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!