Nov 222016
 

Well there was a one week reprieve from the "5 Right-Wing Outrages This Week" series, and it now looks like Alternet author Janet Allon has a new series, (well at least potential series — I'm sure Trump won't disappoint in providing suitable material) the "Despicable Things …This Week".  Without further ado, here is her first article, and like her previous series, guaranteed to have you doing deep sighs and shaking your head.

 

It has been one of the longest weeks in human history and the Trump presidency has not even begun yet. Any notion that reasonable, well-intentioned people should give him a chance-hey, maybe he was just kidding about all that hateful, bigoted stuff he spewed on the campaign trail-was immediately dispelled. One of his first official acts… Continue reading »

Share
Nov 192016
 

Today has been "one of those days".  I slept late and then spent play time with my three cats which was very relaxing.  It was hard to tear myself away from my furballs, but I did.  After our play time I spent several hours at the local hospital visiting some of our church members who are on my pastoral care list.  One lady, who I call my second mum, did not look like herself at all when I first went in, but that soon changed and we had a wonderful visit talking a lot about her oldest grandson who was in my Sunday School class 20 years ago.  This weekend, I will be visiting my mother and hoping Patty Monster does not kick my butt at Fantasy Football!

Short Takes

CBC — President-elect Donald Trump on Friday named his earliest and staunchest supporter in the Senate, conservative Republican Jeff Sessions, to become the next U.S. attorney general, triggering an outcry from civil rights groups as well as some conservatives outside Congress who are uneasy about Sessions' positions.

jeff-sessions

Sessions is one of three senior leaders Trump has appointed  to his national security and law enforcement teams, including Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director and retired Lt.-Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser.

If approved for the job by a simple majority in the Republican-dominated Senate, Sessions, 69, would lead the Justice Department and the FBI. He brings a record of controversial positions on race, immigration and criminal justice reform that Democrats may target.

OMG!!! or WTH(F)!!!  Can there be any other first reaction to Trump's choice of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General?  Sessions has a reputation as an unabashed racist.  From Wikipedia:

"In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. … At Sessions' confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements in the context of the Marion Three case. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people"."

Sessiions has 4 years left in his Senate term which as I understand means that Alabama will appoint another person  (read Republican) to complete the term or run a byelection.  In 2014, Sessions ran essentially uncontested and received 97.25% of the vote, while in 2008 he received 63.36%, far ahead of his Democrat opponent.  I think we should have concerns over civil rights investigations and prosecutions.  Click through for the rest of the article.

Daily Kos — Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin opened the upper house of the Irish legislature (Seanad Éireann) with a statement about the United States’ election of Donald Trump. Mr. Riordáin was responding to the hypocritical congratulatory reactions from fellow Irish politicians. Riordáin opened by quoting the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke.

The only way evil can prosper if for good men to do nothing.

It is good to know that other countries are looking at Trump's ascendancy to POTUS and recognising it for what it is . . . a fascist takeover of the US government.  Il Duce Trump.

Fiscal Times (MSN) — Throughout the presidential election, now-President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to undo the financial service industry reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank Act. The Trump transition team’s website makes it clear that the issue hasn’t been forgotten, saying that Trump will work to “dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies.”

In an appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen delivered her verdict on the suggestion: bad idea.

Yellen was delivering regularly scheduled testimony before the Joint Economic Committee when she was asked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for her thoughts on the law that placed new restrictions on the financial services industry in the wake of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession.

Although Yellen does not mention Trump by name, she responds to his proposal to gut financial regulations (Dodd-Frank), she is very clear that this will send the country into a deeper recession than 2008, and we all know how that turned out.  Thank goodness Sanders and Warren are still strong in the Senate.  Although I have not specifically heard anything, it would not surprise me find that Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau becomes "unemployed", unfortunately.

Daily Beast — John Oliver, like most liberal comedians, did his damnedest to prevent Donald Trump and Mike Pence from reaching the White House. He tore apart the former reality-show host for bragging about sexually assaulting women, explained how his scandals were far worse than Hillary Clinton’s, and even offered up his Emmy to Trump if he’d deliver a concession speech and ensure a peaceful transfer of power upon losing.

Well, Trump managed the unthinkable: He won. He is now the president-elect. And Oliver, like more than half of Americans who cast their ballot, is shocked and terrified. 

“It’s true! That happened!” he exclaimed. “It turns out, instead of showing our daughters that they could someday be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.”

We can always count on John Oliver for some good commentary.  He is so spot on!

My Universe — I don't know the story behind all of these pictures, and a few may well have been staged, but just the thoughts of what is happening, people helping other people or animals is enough to give one hope.  Click through for the remainder.

faith-in-humanity-3Jacqueline Kiplimo, the world-class marathon runner, slowed for several miles to help a disabled man drink. She sacrificed the $10,000 prize for finishing first.

Share
Oct 262016
 

I'm having a very busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming in the next couple hours, and need to unpack them and put them away.  Later Wendy is coming to scrub and de-stink the TomCat, tighten down the nuts and bolts on my power chair, do some light cleaning, and eat both the supper I prepared for her and some sweets to contribute to the Southern Exposure Project.  Tomorrow I'm going to the prison to help facilitate a Victims Impact Meeting, involving several outside victims and up to 100 of my guys.  Because I won't be home until quite late, please assume that I will be publishing Personal Updates only and Thursday and Friday and will not be sending links messages on Care2, so please don't worry.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:10 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop clawing-back the bonuses that thousands of soldiers got for reenlisting to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is no more important responsibility for the Department of Defense than keeping faith with our people," Carter said in a statement. "That means treating them fairly and equitably, honoring their service and sacrifice, and keeping our word. Today, in keeping with that obligation, I am ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers who may have received incentive bonuses and tuition assistance improperly as a result of errors and in some cases criminal behavior by members of the California National Guard."

Carter's announcement was greeted with cheers in Kempner, Texas where Don and Susan Haley — both Iraq War veterans — had been struggling to pay back the bonuses they got when they reenlisted a decade ago in the California National Guard.

I trust JD will be most pleased with this.

From US News: A new report finds that the global gender pay gap will not be closed for another 170 years if current trends continue.

 Click through to watch the video.  I had to remove it because it autoplays.

A woman's place is in the House… and the Senate… and the White House… and above the glass ceiling!!

From NY Times: Thanks to recent gains, the Democrats now have a clear but vulnerable lead in the race for Senate control. Prediction markets give them a 78 percent chance of winning control, according to PredictWise.

There are nine competitive races, and the Democrats need to win at least five of them (if they also win the vice-presidency, which breaks Senate ties).

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

Democrats have seemingly safe leads over Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin and are also favored in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Missouri is a toss-up.

If you see new polls from Pennsylvania and Missouri, pay particular attention. Recent polls have shown the Republicans slightly ahead, but the prediction markets seem to think the polls haven’t yet caught up to the Republicans’ Trump-inflicted wounds.

Keep an eye on North Carolina and Florida, too. The Republicans — Richard Burr in North Carolina and Marco Rubio in Florida, both incumbents — are still favored, but the Democrats have a shot.

I happily endorse every Democrat. Even a DINO is better than a Rump Dump Rectumite!

Cartoon:

1026Cartoon

The military doesn't want the F-22, but Republicans won't allow its removal from the budget.

Share
Oct 042016
 

I’m trying to be lazy today, so I can watch the VP debate tonight.  The best outcome is that Kaine makes a convincing argument that Pence, Trump and the downballot Republicans are all virtually the same.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:48 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the news from Week 4 in our own fantasy football league.

Scores:

4Scores

Standings:

4Standings

Oh how the mighty hath fallen!

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Drunk Trump 4: The Drunkest Guy at the Bar

 

I have to admit that there have been several times I wondered what drug he was on.

From Daily Kos: In 1997, Keith Cooper was arrested and convicted for an armed robbery in Elkhart, Indiana. After serving 10 years for the conviction, DNA evidence pointed to another man, already in custody for a similar crime. Every eyewitness account also recanted their testimony that led to Mr. Cooper’s conviction, as the witnesses were denied a police line up they requested before the trial. Cooper’s retrial was ordered, but the new prosecutor, Curtis Hill, offered Keith a plea deal which would give him an immediate release, rather than waiting months or years for the retrial. All Keith had to do was admit his guilt for a crime he didn’t commit. Keith’s wife and children were about to become homeless, so what else could Keith do? What would you do? Keith has been living with the stigma and real limitations of being a convicted felon ever since.

And now, Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice-Presidential running mate, refuses to provide justice to Keith Cooper, even after admitting Cooper’s innocence. In an ongoing battle to remove his felony status, Mr. Pence finally responded…by delaying a decision. His reasoning?

“Although the judicial system may not be perfect, given the extraordinary nature of Mr. Cooper’s request, we need to be certain the judicial process is complete and has been given every opportunity to address any error that may have occurred."

In other words, he basically doesn’t want to, and goes on to make the absurd argument that no governor has ever pardoned an innocent man.

I keep hearing the argument that, if Rump Dump is elected, he’ll be a figurehead, and Pence will be running things. I don’t believe it, but if it’s true, Pence is no better than Trump. In spite of Republican disingenuous claims to the contrary, Trump and Pence reflect the policies and positions of the Republican Party perfectly.

From The New Yorker: Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, called Donald J. Trump a “genius” on Monday for his controversial plan to burn down the White House to collect insurance money.

Appearing on Fox News, Christie said that Trump’s scheme to collect fire-insurance payments on the White House would “make a serious dent” in the national debt.

“It’s not just the White House,” Christie told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That building is chock-full of priceless antiques, paintings, and rugs, all of which, when burned, would fetch a pretty penny.”

Actually, Andy, it’s a pretty good idea. If Trump becomes President, he’ll destroy the government and the nation so quickly, that there will no longer be a need for a White House.

Cartoon:

1004Cartoon

Share
Aug 282016
 

I'll keep this short and sweet — it has been dreadfully hot here in Metro Vancouver getting up to 36 C (97 F) in my area of town.  It wasn't as hot in the areas near the ocean which are the temperatures one normally hears on the news.  We had some lower temperatures today and Sunday is supposed to be about 19 C (66 F) with some rain.  Oh how nice for some rain!  I really don't know how people in Texas, Arizona and Florida, just to name three, can handle the heat.  I had difficulty with the heat when I lived in Ontario many years ago, and recently it has been as high as 40 C (104 F) perhaps hotter.  I hope everyone is finding ways to stay as cool as possible.

Short Takes

CBC — Syrian opposition activists have released haunting footage showing a young boy rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo.  …

The strike occurred during the sunset call to prayer, around 7:20 p.m local time, said Raslan, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Mubashir.

Five-year-old Omran Daqnee was pulled, bloodied and dazed, from the rubble of a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, following an airstrike Wednesday night.

Omran was rescued along with his three siblings, ages one, six, and 11, and his mother and father from the rubble of their partially destroyed apartment building, according to Raslan. None sustained major injuries, but the building collapsed shortly after the family was rescued.  …

Doctors in Aleppo use code names for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government airstrikes. Abu al-Ezz said they do that "because we are afraid security forces will infiltrate their medical network and target ambulances as they transfer patients from one hospital to another."  …

Syria Russia

A Russian aircraft drops bombs on Aleppo on Aug. 16. Activists were warned ahead of the airstrike on the M10 hospital that a warplane was en route from the Russian air base at Hmeimim. (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service/Associated Press)

And THIS is the same dictator that Drumpf would cozy up to?!  I know this is 10 days old, but I think it bears remembering and restating that Drumpf has some kind of 'bromance' going with Putin (R-RU), not to mention possible financial ties to the Russian oligarchs.  If he were POTUS, how would that influence his positions?  He must never be allowed to get into that position.  This appears to be a conflict of interest, a clear and present danger to the national security of the US.

Alternet — To American progressives, this retirement story should sound familiar. After decades of pension cutbacks and declining unionization, many retiring seniors depend increasingly on underfunded government-run programs. Amid rising inequality, some wealthy seniors can afford to retire, while others must keep working lest they lose their toehold in the middle class. The notion that seniors are entitled to a comfortable retirement is fading, and fast.

But this retirement security saga is unfolding not in the United States, but in Canada. The difference is that Canada, which confronts virtually all the same problems that plague the U.S., has decided to act.

On June 20, Canada’s federal and provincial governments agreed to expand what’s known as the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), a program analogous to American Social Security and one of three in Canada that supports retirees. The agreement, which officials expect to finalize by the end of the summer, could add thousands of dollars to the yearly retirement incomes of Canadian workers.  …

Expanding CPP is just one of three steps that Canada’s recently-elected Liberal Party has taken to protect current and future retirees. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the government also approved a 10 percent increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement that the government provides to single, low-income seniors. Trudeau also dropped the previous administration’s plans to raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 for both the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the country’s third senior citizen pension program, known as Old Age Security.

To American liberals, Canada’s retirement-care progressivism is a frustrating reminder that in the U.S., public debate on Social Security has until recently centered not on how it can be expanded, but how it can be trimmed. 

Even  in Canada there are some issues with the expansion.  Québec and Manitoba did not agree in principle back in June 2016.  BC, which approved in principle, did not ratify the agreement by the 15/07/2016 deadline, instead opting for a series of public consultations.  It should be noted that while the BC government is "Liberal", it is a misnomer in my view as it is right of centre and it bears no association with Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal Party.  For the expansion to go through, 7 provinces representing 2/3's of the Canadian population must agree.  See First Reference Talks for a short description of the expansion.  So if Canada is having a few hiccups, the US with its general mindset and its Republican dominated Congress will have great difficulty — don't hold your breath.  Republicans are so bent about social security, continuing to say that it contributes to the deficit.  But it doesn't because it is made up of personal contributions.  Of course, social security expansion is one of Bernie's talking points.  Let's hope that Democrats take the WH and the Congress.  Then there is a possibility of an expansion, but not before.

Newsweek — Today there are more than 2,000 fighters from Russia on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq fighting on behalf of the Islamic State.

A large number of these fighters are Muslims originating from the Northern Caucasus, a fact that feeds a narrative back in Russia that has been growing since the 1990s.

Many Russians now link the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus with extremism and terrorism. That perception is not entirely without basis: the North Caucasus region has been rent by war, terror and brutal state crackdowns for over two decades.

Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."

© Maxim Zmeyev/reuters Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."         

But the story of the territory is as much about rapid social change as it is about conflict. Russian state policies over the past two decades have done much to build today’s pipeline of radicalized extremists originating from the North Caucasus to spread across Russia and beyond to the battle zones of the Middle East.

Now, who is copying who — Putin copying Drumpf, or Drumpf Putin?  This is a long but interesting piece.  Russia is supporting the Assad government of Syria, with some support from Turkey and Iran.  The US is standing with the rebels.  From Wikipedia"A special investigation by Reuters claimed that in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russian security services had allowed and encouraged militants to leave Russia to fight in the Syrian Civil War, in order to reduce the risk of domestic attacks."  These North  Caucasus fighters are Sunni which is inline with ISIL.  By bombing ISIL, Russia increases the chances of killing some North Caucasus extremists that played havoc at home.  It is very clear that Russia is trying to quel its Muslim population with the added "benefit" of fighting a proxy war with the US.  And there is no doubt in my mind that Drumpf sees the same extremism that exists in Russia being possible in the US.

MSN — If you’ve spent any time in downtown D.C., you’ve likely seen 80-year-old Wanda Witter.

Shock white hair, a determined, unsmiling set to her mouth, jeans. She may have asked you for some change and probably didn’t smile if you gave her some. This month you may have also been taken aback by the black eye and stitches across her face.

Social worker Julie Turner watches as homeless woman Wanda Witter chooses a pillow for her new apartment on Capitol Hill.

For years, Witter bedded down for the night at 13th and G streets in Northwest Washington, on the cement in her blue sleeping bag, pulled up tight to keep the rats and cockroaches out. Her tower of three suitcases was stacked on her hand cart and bike-locked to the patio chairs next to her.

She may have even told you that inside those bags is all the paperwork to prove the government owes her more than $100,000. And she was right.

Nobody should have to endure such bureautic incompetence that puts their life at risk!  Wanda Witter is one very strong, determined and smart woman . . . the kind of woman that I would like to talk to and know, smile or not.

The Weather Network — Warm temperatures in Wisconsin's upper atmosphere recently created a stagnant air mass that trapped hot air and toxic manure fumes over a farm, leaving a 29-year-old farmer and 13 of his cows dead.

The incident occurred at Biadasz Farm near Amherst.

Michael Biadasz was found dead Monday by workers who had arrived to remove manure from a tank on the property.

Coroner Scott Rifleman told the Associated Press he was "overcome" by methane or sulfur oxide present in the manure.

One has to wonder how the Congress manages to survive with all the toxic Republican BS and the heated rhetoric.

My Universe All hail Olly, Lord of Sainsbury's and guardian of the produce, bakery, meat and seafood departments!

The grim-faced tabby, a regular at the supermarket in the district of Brockley, London, has reportedly been showing up on store shelves since November. Despite efforts to keep the feline out of the store, he nearly always finds a new way to saunter right back in.

London animal of the week: The badass cat in Brockley Sainsbury's

One thing is for sure, Sainsbury's won't have a rodent problem . . . if it ever did!  Check for more pictures at the link.

 

Share

Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Politics
Aug 202016
 
furies

I have two items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. 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."

First stop Raleigh, North Carolina, where a family in the Neuse Crossing neighborhood was having a y'all come party, and a neighbor (and probable Trump voter) named Chad Copley was having hallucinations.  If our nation had appropriate understanding of mental health issues like hallucinations, and adequate ways to treat said hallucinator without continuing to endanger the neighborhood, I might not be telling this story to the Furies.  But, with things as they are, I see no alternative.

So let's talk about Copley's hallucinations.  To begin with, he hallucinated that there was a Neighborhood Watch program in his neighborhood, and that he was in it, and on duty,

…residents and a manager of the Neuse Crossing Homeowners Association say the neighborhood where the fatal shooting happened does not have a neighborhood watch. And police say that where homeowners do organize neighborhood watch programs they are told to call 911 when they see suspicious or criminal activity, rather than take matters into their own hands.

Then, he hallucinated that guests at the party two doors away were "racing up and down the street," that they were armed, and that "there's some devil in them."

Jalen Lewis, who hosted a party at his home, two doors down from Copley’s, on the night of the shooting, said the victim was one of roughly 50 guests at the party, he told CNN affiliate WTVD.

He didn’t know Thomas personally, he said, and he didn’t see anyone armed or causing problems outside his home that night. Lewis told WTVD he has never interacted with Copley in the seven years he’s lived in the Raleigh neighborhood.

Thirdly, he hallucinated that there was a legal requirement for him to fire a warning shot (prior to doing what else, he didn't say.)

I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …

“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?

“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”

His "warning shot," which, it transpired, had been fired from a window in his garage, did kill someone: 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, who was out near the street.  Thomas’s mother says he worked at a waffle house, and had a girlfriend about to begin college.

Copley has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.  I would call that a step in the right direction.  Tisiphone, perhaps you can help keep this direction on track and ensure the one step is not the only step to secure this vengeful destroyer away from the public.

Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma – and I must say we all know there are many wonderful people in Oklahoma; this guy just isn't one of them – a retired agriculture teacher named Larry Long has made the news.  It seems that at a retirement presentation they were giving for him at the Oklahoma Career Tech Summer Conference in Oklahoma City he decided to show off what a fine sense of humor he has.Long

So he called a black colleague (probably not a coincidence that the colleague of color is the ONLY black agriculture teacher in the entire state) up to the stage with him, and presented him with a white robe and white hood (complete with Klan insignia), which he placed on the teacher, and then added a Confederate flag (as the bow on the package?)  Wow.  What a barrel of laughs.  Hundreds of people attended this "program," by the way.

I should be specific that CareerTech was not his employer, and he was not retiring from CareerTech.  CareerTech is a state agency, and it does not employ teachers to teach; it oversees them.  The employer from whom he had retired during the year was Elk City High School, where he had apparently worked for 49 years.  He must have been appreciated there, since the board of Elk City Public Schools recently voted to  name the high school's new agriculture building after him.

Those at the meeting were instructed not to speak of it, and to erase any and all cell phone video.  But someone sent an anonymous email to state lawmwkers, and it is now out in the open.

Retired teacher Larry Long issued a statement … in which he said he was trying to make a joke with a colleague who he respected and that he never intended to convey any racism.  He says he realizes his actions were "harmful, offensive, and hurtful."  Long says he has requested a meeting with members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, who expressed outrage at the incident.  A member of the caucus, Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton, says the group welcomes the meeting.  The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology says it is investigating the incident.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Nothing to see here, just move along.  Alecto, if that meeting hasn't already happened, maybe you'd like to be present at it.  Could be interesting.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news /member/101612212/4006109

Share