May 222015
 

Last night I returned from the shower and reached into my drawer for clean underwear.  Imagine my horror when I discovered a handful of air!!!  So I rose early this morning and did the dreaded task, but am now even more tired and further behind than before.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:05 (average 7:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Her neighbors are paying $18 a month. Joyce Villegas has been paying almost $400 a month for over three years because of delays from Hawaiian Electric, the state’s utility company.

 

Here we have a case of a blue state trying to do the right thing, but failing to organize it properly. The result is that people still waiting are subsidizing the utility service of people who have installed panels. 1:1 buyback sounds nice, but it’s not realistic, because it ignores the need to maintain the power grid.

From The New Yorker: Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, voters who were presented the names of a biker-brawl suspect and a Republican Presidential candidate correctly identified both only thirty per cent of the time.

For example, fifty-seven per cent of voters erroneously identified the former Texas Governor Rick Perry as a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, while forty-one per cent believed he belonged to the Cossacks.

Adding to voters’ confusion, the biker brawlers and G.O.P. candidates have identical views on a host of issues, such as gun rights and whether they would feel comfortable attending a gay wedding.

Andy is off in a couple places here. First, isn’t "Wacko" a better way to spell the town’s name? Second, he missed an obvious solution. Just replace the current clown car with the biker brawl suspects, who are eminently more qualified to govern.

From Media Matters: Fox News’ misleading smear of food stamp recipients as surfing freeloaders found its way into a congressional hearing aimed at examining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

On May 20, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing addressing the "Past, Present, and Future of SNAP." Throughout the hearing, Fox News’ misleading 2013 special, "The Great Food Stamp Binge" that attempted to make a surfing freeloader "the new face of food stamps" was referenced several times as evidence of abuse within the program.

Fox’s misrepresentation of food stamp recipients found its way into the hearing when two members on the committee used the special as anecdotal evidence of abuse within SNAP. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) used Fox’s example of a "surfer out in California living on food stamps and eating lobster" as evidence of abuse within the program, though he "forg[o]t which network" aired the special.

Later, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) also referenced "the surfer that was on one of the news channels," claiming, "unfortunately, we see that in our districts, and I hear stories about that every day."

The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, has become the Republican Reichsministry of Policy.

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May 192015
 

How can I describe an MRI.  Though painless, few painless experiences are more unpleasant.  It’s like being shut in a coffin that is being assaulted with 1,000 jackhammers.  For 30 minutes I had to be absolutely still, while every fiber of my being told me to squirm.  It felt like hours.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  Thursday is an all day excursion to get the MRI results.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:41 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Tame Wall Street

The best way to stop Wall Street malfeasance from costing you your job or life savings is to finally break up the too-big-to-fail banks.

 

How many times have you seen me say, over the years, "Too big to fail = Too big to exist”?  This is the fourth video in this Robert Reich series. Please click through to MoveOn, and forward it from there.

From Daily Kos: As the Amtrak derailment showed (again), the refusal to spend on infrastructure literally kills. Also, infrastructure spending: (i) is necessary and unavoidable (failure to timely spend on infrastructure increases the deficit in real terms), (ii) improves the gross domestic product and competitiveness, and (iii) is an obvious source for increased employment, particularly in currently hard hit segments.  Moreover, infrastructure spending remains unambiguously popular.  Indeed, infrastructure spending historically has had bipartisan support.

So, why are modern Republicans ideologically opposed to infrastructure spending today?

John Oliver’s 21 minute video clip is hilarious, but he doesn’t really answer the question. Click through for answers. I have an answer of my own. Every penny Democrats sent making repairs needed to save people’s lives is a penny Republicans cannot give to a billionaire.

From NY Times: Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.

But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

Click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial. As obvious as the facts seem to us, Republicans will rewrite this history, until their lies become accepted as common knowledge, unless we keep reviewing and broadcasting the truth.

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Any more their salaries are tiny, compared to their corruption benefits.

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May 172015
 

For different functions I have five different email accounts: one for this blog, one for my volunteer work, one for research, one for most business, and one for secure banking that has on other online presence at all.  I had to set up the last two on my notebook, because I have a new ISP.  But for the first three, my main computer has them configured as IMAP accounts, but on the notebook, they were still configured at POP3.  I have a king size mess on my hands, and most of my research material just went up in smoke.  AGuess what I’ll be doing most of today?  ARGH!!  Tomorrow, I’ll be gone most of the day getting my MRI, so expect a Personal Update at most.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:27 (average 6:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: While Wisconsin Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is a favorite among business leaders looking for favors and wealthy Americans keen on slashing government to the bone if they can shave a quarter-point off their effective tax rates, among the evangelical crowd he’s a bit of an also-ran. What’s he done for them lately?

So Walker is off to do some fence-mending and appropriate knee-bending.

Next week, the Wisconsin governor will travel to Capitol Hill to hold a private meeting with influential evangelical leaders, some of whom are expressing deep reservations about his track record on issues near and dear to them. Pointing to his past statements, and even his hire of a top campaign aide, they are openly questioning whether his views on abortion and gay marriage align with theirs and whether he’s willing to fight for their cause.

There may once have been a time when there was more to having religion than an obsessive policing of other people’s sex lives, perhaps there was a bit of caring for the sick or feeding the poor or loving thy neighbor in there, toward the back, but no more. Support all the wars you want, give your personal thumbs-up to the death penalty and to state-sanctioned torture, tell impoverished Americans or people without health insurance that you’re very sorry for their plight but you’ll be dead in the cold ground before your government does a damn thing for them—it’s all fine. But you’d better have the right opinion on abortion and keeping the gay people in line.

I have no doubt that the Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan will goose-step with the Republican Party’s most rabid Supply-side pseudo-Christian hate mongers.

From Common Dreams: Today’s verdict does not reflect the values of the majority of people in our Commonwealth. The ACLU of Massachusetts has been disappointed from the start that the federal government sought the death penalty in Massachusetts, which has rejected capital punishment. The last execution in the state of Massachusetts took place in 1947. Even in this case, Massachusetts opposition to the death penalty has been reflected in public opinion polls, in the pleas of religious leaders, and in statements by victims’ families and survivors. In a Boston Globe poll conducted this April, Massachusetts residents—by a four-to-one margin—overwhelmingly opposed the imposition of a death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Massachusetts religious leaders voiced their opposition to seeking his execution. Victims’ families and survivors in this case asked that federal prosecutors take the death penalty off the table and, instead, accept a sentence of life in exchange for no possibility of appeal or parole…

This statement came from the MA ACLU.  I agree.  I certainly will not argue that Dzhokhar is not a monstrous person, who "deserves" the death penalty. In this case, the death penalty is working exactly as it was designed to work under ideal circumstances. However, the most important objection still remains. Whether or not we strap this man down and kill him is not about who he is or what he did. It’s about who we are and what we are doing. By imposing the death penalty our federal government makes is all just like Dzhokhar.

From Think Progress: For thousands of years, religious people have gathered together in houses of worship to sing songs, celebrate sacred rituals, and lift up prayers to God(s) on high. And on July 1, a new religious group in Indiana intends to do just that — but with a lot more emphasis on the “high” part.

A little more than a month from now, the newly-formed First Church of Cannabis is scheduled to hold its first official gathering, where worshippers plan to test the limits of new religious freedom laws by “filling up” the sanctuary with marijuana smoke while observing a sacrament.

“It’s going to be a standard service,” Bill Levin, the group’s leader and self-proclaimed “Grand Poohba and Minister of Love,” told ThinkProgress. He explained the ceremony will last around 45 minutes, complete with music and teachings, but will conclude with an unusual benediction: “At the end of the service … we will enjoy cannabis, because it’s how we enjoy life.”

This is clearly a false religion. I have no problem with them getting high, but the source of all blessing is the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb. May the Orb shine its holy light upon you! 😉

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May 152015
 

Today is so busy that I must remain as brief as possible.  TGIF Hugs!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Jon Stewart: Fox News’ Poor-Shaming Is "Easily Provable And Decidedly True"

Stewart On Fox’s Denial: How "Removed From Reality Is Fox’s Perception Of Their Own Coverage On Poverty?"

Is it any wonder that people who depend on the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda know less that people with no access to TV news.

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Expand Social Security

We need to expand Social Security to prevent the looming retirement crisis, and we can do it simply by asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

 

Amen to Scrap the Cap!! This is the third video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn, and share it from there.

From The New Yorker: After several days of controversy over whether he would have authorized an invasion of Iraq, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Thursday that the question was unimportant since it is now painfully clear that he will never be President.

“Look, I can understand people wanting to know where I stand on this Iraq business if I actually had a chance of being elected,” he told an audience in Arizona. “But since I’ve pretty much pissed that away, what’s the point, really?”

Bush urged those who sought out his opinion on policy matters to take a look at how poorly his campaign is going “and get a reality check about the odds of me ever being President, which are hovering in the vicinity of zero.”

May Andy be speaking prophetically!

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May 142015
 

I’m thoroughly swamped with tasks to complete, and needed to sleep late, after yesterday.  Pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:35 (average 4:36).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Last Thursday (May 7) here at Daily Kos, I published the first public disclosure of a shocking collapse of the state’s voter registration system here in North Carolina under Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Our analysis of State Board of Elections data revealed that, beginning on or about the time of McCrory’s inauguration in January 2013, new voter registrations originating via the state’s public assistance (welfare) offices had suddenly and inexplicably collapsed by 66%.

Federal law – specifically the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 – requires states to actively encourage and enable every patron of state offices, including public assistance and motor vehicles offices, to register to vote on the spot. The sudden meltdown in North Carolina’s effort to do so, and its continuing failure for more than two years, right up to today, has been responsible for the possible disenfranchisement of up to 40,000 poverty-level citizens (and still counting).

 

Republicans will do anything to keep minorities and poor people from voting.

From NY Times: It may take a while to learn exactly why an Amtrak train speeding out of Philadelphia Tuesday night suddenly derailed on a sharp curve. Whether the train was going too fast or the equipment failed or it was something else entirely, the horrifying accident left at least seven people dead and more than 200 injured on one of the busiest train routes in the country.

Yet, Wednesday morning, while the wreckage lay on the tracks, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut Amtrak’s budget by about $260 million. That would reduce Amtrak’s already inadequate appropriations from $1.4 billion to about $1.1 billion.

As a result of meager financing, railroad experts estimated last month that it would take a $21.1 billion just to repair and replace existing assets in the Northeast Corridor that have outlived their “design life” — tracks, ties, electric wires, communications networks, major bridges and tunnels. That does not include new stations, bullet trains or expanding the system. That’s only fixing what’s already in use.

Among the system’s greatest needs is updated safety equipment, including new systems such as positive train control that can slow a train automatically as it comes to a dangerous curve like the one in Philadelphia. The tracks, especially those along severe curves, also need to be adjusted and repaired so that trains can go at higher speeds.

Republicans claim that it’s wrong to blame them when we don’t know exactly what caused the accident. The head of the NTSB has verified that a positive train control system would have prevented this accident. Although required by law to do so, Amtrak is unable to implement positive control, because Republicans keep slashing Amtrak’s budget, So Republicans can provide more welfare to billionaires and corporate criminals.  Republicans consider dead Americans a small price to pay for 0.1% welfare.

From Alternet: Jon Stewart took aim at the easy pickings of Republican presidential candidates on Tuesday night.

 

He nailed Upchuck Huck, Bagger Ben, The Cruzin’ Canadian, and Rabid Rubio, and Strike three. He also got Hillary, but he had far less ammo to work with, because she tells the truth more often than not.

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May 132015
 

On a scale of one to ten, I’m swamped!!!!  The O2 people just left and I’m waiting for Store to Door to arrive with my groceries.  Then I have to put them away, of course.  Yesterday’s community meeting was interesting.  Our building energy efficiency program is doing well.  Although marijuana will be legal here on 7/1, it may not be brought into the building, because it receives federal funding,  For me, that doesn’t matter, and the smell has been in the hallway since the day I moved in, almost seventeen months ago, anyway.  My friend with cancer is dealing with it very well and has a positive prognosis.  My MRI is now scheduled for Monday. 

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:23 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Help Working Families

No one should have to choose between providing for their family and being a good parent.

 

This is the second in the series. Click through to MoveOn to share it from there.

From The New Yorker: Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said….

Andy is close. There are actually two strains. For Republicitis, take Dulcolax. For Republicosis, take Immodium.

From NY Times: Jeb Bush on Tuesday sought to arrest a chorus of criticism from Democrats and some conservatives after he told an interviewer that, knowing what history has since shown about intelligence failures, he still would have authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Calling in to Sean Hannity’s syndicated radio show, Mr. Bush said he had misunderstood a question that one of Mr. Hannity’s Fox News colleagues, Megyn Kelly, had asked him in an interview shown on Sunday and Monday nights.

If Strike Three is so stupid that he can’t understand THAT question, it proves two things. First, he really is Crawford Caligula’s brother. Second, he’s too stupid to be President!

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May 122015
 

I had hoped to include a second article today, but there is not enough time to get it done, because I have to go to a community meeting and then go to coffee with my friend with cancer.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:33 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a golden boy of American sports and perhaps pro football’s biggest star, was suspended Monday for four regular-season games without pay by the N.F.L., which said he had deliberately and secretly violated league rules.

The N.F.L. also fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two prized future draft picks, including a first-round choice in 2016, saying that the team, and Brady, schemed to improperly deflate footballs in the A.F.C. championship game last season on the way to securing New England’s fourth Super Bowl victory.

A deflated football is said to be easier to grip, especially in the cold and wet conditions that the Patriots faced at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18.

I fully support this decision. Although I am a fervent devotee of the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, I think NFL executives and players have gotten away with far too much for far too long. This will hurt Brady and the Patriots where it counts. In the wallet. May the blessed Orb shine its holy light upon you all.

From Upworthy: See what researchers found when they tested a bottle of Fiji Water against a glass of tap water.

 

The only thing you can be sure about is that the bottle is pollution. I treat tap water with filter pitchers, and carry it out with a permanent drinking bottle.

From Daily Kos: Bill Maher did not pull any punches in his justifiable ridicule of Texans in this week’s Real Time. It was his turn as Jon Stewart had his turn earlier this week. He was discussing the Jade Helm 15 military exercise conspiracy theory that has metastasized within the Texas right wing.

 
Bill Maher ridicules Texans reaction Jade Helm… by ewillies

"White Somalia" ranks with his other creation "Ammosexual".

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