Jul 062016
 

I’ll be leaving shortly for my appointment with my Ocular Oncologist, so I’m hurrying.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:21 (average 5:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Home Health Update:

Julie says goodbye.

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Wendy says Hi::

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Killer Dawg is a camera hound!!!

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: We’ve been listening to the plots of "Never Trump" Republicans to somehow stage a floor fight at their party’s upcoming national convention to strip the nomination from the man with the most delegates and give it to, well, anyone else. We’ve had the announcement from white nationalist groups that they’ll be "defending" the convention from troublemakers, and white nationalist groups are white nationalist groups because they have very specific and detailed notions about who the "troublemakers" in society might be.

The only thing that could up the chaos ante at this point would be a quasi-organized-ish movement to make sure the pro-Trump delegates bring their guns!

"There are a whole bunch of things happening: You go to various events, receptions, whatever, outside the convention hall," says Ash Khare, a delegate from the northwest corner of [Pennsylvania] who applied for a concealed carry permit in preparation for Cleveland. "And you walk on the streets and, you know, people know that you are a delegate, and who knows what the crazy people are going to do? So you’ve got to be vigilant about what’s going on and prepare yourself."

I’d say the crazy people are going to be wandering downtown Cleveland with Donald Trump pins and loaded guns strapped to their hips—and yes, we’re all trying to "prepare ourselves" for that.

Not only should guns be allowed inside the hall at the Republican Convention, but also, their use should be mandatory. Winking smile

From The New Yorker: In a stunning rebuke to one of the nation’s oldest and most established law-enforcement agencies, House Republicans voted unanimously on Tuesday to abolish the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Unlike most House measures, which come up for a vote only after months or even years of sluggish effort, the bill to eliminate the F.B.I. was drafted in a matter of minutes on Tuesday morning, Republican staffers confirmed.

House Speaker Paul Ryan offered no specific reason for the Republicans’ sudden frenzy of activity to abolish the F.B.I., but said that the Bureau represented “big government at its worst.”

“This is an agency that, when given even the simplest task to do, can’t manage to do it right,” he said.

Andy, do you care to guess why? I don't know smile

From NY Times: The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, on Tuesday recommended no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information while she was secretary of state, lifting an enormous legal cloud from her presidential campaign less than two hours before she boarded Air Force One for her first joint campaign appearance with President Obama.

But on a day of political high drama in Washington, Mr. Comey rebuked Mrs. Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using a private email address and server. He raised questions about her judgment, contradicted statements she has made about her email practices, said it was possible that hostile foreign governments had gained access to her account, and declared that a person still employed by the government — Mrs. Clinton left the State Department in 2013 — could have faced disciplinary action for doing what she did.

To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information. The F.B.I. found neither, and as a result, he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The Justice Department is highly likely to accept the F.B.I.’s guidance, which a law enforcement official said also cleared three top aides of Mrs. Clinton who were implicated in the case… [emphasis added]

When this first came up, I, as a Bernie supporter, suggested that this would be the end result, as Hillary had adopted State’s lax security standards that go back to the Nixon regime. While she clearly should have taken charge to correct the problem, her conduct was not criminal. However, I suspect the conspiracy theories and misrepresentations will continue, as long as Republicans and very few left wing regressives act out on what they want to be true, instead of what is true.

Cartoon:

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Jul 032016
 

I won't say it has been a busy day, but I have not sat idle.  I have this post and have finished the PP Monthly Report.  The weather has been rather muggy today but no rain.  Fortunately there were few fireworks around me yesterday so the furbabes were calm until this morning when a group of crows decided to dance along the peak of the garage roof.  They were not happy that going out to play was not allowed.  My brother and his wife will be arriving late Thursday for 2 days before boarding an Alaska bound cruise ship.  As a result, I will be scarce Friday and Saturday.

 

Obituary — Elie Wiesel, age 87, activist and writer, Second World War death camp survivor who won a Nobel Peace Prize for becoming the lifelong voice of millions of Holocaust victims, philosopher, speaker, playwright and professor.  Rest in Peace

 

Politico — Jackie Richter is the foul-mouthed, frank-talking owner of Heels and Hardhats, a small construction company near Rockford, Illinois. For almost half a century, she lived as a man—an existence the 58-year-old transgender woman told me felt fundamentally wrong, like always having to wear her right shoe on her left foot. But in the summer of 2010, a few years after she finished transitioning, she applied for a United States passport saying she was female. That September, she got it. This, she said recently, was the first time she felt the full support of the federal government. The document saved her business, saved her family, and—she believes—saved her life.

And for this, she credits Hillary Clinton.

"None of it would have been possible without what she did,” Richter said. “She was a forerunner on this.”

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It’s not a label typically associated with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Over her quarter-century of national public life, Clinton mostly has enjoyed broad support from LGBT voters, donors and activists, but many of them considered her a laggard on the litmus-test issue of marriage equality, which she didn’t endorse until 2013. And during her surprisingly drawn-out primary fight with Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton consistently was cast as the more centrist candidate. Sanders, not Clinton, was the full-throated social revolutionary.

But five years before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage and President Obama lit up the White House in the colors of the rainbow, Hillary Clinton and her staff at the State Department made a change that for thousands of people was exactly that—revolutionary.

I think that Clinton walks a line, or thinks she has to walk a line on some issues as illustrated in this quote.

Clinton, thought Julie Dorf, a senior adviser for the Council for Global Equality, was “quite comfortable” with the policy “personally.” But “politically,” Dorf told me, “she’s so much more calculating and cautious.”

She is a pragmatist, but as such, she might tend to keep some more progressive actions low key.  Unfortunately, for others, that pragmatism can cloud things.

Alternet — Given all of his antics on the campaign trail, Donald Trump might seem like he's in a class by himself when it comes to pettiness. This is a man, after all, who narcissistically patted himself on the back for predicting terrorism would happen again, even as the bodies of the Orlando victims were still being identified, who celebrated the sharp drop in value of the British pound because it helped his golf course, and who has hissy fits when reporters point out his foibles and lies. He has openly talked about all the people who will regret “mistreating” him once he becomes King…uh, President…of the United States. There is little doubt that, should the unthinkable happen, President Trump would go down in history as a serial abuser of political power, hammering the final nails into the coffin of the Party of Lincoln (or the ghost of what remains of it).

But petty politicians are certainly not a new phenomenon. They existed in the past, and carry on today. And abuses of power need not always mean history-shaping acts of evil. Sometimes they can just be…well…small and petty. Here are some acts of political entitlement, some just bratty, some actually evil, committed by politicians that The Donald would, and in at least one case, does, feel right at home with:

4. Humberto Benitez Trevino, Attorney General for Consumer Protection, Mexico

Humberto Benitez Trevino received a call from his daughter Andrea in 2013, and got an earful, as she complained how Maximo Bistrot, a trendy Mexico City eatery, was being mean to her. It was lunchtime, she wanted her favorite table, and they said it was not available. Daddy sprang into action. Trevino was the official in charge of Profeco, Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency, and clearly his daughter, a consumer, needed protection. Soon several officials from his agency showed up at the bistro, and, in short order, they found several “violations,” such as incorrect reservation policies, and mislabeling of mescal. The restaurant was closed down. Sadly for Humberto, his daughter decided to brag about the incident on Twitter. Consumer outrage at such corrupt pettiness ensued, earning daughter Andrea the nickname “Lady Profeco”. Internet memes even began to pop up. The restaurant was reopened. Oh, and Humberto was fired.

Click through for the other five petty politicians.  I had a good chuckle but was surprised that Canada's former PM Stephen Harper didn't make the list.  After all, "Tony Turner, a physical scientist at Environment Canada and longtime singer-songwriter in Ottawa's folk music scene, wrote the controversial tune Harperman. Turner was sent home in mid-August, according to his union, over concerns that his song breached Environment Canada's value and ethics code." (CBC)  There were some suggestions from Harper that this was inapropriate.  Incase you need a laugh here is the video.  It is very explicit about Harper's failures.

As to those politicians noted in the article, I liked the outcome of Mexico's Humberto Benitez Trevino — You're fired!

YoutubeWe can always count on John Oliver for a fresh telling of current events with a goodly dose of humour.

For your listening pleasure on this long weekend if you live in the US or Canada.  Otherwise, just enjoy!

My Universe

Out from the barbershop

Boris Johnson and Trump discussing Brexit

 

Chilling machine

My turn for lying in the hammock for the weekend!

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Jun 292016
 

I'm sitting here trying to finish this post and I have been hearing the music from that infernal ice cream truck for the past half hour.  It is making yet another run through the complex.  Is there a penalty for knocking that musical ditty into next week?  Luckily, my kids could not care less.  I suppose that is one small blessing.  Today has been hot again — 31 C (88 F) — but by Friday, Canada Day, temperatures should come down a bit.  On Friday, Canada will be 149 years old, while on Monday, the US will be 237 years old, so this weekend will  be full of picnics, outings, and fireworks.  I am staying close to home with the furbabes.  But for those who like to celebrate in a big way, be safe and

PARTY HARDY!!! 

Short Takes

Alternet — Samantha Bee is back, and in fine form!

Sam nails it like usual!  When I saw the markets tumbling earlier this week as a result of the Brexit vote, I kept saying to myself, "don't panic" and "don't rush to a hasty judgement", advice I would give my clients when I was working in investments.  I hear the markets have now fully recovered, or at least the TSX (Canada) and the DOW (US).

YouTube — Published on Mar 11, 2016

Tonight on Real Time, Bill Maher left a guest speechless. Moreover, the audience did, too, when they began cheering so loudly that the speakers had to pause. The first time was when Maher mentioned that a Donald Trump rally in Chicago was canceled because of protesters. The second time was when Bill Kristol brought up how successfully Bernie Sanders has been relying on private donations to fund his campaign.

Bill is always funny and of course irreverent.  The token Drumpf supporter is shut down.

Think Progress — Colorado Republicans nominated El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, a former Colorado Springs councilman and self-described “unapologetic Christian constitutional conservative pro-life second amendment-loving American,” for U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Despite his paltry campaign fundraising and his vow to oppose keeping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as his party leader, Glenn easily beat the establishment favorite. He received endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who he has said he would like to see appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK).

In an April state Republican convention speech, Glenn told the party faithful, “The one dorsed by Ted CruzI’m absolutely tired of hearing is Republicans reaching across the aisle. We need to step up and lead, ladies and gentlemen, I’m tired ofbeen en reaching across the aisle.” Here are some of the positions he would take with him to Washington if pseudo Christian nut job, defeats Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in November.

He does not believe the U.S. armed forces need follow war crimes laws.

As part of his speech at the Colorado GOP convention in April, Glenn also suggested getting rid of war crimes rules for the military. “We need to make sure our men and women are given the necessary tools and training and equipment to do their jobs, remove those rules of engagement and allow them to win,” he said. While the U.S. military has generally been given a wide berth in war times, such a move would have meant those involved in the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal would not have been subject to any punishment.

From what I can see, this is one scary Republican and Coloradans better beware!  He has been endorsed by Ted Cruz, Republican pseudo Christian nut job, and by Bullseye Barbie, Sarah Palin, or as Jim P calls her, Sarah Palinsane.  Just read the article to get his positions on six other issues.  JD, is Darryl Glenn in your neck of the woods?  Have you any additional information you can share?

My Universe — After seeing this dog "kill" BB-8 by decapitation, and having just seen an ad for it at $170 (Canada), I was worried about this expensive toy.  Turns out the head does come off and you just put it back on — held on by magnets.  It really is quite interesting but I will not be getting one.

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Jun 282016
 

My horoscope today said in part: "Today the moon is in your sign lined up with wild, wacky Uranus."  Uranus?  Uranus!  I want nothing to do with Ted Cruz.  It was bad enough that I had already seen the Raw Story article below, but then to see my horoscope contained Uranus . . . well that was just too much!  The day started off on a low note with a 2.8 blood sugar reading (50 on the US scale) which had me sleeping all morning, even through the heat.  Then the heat hit 29  (85 F) and I was getting more miserable.  It has cooled down at bit but is scheduled to drop to 13 C (55 F) over night (I have my pom-poms out!).  At least I had some laughs when a respected local radio commentator to whom I enjoy listening, in commenting about Brexit and the ultra conservative US politicians (read Drumpf), referred to the UK as our ailing mother and the US as our weird and wacky brother.  Tomorrow will be busy with physio and teaching.  Inbetween the two, I have to go pick up a new cell phone.  Two days ago, it slipped from my fingers into the toilet (another good reason to leave the lid down!).  I rescued it very quickly but some damage was already done, although I was able to use it — just not reliably.  When I charged it yesterday, it slipped again from my fingers and fell about 25 cm (10 inches) to the carpet.  That finally did it in!  Do you see what I mean about Uranus???!!!

Short Takes

Alternet — During an explosive CNN segment on Sunday, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) lashed out at President Barack Obama because she said she was tired of being called a “bigot” for supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  …

“Obama just always comes tearing after Republicans constantly, calling names and calling people bigots and racists,” she complained. “And that’s their big comeback, you know. And it’s absolutely ridiculous. To see a president speak like that is offensive.”

It has been awhile since I have seen or heard of the battle-axe of Arizona, and I have thoroughly enjoyed her silence.  But recently, she unleashed her big mouth attached to her fact devoid brain and lashed out at Obama for using facts when talking about Drumpf.  It seems that she feels "guilty" about her association with Drumpf, or at least getting caught publicly with her hand on his ass.  Even while she was governor, she demonstrated no respect for Obama, so this latest extremism does not surprise me.

Raw Story — Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday accused the Obama administration of under-emphasizing the “threat of radical Islam” as he presided over a Senate hearing for the second time since suspending his presidential campaign in early May.

President Barack Obama and top Justice Department officials have come under fire from conservatives for avoiding the term “radical Islam” when denouncing attacks by violent extremists who claim inspiration from Islamic State, such as the Orlando nightclub shooter.

I am tired of hearing the term "radical Islam" from the likes of Ted Cruz.  When will we hear of "radical Christianity" and "radical Judaism"?  Yes they do exist!  In the news over the past several days, I have seen Pastor Steven Anderson of the Independent Fundamental Baptist church (Christian) in Tempe, Arizona preach from atop his lectern condemning the LGBTQ community with the most toxic vitriole ever, calling for the death penalty for gays, and celebrating the deaths at Orlando.  Now he is calling for the  death penalty for adulterers.  I suppose that is one way to get rid of some politicians! — you know those family values Republicans!  Of course there is "Pastor" Terry Jones formerly of Gainesville, Florida who threatened to burn Qu'rans.  Or let's see, there are extremist Jews, some of them settlers who occupy Palestinian lands.  Let's call this what it is with no adjectives — extremism!  OK, rant over.  I was appalled with the tenor of Cruz's hearing.

Globe and Mail — The Supreme Court issued its strongest defence of abortion rights in a quarter-century Monday, striking down Texas’ widely replicated rules that sharply reduced abortion clinics in the nation’s second-most-populous state.

By a 5-3 vote, the justices rejected the state’s arguments that its 2013 law and follow-up regulations were needed to protect women’s health. The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.  …

Breyer wrote that “the surgical-centre requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

A great judgement that should never have been necessary.  There are pending actions in Mississippi and Louisiana which will likely fall.  Let's hope that all such laws and regulations in all states will be declared unconstitutional now that SCOTUS has ruled.

My Universe —

Nice ride Dolly

Thank God for 9 lives!

Good morning

Arrggghhhh!!!!!  Kitty breath!

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Jun 262016
 

Since TomCat posted two articles for Saturday, I relaxed a bit with the furbabes . . . lots of scritches and belly rubs for them and headrubs for me.  No rain today and lots of sun and breeze.  I hope tomorrow is the same because my car is so dirty that a neighbour is going to help me wash it.  I only hope that the removal of the dirt does not cause it to fall apart! 

Short Takes

Alternet — While the British vote on Thursday to leave the European Union has inspired concern—and in some cases, regret—among not only British citizens but international observers, several conservatives took the moment to instead put out statements that went beyond the pale.

2. A Fox News regular uses the “no-go zone” canard to defend Trump’s response.

Jedediah Bila, who regularly appears on Outnumbered and The Five, tried to justify Donald Trump saying that “there’s nothing to talk about” with his foreign policy advisors regarding the British vote during an appearance on The View. She said:

"What he’s defending is the right of a country to make decisions for itself when it comes to immigration, when it comes to finance. If you look all over Europe, there is a problem right now with terrorism. There are areas of Paris that you can’t go into, these sections are quartered off. And what this country is saying right now is, ‘Look, we want to be responsible for our own decisions.’ It’s a very American concept—Manifest Destiny, so to speak. We want to determine the fate of our country."

Bila failed to mention that the idea of a “no-go zone” in Paris was debunked so thoroughly that Fox News aired four separate apologies for spreading that allegation. She also did not mention that Manifest Destiny caused what Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Daniel Walker Howe called “bitter dissent” within the country, and was opposed by both Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln before James Polk was elected as president.

Her comments, as aired on Friday, can be seen here.

This is the second of Five Dumbest Reactions by Nutters to the Brexit Vote.  "Dumbest" does not do justice to them.   Click through for the other four. Of course Bullseye Barbie had to have her say too which can be found in Alternet".  In a FB post, she compared the Brexit referendum to the US Declaration of Independence.  This is one of the holes that the articles author poked in Palin's rant.

"Britain’s vote wasn’t an expansion of rights or a declaration of freedom from a tyrannical ruler who forced people to pay taxes without granting them the right to vote. It was a fearful and cowardly expression of the rising tide of nationalism that perfectly characterizes the ultra-right-wing movement currently permeating Western democracies."

They are NUTTERS without doubt!

The Nation — Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been ripping into the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president with the precision and focused fury of a great prosecutor.  …

 No Democrat does a better job of prosecuting Trump’s political wrongdoing than Warren. As Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin told The New York Times, “What she is doing right now, focusing on the outrageousness of Donald Trump is really important. In the universal sense I am always saying, ‘Go, Elizabeth, go!’”

 

Tiny Paralyzed Kitten Gets Wheelchair Made Of LEGO

Click on the picture and it will take you to the video.  If that doesn't work, click here and you go directly to the site.

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Jun 262016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how jarringly idiotic InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

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Idiot Fox Newsians celebrate gunman in German movie theater.

Monica Crowley and Stuart Varney made themselves comfy in the fact-free zone as the incident in Germany where a gunman stormed a movie theater was unfolding. But the lack of any information whatsoever did not keep them from speculating and celebrating a little bit.

First, British ex-pat, arch-conservative business commentator Stuart Varney admitted he knew nothing, and said he was “not going to speculate,” but, “Is this another, somewhat similar, terror-related case? I don’t know that. I don’t know who the shooter is, his name, nationality, or wherever he came from. I don’t know that, but the incident is very similar. Therefore, there could be political repercussions to the shooting…”

Ooh, Monica Crowley jumped in too, also not to speculate, but, “I don’t want, I’m not going to stretch this, but a terror, if it’s a terror incident or an incident of this kind, that’s for Trump. That is a plus for Donald Trump, isn’t it?”

Yes! Varney didn’t speculate, because every bad thing that happens, including Trump himself, is good for Trump, because he projects all this leadership and decisiveness and strength and never troubles himself by actually knowing about things.

Meanwhile, Trump rode around his golf course in Scotland, wondering what the Brexit is, speculating on whether it could benefit him, and protecting his perimeter from knowledge.

Maybe we can we arrange a Vexit? (Varney exit.) And a Crexit? (Take Crowley with you too.)

Or maaayyybe, and this is just a thought, a full-scale Foxit.

Can we get a second to that motion?

From <Alternet>

I was able to find the actual video.

Barf Bag Alert!!

In fact, the shooter turned out to be just a Caucasian German teenager with no links to terrorism at all.  Foxit is a great idea!!

This is just the fourth of five listed jarringly idiotic Republican moments from last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

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Jun 242016
 

I had a relatively quiet day doing a few loads of laundry.  Lucia called early this morning to cancel our session so time opened up.  The babes spent the day sleeping and trying to follow me to the laundry in the basement.  They are not allowed down there because they won't help folding and they leave fur all over the clean laundry.  The weekend looks quiet too.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — Across the United Kingdom on Friday, Britons mourned their long-cherished right to claim that Americans were significantly dumber than they are.

Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over Americans’ has long been a favorite pastime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts, and snooker.

But, according to Alistair Dorrinson, a pub owner in North London, British voters have done irreparable damage to the “most enjoyable sport this nation has ever known: namely, treating Americans like idiots.”

“When our countrymen cast their votes yesterday, they didn’t realize they were destroying the most precious leisure activity this nation has ever known,” he said. “Wankers.”

In the face of this startling display of national idiocy, Dorrinson still mustered some of the resilience for which the British people are known. “This is a dark day,” he said. “But I hold out hope that, come November, Americans could become dumber than us once more.”

Oh Andy!  And here I thought that English football (soccer) was the most precious leisure activity.  Although now that I think about it, football is a calling . . . almost a religion!  Let's hope that the final British wish does not come true.

Alternet — In a stunning and historic move, citizens of the United Kingdom voted Thursday to leave the European Union—a decision colloquially dubbed the "Brexit"—making the U.K. the first country to voluntarily withdraw from the 28-member political and economic bloc.

The vote is seen as a referendum on globalization, combining the economic impact of EU trade regulations with the fearful refrain about immigration, which, for many pro-Brexiters, is bolstered by the Schengen visa agreement that allows those who have gained entry to an EU member state to move freely among other EU countries. Supporters of the Brexit cited the EU's onerous regulations, dissatisfaction with Britain's recovery after the 2008 recession and concerns over immigrant access to Britain's strained resources as their top reasons for leaving.  …

Brexit by age

For Britons, those perhaps most impacted by the Brexit vote are the people who wanted it the least (a trend paralleled in the United States as young voters overwhelmingly declare their hatred of Trump's nationalistic bloviating). An incredible majority of younger voters opted to stay in the EU. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 75 percent voted to remain, according to a YouGov poll, as did a majority of voters aged 25 to 49.

I have seen a number of petitions asking the British government to allow 16  and 17 year olds to vote in the referendum.  The younger groups of voters are the ones that will have to deal with the results of leaving the EU.  In a Think Progress article which I read earlier, those most affected by the Brexit decision will be the working class.  Yet it is to those same people that the leave side sold the idea of increasing fortunes after leaving the EU.

"Ultimately, the British economy has suffered alongside much of the E.U. over the course of the past few years, and those most affected have been blue collar workers. The 2008 financial crisis dealt a hard blow to working families, who still earn £40 less per week than they did before the crash. They have also faced growing obstacles to higher education and increasing challenges when eyeing upward mobility. Questions about the impact of globalization, single markets, and inequality are all fair and long overdue — but so far, it’s clear that Brexit was marketed to voters as something it is not."

Another point it made was that the leaders of the leave side, like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, are wealthy individuals, not working class.  The article is well worth reading.

Think Progress — As House Democrats fed up with Congress’ lack of response to America’s gun violence epidemic continued their #NoBillNoBreak sit-in into the wee hours of Wednesday night, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) came down to the House floor to confront them about what he perceives to be the real problem.

“We are talking about radical Islam! Radical Islam killed these people!” Gohmert shouted  …

Orlando aside, many recent mass shootings haven't involved Islam at all. In fact, a recent study found that Americans are seven times more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than they are by a Muslim terrorist.

Thursday morning, Gohmert went on Fox News to talk about the House floor confrontation. Instead of discussing the role he believes radical Islam plays in American gun violence, he decried gun free zones and immigration, saying, "If this administration would protect us from people coming in, then we wouldn't have to worry" as much about terrorism. (None of the nearly 800,000 refugees settled in the United States since September 11, 2001 has been involved in plotting a credible terrorist attack.)

Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!     Barf Bag Alert!           

I had originally thought to include this video in a dedicated story about gun control but given the fast moving events this week, I'll forego that article and put it here.  Sam Bee is always good to watch.  If you want to read the base article see Politico.

Why is it that Americans are so obsessed with guns?  After all the shootings such as Colorado, Orlando and Sandy Hook, just to name three of the many, there have been calls for action.  But lawmakers seem to be paralysed by fear of the NRA or their vision is clouded by other special interests and their money.  I watch with dismay as common sense gun control laws are tossed aside in favour of anyone having a gun at any time . . . or at least that's how it seems to this Canuck.  According to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 295 deaths and 707 wounded in US mass shootings thus far in 2016.  Do you think there is a problem here?  In Canada, where gun laws are stricter, a Conservative MP wants to see AR-15s removed from the restricted class of weapons.  Total lunacy!

My UniverseThis was a gift from the Napster (Lona) today.  These guys are just so cute! . . . and they remind me of how my 3 often sleep, although without the plant.  Thanks Lona!

batch_of_catnaps_zpszdm5op8k

 

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Jun 242016
 

It has been a relatively quiet day.  I overdid things yesterday as far as my knee goes and so spent the night in some pain courtesy of swelling.  Now things are good after staying with my leg elevated much of today.  And thanks to Lona for the nap!  It came in handy today.  My second ESL student made me an Iranian dish for dinner yesterday — an excellent stew-like dinner of lamb, leeks, spinach, onion, red beans and dried lemons served over saffron rice.  I had some last night and the remainder tonight.  It was soooooooo good!  Tomorrow I will see little Simon while I work with Lucia, his mother.

Short Takes

Alternet — The Court’s 4-4 ruling, which will elevate the issue of immigration reform and the need to fill a high court vacancy on the presidential campaign trail, came as a simple nine-word sentence: “The [lower-court] judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”

With that split, the controlling law is a November 2015 decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and ruled against the administration. That ruling was from a judge who showed hostility to the White House's executive orders and the Justice Department's defense, according to legal scholars.  …

The case centered on the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. After years of lobbying from pro-immigrant activists, President Obama created the program by executive order in November 2014.

Texas and 25 other states, all led by Republican governors, immediately challenged the program—even though the percentage of undocumented immigrants affected was the same as under executive orders issued by former Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

This isn't the first decision, nor the last, to be rendered as what I will call a non decision.  It is past time that the Senate undertake confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland to bring SCOTUS to full strength and thereby avoid split decisions.  Of course that is no guarantee that the court would rule in favour of the government.  At least this decision does not set a precedent.

CBC — Britain entered uncharted waters Friday after the country voted to leave the European Union, according to a projection by all main U.K. broadcasters. The decision shatters the stability of the project in continental unity forged after the Second World War in hopes of making future conflicts impossible.

The decision raises the likelihood of years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with what will become a 27-nation bloc. In essence the vote marks the start — rather than the end — of a process that could take decades to unwind.

Results released early Friday show the Leave side prevailed 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday's vote as tallied by British broadcasters, with a Remain win a mathematical impossibility.

The vote had a turnout of 72 per cent of the more than 46 million registered voters.

The vote is in and Britons have elected to leave the EU under article 50.  It won't be a quick exit.  Markets have already reacted with a decline in stocks and the value of the pound.  The effects will be felt to varying degrees globally.  There may also be ramifications for NATO and consequences for dealing with Russia.  I guess it is a wait and see for now.

Rawstory — Rep. Alan Grayson (D-WI) ripped House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for dismissing Democrats’ sit-in protest as “a publicity stunt.”

“To people who don’t know how to legislate, any effort looks like a publicity stunt,” Grayson said in a brief interview with TMZ. “That doesn’t make it so.”

Grayson was part of the group of Democratic legislators who sat on the House floor while calling for a vote on a measure that would expand background checks on gun sales, as well as a proposal to bar anyone on the federal “no fly” list from being able to buy a firearm.

Ryan responded by calling the protest “nothing more than a publicity stunt” and adding, “This is not about a solution to a problem. This is about trying to get attention." 

Note: Rep Alan Grayson is (D-FL) not Wisconsin.  I sent a correction in to the publisher.

I'll say it again, compare the Dem sit-in against the Republican government shutdown.  Shame on Lyin' Ryan for calling the sit-in a publicity stunt when his own party shut down the government for their own petty reasons, reasons not rooted in the public good.

My Universe

In our house, bananas are highly prized edibles by the four leggers, my cats.

 

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Jun 232016
 

It is late, very late, and I am just finishing off the Open Thread for today.  And yes, my computer is still acting up, although either I am becoming accustomed to its antics, or it isn't happening as much.  It has been a very busy day with 2.5 hours of physio and an extended teaching session helping my student ready herself for an English test on Friday.  It has rained a bit late this afternoon but we are scheduled for thunder storms tonight and Thursday.  Last week we were told that our local reservoirs were at 91% of capacity and that the snow pack had not made it down from the mountains yet.  We are looking good for water this year but we still have water restrictions in place.  Summer is here and it is a long time until the cooler temperatures of autumn.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 5:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

The New Yorker In what some are calling a sign of its desperation to raise cash, the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump is auctioning off New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the popular e-commerce site eBay, campaign officials have confirmed.

Christie, who is described on the site as being in lightly used but good condition, is believed to be the first sitting governor ever to be auctioned on the Internet.

According to the description of Christie on eBay, the governor can perform a full range of escort duties and has “extensive experience in chauffeuring, door-opening, umbrella-holding, reflexive clapping, and soothing end-of-the-day foot massages.”

Speaking at Trump Tower, in Manhattan, the presumptive Republican nominee said that he was still considering financing his general-election campaign himself, but he added, “First I wanted to see what I could get for Chris.”

I think Drumpf is in for a surprise — Christie is damaged goods and not likely to bring in much even from the staunchest Republicans!

Daily Kos — Georgia Rep. Rep. John Lewis, the heart, the soul of congressional Democrats, is leading his colleagues in a sit-in for a vote on gun safety legislation. You won't see it televised, because the Republicans controlling the House also control the cameras. C-SPAN, however, is replaying the speeches of Democrats leading up to the action.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who led the talking filibuster to force the votes in the Senate earlier this week is on the House floor in solidarity.

 

This courtesy of Raw Story

As I travelled about today, I kept hearing news of the Democratic sit-in in the House of Representatives over bringing gun control bills up for a vote.  The Republicans, who control the House, attempted to bring order but ended up shutting off the cameras and calling a recess.(Raw Story)  According to a story in Politico, when Paul Ryan slammed his gavel, Democrats started chanting.  Members of the public in the gallery joined Democrats in the chanting.  According to some sources, 80% of Americans favour some common sense gun control measures but Republicans continue to obstruct.  The people's House?

CBC — Contagious cancers are a scary idea to begin with, but scientists have made some startling new discoveries about them – they are likely more common in nature than originally thought, and some can even spread between species.

A new study has found a contagious, leukemia-like disease appears to be widespread among shellfish with hinged shells, called bivalves, such as clams, mussels and cockles. And, for the first time, researchers have found evidence of the cancer spreading from one species to another.

Spanish scientists collected cockles (Cerastoderma edule) in the ria of Arousa in Galicia, Spain. Contagious leukemia was found in cockles, mussels and golden carpet shell clams.

Mussels living off the coast of British Columbia, along with cockles and golden carpet shell clams in Spain, are all prone to the contagious cancer, similar to one that has devastated soft-shell clam farming operations in P.E.I., the Canadian, U.S. and Spanish scientists reported Wednesday in Nature.

"It may be more widespread in nature than we know," said Jim Sherry, an Environment Canada scientist based in Burlington, Ont., who co-authored the study.

Because cancers originate from the mutated cells of an individual and are genetically similar to that individual, genetic analysis of the cancer cells allows scientists to figure out their origin.

I thought it would be appropriate to have a short break from US politics — one can only take so much Drumpf!  This contagious cancer  crossing between species is interesting, and presents the possibilities of cancer cell transfer with other species.

My Universe — OK, so I figured I'd have to give some page time to dawgs!  From Petcha.com

The dogs take turns scoring the ice and making it hail all over the kitchen floor. The video is called Ice Cube Jackpot, and that’s exactly what it looks like.

 

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Jun 212016
 

Sam Bee knows how to bring the orange out in today's US politics. 

On "Full Frontal" Monday night, Samantha Bee pointed out that the GOP made the vaguest of efforts toward becoming a more racially inclusive party after Obama’s second win. As of late, though, Republican presidential nominee and “orange supremacist” Donald Trump has pretty much put the kibosh on that (super weak and hardly sincere) outreach plan.

Bee showed a few clips of Trump speaking after the Orlando mass shooting, during which he went full-throttle with the nativist, paranoid, anti-immigration, Islamaphobic nonsense his base loves so much.

“Let me see now,” said Bee, checking off a list of hateful code-words Trump rattled off. “Papers, blood-sucking, undeserving people, ban—oh dang! If only he’d said purity, I would’ve won Gestapo Bingo.”

From Alternet

Does Sam hit the mark or what.?

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