Jul 262014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 96, and this is the only article.  Last night was election night for the group of prisoners I help.  I was pleased with their choices.  I could not help thinking that I wish Republican candidates had 10% of the integrity of those convicts.  After that I worked one on one with a few new guys.  I was happy that one in particular responded to questions by realizing how he could have intervened with better choices that would have prevented the entire situation, in which he felt he had no choice except to act.  One of the most valuable lessons learned is that today’s seemingly unimportant decisions constrain tomorrow’s available choices.  Today, I’m quite pooped.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:49 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: If — like me — you’re a sucker for the very small human stories behind huge historical events, you’ll want to hear this from Lt. Dan Choi, who chained himself to the White House fence in 2010 and helped bring down "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" less than a year later. Make sure you check out 2:18 for his amazing love story, 6:30 for what happened when he came out to his parents, and 10:40 for the heartwarming, totally unexpected email he received from an Iraqi doctor. But really, you’ll want to watch the whole thing.

 

One need not be gay to be inspired by the honor, courage and commitment displayed by Dan Choi.

From The New Yorker: In his boldest move yet to address the immigration crisis, on Thursday Texas Governor Rick Perry dispatched the Dallas Cowboys to the United States’ border with Mexico.

In a photo opportunity with the Cowboys and several of the team’s cheerleaders, Perry explained the rationale behind his latest decision. “Those who would cross our borders illegally will have to contend with the power and fury of America’s Team,” he said.

As Andy goes on to explain, the Cowboys’ defense doesn’t stop anything, but there may be another way. If he has the cheerleaders invade Mexico, the men will want to stay there.

From Daily Kos: It is good to know that some in government are indeed still worried about privacy… too bad its not ours. And as people think it is a wise idea to send armed troops to ‘protect’ the Texas border we should probably be concerned that something like this happens on the U.S. Canada Border:

A central Iowa Boy Scout troop just returned from a three-week trip they will likely never forget.

Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox spelled out what happened to him and the Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 as four van-loads of Scouts and adult volunteers tried to drive from Canada into Alaska.

Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Dang!! I thought Bloody Barbie had resigned! Click through to see how these Republicans threatened children with guns.

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Joanne asked for this.

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Jul 252014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 95, before leaving to do volunteer work in prison.  The plan is to go to bed, when I return tonight, and then do the puzzle and upload the articles whenever I wake up.  I’ll be meeting with around 100 prisoners.

Late (Early) Update:

Meeting was fantastic.  I’m frazzled.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:21 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Britain’s Prince George, who is celebrating his first birthday this week, is facing a rising chorus of criticism within the United Kingdom, with many calling the first year of his reign a major disappointment.

Alistair Strott, a journalist and one of George’s most outspoken critics, calls the Prince’s first year “long on hype and short on solid achievement.”

“Like a lot of us, I followed the royal birth last year with a great deal of excitement and anticipation,” says Strott. “But one year in, we all have to look at each other and say, ‘That’s it?’ ”

While defenders of Prince George cite a packed schedule of events during his first year, Strott is unimpressed. “Yes, he’s been on TV and magazine covers,” he says. “So have the Kardashians.”

I trust Andy realizes that, on this side of the pond, the media have had little trouble assigning blame: it’s Obama’s fault.

From Daily Kos: In a new ad similar in style to her previous ad on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare budget, Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking aim at McConnell’s statement earlier this year that creating jobs isn’t one of his jobs.

 

Bough Bitch Mitch’s job is to squeeze quarters so tight between his butt cheeks, that it kills the eagles.

From NY Times: The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

So let me satisfy this demand with my own “Idiot’s Guide to Inequality.” Here are five points:

First, economic inequality has worsened significantly in the United States and some other countries. The richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Oxfam estimates that the richest 85 people in the world own half of all wealth.

The situation might be tolerable if a rising tide were lifting all boats. But it’s lifting mostly the yachts. In 2010, 93 percent of the additional income created in America went to the top 1 percent.

This is worth the read. Click through for the other four points.

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Jul 242014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 94.  Yesterdays CoDA meeting in prison went very well.  I cleaned house this morning and an now waiting fore Store to Door to driver groceries.  Then I’m going to rest, because I have another volunteer day in prison tomorrow.  This is the general meeting with around 100 of my guys.  So this is tomorrow’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:53 (average 4:29).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The BBC reports:

Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms, the UN nuclear agency says.

The conversion of its stock of 20%-enriched uranium was part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.

The US said last week it would unblock $2.8bn in frozen Iranian funds in return for Iran’s compliance.

A four-month extension to talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions was agreed on Friday between Iran and world powers.

This is a big deal.  A major foreign policy success.  Iran is ending its nuclear program.  All without a shot being fired.

The author goes on to say that because we didn’t bomb anyone, the media didn’t considerate it worth reporting. Is that sick or what?

From The New Yorker: An aide to Rick Perry is confident that the Texas Governor proved he “has what it takes to be President” with his decision on Monday to send troops somewhere for no reason.

By deploying a thousand National Guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico border, Perry has shown that as President he would be “ready and willing” to use troops without a defined objective, mission, or exit strategy, the aide confirmed.

“Sending troops someplace with no clear idea of why they are going or what they are supposed to be doing once they get there is a key part of the Presidential skill set,” said the aide, Harland Dorrinson. “Rick Perry has just shown that he’s got that nailed down.”

Did Andy hide some satire in there?

From Huffington Post: An Arizona inmate gasped and snorted in an execution that lasted nearly two hours on Tuesday.

Lawyers for Joseph Wood had filed an emergency motion to abort the execution because their client was still alive more than an hour after receiving a lethal injection that was intended to kill him quickly and peacefully.

Their motion, filed in federal district court, failed to save Wood. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced that the 55-year-old convicted killer was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.

Court papers said the execution started 117 minutes earlier.

"He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour," Wood’s lawyers wrote in their hurried attempt to call off the execution and force Arizona to provide Wood with life-saving care. "He is still alive."

A journalist from the Arizona Republic who witnessed the execution said Wood gasped for air 660 times after the drugs were introduced through intravenous tubes.

If strapping down a human being and torturing him for two hours is not cruel and unusual punishment, what is?

No doubt the Arizona Death Angel, Jan Brewer, is partying tonight.

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Jul 232014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 93.  I have not left for prison yet.  The plan is to crawl into bed, when I return home, and do the puzzle and upload the articles when I wake up.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.

Late (early) Update:

The meeting was great and I now have my ID.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:03 (average 5:18).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Guess who Sen. John McCain blames for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17? Yup, President Obama:

 

McConJob, in typical Republican fashion, has a special tool with which to hit every nail: a bomb.

From TPM: A federal appeals court dealt a huge blow to Obamacare on Tuesday, banning

the federal exchange from providing subsidies to residents of the 36 states it serves.

A divided three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the text of the Affordable Care Act restricts the provision of premium tax credits to state-run exchanges. The two Republican appointees on the panel ruled against Obamacare while the one Democratic appointee ruled for the law.

"We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an 'Exchange established by the State,' and section 36B does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges," Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote for the court in Halbig v. Burwell.

His ruling was joined in a concurring opinion by George H. W. Bush-appointed Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who said it would be a "distortion" to let the federal exchange provide subsidies. "Only further legislation could accomplish the expansion the government seeks," he wrote.

Carter-appointed Judge Harry T. Edwards voted to uphold the subsidies.

This may well be huge. Without doubt this decision will be appealed to the full DC Circuit court, and from there to the Supreme Court where the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) await. This may well mean that Republicans in red states mazy be able to prevent their citizens from receiving their federal subsidy. This should be overturned, but we need to watch this one closely.

From Think Progress: Conventional political wisdom holds that a carbon tax could never pass Congress, largely thanks to the “tax” part.

But over the last few years, a remarkable number of economists, politicians, and business leaders have stepped up to support a carbon tax as the most job-friendly way to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Now thanks to a new poll, we can confidently add “majorities of American voters” to that list of supporters as well. A July survey run out of the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College found that when certain uses are specified for the revenue — specifically investment in renewable energy or rebate checks back to taxpayers — 56 to 60 percent of voters support a carbon tax.

I’ve favored a carbon tax for years.  This would be great news if what the American peopled want had even the slightest effect on Republican legislators. It doesn't.

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Jul 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 92.  It’s also a prison volunteer day and I will be facilitating a CoDA meeting for a small group of my guys.  I will;return home late having missed a sleep cycle.  In addition, I’ll be going back on Thursday to meet with around 100 of my guys.  So please don’t expect anything for the rest of the week, except personal updates, and if I can do more. I will.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:06 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Vice President Joe Biden visited Netroots Nation yesterday. The room was full of excitement as he was introduced. The vice president thanked the Netroots Nation community for demanding and coaxing politicians to effect a progressive agenda. He stated the fact that it would not be possible without Netroots.

In the middle of the speech Vice President Biden was heckled. It first started softly and progressively got louder. A group of attendees stood up in the front side of the room and started yelling "stop deporting our families." The vice president did not get frazzled or perturbed.

 

I appreciate both sides of this issue. The Obama administration is bound to enforce the law we have. It has pushed for extensive immigration reform, but their efforts have been sabotaged by the Republican Party.  On the other hand, that matters little, if the ass on the deportation bloc is yours.

From NY Times: For much of the past five years readers of the political and economic news were left in little doubt that budget deficits and rising debt were the most important issue facing America. Serious people constantly issued dire warnings that the United States risked turning into another Greece any day now. President Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged fiscal crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans.

That bargain never happened, because Republicans refused to consider any deal that raised taxes. Nonetheless, debt and deficits have faded from the news. And there’s a good reason for that disappearing act: The whole thing turns out to have been a false alarm.

I’m not sure whether most readers realize just how thoroughly the great fiscal panic has fizzled — and the deficit scolds are, of course, still scolding. They’re even trying to spin the latest long-term projections from the Congressional Budget Office — which are distinctly non-alarming — as somehow a confirmation of their earlier scare tactics. So this seems like a good time to offer an update on the debt disaster that wasn’t.

As usual, Paul Krugman is spot-on. Click through for an excellent analysis ods why to ignore Republican economic InsaniTEA.

From The New Yorker: Historians studying archival photographs from four decades ago have come to the conclusion that the U.S. must have believed in science at some point.

According to the historian Davis Logsdon, who has been sifting through mounds of photographic evidence at the University of Minnesota, the nation apparently once held the view that investing in science and even math could yield accomplishments that would be a source of national pride.

I’m sure Andy must realize that science and truth are for too closely related to be tolerated by Republicans.

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We still need one for Republicans.

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Jul 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 90.  I’m still quite sore.  I have exercises to do between times, but the walking between home and bus stops and office total over a mile, in addition to the workout, stresses the same muscle groups.  No pain no gain, and I must be gaining plenty.  I will be AWOL much of this week,. because Tuesday and Thursday are both prison volunteer days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:35 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Testing the political waters in Iowa today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that if he is elected President, he would bring the flow of illegal immigrants over the U.S.-Mexico border to a virtual standstill.

“There are ways of keeping people from getting to where they want to go,” Christie said, claiming that he was the only Republican hopeful with the hands-on experience necessary to fix the border crisis.

The New Jersey governor was vague about how he would halt traffic over the border, but exuded confidence that he was the right man for the job.

I’m sure PIGnocchio would not care any more for the people who die in that scenario than he does for the ones he killed on the off-ramp from the GW bridge.

From Daily Kos: Hmmm….

KELLY: OK. The controversy there is that some women abused that when it was allowed and would get a doctor to say, yes, her health requires a late term abortion. And then this happened in the case of Dr. Tiller, who wound up murdered, that he was providing late term abortions based on health concerns, when you had a viable fetus, a baby, growing in the third trimester. And no one really wants to return to those days, Patricia, do they?

Well I must admit this is the first time I have heard this reasoning.

You have to really have a twisted mind to come up with this type of perverted logic.

Translation:

Women who have late term abortions for health reasons endanger the lives of their physician, and if they keep doing it then that can only result in one thing. More dead physicians. Now you don’t want their blood on your hands, now do you?

Here’s the voting rights version. Black people should not be allowed to vote, because, when they first began trying to exercise that right, racists murdered civil rights activists, and no one really wants to return to those days, do they? Talk about caving-in to criminal demands!!

From YouTube: Bill Maher Rails Against Militarized Police Culture in Outstanding Monologue

 

He wasn’t as funny as usual, but he sure was spot on.

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Jul 142014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 84.  I’m feeling much recovered, but still sore and tired after yesterday’s volunteer meeting.  I’ll probably run out of gas, so I’m getting this done before that happens.  I thought the cravings were bad before the Chantix ran out.  Grrr! Don't tell anyone smile

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:09 (average 4:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Oh, says Fox News. Oh, however could this have happened.

On the July 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox correspondent Mike Emanuel reported that "some prominent outside conservative voices have called for President Obama to be impeached" [...]

While an on-screen image showed that Fox contributors Sarah Palin and Allen West were those "outside conservative voices" calling for impeachment, Emanuel dodged the uncomfortable truth that [those particular gawdawful] Fox contributors have been leading the impeachment that he reported on.

First off, the definition of "outsider" is stretched indeed, in you’re putting Sarah Palin and Allen West in those ranks.

This is typical of how the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, creates news with which to BS sheeple. One of them says something. Another quotes the first as an undisclosed reliable source.

From NY Times: As Israel’s air war against Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza entered its sixth day on Saturday, a pair of bombings threw the difficulties of the campaign into painful relief: Israel bombed a mosque, which its aerial photos indicated was harboring a weapons cache, and a center for the disabled, killing two residents and wounding three, as well as a caretaker.

A separate strike on the house of a police commander killed at least 18 people, the highest toll so far this conflict, bringing the total number of dead to at least 140, Palestinian officials said.

For every Israeli killed by individual Palestinian terrorists, Israel kills scores of Palestinians by bombing civilian areas indiscriminately, Hamas then responds with crude rocket attacks, which Israel then uses in an attempt to justify their treaty violation by pursuing a one-state solution through attrition.

From AlterNet: WMD, who cares?

Now that the Bush-Cheney Iraq war has reached its logical and easily foreseeable conclusion of turning an entire nation into a failed state and terrorist haven, we don’t care quite as much about weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands. That’s especially true over at Fox News, which, along with the rest if the media, is downplaying a letter to the UN from desperate people inside Iraq that ISIS walked off with radioactive material.

Here’s Fox’s lead [Faux Noise delinked]:

Iraqi jihadists have grabbed 88 pounds of uranium compounds from a Mosul University science lab, but U.S. and international weapons experts are downplaying the possibility the deadly toxins could be used to make a so-called "dirty bomb."

The last line of the story: Earlier this week, Iraq’s U.N. envoy said that the government had lost control of a former chemical weapons facility near Baghdad to "armed terrorist groups."

Scary stuff and time to reiterate: Obama effectively helped rid Syria of its entire chemical weapons stock this year, without firing a single Tomahawk.

Note that the uranium is depleted uranium compounds, not the stuff one uses to make dirty bombs. This is just the last of five media failures to correctly inform Americans that benefit the Republican Reich. Click through for the other four.

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