Oct 122016

It’s another busy Wednesday.  I lay down after finishing my research this morning.  I have a grocery delivery coming this afternoon, and I have to unpack and put them away.  Later, Wendy is coming to wash the TomCat, do some light cleaning and have dinner.  I made a one-day chili for us this morning, so we can send a double green cloud after the Squatch. Sick smile  Happy hump day to all!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:52 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From CCR (Hat-Tip JL A, who sent me an email about it): Today, nearly 14 years after the case began, the Supreme Court granted John Ashcroft and other Bush-era government officials’ requests to review CCR’s class action challenge to the post-9/11 immigration detentions. In Turkmen v. Ashcroft, the Supreme Court will directly confront, for the first time, whether the Constitution guarantees non-citizens the right to sue cabinet-level officials for clearly unconstitutional discrimination and abuse in a US prison.

In some ways, the answer seems obvious.  In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, hundreds of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men were arrested on civil immigration charges and treated as suspected terrorists based on nothing more than their race and religion. As a panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals explained last year, “detaining individuals as if they were terrorists, in the most restrictive conditions of confinement available, simply because these individuals were, or appeared to be, Arab or Muslim exceeds [constitutional] limits. It might well be that national security concerns motivated the Defendants to take action, but that is of little solace to those who felt the brunt of that decision. The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.”

And yet.  Ashcroft, along with former-FBI director Robert Mueller, and former-INS Commissioner James Ziglar, are arguing that non-citizens injured in the name of national security, and pursuant to high-level policy, should not even be allowed in the courthouse door. A doctrine called “qualified immunity” already provides these Government actors with substantial protection, allowing them to be held personally liable only if they are shown to have violated clearly established law about which any reasonable official would have known.  These defendants want more. Represented by the current Solicitor General of the United States, former government officials are asking the Supreme Court to grant them the right to violate clearly established constitutional rights at will. Perhaps even more troubling, they are also arguing that it is not clearly established that our Constitutional guaranty of equal protection prohibits the government from placing people in the most restrictive conditions of confinement that exist in the federal prison system based only on their race, religion, ethnicity and national origin, while knowing there is no non-discriminatory reason to suspect them of ties to terrorism.

In my opinion, the Republicans that committed this war crime should be convicted both civilly and criminally. This case also shows how important it is to have Supreme Court vacancies filled by Clinton, not Trump. Trump Injustices would criminalize refraining from committing war crimes.

From TPM: Four former contestants in the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant told Buzzfeed News that Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while they were changing clothes.

"I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’" Mariah Billado, former Miss Vermont Teen USA, told Buzzfeed News.

Billado said that Trump said something along the lines of, "Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before," when he walked into the room.

As Buzzfeed News noted, girls as young as 15 competed in the pageant, and contestants told Buzzfeed that the dressing rooms were typically open spaces without barriers shielding them while they changed clothes.

Three other former contestants in the Miss Teen USA pageant confirmed to Buzzfeed News that Trump walked into the dressing room, but they asked to not be named. One former contestant said that Trump’s decision to enter the dressing room was "shocking" and "creepy," according to Buzzfeed News.

We now have enough Republican smoking guns to start WWIII.

From NY Times: With early voting already underway in many of the states that will decide the presidency, Hillary Clinton is beginning to reap the benefits of years of Democratic efforts to target and register voters, even as Republicans steadily close their disadvantage in party registration.

The first wave of data from states like Florida and North Carolina shows preliminary signs that Mrs. Clinton was building a slight edge even before the revelation that Donald J. Trump had bragged about sexual assault roiled the race.

The closer we get to election day, the more news of this kind we will get. We must not allow complacency to set in.



Sep 112016

I expect Wendy to arrive momentarily, and we have a full schedule of chores to complete, including the dreaded task.  Today is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos have already meditated.  May the blessed light from the Divine Orb shine upon your team.

Wendy just left and we got everything done.  I’m pooped!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:41 (average 6:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Erin O’Flaherty, one of the contestants in this weekend’s Miss America pageant, wants fans to know a few things about her: She was raised on a farm; she is a trained livestock judge; and she supports suicide-prevention programs.

But in the brief, get-to-know-me videos posted on her official Miss Missouri Facebook page, there is scant mention of the main reason that she has attracted so much attention before the Miss America 2017 finale on Sunday in Atlantic City: Ms. O’Flaherty is the first openly lesbian contestant to compete in the pageant.


Kudos to Erin for the courage to be the first. It’s a small step in the right direction for the pageant.

From Liberals Unite: Corporate welfare schemes and crony politics rule the day In Rick Scott’s Florida and, sadly, the working-class is stuck with the bill.

Thanks to Gov. Rick Scott’s corporate welfare schemes, Floridians are about to suffer the same disastrous results of trickle down economics that other Republican-owned states are suffering. Huge budget deficits, fueled by tax cuts for the rich and corporate welfare programs, are projected to cause a whopping $1.3 billion deficit in the Sunshine State by 2018.

You Floridians had better get rid of Republicans or both your homes and your economy will be under water!

From Washington Post: "To just be grossly generalistic [sic], you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables [sic],’" Hillary Clinton said at a New York fundraiser on Sept. 9

When Hillary is wrong, I say so. Half is much too low an estimate.




The Exception to Good Faith

 Posted by at 11:37 am  Politics
Dec 152015

There has been much ado about how the recent climate deal reached in Paris is non-binding.  The following article explains how that need not be important, because the parties involved made the commitment in good faith, and their reputation in the international community is tantamount.  While I agree in principle, we must not forget the exception to good faith.


The Paris climate deal has been lauded as “historic,” “sweeping,” and “ambitious” — a way to lead the world into a post-fossil-fuel, less-than-2°C-warming future.

But it has also been ridiculed for being “non-binding.” That is to say that America and nearly 200 other countries all got together and agreed to try really, really hard to slow climate change and to submit ongoing progress reports, but didn’t set up penalties within the agreement.

Non-binding, though, does not mean meaningless.

It’s worth taking a moment and thinking about what a binding agreement is. If I offer to pick your child up from daycare Thursday afternoon, is that a binding agreement? You can’t, strictly speaking, punish me if I leave little Sarah sitting on the curb. But — and this is a big but — you can shame me. You can avoid me, distrust me, and not make any more social agreements with me.

This idea of social pressure and participation does not only apply to carpools. It also applies to the international community. Sure, China could renege on its promises to transition off coal. The United States could decide it’s not going to give any money to developing nations to help build renewable energy. But that would make for pretty bad foreign relations.

In fact, most international agreements rely on countries’ desire to continue having good relationships with their counterparts, Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, told ThinkProgress.

“International agreements operate under good faith,” Burger said. “Whether a country is an upstanding member of the international community is what’s at stake.”…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

The Republican Party does not give a rat’s ass for America’s reputation in the international community.  They proved that when they defaulted on our debt in 2011, causing a drop in our credit rating.  They are the exception to good faith, and they have seditiously tried to undermine these negotiations at every turn.  So the future livability of our planet may well depend on who we elect in 2016.

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.



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.



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.