Mar 132015
 

I have a cold or the flu.  I’m running a fever and have nasal congestion in addition to severe COPD.  I got it from chilling myself outside a bureaucrat’s office.  On the other had, it could just be what I get for turning 67 on Friday the  13th.  Obviously, this is today’s only article.  Some of the material is slightly outdated, but, as bad as I feel, it’s the best I can do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Stating that “their continuing hostilities are a threat to world peace,” Iran has offered to mediate talks between congressional Republicans and President Obama.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, made the offer one day after Iran received what he called a “worrisome letter” from Republican leaders, which suggested to him that “the relationship between Republicans and Obama has deteriorated dangerously.”

“Tensions between these two historic enemies have been high in recent years, but we believe they are now at a boiling point,” Khamenei said. “As a result, Iran feels it must offer itself as a peacemaker.”

He said that his nation was the “logical choice” to jumpstart negotiations between Obama and the Republicans because “it has become clear that both sides currently talk more to Iran than to each other.”

He invited Obama and the Republicans to meet in Tehran to hash out their differences and called on world powers to force the two bitter foes to the bargaining table, adding, “It is time to stop the madness.”

I’m afraid it won’t work Andy. Some terrorists are just too far gone for Iran to be able to help.

From Media Matters: Sean Hannity lectured criminal defense and civil rights attorney Tamara Holder about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s impact on women’s issues, telling Holder, "let me educate you."…

…Hannity’s lecturing became so egregious, his female producer challenged him, asking if he was treating Holder this way because she is a woman:

 

If women follow the advice Hannity is giving, they will have nothing to do with him.

From Daily Kos: Six years too late, media call congressional Republicans ‘traitors’

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Now Republicans are claiming they were just being "cheeky". That’s the truth, if the cheeks in question are the ones, between which their heads are inserted.

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Mar 102015
 

I’ve been up since about 4:00 AM, working on necessary tasks.  I’m waiting for Safeway.  They will be delivering my groceries sometime within the next four hours.  I have to stay up, until they get here.  Today is the last of the 70° days, but I can’t bask until I put my groceries away, either.  Tomorrow’s appointment will take all morning, so figure on a Personal Update only.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 6:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Some Republicans in Congress are calling for cuts to the Census Bureau’s budget that would impair the agency’s already strained ability to gather basic data.

An accurate census is essential to determining the correct number of representatives from each state, the effectiveness of voting laws and the allotment of federal aid to states. In fact, information from the census and other surveys by the bureau is crucial to anyone — policy makers and businesspeople, researchers and citizens — who wants to understand the United States, assess where it is headed and influence its course on the basis of hard data.

The White House has requested a slim $1.5 billion for the bureau for fiscal year 2016. Much of that would be for the 2020 census, the planning of which is already behind schedule because of previous budget cuts. Next year is critical for the testing of data-gathering technology; Congress’s failure to provide timely financing to try out hand-held computers before the 2010 census forced a last-minute reversion to paper forms, which proved costlier than an orderly roll out of the computers would have been.

Congress looks set to make the same mistake again.

There’s no mistake about it! With the Census Bureau starved tor funding, the people who will fall through the cracks, because they are not counter are the poor. Those are the people Republicans want to be under-represented.

From Alternet: Google could launch an effort to keep trolls and bad information at bay, with a program that would rank websites according to veracity, and sort results according to those rankings. Currently, the search engine ranks pages according to popularity, which means that pages containing unsubstantiated celebrity gossip or conspiracy theories, for example, show up very high.

New Scientist’s Hal Hodson reports on the proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score:

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.

Google has recently implemented a kind of Knowledge-Based Truth score lite with its medical search results. Now, doctors and real medical experts vet search results about health conditions, meaning anti-vaxx propaganda will not appear in the top results for a “measles” search, for instance.

Even though the former program is just in the research stage, some anti-science advocates are upset about the potential development, likely because their websites will become buried under content that is, well, true.

I fully hope Google does it. It would be catastrophic for the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and the entire Republican bubble machine.

From TPM: Even if Obamacare tax subsidies survive in the Supreme Court, a future president may have a lawful way of unilaterally blocking them, legal experts say.

The justices met privately on Friday, two days after contentious oral arguments, to cast their votes in King v. Burwell, a case about whether the text of the Affordable Care Act allows the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax subsidies to Americans in three-dozen states who buy insurance on the federally-run exchange.

There are three ways the justices could rule: 1) They could side with the plaintiffs and say the law unambiguously forbids the subsidies, in which case no president can provide them; 2) They could side with the government and say the law unambiguously authorizes the subsidies, in which case no president can deny them; 3) They could say the statute is ambiguous and therefore defer to the agency that implements it — in this case, the IRS — under the longstanding legal theory of "Chevron deference."

If Obamacare subsidies survive — still an "if" — it’ll likely be because the justices find the law ambiguous and defer to the agency. That’s the basis on which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, from which the Supreme Court took the case, upheld the federal exchange subsidies.

If that does turn out to be the third option, that’s all the more reason why Republicans must be denies the White House until pork is kosher.

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Mar 022015
 

It’s another super-busy day, because I have the Monthly Report to write, and I have an essay to write on why prisoners’ memories of crimes committed years before, don’t always line up with police reports and victim statements.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Lynn’s New Mouse:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Yesterday Georgia became the first southern state to ban the box.

This policy, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal through an executive order, postpones questions about a job applicant’s criminal history until it is demonstrated that he or she is one of the most qualified candidates. The policy also requires that the applicant have the opportunity to explain his or her criminal history before denial, and that only a relevant conviction will be used as the basis for disqualification.    – See more at: http://www.gjp.org/…

Kudos to the people of Georgia. Frankly, I’m surprised that Raw Deal didn’t veto it. In Oregon, only Multnomah County (one if the three that make up the Portland Metro Area) and the City of Portland have banned the box.

From NY Times: The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said.

According to several officials who have been briefed on the report’s conclusions, the report criticizes the city for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans and relying on the fines to balance the city’s budget. The report, which is expected to be released as early as this week, will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges.

Oh My! The Ferguson PD is racist?!!? Are you as surprised as I am?

From Washington Post: …ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts…

This just a snippet from an article by Elizabeth Warren, explaining a huge reason to oppose the TPP. I urge you to click through to read it all.

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Feb 272015
 

Yesterday’s meeting between my guys in prison and a couple Oregon State University criminology classes was excellent.  My guys wowed them.  Although I’m completely pooped, today is the only day my helper friend can come to clean.  Argh!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 3:48 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I thought they might not let me out!!

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Feb 262015
 

It’s prisoner volunteer day, and I’m hurrying like crazy.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: The Wisconsin Senate held a hearing of sorts on the GOP proposal to make Wisconsin a "right to work" state.

The bill pushed by Wisconsin Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) bears a striking similarity to the American Legislative Exchange Council "model" bill of the same name (see CMD’s side-by-side comparison here). In his opening statement, Sen. Fitzgerald claimed that right to work legislation would "protect every worker" from being forced to join a union. He added that the legislation would save families from being uprooted by having to find non-union employers elsewhere. He presented no data or even anecdotal evidence to support these claims.

The argument that the bill would protect workers from "forced" unionization is a red herring. The U.S. Supreme Court has long stated that nobody can be forced to join a union, or be forced to pay unions dues, or to have their dues go to political campaigns. What current federal and Wisconsin law allows, and what the right to work law would make illegal, are "fair share" agreements and fees in union contracts that make all represented workers, including those choosing not to join the union, contribute to the costs of worker representation on the job.

Click through for more detail on how Fartfuhrer Walker’s vile minions are whoring themselves for Koch rocks.

From The New Yorker: In the hopes of appealing to Republican primary voters, candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination are working around the clock to unlearn everything that they have learned since the third grade, aides to the candidates have confirmed.

With the Iowa caucuses less than a year away, the hopefuls are busy scrubbing their brains of basic facts of math, science, and geography in an attempt to resemble the semi-sentient beings that Republican primary voters prize.

An aide to Jeb Bush acknowledged that, for the former Florida governor, “The unlearning curve has been daunting.”

“The biggest strike against Jeb is that he graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa,” the aide said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get his brain back to its factory settings.”

At the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the mood was considerably more upbeat, as aides indicated that Walker’s ironclad façade of ignorance is being polished to a high sheen.

“The fact that Scott instinctively says that he doesn’t know the answers to even the easiest questions gives him an enormous leg up,” an aide said.

Andy’s satire is so accurate, that it might as well be factual.

From Think Progress: Texas State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R) has introduced two new bills that seek to criminalize the use of bathrooms by transgender people. Not only could trans people face jail time and fines for using gender-segregated facilities that match their gender, so too could businesses who make their facilities open to trans patrons.

Businesses might post "Trans patrons peeing on Republican Reps permitted!"

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Feb 252015
 

It’s a busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming, and I need to prepare for prison volunteer work tomorrow,  I wont leave until early afternoon, so I hope to get articles posted before I leave.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s tool me 2:34 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? Does anyone have some salt and pepper?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: John Oliver brutally mocks political ads for women, and it’s hilarious.

 

Labor did mess up on that one. To reach out to woman all they needed was a video of Pat A dancing in yoga pants.

From Daily Kos: Idaho lawmakers were debating a bill that ban doctors from prescribing emergency contraceptives during telemedicine consults (via private video chats, particularly helpful for those in rural areas), when they had a surprising question from Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri:

An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

…….

Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

Camera’s, on the other hand, are very useful for Republican rectal exams. Point the camera at the Republican’s face. :twisted:

From NPR: Amid turnout of only a third of registered voters, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is headed for a runoff in his re-election bid, according to figures released by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

With 98.6 percent of precincts reporting, the former congressman and chief of staff for President Barack Obama leads with 45.37 percent of the vote, followed by Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia with 34 percent.

Emanuel required a vote of 50 percent plus one to avoid a runoff. The runoff election with Garcia is scheduled for April 7.

The AP reports a number of problems that created a drag on Emanuel’s campaign…

Obama’s biggest appointment mistakes were the Three Blind Mice. Appointing Rahmbo was almost as bad. He’s corrupt. He’s corporate. He’s bad for Chicago. Go Chuy!

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Feb 232015
 

I’m pretty buried with preparing my grocery list for this week, housework, and getting ready for my volunteer day in prison on Thursday.  My mail-order pharmacy got back to me.  They admitted that they were at fault, apologized for my inconvenience, have removed the charge for the wrong medication, and are not charging me for the correct medication, which they mailed this morning.  They exceeded my expectations.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Why would anyone vote Republican? Well, here are 10 reasons.

1. You are a bigot

It’s true that not all Republicans are bigots. But if you ARE a bigot, the Republican party will be much more your group than the Democratic party. Remember that there are lots of ways to be a bigot: You could be a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, or lots of other things.

2. You like eating, drinking and breathing poison.

Many Republicans are calling for or voting for shrinking or eliminating agencies that protect us against poison. They seem to think that the corporations will do the right thing, without any pressure from the government. Uh huh. Read The Jungle.  Look at the way Monsanto is hiding facts about Round Up. Look at food safety and outbreaks of E. Coli. 

Corporations exist to make money. They will do so any way they can. The government needs to stop them from doing so in ways that hurt people.

3. You think the rich don’t have enough money

The idea that giving more money to rich people (via tax breaks) will help poor people is nonsensical and has been shown wrong time and again in history. Huge tax breaks for the rich (a la George Bush) don’t work.

These aye just the top three. Click through for the other seven.

From NY Times: It was a memorable political ad [Barf Bag Alert!!]: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spoke directly into the camera in a 30-second spot last fall and called abortion an “agonizing” decision. He described himself as pro-life but, borrowing the language of the abortion rights movement, pointed to legislation he signed that leaves “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

That language was gone when Mr. Walker met privately with Iowa Republicans in a hotel conference room last month, according to a person who attended the meeting. There, he highlighted his early support for a “personhood amendment,” which defines life as beginning at conception and would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of birth control.

Mr. Walker has quickly vaulted into the top tier of likely Republican candidates in the presidential race, surging on the reputation he earned by taking on labor unions and surviving a bitter recall election in a swing state.

Was the Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan lying in that political ad last fall? Was he lying to Iowa Republicans? Has he ever told the truth?

From Crooks and Liars: Unlike CNN’s Gloria Borger who brought Paul Wolfowitz on this Sunday for some Republican rehab, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry took former governor and GOP 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush to task for seeking advice from the former Deputy Secretary of Defense and reminded us of the fact that he was wrong about just about everything when he was working for Bush’s brother.

 

MHP and I have something in common. I also slammed Strike Three for tapping Wrong Way Wolfie.

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