Jul 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 92.  It’s also a prison volunteer day and I will be facilitating a CoDA meeting for a small group of my guys.  I will;return home late having missed a sleep cycle.  In addition, I’ll be going back on Thursday to meet with around 100 of my guys.  So please don’t expect anything for the rest of the week, except personal updates, and if I can do more. I will.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:06 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Vice President Joe Biden visited Netroots Nation yesterday. The room was full of excitement as he was introduced. The vice president thanked the Netroots Nation community for demanding and coaxing politicians to effect a progressive agenda. He stated the fact that it would not be possible without Netroots.

In the middle of the speech Vice President Biden was heckled. It first started softly and progressively got louder. A group of attendees stood up in the front side of the room and started yelling "stop deporting our families." The vice president did not get frazzled or perturbed.

 

I appreciate both sides of this issue. The Obama administration is bound to enforce the law we have. It has pushed for extensive immigration reform, but their efforts have been sabotaged by the Republican Party.  On the other hand, that matters little, if the ass on the deportation bloc is yours.

From NY Times: For much of the past five years readers of the political and economic news were left in little doubt that budget deficits and rising debt were the most important issue facing America. Serious people constantly issued dire warnings that the United States risked turning into another Greece any day now. President Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged fiscal crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans.

That bargain never happened, because Republicans refused to consider any deal that raised taxes. Nonetheless, debt and deficits have faded from the news. And there’s a good reason for that disappearing act: The whole thing turns out to have been a false alarm.

I’m not sure whether most readers realize just how thoroughly the great fiscal panic has fizzled — and the deficit scolds are, of course, still scolding. They’re even trying to spin the latest long-term projections from the Congressional Budget Office — which are distinctly non-alarming — as somehow a confirmation of their earlier scare tactics. So this seems like a good time to offer an update on the debt disaster that wasn’t.

As usual, Paul Krugman is spot-on. Click through for an excellent analysis ods why to ignore Republican economic InsaniTEA.

From The New Yorker: Historians studying archival photographs from four decades ago have come to the conclusion that the U.S. must have believed in science at some point.

According to the historian Davis Logsdon, who has been sifting through mounds of photographic evidence at the University of Minnesota, the nation apparently once held the view that investing in science and even math could yield accomplishments that would be a source of national pride.

I’m sure Andy must realize that science and truth are for too closely related to be tolerated by Republicans.

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We still need one for Republicans.

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Jul 202014
 

Warren-McConnell

Usually Netroots Nation gets a lot of coverage, but war crimes by GOP Pootie and Butcher Ben have dominated the news cycle.  However, What Elizabeth Warren had to say in her Keynote Address was far too important to miss.  Warren knows far more than just the measure of Bought Bitch Mitch.  The credit she gives to blogs and bloggers for the successes the left has had is spot-on.  Here is her entire speech.

If you prefer you can find the transcript here.

What can I say?  If she were to announce her candidacy for the White House, I think she would become the President we’re waiting for.  I would become an instant supporter.

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May 122014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I’m rushing.  Tomorrow is almost here.  I have been busy with housework and could not sleep.  Fortunately I did my research early this morning.  Day 21.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 4:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The huge Kelvin wave that formed in the Pacific a while back, and may bring us a big El Nino, is now reaching the surface.  It’s huge, and it’s one of the warmest ever recorded.  Here’s the latest from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

0512Wave

The vertical scale is the depth of this pool of water, while the horizontal scale is the longitudinal location of the pool.  A back of the envelope calculation shows that the pool is roughly 5500 miles wide!  It seems reasonable to assume that water this warm and this amount of it, is going to dump a lot of heat into the atmosphere, and the resulting weather may not be very pretty for some people.

This may well be the source of the unseasonably hot weather I’m getting this Spring. Such events used to be less common and less intense.

From NY Times: Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has had a tough month.

Two of his fellow commissioners this week said he should delay introducing a new set of net neutrality rules, which he had scheduled for May 15.

A group of 11 United States Senators told him Friday that rules allowing companies to pay an Internet service provider for express-lane access to consumers, as the rules are widely expected to do, would violate the principle of an open Internet.

And last week, a finger-wagging, tough-talking speech he gave to cable television executives received a lukewarm response and engendered questions about what some listeners perceived as a “father knows best” tone.

Mr. Wheeler has vowed to forge ahead.

Late Friday, the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation released a letter from Mr. Wheeler, in which he said that he would ask for public input on whether to classify broadband Internet service as a sort of public utility, a route that many consumer advocacy groups have pushed…

Could it be that Wheeler designed a plan in compliance with a Republican court order to allow a corporate "fast lane" with the intent of stimulating opposition to that plan to use as a rationale for reclassification under Title II? Consider that Wheeler has supported Net Neutrality in the past. When the new rules are released, we must respond forcefully and often.

From Alternet: Charles Krauthammer continues the assault on science, calling it superstition.

Hey, Fox News managed to find another crazy, irresponsible idiot disguised as a sentient being to debunk facts and science: good old Charles Krauthammer. He said on Tuesday that the belief in global climate change is mere “superstition” akin to the “rain dance of Native Americans.”

Why would he say such a thing? Such a provably wrong thing? We have no idea. It could be wishful thinking. Sure, we wish this whole climate change catastrophe would go away, and that we could wake up from it like a bad dream. We wish all these meanie scientists conducting real research based on actual facts would just stop discovering that the news is so very, very bad, and bullying us about it.

Krauthammer took his point a little farther, about science actually being superstition. Yah, and the other way around, too. Up is down Charles. Black is white. No is yes. “It’s always a result of what is ultimately what we’re talking about here, human sin with pollution of carbon. It’s the oldest superstition around. It was in the Old Testament, it’s in the rain dance of Native Americans — if you sin, the skies will not cooperate.”

Still more crazy talk from Chuckie Kraut:

“Ninety-nine percent of physicists were convinced that space and time are fixed, until Einstein working in a patent office wrote a paper in which he showed that they are not,” Krauthammer said. “I’m not impressed by numbers, I’m not impressed by consensus.”

What does impress you Charles? On second thought, maybe don’t answer that.

This is just one of eight most wacko Republicans in their War on Science from last week alone. Click through for the other seven. Note that Krauthammer was not satisfied just to attack science. To the delight of the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda, Faux Noise, he also included a racist attack against Native American spiritual tradition. In sharp contrast, authentic Christian respect others’ beliefs.

Cartoon:

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Apr 292014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow.  What’s unusual is that tomorrow is almost here.  Today was a rough one.  Because I had a two hour wait for the lift bus to pick me up, I spent over an hour of it in the dollar store next door.  Between too much time in my feet and the thoroughly uncomfortable chairs at the medical imaging place, I was hurting big time by the time I got home.  All I could do was crawl into bed.  So I’m rushing now to finish this on time, and it is tomorrow’s only article.  Day 8.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: It is, in a way, too bad that Cliven Bundy — the rancher who became a right-wing hero after refusing to pay fees for grazing his animals on federal land, and bringing in armed men to support his defiance — has turned out to be a crude racist. Why? Because his ranting has given conservatives an easy out, a way to dissociate themselves from his actions without facing up to the terrible wrong turn their movement has taken.

For at the heart of the standoff was a perversion of the concept of freedom, which for too much of the right has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for others.

Start with the narrow issue of land use. For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little — that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage. [emphasis added]

Paul Krugman did it again.  We the people should get paid a fair price for the use of our land. We should end the subsidies to these millionaires Krugman calls "High Plains Moochers".

From TPM: Win or lose — and they’ll probably lose — Democrats hope this week’s Senate showdown over raising the federal minimum wage reaps them benefits in November’s congressional elections.

Whether they’ll get an Election Day payoff is uncertain.

In a Senate vote expected Wednesday, Republicans seem likely to block the Democratic measure, which would gradually raise today’s $7.25 hourly minimum, reaching $10.10 as soon as 2016. Even if the bill, one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities, somehow survives in the Senate, it stands little chance of even getting a vote in the GOP-run House.

Who would the proposal most directly affect? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women and young people make up disproportionate portions of the 3.3 million people who earned $7.25 or less last year. Both groups traditionally skew Democratic, and the party would love to drive them to the polls in November as it battles to retain Senate control.

I fully expect the Republicans to give us another issue, along with the ACA, both of which can be used to hammer them.

From Think Progress: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told George Stephanopoulos Sunday that she left the Republican Party in the mid-90s because it was tilting the playing field in favor of Wall Street.

Warren has quickly become a populist hero to liberals. Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s The Week, noted something in her background that “might surprise” her supporters: the fact that she has voted Republican in the past, and was a registered Republican in Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1996. Warren said she left the party after that because she felt it was siding more and more with Wall Street

 

I do so wish she was willing to be the first woman President.

Cartoon:

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Many were executed for crimes far less heinous that those committed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc.

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Mar 162014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and have a lot to do.  In fact, I may be a bit scarce for the next couple of days.  I’ve been tentatively approved for a level of volunteer authorization that will allow me to enter and move within the prison without direct supervision from staff.  To complete the approval process, I have to read a manual, complete a written examination at home, and submit it within the next few days.  Then I have to attend a training session in Salem early next month, and an institution orientation.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:57 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:From Upworthy: Some people say America has the #1 health care system in the world. Those people are probably not counting the other 36 countries that are beating us. Aasif Mandvi decided to go investigate whether we really have the not-best system ever. What he finds is kind of appalling. At 4:00 is the most awkward 15 seconds I’ve seen in quite some time. If you live in Canada and have fancy universal health care, you can watch it here. (or here).

LOL!! That Republican liar was so dumbfounded that he was looking for a way to bury his head between his own nether cheeks!!

From The New Yorker: President Obama has sparked outrage in Congress and renewed calls for his impeachment by signing a daring Presidential memorandum that would pay workers enough to eat.

The memorandum, which is based on the President’s view that people should be paid for the hours they actually work, is shaping up as one of the most controversial and incendiary actions of his Presidency.

House Republican leaders held a press conference this morning to warn Obama that, by advancing his agenda of paying people for the work they do, he is “playing with political fire.”

“A Presidential memorandum is a powerful tool and should be used sparingly,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “It is not a vehicle for this President to enact his pet theories about people earning enough to survive.”

Andy did it again! Bingo!!

From Daily Kos: If you watch only one thing today, watch this.

Short version: The GOP is a staggering corpse that is fading into irrelevance and the real future is in the fight between pro-corporate Democrats and pro-worker Democrats.

 

Krystal did a superior job of elucidating something I’ve been saying for years. Instead of waiting for an election year and whining that Democratic candidates don’t represent them, as so many lazy lefties do, we need to be taking control of the Democratic Party at the grassroots level as though every year was an election year.

Cartoon:

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Feb 232014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this will be the only article, because I cut my search for material short.  Although I spent more time in research than usual, I did not find much that grabbed me, and I didn’t want to keep pushing, because I’ll be quite busy for the next couple days.  On Monday, I’ll be hosting a Board Meeting of my prison volunteer organization here in the Cat Box, including dinner, so I’ll have a lot of cleaning and food prep to do for the next couple days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:52 (average 5:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: If what he said in 1996 is any guide, House Speaker John Boehner really, really does not plan to allow a vote on raising the minimum wage:

“I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill,” Boehner, then the head of the House Republican Conference, said at the time.

How’s that for an extreme position? He wouldn’t just die before doing it, he’d actually kill himself. Take his own life rather than lift hundreds of thousands out of poverty by requiring businesses to pay a minimum wage that a small family can come somewhere close to living on. It’s almost like he’s not the moderate figure trying to balance the demands of his party’s teabagger extremists with responsible governance that so many political reporters have painted him as.

What better reason could there for Democrats to circulate a discharge petition on this issue, Not only would it me a major victory against vulture capitalists and their Republican lackeys, but also, the fringe benefit is fantastic!! ;-)

From NY Times: The phony budget games finally came to an end this week. After years of trying to entice Republicans into serious negotiations over a fiscal deal — years of instant rejection and painful austerity — the White House announced it was giving up.

In President Obama’s 2015 budget, scheduled to be unveiled next month, there will be no more proposals to cut entitlement programs. Instead, the president will demand what the country needs the most: new investments in education, in energy efficiency, in job training. When Republicans turn away, as they will, they will have to explain to voters why they prefer tax loopholes for the rich over programs to create jobs and rebuild the economy.
Mr. Obama will not include an offer that marred his 2014 budget plan: reducing the cost-of-living increase for Social Security in exchange for higher spending and the end of some of those loopholes. The Social Security cut, known as a “chained” Consumer Price Index, was never a good idea. It was likely to hurt vulnerable retirees, but had been long advocated by the right. Nonetheless, Republicans refused to consider that change if it meant touching the tax breaks of their wealthiest donors, so they passed up a chance to achieve their stated goal of reducing entitlement spending.

In my opinion, the authors have this wrong in one key way. I trust you remember that, at the time, I said that the only reason Obama was offering chained CPI was the certainty that Republicans would refuse it, because it came paired with cuts in welfare for the 1%. Now, in my opinion, Obama is making no such offer, because Republicans have become so desperate to appear reasonable in an e3lection year, that they might accept it, if he did.

From TPM: The United Auto Workers union is appealing a union representation election for Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen workers citing interference from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and other groups and lawmakers in the state.

The UAW announced its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday.

The appeal argues that Corker, Tennessee Gov. William Haslam and State House Speaker Beth Harwell, among others, "conducted what appears to have been a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign. They worked, in concert with their staffs and others, to deprive" Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "workers of their federally-protected right, through the Election, to support and select the UAW as their exclusive representation under Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"), free of coercion, intimidation, threats and interference."…

…Read the appeal here.

Having read the appeal myself, as I strongly recommend that you do too, I agree that the UAW complaint is accurate, and that the NLRB should set aside the election and order a new one.

Cartoon:

0223Cartoon

This effectively makes any Voter ID laws that require voter expense, either for the ID, or for the documents needed to obtain it, unconstitutional.

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Feb 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, am still very congested, and am still in minimal participation mode.  Nevertheless, I have two additional articles for you today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From John Kitzhaber: I received this from “Kitz”, our governor, in email.

Tuesday night, President Obama stood before Congress and made a compelling case that the challenge before us is restoring the American Dream and creating economic security for all families.

 

He also made it clear that when Congress fails to act, he will take executive action.   And while that’s the right approach, he’s forced to it because politics in Washington DC are fundamentally broken.

 

But here in Oregon, things look a little different.

 

We have disagreements and debates, but in the end, we get things done.  Oregonians of both parties have come together in the Legislature to take critical steps forward for economic security, health security, and for our childrens’ futures.

 

Even as an election year gets underway, my focus remains on getting things done for Oregonians.  And it’s paying off:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon added 39,000 jobs last year, ranking third in the nation in job growth in 2013, behind only Florida and North Dakota.
  • Oregon’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in over five years, falling last month to 7.0%.
  • Despite the well-reported challenges we’ve faced, over 200,000 Oregonians have now enrolled for health care. Our health care reforms will provide better care, save Oregonians hundreds of millions of dollars, and protect them from financial stresses if they becoming ill or injured.
  • We’ve started to reinvest in our schools and our children’s education, with over $6 billion in school funding – and critical reforms that integrate early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education.

We have a long way to go.  And in this election season, you can bet that there will be some who will distort and distract from our accomplishments.

 

Your support in 2010 – and in the months and years since – has made all of this possible.  Thank you.

 

John

Oregon leads the way!  This is what happens when progressives are actively involved at all levels of government.

From Upworthy: This Guy Needs A Clue: A Member Of The 1% Declares It ‘Great’ That 3.5 Billion Are In Poverty.

It’s like he’s a living example of rich white male privilege: "Anybody can be me!"

Just to be clear, I’m not jealous of his wealth. Or what he had to do to get it. But many of those 3.5 billion in poverty never even get a chance to try to "be somebody." Once we level that playing field, we can start talking about "looking up to the 1%."

 

I loved her "Wait I don’t have socks!" comment. It looks like there’s no difference between Canadian and US vulture capitalists.

From NY Times: Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, a diminutive Democratic giant whose 40 years in the House produced some of the most important legislation of the era, announced Thursday that he would retire at the end of the year.

I understand that Sandra Fluke may run for his seat. Would that be fantastic, or what?

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