Mar 072015
 

It seems that we can’t turn on the TV anymore without seeing a burning oil train polluting the environment, despoiling waterways,and threatening lives and property.  Unfortunately, what makes that all seem insignificant to the criminal corporations and corrupt politicians that allow Bakken  crude trains, is the huge profits they also carry.

0307train_oilA derailed oil train continues to burn in northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River town of Galena more than 24 hours after it crashed.

It is the third fiery derailment of trains carrying crude from the Bakken area of North Dakota in the past three weeks, raising more questions about the volatility of the oil and the safety of the tank cars used to transport crude.

No one was hurt when the BNSF Railway freight train derailed at about 1:20 p.m. Thursday in a hilly and heavily wooded area near where a tributary joins the Mississippi, about three miles south of Galena, IL.

In a statement, BNSF says 21 of the train’s 103 tank cars loaded with light Bakken crude left the tracks and at least five of them ruptured and caught fire. Witnesses reported seeing the fireball from miles away…

Inserted from <NPR>

After a long segue way, Rachel Maddow also reported this story.

The claim that this a controlled burn is a pure lie.  They have been cooling that car to prevent a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion).  The company is calling it a “controlled burn”.  Comparing a BLEVE to a controlled BURN is like comparing a KKK Republican to Mother Theresa.  Years ago, as a volunteer firefighter, I was using the stream from a 2 1/2” live too cool a propane tank adjacent a burning building to prevent a BLEVE.  I was about 100 feet away, and I was terrified.  I knew that, if that tank blew, my chances of survival were nil.  Compared to this, that was tiny.  I only hope that a one mile radius is far enough.  These are the new “safe” cars.  That’s another lie.

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Mar 012015
 

On Friday evening, Rachel Maddow covered a story about how NJ Republican Governor Chris Christie, aka PIGnocchio, settles a lawsuit of many years standing against ExxonMobil for polluting the area under and around a refinery in that state for no apparent reason.  Rachel said that that if the people of NJ were getting screwed for political considerations, it could turn out to be a scandal.  First, here’s Rachel’s segment.

Now we’re learning why PIGnocchio would settal that suit for a mere three cents on the dollar.

0301PIGnocchioBefore Gov. Chris Christie’s administration abruptly settled long-running state environmental litigation against ExxonMobil for far less than originally expected, the oil behemoth donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Republican group that Christie ran and that financed his election campaigns. Additionally, the Christie administration office that engineered the settlement had been run by a former Exxon lawyer.

When the case was initiated in 2004, when Democrat James McGreevey was governor, New Jersey sought $8.9 billion in damages in a suit alleging that ExxonMobil damaged more than 1,500 acres of waterfront and meadows. Yet, according to documents reported on by the New York Times on Friday, the Christie administration is settling the suit for just $250 million. Based on ExxonMobil’s 2014 revenue of $411.9 billion, it will take the company roughly 5 hours to generate the sales to pay out the settlement.

Federal records show that the reduction, which represents a huge gift to ExxonMobil, follows a wave of campaign cash from the company to the Christie-run Republican Governors Association.

Since Christie’s first run for governor in 2009, ExxonMobil has donated more than $1.9 million to the group, according to data compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com. That includes $79,000 during Christie’s 2009 campaign and $200,000 during his re-election campaign in 2013. It also includes $500,000 when he chaired the organization during the 2014 election cycle.

ExxonMobil was one of the top contributors to the RGA during that election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <IB Times>

Click through.  There’s more.

We have the smoking gun.  I’d say it’s turning out to be a scandal.

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Feb 282015
 

Yesterday John Boehner, aka Agent Orange, proved that the Republican Party is too incompetent to govern, as their own Homeland Security extension came to the floor and failed.  Leadership with such a large majority should at least know how their own caucus is going to vote to spare themselves the humiliation of such an incident.  In the end, he had to obtain Democrats help so save his bacon, and more important, spare the country a DHS shutdown.  Did he lie to her to obtain that help?

0228BoehnerRepublicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders only narrowly managed to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security after an embarrassing defeat earlier in the day.

The seven-day funding extension, approved by a vote of 357 to 60, came just hours before money for the department was to run out at midnight. The accord was reached after a stunning and humiliating setback for Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team earlier Friday, when the House voted against their original plan to extend funding for the department for three weeks — a position that Mr. Boehner had considered a fail-safe. More than 50 House Republicans defected, voting against the bill.

The speaker was rescued by Democrats, who supported his offer of a weeklong extension because they believed it would lead to a vote next week on full funding for the department through the fiscal year, without any provisions related to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration included in the House’s original legislation. A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the speaker had made no promises or deals with House Democrats to guarantee such a vote.

“Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” wrote Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, in a letter to her members on Friday night urging them to support Mr. Boehner’s seven-day funding measure. The House vote came after the Senate had already agreed to a seven-day funding extension.

About 10 minutes before the funding was set to expire, the White House announced that the president had signed the weeklong extension… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Rachel Maddow covered the story of the conflict.

I see it this way.  Pelosi never has had a problem with saying and doing things that will be unpopular with her base, such as her 2006 promise that the Democratic Party impeach or prosecute Texas Torquemada and Dead-eye Dick.  Had she not received the promise she claims, she would have asked her caucus to support the one week extension anyway, because Democrats, Unlike the Republican Party, care about what’s best for the country.  I’m sure she asked for the guarantee, however.

I think what probably happened is that Agent Orange made the promise, because he knows that, if DHS is shut-down, his party will have a PR disaster akin to the hit they took for shutting down the government.  Putting a clean bill on the floor is the only way he can avoid that.  So I think that he lied to his own caucus through his spokesperson, to temporarily avoid a noisy revolt.

The final question is this.  Will he keep the promise he made, or will he cave-in to the Theocon and InsaniTEA wings of his caucus?  After all, Republican promises have no value.

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Feb 192015
 

The Republican party faces a dilemma.  They claim to be kind and gentle, compassionate conservatives, while their behavior portrays the polar opposite.  For example, Republicans are hell bent on condemning Obama for not using the word Islamic in conjunction with condemning terrorists.  Could it be that they want to shift attention away from their own terrorist tactics?

0219HateMuslims

Every other year since 2003, hundreds of Muslim Texans – families, young students, community leaders – caravan in from around the state to meet on the steps of the august Texas State Capitol building in Austin. They hope to meet lawmakers, advocate for issues important to them, and just learn about the American political process.

Previous gatherings have mostly gone without a hitch, organizers say. But on Thursday, during the seventh biennial Texas Muslim Capitol Day, the hundreds who gathered were met by a group of angry protesters, who heckled and jeered the crowd as they began – as Texas political events often do – with prayer and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Emotions have run high as world events, including the rise of the Islamic State militant group and the terrorist massacre in Paris, have sparked pockets of anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the Western world. On Thursday, the protesters, about two dozen members of the Patriot Defense Foundation [Hate Delinked], shouted slogans such as “Mohammed is dead,” “Go back to Baghdad,” and “Remember 9/11.” Some of the group’s signs read "Save America, Stop Islam" and "Go Home and Take Obama with You."…

Inserted from <Christian Science Monitor>

It was actually far worse than the article lets on. Rachel Maddow covered this event in detail, and others, as part of her coverage of Obama’s statement on bigotry.

The problem here is obvious. Obama seems right to us.  We are not terrorists, and America is not at war with Islam. O’Lielly and his declaration of Holy War seem right to Republicans.  The Republican Party are the terrorists, and they are at war with Islam.  Sadly, we are confronted with terrorism on two fronts, one foreign and one domestic.  The most dangerous terrorists of all are the elected kind.

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Feb 172015
 

It’s a rare treat to see an interview of a sitting Supreme Court Justice, especially when that Justice is the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a frequent dissenter from the Dishonorable Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD.

0217GINSBURG

In a rare interview with MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed her tenure on the court and women’s rights in America today.

Carmon — a rising star at the network who is co-authoring a book about the liberal jurist with the founder of Tumblr blog Notorious R.B.G — started off by asking the question on the minds of a lot of liberals as time ticks down on the Obama presidency: Are you planning to retire?

“I’m concerned about doing the job full steam,” Ginsburg said. “Once I sense that I am slipping, I will step down. This is a very intense job.”

Asked about her replacement, the Supreme Court justice demurred.

"My successor will be the choice of whatever president is sitting at that time," she said.

Carmon and Ginsburg talked at length about the progress that’s been made on women’s rights since the 1970s, when Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

Rachel Maddow dedicated two segments of her show to excerpts from the interview.  Here’s the first.

And the second.

For a transcript of the entire interview, click here.

I found only one bone to pick with her.  Asked for one word to describe Chief Injustice Roberts, she said “able”.  I would have said “ideologue”… or worse.

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Feb 122015
 

GHW was Strike One.  He was so incompetent that he couldn’t win with his opponent in the midst of the Paula Jones sex scandal.  But he did appoint enough Supreme Court Injustices that they could steal the presidency for his son.  GW was Strike Two, the worst President the US has ever had.  Hundreds of Bushisms reveal his incompetence.  Jeb is trying to portray himself as a different kind of Bush: smart and techy, an e-Bush.  Strike Three!

0212JebJeb Bush may make a presidential run in 2016, but the Republican politician has already make a glaring faux pas, ironically compromising the privacy of some his supporters and critics alike in a blundered attempt at transparency.

Bush decided to publish in Personal Storage Table (.PST) format thousands of emails he received during his eight years as the governor of Florida between 1999 and 2007.  The published emails had been received by his official gubernatorial account, jebATjeb.org. [Strike Three delinked]

What began as ostensibly well intentioned attempt to showcase his open door policy went astray when visitors discovered that the published data trove contained unredacted names, email addresses, physical mailing addresses, phone numbers, and even Social Security numbers

Inserted from <Daily Tech>

Exposing the personal particulars and violating the privacy of everyone who reached out to him demonstrates a level of competence in the ballpark with Strike One and Strike Two.

02121Jeb2In what may well be the shortest-lived career as a political technology officer, Jeb Bush’s newly appointed Chief Technology Officer, Ethan Czahor, resigned yesterday after he was called out in media for deleting a series of "offensive" tweets.

The Washington Post’s headline was, "Jeb Bush’s chief technology officer resigns after racially insensitive comments."

Czahor, one of the co-founders of Hipster.com, admitted to what the Bush camp described as "regrettable and insensitive comments," such as suggesting that "black parents need to get their sh@# together." He also, in backhanded fashion, expressed his relief that Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t wear "pants sagged to his ankles," or speak in "jibberish." These tweets were written several years ago, but, as Post writer, Phillip Rucker explained, Czahor, "could not survive the racially insensitive comments that surfaced on Tuesday."

Czahor could, however, have survived the sexist ones. The first media reports of his tweets were about his opinions regarding gender and sexuality. Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski  cataloged a whole series of tweets prior to their deletion…

…For good measure, there were also disparaging, homophobic ones. Racist commentary was also brought to light. It’s a bundled service…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

While his choice’s values line up perfectly with those the Republican Party practices that message is far more honest than the one he wants to send.  He’s certainly no better at choosing people than Strike One and Strike Two.

Rachel Maddow provided even more detail.

The bottom line here is self-evident.  There is no different kind of Bush.  Jeb is just as honest, just as competent, and just as concerned for the poor and middle classes as his brother.  Strike Three!

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Feb 112015
 

Day 98.  Yesterday’s volunteer meeting in prison was excellent.  Our CoDA group talked about making amends.  Often people are not receptive, when we try.  When that happens, we should accept that without bitterness.  Obtaining a favorable response is not the purpose of making amends.  Our willingness to do so unloads the baggage; so we don’t have to carry it anymore.  The down side, as usual, is that I’m quite worn out today.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Democratic Party of Oregon: 2015 Legislative Session Agendas

In November, with your help, Oregon Democrats won resounding victories in the State House and State Senate. And thanks to you, they’re already making a difference.

To learn more about what Democrats in the Oregon Legislature are working hard to accomplish right now, view the Democratic session agendas for the Oregon State House and State Senate.

Click the links for House and Senate.  It’s is what Democrats are doing in Oregon. It might well serve as a model for the nation.

From MSNBC: ‘Bears’ have own plan for Jeb Bush campaign site

 

Since MSNBC took down the video they put on YouTube, we’ll try again. We still don’t know what bears do or don’t do in the woods, but they certainly do on the Bush!!  :-D

From Upworthy: Dealing with the mess we’ve made feels overwhelming. Does swapping out your lightbulbs, writing your legislators, and sorting your trash really change anything? How can one person make a difference?

It turns out that our little actions, all added up together, do make a big difference. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while they brush their teeth, the daily savings could be up to 2.528 billion gallons. That’s more than twice as much water than the entirety of New York City uses in a day.

In this tongue-in-cheek video, a cat shows you how he makes a few tiny changes that have a big impact.

 

I have to say that cats are the wisest of creatures.

Cartoon:

0211Cartoon

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