Oct 132014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 175, and due to volunteer work, I’ve been going non-stop since 6:00 AM, and it’s now evening, except for three hours of intense religions mediation upon the wonderful Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  Pardon my brevity.  The Cartoon is resurrected from last year.  (Early AM Update: Unplanned vertical sleep has me running way late).

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:23 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip: JL A from Care2): …These are the sorts of bigotry, harassment and human rights violations faced on a regular basis  by American Indians seeking equal access to the ballot box. The discrimination that they endure is remarkably similar to that of African-Americans and Latinos, but odds are that you hadn’t been thinking about the voting rights of American Indians. In fact, outside of the #ChangeTheName controversy surrounding Washington DC’s professional football team, I doubt that American Indians have crossed many of your minds recently. This may be in part because there are only 1.9 million American Indians in this country and you don’t have much direct interaction with them, but I think it is also because the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the fifties and sixties was almost exclusively an African American movement.

If you doubt me, I urge you to a little free association exercise with yourself and take note of the events from that era that first come to mind. When I think on it, the images I see are of sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina and bloody marches in Selma, Alabama; I envision Dr. King speaking of his dreams in front of a packed National Mall and I think about the bodies of 3 civil rights workers being buried on a hot Mississippi night during Freedom Summer. At no point do I think about “No Indians or Dogs Allowed signs” in Wyoming during the 1960s or the Occupation of Wounded Knee, because these things aren’t part of our mainstream narrative of civil rights in America. They aren’t part of our narrative, but they should be. Civil rights movements are not mutually exclusive and there is no cause too remote or removed from our personal experience to be fought. Many of us may not live near a reservation or interact with American Indians in our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold ourselves as responsible for their voting rights as we do any other race or ethnicity. First and foremost, voter discrimination is not a southern problem; nor is it an African American problem, a Latino problem or an American Indian problem. It is an American problem and it’s about time we treated it as such…

This article is a veritable history lesson of the disenfranchisement of native people, and I’ve shared just a tiny part of it. Click through for a most informative read and an issue that needs more exposure.

From Upworthy: The context (not to mention that footage) at the beginning of this clip is key. Her reaction is just on point. It takes a lot to say something like that on live television.

 

Kudos to Sony Hostin. The rest? Not so!

From NY Times: It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity. At least not for political ads.

As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did, as targeting becomes more sophisticated and the definition of a viewer expands drastically.

“Many political strategists don’t think of the Internet as something that can sell out,” said Rob Saliterman, leader of the elections team at Google, which owns YouTube. “But in these smaller states, just as there’s a finite amount of TV inventory, there’s a finite amount of YouTube inventory.”

Like anything else competition for these limited resources drives up their cost. It’s only a matter of time before legitimate human political advertising is crowded out by unknown corporate vultures, including foreign corporations.  Thanks SCROTUS!!

Cartoon:

1013Cartoon

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Oct 112014
 

Everywhere you turn you hear bad news about the economy.  According to conventional wisdom, we are spending like there is no tomorrow and running up record budget deficits.  In the process, we arwe destroying the economy.  Is this true?  What’s really going on?  Shhhh!  It’s a secret!

1011Deficit

What if they balanced the budget and nobody knew or cared?

O.K., the federal budget hasn’t actually been balanced. But the Congressional Budget Office has tallied up the totals for fiscal 2014, which ran through the end of September, and reports that the deficit plunge of the past several years continues. You still hear politicians ranting about “trillion dollar deficits,” but last year’s deficit was less than half-a-trillion dollars — or, a more meaningful number, just 2.8 percent of G.D.P. — and it’s still falling.

So where are the ticker-tape parades? For that matter, where are the front-page news reports? After all, talk about the evils of deficits and the grave fiscal danger facing America dominated Washington for years. Shouldn’t we be making a big deal of the fact that the alleged crisis is over?

Well, we aren’t, and once you understand why, you also understand what fiscal hysteria was really about.

First, ordinary Americans aren’t celebrating the deficit’s decline because they don’t know about it… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Click thr4ough to read how Paul Krugman continues to explain how the media focuses on bad news and ignores good news.  Of course that’s true. If it bleeds, it leads.  However, another dynamic is at work here., as Rachel Maddox explains.

Naturally!  The media is parroting Republican lies!  But part of the fault lies with Democrats.  Those of you who also worship the Holy Ellipsoid Orb are familiar with the Iggy Shuffle and other End Zone Celebrations.  Here’s what I mean.

Democrats need Bodacious Barack, Hot Stuff Harry, and Fancy Nancy to get together, spike the ball, and do a good old fashioned end zone dance.  Republicans have us outclassed at this.  They blow their own horn to claim that their most egregious failures are spectacular successes, while we actually have successes and keep quite.

It’s been a secret too long.

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Oct 072014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 180.  I’m still feeling quite tired after yesterday.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order.  After that I’ll catch some sun and a nap.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:53 (average 5:37).  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:

5Scores

Standings:

5Standings

A new leader is tiptoeing through the end zone.  She’s so hot she doesn’t even want the good trade I offered her.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Whether or not you already know who Reza Aslan is, know this: This man is a voice of reason. From the moment he starts talking at 1:21, I’m absolutely smitten with his words. Skip to 4:49 to watch him answer the question we’re all waiting for him to answer.

But wait! He’s still got more to say. Starting at 8:22, Aslan has some parting words for the CNN hosts and drops the mic in a pretty epic way.

This segment gets an A+ from me. I hope you’ll think so, too.

 

I fully agree with Reza. Sadly Maher is no more tolerant of others’ religious beliefs than the most rabid Republicans.  Zionists, ISIL, and Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are functionally equivalent. None authentically represent the religions they claim and distort.

From The New Yorker: In a blistering indictment of the Administration’s economic policies, the chairman of the Republican National Committee has accused President Obama of forcing five million Americans back to work since he took office, in 2009.

“When President Obama took office, there were five million Americans at home all day who are now, sadly, not at home,” said Reince Priebus, on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.” “They have to go to work five days a week and they’re mad as hell about it.”…

…He added that the President’s failure on this issue has helped sharpen the Republican Party’s message to voters. “If you’re sick and tired of employment, vote for us,” he said.

OMG Andy! The evil Kenyan has really done it this time!!  Great Republican slogan!!

From Daily Kos: If there is any clear evidence that the media in America for all practical purposes is a monolith controlled by one drumbeat it should be evident with today’s morning shows. It was evident they were all following one narrative, a narrative to bash President Obama implicitly and explicitly on competence.

The narrative today was competence. A quoted story from Politico was "Can anyone fill the competency gap." The insinuation was clear. President Obama is not competent. They tried to create this incompetency thread by blaming the President for ISIS/ISIL, Ebola, and on many other issues of which he had little control. Where they could not blame they attempted to get surrogates to blame.

Such was the case with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press. You could see him searching former Senator Jim Webb’s words for some gotcha moment to tie some failure to the president. This exchange was classic.

 

While I agree with this author about Chuck Todd, I disagree that the media is a monolith. Although CNN and the big three are very right slanted, and Faux Noise, the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda is infoganda, not news, MSNBC is balanced. It has Todd, Morning Joe, and other right wing commentators, but is also has Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell.

Cartoon:

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Republicans are ready to try this again!

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Sep 172014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow day 149.  I need to get busy to prepare my notebook for next week’s Salem trip, and I have a grocery delivery coming tomorrow, so I remain quite busy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:38).  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:

2Scores

Standings:

2Standings

If you wish to follow our league, you may do so here.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of the South, a theocratic, White nationalist group based in Killen, Alabama

Some of its leading members have been running for office in Maryland.  And League president Michael Hill has gone so far as to call for the formation of paramilitary death squads. He now claims that he wasn’t doing any such thing, but that if he were, we would just have to find out for ourselves. (We, being liberal "bedwetters.")

Anyway, as it turned out, just around the time Hill was protesting too much, the Southern Poverty Law Center learned that the League was indeed organizing a secret paramilitary unit which calls itself "The Indomitables." 

ISIL… Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian version!

From Crooks and Liars: Once again, the ladies and gentlemen of our Corporate Media show how very out of touch they are with those who don’t travel in the same rarefied circles.

In keeping with their self-appointed roles as political gatekeepers, Mrs. Greenspan and Chris Cillizza quickly discount the report from reporter Perry Bacon Jr., in which he says Democrats are expressing doubts that Hillary Clinton is liberal enough for them.

The marquee stars quickly discount that. Mrs. Greenspan notes that while getting 350 people to come out to an Iowa church basement, as Bernie Sanders did, is "a lot," she and Cillizza quickly discount him because blah blah blah, he can’t raise the big money that an Elizabeth Warren can.

 

And this is the network Republicans claim is all librul.

From TPM: Liberal comedian Bill Maher confessed that he’s not actually an atheist in a Monday Funny Or Die video.

He said that he just plays an atheist and is actually quite religious.

 

Do you think we should believe him?

Cartoon:

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Originally posted 9/17/2011.

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Sep 132014
 

I’m writ5ing for tomorrow, day 145.  It’s late in the day.  After doing my research early this morning, I scheduled routine medical appointments through the middle of next month, cooked and cleaned, and took a cat nap.  Tomorrow I have some errands to run in the morning, but they should not interfere with blogging.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:40 (average 4:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: There is a diary on the Rec List about a Wall Street Journal article detailing how those making $400,000/year can still feel like they are “just getting by”. http://www.dailykos.com/…

I am glad the WSJ is giving comfort to its target audience, reassuring those well within the 1% of annual income that it is okay if they feel they are struggling to get by. The purpose, IMO, is to assuage any potential feelings their readers might have toward those with less, because they, the members of the 1%, have it rough as well, so that the 1% can be justified in their dissatisfaction with how little they have.

Of course, what the article actually does is prove to us, those who are way down the income scale from these 1%ers, how little the WSJ actually cares about the vast majority of this country, and how as a newspaper its editorial purpose is to be a fluffer to the 1% and keep them insulated from the realities that most people in the country live with every minute of every day.

But the corollary story that the WSJ won’t touch is this: if it families making $400,000/yr are feeling like they are struggling, then how must 150 million people getting by on less than $50,000/yr feel? Where is the WSJ chart showing us the typical distribution of expenses for a family making less than $50 grand a year? Show us that chart WSJ, and then explain to us, since you advocate for cutting all programs that benefit or help support these people, exactly where the fat is in their budgets?

Is anyone surprised? Didn’t we all know that, when Murdoch took over, the WSJ would become the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Print?

From Upworthy: Just so we’re clear, alcohol and tobacco, which kill thousands of people every year? Legal. Marijuana, which has never killed a single person ever in recorded human history? Illegal. OK then.

 

Personally, I quit smoking the stuff over 30 years ago, but I have no objection to those who choose to smoke it. Smoking InsaniTEA, on the other hand, is hazardous to your nation.

From YouTube: How catnip gets cats high

See? Humans have pot, but we have our nip!!

Cartoon:

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Aug 162014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 117.  It’s been a busy day with lots of chores, plus I made a chicken, rice and green bean casserole from scratch.  My sleep schedule is running later than normal today.  Tomorrow (Saturday) morning is our fantasy football draft.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

MSNBC resident blowhard Joe Scarborough just couldn’t resist bloviating about the arrests of Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly. Scarborough’s idiot opinion? They must have gotten arrested because they just "want to get on TV."

Lowery had a thing or two to say about that, when CNN interviewed him about his experience, and Scarborough’s comments.

"Well, I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he’s sitting and sipping his Starbucks smugly," Lowery said during a Thursday morning appearance on CNN. "I invite him to come and talk to the residents of Ferguson, where I’ve been since Monday afternoon having tear gas shot at me, having rubber bullets shot at me … I would invite Joe Scarborough down here to do some reporting on the ground, then maybe we can have an educated conversation about what’s happening here."

Those who claim that MSNBC is the "liberal" should remember that this guy has as much air time as Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell combined.

From NY Times: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Thursday night that he had agreed to relinquish power, a move that came after days of crisis in which his deployment of extra security forces around the capital had raised worries of a military coup.

Mr. Maliki’s decision held out the prospect of a peaceful transition of power, based on democratic elections and without the guiding hand of American military forces, which would be a first in modern Iraq’s troubled history of kings, coups and dictatorships.

A few days ago, I said that I doubted this would happen. OOPS! When I’m, wrong I say so. I had good reasons for thinking otherwise, but good reasons do not always guarantee accuracy.

From Upworthy: Utah Drug-Tested Almost 5,000 People On Welfare, And The Results Almost Made Me Throw Something

I wonder what Utah thought they’d find when they implemented mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients? I doubt this is it. The moral of the story? I’d say the "sketchy drug addict" narrative that continues to be assigned to people on government assistance isn’t really that accurate … or fair.

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Those are results that Republicans do NOT want you to know, because it trashes their dishonest stereotype.

Cartoon:

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Aug 122014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 113.  I feel able to concentrate again, so I’m back in the saddle.  Tomorrow is a a prison volunteer day, but the person with whom I ride down has a conflict, so I can’t go.  That may be a disguised blessing, because we’re in the midst of a National Weather Service heat advisory, and the prison activities section, which is directly above the kitchen and poorly ventilated, is sure to be unbearable.  But I still would have gone, if I could have.  The new series I promised is coming soon.  I’m sad inform you that Robin Williams was found dead in his home, an apparent suicide.  Please join me in condolences, thought and prayer to all who loved him.  Nanu Nanu mode tearfully disengaged.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takers:

From Irish Times: …US president Barack Obama has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in Iraq.

The US previously insisted on selling arms only to the Iraqi government. US officials say the administration is close to approving plans for the Pentagon to arm the Kurds.

I see this as the best Move Obama could make to avoid the potential need for US boots on the ground. The Maliki (R-IQ) regime has exhibited such a Republican level of both incompetence and corruption that arming the Iraqi government has effectively been arming ISIS.

From AlterNet: Disinformation: Proponents of a securities transactions tax look upon it as a way to punish  sinners [Murdoch delinked] (securities traders)

Provocative statements like this allow the editors to get their point across while implicitly suggesting that their opponents are the wacky ones. While the rest of us pay a steep sales tax for shoes and school supplies, investors pay ZERO sales tax on their million-dollar purchases. A speculation tax, given factual  analysis, is a logical and obvious and long-overdue tax.

More deception with the capital gains tax. WSJ  says [Murdoch delinked]: By reducing the penalty for transferring capital from one investment to another, these lower tax rates increased the mobility of capital. High-income taxpayers sold more assets, declared more income, and paid more taxes.

In other words, according to WSJ logic,  a lower tax rate means more tax revenue. A curious conclusion, even for WSJ. Based on  oft-discredited theory. But by using fine-sounding, meaningless phrases like "mobility of capital," and by posing a behavioral outcome that fits their philosophy, WSJ is able to sound like they know what they’re talking about.

This is just one of five ways in which the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda Lite, aka Faux Print, is ridiculous. Click through for the other four.

From Huffington Post: Chuck Todd is set to replace David Gregory as the host of "Meet The Press," Politico’s Mike Allen reported on Monday.

Todd, NBC’s political director and chief White House correspondent, has been viewed as the favorite to succeed Gregory, whose tenure has seen the venerable Sunday show sink to third place in the ratings.

Allen said Gregory, who has hosted "MTP" since 2008, is likely to leave NBC.

I welcome this change, although, to be honest, I’m not a fan of Chuck Todd. I’d rather see someone known for integrity, such as Lawrence O’Donnell, in that post. However, if given the choice between David "Raps with Rove" Gregory and a mentally substandard, flatulent Chimpanzee, with acute halitosis, and that masturbates and throws feces on camera, the ape is the clear winner.

Cartoon:

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Although, in those days I used a more advanced computer than an IBM PC, I remember those day when, connecting at 110 baud, we watched documents download, one text character every two or three seconds.

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