Jul 292015
 

Last week I had a small but thoroughly enjoyable meeting with five of my guys.  The prison fouled-up the turnout, so ten were not released for it.  We discussed the importance of maintaining an ongoing personal inventory, and using it as a tool to recognize when we are wrong, admit it, make amends, and learn from it.  As always, I could not be more proud of them.  It was very hot, as the Activities section is over the kitchen.  I feel tired and sore, but I did get some good sleep last might.  Today is a grocery delivery day, so I have some cleaning to do in preparation.  The forecast high is 95° and will not dip below 90° until 8/3 at the earliest, so the next heat wave is officially here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 5/26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Changing austerity measures starts with changing how we value our own work.

Like the frog in the pot that didn’t know it was boiling until it was too late, some of us have gotten used to these things. But some of us haven’t and aren’t willing to. Like Agnes Török, who filmed this moving poem that puts into words the frustrations so many of us have felt.

Her words are inspiration for those of us who’ve internalized economic disparities as our own character failures.

 

This hero truly understands Republican tinkle down policies. Kudos.

From The New Yorker: In what critics are calling a desperate attempt to draw the media’s attention away from Donald Trump, the other fifteen candidates for the Republican nomination have released a joint sex tape.

The tape, including such luminaries as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, appeared briefly on major news Web sites before an avalanche of viewer revulsion demanded it be taken down.

According to Carol Foyler, a viewer who happened to catch the tape during its brief appearance on the CNN Web site, the video contained images “I may never be able to get out of my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe that these people would participate in such a thing,” she said. “Except maybe Santorum.”

Dang Andy! Lindsey Poo was a bottom.  I have no doubt that Frothy was the man on dog, but do we need to change a name from "Upchuck Huck" to "Buttf*** Huck"? Smile with tongue out

From Washington Post: Openly gay Americans can now legally marry, serve in the military (as long as you’re not transgender) and, as of Monday, lead a Boy Scout troop.

So what can’t they do? In fact, there are still several things gay Americans can’t do that straight Americans might take for granted.

We did some research and talked to the Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, Sarah Warbelow, to find out what openly gay Americans are still fighting for.

1. Give blood

This prohibition is specifically for gay and bisexual men, whom the federal government prohibited from donating blood in 1983, during the AIDS epidemic.

The Obama administration recently lifted the ban, but with one very important caveat: A man can only donate blood if he hasn’t had sexual relations with another man in the past year. The ruling was disappointing to LGBT rights groups.

"That’s really unrealistic to ask people," Warebelow said — "especially those who are in long-term relationships."

2. Be protected from housing discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states that don’t include sexual orientation in their housing discrimination laws, gay and lesbian Americans can be denied an apartment to rent, a home to buy or obtain a mortgage on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In the 30 states that don’t ban housing discrimination based on gender identity, transgender Americans face the same possibility.

3. Be protected from business discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states, gay and lesbian Americans can get kicked out of a restaurant, be refused services by a hairdresser or asked to leave a shopping mall. That number’s even higher for transgender people, who don’t have similar protections in 32 states.

The federal government also has no law prohibiting LGBT discrimination in public spaces and services.

In the states and cities that do have anti-discrimination laws — including about a dozen cities in Indiana — some conservatives have successfully pushed for a religious freedom bill to give extra legal protections to service providers who refuse LGBT Americans.

Click through for the other four. The battle against the Republican Reich for LGBT equality has just begun.

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Where InsaniTEA rules supreme.

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Jul 252015
 

The live online draft for out fantasy football league is in about 2 1/2 hours, and I’m trying to get as much as I can done before them.  The plan is to get my articles written, attend the draft, have a meal and a catnap, and post the articles.  I think I’ll be able to leave my A/C off all day!!  Update: The draft went well, except that the Squatch drafted the Broncos running back right out from under my kitty nose. :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A group of scholars who have been monitoring the descent of the bar over the past few decades have concluded that the bar can no longer be lowered, the scholars announced on Friday.

The academics, led by Professor Davis Logsdon, of the University of Minnesota, published their conclusion after their research definitively found that the bar had finally dropped to its lowest possible position.

“For those who thought the bar still had room to be lowered, our findings resoundingly contradict that assumption,” Logsdon said. “The bar is now essentially flush with the ground.”

Logsdon acknowledged that he and his fellow scholars have come under fire in the past for claiming that the bar could not be further lowered, specifically when they issued a paper to that effect after the selection of the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008.

“We got that one wrong,” he said. “Clearly, the bar still had a way to go.”

Andy should continue that that they got it wrong again. Hairball and the rest of the Republican Clown Cotillion will always find a lower position for the bar.

From Daily Kos: Living in central Phoenix, I went to some of Netroots last week. After Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s barn-burner on Friday, about 300 people, led by Puente Arizona, marched to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail (one-minute video of the protest above). It was only 100 that day, a cool wave. Nearby, a couple thousand inmates were living in tents, where it can reach 135+.

In addition to exposing and condemning the sheriff’s criminal practices, marchers had two demands: 1) that Immigration and Customs Enforcement be removed from his office, because immigration is a federal responsibility, not his—a county lawman convicted of racial profiling; and 2) the sheriff must resign, because he’s a corrupt dickhead.

 

Kudos to the demonstrators. I fully agree. Joe MUST go!!

From Think Progress: The saga over a Houston city law that protects LGBT people from discrimination just took a sudden turn. The Texas Supreme Court intervened in the court fight over the effort to repeal the initiative, ordering that the Houston City Council must either repeal HERO on its own or allow it to be challenged at the ballot in the next election. Either way, the city can no longer enforce it.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was a sweeping piece of legislation, because prior to its passage, Houston had no municipal nondiscrimination protections for any class. Opponents of the bill objected primarily to its inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity, and collected signatures to challenge it at the ballot. Whether enough signatures were valid to qualify the referendum became the subject of heated back-and-forth court fights, but the Texas Supreme Court ignored almost all of it.

The Republicans on the Texas Supreme court do not care that the gay-haters lied, forged, cheated and presented insufficient valid signatures to qualify. To them, gay rights just don’t matter.

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Jul 242015
 

I’m getting started way late, because I went out to get my ears lowered, and had a meal and a much-needed car nap when I returned home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:29).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Reminder:

Lefty Blog Friends, don’t forget that our live online draft is tomorrow, Saturday, at 11 AM Pacific (12 Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern) Daylight Savings Time.  If you haven’t already done so, I recommend participating in a mock draft or two between now and then.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s amazing what garbage gets tossed into must-pass Congressional appropriation bills. Perhaps one of the most heinous in a long time was a land grab tucked inside last year’s National Defense Authorization Act at the last minute, when no one was looking.

The Act included an eleventh-hour rider that would swap land between the National Forest Service and Resolution Copper Mining, a subsidiary of Anglo-Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. The deal would turn 5,300 acres of Resolution-owned land over to the US Forest Service, in exchange for about 2,400 acres of public land, including an area known as Oak Flat. No secret what Resolution plans to do with Oak Flat: dig 7,000 feet into the ground to get at one of the world’s largest copper deposits.

Sounds like a good deal, huh? The Forest Service takes in twice the amount of land it gives up, and the company claims that its new mine will create 2,400-plus jobs and generate $61 billion in local and state economic activity and tax revenue. And the copper? Well everyone knows the world needs copper!…

…But this isn’t just any area around Superior; this is Oak Flat, a stunning piece of land in the Tonto National Forest. It is a sacred holy place to the San Carlos Apache tribe, where tribe members have performed traditional acorn gatherings and coming of age ceremonies–mostly for girls–for generations. And there’s plenty of archaeological evidence to back this up. The land has been protected since 1955, when President Eisenhower decreed it closed to mining due to its cultural and natural value. Even Richard Nixon’s administration renewed the ban in 1971.

Ah, but today’s Repugnicans feel no such need to preserve the sacred. Especially when both of Arizona’s Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have been on the Rio Tinto dole.

This would never have happened had the land been a memorial to a Nathan Bedford Forrest, or some other racist icon, sacred to Republicans.

From MSNBC: In most states you can be fired for being gay

Rachel Maddow reports on a new effort to ban discrimination against gay people by amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and notes that most people don’t realize that right doesn’t already exist.

 

Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is leading the fight for passage in the Senate.

From Alternet: School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools.

But the times they are a-changin’. Wisconsin is well on its way toward limitless voucher schools, and last month, Nevada signed into law a universal "education savings account" allowing parents to send their kids to private or religious schools, or even to home-school them—all on the taxpayers’ dime. On the federal level, a proposed amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that would have created a multi-billion-dollar-a-year voucher program was only narrowly defeated in the U.S. Senate…

…With vouchers gaining momentum nationwide, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is meeting in San Diego this week, has decided to drop the pretense that vouchers have anything to do with social and racial equity, and is now pushing vouchers for the middle class—a project which, if pursued enough in numbers, will progressively erode the public school system and increase the segregation of students based on race and economic standing.

I’ve been saying this for years. Republicans want YOU to fund education for the rich and pseudo-Christian fanatics, while YOUR kids’ services get cut because of it.

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Jul 232015
 

Most of you should remember that Rick Santorum has been so hateful to gay people that the gay community gave his name a special meaning.  His positions have not changed one iota, but he’s so desperate to gain recognition that he actually appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show.  He tried to hide his frothiness.

0723santorumMSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night sat down with former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) for an interview on same-sex marriage, which led to a heated debate over the Supreme Court's recent ruling that gay couples have the right to marry.

Santorum told Maddow that the Supreme Court "is not a superior branch of government" and argued that Congress can still pass a law regarding same-sex marriage.

Yet Maddow insisted that Congress could only pass a constitutional amendment that directly contradicts a Supreme Court ruling. Santorum disagreed and said that all three branches of government can determine what is constitutional…

Inserted from <TPM>

First, let me note that virtually everything he says about his past is a lie.  Rachel actually had two frothy segments. Here's the first.

Because his policies are so horrific, I never realized he can come off as more affable than he is.  Here's the second.

It will be interesting to see if this segment gets him enough attention to get him a top ten seat at the Faux Noise Festival of Lies.

Speaking about reversing the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing LGBT people the right to marry, he dis say one thing that is true.  "If you have a new group of Justices, you might get an entirely different decision."  What better warning could we have.  If Frothy, or any other Republican, gets to make the next round of Supreme Court appointments, the decisions that Court makes will spell the end of America.  It MUST be prevented.

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Jul 182015
 

I’ve has almost no sleep, because it has been hot and muggy, a combination that always exacerbates street noise.  Portland is under a severe weather warning for excessive heat until Monday evening.  Today’s forecast high is 98°.  Fortunately, I got up very early this morning to cook, as now it would not be feasible.  I hope you’re having a great weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:37).  To do0 it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The mayor of Airway Heights, Washington—a suburb of Spokane—is refusing calls to resign despite immediate backlash regarding comments he made on Facebook:

The comment in full that was found on Patrick Rushing’s Facebook page read:  "Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that.  The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack.  Check out them ears. LOL."  

I showed Rushing the statement, and he confirmed he had posted it, so I asked him why he would write something like that. 

"It’s just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do," said Rushing. 

The Airway Heights City Council was unanimous in their desire to see him resign, but he’s not budging.

By thinking such comments were just joking, this Republican proved that he really is a racist.

From NY Times: Days after a showdown over the Confederate battle flag, House Republicans are barreling toward a new confrontation on another contentious issue: How should Congress respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage?

Legislation granting protections for tax-exempt organizations and individuals objecting to same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds is gathering momentum in the House. The bills, drafted by Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, already have 130 co-sponsors. On Thursday, the Republican Study Committee, the largest, most organized group of conservatives in the House, demanded a vote.

Once again, Republicans are trying to make Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians above the law.

From Alternet: Elizabeth Warren has drawn a line in 2016’s presidential election sands.

Speaking at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix on Friday, she challenged the presidential candidates to stand behind legislation introduced this week that would vastly slow down the revolving door between Wall Street’s financial firms and working for the government—where high-level private sector employees end up making government decisions that favor their past employers over the public.

 

This a 29 minute video. Every minute is worth watching!

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Jul 152015
 

I have a busy day today.  I’m trying to keep pace with the news, watching Obama, and it’s a grocery delivery day, so I have all that work to do..  It’s also quite muggy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would bring much-needed dignity to the 2016 Republican field, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, Palin’s ability to articulate her positions on issues with precision and restraint is sorely lacking among other entrants in the G.O.P. race.

Additionally, voters said that the former governor’s breadth of knowledge in the fields of economics, foreign affairs, and American history would place her head and shoulders above the current crop of Republican hopefuls.

In the words of one voter who was surveyed, “When I hear some of these candidates talk, I sure do miss Sarah Palin.”

Dang Andy! As much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. Bloody Bullseye Barbie is rather tame, compared to the Clown Car.

From Daily Kos: I wonder if Rep. Steve "Melon Calves" King is going to commandeer Republican anti-LGBT policy like he commandeered the party’s anti-immigration policy.

It would have no force of law, but U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Friday announced he has introduced a House resolution for representatives to formally disapprove of the June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage nationally. […]

King said the "resolution expresses the sense" by the House that the court ruling "unconstitutionally and indefensibly perverts the definition of marriage," that states are not required to license gay marriage and that "individuals, businesses, churches, religious groups and other faith-based organizations are encouraged, empowered, and protected to exercise their faith without fear of legal or government interference."

Since a Sense of the House resolution does nothing, this serves only as one more opportunity for Republican to voice their hatred and display their sedition.

From NY Times: A federal appeals court Tuesday handed the Obama administration another victory in its effort to guarantee coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act, rejecting a challenge by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, found that the nuns could opt out of a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage under an “accommodation” devised by the administration. The rule does not impose a “substantial burden” on the nuns’ free exercise of religion, the court said.

Four other federal appeals courts — in the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans — have issued similar decisions upholding the accommodation, which is intended to address the concerns of nonprofit religious organizations that object to providing contraceptive coverage for women enrolled in their health plans.

Another win for women.

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Jul 102015
 

I can’t express how happy I am to have a wide open window and my A/C set on fan.  It will take a couple days for the building to bleed off the heat.  Old masonry structures are like that.  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:22).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We may still need one new player for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  Viv and her Hillbilly Lefties are now onboard. We may have found our last player. For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Yep, that’s what Jeb Bush said in a press interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader. Unbelievable. People already WORK LONG HOURS, and we’re actually one of the most productive countries in that we work longer than any other industrialized nation in the entire world. Here’s the context in which Jeb Bush said his damning quote:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

Call me crazy, but when we’re working up to 50 hours a week, and in many cases, more hours than that, and we’re not getting paid well in doing the work we do. Many people work long hours at the minimum wage level, and Americans work longer hours just to make the ends meet these days. The part-timers want to work full hours, but they can’t find other work, so they don’t often make ends meet without the assistance of government programs.

These are the facts, Jeb Bush, we already work damn hard, and we’re entitled to the right wages for our work. We should NOT be underpaid, we should NOT have our hours cut, we should NOT have our benefits cut so we work longer, and we should NOT be spending so much damn time at the office just to make ends meet.

Strike Three backtracked and said he was only referring to underemployed part time workers. However, the context in which he made the statement was as the means by which he intended to achieve economic growth of 4%/year. Increasing work for the underemployed could not possibly achieve even 1% growth, so either he’s lying about making YOU work more for less, and/or his entire economic plan is a lie. In my opinion, he’s lying about BOTH. Why? He a Republican, and he’s a Bush.

From Daily Kos:

Former President George W. Bush charged $100,000 to speak at a charity fundraiser for U.S. military veterans severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former First Lady Laura Bush collected $50,000 to appear a year earlier, officials of the Texas-based Helping a Hero charity confirmed to ABC News.

And…

The former President was also provided with a private jet to travel to Houston at a cost of $20,000, the officials said.

It’s obscene that GW ChickenHawk is not donating his time to help the heroes that he maimed by using them as cannon fodder in his criminal war.

From Raw Story: [T]he anti-LGBT owners of an Oregon bakery were not fined for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple – they were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for intentionally causing their would-be customers emotional distress.

The case has attracted widespread media attention since the couple first filed their complaint in January 2013, and that is largely through the efforts of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

After the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries handed down the order last week, Aaron Klein claimed the ruling was an example of the “persecution of Christians” in the U.S.

However, the ruling shows the bakery owners had made Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer the victims of persecution and makes clear the payment was compensation for damages and not a fine or civil penalty.

I could agree that $135,000 would be a bit excessive as a fine, but the "Sweet Cakes" pseudo-Christian Republicans went beyond mere refusal of service. They published the lesbian couple’s address to make them a target for other gay-hating Republicans. I was targeted at home by peace-hating Republicans in 2003, so I know that $135,000 is not enough!

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