Apr 162015
 

Spring is sproinging!!  Today I have the first of six forecast sunny days with a high over 70°.  It’s definitely time for some kitty basking.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 4:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: When a man asks people to translate a hate message he’s received, their response is unforgettable.

 

This video illustrates how people naturally react to the hatred Republicans embrace. Here, Republicans continually bombard people with media designed to make them fearful of others in a way that evokes such hatred.

From Daily Kos: Fargo, North Dakota, coffee shop owner Joe Curry does not appreciate the 56 North Dakota legislators who voted against a bill that would have protected LGBT people from discrimination. Curry put up a sign:

"Ban effective immediately. The listed Men & Women are now banned from entering this establishment.* This is based solely on age, gender, race, beliefs, color, religion & disability."

That asterisk points to this statement:

"Unless accompanied by a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Intersex or Asexual person."

Curry’s coffee shop is the Red Raven Espresso Parlor. His intention is not to discriminate.

Kudos to Joe Curry. I would love to have coffee un the Red Raven!

From Alternet: Shred Safety Nets. Christie thinks he’s being bold by giving a big speech on the safety nets for the elderly and poor. “Democrats believe entitlements are a sacred cow that cannot be honestly discussed, perpetuating a dangerous fantasy to the American people,” he said. As noted above, Christie’s solutions are not honest as they would push millions into poverty. Like the others, he doesn’t touch fair tax increases to fortify social insurance programs or greed in the health care system. And that takes him to attacking Obamacare. “There is no question that America would be better off with a market-oriented, more flexible, more pro-consumer-choice health care system than the one that was jammed down our throats by this President,” he said. All of the GOP 2016 wannabees not only want to repeal it, on tip of cutting safety net spending because of their obsession with the federal debt. None are asking what people need.

This is just one of eight nightmare scenarios that will come to pass if Republican campaign speeches become reality. Click through for the other seven and to see what life would be like under a Republican Reich.

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Apr 142015
 

When I dug into my corporate reporting for my volunteer group, I discovered I have until mid-May to get that done, so I decided to blog instead, in addition to delving into the mess I need to tackle for grocery delivery day tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: South Carolina wants to be able to continue to ban gays and lesbians from marrying each other. They want to do that so much that they filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that they should continue to be able to do so. In it, they make an "originalist" argument that if the Constitution is read just as its drafters understood it, gays can be discriminated against because women can be discriminated against. Mark Joseph Stern at Slate has all the crazy.

Here’s the gist of South Carolina’s fascinatingly sexist argument. The state wants to prove that the 14th Amendment—which guarantees "equal protection of the laws" to every "person"—was not intended to displace state marriage laws. And what did those laws look like at the time? One major feature: In many states, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts and had no legal existence apart from their husbands. According to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive married women of the ability to function independently from her husband. This right to deprive married women of basic liberties, South Carolina argues, is enshrined in the 10th Amendment and is not at all undercut by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equality.

Were SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) to agree with this brief, not only would gays become the subjects of continued discrimination, but also, "barefoot and pregnant" laws would sweep those states, where Republicans have complete control.

From The New Yorker: Hillary Clinton has followed up the official announcement of her candidacy with a new campaign ad featuring nothing but kittens.

The sixty-second spot stars an assortment of kittens—tabbies, calicoes, Siamese, and a dozen other breeds—in a variety of adorable vignettes.

At various points in the advertisement, the kittens are shown playing in a sock drawer, tangled up in yarn, and chasing a duckling.

Clinton herself appears only in the final seconds of the ad, saying merely, “Hi. I’m Hillary.”

Andy, I certainly hope my kitty cousins are not exploited in such a shameful manner. Wouldn’t it be better to portray the kittens using Republicans as a cat box? I might get in on that action myself!!

From NY Times: One by one, four former Blackwater security contractors wearing blue jumpsuits and leg irons stood before a federal judge on Monday and spoke publicly for the first time since a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

The men had been among several private American security guards who fired into Baghdad’s crowded Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007, and last October they were convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in what prosecutors called a wartime atrocity. Yet on Monday, as they awaited sentences that they knew would send them to prison for most if not all of their lives, they defiantly asserted their innocence…

…The judge, Royce C. Lamberth, strongly disagreed, sentencing Mr. Slatten to life in prison and handing 30-year sentences to the three others.

My only regret is that the top war criminals, Bush and Cheney, were not sentenced with them.

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Apr 132015
 

Now that I’ve finished my personal taxes, I get to do the same for my volunteer group, which involves far less money, but far more paperwork.  I should have done al this a month ago, but took sick right before receiving the reporting forms.  Therefore, today’s articles involve minimal research.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 6:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The two major political parties’ unconscionable waste of money officially commences this weekend, as Democrats and Republicans will soon begin spending an estimated five billion dollars of their corporate puppet masters’ assets in an unquenchable pursuit of power.

The billions, which could be spent rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, improving schools, or reducing the scourge of malaria in Africa, will instead be squandered in a heinous free-for-all of slander and personal destruction, alienating voters as never before.

The media will inevitably focus on the personalities of the bloated roster of narcissists lusting after the White House, but scant attention will be paid to the Wall Street bankers, industrial polluters, and casino magnates whose grip on American democracy will remain vise-like…

Andy forgot the satire. Everything here is factual.

From Daily Kos: A recurrent fear heard by the Christian right is if gay people are widely accepted, those who disapprove of homosexuality will be shunned and treated just like racists!

See talking point #4 copied directly from National Organization for Marriage:

“If courts rule that same-sex marriage is a civil right, then, people like you and me who believe children need moms and dads will be treated like bigots and racists.”

This classic is over two years old, but it turned out to be quite correct. Those who hate gays and those who hate blacks are treated exactly alike. They are embraced and supported by the Republican Party.

From Upworthy: Is your community thinking about opening its doors to fracking? Check out this video for some images that might make that decision crystal clear.

 

This says what needs saying!

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Apr 112015
 

I’m feeling quite tired after yesterday’s trip to the doctor, so I’ll be brief.  Expect me to be scarce for the next few days, because something has been sitting on the back burner for too long, due to illness, and I need to get it done this weekend.  I’m referring to my annual battle with the Infernal Revenue Service.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:58 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The prolonged prologue to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s second run for the White House will reach its suspenseless [sic] conclusion on Sunday: The former secretary of state, senator and first lady is to announce that she will indeed seek the Democratic nomination for president.

She’s running? Oh MY! I’m sooooooo surprised!! 😉

From Crooks and Liars: Real Time’s Bill Maher took on religious fundamentalists of all stripes during his New Rules segment this Friday night, and has this to say about the recent dust up in Indiana and their so-called "religious freedom" law.

 

While I can’t say I agree with everything Bill said, when he got evangelical about his atheist faith, he is still hilarious.

From Daily Kos: If anyone was curious if Rick Santorum would pull back a wee bit on publicly hating teh gays in his perennial run for president, his remarks during a meeting with Iowa state legislators yesterday should put any question to rest.

Noting his opposition to the 2003 Supreme Court decision striking down laws against sodomy, Rick thinks that all that frothing he did back in the day provides him all the gravitas needed to be handed the keys to the Oval Office.

The video first posted to the conservative blog Caffinated Thoughts [froth lovers delinked] and later picked up by Right Wing Watch, shows Santorum at his whiny, victimized best. He gnashes his teeth and rends his garments over the press reporting his bigoted and extremist views in practically every race he has ever entered.

Froth Bag Alert!!

 

Rick "Google Me" Santorum will assure that there is no shortage of GOP hate.  Google has cleaned up a lot of the froth, so Google “Santorum definition”.

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Apr 092015
 

Tomorrow, I have the routine quarterly surgery to remove the growth from my foot.  It will be the forst time I have left the building in over a month and should serve as a means to measure the extent of my recovery.  However, expect only a Personal Update, and that, later than unusl.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:37 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Chuck Schumer, the expected replacement as top Senate Democrat when Harry Reid retires at the end of his term, has made a big splash in the past few days by saying he supports a bill designed to give Congress the clout to wreck a deal with Iran. He is not, of course, the only Democrat backing the Corker-Menendez bill, S. 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Since March 26, when Schumer quietly signed on as the latest of eight Democratic co-sponsors of the bill, it’s had 21 co-sponsors, including one independent, Sen. Angus King of Maine.

But given his clout, Schumer could be key to making it okay for other Democrats to support the bill, giving it the 67 votes it would need to override the veto that President Obama has vowed to impose.

First, please sign their petition. Second, when we win the senate in 2016, under no circumstances may this man be allowed to become Majority Leader. To go from the Nevada Leg Hound to the New York Sellout is NOT progress.

From Upworthy: Here’s two students’ response to an anonymous comment submitted to their university.

They waste no breath. And every single word pulls its own weight.

 

Their anger is quite discomforting, but spot-on.

From NY Times: A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.

In a statement that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.

The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months.

It’s good to see a positive response to the petition system, and fully agree that conversion therapies violate their rights.

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Republicans seem to have forgotten this event took place.

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Apr 052015
 

I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but I am taking it easy.  My Easter message from last year has lost none of it’s relevance, so I’m just reposting it.  I think it’s worth a second go round.  Hugs to all from the Easter Cat!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:01 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From Daily Kos: Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… end of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual unseemliness – Lev. 15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
  1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  1. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
  1. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
  1. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
  1. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
  2. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  3. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev. 24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed. D.
Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

A classic!

From NY Times: As the proposed agreement over Iran’s nuclear program is debated in coming weeks, President Obama will make his case to a Congress controlled by Republicans who are more fervently pro-Israel than ever, partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.

One of the surprisingly high-profile critics is Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who burst to prominence with a letter signed by 46 Republican colleagues to leaders of Iran warning against a deal. Mr. Cotton, echoing criticism by Israeli leaders, swiftly denounced the framework reached on Thursday as “a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons” — words, his colleagues say, that expressed his deep concern about Iran’s threat to Israel’s security.

But it is also true that Mr. Cotton and other Republicans benefited from millions in campaign spending in 2014 by several pro-Israel Republican billionaires and other influential American donors who helped them topple Democratic opponents.

When hatred and billionaire bucks come together, it’s a Republican wet dream.

From Alternet: Mike Huckabee could give Cruz a run for his money in anti-LGBT hysteria.

All-but-declared presidential contender Mike Huckabee is right up there with Ted Cruz in his anti-gay hysteria. In an interview with CNN this week, the Huckster warned of the “militant gay community” that has mobilized behind “more pressure to put sanctions on Indiana than Iran.”

Ah, but the down-home, grits ‘n’ gun-loving former pastor, does have a way with words.

He especially did not appreciate the fact that big corporations like Apple and Walmart—which he loves, don’t get him wrong—joined in the condemnation of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enabling people and businesses to discriminate against gays.

“The reason that those corporations put the pressure on Indiana and Arkansas was because the militant gay community put the pressure on them,” Huckabee insisted. The dreaded “militant gay community” does not represent average Americans according to the Huckster. He does.

On an appearance on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” this week, Huckabee continued his crusade, saying the LGBT rights movement is akin to something out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984: “It is a classic example of — really a page out of 1984, when what things mean are the opposite of what they really are,” he said.

Hmmm. Really interesting point, Mike, because if ever there was an excellent example of 1984-like Newspeak, it has to be calling the license to discriminate “religious freedom.” Huckabee is a consummate speaker of this language: “That’s what I’m seeing here is that in the name of tolerance, there’s intolerance. In the name of diversity, there’s uniformity. In the name of acceptance, there’s true discrimination.”

Wow! He’s good.

This blast of garbage from Upchuck Huck is just one of the five most deranged Republican moments from last week alone. Click through for the other four.

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Apr 042015
 

Because it is a relatively slow day for news, and because I have been pushing myself a little harder than I ought for the last couple days, I’m making this today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:02 (average 5:47).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Yesterday Memories Pizza was all over the news for saying this:

"If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," O’Connor told local affiliate ABC 57. "We are a Christian establishment."

Not sure what self-respecting human being would want wedding pizzas in the first place, but okay. We get it. You’re hateful. And guess what happens when you take to the media to trumpet your right to discriminate?

Memories Pizza, a takeout restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, has closed its doors following outrage over remarks the shop owner made regarding same-sex marriage. […]

Co-owner Kevin O’Connor, whose relation to Crystal is unclear, said Memories is "temporarily" dark until "threatening" calls and online posts die down, according to TMZ.

Funny how when you trumpet to the world that you’re going to discriminate against people, you get an overwhelming negative response—even if you try to claim it’s not discrimination.

May all such Republican businesses close this way.

From NY Times: The uproar set off by legislation in Indiana and Arkansas that sponsors billed as religious freedom measures not only signaled a revival of the culture wars, but also threw into stark relief the expectations and tensions in the coalitions that now make up the two major political parties.

The contrasting reactions to the proposals — Democrats united in opposition, Republicans torn by dissent — illustrates how the parties have effectively traded places.

This phenomena is how Republicans were able to shift the entire political spectrum further and further to the right, over the last 30 – 40 years. Rather that trading places, a more realistic description is that the Republican Reich has moved so far right, that Democrats now enjoy majority support on such issues. The difference now is that instead of giving ground like Democrats did, Republicans seem content to destroy the nation.

From TPM: When it comes to health care at the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are focused on the Obamacare tax credits case, King v. Burwell. But a case decided this week, Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., has raised significant concerns for the availability of quality health care for those who need it most.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court turned against decades of legal precedent and ruled that Medicaid providers cannot use the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution to stop state provider payment policies that are inconsistent with the federal Medicaid Act’s requirement for adequate reimbursement rates. That may sound like a bunch of legalese, but the outcome has a real impact on the 68 million-plus people relying on Medicaid. If a state’s Medicaid payment rates are too low (and many providers complain these rates are below their cost of providing services), then provider participation in Medicaid—and the ability of enrollees to obtain care—is at risk.

This is just how RepubliCare works.

RepubliCare

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His opposition to Vietnam was a threat to war profits.

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