Apr 262015
 

Tomorrow I have my semi-annual appointment with my primary care doctor.  She is the one that moved to the far side of town.  I have to take the lift bus, so my half hour appointment will probably take me 5 – 7 hours.  Today I need to prepare for that, and do tomorrow’s chores in addition to today’s.  Expect only a Personal Update tomorrow, please.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:15 (average 4:04).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: No, I don’t want to take my clothes off to board the plane, and no, I really don’t want to surrender my civil liberties in the name of what they call security.

I’d heard about the TSA’s S.P.O.T. (Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) program before and was aware that they were using it, but I had no idea how much it costs (over $1 billion) or that, scientifically, it’s bunk.

Next time you go to the airport, stand in line and just TRY to not be nervous as you see TSA agents look at you to decide if you’re sweating too much, or if you’re just a wee bit too jumpy. Or have the wrong skin color.

 

I can spot a terrorist. Here’s one.

BonerOrange

From Daily Kos: So mere hours after the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Texas wasted no more time and re-instituted the same redistricting plan the courts had already ruled as unconstitutional.  The same with their new voter suppression bill.

Attorney General Holder was having none of it, however.  Texas was the first lawsuit to be filed by the Justice Department under Section 2 of the Voting Right Act. 

And now Texas is presenting its defense. It is using two main arguments.

And boy, are they doozies….

…1st, says Attorney General Greg Abbott, the redistricting is not about race.  Oh no.  It’s about not allowing DEMOCRATS to vote.  White Democrats too.

From their brief:

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats….The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

Translation:

"So, basically, we just want to fuck over all Democrats, and if the Black and Brown people are also hurt, well, they shouldn’t vote for Democrats, should they?  It’s only collateral damage"

This is a classic from 8/13/2013. Nothing had changed.

From NY Times: Nine declared or likely Republican candidates descended on a large church in Iowa on Saturday to court evangelical Christians, the voters who played the starring role in the state’s two most recent caucuses.

They included the winners of those two contests (Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee), newcomers whose biographies lend themselves to evangelical support (Ted Cruz and Scott Walker), and candidates who would like to win some support from the Christian right but are eyeing broad coalitions (Rand Paul and Marco Rubio).

The nine-candidate lineup in the worship hall of Point of Grace Church [pseudo-Christians delinked] in Waukee, a Des Moines suburb, was proof of evangelical power in Iowa, but also a warning that the script may be rewritten in 2016, with so many candidates competing for social conservatives that their votes splinter.

We need to take note of the promises Republicans make to throe pseudo-Christian base, pandering to their greed, bigotry and intolerance. Then we get to impale them on the quotes they make in Iowa all the nay to election day.

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Apr 192015
 

Citizens United and Shelby County have one key attribute in common.  Both are unconstitutional, activist decisions by the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) designed to help Republicans steal elections.  The former opened the billionaire floodgates.  The latter helps Republicans decide who is allowed to vote.  When Chief Injustice Roberts claimed that protecting voting rights was no longer necessary, because things have changed so much, I knew he was lying,  However, I could not prove it, until now.

0419VotingRightsWhen the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, its main argument was that the law was outdated.

Discrimination against minority voters may have been pervasive in the 1960s when the law was passed, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote, but “nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically.” In this simplistic account, the law was still punishing states and local governments for sins they supposedly stopped committing years ago.

The chief justice’s destructive cure for this was to throw out the formula Congress devised in 1965 that required all or parts of 16 states with long histories of overt racial discrimination in voting, most in the South, to get approval from the federal government for any proposed change to their voting laws. This process, known as preclearance, stopped hundreds of discriminatory new laws from taking effect, and deterred lawmakers from introducing countless more.

But Chief Justice Roberts, writing for a 5-4 majority, invalidated the formula because “today’s statistics tell an entirely different story.”

Well, do they? A comprehensive new study by a historian of the Voting Rights Act provides a fresh trove of empirical evidence to refute that assertion. The study by J. Morgan Kousser, a professor of history and social science at the California Institute of Technology, examines more than 4,100 voting-rights cases, Justice Department inquiries, settlements and changes to laws in response to the threat of lawsuits around the country where the final result favored minority voters.

It found that from 1957 until 2013, more than 90 percent of these legal “events” occurred in jurisdictions that were required to preclear their voting changes. The study also provides evidence that the number of successful voting-rights suits has gone down in recent years, not because there is less discrimination, but because several Supreme Court decisions have made them harder to win… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Chick through for more detail.  In case you are considering not giving your full support in 2016 to the Democratic Presidential Nominee, whoever it is, consider Citizens United and Shelby County.  Also consider that the next two to retire from the Court are two of the four remaining Justices.  Imaging having the Straightjacket Seven Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD).

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Mar 072015
 

My helper friend finally made it yesterday, and we shared six plus hours of heavy cleaning.  Needless to say, I’m way pooped, but I’m writing, because, at my age, I need more days than I have left.  On the plus side, today is definitely a kitty basking day with a forecast high of 70°.  I feel so sorry for my Eastern and Midwest friends.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 6:12 (average 8:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Oregonian: A sweeping voter registration bill that could add another 300,000 to Oregon’s voting rolls won final passage in the Oregon Senate on Thursday on a 17-13 vote and heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her promised signature.

The so-called "New Motor Voter Bill" was promoted by Brown when she was secretary of state as a way to remove many of the barriers to voting, particularly for younger and poorer Oregonians who tend to move more often.

Republicans, however, charged that using drivers’ license data to automatically register voters raised worries about ID theft and undermined the privacy of Oregonians. House Bill 2177 passed both chambers without a single Republican vote. The only Democrat to vote no was Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, who had cast the deciding vote against a similar measure that died in the 2013 session.

When someone registers for a Driver’s License or an OID (same without driving, like I have), they are automatically registered to vote. This does not invalidate the many other ways Oregonians with no license or OID can register.  Kudos to Governor Kate and the Oregon Democrats, except the DINO that needs to be primaried.  Oregon leads the way!

From The New Yorker: In what could be a prelude to a Presidential run in 2016, on Friday Joe Biden released to the public both e-mails that he has written while serving as Vice-President for the past six years.

Biden took pride in announcing that he had sent both messages from his official government e-mail address, adding, “I have nothing to hide.”

Minutes after the e-mails were released, the media pored over the treasure trove of materials, which offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into Biden’s tenure as Vice-President.

The first e-mail, written to President Obama in December of 2009, asks about the time and place of the White House holiday party.

Dang Andy!! Joe released both of them?!!? ARGH!! Isn’t that TOO transparent? 😉

From NY Times: The coffers of Jeb Bush’s not-quite-declared campaign for president are filling at such a rate that fund-raisers have reportedly been instructed not to ask megadonors to give more than $1 million each this quarter. The concern is seemliness — that acceptance of multimillion-dollar checks from deep-pocketed supporters could bolster the impression that Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, is in their debt, according to a Washington Post report.

Just a million?!!? Strike Three is smelling just like Little Lord Willard!!

Cartoon:

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What has changed?  The Republican Party emplaced the racists.

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Feb 102015
 

I won’t even try to count how many times I’ve complained about low voter turnout, so when a saw an article purporting to have ways to increase voter turnout, I could not resist sharing it with you.  However I do disagree with the author on one key point.

0210VoteVoter turnout in the U.S. during the last midterm election hit the lowest point since the 1940s. The number of Americans heading to the polls each election has been declining for the last fifty years and lawmakers have recently been pushing efforts to keep even more people away from the polls.

People do not exercise their right to vote for various reasons, some of which are easier to solve than others. According to a U.S. Census report from 2013, 14 percent of nonvoting respondents were unable to participate because of an illness or disability, 8.6 percent were out of town, 12.7 percent did not like the candidates or campaign issues and almost 19 percent were too busy. Some people cannot take time off from work on a Tuesday in November, which has led lawmakers including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to call for making Election Day a federal holiday. Others may not feel engaged in politics or informed enough to vote, while 5.85 million U.S. citizens are prohibited from voting due to a felony conviction on their records.

Voting advocates, including those who spoke at the Elections and Voting Summit last week, have been developing and pushing for new ways to get more people to the polls. Unlike laws that restrict access through voter ID laws, shorter registration and early voting periods and disenfranchising felons, these proposals are likely to have support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and would not be difficult to implement to get voters to turn out in higher numbers… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Click through for the list of ideas.

My disagreement is with the author’s statement that these ideas would have bipartisan support.  Republicans may give lip service to such ideas at conferences, but in real life, Republicans are doing everything they can to disenfranchise legitimate voters.

I still think one of the best ways to increase voter turnout is to adopt Oregon’s vote by mail system.

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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!!

Cartoon:

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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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