Apr 282016
 

The more we think of words like hate, hypocrisy, lies and racism, the more the Republican Party comes to mind.  The Republican Racist Dictatorship of Bamastan display their hatred openly, but when challenged, use self-reliance as an excuse to deny their racist hate.  Could there be any truth to their self-reliance claim?  Lets examine the evidence.

0428confederate

Alabama is currently celebrating Confederate Heritage Month with a state-wide holiday and a series of public events aimed at remembering and honoring those who fought on the side of southern, slave-owning states during the Civil War. At one such event this week, organized by the Ladies’ Memorial Association, Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill lamented recent calls to remove Confederate symbols from government buildings.

“The next question that has to be asked is so what’s the next thing you are going to do,” he asked, “are you going to take a bulldozer to the monument and forget what people fought for to preserve a way of life that makes us special and unique?”

Civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, slammed the remark as “shameful.” But in a follow-up conversation with ThinkProgress, Merrill explained that the “way of life” he celebrates is based on Confederate soldiers’ independent spirit, not their advocacy for slavery.

“When we have things happen in our state, we don’t rely on the federal government to come take care of us,” he said. “We take care of ourselves. For example, after the tornadoes in 2011, or after the massive flooding we had. That’s who we are. That’s who these people were. I’m proud of that.”

Alabama, however, is the ninth most reliant on federal aid out of the 50 states, taking far more in aid than the state pays back in taxes. As for the 2011 tornado damage Merrill mentioned, an auditor recently found that the state improperly received about $1.2 million in federal aid that it now must pay back. Antebellum Alabama’s “self-reliance,” meanwhile, depended from its founding on the unpaid labor of hundreds of thousands of slaves… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

There it is!  like most of the reddest states, the rest of is are supporting them with our tax dollars.  I for one, do not want my tax dollars spent to support racist policies.  That’s why I keep saying that

Every Republican in office

is one Republican too many!!

 

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Apr 072016
 

The A/C came yesterday, but is still not installed.  It was warm enough inside yesterday night that I did not sleep well,  Tomorrow I have PT with Courtney.  Since no rain is forecast, I’m going the take the regular bus.  The trip takes longer, but I spend such a shorter time waiting that my total time spent will be less.  Still, I’ll be tired enough that I’ll probably have just a Personal Update.  Later:  The A/C is in and working great!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:45 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Within hours of news Tuesday that PayPal had pulled the plug on a 400-job facility in Charlotte because, it said, the state’s new law "perpetuates discrimination," the Republican Party started a mad display of Yosemite-Sam style finger pointing.

First, the state’s GOP Vice-Chairman Michele Nix questioned whether PayPal was ever even worthy of North Carolina.

So after PayPal was forced to settle after violating economic sanctions on Cuba, Sudan, and Iran, and even processed payments for someone looking to buy nuclear-weapon technology on the black market, the California-based company now has a problem doing business in North Carolina?

Yeah, we didn’t want your nasty 400-job expansion anyway. Hurrumph. Now those are some serious biz-dev skills. Work it, Michele!

My, how times have changed. Just a couple weeks ago, McCrory was singing PayPal’s praises:

“North Carolina is the ideal destination for innovation-based, worldwide companies like PayPal,” said Governor McCrory. “Today’s announcement means that we can add another prominent name to the state’s growing list of technology businesses with major operations here.”

Kudos to PayPal!! May thousands of companies pull the plug on the Fascist Republican Theocratic Dictatorship of McCrorystan.!!

From YouTube and YouTube:

Rest in peace.

From NY Times: Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company catapulted him from a working-class West Virginia childhood into a life as one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Appalachia, was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

The prison term, the maximum allowed by law, came in Federal District Court here six years and one day after an explosion ripped through Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine, killing 29 men. Although Mr. Blankenship was not accused of direct responsibility for the accident, the deadliest in American coal mining in about 40 years, the disaster prompted the inquiry that ultimately led to his conviction. Federal officials have said that last autumn’s guilty verdict was the first time such a high-ranking executive had been convicted of a workplace safety violation.

This is one Republican I’m happy to see in a cell, but serving less than 13 days for every miner he murdered is a major understatement. He’d do more time had he stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family.

Cartoon:

0407Cartoon

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Mar 232016
 

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

Jig Zone Puzzle:

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

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count.

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

1681

937

Delegates Won

4051

1170

880

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

467

26

 

 

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

19

15

Caucus

Closed

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

28

38

Caucus

Closed

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

72

28

Primary

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

29

46

Caucus

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

42

22

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

145

74

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

61

33

Primary

Open

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

35

12

Primary

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

14

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

7

15

Caucus

Closed

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

30

4

Primary

Open

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

60

67

Primary

Open

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

 

 

N/A

N/A

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

133

65

Primary

Closed

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

68

67

Primary

Open

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

32

32

Primary

Open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

79

62

Primary

Semi-open

Arizona

March 22

75 (10)

41

26

Primary

Closed

Idaho

March 22

23 (4)

5

17

Caucus

Open

Utah

March 22

33 (4)

5

24

Caucus

Semi-open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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0323Cartoon

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Mar 202016
 

Somehow, I have managed to pick up a sore throat and likely a cold . . . again.  My chiropractor had one and that is the only person I can think of to whom I have been close.  Arrggghhhh!  I am still awaiting my laptop so that I can join Nameless in frustration with learning Windows 10.  I have W7 on my desk top and like it but that will have to change sooner or later.  Because I have a bug, I won't be going to see my mother tomorrow.

Short Takes

CBC — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent trip to the U.S. appears to have made quite an impression on our American friends — perhaps too good an impression, judging by these videos of two New York men literally begging him to run for president.  …

Fortunately for Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau declined an invitation from these men begging him to run for U.S. president. 'I don't know if you noticed, but I actually have a job,' he said. 'And it's a pretty good one.'

In another video, Trudeau declines the invitation to run for president on the grounds that he's not U.S.-born.

The American men were quick to counter by pointing out that Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was born in Calgary. 

"I have tremendous confidence in the American people," Trudeau told the men, but they weren't convinced. 

Just a little bit of humour to start your read.  Since Trudeau's visit to Washington just over a week ago, I have seen various positive posts about Trudeau, one even asking him to run for President of North America.  I think a modern Trudeaumania has been born.  From Wikipedia

Trudeaumania was the nickname given in early 1968 to the excitement generated by Pierre Trudeau's entry into the leadership race of the Liberal Party of Canada. Trudeaumania continued during the subsequent federal election campaign and during Trudeau's early years as Prime Minister of Canada

I remember it well!

National Law Journalh/t Barbara K, Care2 — A group of more than 350 legal scholars on Monday called upon senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to consider a U.S. Supreme Court nominee submitted by President Barack Obama.

In a letter sent to Senate leaders, 356 professors and scholars said that leaving an eight-justice court in place would have dire consequences. They asserted that allowing Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat to remain unfilled until after the presidential election could cripple the court and set bad precedent.

“This preemptive abdication of duty is contrary to the process the framers envisioned in Article II, and threatens to diminish the integrity of our democratic institutions and the functioning of our constitutional government,” reads the letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; and ranking Judiciary Committee member Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

Reached for comment, a spokesman for McConnell wrote in an email, “The Leader’s position is well-known.”

Alliance for Justice, a liberal organization focused on the federal judiciary, circulated the letter.

Scalia Quote

The letter reads in part:

As scholars deeply committed to the fair administration of justice, upholding the rule of law, and educating future generations of the legal profession, the undersigned professors of law urge you to fulfill your constitutional duty to give President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a prompt and fair hearing and a timely vote.

The Senate’s obligation in this circumstance is clear. Under Article II of the Constitution, the president “shall appoint . . . judges to the Supreme Court,” and the Senate’s role is to provide “advice and consent.” Yet before the president has even made a nomination to fill the current vacancy, a number of senators have announced that they will not perform their constitutional duty. Instead, they plan to withhold advice and consent until the next president is sworn in nearly a year from now. This preemptive abdication of duty is contrary to the process the framers envisioned in Article II, and threatens to diminish the integrity of our democratic institutions and the functioning of our constitutional government.

President Obama was elected to a four-year term in 2012. According to the Constitution, that term has more than 300 days remaining. There is no exception to the Constitution holding that the president lacks the authority or duty to appoint justices to the Supreme Court because he is in the last year of his presidency. In fact, six justices have been confirmed in presidential-election years since 1900, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Republican-appointee Anthony Kennedy, who was confirmed by a Democratically-controlled Senate during President Ronald Reagan’s last year in office. 

6 scotus justices_for email

Here is a petition from the Alliance for Justice to Tell Senators to #Do Your Job

Rachel Maddow spoke with Nan Aron, president of the AFJ, back in mid February on the conundrum.

IMO, McTurtle and Grassley, nor any other Republican for that matter, should not be in any leadership position.  I hope this Republican stupidity hurts them in the election, regardless of whether the matter is solve or not.

Raw Story — In November, many Americans who didn’t vote in 2014 or 2015 will be casting a vote for president of the United States. Midterms and off-year elections are often ignored by registered voters, but anyone who doubts the importance of voting in every election need only look at the type of damage far-right Republicans can do at the state or local level when they are in control. Although Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and President Barack Obama was reelected decisively in 2012, Republicans fared extremely well during the 2010 and 2014 midterms, not only in Congress, but in the state and local races. The result has been an obscene amount of destructive legislation, from anti-union laws to harsh anti-abortion and anti-contraception measures to laws that harm the environment.

Below are 10 terrible laws or bills brought to you by some of the more obscure GOP politicians wielding way too much power in statehouses and state legislatures around the country.  …

11. Senate Bill 4: Kentucky’s New Anti-Abortion Law

Signed into law by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin last month, Senate Bill 4 requires that women in Kentucky receive in-person counseling 24 hours before an abortion. The Kentucky ACLU describes SB 4 as “an unnecessary barrier to safe and legal abortion practices,” and Derek Selznick (director of the Kentucky ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project), said, “Legislators were not elected to provide medical advice or care to Kentucky women.” This is the same Bevin who began dismantling Kentucky’s successful, state-run Obamacare exchange, Kynect, right after taking office in January. So the health of Kentucky women is not high on his list of priorities.

Click through for the other ten laws pushed by right-wing Republican nutters.  If you don't want this kind of BS, then take a stand and get out the vote.

NY Times — Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.

There is no longer room for error or delay, the anti-Trump forces say, and without a flawlessly executed plan of attack, he could well become unstoppable.

But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism.

perry

Some prominent Republicans have considered Mr. Perry as a possible independent candidate for the general election if Mr. Trump receives the party’s presidential nomination.

Are Republicans making one Oops after another?

My Universe — I asked TC to do a special report from a local farm.

TC hanging out in barnTC in the barn assessing the needs!

Tucked away in Spokane, WA, there is a shelter for cats that sets itself apart from the pack with its novel, and incredibly successful, approach to caring for cats in need of help. Instead of a life of cages, occasional adoption events, and possible euthanasia, these cats are brought into SpokAnimal shelter as feral or stray, and end up leaving gainfully employed!

Click through The Animal Rescue Site for the rest of his report.  Excellent report Puddy Tat!!

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Mar 182016
 

The end of another week and it is time to cast the nets for "unhinged right wing moments" from the past week.  Of course there are more than 6, but there is only so much room.

2. Insane Trump apologist #2 speaks out on violent protests.

Jeffrey Lord, a member of Trump's insane clown posse who has been hired by CNN as an “analyst” but whose actual title should be insane Trump apologist, was at it again this week, bizarrely blaming liberals for the problem du jour, which is, of course, violence at Trump rallies. You’ll remember that last week Lord attempted to whitesplain to Van Jones that the KKK was and continues to be the armed wing of the Democratic Party, a leftist organization and therefore not something Trump needs to disavow.

So that should give you some idea of the level of reality we’re operating on.

This week Lord continued his peculiar brand of insanity when he blamed liberals for the new curse that is spreading through the land, the fact that Trump’s thugs and acolytes are getting violent with protesters who attend the Republican frontrunner’s rallies.

Specifically, Lord was referring to the videotaped incident in which a 78-year-old white man suckerpunched a black protester in the head at a rally, an assault for which the white man was charged.

When asked if he thought it might be important for Trump to denounce this sort of violence, Lord expressed the view that the incident was the black protester’s fault as well as the left’s.

“The American left has a long and detailed history of doing exactly this,” Lord said. “What do you think the 1968 Democratic Convention was all about? It’s history!”

He continued to unfurl his wild illogic. Trump did not have a responsibility to denounce the violence because liberals had been using the same tactics for “decades.”

Scratching your head for examples? Yeah, us too.

Instead, Lord denounced the protesters for showing up, not being down with the Trump worship program, and not raising their hands to salute the great and powerful leader.

From Alternet

Click through for the other 5 moments.  Clearly, Lord has been over indulging in the Republican insaniTEA!  Will he ever get his facts straight?

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Mar 162016
 

President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to take the place of deceased and descended Antonin “Sturmbannführer” Scalia.  I’ll need more time to research, before I can offer an opinion oh his choice, but I can tell you this:  Garland would be an improvement over Scalia, because it would be virtually impossible to be as bad.  I can also tell you that he deserves a fair vote, whether I like him or not.  Needless to say Republicans are apoplectic.

0316obama-merrick

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, setting up a protracted political fight with Republicans who have vowed to block any candidate picked by Obama in his final year in office.

Garland, 63, is a longtime Washington lawyer and jurist who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Considered a moderate, Garland is widely respected in the D.C. legal community and was also a finalist for the first two Supreme Court vacancies Obama filled.

In announcing his choice in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he followed “a rigorous and comprehensive process” and that he reached out to members of both parties, legal associations and advocacy groups to gauge opinions from “across the spectrum.”

He said Garland “is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.” …

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Here’s a clip of the announcement.

Bought Bitch Mitch (R-KY) has reaffirmed that Garland will not get a vote.  Snake in the Grassley (R-IA) has reaffirmed that Garland will not get a Judiciary Committee hearing.  All of the sitting Republicans who previously voted for Garland, when he was confirmed to the DC Circuit now oppose giving him a vote.  Here are some of the statements Republicans made about Garland then, in 1992.

GOPSedition

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

“Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“I have nothing against the nominee. Mr. Garland seems to be well qualified and would probably make a good judge — in some other court.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

“He has a high position with the Department of Justice and, by all accounts, does a good job there. There will be a number of judgeship vacancies in the D.C. trial judges. He has been a trial lawyer. He would be a good person to fill one of those. I would feel comfortable supporting him for another judgeship.”

Then-Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

“I believe Mr. Garland is well qualified for the court of appeals. He earned degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice Brennan on the Supreme Court and, since 1993, he has worked for the Department of Justice. So there is no question, he is qualified to serve on the court.”

Then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC)

“I have no reservations about Mr. Garland’s qualifications or character to serve in this capacity. He had an excellent academic record at both Harvard College and Harvard Law School before serving as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, he has served in distinguished positions in private law practice and with the Department of Justice. Moreover, I have no doubt that Mr. Garland is a man of character and integrity.”

Then-Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)

“[T]he nominee has the character and is highly qualified for the position.”

 

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Whether or not Garland is qualified has nothing to do with this seditious attempt by Republicans to block his nomination.  They are hoping they can find a way to steal the Presidency and make the appointment themselves.  Now, I have to admit that a Republican President’s appointment could not be much worse than Scalia, even an appointment by Trump or Cruz.  However consider this.  The next President will appoint the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I consider it highly unlikely that Garland will be confirmed.  Republicans may try to save face by going through some of the motions, but they will only be stalling for time.  Therefore, it is imperative that the next occupant of the White House be a Democrat.  I know that many of you aren't very keen on Hillary, but if she is nominated, it is imperative to work as hard for her as we would for Bernie.  Do you question that?

Do you want Trump to replace Ginsburg?

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Feb 162016
 

I’m feeling tired after a long day yesterday.  The Urologist told me my pee is grade A-1, and sent me for a blood test to make sure I don’t have prostate cancer.  With only three  legs, it’s harder to shred his toilet paper.

TCPee

Today is the the first day my helper friend takes over as shower-aide.  She’s due at noon, and I so hope she shows up. Also on tap is meal-prep.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:17 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Sen. Mitch McConnell, in 2005, defending the absolute right of a sitting president to nominate judges.

"The Constitution of the United States is at stake.  Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges.  The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent.  But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules.  They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.  In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators."

"[T]he Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote.  I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.’"

I partially agree with Bought Bitch Mitch?!!?  ARGH!!!!  I think I’m going to throw up!!

From The New Yorker: In a television appearance on Sunday, the leading Senate Republican warned President Obama “in no uncertain terms” against doing anything in his remaining three hundred and forty days in office.

“The President should be aware that, for all intents and purposes, his term in office is already over,” Mitch McConnell said on Fox News. “It’s not the time to start doing things when you have a mere eight thousand one hundred and sixty hours left.”

While acknowledging that the President has eleven months remaining in the White House, McConnell said that he and the President “have an honest disagreement about how long eleven months is.”

“The President believes it is almost one year,” he said. “I believe it is almost zero years. I’m not a mathematician, but I believe I am right.”

Andy, I’m so relieved! Now that’s the Bought Bitch Mitch I know and despise!!

From NY Times: States are finally backing away from the draconian sentencing policies that swept the country at the end of the last century, driving up prison costs and sending too many people to jail for too long, often for nonviolent offenses. Many are now trying to turn around the prison juggernaut by steering drug addicts into treatment instead of jail and retooling parole systems that once sent people back to prison for technical violations.

But the most effective way to keep people out of prison once they leave is to give them jobs skills that make them marketable employees. That, in turn, means restarting prison education programs that were shuttered beginning in the 1990s, when federal and state legislators cut funding to show how tough they were on crime.

President Obama pointed the country in the right direction last year by creating a pilot program that will allow a limited number of inmates to receive federal Pell Grants to take college courses behind bars. The program will include colleges that either run prison education programs or want to start them. So far, more than 200 schools in 47 states have expressed interest.

From my volunteer work I know this.  National average recidivism is 67%. Recidivism for prisoners that completed an Associates Degree in prison < 10%. Recidivism for prisoners that completed an Bachelors Degree in prison < 5%. Since the average cost to incarcerate a prisoner is around $80 per day, can America afford to NOT educate prisoners?

Cartoon:

0216Cartoon

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Feb 032016
 

After mucking about yesterday with a doctor's appointment (just a quick check in), a Costco run for Perrier water (I like the bubbles), and then some chores, I started my post but was tired.  So I decided to relax for half an hour.  I fell asleep not waking until this morning.  Off to the races again with physio, chiropractor, and a wonderful relaxing lunch with a friend.  Ah, a day in the life of a retired person!

Short Takes

Foreign Policy — Of our candidates, who do you think would be most popular in Russia?

Feldman: On the surface, Trump is, of course, terribly similar to Putin.

Because in Russia, the elections are more like a choice between different aesthetics. That is, you have no chance to have an effect on actual policy. You can vote for the Communists if you’re nostalgic, for the screaming [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky if you want to bang your fist on the table, for [the ruling party] United Russia if you want to show your loyalty, and for A Just Russia if you’re loyal, but not very.

So in Russia, elections look different. It’s a ritual, a cult. You vote and it doesn’t change anything. Here it’s not like that — but in that way, on the surface, Trump is, of course, very similar to Putin. He’s the closest to this kind of Russian politics.

FP: In that, by voting for him, you’re more showing who you are than voting for a policy?

Feldman: Yes.  I was actually at a Trump rally in Cedar Falls, and I had this feeling that I had returned to the Motherland.  

TC has often referred to Vladimir Putin as Pooty-R(Ru).  In this piece, the author interviews Russian photojournalist Evgeny Feldman who is in the US observing the Iowa caucuses, among other things.  He seems to think that Trump is very much like Putin.

Right Wing Watch — “I believe that they are positioning themselves so that someday they could invade Israel to be able to take over the vast stores of oil and natural gas that Israel is controlling,” she said, adding that “this very unique new partnership between Iran and Russia in Syria” with the support of China “lines up with scripture.” All of these powers, she said, are seeking “a global world order to keep their game going into the future and to support them if they would invade against Israel.”

And who will lead this global world order? Why, none other than Obama.

NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!     NUT JOB ALERT!!!!!     BARF BAG ALERT!!!!!

Oh my!  I thought Guano Girl could not get any more batshit crazy than she already was!  I stand corrected.  She out did herself, or maybe it's just been so delightfully quiet without her daily rants and shenanigans that I feel assaulted by her guanoness!

Huffington Post — Real estate mogul Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz of fraud on Wednesday, claiming the Texas senator "stole" the Iowa caucuses and arguing that "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."  

Trump posed with a bald eagle, named Uncle Sam, for a TIME magazine shoot when he was in the running for person of the year. Nothing is more satisfyingly ironic and metaphorical as this bald eagle-the symbol of American freedom and might-attacking Trump, who only wants to "Make America Great Again."  It is about time that Uncle Sam took Trump to task!

Trump is a master at sucking the oxygen out of the race by drawing attention to himself with new controversies. The Twitter rant is just one more example of this media strategy, particularly at a time when Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are basking in the glow of their performances in Iowa.

Cruz responded Wednesday afternoon, mocking the businessman for throwing a "Trumpertantrum."

Trump sure doesn't like losing! . . . and if there was any doubt about that, his Twitter rant should allay all doubts.  I wonder if he'll threaten to hold his breath if he doesn't get his way?  I can hope can't I?  As much as I dislike Cruz, his response was cool — Trumpertantrum.  LOL!!!

NBC — Rick Santorum on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Marco Rubio.

"He is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together — not just moderates and conservatives but young and old," Santorum said of the Florida senator during an appearance on the Fox News program "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

Santorum called Rubio a "born leader" best able to help the struggling middle class, support families and combat the terror group ISIS.

In Open Thread–2/3/2016, TC posted about the Rand Paul, Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot, withdrawal from the Republican presidential race.  Now Rick Santorum has also withdrawn which doesn't surprise me at all.  Thankfully, the Clown Car is getting lighter and lighter.  To date, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have departed the Streetcar Named Desire, aka the Clown Car.  Seven ejected from the Clown Car, 10 to go.

Politico — Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The billionaire presidential candidate, whose controversial comments and hard-edged policy proposals have upset many, was nominated for: "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China,” according to a copy of the nomination letter obtained by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. According to PRIO, Trump was nominated by an American.

From the "OMG, it can't be true!" files, Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Whomever nominated the misogynistic hater is demented, even more than Trump himself.  Somebody please tell me that a snowball has a better chance in hell than Trump has as a successful Nobel candidate.When he does not get it, we'll be able to call him "Strike Three" . . . no to Time person of the year, no in Iowa, and no to the Nobel Prize.

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Feb 022016
 

Yesterday I said "I shant be lingering to do extra tutoring or Costco runs."  OK, I admit it, I lied. . . sort of.  We did our English lesson and then the kids started arriving home from school.  I ended up checking some math homework for Jonathan, filling out some school related forms for 2 of the kids, and snuggling Regina who got hit by a flying truck thrown by Simon (the baby) and was in tears.  When I scolded Simon, he went into tears and lay claim to the other knee and arm!  JD, I guess God is splitting a gut laughing!

Tomorrow is less busy, or should I say, less stressful.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — This is an interactive automaticupdateat the site where you can see in which precints a candidate leads or trails.

Iowa Democratic Caucus

Bernie Sanders was nearly tied with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race, while O’Malley suspended his campaign before all results were counted.

Des MoinesCedar RapidsDavenportDes MoinesCedar RapidsDavenport

Candidate SDEs Delegates
Clinton 667 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sanders 664 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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O'Malley 8

0

∗ The Iowa Democratic Party doesn't report vote counts. It reports State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs), predictions of who will attend the state-wide party convention.

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3 of 52 delegates in play in Iowa.

HuffPost counts unpledged delegates who have publicly stated their intent to vote for a candidate.

1,604 of 1,681 precincts reporting

Last updated: 

Iowa Republican Caucus

Republican voters in Iowa turned out in record numbers for the GOP caucus, showing strong support for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio finished a close third despite lagging well behind Donald Trump in the polls. Other candidates, like Jeb Bush, failed to gain traction with voters.

Des MoinesCedar RapidsDavenportDes MoinesCedar RapidsDavenport

Candidate Votes Delegates
Cruz ✓ 51,047 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump 44,837 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubio 42,577 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carson 17,173 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul 8,361 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

​•

Bush 5,165

0

Fiorina 3,442

0

Kasich 3,441

0

Huckabee 3,305

0

Christie 3,247

0

Santorum 1,768

0

Gilmore 12

0

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6 of 30 delegates in play in Iowa.

HuffPost counts unpledged delegates who have publicly stated their intent to vote for a candidate.

1,655 of 1,681 precincts reporting

Last updated: 

Mike Huckabee annouced that he has suspended his campaign.  With Upchuck Huck out of the race, it remains to be seen who else will bow out, if any, before the next round of primaries.  If you ask me, Gilmore, Santorum, and Fiorina should be bowing out next.

I won't go into an analysis as I am sure that TC will have the final results and his expert indepth analysis tomorrow.

BTW, a pollster here in Canada was asking people today about what they thought of Trump in the White House. Nationally, 65% of Canadians fear that, while 80% of British Columbians don't want Trump in the White House.  He sure isn't making many friends north of the 49th!

CBC — The protection of B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest is now assured, after a decade of complex negotiations between the province, First Nations and industry. 

Under terms of the agreement announced Monday morning by Premier Christy Clark, 85 per cent (3.1 million hectares) of the forested area of the northern wilderness will be completely — and permanently — protected from industrial logging.  

Great Bear Rainforest

Spirit bears are the best known part of the unique flora and fauna of the Great Bear Rainforest that will be protected under an agreement finalized in B.C. Monday. Spirit bears, also known as Kermode bears, are black bears with a unique genetic variation that gives them their cream-coloured fur. (Ian McAllister)

The Great Bear Rainforest stretches from B.C.'s Discovery Islands, north to Alaska's Tongass Rainforest. Along with Haida Gwaii, parts of which are protected under other agreements, it represents the largest tracts of intact temperate rainforest on Earth. It is home to numerous species of plant and animals, including old growth trees, orcas, grizzlies and spirit bears.

Moss-covered trees stand the test of time. (Photo: National Geographic)

From Common Dreams:

It is "one of the most visionary forest conservation plans on Earth," said Valerie Langer, solutions director at ForestEthics, one of the groups that signed on to the deal. "It is a principled approach that sets a new legal and science-based standard for sustaining healthy forests and maintains intact, old-growth that will keep millions of tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere."

As old growth tropical rainforests in the Philipines and Indonesia have been decimated to provided space for palm plantations, so has the old growth temperate rainforest in Canada been decimated for its lumber.  These are not replacable.  I am very happy with this agreement and the process of inclusion that struck the agreement.

Raw Story — The New York Daily News wasted no time ripping Donald Trump’s surprise loss in Monday’s Iowa Republican caucus.

trump

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is a full political science essay from the New York Daily News!  Do you think that the paper is not sold on Trump?

The New Yorker —  Democrats have some messy internal business to deal with: Bernie Sanders, promoting an American version of People Power, has confirmed his capture of the Party’s under-forty wing, which means trouble for Hillary Clinton.  

Speaking on CNN as it got late, David Axelrod, President Obama’s former campaign manager, made an acute point. One of Hillary’s problems is that her campaign is largely about herself—her experience, her electability, and her toughness. “I will keep doing what I have done my entire life,” she said in her non-victory speech. “I will keep standing up for you. I will keep fighting for you.” Sanders, on the other hand, rarely mentions himself in his speeches. His campaign is all about his message of taking American back from the billionaires. And as Axelrod pointed out, it is often easier to inspire people, particularly young people, with an uplifting theme than with a resumé.

Bernie might be older than Clinton, but he is younger!

My Universe

9d6ad78d-dc00-48d3-8aca-5162bc4a9fe7Celebrate the Great Bear Rainforest agreement!

 

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Jan 312016
 

I completed the Open Thread and went to save it only to get a message of an error, and the content went into cyber purgatory never to be seen again.  I wonder if it was something I said?  Yesterday was busy with teaching.  After finishing an ESL lesson, I tutoured grade 7 math and grade 3 English spelling.  By the time I arrived home at 20:30, the furbabies were ready to lynch me and I was too tired so no Open Thread yesterday.  Today has been much calmer, that is until I lost my thread.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — The poisoning of the majority-black population of the city is a product of a system failing the people of Flint on many levels over a long period of time. To really start unpacking the historical roots of the crisis, you have to go back to slavery itself, which debased the humanity and devalued the lives of black people from well before our nation's founding; followed by the Jim Crow era of legal segregation, discrimination, and violence against black Americans, which resulted in early 20th century migrations of black people from the segregated south to urban manufacturing centers of the northern United States. When they got there, they found cities without legal segregation, yet with de facto segregation and discrimination alive and well in both white attitudes and systems. The arrival and growth of black populations in northern cities was followed shortly thereafter by white flight to the suburbs, aided by discriminatory housing policies that effectively prevented the vast majority of black people from joining them and blocked the financing of black homes even in the cities.

I came across this piece and thought to share it and the following 28 minute video "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America".  Wallis talks of racism and white privilege as moral issues that are "…in the air that we breathe and the water we drink." At Politics Plus, we often talk about pseudo Christianity and authentic Christianity, especially as it relates to the political scene.  We talk also about white privilege and the political effects.  As Wallis says "So let's change the water — and the air."

Think Progress — The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

Another Republican nutter.

Mother Jones — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's presidential campaign never really caught steam. In Iowa, he's barely registering in the polls, and in New Hampshire (seemingly friendlier territory) he's generally in sixth place. So with the first votes fast approaching, he's settled on a strategy of attacking the non-Trump frontrunners, particularly Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as dishonest politicians who are lying to voters.

This from Pignocchio whose nose is so long that he would be unable to do a field sobriety test of touching his finger to the end of his nose!  That's rich!

Alternet — “It’s really frightening,” survivor Al Munzer told the newspaper. “When you see these mass rallies that Trump is able to attract, you really wonder: How are they buying into this message of hate?”

The most direct answer to Munzer’s question can be found in the words of Trump’s followers themselves, who aren’t so much buying into hate as they are enthusiastically supporting the guy boosting the hate and racism they already feel. For all his self-aggrandizement, even Donald Trump wouldn’t likely claim to have hypnotized his supporters. He’s merely speaking directly to a huge demographic of overwhelmingly white voters who want blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and others out of the country they believe belongs to them. This is what they mean by "making America great again."

We hear a lot of references to Adolf Hitler when talking about Trump and his racist, xenophobic ideas.  I am not enamoured of such talk, but some survivors of Hitler's final solution see distinct similarities.

Huffington Post — A veteran MP losing his voice to the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease found an innovative way to make himself heard in the House of Commons Wednesday.

mauril belanger

And Mauril Belanger made history in the process.

This is a story of perseverence and courage.  Mauril Bélanger, MP has represented Ottawa-Vanier for 20 years. Immediately following the Canadian federal election of 19/10/2015, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease.  Some thought he would step down, but that is not his style.  His voice is greatly affected so he has come up with an idea to allow him to continue.

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