Apr 242017
 

I’m feeling slightly better than I did yesterday.  The pain when I cough is still excruciating, but I’m coughing less and was able to sleep.  Today, I put George on for the first time in two weeks.  The stretching hurt liked hell, but leaving Stumpy unconfined for so long was bringing back phantom pain.  Wendy and I got everything done yesterday, including the dreaded task.  This morning I scheduled my first cataract surgery for June 23.  There is light at the end of this tunnel.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:21 (average 4:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Unpopular orange blunt object of a President Donald Trump had a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni recently. It’s hard to screw up a press conference introduction but the wannabe tiny-handed model did just that.

Through the ages your country has been a beacon of artistic and scientific achievement. That continues today. From Venice to Florence, from Verdi to Pavarotti—friend of mine. Great friend of mine.—These bonds…   

As an American I want to jump out of a window every time he speaks as president. Not since George W. Bush came on the scene has someone seemed so thoroughly unimpressive. He’s also an insane liar and, as the Independent in England reports, Pavarotti’s widow and his family can’t stand the guy—and they don’t imagine their late great Luciano could either. [emphasis added]

To settle the issue, Peach Pinocchio could create an opportunity to meet with Luciano Pavarotti and discuss it. RESIST!!

From RFI: The deciding round of France’s presidential election will pitch Marine Le Pen, the 48-year-old inheritor of the leadership of the far-right National Front (FN) against Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former merchant banker and former economy minister who has never held elected office. What are the big differences in their programmes?

Sunday’s first round saw the candidates of the ruling Socialists, Benoît Hamon, and the mainstream right Republicans, François Fillon, eliminated, with the hard left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon close behind Fillon and way ahead of Hamon.

So, although Macron was a minister in the outgoing government and Le Pen’s FN has been on the political scene since 1972, neither represent a party that has held the presidency or run the country before.

Many Socialists and Republicans on Monday called for a vote for Macron to stop Le Pen, whose party is strongly anti-EU and anti-immigrant.

Click through for analysis of their policy differences. I can’t say that I’m thrilled with either, but I have to support Macron over Le Pen [R-FR]. RESIST!!

From Think Progress: It all started with Steve Doocy.

On July 6, 2016, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson sued Roger Ailes, alleging she was sexually harassed. The suit prompted an investigation of Ailes, his eventual firing, and a $20 million settlement for Carlson.

The investigation of Ailes, and the public standard it set for Fox News, set the precedent for the ouster of Bill O’Reilly last week, following numerous allegations of sexual harassment.

But Carlson’s problems with Ailes began when she complained to him about the conduct of Steve Doocy, her co-host on Fox & Friends.

According to Carlson’s complaint, Doocy “engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson.”

Doocy was not named as a defendant. But Carlson claimed Doocy created a “hostile work environment” by treating her in a “sexist and condescending way,” regarding her as a “blond female prop.”

The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda has always reflected the misogyny of the Republican Party by treating women as props, and many of the ones I used to call Faux Noise Bimbettes, knew they were being hired as eye candy and cashed in on it. Since then, I have learned that even a woman’s active participation in the discrimination against her does not keep her from being a victim. Doocy is just one of the Republican crowd there. Put Faux Noise and the Republican Party out of business. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Apr 162017
 

Well tomorrow is the 9th birthday of my two boys — Primo and Winnie.  We will have fresh roast chicken breast — their favourite —for dinner.  Of course they'll share the chicken with their sister and me, but only because I am the one who controls the chicken.  Here in Metro Vancouver, spring has really sprung — the fruit trees are all blooming, the daffodils, narcissus and forsythia are all out along with the tulip trees.  Tulip flowers are not quite out in bloom yet.  This year our spring is very late as our winter was colder,  longer and much snowier than usual.

Short Takes

Evening Standard — Donald Trump has demanded he is transported in the Queen’s gold carriage on his state visit to the UK – leaving security chiefs with a ‘monster’ operation to plan.

The White House has made it clear that the President expects the traditional state welcome of a carriage procession down the Mall with Her Majesty.

But security officials in London have warned that it would prove difficult to secure the area and will require an operation far greater than any other recent state visit.

According to a report in The Times, President Trump is adamant that he want the procession to be a part of his State visit – due to take place in October – despite his predecessor opting for a less traditional vehicle.   …

Thousands protested against the President’s state visit when it was announced in January and 1.8 million people signed a petition calling for the invitation to be retracted.

I have to admit that I was really piqued at Drumpf's audacity to "demand" the gold carriage and a parade down the Mall in London during his visit to Great Britain next October.  I am not a monarchist as such, but Drumpf on a state visit to Britain is, in my mind, out of the question.  If he wants to visit Theresa May and the government, that's up to them.  But The Narciccist-in-Chief has no business visiting the Queen.  If he does visit her, there will be some sort of gaff . . . after all, look what happened with Shinzo Abe during his vrecent isit to the US.

CBC — It took them long enough to get cracking. 

Now the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will likely pull off one of the smallest White House Easter Egg Rolls in decades as it continues to be beset with staffing shortages, reports of infighting and general tumult. 

The free event drew 37,000 Egg Roll lottery winners last year and regularly attracts at least 30,000 to the South Lawn of the presidential home in Washington, D.C.

This year, an aspirational turnout of 20,000 is projected to attend Monday, according to the New York Times.  …

"If the Egg Roll is not organized, if it's not welcoming, that will send a message about the White House itself."  …

Cecilia Glembocki, executive director of the Virginia Egg Council, poses between two egg ladies at a White House Easter Egg Roll. (Courtesy Cecilia Glembocki)

"People are always especially fascinated by the first one of a new administration because it reflects the style, interests, tastes, the vision of the first lady," Bates says. "Will Mrs. Trump have a big, gaudy, circus-like event?"

White House press secretary Sean Spicer played the part in 2008 during the last Easter Egg Roll for then-president George W. Bush.

Yet another SNAFU for the Drumpf administration.  If Sean Spicer plays the Easter Bunny, it will be a promotion for him — from blithering, incompetent idiot to Easter Bunny!  Easter at the White House — another great mess from the Drumpf administration. 

RobertReich.org — What’s the “Trump Doctrine” of foreign policy? At first glance, foreign policy under Trump seems inconsistent, arbitrary, and devoid of principle.

A few weeks ago, even before the airstrike on Syria, Trump communications director Mike Dubke told Trump’s assembled aides that international affairs presented a messaging challenge because the Trump administration lacks a coherent foreign policy. “There is no Trump doctrine,” Dubke declared. 

I think Dubke is being grossly unfair. Of course there’s a Trump Doctrine. You just have to know where to look for it. 

The Trump Doctrine began to emerge when Trump issued his travel bans (both the first and second) on predominantly Muslim countries.

But he notably excluded predominately Muslim countries where Trump has business interests.

So under what might be called the First Principle of the Trump Doctrine, people living in a predominantly Muslim country have a chance of entering the United States only if their country contains an edifice with Trump’s name on it.

Click through for the other 3 principles that Robert Reich lays out.  From my armchair, it is clear that Drumpf has no idea what he is doing in foreign policy . . . nowhere else either.  I remember during the 2012 election, Romney campaigned on being a successful businessman and he knew how to run the government like a business.  But government is NOT business and demands a lot of skills that don't necessarily get a work out in business, especially not business as practised by the likes of Romney and Drumpf.  Planning and organisation seems to be anathema to the Drumpf administration, and Drumpf's flip-flops rival Romney's in numbers.  Drumpf's only guiding principle seems to be GREED.

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Müzik sevdalısı, dünya tatlısı evladım benim 😊😺🎹♩

Posted by Sarper Duman on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 

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Apr 092017
 

I have been busy working on my mother's estate and getting ready to file her income taxes for last year.  Add teaching and physio and a few other things, life has been busy.  Now I have to arrange a visit to the dentist because I broke a tooth on Friday.  On the other hand, it is always a joy to come home to my three furbabes.

Short Takes

NY Times — Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on Friday to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, capping a political brawl that lasted for more than a year and tested constitutional norms inside the Capitol’s fraying upper chamber.

The moment was a triumph for President Trump, whose campaign appeal to reluctant Republicans last year rested in large part on his pledge to appoint another committed conservative to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. However rocky the first months of his administration may have been, Mr. Trump now has a lasting legacy: Judge Gorsuch, 49, could serve on the court for 30 years or more.

“As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution,” the president said.

The final tally was 54-45 in favor of confirmation.

The confirmation was also a vindication of the bare-knuckled strategy of Senate Republicans, who refused even to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick B. Garland, saying the choice of the next justice should belong to the next president.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Well, I think we all knew that Gorsuch would be confirmed if McConnell used the nuclear option and changed the Senate tradition of 60 votes for confirmation to SCOTUS to a simple majority.  McConnell did, and Gorsuch was. When the appointment is for life, in this case for at least 30 years, there should be a requirement for 60 votes to confirm.

Otherwords.org  Well in keeping with the above article, here is Khalil Bendib's take.

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

Strange fruit on the tree of liberty.

There will interesting times ahead with Gorsuch on the bench.

Otherwords.org If you didn't guess already, I am a fan of Khalil Bendib's work.  A picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe more.  With the failure of Drumpf's healthcare bill recently, he is beginning to tally up quite a list of failures.  Stay tuned for more!

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

Our "deal-maker" president isn't nearly as good as getting things done as he proclaimed.

And of course, before the healthcare failure, there was not one, but two attempts at banning Muslims from specific countries.  The first ban was quashed by Washington state US District Judge James Robart.  Of course, not to be outdone by a judge whom Drumpf castigated, Drumpf brought forward a second ban and it was shot down in spectacular fashion by Hawaii's US District Judge Derrick Watson.  Drumpf just tweaked the original ban and it was sent to the trash heap.  One can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig! 

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

You know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig.

YouTube — And now a few words from John Oliver.

 

John does have a way with words.

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Mar 252017
 

I had a very busy day yesterday being out of the house from 1130 hours until 2000 hours.  I was pooped and as a result, slept in this morning.  Now I can't sleep, but I tried!  Argh!!!

Short Takes

Washington Post — Republican leaders abruptly pulled their overhaul of the nation’s health-care system from the House floor on Friday, a dramatic defeat for President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan that leaves a major campaign promise unfulfilled and casts doubt on the Republican Party’s ability to govern.

The decision leaves President Barack Obama’s chief domestic achievement in place and raises questions about the GOP’s ability to advance other high-stakes priorities, including tax reform and infrastructure spending. Ryan (R-Wis.) remains without a signature accomplishment as speaker, and the defeat undermines Trump’s image as a skilled dealmaker willing to strike compromises to push his agenda forward. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump deflected any responsibility for the setback and instead blamed Democrats. “We couldn’t get one Democratic vote,” he said.   …

But the White House and House leaders both saw the key bloc as the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly three dozen hard-line conservatives who made numerous demands of the bill since January — including a flat repeal of the ACA, a major reworking of the GOP bill’s tax incentives and new Medicaid restrictions.

Click through to read about the spin being put on the health care debacle by Republicans.  Lyin' Ryan did a little bit of a Republican mea culpa but it rings very hollow.  When he says he wants the best for the people, don't believe it.

YouTubePRESIDENT TRUMP'S FULL STATEMENT AFTER GOP HEALTHCARE BILL IS PULLED 3 24 17  

NY Times — Mr. Trump blamed the failure of the G.O.P.’s health care bill on the Democrats.

This is misleading. Democrats have been united in their opposition since the beginning of the fight to repeal and replace the health law. But Republicans did not need Democratic support to pass their legislation.

Republicans needed 215 votes in the House to pass the bill. They have 237 out of the 435 seats, meaning they could afford only 22 party defections. Before the bill was pulled, 33 Republicans were opposed.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked if Mr. Trump ever tried courting Democratic members in the House.

Always fact check Drumpf!  But then, we already know that!

YouTube — The Truth Of Trump’s “I Alone Can Fix It” Canard | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

It seems that Drumpf was unable to fix the health care bill.  So much for his promise for better and cheaper health care for all.

The New Yorker — An able-bodied senior citizen who refuses to do anything but watch television receives three free government meals every day, according to reports.

The senior, who has three piping-hot meals wheeled up to him each day, reportedly has no intention of working and prefers to fill his hours watching cable news.

Even more outrageous, the recipient of the meals spends most weekends in Florida, where the flow of free government food continues without interruption.

Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of the Center for Benefit Reduction, a think tank that focuses on reducing federal benefits, called the individual’s consumption of free government meals “the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen.”

Why is it that this buffoon gets "Meals on Wheels" when other seniors won't because the Republicans are cutting Meals on Wheels from their proposed budget?

My Universe — This video is longer than most, but I found it funny.  Fortunately, I don't have this problem with my cats!

 

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Mar 222017
 

Another day, another nickel!  I am still feeling a little lost time wise since my mother passed.  I know things will right themselves before too long, if no other reason than I have taxes to do for the end of April, and of course I still have my mother's estate to prepare.  I am running into a few bumps in the road estate wise, but nothing I can't handle.  The rest of the week is busy but I hope to be back with another OT.

Short Takes

YouTube — Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – World War Trump (HBO) March 15, 2017              

The Atlantic — As it turns out, this was only a warm-up for the dual press conference the two leaders held later Friday afternoon, during which Merkel stood beside Trump as he ridiculed a German reporter, lied about his statements on his baseless conspiracy theory that President Obama surveilled him, and refused to back down on claims that have set off a diplomatic incident with the United Kingdom.

The fact that it might be a tense conversation was clear from the two leaders’ opening statements. Trump, during his, once again complained about the cost of NATO. “I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost defense,” he said. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”

As for Merkel, she used her own statement to issue a veiled scolding for Trump, who previously said she was “ruining” Germany with a “catastrophic mistake” of an open-door refugee policy. “I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this,” Merkel said.  …

During the press conference, the American journalist Mark Halperin asked Merkel a question about whether she thought Trump’s “different style” than past president was good for the world. The chancellor gamely tried to answer.

“For Germany I can say, well people are different, people have different abilities, different traits of character, have different origins, have found their way into politics along different pathways,” she said through a translator. “Which, well, that is diversity, which is good! Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromises, but that’s what we’ve been elected for.”

The fact that Merkel had to work hard to say something diplomatic in response to such a softball question said a great deal about the press conference. But give the chancellor credit for effort—Trump didn’t even bother to try diplomacy.

Drumpf knows nothing of diplomacy.  He is like the proverbial "bull in a china shop" and it is quite obvious that he doesn't care.  The National Post ran an article in which it recorded the following,

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to NATO and the U.S. "must be paid more" for providing defence, reiterating his stance that European allies need to end their part of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance."

It is quite clear that Drumpf does not know or understand the funding formula that was agreed upon in previous years.  The NATO agreement was signed on 4 April 1949 and constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.  I probably know more about NATO than Drumpf does, and that can't be good.  In the picture, this handshake is the most awkward looking handshake.  Drumpf looks like a downright nasty beast.

msn.com (USA Today) — The Pleasant Run Elementary students had just won a robotics challenge at Plainfield High School, and the students — new to bot competition this year — were one step closer to the Vex IQ State Championship.

The team is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds. Two are African American and three are Latino.

As the group, called the Pleasant Run PantherBots, and their parents left the challenge last month in Plainfield, Ind., competing students from other Indianapolis-area schools and their parents were waiting for them in the parking lot.

“Go back to Mexico!” two or three kids screamed at their brown-skin peers and their parents, according to some who were there.

More despicable behaviour as a result of Drumpf's targeting of minorities.  What well adjusted young people that are putting the hate behind them and enjoying the learning experience and the competition.

Washington Post — On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

James B. Comey — the FBI director whom Trump celebrated on the campaign trail as a gutsy and honorable “Crooked Hillary” truth-teller — testified under oath Monday what many Americans had already assumed: Trump had falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping his headquarters during last year’s campaign.

Trump did not merely allege that former president Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, of course. He asserted it as fact, and then reasserted it, and then insisted that forthcoming evidence would prove him right.

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.  

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

I'll bet that "He was wrong." was hard to swallow for narcissistic Drumpf!  . . . or did he really hear and understand it?  Will he demand Comey's resignation?  Who knows.  My bet says he will bring it up again.  . . . and again . . . and again.  He doesn't know when to quit!  After all the Monday drama, in dire need of some adulation to feed his narcissistic soul, Drumpf headed out to Missouri for yet another rally that is nothing more than a love fest so his supporters thinking he is looking after them.  Or should I say to fleece his flock?! 

YouTube — The Most Telling Thing About the FBI’s Probe into Trump | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ  

Keith hits it out of the park, doesn't he!

YouTube — The Only True Surprise? Trump’s an Idiot | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Another fine piece by Keith.  "These people are idiots!"  Truer words have not been spoken!

 

Resist and Persist!!!

 

My Universe — This gives new meaning to going postal!

 

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Mar 172017
 

Happy St Paddy's Day

Well tomorrow is St Paddy's Day and the green beer and blarney will be overflowing.  You certainly should be familiar with blarney after listening to Drumpfenfarten and his minions.  So dust off your dancing shoes because tomorrow it is time for an Irish jig!

Jig Zone Puzzle — It took me 4:43 (average 7:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I enjoy doing these puzzles so much that I thought I'd throw one in from time to time.  I will be choosing a puzzle that we haven't, to the best of my memory, had before.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — Notching the first major achievement of his Presidency, Donald Trump has broken the world record for unconstitutional travel bans, the White House confirmed on Wednesday.

In an official statement announcing the new world record, the White House called Trump’s second unconstitutional ban “especially impressive” because it came only thirty-eight days after his first.

PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIER DOULIERY / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY

“In addition to the world record for unconstitutional travel bans, President Trump has also smashed the speed record for signing them,” the statement read.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, touted the new world record in a press briefing that sometimes resembled a victory lap.

“After the first unconstitutional travel ban, a lot of people questioned whether the President could follow it up with another unconstitutional one so quickly,” a gloating Spicer said. “I think he silenced a lot of doubters today.”

Does Drumpf do anything that is not unconstitutional!  This smells a lot like straight reporting Andy!

OtherWords.org —

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

Khalil Bendib/ OtherWords.org

Having only recently discovered Khalil Bendib's work, I find it quite good and as JD remarked on the last one, worth more than a thousand words.

Common Dreams — Just as his unverified wiretapping claims were seemingly dispelled, President Donald Trump stuck his foot further in the mire and is now facing accusations he may have let slip highly classified information during a televised interview Wednesday evening.

When asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson why he hasn't gone to the agencies he is "in charge of," to "gather evidence" to support his claim that President Barack Obama tapped Trump Tower, Trump said: "Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency. You know we have enough problems. And, by the way, the CIA—I just want people to know—the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken. That was during the Obama years. That was not during us."

That information, it appears, was not for the public.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which has asked the administration to provide evidence of the alleged tap, accused Trump of "leaking" classified information.

Click through for the rest of the read.  Drumpfenfarten would argue red is green, and green is red.  He hasn't a clue what he is talking about.  Evidence?  I doubt there is any that is credible, and the ravings of a twitterhead should not be considered credible.  Even members of his own party are calling him out.

Huffington Post — A presidential budget isn’t so much a policy proposal as a statement of an administration’s moral vision for the country. The budget presented by President Donald Trump on Thursday is a document fundamentally unconcerned with the government’s role in improving the plight of its most vulnerable citizens.

That message is clear in the budget’s topline proposals and its deeper details. Trump calls for a $54 billion boost in defense spending and immigration enforcement. More border patrol agents, more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, more fighter jets that don’t work, and a border wall with Mexico. To offset those fresh expenses, he wants to take an ax to a host of anti-poverty programs ― everything from public housing to food programs helping elderly people with disabilities.

This was an ideological choice. When explaining why it would eliminate a $35 million affordable housing program, the administration declared the endeavor simply wasn’t the government’s business: “This program is duplicative of efforts funded by philanthropy and other more flexible private sector investments.”  …

That Trump’s budget is devoid of even modest nods to social welfare is not something that the administration is trying to hide. Instead, they’ve turned the argument on its head. At a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was asked how he could justify cutting programs for the elderly and the poor while ramping up spending in other areas. In response, he insisted that, on the contrary, taking food from the mouths of hungry children should be seen as an act of “compassion." 

“I think it’s one of the most compassionate things we can do,” Mulvaney said, referring to reducing anti-poverty spending. The government, he declared, has an urgent moral priority to ensure that “the single mom of two in Detroit” doesn’t pay for programs that don’t serve “a proper function.”

For a so called moral document, this budget is very immoral!  Since when does taking food from hungry children constitute compassion?  And Meals on Wheels benefits the elderly and those with disabilities who cannot get out. It is also a social lifeline and contributes to better health outcomes.  This administration is morally bankrupt and the budget proposal proves it.  I wonder if the Republican Congress will  rubber stampthe proposal.  There are indications that not all are onboard the Drumpfenfarten train.

 

 

 

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