Jan 282015
 

It’s day 84.  I’m writing and waiting for Store to door to deliver groceries, which I will then put away.  I’m feeling pretty tired, because my body is trying to revert to the old schedule, but I knew this would take time.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:34 (average 6:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Huffington Post: Punk rock band Dropkick Murphys is not happy with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

In fact, the band tweeted its members "literally hate" Walker, who used the band’s song "I’m Shipping Up to Boston" as intro music ahead of his speech at Saturday’s Iowa Freedom Summit.

Until I saw this, I had never heard of Dropkick Murphys. I became an instant fan, even though Punk Rock does nothing for me. Dropkick the Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan!

From YouTube: State rep threatens to reveal peers’ affairs / LGBT, Equality, Alabama

 

I would love to see her do it. Republican Family Values means only that Republicans love to intrude into YOUR family’s values.

From Think Progress: At least professionally, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office has already paid for filing murder charges against two cops who shot and killed a homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Just a day after DA Kari Brandenburg announced for the first time in recent memory that she would pursue criminal charges against cops for an on-duty deadly shooting, there was another police shooting in the city, which has seen a spate of fatal police shootings since 2010 at eight times the rate of New York City.

And when a prosecutor from Brandenburg’s office went to the scene and sought to attend an investigative briefing, as prosecutors had been doing for years as part of their collection of evidence, police wouldn’t let her in. They claimed that now that the DA’s office had filed criminal charges against a cop, they had a “conflict of interest” and should be excluded.

This is clearly abuse of police power and the officers responsible should be severely punished.

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Dec 272014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 52.  This is the only article, because I found very little content that I have not already covered.  However, I had the Christmas dinner mess to keep me occupied.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

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

Short Takes:

From NY Times: …They are, roughly speaking, the home equity loans of subprime auto. In these loans, which can last as long as two years or as little as a month, borrowers turn over the title of their cars in exchange for cash — typically a percentage of the cars’ estimated resale values…

…More than 1.1 million households in the United States used auto title loans in 2013, according to a survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — the first time the agency has included the loans in its annual survey.

Title loans are an increasingly prevalent form of high-cost, short-term credit in subprime finance, as regulators in a number of states crack down on payday loans.

For many borrowers, title loans, also sometimes known as motor-vehicle equity lines of credit or title pawns, are having ruinous financial consequences, causing owners to lose their vehicles and plunging them further into debt.

A review by The New York Times of more than three dozen loan agreements found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from nearly 80 percent to over 500 percent. While some loans come with terms of 30 days, many borrowers, unable to pay the full loan and interest payments, say that they are forced to renew the loans at the end of each month, incurring a new round of fees.

Click through for an in depth exposé of how super-rich Republican vulture capitalists, having been driven in disgrace from the sub-prime housing market, are now preying on gullible poor and middle class borrowers through title equity loans.

From SPLC: It has been quite the year at Hatewatch. We’ve identified those who hide in anonymity while financing the racist right. We’ve kept you abreast of events that have plotted the course of the antigovernment movement as it tries to make headway into the mainstream. And we’ve documented in detail the fallacies spread far and wide by major anti-LGBT leaders, especially as they move to advance their agenda abroad.

Before we take a break, we thought we’d give you something of a year in review—the posts on Hatewatch in 2014 that were the most pivotal in understanding the future of the radical right. But don’t worry, Hatewatch will return on Jan. 1, 2015 with more impactful coverage and analysis.

Click through for their year in review, because the SPLC does such fine work. They are an excellent resource.

From Crooks and Liars: Politico writer Jennifer Epstein is quite concerned about how often the President and First Lady attend church.

“The president’s Christian faith is not connected to or dependent upon anyone else’s beliefs about him, any particular policy issue, any moment in the news cycle or anything else,” DuBois said. “The president’s faith existed long before the While House and will continue after he closes the door to the White House for the last time.”

Critics say that wouldn’t be readily apparent from watching his public comings and goings. After disavowing his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and leaving Wright’s Chicago church during the 2008 campaign, Obama was widely expected to seek out a church in Washington that he’d attend with some frequency. Instead, he’s attended Sunday services only occasionally, visiting a patchwork of congregations 19 times in all since taking office, according to a POLITICO analysis of White House pool reports.

Evidently Epstein and her employer have failed to discern the difference between religion and faith.

I can really identify with this, because I have attended church zero times in the same time period. Is the true Christians the Republicans who attend church several times a week, but practices racism, intolerance and greed, or the people who try to reflect what Jesus taught, whether or not they reject organized churches?

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Nov 192014
 

As the clock ticks down to Barack Obama’s announcement of immigration reform by executive order, Republicans to continue to howl with such vigor that one might think that a democrat might have fed a hungry child.  Between howls they claim they that the President only has the authority to grant immunity from extradition on an individual, case-by-case basis.  See the picture below for the Republican alternative.  First lets see what Senate Democrats have to say.  They we’l1 take a stroll down memory lane.

1119GOPBorder

With the election safely over, congressional Democrats have regained their courage on immigration and are now urging President Obama to go ahead with an executive action on immigration reform. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that several Democratic leaders in the Senate sent today:

1119immigration_letter

The principle behind most of what Obama plans to do falls under the category of "prosecutorial discretion," which means he can decide where best to use the government’s limited law enforcement resources. Just like previous presidents, he can decide that resources should be directed in a certain way, which effectively means that certain immigrants will be free to stay in the country simply because no one will be targeting them for deportation…

Inserted from <Mother Jones>

To bring you recent history of immigration reform by executive action, Rachel Maddow provided superior coverage.

If the video will not load here, try its direct link.  I could not find it on YouTube, but someone may upload it there within a day or two.

There you have it.  The executive action Obama is planning is absolutely no different from the executive actions on immigration by GHW “We wish he’d worn a rubber!” Bush and the patron saint of the Republican Party, Saint Ronnie Ray Gun.  Where were the Republican howls of outrage when they did it?

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Nov 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 197, and more important, election day.  At this point, I think I can honestly say that I’ve done everything I possibly could to help influence the outcome, and now it’s time for me to do the one thing I hate doing most in politics: become a spectator.  Lets just hope that the Republican Party suffers from electile dysfunction, and that when it comes to turn out, they can’t get it up.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:31` (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip Pat A from Care2): …The header on this [Republican] mailing says "Your Voting Record is Public Information!"

Then, this ominous note: "The News and Observer reported last week that Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s operation plans to publish and share your voting records with your neighbors after this election."

That’s big news right there.  Raleigh has a newspaper?  But I digress.

The mailing continues…

"The Republican Party wanted to make you aware of this, so Reid and Obama don’t have the chance to embarrass you for staying home on election day."

And then… at the very bottom… is the (unintentional?) punchline…

…there’s a list with my wife’s name at the top and a note that she didn’t vote in 2010, but did in 2012.

Then, it lists the names of 4 of my neighbors, with notes showing whether they voted in 2010 and 2012.

Let me say that again.  They have the very voting record they say the scary and threatening president is going to send to my neighbors, and they’re sending it to my neighbors…

Click through for the whole story.  Have you ever seen a more classic example of criminal projection?

From NY Times: A stealthy coterie of difficult-to-trace outside groups is slipping tens of millions of dollars of attacks ads and negative automated telephone calls into the final days of the midterm campaign, helping fuel an unprecedented surge of last-minute spending on Senate races.

Much of the advertising is being timed to ensure that no voter will know who is paying for it until after the election on Tuesday. Some of the groups are “super PACs” that did not exist before Labor Day but have since spent heavily on political advertising, adding to the volatility of close Senate and House races.

Others formed earlier in the year but remained dormant until recently, reporting few or no contributions in recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, only to unleash six- and seven-figure advertising campaigns as Election Day draws near. Yet more spending is coming from nonprofit organizations with bland names that have popped up in recent weeks but appear to have no life beyond being a conduit for the ads.

Groups like B-PAC, supporting Joni Ernst, center, in Iowa, have poured millions into Senate races. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The groups’ last-minute fusillade of attacks helped push outside spending in races around the country to an average of at least $20 million a day last week. Total spending on Senate races reached $200 million in October alone, significantly more than in the same period before the 2010 midterms.

As much as the Times tries to paint the problem as bipartisan, click through and note that virtually all the examples are Republican.

From Think Progress: An federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity.

On Thursday, October 30, Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a ruling on American Humanist Association v. United States, a case that was brought by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Jason Holden, a federal prisoner. Holden pushed for the lawsuit because he wanted Humanism — which the AHA defines as “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces” — recognized as a religion so that his prison would allow for the creation of a Humanist study group. Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs in his decision, citing existing legal precedent and arguing that denying Humanists the same rights as groups such as Christianity would be a violation of the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which declares that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” the ruling read.

The decision highlights the unusual position of the Humanist community, which has tried for years to obtain the same legal rights as more traditional religious groups while simultaneously rebuking the existence of a god or gods. But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a “religion,” others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.

The Court correctly ruled what I’ve been saying all along. Atheism is a religion. In my opinion, it is the religion that requires the most faith of all.

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Oct 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 186.  I’m rushing to get this finished before I leave for my volunteer work in prison.

The Victims Impact meeting went very well, and my presentation was well received.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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As penance for missing it, I must say 513 Hail Peytons. :-)

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican Gov. John Kasich got a lot of attention on Monday for acknowledging reality when he said that Obamacare repeal is "not gonna happen." Then he went even deeper, saying that the "political or ideological" opposition to Obamacare—and, in particular, Medicaid expansion—doesn’t "hold water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives." Two thoughts spring to mind reading that. Either John Kasich has given up any presidential aspirations or Kasich is seeing a shift in his party away from Obamacare insanity.

As it turns out, it’s neither of those things, because Kasich immediately "clarified" his position.

"I don’t back Obamacare. I never have. I want it to be repealed," he told The Washington Post in a telephone interview. "If the House and the Senate [are Republican-controlled] and we have a Republican president, Obamacare will be repealed flat out. Flat out. And it will be replaced."

So much for "real improvements in people’s lives." But that’s not the best part. He goes full McConnell in his backtracking talk with Politico.

Even when one acknowledges the need to feign sanity, the need to suck … nevermind … for money requires that they goosestep first.

From NY Times: Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards were convicted and immediately jailed Wednesday for their roles in a deadly 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square that marked a bloody nadir in America’s war in Iraq.

A jury in Federal District Court found that the deaths of 17 Iraqis in the shooting, which began when a convoy of the guards suddenly began firing in a crowded intersection, was not a battlefield tragedy, but the result of a criminal act.

The justice here, although commendable, is incomplete, as long as the company exists in any form. Because it became known as the Republican Gestapo, it changed it’s name to Xe and then to Academi. as it remains as part of Constellis Holdings.

From Upworthy:

She’s already America’s sweetheart, and now she’s won an award for her anti-bullying work. As someone who was bullied herself, Julia Roberts can really relate to the teens she works with.

 

Kudos to Julia. And she’s right. It’s wrong to stand by and do nothing. But even worse, the Republican Party demands that bullying LGBT people is part of their right to religious expression.  How hateful!

Cartoon:

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Oct 232014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 185.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries, and then I need to prepare my materials for tomorrow’s prison volunteer day.  Tomorrow is also a high Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are at home in the nationally televised Thursday night worship with San Diego, and I’ll be in prison, far from a TV.  When I return home and find out what happened, I’ll have to do penance.  It would be nice to have to say 515 Hail Peytons.  I hope to get articles prepared before I leave, to crash when I get home, and to post them when I wake up.  We’ll see.  However, I will probably have only a Personal Update on Saturday.

Late (early) Update:  I crashed at the keyboard, before I ran out of work, and I just woke up. :-(

Condolences to Canada over your terrorist attacks by extreme conservative pseudo-Muslims.  Extreme conservative pseudo-Christians, like the the Theocon wing of the US Republican Party, would have us react out of hatred.  Do not follow their lead.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:02 (average 5:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Could you imagine what it must feel like to be the one on whose shoulders the language of your people depends?

 

Major Kudos to Marie. We have already trashed so much native culture irretrievably, that whatever can yet be preserved needs to be.

From The New Yorker: A controversial new bill in the Texas House of Representatives would require those running for governor to show proof of the minimum I.Q. necessary to perform the duties of the office.

If the bill were to become law, every politician in Texas with gubernatorial ambitions would be issued an I.D. card featuring his or her photo, current address, and performance on a state-administered I.Q. test.

Andy has to be mistaken. Didn’t they outlaw IQ there? Don’t they already arrest anything brighter than a turnip? Won’t the RNC just issue fake ID’s to Republicans?

From Daily Kos: It was one of the great unanswered questions of the 2014 campaign: How in the world would the uninspiring Mitch McConnell build "enthusiastic" crowds to bring his campaign across the finish line?

Now we know the answer—with a checkbook.

McConnell will pay expenses in return for ‘enthusiasm’ at events

The Kentucky Republican Party is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to join Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign bus tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at his events.

In exchange for transportation, meals, and lodging, the state GOP expects the lucky few chosen for the ride to "join local supporters in contributing to an enthusiastic atmosphere at each of his events."

I’d be overjoyed to attend a campaign event for Bought Bitch Mitch, and nobody would have to pay me to feign enthusiasm. Please pass the rotten eggs!!!

Cartoon:

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Now they’re campaigning to make it three times.

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Oct 192014
 

In spite of all the anti-Czar propaganda from the from the Republican Party in 2009, accusing Obama of using Czars to implement totalitarian rule, the Ebola problem, has caused a sudden shift on their part from having always been against Czars to having always been for Czars, accompanied by demands that Obama appoint an Ebola Czar.  Now that he has done so, they are beginning to shift back to having always been against Czars, and accusations that Obama has picked the wrong Czar.  Lets begin with the appointment.

1019KlainPresident Obama has asked Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to both Vice President Biden and former vice president Al Gore, as his Ebola response coordinator, according to a White House official.

"He will report directly to the president’s homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, and the president’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa," a White House official wrote in an e-mail.

Klain, 53, is a longtime Democratic operative who served as Biden’s chief of staff from 2009 to 2011 and as Gore’s from 1995 to 1999. He helped oversee the Democratic side in the 2000 presidential election recount as its lead lawyer, a role that Kevin Spacey portrayed in the HBO film "Recount."

CNN first reported the news Friday morning.

Obama has been under pressure from Republicans for weeks to appoint an "Ebola czar" to oversee the federal government’s overall effort to contain the disease. Thursday night, the president told reporters: "It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process, just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Personally, I consider this a good decision.  If Republicans and a few Democrats, who fear the NRA, had not kept is without a Surgeon General, the natural point person in such a situation, there would be no need.  Furthermore, the people who have been handling it are certainly qualified, but they have other things to do.  For instance, Obama is busy helping with the midterms, and a Republican takeover of the Senate would cause far more American deaths than Ebola will in the next two years  The Ebola threat requires a person, whose sole job is coordinating our national response. Klain had the organizational experience to coordinate professionals and the political acumen to produce results.

Rachel Maddow covered the Republican record on Czars, the history of Czars in America, what a Czar does, and what qualifies someone to be Czar.

If you cannot watch it here, try the MSNBC direct video link.  If you can’t watch it there, it may still be on YouTube.

One of the premier Republican objections is that Obama’s choice is not a doctor, which Rachel just disproved. 

Republicans, however, actually do have a “doctor”, who is also a Republican "expert" on Ebola. Rachel provided his credentials, after talking about other Republican Ebola scams.

If you also cannot watch this one here, try its MSNBC direct video link.  If you can’t watch it there, it may still be on YouTube.

To Czar or not to Czar?  Who, if anyone, would you prefer taking charge of the threat, Ron Klain, or Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named After Idiot?

Also, should we ban travel to and from Texas?

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