Jul 132016
 

I’m expecting Wendy momentarily to shine and polish the TomCat, but I may as well get what I can done before she gets here.  She got here, so I’m clean and my floors are done.  It hasn’t been hot here, but the mugginess sure makes up for it.  Today is a grocery delivery day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh was quick to become, in the wake of the Dallas mass murder, one of the worst human beings on Twitter. For his tweet: "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you" he was temporarily suspended from Twitter—but was quickly rewarded with an invitation to appear on CNN.

Because, apparently, of all the individuals in all of America who might have insights into the shooting, CNN decided that his "analysis" was the one they wanted to run with.

Shame on CNN for parroting Republican hate propaganda!

From NY Times: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling.

Three times in the past week, Justice Ginsburg has publicly discussed her view of the presidential race, in the sharpest terms…

…Mr. Trump responded on Tuesday. “I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” he told The Times. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”

There is no legal requirement that Supreme Court justices refrain from commenting on a presidential campaign. But Justice Ginsburg’s comments show why their tradition has been to keep silent.

Technically the Times is correct that Ginsburg was ill advised, to tell the truth.   However, why do I remember no piece from their Editorial Board condemning Scalia or Thomas for attending fund raising events for the Koch Brothers? At times the Gray Lady is a total hypocrite.

From YouTube: President Obama COMPLETE REMARKS at Dallas Memorial Service (C-SPAN)

 

Kudos to Obama!! If you have not seen this yet, you should.

Cartoon:

0713Cartoon

Share
Jul 122016
 

It’s a muggy day, as it was yesterday, so I’m really looking forward to Wendy’s return tomorrow.  It did interfere with my sleep last night, so I’ll be brief.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: President Obama will travel to Dallas on Tuesday to mourn the deaths of five white police officers gunned down by a black Army veteran, his latest effort to help bridge one of the starkest divides in American society.

He huddled with his speechwriters for much of Monday, hoping to find words that would not only console the officers’ grief-stricken families but also reassure a nation fearful that racial divisions are worsening after the Dallas slaughter and the killing days before of black men by the police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Mr. Obama approached the effort with the frustration of a man who has poured his heart and soul into similar speeches, only to later feel that nothing has changed and no one is listening. This will be the 11th time in his presidency that he has sought to comfort a city after a mass killing, and the second time in a month that such a killing grew out of bias.

“The president recognizes that it’s not just people in Dallas who are grieving, it’s people all across the country who are concerned about the violence that so many Americans have witnessed in the last week or so,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said on Monday.

Republicans have criticized Obama for not leaving Europe to go to Dallas sooner. For the record, Obama asked the Speaker of the House to accompany him. Lyin’ Ryan is too busy with bogus investigations and spreading hate to go to Dallas.  Hypocrite!!

From Alternet: Election lawyers in academia are wringing their hands over comments Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made to the New York Times about how she doesn’t want to consider what America—and the Court—would be like under a President Trump.

“I can’t imagine what this place would be—I can’t imagine what the country would be—with Donald Trump as our president,” Ginsburg told the Times. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be—I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

The Washington Post, which is perpetually infected with a self-assigned puritanical streak, was quick to question whether Ginsburg had “crossed a very important line,” because it’s possible the 2016 presidential election could end up before the Court in a vote count dispute.

“Generally, though, you don’t hear a Supreme Court justice talking like this,” wrote WaPo’s Aaron Blake. “In fact, you generally don’t hear a Supreme Court justice talking at all—much less about the big political issues of the day.”

I agree that it is certainly uncommon for a Justice to weigh-in, but for a monster like the presumptive Rectum of the Republican Party to be in such a position is unprecedented. Ginsburg actually went even further, saying that she would consider relocating to New Zealand, if Rump Dump wins the White House.

From Politicus USA: This is that time that Republicans stopped Americans from getting protection from the Zika virus because they feel they must first have the right to fly the Confederate flag over cemeteries.

I wish I were kidding. But behold. Yesterday, Senator Harry Reid excoriated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his cowardice after McConnell stabbed the American people in the back by allowing House Republicans to ruin the bipartisan MilCon-VA-Zika conference report.

You see, after Senate Republicans and Democrats hashed out a compromise on Zika funding that was less than what scientists asked for and thus less than what Democrats wanted but more than Republicans wanted, they sent that to the House. What came back?

Oh, sorry an American died from Zika and so sorry to the nearly 3,700 people in the U.S. (and territories) who have it, but Republicans will only fund the Zika emergency if they can fly the Confederate flag, create more abortions by refusing to fund birth control provided by Planned Parenthood, poison more water by exempting pesticides from the Clean Water Act, cut veterans funding and more.

Republicans care nothing for protecting the American People. We need protection from the Republican Party!

Cartoon:

0712Cartoon

Share
Jun 302016
 

On 29 June 2016 the Three Amigos, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, and US President Barak Obama, met in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city, to discuss a whole laundry list of items.  Pena Nieto and Trudeau met earlier and agreed on at least two matters important to the two nations: 1) the lifting of visa requirements for Mexicans travelling to Canada which the Harper government instiituted out of fear of a flood of refugees; and 2) the reintroduction of Canadian beef to Mexico after Mexico banned Canadian beef because of the occurrence of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.  After the Summit, Obama spoke before a joint meeting of the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate.

The arrival at Parliament Hill.  You can see in the background one of the towers encased in scaffolding.  As in the US, Conservatives have let some infrastructure deteriorate, even the Prime Minister's residence.

CBC — What did the Three Amigos discuss?

The talks hadn't even started between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto when statements began circulating about what they'd agree on.

Climate change

Obama was barely off the plane when the White House announced a joint environmental action plan. (Canada's release soon followed.)

As CBC News reported earlier this week, the three countries want 50 per cent of their electricity to come from clean power generation by 2025. The plan includes support for cross-border transmission lines, including infrastructure for renewable energy.

There's also a plan to tackle short-lived pollutants, including cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector between 40 and 45 per cent by 2025, reducing black carbon (soot) emissions and finding alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 

There were a number of things up for discussiion including climate change, trilateral trade, border issues, economic competitiveness, human rights, and security.  Click through for a report on the other five.  Now, if the three countries could only produce an equitable plan that benefits each.  The protectionism is getting a little much, and with the possibility of a Drumpf White House, things will get even worse.  At the end of a Q&A, Obama went on a "rant" about populism and Drumpf.

CBC — "If you'll allow me, I want to say one last thing because it has been a running thread in a bunch questions … this whole issue of populism," Obama said. 

The president then suggested someone take a minute to look up the meaning of the term populism — to represent the interests of the common people — that is often used to describe Trump's campaign style.

Obama said he got into politics to help people, to make sure the poor had the same chances to succeed as the wealthy, that working moms had trustworthy child care, that the tax system was fair and that children were getting a "decent education." 

"Now, I suppose that makes me a populist," Obama said.

"Somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social justice issues or making sure that poor kids are getting a decent shot in life, or have health care — in fact, have worked against economic opportunity for workers and ordinary people — they don't suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That's not the measure of populism, that's nativism, or xenophobia, or worse. Or, it's just cynicism."

Drumpf's style?  I'll take substance over style any day!  Drumpf is only out for himself first, then other wealthy 1%ers.  It was good to hear Obama comment on Drumpf.

After The Three Amigos Summit, Pena Nieto left and Obama stayed in Ottawa to address a joint session of Parliament.  I think the last American president to address Parliament was Bill Clinton.  What follows is Obama's address in its entirety.

From the CBC — U.S. President Barack Obama handed the torch of progressive politics to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday in a warm, rousing speech to Parliament, in which he also bluntly urged Canada to spend more on defence to meet its international obligations.

He praised the extraordinary alliance and deep friendship between Canada and the United States.

"We see ourselves in each other and our lives are richer for it," Obama said.

"The enduring partnership between Canada and the United States is as strong as it has ever been and we are more closely aligned than ever before."

I was particularly amused by Obama's comment about why Ottawa was chosen as the capital — its distance from the American border.  During the War of 1812, the Americans sacked York (now Toronto).  The British returned the favour by crossing the border and burning down the White House.

CBC — The American president's speech to the House of Commons will inevitably be described as historic, because Canadians still really love Barack Obama. We think he might secretly be Canadian. …

… Obama managed to pack in tolerance, diversity, multi-culti, climate change, the duty of hard power to keep peace while punishing evil, the imperative of fighting inequality and discrimination and bigotry and nativism, our collective moral obligation to fight the outrage of poverty abroad, the need to make decisions based on fact and evidence, a rousing call to eliminate diseases and produce the first AIDS-free generation and a plea to recognize that some values are universal, and that we should set aside timidity and unabashedly fight for pluralism, equality and tolerance. …

It's hard to imagine any other world leader singling out the Trudeau government's effort at reconciliation with indigenous people, even using the uniquely Canadian term "First Nations."

And it was good to hear an American president effectively concede Canada was right all those years ago to engage Cuba, rather than try to isolate and destroy it, and even understand the Canadian fear of American tourists, with all their money and, well, Americanism, flooding back onto Varadero's beaches.

Let's face it, speeches are just words.  To have meaning, there must be truth and sincerity behind them.  For the most part I agree with Obama.  Nobody, no country is perfect.  But if we strive to move forward with justice for each other and for the planet, we will accomplish much.

 

Share
Jun 192016
 

Tomorrow I undergo my first of two outpatient surgeries for ocular cancer.  The second will be on Friday.  Lynn, our beloved Sasquatch, will be doing the Open Threads until I can return, and she and Nameless will be managing the site. I do hope to make a brief appearance at least once a day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats are rallying around proposals to expand Social Security and increase benefits, a sea change after three decades dominated by concern over the program’s rising costs.

The Democrats’ new consensus was driven by the populist election-year politics of Senator Bernie Sanders and by a realization that many workers have neither traditional pensions nor any significant retirement savings.

Thank you Bernie! At the outset we didn’t dream you could go so far.

From Alternet: With Donald Trump’s poll numbers sinking into a death spiral, dozens of Republican delegates are now openly plotting a coup to overthrow him at this year’s Republican National Convention.

The Washington Post has scored an interview with GOP delegates who are leading the effort to allow delegates to vote their consciences at this year’s RNC so they can choose someone other than Trump. The rule change would allow delegates to unbind themselves based on “personal or religious conscience.”

That’s transparent election theft.  I think the response of the Trump Humpers would be armed mayhem. Rump Dump has won the Republican nomination fair and square. He has a right to represent the Party that chose him at the ballot box, however abhorrent I consider him.

From TPM: During her speech at the New Hampshire Democratic party’s convention on Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continued her attacks on Donald Trump, calling him a "thin-skinned, racist bully."

"Donald Trump says he likes to see women on their knees," she told the crowd, according to NBC News. "Well, Donald, that’s not happening. Can you believe this guy? Democrats believe in equal pay for equal work and a woman’s right to decisions over her own body. And we’re ready to fight for it."

The Democratic senator also brought up the lawsuit over Trump University.

"Now Trump University failed, and that’s no surprise," Warren said, according to NBC News. "Think about all the other Trump failures. Trump casinos. Trump Airlines. Trump steaks. Trump magazines. Trump vodka. Trump Mortgage. Trump Games. Trump Travel. Trump Ice. Trump Network. Donald Trump is a proven businessman — a proven failure."

Warren said that Trump should be shaking "in his high-priced Italian loafers, begging the court to protect him, terrified about what happens if those videos go public and he is held accountable."

Keep it up, Lizzie!! You are still a national treasure.

Cartoon:

0619Cartoon

Share
Jun 122016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how insane InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

0612reublican-jesus
Good Christian Republican senator just has a teeny tiny request for God.

Boy, those evangelicals sure do know how to have a good yuck-fest, with biblical jokes and everything! But we’re pretty sure Jesus Christ would not have been amused by the prayer offered by Republican Senator Frank Perdue, who made a hilarious joke about Obama at this week’s Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.

“I think we are called to pray,” the junior senator from Georgia told those who were gathered. “I think we are called to pray for our country, our leaders, and yes, even Barack Obama."

Specifically, he suggested, “we should pray like Psalms 108:9 [sic] says. It says ‘May his days be few.’"

Oh, titter, titter, chuckle, chuckle went the crowd.

Yes, it is the Christian thing, to pray for the death of a president whose politics you don’t like.

The cited psalm goes:

Let his days be few; Let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless And his wife a widow.
Let his children wander about and beg; And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
Let the creditor seize all that he has, And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.

Yes, Republicans have plunder in mind.

From <Alternet>

The author made a typo in the verse.  It’s actually 109:8

Barf Bag Alert!!

This pseudo-Christian purveyor of hatred is only the second of five listed insane Republican moments from last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

Share
Jun 122016
 

I’m running way late today because Julie was here.  I’m a very pampered puddy tat.  We finalized the details for my surgeries next week.  We did a whole gamut of housekeeping tasks, including the dreaded task.  Killer Dawg helped.

0612KillerDawgDreaded

I fed her lunch, a plate of Tony Roma’s Baby Back Ribs. The down-side is that Killer Dawg has hidden three rib bones in my apartment, and I have no idea where they are.  We also took a pic of Killer Dawg in his official duds, in compliance with a European request for it.

0612KillerDawgOfficial

The parade was cold and it rained on and off.  I took a few pics, but as the bands passed us, none were playing and almost none of the girls were baton tossing, pompom shaking, or flag waving.  Everyone was just walking past, so about mid-way through, I gave up and had lunch.  I still have to resize the pictures and plan to post them tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 2/2015): The U.S. Geological Survey has backed-up what scientists have been suggesting for years–that deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes:

Keep it in the ground!!

Also from Daily Kos (classic 3/2015): DW-NOMINATE is a method for analyzing data on preferences, such as voting data, developed by political scientists Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal. Unlike the scoring done by interest groups, DW-NOMINATE doesn’t rely on subjective determinations of what constitutes a liberal vote or a conservative vote–it sorts members of a population according to how similar each member’s choices are to those of other members of the population. Two senators who vote the same way 90 percent of the time will be much closer to each other than two senators who only vote the same way 10 percent of the time. Poole and Rosenthal have used this method to discover some interesting statistics and trends going back to the First Congress in 1787-89.

Using House and Senate roll call votes as inputs, DW-NOMINATE has been used to chart every member of every Congress in a two-dimensional space. The primary dimension corresponds strongly to conventional notions of the liberal-conservative axis in modern politics, while the significance of the secondary axis tends to change over time (traditionally it tended to highlight the distance between Dixiecrats and the rest of the Democratic party; today it’s kind of a more nebulous indicator of social and cultural differences and is, in my opinion, not particularly interesting). The point is that we can sort the members of a particular Congress by their scores on the primary dimension to easily rank them from most liberal to most conservative based entirely on their own voting data.

And when we do this for the period in which Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, here’s what we get:

As it turns out, with a first-dimension score of -0.391 based upon her entire service in Congress, Hillary Clinton was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate in each of the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. That places her slightly to the left of Pat Leahy (-0.386), Barbara Mikulski (-0.385) and Dick Durbin (-0.385); clearly to the left of Joe Biden (-0.331) and Harry Reid (-0.289)

0612hillary

This surprised me, but I can’t argue with authentic voting stats. I was not surprised that Bernie is number one!

From LA Times: A heavily armed gunman who had reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State stormed into a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday, and began rapidly firing into the crowd, killing at least 50 people and wounding 53 in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman was killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages at Pulse, a popular gay club, investigators said at an early morning news conference. He has been preliminarily identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Fla., a U.S. law enforcement official said.

Mateen called 911 moments before the attack, pledging allegiance to the Islamic state, a federal law enforcement official said, confirming earlier reports. Federal investigators said they also were looking into reports that he recited prayers to Allah during the attack. The investigators stressed that they have just begun digging into his background and don’t want to jump to conclusions about any links to Islamic State.

 

May their loved ones be comforted. Barack, Bernie and Hillary all tried to comfort their suffering and condemned the pseudo-Muslim from the Daesh. Rump Dump Trump wants congratulations. Some other Republicans are even condemning the victims.

Cartoon:

0612Cartoon

Share
May 222016
 

Yesterday’s activities must have really tired me out, because despite oversleeping this morning, I still needed to snag a Lona nap, even before finishing my research.  Tomorrow I have a bi-annual appointment with my Pulmonologist, so please expect no more than a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 11/2015):  The resident Republican blowhard on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, has staked out his post as the network’s voice of rightist disinformation. He commands his three hour block of airtime like a junta leader, ordering the topics of discussion and interrupting his guests incessantly.

This morning Scarborough appeared to have a severe cognitive collapse during a segment about the Republican Party’s debate-o-phobia (video below). Like most of his ideological allies, he is suffering from the delusion that the American media, owned by a handful of megalithic, multinational corporations, is dominated by liberals. Scarborough set off on a rant about the absence of conservatives on nightly news programs, Sunday shows, and in the executive suites. He badgered his guests to come up with examples of Republicans in those roles, and insisted that they could not do it.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Morning Jerk’s central proof was absurd. We cannot name an anchor or a Sunday morning talk show host, who has voted in a Republican primary, because none announce their voting habits.

From NY TimesLast week an openly gay man, Eric Fanning, became secretary of the Army. Read that sentence again and contemplate what it reveals about how much and how quickly American society has changed. Only five years ago, openly gay people were barred from serving in its armed forces.

Under Obama, we have made some major advances toward LGBT equality, except in locations in thrall to the Republican Reich.

From Crooks and LiarsThe old foes commiserate on the campaign, drink a few beers, and have a waltz together.

 

Kudos to SNL! There comes a time when the opposing sides need to stop fighting long enough to laugh.

Cartoon:

0522Cartoon

Share
May 102016
 

I was seeing triple or more, until I awoke this morning.  When it comes to malignant nevi, Allison is the premiere Ocular Oncologist in the Pacific Northwest, so I feel confident that I am good hands.  I do have cancer, a Uveal  melanoma in my right eye,  I will need two outpatient surgeries, one to insert and one to remove a radioactive plaque.  It is close enough to the optic nerve, that I will probably lose vision in that eye from radiation damage two to three years later.  However the alternative is to lose the eye to the tumor in the same amount of time, while greatly increasing the risk of metastasis.  Before the surgery, there are a bunch of hoops I need to jump through.  I’ll need a complete physical, a CAT Scan of liver and lungs, an OK from my Pulmonologist, arrangements for home care for 24 hours after both surgeries, a consultation with a Radiation Oncologist.  I had so hoped my medical mayhem would level off, but it looks like it will continue through much of the summer.  ARGH!! Disappointed smile  TriMet called me to apologize.  The driver that screwed up George’s appointment with Sarah did not find me, because she announced at the building next door.  The rep said they will emphasize the importance of making sure they are in the right location to all drivers.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 7:44 (average 5:26),  (I saw 4 dawgs.)  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: President Obama’s commencement speech today at Howard University firmly and repeatedly challenged the central message of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. (C-Span link offers video and full text.)

The president was not attacking Sanders’ ideology of fairness. But he was clearly separating himself from Sanders’ dogmatic insistence on revolutionary transformation.

If you want to make life fair, then you have to start with the world as it is.

The balance between idealism and pragmatism was clearly at the forefront of the president’s mind.

Democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100% right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right and you still have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral security, but you will not get what you want.

This is one reason there has been somewhat of a class divide between Bernie and Hillary supporters. The “moral security” Obama refers to is an emotional and intellectual luxury if it doesn’t contribute to substantive change.

Obama makes a valid point, but his beef should be more with a small, but vocal, idealist minority of Bernie’s supporters, not with Bernie himself. Bernie has stated that his positions are goals and touted his own ability to compromise and work across the aisle.  Compromise has been impossible over the last several years, because Republicans have been unwilling to compromise.  Every time Democrats have agree to a compromise Republicans have proposed, Republicans have demanded even more concessions.

From NY Times: Austria’s chancellor resigned abruptly on Monday after seven and a half years in office, having lost control of his center-left Social Democratic Party amid a rightward shift fueled by anxiety over migration.

The chancellor, Werner Faymann, initially supported the decision last year by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, to welcome migrants fleeing war and poverty and to refuse to set a limit on how many might come. But after a ferocious backlash, Mr. Faymann switched course, joining his coalition partner, the center-right Austrian People’s Party, in supporting border restrictions.

The policy reversal was not enough to stop the right-wing Freedom Party, which has run on a strident “Austrians First” platform, from capitalizing on the influx of migrants. In September, the party finished second in regional elections in northern Austria.

An even greater shock to the establishment occurred on April 24, when the Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, won the first round of the presidential election, capturing more than one-third of the vote. He will face a former Greens leader, Alexander Van der Bellen, in a May 22 runoff.

The two establishment parties — which have governed for the past decade in a so-called grand coalition, a political constellation that has dominated postwar Austria — together received just 22 percent of the first-round vote. No matter who wins the second round, the next president will not be from either mainstream party, for the first time in decades.

I offer condolences to the good people in Austria.  Could Hofer be following in the footsteps of a fellow Austrian, whose name also began with an H? That Austrian is the inspiration for today’s Republican Party, here in the US.

From Crooks and :Liars: Going into the West Virginia primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to a "lame duck" vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This takes her beyond her previous statements mildly opposing TPP. Clinton also made a strong statement criticizing our country’s trade agreements in general.

As reported in The Hill, in "Clinton opposes TPP vote in the lame-duck session," Clinton replied to a questionnaire from the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, which consists of more than 25 labor, environmental and human rights organizations. When asked, "If elected President, would you oppose holding a vote on the TPP during the ‘lame duck’ session before you take office?” she replied, "I have said I oppose the TPP agreement — and that means before and after the election."

I know just how to respond to Hillary’s change of heart. Thank you, Bernie!

Cartoon:

0510Cartoon

Share
May 012016
 

It’s already been a very busy day, as I have been working since early this morning, changing the poll, preparing the graphics and collecting all the data I will need for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, and researching today’s articles.  Needless to say, I’m getting tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: President Obama poked fun at Hillary Clinton’s lack of appeal among young people Saturday night, joking at the annual White House press corps dinner that Mrs. Clinton was like an aging relative who cannot figure out how to use Facebook.

“Did you get my poke? Is it on my wall?” he said, imagining Mrs. Clinton trying to use the popular social media site. “I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.”

 

Policies aside, when it comes to the White House Correspondents Dinner, Obama stands heads and shoulders over every other President in my lifetime.

From Think Progress: On Thursday, 98 members of Congress wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TEN), asking that they disband the panel and end the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue research.

The investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices began last summer, when a heavily edited video surfaced claiming that the organization was “selling aborted baby parts.” Conservatives, especially former Presidential candidate and current Ted Cruz “running mate” Carly Fiorina — called for a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices.

But the claims made in the video have been repeatedly debunked, and in January, after a three-month-long investigation, a Texas Grand Jury decided not to indict Planned Parenthood. Instead, the jury moved to indict the videographers who were responsible for the video in the first place.

However, the select panel has continued to operate, going after not only Planned Parenthood, but also the scientists who are researching fetal tissue as they search for cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

That the basis for the investigation has been proven to be devoid of factual basis does not matter to Lyin’ Ryan and his misogynist Republican cronies. They simply want a platform from which to broadcast lies,

From Daily Kos: A group of the nation’s most important defenders of LGBT rights have written to ask the Obama administration to pull federal education funding from states that pass laws legalizing transgender discrimination in their schools.

It was sent by the American Civil Liberties Union, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. A Justice Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “The department has received and is reviewing the letter.” […]

“We are talking about official discrimination required by the state,” said [ACLU LGBT Project director James Esseks], arguing North Carolina should lose federal education funds. “This is something that is egregious and demands a different kind of response.”

This isn’t an idle threat. The Obama administration has been aggressive in enforcing transgender rights in individual districts; a law like North Carolina, that requires public schools to engage in discrimination specifically barred by the federal government, states must either choose to follow the state law or the federal one. That runs afoul of the $4.5 billion of education funds that North Carolina could otherwise expect to get from the federal government; we can only presume that the North Carolina legislature will then have to cover the cuts with the proceeds of their personal swear jars.

This sounds to me like a perfectly reasonable response to states where bigoted Republicans have written discrimination in schools into the law.

Cartoon:

0501Cartoon

The Republican elephant rides the rest of us.

Share
Apr 272016
 

So it has been almost 2 weeks since I last published an article, not because I did not want to, but because I have been very, very busy with all sorts of activities.  Something had to give and it was publishing.  Last Sunday during a church service, five of us were commissioned and anointed into the ministry of pastoral care having finished our training and police background checks.  Of course I have been teaching and attending physio.  Last Friday, I looked after Lucia's two youngest while Lucia took some "me time".  I was totally wasted by the afternoon when Lucia returned.  What's more, I managed to escape a nuclear diaper!  I'll do the same next week so Lucia can be with Loliyo at a dance competition.  There are also routine things like doctor's and dentist's appointments, and the most important, snuggles with the fur babies.  I still have to do the taxes but since neither of us owe any, it isn't a big worry.

Short Takes

The Nation — Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong.  

In February, Harvard researchers published an explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data and ground observations, they concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities. Between 2002 and 2014, the data showed that US methane emissions increased by more than 30 percent, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of an enormous spike in methane in the entire planet’s atmosphere.  

These leaks are big enough to wipe out a large share of the gains from the Obama administration’s work on climate change—all those closed coal mines and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years. The methane story is utterly at odds with what we’ve been telling ourselves, not to mention what we’ve been telling the rest of the planet. It undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster—and one that seems set to spread.

The Obama administration, to its credit, seems to be waking up to the problem. Over the winter, the EPA began to revise its methane calculations, and in early March, the United States reached an agreement with Canada to begin the arduous task of stanching some of the leaks from all that new gas infrastructure. But none of this gets to the core problem, which is the rapid spread of fracking. Carbon dioxide is driving the great warming of the planet, but CO2 isn’t doing it alone. It’s time to take methane seriously.

MSNBCI found this interesting segment of The Rachel Maddow Show that showcases some of the Republican bigotry, racism and total lack of sensitivity to history.

Politico — Republicans over the past seven years have come to view Barack Obama not just as an ideological enemy but as a “dictator”—an accusation hurled most recently by both Chris Christie and Glenn Beck—a president who has unconstitutionally abused his executive power with an array of unilateral actions.

But Republicans are hardly passive victims of an overweening executive; they are, in fact, paying for their own unilateral surrender of power. The GOP-dominated Congress has sought to weaken and undermine Obama and instead has achieved the opposite. Unable to pass significant legislation after the Affordable Care Act, the Obama White House filled the vacuum by creative use of executive authority, setting a potentially risky precedent for the future balance between the branches but spurred, ironically, by the very opponents who were trying to contain him.

Is this where we get to say to Republicans "You reap what you sow!"?  Personally, I do not see Obama as a dictator, but rather a man trapped by the incompetence and beligerence of political foes . . . foes willing to ruin the country in order to stick to their idiotological principles.

My Universe — 20 Reasons You Need A Cat In Your Life

You may view cats as evil creatures, and you may not be entirely wrong with that assumption. Still, you may not realize that owning a cat actually has a variety of benefits for you and your health. These are just a few reasons why you should open your home to a cat.

BTW, people don't own cats.  Dogs have owners.  Cats have staff!

3. They Do Not Need Baths

Giving cats a bath is not a fun experience. Fortunately, unlike dogs, cats really do not need baths. They are huge neat freaks that frequently groom themselves, making bathing unnecessary. This also goes back to the whole “low maintenance thing”. If you do dare to bath a cat, be sure to wear complete padding because this can get pretty messy though the results are pretty hilarious.

7. They Make Fantastic Alarm Clocks

When cats want their breakfast, they want it now. They do not care if you are sleeping, they will wake you up. In fact, they do not even need to have breakfast for an excuse to wake you up. They will wake you up for whatever reason they have decided to wake you up and you will have to deal with that.

11. They Will Keep You Grounded

All of those jokes about how cats think humans are their slaves? These are completely accurate. Cats believe that you are merely there to serve them and their needs. This will help put you in your place whenever you feel that you are better than you are.

Click through for the other 17 reasons you need at least one cat in your life.

 

Share