Sep 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 143.  I feel quite tired after yesterday’s prison volunteer day.  It was a CoDA meeting, and I was only working with five guys, but their intensity made up for their low number.  I learned that one now has his release date, so I told him that he had been stinking up the prison for far too long and it was about time they threw his useless ass right out of the prison.  The wonderful thing about short timers with a brand new release date is you can do anything to them.  Nothing wipes away the smile, :twisted:  On a more serious note, we discussed dealing with a higher power and how different people have different concepts of what that means.  Views ranged from evangelical to devout atheist, but the beauty is that the men honored each others beliefs.  Store to Door will be delivering groceries soon and I’m still quite tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:30 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) tells a personal story that touches upon tough questions of race and gender identity and expression. Her courage to be who she is, and to remain compassionate in the face of open taunts and public shaming, is truly inspiring.

Every moment of her talk is compelling, but if you’ve only got a few minutes, jump ahead to 4:37 to hear why she does not descend to the level of her attackers. The answer—and the question she poses—puts so much of bullying into simple, elegant perspective. Bravo to her for speaking up and speaking out.

 

I understand how people can oppress out of pain. What I don’t understand is how Republicans can look in the mirror when they exacerbate that pain and exploit it for the profit of the 0.1%

From Daily Kos: Rep. Robert Pittenger thinks it would be terrible, just terrible, if the law prohibited employers from firing people for being gay. Kind of like how smoking bans are terrible:

After assuring ThinkProgress that he “respects everyone” and “loves people,” Pittenger said he believes companies should have the right to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business,” he said. “It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”

Denying the rights of others is not a freedom. It’s a Republican act of InsaniTEA.

From The New Yorker: Harshly criticizing the current occupant of the White House, Dick Cheney told reporters on Wednesday, “Iraq would be stable today if I were still President.”

“ISIS is a problem that President Obama has made possible,” Cheney said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “I never would have let that happen when I was Commander-in-Chief.”

I give up, Andy Where’s the satire?

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Sep 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 136.  It’s been another busy day.  It started out hectic when I realized the migrating to a different server discombobulated the email settings for those accounts.  Cleaning up that mess took a couple hours.  Store to Door delivered groceries and I put them away.  I got a lot of personal paperwork done.  Tomorrow will be a High Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:58 (average 5:03) to do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

Players, the first game of the new season is tonight (Thursday).  Have your lineups set.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: When a white supremacist gunman shot 10 people, killing six, at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, some speculated he thought his victims were Muslim. Comedian W. Kamau Bell had a few choice things to say about that.

 

He could just as easily have substituted Republican, because the Republican party supports the white supremacy movement.

From NY Times: Thirty years after their convictions in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in rural North Carolina, based on confessions that they quickly repudiated and said were coerced, two mentally disabled half brothers were declared innocent and ordered released Tuesday by a judge here.

The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time.

The startling shift in fortunes for the men, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who has spent three decades on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, who was serving a life sentence, provided one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.

Republicans want to weaken the appeal process so they can execute people more quickly. Death means never having to admit to injustice. Republicans are pro-death. Situations like this are one reason why I say we need to join the civilized world and outlaw the death penalty in favor of natural life, or at the very least apply capital punishment only to members of Congress.

From The New Yorker:

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A used tool that has been on the market for several months was purchased on Tuesday for the whopping price of $1.8 million.

While it may not have set a new record, the sale price raised eyebrows, with many observers noting that $1.8 million was a lot to pay for this particular tool…

Andy is right!  Since the going rate for chicken dung is less that a dollar a pound, this sack of it is way overpriced!

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Sep 022014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 104.  I’ve been busy all day, between chores and colleting the data for our Monthly Report.  LOL!  Here at PP, Labor Day is a day to labor!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: I saw a white man with a gun.

I heard a policeman saying, "Place the weapon down on the ground, please. … are crossing the street illegally … I need you to put the gun down before I talk to you. … You have committed a crime … you are jaywalking. … I don’t want to shoot you, I’m not here to do that. … Why are you so angry. … Why are you cursing at me?"

Watching the whole incident all I could think of were those dead (unarmed) black men and boys who never had the opportunity to be "talked down," called "sir," and were murdered by police

 

These police handled the incident exactly the way police should, but I can’t help thinking that, if that were a black man, instead of a Republican Ammosexual, he would now be doing an imitation of Swiss cheese.

From Upworthy: Here’s a little story about how somebody (whose name you might recognize) got together with a bunch of other somebodies and changed the world. And his mission isn’t over yet. This is such a low-bar kinda thing to do, but it honors such a great person and legacy. I’m signing — will you?

 

Frankly, I think this is a great idea for a great man.

From NY Times: So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven’t heard about them? Well, they haven’t been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won’t) transform a lot of our political debate.

The story so far: We’ve all seen projections of giant federal deficits over the next few decades, and there’s a whole industry devoted to issuing dire warnings about the budget and demanding cuts in Socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid. Policy wonks have long known, however, that there’s no such program, and that health care, rather than retirement, was driving those scary projections. Why? Because, historically, health spending has grown much faster than G.D.P., and it was assumed that this trend would continue.

But a funny thing has happened: Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago.

Click through for the rest of this excellent Paul Krugman editorial. Contrary to Republican lies, there is no Medicare crisis. The entire healthcare system will become better and more efficient, if the ACA evolves into Medicare for All!

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I stole this from last year.

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Aug 192014
 

I ran across the problem of private probation companies on Upworthy, and decided to research it further, because of my prison volunteer work.  The video there led to a second video, but they did not list all the locations where this perverse injustice takes place, and that led to ever more digging.

0819debtors_prisonEvery year, US courts sentence several hundred thousand misdemeanor offenders to probation overseen by private companies that charge their fees directly to the probationers. Often, the poorest people wind up paying the most in fees over time, in what amounts to a discriminatory penalty. And when they can’t pay, companies can and do secure their arrest.

The 72-page report, “Profiting from Probation: America’s ‘Offender-Funded’ Probation Industry,” describes how more than 1,000 courts in several US states delegate tremendous coercive power to companies that are often subject to little meaningful oversight or regulation. In many cases, the only reason people are put on probation is because they need time to pay off fines and court costs linked to minor crimes. In some of these cases, probation companies act more like abusive debt collectors than probation officers, charging the debtors for their services.

“Many of the people supervised by these companies wouldn’t be on probation to begin with if they had more money,” said Chris Albin-Lackey, senior researcher on business and human rights at Human Rights Watch. “Often, the poorer people are, the more they ultimately pay in company fees and the more likely it is that they will wind up behind bars.”

Companies refuse to disclose how much money they collect in fees from offenders under their supervision. Remarkably, the courts that hire them generally do not demand this information either. Human Rights Watch estimates that, in Georgia alone, the industry collects a minimum of US$40 million in fees every year from probationers. In other states, disclosure requirements are so minimal that is not possible even to hazard a guess how much probation companies are harvesting from probationers in fees…

Inserted from <Human Rights Watch>

Here is the HRW video.

And here are the two videos from Brave New Films. (petition there)

 

 

Most of the states were the ones I expected, but there were a couple surprises. They are Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Missouri, Michigan, Montana and Idaho.  I strongly suspect that in the Blue State and two purple states, it is red counties that use the services.  Perhaps we can get some feedback from residents.  Wherever they are, the companies miszt be outlawed.

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Aug 132014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 113.  It’s a muggy sticky day, and when I step out of my apartment, the heat is like a slap in the face.  Tomorrow I have a grocery delivery coming.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:18 (average 4:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From BBC: The appointment of Haider al-Abadi as prime minister-designate has been generally well-received in the mainstream Iraqi media.

Private television channels broadly support the move, and some pro-Sunni stations have strongly criticised outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s refusal to quit.

State-run Al-Iraqiyah TV continued its pro-Maliki line on Monday evening, but by Tuesday morning it stopped interviewing guests critical of the move and has been running more neutral reports on Mr Abadi’s career and background.

Meanwhile, the non-partisan press has shown impatience with Mr al-Maliki, and news websites generally support the appointment of Mr Abadi.

Nouri Al Maliki (R-IQ) may try to stage a military coup, because his policies and practices have made him a man so hated that he sees a noose in his future. Although a recent report indicates he may step aside peaceably,m I don’t see how he can do so, without putting his life in jeopardy.

From TPM: One thing is certain: Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Ferguson police officers on Saturday. His family has told the media that he was scheduled to start attending Vatterott College, a trade school with several Missouri campuses, this week.

Little else is agreed upon, though. A friend of Brown’s who was with him at the time of the shooting told MSNBC that a police officer told them to "get the fuck off the sidewalk" as they were walking down the street. An altercation ensued, Brown’s friend said, and the first shot was fired. Brown then attempted to flee the scene, according to the friend, but the police officer pursued and eventually fired multiple gunshots that killed Brown. The officer’s name has yet to be released, police say, because of "threats" made toward officers via social media.

The New York Times reported the police’s version of events. Brown had assaulted the police officer and then been shot in a struggle for the officer’s firearm, the police said. That account was met with skepticism from community leaders, especially as the police acknowledged that Brown had been unarmed.

According to two independent eyewitness accounts I have seen, the officer was chasing Brown down the street, and Brown had his hands in the air to surrender when the officer fired the fatal shots. The police assertion that Brown was going fire the officer’s gun is a standard police lie, when they murder an unarmed victim. Brown certainly was not going for the officers gun when the officer killed him. Most police officers are dedicated professionals, but far too many Republican racists are hired as police officers, and bring their hatred and need to abuse power to their jobs.

From Right Wing Watch: \Fox News commentator Todd Starnes appeared on “The 700 Club” today where he went through his usual talking points about how the Obama administration is waging “war” on conservative Christians while giving special treatment to Muslims.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

When Pat Robertson gets together with a propagandist from the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, the result frequently fouls screens and keyboards.

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Aug 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 109.  Oversleeping last night has thrown off my sleep schedule.  I feel like I need to sleep, but have been unable to do so, so I’m not as fresh as I’d like to be.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:15 (average 5:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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At the ends of the first quarter, the other gods hurled down thunder and lightning from Olympus in homage to the Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  Worshipers had to flee.  The service was what last year’s Super Bowl should have been.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: …Colt Thriemer and Thomas J Brown got into a fist fight at a Walmart Parking Lot.  There were several witnesses who say that the victim, Thomas Brown, was walking away afterwards to his car when Colt Thriemer shot Thomas Brown after retrieving a handgun.  Mr. Brown was shot 10 times at fairly close range both in the back while he was walking away and then when he turned towards Mr. Thriemer after being shot, apparently pleading him to stop.  Mr. Thriemer then fled the scene.

When he was apprehended, he did what all murderers do now in Florida: claim he was in "fear for his life".  The prosecutor agreed.

The prosecutor’s statement summed up all that is fucking wrong with Stand Your Ground:

"The Stand Your Ground Statue makes no exception to the immunity because Brown may have been walking away from Thriemer when deadly force was used."

That’s because the f_ing law was made by f_ing  imbeciles.  [emphasis original]

Of course the law was made by imbeciles. Republicans are.

From AlterNet: President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday slapped a one-year ban and restrictions on food and agricultural product imports from nations that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its defiant stance on Ukraine.

The decision marks yet another escalation in a furious diplomatic standoff that has seen Russia slip into growing international isolation and the onset of what some US media are calling a "new Cold War".

It also threatens to send the price of Russian food soaring and feed public discontent with an economic slowdown that analysts indirectly attribute to Putin’s perceived backing of pro-Kremlin insurgents fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine.

If any nation sanctioning Vladimir Putin (R-RU), aka GOP Pootie, has a shortage of foods, the US can help meet the need, especially if we stop paying farmers not to grow it.

From Crook and Liars: The hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday politicized the death of an Army general as a "touchdown for the Taliban" so they could score some points against President Barack Obama.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Yesterday I said they were doing this. This is how they are doing it. How disgusting they are!

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Aug 062014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 107.  I don’t know why, but I just could not get comfortable last night, and I could not sleep.  I had a short nap this morning, but it was nowhere near enough.  I’m hoping I can catch some serious Zs, when I finish writing. 

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:02 (average 6:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren cares a lot about making student loans affordable—and she happens to be a bankruptcy expert. This week, she turned that passion and that wealth of knowledge on Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association.

You would think bankers would learn not to try to get sneaky in response to Warren’s pointed questioning. But this one had not learned that.

 

Was Lizzie munching on Bankster Butt or what? Bankruptcy relief should include student loans, and the death of the borrower should terminate any student loan.

From YouTube: Another Journey into the Parallel World of ALEC

 

Kudos to Chris Taylor and Ed Schultz. When Republican politicians introduce ALEC boilerplate, they must be exposed and dumped.

From AlterNet: What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society. 

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the  $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of  $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of  $9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

As always the Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right, while the Reich on the Right, the Republican Reich, is wrong. Click through for in depth coverage of this subject.

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