May 272015
 

By the time most of you read this I will have left on my prison volunteer trip and will return Friday afternoon  I do have one short take today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:09 (average 5:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Take:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: End Corporate Welfare

Your tax dollars are going into corporate coffers, not funding investments that help all of us.

 

Our Reich on the left is right. Their Reich on the right is wrong. This is the sixth video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn and share it from there.

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May 262015
 

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be leaving for a prison volunteer trip to Salem, and I will not return until Friday afternoon.  Therefore, for the next three days, expect an Open Thread at most, and more likely, just a personal update.  Let me wish you an excellent week, in advance.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 5:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In the aftermath of Irish voters legalizing gay marriage, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has used his emergency powers to ban all Irish products from the state.

The sweeping trade sanctions will prevent popular Irish products, such as Jameson whiskey and Guinness Extra Stout, from being sold in Louisiana.

Jindal explained that breaking off trade with Ireland was necessary to protect the sanctity of marriage in Louisiana.

Andy has exposed a Republican disaster. Without Jameson, Agent Orange will be incapable of visiting Louisiana.

From NY Times: They are only four words in a 900-page law: “established by the state.”

But it is in the ambiguity of those four words in the Affordable Care Act that opponents found a path to challenge the law, all the way to the Supreme Court.

How those words became the most contentious part of President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment has been a mystery. Who wrote them, and why? Were they really intended, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell claim, to make the tax subsidies in the law available only in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, and not in the three dozen states with federal exchanges?

The answer, from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law, is that the words were a product of shifting politics and a sloppy merging of different versions. Some described the words as “inadvertent,” “inartful” or “a drafting error.” But none supported the contention of the plaintiffs, who are from Virginia.

By now most Republican politicians realize that, if the fascist five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) invalidate Obamacare, it will be a disaster for the Republican Party. However, they were so effective at brainwashing rabid sheeple to hate it, that they now have to live in fear of their own base.

From Washington Post: You may not have realized it, but a large cohort of Americans did something brave this month. For years — in some cases, decades — these lonely, marginalized souls had repressed their shameful feelings, hiding them from the world.

Then May came along, and they finally decided to come out of the closet.

As liberals.

That’s right: A large chunk of Americans recently decided to come out as “liberal” — socially liberal, to be specific. As a result, for the first time on record, self-proclaimed social liberals are no longer outnumbered by their conservative counterparts.

That’s according to a new Gallup poll that finds the shares of American adults considering themselves “socially liberal” and “socially conservative” each total 31 percent. (The remaining respondents either called their views “moderate” or had no opinion.) Gallup has been tracking these categories since 1999, and the latest numbers simultaneously signify the highest share ever recorded for liberals and the lowest recorded for conservatives.

I’m one, and I was admitting it when it was still a very dirty word. What shocks me is the 31% that are still goose stepping to the drum beat of Republican hate.

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How Republicans celebrated Memorial Day.

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May 252015
 

I’m completely worn out.  Yesterday I finally got around to completing the corporate tax returns and annual reporting paperwork for my prison volunteer organization.  It took the rest of the day.  I’m trying to rest as much as possible today, because tomorrow will be busy packing and doing last minute preparations for my three day prison volunteer trip.  Therefore my Memorial Day article will be a repost of last year’s.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:17 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Remember Douglas Adams’s 1979 novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”? It began with some technology snark, dismissing Earth as a planet whose life-formsas a planet whose life-forms “are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” But that was then, in the early stages of the information technology revolution.

Since then we’ve moved on to much more significant things, so much so that the big technology idea of 2015, so far, is a digital watch. But this one tells you to stand up if you’ve been sitting too long!O.K., I’m snarking, too. But there is a real question here. Everyone knows that we live in an era of incredibly rapid technological change, which is changing everything. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? And I’m not being wildly contrarian here. A growing number of economists, looking at the data on productivity and incomes, are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped — and some technologists share their concern.

Click through for this thought provoking editorial by Paul Krugman.

From Upworthy: Watch David Blight elaborate on the story of what happened those days in Charleston, S.C. in this PBS clip.

 

I consider this a most fitting commemoration.

From Crooks and Liars: Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on this Sunday’s Reliable Sources and spoke to host Brian Stelter about his recent criticism of the media and their demands for a food fight between Sanders and his opponent in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton.

 

As is his norm, Bernie is spot on.

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Yes, I do know that a chimp is an ape, not a monkey.

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May 232015
 

The surprises keep coming.  Last night I fell into a deep sleep, between 8:00 and 9:00 PM.  Since preparations for my prison volunteer trip next week and my ongoing medical mayhem have kept me completely occupied, I had no idea that the opening ceremonies for the annual Portland Rose Festival wired also last night.  The launch site for the fireworks is six blocks away.  The blasts echoing between they downtown buildings amplifies the noise level.  I awakened thinking I had fallen asleep during an MRI.  I did get back to sleep eventually, but not soon enough.  My doctor’s staff continues to screw up.  The Orthopedist to whom they referred me was actually the nurses station of the Orthopedics floor of the hospital.  The nurse was quite amused when I tried to schedule an appointment with a doctor through her.  I think I found one on my own, but my doctor’s office tool a 5 day weekend. ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Reinvent Education

Wall-to-wall testing and skyrocketing tuition have destroyed American education. Here’s how we fix it. \

 

Amen to everything he said. This is the fifth video in the series and now the Reich on the left has been right five times. Please click through to MoveOn and share it from there.

From Daily Kos: A judge has sentenced an Arizona woman to 3 ½ years in prison for running over her husband with an SUV because he didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Thirty-one-year-old Holly Nicole Solomon of Mesa pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from injuries her husband suffered days after President Barack Obama was re-elected. She was sentenced on Thursday.

Authorities say Solomon was upset about Obama’s re-election…

Republicans seem to take voting more seriously that we do, even though their solutions for every obstacle are criminal and/or violent.

From NY Times: Ever since the Gold Rush, California farmers have staked their claim to water and ferociously protected their rights to use it to irrigate the crops that have made the state the greengrocer for the nation.

But on Friday, in a sign of how the record-setting drought is shaking up established ways here, state officials accepted an offer from farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to give up a quarter of their water this season, either by leaving part of their land unplanted or finding other ways to reduce their water use. In return, the state has assured them that it will not seek further reductions for the growing season.

It looks like people are going to go hungry, because oil and coal, the m,ain causes of the drought, are not edible.

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May 032015
 

As always, I have a very busy day on tap.  I spent a couple hours doing overdue computer maintenance, and I planned my itinerary, bought my tickets and paid for my room for my trip to Salem during the last week of the month for prison volunteer work.  I’m still in pain, but not so bad as to stop me.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

Republican lawmakers know very well that they’re in an awful bind completely of their own making. They insisted on pursuing every possible avenue for destroying Obamacare, and now one might work out for them. The Supreme Court could very well decide in June to strike down subsidies to the around 8 million people who have purchased insurance on the federal exchange, making keeping that insurance impossible for many, and making those 8 million people very, very angry. Most Republicans have now come around to the idea that maybe that’s not going to be such a great thing for them, particularly those who have to be re-elected next year. One of them, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has introduced legislation that would extend the subsidies into 2017. But Johnson isn’t the only one who has some kind of fix, and most of those "fixes" create real problems going forward.

The Johnson plan would prohibit new customers in both the state and federally operated exchanges from receiving subsidies and repeal the individual and employer mandates. In addition, it would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s minimum essential benefit requirements, allow states to set those benefit rules, and grandfather in existing health plans that are not compliant with the ACA.

Another proposal, by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), would continue premium subsidies for 18 months but phase them out over that period. For six months after the court rules, financial assistance for all subsidy-eligible exchange customers would be set at a flat 65% of premium costs. That would decrease by 5 percentage points each month until the subsidies were completely eliminated. During the transition period, insurers would be prohibited from raising premiums. In addition, the Sasse bill would prohibit HHS from providing federal exchange technology to states interested in establishing their own exchanges. […]

On the House side, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and two other committee chairmen have proposed to offer a flat tax credit to people now receiving subsidies through the federal exchange. In addition, they would let states opt into an alternative Republican reform model without insurance mandates and including traditional GOP policy nostrums such as allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines.

In Short, the Republican fixes would all pretend to save ObamaCare, but would really convert it to standard RepubliCare, complete with the free RepubliCare Death Benefit. If you can’t afford to pay, you get to die.

From NY Times: A bill that would end prescribed wages on public construction projects in Indiana awaits the signature of Gov. Mike Pence. And Henry Burks, a union electrician who lives near Indianapolis, is bracing.

Mr. Burks, 57, is putting off plans to build a patio at his house. He is delaying painting and landscaping, too. And he said he is worried about how to continue helping his grown children with college costs if his income drops, as he firmly expects.

“This is going to inhibit me from taking care of my family,” Mr. Burks, who makes about $60,000 a year, said the other day as he took a break from installing conduit inside a corn processing plant in Lafayette. “Our wages will go down. The contractors we work for won’t get as many jobs. Maybe I’ll have to find work outside of Indiana.”

Sadly, it’s not just Indiana. The Republican War on Workers is a nationwide campaign.

From Crooks and Liars: Never mind decades of failed trickle-down economic policies on a national level, the talking heads at Fox want to pretend what happens in our cities takes place in a vacuum.

From this Saturday’s Cashin’ In on Faux "news," the usual suspects were on there bashing liberals, our social safety nets, and pretending that liberals running our big cities in America are solely responsible for all of the economic woes in communities across the United States, and with impoverished areas that haven’t seen the same sort of recovery as a lot of the country following the financial crisis that took place just as President Obama was being sworn into office.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

When it comes to inner city streets being a prison pipeline, I have to say that Democrats share the blame for that aspect of the unrest. Republicans had targeted Democrats as "soft on crime" so many times, that Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress went overboard in the opposite direction. However, Republicans are far more to blame overall. Starving inner cities for finding, exporting urban jobs to the third world, the decimation of labor, the war on the poor, and the rabid racism that the Republican Party employ are just some of the reasons why.

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Godwin’s Law – a common meme used by fascists, pseudo-intellectuals, and people with their heads in the sand (or in smellier places), whenever anyone points out the verifiable commonalities between today’s Republican Party and Germany’s National Socialist Party.

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Apr 252015
 

I have a very busy day with volunteer projects to get done, and a three day volunteer trip to Salem to plan for next month.  I hope you are all enjoying tour Spring weekend.  It’s still rainy here.

Jug Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From AP: John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration.

The Grammy-winning singer announced the multiyear initiative, FREE AMERICA, on Monday. He will visit and perform at a correctional facility on Thursday in Austin, Texas, where he also will be part of a press conference with state legislators to discuss Texas’ criminal justice system.

"We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country," Legend said in an interview. "It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration."

Legend, 36, will also visit a California state prison and co-host a criminal justice event with Politico in Washington, D.C., later this month. The campaign will include help from other artists — to be announced — and organizations committed to ending mass incarceration.

Kudos! This is so necessary!

From Blue Oregon: Stand up to the gun lobby and pass SB 941

Gun violence claims too many lives. In the past two years, reasonable gun safety proposals haven’t even gotten a vote in the Oregon Legislature.

But it’s a new day. The Oregon Firearm Safety Act would expand the background checks system to individual sales (in addition to gun shops and gun shows). It will close a loophole that is used by those who want to circumvent background checks.

It’s reasonable. It’s modest. And it doesn’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners.

Sign the petition and let’s make Oregon safer.

This for mainly Oregonians, and I support it fully! Click through to sign.

From Daily Kos:On November 26, 2013, 38-year-old Ervin Edwards, partially deaf and mentally ill, was arrested by police for sagging his pants and taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish jail in Louisiana. He only lived for a few more minutes inside of the cell.

For 18 months, police have lied over and over again about what happened the night Ervin Edwards died in their custody. Now that a video of their despicable actions has been released, it’s clear they murdered this man and left him to die all alone in his jail cell. The Advocate has provided an annotated video.

 

Click through for the lies. This is how Republican police handle the crime of saggy pants.

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Apr 142015
 

When I dug into my corporate reporting for my volunteer group, I discovered I have until mid-May to get that done, so I decided to blog instead, in addition to delving into the mess I need to tackle for grocery delivery day tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: South Carolina wants to be able to continue to ban gays and lesbians from marrying each other. They want to do that so much that they filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that they should continue to be able to do so. In it, they make an "originalist" argument that if the Constitution is read just as its drafters understood it, gays can be discriminated against because women can be discriminated against. Mark Joseph Stern at Slate has all the crazy.

Here’s the gist of South Carolina’s fascinatingly sexist argument. The state wants to prove that the 14th Amendment—which guarantees "equal protection of the laws" to every "person"—was not intended to displace state marriage laws. And what did those laws look like at the time? One major feature: In many states, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts and had no legal existence apart from their husbands. According to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive married women of the ability to function independently from her husband. This right to deprive married women of basic liberties, South Carolina argues, is enshrined in the 10th Amendment and is not at all undercut by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equality.

Were SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) to agree with this brief, not only would gays become the subjects of continued discrimination, but also, "barefoot and pregnant" laws would sweep those states, where Republicans have complete control.

From The New Yorker: Hillary Clinton has followed up the official announcement of her candidacy with a new campaign ad featuring nothing but kittens.

The sixty-second spot stars an assortment of kittens—tabbies, calicoes, Siamese, and a dozen other breeds—in a variety of adorable vignettes.

At various points in the advertisement, the kittens are shown playing in a sock drawer, tangled up in yarn, and chasing a duckling.

Clinton herself appears only in the final seconds of the ad, saying merely, “Hi. I’m Hillary.”

Andy, I certainly hope my kitty cousins are not exploited in such a shameful manner. Wouldn’t it be better to portray the kittens using Republicans as a cat box? I might get in on that action myself!!

From NY Times: One by one, four former Blackwater security contractors wearing blue jumpsuits and leg irons stood before a federal judge on Monday and spoke publicly for the first time since a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

The men had been among several private American security guards who fired into Baghdad’s crowded Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007, and last October they were convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in what prosecutors called a wartime atrocity. Yet on Monday, as they awaited sentences that they knew would send them to prison for most if not all of their lives, they defiantly asserted their innocence…

…The judge, Royce C. Lamberth, strongly disagreed, sentencing Mr. Slatten to life in prison and handing 30-year sentences to the three others.

My only regret is that the top war criminals, Bush and Cheney, were not sentenced with them.

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