Feb 072016
 

Last night I dealt with the Republican debate in the only intelligent way possible.  I didn’t watch.  Furthermore, George threatened me that, if I filled him with puke again, like I did last time, he would refuse to interface with Stumpy.  I don’t need to have watched to know that the Derby was made of of lies, hate and affronts to human decency from one end to the other.  Here’s the Gray Lady’s analysis, followed by some interesting video.

0207Debate

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was hammered as callow, ambitious and lacking in accomplishment during the Republican presidential debate here on Saturday night, as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey led an all-out assault to try to halt Mr. Rubio’s growing momentum ahead of the critical New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Mr. Rubio, facing the fiercest attacks yet of the Republican race after his strong third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, looked rattled at times and faltered as he pushed back with scripted lines about President Obama that Mr. Christie mocked mercilessly. While the Republicans clashed on issues like abortion and torture, the concerted effort to take down Mr. Rubio dominated the debate.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable — you just simply haven’t,” Mr. Christie told Mr. Rubio early in the debate. Charging Mr. Rubio with taking credit for policies but then skipping Senate votes on them, he said, “That’s not leadership. That’s truancy.”

The scorn aimed at Mr. Rubio, a 44-year-old first-term senator, came as voters in New Hampshire and nationwide are still taking the measure of him, though he is well positioned to surge nationally if he has a strong showing in the primary here. Still, a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll last week indicated there was still fluidity in the New Hampshire electorate: 33 percent of Republican primary voters here said they might change their minds before Tuesday…

Inserted from <NY Times>

After Iowa, I’m not surprised to see a pig pile on Border Booter, the Latino that hates Latinos.  He must be flat as a pancake, after PIGnocchio piled-on!

Now you may be wondering how I could have come up with the interesting video I promised at the outset.  Since I’m too kind to assault you with a Clown Car Destruction Derby VIII video. I have a clip for you on an unrelated subject that IS interesting!

Go Bernie!

Now isn’t it time that the Clown Car was destroyed?

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Feb 072016
 

Today is the highest Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, so on a scale of one to ten I plan to be bad… very bad!!  Pizza order!!  Yum!!  Tomorrow I have a podiatry appointment, so I’ll be posting an Open Thread, at most.  Go Broncos!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:35 (average 6:51).  To do it, click here,  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 6/2014): Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer is no dummy. He sees the writing on the wall.

I’d strongly suggest you read this entire piece titled "The pitchforks are coming . . . for us Plutocrats"

And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

Today this piece is even more relevant than it was then. Click through to read it in its entirety.

From NY Times: An opportunity to pass the most significant federal criminal justice reform in a generation may be slipping away — despite the tireless efforts of many top Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as a rare exhortation from President Obama during last month’s State of the Union address.

The bill, known as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, is the product of years of negotiation over how best to roll back the imprisonment spree of the past four decades, a period in which the federal prison population grew from just under 25,000 to more than 195,000.

Among other features, the act would reduce absurdly long mandatory minimum sentences for many nonviolent drug crimes, give judges more control over the terms of punishment and provide inmates with more opportunities to get out early by participating in rehabilitation programs….

…So what’s the problem? There are two, in fact — and both are serious threats to the bill’s chances of passage.

First, some congressional Republicans now say they will approve the bill only if it includes an across-the-board change in federal law that would make corporations and their executives harder to prosecute for environmental or financial crimes by imposing a new intent, or “mens rea,” standard on these crimes…

…It is already very difficult to prosecute corporate wrongdoers. A report released late last month by Senator Elizabeth Warren documented 20 cases from 2015 alone in which corporations or their executives broke the law but got off with little or no punishment, even when people died as a result of the violations. Speaking from the Senate floor on Wednesday, Ms. Warren called the push for the new intent provision “shameful because we’re already way too easy on corporate lawbreakers.”

The other obstacle to the reform bill’s passage is old-fashioned scaremongering about the release of “violent criminals” into the streets. This is simply not true: Most of the provisions are focused on low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, who make up nearly half of all federal inmates.

Senator Ted Cruz is leading this attack on the new bill. Yet just last year he called mandatory minimum drug sentences “unfair and ineffective,” and he sponsored reforms that would have reduced those sentences even more than the current bill does. Running for president on a hard-right platform has, apparently, changed his mind.

The sentencing reform legislation is not perfect, but it represents remarkable progress in what is often a harsh, oversimplified debate about crime and punishment in America. It should not be weakened, either by narrowing its reach or by sneaking in an unrelated mens rea provision.

The problem with this bill is that it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough but between Koch sucking members of Congress and TRUS "Uranus Inspector" Ted, we probably lose even this pitifully small step forward.

From Alternet: Bernie Sanders’ much-anticipated cameo on Saturday Night Live along-side host Larry David did not disappoint.

This is not the video included with the article. That has been taken down. I hope this one fares better.

Which Bernie is Bernier?

Cartoon:

0207Cartoon

After the game!

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Feb 072016
 

It has been a busy day today mostly doing research for two posts.  I managed a few small errands and came home to relax only to find my DVD player bit the dust.  It is one of those "turn it off, it's fine, turn it on, it's broken" kind of deals. I wonder if Mr Negotiator (Trump) could get me a good deal for a new one?  Tomorrow afternoon, I will be going to see my mother so there may not be a Squatch's Open Thread.

Short Takes

BuzzFeedhat-tip Monka B, Care2 — So, it seems some non-Americans have a few questions about what’s going on in American politics today.

1. First things first: In an American accent, “Iowa caucus” is pronounced “Iowa cock-us” which is also kind of how it feels.

First things first: In an American accent, "Iowa caucus" is pronounced "Iowa cock-us" which is also kind of how it feels.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

“Cock us today at 6:30pm.”

2. Iowa is the first state to vote in the seemingly endless process of the two parties in the US choosing their candidates for president, which at this stage feels like it’s been happening for about 57 years.

Iowa is the first state to vote in the seemingly endless process of the two parties in the US choosing their candidates for president, which at this stage feels like it's been happening for about 57 years.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

If the nomination process is like an army on a long, grim death march through a never-ending winter, this is the bit where they start eating the horses.

Click through for the rest of this hilarious take on the Iowa Caucuses as explained for the Brits.

University of British Columbia — Gustafsen Lake or Ts’Peten, a region close to 100 Mile House in British Columbia, in Secwepemec (Shuswap) territory, was the location of a stand-off in 1995 between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and sundancers and their helpers (Sundancers) conducting religious ceremony that lasted more than thirty days. Gustafsen Lake has been called the “largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history."

The Gustafsen Lake Stand-off stemmed from the longstanding conflict over Aboriginal land occupied by non-Aboriginal settlers without having first signed treaties. People who came to Gustafsen Lake for the Sundance chose to stay in defense of the land as events unfolded during the ceremonial period. They said the land is unceded and unsurrendered to the Crown. The RCMP and government representatives attempted to remove the Sundancers, or “Ts'Peten Defenders,” as tensions escalated between the Sundancers, a local rancher, government agents, and Aboriginal leaders who disagreed with the Sundancers' tactics and legal and religious views.

The siege at Gustafsen Lake has become a controversial event in Canadian history due to government militarization, RCMP smear campaigns, and successful efforts to spread misinformation about the Sundancers. The media were strategically excluded from all but official RCMP accounts of events, resulting in highly skewed reporting. Supporters of the “Ts’Peten Defenders” view the stand-off at Gustafsen Lake as symbolic of the continued efforts of the state to forcibly and violently assimilate Indigenous peoples. Gustafsen Lake is largely underrepresented in mainstream recollections of British Columbian and Canadian histories.

Gustafsen Lake occurred as another militarized stand-off was underway at Ipperwash/Aazhoodena.

Image from "Showdown at Gustafsen Lake," First Nations Drum. Reprinted in Smoke Signals from the Heart (2004) and used with permission from Totem Pole Books.

The Conflict

Starting in 1989 as part of a multi-year period cycle of ceremonial commitment, Sundancers would assemble every summer at a specific site near Gustafsen Lake, or Ts’Peten, to conduct the Sundance. The site was in ancestral Secwepemc territories and was prepared and respected as sacred by the Sundancers under the guidance of the designated Faithkeeper and camp spiritual leader Percy Rosette. The site was encompassed by grazing rights held by a non-Aboriginal American rancher, Lyle James, who used the land as cow pasture. James and the Sundancers had reached an agreement that the Sundancers would assemble at the Sundance arbour area every summer for the Sundance cycle period, provided they would not erect any permanent ceremonial structures.

In 1995, however, tensions escalated between the rancher and the Sundancers. The Sundancers had erected a fence to keep James’s cattle from defecating within the Sundance ceremonial arbour site, and James was not happy. James requested that the camp occupants leave, to which they explained they were unable to do until the Sundance was complete.  The Sundancers claimed that to breach or interrupt a multi-year Sundance commitment is a very serious matter. The Sundancers recall one night when cowboys on horseback rode through the camp and aggressively insulted and harassed them. Two RCMP officers, Native people chosen in keeping with the sensitive nature of the ceremony and prepared site, were then stationed at the Sundance to observe and keep the peace. The RCMP held the position that the conflict was of a personal nature between James and the Sundancers, and therefore they would observe, and not become directly involved. Approximately twenty to thirty of the Sundancers, which included non-dancing participants, stayed on: men, women and children. The Sundance itself went ahead without incident.

The conflict between James and the Sundancers raised larger questions about the land and outstanding Aboriginal title; The Sundancers declared the land unceded and unsurrendered, particularly as to the nature of the interest in the land that James had obtained from the Crown.  As time went on, the RCMP observers suggested that the Sundancers should vacate the site to avoid any further conflict with James. The Sundancers responded that they would not leave until their rights to the land were recognized, some saying they were prepared to die if necessary to protect the land. The Sundancers were concerned about the need to continue to use the site for their religious and spiritual purposes so as to complete the commitment period and Sundance cycle.

Click through for the rest.  Although this happened over twenty years ago, the issues raised have not been dealt with by the Canadian federal government.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as part of his platform, wants to bring about new relationships and respect with and for Aboriginal peoples.  As such, the Ts'Peten Defence Committee has started a petition on Change.org calling for a National Inquiry into the Ts’Peten/Gustafsen Lake Standoff 1995.  I hope you'll sign the petition with me.

For those on Care2, I have also posted this petition at Gustafsen Lake Standoff Petition.

Salon — Donald Trump gave an interview this week all of his potential supporters should watch. In his own words, Trump lays bare the very reasons why he would be such a disastrous choice for president.  

The topic turns to President Obama’s recent nuclear agreement with Iran.  Trump unwittingly displays for all to see that he simply does not understand the most basic elements of the agreement.

Trump proclaims his familiar boast that he is the best deal-maker ever and the best negotiator ever, and that the Obama administration completely botched the negotiation with Iran.  And then Trump graced us with an inside account of how he, as a master deal-maker, would have negotiated the agreement with Iran and obtained a much better outcome for America.

Primarily, Trump would have spared America from having to pay $150 billion to Iran.  

Unfortunately, however, there is one little problem with Trump’s entire analysis. And this problem is that the $150 billion was, in fact, readily available. The reason it was readily available is because all of this money actually belonged to Iran, not to America.  This was Iran’s own money.  This was Iranian money that America had seized and frozen. 

Following is an interview of Trump by CNN's Anderson Cooper where Trump demonstrates his lack of knowlege of the Iran Nuclear Deal.  You would think that a potential presidential candidate would be a little more knowlegable. Even I know that those were Iranian funds!

 

My Universe

I forgets nothing. I wait patiently. - Cat

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Feb 062016
 

As I have said before, Bill Maker is so funny that I forgive his evangelical atheism, because he’s right on virtually everything else.  Here he interviews Gloria Steinem.

0206MaherSteinem

In a wide ranging — and alternately serious and funny — interview with HBO host Bill Maher, feminist icon Gloria Steinem addressed the myth that a woman can “have it all,” saying that is impossible for both men and women.

Steinem is promoting her new book, “My Life on the Road,” saying that it where she has spent most of her time.

“The road used to be a male province for no good reason. It should be everybody’s place, ” she explained. “But also the road was thought to be more dangerous. But, statistically speaking, home is the most dangerous place for a woman,” she added, alluding to domestic violence…

Inserted from <Raw Story>

I have to disagree with one thing.  One of my functions with SDS in New York Coty in the 1960s was to liaise with other organizations, which is how I came to know several famous people.  In that role, I met Gloria on a couple of occasions, and contrary to what she now says, she has mellowed with age and now seems quite likeable.

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Feb 052016
 

Last night I watched one of the best debates I have ever seen.  It was hard fought from beginning to end. If you missed the debate last night, I have the complete video and transcript for you  I think Hillary was the winner on foreign policy, but Bernie was the winner on domestic policy and the economy.  This is how much.

0205Debate

Hillary Clinton appeared frustrated.

Dozens of prominent economists and academic experts have endorsed her plans to regulate the financial sector. Her policies would “try to prevent the problems of the future,” she explained in Thursday’s debate, in addition to reining in “the excesses of Wall Street.”

So why do so many voters not believe it?

Throughout the debate, Mrs. Clinton found herself cornered by Senator Bernie Sanders and the moderators about her ties to Wall Street, the political contributions that have bolstered her campaign account, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid speaking fees she received from Goldman Sachs and other financial firms in the months after she left the State Department.

Mrs. Clinton tried again and again to explain that her plans for Wall Street would be tougher and go further than Mr. Sanders’s proposals by also regulating the shadow banking industry, the insurance companies and other wrongdoers.

“I have a broader view,” Mrs. Clinton said, contrasting her plan to that of Mr. Sanders, whose anti-Wall Street message has turned him from a long-shot candidate to a serious contender for the Democratic nomination… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

While the Gray Lady was clearly attempting to plug their choice, Hillary, even they could not cover up the fact that the audience wasn’t buying part of what she had to say.  On one occasion, they even booed here for attacking Bernie.

If you missed the debate, here’s the complete video,

If you prefer, here is the full transcript.

In my opinion, the biggest difference was that, while hammering on his points, Bernie remained gracious, while Hillary let her frustration get the better of her.

What say you?

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Feb 052016
 

TGIF!!  I did not get the sleep I needed yesterday, because my helper friend came a day late.  We washed my hospital bed sheets and made the bed.  I need her help, because there is one corner where I cannot place the fritted sheet.  There is no room to get close enough in my chair.  That took up most of my afternoon nap time.  Then I watched the debate, and I won’t take today off, because it may be the last time Bernie and Hillary debate head to head. so I have to report on it.  Jeannie (Shower-Aide) has come and gone.  Arvilla (PT) was due in fifteen minutes  (now gone), and Tracey (OT) comes right after Arvilla!  When I finish blogging, I’m going to hide!  TGIF!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Jeff Merkley Channel:

Merkley: Stop the wave of dark money in politics

 

Amen Jeff!!  He’s one of the reasons that Oregon leads the way!

From The New Yorker: In a feat that some observers called nothing short of miraculous, the embattled pharmaceuticals C.E.O. Martin Shkreli single-handedly made the American people side with Congress on Thursday morning.

According to polls taken after his appearance before the despised legislative body, Shkreli’s smug, smirking, and utterly douchey performance had the effect of temporarily transforming members of Congress into marginally sympathetic figures.

The University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, which tracks the American people’s attitudes toward the legislative branch, said that after Shkreli’s appearance Congress’s approval rating surged from eleven per cent to fourteen per cent.

Well the guy is an asshole (syn, Republican), but frankly, I think Andy has been smokin' that Wacky tobbacky. The only thing that could make Congress more popular is a Democratic majority!

From FAIR.org: A few months ago, I raised concerns about Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel (FAIR.org, 10/28/15) after she admitted taking money from agribusiness interest groups that she covers.

I pointed out that her columns are biased in favor of those industry groups, particularly on the topic of GMOs, even though her column is presented to readers as an unbiased effort to find middle ground in debates about our food system.

My article was met with crickets of silence from Haspel, her Post editor Joe Yonan and the band of biotech promoters who prolifically praise Haspel on Twitter. I figured that, soon enough, Haspel might write another column that would warrant raising the concerns another notch up the pole. She didn’t disappoint.

In her January column (Washington Post, 1/26/16), Haspel offered an investigation (“the surprising truth”) about the food movement—without speaking to anyone in the food movement—concluding that there isn’t much of a food movement after all, and most people don’t really care about labeling genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

Her sources? A two-year-old survey, another survey conducted by a food-industry front group, and consumer research by the agrichemical industry’s public relations firm.  [emphasis original]

Busted!! GMOs must be contained where grown and labeled for consumers. Click though for the rest of this extensive exposé.

Cartoon:

0205Cartoon

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Feb 042016
 

I have spent a good part of the day reading up about climate change and climate change denial.  That is when I wasn't watching and rewatching "The Littlest Husky".  Tomorrow is a teaching day so I'll have to remain strong to stick to my limits.

Short Takes

Alternet — And in the book the name of the chapter is “The Right is Right” because they’re not right about the science but I believe that they understand the implications of the science better than most liberals in the sense that they absolutely understand that if climate change is real, it is the end of their ideological project. The entire scaffolding on which their attack on regulations, attacks on collective action rests falls apart. Because of course you need collective action, of course you need to regulate corporations, it’s over, it’s game over for them. So they have to do everything possible to deny the science. And what’s amazing to me is how many liberal think tanks devote almost no energy to talking about climate change.

So the issue is how hard it is to change people’s minds when they’re as invested in these ideas ideologically but also funding-wise. Jim Inhofe gets a lot of money from the coal industry. So he was supposed to be the keynote speaker of this particular Heartland conference. It was advertised, people were extremely excited to hear from him. And Joe Bast announced in the morning that James Inhofe was sick and he was not going to be regaling them that morning. People were very disappointed. It came out later — we didn’t know this at the time — I looked into it after, what was wrong with Jim Inhofe because I wasn’t sure, was he really sick or did he just for some reason think it wasn’t a good idea to hang out with these crazies?

And it turns out he really was sick and he was sick because — and he explained this — he’d gone swimming in a lake in Oklahoma and it was in the middle of a heatwave and there was an outbreak of blue-green algae, which is linked to climate change. He basically had a climate change illness. [laughter] And this is why he could not speak at the climate denial conference.

We talk about climate change — rising sea levels, vicious storms, food scarcity, water scarcity — but rarely have I heard mention of health related issues.  They are there and they are manifest.

Foreign PolicyWith an estimated 3 to 4 million people having come down with Zika virus ailments since infected mosquitoes reached the Americas some nine months ago, 23 countries and territories have reported cases, and there are some 4,000 babies that have been born with the skull-misshaping microcephaly, according to the World Health Organization.

“Last year, the virus was detected in the Americas, where it is now spreading explosively,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a speech Thursday to the organization’s Executive Board. “The level of alarm is extremely high.”  

BRAZIL-SENEGAL-SCIENCE-HEALTH-ZIKA-VIRUSAedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University, on January 8, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

My conclusion is that public health leaders and politicians had better brace for a very long haul on Zika. The virus will hide, infecting a range of insects, perhaps monkeys, even birds. And it will return in seasonal cycles, as have other mosquito-carried viruses, such as yellow fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and dengue. Because so many “foreign” viruses carried by mosquitoes are now spreading across the Western Hemisphere at the same time, there will be misdiagnosis, mystery, and perhaps acute illnesses due to co-infections. Until we have an effective vaccine and have executed mammoth immunization campaigns in all of the nations of the Americas, Zika will haunt us, sicken some of us, and endanger our babies.

A long but interesting article.  On the news, I heard a tidbit that provoked more thought . . . the mosquitoes carrying the zyka virus require a warm, damp environment in which to survive.  Right now, it cannot thrive in Canada and northern Europe because it is too cool.  But it can thrive in the southern US in areas like the Louisiana Bayou or the Florida Everglades.  What will happen as the planet heats up and traditionally cooler climes start to meet the needs of these mosquitoes?

Scientific American — But experts are still piecing together Exxon’s misconception puzzle. Last summer the Union of Concerned Scientists released a complementary investigation to the one by InsideClimate News, known as the Climate Deception Dossiers (pdf). “We included a memo of a coalition of fossil-fuel companies where they pledge basically to launch a big communications effort to sow doubt,” says union president Kenneth Kimmel. “There’s even a quote in it that says something like ‘Victory will be achieved when the average person is uncertain about climate science.’ So it’s pretty stark.”

Since then, Exxon has spent more than $30 million on think tanks that promote climate denial, according to Greenpeace. Although experts will never be able to quantify the damage Exxon’s misinformation has caused, “one thing for certain is we’ve lost a lot of ground,” Kimmell says. Half of the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere were released after 1988. “I have to think if the fossil-fuel companies had been upfront about this and had been part of the solution instead of the problem, we would have made a lot of progress [today] instead of doubling our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Experts agree that the damage is huge, which is why they are likening Exxon’s deception to the lies spread by the tobacco industry. “I think there are a lot of parallels,” Kimmell says. Both sowed doubt about the science for their own means, and both worked with the same consultants to help develop a communications strategy.

This article dates to 26/10/2015 but is just as relevant since investigations are ongoing.  You might also be interested in reading Could a Legal Case Save Humanity From Climate Disaster? Exxon Could Face a Big Comeuppance​ in Alternet which is a discussion about Exxon Mobil's corporate accountability and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation of Exxon Mobil.

This from the study by the Union of Concerned Scientists called The Climate Deception Dossiers​, page 22:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that purports to stand for free-market principles, provides a venue for industry groups to influence policy makers behind closed doors. Leaked internal documents show that ALEC, backed by many industry groups including many major fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, and Shell, continues to serve as an important conduit for climate misinformation and policy proposals designed to block climate action today. 

    The Littlest Husky

    rosie-lilo-huskies.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartRosie the kitten now feels right at home with Lilo (far right) and her other husky friends.    (Photo: Lilothehusky/Facebook)

    When a husky-loving family discovered a tiny, sickly kitten, they weren't sure if the sweet little thing would make it through the night. They took their chances and introduced the kitty to Lilo, one of the most nurturing dogs in their pack.

    "A little kitten update! Her name is Rosie. She has been with us for about 5 days. She almost did not make it through the first night… Even with round the clock care. She was lethargic and limp," the owners wrote on Instagram.

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    Feb 042016
     

    Yesterday my helper=friend could not come, and that screwed up my schedule.  I have lots of house work to do.  I need to stay up late to watch the debate on MSNBC.  It will have one bad moderator, Chuck Todd, and one fantastic moderator, Rachel Maddow.  This will be today’s only article, and I will it be sending cards on Care2.  That way, I get some rest.

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:45).  Birdie for kitty-lunch?  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Daily Kos: I have always been a fan of Jimmy Carter, and once more he hits it out of the park. As reported today by the Guardian, here is what he has to say about the effect of money on our American political system, post Iowa caucuses:

    Former US president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

    He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

    Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

    SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is wrong. Money is NOT speech!!

    From The New Yorker: Declaring that “my time has come,” the former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced today that he was officially launching his 2020 campaign for President.

    “Washington is broken, and I’ve got some fresh new ideas about how to fix it,” Santorum told a small clutch of supporters and whatever family members were available, at an intimate rally in Des Moines. “Once the people of this great nation hear those ideas, there’s no stopping me.”

    “I’m in it to win it!” he exclaimed, to some clapping.

    Launching his campaign in Iowa, where the next Presidential caucuses will not be held for another forty-eight months, Santorum brushed aside suggestions that he was entering the race too early. “You’ll have to take that up with Jesus Christ,” he said. “He’s the guy who told me to do this.”

    Andy, did he slip and fall down in his own froth?

    From Alternet: Hungry for a bloodbath? Good, that's exactly what the election is, and guys Stephen Colbert are just waiting for candidates to stumble. Last night Colbert paid tribute to those who had fallen after the Iowa Caucus, as well as one who should have.

     

    The script must have been written before frothy was flushed. That would have been hilarious!

    Cartoon:

    0204Cartoon

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    Feb 032016
     

    His Iowa Caucuses victory was more than just a win for Sen. Ted Cruz, aka Uranus Inspector, the only Canadian import worse than filthy Tar Sands sludge.  It was also a big win for Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity, the exact opposite of authentic Christianity.  To see how significant a win this was, we a;so need to look what he defeated, and it was a lot more powerful than the Hateful Hairball.

    0203Cruz

    When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the stage last night to declare victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, he opened his triumphant speech with a direct appeal to the people who worked so hard to secure him his win — evangelical Christians.

    “God bless the great state of Iowa,” he said. “Let me first of all say: to God be the glory.”

    Cruz went on to make several more biblical references, working a litany of scripture passages and appeals to “Judeo-Christian values” into a 30-minute speech that often sounded suspiciously sermonesque. He then concluded by citing Psalm 30, stirring the crowd into a frenzy by reminding them that “joy cometh in the morning.”

    “I tell you tonight, Iowa has made clear to America and the world: morning is coming,” he said.

    Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy. He launched his run for president at Liberty University, an evangelical school, courted the endorsement of leading theological conservatives in the Iowa, and organized a passionate network of conservative Christian volunteers to help him get out the vote on caucus day.

    Cruz’s engagement with Christianity on the campaign trail is nothing new, as he’s made no secret of his evangelical strategy.

    And in Iowa, at least, it worked. Evangelicals flooded caucus sites across the state last night, ultimately making up 64 percent of Republican caucus-goers — up 7 points from 2012according to entrance polls. And despite ample hand-wringing from political analysts over Donald Trump’s support among portions of the evangelical flock, the biggest slice of churchgoers sided with Cruz: he won the lion’s share of “born again” Christians at 34 percent, with Trump grabbing 22 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio — a Roman Catholic — pulling in 21 percent… [emphasis added]

    Inserted from <Think Progress>

    Note that Liberty University and Regent University has more graduates in permanent “nonpartisan” executive staff positions than the Ivy League, because so many “burrowed in” to permanent, “nonpartisan” positions, especially in DOJ, from political appointee positions during the Bush Reich.  Then last thing America needs is more pseudo-Christians sabotaging our freedom.

    Lawrence O’Donnell explained just how great an obstacle Uranus Inspector overcame.

    Overcoming corn in Iowa with pseudo-Christianity is no laughing matter.  While I have been laughing at the Cruz’ campaign of pseudo-Christian hatred, I’m not laughing any more, especially since so many front-end Republican primaries are dominated by the pseudo-Christians in their base.  This magnifies how important it is for Democrats to turn out and vote!

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    Feb 032016
     

    Today is another relatively busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming to put away, volunteer editing to do, meals to prepare, and my helper friend coming to help me wash and change the sheets on my hospital bed.  I did managed to get a full night’s sleep last night, and I needed it.  I still feel tired today.

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 2:42 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Upworthy: Take a minute to celebrate and discover these 25 black "firsts" from the last 25 years.

    1. First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry (2002)

    0203Halle

    It’s Black History Month. I shared the first Black “first” listed. Click through for the other twenty-four.

    From NY Times: The state-appointed emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools, who had also managed the city of Flint and oversaw its decision to draw its water from the Flint River, resigned on Tuesday, the day before a congressional committee hearing in Washington on Flint’s water.

    Michelle Zdrodowski, a spokeswoman for Detroit Public Schools, said the manager, Darnell Earley, had declined to testify before a panel investigating the widespread contamination of Flint’s tap water after the city switched its water source, which led to elevated blood lead levels throughout the city.

    On Tuesday evening, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena for Mr. Earley to testify on Wednesday, but his lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, said Mr. Earley would not be able to appear.

    I’m glad this Republican race-traitor lost his job. Rachel Maddow explains why the Republican House hearings are just a smoke screen to protect Sturmbannführer Snyder. 

    I bet a fiver against a donut that the goose-stepping, sham committee will blame it on Obama or Hillary.

    From Crooks and Liars: Rand Paul, the libertarian-minded freshman senator who was once viewed as a formidable presidential contender, is suspending his White House bid on Wednesday, several sources close to Paul told CNN.

     

    I was happy to see that the Clown Car had barfed Upchuck Huck. I’m equally happy to see that it puked Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot!

    Cartoon:

    0203Cartoon

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    Feb 022016
     

    I have another very busy day today.  Jeannie (shower-aide) will arrive momentarily.  Arvilla (PT) is coming at 10 AM.  I have the Monthly Report to compose.  I need to set up a schedule for PT and OT after home health ends.  And I need to make a run to my bank.  Now Jeannie just left, and I’m the kind of kitty that’s fun to pet.

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Daily Kos: In an apparent attempt to set a new world’s record for projection, House Republicans are now accusing Democrats of wasting millions of dollars of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s money on partisan nonsense.

    Talk about partisan nonsense!

    Barf Bag Alert!!

    Forming the committee just to beat Hillary is partisan nonsense!

    From The New Yorker: Senator Ted Cruz’s stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses is serving as a beacon of hope to despised people across the nation, a number of disliked Americans confirmed on Monday.

    In interviews from coast to coast, dozens of pariahs said that the Cruz triumph meant that “the sky’s the limit” for widely hated people like them.

    Andy is reporting news again.

    From NY Times: Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont were locked in an intensely tight race in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday as Mrs. Clinton’s strong support among women and older voters was matched by the passionate liberal foot soldiers whom Mr. Sanders has been calling to political revolution.

    The close results were deeply unnerving to Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as her advisers, some of whom had expressed growing confidence in recent days that they had recaptured political momentum after weeks when Mr. Sanders was drawing huge crowds and rising in the polls. The Clintons had appeared optimistic at rallies over the weekend, thanking Iowans for their support as much as urging them to turn out to vote.

    The close vote means that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are likely to split Iowa’s share of delegates to the Democratic convention, and Mr. Sanders will be able to argue that the Iowa result was a virtual tie.

    I did not like watching a Hillary supported lying to uncommitted voters that Bernie favors a flat tax, and I thought Hillary’s victory announcement was disingenuous.  Since then Hillary has subsequently been declared the winner, and she gets 23 delegates to Bernie’s 21.

    Cartoon:

    0202Cartoon

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    Feb 012016
     

    On a scale of one to ten, today is a brutally busy day.  I have a heavy load of  personal tasks, like preparing my grocery order, editing a letter to the Governor for the President of our volunteer organization, arranging my lift ride for next Monday’s Podiatry appointment, and routine cooking and cleaning.  In addition, I had to compose a new poll, collect all the data and make all the graphics for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, and am writing today’s articles.  On top of that, I’m trying to keep track of the Iowa Caucuses.  The winners I predict in Iowa are Bernie and Hateful Hairball.,

    Jig Zone Puzzle:

    Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

    Short Takes:

    From Daily Kos: On a May 19 CNN broadcast with Blitzer, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to eliminate college tuition by taxing Wall Street speculation.

    Sounds pretty simple and straight forward doesn’t it?  Yet, Blitzer just couldn’t wrap his mind around it…..  watch……https://www.youtube.com/…

     

    That’s why Bernie is the one!

    From NY Times: …Voters on the ideological edges, who dominate both parties in Iowa, have made Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, and Donald J. Trump and Mr. Cruz, whose views are anathema to Republican leadership, the standard-bearers of the left and the right.

    Iowa’s left can be as right as Iowa’s right is wrong. We’ll see tonight.

    From Think Progress: An important but little-discussed aspect of American elections is the built-in advantage that Republicans have in the nation’s gubernatorial races.

    The reason why is simple. Turnout is far higher in years when there’s a presidential election, and that boost in turnout is predominantly reflected in minorities and young people, constituencies that tend to vote Democratic. Conversely, turnout is typically over 20 points lower during midterm elections, with far fewer minorities and young people going to the polls. But just nine states have gubernatorial elections that exclusively coincide with presidential votes, whereas 34 states vote for governor during midterm elections. (Five states vote in odd-numbered years and the remaining two elect their governor every two years.)

    This bias towards midterm elections is a contributing reason why swing states that twice voted for President Obama, such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, also elected Republicans during the last two gubernatorial races.

    But one of those purple states could soon shift its gubernatorial elections to presidential years: Michigan.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, an unidentified group of Democrats and independents are considering a ballot initiative to move gubernatorial races by two years so as to line up with presidential elections. Other statewide races, such as those for attorney general and secretary of state, would also be moved. If the initiative comes together and is passed by voters this year, the elections could shift as soon as 2020.

    This may be the end of Sturmbannführer Snyder, if he isn’t in a prison cell first.  However, we need to get this on ballot measures all over the country.,

    Cartoon:

    0201Cartoon

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