Jun 192017
 

It’s a crazy day.  We have 87° and muggy forecast, which would tie the record for this date, so my AC is fighting to keep up with the sun on the wall.  I’m afraid it has ruined the lovely shower Wendy gave me yesterday.  My replacement credit card came this morning, and I updated my most critical vendors, but there are many more to update.  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:49 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: A member of President Trump’s legal team said on Sunday that the president was not under investigation by the special counsel looking into Russia’s election-year meddling, contradicting Mr. Trump’s assertion in a Friday morning tweet that he is a subject of the widening inquiry.

The denial on Sunday by Jay Sekulow, one of several personal lawyers Mr. Trump has hired to represent him in the Russia case, is the latest of many examples in which the president’s aides and lawyers have scrambled to avert a public-relations mess created by Mr. Trump’s tweets, off-script remarks or leaked private conversations.

How can you tell if a lawyer is lying? Look for any sign of life. Trump is not under investigation, the Pope is not Catholic, and bears never, ever shit in the woods. RESIST!!

From Huffington Post: Christian and Jewish clergy members have been part of the movement for reproductive rights for decades. Religious denominations, such as the Anglican Communion, the United Church of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), have passed resolutions supporting birth control. And during the 1960s, religious leaders were actually a “driving force” in the movement to legalize abortion in the United States.

Today, this history of activism has largely been overshadowed by prominent voices on the “religious right,” who promote the idea that it is impossible to be both religious and pro-abortion rights.

 

There is no conflict between authentic Christianity and a progressive agenda. Conversely authentic Christianity and the Republican Reich are mutually exclusive. RESIST!!

From TPM: Authorities say a noose was found hanging from a lamp post outside a museum in the nation’s capital, the third such incident in recent weeks.

U.S. Park Police Sgt. Anna Rose said the noose was found Saturday afternoon outside the National Gallery of Art.

She said her agency is currently investigating how it got there.

Tourists found a noose last month on the floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A few days earlier another noose had been found on the grounds of the Hirshhorn Museum, which features contemporary art and culture.

Ever since the Dixiecrats became Republicans, the noose has been a Republican calling card. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0619Cartoon

This is when Dixiecrats became Republicans.

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Jun 172017
 

While not completely painless, yesterday’s repairs were successful.  The culprit was CKEditor, which has always given me compatibility issues that I could work around, until now.  In some ways, I prefer ARK, which is an improved front end for either CKEditor or TinyMCE, and I configured it for the latter.  It gives all commenters features that only administrators used to have.  However, we did lose the ability to change fonts and sizes.  I’ll look for a fix when time permits.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise, who has made a career of “protecting” “traditional” marriage in the House, and the rest of his gay bashing caucus, can thank their lucky stars for the brave actions of same sex married Law Enforcement Officer Crystal Griner and Patrolman David Bailey, two AA Capitol Police Officers who took on the deranged gunman yesterday.

And, in fairness, they did.

But also in fairness, Scalise has been a leading opponent on the Hill of marriage rights for gay couples as a look at his record shows.

Scalise-

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013)
  • Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)

Will Scalise now “evolve” on this issue now that he owes Crystal, and her wife, his life?

In a word… No, Nevertheless, I wish him a complete recovery, followed by a 2018 election loss RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.

According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

What else would we expect from DeVos, Trump, and the Republican Party? RESIST!!

From Oregon Live: Rainbow flags, drag queens, family ties: A visual history of Portland’s Pride Parade

Click through for some great pics. Here in Portland the annual Pride Parade is tomorrow, and it will pass first four blocks west and then three blocks north of my place. Kudos to the marchers. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0617Cartoon

She was last seen trying to swim back to France.

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Jun 152017
 

Please pardon my brevity  I have been a slave to Republicosis for most of the day and have had very little sleep.  The goal is to publish, dry up, and sleep as soon and as much as I can.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 6:47 (average 8:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): Trickle-Down Justice

 

While I agree with Van and reject trickle down justice, our support for civil rights cannot be to exclude all else. Absolute refusal to compromise breeds only extremists, like the Bernie or Bust Bot killer that wouldn’t even listen to Bernie.  RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Special counsel investigating Trump for obstruction: WaPo

Adam Entous, national security reporter for the Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about breaking news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice in the firing of James Comey.

 

Obstruction of Justice is clearly a great way to proceed against Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten. I don’t see how Mueller could reach any other conclusion. RESIST!!

From NY Times: …The latest charges reached farther than before into Michigan’s state government, affecting two cabinet-level officials in the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder and leaving open the possibility that the investigation would go higher still.

Nick Lyon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office, felonies that could lead to as much as 20 years in prison. Dr. Eden V. Wells, the chief medical executive for the department, was charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a peace officer, and could face up to seven years if convicted. They are among 15 current and former state and local officials facing criminal charges as a 17-month investigation into Flint’s tainted water supply continues.

The charges need to be more severe and need to include Snyder. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0615Cartoon

Today’s Republicans would arrest Ben for committing science.

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Jun 062017
 

It is Monday afternoon and I have word about TC.  After feeling so crappy by 4 June 2017, TC was taken to the hospital presumably by his friend Wendy and diagnosed with prancreatitis.  Additionally, he will be having surgery to remove his gallbladder.  We don't know the timing of all this but will try to keep you all apprised.  As I did a year and a half ago, I will publish OT's as often as possible, and I know that you will also see articles from JD (Joanne), Nameless and Lona.  Speaking for myself, I can't give you the expert coverage of the American political scene like TC does, but you won't go hungry either.  For now, prayers or good vibes for TC are appreciated.  And many, many thanks to Wendy for her care of TC.  She is most definitely a keeper!

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 5:24 (average 10:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?  I will not mask my feelings for this one — it's a real barn burner!

Short Takes

Quartz — US president Donald Trump just announced he will withdraw the country from the international Paris agreement on climate change. He says he wants a better “deal” for the US, and that the country will begin renegotiating the terms of the agreement immediately after exiting it.

“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fair,” Trump said at a press conference today (June 1).

The statement is a stark example of the president’s zero-sum thinking, and it’s wholly inaccurate. The reality is the US did not have to withdraw from the Paris agreement to renegotiate how it will participate. In fact, once it with withdraws, it legally cannot renegotiate the terms of its participation. It also cannot withdraw immediately.

Here are comments from Hardball's Chris Matthews.

Also, The Washington Post has this short video presentation "Why Trump's Withdrawal From The Paris Agreement Is So Controversial" which is both interesting and informative.

Just incase you have not seen this petition, here is one from Daily Kos — Sign if you are outraged Trump pulled us out of the Paris climate agreement.  The text of the petition follows.

The Paris Climate deal was the most comprehensive international accord to fight climate change yet. It was signed by all but two countries (Syria and Nicaragua), and hailed as an historic effort to save our planet.

So of course, President Trump decided the United States would withdraw. This would mean the United States ditches crucial environmental regulations that can make all the difference in saving our planet.

By exiting from the Paris agreement, Trump ignored advice from the Pope, foreign leaders and even business leaders like Exxon. He is even rebuffing pleas from his own daughter, and from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

All to spite President Obama, who worked hard to craft the Paris climate agreement.

Sign if you are outraged the United States pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, and that we must do everything we can to fight this.

It can easily be said that Drumpf has "just shot himself in the foot" with his own ignorance about the Paris climate agreement.  So is there anything new in that?  Not really.  He displays his ignorance on a wide range of things daily.

Resist and Persist!!!

Daily Kos — The journalistic fraud that is Fox News is well known. It's a network that was contrived as a right-wing spin factory, but dishonestly marketed as being "fair and balanced." They have a revolving cast of scripted characters who alternately play politicians and pundits. Often the same person in both roles. Their commitment to partisan deceit is rooted deeply in the foul culture nurtured by its founders Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

However, a new investigation proves that ideological fraud is not the only unethical practice employed by Fox News. Following the scandal-driven departures of Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, a new cretin was crowned as the top Foxie. Tucker Carlson was awarded O'Reilly's prized time slot that anchors the network's primetime lineup. 

The Center for Media and Democracy conducted an exhaustive investigation into the stewardship of his website, The Daily Caller (TDC). Carlson launched the site six years ago and it quickly became a staple of wingnut propaganda. The Washington Post published CMD's findings with this summary of the scam:

"Most of the roughly 50 journalists who produce content for the Daily Caller actually work for the Daily Caller News Foundation, a tax-exempt organization with 501(c)(3) status that is ostensibly separate from DailyCaller.com. The two entities share the same floor of the same Washington office, however, and virtually everything produced by the foundation — which accepted $3 million in donations in 2015, according to an IRS filing — appears on the for-profit website, which sells advertising on the articles.

In short, TDC takes in tax-free donations to finance their for-profit newsroom. Then they use the articles written by foundation authors to populate a commercial website that receives advertising revenue. The Post cites legal experts that describe this an obvious tax dodge:

"'It's a huge rip-off for taxpayers if the Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn't pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads,' said Lisa Graves, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration who now serves as executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy."

Read the rest of the article . . . there is more.  We already know that much of the right wing news media is anything but "fair and balanced", but add onto that being a factory for alternative facts and extreme partisanship.  I knew that the Daily Caller was a right wing "rag", but what I did not know was that it was started and is still run by Tucker Carlson.  He received help from conservative multi-millionaire Foster Friess.  You may remember him from the 2012 presidential campaign when he said "…they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly."  With his oh so pseudo Christian values, Carlson is committing fraud by registering TDC as a charity.  In essence, it means that all taxpayers are subsidising right wing propaganda which needs to be stopped.

Resist and Persist!!!

Alternet — It doesn’t make rational sense for Trump to pull out of the Paris accord. Even Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has argued against withdrawal, as has Tillerson’s former company, Exxon Mobil. The traditional reasons for conservative opposition to cleaner energy — protecting energy profits — don’t hold up as well as they used to. So why is Trump doing this?

The likely answer is, I’m afraid, a disheartening one: Trump’s anti-environmentalism is ultimately not about the gross but rational pursuit of profit, so much as it’s the result of a nihilistic anti-conservationist ideology that has been fomented for years on the far right. It’s an ideology concerned more with hating liberalism and undermining former President Barack Obama’s legacy [emphasis added] than with petty matters like peace or prosperity. 

… But a lot of what motivates him [Utah Rep Rob Bishop] appears to be a deeply rooted unwillingness to have his state be home to anything that could be considered an Obama accomplishment.

Weiss pointed out that a similar fight, fueled by blind hatred of Obama, is going on in Maine. The founder of Burt’s Bees donated 87,500 acres to the federal government, and Obama designated it the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. But the Trumpian governor of Maine, Republican Paul LePage, is so angry about the monument’s existence that he has refused to let the state post road signs telling people where it is. The Katahdin Woods monument is also included in Trump’s executive order to review such designations. 

Weiss pointed out that a similar fight, fueled by blind hatred of Obama, is going on in Maine. The founder of Burt’s Bees donated 87,500 acres to the federal government, and Obama designated it the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. But the Trumpian governor of Maine, Republican Paul LePage, is so angry about the monument’s existence that he has refused to let the state post road signs telling people where it is. The Katahdin Woods monument is also included in Trump’s executive order to review such designations.

This abject hatred of all things Obama is no doubt brought on by the fact that Obama dared to be Black while president.  Republicans are so predictable in their hatred.

Resist and Persist!!!

CBC — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a plan to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2019. 

The increase would be phased in over the next 18 months, rising to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and then to $15 the following January. 

After that, it will rise annually with inflation.

Among the proposed changes are the requirement that after five years with the same employer, the minimum vacation entitlement for workers would rise to three weeks per year.

All workers would also be given 10 personal emergency leave days a year, and a minimum of two of those days must be paid. (Currently, only employees of large companies are entitled to this.) 

Employers would not be allowed to request a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave. 

Many of the changes address shift work in particular. The proposed legislation says employers would be required to pay three hours of wages to an employee whose shift is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice, and that employees would be able to refuse shifts without repercussion if given less than four days notice.

The proposed legislation also says: 

  • Equal pay would be mandated for part-time workers doing the same job as a full-time workers.
  • Employers would be prohibited from misclassifying employees as "independent contractors."
  • Rules for creating a union would be modernized, including the extension of card-based certification to temporary workers, building services workers and community care workers.  

The act also lays out a plan to hire 175 more employment standards officers, and launch an education program for employees and business owners to help them learn about their rights and responsibilities.

minimum wage graphic

Read the rest of the article for a few more details of the legislation.  This is only in Ontario which has the largest workforce in Canada.  Alberta was the first province to put legislation in place.  I am hopeful that British Columbia will tackle this issue next now that the election is over.  Here the ruling Liberal party (not the same as the federal Liberal party) did not win the election, 43 seats, nobody really did.  However, the New Democrats (41 seats) and the Green Party (3 seats) have formed a coalition and presented their agreement to the Lieutenant Governor for approval.  Minimum wage is a topic for both the NDP and Greens.

My Universe

The magic motivator . . . food!

 

 

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Everyday Erinyes #77

 Posted by at 10:04 am  Politics
Jun 032017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

If you can stand one more thing about the Bradley Foundation, this should at least make you smile.  As you know if you have been reading for the last three weeks, the Center for Media and Democracy has been working for years to expose the (Lynde and Harry) Bradley Foundation, and this year finally released a comprehensive exposé of this shadow entity.  The site to bookmark to find the complete exposure and also specific parts of the exposure is called SourceWatch.  And this is not just for the Bradley Foundation.  The column on the left of that page will show you many other evildoers upon whom CMD has been working.

It goes without saying that the Bradley Foundation DOES NOT LOVE SourceWatch, and, if you believe that, you are half right.  In one way, the Bradley fundation does not love SourceWatch.  In another way, however, the Bradley Foundation loves SourceWatch SO MUCH that they are working on getting a website of their own up which will be modeled after SourceWatch.  To quote CMD's Lisa Graves,

Oh boy, we can [hardly] wait to see what this group of flaks, hacks, and climate change deniers will come up with, but we will be sure to let you know!  (bolding by Lisa)

While we are waiting for that site, I want to call the attention of my readers and of the Furies to an article in Truthout called "Expect More Murders: Why the Radical Right Kills."  Written by Spencer Sunshine. it draws heavily on a scholarly paper by one Chip Berlet, a long time scholar on right-wing populist movements.  The paper is called "Heroes Know Which Villains to Kill: How Coded Rhetoric Incites Scripted Violence," and if that title doesn't send a chill down your spine, you may not be paying attention.  It's worth a read – yes, it's 33 pages, but 11 of those are footnoes, and the body is fairly widely spaced.

From the facts presented by both, I admit that it concerns me a bit that right-wing "heroes" actually DON'T know which villains to kill, though they sure think they do.  For instance, one target group is "Muslims," yet in real life this translates into "people they think look like Muslims," and it's obvious that two groups need not be the same.  Another target group is transgender persons.  Since most of us dress to cover our primary and sexual characteristics, and to reveal basically the secondary sexual characteristics which are consistent with our inner gender identity, I wonder.  I wonder if the 26 transgerdered people murdered in 2016 were the only people in 2016 murdered for "liiking transgender."  That's not the kind of thing that can be easily known.

Now, of course, as evidenced by the Portland killer (name not used deliberately) yelling in court, "Death to antifa!" by which he meant you and me, and anyone who is opposed to fascism, in other words every decent person, how are we ever going to know whether a killing is a right wing hate crime?  And some of us may be interested in, how are we going to defend outselves from being killed by the far right?

Let me give an example from Teen Vogue (don't laugh; Teen Vogue is developing a reputation for serious, real journalism, and I for one am grateful).  On April 30, 2017, in La Jolla, CA, a community within the city of San Diego, CA, a white male opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol at a pool party within an apartment complex.  Eight people ended up being taken to a nearby hospital, seven shot, and one who broke an arm while fleeing.  Only one was white.  One woman of color, a mother of three, died.  Witness testimony clearly stated that the witnesses perceved the shooting as racially motivated.  Yet, "San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said just one day after the shooting that there was "zero information" that race contributed to the attack."  Apparently testimony isn't "information" now.

(Unusually, the gunman did not survive the crime.  When police arrived, he was re-loading.  Apparently he pointed the gun at the police, who fired first and killed him.)

But the point of my example is, if law enforcement has difficulty seeing racial motivation in this situation, despite the colors of the victims and the testimony of the witnesses, how is law enforcement – how is anyone – ever going to determine, if a white activist is killed by one of these right-wing "heroes", that it was a hate crime?  Lincoln Blades, the author of the Teen Vogue article, ends with

In America, citizens must grapple with reality. Not only is white male terrorism as dangerous as Islamic extremism, but our collective safety rests in rooting out the source of their radicalization.

Sunshine ends his Truthout op-ed thus:

With Trump and his appointees openly circulating demonizing narratives, the genie is out of the American bottle. US presidents have limited political power, but they have an incredible ability to set the mood of the country. And the mood is ugly. We can expect more murders from hate-steeped men like [Portland killer name redacted].

Alecto and Tisiphone, I can hear you now.  "Sheesh!  It isn't enough just to go after evildoers any more?  Now you want us to be detectives too?"  Well, yes.  There really isn't anyone else.  No law enforcement under the present administration is going to do it.  Please.

Megaera, I didn't include you in that; I want you to take a little trip to Texas and have a – discussion – with a Junior High teacher there.

Lizeth Villanueva is a thirteen year old kinda brown Salvadorean American Honor Student with zero history of disciplinary problems at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Texas, near Houston.

Sure, she’s a cute kid, an honors student who’s never been anything other than a credit to her school, but still there’s still that troublesome slight excess of brownness she insists on displaying – so what could be more natural than her teachers practicing their comedic stylings by honoring her with a vicious, stupidly racist and imminently tenure endangering award?

”On Tuesday, her teacher gave her a “most likely to become a terrorist” award. It was supposed to be a joke, part of a mock end-of-the-year awards ceremony at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Tex., near Houston, where a group of teachers hand certificates to students. Lizeth, 13, said her teacher “just laughed” when she signed and handed her the certificate, just one day after the Manchester arena terrorist attack in Britain.” 

The story gets even worse from there.  The Administration is not happy – but it really isn't clear whether the unhappiness stems from the offense or from the publicity.  Just a comment from me on the stupidity here – if it isn't obvious to everyone that the most likely student to become a terrorist in any classroom in America would have to be both male and white – then when will it be?

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4056023

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May 222017
 

I figure I can get this started before leaving to my Oncologist and finish up when I return.  This is today’s only article.

I was very pleased with my Oncologist.  His preventive strategy is exactly what I wanted and expected.  I’ll set up the cat scans and his office will call me the next day with the results. Here he is.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:30 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: A large crowd of students walked out of the Notre Dame commencement ceremony on Sunday in protest of the speaker, Vice President Mike Pence, who delivered a speech that mixed platitudes about bright, dream-filled futures with a lengthy rebuke of political correctness on college campuses.

As several dozen students in caps and gowns quietly exited the graduation ceremony, the vice president praised Notre Dame, one of the nation’s most prominent Catholic universities, as “a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas…

…The protest began as Mr. Pence began his remarks at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., where degrees were conferred on 2,081 students. Online video of the ceremony showed a large number of young people filing out of the stadium as the vice president began to congratulate the graduates and their families. Around them, the audience erupted into a mixture of boos and applause.

Kudos to the students. Follow their example. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: 26 Year Old H.S. Teacher Wins Primary Against Democratic PA. Mayor Who Backed Trump.

Click Through for details. Kudos! Wonderful!! This, not voting for Russia’s tools like Jill Stein, is how to RESIST!!

From Washington Post: U.S. Rep. Al Green said the phone calls came in not long after he called for the impeachment of President Trump.

“Hey, Al Green, we got an impeachment for you. It’s going to be yours,” one caller said. “Was actually gonna give you a short trial before we hang your n—– ass.”

“You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree,” another one said. “I didn’t see anybody calling for the impeachment of your n—– Obama when he was born in Kenya. He’s not even an American. So f— you, n—–.”

Aha! Reaching out to minorities, the way Republicans do it. I bet AG KKK Beauregard squealed with hooded glee! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0522Cartoon

2017 Pact of Shit between Trump and Putin.

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