Jun 252013
 

I’m writing early.  Tomorrow is day 11.  Grrrr…  The Supreme Court has apparently kicked the can until next year on Affirmative Action.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 8:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

We still NEED  two more players in our lefty league.  For more info. click here.

Short Takes:

From LA Times: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Obama administration and decide whether the president may make temporary “recess appointments” to federal offices when the Senate takes a short break during the year.

The case is to be heard in the fall, and it is likely to yield an important decision on the constitutional powers of the president to execute the duties of his office in the face of Senate opposition. It could also have an effect on President Obama’s final years in the White House.

I’d rather nuke the filibastards with the nuclear option on the filibuster than leave it to the five fascist Injustices of SCROTUS.

From The New Yorker: A U.S. intelligence agency was so busy spying on three hundred million Americans that it failed to notice one dude who was working for it, a spokesman for the agency acknowledged today.

“I guess we were so busy monitoring the everyday communications of every man, woman, and child in the nation that we didn’t notice that a contractor working for us was downloading tons of classified documents,” the agency spokesman said. “It’s definitely embarrassing, for sure.”

Of course, no such statement was made, but it should be.

From NY Times: …Billed as Louisiana’s first atheist service and titled “Joie de Vivre: To Delight in Being Alive,” it was presided over by Jerry DeWitt, a small, charismatic man dressed all in black with slick, shiny hair.

“Oh, it’s going to be so hard to not say, ‘Can I get an amen?’ ” he said with a smile, warning people that this was going to be more like church than they might expect. “I want you to feel comfortable singing. And I want you to feel comfortable clapping your hands…

At last! Services for the atheist faith! ;-)

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A win for the good guys!

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Jun 192013
 

Few things are more cut and dried than American citizens’ right against self incrimination.  …nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…  At least that used to be correct.  In most 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court is split between the fascist five Injustices of SCROTUS and the four Justices of SCOTUS.  Not only did SCROTUS deny the Constitution in this case, but also, four critical cases remain on this year’s calendar.

SCROTUS

…The court ruled that a suspect’s failure to answer a police officer’s questions before an arrest may be used against the suspect at trial.

The Supreme Court has long said the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination applies after arrest and at trial. But it had never decided, in the words of a 1980 decision, “whether or under what circumstances pre-arrest silence” in the face of questioning by law enforcement personnel is entitled to protection…

…Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, said allowing “a prosecutor to comment on a defendant’s constitutionally protected silence would put that defendant in an impossible predicament.” Mr. Salinas’s choice, Justice Breyer wrote, was “between incrimination through speech and incrimination through silence.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

The four Justices of SCOTUS were absolutely correct. The right against self incrimination is meaningless, if its invocation before arrest can be used in court to imply guilt. But the Fascist Five Injustices goose-stepped against the Constitution to help make this nation a Republican police state. As for what’s next, Chris Hayes covered the remaining four decisions in two segments. In the first, Chris and his panel discussed what’s at stake in the decisions.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I strongly fear that Chris may be correct in his hypothesis that SCROTUS may use gay rights to mask the demise of voting rights and affirmative action. The wrong decision in any of these cases will be tragic, because all are key to America’s freedom. However, the worst decision they could would be to allow their Republican cronies to steal elections by denying minority Americans the right to vote. In Chris’s second segment, he and his panel discussed that.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Chris is correct that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is at stake, because Republicans have already made it clear that their intent is to use the law to disentrance blacks and Latinos, in addition to seniors, students, labor and poor people. If destroying the Voting Rights Act is the decision, in combination with Citizens United, the Supreme Court will have demonstrated that it is illegitimate.

No Republican may be allowed to infest the White House before the Injustices od SCROTUS have been replaced with Justices.

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Jun 082013
 

I’m writing early again to beat the heat, although yesterday was not quite as hot.  It’s only 84° inside.  Temperatures should decrease over the weekend with a comfortable week next week.  I took my first Chantix Friday morning in keeping with my 6/14 quit date.  So far, I’m still same BWAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ;-)

In the best laid plans of mice and men, I way overslept.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY TimesIn general, do you think the current Supreme Court justices decide their cases based on legal analysis without regard to their own personal or political views, or do you think they sometimes let their own personal or political views influence their decisions?

Legal analysis 20%  Personal/political views 68%

Click through for the rest of an interesting NY Times/CBS poll.  The reason for this result is simple.  Only three members of the court were appointed by Democrats, and the fascist five (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and usually Kennedy) goose-step with the Republican Party and their 1% masters.

From Think Progress: A recent study not only confirms the claim that many of the guns used in the ongoing violence in Mexico are from the United States, but finds that some U.S. gun dealers depend on this illegal gun running to stay afloat.

Researchers at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and Brazil’s Igarapé Institute put together a groundbreaking model to determine why Mexico, which possesses some of the toughest gun laws in the world, is so awash in firearms. In constructing their report — Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border — the authors used the number of Federal firearms licenses (FFL) issued to sell small arms to create a demand curve, based on the distance by road from the seller to the nearest point on the U.S.-Mexico border to estimate a total demand for trafficking, both in terms of guns sold and the amount the industry took in.

Their results? A much larger number of U.S. guns circulating in Mexico than occurred under the now-lapsed federal Assault Weapons Ban, with an estimated 253,000 firearms purchased per year to be trafficked to Mexico between 2010 and 2012. Somewhere between 0.9 and 3.7 percent of all gun sales in the U.S. can be attributed to trafficking to Mexico, a rise from the amount in 1993. Most shocking, an estimated 46.7 percent of all FFLs issued “during 2010-2012 depended for their economic existence on some amount of demand from the U.S.-Mexico firearms trade to stay in business,” a number that has also risen since 1993.

This makes the NRA very happy, because killing Mexican children flies under the political radar, and is therefore less visible to US voters than killing US children for industry profit.

From Alternet: Philadelphia is so broke the city is closing 23 public schools, never mind that it has the cash to build a $400 million prison. 

Construction on the penitentiary said to be "the second-most expensive state project ever" began just days after the Pennsylvania School Reform Commission voted down a plan to close only four of the 27 schools scheduled to die. Facing a $304 million debt, the Commission instead approved a measly $2.4 billion budget that would shut down 23 public schools, wiping out roughly 10% of the city’s total. 

But it’s not like Pennsylvania does not have the money to fill the debt. Rather,  PA’s GOP-controlled House of  Representatives recently passed a tax break for corporations that will cost the state an estimated $600 million to $800 million annually.

Here we have a Republican solution to address the needs of a largely black city. They are not doing anything like this in districts that are predominately white.  Closing schools to build prisons is the height if InsaniTEA.

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Israel later called the incident a tragic mistake due to the mis-identification of the ship, which is unlikely. The U.S. has never publicly investigated the incident, despite repeated requests to do so from family members and crewmates of the slain.

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Apr 182013
 

I’m still sick in bed, but today’s other article was just too important not to write..

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:07 (average 5:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The Supreme Court’s conservatives dealt a major blow Wednesday to the ability of American federal courts to hold violators of international human rights accountable. The court declared that a 1789 law called the Alien Tort Statute does not allow foreigners to sue in American courts to seek redress “for violations of the law of nations occurring outside the United States.”

In the case at issue, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Nigerian citizens alleged that, from 1992 to 1995, multinational oil companies working in Nigeria aided the military dictatorship that tortured and killed protesters who fought the environmental damage caused by the oil operations. These companies did business in the United States. But Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said that even where claims of atrocities “touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force” to overcome a presumption that the statute does not apply to actions outside this country.

That presumption radically revises and undermines the way the statute has been applied for a generation. It has been limited by the types of human rights abuses it covers — but not by where they take place. The effect is to greatly narrow the statute’s reach…

The vote was 5-4 with the activist fascist five, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy goose-stepping for international criminal corporations against basic human rights.

From Think Progress: The Tucson, Arizona Police Department held a gun buyback on the anniversary of the 2011 Tucson mass shooting, with the intention of melting down the 200-plus firearms they received. But now the National Rifle Association, which vowed to put a stop to it, appears poised to get its wish. The Arizona Senate approved a measure 18-12 that prevents local municipalities from destroying the firearms, following the House’s action earlier this year.

State Sen. Rick Murphy (R) said gun buybacks “accomplish nothing other than make people feel good,” and the measure is about “protecting taxpayers.” [Reich Wingers delinked] NRA board member and lobbyist Todd Rathner made a similar claim in January that local government must sell seized or abandoned property according to state law…

What next? Will Arizona Republicans require that the weapons be sold to people who cannot pass background checks?

From Raw Story: Minnesota radio host Bob Davis last week said last Friday he would like to personally tell the families in Newtown, Connecticut whose children were murdered to “go to hell.”

On his show Davis & Emmer, which is broadcast by Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130, he attacked the families of those killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School for speaking in support of stricter gun laws.

I bet a buck that this asshole champions Batshit Bachmann! There is only one word to describe such vile lack of decency: Republican!

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Folk history seems to have forgotten the latter two.

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Apr 032013
 

I seem to be back on the mend and expect to be back to full time by the weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:57 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: With two same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court, numerous commentators have latched on to remarks by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg critical of the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. It is not the judgment that was wrong, but “it moved too far, too fast,” she said at Columbia Law School last year, a view she has expressed in various speeches and law review articles. As one of the court’s moderate liberals and a champion of women’s rights, she is now being routinely cited to argue for a timid resolution on the issue of same-sex marriage that would strike down California’s ban on such marriages, but would leave prohibitions standing in about 40 other states.

How Justice Ginsburg will vote on same-sex marriage is unknown. But her comments misread the legal and political landscape at the time of the Roe decision and have been used to bolster the inaccurate notion that the court’s ruling on abortion rights somehow short-circuited a political process that was moving in the states to end criminalization of abortion. Some now argue that a toxic multidecade backlash against abortion rights could have been avoided if the court had given states more time to act — supposedly a cautionary lesson for marriage equality.

The real story, as explained by Linda Greenhouse, a former New York Times reporter who now teaches at Yale Law School, and Reva Siegel, a professor there, is that political conflict over abortion was escalating before the Roe decision, and that state progress on decriminalization had reached a standstill in the face of opposition from the Roman Catholic Church…

I seldom disagree with Justice Ginsburg, but in this case I do. In Roe v Wade, SCOTUS made a correct and timely decision, because church intrusion into state affairs was keeping from women a basic human and Constitutional right. In like manner, the Court should not condone religious intrusion into state affairs that is keeping from LGBT couples a basic human and Constitutional right. Moving "too far, too fast" in the right direction is NEVER the issue.

From Alternet: A Texas sheriff threw two Latino men into jail for 39 days "with no charges, no hearing, and no probable cause" and seized the $14,000 they had saved up to buy a new car, the men claim in Federal Court.

     Roberto Moreno-Gutierrez and Jaime Moreno-Gutierrez sued Hill County, the Hill County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, in Federal Court. Hill County, whose seat is Hillsboro, is between Waco and Dallas…

To understand the absurdity and bigotry of this injustice, you’ll need to click through for the rest of the article. Of course, the responsible official, Hill County Sheriff Michael Cox, is a Republican.

From Crooks and Liars: The city of Stockton, California officially went bankrupt yesterday. Instead of concern for what that might mean for its residents in terms of services and their quality of life, Fox predictably focused on one thing: public pensions. And, instead of doing any kind of real analysis of the pension issues, or delving into the pushy behavior of the Wall Street creditors, Stuart Varney suggested the whole problem is due to slacker public employees living high on the hog for decades after just a brief stint of work. He looked forward to pensioners taking the hit and expressed hope that the same would happen in other California cities, too…

…And how many of those pensioners have worked for decades educating and protecting the public based on the promise of a comfortable retirement? While retiring at 50 may seem young to the 60ish Varney, I’d like to see him start hauling firefighter equipment and running into burning buildings before he sneers about retirement ages again…

 

I stopped volunteering as a firefighter by 50, because I was becoming a drag on the youngsters, and unlike the pros, I didn’t even have to do it every day. Like the party that the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda serves, Varny concerns himself only with taking away what working people have earned.

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Mar 302013
 

My back still hurts like hell, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was yesterday.  If I keep recovering at the same rate, I’ll be back soon.

Jig Zone Puzzles:

Yesterday’s took me 4:32 (average 5:22).  To do it, click here.  Today’s took me 4:11 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: How Many Times Did You Need To Hear The Word ‘Yes’ Before You Did This?

 

That really puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?

From The New Yorker: Justice Antonin Scalia dropped a bombshell on the Supreme Court today, announcing his decision to resign from the Court “effective immediately” and leave the United States forever.

Calling this week “by far the worst week of my life,” Justice Scalia lashed out at his fellow-Justices and the nation, saying, “I don’t want to live in a sick, sick country that thinks the way this country apparently thinks.”

Justice Scalia said that he had considered fleeing to Canada, “but they not only have gay marriage but also national health care, which is almost as evil.”

He said the fact that nations around the world recognizing same-sex marriage are “falling like deviant dominoes” would not deter him from leaving the United States: “There are plenty of other countries that still feel the way I do. I’ll move to Iran if I have to.”

Of course this is satire, but resigning the Court and leaving the US is the greatest gift he could possibly give America.

From Crooks and Liars: Jon Stewart roasts Rupert Murdoch over his bid to buy the LA Times. Murdoch already had a chance at the news publishing business with his News of The World rag, which blew up in his face over criminal activities and now new arrests. So why would he be given a special waiver to buy the storied newspaper?

 

Murdoch, owner of the Republican Ministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and the formerly respectable Wall Street Journal, deserves a waiver… to his FCC license!

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Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot is so blatantly ignorant that the highly acclaimed poet he quoted to court Latinos, Pablo Neruda, was an avowed Communist.

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Mar 282013
 

I’ve spent so much time in bed, lately, that I could not get comfortable in bed yesterday, so I have not slept at all and feel completely pooped.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 4:38).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The effort over many years to forge an international treaty regulating the booming $70 billion annual trade in conventional weapons headed toward fruition on Wednesday with a final draft sent to the governments of all United Nations member states for approval.

Supporters, including a majority of member states, hope that the Arms Trade Treaty will be approved by consensus at a final negotiation session here on Thursday. The treaty would for the first time set international standards for conventional weapons sales, tying them to respect for human rights, the prevention of war crimes and the protection of civilians. Rights advocates have called the treaty the most ambitious attempt to stop the illicit spread of weapons that fuel deadly conflicts around the world.

I fully support international oversight of conventional weapons sales, but see little chance of ratification here, because ratifying treaties requires 2/3 of the Senate. With Republicans goose-stepping behind Wayne LaPierre and the gun industry, that isn’t happening anytime soon.

From The New Yorker: In an outburst that shocked many onlookers at the Supreme Court today, Justice Antonin Scalia said that it made him “angry beyond belief” that he had to listen to people talking about gay couples all week…

…“O.K., could we just stop talking about this stuff right now?” Justice Scalia snapped at Justice Kennedy. “I’ve told you all how I feel about this topic, and I don’t understand why we’re going on and on about it unless you all hate me.”

As the courtroom froze in dead silence, Justice Scalia seemed to gather steam, shouting, “For two days, it’s been gay this, gay that. You’re all just talking about this stuff as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Well, it’s not, O.K.? It’s weird and it’s wrong. And just talking about it like it’s O.K. and whatnot is making me angry beyond belief.”

Although this is satire, Scalia is a walking hate crime.  I wonder if he escaped from Nuremberg.

From Think Progress: During oral arguments this morning, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to at least entertain the argument by House Republicans that gays and lesbians are too politically powerful for constitutional protection.

Roberts suggested that gays and lesbians must be “politically powerful” because politicians are “falling all over themselves” to endorse gay marriage, according to a tweet by Mother Jones’ Adam Serwer. The brief by Paul Clement, who represented the House of Representatives in defending DOMA, had reasoned that gays and lesbians are winning political battles and “have the attention of lawmakers.”

You can fertilize your veggies with that lie. The LGBT community is so powerful that states have passed amendments to deny them equal rights. Just ten years ago their sexual relations were a crime in many states. If they seem to enjoy popular support now, it is only because of a public reaction to the extremity of the discrimination leveled against them.

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