Oct 252016

I must say that I enjoyed meditation yesterday evening.  Today I made my grocery order.  My guys at OSP have a new staff advisor, and in spite of sending three emails, starting three weeks ago, I stall have not received confirmation that they are expecting me at the prison on Thursday, so I need to chase her down today (accomplished).  Tomorrow I have grocery delivery and Wendy, so my week is getting very busy very fast.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:


Fantasy Football Update:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.



I’m still trapped inside a stinky blob of Sasquatch toe jam!



Congrats to Vivian and Rob for leading the league.

Short Takes:

From CBS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never had much to say about Donald Trump. But lately, he has fallen completely silent.

On the few occasions when the Republican leader has appeared publicly in his home state of Kentucky this month, he’s either avoided answering reporters’ questions, or explicitly refused to address the topic he acknowledged was on everyone’s mind: His party’s presidential nominee.

At a local Chamber of Commerce event in Danville, McConnell twice instructed the crowd not to ask him about the presidential race “even though that’s what I know you all wanted me to talk about.”

At an earlier event in Pikeville, McConnell refused to answer a reporter’s question about Trump not paying any taxes.

If he had the slightest bit of integrity, he would disavow Trump and withdraw his endorsement, but he has none. That identifies him as a Republican and proves that he is still Bought Bitch Mitch.

From TPM: Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he is confident that he has laid the groundwork for Democrats to nuke the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if they win back the Senate in November.

Envisioning Hillary Clinton in the White House and Democrats controlling the Senate, Reid warned that if a Senate Republican minority block her Supreme Court nominee, he is confident the party won’t hesitate to change the filibuster rules again.

How long have I been pleading for Democrats to do this?

From NY Times: Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a blistering rebuke of Donald J. Trump on Monday, warning him that “nasty women vote” and imploring a crowd to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton.

“I don’t know about you,” Mrs. Clinton said as she flashed a thankful smile and seized the microphone from Ms. Warren at a rally in Manchester, N.H. “But I could listen to Elizabeth Warren go on all day.”

She might have to.

With polls and early voting data signaling that Mrs. Clinton is likely to prevail against Mr. Trump in two weeks, liberal Democrats are already looking past Election Day — and relying on Ms. Warren to become the thorn in chief in Mrs. Clinton’s side, scrutinizing her appointments and agenda.

Please click through for much more. In my unmitigated support of Hillary Clinton over Rump Dump Trump, I have not become naive. Managing her will be far more difficult than electing her, and I expect Elisabeth Warren to be key in that capacity.




Win a Progressive Senate

 Posted by at 1:22 pm  Politics
Aug 072016

The left is split between a majority that makes defeating Trump their priority, and a small, but vocal minority that makes defeating Clinton their priority, in the mistaken belief that a third party candidate can win.  Although I am a pragmatist, rather than an idealist, I agree with my more idealistic friends on almost every issue.  Here’s an excerpt from an editorial that points out an area where we can work together.


…The frightening, violent bigotry Trump has conjured could swallow a lot of people before it consumes itself. Even if he loses, angry Trumpistas would still roam freely, with access to automatic weapons and heavy machinery.

I’m more excited about protesting President Clinton La Segunda than being governed by her. Under George W. Bush, were there any national progressive policy victories? The mass movements of the Bush years sought to stop bad things like the Iraq War and the Sensenbrenner immigration bill. Mass movements of the Barack Obama years — Occupy, Black Lives Matter, climate change, dreamers — had the luxury to advocate systemic change and did indeed win some policy. That’s not lesser, it’s not evil at all.

First-term Obama and Clinton El Primero enthusiastically marginalized progressives. They wanted to be pushed to the right but not the left. Progressives fell for it and demobilized. Let’s not do that this time.

I’m not loyal to Democrats, but I’d be a lot more impressed by the Green Party if they had anything at all to show for the last 16 years — the last time we had the exact same conversation.

Berners who want to keep pushing Bernie Sanders’ agenda can focus on down-ticket races, especially the Senate. The Senate has the sole power to confirm appointments and approve treaties. This would be enough to, for example, stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ratify a major climate change treaty, showcase progressive policies in cabinet confirmation hearings and confirm judges. Sanders Democrats and progressive independents could successfully elect and hold senators to these goals, if we got our act together, which we probably won’t.

The Democrats need to net at least four extra seats to flip the Senate, which is more attainable than 30 seats to win Congress. Republicans have 24 Senate seats up, and Democrats only 10. States with competitive Senate races are also swing states for the presidential races, so using Trump to drag Republican senators down is a twofer.

The closest Senate races are in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The only current Democratic seat that looks vulnerable is the race to replace the retiring boringest [sic] Senator from Nevada: Harry Reid. On the upside, there’s the chance to topple John McCain and Marco Rubio, which would be so fun. Five of the Democratic candidates invited Bernie to campaign with them because they, for example, share his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership… [emphasis added]

From <San Francisco Chronicle>

Every election, I find myself repeating myself.  We need to be building the movement the day after the election, but it seems that every year, most progressives return to working on favorite issues and expend no effort on movement building.  Can you imagine where we might be, if Bernie had started to organize in May of 2013 instead of May of 2015? 

For now, the next President will be Clinton or Trump.  That won’t change.  But at least we can agree to elect as  many down ballot progressives as we can, and when we are better organized, the White House will not be out of reach.


25 Progressive Reforms

 Posted by at 12:00 pm  Politics
Jul 302016

Now that the primary season is over, Hillary Clinton is doing what winning candidates have always done, trying to lock up the moderate vote, and even trying to recruit a few voters from the other side, albeit without being so crass as to troll in the other party’s convention hall.  No doubt Regressives will take this as an occasion to accuse her of being slightly to the right of Torquemada, and sadly, some idealists among our friends will be duped by them.  Let is remember that Clinton has pledged to 25 reforms in her convention speech.  Here are the first three.  We might actually get those reforms from Hillary.  We won’t from the fellow pictured below in this German display.


Whether you fall under the poetry and spell of this sweeping agenda or are skeptical that her words won’t bring actions, Clinton is setting a high benchmark. Here are 25 points as directly quoted or paraphrased from her speech.

1. Make economic and social justice issues ‘front and center.’ Clinton made that pledge when praising Sanders and his campaign, saying that’s “where they belong… I want you to know I have heard you. Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That is the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.”

2. Comprehensive immigration reform—not Trump’s border wall. “We will not build a wall… When we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out. Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together—and it’s the right thing to do… And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy.”

3. End targeting and racial profiling of Islamic Americans. Replying to Trump’s proposal to stop Muslims from visiting from overseas and increasing police surveillance at home, Clinton said, “We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.”

From <Alternet>
Photo Credit <ifunny.co>

Please click through for the other twenty two progressive reforms.

If I said I haven’t considered the possibility that Clinton might not follow through, you wouldn’t believe me.  You know me too well.  We need to take back the Senate, and at least put a huge dent in the Republican House Majority to get anything done.  And we have some wonderful Senators, Brown (D-OH), Merkley (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT) and Warren (D-MA), to hold her feet to the fire, if need be.

Jul 112016

In about forty minutes, I have a telephone interview scheduled with a Providence pharmacist for my annual prescription review.  After that I have a week free of medical mayhem for the first time in God only knows!  I think it’s time to sneak up on Lona the Napster and filch a couple hi grade naps!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:27 (average 5:30).  Top do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: BERNIE SANDERS: Former student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Led the first ever civil rights sit-in in Chicago history to protest segregated housing. One of only 2 sitting US Senators to have heard MLK’s "I have a Dream Speech" in person in the march on Washington, DC. Former professor of political science at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at Hamilton College. Former mayor of Burlington, VT. Elected by the state of Vermont 8 times to serve in the House of Representatives. The longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. He was dubbed the "amendment king" in the House of Representatives for passing more amendments than any other member of Congress. Ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. Author of 2 books, and co-author of 3 others. Has recorded and released a folk music album. Self-described Democratic Socialist. Married to a woman named Jane, who is a former president of Burlington College.

~In a stunning upset in 1981, Sanders wins the mayoral race in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, by a mere 10 votes. Running as an independent, he shocks the city’s political establishment by defeating a six-term, local machine mayor.

~During his tenure as mayor, he balanced the city budget, drew a minor league baseball team to Burlington, turned the formerly industrial waterfront into a mixed-use district featuring housing, parks, and public space. Burlington is now reported to be one of the most livable cities in the nation.

~In 1991, he was the first independent elected to the House in 40 years. He will be re-elected by the people of Vermont to serve eight terms.

~Votes against a measure providing President George H. W. Bush with authorization to use military force in the Gulf War. "I have a real fear that the region is not going to be more peaceful or more stable after the war," he says at the time.

These are the last seven of 28 listed things that Bernie Sanders has done for America. I’ll add two more He has won every party platform battle except trade, and he has moved to unify the party by stressing that we must elect Hillary Clinton.  Thank you Bernie!

From NY Times: The awkward dance between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, her top Democratic primary opponent, is set to conclude on Tuesday, with Mr. Sanders appearing alongside her at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H.

The event, confirmed in a news release put out by the Sanders campaign on Monday morning, could do much to appease Sanders supporters who remain skeptical of Mrs. Clinton as she heads to the party’s convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia. Mrs. Clinton has secured enough delegates for the presidential nomination but is not yet officially the nominee.

The rally, which will be held at Portsmouth High School, in a state where Mr. Sanders defeated Mrs. Clinton by 22 percentage points in a hard-fought February primary, is the result of weeks of private negotiations and policy debates between the Sanders and Clinton camps. While the endorsement event is widely expected to happen, Mrs. Clinton had to reschedule two recent events, one with President Obama and the other with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., because of the shootings in Orlando, Fla., and Dallas.

I look forward to it. I just hope his so-called supporters listen to him then.

From CNN:Republican Party leaders, donors and important delegates will flock to Cleveland this week for a series of meetings and negotiations that will determine whether or not Donald Trump can be stopped.

The anti-Trump forces will make their last stand — fighting to alter party rules that would free up delegates bound to Trump and potentially block the presumptive presidential nominee from actually winning the nomination.

The long-shot challenge will also be the first major test for the somewhat tenuous alliance for Trump and Republican Party loyalists led by chairman Reince Priebus.

If the Dump Trump fascists are successful, the Rump Dump Rectumites will stage an armed conflict that is likely to destroy the Republican Reich. If The Dump Trump fascists are not successful,. Rump Dump and his Rectumites are likely to destroy the Republican Reich by faithfully representing Republican beliefs and policies. without hiding behind Dog Whistles.   Let the festivities in Cleveland begin!



Jun 122016

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


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


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

Jig Zone Puzzle:

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

Short Takes:

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

Keep it in the ground!!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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



May 252016

I’m running late, because Julie was here.  I invited her to lunch after our session.  I’m fluffed, buffed and stuffed.  Both she and killer dawg like γέεννα chili.  Tomorrow, i should have time to post, before my volunteer session at OSP.  It’s an annual banquet for the second half (> 50) of my guys.  However, I will probably have only an Personal Update on Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5::25 (average 5:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Well there you have it…  He thinks he is King of the World and she poses like she in an auditon for a James Bond movie.  The NRA endorsed Trump..  HA.  totally classless and  they call themselves conservative.  Hypocritical  right wing trashed our First Lady because she bared her arms differently.


That’s nothing. It took me 30 seconds to Google this one.


Typical Republican family values.

From Bloomberg: House Speaker Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party, according to two people close to the lawmaker.

Ryan aides say nothing has been decided about a possible Trump endorsement. But Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting.

If Ryan were to endorse Trump, the move would end a nearly unprecedented standoff between the House speaker and his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and remove the biggest remaining obstacle to Trump’s efforts to unite Republicans around his campaign.

What can I say? Lyin’ Ryan and Rump Dump are a match made in hell.

From YouTube: Progressive platform wins big in DNC


This could be a basis for coming back together.



Yes, I know that a Chimp is an Ape, not a Monkey.