Sep 292016

Getting my Lift permit renewed this morning took ten minutes.  Factoring-in waiting for rides, it took three and a half hours.  ARGH!!  I’m very tired, but as the effects of the Cymbalta are starting to wear off, I’m feeling a bit more human, and I know tomorrow’s appointment with Megan will limit me to a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: PPP has put up a number of tweets this morning, which can be seen here

The descriptive story is here from which we learn

Colorado    4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                     2-way  Clinton 51, Trump 44

Florida        4-way  Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 3, Stein 1
                      2-way   Clinton 48, Trump 45

North Carolina     4-way  Clinton 44, Trump 42, Johnson 7
                      2-way   Clinton 49, Trump 45

Pennsylvania       4-way Clinton 45, Trump 39, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                       2-way Clinton 49, Trump 44

Virginia                4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1
                       2-way  Clinton 49, Trump 43

Further, they polled who won the debate, in each case it was Clinton

CO  53-31
FL   52-35
NC  53-31
PA  51-32
VA  54-30

That’s great news for America, especially since it shows a shift in support away from the minor candidates, whose candidacies help Trump.

From NY Times: Congress averted a government shutdown Wednesday as the Senate and then the House approved a short-term spending bill, allowing lawmakers to avoid a crisis and return home to campaign.

The stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 9, had been ensnarled in a debate over financing for the lead-tainted water system in Flint, Mich.

But an agreement between congressional leaders late Tuesday — which would authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects — appeared to ameliorate Democratic concerns, clearing the way for the Senate to pass the spending bill, 72 to 26. The House followed suit late Wednesday, approving the measure 342 to 85.

I’m glad a government shutdown was avoided, but I am skeptical of any measure that includes the Democratic benefits as part of future legislation, especially when Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) oppose it. I am skeptical,because of the Republican track record for honoring agreements: virtually never.

From Think Progress: Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to unwittingly confirm an explosive Newsweek story on Thursday, telling ABC’s The View that a Trump company did indeed spend money in Cuba in 1998, in violation of a longstanding U.S. embargo that Trump has vociferously defended.

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald reported on Thursday that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts spent at least $68,000 in 1998 in Cuba, “at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.” The story notes that “with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm.” After the consultants traveled to Cuba and spent the funds, the consultants instructed Trump’s company on “how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.”

As I have opposed the embargo of Cuba for many years, I would have supported doing business with that nation as an act of civil disobedience, as Michael Moore did, but Trump violating the law, at the same time that he campaigns to reinstate the embargo, is both hypocritical and criminal. It should disqualify his candidacy without further ado.



Sep 252016

After another sleepless night and a busy day of housework with Wendy, I’m just wiped out, so this is my only article today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took mw 3:08 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: If you have not yet seen this new campaign ad for Hillary Clinton, take some time out to watch it. Then share it with everyone you know.

Barf Bag Alert!!


Rump Dump is a misogynist extraordinaire, and he’s not the president we want for our sons either.

From NY Times: The uniquely uncivil presidential campaign is about to produce one of the biggest civic gatherings in decades: For 90 minutes on Monday night, a polarized nation will pause to watch the first head-to-head encounter between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

The total audience, network executives and political strategists say, could be as high as 100 million viewers — Super Bowl territory. That would surpass the 80 million who watched Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980, the record for a presidential debate, and rank among television benchmarks like the finales of “MASH” and “Cheers.”

If Trump stays on script, it could be difficult, unless the moderators call him on his lies. If he starts reacting, it will get very ugly, which could be great for Hillary.   And I do so hope Hillary does not get overconfident and trip over her… um… self.

From TPM: After Hillary Clinton’s campaign seated notorious Donald Trump troll Mark Cuban in the front row of the first presidential debate, Trump fired back by threatening to invite Gennifer Flowers, who accepted.

Next, he’ll invite Anthony Weiner’s weiner.



Sep 212016

I’m starting late again, but today it’s intentional.  I napped this morning, because I sleep best when it’s chilly, and because I have to stay up all afternoon.  It’s a grocery delivery day, and I have to stow them.  Later Wendy is coming to ruffle and rinse the stinky TomCat.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:18 (average 6:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Staff Notice:

Both AlterNet and Crooks and Liars have returned to insisting blogs embed their entire article using their embed widget, that includes their advertising, or pay even for a short excerpt, so we may no longer use Creative Commons Attribution.  Either use their free method or paraphrase with a link back.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: If Chris Christie faces prosecution for an alleged role in the so-called Bridgegate scandal, his endorsement of Donald Trump could play a crucial role in an insanity defense, legal experts believe.

Harland Dorrinson, a defense attorney who has represented many politicians in high-profile criminal cases, believes that Christie’s endorsement of Trump earlier this year could persuade a jury that the New Jersey Governor is “completely incapable of rational thought.”

“An insanity defense is always a long shot, because the bar for insanity is set very high,” Dorrinson said. “Having said that, I believe that Christie’s endorsement of Trump easily meets that standard.”

If Christie is prosecuted, his defense team is likely to show the jury footage of Trump routinely humiliating the New Jersey Governor on the campaign trail. “It will become abundantly clear that Christie endorsed Trump and received absolutely no conceivable benefit for doing so,” Dorrinson said. “Legally speaking, the only word for that is insane.”

Andy has returned to reporting again, but how about an InsaniTEA defense?

From NY Times: The Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson and his wife are giving more than $40 million to groups backing Republican congressional candidates, according to campaign filings and interviews with Republican strategists, disregarding repeated entreaties for support from allies of Donald J. Trump and dealing a major setback to Mr. Trump’s efforts to rally the deepest-pocketed Republican givers.

The contributions will again make Mr. Adelson and his family among the largest known donors in American politics, after several years in which they played a more subdued role in national Republican fund-raising. But Mr. Adelson’s decision to deploy his wealth down ballot, less than two months before Election Day, also reflects the reluctance of most of the biggest Republican donors to invest in their party’s standard-bearer.

Adelson’s biggest hot buttons are more welfare for the super-rich, and unqualified support for and unlimited spending on Butcher Bibi’s criminal one-state solution in Palestine. We can’t compete with his money, but we must do all we can to defeat Republicans in down-ballot races.

From TPM: Despite Donald Trump’s admission that President Obama was born in the United States, Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, on Tuesday pledged to continue pushing birtherism.

“I don’t care where he’s from,” Arpaio said while speaking to the Surprise Tea Party, according to the Arizona Republic. “We are looking at a forged document. Period.”

I’m so glad I left Phoenix in 1979!




It’s Not Just the South

 Posted by at 12:19 pm  Politics
Aug 182016

Often times, many northerners, like me, slip into the habit of considering extreme racism as a mostly Southern problem.  Sadly, it just isn't true.  My NJ father was such an extreme racist that he would have considered Rump Dump a moderate.  It's mostly a Republican problem.  The only difference between Rump Dump and other Republican politicians and pundits is that he comes out and says what they merely reflect with their policies and dog whistles.  Check these Massachusetts Republicans out.


A Massachusetts convoy of Trump supporters drove from Wrentham to Foxboro in their trucks, RVs and SUVs on July 31 and were caught on tape spewing racist epithets and calls for anti-black violence.

“Lynch the ni**ers by their d*cks!” said one driver, according to Winning Democrats, which highlighted a YouTube video of what the “Make America Great Again” convoy talked about on its CB channel when they thought no one was listening.

“Burn every single ni**er!” said another driver.

“All I know is we got plenty of trees to hang ni**ers from,” said another.

The convoy drove five miles from one township to another with their U.S. and Confederate flags waving…

From <Alternet>

Barf Bag Alert!!


If you've ever been to MA, you'll recognize that accent.  These were not Southern imports.

As convenient as it is to consider Trump the disease, he is not.  Trump is just a symptom of what the Republican Party has become.  They need to go the way of the Whigs.


Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Aug 132016

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

First, though, before handing off to the Furies, I want to follow up on July 30's story about "National Whistleblowers Appreciation Day."  You may recall I quoted from John Kiriakou and Tom Drake, and mentioned Jeffrey Sterling not being available as he is still locked up.  I have since received an email forwarded by Roots Action from his wife, Holly.  She states that he has served a bit over one year of his three-and-a-half year sentence, and there are a few things we can do ourselves. 

The need is threefold.  First, he is not getting appropriate attention for serious cardiac medical issues.  He has a history of atrial fibrillation (in the past he has been hospitalized for it) and is now experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, and dizziness.  Holly has written to the Warden about his medical conditon, and has received no answer.  She would really appreciate if anyone who can would contact the prison warden, Deborah Denham, to advocate for medical attention for Jeffrey.  The email address is ENG slash ExecAssistant at bop dot gov (I'm spelling it the long way to avoid a link that's not to a site) and the phone number 303-763-4300.  (Personal note from me: if I can come up with any more accuracy or other alternatives I will add it/them in a comment.)

Second – I vividly remember when John Kiriakou was incarcerated how the family, his wife and three little girls, were up against the wall just to try to make the mortgage payments, and on top of that, they did not put him in the nearest prison, so that visiting was a challenge both in terms of energy and financially.  (They also threatened "diesel therapy" – a creative term for moving him between prisons without notice.)  Firedoglake was collecting for John, and, with help, they did not lose their home.  The Sterlings have a Sterling Family Fund set up for them on GoFundMe.  They want to appeal his conviction, and Holly would like to make the 800-plus mile trip to visit him once in a while, and both require money.  (There's also more background information there, should you be interested.)

Third, for those of us who are not locked up, it may be impossible to realize how much words of encouragement can mean.  Even if it's just a card.  He can receive snailmail at

FCI Englewood
Federal Correctional Institution
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

And, yes, there is a petition .  It also has more background.

Now, moving right along, I'll whip quickly through a few stories of jaw-dropping – something.  First, let's go to Indiana, specifically to South Bend, where, in 2012, Vivian Franklin awakened to loud pounding on her door between three and four in the morning.  Three (warrantless) police officers shining a flashlight in her eyes  barged in.  They were looking for Dan, Vivian's older son, who was not there.  This did not stop them from hauling her younger son, DeShawn, 17, out of bed and assaulting him with fists and tasers.  In the process, a taser probe got stuck in DeShawn's side; the officers were unable to remove it and had to call an ambulance and EMT's to do so.  (I am restraining my snark here.) 

Where the incident goes right through the Looking Glass is that, while DeShawn was shouting he was not Dan, and Vivian was shouting DeShawn was not Dan, and the officers were insisting Dan must be there because they had trailed him to the home – Dan showed up.  Whereupon the officers opted not to arrest him. 

So in March, 2013 the Franklins reasonably filed suit.  Named in the suit were the three officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  Finally, this year, the suit was adjudicated in Fort Wayne.

The jury found that the Franklins' constitutional rights had been violated.  They awarded damages of ONE DOLLAR. Yes, you read that right.  One dollar.

Grudging, I would say.  Megaera, I woudn't stop with the officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  I'd definitely follow up with that jury.  Perhaps Indiana, or at least South Bend, really did deserve Mike Pence.

Let's now go to Watauga, Texas, where an unidentified man made a threat in a phone message to a local mosque, in which he threatened to decapitate Muslims who attended it.

The caller identified as a "Christian."  Police in Watauga are investigating but aren't treating it as a direct threat at the moment.  the FBI has also been notified.

Of course, Tisiphone, you will want to find this person.  But almost more chilling was the remark that "a caller made explicitly violent threats that went well beyond the kind of verbal abuse callers normally level against the mosque." 

It should NOT be "normal" for callers to "level verbal abuse" against ANY person or group.  And it is un-American that this happens.

So you may be digging out a long, long list.

Finally for this week, this happened in Punta Gorda , FL (one of only a few states we might expect it in).  I'll just quote:

A woman, identified as Mary Knowlton, was selected to participate in a “shoot or don’t shoot” training exercise at the Punta Gorda Police Academy. She was selected at random from a group of 35 citizens who were participating in a two hour Citizens Academy—a program created to teach local civics to civilians.

Mary Knowlton, 73, was shot during a role-play scenario in which the Punta Gorda police officer was playing a “bad guy” and fired several times at the woman who was supposed to be playing the victim, according to Sue Paquin, a photographer who was covering the event for the Sun and witnessed the incident.

Knowlton was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Mrs. Knowlton was originally from Austin, Minnesota and was retired in Punta Gorda. She had been a librarian in Scott County, Minnesota.

This incident may reflect more stupidity than malice (and once again I need to restrain my snark/sarcasm).  But things like this happen all the timeAlecto, maybe you can inject some sense here.  I certainly hope so.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at

Jul 182016

The doctor told me that I don’t have arthritis, bit that I do have tendonitis in my left hand.  He have me a cortisone shot (quite painful) and declared me fixed.  I’m skeptical.  I’m also quite pooped.  This is today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:30 (average 8:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From HRC: Get The Facts about Donald Trump

Barf Bag Alert!


If you’re gay, vote blue! If not, vote blue!

From Daily Kos: Now then, let’s see how Conservapedia takes that ignorant liberal, Albert Einstein down a few pegs………..

Under the heading E=mc², we find the following:

E=mc² is Einstein’s famous formula which asserts that the energy (E) which makes up the matter in any body is equal to the square of the speed of light (c²) times the mass (m) of that body. It is a statement that purports to relate all matter to energy. In fact, no theory has successfully unified the laws governing mass (i.e., gravity) with the laws governing light (i.e., electromagnetism), and numerous attempts to derive E=mc² in general from first principles have failed. Political pressure, however, has since made it impossible for anyone pursuing an academic career in science to even question the validity of this nonsensical equation. Simply put, E=mc² is liberal claptrap.

Huh?!!? Here’s a rule as good as E=MC2: Thou shalt not commit TEAbuggery!!

From NY Times: “Officer down!” an officer screamed frantically into his police radio Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, La. “Shots fired! Officer down!”

One of the most dreaded calls in policing triggered a surge of officers to the city’s Airline Highway, not far from Police Headquarters, an agonizing replay of the distress calls 10 days earlier that prompted the Dallas police to scramble to the aid of their fallen colleagues.

The twin attacks — three officers dead Sunday in Baton Rouge, five killed on July 7 in Dallas, along with at least 12 injured over all — have set off a period of fear, anguish and confusion among the nation’s 900,000 state and local law enforcement officers. Even the most hardened veterans call this one of the most charged moments of policing they have experienced.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. Gunning down cops in cold blood is evil. There is no excuse or justification for it. That said, this will happen again and again, as long as good cops cover up the murders committed by racist bad cops. Good cops everywhere and all who love them are in my thoughts and prayers.

Convention Observation:

The Repuglicans have already violated their own rules.