Jul 272015
 

I’m trying to take advantage of the last relatively temperate day, before the new heat wave begins in earnest.  I got up early and cooked a 3-day spaghetti with hot Italian sausage dinner.  Then I made a big breakfast of fried eggs and potatoes.  Because my friend with cancer is taking a rare trip to the prison tomorrow, I get to take a volunteer day with a small group of my guys for a CoDA meeting.  Then on Friday, I have to go out into the extreme heat for the routine quarterly surgery on my foot, so please expect me to be somewhat scarce for the rest of the week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Tips:

Our season opens on Thursday, September 10, but there’s a lot to do between now and then.  Get to know your players.  Check for Bye week conflicts.  Keep track of injuries.  Follow your players’ progress during preseasons. Use Add/Drop to make needed changes from unclaimed players or propose trades with competitors.  If you have any questions ask.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 6/2014): America’s gun death rates — both nationwide and in the states — dwarf those of most other Western industrialized nations. The gun death rate in the United Kingdom in 2011 was 0.23 per 100,000 while in Australia it was 0.86 per 100,000.

States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates 

(Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate Per 100,000)

1 Louisiana 45.6 percent 18.91

2 Mississippi 54.3 percent 17.80

3 Alaska 60.6 percent 17.41

4 Wyoming 62.8 percent 16.92

5 Montana 61.4 percent 16.74

States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates

(Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate Per 100,000)

50 Rhode Island 13.3 percent 3.14

49 Hawaii 9.7 percent 3.56

48 Massachusetts 12.8 percent 3.84

47 New York 18.1 percent 5.11

46 New Jersey 11.3 percent 5.46

For a list of gun death rates in all 50 states, Visit Here.

This is what I’d expect except for one thing. NJ hadn’t caught up to PIGnocchio’s policies yet.

From The New Yorker: The Republican National Committee has released the format for its first 2016 Presidential debate, to be broadcast by Fox News on August 6th:

1. Question from moderator to Donald Trump;

2. Ignoring of question by Donald Trump, followed by personal attack on Jeb Bush;

3. Feeble attempt at rebuttal by Jeb Bush;

4. Interruption by Donald Trump, followed by attack on other eight candidates on stage;

Andy has it pegged. Click through for the rest.

From NY Times: Rick Perry’s voice softens when he talks about the joy he gets from looking at his iPad and seeing “that 20-week picture of my first grandbaby.” Marco Rubio says ultrasounds of his sons and daughters reinforced how “they were children — and they were our children.” Rand Paul recalls watching fetuses suck their thumbs. And Chris Christie says the ultrasound of his first daughter changed his views on abortion.

If they seem to be reading from the same script, they are.

With help from a well-funded, well-researched and invigorated anti-abortion movement, Republican politicians have refined how they are talking about pregnancy and abortion rights, choosing their words in a way they hope puts Democrats on the defensive.

The goal, social conservatives say, is to shift the debate away from the “war on women” paradigm that has proved so harmful to their party’s image.

The Republican war on women has changed little, as barefoot and pregnant is still the objective. They are just using an even less honest tactic.

Cartoon:

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Apologies to the snake.

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Jul 252015
 

The live online draft for out fantasy football league is in about 2 1/2 hours, and I’m trying to get as much as I can done before them.  The plan is to get my articles written, attend the draft, have a meal and a catnap, and post the articles.  I think I’ll be able to leave my A/C off all day!!  Update: The draft went well, except that the Squatch drafted the Broncos running back right out from under my kitty nose. :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A group of scholars who have been monitoring the descent of the bar over the past few decades have concluded that the bar can no longer be lowered, the scholars announced on Friday.

The academics, led by Professor Davis Logsdon, of the University of Minnesota, published their conclusion after their research definitively found that the bar had finally dropped to its lowest possible position.

“For those who thought the bar still had room to be lowered, our findings resoundingly contradict that assumption,” Logsdon said. “The bar is now essentially flush with the ground.”

Logsdon acknowledged that he and his fellow scholars have come under fire in the past for claiming that the bar could not be further lowered, specifically when they issued a paper to that effect after the selection of the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008.

“We got that one wrong,” he said. “Clearly, the bar still had a way to go.”

Andy should continue that that they got it wrong again. Hairball and the rest of the Republican Clown Cotillion will always find a lower position for the bar.

From Daily Kos: Living in central Phoenix, I went to some of Netroots last week. After Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s barn-burner on Friday, about 300 people, led by Puente Arizona, marched to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail (one-minute video of the protest above). It was only 100 that day, a cool wave. Nearby, a couple thousand inmates were living in tents, where it can reach 135+.

In addition to exposing and condemning the sheriff’s criminal practices, marchers had two demands: 1) that Immigration and Customs Enforcement be removed from his office, because immigration is a federal responsibility, not his—a county lawman convicted of racial profiling; and 2) the sheriff must resign, because he’s a corrupt dickhead.

 

Kudos to the demonstrators. I fully agree. Joe MUST go!!

From Think Progress: The saga over a Houston city law that protects LGBT people from discrimination just took a sudden turn. The Texas Supreme Court intervened in the court fight over the effort to repeal the initiative, ordering that the Houston City Council must either repeal HERO on its own or allow it to be challenged at the ballot in the next election. Either way, the city can no longer enforce it.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was a sweeping piece of legislation, because prior to its passage, Houston had no municipal nondiscrimination protections for any class. Opponents of the bill objected primarily to its inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity, and collected signatures to challenge it at the ballot. Whether enough signatures were valid to qualify the referendum became the subject of heated back-and-forth court fights, but the Texas Supreme Court ignored almost all of it.

The Republicans on the Texas Supreme court do not care that the gay-haters lied, forged, cheated and presented insufficient valid signatures to qualify. To them, gay rights just don’t matter.

Cartoon:

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Jul 232015
 

Today I’m feeling a bit groggy, because I did get some sleep last night.  Tomorrow I have to venture out into the world to get my ears lowered.  I’m starting to look like a hermit.  The weekend should be cool, but we have another heat wave next week, just in time for my next volunteer day in prison.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Reminder:

Lefty Blog Friends, don’t forget that our live online draft is Saturday at 11 AM Pacific (12 Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern) Daylight Savings Time.  If you haven’t already done so, I recommend participating in a mock draft or two between now and then.

Short Takes:

From MSNBC: Sanders speaks out on Sandra Bland

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issues a forceful statement on the case of Sandra Bland, days after a tense confrontation with #BlackLivesMatter activists. Sanders joins Ed Schultz to explain.

 

I liked Bernie’s response. I hope that it will evoke a positive response from Black Lives Matter, but I fear that it will not, because he did not focus on their issues to the exclusion of everything else. Note that Bernie wanted to focus on immigration at ,Netroots, not because he dis not care about institutional racism, but because immigration is what the conference had asked him to present.

From The New Yorker: Businessman Donald Trump’s failure to insult fellow G.O.P. hopeful John Kasich a full twenty-four hours after the Ohio governor entered the  2016 Presidential race has sent Trump’s poll numbers plummeting, as many supporters expressed a sudden loss of confidence in the real-estate mogul.

Trump’s Kasich gaffe occurred at a campaign rally in Des Moines on Wednesday, when the former reality-show star admitted that he did not yet know enough about the Ohio governor to properly insult him.

“I could get up here and call Kasich a loser, because my gut tells me that’s what he is, but you’ve come to expect something more special out of me,” Trump said. “If you bear with me, I promise you that I’ll come up with a world-class insult that we can all be proud of.”

Good catch, Andy! Hairball had better hurry up, because KKKasich needs some of his special treatment.

From Daily Kos: via rawstory

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Georgia “sovereign citizen” who twice attempted to pull one of the half-dozen guns he had within reach inside his car decorated with a hand-painted Confederate flag.

A Towns County sheriff’s deputy and an agent from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office stopped 30-year-old Dustin Lee Gunnells, of Hiawassee, for an unspecified misdemeanor traffic offense Wednesday, reported WKRK-AM.

“Immediately the driver exhibited aggression towards the officers and began making statements consistent with ‘sovereign citizen type beliefs,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Rather than comply with deputies, the driver reached for a gun.”

The deputies feared for their safety but did not shoot, and instead broke out a window in Gunnell’s car and physically removed him from the vehicle.

So this guy has loaded weapons in his confederate flag painted truck, refuses to comply, the cops tussle with him and he is not dead. See cops can get it right, if the color of skin and ideology is right.

While I may not always agree with the Black Lives Matter movement about tactics, I fully agree with them about the elevated danger black people face from Republican racists wearing badges and the immediate need to do something to stop it.

Cartoon:

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Jul 222015
 

The onset of cooler weather started on a down note.  My Firefox crashed, and I was up most of the night trying without success to repair it.  IE11 is not as bad as earlier versions, and I’m stuck with it for the time being.  I’m bleary eyed, but I have to wait for Store to Door to deliver groceries and put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Oliver Willis dug up a letter Jeb Bush wrote to the men who orchestrated the smear campaign against then-presidential candidate John Kerry. The letter (seen below), from the desk of the Governor of Florida, was a personal thank you for helping to re-elect his brother.

0722letter

This shows what a hypocrite Strike Three is, considering his current condemnation of Hairball’s attacks on McConJob’s service.

From NY Times: Slamming the Obama administration for failing to penalize cities that shield illegal immigrants, congressional Republicans on Tuesday started to pursue legislation that would withhold federal funds from these so-called sanctuary cities.

The House is expected to vote this week on a bill that would bar the Justice Department from giving grants to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration enforcement officials, a measure that Republicans hope can bridge the reopened chasm within the party over immigration as they try to avoid alienating Hispanic voters.

If this is what Republicans and consider a position that avoids alienating Latinos, they are sure to do so.

From Crooks and Liars: For anyone that missed it, there were competing rallies this past weekend over the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse at the state capitol, with members of both the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party in attendance.

 

From this, one thing is clear. SC has no shortage of Republicans.

Cartoon:

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We need one for Republicans.

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Jul 202015
 

Fortunately, today should be the last day in the heat wave.  85° is the forecast high, but the last two days have both been more than 5° hotter than forecast.  It will then take a couple days for the building to bleed off the heat.  I’m so ready.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:03 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: Israel’s ambassador to the United States raced in and out of offices on Capitol Hill, trying to persuade lawmakers that the nuclear deal with Iran is a historic mistake.

On the other side, liberal groups ramped up the pressure, warning of political consequences for Democrats who undermine the agreement and casting opposition as a vote for war.

The lobbying fight is on over the pact that the U.S. and other world powers just signed with Iran. The State Department said Sunday it had submitted the agreement to Congress, kicking off a 60-day review period on Monday.

A foreign government has no business lobbying the US Congress! Keep contacting your Congress Critter and Senators.

From Think Progress: The state of the world’s climate is complex enough that it takes 413 scientists from 58 countries half a year to completely summarize a year’s worth of data.

And 2014 was a doozy…

…For those without the time to peruse nearly 300 pages of scientific summaries, here are seven records that fell in 2014.

0720temps

There’s one. Click through for the other six.

From Raw Story: John Oliver bashes ‘a**hole’ Donald Trump while tackling America’s astounding food waste

 

He does cover the subject, doesn’t he? However, I do have to disagree with his statement that dog balls are delicious. CAT is where it’s AT!! Seriously, do you waste a lot of food? I throw little away, but I do convert quite a bit to methane.

Cartoon:

0720Cartoon

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Jul 192015
 

It’s another real scorcher.  When I arose at 4:00 AM to heed nature’s call, the temperature in the buildings hallways and rest rooms was still 92°.  When I took my shower, a bit later, I was sweating, before I was dry.  I cannot cook on the stovetop, because I cannot open the door to keep cooking fumes from setting off the smoke detector, because super-hot hallway air floods my apartment when I do.  That is why extreme heat is such a problem for me, even with A/C in the apartment.  Today’s high is forecast at 95°.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 8:31).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Presidential candidate Donald Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth on Saturday, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war.

“The Cong were after me,” Trump said, visibly stirred by the memory. “And then, just in the nick of time, I got my deferment.”

The former reality-show star said he had never shared his record as a war hero before because “I don’t like to boast.”

He said that he only disclosed the episode now because “the way this nation treats our deferment veterans is a disgrace.”

Trump complained that he received no official commendation or medal for his heroism, calling the lack of recognition “shameful.”

Andy May have missed the point. It would have been heroic, if Hairball had been captured. If he had, Vietnam would have released all prisoners much sooner, just to get rid of him too.

From NY Times: A group of protesters repeatedly confronted Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland during a town hall discussion with liberal activists here on Saturday, demanding the Democratic presidential candidates address issues like discrimination and police brutality.

Chanting, “What side are you on, my people, what side are you on?” and “Black lives matter,” the demonstrators moved to the front of the ballroom about 20 minutes into the event as Mr. O’Malley discussed proposed changes to Social Security. They remained there, heckling the candidates and posing questions, until organizers shut down the event, one of the centerpieces of the annual Netroots Nation conference.

The protesters included members of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and GetEqual, as well as Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. A representative of the demonstrators took the stage to inform the event’s audience of what was happening, specifically that they were seeking policy proposals from the candidates on racial issues.

Both Sanders and O’Malley tried to answer the protesters, but the demonstrators prevented any discussion that was not related to their issue. While I fully agree that racial issues are very important, and we need to address them, they are not the only issues we face. While I fully agree that black lives matter, I’d like to think that even though I’m not black, my life matters too. Speaking as an activist that started organizing and demonstrating for civil rights in the 1960s, I cannot support people and organizations, whose behavior is what I would expect from the Tea Party. I remain an activist in support of equality for ALL.

From Daily Kos (classic 10/2013): Judd Legum, editor-in-chief of Think Progress, provided the perfect illustration of what it means to Republicans when they demand "compromise" from Democrats:

0179tweet

Nothing has changed since.

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Jul 172015
 

Yesterday morning I reached Store to Door.  Someone had misplaced my grocery order, so it had not been filled.  They had not called, because they were gone by the time I called them, and they had not realized there was an order to call about.  They had just found my order and were very apologetic.  hey did an emergency shop for me and delivered mf food around noon.   After I put them away, I slept fore the rest of the day and night.  I’m feeling groggy, but relieved.    We have three more days of very hot weather forecast: high 80°s today and 90°s Saturday and Sunday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:37 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: By easing tensions with Cuba and now Iran, President Obama is “recklessly squandering America’s precious supply of enemies,” the leader of a conservative think tank said on Tuesday.

“Our adversarial relationships with Cuba and Iran took years of frostiness and saber-rattling to maintain,” Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of the Washington-based Institute for Infinite Conflict, said. “Thanks to the President, decades of well-crafted hostility have been thrown out the window.”

According to Dorrinson, fears abound in conservative circles that the President might be “capriciously casting about for other powder kegs to defuse” during his remaining time in office.

“If his shameful record is any guide, he’ll probably try to disarm North Korea,” Dorrinson said. “That’s the doomsday scenario.”

Oh Andy!! Down with that Kenyan!! If world peace were to break out, it would destroy the Republican party, who need hostility to feed the fires of hate and fear.

From Upworthy: Business can thrive on kindness.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about Rosa’s, check out our interview with Wartman. And of course, pay it forward and pass it on.

 

Click through to see how well this wonderful company has done, since Upwsorthy first told their story back in March. Isn’t this better than how Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians use their businesses to propagate hatred?

From NY Times: A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station on Thursday, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines, prompting a federal domestic terrorism investigation. Three other people, including a Marine Corps recruiter and a police officer, were wounded, according to law enforcement officials.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the gunman, who also died Thursday, as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, who became a naturalized United States citizen and went to high school and college in Chattanooga. Although counterterrorism officials had not been investigating Mr. Abdulazeez before Thursday’s shooting, federal officials familiar with the inquiry said that his father had been investigated years ago for giving money to an organization with possible ties to terrorists.

At a late night news conference, F.B.I. officials said that thus far they did not have “anything that directly ties” the suspect to international terrorist organizations.

For now, there is not enough public information about this terrible crime for me to comment, but I would like to say two things. The Republican attempts already springing up misuse this tragedy to generate hatred against Muslims in general are shameful. I offer condolences, thoughts and prayers for the surviving victims, their families and the families of the slain heroes, and all who loved them.  Please join me in that.

Cartoon:

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