Mar 092015
 

This week is turning out to be quite busy already.  Wednesday, my normal grocery delivery day from Store to Door, I have an appointment I cannot change, so I have to get groceries from Safeway.com.  They are coming tomorrow, moving prep for that to today.  The kitty basking weather is winding down.  Only 58° forecast today.

Per Nameless’ Request:

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i-feet.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:86).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: For all his partisan animus toward President Obama, it is still shocking to see the Senate’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, urge the nation’s governors to undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who seems to hold Mr. Obama personally responsible for what has been the decades-long decline of coal jobs in his state, expressed his defiance in an op-ed article [Bought Bitch delinked] Wednesday in The Lexington Herald-Leader.

The administration has proposed regulations aimed at limiting emissions. Mr. McConnell urged the governors not to cooperate with a joint rule-making process aimed at developing final regulations under which Washington will set emissions targets while giving states flexibility to implement them. Sabotaging this process, he says, will give the courts time to find the plan illegal or give the Senate time to figure out a way to block it. “Without your support,” he said, the administration “won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism.”

Bought Bitch Mitch is pursuing a plan that won’t help coal jobs. Mechanization is replacing many.  There are few left, because coal can’t compete.  Fracking has provided a surplus of unnatural gas, and the Saudis are flooding the market with cheap oil to forestall a shift to green energy.  The liar is trying to protect profits, not jobs.

From Alternet: The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries…

…The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders — which often requires lower wages  to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.

Of course the Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right about the Reich on the right, the Republican Reich, which is wrong by definition. Click through for more than this tiny taste about how RepubliCorp is screwing YOU.

From Crooks and Liars: Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver didn’t hold back when discussing the racist emails being sent by the Ferguson, MO police department and court officials which were discovered during the Department of Justice investigation of racial prejudice in the city’s police and judicial system.

 

It amazes me that Oliver can be so funny, while being spot on about racism at it’s worst.

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Mar 082015
 

It was spring vacation in my Junior year.  I wanted to do battle in the front lines.  It might have been good for the movement, if future Republicans hadf murdered a young white boy, not yet 17.  But the protestors were better that that.  For my own safety, two very large and very kindly black ladies linked arms with me, refused to let go, and kept me well behind the front lines.  I didn’t get to see much of the violence, but I did get to see way too much blood.  Fifty years later, Obama was upbeat, but realistic.

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On this day in 1965, the nation watched as peaceful civil rights demonstrators were savagely beaten by police as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., a bloody sacrifice that historians credit with helping to usher in the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act days later.

Fifty years later, with the nation embroiled in a fresh debate about race in America, the country’s first black president joined a bipartisan congressional delegation and tens of thousands of marchers at the foot of the iconic civil rights landmark to commemorate a day that forever altered the landscape of American history.

“There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided,”  President Obama told the sea of people who had stood for hours to hear him pay tribute to the day known as Bloody Sunday. “Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg.  Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.”

“Selma is such a place,” he added.

The speech came several days after the Justice Department released a searing report admonishing police in Ferguson, Mo., for engaging in a vicious pattern of racial bias. The police department was home to Darren Wilson, a white officer whose killing in August of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, sparked nationwide protests about police brutality in communities of color throughout the United States…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The Post was overly generous to call the Congressional delegation bipartisan.  Many of the Republicans present attended only after their intended absence became a talking point.

Here is the video of Obama’s address in it’s entirety.

And click here for the transcript.

One key focus of the speech is that the civil rights movement continues today and has helped many different minorities.  How sad it is that racism was waning quickly, and we would be much further along had the Republican party not embraced racism, as part of the Southern strategy.  Obama alluded to this, but called for us to press on, as the struggle is not yet over.

Another key focus of the speech was the Voting Rights Act.  He alluded to those who are keeping it week, without calling out the Republican Party by name.  He also said that the Congressional delegation could prove their sincerity by returning to Washington and fixing the voting rights act.

I have no doubt that I’ll have more coverage of this story, because these Republicans now need to prove to their rabid base that their sheets and hoods are still intact.  They will immediately return to abusing their power to disenfranchise minority voters.

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Mar 052015
 

This is today’s only article, because I’m about to leave to exchange my cell phone.  The store isn’t far, but it tales a bus, a train and a half mile on foot to get there.  I’m ready for some rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Last week at CPAC potential Republican candidates were invoking President Ronald Reagan ad-nauseam. Ed Schultz asked Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to Reagan, how would Reagan have been treated at CPAC.

 

Republican Saint Ronnie Ray Gun is as much like the real Reagan as Republican Supply-side Jesus is like the real Jesus: not at all.

From Upworthy: He was upset when the police stopped him the first time. But by the 30th time, there was an ironic reason why he was downright embarrassed.

 

Somehow I suspect that the problem there is nowhere near as bad as it is on this side of the pond.

From The New Yorker: House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a joint session of Congress in April to hear an address by Kevin Laggett, a man who is on record as having hated President Obama in high school.

Boehner, who personally extended the invitation to Laggett, said that he did not consult with the President before contacting his high-school nemesis.

“This has nothing to do with the President,” Boehner said. “Many of us in Congress are very interested in what Mr. Laggett has to say.”

According to a source who attended high school with both men, Laggett’s antipathy for the President began when Obama was chosen over him for the post of sports editor on the school newspaper. “Kevin has totally despised him ever since,” the source said.

While I would not be surprised, if Andy’s satire were true, Agent Orange had far more devious reasons for inviting Butcher Bibi.

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Mar 022015
 

It’s another super-busy day, because I have the Monthly Report to write, and I have an essay to write on why prisoners’ memories of crimes committed years before, don’t always line up with police reports and victim statements.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Lynn’s New Mouse:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Yesterday Georgia became the first southern state to ban the box.

This policy, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal through an executive order, postpones questions about a job applicant’s criminal history until it is demonstrated that he or she is one of the most qualified candidates. The policy also requires that the applicant have the opportunity to explain his or her criminal history before denial, and that only a relevant conviction will be used as the basis for disqualification.    – See more at: http://www.gjp.org/…

Kudos to the people of Georgia. Frankly, I’m surprised that Raw Deal didn’t veto it. In Oregon, only Multnomah County (one if the three that make up the Portland Metro Area) and the City of Portland have banned the box.

From NY Times: The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said.

According to several officials who have been briefed on the report’s conclusions, the report criticizes the city for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans and relying on the fines to balance the city’s budget. The report, which is expected to be released as early as this week, will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges.

Oh My! The Ferguson PD is racist?!!? Are you as surprised as I am?

From Washington Post: …ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts…

This just a snippet from an article by Elizabeth Warren, explaining a huge reason to oppose the TPP. I urge you to click through to read it all.

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Feb 242015
 

I just gave my grocery order to Store to Door for delivery tomorrow.  I have lots od housework to do, and I hope to sit outside for a half an hour or so, as it’s the last nice day before crappy weather returns.  I slept poorly last night, so I’m fading.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 5:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Instead of resisting calls for reform, Ron Smith—the head of the Seattle Police Guild is trying to lead Seattle police in a more positive direction—even if he has to do it the hard way:

Last week, however, the union called on members through Facebook to be careful on social media after officers were caught posting racially inflammatory comments online, warning: “Times have changed and we must also change to adapt to societal expectations.”

Asked by the Stranger to elaborate on those comments, Smith said: “If you don’t like the politics here, then leave and go to a place that serves your worldview.” He said this was a message that new recruits were now reminded of when they enrolled with the union.

“There are more than enough places across this country that are hiring law enforcement that have a different political landscape than here. And I don’t know why [disgruntled officers] don’t just go there,” he added.

Kudos. That move needs to be repeated across the country.

From Upworthy: Underrepresented actors often have been complicit in creating ethnic stereotypes in the media. For my own part, I rented out my Asian face to Jerry Lewis back in the day.

Now we’re not only speaking out, but creating, writing, and portraying who we are — as we are — in our great, dazzling diversity. As we contribute our authentic selves, the comedy becomes specific and real, the drama is distinctive and identifiable, and our society grows enriched and involving.

Hollywood and the media now have the opportunity to actively engage with the talented diversity that comprises our entire society. But is it "to be or not to be? That is the question." — George Takei

 

George is so right, and this is so true. Of course, if minorities are not presented stereotypically, the studios lose the entire Republican audience.

From Think Progress: …A lawsuit called King v. Burwell would take health insurance away from millions of Americans, returning them to the world that existed before Obamacare. The case relies on a few words of the law that, if read out of context, seem to deny tax credits intended to help people pay for their health insurance to people who live in the wrong states. Once those words are read in the context of the entire law, however, it becomes clear that tax credits are available in all 50 states.

A brief filed on behalf of multiple public health scholars and the American Public Health Association, estimates that “over 9,800 additional Americans” will die if the justices side with the King plaintiffs. It reaches this conclusion by starting with an Urban Institute study showing that 8.2 million people will become uninsured in this scenario. As other research examining Obamacare-like reforms in the state of Massachusetts found that “for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year,” that translates to between 9,800 and 9,900 deaths if the justices back the plaintiffs in King.

Another method produces slightly less grim numbers, although it still indicates that thousands will die unnecessarily if the Supreme Court does not uphold the tax credits at issue in King. The Harvard study mentioned above concludes that there were “approximately 44,789 deaths among Americans aged 18 to 64 years in 2005 associated with lack of health insurance.” It also states that, at the time of the study, “46 million Americans lack health coverage.” The 8.2 million people who will lose health care according to the Urban Institute equals just under 18 percent of 46 million. Thus, assuming that the pool of 8.2 million people who could lose health insurance in King has a similar mix of healthy and sick individuals as the 46 million examined by the Harvard study, that suggests that approximately 8,000 people will die every year if the King plaintiffs prevail.

King could not be a more obvious decision. The question comes down to this. Will all the Fascist Five Injustices value breaking the law to coddle extremists enough to murder thousands to do it?

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Feb 192015
 

If everything goes as planned, I’ll have articles posted and links sent before I take my friend to dinner today, although that will entail some hurry-up.  Then I’ll have a few days to catch-up on chores before a major prison volunteer day next week, when we’ll have a class of University students coming in to meet with my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

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

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In an effort to distance himself from the legacy of his brother, George W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will use a major foreign-policy speech on Wednesday to assert that, if elected President, he would harm the nation in completely different ways.

“A lot of people are looking at me and thinking that I’m just going to be a rerun of my brother,” Bush told reporters before the speech. “They are greatly underestimating my ability to create chaos and destruction in ways that are uniquely mine.”

As an example, Bush said, he was unlikely to invade Iraq for a third time, calling such an action “too derivative.”

“George already did it, and Dad did it before him,” he said. “Call it my independent streak, if you will, but I want to spawn some disasters of my own.”

To that end, Bush said that he and his foreign-policy team were already scanning the globe for “new and different places” where the United States could become involved in open-ended and pointless quagmires.

Andy isn't telling us that his faux Bush is lying just like the real one does. He's just like his brother, a Neocon hawk. GW ChickenHawk intended to conquer six more countries, after Iraq. The only thing that prevented him from more invasions is that Republican incompetence bogged him down in Iraq.

From Daily Kos: When teenagers are flashing "white power" signs at sporting events, rest assured that racism is alive, well, and here to stay.

In a week when a Mississippi judge was indicted for slapping a disabled black man and calling him a "nigger," when Chelsea soccer fans chanted racism at a black fan and refused to allow him on the train, and when we learn St. Louis police vocally encouraged each other to turn off their cameras before beating a young black man they later dropped all charges against, it's not as if we needed more proof that racism is thriving in 2015, but it keeps on coming.

White students from Flower Mound High School began flashing a "White Power" sign in the middle of the game for all to see against the predominantly African-American Plano East basketball team. In the image above, it also appears that several students near the sign may have painted their faces brown in "black face" to mock the Plano East team.

After the game, players from Plano East discovered that their team bus had been urinated and defecated on. While several students have confirmed the incident on the team bus, the district has yet to confirm it. Witnesses have also stated they heard students hurl racial slurs at black students, particularly after one student was injured.

Here we have more examples of how the Republican Party reaches out to African Americans.

From NY Times: Ms. Brown, who is a Democrat like Mr. Kitzhaber and as secretary of state was the first in line to succeed him under Oregon’s Constitution, has promised to make a series of immediate moves that she says are “needed to restore the public’s trust in government.” She also said she would address economic issues facing working families.

The swearing in of a new governor also brings a kind of cultural shift to the state capital. Mr. Kitzhaber, 67, a former emergency room doctor, forged his political identity as a moderate Westerner, usually in boots and jeans, who often reached out to the state’s rural and more conservative areas, which have struggled economically.

Ms. Brown, 54, by contrast, is more a product and a reflection of the state’s largest and perhaps most liberal city, Portland. She is a yoga enthusiast and a cyclist who often rides tandem with her husband, Dan Little, from their restored early-20th-century home in southeast Portland. She is also bisexual, having come out in an essay on a website about elected officials who are “out,” and is being recognized by gay rights groups as the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.

Welcome Kate. I trust you'll do fine job.

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Feb 182015
 

I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  I feel tired, but I did get enough sleep that I feel feline again.  Yesterday, I felt like a dawg!  Tomorrow, I’m taking my friend with cancer out to dinner.  It’s a Mexican place known for Chile Verde, so I hope there are Republicans downwind.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:30 (average 5:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In a time where people genuinely want to believe that racism is dead, reality has a way of smacking us all right in the face to remind us that it’s actually alive and well. Mississippi Judge Bill Weisenberger was seen and heard by five different witnesses, both white and black, striking a severely autistic African-American man and then yelling, "Run, n*gger, run" at him in 2014.

Nine months later, a grand jury has indicted Judge Weisenberger, and charged him with "assault on a vulnerable adult." Hate crime charges, which carry stiff federal sentencing, have yet to be filed.

Several additional allegations have surfaced against Weisenberger in the last year. He is accused of imposing an illegal DUI sentence against an African American in his courtroom. The Attorney General’s office said it could not confirm or deny whether it was investigating that matter, though District Attorney Michael Guest said it had turned the matter over to the AG’s office.

Weisenberger also had a lawsuit filed against both him and the county in November. The attorney for Charles Plumpp said Weisenberger arrested and jailed her client, who is African American, on the nonexistence charge of "roaming livestock."

I’m surprised that this Republican is being brought to justice. Kudos to those Mississippians responsible.

From NY Times: President Obama surely knew that his recent executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation would run into trouble as soon as a 26-state lawsuit opposing the actions landed on the desk of Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen, of Brownsville, Tex.

Judge Hanen — who last month invoked a biblical flood in describing illegal immigration into that community — has spoken out aggressively against Mr. Obama’s immigration policy in the past, saying it “endangers America” and is “an open invitation to the most dangerous criminals in society.” Indeed, his earlier opinions were the reason Republican governors and attorneys general pushed to get their suit into his district.

As expected, the judge on Monday night temporarily blocked the first of several programs Mr. Obama announced in November to offer work permits and a three-year reprieve from deportation to more than four million immigrants who are parents of American citizens and who have no criminal record.

That move — which Mr. Obama took only after years of failed efforts by Congress to pass any immigration reform — triggered the fury of congressional Republicans, who responded with threats of, among other things, impeachment proceedings…. [emphasis added]

Judge Hanen is another small part of the damage done to this nation by Crawford Caligula. I pray his partisan decision will be overturned.

From Washington Post: In the wake of Dave Fahrenthold’s great piece about Scott Walker’s college years, Democrats have begun to openly question the Wisconsin governor’s ability and readiness to be president, given that he doesn’t have a college degree.

I disagree with those Democrats who say Walker is unfit to be President, because he does not have a college degree. A college degree measures neither intellect nor ability. 25% of Politics Plus readers have postgraduate degrees, and another 48% graduated college. My lack of a college degree has not impacted my ability to reason and communicate with well educated people. The Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan has proven himself unfit to be a washroom attendant, let alone President, because he is a Koch whore. His degree is irrelevant.

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