Dec 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 33.  I spent most of the day in bed.  I still feel feverish and congested.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:03 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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A bad day for Peyton.  His touchdowns in consecutive games streak ran out at 151.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Here we go again with a bill protecting the religiously persecuted from evil LGBT citizens hoping to pay for services and participate in the U.S. economy. Michigan’s GOP House Speaker Jase Bolger pushed through a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which is now headed to the state Senate for consideration.

It’s a similar bill to the one we saw in Arizona earlier this year. Michigan Republicans apparently felt a real sense of urgency after they quashed an effort the day before to help LGBT individuals hold down jobs and be productive members of society.

No matter how caring and moderate Republicans try to sound for the mainstream, focus on what they keep doing.

From NY Times: The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”

Click through for more examples about how Republican State Attorneys General are conspiring with polluters against the interest of the people they are supposed to represent.

From The New Yorker: Two days after the release of an unusually strong jobs report, prominent Republicans appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to question President Obama’s “suspicious motives” for repairing the economy.

“When there have been so many months of job growth, it does make you wonder what he’s up to,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “You add in the rising stock market and falling gas prices, and the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Appearing on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President of “cynically fixing the economy to distract the American people.”

“This country faces serious problems, and I don’t think they can be swept under the rug by creating prosperity,” he said.

But the sternest rebuke came from House Speaker John Boehner, who warned, “If President Obama doesn’t stop fixing the economy, Congress has ways to make him stop.”

Andy may be on to something. It’s a Kenyan, socialist conspiracy.

Cartoon:

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They’re making a list.  They’re checking it Twice.  We’d be better off, if we could trade them for lice.

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Nov 262014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, Day 21.  This is my only article.  I have to leave early and meet my ride to prison several miles away to avoid the Ferguson protests.  Tomorrow the cooking begins.

Excellent meeting.  Exhausted.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:24 (average 5:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

12Scores

That was a last minute shock! :-(

Standings:

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There are only two weeks left before our playoffs begin.  Can I toast the toester?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: From NPR station KCUR:

Although gay and lesbian couples are getting married in at least 24 Kansas counties, Gov. Sam Brownback won’t allow any state recognition of the unions.

Brownback said Thursday that he won’t offer any of the benefits heterosexual couples get, such as name changes on a driver’s license or employee benefits for gay and lesbian state workers.

“There is still considerable legal ambiguity on the topic of same-sex marriage,” said Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokeswoman. “Once that ambiguity is gone, the governor will direct state agencies to comply with applicable laws.”

When the Supreme Court refused to extend the temporary stay, he said [pseudo-Christians delinked]:

I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas. I will review this ruling with the attorney general and see how best we continue those efforts.

In other words: Marriage discrimination now, marriage discrimination tomorrow, marriage discrimination forever!

Is it realistic to think he is impeachable? This is the Theocracy that the idiots who elected him want.

From NY Times: Months of anger and frustration, in the end, led only to more anger and frustration.

Shops were looted and burned on Ferguson’s main street. There were smoke bombs, tear gas, thrown rocks and random gunshots. In Ferguson, the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown was almost as bitter and hollow as his killing itself.

Brien Redmon, 31, stood in the cold watching a burning police car and sporadic looting after the announcement that there would be no indictments for Mr. Brown’s death at 18.

While I cannot support rioting, I understand the outrage. Even here, a major demonstration is planned. I lave to leave early and meat my ride to prison five miles away from my home, because the march will be under my window. I almost wish I weren’t going.

From Upworthy: How we treat individuals with disabilities is often colored by how we perceive them and the judgments we make upon first meeting someone with a disability. For this woman, that includes being thought of as a 2-year-old when she’s actually a college student who’s smart as a whip and just happens to have a physical disability. It doesn’t make her less than "normal."

 

One word: Kudos

Cartoon:

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Nov 092014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 4.  I got a few hours last night and feel almost feline again.  Tomorrow isa a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos worship with the Raiders, but the service won’t be televised locally.  Our CBS affiliate, KOIN, is serving up paid programming, because the damn Seachickens are on the other network.  Grrr!!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Fox News announced on Wednesday that it is terminating its coverage of the Ebola virus effective immediately, because, in the words of the host Sean Hannity, “Our work is done.”

Hannity commended the work of the Fox Ebola team, which provided non-stop coverage of the virus during the month of October, but added, “This story is officially over.”

Fox’s decision to bring its Ebola coverage to such an abrupt close raised eyebrows in media circles, but Hannity offered an explanation for the move after his broadcast concluded.

“There’s like, what, one case of Ebola in the United States?” the host said. “At most, two or three. The point is, the chances of any of our viewers catching Ebola are next to zero. We’re not in the business of scaring people for no reason. Let’s all move on.”

Andy’s reporting real news again. The Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, successfully spread lies right up to the election to convince voters that the Obama administration had placed them at risk, completely contrary to the efficient, professional and effective way the Obama administration handled and is handling the problem.

From Upworthy: As a gay man who grew up in a Roman Catholic household, I know the push and pull of being a good Christian versus being exactly who God made you, especially if you’re part of the LGBTQ spectrum. But those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, do they? This grandmother from Australian TV comedy "Please Like Me" doesn’t think so.

Just wait for the last line.

 

That’s the kind of courage we need to see much more on this side of the pond!

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip Joanne Dixon): Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block.  The strategists also keep suggesting a move to right.  This has left no room for the Democrats to have an overriding authentic moral identity that Americans can recognize.

Those strategists form an infrastructure that all Democrats have come to depend on; not just the candidates, but also the elected officials, Democrats in government, and citizens who either do, or might, find progressive policies morally and practically right. The strategic infrastructure includes PR firms, pollsters, consultants, researchers, trainers, communication specialists, speechwriters, and their funders. 

It is an important and powerful infrastructure and we all depend on it. I believe it is vital to separate this infrastructure from the strategies it has been using. I believe the strategies can be greatly improved so as to give a true, deep, and moral picture of what progressive politics is about — one whose content and authenticity will resonate with, and inspire,  a majority of Americans.

Click through and read this article, please. It is important, because it makes suggestions on how the Democratic party should fix their fatally flawed campaign strategy. To be understood, it must be read in its entirety. When Joanne sent me the link to this article, her subject was, "This is exactly what you have been saying all along."

Cartoon:

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Oct 302014
 

There are very few organizations that I try to give a little support each year.  One is HRC.  I figure I owe the LGBT community a debt for the hateful way I treated some of them, before a gay man decided that he was going to be my friend, no matter how I acted, put a face on gay, and kick-started my evolution from homophobia to support for full LGBT equality.  Now HRC is paying me back.

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HRC President Chad Griffin meets with LGBT champion Senator Jeff Merkley and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon. Team HRC is here in the Beaver State rallying volunteers on behalf of the re-election of one of the greatest champions for LGBT equality in Congress, Senator Jeff Merkley. We were exceptionally proud to have been joined by other champions of equality, including Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Along with dozens of volunteers, we made calls to HRC members across Oregon encouraging them to return their ballots before next Tuesday. I have to say, the energy in the room and on the phones was overwhelming. In this 100% vote-by-mail state, we spoke to so many voters who had already returned their ballots for pro-equality candidates.  Many others hadn’t yet mailed their ballot or dropped it in a ballot drop box

Inserted from <HRC>

 

I could not be more delighted with my Senator.  Oregon kudos to HRC!

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Oct 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 186.  I’m rushing to get this finished before I leave for my volunteer work in prison.

The Victims Impact meeting went very well, and my presentation was well received.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1023-Broncos35-Chargers21

As penance for missing it, I must say 513 Hail Peytons. :-)

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican Gov. John Kasich got a lot of attention on Monday for acknowledging reality when he said that Obamacare repeal is "not gonna happen." Then he went even deeper, saying that the "political or ideological" opposition to Obamacare—and, in particular, Medicaid expansion—doesn’t "hold water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives." Two thoughts spring to mind reading that. Either John Kasich has given up any presidential aspirations or Kasich is seeing a shift in his party away from Obamacare insanity.

As it turns out, it’s neither of those things, because Kasich immediately "clarified" his position.

"I don’t back Obamacare. I never have. I want it to be repealed," he told The Washington Post in a telephone interview. "If the House and the Senate [are Republican-controlled] and we have a Republican president, Obamacare will be repealed flat out. Flat out. And it will be replaced."

So much for "real improvements in people’s lives." But that’s not the best part. He goes full McConnell in his backtracking talk with Politico.

Even when one acknowledges the need to feign sanity, the need to suck … nevermind … for money requires that they goosestep first.

From NY Times: Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards were convicted and immediately jailed Wednesday for their roles in a deadly 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square that marked a bloody nadir in America’s war in Iraq.

A jury in Federal District Court found that the deaths of 17 Iraqis in the shooting, which began when a convoy of the guards suddenly began firing in a crowded intersection, was not a battlefield tragedy, but the result of a criminal act.

The justice here, although commendable, is incomplete, as long as the company exists in any form. Because it became known as the Republican Gestapo, it changed it’s name to Xe and then to Academi. as it remains as part of Constellis Holdings.

From Upworthy:

She’s already America’s sweetheart, and now she’s won an award for her anti-bullying work. As someone who was bullied herself, Julia Roberts can really relate to the teens she works with.

 

Kudos to Julia. And she’s right. It’s wrong to stand by and do nothing. But even worse, the Republican Party demands that bullying LGBT people is part of their right to religious expression.  How hateful!

Cartoon:

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Oct 232014
 

Republicans refuse to accept the inevitable when they have lost on an issue.  This is especially true of bigoted hate mongers.  Now the issue of whether a state may nullify a federal law was decided in the civil war.  Now North Carolina wants to extend the power to nullify to individual government employees.

1023gay-hate-signSince marriage equality’s arrival in North Carolina this month, at least two magistrates have resigned from their roles in the state judicial system to avoid having to officiate marriages for same-sex couples. This week, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) said he will introduce legislation that allows officiants [sic] to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.

According to Berger, who is continuing to fight the marriage equality ruling with House Speaker and Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R), “The court’s expansion of the freedoms of some should not violate the well-recognized constitutional rights of others.” He doesn’t believe complying with marriage equality should “require our state employees to compromise their core religious beliefs and First Amendment rights in order to protect their livelihoods.”

In his resignation letter, Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam, Jr. said that he believes marrying same-sex couples “would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself.” Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove said that he resigned because performing a same-sex marriage “was just something I couldn’t do because of my religious beliefs.” According to his reading of the Bible, “marriage is between a man and a wife; any other type of sexual activity other than that is what is defined as fornication.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

When it comes to Judge Breedlove, I disagree completely with his beliefs, but I respect his right to have his beliefs.  However, his job is performing a service, and same sex couples are Constitutionally guaranteed the right to have that service performed.  If he cannot do that job without violating his beliefs, he was absolutely right to resign.  I respect that.

On the other hand, Berger is trying to say that the right to freedom of religion congers the right to demy the rights of others, and it just does not work that way.

Leviticus 25:44 gives me the right to possess slaves as long as they are purchased from a neighboring country.  Now if Berger is right, than I get to exercise my right to own a Canadian, but sadly,  Canadians have the right not to be held as slaves, so I must sadly accept that their right to freedom supersedes my religious right to own one.  Dang!!

A political party, whose politicians would confer the right to violate the rights of the others is not fit to govern.

Get Out the VOTE!!!

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Oct 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 181.  I’m sorry about yesterday.  I just ran out of gas and had to recharge.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Ord.  My Broncos’ have the featured Sunday night service with the the Fortyniners.  I’m glad it’s at home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Right now, income inequality is the highest it’s been in our society since 1928. A lucky few in America make billions, while millions of others struggle just to get by. Nowhere is this gap more apparent than in the 4,100 plus Walmart stores across the country. Rob Walton and his family have amassed an empire of riches, and they built it on the backs of the working poor. The consequences of such skewed earning potential – where the family on top is worth $150 billion while their employees earn less than $25,000 per year – are significant and unsustainable.

As the nation’s largest employer, with $15 billion in profits annually, Walmart can afford to pay their employees a livable wage. Instead, they choose to manipulate schedules and hours to pay the majority of their workers abysmal wages. Sandra Sok, who works in Phoenix Walmart Store #5331 is a perfect example. After eight years of service to the company, she still struggles for enough work and income to make ends meet. She pleads with management every week for additional shifts because the 30 hours she is usually scheduled for simply aren’t enough. Sandra’s done her part to help Walmart succeed – she deserves more than poverty pay in return.

Many workers like Sandra are forced to rely on food stamps, health care assistance and other taxpayer-funded programs to get by. So while the Walton family alone has as much wealth as 43% of American families combined, the American people still have to pick up the tab for the Walton’s appalling business practices. And it’s not cheap: Walmart is estimated to cost the taxpayers $6.2 billion annually through public assistance costs, with expenses ranging between $3,015 and $5,815 per worker. All the while, Walmart and the Waltons are taking $8 billion a year in tax breaks that subsidize their low-wage business – and add to their profits. It is estimated that the family has avoided paying $3 billion in taxes by using special trusts to dodge estate taxes.

It’s time to end this charade and shut down the Walmart scam.

Click through for more. If you must enter Wal-fart, go to leave methane, not money.

From Upworthy: I come from a Caribbean immigrant household. Even with all the advances gay rights have made in America in the last few years, my family is still pretty much stuck in 1950. There are, of course, a few exceptions — shoutout to my sister Loree!

After watching this clip and hearing the crazy things this family says, this scenario playing out in the lives of every gay person with a less-than-accepting family would be a beautiful, absurd, and hilarious step forward.

That’s hilarious, but I can see it happening.

From TPM: The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from the Justice Department and civil rights groups who were trying to prevent the Texas voter ID law from being enforced in the November election. As you’ll recall, a district judge found the law to be unconstitutional last week because it intentionally discriminated against minority voters. But the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and now the Supreme Court have blocked that ruling from going into effect while appeals are pending. That clears the way for Texas to enforce the law in the upcoming election.

You’ve got it fight. A District Judge has ruled that this law is racist. It INTENTIONALLY discriminates against minority voters. But the Fascist Five Injustices from SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) say, go ahead and discriminate, as long as it’s on appeal.

Cartoon:

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