Jun 012015
 

Another month has arrived and it promises to be a very busy one.  I’ve decided not to do a Monthly Report for May.  Activity was a little down, which was not surprising between volunteer work and medical mayhem.  I’m still feeling very tired out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:15 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: A mere 240 people live in the rural northeast Iowa town of Kensett, so when more than 300 crowded into the community center on Saturday night to hear Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, many driving 50 miles, the cellphones of Democratic leaders statewide began to buzz…

…The first evidence that Mrs. Clinton could face a credible challenge in the Iowa presidential caucuses appeared late last week in the form of overflow crowds at Mr. Sanders’s first swing through that state since declaring his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. He drew 700 people to an event on Thursday night in Davenport, for instance — the largest rally in the state for any single candidate this campaign season, and far more than the 50 people who attended a rally there on Saturday with former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland.

Considering Iowa’s record of picking losers, I’m not sure whether this is a good sign for Bernie or not.

From The New Yorker: The National Security Agency is compensating for the expiration of its power to collect the American people’s personal information by logging on to Facebook, the agency confirmed on Monday.

The director of the N.S.A., Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that when parts of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday, intelligence analysts immediately stopped collecting mountains of phone metadata and started reading billions of Facebook updates instead.

“From a surveillance point of view, the transition has been seamless,” Rogers said.

While the N.S.A. has monitored Facebook in the past, it is now spending twenty-four hours a day sifting through billions of baby pictures, pet videos, and photographs of recently enjoyed food to detect possible threats to the United States.

“Those status updates contain everything we want to know,” Rogers said.  “In many cases, a good deal more than we want to know.”

Dang! Andy has documented the death of privacy!!

From Right Wing Watch: Former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said yesterday at a campaign stop in Iowa that he worries “about anti-government rhetoric,” according to a local paper and to Washington Post reporter James Hohmann, who tweeted about the remark:

Really? The Santorum we know has spent the entire Obama presidency stoking mistrust of the federal government. Here are just fifteen examples, in no particular order, of Santorum’s anti-government rhetoric in the past few years.

Barf Bag Alert!! Santorum Bag Alert!

 

This article has a bunch of video and audio clips of Rich "Google my name" Santorum spewing anti-government froth. Click through, if you can stomach it.

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May 302015
 

After returning from my volunteer work in prison, I slept for more than my norm and am feeling a bit groggy still.  I have another bust month ahead, but for the weekend, it’s writing, snoozing and basking in the early summer weather.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Strengthen Unions

Inequality has skyrocketed as unions have weakened. That is no accident.

 

The Reich on the left is right. The Reich on the right is worse than wrong. It is Republican. I have never been a union member. I have never crossed a picket line. I do not intend to do so ever. This is the seventh video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn and share it from there.

From The New Yorker: Calling the Obama Administration’s actions against the soccer organization “weak and ineffective,” Senator John McCain on Thursday proposed military action to “dismantle and destroy FIFA once and for all.”

“These are people who only understand one thing: force,” McCain said on the floor of the United States Senate. “We must make FIFA taste the vengeful might and fury of the United States military.”

McCain said that he was “completely unimpressed” by the Department of Justice’s arrests of several top FIFA lieutenants this week, calling the action “the kind of Band-Aid solution that this Administration, sadly, has become famous for.”

“Rounding up a few flunkies in a hotel is meaningless when the leader of FIFA remains at large,” he said. “I will follow Sepp Blatter to the gates of Hell.”…

When will Andy call for military action against McConJob?

From Upworthy: What’s happening to put a stop to plastic microbeads?

Right now, about 18 U.S. states including California, Canada, Australia, and several countries in Europe are considering banning products that contain plastic microbeads. Unfortunately, industry is pushing back with a bill that leaves loopholes for the microbeads to be replaced with other kinds of plastics. The Story of Stuff Project is leading a coalition of over 100 groups to get these tiny plastic beads out of commerce. Ban the beads!

 

I learned about this several months ago. I had no idea I had been using a body wash with microbeads. I stopped immediately. I fully support banning them.

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May 292015
 

I just returned home from my prison volunteer trip.  The banquet was most enjoyable, but tainted with some bad news.  The inside President of our group is in the bucket for a dirty UA.  That wi8ll translate to less cooperation from officials, as we try to implement additional services.  One of my guys is getting out in August,  His son committed suicide over issues completely unrelated to his release.  That will put him under major pressure.  I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, wishes and prayers for both, please.  I haven’t even unpacked yet, and I hear a bed calling my name.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

TC on the bus:

TCBus

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May 282015
 

I’m sitting in my motel room.  Their wi-fi is mud.  Yesterday I had an executive planning meeting.  This afternoon is the annual meeting of our Board of Directors.  This evening is my guys’ annual Awards Banquet, a social occasion with them and their families.  I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon.  I’m tired, but I love this.  It’s who I am.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:08 (average 4:49).  To do it click here.   How did you do?

This is OSP.

0528OSP

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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.

Cartoon:

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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.

Cartoon:

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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.

Cartoon:

0525Cartoon

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

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