May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

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May 222016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how awful InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

0522Varney

Stuart Varney is so happy about that plane crash.

For Stuart Varney, the more plane crashes the better. Plane crashes are good for Donald Trump. They get people scared, and they also kill people, and that is just great.

Fox and Friends invited Fox Business' Stuart Varney [Faux Business Noise delinked] on to discuss the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 and how it would affect the stock market, which is already cold-blooded enough. But Varney made his craven indifference to human life even more apparent by casting the tragedy in terms of what it does for Donald Trump’s potential presidency.

“I also think this may be good politically for Donald Trump,” Varney said, first commending the presumed GOP nominee for irresponsibly declaring the crash the work of terrorists before anything at all was known about it.

“He’s already tweeted out saying this is probably terrorism. I believe that's the nature of his tweet. He’s the guy who is saying, hands off, keep Muslims out temporarily whilst we figure out who comes in. An incident of this type is surely a plus for Donald Trump.”

Does he hear the words as they issue from his mouth?

From <Alternet>

If it actually was terrorism, Rump Dump Trump made a lucky call, aside from how dangerous such purely speculative guesses are. Varney's Trump Rump licking is only the fourth of six awful Republican moments listed for last week alone. Click through for the other five.

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May 212016
 

Well I still have sinusitis, albeit the end stages I hope.  I am at least able to, for the most part, wear my glasses and read.  Tonight is my last anti-biotic but I am still without a lot of energy.  I have been resting a lot and drinking a lot . . . the hard stuff . . . H2O.  I had physio on Wednesday which, despite being at a reduced intensity, tuckered me out.  Thursday, I took my mother for her annual eye exam and then later in the evening attended my course (next week is the completion).  Friday was more physio and then teaching.  I was really tired by the end of yesterday but had a good night's sleep.  So this long weekend is very low key, a gift I give to myself to hopefully build up some reserves.  This Canadian long weekend celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday and is unofficially the start of the summer season, although summer does not really start until about 21 June.  This is often the "first" camping weekend of the season, and, in many areas of Canada, flowers and vegetable gardens are not planted until after 24/05 because it is generally considered too cold.  When I lived in northern BC, the last snowfall was usually around the end of May.  Here in greater Vancouver, this is not the case as we have a more temperate climate.  Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

National Law Journal In the alternate universe of John Banzhaf ("When the Rabble-Rousing Turns Criminal, There's A Civil Solution," The National Law Journal, March 28), protesters have taken over the streets and hijacked the political process. Police step back and do nothing. They "yield the streets," sometimes because they are "afraid to make arrests," sometimes because "there is sympathy with their cause." If arrests take place, protesters end up in court and "face only a token fine."

The real world of street protest bears no relation to what Banzhaf describes. In fact, the post-9/11 trend, of which his anti-protester screed is symptomatic, is of increasing hostility to street protest. In the crackdown on peaceful ­protesters, police show no "sympathy with their cause" and are entirely "[un]afraid to make arrests." As a consequence of the amped-up focus on security since 9/11, the "war on terror" has also become a war on dissent.

In my last post, I brought you a piece by law professor John Banzhaf.  In it, Banzhaf argues that protesters who prevent others from hearing a speaker, specifically Trump in that case, are guilty of obstructing freedom of speech and assembly for those attending a Trump rally.  He goes on to say that protesters face few penalties and that police are afraid to arrest protesters etc.  I think you and I would for the most part disagree with Banzhaf on his police point having witnessed police actions in Ferguson, Missouri and other locales.  Author Alan Levine, himself a practising civil rights and constitutional lawyer in NY, sees the current police attitude in general, as impinging upon the freedom of assembly and  the freedom of speech.  Have a look.

MSN — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from the floor of an institution that once enacted racist policies against large-scale immigration from Asia until the 1960s, apologized Wednesday for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” he said, triggering a standing ovation with MPs of all major parties applauding. 

“More than a century ago a great injustice took place.”

Trudeau spoke in a chamber filled with MPs and Indo-Canadians from across the country, including a delegation of more than 100 from B.C. who were led by Premier Christy Clark.

Trudeau said Canada would have been richer if the 376 passengers – mostly Sikh along with a handful of Muslims and Hindus – had been allowed to disembark from that Japanese ship.

Many people, including many Canadians, are not aware of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 in Vancouver.  It is not a proud moment in Canadian history, but I am sure that it is something that Herr Drumpf in the US would endorse.  This from Wikipedia:

The Komagata Maru incident involved a Japanese steamship, Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong, then a holding of the British Empire, through Shanghai, China, then on to Yokohama, Japan, and then finally to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, British India. Of them 24 were admitted to Canada, but the other 352 passengers were not allowed to land in Canada, and the ship was forced to return to India.[1] The passengers comprised 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the history of early 20th century involving exclusion laws in both Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of only Asian origin.

In the park where I walk, there is a memorial to the people of the Komagata Maru.  I'd like to think that we have come a long way since 1914, and maybe we have, but there is still a long way to go before we become a totally inclusive society.

The Economist He was for far too long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.  …

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party. This is a harvest the party sowed in two ways. First, though it is a caricature to suggest, as Mr Trump and others have, that the Republicans have long made fools of distressed working-class whites by offering them God, the flag and tax cuts to the rich, it is a caricature with some truth to it. None of Mr Trump’s 16 rivals spoke convincingly to the concerns of wage-distressed workers; none had a thoughtful answer to them.

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible. The several recent crises Republican congressmen have engineered over the passage of the federal budget, which they sought to hold hostage to their unrealistic and unconstitutional demands of Mr Obama, have earned the voters’ disdain. In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Fear trumps hope!  There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are finding themselves in a pickle.  But  Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not backing down.  In this article and another, Trump's articulated platform will lay waste to just about everything.  To me, it seems that Trump is playing the "American exceptionalism" card.  Has he forgotten that negotiation is not the same as dictating the terms?

CBC WIL-bur-r-r-r-r-r

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed, has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

I am sure that many of you will remember Mr Ed, the talking horse.  I used to delight in watching the programme and wondered how the horse learned and said his lines.  I was young and naive . . . what can I say!  Anyway, Alan Young, who played the "straightman" to the horse, passed away 19/05/2016.  Bamboo Harvester, the original Mr Ed, died in 1970.  Here is an episode of "Mr Ed" to take you back down memory lane.

And of course, the theme song for the programme is yet another earworm that Nameless mentions in his Friday post Friday Fun: A Coke – OR Koch – Earworm (In Memoriam) .

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

Unless the horse of course, is the famous Mr Ed.

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May 212016
 

I'm waiting for Julie to arrive.  She's now almost two hours late, and since she lost her phone, I cannot contact her.  I'm very worried.  Phew, she made it 2 1/4  hours late.  We made me a polished puddy tat, did the dreaded task, cleaned the apartment, made a 4 – 5 day supply of γέεννα chili, and talked.  Now it's late and I'm pooped, but that's OK.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 5:03 (average 7:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily KosWhile washing her hands in a Connecticut Walmart bathroom, a woman named Aimee Toms, 22, was harassed by another customer who said:

“You’re disgusting!”
"You don’t belong here!”

 

We can put her argument against Republican bigots another way. "Thou shalt not commit TEAbuggery!!"

From KP Daily Funnies: The Liberal Redneck tells conservatives how it is in language they can understand

 

Even Bubba Bagger could understand that!

From Daily Kos: Louisiana state Rep. Kenneth Havard from Jackson proposed an amendment to a bill yesterday, then pulled it, which would limit the age and weight of exotic dancers. The Louisiana House was discussing bill No. 468, that would raise the minimum age of exotic dancers from 18 to 21. But that wasn’t what the amendment was about.

AMENDMENT NO. 1
On page 1, line 14, after "shall be" delete the remainder of the line and insert the following:
"between twenty-one and twenty-eight years of age and shall be no more that one hundred sixty pounds in weight."

In my younger days, I knew a stripper, who went by "U.C. Moore". She weighed over 250, had a humongous chest, and was far a far better comedienne than this Republican asshole is a Representative.

Cartoon:

0521Cartoon

Given the chance, Rump Dump Trump will guarantee that more will be exploded.

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May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

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May 142016
 

RepublicansOnParade4

Here is the eighty-fifth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is South Carolina barber Larry Thomas. He is so honored for pushing Republican racism to the next level and doing it in an Ammosexual manner.

0514hillthomasSouth Carolina barber Larry Thomas is facing charges of “pointing and presenting firearms at a person” after refusing to serve a black man, Arthur Hill, who came into his shop for a shave:

"He said, ‘I don’t do black hair,’" Hill recalled. "I asked him does he shave, can he shave me, and he said, ‘I don’t do black hair.’"

Hill says he had never been to the barbershop in the 2100 block of Celanese Road before. However, he says he was pressed for time and needed a shave before work.

Arthur Hill asked him to clarify:

"I  said, ‘Are you referring to African American hair?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ and at the time I noticed he already had his hand gripped on a .38 snub nose chrome revolver."

Needless to say, Arthur Hill left and called the police. Larry Thomas only spent one night in jail and was back at his shop the next day…

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Seldom have we seen. a better example of the Republican approach to race relations. Hill may well be better off. That typically racist Republican barber had one lousy haircut. And poor Thomas can no longer get it up, because the authorities took away his gun.

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May 142016
 

Well it has taken me several days to get this OT finished because I am in the midst of a bout of sinusitis, which among other things, has played havoc with my eyes and my ability to concentrate (headaches).  So now, with too much rest and some anti-biotics, I am starting to feel better.  I must say though, the sun has been too bright for the eyes, and the temperatures too hot — 27C (80F).  I have been binge watching Games of Thrones videos and NCIS:Los Angeles videos, which while enjoyable programmes, are too much for 3 days straight.  My sweet Primo, who I affectionately call Primolicious, has been close at hand the entire time.  He's not a lap cat but likes to be close.

Short Takes

CBC — The blackened landscape around Fort McMurray is far from a dead zone, despite a wildfire that has reduced more than 229,000 of hectares of boreal forest to cinders and ashes.

Amid the charred skeletons of spruce and still smouldering muskeg, Alberta's fire-loving insects are on the move.

"Its really spooky if you ever go to a burn after it's gone out," said Peter Heule, an insect expert with Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum.

Tar sand beetle

These long-antennaed creatures move quickly into areas torched by wildfire to find a nicely charred spot to lay their eggs. (Royal Alberta Museum )

"Every step you take, there is just ash and soot, and you see these little beetles shimmering like little jewels on these black-burned trees, laying their eggs and doing their thing."

Out of the ashes of destruction springs new hope.

Politico — Nine House committee chairmen are formally uniting behind Donald Trump’s campaign, announcing their endorsement of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Friday as the only pathway to winning the White House in November.

02_Donald_Trump_gty_1160.jpg

Trump’s camp announced the endorsements of chairs Steve Chabot (Small Business), Michael Conaway (Agriculture), Jeb Hensarling (Financial Services), Candice Miller (House Administration), Jeff Miller (Veterans’ Affairs), Tom Price (Budget), Pete Sessions (Rules), Bill Shuster (Transportation and Infrastructure) and Lamar Smith (Science, Space and Technology). Though publicized in a statement encompassing the support of the range of chairs, some of the individuals named Friday had already voiced their support of the real estate mogul as recently as this week.

How the general election shakes out will largely be dependant on how Democrats respond to the Drumpf challenge.  There is no room for complacency.  No room for Bernie/Hillary supporter divisivness.  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!! 

NY Times — After meeting with Donald J. Trump this week, SpeakerPaul D. Ryan uttered the words many in his party longed to hear: “I do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified.”

It is hard to win without party unity, as both Democrats and Republicans have learned. But neither party has confronted the prospect of a candidate denounced by some of its leading lights as a pathological liar unfit to be commander in chief and in need of therapy.

Here are four reasons congressional Republicans are desperate for unity this year, and for Mr. Ryan to endorse Mr. Trump.

1. Do the math

Congressional districts are far more gerrymandered than they were even 20 years ago; Republican members of Congress, by and large, come from very Republican districts. In the relatively few swing districts, Republicans cannot afford to alienate their base voters, many of whom may have voted for Mr. Trump in the primary (or other Republican presidential candidates) but could stay home in November if they are put off by party infighting.

And in Senate elections, no-show voters are a threat to incumbency. “Parties want to win, and if they have sharp divisions it makes it that much more difficult” down the ballot, said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.

Click through for the other three reasons.  Are Republicans really starting to unify behind Drumpf or is this all smoke and mirrors trying to present a unified face to voters?

Huffington Post — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday his state would give up all federal education funding in order to avoid complying with the gender equity law Title IX in how trans students are treated.

The result of forfeiting the $10 billion currently flowing from the U.S. government to schools and public universities in Texas could leave thousands of college students without a way to pay tuition, grind to a halt a majority of research taking place on the campuses, and leave low-income children without support for meals. 

“[President Barack Obama] says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” Patrick said Friday at a press conference. “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”

The bluebonnet state is at it again, or should that be still!  It would endanger the lives of all Texas students by denying them a proper education rather than complying with a gender equality law.  They sure do grow them bigger in Texas . . . right wing nutjobs that is!

NY TimesThe casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson told Donald J. Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more to help elect him than he has to any previous campaign, a sum that could exceed $100 million, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge of Mr. Adelson’s commitment.

As significant, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire based in Las Vegas, has decided that he will significantly scale back his giving to congressional Republicans and direct most of his contributions to groups dedicated to Mr. Trump’s campaign. The two Republicans familiar with Mr. Adelson’s plans spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

A while ago, I seem to recall that Adelson (and the Kochs among others) said he was stepping out of campaign financing finding the then crop of Republican presidential misfits lacking.  Fast forward to today and the dye is cast with the drumpfing of all other candidates but he who must not be POTUS.  Should we maybe say that Adelson is holding his nose as he writes the cheques?  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!!

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May 112016
 

Julie has been here, and I’m a polished puddy tat,  She brought her companion animal, a pup named Prince.  You’ll get to meet him today.  I’m setting up the jumps through the bunches of hoops I need to accomplish before my eye surgeries. Later:  Groceries have been delivered, and I put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count

Short Takes

 

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

2239

1469

Delegates Won

4051

1716

1430

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

523

39

 

 

District of Columbia

June 14

20 (25)

 

 

Primary

Closed

California

June 7

475 (71)

 

 

Primary

Semi-closed

Montana

June 7

21 (6)

 

 

Primary

Open

New Jersey

June 7

126 (16)

 

 

Primary

Closed

North Dakota

June 7

18 (5)

 

 

Primary

Open

New Mexico

June 7

34 (9)

 

 

Primary

Closed

South Dakota

June 7

20 (5)

 

 

Primary

Semi-open

Puerto Rico

June 5

60 (7)

 

 

Primary

Open

Virgin Islands

June 4

7 (5)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Oregon

May 17

61 (13)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Kentucky

May 17

55 (5)

 

 

Primary

Closed

West Virginia

May 10

29 (8)

11

16

Primary

Semi-closed

Guam

May 7

7 (5)

4

3

Caucus

Closed

Indiana

May 3

83 (9)

39

44

Primary

Open

Rhode Island

April 26

24 (9)

11

13

Primary

Semi-closed

Pennsylvania

April 26

189 (21)

105

83

Primary

Closed

Delaware

April 26

21 (10)

12

9

Primary

Closed

Connecticut

April 26

55 (15)

28

27

Primary

Closed

Maryland

April 26

95 (23)

61

33

Primary

Closed

New York

April 19

247 (44)

139

108

Primary

Closed

Wyoming

April 9

14 (4)

7

7

Caucus

Closed

Wisconsin

April 5

86 (10)

38

48

Primary

Open

Washington

March 26

101 (17)

27

74

Caucus

Open

Hawaii

March 26

25 (9)

8

17

Caucus

Semi-closed

Alaska

March 26

16 (4)

3

13

Caucus

Closed

Utah

March 22

33 (4)

6

27

Caucus

Semi-open

Idaho

March 22

23 (4)

5

18

Caucus

Open

Arizona

March 22

75 (10)

42

33

Primary

Closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

81

62

Primary

Semi-open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

36

35

Primary

Open

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

79

77

Primary

Open

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

141

73

Primary

Closed

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

4

2

N/A

N/A

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

63

67

Primary

Open

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

32

4

Primary

Open

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

8

17

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

15

Caucus

Closed

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

37

14

Primary

Closed

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

62

33

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

147

75

Primary

Open

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

44

23

Primary

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

31

46

Caucus

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

73

29

Primary

Open

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

4

9

Primary

Closed

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

25

41

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

4

2

Caucus

Closed

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

20

15

Caucus

Closed

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

A good win for Bernie cut into Hillary’s lead by 5 delegates, but that’s not enough to close the gap. Bernie needs 913 more delegates to win. Hillary needs 143. The remaining states have 897 delegates. Vote Blue No Matter Who!!

From Daily Kos: A meme shared on Tumblr and Reddit instructs people to mix household chemicals together in order to make a glowstick.

Except the instructions are lifted from a how-to guide for making a chlorine bomb out of common chemicals. This device overpressurizes its container and explodes. The explosion releases deadly chlorine gas which when inhaled, interacts with the water in mucus membranes to transform into hydrochloric acid. It causes chemical burns in the throat, eyes, and lungs. It has been used as a chemical weapon for just over 100 years, and was first introduced by the German Empire at the second battle of Ypres in 1915, and most recently used by terrorists in Iraq and Syria who were targeting civilians with makeshift devices such as the one described in this meme.

I’ve removed the actual instructions for the device because some people are stupid and might try to see what would happen if they made one of these.

0511Deadly_Glowstick

I also found this video to see what would happen non-stupidly.

 

I found the meme on Reddit, and the people spreading it are mostly Cruz and Trump supporters, based on their other posts and comments. Please be warned! This is one of the vilest things the Republican Party has ever done!

From Upworthy: It’s pretty rare that a Department of Justice press conference will bring people to tears — today was a rare and historic exception.

Today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a formal response to HB2, North Carolina’s anti-transgender law. In it, she said:

"This is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness. What we must not do — what we must never do — is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human."

"This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment."

She also urged the state not to repeat the mistakes of the past, pointing out that it wasn’t so long ago that restrooms were segregated on the basis of race.

Amen to that!

Cartoon:

0511Cartoon

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May 112016
 

I have had a busy time of late.  After feeding my mother Sunday night, I spent several hours brushing her hair which is very relaxing for her.  Monday was teaching and physio.  Tuesday, I had a dentist appointment and then was a pampered Sasquatch getting my hair cut etc.  I rounded out the evening with a 2 hour meeting of our Pastoral Care committee at church.  I have my first assignments but they will have to wait because I have come down with something.  It may well be allergies since the cottonwood trees and broom are both out.  We'll see.  I'm using my laptop much more but I can't seem to get a mouse to work with it.  That means that I can't do TC's jigsaw puzzles.

Short Takes

Think Progress — New polling released by the Center for American Progress on Monday, however, indicates that the public has turned hard against the GOP’s plan to simply ignore Garland’s nomination. Among other things, the poll finds that registered voters overwhelmingly support giving Garland a hearing and a confirmation vote:

Garland Poll

It appears that Republicans are committing hari kari.  In playing their little games over the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, Republicans appear to have put themselves at a disadvantage with voters.  Just how long will they insist on blocking Obama just because he is Obama and wilfully ignoring the needs of the country?

NY Times — An Alabama judicial oversight body on Friday filed a formal complaint against Roy S. Moore, the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, charging that he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” in ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse applications for marriage licenses by same-sex couples.

As a result of the charges, Chief Justice Moore, 69, has been immediately suspended from the bench and is facing a potential hearing before the state’s Court of the Judiciary, a panel of judges, lawyers and other appointees. Among possible outcomes at such a hearing would be his removal from office.

A start to the end of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court?  Be still my heart!

Huffington Post — After being welcomed to Canada with open arms, Syrian refugees in Calgary are now giving back to their neighbours up north.

syrian refugee support group

Members of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary fill hampers to send to Fort McMurray evacuees. (Photo: Saima Jamal/Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary)

A group of newcomers part of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary are offering up what little they have — Walid Ajram is collecting hampers of necessary supplies, while Rita Khallas is collecting $5 donations — for evacuees fleeing Fort McMurray's wildfire.

On Wednesday, refugee Naser Nader spurred hundreds to action when he wrote on Facebook about his wish to repay Canadians by helping those affected by the blaze.

Are these the people so many Americans, especially politicians, fear?  They are genuinely jumping in to help during a disaster in Fort McMurray any way they can.  They truly understand what it is like to lose everything.

My Universe — 

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May 072016
 

Here I am, wide awake at 2 am having gone to bed at 10 pm because I have a very early start Saturday morning.  Young Loliyo has a dance competition and I will babysit her younger brother and sister, Simon and Regina, while Lucia goes to watch Loliyo compete.  I have to be at Lucia's house at 7 am.  OMG!!!  That's too early for this old Sasquatch!  I was up very early Friday because I was originally told that the competition was Friday.  Speaking of Friday, Simon is now officially 2 years old and a little devil.  I would like to take he and Regina for a walk but my knee won't take it so they'll have to be content to have a water fight with a soaker gun in the yard.  The weather is scheduled to be hot today, around 28 C (80F) so hopefully the water will cool the kids off and run off some energy.  Of course I'll have to be careful as we already have water restrictions in force.  Please say a prayer for me that I survive the diaper changes.  I haven't changed a diaper in 45 years!

Short Takes

CBC — No, Donald Trump is not going to be president, or invade Mexico, or deport all immigrants, or disenfranchise women voters, or drop nuclear bombs in Syria and Iraq.

What he almost certainly is going to do, though, is trigger an enormous disruption of the Republican Party, or even its breakup.

As much as the Republican Party establishment loves to hate Donald Trump, he won't be the one to ultimately bring down the party, writes Neil Macdonald.I use the word "trigger" deliberately here, because Trump himself won't actually bring about the end of his party. He's only the catalyst.
But let's be clear: it isn't the hated liberals or the politically correct left that are doing this to the GOP. It's a gloriously Republican self-immolation.

President Barack Obama was wrong when he snarked at the media last weekend, asking us if we're proud of ourselves for paying so much attention to Trump, whose candidacy, according to Obama, was really just an attempt to boost his hotel business and not worthy of constant coverage.

In fact, Trump's run has been democracy in action.

Creative destruction and all that. A perfect free market solution for a party that adores market forces.

How can we not cheer such a thing? You go, GOP.

Isn't that just a great description . . . Republican self-immolationThere are so many divergent factions within the Republican party — the pseudo Christian fundamentalists, the xenophobic white nationalists, the Tea Party, the corporatists etc — and they don't know how to come together.  Trump has said he will unite the party, but his actions and the temperment of the party say otherwise.  It will an interesting and chaotic 6 months.

MSN“I think the real subliminal message Trump is saying is this: The U.S. can afford to survive and prosper without any allies if it was forced to cut off all ties, but the converse isn’t true,” said Chung Min Lee, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul. He added that Mr. Trump was forcing allies “to come up with convincing elevator speeches on the key benefits they bring to the U.S., and thus far, none of them have done so.”

There is no doubt that Trump's vague and off-the-cuff foreign policy pronouncements have set tongues a wagging internationally.  And while I might agree that 70% of NATO costs is a bit steep for the US to bear, the US has also, IMO, assumed that cost when it declares itself to be the leader of the free world.  Trump talks about negotiations, but he does not have the temperment for international negotiations.  He has demonstrated that diplomacy is far from being his forté.

Alternet — You’ll recall that after the last shellacking in 2012, the Republicans famously did an “autopsy” of what went wrong. And they identified a very specific list of problems that contributed to their loss, not the least of which were their problems with young people, Latinos and women. The party’s perceived hostility to these groups or simple lack of interest in their concerns were found to be so severe that unless the GOP changed course and found ways to better appeal to them, it would sink into a demographic quagmire from which it could not recover.

It’s obvious that Donald Trump (and, frankly, the rest of the field as well) has gone in the opposite direction. Trump is working overtime to alienate women, at this point sitting on a 70 percent disapproval rate among that half of the population. A recent poll of millennials conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics revealed 61 percent of young Americans likely would vote for Clinton while 25 percent would support Trump. Only 17 percent have a positive opinion of him.

And since Trump’s signature issue is deportation of millions of Latinos and building a wall to keep them out of the country, it goes without saying that the GOP outreach to that demographic isn’t going too well. He has a 77 percent unfavorable rating.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out yesterday that despite the best efforts of Speaker Paul Ryan to do the right thing for once, the GOP Congress is helping Trump alienate Hispanics even more with its inane refusal to help Puerto Rico restructure its debt. (This by Matthew Yglesias at Vox is a good explanatory piece on the issue.)

And the party has not learned its lesson.  Go through the motions to identify issues around the 2012 defeat, but Republicans have failed to actively cultivate a change in the party.  Instead, they have set themselves up for defeat again like an out-of-control train.  This time though, the train is accelerating with Drumpf at the helm.  Republicans are going backwards . . . but then, that is nothing new for them.

Alternet — Here are seven things we know about Trump and what his candidacy will likely mean, even as the country heads into new territory led by a crazed super-celebrity billionaire.

1. Trump won’t keep his mouth shut. Any notion of better behavior or a classier act has repeatedly shown itself to be a mirage. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has said that Trump will continue to be Trump, because he is “a person who tells it like it is.” That means building himself up by putting others down, whether it’s attacking Mexicans, Muslims, women who question him or his values, and anybody else for any headline-grabbing reason.

4. He’ll split the party into factions. After Trump won Indiana, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called for the party to line up behind the presumptive nominee. That will be much harder for Republican candidates running this fall, who, looking at their own futures, will have to decide if they’ll run with him, in spite of him, or against him. All those shades are already occuring, with many longtime party leaders saying never. These fissures are likely to cost the GOP its U.S. Senate majority.

Before Trump’s clinching the nomination, there were predictions the Senate was ripe for a Democratic takeover. Twenty-four of the 34 Senate seats in play this fall are held by Republicans. Democrats only need to pick up five for a majority. The party has strong candidates in states that turn out blue majorities in presidential years, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania. Trump not only weakens these GOP incumbents, his candidacy raises a question of what may happen in the House, though GOP gerrymandering after 2010’s redistricting still deeply favors House Republicans. Nonetheless, there’s little to suggest that Trump is about to become the great unifier, meaning Republicans could face a historic meltdown and defeat this fall.

Click through for the remaining 5 ways Trump Is About to Turn the GOP into a National Freak Show.

 

Huffington Post — Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and is open to being his running mate, CNN reported on Thursday.  …

In July 2015, Perry said Trump’s campaign was a “cancer” to conservatism.

OMG!  Perry is at it again . . . thinking he is still relevant.

 

My Universe

cat-eats-raven-birdA poet is born !

ccat24All boxed in!

ccat18Talk about being fenced in!

ccat14Just been shopping and I'm bagged!

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