Jul 252014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 95, before leaving to do volunteer work in prison.  The plan is to go to bed, when I return tonight, and then do the puzzle and upload the articles whenever I wake up.  I’ll be meeting with around 100 prisoners.

Late (Early) Update:

Meeting was fantastic.  I’m frazzled.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:21 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Britain’s Prince George, who is celebrating his first birthday this week, is facing a rising chorus of criticism within the United Kingdom, with many calling the first year of his reign a major disappointment.

Alistair Strott, a journalist and one of George’s most outspoken critics, calls the Prince’s first year “long on hype and short on solid achievement.”

“Like a lot of us, I followed the royal birth last year with a great deal of excitement and anticipation,” says Strott. “But one year in, we all have to look at each other and say, ‘That’s it?’ ”

While defenders of Prince George cite a packed schedule of events during his first year, Strott is unimpressed. “Yes, he’s been on TV and magazine covers,” he says. “So have the Kardashians.”

I trust Andy realizes that, on this side of the pond, the media have had little trouble assigning blame: it’s Obama’s fault.

From Daily Kos: In a new ad similar in style to her previous ad on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare budget, Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking aim at McConnell’s statement earlier this year that creating jobs isn’t one of his jobs.

 

Bough Bitch Mitch’s job is to squeeze quarters so tight between his butt cheeks, that it kills the eagles.

From NY Times: The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

So let me satisfy this demand with my own “Idiot’s Guide to Inequality.” Here are five points:

First, economic inequality has worsened significantly in the United States and some other countries. The richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Oxfam estimates that the richest 85 people in the world own half of all wealth.

The situation might be tolerable if a rising tide were lifting all boats. But it’s lifting mostly the yachts. In 2010, 93 percent of the additional income created in America went to the top 1 percent.

This is worth the read. Click through for the other four points.

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Jul 102014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 80.  I’m feeling quite tired, because my groceries arrived late, and I had to stay up waiting for them.  They also woke mw calling with a question while they were shopping.  They did nothing wrong, but the timing cost me sleep.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:22).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone took a stand? Maybe we can all take tips from these boys. A government report came out in France saying "teachers give preferential treatment to male students." So as a protest, the schoolboys deconstructed gender stereotypes in a very visual way. They were met by a counter-protest from an anti-same-sex-marriage group that was already hot under the collar about a new gender equality curriculum introduced in 2014. The curriculum includes teachings on LGBTQ tolerance and gender theory.

 

Can you imagine the hateful screams from Republicans, if the US had a gender equality curriculum that included LGBT tolerance?

From Daily Kos: One by one, the GOP’s talking points about President Obama’s management of the American economy have fallen by the wayside. Even before he first took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, Republicans were warning about the "Obama Bear Market." Instead, the Dow Jones has more than doubled in value in hitting record highs. Contrary to bogus Republican claims that the Obama stimulus program "did not create a single job" and "made the economy worse," the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and most other observers concluded his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) boosted GDP, added millions of jobs and prevented "Great Depression 2.0." And with last week’s strong jobs report, the final GOP soundbite—that under President Bush "added jobs for a record 52 straight months"—has now been tossed into the rhetorical dustbin of history.

With word that the U.S. economy added a robust 288,000 jobs in June, the Obama White House noted that the private sector has added 9.7 million jobs over 52 straight months of job growth. If that 52 number sounds familiar, it should.

The "52 straight months" was a highlight of President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address and has been faithfully regurgitated by Republicans ever since.

The job growth under Bush was slower than it has been in the last 52 months under Obama. The Republican growth was based almost completely on the bad debt created by Republican Banksters. The Republican crash at the end left a net job loss.  The last Republican lie I heard on their bogus record being broken is that Obama cooked the books.

From NY Times: Republicans chose Cleveland on Tuesday for their 2016 national convention, with the hope of appealing to Rust Belt voters who eluded them in the last two presidential elections, and an acknowledgment of the political value of ending the party’s nomination process sooner.

The city edged out Dallas after a review by the Republican National Committee that narrowed the field to the two finalists last week. Both cities aggressively courted party officials, with Dallas presenting cheerleaders and a parade of elephants, and Cleveland turning to the Browns’ first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. The choice must be ratified at a meeting of the full Republican National Committee next month in Chicago.

While each party lost the state where it held its 2012 conventions, Republicans believe holding their convention in a vital swing state will help them from an organizational and message standpoint.

Perhaps Texan Republicans are so divorced from reality that the party does not want them on display, during the event intended to convince middle America that Republican officials and candidates are not the seditious bastards that they actually are.  On the other hand, I think that the author missed one key point. In Cleveland, John Boehner (R-OH), aka Agent Orange, already knows where the best bar and hookers are, saving the party money on research.

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Jul 062014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 76, and this my only article.  Last night’s unintended, multi-hour cat nap has my sleep schedule discombobulated, and it’s a very slow day for news, except for 653,087 new analyses of Hobby Lobby. Winking smile

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:03 (average 6:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: 1. Conservatives opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.

By definition a conservative is one who wishes to preserve and/or restore traditional values and institutions, i.e. to “conserve” the established order. No surprise then that 18th century American conservatives wanted no part of breaking away from the British Empire and the comforting bonds of monarchical government. Those anti-revolutionary conservatives were called Tories, the name still used for the conservative party in England. The Founding Fathers? As radically left-wing as they came in the 1770s. The Boston Tea Party? The "Occupy Wall Street" of its day.

Some of the other "traditional" values supported by conservatives over the course of American history have included slavery (remember that the Republican Party was on the liberal fringe in 1860), religious persecution, the subjugation of women and minorities, obstacles to immigration, voter suppression, prohibition and segregation.  Conservatives started off on the wrong side of American history, and that’s where they’ve been ever since.

2. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:

John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)

James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbing fundamentalist trend today would have it be.

These are just two of thirteen facts about America that Republicans want you for forget. Click through for the other eleven, please.

From Crooks and Liars: Another one for your Saturday C-SPAN hit parade. This call was taken on July 4th during a discussion of American exceptionalism. The topic itself invites trolls, and they obliged.

 

He proved my eleventh commandment: Thou shalt NOT commit TEAbuggery!

From McClatchy DC: Five years after the recession, the job market is finally hitting stride as small businesses add workers and local governments restore battered payrolls.

U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in June across a broad spectrum of businesses, the Labor Department said Thursday. The growth flew past analysts’ forecasts and marked the fifth consecutive month of payroll gains in excess of 200,000 – a hiring spree not seen since the 1990s tech boom.

The unemployment rate, which has fallen surprisingly fast lately, dropped to 6.1 percent in June from 6.3 percent in May. Both the jobless rate and the number of officially unemployed, totaling 9.5 million last month, are the lowest in nearly six years. As recently as November, the nation’s unemployment figure was 7 percent.

The big problem here is that many of these are low paying service jobs that will not stimulate the economy as much as the family wage jobs that Republicans used your tax dollars to offshore.  It is still considerable improvement from the Republican recession, but no where near what it could be, if Republicans were not seditiously sabotaging America to prevent recovery falsely blame Democrats.

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Jun 242014
 

Day 64.  I’m writing for tomorrow.  The woman I pay to help mw with housekeeping called yesterday to say she could not come today, but could yesterday.  Cool!  But a lot of the work she he4lps me with are things that require two people, like cleaning behind the kitchen counter, so it became a work day for me too.  I’m more than a little tired, but the major cleaning is all done for another couple of months.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Mo Asumang is a German TV host and filmmaker, and what she pulls off in this video is amazing. Not only does Mo speak with groups of people who claim to hate her (which she does with grace and compassion), but she actually gets a few of them to let down their guard and reveal they might just have a heart. It’s fascinating to witness and probably the one and only context in which you can root for a racist — to stop being racist!

 

Dang! Republicans are exporting TEAbuggery to Europe! She has the heart of a saint to put up with those Republican racists.

From NY Times: Representative Kevin McCarthy, the next House majority leader, said Sunday that he would allow the Export-Import Bank of the United States to expire when its authority was up for reauthorization in the fall.

In his first national television interview since being elected Thursday to be the No. 2 Republican in the House, Mr. McCarthy, of California, said Congress had decided in a previous vote that the bank, responsible for supporting American exports, should be phased out.

“One of the biggest problems of government is they go and take hard-earned money so others do things that the private sector can do,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” [Faux Noise delinked] “That’s what the Ex-Im Bank does.”

He’s starting to show his true colors. Exports create jobs here. He is favoring vulture capitalists, who send our jobs elsewhere.

From Crooks and Liars: A police officer suffered fatal injuries while performing a pre-dawn no-knock raid on a local residence to search for drugs. Several officers were shot by a resident as they tried to enter an apartment through a ground-level window under the cover of darkness.

Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, an 18-year veteran of the department — died two days after being shot on Friday morning. Approximately 5:30 a.m. on May 9th, the Killeen Police Department sent its SWAT team to execute a surprise raid on a middle-aged couple because they allegedly possessed substances without government permission.

Dinwiddie and several other SWAT agents snuck up to a window and tried to breach it to gain entry. The commotion caused one of residents to fire on the unidentified intruders, and Dinwiddie was struck in the face. Three others were shot; 2 were shot in the armor and 1 was shot in the thigh…

…Oh, and you guessed it: No drugs were found. Is the shooter a bad guy? I have no idea. But because this is Texas, and the guy who shot the cop is black (unlike this guy), I imagine prosecutors will tie themselves in knots to get him. [emphasis original]

Texas has a "stand your ground” law, but apparently it does not count for a black man with no drugs, who shoots an unidentified cop breaking-in in the middle of the night. The law did work for the white guy in similar circumstances who actually did have drugs.

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Apr 062014
 

The term “Reich” in US politics can be quite confusing, because there are two: a right Reich and a wrong Reich.  Even more confusing, the right Reich is the Reich on the left.  He is economist,l Robert Reich, and virtually everything he presents is right.  Conversely, the wrong Reich is the Reich on the right.  It is the Republican Reich, the Republican attempt to convert the US into a totalitarian state, a plutocracy with sham elections, controlled media, and a state religion, Supply-side pseudo-Christianity, to control the masses.  Virtually everything they present is wrong.  Here is the right Reich.

0406JobsWhat does the Supreme Court’s “McCutcheon” decision this week have to do with today’s jobs report, showing 192,000 new jobs for March?

Connect the dots. More than five years after Wall Street’s near meltdown the number of full-time workers is still less than it was in December 2007, yet the working-age population of the U.S. has increased by 13 million since then.

This explains why so many people are still getting nowhere. Unemployment among those 18 to 29 is 11.4 percent, nearly double the national rate.

Most companies continue to shed workers, cut wages, and horde their cash because they don’t have enough customers to warrant expansion. Why? The vast middle class and poor don’t have enough purchasing power, as 95 percent of the economy’s gains go to the top 1 percent.

That’s why we need to (1) cut taxes on average people (say, exempting the first $15,000 of income from Social Security taxes and making up the shortfall by taking the cap off income subject to it), (2) raise the minimum wage, (3) create jobs by repairing roads, bridges, ports, and much of the rest of our crumbling infrastructure, (4) add teachers and teacher’s aides to now over-crowded classrooms, and (5) create “green” jobs and a new WPA for the long-term unemployed… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Robert Reich>

In sharp contrast, just read the Ryan budget to see what the wrong Reich plans.  Unless you’re super rich, it will harm you.

Not only do I fully support the right Reich’s plan, but also, the only element I haven’t proposed myself on numerous occasions is the $15,000 FICA exemption.

To move toward the right Reich, we have to stop the wrong Reich.  Whether or not we can depends, in part, on what YOU do between now and November.

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Mar 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am still feeling somewhat tired.  I may have little or nothing for Tuesday, because I have a doctor appointment (routine maintenance) with my Urologist tomorrow.  Hopefully he can help me remember what else it’s for.  I’ll be using the disabled van for the first time, so I have no idea when I’ll return home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The GOP’s growing chart may need an update.  Perhaps a new bar at the bottom redefining rape as "pursuit of sexual freedom"?

0303GOPRape

How about redefining it as any time the GOP gets involved with women’s rights.

From Think Progress: Pennsylvania is one of just 15 states that ban predatory payday loans, for now. If state Rep. Chris Ross (R) and state Sen. Pat Browne (R) have their way, though, the Keystone State will open its arms to companies that already pull billions of dollars out of poor communities each year through loans with average interest rates of over 300 percent.

Here we have the Republican Party representing one of the most blatant forms of vulture capitalism.

From Robert Reich: House Speaker John Boehner says raising the minimum wage is “bad policy” because it will cause job losses. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says a minimum wage increase would be a job killer. Republicans and the Chamber also say unions are job killers, workplace safety regulations are job killers, environmental

regulations are job killers, and the Affordable Care Act is a job killer. The California Chamber of Commerce even publishes an annual list of “job killers,” including almost any measures that lift wages or protect workers and the environment.

Most of this is bunk.

When in 1996 I recommended the minimum wage be raised, Republicans and the Chamber screamed it would “kill jobs.” In fact, in the four years after it was raised, the U.S. economy created more jobs than were ever created in any four-year period.

Robert Reich is spot on. The Republican Reich is full of it!

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Feb 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and still trying to establish a new sleeping pattern.  Basically, I’m just making sleep a priority and allowing myself to sleep whenever I feel the need.  That will work this week, but next week I have two medical appointments, so that should prove interesting.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:59 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was in no mood to celebrate the five-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package on Monday.

“Five years later, the stimulus is no success to celebrate,” McConnell said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “It is a tragedy to lament.”

White House economic adviser Jason Furman wrote in a White House blog post that the stimulus, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, had by itself saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs a year through the end of 2012.

I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. For Bought Bitch Mitch, saving 1.6 million jobs, when the President is a Democrat, is a tragedy.

From Think Progress: For the fourth time in two years, a rural hospital in Georgia is shuttering its doors over a dearth of patients who can pay for their medical services, the Albany Herald reports. An increasing number of hospitals that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured Americans are being forced to close in states that are refusing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

The Lower Oconee Community Hospital, a so-called “critical access” hospital in southeastern Georgia with 25 beds, will close down and possibly re-open as an urgent care center that provides services that aren’t quite serious enough to necessitate an emergency room visit. Patients in the Wheeler County region who need more extensive medical care after the hospital closes will need to travel upwards of thirty miles in order to receive it.

“We just did not have sufficient volume to support the expenses,” said CEO Karen O’Neal in an interview with local CBS affiliate WMAZ. “It’s a terrible situation, and it’s tragic, the loss of jobs and the economic impact.”

Like other Red states, Georgia is experiencing the benefits of electing Republicans. I hope the fools that voted them in are leaning their lesson.

From Blue Oregon: Last week, the the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Brought by conservatives cowering against the fear of impending marriage equality in their state, this deep red state considered codifying anti-gay segregation into law. The state senate reined the whole thing in on Friday, however. Apparently allowing public safety officials to pick and choose which people they serve and protect based on sexual orientation was just too much, even for Kansas.

Lest you think this type of public policy is the providence of states where conservatives rule: think again. Oregon has it’s own version of this circulating now as a petition, and they’re gathering signatures. This proposal, along with the one in Kansas, is being sold as honoring "religious liberty".

No. This is not about religious liberty. This is about segregation. "Separate but equal" should never be public policy in Oregon.

Even here in Oregon, which usually leads the way on progressive issues, we need to continually guard against Republican TEAbuggery!

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