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The previously unpublished number provides a rare glimpse into the U.S. counterterrorist mission that is woven into overall coalition efforts to defeat ISIS, and which is credited with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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Apr 022016
 

As it turned out, Lucia was very sick yesterday so I did not have a teaching session with her.  It sounds like she has the same very bad cold that I had.  So I took some time to read my book, Labyrinth of Bones by James Rollins, and enjoy some sunshine.  Tomorrow, I am going to see my mother.  The cold is sufficiently gone that I won't infect others. This week is busy as I have to take my mother to a doctor's appointment on Tuesday in addition to physio and teaching sessions, and the commencement of a new course on Thursday evening.

Short Takes

Daily Kos (classic 25/09/2011) — 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.

GOP-huge

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.

Click through for the other 8.  Can you think of any more reasons?  The only other one that I can think of is that they all make my skin crawl!  These are all timeless.

Truthdig — As we struggle to come to terms with the latest terrorist attacks in Brussels, it is important that we understand the causes of such extremism. After all, Islamic extremism was virtually unknown fifty years ago and suicide bombings were inconceivable. And yet today it seems that we are confronted with both on a daily basis. So what happened to bring Islamic fundamentalism to the forefront of global politics? While there are many factors involved, undoubtedly one of the primary causes is Western imperialism. Western intervention in the Middle East over the past century to secure access to the region’s oil reserves established a perfect environment in which Islamic fundamentalists could exploit growing anti-Western sentiment throughout the Islamic world, with some establishing violent extremist groups. The most recent consequence of this process is the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which emerged out of the chaos caused by the US invasion of Iraq.

Islamic_State_(IS)_insurgents,_Anbar_Province,_IraqISIL fighters in Anbar province, Iraq

In order to understand the rise of the Islamic State we must first briefly review the history of Western intervention in not only the Middle East but throughout the world to reveal that Islamic extremism in not a unique phenomenon. For the past 500 years, peoples throughout the world have resorted to acts of violence that today would be classified as terrorism in efforts to resist Western imperialism. Indigenous peoples in the Americas often used violent tactics to defend themselves against the brutal European colonizers. There were also many violent slave revolts by Blacks who had been shipped from Africa to the Americas in the service of Western imperialism.

This is a long article, but from my view of history, very well thought out and true.  Only a comparatively few Muslims are terrorists.  But when will the West take responsibility for its part in the creation of Islamic terrorism?

Mother Jones — Boston and other coastal cities may want to batten down the hatches. A new study from climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Pennsylvania State University warns estimates of future sea level rise may be significantly underestimated. The real picture 100 to 500 years from now, they claim, will be ugly for US coastal cities from New York to Miami, which could be underwater or at risk of flooding. Boston, for example, could see about 5 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years, according to the researchers.

The most recent prediction by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that the sea level will rise as much as 38 inches by the year 2100 because of melting glaciers and the fact that warming makes water expand. Researchers Robert DeConto and David Pollard argue that this estimate fails to take into account atmospheric warming in Antarctica that will melt major ice shelves and elevate sea levels another three feet over earlier estimates by 2100 to six feet total, and by more than 49 feet by the year 2500.

To say the least, the southern US will be the big North American loser if climate change goes unchecked and sea level rises.  The following picture from Think Progress shows south Florida in 2100 if little is done.  Check the interactive picture of Miami in 2100.  You can also read the report, Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise, for more information.  And remember, this is just south Florida.  What would happen in the Gulf states, especially Louisiana which already has issues.

South Florida and "Miami Island" in 2100 after 5 feet of sea level rise (via Climate Central). From Think  Progress

Alternet — Millions of Nigerians are urging the Nigerian government to reject Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GMO) cotton and maize into the country’s food and farming systems.  …

In a press release, the groups said they are particularly alarmed about the commercial release of Bt cotton into Nigeria, which is being phased out in Burkina Faso due to the “inferior lint quality” of the GMO cultivars.

“We are totally shocked that it should come so soon after peer-reviewed studies have showed that the technology has failed dismally in Burkina Faso,” Nnimmo Bassey, the director of theHealth of Mother Earth Foundation, one of the leading opposition groups, said in a statement. “It has brought nothing but economic misery to the cotton sector there and is being phased out in that country where compensation is being sought from Monsanto.”

This greedy corporate juggernaut has to be stopped!  The lives of many Nigerians were ruined by the oil spills of Royal Dutch Shell, among others, and now Monsanto wants to exact a pound of flesh from Nigeria.  And Nigeria is only one of many targets on Monsanto's radar globally.  Here are just a few of the petitions on the internet.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/bring-down-monsanto-monopoly/

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop-the-monsanto-rider

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/stop_the_monsanto_protection_act_seize_congress/

https://action.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18133

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-obama-to-cease-fda

 

My Universe — 

AmazingCats09 4Relaxing weekend!

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Mar 232016
 

I’m running late again.  I felt tired and cold, so I lay down for a while, but could not sleep.  I cleaned my refrigerator and freezer in preparation for grocery delivery today.  My Outlook repeatedly choked on an email, so I had to access thee account online and delete it.  Today is Saguaro in the Fecal Dump Trump Rump Day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 2:31 (average 4:33).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count.

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

1681

937

Delegates Won

4051

1170

880

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

467

26

 

 

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

19

15

Caucus

Closed

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

28

38

Caucus

Closed

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

72

28

Primary

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

29

46

Caucus

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

42

22

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

145

74

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

61

33

Primary

Open

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

35

12

Primary

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

14

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

7

15

Caucus

Closed

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

30

4

Primary

Open

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

60

67

Primary

Open

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

 

 

N/A

N/A

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

133

65

Primary

Closed

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

68

67

Primary

Open

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

32

32

Primary

Open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

79

62

Primary

Semi-open

Arizona

March 22

75 (10)

41

26

Primary

Closed

Idaho

March 22

23 (4)

5

17

Caucus

Open

Utah

March 22

33 (4)

5

24

Caucus

Semi-open

Last night, Bernie’s big wins and closer loss cut into Hillary’s lead by 16 delegates. To have over half the pledged delegates, Bernie needs 1,146 more, and Hillary, 856 more.

From Daily Kos: Here’s a great story, one of hundreds and hundreds, that boils down the Republican efforts to govern the states over the last few years to its essence. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley recently signed a bill barring the cities in his state from raising their minimum wage. They’re not allowed to do it now, don’t care the reason, because Robert Bentley doesn’t believe in that sort of thing. Bentley led the state in a spending purge that, like the similar efforts in other states with Republican governors, slashed uncouth things the common rabble might use under the omnipresent GOP motto: We Just Can’t Afford Nice Things Anymore.

You know what’s next for the people in Robert Bentley’s office, right? Raises all around!

Now, news has emerged that Bentley recently gave four of his cabinet members $73,405 raises — an 80 percent increase from the $91,000 salaries they were making previously. […]

The raises reportedly went into effect late last year, though news of them just broke this week. While the $73,405 salary increases were the largest, more than a dozen members of Bentley’s cabinet and a number of his staff members reportedly received raises as well.

An eighty percent raise for the people helping him gut state services? Ka-ching. If that isn’t 2016-era Republicanism in a nutshell I don’t know what would be.

What greedy hypocrites!!  From Republican perspective, his staffers deserved a big raise for hurting the poor and middle classes.  That’s the Republican way.

From PoliticusUSA: It is fairly well-acknowledged among great leaders that delegating authority is necessary if for no other reason than no leader is an expert in every field. It is also well-known now that Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination is a self-labeled expert in every field and has no need to ever delegate authority. In fact, Donald Trump has made it crystal clear that his most accomplished advisor and trusted counselor is himself. However, there is one area where the Donald says he will delegate authority as president and like everything else the wrestling and reality show celebrity promises to do, it is catastrophically insane and dangerous to the American people and the U.S. Constitution.

With all the absurd furor over the idea that a sitting President with 9 months left in his term is forbidden to nominate a judge to sit on the Supreme Court, it was little surprise that Donald Trump finally weighed in with an even more bizarre plan than just prohibiting President Obama from doing his job. However, unlike everything else Trump proposes, as president he will not be involved in deciding who to nominate as a Supreme Court justice.

Instead of doing what the Constitution mandates, Donald Trump will outsource the job of nominating a lifetime jurist on the nation’s highest court to the ultra-conservative belief tank, the Heritage Foundation. In essence, Trump will authorize teabagger Jim DeMint to consult with the Koch brothers to determine what kind of religious and corporate extremist gets to sit on the High Court. DeMint is legendary as a religious right, anti-government extremist which is why he was the perfect choice to head up the Heritage Foundation and a devotee of the Koch brothers.

I have consistently opined that TRUSed Uranus Cruz is more dangerous for America than Fecal Dump Trump.  I take it back.  Now it’s a toss-up.

Cartoon:

0323Cartoon

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Mar 182016
 

Well I have been absent from posting for much of this week.  It has been busy.  I have started teaching English to another student which has gone very well.  She is at a grade 11 level, so our session was much different than the one I have with Lucia.  Her daughter is in French immersion so I am also spending some time with her, reading both French and English.  Good review of French for me too as I don't use it often enough.  My right foot is coming along but I still need some physio.  Fortunately it rarely hurts when I walk.  And my big news this week, I bought a laptop computer so that I can still work when I am forced to keep my legs up.  Also, I am almost finished a programme in pastoral care which really is much like the hospice training I took 17 years ago.

Short Takes

Robert Reich — The Constitution of the United States is clear: Article II Section 2 says the President “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … judges to the Supreme Court.”  …

In refusing to vote or even hold a hearing on the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court, the GOP is abdicating its constitutional responsibility. It’s not doing its job.

Alternet — If you were to ask Donald Trump’s supporters what they most admire about the GOP front-runner, chances are they would cite his so-called authenticity, his willingness to “tell it like it is” and, perhaps more than anything else, his rejection of that great bugaboo of the Obama Age: political correctness.

Such qualities ought to mean that whatever else Trump may be—a blowhard, a demagogue, a bigot, a reality TV huckster, a malignant narcissist, an unparalleled deal maker—he’s an ardent believer in press protections, free speech and the First Amendment. Indeed, in a Feb. 27 appearance on the Fox News channel, Trump seemed—at first—to be saying so, declaring, “I love free press. I think it’s great.”

But like much of what is taken as a given in the crazy-town vortex that is the Trump presidential campaign, the image of the candidate as a champion of free speech is a mirage. The bullying billionaire can sling mud and demean his real and imagined enemies with the best of them. The problem, however, is that he can’t take it when others fire back.

And who or what is to protect "We the people" from the fallacious statements of Drumpf, his lies, deceptions, and misleading statements, numerous as they all are?  And of course there are still the incitements to violence.

Raw Story — Republican elected officials admitted they promised to help a convicted felon run for elected office if he agreed to stop paying his mandated grazing fees.

A newly released recording reveals how GOP lawmakers and local officials were deeply involved with the occupation of an Oregon federal wildlife reserve earlier this year by armed militants, according to an in-depth report by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Many of the officials are members of the Coalition of Western States, which shares the militants’ stated goal of rolling back federal ownership of public lands for private use.

Is there any doubt that the Republican Party is the party of right wing extremism?

Daily Beast — For seven hours on Thursday, a few dozen conservative leaders gathered in an upstairs room of the Army Navy Club off K Street in downtown Washington, D.C. to rack their collective brains—but reached no conclusion on how to thwart the billionaire’s rise.

Quin Hillyer, a National Review contributing editor, fielded questions afterwards from print reporters and a Chinese camera crew, explaining that the group hoped all the 2016 presidential candidates who haven’t endorsed Trump will coalesce behind a unity ticket. He added that there wasn’t a consensus that conservatives should unite behind Cruz.

“That was not the consensus,” he said, when asked about support for a Cruz-helmed unity ticket. “The consensus was that we need a unity ticket of some sort and we’ll let the candidates work out who the unity ticket is.”

Republicans, like a lot of people, thought that the Drumpf campaign would crater early on.  When it was apparent that it would not, Republicans did nothing to curtail his candidacy.  Now, as Drumpf's campaign has gained and sustained speed and delegates, the chickens are coming home to roost.  IMO, Drumpf is dividing the Republican party and the people.  There may be hell to pay come July.

My Universeh/t Carol B and Ted W

baby gorilla

 

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Mar 132016
 

I haven't posted since 08/03/2016 having felt overwhelmed by a number of things which I won't go into.  Physio is good and I am making good progress with my foot . . . almost healed, but don't worry, I won't be doing a marathon or the high jump again in this lifetime.  I have another student starting on Monday afternoon and will likely be listening to her young daughter read some French as well.  This is the wife of my physiotherapist so the situation is very different from my other student.  As he said, she might even cook a Persian dish for me, although I don't know if he mentioned that to her.  The rest of the week is fairly busy as well.  Hope you're having a great weekend and remember to spring forward!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Mauril Bélanger dreamed of becoming Speaker of the House of Commons, of trying to make Canada's Parliament and politics a bit better from his perch in that big, green chair.

Those hopes were cruelly dashed last November when the veteran Liberal MP wasdiagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

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Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger gives a thumbs up as he sits in the Speaker's chair Wednesday. (Photo: Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Awhile back, I posted about Mauril Bélanger, long time Liberal MP who was in the running for Speaker of the House of Commons.  Before the choice was made, he was diagnosed with ALS and withdrew.  A new Speaker was chosen, but Bélanger was made honourary Speaker for a day. Over the past several months, the disease has moved rather quickly.  But last Wednesday, his longtime dream came true and Bélanger was the Speaker for the day.  A triumph of his spirit and passion for his job.

Huffington Post — Adolf Hitler Hates Being Compared To Donald Trump.  Der Führer is der furious.

A short lighthearted look at Drumpf.

Raw Story —  MSNBC host Rachel Maddow argued on Friday that the unrest surrounding Donald Trump’s cancelled campaign rally in Chicago has its roots in political science.

“When you look at the way that Mr. Trump has been talking about the organic existence of both protesters against him and violence toward those protesters at his event, when you look at the way that he has encouraged it in an escalating way leading to this inevitable event tonight in Chicago, I think that it is impossible to say that this is an accident,” she said.

 

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The Rachel Maddow Segment from MSNBC.com

Unfortunately, I don't know how to bring Rachel's video's over for direct viewing, so click above (it is set to open in a new window).  I agree with Rachel in her thesis that the violence at Trump rallies, particularly in Chicago, is no accident.  I venture to say, the violence will continue.  Assuming that Drumpf is the Republican nominee, will the violence continue through into November?  I pose that question because we have seen elections in other countries where partisan factions have interrupted elections.  Is that where the US is heading?  Or will cooler heads and the rule of law prevail?

Huffington Post — Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president on Tuesday, social media has been abuzz with the story of his shaggy doppelgänger — a poisonous blonde toupee caterpillar found in the Americas.  …

The caterpillar's "hair" is actually a set of hollow, venomous spines. According to the University of Florida, the insect is one of the most poisonous caterpillars in the United States.

celeb,animals

The Flannel Moth is Drumpf's animal doppelganger!

Well it seems that the flannel moth is not the only one that is poisonous!  Drumpf's rhetoric is totally toxic if not outright poisonous!  Click through for 10 more of Drumpf's animal doppelgangers.  The third cat looks just like my Winnie but Winnie would be totally disgusted with Drumpf.  He's a social democrat like me.

NY Times  POLITICAL parties are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, and the party nominating process offers few of the protections associated with the ideal of “one man one vote.” Voters in early states have far more influence than voters in later ones. Votes in hard-to-attend caucuses effectively count more than votes in high-turnout primaries. Some primaries are open to party loyalists; others to all comers. The rules that assign convention delegates are byzantine, the delegate selection process is various, and a few states rely on conventions and cut the voters out entirely.

As Donald Trump attempts to clamber to the Republican nomination over a still-divided opposition, there will be a lot of talk about how all these rules and quirks and complexities are just a way for insiders to steal the nomination away from him, in a kind of establishment coup against his otherwise inevitable victory.

This one is for TC . . . 

celeb,animals

Peyton Manning and his animal doppelganger!

I want to leave you with this that Dave C from Care2 shared with me.  It is the antidote to Drumpf and many more things.

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Mar 092016
 

I was out most of yesterday.  When I went to drop a storage box off at Lucia's, the house was in an uproar.  Lucia was at her new English class and Jonathan was chasing after Loliyo.  Arimina, the oldest girl, was minding the kids but things were really out of hand.  I stepped in, had the kids do their homework and ended up staying until Lucia arrived home.  The two youngest were in tears because of all the screaming.  I really need to find a strong male role model for Jonathan.  He's been on the Big Brothers waiting list for almost 2 years.  Tomorrow is physio and I hope a quiet afternoon.

NY Times — He has been depicted as a snarling demagogue in France, equated with Donald Duck in Spain, and described as worse than Lord Voldemort in Britain.

In Europe, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Donald Trump has been treated variously as a disturbing curiosity or an entertaining political show barker. His nearly every move and pronouncement has been reported from Paris to Berlin to Helsinki, even as commentators on both left and right have dismissed the notion of President Donald J. Trump as the stuff of fantasy, or, at worst, a momentary lapse of reason.

That is changing. With a series of wins in key Republican primary states, and with the billionaire’s expected strong showing when 12 states hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, the European media, like its American counterpart, is adjusting to the prospect of a seemingly unstoppable Trump juggernaut. The reaction is a mix of befuddlement, outrage and panic, along with admiration in some unlikely quarters.

And satire. The Spanish newspaper El País recently published an imaginary letter from the grave in which Philip II, a 16th-century Spanish king who ruled a vast empire, offers advice to Mr. Trump. Noting that his nation had also suffered from roguish subjects demanding free handouts, and Muslim terrorists masquerading as peaceful citizens, the king advises Mr. Trump to “consider bringing back the Inquisition.”

I chose Hillary, but it was close. The truth is that from a pure ideological standpoint, I’m closer to Bernie but from a pragmatic standpoint, I’m closer to Hillary. That by the way is why I wanted Liz to run so badly as I believed her to be the perfect hybrid of the two.

Good approach in my view.  He's not looking short term, but also long term.

Global Research H/T Joanne D — Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot and killed in her home in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Wednesday. While the killers’ ID remains unknown, activists, media observers and the Cáceres family pointed to the increasingly reactionary and violent Honduran government, which has frequently clashed with Cáceres over her high-profile activism against land dispossession and mining, and her defense of indigenous rights.

Berta Caceres (image: Goldman Environmental Prize)

There was widespread outcry and grief over her death, and the story was covered by major media in the United States. But there was a glaring problem with the coverage: Almost none of it mentioned that the brutal regime that likely killed Cáceres came to power in a 2009 coup d’etat supported by the United States, under President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Almost nothing is mentioned in the MSM about the 2009 coup d'état which has implications in the assassination of Berta Cáceres.  Here is how the Huffington Post reported her assassination:

But we need to call out the actors who share a moral responsibility for the murder of our friend and partner:

• the Honduran government, which leads the country with the world's worst track record of environmental killings, and which did not protect Berta Cáceres even though it had been ordered to do so by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights; 

• the dam builder, Desarrollos Energéticos S. A (DESA), which has close contacts with the country's security forces and has orchestrated an intimidation campaign against Berta Cáceres in recent months;

• and finally, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), FMO, Finnfund and Voith-Siemens, the funders and corporations which underwrite the Agua Zarca Project with their loans and equipment contracts.

In terms of the current campaigning, how much of this revelation will come up and make a differtence?  Clinton is more hawkish than Bernie, and is that what the US wants and needs?

Mother Jones — Last week, Mitt Romney, the twice-failed GOP presidential candidate, delivered aspeech that blasted Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner, calling the tycoon "a phony, a fraud" and citing Trump's "dishonesty" and his "bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics." It was a clear move on Romney's part to rally the GOP establishment against the celebrity real estate mogul whose endorsement he warmly embraced during the 2012 campaign. Naturally, Trump responded in kind. Within hours, at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, he lashed out at Romney.

Trump noted that Romney had "failed horribly" four years ago. He claimed that Romney had begged Trump to endorse him in that race: "I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees." His audience roared with laughter.

The three faces of Trump?   Andrew Harnik/AP

His comment, not surprisingly, didn't cause a stir. He's been spraying a fire hose of outrageous remarks since he entered the presidential race, and this one got lost in the wash. It's also a statement fully in sync with his arrogant schtick that divides the world into winners and losers. Though he's now blasting Romney for the original 47 percent insult to Americans, Trump, too, apparently views many Americans as parasites. The only difference is that his estimate is higher.

It is amusing to see Romney criticising Trump for the same things for which he was criticised.  To me, it appears during these primaries that the Republicans are eating their own.

My Universe — 

 

cat sleep innovation Getting some Zs!!!

cat reading

A good book and thou!

 

cat head massage

A head massage! So relaxing!

 

 

 

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Mar 062016
 

I really did have a much needed lazy day yesterday and did not do a post.  But today, I am a little more active with the post done and now I am off to see my mother.  I have some new clothes for her so I am hoping she likes them.

Short Takes

Washington Post — For some, the improbable presidential candidacy of Donald Trumpstopped being funny long ago. Republican eminences and custodians of the establishment gawk at the GOP front-runner's  belligerent braggadocio, his irreverent attacks on party grandees, his far-fetched proposals, his aversion to substance or basic factsand his not even thinly veiled bigotry.

And yet, Trump stands on the cusp of winning the Republican nomination, impervious to the slings and arrows of a growing list of vanquished foes.

There is one man, though, who seems to have also mastered the art of branding and showmanship for an adoring if partisan public — in a completely opposite fashion.

Canada's new Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, stormed to a stunning electoral victory last year. He did so while coping with the attacks of opponents who cast him as an inexperienced, slightly buffoonish dilettante trading on a powerful family legacy. Sound familiar?

But Trudeau's progressive, inclusive message could not be more different than that of Trump. Here's a rundown.

This coming week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Barak Obama during a state visit to Washington.  From a few headlines I've seen, Trudeau it seems is a bit of a celebrity in the US.  Today, he is scheduled to be on 60 Minutes.  But probably what is most revealing is that he is being hearalded as the "anti-Trump".  Click through to see how he is perceived as the "anti-Trump".  There are several short videos too.

YouTube — 

Bill Maher's New Rules is spot on!

Alternet — Right-wing populists ascend when three toxic forces converge. First, the economy needs to be really lousy for most citizens. Check.

Second, the political system ceases to be able to solve problems and loses legitimacy with regular people. Check.

Third, some foreign menace causes people to seek shelter in a strongman. Check.

Click through for the remainder of this excellent article.  Comparisons between Trump and Hitler have been made for months now.  I started revisiting my history classes to get a feel for what was happening in Germany during Hitler's rise.  And it seems that the first part of the article pretty much captures my thinking.  To me, there's no two ways about it, Trump is a scary idiot.

Upworthy — The Empowerment Plan makes coats that double as sleeping bags for the homeless, but they didn't stop there. They also provide people who have struggled with homelessness with jobs they need to get back on their feet again.

What a great idea.  The old saying, getting two birds with one stone is so appropriate.

My Universe — 

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