Nov 222015

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how nutty InsaniTEA can become.  As TC would say, I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Republican politicians and presidential aspirants fell all over each other this week, trying to be as offensive, spiteful and Islamophobic as possible. Let’s review some of the lowest of the legion of low-lights.

1. Ben Carson’s truly offensive and clearly intentional metaphor.

Reports of Ben Carson’s stupidity and inability to grasp foreign policy may (or may not) have been greatly exaggerated. But reports that he is an evil mother*cker have not. In his usual semi-somnambulant state, Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” this week in a piece of rhetoric that really does, no exaggeration, rival Hitler.

"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you're probably going to put your children out of the way," Carson said at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama. "Doesn't mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking, how do I protect my children?

Hmmm, let’s see, how many dog whistles can he blow at one time?

"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," Carson continued obviously pleased as punch with his metaphor. "Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening." 

The fact that these horrifyingly inflammatory remarks are uttered in Carson’s soft cadence, and by a doctor no less, somehow compounds their vileness. He’s fully capable of generating lots of metaphors, but he chooses this one. In what way exactly is that not evil?

Click through the rest of the Alternet article.  It defies logic how some Americans can become so enthralled by these idiots.  But then that is playing on fears, and they are masters of fear.

Nov 172015

Well Monday is done and Tuesday is upon us.  There was no ice in the morning but the rain was vicious all day.  In West Vancouver, there was some snow, and I am sure there was some snow in the mountains above me . . . I just couldn't see it because of the thick rain clouds.  It has been raining today but rain and wind should intensify later this afternoon. After I have my hair cut this afternoon, I just might stop for a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (my favourite) and relax with a book.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:56). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

7-3-0 .700 L1 10 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

6-4-0 .600 W1 7 948.50 844.04


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon

5-5-0 .500 W3 5 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

5-5-0 .500 L1 4 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-6-0 .400 L3 3 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-7-0 .300 L3 2 884.98 1,059.66


1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Daily Beast — A series of interviews with Ben Carson prove once again that foreign policy isn’t brain surgery. No, seriously.

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris on Friday, Ben Carson has done a great job showing the world just how little he knows about foreign policy over and over again.

Click through for the rest of this short piece, which is apparently much longer than Carson's foreign policy knowledge.  And this is the pseudo politician that many Republican voters want in the White House?  I wonder how long it will take Carson to call this question a "gotcha question" and start railing against the "liberal press" [snark]?

Huffington Post — A video of a father explaining the Paris attacks to his son has captured our hearts.

In Friday’s aftermath, French news broadcast Le Petit Journal interviewed the unnamed child to ask if he understood what happened in his city and why the shootings happened. “Yes, because they’re really, really mean,” the boy said. “Bad guys are not very nice.”

As the boy began to worry that his family would have to move, the father stepped in. “No, don’t worry. We don’t need to move out,” the dad said. “France is our home.”

Click through for the rest of the article and a video of the boy and his father.  It is a hanky moment to be sure.  the innocence of a child juxtaposed against the carnage of bombs.

And here is something I received from Wendy Kelly @ Care2 that is very moving.

The husband of a young woman who died in the horrific Terrorist Attacks in Paris has written a heartbreaking letter to her killers.

Antoine Leiris, a journalist at France Bleu, declared that he and their baby son would not live in fear of terrorists.

In the tragic note, titled 'You will not have my hatred' he wrote: "On Friday evening you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred.

"I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife is a wound in his heart.

"So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.

"You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You have lost. The player still plays.

"I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than 12 years ago.

"Of course I am devastated with grief, I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived.

"I know she will be with us every day and we will find each other in heaven with free souls which you will never have.

"Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back to [my son] who has just woken from his sleep.

"He is only just 17 months old, he is going to eat his snack just like every other day, then we are going to play like every other day and all his life this little boy will be happy and free.

"Because you will never have his hatred either."

These two fathers also remind me of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian medical doctor, now resident in Canada, who wrote the book I Shall Not Hate following the killing of three of his daughters by Israeli forces in Gaza some years ago.

The Atlantic — In the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, today’s Republican leaders either deny climate science outright or insist that any solution, as Marco Rubio recently claimed, “would have a devastating impact on our economy.” This has relegated the GOP to playing defense at the moment that President Obama is turning climate mitigation into a central pillar of his legacy and heading to Paris to broker a global climate agreement. Republicans have backed themselves into a losing climate position that not only reflects poor science, poor economics, and poor strategy, but also betrays enduring conservative principles.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I think the following statement from the article sums things up.  

"But what makes for good policy does not necessarily make for good politics."

Republicans are much more interested in ideology than in governing for the public good.  The Conservative government in Australia has approved the Carmichael coal mine backed by India's Adani Enterprises in central Queensland.  The COemissions alone outstripe many of the world's major cities.  And what it means to the Great Barrier Reef is past appalling.

aitgraphWhat it means to a world already facing increasing temperatures is more trouble.  2015 is set to be the hotest year on record and 2016 will likely follow.

My Universe — 

Nov 162015

The weather here was good today, sunny and windy, but it was about 8 C (46 F) warm enough for mid November. Tonight or early tomorrow morning we are expecting rain.  Current temperature is 0 C (32 F).  I hope this does not mean icy streets in the morning when I have to go to physio. I'd hate to miss the opportunity to be chastised by my therapist for falling on my face. I have enjoyed several of Lona's cat naps this afternoon/evening, but the rest of the week is looking quite busy.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 5:18). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

NY Times — Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, inLebanon.

All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

Around the crime scenes in south Beirut and central Paris alike, a sense of shock and sadness lingered into the weekend, with cafes and markets quieter than usual. The consecutive rampages, both claimed by the Islamic State, inspired feelings of shared, even global vulnerability — especially in Lebanon, where many expressed shock that such chaos had reached France, a country they regarded as far safer than their own.

But for some in Beirut, that solidarity was mixed with anguish over the fact that just one of the stricken cities — Paris — received a global outpouring of sympathy akin to the one lavished on the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

Click through for the rest of the article.  High on my mind, like so many others, has been the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris.  I had read about the Beirut bombings and I was sad for the people, like I am sad for the people of Syria and Iraq who endure so much death and uncertainty daily.  But what makes Paris so different to Beirut?  In reality, nothing.  In both cases, innocent lives were broken apart by the same group, Daesh.  The people in Beirut ask a valid question, do Arab lives matter less.

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Do we in the west have a double standard?  Do some lives matter more than others.  This is a question we all should be wrestling with.  All lives matter equally!

Mother Jones — "The Court now has the opportunity to decide whether we will continue to allow elected officials to play politics with women's health," wrote Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America,in a statement. "This case represents the greatest threat to women's reproductive freedom since the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade over 40 years ago. Laws like the ones being challenged in Texas are designed to subvert the Constitution and end the right to a safe and legal abortion."

Click through for the rest of the article.  With the decision expected in early 2016, this issue, no matter which way it goes, will likely be an election issue.  It is time for women to stand up forcefully for their reproductive health.  Women and their doctors should be making these decisions, not politicians.

Raw Story — Following Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives, prospective 2016 GOP presidential candidates were quick to find fault and assign blame by going after Democrats and slamming Syrian refugees before French authorities even began their investigation.

Republicans flooded the airwaves Sunday morning, variously criticizing their Democratic counterparts for failing to use the term “radical Islam,” and faulting the administration for not putting “boots on the ground” in Syria while warning of another 9/11 attack in the U.S.

Responding to all three Democratic nominees using “radical jihadists” in their debate instead of blaming Islam, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Democrats are more invested in defending Islam than protecting Americans.

“It’s become apparent on the Democratic side, whether it is the current president or the one who wishes to be president, they’re more interested in protecting the image of Islam than they are protecting Americans,” Huckabee told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Is there anyone of sound mind in the Republican Party?  Here is Jeb Bush on the subject (from Raw Story).

And Ted Cruz of course has plenty to say (from Raw Story).

Cruz made the case that the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night proved that Christians are under siege, even though the attacks were on nightlife hot spots and not religious targets. Before the rally, Cruz told to reporters and said Christians need constitutional protections because they are most ostracized today, according to CNN…

Do I think Christians are under siege as Cruz says?  No!  Do I think that Christians need constitutional prtections? They already have 1st amendment rights.  What these pseudo Christians are wanting is the right to discriminate and the right to turn the US into a Christian theocracy.

My Universe — 

Nov 122015

Well it poured rain last night, pinging off the rain spout at a ferocious rate.  I was very glad to be inside!  The rain continues this morning but not hard like last night.  Thanks to Lona who sent me a fresh supply of cat naps.  I availed myself of two yesterday which was good for the cold/cough.  Today is scheduled to be a low key day with laundry a prime concern.  Can't have a "furless" sasquatch!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:51 (average 6:11). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — To winnow the field of candidates who would hold the main stage in the second G.O.P. debate, in September, CNN had intended to use the average of national polls conducted over the summer. But after Carly Fiorina’s campaign complained that the method was unfair CNN changed its formula. The decision had very little to do with American democracy or social science. It had to do with the practice of American journalism. It would make better television if Fiorina was on the same stage as Trump, since he’d made comments about her appearance. (“Look at that face!” he said.)

“No one tells me what to say,” Trump had said in August. By September, on the defensive about Fiorina, he insisted—he knew—that he had the will of the people behind him. “If you look at the polls,” he said, “a lot of people like the way I talk.”

Donald Trump is a creature of the polls. He is his numbers. But he is only a sign of the times. Turning the press into pollsters has made American political culture Trumpian: frantic, volatile, shortsighted, sales-driven, and anti-democratic.

He kept his lead nearly till the end of October. “Do we love these polls?” he called out to a crowd in Iowa. “Somebody said, ‘You love polls.’ I said that’s only because I’ve been winning every single one of them. Right? Right? Every single poll.” Two days later, when he lost his lead in Iowa to Ben Carson, he’d grown doubtful: “I honestly think those polls are wrong.” By the week of the third G.O.P. debate, he’d fallen behind in a national CBS/NYT poll. “The thing with these polls, they’re all so different,” Trump said, mournfully. “It’s not very scientific.” 

This is a long but interesting article about polling and the reliance on and influence of polls in the electoral process. The uneducated mind may rely on polls too much as politicians may rely on them to inform their policy positions rather than listening to their constituents.  Click through for the rest of this article.

Think Progress — In August, New York-based Amalgamated Bank announced it would immediately raise its minimum pay to at least $15 an hour.

At the time, the bank noted that it was the first to make such an announcement. But it’s also committed to making sure more follow its lead.

The bank, which is owned by the union OPEIU, came to the $15 wage floor in the midst of contract negotiations with the union. The contract also specifies automatic 3 percent increases each year, ensuring annual raises for its workforce. “It’s a bold move,” said CEO Keith Mestrich. “We need to be bold like that.”

This is great news!  When I started as a teller, I was paid about $1.55 per hour.  That was 45 years ago.  But even then, I could not afford to share an apartment with rent of $250 per month.  Click through for the rest of the story.

Huffington Post — Republican presidential candidates debated once again on economic issues and offered some misleading takes on jobs, tax plans, immigrants and state budgets.

  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that “welders make more money than philosophers.” Actually, those with undergraduate degrees in philosophy earn a higher median income than welders.
  • Businessman Donald Trump said that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had forced out 1.5 million immigrants who were in the country illegally. The federal government claimed it was 1.3 million, but historians say that’s exaggerated.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the Tax Foundation calculated that his tax plan “costs less than virtually every other plan people have put up here, and yet it produces more growth.” But the foundation said Bobby Jindal’s and Rubio’s plans both would lead to higher gross domestic product growth over a decade.
  • Cruz also repeated the years-long falsehood that there’s a “congressional exemption” from Obamacare. Members of Congress and their staffs face additional requirements than other Americans, not fewer.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that his state has had “eight credit upgrades,” but two credit rating agencies moved the state to a “negative” outlook in February. And it faces a $117 million deficit in its most recent budget.
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he had cut his state budget by 11 percent during the 2001-2003 recession. Over his entire tenure, however, spending went up by 50 percent.
  • Jindal claimed that there were “more people working in Louisiana than ever before.” That’s wrong. There were fewer Louisianans working in September than there were in December 2014.
  • Huckabee said that Syrians make up only 20 percent of the refugees arriving in Europe. The figure is actually 52 percent for 2015.

Click through for the analysis of these claims.  I was very surprised when I didn't see statements from Fiorini reported. But then I saw the following article.

Think Progress — “We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation,” Fiorina told the debate audience, referring to an obscure bill intended to hobble federal agency action. Though it is unlikely that many people in the audience know what the REINS Act is, this bill has long been one of the top priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the primary lobbying group representing big business as a whole. Moreover, the bill has a fairly high chance of becoming law if Republicans gain control over both houses of Congress and the presidency. The bill passed the GOP-controlled House on multiple occasions.

The Congress is already known as the "do nothing Congress" and this would only make it worse.  This is an asinine suggestion from a business person who was a complete failure!  Click through for the remainder of the article about a bill that few know about.

My Universe — 

Nov 112015

It’s been a busy day, pushing myself to learn new physical skills, while choking back the pain that accompanies the effort,  and doing the prep work for three articles.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to get a long-term transportation funding bill out of the House last week. While that first long-term funding bill in a decade was a pretty significant accomplishment, his conference is warning that they won’t let him do anything else without a fight. That fight: Noxious policy riders attached to spending bills that have to pass by December 11 to avert a government shutdown.

Asked early in the week whether he would press so-called “policy riders” to the spending bill that would condition the money—perhaps to defund Planned Parenthood or rein in the EPA—Ryan suggested he wouldn’t back down from the fight, noting Congress is the institution that holds the power of the purse and “we fully expect that we are going to exercise that power.”

Because the spending fight is a tough line to walk due to the warring factions inside the GOP conference demanding different things, Ryan put together an advisory group of key leaders representing the different ideological viewpoints. Representatives of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 members on the right who were Boehner’s toughest critics, will join members of the moderate Tuesday Group, and the Republican Study Committee, another large group of conservatives for weekly sessions to discuss policy ideas. […]

“I’m not going to pre-determine the outcome of negotiations that have not even taken place yet,” Ryan said. He also pointed out that Congress was separately moving a budget process — known as “reconciliation”—that stripped federal money for the group, and that path was a better bet to get a bill to the President’s desk.

But as Ryan tries to avoid saying specifically what House Republicans will do on the spending bill, Senate Democrats are insisting that the appropriations bills all be lumped together in a massive omnibus measure. That means party leaders like Ryan will have to get personally involved to hash out a compromise behind the scenes and push it through both chambers. That tactic could infuriate the right of Ryan’s conference, but Democrats say it’s the only way to go.

At the moment, Ryan is trying to take a hands-off approach, leaving it up to the appropriations committee to do the negotiating with various factions. That’s not going to fly. And it’s not going to be enough for the Freedom Caucus, the group of maniacs that seems to claim the largest membership. “We think he is going to want input from members of the Freedom Caucus as well as input from everyone else in the conference,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, when asked about the budget fight. “That’s how it’s supposed to work, he’s committed to do that.” Jordan and his members are already pushing hard to include those noxious policy riders—that Senate Democrats will not allow to pass.

Lyin’ Ryan is learning that dealing with Republican wackydoodles, bent on committing TEAbuggery, is just as impossible for him as it was for his predecessor, who has been demoted. Agent Orange was the Soused Speaker. Now, he’s just a Limp Boehner.

From The New Yorker: Arguing that the voters have tired of “gotcha questions,” the Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he hoped Tuesday night’s debate would “focus on the real issues facing this country, like finding the lost city of Atlantis.”

“The American people don’t want to hear personal attacks,” Carson told reporters. “They want to know which candidate has the best plan for locating Atlantis and recovering its storied treasures.”

Carson said that finding Atlantis was central to his plan for reviving the U.S. economy. “We could start paying down the national debt with one jewel-encrusted trident,” he said.

Andy should have added that many Americans can help search for Atlantis, from an underwater perspective, if Uncle Token wins the White House and implements his environmental policies.

From Upworthy:

You’ve probably never hung out on the moon.

But if you were to, that aerial view of Earth would surely get you thinking. It puts everything into perspective.

You’d probably be thinking: Huh, the Earth kind of looks like a little marble from here. Or, whoa, that little blue marble is home to everyone I’ve ever known — and everyone I haven’t.

When you take time to zoom out to see the bigger picture of the world, you realize that we all have one important thing in common: our home.

It’s that thinking that has some of the world’s most popular musicians coming together to sing about the home we all share and one major problem it’s facing: climate change.

If that doesn’t turn a few heads, nothing will!



Oct 312015

Happy Halloween! There are monsters in Republican sheets and hoods chasing you.  Be VERY afraid.  I’m in a bad typing position.

Short Takes:

From Crooks and LiarsThis mashup from Media Matters is so great, because it highlights all the crap they spew year round. Yes, today is Halloween, but for them, every day is Halloween.


Be VERY afraid!

From the New Yorker: Corrected by Squatch

In the biggest free-agency acquisition of the 2016 Presidential contest, the billionaire investor Paul Singer has acquired Florida senator Marco Rubio for a rumored eight-figure sum, pending a physical.

Just hours after the deal was inked, Rubio was flown by private jet to Singer’s training facility in East Hampton, where the senator will submit to a series of gruelling drills before the deal is finalized.

“We are making a four-year deal with Marco, with an option for another four,” an associate of Singer’s said. “We like what we’ve seen of him on tape, but we want to be sure that he has what it takes to go the distance.”

Andy forgot to tell us on what, besides deportation and welfare for billionaires, Border Buster will be tested.

From Daily Kos (classic 1/2015): Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to talk about the deficits. Yes, plural. The ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee says the next budget should address a series of deficits in investment in the American economy. Income inequality, lack of jobs and especially good jobs, poor infrastructure, bad trade deals, retirement insecurity, and a failure to invest in education—these are deficits that affect the entire American economy, dragging it down and slowing growth. That's what Sanders wants to address:

Spot-on Bernie! Click through for more.



Oct 252015

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how nutty InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

1. Don’t worry, President Ben Carson would only crack down on liberal speech on college campuses.

Ben Carson, who now leads the polls in Iowa (apparently because Muslim-bashing and comparing Obamacare to slavery is wildly popular among Republican voters there), had some comforting words for his fellow conservatives this week. He will preserve their free-speech rights on college campuses, but monitor those with more left-leaning views.

Whew! That is a relief. For a minute there, we thought when he told radio host Dana Loesch he would charge the Department of Education with monitoring and punishing examples of “extreme political bias” at colleges and universities that he was going to threaten people’s First Amendment rights. But it turns out, he only means people with whom he disagrees.

“There are some who would say that it’s kind of like monitoring political speech,” Loesch said. “Do you agree with their assessment of that?”

“No, I don’t," Carson replied. “I think it’s a very big difference. But, of course, that would be the first thing that the left would claim because they want to be able to continue to do this, and it’s not appropriate for public funding to be used to indoctrinate students in one direction.”

The highly educated neurosurgeon perceives neither the irony nor the hypocrisy of this position because, apparently, he missed that day in school.

It seems to me that the Republicans have their very own scarecrow, one that is decidedly in need of a brain!  Isn't it interesting how the Republicans call out Mr Obama and Democrats for not following the Constitution, yet here is a Republican presidential nominee candidate who advocates taking away first amendment rights from liberals.  

This is just one of the absurdities of right wing America.  To be sure, there are more than five, but publishing space is limited.  Read about the other four enumerated in Alternet.

Oct 252015

Well I am still very much down with primarily a cold and aches . . . and it doesn't seem to be letting up yet, unfortunately.  And yes, I am drinking lots of fluids (I can put a racehorse to shame!) and getting lots of rest (hibernating bears should be so lucky!).  I take no responsibility for passing the bug through my posts!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:47). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

The Fiscal Times — If it succeeds, we will again confirm the power of money in politics, in a manner more pernicious than campaign contributions. This represents a bid to directly purchase Congressional votes. Even if we rolled back Citizens United and moved to publicly financed elections, this brazen yet constitutionally protected activity would remain a feature of our politics.

 As long as there are billionaires and greed, their money will flow through our political system, seeking a high return on investment. 

This is a prime example of how the rich get richer and ordinary people pay for it.

A reminder of who the fiscal conservatives are . . .  (h/t Carrie B)

Too Informed To Vote Republican's photo.

Alternet — After host George Stephanopoulos quoted conservative critics, like Byron York, who claimed Clinton won the day, Fiorina countered by saying that “she did reasonably well,” but that the hearings demonstrated “that she won’t be held accountable until we have a nominee in a general election debate who will hold her accountable.”

There goes Fiorini again!  . . . off in her own little bubble universe!

“I think there were a lot of Democrats on that committee who were focused on salvaging the nominee on their part,” she said.

And there were even more Republicans who were solely focused on killing Clinton's candidacy using public funds for their partisan witch hunt.

The committee consists of 12 members, 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats. That's an overpowering number of Democrats based on Fiorini's words.

Majority Minority


From Wikipedia

She fails to address all the investigations that did not occur to the same degree but which have greater loss of life: (just to name three)

  • 9/11 attack by al Qaeda on the WTC in New York with 2,977 killed;
  • Oklahoma domestic terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 with 168 killed, 680+ wounded;
  • USS Cole attack by Al Qaeda in 2000 with 17 dead, 39 wounded.


From  Benghazi Article by Nameless

Benghazi does not even come close to these acts in terms of investigations by Congressional committees, nor in deaths.  Yet Republicans are wasting time and money as they continue to push for something that does not exist.  No disrespect is meant to Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other three who were killed at Benghazi, but where is the equivalency?  What most Republicans, including Fiorini, also fail to mention are the budget cuts to security at US embassies promulgated by Congressional Republicans.

NY Times — Before an audience of mostly students in an auditorium at George Mason University, Mr. Chafee made it official in early June that he was running for president. He argued that his experience at all levels of government and his ability to work with people from different parties made him uniquely qualified for the job. However, his quirky call for a change to the metric system overshadowed his announcement. “I happened to live in Canada as they completed the process,” Mr. Chafee said that day. “Believe me, it’s easy. It doesn’t take long before 34 degrees is hot.”

Lincoln Chaffe?  Now admittedly, I am a foreigner, a Canuck to be sure, and I had never heard of Chaffee.  To me, it seemed he just suddenly appeared in the Democratic primary race, like a puff of smoke . . . and then he was gone.  I didn't get a chance to watch the Democrats debate, what with Canada having its own debates during the now decided federal election.  The NY Times reported his stance on some of the issues. In The Atlantic, reporter Molly Ball asks a simple question, "Why Did Lincoln Chafee Even Run?".  In my opinion, Chafee seemed to be milquetoast. I'm not sure that Ball came to any firm conclusion other than "He was a bad candidate but a lovely guest—quiet, polite, unobtrusive."

My UniverseALERT!!!

 hanky time smaller



Oct 232015

Well, it seems that I have come down with a cold, sore throat and flu.  Just getting this Open Thread done has been an exercise in "write some, sleep a lot" and repeat.  I am not a happy camper. Tomorrow, Nameless will be producing the Open Thread which is so good!  I'll be back on Sunday.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:52 (average 6:42). To do it, click here. Diamonds are not necessarily a girl's best friend!

Short Takes 

Alternet — After Trey Gowdy called for proper decorum to be observed — then promptly broke it himself when he went directly after “Democrats” on the committee for performing a “lousy” investigation during his opening statement — ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ripped into his Republican colleagues with an opening statement that painstakingly laid out clear evidence that this latest investigation into the attacks in Benghazi is a political charade meant to undercut Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Hear "A visibly upset Rachel Maddow slammed House Republicans on Thursday for their handling of the Benghazi commission investigation, calling it a first for congressional probes of its kind."

Unfortunately, I can not embed the Rachel Maddow piece so you'll have to click on "Hear".  She certainly shows a historical perspective, and also the Republicans for what they are . . . a partisan band of maurading thugs! And isn't it just like a Republican to 'do as I say, not as I do'.

Mother Jones — Donald Trump loves to tweet about how climate change is a hoax, especially when he personally feels cold. Because, you know, if global warming is really real, then it will never be cold anywhere ever again. (Just kidding. Winter is still a thing.)

He was at it again on Monday, tweeting that since it was "really cold outside," we "could use a big fat dose of global warming!" Sick burn, Donald!

I wonder what this bloviating blowhard would say to anyone standing beside him who dared say they were warm when he was cold?  He has a total disregard for science.  And I haven't even mentioned Hurricane Patricia, a category 5 storm, which is bearing down on SW Mexico with one-minute sustained winds of up to 325 kilometres an hour, the strongest on record, according to meteorological officials.  Not only that, but the storm is expected to affect Texas.  This from the CBC

Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said Patricia also poses problems for Texas. Forecast models indicate that after the storm breaks up over land, remnants of its tropical moisture will likely combine with and contribute to heavy rainfall that is already soaking Texas independently of the hurricane, he said.

A flash flood watch is in effect through Sunday morning for the Dallas area, Austin and San Antonio, while a coastal flood warning was in effect through Friday night in Corpus Christi. Galveston was under a coastal flood advisory until Saturday night.

And tell us again Trump how global warming and climate change don't exist.  What a putz!  Please keep the people affected by this montrous hurricane in your thoughts and prayers.

The Guardian — Those hoping for a U-turn in Canada’s climate change policy after Stephen Harper’s crushing defeat are in for a reality check.

Trudeau has repudiated Harper’s vision of Canada as an “energy superpower”, promised to reverse devastating cuts to government science budgets, and fix the country’s reputation as a carbon bully in international climate negotiations.

But it would be a mistake to see Trudeau or the Liberals as climate champions. In his victory speech on Monday, there was no mention of climate change, and he was criticised for being vague on the issue during campaigning. 

This from a CBC article 

"I indicated to Mr. Obama that I felt it was important that Canada demonstrates a level of positive engagement on the environmental file on the international stage.

"I look forward to demonstrating that we have a Canadian government now that understands the way to build a strong economy is to protect and defend our environment at the same time."

It is hard to know exactly where Canada's new Prime Minister designate will fall on climate change. The Guardian makes one point that won't endear Trudeau to the environmental crowd, while the CBC shows a different side.  It will be 'hold his feet to the fire' time. 

My Universe

This is sooooooooo true!  

In my house, there is a steady parade behind me.  I had to give up shutting the door because otherwise, my three would make their own kitty door!

Oct 222015

Today has been one of those days . . . physiotherapy, a few messages and then home to work on this Open Thread.  It didn't take long for my concentration to wane and my eyes to close while at the keyboard.  Then my head would snap to, I'd continue until the eyes were heavy again. Snap!  I took a Lona cat nap just for an hour and that seemed to work.  But now, it really is time for bed.  Maybe it is all the euphoria of Trudeau's slaughter of Harper.  On the other hand, tomorrow would have been the 124th birthday of my grandfather who I dearly loved.  He passed away at 99.5 years and his memorial service was on my birthday.  We were so close that when he passed, I could not be sad for him.  He was ready.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:43 (average 3:54). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

The New Yorker — In the aftermath of former Virginia senator James Webb’s announcement that he is quitting the Democratic Presidential primary, a new poll shows his bitter rival Lincoln Chafee surging to two per cent of likely voters.

The former Rhode Island governor, whose path to the White House was predicated on knocking Webb out of the race, could not contain his jubilation as he told supporters in Concord, New Hampshire, that his campaign is now “solidly in the single digits.”

Webb has dropped out and it is time for Chaffee to do the same.

Alternet — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for his nuance, but his disregard for historical facts themselves took a new turn today as he claimed, in a speech in Israel, that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler actually did not want to exterminate Jews until a Palestinian religious leader convinced him otherwise.

How typical of "Republicans", Butcher Ben included . . . ignore facts and rewrite history . . . or at least try to.  Check HERE to read some about Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Think Progress — The Supreme Court is also complicit in the wave of “curbs on voting rights” that Yglesias notes in his piece. In a party-line vote, a 5-4 Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, enabling many voter ID laws, gerrymandered maps and other legislation that would have otherwise been blocked to go into effect. Similarly, the Court in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board effectively greenlighted Voter ID laws — one of the most common examples of state laws that exclude voters likely to support Democrats. The Court’s plurality opinion cited concerns about in-person voter fraud to justify this outcome, even though the opinion could only find one example of such fraud occurring in the United States within the preceding 140 years!

In my opinion, there is much more election fraud than voter fraud, and most of that is engineered by the Republicans or their agents provocateurs.  They use gerrymandering, voter ID laws, election day theatrics etc to deny the vote of groups that traditionally vote for Democrats and then have the temerity to call it voter fraud. 

Alternet — Texas is many things to many people—a state the size of a medium-sized country; home to several idiot governors, one who became president, and a current one who thinks it’s a good idea for college students to openly carry firearms. To Donald Trump, Texas is the place where a "big, beautiful wall" should be built. To people in Norway, “texas” with a small “t” is a synonym for crazy, bonkers, out of control and wild. As in, that’s totally texas. Or in Norwegian: det var helt texas.

When I first saw this, I had to give my head a shake and try to stop laughing.  There are some fine people in Texas, but the Republican craziness of people like Louis Gohmert is really getting around and giving the state a bad rep.  I file this under humour!

My Universe — H/t Nameless

football feline

TC in his younger years!

I wanted this picture for last Tuesday's Fantasy Football update but I misfiled it.



Oct 202015

For me, today has been hectic.  When I finally arrived home about 5 pm, I wanted to check on election results but that had to wait until I indulged in one of Lona's cat naps.  And what would a cat nap be without furry critters purring away?  Now, if I could only convince the critters not to shed!  But at least Canadians shed the Harper government!!!  Today's thread is a little longer with the Canadian election results included.  To say the least, I am a happy Canuck!!!  Too bad Harper wasn't defeated in his own constituency though.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:34 (average 4:45). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

Huffington Post — No, John Oliver's not going to a Canadian jail. He can also keep that $5,000 he was apparently ready to dish over to Canadian authorities.

The comedian devoted a segment to Canada's election on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," which culminated in mockery of a law forbidding foreigners from influencing Canadian elections.

He ridiculed its maximum six-month prison penalty and $5,000 fine. Oliver's seeming desire to fight the re-election of Stephen Harper was apparently so great that he was willing to risk it all, tossing money at the camera and practically daring Canada to arrest him.

Today, Monday 19/10/2015, is election day here in Canada.  It is 7:30 pm and the polls in BC and the Yukon are now closed and the counting begins.  We already know that the Liberals, headed by Justin Trudeau, have taken Atlantic Canada with 31 of 32 seats.  By all anecdotal accounts, the polling stations have been very busy, some with long line ups, but none to rival Florida's line ups in the last US election.  It will be interesting to see what the final results and the turn out are.  Enjoy John Oliver "reporting" on our election process with the aid of Canadian ex-pat, Mike Meyers.  It had me laughing!

Think Progress — “Whether it is in mosques, education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country,” Shuja Shafi, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary General, told Reuters.

And according to Reuters, an independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation named David Anderson warned that such measures could actually backfire, driving members of the Muslim community toward extremism and terrorism.

It seems that conservatives, whether American, Canadian, British, or any other, operate in a climate of fear rather than hope and reconciliation. Cameron's policies seem to have caught even some in his own party by surprise and with concern.  Is it correct to tar and feather everyone in a group, in this case British Muslims, along with extremists?

CBC — Canadians, he said, had sent a clear message that it's "time for change in this country my friends. Real change."

"We beat fear with hope," Trudeau said. "We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together."

At dissolution of the last government, the Conservatives held 159 seats, NDP 95, Liberal 36, Bloc Québécois 2, Green Party 2, Strength in Democracy 2, Independent 8, and 4 vacant seats.  As a result of the last census, 30 new seats were created for a total of 338.  For a majority government, a party will have to win 170 seats.  The results of today's election have Liberals with 184 seats, Conservatives 99, NDP 44, Bloc Québécois 10, and Green Party 1.  Stephen Harper retained his seat but has stepped down as the Conservative leader.  Justin Trudeau is the new Prime Minister of Canada.  Phew!!!

Huffington Post — Monday's federal election saw the biggest voter turnout in the country in over 20 years, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada.

The government organization said 17.5 million of 25.6 million registered voters cast a ballot — a turnout of 68.3 per cent.

This is what 'get out the vote' looks like, and yet, this turnout is nowhere near the 1958 turnout of 79.4% that brought Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker to power, nor the 79.2% turnout that ousted Diefenbaker in favour of Liberal Lester Pearson.

Daily Kos — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman keeps cracking down on wage theft, and around 250 workers will be sharing in a nearly $500,000 settlement from four current and former Papa John's franchisees.

Papa John's pizza sign

This is great news for the workers, but when will justice be served and these corporate criminals go to prison?  If you or I stole something and were caught, we would go to jail.  Why not these corporate criminals who have stolen wages etc?

My Universe — 

dogs fault


Oct 192015

I was at church this morning.  The sign on the lawn read: If 99% of us voted, it would not matter what the 1% voted for!  Of course this is a reminder to get out and vote in Canada's federal election which is tomorrow.  The turn out for the advance polls, which I voted in last weekend, were 71% higher than in 2011 with quite a few first time voters. Elections Canada is expecting a high turn out tomorrow and has a contingency plan for long lineups.  One problem though, the Blue Jays play game 3 of their 5 game series, and it is a do or die situation.  Will Blue Jay fever reduce the turn out?  Last month our church sign read: Adam and Eve, the first people who failed to read the Apple terms and conditions.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:27 (average 5:05). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

Mother Jones — In 1958, Fred Koch, the founder of the Midwestern oil and cattle ranching empire that would become Koch Industries, became a charter member of the John Birch Society, the fiercely anti-communist organization whose members believed Soviet influence was infecting all aspects of American society. The Birchers attempted to place their weight on "the political scales…as fast and as far" as they could, but their movement was quickly sidelined to the ideological fringe. Two of Fred's four sons, Charles and David, have carried forward the conservative torch, and they have succeeded where their father and his allies failed. Their father's company, meanwhile, has grown into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate that is the second-largest private corporation in the country.

Continue reading to see how and where the Kochs have spread their influence.  The Kochs are like an ivy plant . . . it looks great on the surface, but pull the vines aside a bit, and you see the ivy penetrating the walls it grows against.  It penetrates the very foundations of a building weakening it. In education for example, the donations to universities come with substantial caveats about what is taught.  Most donations come with some caveats, but the Kochs' caveats are especially onerous.

Alternet — The Monsanto public relations machine has done a stellar job in recent years of reducing the GMO debate to one that pits “pro-science advocates” against “anti-science climate-denier types” — with Monsanto portrayed as being squarely planted in the pro-science camp.

But that well-oiled machine may be starting to sputter.

Turns out that Monsanto executive solicited pro-GMO articles from university researchers, and passed the “research” off as independent science which the biotech giant then used to prop up its image and further its agenda.

If you can't go through it, you can't go under it, or you can't go over it, then you go around it.  And that is exactly what Monsanto is trying to do.  Using a PR approach, it is orchestrating "unbiased" scientific support for its GMOs.  There is a petition at the end of the article which I hope you'll sign, that says:

Biotech giant Monsanto has several ways in which it could push through H.R. 1599 without going through the normal Senate process. If passed, H.R. 1599 would block states from requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. We must put pressure on Congress to reject this blatant assault on our right to know exactly what is in our food. Tell the U.S. Senate to reject a Monsanto “sneak attack” that would pass the DARK Act without due democratic process.

Mother Jones — In the modern-day fight against racial inequality, activists and policymakers alike should look to the past to change the present.

That's the message Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent on Sunday in a stirring speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston. Warren called for wide-ranging civil rights reforms to combat racial inequality, from the restoration of voting rights to changes in policing practices.

This is a long video at 55 minutes however Elizabeth Warren starts her remarks at about the 12 minute mark, and it is well worth watching/listening to.  Her talk finishes at the 40 minute mark and then there is a Q&A.  Love me some Elizabeth Warren!

Think ProgressBarf Bag Alert — The United States criminal justice system could be improved if we sell poor people convicted of crimes into slavery, according to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

The former Arkansas governor weighed in on our nation’s current criminal justice system during an appearance yesterday on Mickelson in the Morning, a leading Iowa radio program.

Jan Mickelson of Mickelson in the Morning is a far right wing radio personality with some outrageous ideas.  Couple him with Huckabee and you get supply-side pseudo Christianity almost at its worst. There is absolutely no resemblance to authentic Christianity.

My Universe


THIS is what I think of Mondays!