Mar 102015
 

I’ve been up since about 4:00 AM, working on necessary tasks.  I’m waiting for Safeway.  They will be delivering my groceries sometime within the next four hours.  I have to stay up, until they get here.  Today is the last of the 70° days, but I can’t bask until I put my groceries away, either.  Tomorrow’s appointment will take all morning, so figure on a Personal Update only.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 6:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Some Republicans in Congress are calling for cuts to the Census Bureau’s budget that would impair the agency’s already strained ability to gather basic data.

An accurate census is essential to determining the correct number of representatives from each state, the effectiveness of voting laws and the allotment of federal aid to states. In fact, information from the census and other surveys by the bureau is crucial to anyone — policy makers and businesspeople, researchers and citizens — who wants to understand the United States, assess where it is headed and influence its course on the basis of hard data.

The White House has requested a slim $1.5 billion for the bureau for fiscal year 2016. Much of that would be for the 2020 census, the planning of which is already behind schedule because of previous budget cuts. Next year is critical for the testing of data-gathering technology; Congress’s failure to provide timely financing to try out hand-held computers before the 2010 census forced a last-minute reversion to paper forms, which proved costlier than an orderly roll out of the computers would have been.

Congress looks set to make the same mistake again.

There’s no mistake about it! With the Census Bureau starved tor funding, the people who will fall through the cracks, because they are not counter are the poor. Those are the people Republicans want to be under-represented.

From Alternet: Google could launch an effort to keep trolls and bad information at bay, with a program that would rank websites according to veracity, and sort results according to those rankings. Currently, the search engine ranks pages according to popularity, which means that pages containing unsubstantiated celebrity gossip or conspiracy theories, for example, show up very high.

New Scientist’s Hal Hodson reports on the proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score:

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.

Google has recently implemented a kind of Knowledge-Based Truth score lite with its medical search results. Now, doctors and real medical experts vet search results about health conditions, meaning anti-vaxx propaganda will not appear in the top results for a “measles” search, for instance.

Even though the former program is just in the research stage, some anti-science advocates are upset about the potential development, likely because their websites will become buried under content that is, well, true.

I fully hope Google does it. It would be catastrophic for the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and the entire Republican bubble machine.

From TPM: Even if Obamacare tax subsidies survive in the Supreme Court, a future president may have a lawful way of unilaterally blocking them, legal experts say.

The justices met privately on Friday, two days after contentious oral arguments, to cast their votes in King v. Burwell, a case about whether the text of the Affordable Care Act allows the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax subsidies to Americans in three-dozen states who buy insurance on the federally-run exchange.

There are three ways the justices could rule: 1) They could side with the plaintiffs and say the law unambiguously forbids the subsidies, in which case no president can provide them; 2) They could side with the government and say the law unambiguously authorizes the subsidies, in which case no president can deny them; 3) They could say the statute is ambiguous and therefore defer to the agency that implements it — in this case, the IRS — under the longstanding legal theory of "Chevron deference."

If Obamacare subsidies survive — still an "if" — it’ll likely be because the justices find the law ambiguous and defer to the agency. That’s the basis on which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, from which the Supreme Court took the case, upheld the federal exchange subsidies.

If that does turn out to be the third option, that’s all the more reason why Republicans must be denies the White House until pork is kosher.

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Mar 092015
 

I thought that the Republicans’ unfrequented act of sedition, the Butcher Bibi Show, marked the limit of how far the Republican Party would go in their unconstitutional sabotage of the President’s responsibility to conduct foreign policy.  I was wrong.  Now Republicans are actually reaching out and directly threatening a party to those negotiations.

0309Sedition

Republican senators warned Iran on Monday that any nuclear deal made with U.S. President Barack Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, in an unusual intervention into U.S. foreign policy-making.

The letter, signed by 46 U.S. senators, says Congress plays a role in ratifying international agreements and points out that Obama will leave office in January 2017, while many in Congress will remain in Washington long after that.

"We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei," the letter read.

"The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of an agreement at any time," it read.

The letter, first reported by Bloomberg News, followed a speech to a joint meeting of Congress last week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned that the United States was negotiating a "bad deal" with Tehran.

It comes as world powers have been negotiating with Iran to try to reach some form of understanding by the end of March before a final deal in June that could ease crippling sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

These Republicans are conducting their foreign sabotage the same way they do domestically: with lies.  Republicans know that they have a short time with a power advantage, because the outlook for 2016 is as favorable for Democrats as 2014 was for Republicans.  In all probability there will be Congress far more amenable to backing up the policies of a Democratic President.  How can I be confident that we will have a Democratic President?  We have no alternative.  If the Republicans win the White House, the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS will become the SS Six or Stranglehold Seven.  If that happens, America will be over.

As for the graphical question, it most assuredly is sedition.

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Mar 092015
 

This week is turning out to be quite busy already.  Wednesday, my normal grocery delivery day from Store to Door, I have an appointment I cannot change, so I have to get groceries from Safeway.com.  They are coming tomorrow, moving prep for that to today.  The kitty basking weather is winding down.  Only 58° forecast today.

Per Nameless’ Request:

0309FeetUp

i-feet.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:86).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: For all his partisan animus toward President Obama, it is still shocking to see the Senate’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, urge the nation’s governors to undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who seems to hold Mr. Obama personally responsible for what has been the decades-long decline of coal jobs in his state, expressed his defiance in an op-ed article [Bought Bitch delinked] Wednesday in The Lexington Herald-Leader.

The administration has proposed regulations aimed at limiting emissions. Mr. McConnell urged the governors not to cooperate with a joint rule-making process aimed at developing final regulations under which Washington will set emissions targets while giving states flexibility to implement them. Sabotaging this process, he says, will give the courts time to find the plan illegal or give the Senate time to figure out a way to block it. “Without your support,” he said, the administration “won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism.”

Bought Bitch Mitch is pursuing a plan that won’t help coal jobs. Mechanization is replacing many.  There are few left, because coal can’t compete.  Fracking has provided a surplus of unnatural gas, and the Saudis are flooding the market with cheap oil to forestall a shift to green energy.  The liar is trying to protect profits, not jobs.

From Alternet: The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries…

…The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders — which often requires lower wages  to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.

Of course the Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right about the Reich on the right, the Republican Reich, which is wrong by definition. Click through for more than this tiny taste about how RepubliCorp is screwing YOU.

From Crooks and Liars: Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver didn’t hold back when discussing the racist emails being sent by the Ferguson, MO police department and court officials which were discovered during the Department of Justice investigation of racial prejudice in the city’s police and judicial system.

 

It amazes me that Oliver can be so funny, while being spot on about racism at it’s worst.

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Mar 082015
 

As it does every year, springing forward fouled up my night’s sleep.  Worse yet, I’ll have to wait until an hour later, before I can go bask in the sun.  70° forecast.  Today’s plan is to het my articles up and try to unspring.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:23 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The Westboro Baptist Church, long-associated with their deranged and ugly protests at the funerals of US troops, have been thwarted in their attempt to ‘protest’ at the funeral of actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday. According to The Guardian:

The church posted a Twitter update lamenting its inability to picket the event, which it said was due to a lack of publicity over the location.

Awww…that’s a shame: the crazed, rancid bigots couldn’t make it.

Those poor Republicans! How awful it must be to stew in their own hatred!

From NY Times: Senator Rand Paul succeeded on Saturday in persuading the leadership of the Republican Party in Kentucky to help him resolve a predicament that could threaten his plans to run for president in 2016: a state law that prohibits candidates from appearing twice on the same ballot.

To avoid running afoul of the law, Mr. Paul asked the state party to suspend its presidential primary, scheduled for May next year, and hold a caucus instead, a decision the party’s executive committee adopted on Saturday. A caucus would help Mr. Paul in two ways. First, it is likely to be held well before May, meaning it could assist him in building his delegate count early in the Republican nominating contest. Second, because caucuses do not require actual ballots, it resolves the main legal question.

Mr. Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, has said that he intends to run for re-election while pursuing the Republican nomination for president. The move to a caucus system would relieve him of having to give up his seat.

A temporary rule to allow a Republican to break a permanent law is Republican SOP.

From Think Progress: Months after Attorney General Eric Holder launched an investigation of Ferguson Police Department in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, the Department of Justice released a 102-page report detailing systemic race discrimination and abuses of power in the embattled city. But despite the DOJ’s damning findings, the city’s mayor remains unconvinced that widespread problems exist.

“What they’ve shown is that it has happened. Now, how often has that happened? I don’t know. Their assertion is it happens regularly. Based on what? I’m not sure yet,” said Mayor James Knowles III, during an interview Friday. “Do they have a statistic that tells me that they’ve examined every arrest that we’ve made for the past four years and that half, or all, or 10 percent, or 5 percent are unconstitutional or without cause? They do not have that. They have not examined at that level that I know of at this point.”

He also maintains that there is “no proof” of gross civil rights violations.

Say what?!!?  There is equally no proof that the sun rises in the morning, that the Pope is Catholic or that bears shit in the woods. When is the next election in Ferguson? I trust there will be better voter turnout.

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Mar 072015
 

It seems that we can’t turn on the TV anymore without seeing a burning oil train polluting the environment, despoiling waterways,and threatening lives and property.  Unfortunately, what makes that all seem insignificant to the criminal corporations and corrupt politicians that allow Bakken  crude trains, is the huge profits they also carry.

0307train_oilA derailed oil train continues to burn in northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River town of Galena more than 24 hours after it crashed.

It is the third fiery derailment of trains carrying crude from the Bakken area of North Dakota in the past three weeks, raising more questions about the volatility of the oil and the safety of the tank cars used to transport crude.

No one was hurt when the BNSF Railway freight train derailed at about 1:20 p.m. Thursday in a hilly and heavily wooded area near where a tributary joins the Mississippi, about three miles south of Galena, IL.

In a statement, BNSF says 21 of the train’s 103 tank cars loaded with light Bakken crude left the tracks and at least five of them ruptured and caught fire. Witnesses reported seeing the fireball from miles away…

Inserted from <NPR>

After a long segue way, Rachel Maddow also reported this story.

The claim that this a controlled burn is a pure lie.  They have been cooling that car to prevent a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion).  The company is calling it a “controlled burn”.  Comparing a BLEVE to a controlled BURN is like comparing a KKK Republican to Mother Theresa.  Years ago, as a volunteer firefighter, I was using the stream from a 2 1/2” live too cool a propane tank adjacent a burning building to prevent a BLEVE.  I was about 100 feet away, and I was terrified.  I knew that, if that tank blew, my chances of survival were nil.  Compared to this, that was tiny.  I only hope that a one mile radius is far enough.  These are the new “safe” cars.  That’s another lie.

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Mar 052015
 

This is today’s only article, because I’m about to leave to exchange my cell phone.  The store isn’t far, but it tales a bus, a train and a half mile on foot to get there.  I’m ready for some rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Last week at CPAC potential Republican candidates were invoking President Ronald Reagan ad-nauseam. Ed Schultz asked Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to Reagan, how would Reagan have been treated at CPAC.

 

Republican Saint Ronnie Ray Gun is as much like the real Reagan as Republican Supply-side Jesus is like the real Jesus: not at all.

From Upworthy: He was upset when the police stopped him the first time. But by the 30th time, there was an ironic reason why he was downright embarrassed.

 

Somehow I suspect that the problem there is nowhere near as bad as it is on this side of the pond.

From The New Yorker: House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a joint session of Congress in April to hear an address by Kevin Laggett, a man who is on record as having hated President Obama in high school.

Boehner, who personally extended the invitation to Laggett, said that he did not consult with the President before contacting his high-school nemesis.

“This has nothing to do with the President,” Boehner said. “Many of us in Congress are very interested in what Mr. Laggett has to say.”

According to a source who attended high school with both men, Laggett’s antipathy for the President began when Obama was chosen over him for the post of sports editor on the school newspaper. “Kevin has totally despised him ever since,” the source said.

While I would not be surprised, if Andy’s satire were true, Agent Orange had far more devious reasons for inviting Butcher Bibi.

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Mar 012015
 

I’m running late today, because I had to collect all the data and prepare the graphics for tomorrow’s Monthly Report.  My helper did not show up yesterday either.  She probably had to work.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:29 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The pension woes in NJ are, to a great extent, the result of past governors’ actions, but IMO Christie owned it as of his 2011 law/union negotiation package (that he is trying to renege on this year).

His argument that "I don’t have to abid by my own agreement because my own agreement is unconstitutional!!!  Ha, ha, suck it, ya liberal union pensioners, gotta pay for dem tax cuts!" is a pretty bizarre argument for a lawyer/ex state’s attorney to make.

I don’t think it is going to fly. How’d you like this guy as your President?

Christie gets schooled by judge

In January, attorneys for the state argued that Christie could not make full payments because the 2011 law was violated a debt limitation clause and an appropriations clause in the state constitution.

But in today’s ruling, Jacobson said Christie "now takes the unusual position in this court of claiming that this legislative contractual guarantee, which embodied significant reforms for which he took substantial credit with great national fanfare, violates the New Jersey constitution."

Jacobson also ruled that the state must reimburse the unions for legal costs.

It’s a shame that they can’t charge PIGnocchio with the legal fees, instead of the NJ taxpayers.

From USA Today: Rand Paul won a high-profile straw poll for a third straight year Saturday, capping an annual conservative conference at which delegates argued about how to turn their ideas into a presidential victory in 2016.

The Kentucky senator carried 25.7% in the Conservative Political Action Conference poll, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished second with 21.4% — a closer-than-expected tally in this early test of political strength among conservative Republican activists.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, finished third with 11.5%, followed closely by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4%.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush — perhaps the most criticized candidate at this conservative conclave — finished fifth at 8.3%.

Other potential presidential candidates — including Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry — had less than 4% in the straw poll. Paul also won CPAC contests in 2013 and 2014.

This about what I’d expect from CPUKE. What a foul collection od sold souls they are!

From Right Wing Watch:

An anti-abortion panel at CPAC this afternoon was clearly gunning for a spot on the main stage next year. Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, and Darla St. Martin, co-executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, made the case that their movement is winning and that they can fill a room with activists.

Dannenfelser started the discussion by declaring that "abortion-centered feminism is dead."

The three credited their carefully formulated, incremental strategy that has brought them a slew of state-level victories cutting back on abortion access and pushing narrowly-tailored abortion bans meant to push back on Roe v. Wade in the courts while winning public opinion to their side.

I think these dress wearing Republicans are unworthy to be called women.

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