Jul 212015
 

I’m getting a late start on a busy day.  The forecast high is only 80°, but the building is still retaining the heat.  Since tomorrow should be only 75°, I thing it will make the difference.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day, so I have some cleaning to do.  They just called for my order, and I reminded them to keep track of it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:38 (average 5:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In its unending desire to mollify its intolerant, bigoted base, the GOP appears ready and willing to throw single women under the bus, along with the same-sex couples whom we already know they hate. 

In wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, Republicans are pushing legislation that aims to protect Americans who oppose these unions on religious grounds. But critics say the language is so broad, the bill creates a license to discriminate that would let employers fire women for getting pregnant outside of wedlock.

The legislation, already with 130 Republican sponsors in the House and a companion bill in the Senate, is nobly titled the "First Amendment Defense Act," but in real-world terms it has less to do with the free "exercise" of speech or religion, but with the right to impose one’s bigotry (end economic power) on others, using "religion" as a fig leaf.

In GOPerville, women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant, unless the woman is not owned by a man.

From NY Times: The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress.

The 15-to-0 vote for approval of the resolution — 104 pages long including annexes and lists — was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.

There are two sides to this issue. On one is Benjamin "Butcher Bibi" Netanyahu (R-IS) and his Republican lackeys in Congress. On the other is the rest of the world.

From Right Wing Watch: Last week, John Hagee hosted his annual Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, D.C and during the event, Matthew Hagee conducted a short interview with Rep. Louie Gohmert about the recent nuclear agreement that the United States and several other nations struck with Iran.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

If Go-Go Goosestep Gohmert and his Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian allies are successful in preventing this peace accord and placing this nation of the path to war, their "god" who will get the glory has cloven hooves, a pointy tail, and a pitch fork.

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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 032015
 

It’s already turning into one of those weeks, where I get to put two pounds of you know what in a one pound bag.  I won’t be covering the Butcher Bibi Show until tomorrow, as I have had insufficient time to research it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:42),  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: The execution of the only woman on Georgia’s death row was postponed late Monday because of a problem with the lethal-injection drugs. Kelly Gissendaner was waiting to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court would halt her execution when the Georgia Department of Corrections called it off about 11 p.m.

"Prior to the execution, the drugs were sent to an independent lab for testing of potency," the agency said. "The drugs fell within the acceptable testing limits."

But, officials said, in the hours leading up to the execution, the chemicals appeared cloudy.

This only a temporary reprieve from this barbaric state-sponsored murder.

From The New Yorker: On the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress, House Speaker John Boehner used a joint press conference to praise Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him “our closest and most important ally in the fight against President Obama.”

“Even as the President threatens us with provocative acts, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support for us has been unwavering,” Boehner said. “He understands what many of us have long known: that peace with this enemy can only be achieved through total victory.”

Netanyahu had equally high praise for Boehner, saying that “no one has been more steadfast and dedicated in the struggle against your President.”

“This foe is not to be trusted or appeased,” Netanyahu said. “Your resolute refusal to find any common ground with him whatsoever has earned my undying respect.”

As the press conference drew to a conclusion, Boehner appeared to fight back tears as he called Netanyahu “a brother in arms” in the ongoing hostilities with Obama.

Of course neither actually said that, but Andy seems to have X-Ray vision to see between their ears.

From Upworthy: When extreme belief systems are allowed to dictate our laws, it’s not difficult to end up in this kind of situation.

 

Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians azre fighting to make the US like the Philippines and El Salvador. Kudos to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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Jan 042015
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 60.  Both today and tomorrow are high holy days in the Chur4ch of the Ellipsoid Orb, but my Broncos have Wildcard Week off, due to their superior play.  I’m running late, because I actually slept seven hours in two installments, between 2 AM and Noon.

Jig Zone Player:

Today’s took me 4:08 (average 6:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Huffington Post: Federal regulators are expected to vote next month on rules to govern how Internet service providers deal with the flow of content on their high-speed networks.

The five-member Federal Communications Commission will consider then a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler on so-called net neutrality rules, agency spokeswoman Kim Hart said Friday. She was confirming reports in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on the planned timing of the vote. Details of the draft proposal weren’t disclosed.

President Barack Obama has asked the FCC to put Internet service providers under the same rules as those imposed on telephone companies 80 years ago. The aim is to protect net neutrality, the concept that everyone with an Internet connection should have equal access to all legal content online, including video, music, email, photos, social networks and maps.

Obama has this issue exactly right.

From Baltimore Sun: It was a dead rat the detective found on his windshield of his Toyota Corolla on a fall morning, the corpse peeking out from under the windshield wiper — a sign, he thought, that his colleagues in the department saw him as a snitch.

Detective Joseph Crystal had been in contact with prosecutors who eventually filed charges against his sergeant and another officer in connection with the beating of a drug suspect. The rat appeared a few weeks later.

This officer must be praying that he does not need backup in the future. He knows his brother officers will hang him out to die, because he broke the code by failing to help cover up a fellow officer’s crime. This underlines the need for citizen review boards that protect the identity of officers who testify honestly.

From Washington Post: Legislators in the 24 states where Republicans now hold total control plan to push a series of aggressive policy initiatives in the coming year aimed at limiting the power of the federal government and rekindling the culture wars.

The unprecedented breadth of the Republican majority — the party now controls 31 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislative chambers — all but guarantees a new tide of conservative laws. Republicans plan to launch a fresh assault on the Common Core education standards, press abortion regulations, cut personal and corporate income taxes and take up dozens of measures challenging the power of labor unions and the Environmental Protection Agency.

No doubt I’ll have lots of issues about which to write in the coming year. I wish that were not so. Because of the thousands of victims they will kill and impoverish in the process.

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Jan 022015
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 58.  I spent most of the day collecting the data for our Monthly Report, which I planned to write.  Then I remembered that today The Oregon Ducks were playing the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS semifinals, and I decided to take the rest of the day off.  Therefore, this is tomorrow’s only article, but I’m pleased to announce that the Ducks, who so many experts said are not strong enough to compete with a physical team like the Seminoles, clobbered them 59 – 20. :-)

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Nearly 20 months after Maryland abolished capital punishment, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday that he would empty the state’s death row by commuting the sentences of four inmates who were awaiting execution.

What I thought was the sound of the wind, here in Oregon, was the howling of Maryland Republicans mourning their inability to murder the last four.

From Huffington Post: At least six people have been jailed in Texas over the past two years for owing money on payday loans, according to a damning new analysis of public court records.

The economic advocacy group Texas Appleseed found that more than 1,500 debtors have been hit with criminal charges in the state — even though Texas enacted a law in 2012 explicitly prohibiting lenders from using criminal charges to collect debts.

According to Appleseed’s review, 1,576 criminal complaints were issued against debtors in eight Texas counties between 2012 and 2014. These complaints were often filed by courts with minimal review and based solely on the payday lender’s word and frequently flimsy evidence.

Leave it to Texas Republicans to assist 1% predators to illegally deprive victims of freedom.

From Slate: The Supreme Court adds more sectarian religion to our lives.

In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court’s five conservatives ruled that legislative sessions in town council meetings can open with explicitly sectarian prayers. Almost immediately, town boards began inviting Christians to speak at their meetings while excluding speakers of minority faiths (and, naturally, atheists). In short order the Galloway majority’s gauzy vision of pluralistic civic tolerance began to look a lot more like a governmental endorsement of Christianity at the expense of minority religions. Increasingly, to the conservatives of the Roberts court, “religious liberty” means the freedom of religious majorities to push their religious beliefs on the rest of us.

This is just what Slate considers the least horrid of the ten worst Republican civil liberties violations of 2014. Click through for the other nine.

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Dec 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 56, and it’s the last Open Thread of 2014.  It’s also cold enough in Portland to freeze the kitty dingles off a brass TomCat!

Jig Zoned Puzzle:

Today‘s took me 5:32 (average 6:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Move-on: As we head into 2015, it’s important to remember how quickly change that once seemed radical becomes inevitable when enough people make a ruckus!

Please watch Robert Reich’s uplifting summary of 2014, and then share it as a New Year’s greeting with family and friends:

 

If you have friends who didn’t vote, tie them in a chair, tape their eyes open, and show them why the Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right!  The Reich on the right, The Republican Reich is wrong!

From The New Yorker: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Tuesday that he would introduce a new bill requiring clearer labelling of white supremacists.

The White Supremacist Labelling Act of 2015 would require white supremacists to wear 4-inch-by-6-inch name tags clearly designating them as members of an official hate group.

“Right now, it’s impossible to tell the difference between neo-Nazis and collectors of WWII memorabilia,” Scalise said.

The Louisiana congressman said that proper labelling for white supremacists should make it easier for lawmakers to know what kind of organizations they are addressing in the future.

Right on Andy, but shouldn’t he think the sheets and hoods might have been considered a hint?

From NY Times: It was one of Capitol Hill’s most salacious scandals, featuring a senator’s affair with a campaign aide, an outraged husband, tens of thousands of dollars in hush money, illicit lobbying deals with Las Vegas power brokers and a dramatic intervention by a leading Christian ministry.

Now, three years after the fall of former Senator John E. Ensign of Nevada, thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents reveal new details about the evidence the F.B.I. gathered against Mr. Ensign, who briefly flirted with running for president in 2012. The documents, which show that Mr. Ensign’s behavior was more brash than known at the time, also offer new specifics about the intense debate within the Justice Department over the decision to not prosecute Mr. Ensign, despite an aggressive F.B.I. investigation into the scandal.

Although the broad outlines of the case against Mr. Ensign have been made public, the documents disclose for the first time how much Mr. Ensign strong-armed political donors and business associates in 2008 to find lobbying work for Douglas Hampton, a top aide and close friend. Mr. Ensign was seeking the work in an attempt to placate Mr. Hampton because Mr. Ensign had an affair with Mr. Hampton’s wife, Cynthia Hampton, a campaign aide.

If you remember, The Republican Senators and Reps living at and involved with C-Street, part of The Fellowship, were helping Ensign try to cover up this scandal at the same time they were drafting legislation to impose the death penalty in Uganda for being gay. Fortunately that failed, because it was intended to be a test bed to work out the kinks, before employing it here.  Fortunately they had to back off it, because we on the left exposed what they were doing.

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Dec 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 55.  We have more bad weather coming in, the kind that sets off my COPD.  In addition to a high wind warning, it may be a couple days before we see the warm side of 32°.  That may not seem bad, but here, temperatures below 32° are unusual.  Not getting above it is extreme.  It’s also such a dead news day that MSNBC has “Lockup” on in prime time.  This is today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:09 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here is the final report of the season for our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

17Playoffs

What can I say? CAT is where it’s AT!! :-)  We had a fun season and will be back next year.  We’ll have room for a couple more players, so, if you’d like to play next season, please let me know.  Congrats to all who played!

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Suppose that for some reason you decided to start hitting yourself in the head, repeatedly, with a baseball bat. You’d feel pretty bad. Correspondingly, you’d probably feel a lot better if and when you finally stopped. What would that improvement in your condition tell you?

It certainly wouldn’t imply that hitting yourself in the head was a good idea. It would, however, be an indication that the pain you were experiencing wasn’t a reflection of anything fundamentally wrong with your health. Your head wasn’t hurting because you were sick; it was hurting because you kept hitting it with that baseball bat.

And now you understand the basics of what has been happening to several major economies, including the United States, over the past few years. In fact, you understand these basics better than many politicians and commentators.

This another excellent Paul Krugman editorial. Click through fpr an explanation of his economic optimism.

From Daily Kos: The U.S. Senate has courageously just stood up to the Christian-supremacist bullies in the House of Representatives. Oh yes, the Senate has just completely ripped away from their religiously bigoted, House counterparts a would-be treasured bible-thumping bonanza of immeasurable, unconstitutional proselytization.  This erstwhile prize of legislative plunder had been specifically designed by these Congressmen and Congresswomen from the House, in nefarious collaboration with their legions of fundamentalist Christian parachurch allies, to be embedded deep within the confines of the 2015 Pentagon authorization/funding act.

Fortunately, the plan by these Christian crusader Members of the House failed. Please let me briefly explain, my friends.

Click through to learn how the Senate stripped provisions from the NDAA that would guarantee forced attempts to convert our troops to Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity.  In the past, Republican strength has come from the different wings of the Reich being ready to goose-step behind each others’ insane positions.  You can be sure that the Theocons will have their revenge against the Corporacons, Neocons, Plutocons, and the InsaniTEA wing.

From Huffington Post: Bracing to do business with a Congress run solely by Republicans, President Barack Obama is serving notice he has no qualms about vetoing legislation he dislikes.

This would be a significant change in style for Obama, come January when the new Congress will be seated with the GOP not only in command in the House but also the Senate as well.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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