Nov 252015

Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . it was an ordinary day with nothing untoward happening.  Something must be wrong! Even the weather was great and no sibling rivalries from the feline side of the family!  I'll celebrate while I can!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:41). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Kos  While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his "Outstanding Contributions to Society." 

This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 

1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as 'Honest Mistakes' 

Wealthy conservatives are pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that America's greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying "someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a 'guilty mind.'" 

One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke into a church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old Florida activist who boldly tried to feed the homeless

Of course, even without the explicit protection of Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008 financial crisis. 

Click through for 4 more signs of a decaying society.  These bring to mind scenes in Detroit where water and sanitation was cut off to thousands because they couldn't pay for water etc, bills usually being a couple hundred dollars.  But some golf courses etc owned and used by the wealthy, with arrears in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, had no water cut offs.  It isn't hard to see who has their priorities screwed up.

Politicususa — Now, it appears that Fox News, the religious right, and conservative pundits have another “war on Christmas” enemy to add to their growing list of atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Wiccans, Heathens, and Muslims who they say hate Christmas. The newest combatant joining the fake war on Christmas went beyond opposing saying Merry Christmas or protesting against Christian Christmas displays on government property and actually assailed the holiday celebration as a farce; likely because he is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church and not involved in conservative America’s silly Christmas outrage.

Pope On War

During a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, Pope Francis quietly committed one of the most heinous sins to American conservatives and religious right fanatics. There have been a world of things this “progressive” Pope has said to incite Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals to abject anger and outrage, and each and every time it is because he talks like the Christian bible’s humanitarian Jesus. This latest incident is no different and is another signal that on a couple of important issues, Francis is a progressive pope; and an honest-to-dog humanitarian.

Click through for the rest.  I can hear Bill O'Reilly now, totally apoplectic, screaming that the Pope has no idea what he's talking about!  I am not a catholic, but I can definitely get behind him on some issues, and this is one.  I have felt for years that Christmas is about excessive and conspicuous consumption.  The real Christmas comes every day wrapped in plain, unadorned paper.  It is the extended hand to refugees, a kind word, volunteering in a soup kitchen or a food bank so others might have food, holding the hand of someone who is afraid, and many more.

Talking Points Memo — Writing for the 7th Circuit majority, Judge Richard Posner called the contention that the law would protect women's health "nonexistent." He said the law would put more women in danger by increasing the waiting times for abortions, which could push some procedures into the second trimester.

"What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women's health — and the abridgement challenged in this case would actually endanger women's health," he wrote.

He also said that a woman who experiences complications from an abortion will go to the nearest hospital, which will treat her regardless of whether her abortion doctor has admitting privileges there.

Click through to read the rest.  Of course the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a Texas case come spring which will affect all states.

My Universe h/t John Gray, Care2

At least this young lady got the kitten's bumb and not claws as was my misfortune when I was the trampoline 7 yearrs ago!

Oct 042015

I thought today would be a generally laid back day.  Yeh, right!  After finishing a doctor's appointment and one other short errand, I thought I would play with my kids for a bit and then get down to doing some research for the coming days.  Things didn't unfold like that.  A call from my student, Lucia, had me at her house helping with some paperwork.  I didn't arrive home until after 7 pm and I was tired. I did however get some research done, but that other chore . . . laundry . . . never got done.  I must get it done tomorrow!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:23 (average 5:00). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Foreign Policy — I suspect it is because we mistakenly confuse a desire for peace with weakness and we assume anyone who exhibits a passionate commitment to peace is some sort of “Kumbaya”-singing idealist who just doesn’t understand how the world works and is therefore not tough enough for the Big Job. As Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations and an experienced national security professional, admitted a few years ago that preserving one’s credibility in the foreign-policy establishment requires a certain enthusiasm for the use of military power. Even Obama felt compelled to give a rather hawkish speech when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize (!), lest anyone infer he wasn’t tough enough to be the Leader of the Free World.

The current veneration of all things military reinforces this problem, to the point that hardly any politicians or ordinary citizens will utter a critical word about “the troops” or their commanders. The United States has become better at starting wars than at winning or finishing them, yet it still treats unsuccessful generals with enormous deference and punctuates sporting contests with aerial flybys and other displays of martial fervor. I’m all for thanking veterans for their service and respecting their sacrifices, but I’d rather show it by providing better medical treatment for veterans afterward than by giving the Pentagon a free pass.

Read the rest of this interesting article at Foreign Policy.  What should peace look like?  Should it be just the cessation of hostilities, or should it be deeper, more profound?

Upworthy — Right now, in the small village of Deh'Subz, Afghanistan, the first private, free, rural women's college in the nation's history is being built.

The pioneer behind the project?

Photo courtesy of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation.

71-year-old Razia Jan, an educator who grew up in a more liberal Afghanistan before Taliban occupation. She later moved to the U.S. to attend Harvard University and then settled in Massachusetts.

Read more about how Razia Jan is changing the lives of girl's, their parents and their villages.  About a month ago, I posted Get Girls Back in the Classroom in Care2.  If you did not have a chance to sign it then, please consider it today.  An educated girl makes a big difference to herself, her family and her community.  and let us not forget Malala Yousafzai who said  "I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but our hearts and our souls."

Foreign Policy — On Thursday afternoon, the world received its answer. After months of speculation, India finally released its formal greenhouse gas emissions plan for the COP 21 conference. And the answer is promising.

Fossil fuels will still make up a large percentage of the global energy mix until at least 2040 — even with robust growth of renewables. This is particularly true of India. The Indian INDC partially acknowledges this, to the extent that, while promising action on climate change, it also asks the developed world for “equitable carbon and development space” — in essence, arguing that since India has been responsible for a historically low proportion of emissions activity, it cannot be asked to make drastic emissions cuts at a time when it needs as much effort as possible directed at fighting endemic poverty. If developed nations wish India to be a responsible player on climate change, this plan argues, the country needs assistance, especially financial, in aggressively adopting new low- and zero-carbon technologies.

Read the whole article at Foreign Policy.  India has some doable goals for emissions, but with so many of her people caught in profound poverty, it won't be easy, nor will it be short term.

My Universe —   

Thanks to Ted W and Carol B @ Care2 for finding this gem.

Having lived in the north, I can relate!

Aug 082015

I’m still recovering from the barf bath I had to take, while covering the Criminal Clowns.  The forecast has already changed for the next few days.  While 80°s weather is not a heat wave, it’s not the more comfortable 70°s weather I was expecting.  I want to catch up on rest this weekend, because Tuesday is a volunteer day in prison.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From J Street (Iran Deal Facts): Media Coverage

Opponents are pouring millions into television and print ads attacking the agreement. Right-wing media have blasted the deal with extreme vitriol, doing everything they can to drown out the facts. But J Street is leading the fight to make sure that the voices of responsible journalists, leaders, and experts that support the deal are being heard loud and clear.


J Street is the organization for American Jews that represents their real interests and not the interests of the Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian war mongers that control AIPAC. They have two more excellent video clips on the page. Click Through.

From The New Yorker: The billionaire Donald Trump shocked the American people Thursday night by proving to be considerably more heinous than they had previously thought, an instant poll taken after the debate shows.

According to the poll, viewers who went into tonight’s debate thinking that Trump was one of the most horrible people that they had ever seen were still totally unprepared for the depths of awfulness he displayed during the televised contest.

When presented with the descriptors “loathsome,” “appalling,” and “monstrous,” viewers who witnessed Trump’s interaction with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly said that none of those words did justice to how odious Trump was.

OK, Andy, if you say so. But isn’t saying that Hairball is more heinous than previously thought a lot like saying that the Pope is more Catholic than previously thought?

From Daily Kos: John Kasich sure has a convenient memory. Asked about how he’d respond to Hillary Clinton’s presumptive attacks, Kasich mentioned his father was a mailman (drink!), then digressed to talking about balanced budgets:

I was the chairman of the budget committee and the lead architect the last time it happened in Washington, and when we did it, we had great economic growth, we cut taxes, and we had a big surplus.

Oh yeah, mofo? You know what else led to that balanced budget in the late 1990s? Bill Clinton’s tax hikes in 1993, which Republicans absolutely howled would destroy this country. Of course they were wrong, and they helped usher in an unprecedented era of growth and prosperity.

John "KKK" Kasich doesn’t like the kind of prosperity that benefits the 99%, and for him to try to take credit for Clinton’s budget surplus is an absurd Republican lie.



Jul 212015

I’m getting a late start on a busy day.  The forecast high is only 80°, but the building is still retaining the heat.  Since tomorrow should be only 75°, I thing it will make the difference.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day, so I have some cleaning to do.  They just called for my order, and I reminded them to keep track of it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:38 (average 5:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In its unending desire to mollify its intolerant, bigoted base, the GOP appears ready and willing to throw single women under the bus, along with the same-sex couples whom we already know they hate. 

In wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, Republicans are pushing legislation that aims to protect Americans who oppose these unions on religious grounds. But critics say the language is so broad, the bill creates a license to discriminate that would let employers fire women for getting pregnant outside of wedlock.

The legislation, already with 130 Republican sponsors in the House and a companion bill in the Senate, is nobly titled the "First Amendment Defense Act," but in real-world terms it has less to do with the free "exercise" of speech or religion, but with the right to impose one’s bigotry (end economic power) on others, using "religion" as a fig leaf.

In GOPerville, women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant, unless the woman is not owned by a man.

From NY Times: The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress.

The 15-to-0 vote for approval of the resolution — 104 pages long including annexes and lists — was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.

There are two sides to this issue. On one is Benjamin "Butcher Bibi" Netanyahu (R-IS) and his Republican lackeys in Congress. On the other is the rest of the world.

From Right Wing Watch: Last week, John Hagee hosted his annual Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, D.C and during the event, Matthew Hagee conducted a short interview with Rep. Louie Gohmert about the recent nuclear agreement that the United States and several other nations struck with Iran.

Barf Bag Alert!!


If Go-Go Goosestep Gohmert and his Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian allies are successful in preventing this peace accord and placing this nation of the path to war, their "god" who will get the glory has cloven hooves, a pointy tail, and a pitch fork.



Jul 202015

Fortunately, today should be the last day in the heat wave.  85° is the forecast high, but the last two days have both been more than 5° hotter than forecast.  It will then take a couple days for the building to bleed off the heat.  I’m so ready.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:03 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From TPM: Israel’s ambassador to the United States raced in and out of offices on Capitol Hill, trying to persuade lawmakers that the nuclear deal with Iran is a historic mistake.

On the other side, liberal groups ramped up the pressure, warning of political consequences for Democrats who undermine the agreement and casting opposition as a vote for war.

The lobbying fight is on over the pact that the U.S. and other world powers just signed with Iran. The State Department said Sunday it had submitted the agreement to Congress, kicking off a 60-day review period on Monday.

A foreign government has no business lobbying the US Congress! Keep contacting your Congress Critter and Senators.

From Think Progress: The state of the world’s climate is complex enough that it takes 413 scientists from 58 countries half a year to completely summarize a year’s worth of data.

And 2014 was a doozy…

…For those without the time to peruse nearly 300 pages of scientific summaries, here are seven records that fell in 2014.


There’s one. Click through for the other six.

From Raw Story: John Oliver bashes ‘a**hole’ Donald Trump while tackling America’s astounding food waste


He does cover the subject, doesn’t he? However, I do have to disagree with his statement that dog balls are delicious. CAT is where it’s AT!! Seriously, do you waste a lot of food? I throw little away, but I do convert quite a bit to methane.



Jul 152015


Normally, I have an article to share, but today I’m just going to share six video clips in which Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and their guests express their views.  Finally there is a summery of the Republican Plan.  I’d also like you to have to have an opportunity to do something that no Republican could have done before declaring opposition to the deal.  To read the text in it’s entirety, click here.

Ed’s video: President Barack Obama hails a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program but Republicans vow to kill it. Ed Schultz, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Paul Eaton and the Stimon Center’s Laicie Heeley weigh in on the historic agreement.


Rachel’s first video: Joe Cirincione, president of The Ploughshares Fund, talks with Rachel Maddow about the chances for success of the newly announced nuclear deal with Iran and how diplomacy could take the US and Iran out of a war posture for the first time in a generation.


Rachel’s second video: Vali Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, talks with Rachel Maddow about politics within the U.S. and also within Iran, and the pressures of global circumstances that will determine whether the Iran nuclear deal succeeds.


Lawrence’s first video: The Iran deal states "… under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons." Lawrence discusses the details of the deal with nuclear expert Matthew Bunn, analyst Phyllis Bennis and Foreign Policy’s James Traub.


Lawrence’s second video: Lawrence talks to NBC News Historian Michael Beschloss and Jonathan Alter about the historical significance of today’s deal with Iran and what it could mean for Pres. Obama’s legacy after he leaves office.


The Republican Plan:

Looking ahead, there are two things to keep in mind.  Most of the arguments against the deal relate to Iran’s status as a bad actor, which is true,  But Iran’s non-nuclear behavior has nothing to do with this deal.  Second, the other choices are to accept Itan having nuclear weapons short term of go to war to stop it.

Oct 242014

Given my schedule this week, there is no way that I could gain the depth of understanding I would need to provide good analysis for you, but the terrorist attack on our Canadian friends is far too import a happening to let it pass without more than mere acknowledgement.  I’ll start with that.

1024MichaelZehaf-BibeauThe heart of the Canadian capital was thrown into panic and placed in lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman armed with a rifle or shotgun fatally wounded a corporal guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier at the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed.

It was the second deadly assault on a uniformed member of Canada’s armed forces in three days. The Ottawa attack heightened fears that Canada, a strong ally of the United States in its campaign against the Islamic State militant group convulsing the Middle East, had been targeted in a reprisal, either as part of an organized plot or a lone-wolf assault by a radicalized Canadian.

Law enforcement authorities in Washington said their Canadian counterparts had identified the assailant as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had changed his name from Michael Joseph Hall, and said he had been a convert to Islam. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said he had a criminal history of offenses that included robbery and drug possession…

Inserted from <NY Times>

First, allow me to express my condolences for the victims of both attacks, their families, and all who loved them.

Second, I have already seen a tendency on our side of the border from Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians to paint Zehaf-Bibeau as a lefty and to call fore vengeance against Muslims.  Reactionary religious fanatics. who would impose their religious dogma on others by force are not lefties.  They are extreme right wingers, just like Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians.  Vengeance is never the answer, especially when directed at innocent Muslims who have nothing to do with ISIL.  Authentic Muslims and Christians must coexist in peace.

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.





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.



Republicans are ready to try this again!

Jul 312014

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 101.  Store to door just delivered groceries and I have finished putting them away.  I’m tired, but not to tired to write.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:43 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Check out this progress report on world peace. The news is not all good, but, still, there’s a silver lining.


It’s hard to fond a more worthy investment than peace. Here’s that link.

From Daily Kos: Far-right groups said that the American government securing necessary materials for American companies to manufacture is "interference with the free market." Seriously, are they funded by China?

Last week one more example of Republican obstruction occurred – blockage of an important "Make It In America" bill – and one more time not a single corporate media outlet reported it.

The House Republican leadership last Tuesday blocked a bill to secure for American companies critical minerals used in the production of energy-efficient products, renewable energy systems, electronics and other technologies. The result is companies – and the Defense Department – continue to be forced to turn to China to make or obtain critical electronics components.

To understand the full extent of why Republicans have committed sedition here, you need to click through and read the while article. Please do. It’s important!

From YouTube: Rachel Maddow: The Kids Are Not From Mexico!


This may help explain why some people vote Republican. They are stupid.



May 162014

I’m writing for tomorrow on what turned out to be a pretty busy day, because it turns out I have more paperwork to do do for the OSP specific part of my prison volunteer certification.  Nevertheless, there was still time to research and write.  Day 25.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:43 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: These fine folks had the brilliant idea to quantify peace and rank all the countries in the world. Unfortunately, the United States isn’t doing so hot right now. We’re — you guessed it — 99th out of the 162 countries on the list. How do we fix that? Take a look, and make sure to stick around until 2:01, when they explain why this list isn’t just an exercise but could really change the way we think about minimizing conflict and achieving real world peace.


I’m surprised we’re that high on the list. Note that all the factors the video makers say are needed for peace are high on the list of things Republicans oppose.

From Daily Kos: Noted Ohio politics and Iraq WMD expert Karl Rove has a new smear: That Hillary Clinton spent 30 days in the hospital at the end of 2012 and upon her release in January, 2013, she was "wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury."

First of all, she didn’t spend 30 days in the hospital. It was four.

Second of all, if those glasses she was wearing are sign of brain damage, then the truth is even worse than Dr. Rove could possibly have imagined.

The article goes on to show many pictures of Hillary in the same glasses going back years. On the other hand, what does this pic of Karl Rove (R-Hell) say about him?


From The New Yorker: A delegation of conservative members of Congress paid a visit to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt today to witness firsthand what one of them called “the most beautiful expression of the free market I’ve ever seen.”

The author of that remark, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), said that he was awestruck after watching gigantic chunks of glacier disintegrate and crash to the sea.

“Every schoolchild in America needs to see this,” he said. “This is the free market at work in the way that God and Ayn Rand intended.”

Rep. Ryan said that watching the now-unstoppable Ice Sheet melt in action reaffirmed his belief in “the glory and might of free-market forces.”

Andy’s satire may well be prophetic. If Republicans ever do admit that global climate change is real, this is the form it will take.



May 042014


Forty-four years ago today, Richard Nixon and the Republican Party committed a horrid crime against the people of the United States and murdered four of them in cold blood.  Please join me in remembering these fallen heroes and all who put life and limb in jeopardy through their opposition to the Vietnam War.

Both those who fought in and those who fought against that immoral war were doing what they believed to be their duty.  All are worthy of honor.