May 302015
 

After returning from my volunteer work in prison, I slept for more than my norm and am feeling a bit groggy still.  I have another bust month ahead, but for the weekend, it’s writing, snoozing and basking in the early summer weather.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Strengthen Unions

Inequality has skyrocketed as unions have weakened. That is no accident.

 

The Reich on the left is right. The Reich on the right is worse than wrong. It is Republican. I have never been a union member. I have never crossed a picket line. I do not intend to do so ever. This is the seventh video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn and share it from there.

From The New Yorker: Calling the Obama Administration’s actions against the soccer organization “weak and ineffective,” Senator John McCain on Thursday proposed military action to “dismantle and destroy FIFA once and for all.”

“These are people who only understand one thing: force,” McCain said on the floor of the United States Senate. “We must make FIFA taste the vengeful might and fury of the United States military.”

McCain said that he was “completely unimpressed” by the Department of Justice’s arrests of several top FIFA lieutenants this week, calling the action “the kind of Band-Aid solution that this Administration, sadly, has become famous for.”

“Rounding up a few flunkies in a hotel is meaningless when the leader of FIFA remains at large,” he said. “I will follow Sepp Blatter to the gates of Hell.”…

When will Andy call for military action against McConJob?

From Upworthy: What’s happening to put a stop to plastic microbeads?

Right now, about 18 U.S. states including California, Canada, Australia, and several countries in Europe are considering banning products that contain plastic microbeads. Unfortunately, industry is pushing back with a bill that leaves loopholes for the microbeads to be replaced with other kinds of plastics. The Story of Stuff Project is leading a coalition of over 100 groups to get these tiny plastic beads out of commerce. Ban the beads!

 

I learned about this several months ago. I had no idea I had been using a body wash with microbeads. I stopped immediately. I fully support banning them.

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May 042015
 

Would you believe me if I told you that I’m still completely swamped with tasks?

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Have you ever heard of the West Virginia mine wars?

Maybe they were mentioned in your high school history class, or maybe they were skimmed over, or even left out entirely for one reason or another. Too often, these stories are deemed not "important" enough to warrant the time and attention they deserve.

But the West Virginia mine wars are critical to understanding the history of the labor movement in the U.S. — and soon a new museum will be open to tell the story.

The Battle of Blair Mountain, for example, was — and still is — the most violent labor confrontation in history, in which union-supporting coal miners fought against local government and a coal company-funded militia, eventually involving the U.S. Army.

 

Click through for the history of what happened. If Republicans gain complete control, it will happen again.

From Boston Globe: …A live video stream of the Garland event on the organizer’s website recorded the moment when the crowd was interrupted by a private security guard in military fatigues, who bounded onto the stage to announce that there had been a shooting outside. “Were the suspects Muslim?” a man shouted.

“I have no idea right now,” said the man in fatigues.

Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam leader in the Netherlands for the Party for Freedom, attended the event and delivered a speech. After the attack, he wrote “never surrender to terrorism!” in a Twitter post, and he posted a picture of himself with what he said were SWAT forces taken before the gunmen opened fire.

Pamela Geller, an organizer of the event who runs a website that attacks Islam, said the group decided to hold the event in the Curtis Culwell Center because members had heard that a Muslim group had a conference in the same room after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office.

Geller described Sunday’s event as pro-free speech, and said that Muslims had become a “special class” that Americans were no longer allowed to offend.

“The media is self-enforcing a Shariah,” she said, referring to Islamic law. “Under the Shariah you cannot criticize or offend Islam.”

Don’t you know that a hateful gathering of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians performing offensive insulting acts will draw equally hateful Replican Supply-side pseudo-Muslims? Authentic Christians and Authentic Muslims coexist together in peace.

From NY Times: G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class

RepubliSpeak Dictionary
Woo: lie to, hoodwink, deceive, bury in BS

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May 032015
 

As always, I have a very busy day on tap.  I spent a couple hours doing overdue computer maintenance, and I planned my itinerary, bought my tickets and paid for my room for my trip to Salem during the last week of the month for prison volunteer work.  I’m still in pain, but not so bad as to stop me.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

Republican lawmakers know very well that they’re in an awful bind completely of their own making. They insisted on pursuing every possible avenue for destroying Obamacare, and now one might work out for them. The Supreme Court could very well decide in June to strike down subsidies to the around 8 million people who have purchased insurance on the federal exchange, making keeping that insurance impossible for many, and making those 8 million people very, very angry. Most Republicans have now come around to the idea that maybe that’s not going to be such a great thing for them, particularly those who have to be re-elected next year. One of them, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has introduced legislation that would extend the subsidies into 2017. But Johnson isn’t the only one who has some kind of fix, and most of those "fixes" create real problems going forward.

The Johnson plan would prohibit new customers in both the state and federally operated exchanges from receiving subsidies and repeal the individual and employer mandates. In addition, it would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s minimum essential benefit requirements, allow states to set those benefit rules, and grandfather in existing health plans that are not compliant with the ACA.

Another proposal, by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), would continue premium subsidies for 18 months but phase them out over that period. For six months after the court rules, financial assistance for all subsidy-eligible exchange customers would be set at a flat 65% of premium costs. That would decrease by 5 percentage points each month until the subsidies were completely eliminated. During the transition period, insurers would be prohibited from raising premiums. In addition, the Sasse bill would prohibit HHS from providing federal exchange technology to states interested in establishing their own exchanges. […]

On the House side, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and two other committee chairmen have proposed to offer a flat tax credit to people now receiving subsidies through the federal exchange. In addition, they would let states opt into an alternative Republican reform model without insurance mandates and including traditional GOP policy nostrums such as allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines.

In Short, the Republican fixes would all pretend to save ObamaCare, but would really convert it to standard RepubliCare, complete with the free RepubliCare Death Benefit. If you can’t afford to pay, you get to die.

From NY Times: A bill that would end prescribed wages on public construction projects in Indiana awaits the signature of Gov. Mike Pence. And Henry Burks, a union electrician who lives near Indianapolis, is bracing.

Mr. Burks, 57, is putting off plans to build a patio at his house. He is delaying painting and landscaping, too. And he said he is worried about how to continue helping his grown children with college costs if his income drops, as he firmly expects.

“This is going to inhibit me from taking care of my family,” Mr. Burks, who makes about $60,000 a year, said the other day as he took a break from installing conduit inside a corn processing plant in Lafayette. “Our wages will go down. The contractors we work for won’t get as many jobs. Maybe I’ll have to find work outside of Indiana.”

Sadly, it’s not just Indiana. The Republican War on Workers is a nationwide campaign.

From Crooks and Liars: Never mind decades of failed trickle-down economic policies on a national level, the talking heads at Fox want to pretend what happens in our cities takes place in a vacuum.

From this Saturday’s Cashin’ In on Faux "news," the usual suspects were on there bashing liberals, our social safety nets, and pretending that liberals running our big cities in America are solely responsible for all of the economic woes in communities across the United States, and with impoverished areas that haven’t seen the same sort of recovery as a lot of the country following the financial crisis that took place just as President Obama was being sworn into office.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

When it comes to inner city streets being a prison pipeline, I have to say that Democrats share the blame for that aspect of the unrest. Republicans had targeted Democrats as "soft on crime" so many times, that Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress went overboard in the opposite direction. However, Republicans are far more to blame overall. Starving inner cities for finding, exporting urban jobs to the third world, the decimation of labor, the war on the poor, and the rabid racism that the Republican Party employ are just some of the reasons why.

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Godwin’s Law – a common meme used by fascists, pseudo-intellectuals, and people with their heads in the sand (or in smellier places), whenever anyone points out the verifiable commonalities between today’s Republican Party and Germany’s National Socialist Party.

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May 012015
 

0501MayDay

Here in the US, May Day is so generic that it isn’t even an official holiday.  Nevertheless, many people do celebrate it for a variety of reasons.  Happy May Day to you!  Whatever your reason for celebrating the day, I wish you the best.

According to Info Please:

May 1st, often called May Day, just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of political protests. It’s a neopagan festival, a saint’s feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday.

Click through for more about how people celebrate the day.

Personally, I tend to focus on the political aspects of the day.  Amy Goodman of Democracy Now has offered a video presentation in three parts on the history behind the day.

This show aired in April 2006.  So bear in mind, it does not even take into account the Republican reaction to a black president or their extreme assault on labor.  That makes the history all the more relevant for today.

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Apr 062015
 

It’s such a slow day for news, that even Daily Kos is recommending only hits from the past, and because I’m still short of 100%, I’m making this today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 6:40).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A new poll shows that Americans who were unconcerned about climate change as it wreaked havoc around the world are beginning to worry, now that global warming is affecting the appearance of their lawns.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, rising sea levels, the destruction of habitats, and catastrophic weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tsunamis, have not served as the wake-up call to Americans that their lawns’ unsightly barrenness has.

In interviews across the state of California, residents expressed anger and outrage that climate change had been allowed to worsen to the point that it has now severely limited their choice of ground cover, shrubs, and other decorative plantings.

Sadly, Andy seems to have captured the soul of the American voter.

From NY Times: An exuberant crowd that included public-school teachers, union bus drivers and nursing home workers packed into New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on this city’s West Side on Saturday afternoon as Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, issued an urgent plea.

“I am asking you, I am begging you, and — in my teacher voice — I am telling you, go vote,” Ms. Lewis, who wore a “Chuy” button on each lapel, called out, as a cheer rose through the high-ceilinged church. “Go vote!” she called out again. “Go vote!”At the heart of the campaign that has threatened to topple Mayor Rahm Emanuel are labor unions: Amalgamated Transit Union locals, the Service Employees International Union’s Illinois State Council and, perhaps above all, the Chicago Teachers Union. Jesus G. Garcia, the candidate known as Chuy, built his campaign on the backing of teachers, has received his strongest financial support from unions and was talked into running by Ms. Lewis herself. And the crowd inside this echoing church followed orders, scores of people streaming out together and marching down Madison Street to a polling location with less than an hour remaining for early voting in advance of Tuesday’s election.

Go Chuy! Chicago, give your heart to Jesus! (Garcia, not Republican Supply-side). Rahmbo acts more like a Republican than a Democrat!

From Alternet: A Georgia teacher — whose husband sits on the school board — is under fire for telling her students that President Barack Obama isn’t a Christian, and if their parents voted for him they are not Christians either, reports WMGT.

What a Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian statement that is! Even I allow for the possibility that an authentic Christian might have voted for Little Lord Willard, if that Christian were sufficiently stupid and misinformed.

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Sep 012014
 

Labor-day2012

For most of my early life I considered Labor Day little more than a day off at the end of summer.  That’s because I am not a union man.  I have never belonged to a union, nor has anyone in my family.  So what has the labor movement done for me?  I have learned what organized labor has done to improve the lot of all American Workers, and I have come to understand that Labor Day is a celebration of Union labor, and one that is well deserved.

laborThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now…

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income…

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor…

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers…

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

It’s well worth the time to click through for the rest of this article.

Furthermore, here is an excellent video on what labor has done for America.

 

Therefore, to begin my celebration of Labor Day in the best possible way, I wish to thank all of you who are or have been union workers.  My life is better because of you.  And to you and everyone else, have a Happy Labor Day!

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Jul 172014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 87.  It’s largely a rest day for me, except for cooking, cleaning and the many hours I spend in research and writing.  I am tired from being unable to sleep this morning.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: One Quote From Abraham Lincoln Might Just Surprise You

0717lincolnLaborQuote

It’s hard to believe that once, Republicans were the liberal party, not the class warriors for the greediest billionaires that they are today.

From Daily Kos: Boy, Dick Cheney really is determined to caricature himself:

During an event sponsored by Politico, Cheney said the next president needs to "turn around the whole trend" of cutting defense dollars.

"That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways or anything else," Cheney said. "Your No. 1 responsibility as president is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. [Obama] is the commander-in-chief and he’s absolutely devastating the United States military today.”

War always was ChickenHawk Cheney’s highest priority, except when he was hiding behind five deferments.

From The New Yorker: A new study released Tuesday indicates that wearing glasses does not make a person look smarter, but standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry does.

In the study, when participants were shown photos of a person with and without glasses, they registered little or no change in their view of the person’s intelligence.

However, when the photo of the same person was juxtaposed with a photo of Governor Perry, participants suddenly said that the person looked “much smarter” or “brilliant,” with some participants even using the phrase “like a genius.”

While Andy is certainly correct, wouldn’t comparing folks to Crawford Caligula have an even greater effect?

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