Feb 052016

I have a few items this week which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. 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."

I have left out the water in Flint, MI, because that made such a stir that I expect you are already on to those people.  I have left out the seditious militants because I am confident you are on to them and indeed have already got some action from a grand jury (good going there).  I have also left out the "pharma bro" who seems to be digging his own grave.  Although any or all of these could possibly resurface in the future, they seem for now to be getting handled.

I do want to draw attention to what happened to Melissa Harris-Perry in Iowa.  A journalist with a news-opinion show on MSNBC, a professor of political science at Wake Forest, and an author, she was there, with students, to experience the caucuses.  She was sitting in the hotel lobby, eyes glued to the TV, when suddenly this guy was standing next to her.

When he started he speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

“…So what is it that you teach?”

“I am a professor of political science.”

“My wife is a professor of communications.”

“Does she teach here in Iowa?”

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

She jumped up and put a table between him and her.  Her friend jumped and put herself between them.  They raised their voices, starting to make a fuss.  The man ran out, jumped in a car, and drove off.  They spoke with hotel security, who listened politely, "but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours." 

This sounds like grudging to me.  Particularly “But why you? Why would they pick you?”  Perhaps, Megaera, you can find this – person – for counseling.  And, if you have time, stop off at Breitbart, who loudly dismissed and mocked her story (Republican not linked).  Thanks much.

Then, Tisiphone, I suspect you will be interested in the management of Tyson Foods in Arkansas.  Tyson comes in for a lot of flack over the way it treats chickens inhumanely, and the way it overfeeds them antibiotics, but this isn't about the chickens.  This is about the workers.

According to an email from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee,

A stunning 91% of surveyed poultry workers reported having no earned sick leave, and almost two-thirds reported working while sick. More than half of these workers said they experienced discrimination, a very troubling statistic for a workforce made up mostly of first- and second-generation immigrants, as well as minority workers from the United States.

 Women, in particular, cited gender discrimination in the way bathroom breaks are withheld by male supervisors. Some have even urinated on themselves because they were not granted breaks when needed.

Well, OK, maybe it is about the chickens too.  That last sentence can't have improved anyone's appetite, even for non-Vegans.  But I primarily was thinking of the vengeful destruction of the human spirit when you make people pee themselves to keep their jobs.  I suspect a lot of these women are mothers, incidentally.  Giving birth can be rough on the sphincters.

The stockholders' meeting was yesterday, and a Twitter/Facebook Thunderclap was planned.  Not being on either, I don't know how it went, but, I hope well.

Finally, Alecto, I don't even know whether there is anything you can really do about the uncea$ing issues of privatization, prisons, and immigrants; although if anyone can, it's you.  ITPI ("In the Public Interest") exists to study and bring to light the specific ills of privatization, which always ends up costing taxpayers more money for less service, while lining the pockets of people rich enough to own an empire to provide the private "service."  Immigration is no exception.  And whenever pri$on is a part of a cycle, and exists to make money, the stakeholders develop a vested interest in keeping people in them to make more and more money.  But, as this graphic shows, there are a lot more people making money from prisons than just prisons.  This contributes more and more to make the cycle never-ending – unceasing.

I think it speaks for itself.  If you need to see it larger to read it you can easily click through.  It does try to distinguish between civil offenders, who are offenders by just being here, and criminal offenders, who have actually committed a crime.  In practice, I don't know.

Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, and I will be back next time.  Whenever that is.  Meantime, we wish everyone perfect blood pressure.


Jan 312016

I completed the Open Thread and went to save it only to get a message of an error, and the content went into cyber purgatory never to be seen again.  I wonder if it was something I said?  Yesterday was busy with teaching.  After finishing an ESL lesson, I tutoured grade 7 math and grade 3 English spelling.  By the time I arrived home at 20:30, the furbabies were ready to lynch me and I was too tired so no Open Thread yesterday.  Today has been much calmer, that is until I lost my thread.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — The poisoning of the majority-black population of the city is a product of a system failing the people of Flint on many levels over a long period of time. To really start unpacking the historical roots of the crisis, you have to go back to slavery itself, which debased the humanity and devalued the lives of black people from well before our nation's founding; followed by the Jim Crow era of legal segregation, discrimination, and violence against black Americans, which resulted in early 20th century migrations of black people from the segregated south to urban manufacturing centers of the northern United States. When they got there, they found cities without legal segregation, yet with de facto segregation and discrimination alive and well in both white attitudes and systems. The arrival and growth of black populations in northern cities was followed shortly thereafter by white flight to the suburbs, aided by discriminatory housing policies that effectively prevented the vast majority of black people from joining them and blocked the financing of black homes even in the cities.

I came across this piece and thought to share it and the following 28 minute video "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America".  Wallis talks of racism and white privilege as moral issues that are "…in the air that we breathe and the water we drink." At Politics Plus, we often talk about pseudo Christianity and authentic Christianity, especially as it relates to the political scene.  We talk also about white privilege and the political effects.  As Wallis says "So let's change the water — and the air."

Think Progress — The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

Another Republican nutter.

Mother Jones — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's presidential campaign never really caught steam. In Iowa, he's barely registering in the polls, and in New Hampshire (seemingly friendlier territory) he's generally in sixth place. So with the first votes fast approaching, he's settled on a strategy of attacking the non-Trump frontrunners, particularly Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as dishonest politicians who are lying to voters.

This from Pignocchio whose nose is so long that he would be unable to do a field sobriety test of touching his finger to the end of his nose!  That's rich!

Alternet — “It’s really frightening,” survivor Al Munzer told the newspaper. “When you see these mass rallies that Trump is able to attract, you really wonder: How are they buying into this message of hate?”

The most direct answer to Munzer’s question can be found in the words of Trump’s followers themselves, who aren’t so much buying into hate as they are enthusiastically supporting the guy boosting the hate and racism they already feel. For all his self-aggrandizement, even Donald Trump wouldn’t likely claim to have hypnotized his supporters. He’s merely speaking directly to a huge demographic of overwhelmingly white voters who want blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and others out of the country they believe belongs to them. This is what they mean by "making America great again."

We hear a lot of references to Adolf Hitler when talking about Trump and his racist, xenophobic ideas.  I am not enamoured of such talk, but some survivors of Hitler's final solution see distinct similarities.

Huffington Post — A veteran MP losing his voice to the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease found an innovative way to make himself heard in the House of Commons Wednesday.

mauril belanger

And Mauril Belanger made history in the process.

This is a story of perseverence and courage.  Mauril Bélanger, MP has represented Ottawa-Vanier for 20 years. Immediately following the Canadian federal election of 19/10/2015, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease.  Some thought he would step down, but that is not his style.  His voice is greatly affected so he has come up with an idea to allow him to continue.

My Universe — 

Jan 272016

Yesterday I learned that I’m making such good progress that I will no longer qualify for home health care after February 12th.  I can go out for PT and OT, but I’ll have to do it much less frequently, because of the copay and having to pay for transit,  The big hurt is that I’ll lose my shower-aide.  Medicare does not pay for long term personal care, and I make just  little too much too much to qualify for Medicaid.  I’m searching for a solution.  The dreaded task did not get done, because the building’s elevator has been out since Sunday night.  It was supposed to be fixed yesterday afternoon, but it was not.  We’ve actually had three day’s of relatively nice weather, and I’ve been trapped here.  ARGH!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 5:28).  Do I get a double dawgburger?  To di it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Carrie: Donald Trump Fan ?

A teacher asked her 6th grade class how many of them were Donald Trump fans.
Not really knowing what a Donald Trump fan is, but wanting to be liked by

the teacher​, all the kids raised their hands except for smart Little Johnny.

The teacher asked Little Johnny why he has decided to be different…

Little Johnny said, "Because I’m not a Donald Trump fan."

The teacher asked, "Why aren’t you a fan of Donald Trump?"

Johnny said, "Because I’m a Democrat."  The teacher asked him why he’s a Democrat.

Little Johnny answered, "Well, my Mom’s a Democrat and my Dad’s a Democrat, so I’m a Democrat."

Annoyed by this answer, the teacher asked, "If your mom was a moron and your dad was an idiot, what would that make you?"

With a big smile, Little Johnny replied, "That would make me a Donald Trump fan".


From Daily Kos: This has been a difficult diary to write—not because it is a difficult subject, but because it was so hard to narrow it down to just four governors. Describing the damage that the 31 current Republican governors have done to the United States (and to their own states) would likely take a tome the length of War and Peace. You don’t have the time to read that, and as these men and women are still in office it would be impossible to keep up with the garbage legislation they keep unleashing on their citizens. So let’s just keep it to the top (er, bottom) four:

4. — Maine Gov. Paul LePage. This is a man who does not have the qualifications to be the county dog catcher. Yet inexplicably, he’s the governor of Maine. He is so petty that shortly after he took office he ordered murals representing working men and women taken down, as they were “pro-union.”

Now, if that was all he did he would not have made this list. But Gov. LePage is the gift that just keeps on giving. He has no filter when talking about his opponents—think Donald Trump, but worse. In short, he is a bully. Oh, and a racist too.

But no, we aren’t done yet: He used his political power to have an opponent fired from a job at a charter school. This brief write-up only scratches the surface of Gov. LePage. He is an awful human being, on top of being a lousy governor.

LePage is just number four. Click through for the bottom three Governors in the US, Republicans, of course.

From Upworthy: One of the first women of country to really "tell it like it is" was singer Loretta Lynn. She was never shy about her life.

Her song "The Pill" — released in 1975, 15 years after the birth control pill was introduced— was no exception. Take a listen:


I loved her music. Forty years later, the Republican Party would organize a boycott of her music. Don’t forget what they did to the Dixie Chicks!



Global warming, caused mostly by burning fossil fuels and Republican flatulence, causes extreme weather of all kinds, not just hot weather,

Jan 262016

Today was one of those days!  I missed my alarm and awoke 5 minutes before physio.  I was going to be very late so we rescheduled to 14:30.  I promptly fell back asleep for 2 hours.  So much for getting some chores done.  Over 2.5 hours of physio, which included 40 minutes of peddling my sasquatch butt on the recumbent bicycle, I was done. Tomorrow I take the furbabes for their annual checkups and vaccinations.  I am guaranteed to be tired after corraling the beasts and transporting them.  Their godfather (the vet) will be very glad to see them!  When I saw my mother Sunday, I told her that her grandcats said "meow, meow, meow!" and she gave me a big smile.

Short Takes

Alternet — … William J. Kruvant described the process in a 1975 journal article:

“Disadvantaged people are largely victims of middle- and upper-class pollution because they usually live closest to the sources of pollution—power plants, industrial installations, and in central cities where vehicle traffic is heaviest. Usually they have no choice. Discrimination created the situation, and those with wealth and influence have political power to keep polluting facilities away from their homes. Living in poverty areas is bad enough. High pollution makes it worse.”

Environmental racism.  I had not heard the term before, but it certainly makes sense.  And that same idea also extends to poor people.  I remember as a small child living in a small house in a very working class neighbourhood. Next to the house (within 20 feet) was a railroad line that carried industrial supplies so trains were heavy and rattling. On the other side of the tracks was a canal, heavily polluted with industrial waste. Directly across the street was a hydro-electricity plant, and just across the canal on the same side as the plant, was the Massey Ferguson plant (manufactured farm implements) and all it's spewing of pollution.  As soon as they could afford it, my parents moved us to a neighbourhood away from the pollution.  Click through to see 7 US communities of colour subjected to a toxic assault.  Here is the report mentioned in the article: Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987—2007 .  Look at pages 124-133 to see New Orleans, post Katrina, and pages 134-151 to view Dickson County, Tennessee.

Huffington Post — A Texas grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists in a case involving covert videos on fetal tissue procurement talks with Planned Parenthood and found there was no wrongdoing on the part of the health group, a district attorney said on Monday.

The grand jury decision was a result of a probe launched last year under Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, who accused Planned Parenthood of the "gruesome harvesting of baby body parts." No evidence was provided by Texas to back the claim.

Good news!  Now will there be a conviction when the case goes to trial?

Mother Jones — On Monday, the US Supreme Court permanently laid to rest North Dakota's controversial "fetal heartbeat" law that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

After a series of appeals, a federal judge again ruled the law unconstitutional in July. Once more the state appealed the ruling and it went to the Supreme Court. But the court on Monday refused to review the lower court's ruling, effectively overturning the ban.

More good news!  

My Universe — 


Brody in the powder roomAnd that's not all the dog blocked!

Jan 242016

I took a break yesterday as I wasn't in the mood to deal with Republican BS!  Yesterday was my stepfather's birthday and he would have been 91 had he not died in March 2004.  We had pet names for each other . . . he was Mutt, I was Little Mutt;  he was Dummy, and I was Little Dummy.  If you wondered where I got my warped sense of humour, look no further.  We absolutely tortured my mother at the dinner table with our verbal antics as she was much more straight-laced.  Anyway, I'm back today and going up and down with laundry.  Tomorrow I will go to see my mother.

Short Takes

Alternet — The argument that Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president initially looked strong, then probable but uncertain. But closer examination shows it is surprisingly weak.

The constitutional text provides that a president, unlike other elected officials, must be a “natural born citizen.” This language could not mean anyone born a citizen or else the text would have simply stated “born citizen.” The word “natural” is a limiting qualifier that indicates only some persons who are born citizens qualify.  Moreover, when the Constitution was enacted, the word “natural” meant something not created by statute, as with natural rights or natural law, which instead were part of the common law.  

Unfortunately for Ted Cruz, that technical rule does not permit his candidacy.

Was it not Trump, Mr Birther himself, who suggested that Cruz get a court ruling on his eligibility for the presidency? In this article, Einer Elhauge, a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, concludes that Cruz is ineligible.  I know, this is only one opinion, but perhaps Cruz should take Trump's advice.

Raw Story — A Kansas lawmaker is under fire for imposing a dress code on women testifying before the state senate that would ban “low-cut necklines and mini-skirts,” the Capitol-Journal is reporting.

Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-St. Johns) said Rule No. 2 of his 11-point code of conduct for witnesses appearing before his Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, was intended to make certain each participant is dressed in a respectful manner.

Holmes did not make any mention over what men must wear — saying they should already be aware that a coat and tie is expected — but he did offer more detailed fashion tips to the ladies as to what he regards as “professional attire.”

"… how low a neckline might plunge before it raises his ire." I don't think it is his ire that he is concerned about rising!  According to this state Republican, men are smart enough to know what is expected, but women are not.  What a sexist pig! (apologies to the porcine community!)

Huffington Post — Three candidates have so far convinced Republican and Republican-leaning voters that they could be capable of pulling off a victory in November: Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). After them, there's a dramatic drop in confidence, with one-quarter or fewer thinking that any other candidate could win.

Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters consider former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton their most electable candidate, with 83 percent saying she's capable of winning the general election. Sanders, though, has also made his case: A 54 percent majority thinks he's capable of winning.

Click through for more information about electability.

Think Progress — Appearing at a town hall meeting Wednesday night, Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) argued that Washington, D.C. should not be a state because its residents make “irresponsible decisions.” District residents have been engaged in a decades-long fight for statehood in order to gain representation in Congress and full local control of their government.

they make irresponsible decisions like legalizing marijuana when the African-American unemployment rate is 40 percent and the African-American graduation rate from high school is 12 percent.”

Click through for the rest.  Isn't it just like a Republican to make things up and show himself to be a bigot to boot!

My Universe —


Jan 142016

Yesterday, after groceries came, I made five more suppers ns now have 12 meals prepared and frozen.  This afternoon I have a building community meeting.  I’m feeling very tired, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:17 (average 6:36).  To do it, click hereHow did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Sometimes a small change in language can reveal an obvious truth.

As I have written about elsewhere, done interviews about, and discussed more generally, if the Bundy Brigands who are engaged in an armed "standoff" in Oregon were "Muslims" or people of color–especially African-Americans–they would at worst be dead by now or at the very least in jail.

The Bundy Brigands have begun to amplify their noxious, aggressive, and threatening behavior towards local authorities and residents who live in the area around Burns, Oregon.

I have made a small change in the language of a recent report from CNN about the Bundy Brigands in order to highlight how the double standard for white, right-wing, domestic terrorists enables their bad behavior and insulates them from consequences, i.e. what conservatives like to call "personal responsibility".

The author is spot-on. If Y’all Qaeda were black they’d be dead.

From PRWatch: Justice Samuel Alito has been scouring the land looking for a case to make his mark on history.

Could he find a way to hold a big bank accountable for ripping off millions of consumers? Could he interpret intellectual property law to give more desperately ill people access to essential medicines? Could he hold a chemical company to account for poisoning people and hiding it for decades?

No. Alito apparently decided to make his mark by helping a massive right-wing funding machine crush wages for teachers, nurses, firefighters, cops and prison guards.

The case is Friederichs vs. California Teachers Association will be heard on Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Click through for more details of what could be Scalito’s legacy in the ongoing case, SCROTUS v. Constitution.

From NY Times: There is no longer any question that Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky plans to shut down the health insurance exchange his state built to enroll residents for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Now that he has notified the Obama administration of his intention to do so, the question is, will it change the law’s substantial impact there?

It is hard to predict, partly because what Mr. Bevin is doing is without precedent. While a few states have been forced to largely rely on the federally run exchange after their own versions failed, Kentucky will be the first to abandon a homegrown exchange that functions well.

Condolences to the residents of Kentucky. On the other hand, they did this to themselves.



Jan 092016

Yesterday my Prosthetist adjusted George, so he no longer leans me to the left, putting excessive pressure on the outside of my knee.  My friend that had a mastectomy called last night.  She had let worrying compound into the beginnings of panic.  I was able to help her restore calm.  Then I had trouble getting back to sleep, so I feel a bit pooped today. My helper-friend may be coming to do laundry. May the holy Ellipsoid Orb bless your team.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:58 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A day after President Obama held a nationally televised town hall about guns in America, a new poll shows that a majority of Republicans would rather actually be shot by a firearm than agree with him.

In an indication of the challenges facing the President in persuading Republicans, those surveyed named a wide variety of specific guns that they would choose to be personally shot by rather than seeing eye to eye with Obama.

When asked to state their preference, forty-three per cent stated “handgun,” twenty-seven per cent replied “shotgun,” twenty-one per cent responded “assault rifle,” while only two per cent named “agreeing with Obama.”

Andy, with tongue deeply embedded in cheek, I think these Republicans should be accommodated.

From Daily Kos: There is new divide in the Oregon Y’all Qaeda militants who’ve taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. RawStory.com has the details:

Joe Oshaugnessy, an Arizona militiaman, has been actively seeking volunteers through social media to join the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

But his friends tearfully announced that Oshaugnessy, who is known as “Capt. O,” had left the refuge Wednesday and was instead staying at a motel nearby — as some others associated with the militants have apparently been doing, according to sources.

Some of the militants have reportedly been spotted eating at area restaurants during the standoff, as well.

A Y’all Qaeda spokesperson said he drank away the donations:

Peltier said Ritzheimer had confirmed that Oshaugnessy had kept the money he had raised through social media for himself and had spent at least some of it on a drinking binge.

Y’all Qaeda supporter Cai Irvin posted a tearful video (which has since been removed) saying Oshaugnessy’s betrayal “is like finding out there is no such thing as Santa.”

FOMCROTFPIMPLMAO!! Smile with tongue out

From NY Times: A combative Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine, who has a history of making blunt, sometimes racially tinged remarks, found himself in a familiar position on Friday as he sought to walk back a comment that had drawn widespread condemnation for its racial overtones.

On Wednesday, he said out-of-state drug dealers come to Maine and “impregnate a young white girl” before leaving.

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys,” he said while discussing the state’s heroin crisis at a town-hall-style meeting in Bridgton, Me. “They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue that we’ve got to deal with down the road.”

On Friday, Mr. LePage, a Republican, characterized the statement as a slip of the tongue.

Rachel Maddow covered this well.

Rachel has him dead to rights. The rest of my comment is today's cartoon.



Jan 042016

Yesterday I spent a lot of time in bed, because it was so cold the heat had trouble keeping up.  Today, I have lots of calling and scheduling to do.  And there are lots of Republicans to put in the unemployment line in November.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:51 (average 5:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:


Thanks to the world’s best backup QB, Denver has a week off and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Fantasy Football Report:

Here are the final results from Lefty Blog Friends, our own fantasy football league.



Congrats to all, especially Jack, Patty Monster, and Rob.  In sixteen years of play, this was my worst showing ever, after being unconscious/delirious for the first six weeks.  Next year I should do better.

Don’t forget that you all get to keep two players from your current teams, instead of drafting in the first two rounds, if you so choose.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: A Pennsylvania man identified by Butler News as "John Pisone" (he’s now deleted his Facebook page) took time out of his busy day to stop and harass a group people protesting against fracking in Pennsylvania.

As the video starts, Pisone is chastising the protesters, questioning if they’ve ever had a job. Only seconds later, he turns to cameraman Tom Jefferson (who is black) and let’s loose a vulgar string of obscenities:

Pisone: This chimp right here (pointing at the camera). 
Unidentified protester: What did you say?
Pisone: Yeah, chimp. This fucking nigger right here with a mop on his head.
Protestors: You better get out of here!
Pisone: I don’t give a fuck. He’s milking my fucking tax dollars. 
Protestors: You better leave! You better get out now!
Pisone: I don’t give a fuck what you have to say.

He repeatedly made monkey noises at the cameraman and continued his racist rant (seen in the video below).

Tom Jefferson uploaded to the video to YouTube and it didn’t take long for outraged internet sleuths to contact his employer, MMC Land Management, who promptly fired John Pisone, releasing the following statement:

Today, we were disgusted to learn that one of MMC’s former employees used racial slurs and made racially charged comments during a peaceful protest in Mars, Pennsylvania, outside of work hours at a location with which we have no affiliation. We are sorry that this incident occurred. Whether at work or not, we do not condone hate speech – EVER. Inclusion and diversity are among MMC’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. MMC has terminated this employee and will never do business with him again in the future.

Republican Barf Bag Alert!!

This is the face of the Republican Party!

From NY Times: Renewing his emphasis on the need for more gun restrictions, President Obama will participate in a live televised town-hall-style meeting on Thursday to discuss gun violence in the United States, according to the White House.

The hourlong event, at George Mason University outside Washington, will be televised on CNN at 8 p.m. On Monday, Mr. Obama will meet with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to discuss what executive actions he can take to curb gun violence.

Republicans have their own solution: put more guns in the hands of people, who love to hate.

From Common Dreams: Ringing in the new year in Des Moines, Iowa, Bernie Sanders told crowds that the state has the power to "lead the political revolution" as his campaign cheered rally turnouts that "seem to be getting larger every day."

The choice is clear. We have revolution, or we have devolution.



Dec 272015

It’s a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos have the Monday Night service with the Bengals.  Otherwise I have to figure out how to combine six drawers into three and free up 1/3 of my desk space.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 5:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Best of 2015): I am a Christian business owner in Indiana…

…Not really. But If I were, this is the sign I would put in my door.

"Dear Valued Patrons.  

Due to my sincerely held religious beliefs, and in light of the RFRA, recently signed by our Dear Leader Pence, I will no longer be doing business with the following persons; nor permitting them in my establishment:

1.  Divorcees.  Matthew 19:9: “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”

2.  Anyone who has ever read their horoscope or called a psychic hotline.  Leviticus 20:6: "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

3.  Anyone with a tattoo.   Leviticus 19:28 "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord."

4.  Anyone born illegitimately.  Also, anyone who, back to ten generations, is descended from someone born illegitimately.  If you can not PROVE, using appropriate church sources, that ten generations of your family were born in wedlock, I will have to err on the side of caution and not serve you. Deuteronomy 23:2 "No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD."

Click through for the other four.  And don’t forget Leviticus 25:44. I get to own a Canadian!!

From The New Yorker:

Within this cycle, it’s been a delight to publish Andy Borowitz’s humor column—and to be continually reminded that, sometimes, the only way to make sense of what’s happening in American politics is to laugh. In that spirit, here are fifteen of my favorite Borowitz Reports from the past year, arranged chronologically.

Joe Biden Releases Both E-mails Written While Vice-President
Iran Offers to Mediate Talks Between Republicans and Obama
Indiana Governor Stunned By How Many People Seem to Have Gay Friends
New Hillary Clinton Ad Features Just Kittens
N.F.L. Sentences Brady to a Year with the Jets

Thanks Andy! Click through for the other 10 links.

From NY Times: After decades of debate in South Carolina over the Confederate battle flag, it seemed the matter had been settled in July, when state officials stopped flying the flag on State House grounds and relegated it to a museum for “appropriate display.”

Then came the price tag.

This month, consultants for the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum [Seditious state agency delinked] here introduced a $5.3 million plan to expand the facility and show off the flag, along with an electronic display of the names of the state’s Civil War dead.

That idea proved to be a bust among Democrats who view the flag as an affront to African-Americans, and among members of both parties who balked at the cost.

$5.3 million?!!? Dang!! For 50¢, I’ll commemorate that flag!! Just give me the flag, a big bowl of my five alarm chili, and an outhouse!!



Dec 262015

Yesterday was an enjoyable holiday.  I did quite a bit of cooking for a friend, but only wore George for the time I needed to stand up.  I made ham steaks, cheese mashed potatoes, assorted fresh veggies, fresh pears, and store-bought pumpkin pie.  Then I ate moderately enough to keep my blood sugar below 120.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  For the next couple days I want to rest up, as my desk will be replaced with a smaller unit on Monday, and I have both PT and OT coming Tuesday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:10 (average 6:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (best of 2015): The most racist areas in the United States


I did not realize the extent to which parts of the Midwest and Northeast are even more racist than large parts of the South.

From NY Times: Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found.

American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Those deals and others ensured that the United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market.

Isn’t it sad that death is a key and growing US export?

From Alternet: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: ‘Wack Flag.’

It was Jon Stewart’s final season at "The Daily Show," which dismayed many yet made for plenty of memorable moments. After terrorist Dylann Roof murdered nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, the team over at Fox News couldn’t wait to take to the airwaves to criticize those who dared label the crime for what it was. Sean Hannity even took a moment to self-righteously call discussion of Roof’s hate crime and calls for gun control a leftist agenda-advancing “sickness.” “Yes, it’s a sickness, this rush to use tragedy to advance your narrative,” Stewart responded. “Combine that with an inability for self examination, an almost comical degree of self-exculpatory rhetoric, flag pins, a little bit of leg, and a complete immunity to irony: you got yourself a full-blown case of Fox-abetes.” Then he showed footage of how Fox anchors responded to the killing of two New York City cops weeks earlier (spoiler: it involves a lot of blaming Obama, Mayor Bill de Blasio and suggestions of racism), as glorious a display of hypocrisy as has ever been on television.


This is just one of the seventeen best instances of political comedy this year. Click through for the other sixteen.



Dec 202015

I slept in very late despite having set the alarm.  I missed church, and since I was scheduled to count the collection, I'm likely in the dog house.  The sleep was nice and important though.  Tomorrow is another busy day with physio and teaching.  OGIM!!!!!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:00). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet  A month later the national atmosphere had changed in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks. Numerous republican governors and presidential candidates began to scapegoat Syrian refugees, and Donald Trump became America's Bigot in Chief, calling for Nazi-like registries of Muslim-Americans and a total ban on Muslim immigration to the US.  

hanukah in a mosque

We’ve had a couple people at our rabbinical school speak about how important it is for the American Jewish community to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community. We have a lot of shared experiences of oppression and discrimination.” Diane Savona of Passaic, New Jersey said that she came with her husband in direct response to hate mongering by republicans. “It's sort of the opposite of listening to the Republican debates. It’s the antidote to the Republicans.” 

I partially disagree with Nabil Ezzarhouni who is mentioned near the end of the article.  The author states that "…he already appreciates the atmosphere of tolerance and multiculturalism."  Certainly there is an atmosphere of tolerance and multiculturalism within some groups and areas, but xenophobic Republicans have whipped up their base into a frenzied paranoia that permeates the nation and defies professed American values.  And that is what is too often portrayed in the MSM.

Talking Points Memo — The Augusta County school district in Virginia will be closed on Friday after parents inundated the school district with complaints about an Arabic calligraphy assignment at Riverheads High School that use the Muslim statement of faith.

The Dec. 11 assignment prompted "voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area," according to NBC Washington. Augusta County Sheriff Randy Fisher toldCBS News that the "profane" and "hateful" prompted Riverheads High School to lock and monitor all of its doors on Wednesday and Thursday.

As the complaints increased throughout the week, law enforcement advised the school district to close all schools, according to CBS News.


Parents were upset over a geography assignment on world religions from teacher Cheryl LaPorte, who had students practice calligraphy by writing the Muslim statement of faith, which translates to "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," according to Staunton, Virginia, paper the News Leader. Students were also shown a copy of the Quran, according to the News Leader.

So, this was an approved text and exercise, and not something devised solely by the teacher.  Yet parents and others are venting their spleens over Arabic calligraphy.  Both in Arabic and Persian (and perhaps other languages too), the formation of the script is in itself a work of art, a poem.  It is beautiful and elaborate by western standards.  Parent Herndon worries about indoctrination?  Perhaps she should look at the indoctrination perpetrated by Republicans and right wing evangelical pseudo Christians.

Washington Post — It’s déjà vu in the Dallas suburbs.

Three months after “clock boy” Ahmed Mohamed’s homemade gadget was mistaken for an explosive device, another minority student in a neighboring community has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at school.

The 12-year-old Sikh boy, Armaan Singh, was arrested on Dec. 11 for allegedly threatening to blow up Nichols Junior High School in Arlington, Tex. He was handcuffed, held in a juvenile detention center for three days and suspended from school.

But Singh says he is innocent, and that it was another student who caused the whole mess by mistaking his backpack for a bomb.

Does anyone in the Texas school system  ever use any common sense?  Did anyone question the child who made the accusations?  Bomb threats are a very serious matter, but so are false accusations that can ruin a person's life.  I think that the school administration could have done more before escalating the situation.  Islamophobia is rampant in the US thanks to the Republicans and the MSM (their motto: if it bleeds, it leads), and now that phobia is being redirected to other minorities.  Is it time to take away the Statue of Liberty?

My Universe


Dec 192015

It has been a quiet day fortunately.  A hair cut and nap and reading.  The weather was very wet this afternoon and will likely continue that way tomorrow.  I won't even go near a mall . . . total insanity!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:48). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Canada’s refugee policy is world class, and the big secret behind its success is its private sponsorship program, according to a former Toronto mayor.

“I think at the end of the day the absolute brilliance of the Canadian refugee program is that it relies on private groups to support the refugees and integrate them into Canadian society,” John Sewell, who helped resettle tens of thousands of people in the city decades ago, told The Huffington Post Canada in an interview.

“No other country has this kind of program,” he said. “It’s absolutely brilliant.”

In the late 1970s, the federal government began to feel pressure to increase its intake of Indochinese refugees uprooted by the Vietnam War.

vietnam refugees

It was around this time, in 1978, when Canada’s private sponsorships program launched. Since then, citizen groups have fundraised millions to support refugee families both financially and emotionally for upwards to a year.

The program has helped resettle over 200,000 refugees across the country.

I was involved in my church's sponsorship committee in the late '70s when we supported a Vietnamese family.  It was a lot of work but so worthwhile. My ESL student is a refugee from South Sudan via Uganda and I know I am making a difference.  People helping people is what life should be about.  Here is a Care2 petition urging the US Congress to legalise private sponsorship which I hope you'll sign.  Just click on the link and it will open a new page with the petition.


Alternet — Can you imagine him? Here is, in other words, a dark-skinned, bearded, unkempt Middle Eastern Jew, acting all kinds of suspicious, ranting on street corners and hanging around with prostitutes and fanatics, rejecting money, violence and the ruling class, seen by Muslims as the divine precursor to their prophet as he lures the innocent and the seditious into his lawless cult of pacifism and peace.

Jesus -DeusCristoeosPobres 

Jesus - Black-Liberation-Theology-Another-Jesus-Devine-Racism-James-H-Cone


Jesus in America, today? Almost certainly to be shunned, feared, derided. Depending where he wandered, also likely harassed, spit upon, even beaten – that is, if he was allowed into the country at all.

Looks quite like a Muslim, you see. Might be an ISIS sympathizer. Definitely radicalized. Got a Facebook feed full of strange proclamations, rapturous interventions, cryptic references to how you’re to seek the divine within, silly. Who knows what he might be up to?

Do you doubt it? Of course you can’t. I mean, just look at him.

Many years ago, I was introduced to liberation theology which Wikipedia describes as  

…"an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor…an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor",[1] or "the message of the gospels", restored from "the first three centuries [of Christianity in which] it was … a pacifist … religion of the poor".[2] Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.[3]

We don't hear the term liberation theology very often any more but nonetheless, I certainly see Jesus in that light, not as the right wing evangelical supply-side Jesus, the complete antithesis of the authentic Jesus.  The author concludes:

But the sad truth is, the real, dark-skinned, pacifist prophet, the hippie mystic Jesus of yore, preaching peace, loving thy enemy, inner divine wisdom? He wouldn’t come anywhere near America today.

Too many guns, you see. He wouldn’t have a prayer.

I am not proselytising, but rather trying to demonstrate the difference between the authentic Jesus and the right wing evangelical supply-side Jesus that is seen in Republican politics.

Mother Jones — "The end of JONAH signals that conversion therapy, however packaged, is fraudulent—plain and simple," David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement. The center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs.  

In a pretrial decision in February, Judge Bariso wrote, "The theory that homosexuality is a disorder is not novel—but like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it—instead is outdated and refuted." 

How long will it take to ban all conversion therapy?  Being gay or lesbian or transgendered is not a learned behaviour or chosen lifestyle.  Who in their right mind would choose to be discriminated against, denied opportunities etc? Good judgement!

My Universe — 

santa cat:


A couple of years ago, Dandelion on Care2 shared this humourous video with me and I have been singing it ever since.