Mar 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe that this month has gone so quickly.  I’ll continue to be scarce in April.  My schedule makes this month’s seem tame, by comparison.  Please pardon my brevity, lest I run out ofday, before running out of tasks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration.

It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is that he, like many others in agriculture here, is increasingly fed up with immigration laws that he says prevent him from fielding a steady, reliable work force.

“What we have going on now is a farce — a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Herrin, a lifelong Republican who grew up in central California, adding that the country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out. “We need these people to get our food to market.”

Even Republicans recognize the need to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but the Republican Party continues to sabotage it. To intentionally harm our economy for political gain, however ineptly done, is sedition.

From Think Progress: Last month, Uganda made international headlines when President Yoweri Museveni signed the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, calling for the imprisonment of gay citizens. But one religious leader refuses to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation, and has become a hero to the country’s gay community.

In defiance of the legislation, commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, Rev. Christopher Senyonjo hosts weekly prayer sessions and counseling services to LGBT worshipers and supporters. He also critiques fellow clerics’ “healing” approach to addressing the gay community, whereby church leaders attempt to fix people through prayer. “They said I should condemn the homosexuals,” he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.”

Citing questionable evidence provided by Ugandan scientists, the President justified signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February by arguing that being gay is a choice. According to the harsh law, first-time offenders can spend at least 14 years in jail, while others can serve lifelong sentences. As a result, LGBT people are ostracized and subjected to violence.

Reverend Senyonio aptly illustrates the difference between authentic Christians and Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, like the members of the US Congress, who coined this legislation, and even intended it to include capital punishment for gay people.

From Daily Kos: Mississippi has not been what you’d call a pro-union state, but it’s really hammering that point home this week, with the state Senate passing not one, not two, but THREE anti-union bills and sending them to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature:

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it. [...]

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict mass picketing of a residence or place of business. It says pickets would be legal as long as they weren’t violent and didn’t block entrances. But it also makes getting a court stop order against picketing easier.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs.

So basically, "unions GTFO. We will sue you for breathing."

The Republican Party is dedicated to create slave labor that the 1% can exploit without having to build in the third world.  You’re it.

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Mar 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feel sufficiently recovered from my volunteer work to function.  At Thursday’s meeting my guys were planning their annual banquet.  I had arranged to bring in a woman from another local organization, who is working on a pamphlet to assist prisoners prepare to meet the parole board, into our meeting in the prison.  She had no experience in that area, so I took her into a side-room to meet with around thirty of the men who have appeared before the board.  It was a tough facilitating job, because a couple of my guys, who felt they had been treated unfairly (and one had been), wanted to dominate the session with complaints.  However valid, that did not relate to her project.   I managed to make that point (several times) and keep it on track, for the most part.  The woman came away satisfied that she had gleaned the raw material she needs. One critically important thing to do before the board is to be real.  As always, I was proud of my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy:

I have a hard time watching this and not getting terribly angry. Those 123 young women and 23 men who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, deserve to be remembered. But we're watching it happen all over again in developing countries that supply Walmart, Gap, and other marketing and retail giants.

Sorry/not sorry, I’m mad as hell, and I wish we could live in a world where we didn’t have to take this anymore.

Warning: some violent images.

 

It's hard to add anything to this, except that the Republican Party is fighting to prevent such legislation.

Daily KosConnecticut has become the first state to pass legislation raising its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The bill was passed with strong margins in the state Senate and House and Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to sign it Thursday evening

Here's good news for a change. Kudos to CT!!

From Bill Moyers: Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.

In the article, the author debunks ten of Republicans' favorite lies about poverty. Click through for the other nine.

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Mar 122014
 

I could have entitled this the Republican War on the Constitution, because that is the tactic Republicans in several states are using do deny workers their freedom of speech and their freedom of assembly.  Republicans want to make certain that, when workers have grievances, there is no inconvenience to the companies, and that YOU don’t get to see it.

0312GOPWarIn moves that pro-labor legal scholars warn may violate the U.S. Constitution, Mississippi, Michigan and Tennessee Republicans have introduced bills that would strengthen the hands of bosses faced with protesting employees.

“The language is so broad, the potential is so destructive, that what they’re basically doing is outlawing strikes …” University of Texas labor law professor Julius Getman told Salon. “Or they’re doing their best to limit strikes or picketing to situations where you have two or three people standing still. The idea of the union manifesting concerted power of workers is something that they’re seeking to prohibit.”

“People have a right to free speech, but they don’t have a right to keep someone from going to work,” countered state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who introduced that state’s anti-picketing bill.

All three state bills would lower the bar for businesses to seek and secure judicial injunctions against labor picketing – a form of protest long used by workers seeking to dissuade customers or strikebreakers, attract reporters or supporters, and spotlight alleged abuses. In addition to changing injunction rules, the proposal in Mississippi’s House would ban picketing that “has or intends the effect of violence or intimidation, near or contiguous to the business’ customers”; Tennessee’s would ban picketing that is “preventing the pursuit of any lawful work or employment by means of disturbance or nuisance.”

At a private home (say, a CEO’s mansion), Mississippi’s and Tennessee’s bills would make disrupting “the resident’s right to quiet enjoyment” grounds for convicting picketers of a crime. The bill in Michigan’s House would remove current language making certain picketing a misdemeanor, but add language imposing a $1,000 a day fine for a person (including an individual protesting worker, not just an organization or a union official) repeatedly found to have picketed illegally. And the bill passed by Mississippi’s Senate would allow an individual picketer to be thrown in jail for six months… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Salon.com>

These are the very same Republicans, who insisted that it was their Constitutional right to physically accost women seeking abortion services and threaten bodily harm to abortion providers at their homes.

I remember how Republicans in Congress used to wave little paper Constitutions, while falsely claiming that they are supporting it.  In reality, they would trash the Constitution for the 0.1%

Support Labor against these injustices!

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Feb 232014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this will be the only article, because I cut my search for material short.  Although I spent more time in research than usual, I did not find much that grabbed me, and I didn’t want to keep pushing, because I’ll be quite busy for the next couple days.  On Monday, I’ll be hosting a Board Meeting of my prison volunteer organization here in the Cat Box, including dinner, so I’ll have a lot of cleaning and food prep to do for the next couple days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:52 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: If what he said in 1996 is any guide, House Speaker John Boehner really, really does not plan to allow a vote on raising the minimum wage:

“I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill,” Boehner, then the head of the House Republican Conference, said at the time.

How’s that for an extreme position? He wouldn’t just die before doing it, he’d actually kill himself. Take his own life rather than lift hundreds of thousands out of poverty by requiring businesses to pay a minimum wage that a small family can come somewhere close to living on. It’s almost like he’s not the moderate figure trying to balance the demands of his party’s teabagger extremists with responsible governance that so many political reporters have painted him as.

What better reason could there for Democrats to circulate a discharge petition on this issue, Not only would it me a major victory against vulture capitalists and their Republican lackeys, but also, the fringe benefit is fantastic!! ;-)

From NY Times: The phony budget games finally came to an end this week. After years of trying to entice Republicans into serious negotiations over a fiscal deal — years of instant rejection and painful austerity — the White House announced it was giving up.

In President Obama’s 2015 budget, scheduled to be unveiled next month, there will be no more proposals to cut entitlement programs. Instead, the president will demand what the country needs the most: new investments in education, in energy efficiency, in job training. When Republicans turn away, as they will, they will have to explain to voters why they prefer tax loopholes for the rich over programs to create jobs and rebuild the economy.
Mr. Obama will not include an offer that marred his 2014 budget plan: reducing the cost-of-living increase for Social Security in exchange for higher spending and the end of some of those loopholes. The Social Security cut, known as a “chained” Consumer Price Index, was never a good idea. It was likely to hurt vulnerable retirees, but had been long advocated by the right. Nonetheless, Republicans refused to consider that change if it meant touching the tax breaks of their wealthiest donors, so they passed up a chance to achieve their stated goal of reducing entitlement spending.

In my opinion, the authors have this wrong in one key way. I trust you remember that, at the time, I said that the only reason Obama was offering chained CPI was the certainty that Republicans would refuse it, because it came paired with cuts in welfare for the 1%. Now, in my opinion, Obama is making no such offer, because Republicans have become so desperate to appear reasonable in an e3lection year, that they might accept it, if he did.

From TPM: The United Auto Workers union is appealing a union representation election for Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen workers citing interference from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and other groups and lawmakers in the state.

The UAW announced its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday.

The appeal argues that Corker, Tennessee Gov. William Haslam and State House Speaker Beth Harwell, among others, "conducted what appears to have been a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign. They worked, in concert with their staffs and others, to deprive" Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "workers of their federally-protected right, through the Election, to support and select the UAW as their exclusive representation under Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"), free of coercion, intimidation, threats and interference."…

…Read the appeal here.

Having read the appeal myself, as I strongly recommend that you do too, I agree that the UAW complaint is accurate, and that the NLRB should set aside the election and order a new one.

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This effectively makes any Voter ID laws that require voter expense, either for the ID, or for the documents needed to obtain it, unconstitutional.

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Feb 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feeling slightly improved from yesterday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:42 (average 6:35).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here’s an amazing video that clearly explains why welfare doesn’t work how you think it works. At 6:38, we find out the obvious about who the biggest welfare user in the country is.

 

I was correct in my estimation of who America’s biggest welfare user is, and I fully agree with the premise of this video.

From The New Yorker: Citing the scandals embroiling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Republican Governors Association today ordered its members to discontinue the use of e-mail, “effective immediately.”

According to a memo sent to all Republican governors, “Any plots, schemes, conspiracies, or violations of campaign-finance laws should be conducted using pay phones or easily disposable cell phones such as the ones used on ‘The Wire.’ ” The governors were instructed to read the memo once and then either burn or eat it.

LOL Andy!! I bet PIGnocchio ate his!!

From Reuters (H/T Daily Kos): Volkswagen’s top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized.

Workers at VW’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.

German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined "co-determination" principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.

Chattanooga is VW’s only factory in the U.S. and one of the company’s few in the world without a works council.

"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council.

"If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW’s supervisory board, said.

Kudos to VW’s works council. If Republicans insist on blocking the way the company wants to deal fairly with workers, those jobs should go to states that Republicans do not control.

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Feb 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow.  It’s been a busy day.  Housework was floors, dusting and the refrigerator.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  They help me put them away, and that makes me keep the fridge cleaned out to avoid embarrassment.  Earlier I watched Olympic coverage, and was most pleased to See Finland eliminate the team of Vladimir Putin (R-RU) in the quarter finals.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:40 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The wingnut welfare must have run out for the man who became famous as "Joe the Plumber." Samuel Wurzelbacher, his real name, has had to get a job that involves something other than performing the role of the regular blue-collar white guy on the Republican speaking and media circuits—and it’s a union job at Chrysler. Wurzelbacher took to Facebook sounding a wee bit defensive:

“In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union, in this case UAW. There’s no choice – it’s a union shop – the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the way it is,” he wrote.

Of course the Republican is lying. He may opt to pay a fee for their representation, so he does not have to join. This is one member UAW is better off without!!

From Bill Moyers: Last week, The Wire creator David Simon told Bill Moyers that the legal doctrine that spending money on political campaigns is an act of political speech protected by the First Amendment poses the greatest threat to American democracy. “That to me was the nail in the coffin,” he said. “If the combination of the monetization of our elections and gerrymandering create a bicameral legislature that doesn’t in any way reflect the will of the American people, you’ve reached the end game for democracy.”

He’s right. Not only does money as speech allow those with the fattest wallets to drown out the voices of average citizens, as John Light points out, it also gives wealthy donors an effective veto over policies that enjoy majority support. But it’s important to understand the other ways that the expansion of civil rights for corporations can conflict with the public interest.

David Simon is spot-on. You owe it to your brain to click through for the rest of this outstanding piece.

Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!!

From Crooks and Liars: Here’s what we get to look forward to from now until Hillary Clinton either announces that she’s not going to run for president, or finishes up her second term in office if she ends up being the Democratic nominee and is elected and reelected.

Media Matters nailed this one before it even aired: Fox Scrapes The Bottom Of The Clinton Conspiracy Barrel:

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

In the interest of clarity, I have to say that, if there was a more progressive alternative to Hillary, who is willing to challenge her for the Democratic nomination, I would be a supporter of ABH, not because she is a woman, but because she is not progressive enough to suit me. That said, I will support her strongly in the general election, because even Hillary stands head and shoulders over anyone that the Republican Party will offer. The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, aka Faux Noise, cannot attack Hillary on policy, because across the board, theirs are worse for America, so this is the garbage they offer instead.

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222 years later, Republicans have almost succeeded in killing it.  I guess they think Washington was a damn librul.

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Nov 062013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and waiting to see election results.  I sure hope the Cooch screws the pooch!

Update:  I just heard some news on the new digs, and I have to take some updated financial info in tomorrow, and have a meeting with the Resident Services Manager next Wednesday, so it looks like I just be moving late in the month.  However, that puts me in a big rush tonight, and writing for Thursday may be limited.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 4:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Scores

9Scores

I’m amazed my subs did that well!

Standings:

9Standings

I’m trailing one damn tough team by two games!

Short Takes:

From YouTube: Rachel Tore Idiot a New One!!

Of course you remember that the Southern Avenger was featured here in Republicans on Parade. A couple days ago, I was willing to entertain the possibility that Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot did not know, but the scope, frequency and depth of his plagiarism demonstrates clearly that it was his intent.

From Washington Post: As some Republicans in Congress push to scale back and otherwise reform entitlement programs, a pair of liberal senators are pushing to expand one of the programs — Social Security.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) are spearheading the effort, which they say would increase benefits for all Social Security beneficiaries by about $70 per month, change the cost-of-living calculation for benefits, and increase the amount that the wealthiest Americans pay into the program.

Social Security taxes are currently capped at the first $113,700 of someone's income. Brown and Harkin say the tax increase would help sustain the program, which is solvent but is on track for significant deficits in future decades.

Kudos to Brown and Harkin! It's about time someone took a proactive approach instead of playing defense all the time! Scrap the cap!!

From Raw Story: Kentucky’s Republican U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul will attempt to attach a national anti-union “right to work” law to the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — the federal law designed to provide workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. According to WGDB’s Roll Call, the Senate is expected to begin debate on ENDA this week.

Right to work laws are laws that prohibit employers and workers from entering into contracts mandating union membership for any profession, from nurses to police officers to auto workers. States with right to work laws generally feature fewer protections for workers. The laws typically weaken workers’ position to bargain with employers by reducing union membership and stripping away the power of collective bargaining.

Do Bought Bitch Mitch and Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot actually think that the Dems will give away Labor's legitimate rights? Not this year!!

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I should have made that three.

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