Jun 232015
 

I seem to be coming down with a cold.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:55 (average 5:42).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: So I was minding my own business last night watching TV when I saw this amazing commercial for Tylenol. I paused the TV and yelled for my husband to come into the room and I rewound and showed it to him. We were both blown away.

 

Kudos to Tylenol. Somehow I think Republicans will be experiencing a lot more pain, as they refuse to take it to express their hatred of black-white and LGBT marriages.

From Alternet: On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart ran a montage of conservative commentators and Fox hosts berating liberals for bringing up race and gun reform after the shootings in Charleston, S.C.

Barf Bag Alert!!

Jon did a great job of exposing Republican support for all things racist.

From MSNBC: Rachel Maddow reviews the history of white segregationist Citizens’ Councils in the American South and transformation into the Council of Conservative Citizens, a recurring embarrassment for GOP politicians and cited influence of the Charleston shooter.

 

Just as the White Citizens Councils morphed into the Conservative Citizens Council to hide from their violent past, the latter will escape the consequences they face now by morphing into another equally hateful, equally racist, and equally violent organization. And Republicans will flock to support that group, until it gets tied to another tragic hate crime. Then Republicans will claim they did not know. How many must die, before America realizes that the Republican Party knowingly supports white supremacist policies, hatred, and violence?

Cartoon:

0623Cartoon

Share
Jun 092015
 

Once upon a time, Dorothy wanted nothing more that to be returned to her home and family in Kansas.  But that was before Sam Brownback and his sidekick Kris Kobach, aka KoBIATCH made Kansas a Republican Reich.  Now Dorothy says, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”, and even Toto wants out!

0609Kansas

On Thursday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that threatens the entire state’s judiciary with destruction if it rules against a law he favors. Brownback has spent much of his tenure attempting to curb the state supreme court and consolidate power in the executive branch. Thursday’s startling maneuver suggests the deeply conservative governor has no compunction about simply obliterating separation of powers when another branch of government gets in his way.

The Kansas trouble started in 2014, when the state supreme court ruled that the disparity between school funding in rich and poor districts violated the state constitution. The justices ordered the legislature to fix the problem. Soon after, the legislature passed an administrative law that stripped the supreme court of its authority to appoint local chief judges and set district court budgets. (Instead, district court judges—who are often quite conservative—were allowed to elect their own chief judge.)

Arriving shortly after the school funding ruling, this law was widely seen as a retaliation against the court—and a warning. In their first ruling, the justices stopped short of declaring that the school system as a whole was constitutionally underfunded. But the court acknowledged that it would one day answer that question. And if the justices mandate more school funding, the legislature will have to raise taxes, a step few legislators are eager to take.

The administrative law, then, was likely an effort to scare the court out of issuing a dramatic ruling in favor of greater school funding…

Inserted from <Slate>

Rachel Maddow has this story and discusses the new powers he gave to Kris KoBIATCH with Dave Helling.

Although Toto is just a dawg, I don’t blame him one bit.  This cat would want out too!

Share
Apr 032015
 

To delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, I have been expecting a deal that gives up a lot more than I’d like to see, and was prepared to support such a deal, because the other two alternatives to a negotiated settlement would leave us facing an Iran that not only possess nuclear weapons sooner, but also, would be more hostile toward the US.  The deal in the works is actually far better than anything I had imagined.

0403IranDealIran and the United States, along with five other world powers, announced on Thursday a surprisingly specific and comprehensive understanding on limiting Tehran’s nuclear program for the next 15 years, though they left several specific issues to a final agreement in June.

After two years of negotiations, capped by eight tumultuous days and nights of talks that appeared on the brink of breakdown several times, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, announced the plan, which, if carried out, would keep Iran’s nuclear facilities open under strict production limits, and which holds the potential of reordering America’s relationship with a country that has been an avowed adversary for 35 years.

President Obama, for whom remaking the American relationship with Iran has been a central objective since his 2008 campaign, stepped into the Rose Garden moments later to celebrate what he called “a historic understanding with Iran.” He warned Republicans in Congress that if they tried to impose new sanctions to undermine the effort, the United States would be blamed for a diplomatic failure…

Inserted from <NY Times>

If you don’t already know and understand the details, Rachel Maddow brings it down to a level that a child could understand. Republicans, however, seem to lack that degree of sophistication.

There you have it.  Two major questions remain.  First, will Republicans sabotage the negotiations, because they are such a spectacular success for the Obama Administration?  I hope they realize that, while the US would be blamed by other nations, they would be blamed here.  Second, given the opportunity, can the Obama administration and their international partners close the deal?  If they can, “historic” would be an understatement.

Share
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.

Share
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.

Share
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.

Share
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.

Share