Oct 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 180, and this is my only article.  Street noise last night was far worse than normal, as street sweepers took advantage of the rain and the neighborhood became an ambulance zone.  I finally slept for around four hours, cutting into my research and writing time, and I need to sleep more.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.

In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.

“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

Additionally, he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”

Andy has explained why Republicans want to substitute a travel ban dealing with the problem.

From Daily Kos: The Arkansas Supreme Court confirmed the decision of an appeals court Wednesday and overturned the state’s strict voter ID law on a 7-0 vote. Since the grounds for reversal related solely to a violation of the Arkansas Constitution, chances are the decision will not be subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s one more state that will be harder for Republicans to steal.

From Upworthy: \They Were Shooting A Beautiful Video From Space. Then They Sped It Up. Just WOW.

 

I’ll second that. WOW!

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Oct 132014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 175, and due to volunteer work, I’ve been going non-stop since 6:00 AM, and it’s now evening, except for three hours of intense religions mediation upon the wonderful Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  Pardon my brevity.  The Cartoon is resurrected from last year.  (Early AM Update: Unplanned vertical sleep has me running way late).

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:23 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip: JL A from Care2): …These are the sorts of bigotry, harassment and human rights violations faced on a regular basis  by American Indians seeking equal access to the ballot box. The discrimination that they endure is remarkably similar to that of African-Americans and Latinos, but odds are that you hadn’t been thinking about the voting rights of American Indians. In fact, outside of the #ChangeTheName controversy surrounding Washington DC’s professional football team, I doubt that American Indians have crossed many of your minds recently. This may be in part because there are only 1.9 million American Indians in this country and you don’t have much direct interaction with them, but I think it is also because the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the fifties and sixties was almost exclusively an African American movement.

If you doubt me, I urge you to a little free association exercise with yourself and take note of the events from that era that first come to mind. When I think on it, the images I see are of sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina and bloody marches in Selma, Alabama; I envision Dr. King speaking of his dreams in front of a packed National Mall and I think about the bodies of 3 civil rights workers being buried on a hot Mississippi night during Freedom Summer. At no point do I think about “No Indians or Dogs Allowed signs” in Wyoming during the 1960s or the Occupation of Wounded Knee, because these things aren’t part of our mainstream narrative of civil rights in America. They aren’t part of our narrative, but they should be. Civil rights movements are not mutually exclusive and there is no cause too remote or removed from our personal experience to be fought. Many of us may not live near a reservation or interact with American Indians in our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold ourselves as responsible for their voting rights as we do any other race or ethnicity. First and foremost, voter discrimination is not a southern problem; nor is it an African American problem, a Latino problem or an American Indian problem. It is an American problem and it’s about time we treated it as such…

This article is a veritable history lesson of the disenfranchisement of native people, and I’ve shared just a tiny part of it. Click through for a most informative read and an issue that needs more exposure.

From Upworthy: The context (not to mention that footage) at the beginning of this clip is key. Her reaction is just on point. It takes a lot to say something like that on live television.

 

Kudos to Sony Hostin. The rest? Not so!

From NY Times: It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity. At least not for political ads.

As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did, as targeting becomes more sophisticated and the definition of a viewer expands drastically.

“Many political strategists don’t think of the Internet as something that can sell out,” said Rob Saliterman, leader of the elections team at Google, which owns YouTube. “But in these smaller states, just as there’s a finite amount of TV inventory, there’s a finite amount of YouTube inventory.”

Like anything else competition for these limited resources drives up their cost. It’s only a matter of time before legitimate human political advertising is crowded out by unknown corporate vultures, including foreign corporations.  Thanks SCROTUS!!

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Oct 092014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 171.  Store to Door is coming with groceries, and I have lots of cleaning to do to prepare.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:44 (average 5:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: An Ohio man has become infected with misinformation about the Ebola virus through casual contact with cable news, the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed.

Tracy Klugian, thirty-one, briefly came into contact with alarmist Ebola hearsay during a visit to the Akron-Canton airport, where a CNN report about Ebola was showing on one of the televisions in the airport bar. “Mr. Klugian is believed to have been exposed to cable news for no more than ten minutes, but long enough to become infected,” a spokesman for the C.D.C. said. “Within an hour, he was showing signs of believing that an Ebola outbreak in the United States was inevitable and unstoppable.”

Once Klugian’s condition was apparent, the Ohio man was rushed to a public library and given a seventh-grade biology textbook, at which point he “started to stabilize,” the spokesman said.

Andy has a point. It’s a good thing the man was not exposed to the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise. His brain would not have survived long enough to reach the library emergency room.

From Daily Kos: Ellen Bogan was rolling down U.S. 27 in Union County, Indiana when she was pulled over for a traffic violation. The state trooper let her off with a warning, but not before asking some bizarrely unprofessional questions:

Did she have a home church?

Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?

Ellen said she felt helpless to leave the traffic stop, even after the warning had been issued:

"The police officer is representing the government … so that means, as a representative, this person, while on duty, while engaged in official action, is basically overstepping and is trying to establish religion."

Bogan, who lives in Huntington, said Hamilton asked her about her faith multiple times during the traffic stop. Because he was a trooper and his police car was still parked behind hers, she said she felt she could not leave or refuse questioning.

"The whole time, his lights were on," Bogan said. "I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning."

This Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian abused his authority, violated her Constitutional rights, and should be criminally indicted and blacklisted from service as a police officer everywhere.

From NY Times: Just weeks before elections that will decide control of the Senate and crucial governors’ races, a cascade of court rulings about voting rules, issued by judges with an increasingly partisan edge, are sowing confusion and changing voting procedures with the potential to affect outcomes in some states.

Last week, a day before voting was scheduled to begin in Ohio, the United States Supreme Court split, 5 to 4, to uphold a cut in early voting in the state by one week; the five Republican appointees voted in favor and the four Democratic appointees against. Cases from North Carolina and Wisconsin are also before the court, with decisions expected shortly, while others are proceeding in Texas and Arkansas.

The legal fights are over laws that Republican-led state governments passed in recent years to more tightly regulate voting, in the name of preventing fraud.

Since virtually all actual documented cases of so-called voter fraud have been Republicans getting caught while trying to prove they could get away with it, it is clear that the Republican courts, especially SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) are helping their fellow fascists. Note how the Fascist Five Injustices used the Gay Marriage non-decision to distract us from their efforts to help the Republican Party steal elections. Get Out the VOTE!!

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Oct 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 163.  It’s a busy day, and I have much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:46 (average 5:43).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

4Scores

Standings:

4Standings

Since my best players have returned from a bye week, I hope to do better.

Short Takes:

From Rolling Stone (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): [T]he enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers’ fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America’s second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company’s stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don’t disclose this information."

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP…

Click through for the rest of this inclusive exposé on the evil brothers Republicans love to … nevermind.

From Slate (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): Many of the police officers present during protests that followed the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, did not wear nametags and refused to identify themselves to members of the public when asked, a practice that is prohbited by law in some places and by department policy in many others. Per a Department of Justice letter sent to Ferguson police on Tuesday, Ferguson officers are in fact required to wear identification by the department’s own regulations. The DOJ instructed officers to begin following this requirement immediately. From Reuters: 

… the Justice Department said its investigators had observed Ferguson police officers not wearing, or obscuring, their name tags on their uniforms, a violation of the police department’s rules.

"The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity," the letter said.

The Justice Department then reiterated the identification requirement in a second letter to Ferguson police (whose main purpose was demanding that officers stop wearing "I Am Darren Wilson" solidarity bracelets):

It further was reported to us that some officers affirmatively displaying these bracelets had black tape over their name plates. The practice of not wearing, or obscuring, name plates violates your own department’s policies, which we advised you earlier this week when we requested that you end the practice imrnediately.

The second letter is dated Friday.

Indict the pigs! (I use this not a generic term for police officers, but an insult to these racists, who should not be wearing the uniform.)

From NY Times: The Supreme Court on Monday blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of early voting in Ohio.

The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and contained no reasoning. But it disclosed an ideological split, with the court’s four more liberal members noting that they would have denied the request for a stay of the lower court’s order extending early voting. Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court’s action “will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.”

The ruling, which reflected a partisan breakdown in many court decisions nationwide on voting issues, saw the five Republican-appointed justices uphold the voting restrictions enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The new limits removed the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early voting period, in the process eliminating the only week that permitted same-day registration, a feature most often used by minorities.

The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) just took another bite out of Democracy. Only Democrats can occupy the White House until these totalitarian bastards are gone!

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Sep 142014
 

The Republican Party is facing an ever increasing problem.  They can count up all the millionaires and billionaires with no sense of their civic responsibility.  They can add in all the racists, homophobes, misogynists, polluters, militias, warmongers, hatemongers, pseudo-Christians, etc.,  for whose support the Republican party has sold their soul.  They can add to that all the fools stupid enough to watch and believe the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise.  They still won’t have enough to hold power.  That leaves just one last thing.  If they can disenfranchise enough of the majority, they may be able to steal the vote.

GOPvotingIn the summer of 2012, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) bragged that the voter ID law he’d helped pass was “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” That law was short-lived: a federal judge issued a ruling that, as the New York Times reported, the law “hampered the ability of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots, with the burden falling most heavily on elderly, disabled and low-income residents, and that the state’s reason for the law — that it was needed to combat voter fraud — was not supported by the facts.”

This summer, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp was caught in a moment of candor when he warned a crowd of fellow Republicans: “The Democrats are working hard… registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, [and] if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”

When the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last June, it was an open invitation to states with a history of voting discrimination – previously required to clear voting restrictions with the Department of Justice – to enact laws that made it harder for traditionally Democratic-leaning groups to cast a ballot. The demographic headwinds facing the GOP, rather than the mythical specter of voter fraud, motivated those legislatures to do so with gusto. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 22 states have enacted new voting restrictions since the Republican “wave” election in 2010. For 15 of them, this November will be the first test.

But the fight for voting rights continues in the courts. On Thursday, Richard Wolf reported for USA Today that a series of challenges to various states’ restrictive voting laws may ultimately send the Voting Rights Act back to the Supreme Court… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Bill Moyers>

Click through for more,

This situation has me nervous as a hooker getting a VD test after a  pseudo-Christian convention!  Under Roberts, the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS has shown that they like to dismantle out rights incrementally.  As they showed in the follow on cases to Hobby Lobby, with each new case they take more.  They will say, of course, that Congress has the power to change it, knowing full well that Congress will do no such thing, as long as a minority can stay in charge of the House.  Therefore we must

Get Out The Vote!!

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Aug 202014
 

Title humor aside, this nation desperately needs help to restore the value of government of by and for the people.  This article clearly shows just how broken the system has become, and why change is so necessary.  Neither party should have the power to draw a dishonest election map, but Republicans have reached an unprecedented high in subversion of the peoples’ will.

0820keystone-gerrymandered-2-ways

In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — and they must face the voters every two years. Notably, the House holds pride of place as the first branch of government to be described in the Constitution. The framers move directly from “We the People” to the House, underlining the notion that, for our Constitution (and our government) to function, representatives must be accountable to the people.

Unfortunately, as we near the 2014 midterm elections, the reality of House races today clashes with that goal.

Let’s start with the connection between votes and seats. In 2012, we faced a major choice between the major parties and a mandate on President Obama’s first term. In the presidential race, Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the national popular vote by almost three percentage points, and Republicans suffered the worst performance in Senate elections by any major party in a half-century.

In House races, Democratic nominees overcame incumbent advantages for Republicans and won the national popular vote by more than 1.1 million votes. By those numbers, Americans painted the Capitol royal blue. Shockingly, though, Republicans won 54 percent of the House seats, establishing for themselves a 33-seat majority. And looking ahead, analysts estimate that Democrats may need as much as 55 percent of the popular vote in November to secure a majority.

Such a disconnect between voters and those who are installed as their congressional leaders goes far beyond any distortion we’ve seen in the Electoral College in presidential elections. It’s absolutely unacceptable in House elections, and it deserves far more debate than it has received… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Photo Credit: Hands Off Redistricting

Now the bottom map in the above graphic is hypothetical, but the top map how Republicans are actually stolen 72% of the Representatives in a state where the majority of the voters voted for Democrats.  Part of the problem is that the scheme favors incumbents from both parties. The five Democratic candidates in PA have so many Democrats packed into their districts that they don’t have to work to keep their jobs, making them less likely to fight to change the system.  As a rule, progressives and even most corporate Democrats favor reform.  A few Corporate Democrats and Blue Dogs do not.  Republicans favor reform, but only in those states where Democrats control redistricting.  They consider any attempt to return their states to representing the people a Kenyan, Socialist conspiracy.  That’s why reform must be national

There are no easy answers here, but the next time America does major redistricting will be after the 2020 Elections.  How can we be ready?

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Jun 262014
 

There is no greater foundation for democratic republic than the right of all members of that republic to participate in choosing their representatives at the polls, that is, to exercise their right to vote.  That foundation remains under attack by the Republican Party, who are trying to establish fascist one-party rule, a Republican totalitarian plutocracy in which elections exist only for show.  They would prevent all who might vote against them from voting.  It has become quite widespread.

0626Voting

According to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, “[n]ew voting restrictions developed since 2010 are slated to be in place in 22 states this November.”

The Republican Party have rolled back voting with a whole range of tactics from requiring identification to shortening the time to vote. Many of these states were long covered by the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965 to remedy 100 years of states denying the right to vote to people of color.

Limiting the franchise, limiting the right to vote is the most fundamental obstruction of democracy and certainly one of the most un-American things imaginable.

But not the only. This Supreme Court has allowed states to disenfranchise their own people, has equated money to free speech and corporations to people, and opened up the floodgates to unmitigated big money.

All three of these democratic assaults were committed by this John Roberts Supreme Court… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Click through for more, please.

Unless you want to live in the functional equivalent of the Fifth Reich, we must everything we can to vote and to help those, who Republicans are trying to disenfranchise, vote.  Then we must keep it up until the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) have been replaced through retirement or impeachment.

Corporations are NOT people!

Money is NOT speech!

VOTE!!!

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