May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

My Universe

ccat30

ccat35

 

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May 112016
 

I have had a busy time of late.  After feeding my mother Sunday night, I spent several hours brushing her hair which is very relaxing for her.  Monday was teaching and physio.  Tuesday, I had a dentist appointment and then was a pampered Sasquatch getting my hair cut etc.  I rounded out the evening with a 2 hour meeting of our Pastoral Care committee at church.  I have my first assignments but they will have to wait because I have come down with something.  It may well be allergies since the cottonwood trees and broom are both out.  We'll see.  I'm using my laptop much more but I can't seem to get a mouse to work with it.  That means that I can't do TC's jigsaw puzzles.

Short Takes

Think Progress — New polling released by the Center for American Progress on Monday, however, indicates that the public has turned hard against the GOP’s plan to simply ignore Garland’s nomination. Among other things, the poll finds that registered voters overwhelmingly support giving Garland a hearing and a confirmation vote:

Garland Poll

It appears that Republicans are committing hari kari.  In playing their little games over the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, Republicans appear to have put themselves at a disadvantage with voters.  Just how long will they insist on blocking Obama just because he is Obama and wilfully ignoring the needs of the country?

NY Times — An Alabama judicial oversight body on Friday filed a formal complaint against Roy S. Moore, the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, charging that he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” in ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse applications for marriage licenses by same-sex couples.

As a result of the charges, Chief Justice Moore, 69, has been immediately suspended from the bench and is facing a potential hearing before the state’s Court of the Judiciary, a panel of judges, lawyers and other appointees. Among possible outcomes at such a hearing would be his removal from office.

A start to the end of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court?  Be still my heart!

Huffington Post — After being welcomed to Canada with open arms, Syrian refugees in Calgary are now giving back to their neighbours up north.

syrian refugee support group

Members of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary fill hampers to send to Fort McMurray evacuees. (Photo: Saima Jamal/Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary)

A group of newcomers part of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary are offering up what little they have — Walid Ajram is collecting hampers of necessary supplies, while Rita Khallas is collecting $5 donations — for evacuees fleeing Fort McMurray's wildfire.

On Wednesday, refugee Naser Nader spurred hundreds to action when he wrote on Facebook about his wish to repay Canadians by helping those affected by the blaze.

Are these the people so many Americans, especially politicians, fear?  They are genuinely jumping in to help during a disaster in Fort McMurray any way they can.  They truly understand what it is like to lose everything.

My Universe — 

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Apr 082016
 

My new A/C is certainly powerful enough to cool my tiny place.  It’s also very loud, and the noise bothered me last night.  I’m sure I’ll get use to it, and after a night of three, I won’t even hear it.  I’m about to leave to go to PT with Courtney.  Later.  Back and pooped.  George needs an ankle adjustment.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Guardian (H/T Daily Kos):A group of Polish women walk out of a church service to protest against a proposed tightening of the country’s abortion laws. The video, posted on Facebook, shows the women leaving as a priest reads out a letter in favour of the ban. In Warsaw, thousands of people have attended a pro-choice rally outside parliament, after the leader of the ruling party backed a call from Catholic bishops for a full ban on pregnancy terminations.

 

It looks like Poland has Republicans that hate women too!

From Daily Kos: In disappointing Tuesday news, the Wisconsin Supreme Court race went to Rebecca Bradley, a conservative. Bradley beat progressive candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg in the non-partisan election. Wisconsin residents are now stuck with Bradley for the next ten years.

It’s a sad end to an ugly race, and an ugly type of race at that. Judicial elections are rife with problems as a general matter—politics, bias, secret money, and low voter engagement, to name a few. But in Wisconsin the elections have been particularly grimy.

Bradley is so Republican, she makes Nancy Grace seem like a progressive. This is how she won.

From Media Matters: A Media Matters investigation of the discredited right-wing group Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), the main source of baseless smears against, and false characterizations of, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, reveals a familial web of self-dealing between the organization, a major dark money funder of JCN called the Wellspring Committee, and a third nonprofit that also receives funding from Wellspring.

 

0408JCN_Graphic

Nepotism’R’Us, Nepotism (R-US), or just plain Koch sucking?

Cartoon:

0408Cartoon

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Apr 032016
 

Last night I slept poorly and felt so tired this morning, that I was dozing off, while doing my research, so after I finished, I uncorked a much needed Lona nap.  That’s why I’m running late today.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my kitty cousin Scanner.  Sadly he’s quite aloof, and every time I go in for my annual Cat Scan, he refuses to come out and play.  In any case, I may have no more that a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:46 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 9/2011): Why would anyone vote Republican? Well, here are 10 reasons.

1. You are a bigot

It’s true that not all Republicans are bigots. But if you ARE a bigot, the Republican party will be much more your group than the Democratic party. Remember that there are lots of ways to be a bigot: You could be a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, or lots of other things.

2. You like eating, drinking and breathing poison.

Many Republicans are calling for or voting for shrinking or eliminating agencies that protect us against poison. They seem to think that the corporations will do the right thing, without any pressure from the government. Uh huh. Read The Jungle.  Look at the way Monsanto is hiding facts about Round Up. Look at food safety and outbreaks of E. Coli. 

Corporations exist to make money. They will do so any way they can. The government needs to stop them from doing so in ways that hurt people.

3. You think the rich don’t have enough money

The idea that giving more money to rich people (via tax breaks) will help poor people is nonsensical and has been shown wrong time and again in history. Huge tax breaks for the rich (a la George Bush) don’t work.

4. You don’t support our veterans

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s Association (IAVA) rates every member of congress on how well they support our veterans.  In the Senate, 9 people got A or A+: All were Democrats. 30 got D or F: 29 Republicans and one Democrat.  More on this

How little they have changed!! I shared the first four. Click through for the other six.

From NY Times: The wall of Republican opposition to the nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court has been shored up by two Republican senators revoking their support for holding confirmation hearings.

Their moves highlight the immense pressure that Republican leaders are placing on senators as they try to build unified opposition to President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

As the White House heralds the growing number of Republicans agreeing to meet with Judge Garland, Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have reversed themselves and say they now back the decision made by Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, not to hold hearings.

The Republicans who agreed to meet with him were trying to appear responsible, but were really, as I predicted, just stalling for time.

From Raw Story: SNL took on one of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters who frequently pops up on cable broadcasts to defend the actions and words of the consistently offensive candidate.

 

I hope you enjoyed the laugh. Sadly the blonde on the right caricatured a voter even smarter than Fecal Dump Trump’s actual supporters.

Cartoon:

0403Cartoon

The previous summer, while planning events for Vietnam Summer, he said the government would not allow him to live much longer.  Watch this excerpt.

Less than 24 hours later, he was dead.  Isn’t it clear that he knew they were closing in?

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Apr 012016
 

I don't know about where you live, but here in Metro Vancouver, BC it was sunny with nary a cloud in the sky and temperatures around 22 C (72 F) today as well as yesterday.  Many of the fruit blossoms are finished, but there are still many magnolia trees (Magnolia liliiflora) in full regalia but they too will be finished before long.Yesterday I was teaching English and French, and tomorrow I will be working with my first student.  My two adult students are at such different places in the command of the language.  My young French student gets very excited when she knows I am coming over and it is cute to behold.  Today is the last class in my Pastoral Care programme and we will be commissioned on 24/04/2016.  Next Thursday I start another study group called Immersion.  It is geared to we flaming liberal Christians and will be taught by our Pastor Dave along with the woman who was leading the Pastoral Care programme.  So lots going on!  So who said retirement was for relaxing?  Retirement is for doing what you enjoy but seldom had the time to do!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — On Oct. 21, Jessica Grubb flipped open her laptop and watched a live stream of her father telling President Barack Obama about her addiction to heroin.

Obama was in Charleston, West Virginia, Jessica’s hometown, to discuss the opioid epidemic. When the local newspaper solicited questions for the president from its readers, Grubb’s parents asked their daughter if they could tell her story.

“Absolutely,” Grubb said, hoping it might help somebody else in need.

If she’d been in Charleston, Grubb would have tried to attend the president’s visit herself. But she was in Michigan, where she’d moved for a residential drug rehab program.  …

GrubbJessica Grubb  1986 – 03 March 2016

Jessica Grubb “had a twofold reaction” to her story being shared with Obama, David Grubb recalled. “The one part was, ‘Wow, the president’s talking about me.’ The second reaction was, ‘Wow, the president’s talking about me. It was bittersweet.”

Hearing about a life lost so young; about parents fighting so hard for their daughter, and ultimately all daughters and sons, yet losing the battle . . . it leaves me hollow.  David Grubb is correct . . . something has to be done.  He lists some things that are being done, but more is needed.  Drug addiction is a health issue that needs to be addressed everywhere.  In Squatch’s Open Thread 29/12/2015, I presented an article about how Portugal had decriminalised drugs and began treating drug addiction as a healthcare issue rather than a punitive issue.  I then followed it up with a piece in Squatch’s Open Thread 30/12/2015.

From the internet — 

Need anything more be said?  I have never enjoyed his genre of writing, but on these  words I agree.

Daily Kos — When I watched the Chris Matthews interview with Trump on MSNBC tonight, I’d already seen the video exchange where Trump said that women who had gotten an illegal abortion should be punished.  But when I watched the entire discussion, Trump made an even more shocking, and I think, more newsworthy statement that no one even bothered to mention. 

The blogger has a point.  Here is the Chris Matthews interview with Drumpf.

Stephen Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     Barf Bag Alert!!!!!     

Sometime later, Drumpf tried to clarify his position but only succeeded in making himself a pathetic figure in my opinion.  From The Guardian:

“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions,” the statement said.

Raw Story — Senator Orrin Hatch took to the New York Times op-ed page to try to make the case for the Senate refusing to take up President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

It didn’t go well.  …

If Hatch and his fellow Republicans want to vote against Judge Garland, they have every right to do so. But they should stop being cowards. They should make a substantive argument against him. vote against him, and accept the political consequences of that vote. They should stop pretending that this reckless path they have chosen is anything but a desperate attempt to hold onto a Supreme Court majority.

Amen!

My Universe — h/t Carol B, Ted W at Care2

Which one of these is not like the others?

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Mar 202016
 

Somehow, I have managed to pick up a sore throat and likely a cold . . . again.  My chiropractor had one and that is the only person I can think of to whom I have been close.  Arrggghhhh!  I am still awaiting my laptop so that I can join Nameless in frustration with learning Windows 10.  I have W7 on my desk top and like it but that will have to change sooner or later.  Because I have a bug, I won't be going to see my mother tomorrow.

Short Takes

CBC — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent trip to the U.S. appears to have made quite an impression on our American friends — perhaps too good an impression, judging by these videos of two New York men literally begging him to run for president.  …

Fortunately for Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau declined an invitation from these men begging him to run for U.S. president. 'I don't know if you noticed, but I actually have a job,' he said. 'And it's a pretty good one.'

In another video, Trudeau declines the invitation to run for president on the grounds that he's not U.S.-born.

The American men were quick to counter by pointing out that Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was born in Calgary. 

"I have tremendous confidence in the American people," Trudeau told the men, but they weren't convinced. 

Just a little bit of humour to start your read.  Since Trudeau's visit to Washington just over a week ago, I have seen various positive posts about Trudeau, one even asking him to run for President of North America.  I think a modern Trudeaumania has been born.  From Wikipedia

Trudeaumania was the nickname given in early 1968 to the excitement generated by Pierre Trudeau's entry into the leadership race of the Liberal Party of Canada. Trudeaumania continued during the subsequent federal election campaign and during Trudeau's early years as Prime Minister of Canada

I remember it well!

National Law Journalh/t Barbara K, Care2 — A group of more than 350 legal scholars on Monday called upon senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to consider a U.S. Supreme Court nominee submitted by President Barack Obama.

In a letter sent to Senate leaders, 356 professors and scholars said that leaving an eight-justice court in place would have dire consequences. They asserted that allowing Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat to remain unfilled until after the presidential election could cripple the court and set bad precedent.

“This preemptive abdication of duty is contrary to the process the framers envisioned in Article II, and threatens to diminish the integrity of our democratic institutions and the functioning of our constitutional government,” reads the letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; and ranking Judiciary Committee member Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

Reached for comment, a spokesman for McConnell wrote in an email, “The Leader’s position is well-known.”

Alliance for Justice, a liberal organization focused on the federal judiciary, circulated the letter.

Scalia Quote

The letter reads in part:

As scholars deeply committed to the fair administration of justice, upholding the rule of law, and educating future generations of the legal profession, the undersigned professors of law urge you to fulfill your constitutional duty to give President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a prompt and fair hearing and a timely vote.

The Senate’s obligation in this circumstance is clear. Under Article II of the Constitution, the president “shall appoint . . . judges to the Supreme Court,” and the Senate’s role is to provide “advice and consent.” Yet before the president has even made a nomination to fill the current vacancy, a number of senators have announced that they will not perform their constitutional duty. Instead, they plan to withhold advice and consent until the next president is sworn in nearly a year from now. This preemptive abdication of duty is contrary to the process the framers envisioned in Article II, and threatens to diminish the integrity of our democratic institutions and the functioning of our constitutional government.

President Obama was elected to a four-year term in 2012. According to the Constitution, that term has more than 300 days remaining. There is no exception to the Constitution holding that the president lacks the authority or duty to appoint justices to the Supreme Court because he is in the last year of his presidency. In fact, six justices have been confirmed in presidential-election years since 1900, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Republican-appointee Anthony Kennedy, who was confirmed by a Democratically-controlled Senate during President Ronald Reagan’s last year in office. 

6 scotus justices_for email

Here is a petition from the Alliance for Justice to Tell Senators to #Do Your Job

Rachel Maddow spoke with Nan Aron, president of the AFJ, back in mid February on the conundrum.

IMO, McTurtle and Grassley, nor any other Republican for that matter, should not be in any leadership position.  I hope this Republican stupidity hurts them in the election, regardless of whether the matter is solve or not.

Raw Story — In November, many Americans who didn’t vote in 2014 or 2015 will be casting a vote for president of the United States. Midterms and off-year elections are often ignored by registered voters, but anyone who doubts the importance of voting in every election need only look at the type of damage far-right Republicans can do at the state or local level when they are in control. Although Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and President Barack Obama was reelected decisively in 2012, Republicans fared extremely well during the 2010 and 2014 midterms, not only in Congress, but in the state and local races. The result has been an obscene amount of destructive legislation, from anti-union laws to harsh anti-abortion and anti-contraception measures to laws that harm the environment.

Below are 10 terrible laws or bills brought to you by some of the more obscure GOP politicians wielding way too much power in statehouses and state legislatures around the country.  …

11. Senate Bill 4: Kentucky’s New Anti-Abortion Law

Signed into law by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin last month, Senate Bill 4 requires that women in Kentucky receive in-person counseling 24 hours before an abortion. The Kentucky ACLU describes SB 4 as “an unnecessary barrier to safe and legal abortion practices,” and Derek Selznick (director of the Kentucky ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project), said, “Legislators were not elected to provide medical advice or care to Kentucky women.” This is the same Bevin who began dismantling Kentucky’s successful, state-run Obamacare exchange, Kynect, right after taking office in January. So the health of Kentucky women is not high on his list of priorities.

Click through for the other ten laws pushed by right-wing Republican nutters.  If you don't want this kind of BS, then take a stand and get out the vote.

NY Times — Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.

There is no longer room for error or delay, the anti-Trump forces say, and without a flawlessly executed plan of attack, he could well become unstoppable.

But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism.

perry

Some prominent Republicans have considered Mr. Perry as a possible independent candidate for the general election if Mr. Trump receives the party’s presidential nomination.

Are Republicans making one Oops after another?

My Universe — I asked TC to do a special report from a local farm.

TC hanging out in barnTC in the barn assessing the needs!

Tucked away in Spokane, WA, there is a shelter for cats that sets itself apart from the pack with its novel, and incredibly successful, approach to caring for cats in need of help. Instead of a life of cages, occasional adoption events, and possible euthanasia, these cats are brought into SpokAnimal shelter as feral or stray, and end up leaving gainfully employed!

Click through The Animal Rescue Site for the rest of his report.  Excellent report Puddy Tat!!

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Mar 182016
 

Yesterday I went to see my PCP’s PA.  It was mostly about going over test results.  My AIC was a 7.1, a little higher than I want it, but we3ll below the ganger range.  My white count was a little high.  Ellie thinks that was, because I was still recovering from pneumonia, and drew more blood to retest.  My LDL was fine, but my HDL was a bit low.  I ordered some fish oil caplets to boost my Omega 3s.  She authorized pain meds sufficient to meet my needs.  My poop test showed no evidence of colon cancer.  All things, considered, I’m a perky puddy tat.  I’ll retest in three months.  My LIFT bus came at the back end of my window, and picked up and dropped off several people, before I got home in mid-afternoon.  I had a late lunch and crashed.  After breakfast this morning I cooked suppers for three days.  A Lona Nap snuck up on me, so I’m running a bit behind.  Several of you know Carrie.  She asked me to let her friends know that she’s having Internet trouble.  I hope she can return soon.  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:57 (average 6:03).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: \Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is a staunch conservative and was vocally opposed to same-sex marriage throughout his five-year tenure as the Vatican’s nuncio (ambassador) to the United States.

He also sent an anonymous invite to Ms. Kim Davis, of anti-equality fame, to the Pope’s DC visit. While people, here and elsewhere, initially thought this was a coup for Davis and bigotry, Pope Francis turned the other cheek.

And now word comes that the incident is prompting The Vatican to replace Vigano. A friend of the Pope’s claimed he was blindsided by the meeting, and the move caused the Vatican to distance itself from Viganò, leading many to believe the Pope would quietly replace him as his “statutory retirement age” was approaching. Viganò turned 75 in January; when bishops and archbishops reach that age, they are required to submit a letter of resignation to the Vatican.

Interestingly, the Pope is thinking about replacing the social conservative warrior with an advocate of immigration.

Good riddance to a Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian. I am not Catholic, and I am not even slightly interested in practicing Catholic dogma, but I keep liking this Pope more and more.

From The New Yorker: President Obama is planning to take the nation’s nuclear launch codes with him when he leaves office, in January of 2017, the President announced in a nationally televised address on Thursday.

The President was quick to acknowledge that his decision to hold on to the launch codes was unorthodox, but said that he was doing it “to reassure the American people.”

“In recent weeks, there has been a rising level of alarm about who might have access to these codes going forward,” Obama said. “As a result, it occurred to me that the safest thing would be if I just held on to them for the foreseeable future.”

The President stressed, however, that he would follow through on his plan to keep custody of the launch codes “only if it is necessary.”

“We’re just going to have to see how everything plays out,” he said.

LOL Andy!! He might briefly consider keeping them if Hillary is the next President, but if either Fecal Dump or TRUSed Uranus wins, it's a no-brainer.

From YouTube: Robert Reich: How to Fix the Supreme Court

 

The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right, and the Reich on the right, the seditions Republican Reich, is wrong. This video is sponsored by MoveOn.org, which released this statement on Garland's nomination. The best place to express disapproval to Republican Senators is to visit them, when they are waiting in the unemployment line.

Cartoon:

0318Cartoon

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Mar 162016
 

President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to take the place of deceased and descended Antonin “Sturmbannführer” Scalia.  I’ll need more time to research, before I can offer an opinion oh his choice, but I can tell you this:  Garland would be an improvement over Scalia, because it would be virtually impossible to be as bad.  I can also tell you that he deserves a fair vote, whether I like him or not.  Needless to say Republicans are apoplectic.

0316obama-merrick

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, setting up a protracted political fight with Republicans who have vowed to block any candidate picked by Obama in his final year in office.

Garland, 63, is a longtime Washington lawyer and jurist who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Considered a moderate, Garland is widely respected in the D.C. legal community and was also a finalist for the first two Supreme Court vacancies Obama filled.

In announcing his choice in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he followed “a rigorous and comprehensive process” and that he reached out to members of both parties, legal associations and advocacy groups to gauge opinions from “across the spectrum.”

He said Garland “is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.” …

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Here’s a clip of the announcement.

Bought Bitch Mitch (R-KY) has reaffirmed that Garland will not get a vote.  Snake in the Grassley (R-IA) has reaffirmed that Garland will not get a Judiciary Committee hearing.  All of the sitting Republicans who previously voted for Garland, when he was confirmed to the DC Circuit now oppose giving him a vote.  Here are some of the statements Republicans made about Garland then, in 1992.

GOPSedition

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

“Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“I have nothing against the nominee. Mr. Garland seems to be well qualified and would probably make a good judge — in some other court.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

“He has a high position with the Department of Justice and, by all accounts, does a good job there. There will be a number of judgeship vacancies in the D.C. trial judges. He has been a trial lawyer. He would be a good person to fill one of those. I would feel comfortable supporting him for another judgeship.”

Then-Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

“I believe Mr. Garland is well qualified for the court of appeals. He earned degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice Brennan on the Supreme Court and, since 1993, he has worked for the Department of Justice. So there is no question, he is qualified to serve on the court.”

Then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC)

“I have no reservations about Mr. Garland’s qualifications or character to serve in this capacity. He had an excellent academic record at both Harvard College and Harvard Law School before serving as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, he has served in distinguished positions in private law practice and with the Department of Justice. Moreover, I have no doubt that Mr. Garland is a man of character and integrity.”

Then-Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)

“[T]he nominee has the character and is highly qualified for the position.”

 

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Whether or not Garland is qualified has nothing to do with this seditious attempt by Republicans to block his nomination.  They are hoping they can find a way to steal the Presidency and make the appointment themselves.  Now, I have to admit that a Republican President’s appointment could not be much worse than Scalia, even an appointment by Trump or Cruz.  However consider this.  The next President will appoint the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I consider it highly unlikely that Garland will be confirmed.  Republicans may try to save face by going through some of the motions, but they will only be stalling for time.  Therefore, it is imperative that the next occupant of the White House be a Democrat.  I know that many of you aren't very keen on Hillary, but if she is nominated, it is imperative to work as hard for her as we would for Bernie.  Do you question that?

Do you want Trump to replace Ginsburg?

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Mar 102016
 

I’m already in a big hurry, because I have a ton of paper work to do, so please pardon my lack of conversation.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:37 (average 4:36).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Mitch McConnell’s deputy, threatened potential Supreme Court nominees that they’d get beat up and their careers would be damaged by the Senate if President Obama even nominates them.

"I think they will bear some resemblance to a piñata," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

"What I don’t understand is how someone who actually wants to be confirmed to the Supreme Court would actually allow themselves to be used by the administration in a political fight that’s going to last from now until the end of the year," Cornyn told a small group of reporters in the Capitol.

He added: "Because there is no guarantee, certainly, after that time they’re going to look as good as they did going in."

Cornyn, by the way, is a member of the Judiciary Committee, that august body that acts as the gatekeeper to the federal judiciary.

This typically Republican tactic from Cornhole Cornyn is no surprise at all.

From Alternet: Stephen Colbert discussed Tuesday’s primary results on last night’s show, including Bernie Sanders’ surprise win over Hillary Clinton. “Michigan was definitely feeling the Bern last night,” Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, announced. “And it wasn’t just from the water in Flint.”

Colbert then updated his audience on the Republican side, where Trump triumphed, and made a point of getting back at Mitt Romney who had severely criticized Trump last week. Of course, his victory speech had some unusual elements.

 

Hateful Hairball may love his steaks, but he wants us to ignore all his mistakes.

From Crooks and Liars: Senator Elizabeth Warren used her speech denouncing Republicans for blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to remind everyone of their hypocrisy when it comes to their "extreme" frontrunners for the 2016 Republican nomination.

 

Go, Lizzie, Go!! Doesn’t she do a great job of explaining how Republican refusal to consider a Supreme Court nominee just illustrates  their normal seditious sabotage of our nation? Will Republicans do their job? Hell, no!!

Cartoon:

0310Cartoon

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Mar 052016
 

Well today turned out to be one of those days!  Everything was going well . . . physio was good and teaching went well.  Then all hell broke loose.  Loliyo, Lucia's 9 year old daughter had a bedroom door slammed on her thumb.  There was great howling understandably and a fair amount of blood.  We took her to the hospital where they gave her tylenol and x-rayed the thumb.  Fortunately, her thumb was not broken and the doctor didn't think stitches were required.  She has a big blood blister but she is not likely to lose her thumb nail.  After a couple of hours in emergency and making sure Loliyo was OK, I was beat.  A cat nap cut short my online time so there was no Open Thread yesterday.  I am still working on the Monthly Report.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was honoured by a southern Alberta First Nation in a ceremony full of colour and history Friday, but aboriginal leaders also challenged him to deliver on his promises to Indigenous Peoples.

justin trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses after receiving a ceremonial headdress while visiting the Tsuut'ina First Nation near Calgary, Alta., Friday, March 4, 2016. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Trudeau shared the stage on the Tsuu T'ina reserve with chiefs in full feather headdresses, elders in vests or beaded jackets and the First Nation's rodeo stars.

High-pitched chanting and the rhythmic pounding of drums were all part of an elaborate ceremony in which the prime minister was presented with his own headdress and blessed with the aboriginal name "Gumistiyi," which means "The One Who Keeps Trying."

The headdress presented to Trudeau symbolizes accomplishment, respect, bravery and peace-building. The Tsuu T'ina Nation on the outskirts of Calgary said it has not seen fit to bestow one on a prime minister since John Diefenbaker [13th Prime Minister 1957 – 1963].

Here is a 2 minute video of the ceremony and Trudeau's remarks.  The enquiry into the fates of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls is in its infancy and encountering some differences of opinion on how it should proceed.  It will get done.  Harper refused to deal with the issue.  It should also be noted that the Tsuu T'ina Nation is close to Harper's riding.

Alternet — In the oral arguments for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt — the case before the Supreme Court concerning Texas' anti-choice law, HB 2 — Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller relied on a common right-wing media myth to justify medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. In his argument, Keller made the long-debunked claim — pushed for years by right-wing media — that HB 2 was passed to prevent another "Kermit Gosnell scandal," in which illegal operations led to multiple deaths at a Philadelphia clinic.

Supreme Court Heard Challenge To Texas Law Restricting Abortion Access

"Landmark" Abortion Case "Could Shape Abortion Rules For Years To Come." The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt on March 2. The case involves a Texas abortion law that "requires abortion doctors to be affiliated with nearby hospitals and also limits abortion to ambulatory surgical centers," according to The New York Times. Pro-choice advocates and "major medical groups say [the law] will not enhance patient safety and will only reduce women's access to abortion."

Click through to see how the arguments went.  It is always a good day when the "notorious" RBG, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer pin back the ears of someone like Keller.

Raw Story — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson officially ended his bid for the White House on Friday after failing to win any of the early states in the race for the November election.

And then there were four!  It is now official . . . Carson is out!

Truthout — TransCanada's claim that the southern route of the Keystone XL Pipeline is the safest pipeline ever built in the United States is challenged by the release of new documentation confirming multiple code violations.  

After mandatory safety tests revealed potential problems with the integrity of the southern pipeline, TransCanada dug up 130 sites and made repairs before the pipeline was permitted to start up.  

A repaired pipeline segment on the Keystone Gulf Coast Pipeline. (Source: PHMSA FOIA 2016-0041_000077)

A repaired pipeline segment on the Keystone Gulf Coast pipeline. (Source: PHMSA FOIA 2016-0041_000077)

They requested PHMSA require TransCanada do a new pressure test on the pipeline to test the integrity of the repairs. But PHMSA turned them down at a private meeting held shortly before TransCanada started up the pipeline. 
 
PHSMA explained that it had faith the repairs were done correctly

So, when there is a catastrophic incident, who pays for cleanup, lost wages, medical bills etc?  Will the BP Gulf spill be a measuring stick for reparations?

My Universe — 

Cat-dumps-the-water-out-of-the-vase-resizecrop--The reason I don't have flowers or plants in my house!

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