Sep 132016
 

Hot weather has returned, albeit not the extreme heat of a couple weeks ago.  I’m still having a lot of trouble with nerve pain.  Hopefully it will only be another week to ten days, as I see Megan on Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here are the results of Week 1 in our fantasy football league.

Scores:

1Scores

Standings:

1Standings

I got my butt kicked, but I don’t expect to do well this season.  I drafted last and had no players worth carrying forward, so I start from behind the 8 ball.  Congrats to Rob, Vivian, Patty Monster, Squatch and Dusty.  Pam, did you get the message I sent you on Care2?  Tom Brady, your starting QB, is suspended for the first four weeks.  You need to substitute Stafford for him for the next three games.

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Tell Trump, "Release the Measurements"

 

Dang!! Rump Dump needs to visit a plastic surgeon to get a hand job!!

From Daily Kos: Planned Parenthood has been winning in the courts in 2016, as state after Republican-led state has tried to cripple the organization by defunding clinics. Now the Obama administration is stepping in to attempt to short-circuit those lawsuits with a proposed rule reinforcing existing law, preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons.

The proposed rule says that states cannot withhold Title X federal family planning funds from providers for any reason other than their "ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner." This would essentially make the same laws that apply to Medicaid—states can’t pick and choose providers the federal funds go to in the absence of fraud—apply specifically to Title X funding. Bottom line: if the rule is approved, states could no longer bar Planned Parenthood funding because some of its clinics provide abortions.

“This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives," said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards…

It took far too long for Obama to learn the ropes and realize that, since Republicans are bad faith negotiators, even when they do make agreements with him, they always brake their promises. Now that he has learned, at last, and just does what needs doing, I’m going to miss this President.

From NY Times: The N.C.A.A., responding to a contentious North Carolina law that curbed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, will relocate all championship tournament games scheduled to take place in the state over the coming academic year, the organization announced Monday night.

Among the events affected is the Division I men’s basketball tournament, the N.C.A.A.’s most prominent annual event, which had six first- and second-round games scheduled to be played in Greensboro in March.

The announcement followed the N.B.A.’s decision in July to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte but was seen as a particularly substantial blow to officials in North Carolina, where college basketball is central to the state’s culture and pride. North Carolina has hosted more men’s basketball tournament games than any other state, an N.C.A.A. spokesman said.

Kudos to the NCAA. All things in the Republican Theocratic Police State of McCrorystan should be boycotted.

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The Next Big Three

 Posted by at 2:49 pm  Politics
Jul 282016
 

0728KaineClinton

I have a confession to make.  Last night I was very tired.  During and after supper, I sat in my wheelchair and watched the Democratic National Convention.  I was bored with many of the earlier speakers, but I recognize that in a big tent party, they have to give moderate speakers some time too.  But I was nodding off, before the three main speakers spoke.   I vaguely remember Joe Biden being introduced.  I opened my eyes, and it was after Midnight.  So the speeches I’m posting for you are speeches I haven’t seen, and I’ll leave the evaluation to you.

Joe Biden:

Tim Kaine:

Barack Obama:

What say you?

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

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