Nov 262015

Yesterday my first baby steps were most unsteady, and I would have nosedived without help.  It was too late for the shower.  I did most of my research last night, because I want to finish early.  I have a couple friends coming, and we’ll eat in the café on the first floor of the hospital.  Rush mode engaged.

Short Takes:

From FAIR: CNN host Michael Smerconish (Huffington Post, 11/23/15) brought onto his November 21 show former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who said that if the US is going to go after ISIS, it should

take out every piece of infrastructure—hospitals, universities, irrigation systems—that make it impossible [sic] for the Islamic State to raise money, to provide electricity, sanitation, potable water. Do exactly what we did to the Germans.

Asked by the CNN host whether the US public would tolerate the “so-called innocent civilian death count,” Scheuer replied:

They should. What’s the difference? They’re not Americans.

Here is the peak of Republican love.  Kill a Muslim for Republican Supply-side Jesus (the polar opposite of the real Jesus).

From Daily Kos: Chalk up another win for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and in fact, another win for the American consumer. In this case, it’s members of the military who have new protections from predatory lenders. The CFPB worked with the Pentagon to develop new rules for how the military discretionary allotment system works. Military personnel can designate a portion of their paycheck to be paid automatically to financial institutions or to people, and previously had no legal protections if they used those automatic payments for personal property—vehicles, appliances and consumer electronics. That’s where unscrupulous companies could exploit them.

The new rules shut down that loophole, and will only allow the automatic payments for “the purpose of savings, insurance premiums, mortgage or rent payments, support for dependents, or investments.” That’s one of the final loopholes closed by the CFBP—the agency that Republicans want to gut—for military personnel who have been big targets for consumer fraud. With all these protections, the CFPB has recovered over $98 million for thousands of service members. You know, the troops Republicans supposedly have so much respect and feeling for.

As of the agency’s third birthday back in July, it had recovered more than $4.6 billion—yes billion for consumers harmed by illegal practices by financial institutions.

No wonder Republicans have never stopped trying to hobble the CFPB!!

From Media Matters: Fox News host Megyn Kelly denounced the scene of a young African American protester standing in front of a police officer during a peaceful protest in Chicago following the announcement that police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with the first-degree murder of an African American teen.

Protests erupted in Chicago following the release of a video showing the shooting death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Fox News covered the peaceful protest noting the silent protest of one young black man looking at a police officer. Fox’s Megyn Kelly interrupted her show to comment on the protester, arguing that the protestor was not “appropriate,” because the police officer “hasn’t done anything wrong.” From the November 24 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:

Barf Bag Alert!!


Actually, I’m shocked that others on her show were able to counter Megyn Kelly’s racism, without having their microphones cut off.



Nov 232015

It feels like it has been a long day.  I visited with my mother and we had our little fashion show.  Her care aid this evening, Fatiha, helped me with the clothing.  Mum smiled when I held them up.  She always likes what I choose. Temperatures are heading down to the -5 to -10 C range for the rest of the week.  We may even see some snow flurries Monday night.  If it gets any colder, I'll have to put longjohns on my computer!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:38). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Beast  In the week-plus since the ISIS-commissioned terrorist attacks on Paris claimed the lives of 130 people and sent the world into a state of panic, Republican politicians—and that maladjusted person from your high school you’ve lost touch with—have been stoking the fears of Americans by espousing virulent anti-refugee rhetoric. Leading GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio have said we shouldn’t allow in any Syrian refugees, while 31 governors across the country have pledged not to allow these war-torn survivors into their states—this despite the fact that they have zero authority to do so.

And Trump, who by the way is married to an immigrant from then war-torn Slovenia (see: the Ten-Day War), has even argued that all mosques in the U.S. should be surveilled, and under a Trump presidency, that all U.S. Muslims could be forced to enter themselves into a database to monitor them. If this sounds like fascism, that’s because it is.

This past week, the House of Representatives passed a bill (that will surely be vetoed by President Obama) calling for tougher screening procedures for Syrian refugees, including that the FBI director must sign off on each and every one of the 10,000 refugees Obama’s pledged to accept over the next year.

Click through for the rest.  John Oliver certainly has a way with words.

Huffington Post — "That's the danger and that somehow talking about security allows us to tap into that racist vein, when that isn't who we are," Wynne said.

Couillard said Canada is not uniquely better or worse than any other society.

"We have those two devils within our society: racism and xenophobia. They exist," said the Quebec premier.

"And it is the responsibility of political leaders – and I got into trouble a few days ago because I said that publicly – it is the responsibility of political leaders not to feed the fire in a very negative way."

The 11-week federal election campaign that resulted in a resounding Liberal majority last month included highly charged debates over the wearing of face-coverings by less than a handful of Muslim women at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and a Conservative proposal for a "barbaric cultural practices" hotline where it was suggested neighbours might report suspect behaviour.

Click through for the rest.  The thought of the barbaric cultural practices hotline called to mind an article I had read in the NY Times about ISIS women, Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State.  ISIS turning people against their own.  Government leaders, in this case, Harper and his harlots encouraging people to turn against others. And it reminds me of what Hitler was doing during WWII.

Think Progress — Speaking to a bipartisan group of black lawmakers and community leaders on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he has yet to see evidence that black men and women are being disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

During the 2020 Club’s Presidential Justice Forum at Allen University, a historically black university in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson said that he’s not convinced that there are racial biases in policing or that law enforcement singles out African Americans.

“I’m not aware of a lot of cases where a police officer comes up to someone like you and says ‘Hey, I don’t like you. I’m going to shoot you,’” he said to moderator Jeff Johnson from Black Entertainment Television. “I’m still waiting for the evidence.”

Click through for the rest.  It has to be true . . . Carson gave himself a lobotomy!  Either that or he just doesn't give a damn.  Does the US want someone for POTUS  who isn't in touch with reality?

My Universe — 

Nov 222015


Here is the seventy-eigth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is retired firefighter Justin Tucker. He is so honored for his Republican suggestion on firefighting technique.

1122dustin-herronOn Friday morning, part of the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston went up in flames, and local firefighters spent over an hour battling the blaze before extinguishing it, saving the institute's school and mosque. The building set ablaze, which stored religious books, was completely destroyed, and came after the center's staff chased off a masked man from the premises earlier this week.

Houston officials believe the fire was set intentionally, and many are calling for this to be investigated as a hate crime. Unfortunately, the hate which likely ignited this fire wasn't just contained to the blaze, for as news of the fire spread, a retired Houston-area firefighter who still (update: no longer) volunteers for Crystal Beach Fire & Rescue posted the following:


This arson attack happened in the wake of the execution of three Muslim-Americans in Chapel Hill, a likely hate crime which has shaken a Muslim-American community already reeling from an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and speech since the premier of American Sniper…

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Speaking as a former volunteer firefighter, politics ends at the fire line.  We save lives and protect property without regarding identity or ownership.  For a firefighter to suggest letting a property burn out of bigotry, let alone preventing other  firefighters from doing their duty maligns every firefighter everywhere.  If is so heinous that only one  word is vile  enough to describe it: Republican.

Nov 222015

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 nutty InsaniTEA can become.  As TC would say, I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Republican politicians and presidential aspirants fell all over each other this week, trying to be as offensive, spiteful and Islamophobic as possible. Let’s review some of the lowest of the legion of low-lights.

1. Ben Carson’s truly offensive and clearly intentional metaphor.

Reports of Ben Carson’s stupidity and inability to grasp foreign policy may (or may not) have been greatly exaggerated. But reports that he is an evil mother*cker have not. In his usual semi-somnambulant state, Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” this week in a piece of rhetoric that really does, no exaggeration, rival Hitler.

"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you're probably going to put your children out of the way," Carson said at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama. "Doesn't mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking, how do I protect my children?

Hmmm, let’s see, how many dog whistles can he blow at one time?

"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," Carson continued obviously pleased as punch with his metaphor. "Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening." 

The fact that these horrifyingly inflammatory remarks are uttered in Carson’s soft cadence, and by a doctor no less, somehow compounds their vileness. He’s fully capable of generating lots of metaphors, but he chooses this one. In what way exactly is that not evil?

Click through the rest of the Alternet article.  It defies logic how some Americans can become so enthralled by these idiots.  But then that is playing on fears, and they are masters of fear.

Nov 222015

I have been able to accomplish quite a bit today so I am a happy camper. Tomorrow will be a day to visit with my mother.  I bought her some adaptive clothing so we may have a "fashion show" to try them on for fit and hopefully to see my mother smile.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:20). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Vancouver Sun — But he believes that building cities is about more than just constructing houses and towers and roads to connect them. It’s also about creating social infrastructure and inclusive societies.

Vancouver property developer Ian Gillespie is offering Syrian refugees temporary accommodations. 'We're in the property business, so it seemed an obvious place to start.'

So, Gillespie’s Westbank Properties is handing over 12 fully furnished and fully stocked apartments downtown to the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. for a minimum of four months. Those multi-bedroom units will be used as transitional accommodation until more permanent housing can be found for some of the 3,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Vancouver within the next several months. 

Click through for the rest.  This attitude is certainly in contrast to that of US state governors, many of whom have said flat out "no refugees", and to the US House which voted "no" to refugees.  But many US Christians are seriously stepping forward in support of the Syrian refugees.  Vancouver developer Daljit Thind, himself an immigrant, has housing available. Vancouver's Temple Sholom has raised money to sponsor a family and is working with Mosaic immigrant services.

Washington Posth/t JLA — Completing a long-shot bid that ran counter to the conservative tide sweeping the Southern states, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana on Saturday, defeating his Republican rival, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

Edwards was the top vote-getter in the state’s open primary last month and then built a lead over Vitter that he never surrendered.

With 1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting, Edwards led Vitter 55 percent to 45 percent, prompting the Edwards campaign to declare victory late Saturday evening.

Click through for the rest of the story.  Although this article states "1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting", the Huffington Post's story says "Edwards won 56 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.".  And from Mother Jones

Edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of the program on his first day in office. That's a really big deal. Such a move would provide coverage to about 225,000 residents in one of the poorest states in the nation.

It certainly looks like things are looking up for Louisiana.  About time!

Think Progress — When a parking lot attendant dared to recycle trash he picked up outside an upstate New York Walmart, the store fired him. Now generous strangers are trying to help cushion his sudden fall.

Thomas Smith, 52, had been earning $9 an hour at an upstate New York Walmart for less than three months when his manager terminated him over the cans. Smith was in charge of rounding up shopping carts from the lot outside the store, and started collecting trash from the lot while making his rounds. After storing up cans for a couple months, he recycled them in the store’s machines in early November. He got $5.10 for them.

Click through for the rest of the story.  I think the following line from the story sums up the situation: "That thief was white. Smith collected trash while black."

My Universe — 

Nov 192015

Well the wind finally stopped yesterday afternoon and the rain along with it . . . well at least for now.  More rain is on the way and Friday promises to be wet.  With colder temperatures and rain wherre I am, the mountains behind my house are guaranteed to be getting snow.  Some of the local ski hills are scheduling to open this weekend,  Some did not open at all or only for short periods last year because of the lack of snow.  May this year be better for them.  Today is a "lazy" day with 2 chores . . . the litterbox and some laundry, mostly linens.  Of course, I have tomorrow's articles and cat snuggling too!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:24). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Alternet — Twitter user @HistOpinion (Historical Opinion) tweeted out polls from 1939 and 1938 showing what Americans thought of political refugees, most of whom were Jewish, on the eve of World War II. On the question, "What’s your attitude towards allowing German, Austrian & other political refugees to come into the US?" the numbers are, in retrospect, devastating:

Indeed, a fear of "Jewish-Bolshevism" was very real as Juan Cole noted in Truth Dig:

Jews were also seen by some US Neanderthals as having socialist tendencies and so were kept out as radicals. There was talk of the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. (Hatred of Jews was irrational, so that they were blamed for being bankers [they were less than 1 percent of bankers] at the same time they were excoriated for being Marxists.) There was also the Society for the Defense of Christianity, so fundamentalists did their part.

An article in the Huffington Post takes a more personal look at the issue of admitting refugees, postulating that we should be proclaiming "never again" when it comes to ethnic refugees desperately fleeing their foe. Anti-refugee attitudes of the late 1930s have returned with a new Islamic target.

Déjà-vu?  I am inclined to think that the hysteria exhibited by many politicians, particularly Republicans, is reminiscent of the 1930s.  There are parallels that we should examine if the "never again" is to survive.  It is true that there have been genocides in the world since WWII, but none on the magnitude of the Holocaust.  We must ensure "never again" is very literally NEVER AGAIN and be compassionate.

Daily Kos — How ISIS is funded:

As ISIS fighters expand their control, it is in the border region, in villages like Besaslan, where the Islamic State group can make some of the money it needs to finance its wars. Oil-smuggling operations involving millions of barrels have recently been uncovered […]

Besides revenue from oil smuggling, the group receives money through donations from wealthy sympathizers in countries including Qatar and Kuwait.

There’s a reason the US is bombing ISIS/Daesh’s oil infrastructure. 

"We know the oil funds more than 50 percent of ISIL's operations," Warren said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "This is something we want to take away from them."

baiji oil refinery - iraqi forces guard

Iraqi soldiers guarding Baiji oil refinery after taking back from Daesh

Click through for the rest of the article.  In an article from the Wall Street Journal: U.S. Airstrikes Target Islamic State Oil Assets 

The U.S. has stepped up its attacks on Islamic State’s industrial base, striking more than 100 tanker trucks used to transport oil that helps the militant group earn tens of millions of dollars each month, an American military spokesman said Monday.

I remember hearing a saying about defeating something: you must cut off the head of the snake so the body will die.  This seems appropriate for Daesh.  Remove the source of much of its funding and Daesh will be weakened, perhaps easier to defeat.

Think Progress — Responding to the Paris attacks in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presidential candidate and former governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) said that he could not think of any group targeting innocent civilians except for radical Muslims. Huckabee used this argument to justify the intensifying call for discriminatory policies toward Muslims seeking refugee status.

Click through for some statistics on terrorist attacks.  To quote Assistant Attorney General John Carlin,

“[O]ver the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,”  “[I]t doesn’t get discussed as much as it should.”

My Universe — One of these is different.  Can you tell which one it is?


Nov 182015

I thoroughly enjoyed a cup of tea and reading my book after my hair cut. The rain had stopped so it was at least dryer, but the wind . . . there were trees down everywhere and power was out to some 110,000 homes here during a very powerful wind storm.. Fortunately I was not affected so you get this Open Thread.  There were some 384 outages in Metro Vancouver alone.  Those affected will be without power for 24 – 36 hours.  I think the McDonald's drive through will be busy tomorrow for breakfast!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:24 (average 6:05). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) ended his presidential campaign on Tuesday.

"I've come to the realization that this is not my time, so I've come here to announce that I am suspending my campaign for president of the United States," he told Fox News' Bret Baier.

Jindal, who entered the presidential race in June, has remained near the back of the Republican pack since then. In recent months, his persistently low polling numbers relegated him to the smaller televised events that preceded each of the main GOP debates.

This is the interview with Bret Baier of Faux:

Another one bites the dust!  What a waste of money for someone who wasn't going to win the nomination in the first place.  I wonder how many more will pull the plug before Iowa and New Hampshire?

Financial Post — Executives in the Canadian oilpatch are dismayed the federal government is poised to ban crude oil tanker traffic on the North Coast of B.C., which would hurt the Northern Gateway pipeline’s chances of being built.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed through on one of his election promises when he asked Transportation Minister Marc Garneau to “formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast” in a mandate letter published Friday.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Of course the anti-pipeline and anti-tanker people are happy, but oil industry people are not.  Nobody is going to walk away from this quietly.  Another article in the Financial Post notes,

[Vancouver-based energy lawyer with Watson Goepel LLP Warren] Brazier said the way the mandate letter is worded, there could still be exports of refined crude oil from the north coast — such as B.C. newspaper executive David Black has proposed with his $19-billion Kitimat Clean refinery project, which would be built in Kitimat.

So it's not over yet.

Huffington Post — The U.S. can either lead by example or turn its back on human suffering, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an impassioned 12-minute address on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Speaking in response to the calls to turn Syrian refugees away from the U.S. following the bombings and attacks last week that left a combined 172 people dead in Beirut and Paris, Warren argued that the country now faces a stark moral choice.

Click through for the rest.  Go Lizzie!

Think Progress — A Texas state legislator wants the U.S. to stop allowing Syrian refugees into the country. His reasoning: They might be able to buy guns in his state.

Rep. Tony Dale (R) made this argument in a television interview on Monday and in letters to Texas’ U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter (R).

“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades,” Dale wrote, “it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided with federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?” He urged the lawmakers to “do whatever you can to stop the [Syrian refugee] program.”

Click through to the rest of this absurdity!  I am still shaking my head over this.  In my mind, this is thinly disguised discrimination.

My Universe — Have you ever wondered what the name is of Simon's cat?  Perhaps today's video will give you some ideas.

Nov 162015

Yesterday the nursing got so bad that I called in the Charge Nurse to complain.  The straw that broke  the TomCat’s back was the nurse’s insistence that I insert my own suppository, when I cannot because of a partially frozen shoulder.  I was in pain from severe Republicitis for 5 1/2 hours.  The Charge  Nurse agreed that she was completely out of line, and promised never to schedule her to care for me again.  Today is much better, and I took an extra lap, but, dang it, I’m still too slow to ketch me a nurse. Crying face

Extreme Religious Agony:


Short Takes:

From NY Times: Like millions of people, I’ve been obsessively following the news from Paris, putting aside other things to focus on the horror. It’s the natural human reaction. But let’s be clear: it’s also the reaction the terrorists want. And that’s something not everyone seems to understand.Take, for example, Jeb Bush’s declaration that “this is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.” No, it isn’t. It’s an organized attempt to sow panic, which isn’t at all the same thing. And remarks like that, which blur that distinction and make terrorists seem more powerful than they are, just help the jihadists’ cause.

Think, for a moment, about what France is and what it represents. It has its problems — what nation doesn’t? — but it’s a robust democracy with a deep well of popular legitimacy. Its defense budget is small compared with ours, but it nonetheless retains a powerful military, and has the resources to make that military much stronger if it chooses. (France’s economy is around 20 times the size of Syria’s.) France is not going to be conquered by ISIS, now or ever. Destroy Western civilization? Not a chance.

So what was Friday’s attack about? Killing random people in restaurants and at concerts is a strategy that reflects its perpetrators’ fundamental weakness. It isn’t going to establish a caliphate in Paris. What it can do, however, is inspire fear — which is why we call it terrorism, and shouldn’t dignify it with the name of war.

The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

Click through for the rest of this excellent Paul Krugman editorial. I agree with him. The Daesh is far too small to overthrow even small Western nations, let alone the US. Climate change is a greater threat to the US than the Daesh will ever be. If we let the Daesh dominate our policies, we are handing them a victory over us.

From TPM: Daily fantasy sports sites — like Fan Duel and Draft Kings — arrived on the scene like “a pack of wolves,” according to host John Oliver on Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight.”

“Daily fantasy sports combine everything dudes love: sports, money and a lack of commitment,” Oliver said.

Congress cracked down on online gambling in 2006, but, as Oliver pointed out, the law exempted fantasy sports.


As a lover of old style fantasy football, I have no doubt that daily fantasy sports is gambling. The law needs to be updated,

From Crooks and Liars: At each NFL football game on Sunday, there was a moment of silence for the people of France who suffered an unimaginable terrorist attack.

Unfortunately, some jerk at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, took the opportunity to prove to the world what an ass he is by yelling an anti-Muslim statement. (Said fool either shouted “Muslim sucks” or “F*ck the Muslims,” depending on which account you listen to.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who came off the field after losing another heartbreaking (for Packer fans anyway) loss, still had the wherewithal and class to denounce the fan who yelled that:

“I must admit I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was that made a comment that was very inappropriate during the moment of silence,” Rodgers said. “It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position we’re in today as a world.”

Kudos to Aaron Rogers for a very classy statement.



Nov 162015

The weather here was good today, sunny and windy, but it was about 8 C (46 F) warm enough for mid November. Tonight or early tomorrow morning we are expecting rain.  Current temperature is 0 C (32 F).  I hope this does not mean icy streets in the morning when I have to go to physio. I'd hate to miss the opportunity to be chastised by my therapist for falling on my face. I have enjoyed several of Lona's cat naps this afternoon/evening, but the rest of the week is looking quite busy.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 5:18). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

NY Times — Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, inLebanon.

All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

Around the crime scenes in south Beirut and central Paris alike, a sense of shock and sadness lingered into the weekend, with cafes and markets quieter than usual. The consecutive rampages, both claimed by the Islamic State, inspired feelings of shared, even global vulnerability — especially in Lebanon, where many expressed shock that such chaos had reached France, a country they regarded as far safer than their own.

But for some in Beirut, that solidarity was mixed with anguish over the fact that just one of the stricken cities — Paris — received a global outpouring of sympathy akin to the one lavished on the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

Click through for the rest of the article.  High on my mind, like so many others, has been the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris.  I had read about the Beirut bombings and I was sad for the people, like I am sad for the people of Syria and Iraq who endure so much death and uncertainty daily.  But what makes Paris so different to Beirut?  In reality, nothing.  In both cases, innocent lives were broken apart by the same group, Daesh.  The people in Beirut ask a valid question, do Arab lives matter less.

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Do we in the west have a double standard?  Do some lives matter more than others.  This is a question we all should be wrestling with.  All lives matter equally!

Mother Jones — "The Court now has the opportunity to decide whether we will continue to allow elected officials to play politics with women's health," wrote Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America,in a statement. "This case represents the greatest threat to women's reproductive freedom since the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade over 40 years ago. Laws like the ones being challenged in Texas are designed to subvert the Constitution and end the right to a safe and legal abortion."

Click through for the rest of the article.  With the decision expected in early 2016, this issue, no matter which way it goes, will likely be an election issue.  It is time for women to stand up forcefully for their reproductive health.  Women and their doctors should be making these decisions, not politicians.

Raw Story — Following Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives, prospective 2016 GOP presidential candidates were quick to find fault and assign blame by going after Democrats and slamming Syrian refugees before French authorities even began their investigation.

Republicans flooded the airwaves Sunday morning, variously criticizing their Democratic counterparts for failing to use the term “radical Islam,” and faulting the administration for not putting “boots on the ground” in Syria while warning of another 9/11 attack in the U.S.

Responding to all three Democratic nominees using “radical jihadists” in their debate instead of blaming Islam, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Democrats are more invested in defending Islam than protecting Americans.

“It’s become apparent on the Democratic side, whether it is the current president or the one who wishes to be president, they’re more interested in protecting the image of Islam than they are protecting Americans,” Huckabee told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Is there anyone of sound mind in the Republican Party?  Here is Jeb Bush on the subject (from Raw Story).

And Ted Cruz of course has plenty to say (from Raw Story).

Cruz made the case that the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night proved that Christians are under siege, even though the attacks were on nightlife hot spots and not religious targets. Before the rally, Cruz told to reporters and said Christians need constitutional protections because they are most ostracized today, according to CNN…

Do I think Christians are under siege as Cruz says?  No!  Do I think that Christians need constitutional prtections? They already have 1st amendment rights.  What these pseudo Christians are wanting is the right to discriminate and the right to turn the US into a Christian theocracy.

My Universe — 

Nov 152015

On the downside, I had to Republicate in a bedpan this morning, and the nurses were 45 minutes late in getting me into my chair.  Therefore my breakfast had to be reheated, ruining my eggs and toast.  On the up side, when a CNI  told me it would be several minutes before she had time to pick up my  tray, I moved my table several times, moved the toxic waste disposal bin, and put the tray on the bed.  Then I went out to cruise the hallways.  The CNI was quite surprised to see me  making my rounds.  Today is a Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos meditate with the Chiefs.  I  hope it is televised here.  Later:  It took almost 2 1/2 hours for the nurses to put me back to bed, after I requested it at 10:00 AM.  This is the worst combination I’ve had since I’ve been hare.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The attack in Paris has caused a tsunami of stupid among conservatives on Twitter.  Without further ado:

Judith Miller:


There are several more examples of insaniTEA. Click through.

From Crooks and Liars: Liz Cheney is a neocon looking for a foothold, and current Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis may have just handed it to her.

Cheney, 2016!

Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced Thursday she will not seek re-election, and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s elder daughter, Liz Cheney, said she was seriously considering running for the seat.

Lummis is the only female member of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus and plans to finish her current term. She has easily won re-election since first winning Wyoming’s lone spot in the U.S. House in 2008.

Cheney, a television news commentator, briefly challenged Wyoming U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi for last year’s GOP nomination. She cited health issues in her family in bowing out of the race more than seven months before the primary.

Geez! Just what we need!! The Lizard of Lies in Congress!!!

From Alternet: Muslims from around the world are making it clear ISIS does not represent their values. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani denounced the attacks, postponing his trip to Europe to renew peace talks on the Syrian conflict. Iran and Iran-backed Hezbollah fight ISIS and other extremists in Syria (as well as non-Salafists). The day before the Paris attacks, militants claiming allegiance to ISIS bombed a civilian area of Beirut in an effort to undermine Hezbollah’s support there. 

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the president of Indonesia, the largest Muslim country on earth, roundly condemned the attacks, telling reporters, “Indonesia condemns the violence that took place in Paris.” In a now-viral video on YouTube, a Moroccan man expressed his condolences to the victims, saying, “These so-called jihadists only represent themselves.”

Widodo is spot on.  ISIL does not represent Islam is the same way that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian terrorists do not represent Christianity.  Perhaps we should call ISIL Republican Supply-side pseudo-Muslims.



Je suis Parisien!

Nov 142015

Des policiers recouvrent le corps d'une des victimes des attentats à Paris vendredi soir.From Le Figaro

Alternet — This is a running update based on information from The Guardian

  • One of the attackers at the Bataclan is understood to be a 30-year-old French national, who was known to French police because of links to Islamic radicals.

The news will be awash with questions, speculation, and hate in the coming days and weeks and months.  At one point I read that these attacks are by far the worst on French soil since WWII.

While ISIS claims responsibility and rejoices at the carnage, conservatives have pulled out all the stops on their vitriole.  This and others from Alternet

James Woods ✔@RealJamesWoods

If we can survive Obama and Kerry and Hillary until we can close our own borders, we might avoid this. …

3:07 PM – 13 Nov 2015

 The Daily Beast


From Le Figaro, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: «Nous répliquerons coup pour coup pour détruire Daech» (translation: We will repay blow for blow to destroy Daesh).  

And further down the page, The Metropolitan Opera showed solidarity with France by singing LaMarseillaise, the French national anthem.

From Al Arabiya 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt have been among the Arab states leading condemnations of the simultaneous attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and wounded 250 – 80 critically – on late Friday.

In addition, Saudi King Salman has sent condolences to French President François Holland and the people of France.  But is he playing both sides of the fence?  Saudi Arabia has been known to support ISIS in the past.

Of course Ted Cruz wasted no time in politicising the Paris tragedy for his own political gain.

Alternet — Ted Cruz continues to try to outflank the other Republican candidates from the right, wasting no time after yesterday's attacks in Paris to issue a bellicose statement insisting President Obama was too concerned with civilian casualties in Syria. 

"It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life. We must make it crystal clear that affiliation with ISIS and related terrorist groups brings with it the undying enmity of America—that it is, in effect, signing your own death warrant."

NBC News has a series of short videos which includes CAIR denouncing the attacks.  We must be careful not to condemn all Muslims for these cowardly attacks.  Perhaps if we all pull together as one people, we can defeat ISIS.

Please join me in condolences for France, the dead and their families, the injured and their families, the first responders.  Let our prayers and thoughts be with them in their time of need.

Nov 132015


Here is the seventy-seventh article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is Judge Scott Johansen , a Juvenile Court judge from Utah’s Seventh District. He is so honored for the Republican Family Values he is using to destroy a family.

1113JohansenApril Hoagland and Beckie Peirce have been fostering a Utah infant for three months. With the approval of the infant’s biological mother and a recommendation of the foster care caseworker, they were seeking to permanently adopt the child. Instead, a Utah judge ordered the baby removed from their home and placed in a home with heterosexual parents:

The women, who are legally married and were approved as foster parents in Utah earlier this year after passing home inspections, background checks and interviews from DCFS, said the judge told them there was a lot of research that indicated children who are raised in same-sex parent homes do not do as well as children who are raised by heterosexual parents.

“It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong,” said April.

Worse yet, when Judge Scott Johansen was asked in court to share the studies he was referencing, he refused:

Attorney Mandie Torgerson, who represents the baby’s biological mother, said Johansen did not cite the research he referenced in court saying only that there are “a myriad” of studies that support his order.

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

This interview with the mothers is not the same video clip as the one in the article, because it could not be embedded.


My heart goes out to April and Beckie. For that fascist judge to destroy a family in a manner both contrary to the law and  based solely on his hatred for LGBT people, demonstrates two things about him.  He is an evil man.  He is a Republican.