Feb 262015
 

It’s prisoner volunteer day, and I’m hurrying like crazy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: The Wisconsin Senate held a hearing of sorts on the GOP proposal to make Wisconsin a "right to work" state.

The bill pushed by Wisconsin Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) bears a striking similarity to the American Legislative Exchange Council "model" bill of the same name (see CMD’s side-by-side comparison here). In his opening statement, Sen. Fitzgerald claimed that right to work legislation would "protect every worker" from being forced to join a union. He added that the legislation would save families from being uprooted by having to find non-union employers elsewhere. He presented no data or even anecdotal evidence to support these claims.

The argument that the bill would protect workers from "forced" unionization is a red herring. The U.S. Supreme Court has long stated that nobody can be forced to join a union, or be forced to pay unions dues, or to have their dues go to political campaigns. What current federal and Wisconsin law allows, and what the right to work law would make illegal, are "fair share" agreements and fees in union contracts that make all represented workers, including those choosing not to join the union, contribute to the costs of worker representation on the job.

Click through for more detail on how Fartfuhrer Walker’s vile minions are whoring themselves for Koch rocks.

From The New Yorker: In the hopes of appealing to Republican primary voters, candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination are working around the clock to unlearn everything that they have learned since the third grade, aides to the candidates have confirmed.

With the Iowa caucuses less than a year away, the hopefuls are busy scrubbing their brains of basic facts of math, science, and geography in an attempt to resemble the semi-sentient beings that Republican primary voters prize.

An aide to Jeb Bush acknowledged that, for the former Florida governor, “The unlearning curve has been daunting.”

“The biggest strike against Jeb is that he graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa,” the aide said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get his brain back to its factory settings.”

At the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the mood was considerably more upbeat, as aides indicated that Walker’s ironclad façade of ignorance is being polished to a high sheen.

“The fact that Scott instinctively says that he doesn’t know the answers to even the easiest questions gives him an enormous leg up,” an aide said.

Andy’s satire is so accurate, that it might as well be factual.

From Think Progress: Texas State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R) has introduced two new bills that seek to criminalize the use of bathrooms by transgender people. Not only could trans people face jail time and fines for using gender-segregated facilities that match their gender, so too could businesses who make their facilities open to trans patrons.

Businesses might post "Trans patrons peeing on Republican Reps permitted!"

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Feb 242015
 

I just gave my grocery order to Store to Door for delivery tomorrow.  I have lots od housework to do, and I hope to sit outside for a half an hour or so, as it’s the last nice day before crappy weather returns.  I slept poorly last night, so I’m fading.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 5:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Instead of resisting calls for reform, Ron Smith—the head of the Seattle Police Guild is trying to lead Seattle police in a more positive direction—even if he has to do it the hard way:

Last week, however, the union called on members through Facebook to be careful on social media after officers were caught posting racially inflammatory comments online, warning: “Times have changed and we must also change to adapt to societal expectations.”

Asked by the Stranger to elaborate on those comments, Smith said: “If you don’t like the politics here, then leave and go to a place that serves your worldview.” He said this was a message that new recruits were now reminded of when they enrolled with the union.

“There are more than enough places across this country that are hiring law enforcement that have a different political landscape than here. And I don’t know why [disgruntled officers] don’t just go there,” he added.

Kudos. That move needs to be repeated across the country.

From Upworthy: Underrepresented actors often have been complicit in creating ethnic stereotypes in the media. For my own part, I rented out my Asian face to Jerry Lewis back in the day.

Now we’re not only speaking out, but creating, writing, and portraying who we are — as we are — in our great, dazzling diversity. As we contribute our authentic selves, the comedy becomes specific and real, the drama is distinctive and identifiable, and our society grows enriched and involving.

Hollywood and the media now have the opportunity to actively engage with the talented diversity that comprises our entire society. But is it "to be or not to be? That is the question." — George Takei

 

George is so right, and this is so true. Of course, if minorities are not presented stereotypically, the studios lose the entire Republican audience.

From Think Progress: …A lawsuit called King v. Burwell would take health insurance away from millions of Americans, returning them to the world that existed before Obamacare. The case relies on a few words of the law that, if read out of context, seem to deny tax credits intended to help people pay for their health insurance to people who live in the wrong states. Once those words are read in the context of the entire law, however, it becomes clear that tax credits are available in all 50 states.

A brief filed on behalf of multiple public health scholars and the American Public Health Association, estimates that “over 9,800 additional Americans” will die if the justices side with the King plaintiffs. It reaches this conclusion by starting with an Urban Institute study showing that 8.2 million people will become uninsured in this scenario. As other research examining Obamacare-like reforms in the state of Massachusetts found that “for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year,” that translates to between 9,800 and 9,900 deaths if the justices back the plaintiffs in King.

Another method produces slightly less grim numbers, although it still indicates that thousands will die unnecessarily if the Supreme Court does not uphold the tax credits at issue in King. The Harvard study mentioned above concludes that there were “approximately 44,789 deaths among Americans aged 18 to 64 years in 2005 associated with lack of health insurance.” It also states that, at the time of the study, “46 million Americans lack health coverage.” The 8.2 million people who will lose health care according to the Urban Institute equals just under 18 percent of 46 million. Thus, assuming that the pool of 8.2 million people who could lose health insurance in King has a similar mix of healthy and sick individuals as the 46 million examined by the Harvard study, that suggests that approximately 8,000 people will die every year if the King plaintiffs prevail.

King could not be a more obvious decision. The question comes down to this. Will all the Fascist Five Injustices value breaking the law to coddle extremists enough to murder thousands to do it?

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Feb 212015
 

I get to take a comparatively lazy day, and I’m feeling somewhat lethargic, so I must need it.  I’m having a fight with my mail order pharmacy.  They sent me a different med than the prescription I told them to refill, and are questioning whether they should refund the charges, because they thought I had ordered it by mistake.  I’m waiting for them to review it, buy am ready to remind them that Portland has another mail order pharmacy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:45 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: These racist idiots spray-painted a swastika on the dumbest location possible.

 

Of course, the Hindu swastika and the Republican swastika have virtually opposite meanings.

From The New Yorker: A largely forgotten man sought attention on Wednesday night before returning to obscurity on Thursday, according to reports.

The man, whom many Americans had difficulty placing, was making a desperate bid to remind people of his existence, experts believe.

His efforts were somewhat successful, as his widely reported outburst caused people across the country to rack their brains to try to remember who he was.

After briefly attempting to recall where they had seen the man before, many people gave up and moved on with their days, but for others, the desperate man’s remarks left a bitter aftertaste.

“There is no excuse for making comments like those, no matter who you are,” Tracy Klugian, forty-seven, of Springfield, Missouri, said. “Who is he again?”

Andy is saying the same thing I was saying yesterday. He’s desperate for attention.

From Daily Kos: …Here’s a synopsis of the questions O’Reilly is refusing to answer:

  • How does O’Reilly explain his claim that he was in a war zone in the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982 when it appears that no American reporters were allowed in the war zone?
  • What specifically was the "combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands War" that he "survived" to write about in a 2004 column?
  • Can O’Reilly elaborate on the claim he made to Tucker Carlson in 2003 that "I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.’" Like the circumstances in which he almost died?
  • About that "war zone" in Argentina, where his photographer "got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete" and O’Reilly heroically saved him: "When and where did this happen?"

Click through for an extensive article on this story. May I suggest that O’Lielly’s most dangerous war experience was disrespecting a troop of Brownie Scouts on a school bus. They beat him up and took his lunch money. They also tried to kick him in the gonads, but couldn’t find any.

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Feb 202015
 

Yesterday I took my friend with cancer to dinner.  All things considered, she has a positive attitude.  The food was excellent, and I am still a danger zone.  If only there was a Republican available. :twisted:

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:38 (average 6:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: President Obama says he’ll veto the latest attempt by Congress to push through the Keystone XL pipeline, but he hasn’t yet committed to rejecting this dangerous proposal outright.

 

As always, the Reich on left, Robert Reich, is right, while the Reich on the Right, the Republican Reich, is wrong. They are bought and paid for by corporate criminals, who don’t care how much they harm YOU! Click through for the MoveOn petition.

From Media Matters: The American Thinker – "one of my most favorite and thoughtful blogs," according to Rush Limbaugh – reports that President Obama flashed a "Muslim gang sign" at an event last year by pointing his index finger upwards.

F.W. Burleigh, "author of It’s All About Muhammad, a Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet," wrote [bigot delinked] for the conservative website that an "astonishing photo" of Obama during a summit with African leaders shows him "flashing the one-finger affirmation of Islamic faith to dozens of African delegates." According to Burleigh, "the one-finger display is the distinctive Muslim gang sign" and "With his forefinger in the air, Obama affirmed his membership in this tribe." He also postulates that Muslim African leaders present at the event were "all smiles" because "They knew what Obama’s upright forefinger meant."

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Dang!! You can fertilize your veggies with that load!

From Daily Kos: Why Minnesota is Doing Better than Wisconsin

We in Minnesota have a Democratic Governor. Our Mark Dayton is a rich Democrat — the heir of the family who started the Dayton’s Department Stores and B. Dalton Bookstores and Target — and he was educated at Yale, so he’s actually pretty smart for a guy who inherited money. Citizens of Wisconsin have a Republican Governor (Scott Walker, who brags about dropping out of college). In Minnesota we have a balanced budget, partly because we raised taxes on the top earners. In Wisconsin, they cut taxes on rich people and are now scrambling to cut spending (including major cuts for the once proud University of Wisconsin (which breaks my heart)).

The difference should surprise nobody.

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Republicans don’t want to know this.

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Feb 192015
 

The Republican party faces a dilemma.  They claim to be kind and gentle, compassionate conservatives, while their behavior portrays the polar opposite.  For example, Republicans are hell bent on condemning Obama for not using the word Islamic in conjunction with condemning terrorists.  Could it be that they want to shift attention away from their own terrorist tactics?

0219HateMuslims

Every other year since 2003, hundreds of Muslim Texans – families, young students, community leaders – caravan in from around the state to meet on the steps of the august Texas State Capitol building in Austin. They hope to meet lawmakers, advocate for issues important to them, and just learn about the American political process.

Previous gatherings have mostly gone without a hitch, organizers say. But on Thursday, during the seventh biennial Texas Muslim Capitol Day, the hundreds who gathered were met by a group of angry protesters, who heckled and jeered the crowd as they began – as Texas political events often do – with prayer and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Emotions have run high as world events, including the rise of the Islamic State militant group and the terrorist massacre in Paris, have sparked pockets of anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the Western world. On Thursday, the protesters, about two dozen members of the Patriot Defense Foundation [Hate Delinked], shouted slogans such as “Mohammed is dead,” “Go back to Baghdad,” and “Remember 9/11.” Some of the group’s signs read "Save America, Stop Islam" and "Go Home and Take Obama with You."…

Inserted from <Christian Science Monitor>

It was actually far worse than the article lets on. Rachel Maddow covered this event in detail, and others, as part of her coverage of Obama’s statement on bigotry.

The problem here is obvious. Obama seems right to us.  We are not terrorists, and America is not at war with Islam. O’Lielly and his declaration of Holy War seem right to Republicans.  The Republican Party are the terrorists, and they are at war with Islam.  Sadly, we are confronted with terrorism on two fronts, one foreign and one domestic.  The most dangerous terrorists of all are the elected kind.

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Feb 192015
 

If everything goes as planned, I’ll have articles posted and links sent before I take my friend to dinner today, although that will entail some hurry-up.  Then I’ll have a few days to catch-up on chores before a major prison volunteer day next week, when we’ll have a class of University students coming in to meet with my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In an effort to distance himself from the legacy of his brother, George W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will use a major foreign-policy speech on Wednesday to assert that, if elected President, he would harm the nation in completely different ways.

“A lot of people are looking at me and thinking that I’m just going to be a rerun of my brother,” Bush told reporters before the speech. “They are greatly underestimating my ability to create chaos and destruction in ways that are uniquely mine.”

As an example, Bush said, he was unlikely to invade Iraq for a third time, calling such an action “too derivative.”

“George already did it, and Dad did it before him,” he said. “Call it my independent streak, if you will, but I want to spawn some disasters of my own.”

To that end, Bush said that he and his foreign-policy team were already scanning the globe for “new and different places” where the United States could become involved in open-ended and pointless quagmires.

Andy isn't telling us that his faux Bush is lying just like the real one does. He's just like his brother, a Neocon hawk. GW ChickenHawk intended to conquer six more countries, after Iraq. The only thing that prevented him from more invasions is that Republican incompetence bogged him down in Iraq.

From Daily Kos: When teenagers are flashing "white power" signs at sporting events, rest assured that racism is alive, well, and here to stay.

In a week when a Mississippi judge was indicted for slapping a disabled black man and calling him a "nigger," when Chelsea soccer fans chanted racism at a black fan and refused to allow him on the train, and when we learn St. Louis police vocally encouraged each other to turn off their cameras before beating a young black man they later dropped all charges against, it's not as if we needed more proof that racism is thriving in 2015, but it keeps on coming.

White students from Flower Mound High School began flashing a "White Power" sign in the middle of the game for all to see against the predominantly African-American Plano East basketball team. In the image above, it also appears that several students near the sign may have painted their faces brown in "black face" to mock the Plano East team.

After the game, players from Plano East discovered that their team bus had been urinated and defecated on. While several students have confirmed the incident on the team bus, the district has yet to confirm it. Witnesses have also stated they heard students hurl racial slurs at black students, particularly after one student was injured.

Here we have more examples of how the Republican Party reaches out to African Americans.

From NY Times: Ms. Brown, who is a Democrat like Mr. Kitzhaber and as secretary of state was the first in line to succeed him under Oregon’s Constitution, has promised to make a series of immediate moves that she says are “needed to restore the public’s trust in government.” She also said she would address economic issues facing working families.

The swearing in of a new governor also brings a kind of cultural shift to the state capital. Mr. Kitzhaber, 67, a former emergency room doctor, forged his political identity as a moderate Westerner, usually in boots and jeans, who often reached out to the state’s rural and more conservative areas, which have struggled economically.

Ms. Brown, 54, by contrast, is more a product and a reflection of the state’s largest and perhaps most liberal city, Portland. She is a yoga enthusiast and a cyclist who often rides tandem with her husband, Dan Little, from their restored early-20th-century home in southeast Portland. She is also bisexual, having come out in an essay on a website about elected officials who are “out,” and is being recognized by gay rights groups as the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.

Welcome Kate. I trust you'll do fine job.

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Feb 182015
 

I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  I feel tired, but I did get enough sleep that I feel feline again.  Yesterday, I felt like a dawg!  Tomorrow, I’m taking my friend with cancer out to dinner.  It’s a Mexican place known for Chile Verde, so I hope there are Republicans downwind.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:30 (average 5:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In a time where people genuinely want to believe that racism is dead, reality has a way of smacking us all right in the face to remind us that it’s actually alive and well. Mississippi Judge Bill Weisenberger was seen and heard by five different witnesses, both white and black, striking a severely autistic African-American man and then yelling, "Run, n*gger, run" at him in 2014.

Nine months later, a grand jury has indicted Judge Weisenberger, and charged him with "assault on a vulnerable adult." Hate crime charges, which carry stiff federal sentencing, have yet to be filed.

Several additional allegations have surfaced against Weisenberger in the last year. He is accused of imposing an illegal DUI sentence against an African American in his courtroom. The Attorney General’s office said it could not confirm or deny whether it was investigating that matter, though District Attorney Michael Guest said it had turned the matter over to the AG’s office.

Weisenberger also had a lawsuit filed against both him and the county in November. The attorney for Charles Plumpp said Weisenberger arrested and jailed her client, who is African American, on the nonexistence charge of "roaming livestock."

I’m surprised that this Republican is being brought to justice. Kudos to those Mississippians responsible.

From NY Times: President Obama surely knew that his recent executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation would run into trouble as soon as a 26-state lawsuit opposing the actions landed on the desk of Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen, of Brownsville, Tex.

Judge Hanen — who last month invoked a biblical flood in describing illegal immigration into that community — has spoken out aggressively against Mr. Obama’s immigration policy in the past, saying it “endangers America” and is “an open invitation to the most dangerous criminals in society.” Indeed, his earlier opinions were the reason Republican governors and attorneys general pushed to get their suit into his district.

As expected, the judge on Monday night temporarily blocked the first of several programs Mr. Obama announced in November to offer work permits and a three-year reprieve from deportation to more than four million immigrants who are parents of American citizens and who have no criminal record.

That move — which Mr. Obama took only after years of failed efforts by Congress to pass any immigration reform — triggered the fury of congressional Republicans, who responded with threats of, among other things, impeachment proceedings…. [emphasis added]

Judge Hanen is another small part of the damage done to this nation by Crawford Caligula. I pray his partisan decision will be overturned.

From Washington Post: In the wake of Dave Fahrenthold’s great piece about Scott Walker’s college years, Democrats have begun to openly question the Wisconsin governor’s ability and readiness to be president, given that he doesn’t have a college degree.

I disagree with those Democrats who say Walker is unfit to be President, because he does not have a college degree. A college degree measures neither intellect nor ability. 25% of Politics Plus readers have postgraduate degrees, and another 48% graduated college. My lack of a college degree has not impacted my ability to reason and communicate with well educated people. The Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan has proven himself unfit to be a washroom attendant, let alone President, because he is a Koch whore. His degree is irrelevant.

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