Apr 162014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite tired, after yesterday’s activities, and groggy, because I just awakened from a nap.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Millions of Americans were in a state of shock this past week after learning that Congress had accomplished something fifty years ago.

Although the incident was widely reported throughout the week, the revelation that Congress had achieved something positive and substantial for the country a half century ago left many incredulous and baffled.

Adding to their disbelief were reports that the accomplishment came as the result of collaboration between a Democrat in the White House and Republicans in Congress.

Making the scenario even more far-fetched, politicians of both parties came to an agreement without the interference of corporate paymasters operating them like puppets.

Dang, Andy!! I’m not sure whether to believe that or not!! ;-)

From Upworthy: There are so many gems in this, but you’re probably busy, so I’m highlighting the best two minutes of this smackdown. (But realtalk, the whole 15-minute speech is the best part.)

 

Nuke those filibastards!! Click through for more.

From NY Times: The insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost $1.383 trillion over the next decade, more than $100 billion less than previous forecasts, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The nonpartisan budget office’s report, an update to projections from February, shows the law costing less than in previous estimates in part because of the broad and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs. The news might come as welcome to Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House who are struggling to defend the law in an election year.

How many of you remember all the Republican claims that health care costs would skyrocket?

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Apr 142014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow early in the morning.  Because I’m swamped with prison volunteer Board Meeting preparations, this is today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:43 (average 4:18).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Why Birth Control Needs To Be Covered By All Insurance Plans, In One Simple Graphic

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In addition, nothing else prevents more abortions.

From Daily Kos: Rick Wiles is one of the more prominent talk show hosts on the right-wing fringe.  Among his guests in the past have been Tom Tancredo, John Fleming, Matt Barber, Harry Jackson and other big names on the far right.  They’ve continued to troop to his show even though he claims, among other things, that expanded rights for gays prompted North Korea to threaten nuclear war, that Columbine and Sandy Hook were carried out by "mind control assassins" and that North Korea threatened nuclear war with us because we’re moving toward expanded rights for gays.

Well, yesterday Wiles outdid himself even by his standards.  He called for President Obama to be thrown out of office by a military coup.  People for the American Way got a clip.

I warned in 2008 that Barack Obama’s mission is to instigate a second Civil War in America. His regime is deliberately ripping the country apart and if the US Military doesn’t take action soon to arrest Barack Obama and remove him and his regime from the White House, there will be no country left for the military to defend. We are on the edge of collapse as a nation. Jesus Christ is America’s only hope. Let us pray that Almighty God delivers us from this very real tyranny that seeks to persecute the saints of God.

If I had time, I’d give this seditionist Republican scumbag a "parade".  Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christianity is NOT Christian.  It is the opposite.

From Alternet: Detroit columnist Nolan Finley: Woman candidate is “milking the vagina business.”

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist Nolan Finley displayed his ability to keep it real classy this week. Notoriously anti-Democratic and pro-corporate, he has long been using his perch to rabidly oppose the candidacy of Democrats, most recently Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schnauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown. This week Finley wrote:

[Brown’s] confrontational style will give the ticket the spunk the colorless Schauer lacks, but won’t broaden his appeal. Brown could help bring in campaign cash, however. She’s still milking the vagina business, and is a minor celebrity among feminists.

Wait, there’s a vagina business that can be milked? How come we did not know that?

What that curious term means to Finley is that Lisa Brown favors reproductive rights for women, which in his world (roughly the 1950s) makes her an extreme left-wing liberal.

Milking the vagina business.

What will the Republican woman haters club come up with next?

This is just one of seven Republican absurdities from last week alone. Click through for the other six.  Thou shalt NOT commit TEAbuggery!!

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Ben Franklin was its first President.

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Apr 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I don’t know why, but I feel lethargic.  I’ve gotten enough sleep, and I don’t feel ill.  Perhaps it’s that I’m taking Chantix again.  My last attempt to quit fell apart during the moving process, so I’m trying again.  Q-Day is Infernal Revenue day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s still early yet, but a monster El Nino might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile.  Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Nino.  Here’s what he has to say about the Kelvin wave:

The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Nino event.

more below the fold… [emphasis original]

Click through for an in depth report on this potential El Nino and what it means to you.

From NY Times: Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women, framing an election-year fight between the parties over whose policies are friendlier to women.

The bill was an attempt by Democrats to press what they see as their electoral advantage among women in the coming midterm elections, but they fell short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster and advance the legislation.

Now there can be no doubt. Republicans do not want to see equal pay for people they consider property that should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

From TPM: The House has passed a GOP budget blueprint that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts across the federal budget and eliminating health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the nonbinding framework takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government’s chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn’t in the cards.

The plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024. The sharpest cuts would come to health care programs for the poor and uninsured, food stamps, and array of domestic programs, including Pell Grants, education, and community development grants.

No surprises here.

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Prior to this, white southern racists were a bloc of Democrats known as the Dixiecrats.  They were so outraged by this event that they left the Democratic Party.  The Republicans, seeing there was no future in representing primarily billionaires and corporate criminals, adopted the Southern Strategy and embraced the racists’ hatred.  This is how racists became the base of the Republican Party.

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Apr 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this is last article until after I return from my volunteer training.  I will be off the grid, as there will be no time to even set up a computer, while I’m away.  I spent the day running errands, preparing my material and packing,  Although I had little time for research, I think I have some interesting material for you.  I will post missed puzzles with my next Open Thread or Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:31 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.

Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”

The California Republican said that the seven million co-conspirators targeted by his subpoenas would be required to travel to Washington to testify before his committee or risk being found in contempt of Congress.

Andy’s great satire aside, I wouldn’t put it past him. Darrell Issa jerk!!

From Daily Kos: Wow! According to an analysis of financials for Hobby Lobby. Reporters for Mother Jones discovered $73 million in mutual funds with investments in the companies that manufacturer contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs used to perform abortions.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

They deny women, but take the money. How do you spell Republican? H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!

From NY Times: The Republican budget for 2015, released Tuesday by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, will never come close to being law, so it doesn’t have to pretend to be serious. This is a document designed solely to be reduced to a few bullet points so House Republicans can have something to show their most antigovernment voters.

That might work in their most carefully gerrymandered districts, but does the Republican Party really want to coalesce around a budget this destructive to the country’s future: harming the middle class and the poor; undercutting popular safety-net programs, including Medicare and Pell grants; and heaping tax benefits on the rich? Apparently it does, and the full House will probably support it in a few days. Voters should look closely at the details to see if they would choose the same course.

Lyin’ Ryan’s plan to fight poverty is still to take from the poor and give to the rich. Click through to see how his new budget is the same as his old budget, only worse.

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TC signing off with a sore butt, because SCROTUS didn’t use Vaseline.

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Mar 252014
 

SCROTUS (Constitutional VD) is my term for the Fascist Five Supreme Court Injustices, who almost always favor their extreme Republican ideology over our Constitution.  Worst among them (along with Clarence “TEAbag” Thomas) is Antonin “SS” Scalia.  In two cases coming before the Court today, I expect Scalia to renege on an earlier opinion in a most hypocritical manner.  Ironically, even with opposite opinions, he will be as wrong now as he was then.

0325ScaliaWhen the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases about birth control on Tuesday, few observers doubt that Justice Antonin Scalia's sympathies will be the Catholic business owners who charge that the mandate violates their religious liberties.

The Reagan-appointed jurist is a devout Catholic who has extolled "traditional Christian virtues." He insists the devil is "a real person" and has a son who's a Catholic priest. He voted in 2012 to wipe out Obamacare in its entirety and has been President Barack Obama's most outspoken foe on the Supreme Court.

And yet, Scalia's past jurisprudence stands contradictory to the argument for striking down the Obamacare rule in question, which requires for-profit employers' insurance plans to cover contraceptives (like Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices) for female employees without co-pays.

In 1990, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, concluding that the First Amendment "does not require" the government to grant "religious exemptions" from generally applicable laws or civic obligations. The case was brought by two men in Oregon who sued the state for denying them unemployment benefits after they were fired from their jobs for ingesting peyote, which they said they did because of their Native American religious beliefs.

"[T]he right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability," Scalia wrote in the 6-3 majority decision, going on to aggressively argue that such exemptions could be a slippery slope to lawlessness.

"The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind," he wrote, "ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Scalia was wrong in opining not to give a religious exemption to followers of Native American beliefs, because he was denying their right to freely practice their religion. I expect him to opine that business should get a religious exemption to refuse to cover birth control under ObamaCare.  He will be wrong, because such an exemption allows businesses to force their religions practices on others.

Scalia and his Republican Party would ignore the First Amendment by establishing a pseudo-Christian state religion and denying the free exercise of other religions.

Late Update:

On tonight’s show, Chris Hayes covered the same issue.  Because this just aired, I cannot get it in an internationally viewable format, but his and his guest’s analysis echoed mine so closely, I had to include it.

It was always intended as a shield, and not a sword,  Well said.

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Mar 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and after having trashed my email system, because a new spam filter for my desktop email did not install properly, and spending most of the night fixing it, I’m pooped.  However, I could not resist another Republican that needs a parade.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 5:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said on Thursday that he had ordered a forensic examination of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer equipment to answer what he called the C.I.A.’s “absurd” claims that the committee’s staff had hacked into the agency’s network.

Mr. Reid’s order is the latest round of an escalating fight between the C.I.A. and the Intelligence Committee, which has oversight authority over the agency.

This an uncharacteristically good move by Reid, especially with Republicans supporting the CIA in this matter. He must have shined his ObamaBalls!

From Alternet: Republicans despise America’s poor and jobless. The GOP made that perfectly clear by repeatedly denouncing them and cutting food stamps and unemployment benefits. But last week, Republicans revealed that they also hate hard-working Americans!

Republicans condemned President Obama for proposing to extend mandatory overtime pay to more workers. The GOP doesn’t believe that Americans who work longer hours should be paid more.

Honk if this surprises you? What? No horns? ;-)

From Huffington Post: The DC Abortion Fund, a non-profit group that helps local low-income women afford abortion care, has been giving out coat hanger pendants to its donors for the past four years as a symbol of the dangerous methods women resort to when they are denied access to safe and legal abortion.

When the National Review discovered the pendants [propaganda delinked] earlier this week, it set off a firestorm [propaganda delinked] of conservative media outrage. Breitbart [Breitfart delinked], The Drudge Report [propaganda delinked], The Daily Caller [propaganda delinked], former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain [9-9-9 delinked] and Bristol Palin were among the conservative outlets and bloggers who piled on.

I’m surprised that these Republicans are getting so bent out of shape. The Republican position on coat hangers is just this east to see:

AbortionGOP

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Mar 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am still feeling somewhat tired.  I may have little or nothing for Tuesday, because I have a doctor appointment (routine maintenance) with my Urologist tomorrow.  Hopefully he can help me remember what else it’s for.  I’ll be using the disabled van for the first time, so I have no idea when I’ll return home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The GOP’s growing chart may need an update.  Perhaps a new bar at the bottom redefining rape as "pursuit of sexual freedom"?

0303GOPRape

How about redefining it as any time the GOP gets involved with women’s rights.

From Think Progress: Pennsylvania is one of just 15 states that ban predatory payday loans, for now. If state Rep. Chris Ross (R) and state Sen. Pat Browne (R) have their way, though, the Keystone State will open its arms to companies that already pull billions of dollars out of poor communities each year through loans with average interest rates of over 300 percent.

Here we have the Republican Party representing one of the most blatant forms of vulture capitalism.

From Robert Reich: House Speaker John Boehner says raising the minimum wage is “bad policy” because it will cause job losses. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says a minimum wage increase would be a job killer. Republicans and the Chamber also say unions are job killers, workplace safety regulations are job killers, environmental

regulations are job killers, and the Affordable Care Act is a job killer. The California Chamber of Commerce even publishes an annual list of “job killers,” including almost any measures that lift wages or protect workers and the environment.

Most of this is bunk.

When in 1996 I recommended the minimum wage be raised, Republicans and the Chamber screamed it would “kill jobs.” In fact, in the four years after it was raised, the U.S. economy created more jobs than were ever created in any four-year period.

Robert Reich is spot on. The Republican Reich is full of it!

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