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):


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!



Mar 312016

Lu did not show up yesterday, but I was able to get ahold of her daughter last night, who told me she will be coming this afternoon.  I sure hope so.  I also have lots of paperwork to do today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:26 (average 5:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Utah will become the first state to require anesthesia for women receiving abortions after 20 weeks gestation. Let’s be clear: This is not about sparing women pain. The law is based on the (scientifically questionable) claim that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks, and requires that women be anesthetized in order to spare fetuses the pain that science says they probably do not have the neural development to feel. That has serious implications for women’s health:

Dr. Sean Esplin of Intermountain Healthcare in Utah said anesthesia or an analgesic would need to go through the woman in order to reach the fetus. Doctors could give a woman general anesthesia, which would make her unconscious and likely require a breathing tube, or a heavy dose of narcotics.

In case you had any doubt that this law is about punishing women for being sinners in the eyes of the lawmakers who passed the law, there’s this:

The new law would not apply to women who must have an abortion because their life is at risk or the fetus will not survive outside the womb.

And the Republican war on women never ends.

From The New Yorker: Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential front-runner, touched off a firestorm of controversy on Wednesday by suggesting that, if elected, he would build a wall inside the uterus.

In proposing an addition to the uterus, a major female reproductive sex organ, Trump sought to draw a distinction between such a wall and the wall that the uterus already has, commonly referred to as the uterine wall.

“No, no, no, this would be a much better wall than that wall,” Trump said. “People are going to love this wall.”

Gee, Andy! That idea might have been quite practical, had the wall been installed in Fecal Dump Trump’s mother!!

From Upworthy: This woman’s must-watch speech just settled the whole ‘bathroom bill’ debate.


I could not have said it better.



Mar 292016

My eyes have always been super sensitive to the drug used to dilate them, and it was almost midnight before I could see normally again.  I now know that apparent veli are rarely malignant.  I’m still quite frustrated that  I have to deal with yet another malady that will consume large bunches of time that I could put to productive use.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:26 (average 4:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Bernie Sanders failed to impress major media outlets over the weekend as he barely managed to win seventy per cent of the vote in three western primaries.

The major cable networks briefly mentioned Sanders’s vote tallies in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii but noted that he ran out of steam well shy of eighty per cent.

“There’s no point in sugarcoating it,” one analyst put it. “Rough night for Sanders.”

According to one cable executive, Sanders needs to “put up some big numbers fast” if he expects the networks to continue giving his campaign airtime.

“It’s going to be harder and harder to justify covering him while he’s stuck down in the seventy-per-cent range,” the executive said.

Did Andy nail this one or what?

From Huffington Post (H/T Daily KOS: The Supreme Court has taken four big whacks at the Affordable Care Act in as many years. But the conservative justices still don’t seem to understand how it works.

During oral arguments this week in Zubik v. Burwell — a set of seven challenges to Obamacare’s contraceptive-coverage mandate on behalf of religious nonprofits — Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues on the court’s conservative wing gave the impression that they don’t really grasp what the ACA’s health insurance exchanges do, or indeed how the market for health insurance itself even functions.

In a nutshell, Zubik hinges on the question of whether it’s a “substantial burden” for religious nonprofits to be required to fill out a form noting their objections to providing contraception under the law. The Little Sisters of the Poor and a smattering of religious nonprofits from across the country argue that it does — that, in fact, it essentially makes them complicit in providing coverage for services they view as sinful. The federal government, which provided this accommodation, obviously disagrees.

During a back-and-forth in the courtroom about women whose employers don’t cover contraception, and the subsequent lengths they must go to get it, Roberts suggested that it’s not actually a big deal if women in such situations have to get their birth control covered some other way. Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito appeared to share the same belief.

“They’re on the exchanges, right?” Roberts said, implying that women without access to contraception from their religious employers can just sign up to receive it through the federal insurance exchanges instead.

For Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this seemed to be the last straw.

“They’re not on the exchanges,” she said. “That’s a falsehood.”

Injustices ReichRoberts, Scalito, KKKennedy, and TEABAG (who, as usual, said nothing) knew the truth. Pretending not to gives them an excuse to ignore the Constitution and discriminate against women. Kudos to Justice Sotomayor for calling them on it and getting the truth on the record.

From NY Times: The Justice Department said on Monday that it had found a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple, allowing the agency to withdraw its legal effort to compel the tech company to assist in a mass-shooting investigation.

The decision to drop the case — which involved demanding Apple’s help to open an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman in the December shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people — ends a legal standoff between the government and the world’s most valuable public company. The case had become increasingly contentious as Apple refused to help the authorities, inciting a debate about whether privacy or security was more important.

When the government hacked the phone, privacy rights lost.  Nevertheless, those organizations claiming to have won the debate, and requesting donations, based on that victory, are still lying. Please give them nothing, inform others, and ask others to give organizations, who lie to get money,  nothing. More and more left wing organizations are adopting unethical Republican fund raising tactics. Even though many are worthy causes, the worst thing we can do with our dollars is teach them to act like Republicans.  People who act like Republicans to defeat Republicans become Republicans.



Mar 272016

Yesterday I really slept late, later than ever before — 4:50 pm!  To say the least, this cold has knocked me for a loop. Although it is getting better, it has altered my schedule.  I hope to go see my mother tomorrow providing my cold is even better than today.  This week coming up will be busy.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — What Green realized was Syrian refugees are more similar to us than they are different.

rob green

"They're just like everyone else in the community that would be helping out. And he's part of the community now."

A short article with a universal truth that we all need to remember!

PoliticoCondemnation of the attacks in Brussels, as in Paris, Istanbul, Damascus, Baghdad, Bassam or Ouagadougou, has to be firm, absolute, and without exceptions, half-measures or attempts to distinguish between victims. Clarity is essential here, as it is in the terminology we use and the solutions we propose. But before we can formulate a response, we must face the problem head on and try to understand its origins (this in no way means justifying acts of terrorism, whatever George W. Bush may have said, and what Manuel Valls says today).

It is imperative that we untangle the reasons behind this hard swerve toward violent extremism — because it is not just “mad,” “irrational” and “inhuman.” These words only serve to confuse our vocabulary, and offer no political clarification on the elements of the equation. They add blindness to an emotional reaction already stoked by fear. What we need today is reason and measured conversation — we have to be tough, yes, but above all, reasonable.  

We cannot support dictatorships, be political and economic partners with states who export literalist Salafi doctrine, be silent when civilians are massacred south of our borders and hope that we will not receive a response to the injustice and humiliation we have provoked.

The author makes some very valid points.  As to this last point made above, how many people have said "Why is Saudi Arabia an ally of the US?" .  Saudi Arabia is engaged in war crimes in Yemen using weapons bought from the US and Great Britain.  That relationship is not lost on others.  We all need to look at our relationships and define them in terms of our values.

Huffington Post — This World Water Day, however, millions of people who share our planet are constantly thinking about water. How could they not be? Their children die from waterborne illnesses, because the local stream is contaminated. Others forfeit their schooling to trek long distances for water each day. Families lose their harvests — and their food supplies — because there's no irrigation for their parched crops.


22 March was World Water Day.  This year, the focus is on water and jobs.  Here is a short UN promo.

When I saw some of the pictures in the article, I immediately thought of my friend Lucia who is from South Sudan. The picture above could easily have been her — walking 10 kilometres to the river for water, and then 10 km home twice a day.  She and her sister did not go to school at all but rather worked in the fields and hauled water for the family to use.  What a difference a clean water source would have made to her community.  But the lack of clean potable water is not only an issue in third world countries.  This Global News piece outlines some of the problems that First Nations communities in Canada encounter.  Flint is another example.  We must ensure that clean water is available to all peoples — water to drink, water for bathing, water for food preparation.  

My Universe

cat gifs, cats gif, funny cat gifs, funny cat gif, cute cat gif, best cat gifs, cute cat gifs, animated cat gifs, cat animated gif, hilarious cat gifs


Hoppy Easter


easter bunny catturban

La Grande Dame

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Les Tous Petits

easter bunny cat 2

La Chaton de Paques

easter bunny cat 3



Mar 252016

I have been in a cold induced fog since last Saturday.  I have spent most of the time in bed sleeping as my face was swollen from what I thought was a sinus infection.  Today I am feeling almost human and just returned from lunch with friends.  I also picked up my new laptop today so now comes the learning curve.  Because of my cold, I did not teach on Monday which bummed me out because I had some English and French books for 8 year old Sareena.  But my 2nd student Neda, her mother and the wife of my physiotherapist, brought over a pot of delicious chicken soup which was so sweet to do.  Now you know what I had for dinner last night and what I shall have again tonight!

Short Takes

Moyers & Company — They represent everything wrong with the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton should tell them to take a hike.

There are two Democrats whose resignation from office right now would do their party and country a service.

Their disappearance might also help Hillary Clinton convince skeptical Democrats that her nomination, if it happens, is about the future, and not about resurrecting and ratifying the worst aspects of the first Clinton reign when she and her husband rarely met a donor to whom they wouldn’t try to auction a sleepover in the Lincoln Bedroom.

In fact, while we’re at it, and if Secretary Clinton really wants us to believe she’s no creature of the corporate and Wall Street money machine — despite more than $44 million in contributions from the financial industry since 2000 and her $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, not to mention several million more paid by other business interests for an hour or two of her time — she should pick up the gauntlet herself and publicly call for the departure of these two, although they are among her nearest and dearest. And we don’t mean Bill and Chelsea.

So, can you guess who these two might be before going to the article?  How about this as a hint?


Over the last several years, there has been a lot of controversey around both Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee Chair and a Florida congresswoman.​  Read on to see how Bill Moyers sees things.  What do you think?

Politico — Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić was convicted of genocide in Srebrenica, several counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes by a United Nations tribunal on Thursday and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Karadžić, now 70, is the most senior Serb leader convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnia war in the 1990s, including the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and the 44-month siege of Sarajevo.

Justice has been a long time coming.  Will Baby Bush, Chickenhawk Cheney, Rumsfeld et al ever see the inside of a courtroom to stand trial for war crimes?  Will there ever be justice for the Iraqi people?

Huffington Post — I believe it is vitally important for men like me to acknowledge this as loudly and openly as role models do like President Bhandari, the US First Lady Michelle Obama and activists like Malala. As the First Lady has said, change needs to come from the bottom up. We won't unlock these opportunities for young women and girls unless we can change the mindset of every family and community. To achieve this, it cannot just be women who speak up for girls.

"When women are empowered, they immeasurably improve the lives of everyone around them — their families, their communities, and their countries. This is not just about women, we men need to recognize the part we play too. Real men treat women with dignity and give them the respect they deserve."

This is what we, as a global community, need to hear and talk about and act upon until we get it right.

Politico — While the jihadist threat is genuinely global, it is by no means equally distributed. There is, of course, no such thing as perfect security, and as we saw as recently as the San Bernadino shootings in December of last year, there are individuals in the United States who are prepared to commit violence against other Americans. But the European context underlying the attacks at Brussels Airport and the downtown Maelbeek subway station — one of alienated, underemployed and ghettoized Muslims as well as subpar security differs dramatically from anything found in the United States.

As I read, this last line particularly caught my attention — "…one of alienated, underemployed and ghettoized Muslims as well as subpar security differs dramatically from anything found in the United States." But how long will that last with the likes of either Drumpf or Cruz as a potential POTUS?  In TC's article Brussels Unprepared, I commented "…their rhetoric, their potential actions only serve the cause of further radicalisation by alienating vulnerable Muslims, especially youth who are often at odds with older generations already."  Drumpf would remove all Muslims from the US, asinine and impossible as that is, while Cruz would have heavy surveillance of all Muslim communities, effectively 'ghettoising' Muslims and discriminating against them.  In that same article, Lona, who lives in the Netherlands, left a very informative comment, one that provides detail that is not found in North American media.

My Universeh/t Ted W and Carol B, Care2

hungry kittyIf this were my Winnie, he'd have the door open wide and food already on the counter!

Mar 182016

I'm sure there is more than one thing which has happened which really should call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it, but I'll only share one this week. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."


So.  Up in East Amherst, New York, at Williamsville East High School (sic), Two brothers, Muslims, say they have been bullied for years and the school has ignored them.  Finally they were goaded into fighting back, and now, they may be expelled.

AlterNet picked this story up word for word from Raw Story (as they actually often do), even with the identical video from the Buffalo TV channel.  So I will do the same.  If Raw Story comes after AlterNet, they are welcome to let us know too, and we'll drop the article.

Adam and Jameel Siam said they have suffered anti-Muslim harassment for at least two years at Williamsville East High School, but they said administrators have done nothing to address their complaints, reported WIVB-TV.

“I was bullied for Osama bin Laden, I’ve been called a terrorist,” said Jameel, a junior. “We’ve been called terrorists, go back home and make bombs in your basement or you’re going to come back and shoot up the school — and it’s just like, people kept pushing our buttons.”

The boys have attended schools in the western New York village since preschool, but they said the bullying has recently grown worse.

“You don’t know if someone is going to come up behind you or come right up to you and say something,” said Adam, a sophomore. “You always have to watch where you are, what you’re doing, who’s around you. You always gotta have a watch out.”

They’re hounded on social media and harassed in the hallways at school, and vandals broke windows and doors at the family’s home over the weekend by throwing rocks and eggs.

The boys have filed at least two reports with Amherst police, the TV station reported — once after a fight in December and then again after their home was vandalized.

Their mother said she has repeatedly asked school officials to help stop the bullying, but she said her complaints have been ignored.

“This has been festering for years now,” Rehab Siam said. “They’ve never looked into the whole serious issue.”

Now the boys face an expulsion hearing after fighting with their tormenters.

“When I go into school, all I hear are these racial comments,” Jameel said. “It just keeps pushing my buttons where I don’t focus on my studies anymore, I focus on my safety.”

The disciplinary hearing had been scheduled for Monday but was pushed back, and the school superintendent declined to comment specifically on the matter but said administrators took bullying seriously and would punish any behavior that compromised student safety.

Police are still investigating the vandalism and fight.

“I can’t live a normal life now, especially how they came to my house,” Jameel said. “It’s not only at school that I need to be afraid, it’s that I have to be afraid everywhere I am now."

Digging just a little deeper, it appears that their tormentors-in-chief are also brothers.  No names were provided by the Buffalo News so the only other detail about them is that the older at least has an Instagram account, and posted there a presentation comprising opposing images of the American and Islamic flags, the title being "Siam Slayer."  It was this which inspired Jameel to demand that it be taken down, leading to fisticuffs.  That was last week.  This weekend, the Siam home was vandalized at 3 a.m. – it was egged, and a front storm door window (sic) was shattered by a rock.

The FBI has been notified, and if local law enforcement determines a hate crime has been committed, will certainly be involved, as required by Federal law.The boy's attorneys feel, and I agree, that school administrative inaction was a major factor in the conflict escalating up to social media and thence to blows.  The administration, incidentally, is refusing disclosure of a "surveillance video" of the confrontation.  Hmmmm.

However, the parents of the other brothers must also be a big factor.  How are they handling it?  No one knows.  They are not responding to requests for interviews.  Hmmmm.  I must say I would love to be a fly on the wall when you ladies sweep in on them and "request an interview."  It's somewhat cold there now, and they're expecting snow showers by Monday – but maybe you can help warm it up.

The Furies and I will be back. 

Mar 182016

On 23/02/2016, I posted  5 of the Most Appalling Acts of Incitement From Israel This Week by David Sheen, part of the Grayzone Project.

"…AlterNet's Grayzone Project, a journalistic initiative that aims to confront Islamophobia and expose the role that Western military interventions and pro-Israel forces have played in inspiring this growing plague. You'll find a mix of investigative reports, breaking news stories, essays, first-person accounts, exclusive videos and documentaries, and a wide mix of coverage from our friends and partners."

As I said in February, there is no doubt that the Jewish people suffered grievously at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis during WWII.  Throughout history, the Jews have suffered through pogroms and wars.  But it seems to me that they, at the hands of Netanyahu and his cronies, have become the oppressor.  No group of people is all bad, nor all good.  People are people.  But when one group openly calls for the annihilation of another, genocide, it is time to take action.

From Alternet — Our latest edition of Israel Incitement Watch focuses not only on the racist statements of Israel's political and religious leaders, but on the first-ever Pew poll of Israeli Jews, which found that racist sentiments were not confined to a fringe, but are embraced by a large segment of the population.

3. Chief rabbi calls for killing attackers and cutting off contact with seculars.

Wading into an ongoing national debate over how Palestinians who attack Jews should be treated, one of the country's two chief rabbis declared that it is incumbent upon Jews to kill them on the spot. “If someone comes to kill you, you kill him first," Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said on March 12, telling Israeli soldiers to ignore legal and moral obligations to apprehend attackers with the minimum force necessary, whether these instructions come from "the High Court of Justice, or that some chief of staff" of the Israel Defense Forces.

In the same speech, Yosef renewed a biblical call to commit genocide of all "Amalekites." The Torah records the existence of a people called the Amalekites, though they have no known living descendants in the modern era. Nevertheless, this designation is routinely trotted out by right-wing rabbis to call for massacres of Israel's enemies du jour.

"If some terrorist comes to me now, and I know he's a terrorist, and we caught him. He doesn't have a knife in his hand, he doesn't have anything. And I know, Elijah the Prophet will come to me and tell me that he's from Amalek. Is it permitted to kill him on Shabbat? No. But Elijah the Prophet says that it's Amalek. Put him in prison, after Shabbat say a blessing and kill him," said Yosef.

Later in the week, Yosef called on religious Jews to prevent their children from socializing with children of secular families, even blood relatives.

This is the third example.  Click through for the other four.  So why is the US contributing so much foreign aid to Israel and its genocidal agenda?

Mar 122016

More stuff has happened which seems to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

One incident goes back to 2014.  It is surfacing now because CNN featured it on Monday, and Thandisizwe Chimurenga reported on it for Daily Kos.

At first, Sandra Pinchback thought her son Curtis Garland’s death in a Texas prison after an asthma attack made sense. She had been worried that the prison in rural East Texas was in the really muggy part of the state and had no air conditioning when he was first incarcerated. And then in July 2014, when the prison chaplain called and told her her son had died after an asthma attack she thought, "Well, maybe the good Lord went on and took him because he had suffered for so long with asthma." Problem is, that was a lie: medical neglect/indifference killed her son. Within three days Pinchback would start receiving letters from other prison inmates who had witnessed her son’s agony over several hours. Inmates who had witnessed him asking for help; inmates who tried to get him the assistance he needed; inmates who said they would testify if she needed them to. Sandra Pinchback received close to 50 letters saying all of these things.

When he was first incarcerated, he had difficulty getting the medications he needed, life-and-death medications.  He notified his mother, who contacted the prison and was told the offender needed to fill out forms.  She turned for help to Cory Sessions, a prison rights advocate with the Innocence Project of Texas, who had been key to getting her husband's conviction overturned with DNA evidence.

Unlike her husband, her son had made mistakes, admitted them, and was willing to pay for them by serving his time.  But he wasn't expecting a death sentence.

On that 90-degree-F June day when Garland had the attack, his fellow prisoners in M Wing knew he was dying, would die, and did everything they could to try to get help for him.  It's a harrowing story, difficult to read, even in the abbreviated form Thandi has quoted.  Her CNN source gives even more detail, including photographed excerpts from inmates' letters.  Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, whille you are giving the Erinyes treatment to the prison staff, please take a little time to give some Eumenides support to the offenders of M Wing.  I imagine a friend in a prison is a rare and wonderful thing, and the loss of one is heavy indeed.  From the CNN story:

The Innocence Project's Session said he believes corrections officials need to be prosecuted. He called their actions in the case "official oppression."

Garland was one of 620 people to die while in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2014, according to a report from the state attorney general.

Only the highest-profile cases — such as that of Sandra Bland, whose hanging death in a Waller County jail cell last year sparked outcries and investigations — make headlines, but Session alleges that deaths such as Garland's are common.

The second story involves a veteran, a former Marine who fought in World War II, including at the Battle of Iwo Jima – this battle, you all know the picture.  Not sayin' he was on Mount Suribachi; he wasn't; but it was a hard battle and all the Marines there were men of great valor.

I think we all know how obsessed Republicans have become with Voter Identification Laws, which to any sane person with minimal command of facts appear to be a non-solution to a non-problem.  Scott Walker's Wisconsin is no exception, and in fact may be near the head of the band wagon. 

When Wisconsin wrote its Voter ID law, it carefully listed all forms of ID which would be acceptable at the polling places.  (Parenthetically, Student ID with or without a photo was not one of them – gee, wonder why not.)  Inexplicably to me, however, also omitted from the list of acceptable identification was the Veterans Administration issued photo-identification card.  Active duty military ID was included, but not this.

So Leo Olsen, this 90-year-old Marine Corps veteran of Workd War II, was not allowed to vote in the state's Supreme Court primary last month.  What is perhaps even worse, we have literally idea how many veterans this may have affected.  Olsen's experience only became public because he has a niece on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who wrote a (very polite) nastygram to Scott Walker about it.

When he presented his veterans administration card with his picture on it, he was told that the card was not listed as ‘acceptable’ proof of his identity. He responded: ‘You mean veterans can’t vote?'” (emphasis the justice's)

The 2016 state primaries were the first time that the Wisconsin Voter Identification law was in practice since being twice struck down by the judiciary. The law was originally blocked in 2014 by the Federal District Court in Milwaukee.

No one, so far as I know, is arguing that this is not law.  Indeed, denying him his vote was absolutely in accodance with what the law says (and doesn't say).  But – as Mr. Bumble would say, and indeed did say, "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass — a idiot."

To me it's clear that Scott Walker is the villain-in-chief of this story, but I have no doubt that there are others, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature, who also deserve your considered attention.  Have at it, ladies.

The Furies and I will be back. 

Mar 092016

I was out most of yesterday.  When I went to drop a storage box off at Lucia's, the house was in an uproar.  Lucia was at her new English class and Jonathan was chasing after Loliyo.  Arimina, the oldest girl, was minding the kids but things were really out of hand.  I stepped in, had the kids do their homework and ended up staying until Lucia arrived home.  The two youngest were in tears because of all the screaming.  I really need to find a strong male role model for Jonathan.  He's been on the Big Brothers waiting list for almost 2 years.  Tomorrow is physio and I hope a quiet afternoon.

NY Times — He has been depicted as a snarling demagogue in France, equated with Donald Duck in Spain, and described as worse than Lord Voldemort in Britain.

In Europe, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Donald Trump has been treated variously as a disturbing curiosity or an entertaining political show barker. His nearly every move and pronouncement has been reported from Paris to Berlin to Helsinki, even as commentators on both left and right have dismissed the notion of President Donald J. Trump as the stuff of fantasy, or, at worst, a momentary lapse of reason.

That is changing. With a series of wins in key Republican primary states, and with the billionaire’s expected strong showing when 12 states hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, the European media, like its American counterpart, is adjusting to the prospect of a seemingly unstoppable Trump juggernaut. The reaction is a mix of befuddlement, outrage and panic, along with admiration in some unlikely quarters.

And satire. The Spanish newspaper El País recently published an imaginary letter from the grave in which Philip II, a 16th-century Spanish king who ruled a vast empire, offers advice to Mr. Trump. Noting that his nation had also suffered from roguish subjects demanding free handouts, and Muslim terrorists masquerading as peaceful citizens, the king advises Mr. Trump to “consider bringing back the Inquisition.”

I chose Hillary, but it was close. The truth is that from a pure ideological standpoint, I’m closer to Bernie but from a pragmatic standpoint, I’m closer to Hillary. That by the way is why I wanted Liz to run so badly as I believed her to be the perfect hybrid of the two.

Good approach in my view.  He's not looking short term, but also long term.

Global Research H/T Joanne D — Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot and killed in her home in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Wednesday. While the killers’ ID remains unknown, activists, media observers and the Cáceres family pointed to the increasingly reactionary and violent Honduran government, which has frequently clashed with Cáceres over her high-profile activism against land dispossession and mining, and her defense of indigenous rights.

Berta Caceres (image: Goldman Environmental Prize)

There was widespread outcry and grief over her death, and the story was covered by major media in the United States. But there was a glaring problem with the coverage: Almost none of it mentioned that the brutal regime that likely killed Cáceres came to power in a 2009 coup d’etat supported by the United States, under President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Almost nothing is mentioned in the MSM about the 2009 coup d'état which has implications in the assassination of Berta Cáceres.  Here is how the Huffington Post reported her assassination:

But we need to call out the actors who share a moral responsibility for the murder of our friend and partner:

• the Honduran government, which leads the country with the world's worst track record of environmental killings, and which did not protect Berta Cáceres even though it had been ordered to do so by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights; 

• the dam builder, Desarrollos Energéticos S. A (DESA), which has close contacts with the country's security forces and has orchestrated an intimidation campaign against Berta Cáceres in recent months;

• and finally, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), FMO, Finnfund and Voith-Siemens, the funders and corporations which underwrite the Agua Zarca Project with their loans and equipment contracts.

In terms of the current campaigning, how much of this revelation will come up and make a differtence?  Clinton is more hawkish than Bernie, and is that what the US wants and needs?

Mother Jones — Last week, Mitt Romney, the twice-failed GOP presidential candidate, delivered aspeech that blasted Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner, calling the tycoon "a phony, a fraud" and citing Trump's "dishonesty" and his "bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics." It was a clear move on Romney's part to rally the GOP establishment against the celebrity real estate mogul whose endorsement he warmly embraced during the 2012 campaign. Naturally, Trump responded in kind. Within hours, at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, he lashed out at Romney.

Trump noted that Romney had "failed horribly" four years ago. He claimed that Romney had begged Trump to endorse him in that race: "I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees." His audience roared with laughter.

The three faces of Trump?   Andrew Harnik/AP

His comment, not surprisingly, didn't cause a stir. He's been spraying a fire hose of outrageous remarks since he entered the presidential race, and this one got lost in the wash. It's also a statement fully in sync with his arrogant schtick that divides the world into winners and losers. Though he's now blasting Romney for the original 47 percent insult to Americans, Trump, too, apparently views many Americans as parasites. The only difference is that his estimate is higher.

It is amusing to see Romney criticising Trump for the same things for which he was criticised.  To me, it appears during these primaries that the Republicans are eating their own.

My Universe — 


cat sleep innovation Getting some Zs!!!

cat reading

A good book and thou!


cat head massage

A head massage! So relaxing!




Mar 062016

I really did have a much needed lazy day yesterday and did not do a post.  But today, I am a little more active with the post done and now I am off to see my mother.  I have some new clothes for her so I am hoping she likes them.

Short Takes

Washington Post — For some, the improbable presidential candidacy of Donald Trumpstopped being funny long ago. Republican eminences and custodians of the establishment gawk at the GOP front-runner's  belligerent braggadocio, his irreverent attacks on party grandees, his far-fetched proposals, his aversion to substance or basic factsand his not even thinly veiled bigotry.

And yet, Trump stands on the cusp of winning the Republican nomination, impervious to the slings and arrows of a growing list of vanquished foes.

There is one man, though, who seems to have also mastered the art of branding and showmanship for an adoring if partisan public — in a completely opposite fashion.

Canada's new Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, stormed to a stunning electoral victory last year. He did so while coping with the attacks of opponents who cast him as an inexperienced, slightly buffoonish dilettante trading on a powerful family legacy. Sound familiar?

But Trudeau's progressive, inclusive message could not be more different than that of Trump. Here's a rundown.

This coming week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Barak Obama during a state visit to Washington.  From a few headlines I've seen, Trudeau it seems is a bit of a celebrity in the US.  Today, he is scheduled to be on 60 Minutes.  But probably what is most revealing is that he is being hearalded as the "anti-Trump".  Click through to see how he is perceived as the "anti-Trump".  There are several short videos too.

YouTube — 

Bill Maher's New Rules is spot on!

Alternet — Right-wing populists ascend when three toxic forces converge. First, the economy needs to be really lousy for most citizens. Check.

Second, the political system ceases to be able to solve problems and loses legitimacy with regular people. Check.

Third, some foreign menace causes people to seek shelter in a strongman. Check.

Click through for the remainder of this excellent article.  Comparisons between Trump and Hitler have been made for months now.  I started revisiting my history classes to get a feel for what was happening in Germany during Hitler's rise.  And it seems that the first part of the article pretty much captures my thinking.  To me, there's no two ways about it, Trump is a scary idiot.

Upworthy — The Empowerment Plan makes coats that double as sleeping bags for the homeless, but they didn't stop there. They also provide people who have struggled with homelessness with jobs they need to get back on their feet again.

What a great idea.  The old saying, getting two birds with one stone is so appropriate.

My Universe —