Nov 252015

I’m getting as much done early as I can, because I expect a very busy day.  Sometime this afternoon my interim prosthetic leg will arrive.  I will use it for about six months, shrink out of it, and have a new cup made.  Today I will take my first baby steps on two feet.  I also expect visits from PT and OT.  OT plans to help me use the shower.  I’ll just have to suffer through that.  Winking smile

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 there was a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.

The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections happen each year in the U.S., with the majority affecting 15 to 24-year-olds.

Reports of gonorrhea and syphilis also increased in 2014. There was a 2.8% increase in chlamydia since 2013, and reports of syphilis, which has three stages, increased for the most infectious stages of the disease by 15.1%.

One of the reasons for this rise in STDs is the war being waged on public health in this country over the last couple of decades.

The increase in STDs is in many ways a result of cuts in funding to public health clinics, Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC.

“Most recently, there have been significant erosions of state and local STD control programs,” Bolan said. “Most people don’t recognize that the direct clinical care of individuals with sexually transmitted diseases is supported by state and local funds and federal funds.”

This leads to men and women not getting tested and treated early, before further infections occur. As the CDC report notes, it’s not particularly economic to cut our public health and then have to pay it out on the other end.

This is a direct result of the Republican sequester.  Thanks, Republicans!

From The New YorkerIn an announcement on Monday morning, Pfizer, the big drug company, whose headquarters are on East 42nd Street, in Manhattan, said that it is merging with one of its competitors, Allergan PLC. Ian Read, a Scottish-born accountant who is Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said that the proposed deal, which is valued at a hundred and sixty billion dollars, would “create a leading global pharmaceutical company with the strength to research, discover and deliver more medicines and therapies to more people around the world.”

On Wall Street and in the world of big pharma, that statement will raise chuckles. It is widely acknowledged that the primary impetus for the deal is a financial one. In merging with Allergan, which is based in Dublin, Pfizer intends to move its corporate residency to Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is just 12.5 per cent, compared to thirty-five per cent for a company of its size in the United States. Over the next few years, the merger could save Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes and deprive the U.S. Treasury of the same amount.

Tax-driven deals of this nature are known as “inversions,” and they are becoming increasingly common. Burger King, Liberty Global, and Medtronic are among the U.S. corporations to have carried out mergers that moved their headquarters abroad. Last year, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that inversions were “wrong,” and that he would try and restrict them. Only last week, the Treasury Department issued some new administrative guidelines in this area. Without actual legislation, though, there isn’t very much the Obama Administration can do to prevent these exercises in corporate tax-dodging, and Republicans on Capitol Hill have displayed little eagerness to coöperate in a crackdown.

It’s simple. If a company wants to do business in our marketplace, they should have to pay taxes here. To make this happen we must flush the Republican Party.

From NY Times: For more than a year, a rare coalition of liberal groups and libertarian-minded conservatives has joined the Obama administration in pushing for the most significant liberalization of America’s criminal justice laws since the beginning of the drug war. That effort has had perhaps no ally more important than Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by a pair of brothers who are well-known conservative billionaires.

Now, as Congress works to turn those goals into legislation, that joint effort is facing its most significant test — over a House bill that Koch Industries says would make the criminal justice system fairer, but that the Justice Department says would make it significantly harder to prosecute corporate polluters, producers of tainted food and other white-collar criminals.

The tension among the unlikely allies emerged over the last week as the House Judiciary Committee, with bipartisan support, approved a package of bills intended to simplify the criminal code and reduce unnecessarily severe sentences.

This makes it crystal clear that Republicans really don’t give a damn about sentencing reform. They’re just using it to mask protecting big corporate criminals from responsibility for their crimes.



Nov 202015

It looks like I’ll have another busy day, as both OT and PT are coming this afternoon.   I took it easy this morning and only made two laps.

Short Takes:

From YouTube: Merkley decries Republican efforts to slip Wall St. favors into must-pass spending bills


Oregon leads the way! “Must-pass” spending bill s must not pass, until Republican attempts to enable Banksters to prey on YOU are removed.

From Daily Kos: Since the map went live, Oregon has gone green, so to speak, on this map. And so has Colorado. You red states? Keep on cringing and cowering.


I had no doubt that Oregon would go green and refuse to surrender to the Daesh and their helpers to spread terror, the Republican Party.

From Media Matters: O’Reilly Once Said Terror Attack Would Get Bush Reelected, Now Says It Would Tarnish Obama As Worst U.S. President.

Barf Bag Alert!!


Is there any question as to why I call him O’Lielly? He’s a senior propagandist for the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda, Faux Noise!



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 172015

Well Monday is done and Tuesday is upon us.  There was no ice in the morning but the rain was vicious all day.  In West Vancouver, there was some snow, and I am sure there was some snow in the mountains above me . . . I just couldn't see it because of the thick rain clouds.  It has been raining today but rain and wind should intensify later this afternoon. After I have my hair cut this afternoon, I just might stop for a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (my favourite) and relax with a book.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:56). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

7-3-0 .700 L1 10 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

6-4-0 .600 W1 7 948.50 844.04


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon

5-5-0 .500 W3 5 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

5-5-0 .500 L1 4 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-6-0 .400 L3 3 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-7-0 .300 L3 2 884.98 1,059.66


1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Daily Beast — A series of interviews with Ben Carson prove once again that foreign policy isn’t brain surgery. No, seriously.

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris on Friday, Ben Carson has done a great job showing the world just how little he knows about foreign policy over and over again.

Click through for the rest of this short piece, which is apparently much longer than Carson's foreign policy knowledge.  And this is the pseudo politician that many Republican voters want in the White House?  I wonder how long it will take Carson to call this question a "gotcha question" and start railing against the "liberal press" [snark]?

Huffington Post — A video of a father explaining the Paris attacks to his son has captured our hearts.

In Friday’s aftermath, French news broadcast Le Petit Journal interviewed the unnamed child to ask if he understood what happened in his city and why the shootings happened. “Yes, because they’re really, really mean,” the boy said. “Bad guys are not very nice.”

As the boy began to worry that his family would have to move, the father stepped in. “No, don’t worry. We don’t need to move out,” the dad said. “France is our home.”

Click through for the rest of the article and a video of the boy and his father.  It is a hanky moment to be sure.  the innocence of a child juxtaposed against the carnage of bombs.

And here is something I received from Wendy Kelly @ Care2 that is very moving.

The husband of a young woman who died in the horrific Terrorist Attacks in Paris has written a heartbreaking letter to her killers.

Antoine Leiris, a journalist at France Bleu, declared that he and their baby son would not live in fear of terrorists.

In the tragic note, titled 'You will not have my hatred' he wrote: "On Friday evening you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred.

"I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife is a wound in his heart.

"So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.

"You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You have lost. The player still plays.

"I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than 12 years ago.

"Of course I am devastated with grief, I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived.

"I know she will be with us every day and we will find each other in heaven with free souls which you will never have.

"Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back to [my son] who has just woken from his sleep.

"He is only just 17 months old, he is going to eat his snack just like every other day, then we are going to play like every other day and all his life this little boy will be happy and free.

"Because you will never have his hatred either."

These two fathers also remind me of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian medical doctor, now resident in Canada, who wrote the book I Shall Not Hate following the killing of three of his daughters by Israeli forces in Gaza some years ago.

The Atlantic — In the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, today’s Republican leaders either deny climate science outright or insist that any solution, as Marco Rubio recently claimed, “would have a devastating impact on our economy.” This has relegated the GOP to playing defense at the moment that President Obama is turning climate mitigation into a central pillar of his legacy and heading to Paris to broker a global climate agreement. Republicans have backed themselves into a losing climate position that not only reflects poor science, poor economics, and poor strategy, but also betrays enduring conservative principles.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I think the following statement from the article sums things up.  

"But what makes for good policy does not necessarily make for good politics."

Republicans are much more interested in ideology than in governing for the public good.  The Conservative government in Australia has approved the Carmichael coal mine backed by India's Adani Enterprises in central Queensland.  The COemissions alone outstripe many of the world's major cities.  And what it means to the Great Barrier Reef is past appalling.

aitgraphWhat it means to a world already facing increasing temperatures is more trouble.  2015 is set to be the hotest year on record and 2016 will likely follow.

My Universe — 

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 132015

Well, it has been raining all day.  Tonight, ferry sailings have been cancelled due to heavy seas, rain and wind warnings.  Believe me, it takes a lot to cancel a ferry sailing.  I was on a sailing years ago when cars were bouncing as much as 25 cm off the deck and then coming down with a thud.  Subsequent sailings were cancelled.  So here I sit with my little girl curled up at my feet, all warm and toasty and dry!  For us, at least half the weekend is supposed to be like this.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 4:46). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

The New Yorker — These are not abstractions. And this is where the arguments about the freedom of speech become most tone deaf. The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of one’s liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two current flashpoints.  But should they be flashpoints?  I don't think so . . . my freedoms end at the tip of my nose, while yours end at the tip of your nose.  The systemic racism and definition of rights in the US leaves me scratching my head.

Common Dreams — On September 21, Pah, a 16-year-old student at Oakland’s Street Academy, spoke out against the export of coal through the Port of Oakland to City Council members: “I’m opposed to this coal export because it will make my community in West Oakland sick. I support jobs, but not the kind of jobs that make us sick. There are clean job alternatives, like Community Choice energy, and this will be good for the health of my community. This is my generation; I want to have a healthy life.” 

Click through for the rest of the article.  A promising arrangement for greener and cheaper power.  What's not to like?  Living in British Columbia where power is controlled by a Crown Corporation and utilities are currently highly regulated, I wonder how such a system could work here, if at all.

Washington Post — Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I know that I cringe at the thoughts of a President Trump or a President Carson.  Neither is fit, in my mind, to be president.  But then, I don't think any of the current Republican aspirants is fit.

Mother Jones — One thing every Republican presidential candidate can agree on is that they hate President Barack Obama's plan to tackle climate change. Now Hillary Clinton might have a way to remedy one of their biggest concerns.

… Today Clinton produced her own $30 billion plan, which would use a smattering of tax incentives and grant funding to support public health, education, and entrepreneurial initiatives in coal communities from Appalachia to Wyoming. 

You can read the full plan here. It follows the lead of a similar but much smaller initiative Obama rolled out last month. Much of it is targeted at rebuilding infrastructure—highways, bridges, railroads, broadband networks. The Clinton campaign says that kind of development would not only create new jobs to replace those lost in the coal industry, but be vital for growing new industries.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I remember coal being delivered to my home, and later to the apartment building where I lived.  Unfortunately, our apartment was directly above the coal bin and coal dust was a part of life unfortunately.  But that was in the 1950s and 60s.  Coal has been in decline for years but politicians in coal states are mired in the coal dust of the past rather than looking forward to new opportunities.  It seems that Hillary has beat them to the punch!

My Universe Cuteness overload to usher in the weekend!

Yeah Weekend cat

Nov 122015

Well it poured rain last night, pinging off the rain spout at a ferocious rate.  I was very glad to be inside!  The rain continues this morning but not hard like last night.  Thanks to Lona who sent me a fresh supply of cat naps.  I availed myself of two yesterday which was good for the cold/cough.  Today is scheduled to be a low key day with laundry a prime concern.  Can't have a "furless" sasquatch!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:51 (average 6:11). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — To winnow the field of candidates who would hold the main stage in the second G.O.P. debate, in September, CNN had intended to use the average of national polls conducted over the summer. But after Carly Fiorina’s campaign complained that the method was unfair CNN changed its formula. The decision had very little to do with American democracy or social science. It had to do with the practice of American journalism. It would make better television if Fiorina was on the same stage as Trump, since he’d made comments about her appearance. (“Look at that face!” he said.)

“No one tells me what to say,” Trump had said in August. By September, on the defensive about Fiorina, he insisted—he knew—that he had the will of the people behind him. “If you look at the polls,” he said, “a lot of people like the way I talk.”

Donald Trump is a creature of the polls. He is his numbers. But he is only a sign of the times. Turning the press into pollsters has made American political culture Trumpian: frantic, volatile, shortsighted, sales-driven, and anti-democratic.

He kept his lead nearly till the end of October. “Do we love these polls?” he called out to a crowd in Iowa. “Somebody said, ‘You love polls.’ I said that’s only because I’ve been winning every single one of them. Right? Right? Every single poll.” Two days later, when he lost his lead in Iowa to Ben Carson, he’d grown doubtful: “I honestly think those polls are wrong.” By the week of the third G.O.P. debate, he’d fallen behind in a national CBS/NYT poll. “The thing with these polls, they’re all so different,” Trump said, mournfully. “It’s not very scientific.” 

This is a long but interesting article about polling and the reliance on and influence of polls in the electoral process. The uneducated mind may rely on polls too much as politicians may rely on them to inform their policy positions rather than listening to their constituents.  Click through for the rest of this article.

Think Progress — In August, New York-based Amalgamated Bank announced it would immediately raise its minimum pay to at least $15 an hour.

At the time, the bank noted that it was the first to make such an announcement. But it’s also committed to making sure more follow its lead.

The bank, which is owned by the union OPEIU, came to the $15 wage floor in the midst of contract negotiations with the union. The contract also specifies automatic 3 percent increases each year, ensuring annual raises for its workforce. “It’s a bold move,” said CEO Keith Mestrich. “We need to be bold like that.”

This is great news!  When I started as a teller, I was paid about $1.55 per hour.  That was 45 years ago.  But even then, I could not afford to share an apartment with rent of $250 per month.  Click through for the rest of the story.

Huffington Post — Republican presidential candidates debated once again on economic issues and offered some misleading takes on jobs, tax plans, immigrants and state budgets.

  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that “welders make more money than philosophers.” Actually, those with undergraduate degrees in philosophy earn a higher median income than welders.
  • Businessman Donald Trump said that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had forced out 1.5 million immigrants who were in the country illegally. The federal government claimed it was 1.3 million, but historians say that’s exaggerated.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the Tax Foundation calculated that his tax plan “costs less than virtually every other plan people have put up here, and yet it produces more growth.” But the foundation said Bobby Jindal’s and Rubio’s plans both would lead to higher gross domestic product growth over a decade.
  • Cruz also repeated the years-long falsehood that there’s a “congressional exemption” from Obamacare. Members of Congress and their staffs face additional requirements than other Americans, not fewer.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that his state has had “eight credit upgrades,” but two credit rating agencies moved the state to a “negative” outlook in February. And it faces a $117 million deficit in its most recent budget.
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he had cut his state budget by 11 percent during the 2001-2003 recession. Over his entire tenure, however, spending went up by 50 percent.
  • Jindal claimed that there were “more people working in Louisiana than ever before.” That’s wrong. There were fewer Louisianans working in September than there were in December 2014.
  • Huckabee said that Syrians make up only 20 percent of the refugees arriving in Europe. The figure is actually 52 percent for 2015.

Click through for the analysis of these claims.  I was very surprised when I didn't see statements from Fiorini reported. But then I saw the following article.

Think Progress — “We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation,” Fiorina told the debate audience, referring to an obscure bill intended to hobble federal agency action. Though it is unlikely that many people in the audience know what the REINS Act is, this bill has long been one of the top priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the primary lobbying group representing big business as a whole. Moreover, the bill has a fairly high chance of becoming law if Republicans gain control over both houses of Congress and the presidency. The bill passed the GOP-controlled House on multiple occasions.

The Congress is already known as the "do nothing Congress" and this would only make it worse.  This is an asinine suggestion from a business person who was a complete failure!  Click through for the remainder of the article about a bill that few know about.

My Universe — 

Nov 112015

I planned to watch the excrement flow, last night, but providence intervened.  Just as clowns were about to take the stage, I fell asleep and stayed that way for several hours.  While that’s great for my peace of mind, it leaves me having to rely on  others  reporting.

1111debateAfter weeks of personal sniping, the Republican presidential candidates clashed sharply over immigration and other policies in their debate here on Tuesday, with Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida trying to energize their campaigns by heaping scorn on Donald J. Trump’s plan to deport unauthorized immigrants.

In the most substantive Republican debate so far, Mr. Kasich and Mr. Bush, who have been fading in polls, presented themselves as experienced chief executives who had practical solutions to deal with national challenges like immigration. Yet Mr. Trump and another candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, inveighed against what they called amnesty and argued that undocumented workers were driving down Americans’ wages.

The splintering over immigration, in a campaign dominated so far by the personas, speeches and backgrounds of the candidates, illuminated the brightest dividing line between Republican hopefuls like Mr. Bush and Mr. Kasich, who favor a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and the many primary voters who have embraced Mr. Trump’s harsh language about immigrants in the country illegally.

While several other candidates, like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, received a pass from the moderators on immigration, Mr. Kasich took on the issue directly after Mr. Trump defended his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and to identify and deport some 11 million people..

Inserted from <NY Times>

Lets not forget that what Strike Three Bush and KKK Kasich consider “comprehensive” reform includes no path to citizenship.  The rest are just as bad as Hairball and Uncle Token.  They are just better at disguising their intent.

There was a lot for Democrats to like, also.

1111demlogoRepublicans weren’t the only ones watching Tuesday’s night Republican presidential debate on the Fox Business Network. Democrats were too, eager to find fodder to attack whomever emerges as the GOP nominee next year. “Sometimes I think that the Republican candidates forget it’s not just Republicans who are watching these debates,” said Democratic National Committee chairwomen Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, saying the candidates were exposed “pander[ing] to their Tea Party base.”

Here are six moments from last night’s debate most likely to end up in a Democratic attack ad next year:

No one wants to raise the minimum wage

Raising the minimum wage is widely popular, but all three Republican presidential candidates asked about it Tuesday night said they oppose raising the level. “Wages [are] too high,” Donald Trump said, suggesting wages actually needed to be lowered to create jobs. Dr. Ben Carson agreed, saying the current minimum wage hurts African Americans by limiting the number of entry-level jobs…

Inserted from <MSNBC>

Click through for the other five examples.

As expected, the clowns often made claims that were based on lies  .MSNBC’s Olivia Sterns breaks down the GOP reaction to issues such as taxes, immigration, minimum wage, jobs and health care during the debate.

Here’s another fact checking report.


Lying is what Republicans do beat..

The Young Turks gave us a excellent critique of the moderators.


All things considered, if  you watched it, I offer my profound sympathy.  If you believe what   they said, I strongly suggest that you get psychiatric care.

Nov 052015

I spent a good part of today watching the swearing in of the new Canadian government and getting excited about the possibilities.  I am planning an article about it but it is still largely in my head.  Later I indulged in some down time with my babes.  What a purr-fest we had.  Tomorrow I have physio so things will be a bit busier.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 4:02 (average 6:02). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Given that today is the day after the 2015 elections, I thought for some this picture might be appropriate, especially in Republican circles.  H/t to Ted W and Carol B @ Care2.

Short Takes

Alternet — "Given the nature of class politics in America. Given the fact that we have a corrupt campaign finance system," Sanders said. "Given that we have an economy that is rigged. The major point that I am making is that establishment politicians cannot make the kind of changes we need. You can't run a super PAC and take money from Wall Street and say, I'm going to take on Wall Street."

Unfortunately, I cannot embed the video of Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders.  Please click through for the interview video.  As Charles Koch said to Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough when he asked about political donations "I expect something in return."

International Business Times — One of Iran’s commercial airlines last week bought a U.K.-manufactured jet with the aim of using it to deliver Iranian soldiers and weapons to Syria in support of the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad, International Business Times has learned. The purchase of the aircraft by an Iranian concern represents a clear violation of the deal brokered by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, under which Iran pledged to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, said senior American officials and attorneys who handle issues associated with sanctions compliance.

“Temporary sanctions relief … currently in place does not cover the sale or lease of complete aircraft to Iran,” said Betsy Bourassa, a representative of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence within the Treasury Department in Washington. And a representative of the State Department told IBT that it was aware of the sale and is investigating the transaction.

Click through for the rest of the story.  In my mind, this does not bode well for the success of the Iran nuclear agreement, but we'll have to wait to find out the results of the State Department's investigation.  Are Republicans going to try to pillory John Kerry over the deal?  They sure do like political lynchings.

Think Progress — “This bill is about recognizing that the fossil fuel reserves that are on our public lands should be managed in the public interest, and the public interest is for us to help drive a transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy future,” Merkley said on a press call Tuesday. “We don’t have a lot of time to do this, so there’s an urgency to it, and a place that’s readily available for us to act is on the fossil fuels that are on our public lands.”

Merkley referenced findings from earlier this year that 80 percent of coal reserves — along with a third of global oil reserves and half of global natural gas reserves — should stay in the ground between now and 2050 in order to keep warming to 2°C, the limit that many scientists agree we need to stay below in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Banning new oil and gas leases on public lands, as the bill would do, would be a step towards this target.

This is as it should be.  Unfortunately, as Senator Merkley said, he isn't expecting much action because of Congressional leadership [or lack thereof].

My Universe — From the Animal Rescue Site — Some silly cats are confused and think they aren’t cats at all. 

Nov 042015

Well, many locales in the US had elections yesterday so I will be cruising the trades to see what happened.  One thing I did hear last night was that Kentucky elected Tea Partier Matt Bevin as governor.  What is in the water there???  McTurtle, Paul, Davis and now Bevin?  OMG!!!  On the other hand, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Canada this morning with a full cabinet.  But more on that later.  There's lots more going on so I best get at it.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 4:23 (average 6:10). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — House Republicans are pushing to give private debt collectors the right to target all unpaid tax bills, handing a traditional IRS responsibility over to an industry with a long record of consumer abuse.

I was aghast when I read this piece.  With approximately 79% of those owing taxes being low income taxpayers with no resources for taxes, perhaps the IRS should be going after the 21% who are not low income, including corporations and those that utilise off-shore havens.  Of course, that might necessitate some new policies and laws. . . . when pigs fly!

Mother Jones — Carson has repeatedly—including last year on Fox News—cited Skousen, who died in 2006, as the key to understanding what has happened in the United States over the past half-century. The most recent edition of Skousen's book trumpets Carson's endorsement on the front cover: "The Naked Communist lays out the whole progressive plan. It is unbelievable how fast it has been achieved." In 2007, the conservative National Review called Skousen an "all-around nutjob."


Click through for the rest of the article.  The video is 21 minutes but Carson's speech is about 14 minutes long. Although this speech was given in 2014, it is as valid today as it was then.  There is no doubt about it, Carson is a right wing nut job!

From the files of "You've Got to be Kidding!" — On Monday, the Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether Christian parents of homeschooled children have to follow basic educational standards or if they're allowed to keep their kids blissfully free of knowledge as they wait to be whisked off to heaven.

I might say "Only in Texas" but it seems Texas is not the only state that does not supervise home schooling.  Read the rest.  Bravo to the oldest child that tried to enroll in school herself.

The New Yorker — In an improbable development that few saw coming, on Tuesday night Senator Rand Paul lost his title as the most embarrassing thing about Kentucky.

I extend my condolences to you Edie, you and the 400,000 plus Kentuckians who will likely lose their health insurance.

My Universe — OK Nameless, you're not the only one who leaves the toilet lid up and whose cat drinks from the toilet!

Nov 032015

Today was rather cloudy, but DRY!  Last night there was snow on the North Shore mountains where many of the ski hills are located.  It has been cool but pleasant.  And best of all, no fireworks!  There are some stores already in full Christmas mode, and even some houses with Christmas lights.  Just a tad early, don't you think?  TC has had his surgery and is safely back.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:08 (average 5:11). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Fantasy Football — I almost forgot to post this!  Look at those Lefty Hillbillies rocket through the standings!

Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

6-2-0 .750 W1 10 803.58 582.02

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

5-3-0 .625 W3 9 706.08 656.50


5-3-0 .625 W1 8 768.02 645.58

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

5-3-0 .625 W2 7 757.20 629.68

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-4-0 .500 L1 6 713.14 806.38

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

4-4-0 .500 L1 5 720.58 727.18

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

4-4-0 .500 L2 4 715.46 715.80

Purple DemonPurple Demon

3-5-0 .375 W1 3 747.42 819.52

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-5-0 .375 L1 2 717.54 782.66


1-7-0 .125 L7 1 529.72 813.42

* Rank change shown is from week 7 – 8

Short Takes

CBC — Inside the unofficial think-tank of the U.S. Democratic party, the Liberals' winning election playbook is being analyzed and its lessons shared with left-leaning parties around the world.


One observer says prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau's decision to embrace deficits on the campaign trail could play well for some European parties. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Matt Browne has prepared a briefing paper on the Liberal win for allies in different countries where he's heard curiosity or seen applicable lessons — including the U.K., Denmark, Holland, France, Italy and Germany.

"It's been a pretty amazing week or so," Browne said in an interview. "Amongst the progressive community in particular, people have been trying to figure out what the lessons of this are."

He works on international partnerships at the Center for American Progress, founded and run by high-ranking figures in Democratic politics. Some of its senior members had met Trudeau and his team in opposition and they offered congratulations on the Liberal election victory.

Click through for the rest of this interesting article.  Sometimes it only takes one to dip his toe, and others will start to notice and maybe follow. We know that austerity has not worked, nor has US trickle-down economics worked.  But responsible investment in infrustructure, in the country and the people will work.

The New Yorker According to a format negotiated between the Republican National Committee and the television networks, future Presidential debates during the 2016 campaign will strictly forbid questions about things the candidates “said” or “did,” the R.N.C. confirmed on Monday.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the R.N.C., said that the deal addressed the candidates’ concerns about the previously broadcast debates, which he called “abusively fact-based.”

“In some cases, moderators were asking candidates questions about statements they made two or three weeks earlier,” Priebus said. “This new format will eliminate that kind of ancient history.”

Priebus said that the new format would satisfy not only the candidates but also Republican voters, many of whom have complained about moderators’ ”out-of-control obsession with verifiable information.”

“This is a Presidential debate,” Priebus said. “If people want facts, they can watch ‘Jeopardy.’ ”

Click through for the rest of the article.  Damn, Andy is straight reporting again!

Alternet — What the candidates are really protesting here isn’t the length or format of the debate. What they want is for the debate to resemble the echo chamber of Fox News and talk radio. They complain about the pressure to engage and confront one another, but isn’t that what debates are for? Ted Cruz wants sycophants to ask loaded questions that allow candidates to deliver rehearsed soliloquies, but that’s what stump speeches are for – debates are about forced collisions.

It’s revealing that amidst all the calls for protest and cancellations, the candidates agreed not to implement debate changes until after the upcoming Fox Business Network debate. According to the Washington Post, everyone in that room is “afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.” And they should be. Fox News is the fount of propaganda for the conservative movement. Fox is where candidates go to be fellated by know-nothing anchors who ask inane but friendly questions of GOP candidates.

Talk about the tail wagging the dog!  Click through for the remainder of the dog wagging.  The Republican Party is so fractured and so lame as evidenced by the conduct of the presidential candidates, I question whether the party can survive.

CBC — The decision by TransCanada was likely made for strategic reasons, said Michal Moore, an expert on the oil and gas industry with the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

Since no progress was being made, the company likely wanted to wait until Obama leaves office, in January 2017.

"With this pause in place, they literally can re-create the project or reimagine it and certainly revisit it in the presence of a new president," Moore said. "They've at least got some negotiating room later on, no matter who's elected president."

Keystone XL is an $8-billion project that would carry U.S. and Canadian oil to American refineries.

A new federal government was recently elected in Canada, oil is below $45 a barrel, and a U.S. presidential election is a year away. All of that seems to lead to the logical conclusion that the company wants to wait for more favourable climate, both economically and politically, said David Gantz, who teaches international trade law at the University of Arizona.

Click through for the remainder of the article.  As I started reading, I felt this request was likely a strategic move on the part of Trans Canada.  Mr Trudeau has stated that he is not in favour of the Embridge pipelines, nor tanker traffic on the coasts.  But he has not come out definitively against the Keystone XL.  With Hillary Clinton coming out against the Keystone XL, it could be that Trans Canada is waiting in hopes of a Republican in the White House. (God forbid!)

My Universe — 


This is how the world should be . . . how I want it to be!

Nov 022015

It is pouring rain right now and I can here wind gusts whipping around my building.  My babes are snuggled in bed together having feasted on fresh cooked cod, their 3rd favourite dinner after chicken and turkey (white meat only thank you very much).  I have managed 2 loads of laundry so the world is a safer place.  I have physio in the morning followed by teaching.  I think I can say that my cold is gone, but I still intend to indulge in some cat naps.  Thanks to Lona for the supply!  You're such a sweetheart for those cat naps.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:56 (average 5:02). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

The Guardian — Carol’s grim demise forms the plot of Unexpected, one of hundreds of evangelical Christian theatrical twists on haunted houses that are produced by American churches each year in the run-up to Halloween. They aim to scare the wayward on to the path of righteousness with a rather more serious question than “trick or treat?” – heaven or hell?

I was taken aback by the whole idea of churches promoting a hell house to offer twists on haunted houses before Hallowe'en.  And their goal . . . to scare people to Jesus.  I should preface my comment here.  I am a Christian, a very liberal Christian, but I will not stand infront of someone and tell them what to believe.  I will not be as the very conservative fundamentalist Christians in the US, and elsewhere, forcing my beliefs down the throats of others, and trying to legislate that faith as the faith of the nation.  What to believe is a very personal choice. Creating a climate of fear to "scare souls to Jesus" is ludicrous, and only adds to the general fear in society.  When fear is the motivator, no matter the area of life, then we stop listening to each other.

Mother Jones — The massive size of the fire trucks' engines, combined with their inefficient combustion in cold weather, means that the air reaching us is replete with fine and ultrafine particles—specks of waste at least 36 times finer than a grain of sand, often riddled with toxic combinations of sulfate, nitrate and ammonium ions, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Though we have long known that these tiny particles cause and exacerbate respiratory problems—like asthma and infections and cancers of the lungs—they are also suspected to contribute to a diverse range of disorders, from heart disease to obesity. And now cutting-edge research suggests that these particles play a role in some of humanity's most terrifying and mysterious illnesses: degenerative brain diseases.

The good news is that air pollution is one of the United States' greatest environmental success stories. Particle emissions have been dropping steadily since the 1970s, along with other pollutants governed by laws like the Clean Air Act. The EPA regulates levels of coarse- and fine-particle pollution, and two years ago it strengthened the national standards for fine particles. But there is still no regulation for ultrafine-particle pollution, here or in any other country. 

Click through for the rest of the article.  As I read this long but interesting article, I could not help but think of my mother, succumbing to dementia. For 40 years, she lived in a mill town where the rotten egg smell of the pulp and paper mill was always prevalent.  Add to that the ever present thick coating of greasey black ash which burned paint off of vehicles and buildings.  I can't help but find the information in the article compelling.  I remember several years ago reading about a town in Wisconsin (?) where whole neighbourhoods had higher than average cancer diagnois and death rates thought to be brought on by high toxic pollution in the river that runs by a Koch Industries plant. We know from their actions that Republicans don't give a tinker's damn about clean air and water if it comes at the expense of their profits.  Just read The Fall of King Coal which I posted here on 05/10/15 to look at profit versus people.  It is past time to demand more be done . . . to put people before profits.

Alternet — In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word “fascist”—the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)

fascist america

As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is, “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”

Click through for the rest of this interesting article.  The word "fascist" is thrown about a fair amount, but do we have the correct context and meaning?   For some, this discussion is not new.  For others, it may well be.

Think Progress — Ben Carson is seeking to rally Republican candidates to end most actual debating at future Republican debates. Instead, candidates would spend most of their time taking turns delivering speeches.

Click Rachel Maddow to see Friday's segment where Rachel explores the fallout from the last Republican debate and what is likely ahead.  She certainly does become very animated.

GOP candidates plot RNC mutiny over debates

Sorry, I can't embed the show as it isn't on YouTube yet.

My Universe —


I found IT!!!