Feb 062016
 

Yesterday I was completely exhausted.  This morning I did research, and felt so tired afterwards that I snaffled-up one of the naps Lona left and went back to bed for three hours.  Then I cooked pork chops, cornbread stuffing, and mixed veggies for four meals and froze three.  Then I made and ate a chicken sandwich and a mandarin for lunch.  Tomorrow is the highest holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are meeting the Panthers.  Even though the Panthers are fellow felines, may the Orb bless my Broncos with its divine light.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:28 (average 4:26).  Birdie for the hungry kitty?  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Because nothing says “I care about you” more than making it a little more affordable to drink unsafe water, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has presented a plan to provide $30 million in water bill discounts and retroactive credits for Flint citizens. Huffington Post reports:

Snyder, a Republican, will make the case for the $30 million plan when he presents his budget next week for the coming fiscal year. Pending the state legislature’s approval, his proposal would lower residents’ bills by about 30 percent until water is safe to drink, and credit their past bills going back to April 2014. Former residents would also be eligible for refunds.

“I agree with Flint residents, that they should not have to pay for water they cannot drink,” Snyder said in a statement.

[…]

Flint’s average monthly water and sewer bill was $140 in 2014, much higher than neighboring cities, according to the Flint Journal. Under Snyder’s proposal, a family paying $140 would get about a $40 credit.

Sturmbannführer Snyder is such a compassionate soul… NOT He’s a typical greedy Republican, who wants to charge poor people $100+ per month for poison for their children!

From The New Yorker: Scandal rocked Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign on Friday as the candidate was forced to admit that he received free checking from several big banks.

In a press conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, a chastened Sanders acknowledged that, over the past two decades, he received free checking from Bank of America, Citibank, and JPMorgan Chase in exchange for maintaining a five-hundred-dollar minimum balance.

“I should have acknowledged my relationship with these banks earlier,” a subdued Sanders told reporters. “For that, I am sorry.”

The Clinton campaign immediately seized on the revelation, with one senior Clinton aide alleging that Sanders’s cozy relationship with the banks “effectively strips him of the label ‘progressive.’ ”

Dang Andy!! Free Checking?!!? How could Bernie do such a thing?11? Surprised smile Winking smile

From Think Progress: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been offering increasingly tough talk on immigration as he steadily gains on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in New Hampshire ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on February 9.

As Trump has won over angry crowds across the state with speeches linking immigration to crime and terrorism, Rubio has begun to mimic his hard-line stance.

“The first thing we must do is make sure ISIS never gets into the United States using our immigration system,” he told a crowd in Laconia on Wednesday. He added that, if elected, he would hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, finish 700 miles of fences and walls along the U.S./Mexico border, and strip federal funding from “sanctuary cities” like Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Rubio also blasted the current system for legal immigration based on family reunification, saying that “maybe that worked okay in the 1950s,” but he would institute a system based solely on work skills.

You can count on the Latino hating Latino, Border Booter, to embody Republican bigotry.

Cartoon:

0206Cartoon

Share
Jan 302016
 

This morning I felt do tired that, when I had finished with m,y research, I returned to bed for a couple hours.  I still feel tired, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:30 (average 4:41).  My fishy?  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It seems that Jeb Bush, now reduced to an asterisk (*) in the 2016 Republican Presidential contest, has concluded that the best way to quickly burn through those millions upon millions of dollars in campaign donations he received is to perform a supreme act of self-immolation, by resurrecting the infamous Terry Schiavo fiasco in a new campaign ad, paid for, morbidly enough, by a Bush PAC that calls itself “Right To Rise."

In addition to touting his high score with the NRA , the voice-over in Bush’s new ad celebrates how then-Florida governor Bush “fought time and again for the right to life," with an image of someone leaning over Schiavo, lying in a helpless vegetative state in her hospital bed.

And while the general electorate will likely recoil in horror at this kind of crass opportunism, Bush apparently hopes the Republican base will be shocked and awed as they are reminded of his role in forcing the irreversibly and profoundly brain-damaged Schiavo to cling to life in direct contravention of what her husband explained would have been her own desires, simply to bolster his credentials among the forced-birth crowd of ghouls who demanded that the poor woman be kept resuscitated at all costs, no matter how much pain it caused to others. Because abortion or something.

Bush Barf Bag Alert!!

 

The autopsy proved that what the doctors had said was right. Under no circumstances could she ever have become conscious again. When I named Jeb :Strike Three", was I right, or was I right?

From NY Times: Johnson Controls, an industrial and auto parts supplier headquartered in Milwaukee, announced this week that is was selling itself to Tyco International, a maker of fire safety products based in Ireland. The deal will let Johnson Controls pass itself off as Irish and, in the process, cut its taxes in the United States by at least $150 million a year.

Johnson Controls is not the first American company to avoid taxes by merging with a smaller company in a low-tax nation, and it won’t be the last. Nor is it the biggest. That distinction goes to Pfizer, which is in the process of becoming Irish, having merged last year with a smaller company based in Dublin.

Johnson Controls is, however, the latest and quite possibly the most brazen tax dodger. The company would not exist as it is today but for American taxpayers, who paid $80 billion in 2008 to bail out the auto industry. Johnson Controls’s president personally begged Congress for the bailout, which came on top of huge tax breaks that the company has received over the years, including at least $149 million from Michigan alone from 1992 to 2009, according to The Times.

What’s galling about this and similar maneuvers is that Congress has done nothing to stop them. Since 2008, some three dozen American companies have used gaps and loopholes in the law to change their tax nationalities, a process known as “inverting.”

Most Democrats are not the problem. Virtually all Republicans support the practice by blocking all attempts by Democrats to make inverted companies pay US taxes. Bernie opposes inverting.

From Crooks and Liars: Stephen Colbert Holds An All-Trump Debate

Barf While You’re Laughing Bag Alert!!

 

FOMCROTFPIMPLMAO!!!!

Cartoon:

0130Cartoon

Share
Jan 282016
 

This morning, when I awakened, I found that the elevator is now working, so the dreaded task is now done, and I’m pooped.  Unfortunately, now I’m too sore and tired to make half a dozen meals, which was today’s chore.  My helper friend has disappeared again as she sometimes does.  She was supposed to be here Tuesday and did not show up, and I have been unable to reach her since.  That’s frustrating!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:19 (average 7:00).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Millions of Americans are expressing their resentment and outrage at being put in the appalling position of siding with the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, a state of affairs that many are calling “intolerable.”

“Never in a million years did I envision a situation where I would be on the same side as Megyn Kelly,” Tracy Klugian, of Butte, Montana, said. “Now that I find myself in just such a situation, let me say this: it’s horrible. Truly horrible.”

“Putting people through the ordeal of siding with Megyn Kelly could be the worst thing Donald Trump has done in this campaign,” Jervis Kentwell, of Norwalk, Connecticut, said. “I know he thinks he’s invulnerable or whatever, but it’s hard to see him recovering from this.”

Andy is so right! I may sue Hateful Hairball over the pain and suffering it has caused me.

From Daily Kos: The latest massive offense the Obama administration has done to Wall Street is to come up with a rule telling financial services companies that their first duty is to their clients. That’s such an offensive requirement, Republicans in Congress have even been trying to derail it. Because nothing should stand in the way of profits for Wall Street, including the nest eggs of senior citizens. To prove how awful the whole idea is, American International Group Inc. (AIG)  decided they had to sell off, admitting that if they can’t screw old people out of money, then why bother?

"It’s a business we are not the best owner of, particularly in the light of potential Department of Labor rules," [CEO Peter] Hancock said Tuesday in a conference call updating investors on AIG’s strategy. "With the new DOL rules, that was a big factor in thinking whether this was better owned by somebody independent of us." […]

Hancock said the broker-dealer network earned about $40 million in 2014, yet consumed a "disproportionate amount" of AIG’s compliance cost.

Considering that the taxpayers of America loaned AIG over $67 billion in TARP funds to keep them out of bankruptcy, their attitude that they don’t want to play, unless they are allowed to rip-off seniors can best be described as Republican.

From Alternet: A series of exposés released this week shed further light on an often-overlooked form of war profiteering: charity organizations that raise millions of dollars under the auspices of serving wounded military veterans, only to inappropriately spend those funds.

Specifically, the Wounded Warrior Project is under the microscope, with a New York Times investigation finding that the well-heeled organization has spent “millions a year on travel, dinners, hotels and conferences that often seemed more lavish than appropriate.”

Such spending is no small matter, notes journalist David Philipps, as the charity “has evolved into a fund-raising giant, taking in more than $372 million in 2015 alone—largely through small donations from people over 65.” In fact, according to Philipps, the group is the largest and most rapidly-expanding organization in the country.

I’ve been emotionally tempted to give to them on a couple of occasions. I’m glad that I didn’t. Isn’t it a shame that Republicans have infested secular charities and are just as corrupt as they have been for ages in pseudo-Christian charities?

Cartoon:

0128Cartoon

Share
Jan 222016
 
furies

One issue this week, represented by multiple persons in one article with its comments, seems to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with. Just 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."

You ladies weren't interested a couple of weeks ago when I brought up the spoiled brats in Oregon (not FROM Oregon, just invading it) who think they ought to be in charge of public lands.  But as the story takes more and more turns, let me call your attention to this:

Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum told Oregon Public Broadcasting that his four current foster children have been removed while he's in Oregon:

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and his wife Jeanette were foster care parents for troubled boys. Finicum estimates that over the past decade, more than 50 boys came through their ranch near Chino Valley, Arizona. The boys often landed there from mental hospitals, drug rehabs and group homes for emotionally distressed youth.

“My ranch has been a great tool for these boys,” Finicum said. “It has done a lot of good.”

Finicum runs a cattle ranch in Arizona where he says he barely breaks even on the cattle and the loss of 50 extra foster ranch hands children is going to make it financially difficult on the Finicums…

How much money is involved here?  Well a 2010 tax filing shows that in 2009, Catholic Charities paid the family $115, 343 to foster children.

User "a2nite" comments – "Wow, another welfare queen gets exposed. He's stupid & I'm glad."

"CyberMindGrrl" – "Yes this guy just openly admitted to scamming the foster care system. But will he get investigated? I highly doubt it unless he continues to open his stupid mouth…. Remember, you can screw the government and it’s ok if you’re white and Republican."

But "Fordmandalay" elaborates:  "My expectation of the kids typical day; up at 4:00AM for a hearty breakfast of lightly buttered toast and grits with coffee, then out to the fields. Work until noon, then a 15 minute lunch break of a baloney sandwich and a (generic) coca-cola. Back to work until the sun goes down, 15 minute swim in the cattle pond as the nightly bath; dinner of canned spaghetti-os and bottom-shelf cookies, then locked into their bunkhouse for the night with a single 1972 5th-grade textbook to fulfill their ‘education’ requirement, along with a few David Koresh books and a 13” b/w tv that's able to pull in the single station receivable in the area. Electricity turned off at 9:00PM. Repeat daily until adult, then kicked out into the world."

So I assume you may now have an interest in at least one of these individuals, namely "La Voy" Finicum (the one under the blue tarp).  It sounds to me a very grudging way to handles one's personal finances, so Megaera, that would seem to be up your street, but Alecto, he hasn't stopped doing this in God knows how long, and appears to have no intention of stopping – once he gets all the candy he's committing treason for and goes back home.

But wait – there's more!  User "AntonBursch" commented multiple times with information from his own experience as a former foster child.  Warning – hanky alert – as you read just a few of the things he has to say about his childhood.

"i was adopted by foster parents who saw foster children as a source of income.  and they always got special needs kids to get the max money and then neglected the hell out of them and spend all the money on themselves.  and when anyone noticed the poor shape the kids were in, they would say it was due to the problems the kids had.  then they would get patted on the back for being so wonderful for taking care of such troubled kids.  makes me angry just thinking about it.  even when they adopted my brother and I, the adoption was held up until they had a signed agreement that they would get money to take care of us until we were 18.  it was just as that kind of payment was being ended in WA state, so, they wouldn’t pull the trigger adopting us unless they had an absolute legal guarantee of payment over the years.  i found the documentation of all of that in my foster records when i got them a few years ago.  i don’t know how you get more horrible than using children who are already suffering to get money.  and they knew just how to max out the money by claiming they had to provide special care…"

"i was 13 months old.  i never knew a different life until my mid 20s.  i watched Good Will Hunting and the scene where Robin tells Will that it wasn’t his fault hit me like a ton of bricks through my chest.  i told friends of mine what it had been like growing up and they were horrified.  i still remember the moment listening to them when i realized that not all parents treated their kids that way.  it was a revelation to me.  i didn’t believe it at first.  i asked them and told me it was true, but i didn’t believe them, because it was too good to be true.  i had always thought it wasn’t right to hurt your children and suddenly i found out that i wasn’t alone believing that.  i felt like i had crawled out of a dark cave into the light for the first time in my life.  thinking back now, i think that’s exactly what happened to me."

Even the fact that he has grown up and learned to cope, even to be a wounded healer, is tough to read about:

i have to try not to cry thinking about how you [user srluke] shared your lunch money with them [fostered kids who went to school with srluke].  what can i say to you, but thank you.  it’s things like that that make the difference between someone giving up hope for their lives.  especially at that age.

i have a pretty great life now.  but sometimes, you know, life is stressful, you’re being whiny about something, you’re just mad and you can’t shake it off.  then you see someone you can tell is hurting.  a child.  a teen.  an elderly person.  a single mom surrounded by kids in the supermarket looking through her cart before going to the line to make sure she can get everything.  you can see the pain in her face as she’s looking back and forth to her kids and having to put something back.  and all of your stupid bullshit doesn’t matter anymore.

i won’t lie and say i don’t still hurt from shit.  i do.  man, i can’t hold it together watching a tv show about someone without their parents.  and sometimes i wish i could just get passed it.  but not in those moments.  in those moments, as cheesy as it sounds, i am grateful that i know those looks.  cause sometimes, when it’s possible, i can help.  and even when i can’t help, it makes me appreciate what a wonderful life i have now.  that’s a gift right there.

I respectfully request that at least one of you ladies look up these – persons – who fostered "AntonBursch" – and – counsel them.  Please.  And there are many other shorter stories in these comments, some first hand, others from witnesses, which you might also want to look into.  Oh, and I have an unrelated request- I am passing it on from others but I am also 100% behind it   Your colleague, Charon?  Fella with the boat?  We realize it's his job, and somebody has to do it, but we kind of feel he's been overdoing it lately – taking too many people who are too good and doing it too fast.  Could you maybe talk with him nicely about giving it just a little rest?  Thank you.  From all of us.

We'll be back next time.

 

Share
Jan 162016
 

Today has been a very quiet day fortunately because it has rained all day and I really didn't want to get wet.  The furbabes are snuggled together on my bed, Annie with her arms around Winnie.  I relaxed today, all day, and took time to watch part of the movie AVATAR so I could keep my knee elevated for a while.  I'll watch the rest when I retire for the night, that is I stay awake long enough.

Short Takes

Take Part — Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying announced Wednesday [13/01/2016] that his government will end its legal ivory trade.

That market is considered a facilitator of illegal ivory transport into mainland China, the world’s largest consumer of smuggled ivory.  

Hong Kong’s move comes as the price of elephant ivory plummets. In a report by conservation group Save the Elephants, the cost of raw ivory on the black market has fallen by almost half over the past 18 months. HK-ivory

“If the trade closes, the value of ivory as an investment depreciates,” Knights said. “We see Hong Kong prices going down because of the public backlash against ivory, and that should have an impact on poaching. Couple that with stepped-up efforts in Africa to deter poachers, and the ivory trade ends up getting squeezed at both ends.”

In a BBC article almost a year ago, word came that China instituted a one year ban on the importation of ivory.  Now China is taking the next step.  This is an issue that Obama and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, spoke about during a visit in 2015.

Upworthy — What are the chances a 6th-grader from the biggest slum in Kenya ends up on stage in New York City, speaking to thousands of people?

Not very great, but Eunice Akoth did it. She's living her dream.

Eunice's dreams aren't exactly uncommon for a girl her age: to travel the world and to become a doctor. But the possibility of seeing them through is extra difficult simply because of where she was born.

Between unemployment rates, gender discrimination, and violence in her slum of Kibera — it's a long road out for girls like her.

My student faced the same type of childhood as many of the girls in Kibera . . . no education, beaten, married very young, raising babies when she was still a child herself.  Her dream is to see her children, all of them, get an education, the education she never had.  And to remind her of this, she has a painted rock in the garden that says "Dream".

Mother Jones — During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama reiterated his call to eliminate federal subsidies for fossil fuels in an effort to speed up the transition to cleaner energy sources. It's something he's asked for nearly every year of his presidency, and it hasn't happened yet. But this year, he added something new: a plan to charge oil and coal companies more for leases on federal land, to offset the damage their products do to the climate.  

The onslaught started at the end of December, when China announced plans to close 1,000 coal mines as part of its campaign to reduce crippling air pollution and the world's highest greenhouse gas emissions.  

Coal's future doesn't seem much brighter. More than two dozen coal-reliant states are suing the Obama administration over its climate plan.

coal_7

As reported in another article by the same author in Mother Jones on 15 January 2016,

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced on Friday that she was placing a moratorium on new coal-mining leases on public land and that her department would begin a multiyear review of how those lease contracts are awarded. The policy change is likely to make the leases more expensive for mining companies, to generate increased royalties for the government, and to offset the damage coal production and consumption do to the environment.

"We haven't done a top-to-bottom review of the coal program in 30 years," Jewell told reporters. She added that her department will search for ways "to manage [coal] in a way that is consistent with the climate change agenda."

Coal has had its day and no amount of interference from the Republicans should change that course, but if they win the White House in November, look out!  There is no reason why a small percentage of Americans, relatively speaking, should override the concerns of all Americans.  Although Republicans will appear to agitate for coal workers, really they are in bed with the coal companies.  With coal producing high green house gas levels, the planet can't afford to keep burning dirty coal.  I had to chuckle at the author's comment,

But he [Lee-Ashley] said the financial overhaul should enjoy bipartisan support, since it boils down to giving the American people a fair price for their natural resources.

"When you look at the money being lost to taxpayers through these loopholes, anybody who believes in good business should be able to carry it forward," he said.

"Fair price" to a Republican does not meet our standards.  Republicans are in the coal bin with the coal companies.  Have a look at the article I presented back in October 2015, The Fall of King Coal.

My UniverseThe third kitten, a liitle grey and white furball, has the longest meow I have ever heard . . . and all in one tiny body!

Share
Jan 152016
 

Yesterday, I was overly tired for some reason.  I went to the building community meeting.  They are outlawing window air conditioning Un its, because one fell from a window and barely missed a passer by.  I will have to get a free standing A/C with a tube that vents through a window kit.  ARGH!  Today I have PT, OT and the bath-aide all coming. so I have another busy day on tap.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (Average 5:28).  Top do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From HRC: Following the publication this week of a commentary by Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, in which he boasts of being “proud” to lead an institution that sought a waiver from the government so that it could discriminate against transgender people, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, released the following statement:

“Mr. Piper’s assertions are despicable, but, sadly, not surprising, given his track record of working with anti-LGBT organizations like the World Congress of Families [GOP Hate delinked]. Piper should be ashamed. Imagine what it feels like to be a young LGBT student at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and hearing the president of your school publicly disparage you in this way. His astonishingly callous response to revelations that he sought the right to discriminate against his own students is not only stomach-turning, but anathema to the role of an educational leader.”

In his piece defending the university’s decision to request an exemption to existing civil rights law in order to discriminate against LGBT students on religious grounds, Piper used the same bigoted and hateful language that is his stock-in-trade: referring to transgender people as a “human fabrication,” and non-discrimination efforts as “misogyny.”

I fully agree with Chad Griffin. All people deserve equal rights.

From Daily Kos: In an explosive new piece, the New York Times reports that Republican Sen.Ted Cruz failed to disclose a six-figure loan from Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank where his wife Heidi works, that he used to support his successful upset bid for Senate back in 2012. Cruz was required to report the loan (and another similar one from Citibank)—which may have been worth as much as $500,000—in filings with the Federal Elections Commission but never did so.

Instead, he reported putting some $1.2 million in unspecified "personal funds” into his campaign, claiming to the Times several years ago that he and his wife had “liquidated our entire net worth” to support his quest for public office. This turns out to have been a deception, uncovered because Cruz later filed personal financial disclosures with the Senate that detailed the two low-interest loans.

In the face of such blatant criminal activity, Uranus Inspector should be deported to his birth country,

From YouTube (H/T MoveOn):

The Reich on the Right, Ryan’s Republican Reich, is wrong. And as always, the Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right. Those seven ideas are the core of the Republican Party’s economic agenda.

Cartoon:

0115Cartoon

Share
Jan 132016
 

Yesterday was a busy day . . . I took my mother to a specialist doctor which was a 4 hour affair (including transport) for her, and then I had a Family Council meeting at her care facility.  I did not arrive home until 22:30.  I was "exhaustipated"!  Since I was so late and so tired, I did not finish the Open Thread.  I just fed the furbabies and myself, then slept instead.  Today was another 2.5 hours of physio therapy including 30 minutes of bike riding.  Somebody made a comment about me being saddle sore because I often ride for a half hour.  No problem — it's a recumbent bike so very comfortable and better for the knees.

Short Take

Politico — The Supreme Court appeared ready Monday to bar public-sector unions from collecting "fair-share" fees from non-members, a move that could deal a political blow to Democrats by reducing union membership drastically and draining union coffers.

At oral arguments in a case brought by California public school teachers who object to the requirement, the court's conservative wing appeared deeply skeptical of a 1977 high court decision upholding the constitutionality of such fees.  

Under current law, public employees covered by union contracts may opt out of paying any fees toward the political activity of their union. But states may pass laws that require those dissenting members to pay a fee to cover their portion of collective bargaining costs. Such provisions, on the books in about two dozen states, are being challenged in the case by Rebecca Friedrichs and eight other California teachers.

The fair-share or "agency" fee is widely seen as a compromise between the First Amendment rights of public employees who may not wish to join a union and the material interest of the unions, which are required by law to bargain on behalf of all members of a given unit, regardless of membership status.

Now that arguments have been heard, we'll have to wait to see how SCOTUS rules.  Just playing devil's advocate a bit, what if the unions were required to only bargain on behalf of its members, and all non union members had to individually bargain for their wages/benefits etc?  Certainly the employer is not going to want to negotiate with a lot of different people due to the time and costs involved.  The settlements are likely to be smaller.  So, can Friedrichs logically say she would negotiate her contract and come out as well or better than she would have paying the agency fee?
 

Think Progress — Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which advocates for low-income residents, told ThinkProgress that poverty is a huge issue in her state, largely a result of conservative policies that have been tested and proven ineffective.

“I don’t expect them to touch on anything that is realistic,” she said about the event.

Berkowitz pointed out that the summit is being held in a city with the highest number of diabetic related amputations in the country. Overall, South Carolina’s poverty rate is ranked ninth highestin the nation, with more than 860,000 people living below the poverty line in 2013. The state alsoranks seventh in the percentage of people living in poverty areas. Twenty-seven percent of the state’s children live in poverty and 25 percent live in a food-insecure household, putting it in 45th place in the nation for the well-being of its children.  

“To take SNAP and start talking about things like block granting and making it a work program is just not understanding what’s going on with the low-income community,” Berkowitz said. “At least if you want to get rid of these programs, talk about them honestly. Talk about why you’re doing it and don’t make it look like you’re doing something compassionate and helping people out of their misery. Because the only way we help people out of the misery of poverty is to ensure they’ll have living wages or living stipends to allow them to afford the things that they need.”

The only ones that the Republicans will help are themselves and the 1%.  As Berkowitz says, "At least if you want to get rid of these programs, talk about them honestly."   Honesty is not in the Republican lexicon.

The Nation On a brisk November 13 night in Paris, armed gunmen killed 130 people and shocked the world. Global media snapped into full focus, covering the attack with a frequency and depth unmatched by coverage of any terrorist attack since the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris earlier that year. Just hours earlier, in Beirut and Baghdad, terrorist attacks had claimed the lives of dozens. In Lebanon and Iraq, many were equally shocked, not simply by these attacks, but by what they perceived as a comparable lack of media attention to them. That week marked one crescendo in critiques on media institutions for allegedly covering terrorism more often and more in depth when it occurs in Western countries than when it occurs in non-Western ones.

Is the media creating, or at least substantially contribuuting to the climate of fear in the West with its lopsided coverage of terrorist attacks?

My Universe — 

pupis-5__700

Nannies to a new born pitbull rejected by its mother.

 

Share
Jan 102016
 

How many times each day do we go to the water tap, run cold water, fill a glass, and then quench our thirst?  I drink about 4 litres of water every day, about 16 cups.  Do I even think about whether the water is fit to drink?  Not usually. But what happens when the water becomes unfit to drink , , , like in Flint, Michigan?

Flintwater

Democracy Now — In Flint, Michigan, a growing number of residents are demanding the arrest of Governor Rick Snyder over the ongoing water contamination crisis. Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint Wednesday, after learning federal prosecutors had opened an investigation into lead contamination in the drinking water. The poisoning began after an unelected emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the city’s water source to the long-polluted Flint River in a bid to save money. Lead can cause permanent health impacts including memory loss and developmental impairment. Researchers at Virginia Tech who have been testing Flint water say the city could have corrected the problem by better treating the water at a cost of as little as $100 a day. On Thursday, the mayor of Flint revealed it could now cost as much as $1.5 billion to fix the city’s water infrastructure. We speak to Curt Guyette, investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan, who has closely covered the story.

YouTube

Common Dreams — The Republican governor appointed Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley who enforced the April 2014 decision to switch from the Detroit system to the Flint River to source water. In an angry letter to Snyder, filmmaker and Flint native Michael Moore wrote:

Your staff and others knew that the water in the Flint River was poison — but you decided that taking over the city and "cutting costs" to "balance the budget" was more important than the people's health (not to mention their democratic rights to elect their own leaders.) So you cut off the clean, fresh glacial lake water of Lake Huron that the citizens of Flint (including myself) had been drinking for decades and, instead, made them drink water from the industrial cesspool we call the Flint River — a body of "water" where toxins from a dozen General Motors and DuPont factories have been dumped for over a hundred years. And then you decided to put a chemical in this water to "clean" it — which only ended up stripping the lead off of Flint's aging water pipes, placing that lead in the water and sending it straight into people's taps.

Moore, in fact, is circulating a petition calling on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to arrest Snyder for "corruption and assault."

Michael Moore's Arrest Governor Snyder Petition

Al Jazeera — This emergency goes beyond simply a public health problem. (Lead is a potent neurotoxin, which can cause irreversible brain damage in children.) It is something much worse: a human rights abuse in an American city. In 2010, the United Nations declared that “ … clean drinking water … [is] essential to the realization of all human rights.” Flint’s contaminated water will prevent children from realizing their human right to health, enumerated in Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Public reaction is understandably very heated.  This crisis is totally man made — Republican man made — and the result of Republican ineptitude, greed, and bigotry.  In Flint, 40% of the people live in poverty.  Many of the people are African American.  The old lead city water distribution pipes were corroded by the Flint River toxic water, so much so that a return to getting water from Lake Huron through Detroit is not working.  The pipes were corroded and continue to leach lead into the water.  The only solution is the replacement of the city water pipes at a cost of $1.5 – $2 BILLION.  On top of that, I would expect a class action lawsuit against the state, Snyder and a whole spate of other administrative persons who failed in their fiduciary responsibility to the people.

Share
Jan 072016
 

I have another busy day today.  PT and OT are both coming this morning.  Then I’m going to cook dinners for several days and put them in compartmentalized trays for freezing.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my Prosthetist, because George probably needs some adjustments.  So expect no more than a Personal Update or Open Thread tomorrow.

Later: B9ith have come and gone.  Arvilla (PT) worked me hard.  Then Tracy (OT) agreed that supervising my cooking would be a good project for today, so I have four meals od Salisbury steak with gravy, cheese whipped potatoes. and mixed veggies.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:35),  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: \Republican Presidential candidates ripped President Obama on Tuesday for what they called his stubborn insistence on linking gun violence with guns.

In campaign stops across Iowa and New Hampshire, the G.O.P. hopefuls pounded the President for irrationally concluding that guns have played a role in the nation’s epidemic of mass shootings.

“How any reasonable person could look at gun violence and say that guns are involved is beyond me,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “And yet, somehow, President Obama always finds a way.”

“I would very much like to have a conversation about gun violence, as President Obama has said he wants to have,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “But as long as he keeps falling back on this tired, unproven connection between gun violence and guns, there’s just no point.”

The former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina said that Obama’s persistent linking of gun violence with guns was “sad but not surprising, from a man who believes that people’s health can be improved by access to health care.”

“He isn’t thinking straight,” she said.

But Andy, there is no link between gun violence and guns… in a pig’s eye!!!

From Daily Kos: It appears that Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien, the NH GOP lawmaker [Republican delinked] screaming and flailing her arms in the video, has been stalking Hillary for several years now.

She tried the same stunt in 2007, during a Clinton campaign appearance.

She tried it again today and Hillary shut her down to the roar of the crowd.

Reading through many of the comments on her Facebook [Republican delinked] , her appearance failed spectacularly.

 

Sorry about the self promotion by the person that prepared the video. The one in the article had no embed code. The lying Republican legislator was accusing Bill of having multiple rape victims, and Hillary, of covering it up.

From NY Times: In the days after the Paris terrorist attacks last November, world leaders denounced the shooting massacres. On Wall Street, the money manager Louis Navellier saw a buying opportunity.

Shares of the two leading gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Company, popped onto Mr. Navellier’s computer screen. Their stock prices were rising as a result of strong sales. He began accumulating positions in both companies.

Two months later, those bets have paid off. The stocks of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger spiked again after the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings last month. They also moved sharply in advance of President Obama’s announcement on Tuesday of measures to curb gun violence.

How about that. Banksters are not content to let gum manufacturers profit from the panic they help cause by arming criminals. The Bankster want to cash in on it too!

Cartoon:

0107Cartoon

Share
Jan 052016
 

Yesterday I woke up to about 2.5 centimetres of snow on the ground while today it was freezing rain for a short time. The temperatures warmed up during the day so no more ice or snow, at least not on the ground about me.  But a quick look upwards yields a beautiful sight . . . more snow on the mountains behind me.  What a glorious view! 

Short Takes

Common Dreams  Speaking just blocks away from the belly of the beast, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday gave a major policy speech during which he laid out his plan to take on Wall Street and end the era of "too big to fail" banking.

"To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear," Sanders said. "Greed is not good. Wall Street and corporate greed is destroying the fabric of our nation. And, here is a New Year’s Resolution that we will keep: If you do not end your greed we will end it for you."

A great speech from Bernie, and he is so correct . . . the US needs Glass-Steagall.  The world needs Glass-Steagall in the US.

Council of Canadians — On October 5, 2015, Canada, the United States, Mexico and nine other countries – together representing more than 40 per cent of the global economy – announced the conclusion of negotiations on the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership “free trade” deal.

The Council of Canadians opposes this deal because it includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest, it extends the patent length (and profits) of pharmaceutical corporations by delaying the introduction of lower cost generic drugs, it slashes the domestic content requirement for automobiles, putting thousands of autoworker jobs at risks, and it undermines family farmers by opening up the Canadian dairy market to imports without creating new export markets for Canadian farmers.

The TPP could be voted on in the new Parliament early in 2016 and is expected to face a U.S. Congressional vote in the spring of 2016.

Read on in Council of Canadians.

The TPP directly threatens:

Public health and access to medicines: The U.S. is using the TPP to push for excessive patent protections and other intellectual property rights that are guaranteed to make medication much more expensive in Canada and even inaccessible to the poorest countries involved in the negotiations. Across the world, health advocates claim it is a matter of life and death that we say no to these changes in the TPP.

Click through for more details.  The video below is followed by a RootsAction petition if you haven't already signed it.

Petition to Stop the TPP

My objection to this deal can be summed up in three words: People not profits!  Just before Christmas, my student received news from her family in South Sudan . . . a close friend, who was like a sister but younger than her, died.  She had been ill a short time but with no doctor nearby and no money to buy medicine, her fate was sealed.  Her aunt's daughter-in-law who is very ill, will likely meet the same fate.  In the US, how many people cannot afford life saving drugs and medical treatment, even with Obamacare.  You generally can thank Republicans for that . . . and their corporate masters!  But the TPP affects more than just pharmaceuticals.  People before profits!

Common Dreams — American big business has now officially endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), giving many all the proof they need that the 12-nation deal—poised to be the largest ever—is bad news for people and the planet.  

That endorsement followed Monday's announcement from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that it is throwing its weight behind the pact. "Open markets encourage cooperation and prosperity among nations and governments, rather than conflict, …"

And if you believe that highlighted line, have I got a bridge over swamp land to sell!

YouTube — Two videos from John Oliver,

And now a lighter look at resolutions.

My Universe

And you thought it was only in Narnia and Lord of the Rings that trees showed their faces!

Share
Jan 012016
 

A new year begins with the promise for me that 2016 virtually has to be a better year than last.  May it be so for us all.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:14 (average 7:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (July): In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy of many in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

"I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

While I disagree with her opposition to women’s right to make their own medical decisions, I respectfully disagree, because, unlike the Republican Party,  she is consistent.

From Media Matters: Fleeing from terror and indiscriminate violence in parts of the Middle East, millions of people have packed up and left their homes to start safer lives for themselves and their families elsewhere. But if you tuned into Fox News anytime in the last year, you’d think the refugees themselves — many of them Muslim — were responsible for the violence. In fact, painting Muslims as terrorists, radicals, and tacit supporters of ISIS, baseless demonization of Islam was the channel’s modus operandi in 2015. And it wasn’t just right-wing media. CNN also joined the smears, asking a Muslim human rights lawyer if he supports ISIS, questioning a Michigan mayor if she’s afraid of her majority Muslim-American city council, and forcing responsibility for the recent attacks in Paris onto an innocent French Muslim.

 

The slanders the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, keep repeating are totally false.

From NY Times: Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder.

And it’s obvious, even if we don’t have statistical confirmation, that extreme wealth can do extreme spiritual damage. Take someone whose personality might have been merely disagreeable under normal circumstances, and give him the kind of wealth that lets him surround himself with sycophants and usually get whatever he wants. It’s not hard to see how he could become almost pathologically self-regarding and unconcerned with others.

So what happens to a nation that gives ever-growing political power to the superrich?

To find out, click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial.

Cartoon:

0101Cartoon

Share
Dec 302015
 

I am completely swamped.  Yesterday I had hour long visits from Home Health PT, OT, and RN, and a two hour visit from my PC repair guy.  Today I have to schedule doctor visits.  Tomorrow I have the bed rental company coming to take down the hospital bed I’ve been renting before 2 PM, a grocery delivery coming before 2 PM, and the bed setup company coming to install my own hospital bed.  Let’s npt even talk about year end financial; record keeping and blog maintenance.  I am comp[let5ely swamped.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:24 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1228Broncos20-Bengals17

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the playoff picture in our own fantasy football league.

17Playoffrs

Contrast to Patty Monster and Jack for making it to the championship game.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Bernie Sanders made some salient points with regard to the unprecedented amount of coverage that the media has given to Donald Trump since he announced his campaign for the GOP nomination for president.

 

Bernie’s points are spot-on. It’s difficult to find stories that don’t involve the Hairball.

From NY Times: The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.

Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes. The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.

When Republicans lie that Democrats want to raise YOUR taxes, they are assuming that YOU are a member of the 0.1%.

From Alternet: Campbell Brown Hired Transphobic, Sexist, Racially Insensitive Writer To "Fact-Check" Education Policy Reporting

This summer, teachers union opponent and former journalist Campbell Brown launched a "non-profit, non-partisan news site about education," called The Seventy Four. In spite of the site’s stated mission [Republican propaganda delinked] to combat "misinformation and political spin" with "investigation, expertise, and experience," Brown hired Eric Owens, [Republican propaganda delinked] who has a long history of attacks on students and teachers, to write for the site. Owens has a long history of attacking and mocking teachers and students with transphobic [Republican propaganda delinked], sexist [Republican propaganda delinked], victim-blaming [Republican propaganda delinked], and racially insensitive [Republican propaganda delinked]  rhetoric as the education editor at the Daily Caller.

This is just the fifth of five worst Republican media stories about education. Click through doe the other four.

Cartoon:

1230Cartoon

Share