What does is that they get to starve hungry children.

From Daily Kos: Wired put together a very interesting piece on the renewable energy company Vortex. They are now field testing bladeless wind energy turbines.

Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind. And for good reason: With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures, which, in some cases, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, can cause their eventual collapse.

Wooo Hooo!!! Some good news for a change!!

Cartoon:

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The attackers were the people the Republican Party embraced and supported, as part of their Southern Strategy.

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May 192015
 

How can I describe an MRI.  Though painless, few painless experiences are more unpleasant.  It’s like being shut in a coffin that is being assaulted with 1,000 jackhammers.  For 30 minutes I had to be absolutely still, while every fiber of my being told me to squirm.  It felt like hours.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  Thursday is an all day excursion to get the MRI results.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:41 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Tame Wall Street

The best way to stop Wall Street malfeasance from costing you your job or life savings is to finally break up the too-big-to-fail banks.

 

How many times have you seen me say, over the years, "Too big to fail = Too big to exist”?  This is the fourth video in this Robert Reich series. Please click through to MoveOn, and forward it from there.

From Daily Kos: As the Amtrak derailment showed (again), the refusal to spend on infrastructure literally kills. Also, infrastructure spending: (i) is necessary and unavoidable (failure to timely spend on infrastructure increases the deficit in real terms), (ii) improves the gross domestic product and competitiveness, and (iii) is an obvious source for increased employment, particularly in currently hard hit segments.  Moreover, infrastructure spending remains unambiguously popular.  Indeed, infrastructure spending historically has had bipartisan support.

So, why are modern Republicans ideologically opposed to infrastructure spending today?

John Oliver’s 21 minute video clip is hilarious, but he doesn’t really answer the question. Click through for answers. I have an answer of my own. Every penny Democrats sent making repairs needed to save people’s lives is a penny Republicans cannot give to a billionaire.

From NY Times: Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.

But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

Click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial. As obvious as the facts seem to us, Republicans will rewrite this history, until their lies become accepted as common knowledge, unless we keep reviewing and broadcasting the truth.

Cartoon:

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Any more their salaries are tiny, compared to their corruption benefits.

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May 112015
 

Monday has arrived and with it, a busy week. Today I have a ton of volunteer writing to do.  Tomorrow I have to be here to order groceries in the morning.  I have a community meeting after lunch, and after that, I’m meeting my friend with cancer for coffee.  Wednesday is grocery delivery day, and I also have an O2 delivery coming.  Depending on my X-Ray, I hope to reschedule my MRI for Friday.  I’ll know tomorrow.  For now, lets not even talk about a few back burner items.  Our Poll host has fixed the broken comment section on our poll.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:14 (average 5:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: And here are the 18 CEOs Sanders labeled job destroyers in his report. The list below only touches on each company. The Top Corporate Dodgers report, Sanders penned, goes into further detail.

1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan
Amount of federal income taxes paid in 2010? Zero. $1.9 billion tax refund.

2. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein
Amount of federal income taxes paid in 2008? Zero. $278 million tax refund.

3. JP Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon
Taxpayer Bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department? $416 billion.

I included three, Click through for the other 0.1% beneficiaries of welfare payments from you and me,

From NY Times: President Obama’s most aggressive and sustained legislative push since the Affordable Care Act faces a crucial first test this week when a divided Senate considers a bill that would grant him accelerated power to complete a massive trade accord with 11 nations across the Pacific Rim.

But after lobbying members of Congress in a campaign that has included rides on Air Force One, meetings in the West Wing, private vows of political support and public attacks on critics in his own party, Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority remains at risk.

A vote scheduled for Tuesday on legislation that would grant him trade promotion authority, also known as “fast track,” has become mired in a procedural thicket, with Democrats — many of them loyal to labor unions bent on killing the bill — vowing to oppose it.

Once Congress grants a president trade promotion authority, lawmakers have the ability to vote up or down on a final trade agreement, but they forfeit the right to amend the deal or filibuster it. The bill before the Senate adds a new twist: If lawmakers decide a final trade accord falls short of their standards, Congress can vote to revoke the president’s authority and then try to amend the deal.

Call your Senators. Tell them to oppose this measure.

From NY Times: Last year the vampires of finance bought themselves a Congress. I know it’s not nice to call them that, but I have my reasons, which I’ll explain in a bit. For now, however, let’s just note that these days Wall Street, which used to split its support between the parties, overwhelmingly favors the G.O.P. And the Republicans who came to power this year are returning the favor by trying to kill Dodd-Frank, the financial reform enacted in 2010.

And why must Dodd-Frank die? Because it’s working.

This statement may surprise progressives who believe that nothing significant has been done to rein in runaway bankers. And it’s true both that reform fell well short of what we really should have done and that it hasn’t yielded obvious, measurable triumphs like the gains in insurance thanks to Obamacare.

But Wall Street hates reform for a reason, and a closer look shows why.

For one thing, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren — is, by all accounts, having a major chilling effect on abusive lending practices. And early indications are that enhanced regulation of financial derivatives — which played a major role in the 2008 crisis — is having similar effects, increasing transparency and reducing the profits of middlemen.

Click through so Paul Krugman can explain how Republicans want to vamp you!

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May 062015
 

With everything else going on, we had another fire in the building, sort of.  It turned out to be a false alarm, occasioned by cooking smoke.  The idiot just kept cooking and did not open his door to vent the smoke, until it got so thick that someone saw it coming from a window.  Today is grocery delivery day.  Tomorrow is my MRI.  Hopefully I will have a Personal Update, but if I don’t don’t worry.  Remember I have to fight downtown Obama traffic to get home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:43 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Chloe Hugh was in the middle of her final shift at Boss Hawg’s Barbecue in Topeka, Kansas when Governor Sam Brownback and his family sat down in her section. Upset by Brownback’s repeated assault on Kansas school funding, she decided to use her last shift to make a point and when she handed Brownback the bill, she left a tip of her own:

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Kudos to Chloe. That Brownback ate there demonstrates that pigs are cannibalistic.

From The New Yorker: One day after the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, a new poll shows that she enjoys extremely high name recognition among the tens of thousands of former H.P. employees she fired.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, Fiorina’s name recognition stands at a hundred per cent among the legions of employees she terminated, with many of them calling the former C.E.O. “unforgettable.”

Additionally, a broad majority of the laid-off workers described their feelings about Fiorina as “intense,” and noted that very few days go by when they do not invoke her name in a vehement manner.

Andy’s doing news again. My former job in research gave me a front row seat to watch how HP transformed when she took over. Before, they were totally focused of quality, ease of use, and user satisfaction. Afterward, they were totally focused on profit margin. She would certainly do for America what she did for HP.

From Upworthy: If you’ve ever wanted a side-by-side illustration of how racism seeps into everyday situations like job hunting, driving, and even going to the doctor, this video from Brave New Films breaks it down flawlessly.

 

Some of this surprised even me.

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May 052015
 

Your first reaction may well be, “You’re preaching to the choir!  Why don’t you tell us something we didn’t already know?”  I fully understand.  I’m sharing it, because this, along with its supporting article, may help you explain why it is true to people who are not in the choir.

Americans are eager to see the government "spread the wealth around" through heavy taxes on rich people. This, according to Gallup, is a relatively new phenomenon, with a clear preference for soaking the rich really only emerging in the past four or five years:

0505Gallup

On a different polling measure, Gallup finds that at least since the mid-1980s a large majority of Americans have expressed a preference for a flatter distribution of income. But that’s something that could, at least hypothetically, be achieved in a whole variety of ways. Taxing the rich in order to redistribute income to the working class is a much more specific idea and, naturally, a more contentious one.

Not surprisingly, Republicans and rich people are not particularly excited about this idea, while Democrats and the poor love it…

Inserted from <VOX>

 

Republicans serve the Kochs, the Waltons and the rest of the worst of the 1%. More Americans need to understand this.  Spread the word!

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May 012015
 

I’m in the middle of the busiest day I’ve had in a long time.  In addition to my normal paperwork for home and volunteer work for the beginning of a new month, it’s time to change polls.  It’s also an international holiday.  I started collecting the data and preparing the graphics for tomorrow’s Monthly Report at 4:00 AM.  I didn’t even get started on the rest until after 8:00.  ARGH!  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on pace to adopt rival Bernie Sanders’s positions on all major issues by noon on Thursday, Clinton campaign officials have confirmed.

Within minutes of Sanders’s entry into the Democratic race, Clinton released position papers on trade, income inequality, national defense, and the environment that meticulously aped the Vermont senator’s views on those matters.

Awaking at 8 A.M., Sanders, who had planned to run to the left of Clinton in 2016, discovered that, while he was sleeping, she had already begun running slightly to the left of him.

Oh Andy!! FOMCROTFPIMPLMAO!!

From Daily Kos: Aaron Slator is now the former president of AT&T’s content and advertising sales for the U-verse TV services wing of AT&T. What cost him his job managing billions of dollars? Probably the recently $100 million discrimination lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. It must be pretty bad to get a top executive fired.

The images in question were found on Slator’s phone by an assistant who was asked to transfer data to a new phone, according to the lawsuit filed by Knoyme King, a 50-year-old black woman who worked for Slator.

The lawsuit said one of the images, apparently of an African child dancing with the caption "It’s Friday …" followed by a term offensive to African Americans, had been sent in a text describing it as an "oldie but a goodie".

Slator’s termination is not stopping King’s lawsuit from going forward.

Racism among top executives ahold not be a surprise. 1% Republicans are the people, who fund racism.

From NY Times: It is hard to overstate the extent to which work no longer results in a decent paycheck and a rising standard of living in this country. The portion of the economic pie that goes to working people is currently near the smallest on record, in data going back to 1947. Similarly, the gap between worker pay and labor productivity has widened since the 1970s. In a healthy economy, wages and productivity would rise in tandem, but in recent decades, productivity gains have flowed increasingly to executive compensation and shareholder returns, rather than wages.

These dynamics are not inevitable. Low-wage employers, in particular, pay low wages because they can and the main reason they can is that Congress has failed, over decades, to adequately update the minimum wage and other labor standards, including rules for overtime pay, employee benefits and union organizing.

That failure has had deep and perverse repercussions, extending beyond harming low-wage workers. As a recent report in The Times by Patricia Cohen explained, when work does not pay workers enough to get by, they are forced to rely on public assistance programs, mainly Medicaid, food stamps and low-earner tax credits.

Nearly three-fourths of the people helped by public aid for the poor are members of families headed by someone who works, according to a new study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California. It estimates that state and federal governments spend more than $150 billion a year on such aid.

It’s about time we started getting some mainstream coverage that allowing employers to abuse workers is just another form of Republican welfare for the rich.

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Feb 032015
 

I’ve been reading a lot about Obama’s budget for 2016.  The more I read about it, the more I like it.  It does many things to help build a recovery for the poor and middle classes, not just the 1%.  It pays for these measures by taxing the 1% to return just a tiny bit of our wealth that Republicans have fed them over the years.  Best of all, it does many of the things Republicans say they want to do, as they attempt to fool voters.

0203budgetPresident Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, released on Monday, pulls together the themes and policies set forth in his State of the Union address and other recent speeches and gives them a force and coherence — an ambitiousness — that a more piecemeal delivery does not convey.

As a practical matter, the budget details what Mr. Obama believes needs to be done to help ensure a more prosperous and inclusive future for ordinary Americans, including greater contributions from corporate America and from those atop the wealth ladder. Politically, it seeks to frame the terms of the debate for the 2016 presidential election season. If Republicans simply reject those terms — if they can’t discuss the ideas and act on them — they may find themselves, deservedly, struggling for a response.

The core of the president’s 2016 budget is a plan to boost the middle class by helping low- and middle-income earners pay for education, child care, job training and other needs, and by vastly expanding investment in the nation’s infrastructure. These initiatives would be paid for, in the main, by nearly $1 trillion in tax increases that would fall on the wealthy and large financial institutions over the next decade.

The new taxes, however, are also carefully crafted to spur economic growth more broadly. A proposed higher rate on capital gains, for example, would discourage rampant and inefficient tax sheltering, while encouraging investors to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive. Ditto the financial tax that is structured to discourage speculative activities at banks that endanger the economy, as well as taxpayers… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Click through, please.  It’s worth the read.

I do not seriously think that this budget will pass.  In fact Republican officials from across the spectrum agree that it’s DOA.  But it sets the stage for a Democratic victory in 2016, as voters watch Republicans reject things they claim they are for to protect a handful of billionaires.

Ed Schultz provides some excellent coverage.  The embed button for MSNBC is working again.

I love it, except for the overdose of exceptionalism from the California Democrat.

We call Obama out on what he does wrong.  Lets offer kudos for doing this right.

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