Jul 172017
 

Except for a grocery delivery from Safeway.com in the next seventy minutes, I finally have everything ready for tomorrow’s cataract surgery.  I have to report at 7:15 AM for 8:30 surgery.  I should be able to leave by 10:30.  When I return, either I will post a Personal Update, or Wendy, who is taking me both ways, will do so on my behalf.  On Wednesday, I plan to post a Personal Update in the morning.  I have to go to Christine’s office for a day one follow-up appointment in the afternoon, and Wendy will pick me up from there on the way to my normal shower evening.  Then I’m done with medical mayhem for eight days, god willing.  The groceries came and I have put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:33 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Tree Crowder Channel): Liberal Redneck – (Internet) Freedom Isn’t Free

 

If I wanted crying dwarf porn, I’d watch Republicans in Congress. Demand Net Neutrality! RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump announced his candidacy back in June of 2015, and though he got some mention in other articles, I went all the way to November before I did my first piece entirely donated to Donald.

Sixty million people died in World War II, but fascism won. It didn’t win on the battlefield. It didn’t win right away. It won because the same fears, the same greed, the same hatred that fueled its growth in the first part of the twentieth century never went away.

The symbols of fascism became anathema, but the causes … went deep. And gradually, slowly, one step at a time, all those vices became first tolerated, then treated as virtues, and then as the only acceptable view.

That was my view of Trump then — the manifestation of how America had grown not just to accept, but celebrate, all the hatred, prejudice, fear, and repression that marks the worst authoritarian dystopias. And the most horrible thing about what’s probably the most horrible article I ever wrote, is that all of it fell utterly short of being horrible enough.

Like too many people, I thought “no, we’re past that, Americans will never accept this level of racism.” I was wrong. I thought “Americans will never tolerate such blatant sexism.” Wrong again. I thought “Christians will never hand their banner to a man who openly, proudly, daily shapes his life around vengeance, a man who thinks forgiveness itself is contemptable.” I was very, very, wrong.

The author, Mark Sumner, and I seem to have an awful lot of thought in common here. Click through for the rest. RESIST!!

From NY Times: Sometime in the next few days the Congressional Budget Office will release its analysis of the latest version of the Republican health care plan. Senator Mitch McConnell is doing all he can to prevent a full assessment, for example by trying to keep the C.B.O. from scoring the Cruz provision, which would let insurers discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Nonetheless, everyone expects a grim prognosis.

As a result, White House aides are already attacking the C.B.O.’s credibility, announcing in advance that whatever it says will be “fake news.” So why should we believe the budget office, not the Trump administration? Let me count the ways.

First, this White House already has a record of constant, blatant lying about health care that is, as far as I can tell, without precedent in modern history. Just a few days ago, for example, Vice President Mike Pence made the completely false assertion that Ohio’s expansion of Medicaid led to a cutback in aid for the disabled — a lie that the state’s government had already refuted. On Sunday, Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services, claimed that the Senate bill would cover more people than current law — another blatant lie. (You can’t cut hundreds of billions from Medicaid and insurance subsidies and expect coverage to grow!)

The point is that on this issue (and others, of course), the Trump administration and its allies have negative credibility: If they say something, the default assumption should be that they’re lying.

Click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial. The only time Republicans stop lying is after someone nails the lid on. Our choice is simple. RepubliCare dies, or we do. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0717Cartoon

Even though I made this cartoon in 2011, InsaniTEA still comes in the same flavors.

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Jul 132017
 

I slept poorly last night because of the high humidity, and I missed my morning nap, because of my Prosthetist appointment, from which I just returned, so I feel very tired.  Amanda put new shoes on both George and I.  After wearing nothing else on my foot for a year and a half, it feels strange.  She adjusted George, and I will be going back next month for new liners and shrinkers.  Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment with Megan for surgical clearance.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:16 (average 4:07).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Funny or Die Channel): The Yelling Man Takes On Net Neutrality

 

Defend Net Neutrality! RESIST!!

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): I’m one of the lucky ones

 

Tell ALL Senators! RESIST!!

From NPR: In defiance of a court order, the Justice Department is refusing to release part of a security form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with the Russian government.

On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline that passed on Wednesday.

What is he hiding? Could the next smoking gun come from KKK Beauregard? RESIST!!

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0713Cartoon

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Everyday Erinyes #61

 Posted by at 8:06 am  Politics
Feb 042017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I have some stories about local happenings which, though vile, are two weeks out of date: the restaurateur who threw a customer out for being black, a quadriplegic who was denied admission at a private school for being disabled, a climate activist killed for walking barefoot to draw attention to climate change, even a city councilman who boldly proclaimed (/s) that women have a right – "to be slapped."

But I would rather discuss the new "administration" directly, particulary since things are moving so fast that actual atrocities are sneaking under the radar, or so it seems.  For instance, everyone here had heard of Rex Tillerson and Neil Gorsuch.  Most of us have heard of Scott Pruit and Andrew Pudzer.  But Ajit Pai?  Did anyone know his confirmation had gone through?

The FCC’s new Chairman Ajit Pai has told 9 companies, who had just recently been given the green light, that they will not be allowed to participate in the Lifeline program that helps subsidize internet services to low-income homes. 

The move, announced Friday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and undercuts the companies' ability to provide low-cost Internet access to poorer Americans. In a statement, Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.” 

Last spring, the FCC moved to expand the Lifeline program in the hopes of bridging what’s called the “digital divide.” This is the expanse of information and technology unavailable to people who do not have a lot of money. Pulling back on nine companies is a huge step back to the program—which is what kleptocrats like chairman Pai seem to relish. 

Click through for more details, and also for a petition to sign.  Alecto, it's not just this person you need to – um – educate, it's the entire "administration,"  really.  Good luck with that.

While we are speaking of individuals in government, let us not forget Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is still the Chairman of the House Science Committee.  I'm sure we've all heard of him, just not for a while.  He is now trying to get his Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 passed, and his chances are much better than when the Senate previously quashed it.

  This bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any rule, regulation or other "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied upon to support that decision is made available to the public in a manner where the research can be independently analyzed and substantially reproduced. While this appears to be a reform that provides greater public transparency in agency rulemaking, these new requirements would force the EPA to ignore any scientific information related to personal health and other confidential data legally protected from disclosure – jeopardizing the agency’s ability to use best-available scientific data and weakening its scientific integrity….

Further, by requiring EPA to maintain detailed descriptions of all materials, data, codes and models used to create rules, as well as instructions on how to access and use them, the agency would be forced to waste limited funds working through burdensome reporting requirements instead of important public health protections. 

Haven't I said that, although they worship money, Republicans have no objection to spending it as long as they can punish someone by so doing?  Preferably a whole lot of someones.  Megaera, good luck to you too.

I am convinced that the reason we are being bombarded with "off" things by the new "administration" is exactly so that, while we are all looking at the shiny stuff, we will not see some of the darker stuff – like torture.  I can't tell this story any better than by re-quoting this quote:

IN MAY, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.

As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.

Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by Commission Chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and Grand Jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute.

That CIA official’s name whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be Deputy Director of the CIA.

Ms. Haspel's profile is so low I could not find a confirmed photo of her.  There wasn't one with the linked article, but I looked anyway.  Tisiphone, this seems to me serious enough to call for you to investigate.  The very best of luck to you.

One other article at Daily Kos (or diary, as they call them) asks whether anyone is keeping score of the atrocities.  If someone is, I would be delighted to hear of it.  In the meantime, all I can do is try to scout out the stuff from which the distractions are trying to distract us.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4034763

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Jun 212016
 

I hope you all saw TomCat's Personal Update which he posted here and to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/527046926/3994080

Today has been another difficult computer day and I might yet commit computercide!  I was typing away and suddenly everything since my previous save disappeared.  This is so very annoying!  We have been having a lot of rain of late, including earlier today.  In Dawson Creek which is in northern BC and where I lived from 1983 to 1987, they declared a state of emergency after receiving over 100 ml of rain in one day.  That may not sound like a lot, but it washed out roads and bridges in this rural community.  Tomorrow I have physio and teaching so I will be very late in posting.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet — A new report by Politico’s Ben White reveals major donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign may revoke their support of the candidate if she chooses Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as her running mate for the general election.

Several donors, interviewed under the condition of anonymity, told Politico that Clinton’s Wall Street base would “leave her” if she picks Warren. “They would literally just say, ‘We have no qualms with you moving left, we understand all the things you’ve had to do because of Bernie Sanders, but if you are going there with Warren, we just can’t trust you, you’ve killed it,’” one donor said.

I was one that said a few years ago that I'd like to see Elizabeth Warren run for POTUS in 2016.  But now, I see things differently.  Even having Warren as VP would tend to muzzle her, making her impotent at what she does best.  The reaction of some of Clinton's Wall Street donors shows just how tenuous Clinton's hold on Wall Street could be.

Think Progress — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that internet providers must abide by the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations, which prohibit them from blocking or slowing broadband connections, and providing special access through paid fast lanes.

The White House-backed net neutrality rules issued last year came with a promise to treat all internet access equally. But those rules, and how the FCC justified them, drew major criticism from Republicans and broadband companies.

Very good news!  However the decision does not prevent future challenges.  And I'm sure that the telecoms will be biting at the bit to overturn that decision supported by their Republican servants.

Huffington Post — Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, insinuating that neither may really be a Christian.

He told a group of evangelical leaders that he doesn’t believe there is enough public information about Clinton’s religious beliefs.

“She’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no, nothing out there. There’s like nothing out there,” he said. “It’s going to be an extension of Obama, but it’s going to be worse, because with Obama you had to have your guard up. With Hillary you don’t and it’s going to be worse.”

Drumpf is at it again! . . . or should that be still?  When did a religious test become necessary for the right to hold public office?  There is nothing in the Constitution about it.  If we equate a religious test with a poll tax, then the 24th amendment certainly covers voters, but what about aspirants?  Additionally, the US was not created as a Christian nation.  The founding fathers left Europe, particulary England, because of religious strife.  They would not set the new nation up for the types of wars and battles that they left behind.  Drumpf needs to "put a sock in it"!  Drumpf might want to consider his own position before throwing mud.

Some Drumpf humour from the pages of Huffington Post.  See more at the end of the article above.

The artist TABBY has dropped several Trump-inspired stencils across Vienna in recent weeks. "Trump is everything that's right and wrong with America and the world," TABBY told The Huffington Post. "He's the American Dream of being super wealthy and saying what you want, while being totally out of touch with reality."

TABBY says "Don't Feed The Trolls," also in Vienna, was created because the GOP front-runner can "say anything and the more that people get angry and talk about him because of it, the more known and stronger he becomes."

My Universe —

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Jan 052016
 

Today I have a very busy day.  I have RN and PT coming.  Then I have a bath aide coming finally!!!  Three showers in twenty seven days has left TC a tad ripe!  Store to door is calling for my grocery order.  And, if the weather allows, my helper friend is coming later.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:35 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A majority of Oregonians favor building a twenty-foot wall along the border of their state to prevent angry white men from getting in, a poll released on Monday shows.

The survey indicates that Oregonians are fed up with irate male Caucasians pouring into their state and bringing with them guns, violence, and terrorism.

“This used to be such a nice state,” said Oregon State Senator Carol Foyler, a pro-wall lawmaker. “Since the angry white men came here, parts of it are unrecognizable.”

Dang, Andy!! Why didn’t I think of that? Light bulb

From Daily Kos: In 91 seconds, watch Tea Party Kool-Aid drinkers ‘thank’ Obama—for EVERYTHING

Bark Bag Alert!!

 

Some thanks! Uranus Inspector Cruz has two more anuses to inspect.

From PC World: The web is full of cryptic status codes that your browser shows when it can’t connect to a website, such as 403 Forbidden or 404 Not Found. Now the Internet Engineering Steering Group is adding one more error code for your browser—but this time it will make it all too clear why you can’t see something.

The IESG recently approved status code 451 that tells visitors they can’t see the requested content due to “legal obstacles,” which usually means government censorship. Former Google engineer Tim Bray suggested code 451, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, back in 2012.

Now we need a code for blocking due to “economic obstacles”, that is, ISP violations of Net Neutrality for profit.

Cartoon:

0105Cartoon

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Nov 072015
 

It has poured rain all day and tonight/tomorrow is supposed to be very heavy rain and wind.  Time to button up under the blankets with the fur babes.  I was teaching today and had the most delightful surprise . . . as I was leaving, my little Simon, who is 18 moths old, grabbed my legs in a big hug and said "I love you".  Oh my, didn't that just bring tears to my eyes!  I guess this is what it feels like to be a grandma! (I never had childrren of my own)  Tomorrow, their mother is going to a dinner at the church so I volunteered to watch the kids.  We're having pizza for dinner which I know they all like.  Sure beats cooking!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:13 (average 4:54). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Alternet — John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" is far and away the most refreshing thing on late-night TV. While other shows center around round-table chats and celebrity interviews, Oliver uses his massive platform to highlight overlooked but important political issues. Recently, he told CBS that his focus was "absurd public policies." 

By highlighting the absurdities of American institutions, he milks the injustice for a laugh while drawing the attention of millions of viewers to the issue. It's a brilliant combination that, when it fires on all cylinders, makes for great comedy and sometimes even triggers reforms. 

Here are his seven best segments. 

1. Net Neutrality 

Arguably Oliver's breakout hit, this segment masterfully dissected the knotty issue of net neutrality and its effect on free speech. Oliver explained why creating a two-tiered Internet was unfair, and even recruited the Internet's "vile commenters" to spam the FCC's website, which was taking public comment at the time. As a result, the website crashed and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler had to hilariously insist to the public that he "wasn't a dingo." 

Click through for the other 6 videos of John Oliver monologues which average 15 minutes each.  But each one is focused on different aspects of American life.  John is funny as usual.

The New Yorker — New reports indicating that Ben Carson might not have actually stabbed anyone during his youth have sent the retired neurosurgeon plummeting in the latest Republican Presidential polls.

Carson supporters, reeling from the news that their candidate’s past might have been devoid of stabbing, have deserted his candidacy in droves, suggesting that Republican voters viewed Carson’s stabbing as a key part of his résumé.

Indeed, a recent University of Minnesota poll showed that a full third of Carson supporters singled out “his stabbing experience” as a top reason for supporting him for the nation’s highest office.

But Andy, on the other hand, he tried to redeem himself by lying about being offered a scholarship to West Point. Click through for the rest.

Mother Jones — On Friday, President Obama announced his administration's decision to reject the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, after seven years of intense deliberation over the pipeline's potential environmental risks. The announcement is widely viewed as a major victory for environmentalists and is sure to further burnish the president's legacy in combating climate change.

Click through to read Obama's speech.  And here is the Canadian government reaction as reported by the CBC.  As noted, the federal NDP were against the Keystone XL, but the Alberta NDP government of course was for it. Personally, I was not in favour of the pipeline, particularly the route that could affect the Ogallala Aquifer.  Oil companies do not have a good record with spills, on both sides of the border.

My Universe — Chillin'!

This pretty kitty is ready for his close-up.

Yeah Weekend cat

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