Dec 062014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 31.  Groceries have come and are put away.  I should be on bed, but my O2 delivery is late.  I think I’m coming down with a winter flu bug, as my COPD is worse than normal, and I’m running a fever, so this will be the only article.

Jug Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republicans, ever on the lookout for ways to express how very outraged they are at President Obama for daring to do something about immigration reform after they refused, hit upon the idea of not inviting the president to deliver the State of the Union address to Congress. The idea seemed crazy when it was first mentioned—probably because it’s crazy—but it seems to be gaining steam:

Late Tuesday, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) called for Boehner to not invite Obama to deliver the State of the Union address next year. […]

On the State of the Union, [Rep. Tim Huelskamp] added: “In the spirit of George Washington, he could send it to us in writing. It’d save some time.”

What petty, vindictive cretins! Call the WAAAAambulance!

From Alternet: House cats often appear aloof and indifferent toward their human companions. But it’s not just an act — they actually don’t care. A recent study of the domestic cat genome reveals why.

Scientists from the Genome Institute at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis sequenced the first house cat reference genome, and discovered that house cats may not be that genetically different from wild cats. This may explain why house cats seem to ignore their human companions and instead behave like they have their own agenda. Maybe they’re acting like wild cats.

Evidently these scientists didn’t include the experience of living with a cat in their studies. We care, but we want humans to know that we own them, not the other way around. Fortunately the cats in the study outsmarted the scientists. It wasn’t too hard. They’re just humans.

From Right Wing Watch: Bryan Fischer was out sick yesterday, so the American Family Association’s news director, Fred Jackson, filled in as guest host on Fischer’s "Focal Point" radio program where he interviewed [AFA delinked] the ACRU’s Robert Knight [hate group delinked] about the protests that have erupted after two separate grand juries failed to indict police officers for killing unarmed black men.

Knight declared that the activists who have protested these decisions are "trying desperately to start a race war" and blamed President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for fanning the flames by supposedly suggesting that all police officers are racist.

 

How absurd! Some Republicans actually do appear to be siding with the black victims of police murder, but it’s all show for the mainstream, while the bubble machine plays their true position.  If they were concerned at all with minority rights, the3y would not be working overtime to tale away their right to vote. Note how the AFA, an organization concerned with killing LGBT and women’s rights, are happy to goose-step with the racist white “civil rights” group.

Cartoon:

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This is ones of the ones Republicans prefer to ignore

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Dec 052014
 

A few days ago I made the statement that all police should be equipped with body cameras, as a solution to the spate of police murders perpetrated against black men and children.  When I’m wrong, I say so.  Now we can see that, even if we have clear video, justice will STILL not be done.

1205eric-garnerHundreds of protesters took to the streets across New York City and in other cities Wednesday evening after a Staten Island grand jury said it would not indict a white police officer in the death of a black man, a decision that prompted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to announce the opening of a federal civil rights investigation.

The grand jury declined to bring charges­ in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.

The decision struck many protesters as a chilling and frustrating repetition of events in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury last month said it would not indict the white officer who killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. The Brown case ignited waves of protests and a national debate over the treatment that African American men receive at the hands of law enforcement officers…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

There is little doubt as to what happened.  I passer by recorded it with his cell phone.

Any standard issue Mark II eyeball should be clear about that.

Chris Hayes and his panel discussed the background, the meaning, and the demonstrations.

If you can’t see it here, try the direct MSNBC link.  If that doesn’t work you can watch it on YouTube.

This reminds me of an incident that happened here in Portland in 1985.  It also shows just how blatant polics were in their lack of respect for human life and civilian authority over them

1205specialsection83Then Greg Cavic, a Shell gas-station attendant bearing a spooky resemblance to Kato Kaelin, walked over and started arguing with Stevenson. By the time police arrived, Cavic and Stevenson’s dispute had grown heated enough that Officer Bruce Pantley stepped between them. To this day, exactly what happened next remains a mystery. But the upshot was that Officer Gary Barbour put Stevenson in a "sleeper hold" for 15 seconds, and Stevenson’s heart stopped beating. None of the officers administered CPR, and Stevenson was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby emergency room.

That Barbour and Pantley overreacted was clear. So, too, was their violation of police rules that called for officers to apply CPR following use of the sleeper hold.

But the incident posed larger questions: Would the officers have reacted the same way if Stevenson had been white?

When District Attorney Michael Schrunk called a highly unusual public inquest, many questioned whether the panel would be anything more than a whitewash.

Against this backdrop of tragedy, two officers spat in the face of a city trying to grapple with these questions. On the very day Stevenson was buried, officers Richard Montee and Paul Wickersham sold as many as 30 T-shirts in the East Precinct parking lot, depicting a smoking gun and emblazoned with the slogan "Don’t Choke ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em.”

The black community was outraged… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Willamette Week>

Click through for an excellent article.

Clearly cameras will not be enough.  The prosecutors who depend on police for their career advancement need to be removed from the loop.

I did take a quick peek at the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise.  Their take is that Garner was the only guilty one.

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Dec 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 30. My COPD is still acting up.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day and an O2 delivery day.  I may be scarce.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:18 (average 5:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

One can only imagine Hooks Independent School District board member Chris Harris won’t be working for the district much longer after he posted the image above. The image has rightfully garnered a lot of attention, not the kind Mr. Harris was likely hoping for when he posted it.

He’s since apologized, but it may be too late:

Harris posted messages saying in part that he realizes what he posted was inappropriate and offended people. He went on to say he’s deeply sorry and not a racist.

According to Superintendent Thompson, Harris’ future with the school district  will be up to the school board members.

"They govern me. That is who I answer to," said Thompson. "They govern each other. It is in their hands."

That Republican is not a racist. The Pope is not Catholic. Bears never, ever shit in the woods.

From The New Yorker: On the heels of an initiative to provide police departments with body cameras, there is growing support for a plan to supply grand-jury members with eyes, advocates for the plan said on Wednesday.

“Body cameras are an important part of the solution,” said Harland Dorrinson, who is lobbying Washington to equip grand juries with the sense of sight. “But I strongly believe that if you take video evidence and add eyes, the combination would be unstoppable.”

Some critics of Dorrinson’s proposal say that it does not go far enough, and that in order to process information sent from their eyes grand juries would also need to be fitted with working brains.

For once I disagree with Andy. When Grand Jurors make garbage decisions, it’s because prosecutors feed them garbage.

From NY Times: A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by Gov. Rick Scott in his first term in office.

The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled that the law, one of the strictest in the country, was an unreasonable search because Florida officials had failed to show a “substantial need” to test all people who applied for welfare benefits. Applicants were required to submit to urine tests, a measure that Mr. Scott said would protect children of welfare applicants by ensuring that their parents were not buying and using drugs.

“The state has not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population,” the panel said in its unanimous decision, using an acronym for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Rick Scott is going to hate this because he founded the company getting rich off of doing the drug testing.  He claims he no longer owns it, which is true.  Now, his wife does.

Cartoon:

1205Cartoon

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Dec 042014
 

Let me begin with thanks and a Hat Tip to Joanne Dixon, who emailed me a link to this article on the science of prejudice.  I took the Implicit Association Test for race, and quite frankly, I was shocked the results.  After thinking about the results in light of my own background, they made more sense and I’ll explain why.

1204IAT

I’m sitting in the soft-spoken cognitive neuroscientist‘s spotless office nestled within New York University’s psychology department, but it feels like I’m at the doctor’s, getting a dreaded diagnosis. On his giant monitor, Amodio shows me a big blob of data, a cluster of points depicting where people score on the Implicit Association Test. The test measures racial prejudices that we cannot consciously control. I’ve taken it three times now. This time around my uncontrolled prejudice, while clearly present, has come in significantly below the average for white people like me.

You think of yourself as a person who strives to be unprejudiced, but you can’t control these split-second reactions.

That certainly beats the first time I took the IAT online, on the website UnderstandingPrejudice.org. That time, my results showed a "strong automatic preference" for European Americans over African Americans. That was not a good thing to hear, but it’s extremely common—51 percent of online test takers show moderate to strong bias.

Taking the IAT, one of the most popular tools among researchers trying to understand racism and prejudice, is both extremely simple and pretty traumatic. The test asks you to rapidly categorize images of faces as either "African American" or "European American" while you also categorize words (like "evil," "happy," "awful," and "peace") as either "good" or "bad." Faces and words flash on the screen, and you tap a key, as fast as you can, to indicate which category is appropriate…

Inserted from <Mother Jones>

To take the test yourself, click the IAT link above or click here.  Click through to the list of tests, and choose the test for race near the bottom of the list.  How did you do?

My test showed that I have a preference for African Americans.  I was shocked because I am white guy, who grew up in an environment of extreme racism.  To this day, I catch myself thinking stereotypically against minorities on very rare occasions.  I correct myself whenever that happens.  So I was expecting a bias toward Caucasians.  But I think I understand it.

I grew up one block from the bay and two from the ocean, so I don’t remember a time I wasn’t in the water.  One Saturday, when I was eight or nine years old, I was diving for muscles in the bay.  I stayed down a bit to long and came up fast right under the boat and hit my head.  I knocked myself cold.  Another young boy, fishing for flounder nearby, heard the collision, dove in and pulled me out.  I quickly regained consciousness, and realized that he had saved my life.  His name was Bobby.  I took him home to meet my family.  I was not allowed to have friends in without permission, so he waited outside, and I went to talk to my father.  He wanted to meet the boy that had saved my life.  It did not occur to me to tell him Bobby was black.  My father took one look at him, got red in the face, and bellowed, “Get that dirty little n*gg*r out of my house!”  I was mortified.  Bobby just shook it off.  We remained secret friends for years, and then, open friends, until he was killed in Vietnam.  My father created a civil rights activist that day.

How this relates to the test is that my rejection of the kind of racism my father displayed is so strong, that I unconsciously show preference to black people, as an overcompensation for the tiny remnant of prejudice that surfaces, ever so briefly, every two or three years.  It may also be compensating for the racism in our society.

Was your test what you expected, or did you gain insight into yourself from it?

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Nov 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 25.  This is the only article, because today is a dead news day and a lazy day for a TomCat.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos’ service is with the Kansas City Chiefs, but in these circumstances, they’re just Officer Wilson’s team.  They have the Sunday Night game and will be nationally televised.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Alternet: One of the ways reformers are trying to reduce the use of excessive police force is by requiring police officers to wear body cameras. Cities like Cleveland are moving toward requiring more officers to wear cameras to ensure accountability.

But a case out of Denver shows that not all police are so keen to be recorded. This past August, a group of police officers attempted to arrest David Nelson Flores for suspected drug possession. When he stuffed a sock in his mouth and refused to open his mouth, one of the officers struck him in the head repeatedly. “Those were the hardest punches I have ever heard, said Levi Frasier, a bystander who witnessed the beating. 

But police did not limit their use of force to Flores. They also tripped his girlfriend, who was almost eight months pregnant at the time. Luckily for Flores and his girlfriend, Frasier recorded the entire incident on his tablet. But the police took his tablet and deleted the video. At least they thought they deleted it. When Frasier got home he discovered the video file reappeared once the tablet synced with the cloud server.

 

I’m surprised that the local Fox affiliate is not goose-stepping with the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise.  This account makes it painfully clear that all police need to be wearing a camera that record their actions.

From Crooks and Liars: I’ve been arguing with fellow progressives for more than a decade about our lack of outreach to the white working class. It’s time. If we want to get a solid majority that lasts long enough to make real change, we’d damn well better start:

ATLANTA (AP) — Southern Democrats are joining others in the party who say that a return to advocating to lift people out of economic hardship and emphasizing spending on education and public works will re-energize black voters and attract whites as well.

"It’s time to draw a line in the sand and not surrender our brand," Rickey Cole, the party chairman in Mississippi, said. He believes candidates have distanced themselves from the past half-century of Democratic principles.

Amen.

From Raw Story: A staffer for Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN) took to Facebook this week to attack Sasha and Malia Obama, President Barack Obama’s daughters, for failing to show what she deemed to be sufficient respect for their father’s annual pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey.

According to Gawker, Elizabeth Lauten, former new media political director for the Republican National Committee, wrote an open letter to the two girls, attacking their facial expressions and clothing choices.

Nothing is despicable for Republicans.

Cartoon:

1130Cartoon

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Nov 292014
 

While most of our attention has been focused on Fitzgerald, Police in Cleveland have murdered a black child, Tamir Rice.  The surveillance video covering the scene makes it crystal clear that the account of the killing by the police could not be true.  They did not even have the decency to try to save Tamir’s life.

1129TamirRiceThe Cleveland officers who shot a 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun then failed to give him first aid for nearly four minutes. The boy was finally administered first aid when a detective and FBI agent arrived at the scene.

But it was too late. The boy, Tamir Rice, died after being transported to the hospital.

According to newly surveillance video, Rice was shot by the officers within two seconds of their arrival at the scene.

A department spokesman told a local ABC station he “was unsure of the policy related to how and when officers are required to provide medical assistance.” The officers’ conduct is “under investigation.”…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

When searching from a picture of Tamir, this one above appears to be the most common, but I could not help noticing that on Republican websites, it had been altered to make his skin appear darker.

Here is the complete surveillance video of the incident.

First of all the video makes it clear that Tamir was just a child playing in a park next to a youth center.  I certainly played that way when I was a child.  Note that he respected the man in the gazebo, did not threaten him, and did not even enter that space until after the man had left.

Note that when the police arrived, the officer jumped out of the car and killed him immediately.  There was no time for police to have issued the warning that they claim they did.

Lawrence O’Donnell covered this aspect of the story in detail.

The person who translated the incoming call to what the dispatcher said should be immediately fired.  Nevertheless, failure to communicate that the caller thought it was a kid and that the gun might be a toy does not justify the failure of the responding officers to even try to investigate before killing Tamir.

There could be no way that the police are telling the truth.  My guess is that the rookie didn’t want to be a “cherry”, a term some police use to describe an officer who has never shot anyone.  Worse, he may have wanted to become a “gorilla hunter”, a term some white police officers use.

Now that you have seen the proof with your own eyes, you will know how to deal with the Republican fabrication that will surround the incident to justify this murder.

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Nov 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 19.  It’s early in the morning, and I plan to finish in time for some intense meditation on the Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  I may be scarce next week as I have a very busy schedule.  Store to Door is closed for Thanksgiving week, so I have a grocery delivery coming from Safeway tomorrow, and I’ll have to stow and put them away.  Tuesday is a prison volunteer day.  Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be cooking up a storm, so I’m not sure how much content I’ll be able to deliver.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1123-Bronco39-Dolphins36

Was that a nail-biter or what!  Wooo Hooo! :-D

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: These guys went across the world because there's a natural wonder that needs saving.

 

Kudos to Upworthy, but nothing is as clickable and shareable as a cat video. Nevertheless, I'd be honored to bring you more #reefreels.

From Right Wing Watch: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, said during his Sunday radio program [fascist delinked] that it’s possible that a Hispanic majority in the U.S. could conduct an “ethnic cleansing.”

Kobach made his remarks in response to a caller who asked, “What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race?”

Claiming that immigrant rights groups are “calling for the return of the Spanish territory, which could be almost half of the United States,” the caller warned, “When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them. And it’s a bigger issue than just being Democrats. And they know in numbers, once the numbers are so bad, they can pretty much do whatever they want to do.”

Here's the Audio. Barf Bag Alert!!

Kobitch is employing projection. If what he were saying about ethnic cleansing were true, there would be no Anglo communities in Mexico or other Latin American countries when Latino people took over. On the other hand, Republicans are the ones who love to threaten and employ violence when they don't get their way.

From NY Times: GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?

A century ago, this sweep of mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive.

In 30 years, there may be none.

A warming climate is melting Glacier’s glaciers, an icy retreat that promises to change not just tourists’ vistas, but also the mountains and everything around them.

I found some appropriate video.

I visited Glacier National Park in 1961. I remember my amazement at walking on glaciers in August and my awe at their number and immensity. It's a personal sorrow that most of the places, were I walked on glaciers, are now completely ice free.

Cartoon:

1124Cartoon

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