Feb 052016

I have a few items this week which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. 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."

I have left out the water in Flint, MI, because that made such a stir that I expect you are already on to those people.  I have left out the seditious militants because I am confident you are on to them and indeed have already got some action from a grand jury (good going there).  I have also left out the "pharma bro" who seems to be digging his own grave.  Although any or all of these could possibly resurface in the future, they seem for now to be getting handled.

I do want to draw attention to what happened to Melissa Harris-Perry in Iowa.  A journalist with a news-opinion show on MSNBC, a professor of political science at Wake Forest, and an author, she was there, with students, to experience the caucuses.  She was sitting in the hotel lobby, eyes glued to the TV, when suddenly this guy was standing next to her.

When he started he speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

“…So what is it that you teach?”

“I am a professor of political science.”

“My wife is a professor of communications.”

“Does she teach here in Iowa?”

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

She jumped up and put a table between him and her.  Her friend jumped and put herself between them.  They raised their voices, starting to make a fuss.  The man ran out, jumped in a car, and drove off.  They spoke with hotel security, who listened politely, "but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours." 

This sounds like grudging to me.  Particularly “But why you? Why would they pick you?”  Perhaps, Megaera, you can find this – person – for counseling.  And, if you have time, stop off at Breitbart, who loudly dismissed and mocked her story (Republican not linked).  Thanks much.

Then, Tisiphone, I suspect you will be interested in the management of Tyson Foods in Arkansas.  Tyson comes in for a lot of flack over the way it treats chickens inhumanely, and the way it overfeeds them antibiotics, but this isn't about the chickens.  This is about the workers.

According to an email from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee,

A stunning 91% of surveyed poultry workers reported having no earned sick leave, and almost two-thirds reported working while sick. More than half of these workers said they experienced discrimination, a very troubling statistic for a workforce made up mostly of first- and second-generation immigrants, as well as minority workers from the United States.

 Women, in particular, cited gender discrimination in the way bathroom breaks are withheld by male supervisors. Some have even urinated on themselves because they were not granted breaks when needed.

Well, OK, maybe it is about the chickens too.  That last sentence can't have improved anyone's appetite, even for non-Vegans.  But I primarily was thinking of the vengeful destruction of the human spirit when you make people pee themselves to keep their jobs.  I suspect a lot of these women are mothers, incidentally.  Giving birth can be rough on the sphincters.

The stockholders' meeting was yesterday, and a Twitter/Facebook Thunderclap was planned.  Not being on either, I don't know how it went, but, I hope well.

Finally, Alecto, I don't even know whether there is anything you can really do about the uncea$ing issues of privatization, prisons, and immigrants; although if anyone can, it's you.  ITPI ("In the Public Interest") exists to study and bring to light the specific ills of privatization, which always ends up costing taxpayers more money for less service, while lining the pockets of people rich enough to own an empire to provide the private "service."  Immigration is no exception.  And whenever pri$on is a part of a cycle, and exists to make money, the stakeholders develop a vested interest in keeping people in them to make more and more money.  But, as this graphic shows, there are a lot more people making money from prisons than just prisons.  This contributes more and more to make the cycle never-ending – unceasing.

I think it speaks for itself.  If you need to see it larger to read it you can easily click through.  It does try to distinguish between civil offenders, who are offenders by just being here, and criminal offenders, who have actually committed a crime.  In practice, I don't know.

Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, and I will be back next time.  Whenever that is.  Meantime, we wish everyone perfect blood pressure.


Jan 292016

I’m running quite late today.  Yesterday afternoon, my helper friend and I made six meals.  Last night I filled two barf bags, trash can, my coffee cup, my shirt pocket, and George.  Today Jeannie (shower-aide) left me with soft shiny fur.  Arvilla (PT) gave me a hard workout including a toilet transfer with my quad-cane, without using the disabled rails.  Then I walked around 225 ft. with my walker.  That’s almost double my previous best.  Then I did exercises, and maneuvered from the sink, paste the range, past the counter, to the refrigerator and back without my chair or my walker, using the surfaces for support.  I’m pooped!!  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:19 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The FBI has released video tonight of the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum to dispel any rumors that he had “had his hands up” and was trying to surrender to police. The FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Gregory T. Bretzing held a press conference to explain the events surrounding the arrest of Ammon Bundy (and others), along with the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum. Finicum can be seen running from the initial stop in his pick-up truck, with passengers Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox and a woman the FBI declined to identify. The video was captured by aerial camera and shows Finicum driving into a snow back, barely missing a law enforcement officer. He immediately jumped from the vehicle, at first with his hands up as he yelled at law enforcement, but then clearly reaching into his pocket multiple times, where the FBI says he did have a gun (update: a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.)

Here us a shortened, edited clip instead of the 26 minute clip included with the article. No significant parts were removed.

I have no doubt that the Republican terrorist was going for his gun, based on his previous statements and the loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the pocket. The officer was fully justified in shooting him. However, I would like to have seen a faster response time to try to save his life, if possible, after he was down.

From Media Matters: Student loan debt in America has reached a staggering $1.3 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt. But right-wing media figures have criticized efforts to combat student loan debt by pushing misinformation and blaming students for pursuing higher education…

…Blaming students for the student loan debt crisis ignores the facts and distracts from finding real solutions to America’s skyrocketing student debt burden.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Students should be able to pay for their education with their choice of military, national, or community service.

From NY Times: WHILE presidential candidates from both parties feverishly pitch their legislative agendas, voters should also consider what presidents can do without Congress. Agency rules, executive actions and decisions about how vigorously to enforce certain laws will have an impact on every American, without a single new bill introduced in Congress.

The Obama administration has a substantial track record on agency rules and executive actions. It has used these tools to protect retirement savings, expand overtime pay, prohibit discrimination against L.G.B.T. employees who work for the government and federal contractors, and rein in carbon pollution. These accomplishments matter.

Whether the next president will build on them, or reverse them, is a central issue in the 2016 election. But the administration’s record on enforcement falls short — and federal enforcement of laws that already exist has received far too little attention on the campaign trail.

I just released a report examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures in 2015. Its conclusion: “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.”

Amen! Click through for the rest of this fine editorial by American National Treasure. Elizabeth Warren, and be sure to read her report.



Republicans want to take your money and give it to the 0.1%

Jan 272016

Ammon Bundy and his Republican Ammosexual terrorists invaded Oregon from red states like Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah,.  They have been infesting our fair state for fat too long.  One of those thugs, LaVoy Finicum, is dead.  Several more Republican terrorists, including Ammon “Dumber than Al” Bundy are in custody.  Oregon is a little safer now, but I fear this will make America more dangerous.

0127Lavoy-Finicum-jpgOregon standoff spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was killed and other leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were arrested Tuesday after the FBI and state police stopped vehicles about 20 miles north of Burns.

Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.

"My dad was such a good good man, through and through," said Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, one of Finicum’s 11 children. "He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved."

Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev., suffered a minor gunshot wound in the confrontation about 4:30 p.m. along U.S. 395. He was treated and released from a local hospital and was in FBI custody, authorities said.

Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony…

Inserted from <The Oregonian>

Here’s a brief video report from the area.

Considering how police have been so much less likely to kill armed Republican terrorists making threats than the are to kill unarmed black children, I have little doubt that the Republicans instigated the violence.  And while I do feel sorry for and offer condolences to Finicum’s family, I do so with the plea that they turn away from their father’s violence, terrorism and sedition.  His death means Oregon is a little safer that we were before, although the Ammosexual Republican terrorists that remain at the wildlife sanctuary seem to be spoiling for a fight.

Now that the Republican terrorist militias have a martyr, America may be more dangerous, as the praise and fame Republicans heap on Finicum may well prompt other deluded Republican wing-nuts to become terrorists.

Jan 272016

Today was a miserably wet day out and of course I had 3 waterphobic cats to get to the vet's for their annual exam.  They love their vet very much and were purring and rubbing up against him.  Winnie, my ginger, took the lid from the treats jar and almost got his head stuck in the jar.  The good news: they are all very healthy!  smiley  The bad news: they have all put on weight. sad  Primo, my tuxedo is now 15.05 kg (33.11 lbs), Winnie is 13.1 kg (28.82 lbs), and little Annie is 11.45 kg (25.19 lbs) . . . that is 39.6 kg (87 lbs) in my bed each night!  Is it any wonder that I was almost dumped on the floor a few nights back?!  They were already on reduced rations so we will see what happens with reducing them a bit more.  Apparently they are middle aged now . . . the boys turn 8 in mid April . . . so part of the problem is likely a slowing down of their metabolism.  My vet says they have fattened up with love (no, I don't over feed them).  Tomorrow is physio again so, as my stepfather would say, I'll be peddling my ass for another 40 minutes.

Short Takes

Alternet — Every candidate in the GOP presidential race is running on the same economic platform: slash taxes, slash spending, slash regulation. It’s the Republicans’ special formula, guaranteed to spark prosperity and opulence for all.

Deregulate the private sector, shrink taxes for everybody, but especially corporations and the rich. America has been here before. These ideas are not new. Throughout the 1920s, they were policy.

An excellent article that puts historical context around current Republican economic platforms.  Republicans just love their St Ronnie!  Interesting how Republicans don't want to acknowledge the cause and effect of the 1929 stock market crash and the depression.  It is laws like the original Glass Steagall that made a big difference.

CBC — The federal government discriminates against First Nation children on reserves by failing to provide the same level of child welfare services that exist elsewhere, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, along with the Assembly of First Nations, filed a complaint against Ottawa with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February 2007.  

Before final arguments were heard in October 2014, during which the tribunal heard from 25 witnesses, the federal government had racked up $5.3 million in legal fees.

A great ruling!  In February 2007, Stephen Harper was Canada's Prime Minister.  He ws not one to act on or coöperate in any way for the benefit of First Nations.  But to be fair, previous governments, both Conservative and Liberal, did not handle First Nations issues well at all.  It is past time that changed.  I watched a brief statement by Charlie Angus, MP Timmins-James Bay, earlier as he recounted how there were some 89 Aboriginal kids on suicide watch a few years ago and the federal Conservative government in concert with the Ontario provincial government fired all the social workers leaving the kids and their families in dire straits.  And of course trust the fiscally conservative Stephen Harper, like US Republicans, to spend money legal issues that should never have been done.  Imagine the good that $5.3 million could have done for First Nations kids.

Huffington Post — The Canadian government has fired off a pre-emptive strike before American lawmakers hold a hearing in which the northern neighbour's Syria refugee policy will be on the hot seat.

It sent a note to members of a powerful U.S. Senate committee that has scheduled a meeting next week titled, "Canada's Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for U.S. National Security."

The U.S. Senate homeland-security hearing is, for the Trudeau government, an unwanted flip-side to the praise it received from progressives and foreign media outlets last month when the prime minister personally greeted refugees at the airport.

This will be far less laudatory, judging from the list of witnesses invited to testify before the committee next Wednesday: most have already publicly challenged Canada's plan to quickly accept 25,000 refugees.

Here comes the American paranoia over Muslims from the Republican dominated Congress and it is directed at Canada.  The Canadian Ambassador to the US declined to testify "…citing a long-standing practice of avoiding appearances in that partisan domestic political chamber."  Partisan is an understatement!

My Universe — 

Australian Aboriginal Proverb


Jan 262016

Republican Videographers Indicted!

Think back, if you will to the murders committed by Republican Ammosexual, Robert Dear, at the Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs.  He admitted that he did so over Planned Parenthood selling body parts, something they do not do.  Here are the seemingly unrelated findings of a Harris County grand jury.


A grand jury here that was investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood has instead indicted two abortion opponents who made undercover videos of the organization.

Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.

That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

Abortion opponents claimed that the videos, which were released starting in July, revealed that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts — a charge that the organization has denied and that has not been supported in numerous congressional and state investigations triggered by the release of the videos.

On Monday, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing

Inserted from <NY Times>

You’ll fond the connection between the two crimes in Chris Hayes’ report and interview of Cecile Richards. President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund,

First, kudos to the Republican DA, who did her job and did not suppress the truth.  This is so uncommon among Republicans, that it is an occasion for high praise.  Her political career, as a Republican, is over.

The report confirmed that that the Republican terrorist, who committed the Colorado Springs murder admitted that the belief Planned Parenthood was selling body parts, occasioned by the  video, was the reason for his crime.

When a lesser felony leads to the commission of a murder by another person the perpetrator of the lesser felony is also charged with murder.  Therefore Daleiden and Merritt should be indicted for the murder of the three people pictured above.

Jan 262016

Yesterday I finally found a way to exchange my sharps.  I cannot use the Metro facility, because it is hazardous for people in wheelchairs.  The Lift bus won’t wait for me.  Fortunately I found a private company that actually costs less than Metro, and they come right to my door.  Jeannie (shower-aide), just left, so I’m a perfumed pussycat with shiny fur again.   Arvilla (PT) will be here within the hour.  She’ll set-up my quad cane and work me out,  Tomorrow I hope to do part of the dreaded task, while Tracey (OT) checks me for safety.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:28 (average 5:32).  To do it click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The most hated man in America just gave another reason to be hated. As you know, there is a medical crisis going on in Michigan with every child in Flint potentially poisoned with lead. People, especially the poor, are still desperate for clean water. Ted Cruz has entered to do the Christian thing and donate—

But only for those who work in ultra-right wing, fake pregnancy “crisis” centers.

Likely, none of Ted’s water donation will get to the children who actually need the water. That would require working with a real charity, like the Red Cross. Instead, Ted’s campaign is coordinating water donations through Flint Right to Life only to be delivered to the ideologically-aligned wingnuts who work at these awful anti-abortion centers.

For those who don’t know, pregnancy "crisis" centers are places run by pro-life extremists, which are designed to fool women into thinking they are actual medical facilities. Instead, pregnant woman are bombarded with fake information in an attempt to trick them out of having an abortion. The people who work at these centers have no qualms about lying, instilling fear, or encouraging women in abusive relationships to stay put as long as there is no abortion.

It should be no surprise that, even in so-called charity, Uranus Inspector, however you spell it, acts just like a Republican.

From The New Yorker: On Saturday, the Times reported that the former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg “has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race.” From one perspective, that isn’t too surprising. The former mayor has long been eyeing a possible run at the White House, and there has been a lot of speculation about his intentions in 2016. Last week, a well-connected New York Republican told me that he thought Bloomberg would jump in if Donald Trump won the G.O.P. nomination.

While third party candidates on the left hurt progressives and only help elect Republicans, right-wing third party candidates are a blessing to America. They help elect Democrats.

From Alternet: Nationwide blowback targeting Muslim places of worship has now reached South Milwaukee, Wisconsin–where a group calling itself the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) is aggressively opposing the construction of a new mosque.

The religious facility–Masjid Al-Hudad–does not require prior approval from the city and has already acquired the property on which it will be built.

But that is not stopping the far-right, Christian fundamentalist group CCLU from mobilizing fierce opposition, including at a Common Council meeting last Tuesday.

At the public meeting, CCLU member Bob Braun issued an unclear–but highly alarming–warning. "There’s going to be, I predict, bloodshed one of these years coming up," he said, according to local media.

Here we have one more in the long list of examples of Republican domestic terrorism.



Vulture Capitalism is the Republican way!

Jan 132016

Madaya is besieged by Assad's forces, and until yesterday (Monday) had not received any food, water or medical supplies since last October.  Kefraya and Foah have been besieged by rebel forces since last March and are equally desperate.  Starvation is being used by all sides as a tool of war and is being investigated as a war crime by the United Nations.

Map showing besieged parts of Syria

Reuters — Residents of a besieged Syrian town have told U.N. investigators how the weakest in their midst, deprived of food and medicines in violation of international law, are suffering starvation and death, the top U.N. war crimes investigator told Reuters on Tuesday.

An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical relief for three months to the western town of Madaya, where 40,000 people are trapped by encircling government forces.

Another United Nations official who oversaw the aid delivery described on Tuesday how he saw malnourished residents, particularly children, some of whom were little more than skeletons and barely moving.

The U.N. commission of inquiry documenting war crimes in Syria has been in direct contact with residents inside Madaya, the commission's chairman Paulo Pinheiro said in an emailed reply to Reuters questions.

The Guardian — Pawel Krzysiek, spokesman for the International Committee for the Red Cross in Syria, accompanied an aid convoy on Monday to the town of Madaya, which has been besieged by forces loyal to the Syrian regime since July. Supplies were delivered as part of a deal under which convoys also entered two Shia villages, Fua and Kefraya, that are surrounded by rebels. Krzysiek provided the following account, which is excerpted from an audio message he recorded after entering the town and a telephone interview with the Guardian while he was on the ground.

It’s really heartbreaking to see the situation of the people. A while ago I was just approached by a little girl and her first question was: “Did you bring food? I hope that you brought food to Fua and Kefraya and to Madaya because we are really hungry.” And I believe her, she looked hungry.

It’s very dark here as there is no electricity. But I see people on the street, women, children, many of them are coming and thanking us for coming, greeting us. But some of them were shouting and asking “why so late?”

People are asking us: “Did you bring food? Did you bring food because all we have eaten last week is water with spices.”

Huffington Post — Rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad are in control of Madaya, a mountain town about 15 miles (24 kilometres) northwest of Damascus. Government troops and fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have surrounded the town. Opposition activists and aid groups have reported several deaths from starvation in recent weeks.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari denied anyone was starving in Madaya and blamed Arab television especially "for fabricating these allegations and lies."

Speaking at U.N. Headquarters, he blamed "armed terrorist groups" for stealing humanitarian aid and reselling it at prohibitive prices.

"The Syrian government is not and will not exert any policy of starvation against its own people," Ja'afari said.

But O'Brien, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said all the evidence the U.N. has shows there has been very severe malnourishment, severe food shortages, and reports of people "who are either starving or indeed have starved and died."


Syrian Red Crescent aid convoys carrying food, medicine and blankets, leave the capital Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya on Jan. 11, 2016. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

BBC — Some 400 people in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya need to be urgently evacuated for medical treatment, says UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien was speaking after the UN Security Council held an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis in the rebel-held town near Damascus.

Earlier, an aid convoy brought food to 40,000 town residents who have been under government siege for months.

The UN says it has received credible reports of people dying of starvation.

Disturbing images follow

 Image result for pictures of madaya Image result for pictures of madaya Image result for pictures of madaya 

Comparatively few know the horrors that have been visited upon the people of Syria.  When I see the images of Madaya, Kefraya and Foah, I am reminded of the atrocities of the holocaust during WWII.  Some Syrians have been lucky to be able to get out, but others have not been so lucky. Words fail me. My heart aches for the innocents! Have we learned nothing from the past? . . . apparently not.  Ben O, Care2 several years ago shared some wise words with me:

Comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable.



Jan 092016

Yes, we have no Erinyes, we have no Erinyes today.

I tried.  I really did.  I thought they would be interested in treason and sedition.  Dante would have.  He put traitors in the lowest circle of hell.





But when I started reading them this story, they started laughing.  I mean they were rolling on the floor.  And they wouldn't stop.  And I realized they were just not going to be willing to follow up on this one.

Here's how it starts (you'll need to click through for the whole thing because I don't want to violate Leonard Pitts Jr.'s copyright, but trust me, it's worth it.)  You be the judge.  Was I being unreasonable?

He brought his rifle up at the sound of footsteps crunching the Oregon snow.  "Who goes there?  Stop and be recognized."

A weary voice answered out of the darkness.  "It's me, Sam.  It's Bud."

"Give me the password."

"Come on, Sam.  Stop foolin' around."

"The password," Sam insisted.

Bud sighed.  "'Patriots act.'  Are you happy now?

Sam lowered the weapon as Bud stepped out of the trees into the meager circle of moonlight.

"Can't be too careful," he said.  He cupped his hands and blew into them.  It was cols out here.  "So where you been?" he asked.

"Down to the front gate."

Sam grinned.  "Bet you it's a zoo.  Bunch of satellite trucks and media elites standing around.  Who all's down there?  CNN?  NBC?  CBS  Sure hope Fox sends that Megyn Kelly.  That babe can interview me any time…."  (Click through for the rest.)

Well, right or wrong, the Furies are not interested.  And it's probably just as well.  There's a new wrinkle now, and really, this was all the story needed:

(Don't feel guilty about laughing – the humour is not at the expense of anyone but the haters,  I promise.  Read the comments if you don't believe me. Heck, read the comments anyway.)



Oops, this just in – trouble in paradise!  See TomCat's Open Thread also!



So, The long and the short of it is that I have nothing today for the Furies to do. 

I guess even they are influenced by the media, ya think?

But there is material out there.

We will be back.

Jan 022016

More incidents which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with. Just 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."

I ask Megaera to turn her attention with me to the small college town of Prairie View, TX, the home of Prairie View A&M University, which was the alma mater of Sandra Bland, and which had just hired her as a summer program associate, the day she was stopped by a state trooper, ostensibly for failure to signal a lane change.

From some video footage of the event, it appears that the lane change to which the officer was referring in the stop was the change of lane she made because he had gone past her going the opposite direction, turned around, turned on flashers and siren, and appeared to want her to stop, which she did.

Now why might an officer stop a driver for failure to signal a lane change which was at his orders (which appears to be expecting the driver to be psychic)?  Well,

Texas has no state income tax, and money for social services must come from somewhere. Gouging people with traffic tickets and criminal convictions is an easy way for the state, counties, and municipalities to collect lots of money.

They do it through a byzantine schedule of fees. The state keeps most of the money, but counties and cities retain a percentage. There’s a $25 “records-management” fee, for instance. A $15 “judicial fund” fee. Fifteen dollars added to each bail-bond payment. The list goes on, with scores of charges. As a former Waller County Justice of the Peace described it, a trivial infraction can rack up charges totaling as much as $500.

The most arbitrary pinch comes from what’s known in Texas as the “Consolidated Court Cost.” Added to a fine, it’s a fixed amount imposed upon everyone who pleads guilty or is convicted of any offense, no matter how small. The fee is $40 for a non-jailable misdemeanor like a traffic ticket, $83 for a higher-level misdemeanor, and $133 for a felony.

Note that the author of this article even says this is grudging, although she spells it "gouging."  She refers to the Texas Fair Defense Project, which aims to "challenge policies that jail poor people because they can’t afford bail-bond fees and post-conviction fines and costs."

What I would like is for someone to explain to me how it can be considered profitable to sock poor people with fees and costs which are uncollectable, and therefore end up keeping them in jail, which costs something and brings in nothing.  I think they are doing it wrong.  Perhaps Megaera should be explaining to the state of Texas exactly how wrong they are doing it.  (BTW, Prairie View A&M itself actually gets a lot of what monies they do collect.  Ironic, isn't it?)

One thing Alecto is probably used to by now is fraud and hypocrisy from right wing candidates for election and from their election teams.  In fact, she is probably as tired of it as I am.  But, poor thing, it's her job. 

You may remember over the past few weeks Katrina Pierson, the National Spokesperson for the Trump campaign, discussing Trump's ideas for dealing with Muslims, and, when asked if those ideas were not discriminatory, saying "So what?  They're Muslims."  A real sweetie.  She got some more attention in the past few days wearing a necklace made out of bullets – not to bring attention to 90 Americans fatally shot each day; just, apparently, as a fashion statement.  Criticized, she responded "Maybe I'll wear a fetus next time."

She did herself, in 2014, run for Congress in Texas in 2014, but her campaign was derailed by revelations that, not only was she once arrested for shoplifting in JC Penney's, but that in 2012 and 2013, while working as a consultant for Ted Cruz's campaign, she had collected at least $11,000.00 in unemployment benefits.  Golly gee.

So, you think Trump keeps her around to make himself look honest by comparison?  That is also an old, old story. 

Tisiphone usually gets the ones that are covered with blood – and this week is no exception.  Here's the headline: "Sadistic Cops Make K-9 Maul Unarmed Suicidal Teen – Caught Planning and Celebrating It in Texts," and I'm sorry to say that every word of that is borne out with fact.  I'll make the picture small, but it is still ugly, ugly, ugly.

The mother of 18-year-old Jared Lemay of North Port, FL learned that he was about to commit suicide, and called police, presumably to stop this from happening.  Instead – the K-9 unit's lead handler texted to another handler to come and join in.  "COME GET UR BITE."  This handler, you see, was new, and his dog had not yet bitten anyone.

The police entered the garage where the teen, hearing their arrival, had hidden in a trash can.  One officer lifted the can lid, saw the teen, repaced the lid, and forcefully pushed over the can so that the teen fell out.  At that moment, the new handler sicced the new dog.  Jared received injuries to his face and back.

After Jared was taken to the emergency room, another officer texted the new handler "CONGRATS" (for his dog's first bite).

Over a four year period, the K-9 handlers of the North Port Police Department commanded their dogs to attack more than the K-9 handlers of Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, Venice, and Punta Gorda COMBINED.

Charles Mesloh, a former K-9 handler for the Venice Police Department, called Bush’s messages to Dietz “horrifying” and said a serious investigation is warranted.

This is people deciding in advance deciding how they’re going to hurt someone,” said Mesloh. “In my opinion it should be investigated by the Department of Justice. I have defended agencies accused of civil rights violations in the past, and I have never seen anything that has approached what I have seen in this report.”  (emphasis mine)

By the way, although there is never any shortage of material for the Furies, I will not be doing it every week going forward.  Maybe I should say, "Because there is no shortage of material."  Human beings can only stand so much outrage, and this is an election year.

Dec 162015

Here are the results of our “Terrorist Identification” poll.  Politics Plus Polls are not scientific, because those who respond are not balanced according to demographic categories.   Therefore, we do not accurately reflect the makeup of the US population.  Nevertheless, our polls are usually factually accurate, and more often than not, they reflect thinking or will of the national majority.


Since our polling site no longer enables us to copy and paste your poll comments, you may read them here.

I voted with the majority that attending a religious service is not a terrorist act.  Hate crimes are.

There is a new poll up.  Please vote.

Dec 072015

Because I expect a very busy day today, preparing to return home on Wednesday, this is my only article today.

Religious Ecstasy:


Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Moments after its conclusion on Sunday night, President Obama’s speech about combating ISIS came under heavy criticism from people with zero better ideas.

The President’s proposals, ranging from coalition air strikes against ISIS to beefing up intelligence about potential terrorists, were blasted for being “nothing new,” with the harshest criticism coming from people with nothing new.

“I was incredibly frustrated hearing the President say he would destroy ISIS,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told CNN. “ISIS needs to be obliterated.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz shared Christie’s scathing assessment of Obama’s speech. “The President seems to think that ISIS will go away just by us bombing them,” Cruz said. “If I am President, I will bomb them so hard that will feel like they have been triple-bombed.”

Andy is reporting straight news again. 😉

From YouTube:


Click here for a transcript of Obama’s speech.  Your thoughts?

From NY Times: The international climate change negotiations entering their second and final week encompass a vast and complicated array of political, economic and legal questions. But at bottom, the talks boil down to two issues: trust and money.

In this global forum, no one questions the established science that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are warming the planet — or that both developed and developing economies must all eventually lower their greenhouse emissions to stave off a future that could wreak havoc on the world’s safety and economic stability.

In a major breakthrough, 184 governments have already submitted plans detailing how they will cut their domestic emissions after 2020.

Those pledges are expected to make up the core of a new accord, which could be signed next weekend. The agreement is also expected to require countries to return to the table at least once every 10 years with even more stringent emissions reduction pledges.

But can those governments be trusted to do what they say they will do?

Republicans are committing sedition to make the international community believe that the US cannot be trusted to keep our word.



64 years later, the Republican Party is repeating the attack.

Dec 052015

More incidents which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with. Just 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."

Last week there was a shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs.  One activist who serves and has served as a Clinic Escort called it out as domestic terrorism.  Then –

"A stunning number of Twitter cretins accused me—& maybe you?—this weekend of 'making up' the US anti-abortion violence problem.  My next 100 tweets will be the citations they needed—from 4 decades of antichoice violence, near-misses, threats & incitements."

Using the hashtag #is100enough, she continued "My hashtag is also my question: If 100 examples won't convince you that antichoice violence is real, how many do you need?  I included a sampling of arsons & firebombs in my list. They're threats, they're dangerous—& often a middle step in escalation.  So miss me with derailing on how OMG THAT BOMB DIDN'T HURT ANYONE DOESN'T COUNT."

Calling herself just "Clinic Escort," she then proceeded to list 100 anti-abortion terrorist events, from "3/1976: Joseph Stockett commits the 1st reported abortion clinic arson at a Eugene, OR PP—not his last." through "11/24/15: Repeat clinic vandal at Louisville clinic, 1 day after jail release on condition he stay away."  For good measure, she throws in a few examples of how officials simply will not take anti abortion violence seriously.  "Operation Rescue had a saying: 'If you believe abortion is murder, act like it's murder.' Now, what could that possibly mean?"  "In 1984 FBI head William Webster said antichoice violence wasn't terrorism—wasn't a priority. His negligence fueled escalation."  "Last month, FBI's James Comey said criticism of cops could grow crime—where's his denunciation of antichoice 'murder' rhetoric?"  She also pointed out that 100 incidents was a mere scratch of the surface.  "That's all. But that's not all. I left SO MUCH OUT."

It just never quits, does it?  Alecto, if you click through, you will find a goodly number of individual names to start on.  But you will also find groups, and that will lesd to more names, and more.  I would not be surprised if you needed to bring up reinforcements.  It's not obviously her thing, but La Llorona might be available – she was all in favor of wanted children.

When I look at the phrase "vengeful destruction," I tend to think of "getting back" at someone.  You know, "an eye for an eye" (which in time, of course, makes the whole world blind).  But, of course, vengefulness can also be more precautionary.  As an opera lover, I'm familiar with the Italian word "vendetta," which can actually mean revenge, as in Rigoletto.  But then there's MacBeth, where it seems instead to mean getting them (in this case Banquo's descendants) back first. 

And then there's pure meanness.  Which seems to be the case with Johnny Mount of Mississippi.  From Raw Story:

"An enraged Waffle House customer shot and killed a waitress early Friday who asked him not to smoke.

"Police said Johnny Mount was eating about 1 a.m. at the restaurant in Biloxi, Mississippi, when he lit a cigarette, reported WLOX-TV.

"A waitress asked the 45-year-old Mount to put out the cigarette or smoke outside, and he began arguing with her.

"Police said Mount then pulled out a 9 mm handgun he had concealed under his shirt and shot the 52-year-old waitress in the head.

"She was taken to a nearby hospital but died from her wounds.

"Mount was arrested as he tried to leave the restaurant and has been charged with first-degree murder.

"He remains held on $2 million bond."

BTW, smoking in restaurants and other enclosed public spaces is against Mississippi law.  Maybe he was just trying to take out a witness.  Yeah.  Right.

He's all yours, Tisiphone.

Megaera is the Fury associated with "grudging."  I associate that with an attitude of "I've got mine, screw you."  But there's no reason "I can do whatever I want because I'm so special, screw you" can't also be grudguing.

As The Free Thought Project reports, Bill Furay is the head of the DEA's office in Beaumont, Texas. 

"For many years, Furay styled himself the implacable scourge of drug dealers, becoming a familiar presence at triumphant DEA press conferences announcing mass arrests and seizures of contraband and proceeds."  I'll spare you the details of Operation Blood Loss and Operation Agent Orange.  But they did take out the Pineda organization and a whole lot of meth and coke.

Ah well.  "Taking out a drug syndicate is an exercise in futility akin to baling (sic) out the Pacific Ocean with a thimble. When the DEA 'decimated' one narcotics syndicate, all they did was create an opportunity for another one to fill it. While Furay was busy with sting operations, controlled buys, and self-aggrandizing press conferences, he apparently neglected to supervise his young daughter Sarah, who was arrested at her College Station home on November 8 and faces a variety of narcotics-related charges."

Apparently, "(P)olice found '31.5 grams of packaged cocaine, 126 grams of high grade marijuana, 29 "ecstasy" tablets, methamphetamine and 60 doses of a drug similar to LSD' in Sarah Furay’s bedroom. They also reported finding two digital scales, packaging materials, and a handwritten drug price list. Police also found text messages in her phone discussing drug transactions. Miss Furay faces at least three felony charges that could – and, given the renowned severity of the Texas justice system, ordinarily would – result in long prison time: The aggregate maximum sentence would be 215 years behind bars and a $30,000 fine."

That terrifying prospect notwithstanding, the winsome Miss Furay can be seen smiling broadly in her booking photo, which has been called the “happiest mugshot in America.” After spending a day in jail, the 19-year-old, referred to in press accounts as an “adorable drug kingpin,” posted $39,000 bond and was released.

"Having a mom and dad with well-established positions within departments of law enforcement and education certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to getting your drug-dealing ass out of jail."

Owing to her privileged status, Sarah Furay has a very good chance to escape the ruinous punishment that would be inflicted on most defendants in her situation. There is a strong possibility as well that her less-than-admirable life choices reflect the fact that her father was too busy putting other people’s children in prison to give his own daughter the parental attention she needed.

And her name even looks like "Fury"!  Have fun, Megaera, with her – and her father.