Sep 062016
 

I’m feeling rather tired, as I slept poorly last night.  I had a persistent  itch on my left foot, which I could not scratch, because it no longer exists.  That is so frustrating for a scratcher like me.  I’ve been known to strip off my T-shirt and scratch my back with a tree.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From YouTube: Joan Baez Live @ Woodstock 1969 Joe Hill

 

Mitch brought up this song in comments yesterday. Here is where I first heard the song.

From NY Times: But the country’s historic incarceration boom has given rise to companies that provide services and products to government prisons. Many of these provide necessary equipment and services, of course, but some do so in rather unsavory ways.

Take, for instance, the prison phone industry, a market that’s dominated by several large, privately held firms that earn an estimated $1.2 billion per year. Short phone calls from prison can cost up to fifteen dollars, largely because the companies operate as monopolies within prison walls. The private companies also offer state and local authorities a percentage of their revenue, which contributes to the surging cost of the calls and creates other perverse incentives. Some jails, for instance, have removed in-person family-visitation rooms to make way for “video visitation” terminals, provided by private firms, which can charge as much as thirty dollars for forty minutes of screen time. One prison phone company, Securus Technologies, says in its marketing materials that it has paid out $1.3 billion in these so-called commissions over the past ten years.

“In some respects, this is worse than the private prison companies,” Peter Wagner, the executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit criminal-justice think tank, said. “I expect the government to waste money. But it’s totally different for the government to collude with a private company to make poor people lose money.”

Prison phone companies are hardly the only private venders that capitalize on a captive market. Corizon Health, one of the sponsors of the Louisiana prison trade show, is the country’s largest prison health-care firm. It treats more than three hundred thousand prisoners nationwide, earning about $1.4 billion in annual revenue. It is also the subject of numerous investigations and lawsuits. The company has been named as a defendant in at least six hundred and sixty malpractice lawsuits over the past five years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

This is my own "boutique issue".  Republican states are the worst, but as much as I hate to admit it, abuse of prisoners and their families for profit is bipartisan. There is much more to read. Please click through.

From Crooks and Liars: The penchant for mendacity and injustice among the cabinet of the Bush Administration makes it difficult to pick the absolute worst of Bush/Cheney’s sadistic war criminals. That said, no one would argue that former A.G. Alberto Gonzales was certainly a standout for numerous reasons, including hard evidence of lying under oath about torture.

John Dickerson’s Sunday episode of Face the Nation provided a forum for Gonzales to peddle his apocryphal tale, True Faith and Allegiance, which is hyped as a story of service and sacrifice in war and peace about his life and time serving the George W. Bush administration.

Bush Reich Barf Bag Alert!!

This evil sleaze-bag  may be the worst liar in Republican history, prior to Rump Dump Trump. After he fired federal prosecutors, because they refused to file bogus charges against Democratic political candidates on the eve of an election, and replaced they with goose-stepping Republicans, he was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He lied, saying "I don’t recall" and it’s variants 64 times. CBS owes America an apology.

Cartoon:

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Thank Unions on Labor Day

 Posted by at 12:58 pm  Holiday, Politics
Sep 052016
 

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!

Support Labor!  Defeat Trump!

Un-employ a Republican Office Holder!

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Apr 142016
 

Yesterday Lu came for the last time.  She was about four hours late, but getting the day right was an improvement.  So I’m a perfumed puddy tat.  My groceries came.  I put them away.  I also did the dreaded task! Eye rolling smile  Tomorrow I have an appointment with a Retinal Ophthalmologist to check out my choroidal nevi.  The appointment will take three hours, and I’ll be unable to use a computer afterwards until late tomorrow night.  So expect only a Personal Update, please.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily KosWhen Scott Walker came into office, he claimed that he had no interest in trying to get “Right to Work” laws passed. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is a liar and a terrible person. In fact, he and his fellow Republican legislators introduced an ALEC inspired written bill making Wisconsin a Right to Work state. Since the bill was signed into law, Wisconsin’s workforce has diminished by at least 10,000. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs because Right to Work laws don’t have anything to do with generating living wage jobs, or much in the way of real work, at all. Three unions filed lawsuits against the bill, arguing that the law posed an unconstitutional seizure of union property, and on Friday they received some good news:

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed. He said the law amounts to the government taking union funds without compensation since under the law they must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote.

"While (union) losses today could be characterized by some as minor, they are not isolated and the impact of (the law) over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability," he wrote.

This judgement, [sic] calling the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it is an “existential threat,” could have some far-reaching ramifications in the many Republican-backed legislatures that really want to put the screws to the working folk of this country. The importance of this ruling also means that there will be further appeals.

This issue is far from settled, but any day the Koch-sucking Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan takes a loss at any level is a better day for America.

From Real Clear Politics:

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

MoE

Cooper (D)

McCrory (R)

Spread

RCP Average

1/18 – 4/11

44.0

41.0

Cooper +3.0

WRAL-TV/SurveyUSA

4/8 – 4/11

701 LV

3.8

47

43

Cooper +4

Elon University

2/15 – 2/17

1530 LV

2.5

42

40

Cooper +2

PPP (D)

1/18 – 1/19

948 RV

3.2

43

40

Cooper +3

It looks like the Religious Reichsfuhrer of the Theocratic Republican Dictatorship of McCrorystan is also experiencing backlash from his hatred and bigoted policies.

From TPM: Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will not be prosecuted in Florida for battery after he allegedly manhandled a reporter, Politico reported on Wednesday night, citing unnamed sources.

CNN also reported that Lewandowski will not be prosecuted early Thursday morning, citing unnamed sources.

What a travesty!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have no bias favoring his victim.  The reporter he assaulted worked for Breitfart, a source for which I have so little regard, that I refuse to embed links to it.

Cartoon:

0414Cartoon

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Jan 142016
 

Yesterday, after groceries came, I made five more suppers ns now have 12 meals prepared and frozen.  This afternoon I have a building community meeting.  I’m feeling very tired, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:17 (average 6:36).  To do it, click hereHow did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Sometimes a small change in language can reveal an obvious truth.

As I have written about elsewhere, done interviews about, and discussed more generally, if the Bundy Brigands who are engaged in an armed "standoff" in Oregon were "Muslims" or people of color–especially African-Americans–they would at worst be dead by now or at the very least in jail.

The Bundy Brigands have begun to amplify their noxious, aggressive, and threatening behavior towards local authorities and residents who live in the area around Burns, Oregon.

I have made a small change in the language of a recent report from CNN about the Bundy Brigands in order to highlight how the double standard for white, right-wing, domestic terrorists enables their bad behavior and insulates them from consequences, i.e. what conservatives like to call "personal responsibility".

The author is spot-on. If Y’all Qaeda were black they’d be dead.

From PRWatch: Justice Samuel Alito has been scouring the land looking for a case to make his mark on history.

Could he find a way to hold a big bank accountable for ripping off millions of consumers? Could he interpret intellectual property law to give more desperately ill people access to essential medicines? Could he hold a chemical company to account for poisoning people and hiding it for decades?

No. Alito apparently decided to make his mark by helping a massive right-wing funding machine crush wages for teachers, nurses, firefighters, cops and prison guards.

The case is Friederichs vs. California Teachers Association will be heard on Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Click through for more details of what could be Scalito’s legacy in the ongoing case, SCROTUS v. Constitution.

From NY Times: There is no longer any question that Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky plans to shut down the health insurance exchange his state built to enroll residents for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Now that he has notified the Obama administration of his intention to do so, the question is, will it change the law’s substantial impact there?

It is hard to predict, partly because what Mr. Bevin is doing is without precedent. While a few states have been forced to largely rely on the federally run exchange after their own versions failed, Kentucky will be the first to abandon a homegrown exchange that functions well.

Condolences to the residents of Kentucky. On the other hand, they did this to themselves.

Cartoon:

0114Cartoon

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Jan 092016
 

Perhaps the most critical reason Democrats must win the White House in November is that the next President will likely appoint two or three Supreme Court Justices.  At 82, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is likely to retire first.  She us the most liberal Justice.  If a Republican replaces her The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) will become the Swastika Six, and we can kiss America goodbye.  In the meantime, will SCROTUS gut Public Unions.

SCOTUS4
Harlan Elrich is a high school teacher in California, and that means he must pay about $970 a year to a labor union. He teaches math, and he said the system did not add up.

“I get to choose what movie I want to go see,” Mr. Elrich said. “I get to choose what church I want to go to. I get to choose what gym I want to join.”

He should have the same choice, he said, about whether to support a union.

Mr. Elrich and nine other California teachers have sued the union, saying that they are being forced to pay to support positions with which they disagree, in violation of the First Amendment. Their lawsuit, if it is successful, will be the culmination of a decades-long legal campaign to undermine public unions.

And there is good reason to think they will win. The Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the case on Monday, has twice suggested that the First Amendment bars forcing government workers to make payments to unions…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Looking at this the arguments made by Elrich, a Republican Party front, the presence of a union does not leave him without choices.  He can work for a private school or in another field.  The decision to unionize has been made by the majority of teachers, state by state.  Teachers unionized long before Elrich began the specialized education to become a teacher, knowing there was a union.  He made his choice then.

If being forced to support positions with which we disagree violates the First Amendment, most of us should  have a big tax refund coming, since paying to support positions with which we disagree is a regular feature of any Republic, even a nominal one like ours.

I started paying taxes in 1962, so each of my tax dollars spent for the Vietnam War, The Iraq War, financing Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people, capital punishment, LGBT repression, mandatory minimums, private prisons, and many more items has been forced payment to support positions with which I disagree.  Should I expect a refund check next week?

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Terse Tuesday Tidbits

 Posted by at 8:07 am  Politics
Dec 152015
 
wkfc

Happy Tuesday (hey, at least it's not OGIM).  JL will be away from her computer for a while, and asked me to stand in for her (replace her, I couldn't possibly, but stand in – maybe.)  She sent me a starter and I have compiled a few related posts and sites.

Headline:  Wal-Mart's reliance on Chinese imports has cost over 400,000 U.S. Jobs.  So says a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.          walmart    

Headline:  China:  police crackdown on labour rights activists.  Apparently even those 400,000 jobs aren't what they are cracked up to be.  The IUF unites food, farm and hotel workers world wide. 

Headline:  Farm Worker Ministry Northwest Attends UFW's Darigold rally.  This was a few months ago, but if I am not mistaken, it was over two YEARS ago that Randy drowned in a pool of Darigold manure, and Darigold has still not even started to look at improving worker safety – plus there are other issues.

And in Iran:  Detained teacher unionist on hunger strike.  He is in fact one of six from his union council who are detained just for being union officials.

There are of course groups working to help working people at least survive, and hopefully, succeed.  This is a very NON-exhaustive list.  Feel free to add groups in commentschina.

Working Families

Labor Rights

Jobs With Justice

American Association of University Women  (srsly)

Labour Start  (international, helps unions run campaigns)

It is just as true now as it was when Joe Hill was alive – capital does not give up anything without a struggle.  If you are working, and there is a union in your industry, and you don't belong, for heaven's sake JOIN already.

And if not, do what you can (and I realize that may be very little) to help unions and to help unionized workers.  We still need to hang together in order not to all hang separately

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