Jul 282015
 

I’m hurrying to get today’s articles up as early as I can, as later I’m going to prison to do volunteer work.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  Portland us under a heat advisory.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: At the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 2015 annual meeting in San Diego, California, dirty energy companies and their supporters–including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Duke Energy–continue to dominate the funding of activities, according to a list of conference sponsors obtained jointly by the Center for Media and Democracy and Greenpeace. At the top of the agenda, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke to ALEC delegates over breakfast on Thursday. Walker is now campaigning on a promise to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if elected President in 2016, a plan which was earlier debated by ALEC at its December 2014 conference and is in line with ALEC’s long-term legislative agenda. At ALEC conferences and meetings, rhetoric against the EPA–and in particular the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution–is frequently extreme.

Click through for more, including a list of sponsors to boycott.

From Daily Kos: Spot the difference

Last year, a Nevada rancher who boasts that he doesn’t “recognize the United States government as even existing” become a hero of Fox News pundits and other conservative commentators for refusing to pay grazing fees he owes the government.

But when a black woman named Sandra Bland was forced out of her car and to the ground by a Texas police officer after she reportedly failed to signal during a lane switch and declined to put out a cigarette, Fox News thinks this is a time to lecture viewers on how to be respectful to law enforcement. Bland later died in police custody in what investigators ruled was a suicide. –

White men defending a criminal, facing down gubbmint agencies with many, many guns, good.

African American Woman armed with a cigarette, bad. The policeman was being exposed to second hand smoke for crissakes!

The contrast is absurd, intolerable, and Republican.

From NY Times: His family called him unstable and violent, so John R. Houser was ordered by a judge to be taken against his will to a mental hospital in 2008. Despite that sign that Mr. Houser was mentally troubled, he passed a background check and was able to legally purchase the gun he used last week to kill two people in a Louisiana movie theater, because that hospital stay was not defined by officials as an involuntary commitment.

Dylann Roof, who is charged with shooting nine people to death in a Charleston, S.C., church last month, was also able to buy the gun he used in the massacre. He should have failed a background check, federal officials said, because he had previously admitted to illegal drug possession. Yet because of a clerical error in South Carolina and the confusion that caused the federal authorities who examined his record, he was not stopped from his making his purchase.

As these two cases show, the one system that gun rights and gun control advocates both agree on, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, is riddled with problems. While the system, in operation since 1998, has prevented more than 2.4 million sales, it still has major gaps, with spotty cooperation from the states and a narrow definition of who is considered too mentally ill to own a gun.

Republicans work overtime to keep the system ridden with loopholes, because enabling criminal gun purchases maximizes gun industry profits.

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Jul 262015
 

I’m enjoying the cool weather, but not looking forward to the heat wave.  Tuesday will be high 80°s, followed by 90°s through the following Tuesday, at least.  I’d better take advantage while the cool is here.  I hope you’re enjoying your weekend

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 10/2011): What he’s gloating [see below] over is this news report.

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law appears to be hitting black precincts in the state the hardest, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

For instance, nearly half the voters who cast ballots at a historically black college in Columbia lack state-issued photo identification and could face problems voting in next year’s presidential election, according to the analysis of precinct-level data provided by the state Election Commission.[…]

[A]mong the state’s 2,134 precincts, there are 10 where nearly all of the law’s affect falls on nonwhite voters who don’t have a state- issued driver’s license or ID card, a total of 1,977 voters.

The same holds true for white voters in a number of precincts, but the overall effect is much more spread out and involves fewer total voters: There are 44 precincts where only white voters are affected, or 1,831 people in all.

The precinct that votes at Benedict College’s campus center has 2,790 voters, including nine white voters. In that precinct, 1,343 of the precinct’s nonwhite voters lack state identification, but only five white voters do. The former group accounts for 48 percent of the precinct’s voters.[…]

A precinct at South Carolina State University has 2,305 active voters, including 33 white voters. There, 800 nonwhite voters and 17 white voters there lack state IDs. More than a third of the voters in the precinct lack state photo identification.

Disenfranchising huge groups of people—African Americans—is thus "EXACTLY" why Republicans created this law, according to Wesley Donehue.

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Even four years ago, we heard if from the elephant’s mouth. The purpose of voter ID laws to keep black people from being able to vote.  Republicans also target other vulnerable people for disenfranchisement. 

From NY Times: “I don’t want people thinking we are trying to get these regs done so we can influence the election,” Mr. Koskinen declared later to reporters. The statement was remarkable for blessing further procrastination at the I.R.S., whose clear obligation is to enforce existing law in a way that would end the current flood of “dark money” financing politics. The commissioner said the earliest that tighter rules could take effect would be 2017. The I.R.S. has been increasingly timorous on this issue ever since House Republicans opened partisan hearings into complaints that I.R.S. officials have been biased against conservative political groups that claim tax exemptions as nonprofit social welfare groups.

I’m sad to sy that the Republican pseudo-scandal worked to help them buy elections, using even foreign money.  It’s especially frustrating because Republican lies about it were thoroughly debunked.

From Raw Story: [P]erhaps predictably, the Westboro Baptist Church has vowed to protest the funerals of two victims that died in the Lafayette theater shooting this week. But they may meet quite a bit of resistance.

Hundreds of counter-protesters are planning to form a human chain to protect mourners, the New York Daily News reports. The event page for the Lafayette Human Barrier shows at least 15,000 listed as “going.”

Kudos to the Human Barrier against the Westboro Republicans. I only wish the victims had been better protected from the Republican criminal that murdered them.

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Jul 242015
 

I’m getting started way late, because I went out to get my ears lowered, and had a meal and a much-needed car nap when I returned home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:29).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Reminder:

Lefty Blog Friends, don’t forget that our live online draft is tomorrow, Saturday, at 11 AM Pacific (12 Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern) Daylight Savings Time.  If you haven’t already done so, I recommend participating in a mock draft or two between now and then.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s amazing what garbage gets tossed into must-pass Congressional appropriation bills. Perhaps one of the most heinous in a long time was a land grab tucked inside last year’s National Defense Authorization Act at the last minute, when no one was looking.

The Act included an eleventh-hour rider that would swap land between the National Forest Service and Resolution Copper Mining, a subsidiary of Anglo-Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. The deal would turn 5,300 acres of Resolution-owned land over to the US Forest Service, in exchange for about 2,400 acres of public land, including an area known as Oak Flat. No secret what Resolution plans to do with Oak Flat: dig 7,000 feet into the ground to get at one of the world’s largest copper deposits.

Sounds like a good deal, huh? The Forest Service takes in twice the amount of land it gives up, and the company claims that its new mine will create 2,400-plus jobs and generate $61 billion in local and state economic activity and tax revenue. And the copper? Well everyone knows the world needs copper!…

…But this isn’t just any area around Superior; this is Oak Flat, a stunning piece of land in the Tonto National Forest. It is a sacred holy place to the San Carlos Apache tribe, where tribe members have performed traditional acorn gatherings and coming of age ceremonies–mostly for girls–for generations. And there’s plenty of archaeological evidence to back this up. The land has been protected since 1955, when President Eisenhower decreed it closed to mining due to its cultural and natural value. Even Richard Nixon’s administration renewed the ban in 1971.

Ah, but today’s Repugnicans feel no such need to preserve the sacred. Especially when both of Arizona’s Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have been on the Rio Tinto dole.

This would never have happened had the land been a memorial to a Nathan Bedford Forrest, or some other racist icon, sacred to Republicans.

From MSNBC: In most states you can be fired for being gay

Rachel Maddow reports on a new effort to ban discrimination against gay people by amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and notes that most people don’t realize that right doesn’t already exist.

 

Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is leading the fight for passage in the Senate.

From Alternet: School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools.

But the times they are a-changin’. Wisconsin is well on its way toward limitless voucher schools, and last month, Nevada signed into law a universal "education savings account" allowing parents to send their kids to private or religious schools, or even to home-school them—all on the taxpayers’ dime. On the federal level, a proposed amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that would have created a multi-billion-dollar-a-year voucher program was only narrowly defeated in the U.S. Senate…

…With vouchers gaining momentum nationwide, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is meeting in San Diego this week, has decided to drop the pretense that vouchers have anything to do with social and racial equity, and is now pushing vouchers for the middle class—a project which, if pursued enough in numbers, will progressively erode the public school system and increase the segregation of students based on race and economic standing.

I’ve been saying this for years. Republicans want YOU to fund education for the rich and pseudo-Christian fanatics, while YOUR kids’ services get cut because of it.

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Jul 232015
 

Today I’m feeling a bit groggy, because I did get some sleep last night.  Tomorrow I have to venture out into the world to get my ears lowered.  I’m starting to look like a hermit.  The weekend should be cool, but we have another heat wave next week, just in time for my next volunteer day in prison.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Reminder:

Lefty Blog Friends, don’t forget that our live online draft is Saturday at 11 AM Pacific (12 Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern) Daylight Savings Time.  If you haven’t already done so, I recommend participating in a mock draft or two between now and then.

Short Takes:

From MSNBC: Sanders speaks out on Sandra Bland

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issues a forceful statement on the case of Sandra Bland, days after a tense confrontation with #BlackLivesMatter activists. Sanders joins Ed Schultz to explain.

 

I liked Bernie’s response. I hope that it will evoke a positive response from Black Lives Matter, but I fear that it will not, because he did not focus on their issues to the exclusion of everything else. Note that Bernie wanted to focus on immigration at ,Netroots, not because he dis not care about institutional racism, but because immigration is what the conference had asked him to present.

From The New Yorker: Businessman Donald Trump’s failure to insult fellow G.O.P. hopeful John Kasich a full twenty-four hours after the Ohio governor entered the  2016 Presidential race has sent Trump’s poll numbers plummeting, as many supporters expressed a sudden loss of confidence in the real-estate mogul.

Trump’s Kasich gaffe occurred at a campaign rally in Des Moines on Wednesday, when the former reality-show star admitted that he did not yet know enough about the Ohio governor to properly insult him.

“I could get up here and call Kasich a loser, because my gut tells me that’s what he is, but you’ve come to expect something more special out of me,” Trump said. “If you bear with me, I promise you that I’ll come up with a world-class insult that we can all be proud of.”

Good catch, Andy! Hairball had better hurry up, because KKKasich needs some of his special treatment.

From Daily Kos: via rawstory

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Georgia “sovereign citizen” who twice attempted to pull one of the half-dozen guns he had within reach inside his car decorated with a hand-painted Confederate flag.

A Towns County sheriff’s deputy and an agent from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office stopped 30-year-old Dustin Lee Gunnells, of Hiawassee, for an unspecified misdemeanor traffic offense Wednesday, reported WKRK-AM.

“Immediately the driver exhibited aggression towards the officers and began making statements consistent with ‘sovereign citizen type beliefs,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Rather than comply with deputies, the driver reached for a gun.”

The deputies feared for their safety but did not shoot, and instead broke out a window in Gunnell’s car and physically removed him from the vehicle.

So this guy has loaded weapons in his confederate flag painted truck, refuses to comply, the cops tussle with him and he is not dead. See cops can get it right, if the color of skin and ideology is right.

While I may not always agree with the Black Lives Matter movement about tactics, I fully agree with them about the elevated danger black people face from Republican racists wearing badges and the immediate need to do something to stop it.

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Jul 222015
 

The onset of cooler weather started on a down note.  My Firefox crashed, and I was up most of the night trying without success to repair it.  IE11 is not as bad as earlier versions, and I’m stuck with it for the time being.  I’m bleary eyed, but I have to wait for Store to Door to deliver groceries and put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Oliver Willis dug up a letter Jeb Bush wrote to the men who orchestrated the smear campaign against then-presidential candidate John Kerry. The letter (seen below), from the desk of the Governor of Florida, was a personal thank you for helping to re-elect his brother.

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This shows what a hypocrite Strike Three is, considering his current condemnation of Hairball’s attacks on McConJob’s service.

From NY Times: Slamming the Obama administration for failing to penalize cities that shield illegal immigrants, congressional Republicans on Tuesday started to pursue legislation that would withhold federal funds from these so-called sanctuary cities.

The House is expected to vote this week on a bill that would bar the Justice Department from giving grants to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration enforcement officials, a measure that Republicans hope can bridge the reopened chasm within the party over immigration as they try to avoid alienating Hispanic voters.

If this is what Republicans and consider a position that avoids alienating Latinos, they are sure to do so.

From Crooks and Liars: For anyone that missed it, there were competing rallies this past weekend over the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse at the state capitol, with members of both the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party in attendance.

 

From this, one thing is clear. SC has no shortage of Republicans.

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We need one for Republicans.

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Jul 212015
 

I am still disturbed by the way Bernie Sanders was heckled at Netroots.  He was treated like someone who did not care about black people, humiliated, and shouted down.  However, if you put Bernie’s record, over the years, on the table, it’s clear to see that he has done more for civil and human rights than any other candidate in the presidential field.

0721BernieOver the past few months, one lingering blemish on Bernie Sanders' candidacy for the Democratic nomination is his indifference to racial justice and civil rights issues.

But the truth is, Sanders has a 50-year history of standing up for civil and minority rights, as he told the attendants of Netroots Nation after he was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters. Of course, it's understandable that they want to bring attention to the movement…

…Here are 20 ways Sanders has stood up for civil and minority rights, starting in the early 1950s up to the present year.

1. Raising Money For Korean Orphans: International solidarity was an unusual concept for any American to have in the 1950s, let alone a high school student. But one of Sanders' first campaigns was to run for class president at James Madison High School in New York City. His platform was based around raising scholarship funds for Korean war orphans. Although he lost, the person who did win the campaign decided to endorse Sanders' campaign, and scholarships were created.

2. Being Arrested For Desegregation: As a student at the University of Chicago, Sanders was active in both the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1962, he was arrested for protesting segregation in public schools in Chicago; the police came to call him an outside agitator, as he went around putting up flyers around the city detailing police brutality.

3. Marching In March On Washington: Sanders joined the mega-rally called by the leaders of the civil rights movement, a formative event of his youth.

4. Calling For Full Gay Equality: 40 years ago, Sanders started his political life by running with a radical third party in Vermont called the Liberty Union Party. As a part of the platform, he called for abolishing all laws related to discrimination against homosexuality…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared just the first four examples.  I urge you to click through for the other sixteen.

To be critical of Bernie, he did not have a detailed platform already prepared to deal with systemic racism against blacks.  But it’s the time in candidates’ campaigns that they’re just beginning to cobble their positions on  most issues together. 

The simple truth here is that Bernie needed to learn more about the issue.  Had the leaders of the Black Lives* Matter movement sought Bernie out and educated him on what steps need to be taken to deal with systemic racism, I have no doubt that Bernie would have incorporated their positions into his campaign and fought for their positions even after his campaign is over.  That’s how Bernie is.  That is also what MLK would have done, and it would have been a far more productive move than humiliating their most likely ally.

*typo corrected

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Jul 182015
 

I’ve has almost no sleep, because it has been hot and muggy, a combination that always exacerbates street noise.  Portland is under a severe weather warning for excessive heat until Monday evening.  Today’s forecast high is 98°.  Fortunately, I got up very early this morning to cook, as now it would not be feasible.  I hope you’re having a great weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:37).  To do0 it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The mayor of Airway Heights, Washington—a suburb of Spokane—is refusing calls to resign despite immediate backlash regarding comments he made on Facebook:

The comment in full that was found on Patrick Rushing’s Facebook page read:  "Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that.  The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack.  Check out them ears. LOL."  

I showed Rushing the statement, and he confirmed he had posted it, so I asked him why he would write something like that. 

"It’s just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do," said Rushing. 

The Airway Heights City Council was unanimous in their desire to see him resign, but he’s not budging.

By thinking such comments were just joking, this Republican proved that he really is a racist.

From NY Times: Days after a showdown over the Confederate battle flag, House Republicans are barreling toward a new confrontation on another contentious issue: How should Congress respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage?

Legislation granting protections for tax-exempt organizations and individuals objecting to same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds is gathering momentum in the House. The bills, drafted by Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, already have 130 co-sponsors. On Thursday, the Republican Study Committee, the largest, most organized group of conservatives in the House, demanded a vote.

Once again, Republicans are trying to make Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians above the law.

From Alternet: Elizabeth Warren has drawn a line in 2016’s presidential election sands.

Speaking at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix on Friday, she challenged the presidential candidates to stand behind legislation introduced this week that would vastly slow down the revolving door between Wall Street’s financial firms and working for the government—where high-level private sector employees end up making government decisions that favor their past employers over the public.

 

This a 29 minute video. Every minute is worth watching!

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