Jun 242016
 

The First Nations people of North America have had to endure subjugation by white Europeans since they first showed up on this continent — the decimation of their culture, their religious practices, their laws.  Finally there is some movement in the First Nations' court system in the US.

This week, a Supreme Court decision affirmed the sovereignty of Native American tribal courts and emphasized the importance of addressing domestic violence against Native women. In United States v. Bryant,the court unanimously upheld the federal conviction of Michael Bryant, Jr. as a habitual domestic assault offender, overruling a previous court’s decision.

“The Bryant case is a victory. It’s not a victory where we won ground—it’s a victory where we didn’t lose ground,” said Rebecca Nagle, an anti-rape activist and an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. “But, what’s really awesome about the decision is … the Supreme Court is very clear about the crisis of sexual violence and domestic violence against Native women and the need for tribal jurisdiction within the crisis, which could set precedence for other cases.”  …

The Supreme Court will also rule on another case regarding tribal sovereignty in the near future. This lawsuit involves a thirteen-year-old boy who says he was sexually assaulted by his manager at Dollar General. Although the manager is non-Native, the boy is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the store sits on tribal land. After the federal government declined to try the case, the boy’s family sued the manager and Dollar General in tribal court. Dollar General, however, has contested the tribe’s jurisdiction to try the case.

From Think Progress

Here is Sam Bee's take on tribal courts.

One thing that I find egregious is the comparison of tribal courts to Sharia law by one of her "guests", Elaine Willman, Director of Tribal Affairs.

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Jun 102016
 

I’m getting ready to leave for PT with Courtney.  This is today’s only article, and I’ll finish it when I return.  Last night I stayed up late, because I needed to do some scanning, and the scanner in my all-in-one color laser printer wouldn’t work.  It turned out  that my old printer software was incompatible with Windows 10, so I had to upgrade the software and completely reinstall the printer.  It works fine now, but I’m very tired.

I’m back.  I worked hard.  I’m totally pooped!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 5:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Oklahoma Highway Patrol began using a new device they have begun using called ERAD—Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine. The device allows a law enforcement officer to scan any credit or ATM cards and seize any money connected with that card.

"We’re gonna look for different factors in the way that you’re acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said. “We’re gonna look for if there’s a difference in your story. If there’s someway that we can prove that you’re falsifying information to us about your business."

Troopers insist this isn’t just about seizing cash. 

"I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That’s a very small thing that’ s happening now. The largest part that we have found … the biggest benefit has been the identity theft," Vincent said.

How do you spell B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T?

From YouTube: Bernie Sanders Speech following White House Meeting with Obama Sanders slams Trump 6/9/16

 

To me that speech strongly indicates Bernie’s intent to work with Hillary. Will those that have made Bernie a cult follow Bernie? I hope so!

From MSNBC: Warren: I’m ready to get in this fight for Hillary Clinton

Senator Elizabeth Warren offers her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States, and talks with Rachel Maddow about the Democratic primary and her objections to Donald Trump.

 

"The Republicans underestimated Donald Trump, and look where it got them." That’s what Liz to the people who think they can vote their conscience without changing anything. They are wrong. Liz is right.

Vote Blue No Matter Who!!

Cartoon:

0610Cartoon

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May 242016
 

I had a rough night last night.  I was awakened by an intermittent sharp stabbing pain in my left ankle, and it remains.  What make it particularly difficult, besides ruining my night’s sleep and my morning nap, is that my left ankle is made of titanium and is about three feet away from me.  On the plus side, I called my medical equipment company and told them to come pick up my O2 tanks and concentrator, because my Pulmonologist told me that he doesn’t think I need them anymore.  I really needed that good news.  My turn for some was overdue.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Think Progress: Climate education in Oregon just took a big step forward.

Last week, the Portland Public Schools board voted to eliminate the use of any textbooks or other materials that are “found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

“A lot of the text materials are kind of thick with the language of doubt, and obviously the science says otherwise,” Bill Bigelow, a former Portland public school teacher, told the Portland Tribune. “We don’t want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry.”

In his testimony to the board, Bigelow quoted from the book Physical Science, published by Pearson.

“‘Carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles, power plants and other sources, may contribute to global warming,’” he read. “This is a section that could be written by the Exxon public relations group and it’s being taught in Portland schools.”

Other books have also been found to cast doubt on climate science: A review of sixth-grade textbooks in California, for instance, found that the books “framed climate change as uncertain in the scientific community — both about whether it is occurring as well as about its human-causation.”

No doubt the problem of Republican skience replacing science in many of our nation’s textbooks stems from the influence Texas exerts on the publishers. Kudos to the Portland School Board. Oregon leads the way!

From American Bridge PAC: Donald Trump Profited From Companies He Blasted For Outsourcing

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Rump Dump Trump remains Republican in all the ways that count. What he says bears no relationship to what he does.

From NY Times: Palestinians, settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rendered him effectively unwelcome in Washington and toxic to Palestinians. Yet to shore up his coalition in the Israeli Parliament, Mr. Netanyahu has now offered Mr. Lieberman the office of minister of defense — widely considered to be the second most powerful position in the Israeli government, with a critical role in dealing with the United States and the Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu may think his political needs are more important than relations with the soon-to-end Obama administration, relations that are already severely strained by the nuclear agreement with Iran. But the administration had at least established a working relationship with Moshe Yaalon, the tough but pragmatic defense minister who resigned once the offer to Mr. Lieberman became known. The timing of this changing of the guard is particularly sensitive because a critical 10-year defense agreement establishing new levels of American military aid for Israel is in the final stages of negotiations.

All US military aid to Israel should be suspended, as long as Bibi the Butcher continues to slaughter Palestinians, while ignoring Israel’s treaty obligation to pursue a two-state solution.

Cartoon:

0524Cartoon

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May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

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May 212016
 

Well I still have sinusitis, albeit the end stages I hope.  I am at least able to, for the most part, wear my glasses and read.  Tonight is my last anti-biotic but I am still without a lot of energy.  I have been resting a lot and drinking a lot . . . the hard stuff . . . H2O.  I had physio on Wednesday which, despite being at a reduced intensity, tuckered me out.  Thursday, I took my mother for her annual eye exam and then later in the evening attended my course (next week is the completion).  Friday was more physio and then teaching.  I was really tired by the end of yesterday but had a good night's sleep.  So this long weekend is very low key, a gift I give to myself to hopefully build up some reserves.  This Canadian long weekend celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday and is unofficially the start of the summer season, although summer does not really start until about 21 June.  This is often the "first" camping weekend of the season, and, in many areas of Canada, flowers and vegetable gardens are not planted until after 24/05 because it is generally considered too cold.  When I lived in northern BC, the last snowfall was usually around the end of May.  Here in greater Vancouver, this is not the case as we have a more temperate climate.  Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

National Law Journal In the alternate universe of John Banzhaf ("When the Rabble-Rousing Turns Criminal, There's A Civil Solution," The National Law Journal, March 28), protesters have taken over the streets and hijacked the political process. Police step back and do nothing. They "yield the streets," sometimes because they are "afraid to make arrests," sometimes because "there is sympathy with their cause." If arrests take place, protesters end up in court and "face only a token fine."

The real world of street protest bears no relation to what Banzhaf describes. In fact, the post-9/11 trend, of which his anti-protester screed is symptomatic, is of increasing hostility to street protest. In the crackdown on peaceful ­protesters, police show no "sympathy with their cause" and are entirely "[un]afraid to make arrests." As a consequence of the amped-up focus on security since 9/11, the "war on terror" has also become a war on dissent.

In my last post, I brought you a piece by law professor John Banzhaf.  In it, Banzhaf argues that protesters who prevent others from hearing a speaker, specifically Trump in that case, are guilty of obstructing freedom of speech and assembly for those attending a Trump rally.  He goes on to say that protesters face few penalties and that police are afraid to arrest protesters etc.  I think you and I would for the most part disagree with Banzhaf on his police point having witnessed police actions in Ferguson, Missouri and other locales.  Author Alan Levine, himself a practising civil rights and constitutional lawyer in NY, sees the current police attitude in general, as impinging upon the freedom of assembly and  the freedom of speech.  Have a look.

MSN — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from the floor of an institution that once enacted racist policies against large-scale immigration from Asia until the 1960s, apologized Wednesday for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” he said, triggering a standing ovation with MPs of all major parties applauding. 

“More than a century ago a great injustice took place.”

Trudeau spoke in a chamber filled with MPs and Indo-Canadians from across the country, including a delegation of more than 100 from B.C. who were led by Premier Christy Clark.

Trudeau said Canada would have been richer if the 376 passengers – mostly Sikh along with a handful of Muslims and Hindus – had been allowed to disembark from that Japanese ship.

Many people, including many Canadians, are not aware of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 in Vancouver.  It is not a proud moment in Canadian history, but I am sure that it is something that Herr Drumpf in the US would endorse.  This from Wikipedia:

The Komagata Maru incident involved a Japanese steamship, Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong, then a holding of the British Empire, through Shanghai, China, then on to Yokohama, Japan, and then finally to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, British India. Of them 24 were admitted to Canada, but the other 352 passengers were not allowed to land in Canada, and the ship was forced to return to India.[1] The passengers comprised 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the history of early 20th century involving exclusion laws in both Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of only Asian origin.

In the park where I walk, there is a memorial to the people of the Komagata Maru.  I'd like to think that we have come a long way since 1914, and maybe we have, but there is still a long way to go before we become a totally inclusive society.

The Economist He was for far too long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.  …

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party. This is a harvest the party sowed in two ways. First, though it is a caricature to suggest, as Mr Trump and others have, that the Republicans have long made fools of distressed working-class whites by offering them God, the flag and tax cuts to the rich, it is a caricature with some truth to it. None of Mr Trump’s 16 rivals spoke convincingly to the concerns of wage-distressed workers; none had a thoughtful answer to them.

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible. The several recent crises Republican congressmen have engineered over the passage of the federal budget, which they sought to hold hostage to their unrealistic and unconstitutional demands of Mr Obama, have earned the voters’ disdain. In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Fear trumps hope!  There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are finding themselves in a pickle.  But  Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not backing down.  In this article and another, Trump's articulated platform will lay waste to just about everything.  To me, it seems that Trump is playing the "American exceptionalism" card.  Has he forgotten that negotiation is not the same as dictating the terms?

CBC WIL-bur-r-r-r-r-r

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed, has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

I am sure that many of you will remember Mr Ed, the talking horse.  I used to delight in watching the programme and wondered how the horse learned and said his lines.  I was young and naive . . . what can I say!  Anyway, Alan Young, who played the "straightman" to the horse, passed away 19/05/2016.  Bamboo Harvester, the original Mr Ed, died in 1970.  Here is an episode of "Mr Ed" to take you back down memory lane.

And of course, the theme song for the programme is yet another earworm that Nameless mentions in his Friday post Friday Fun: A Coke – OR Koch – Earworm (In Memoriam) .

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

Unless the horse of course, is the famous Mr Ed.

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May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

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May 142016
 

I’m getting a late start, because it’s shower day.  Julie just came, so I’m a spit-shined puddy tat, and I’ve taken my fair share of abuse from Killer Dawg.  George is much more stable with his new ankle, and the pain I was feeling came from a crease that had formed in his lining.  It was digging into Stumpy.  Sarah removed the crease and Velcro’d the lining into place, so I don’t crease it again.  Both George and Stumpy are pleased,  I’m going to try to rest this weekend, as I have three days of medical appointments next week,

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: CNBC interviewed Target’s CEO Brian Cornell on Wednesday and discussed the company’s liberal stance against discriminatory laws like North Carolina’s HB2. Target now is experiencing a massive backlash and boycott by an anti LGBTQ conservative organization called American Family Association. It’s reported that AFA has 1.2 million signatures on its petition — people pledging to not shop at Target stores because of the retail chain’s pro-LGBTQ position.

Brian Cornell is not only unabashed and unapologetic about his company’s support of transgender and pro-LGBTQ rights, he doubles down on the decision with no indication of changing his mind.

 

Major Kudos to Target.  It’s a better place to shop than Wal-Fart.

From YouTube (Jeff Merkley Channel): Merkley: Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground

 

Once again, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Oregon lead the way. Keep it in the ground!

From NY Times: The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it had imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions.

More than 20 American and European drug companies have already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers is seen as a milestone.

“With Pfizer’s announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose,” said Maya Foa, who tracks drug companies for Reprieve, a London-based human rights advocacy group. “Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection.”

In other words, if states want to murder prisoners for breaking the law, they will not be able to do so without breaking the law themselves. Sadly, for red states, like Texas, Oklahoma, and other states dominated by the Pro-Death Party, breaking the law is part of their normal modus operandi for law enforcement.

Cartoon:

0514Cartoon

Originally posted in 2012.  Far more urgent today.

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May 112016
 

Julie has been here, and I’m a polished puddy tat,  She brought her companion animal, a pup named Prince.  You’ll get to meet him today.  I’m setting up the jumps through the bunches of hoops I need to accomplish before my eye surgeries. Later:  Groceries have been delivered, and I put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count

Short Takes

 

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

2239

1469

Delegates Won

4051

1716

1430

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

523

39

 

 

District of Columbia

June 14

20 (25)

 

 

Primary

Closed

California

June 7

475 (71)

 

 

Primary

Semi-closed

Montana

June 7

21 (6)

 

 

Primary

Open

New Jersey

June 7

126 (16)

 

 

Primary

Closed

North Dakota

June 7

18 (5)

 

 

Primary

Open

New Mexico

June 7

34 (9)

 

 

Primary

Closed

South Dakota

June 7

20 (5)

 

 

Primary

Semi-open

Puerto Rico

June 5

60 (7)

 

 

Primary

Open

Virgin Islands

June 4

7 (5)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Oregon

May 17

61 (13)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Kentucky

May 17

55 (5)

 

 

Primary

Closed

West Virginia

May 10

29 (8)

11

16

Primary

Semi-closed

Guam

May 7

7 (5)

4

3

Caucus

Closed

Indiana

May 3

83 (9)

39

44

Primary

Open

Rhode Island

April 26

24 (9)

11

13

Primary

Semi-closed

Pennsylvania

April 26

189 (21)

105

83

Primary

Closed

Delaware

April 26

21 (10)

12

9

Primary

Closed

Connecticut

April 26

55 (15)

28

27

Primary

Closed

Maryland

April 26

95 (23)

61

33

Primary

Closed

New York

April 19

247 (44)

139

108

Primary

Closed

Wyoming

April 9

14 (4)

7

7

Caucus

Closed

Wisconsin

April 5

86 (10)

38

48

Primary

Open

Washington

March 26

101 (17)

27

74

Caucus

Open

Hawaii

March 26

25 (9)

8

17

Caucus

Semi-closed

Alaska

March 26

16 (4)

3

13

Caucus

Closed

Utah

March 22

33 (4)

6

27

Caucus

Semi-open

Idaho

March 22

23 (4)

5

18

Caucus

Open

Arizona

March 22

75 (10)

42

33

Primary

Closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

81

62

Primary

Semi-open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

36

35

Primary

Open

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

79

77

Primary

Open

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

141

73

Primary

Closed

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

4

2

N/A

N/A

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

63

67

Primary

Open

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

32

4

Primary

Open

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

8

17

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

15

Caucus

Closed

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

37

14

Primary

Closed

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

62

33

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

147

75

Primary

Open

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

44

23

Primary

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

31

46

Caucus

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

73

29

Primary

Open

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

4

9

Primary

Closed

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

25

41

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

4

2

Caucus

Closed

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

20

15

Caucus

Closed

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

A good win for Bernie cut into Hillary’s lead by 5 delegates, but that’s not enough to close the gap. Bernie needs 913 more delegates to win. Hillary needs 143. The remaining states have 897 delegates. Vote Blue No Matter Who!!

From Daily Kos: A meme shared on Tumblr and Reddit instructs people to mix household chemicals together in order to make a glowstick.

Except the instructions are lifted from a how-to guide for making a chlorine bomb out of common chemicals. This device overpressurizes its container and explodes. The explosion releases deadly chlorine gas which when inhaled, interacts with the water in mucus membranes to transform into hydrochloric acid. It causes chemical burns in the throat, eyes, and lungs. It has been used as a chemical weapon for just over 100 years, and was first introduced by the German Empire at the second battle of Ypres in 1915, and most recently used by terrorists in Iraq and Syria who were targeting civilians with makeshift devices such as the one described in this meme.

I’ve removed the actual instructions for the device because some people are stupid and might try to see what would happen if they made one of these.

0511Deadly_Glowstick

I also found this video to see what would happen non-stupidly.

 

I found the meme on Reddit, and the people spreading it are mostly Cruz and Trump supporters, based on their other posts and comments. Please be warned! This is one of the vilest things the Republican Party has ever done!

From Upworthy: It’s pretty rare that a Department of Justice press conference will bring people to tears — today was a rare and historic exception.

Today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a formal response to HB2, North Carolina’s anti-transgender law. In it, she said:

"This is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness. What we must not do — what we must never do — is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human."

"This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment."

She also urged the state not to repeat the mistakes of the past, pointing out that it wasn’t so long ago that restrooms were segregated on the basis of race.

Amen to that!

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May 082016
 

I’m getting another late start today.  When I finally finished with all yesterday’s tasks, I could not sleep, because the battery in my smoke detector ran low, and the damn thing started chirping at me every 30 seconds.  We have very high ceilings, and the desk clerk on duty was very short.  She could not reach it, even though she climbed onto mu desk.  I had to wait for shift change at 9:00 AM, when a tall guy came on, and he changed it.  However, I got almost no sleep.  This mourning I did research and took a Lona cat nap.  Tomorrow, please expect no more that a Personal Update.  I have a five hour appointment with my Ocular Oncologist to determine the best way forward for the probable melanoma in my right eye.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

“The last time you signed a contract for a cell phone plan, a bank account, or a credit card, you probably signed away your right to go to court if that company cheated you. That’s because most contracts for financial products contain forced arbitration clauses buried deep in the fine print. These clauses prohibit consumers from protecting themselves in court, and they make it a lot easier for financial institutions to get away with cheating their customers.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren, October 2015.

In a move The New York Times calls “the biggest that the agency has made since its inception in 2010,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday proposed a rule that would bar mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts with financial firms. Since it requires no congressional approval, the rule quite likely will go into effect after a 90-day public comment period in which opposition from business groups will no doubt be extensive, loud and bullshitty. (If you’d like to comment, you can choose a method here.) Foes of the rule, which could cost firms billions, include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…

Thank God for Elizabeth Warren for championing the CFPB! I love this rule, but we need such a rule, banning forced mandatory arbitration for all companies!

From NY Times: Last November, Meg Muñoz went to Los Angeles to speak at the annual West Coast conference of Amnesty International. She was nervous. Three months earlier, at a meeting attended by about 500 delegates from 80 countries, Amnesty voted to adopt a proposal in favor of the “full decriminalization of consensual sex work,” sparking a storm of controversy. Members of the human rights group in Norway and Sweden resigned en masse, saying the organization’s goal should be to end demand for prostitution, not condone it. Around the world, on social media and in the press, opponents blasted Amnesty. In Los Angeles, protesters ringed the lobby of the Sheraton where the conference was being held, and as Muñoz tried to enter, a woman confronted her and became upset as Muñoz explained that, as a former sex worker, she supported Amnesty’s position. “She agreed to respect my time at the microphone,” Muñoz told me. “That didn’t exactly happen” — the woman and other critics yelled out during her panel — “but I understand why it was so hard for her.”

Muñoz was in the middle of a pitched battle over the terms, and even the meaning, of sex work. In the United States and around the globe, many sex workers (the term activists prefer to “prostitute”) are trying to change how they are perceived and policed. They are fighting the legal status quo, social mores and also mainstream feminism, which has typically focused on saving women from the sex trade rather than supporting sex workers who demand greater rights. But in the last decade, sex-worker activists have gained new allies. If Amnesty’s international board approves a final policy in favor of decriminalization in the next month, it will join forces with public-health organizations that have successfully worked for years with groups of sex workers to halt the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS, especially in developing countries.

In my opinion, prostitution should be decriminalized. Attempts to outlaw it over the last 5,000+ years have always been unsuccessful, as they always will be. Income from legal prostitution can be taxed. Legal prostitution can be licensed and regulated to protect sex workers from abuse and  protect public health.  Legal prostitution can be separated from the illegal drug trade.  While I don’t encourage it, it’s past time to end the exploitation and criminalization of sex workers.

From Huffington Post: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is infringed by others with nuclear arms, in a speech broadcast on Sunday, and set a five-year plan to boost the secretive state’s moribund economy.

He has all the qualifications needed for Rump Dump Trump to want him as a VP candidate.

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0508Cartoon

Free Leonard Peltier!

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Apr 262016
 

I slept poorly last night, because the druggies partied into the wee hours on the street below and made a lot of noise.  So I took another Lona nap this morning.  Store to door called and I gave them my grocery order.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:18 (average 5:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who have spent decades acquiring a world-class collection of Republicans, revealed over the weekend that they are considering purchasing their first Democrat.

“We’ve always bought Republicans, and our father bought Republicans before us,” Charles, the elder Koch, said. “They’re bred to be obedient, and they respond to simple commands.”

He said that he and his brother had considered acquiring a Democrat only after determining that none of the Republicans on offer this year was worth adding to their collection.

Fortunately, Andy, both Bernie and Hillary are too principled to become Koch suckers.

From Daily Kos: James Van Kuilenburg, a trans teenager, attended a Ted Cruz rally with his mother on Thursday. His goal was to hear what Ted Cruz had to say, but also, as The Frederick News-Post reported, "to show Cruz supporters that rhetoric about gay and transgender rights hurts real people, like him."

 

Republicans consider the First Amendment their exclusive property. Nobody else may exercise it.

From Upworthy: Witness this amazing letter he wrote in 1790 to the largest Jewish community in America at the time, the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island. The Newport Jews had sent a message to Washington, basically congratulating him on being awesome.

A few days later, Washington responded (emphasis mine):

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Now try to imagine a similar epistle coming from a President Fecal Dump Trump or a President TRUSed Uranus Cruz to America’s largest Muslim community.  Then vote in November!

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