Sep 162016

I’ll be leaving in a few minutes for my PCP appointment with Megan.  She’ll call in a prescription to my mail order pharmacy and I’ll have a new med for nerve pain by Tuesday or Wednesday.  Light at the end of the tunnel looks so good.  I apologize for mot reminding out fantasy football players about last night’s game between the Jets and the Bills.  I’ve been so busy that I forgot to check the schedule.  I know that I caught me, as I failed to plug-in the wide receiver I intended to start.  It cost me 15 fantasy points.  ARGH!!  I’ll finish this when I return.  This is my only article today.

I’m back.  Megan put me on Cymbalta, so if I start promoting Rump Dump Trump, that’s why.  I think it might help with the nerve pain, if it doesn’t make me crazy… um… crazier.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:43 (average 4:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (H/T KP Daily Funnies): Pinksourcing With Kristen Bell | Celebs Have Issues Ep. 1

Sadly, it’s damn accurate!

From Daily Kos: The NRA recently launched an ad portraying Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander as weak on gun rights, which is usually an effective argument in conservative states like this. But Kander’s must-see response commercial is one for the books.


The evil incumbent, Roy Blunt (R-MO) is up 3.4 points in the polls. I’d love to see him get his Ammosexual butt kicked.

From NY Times: In an alarming victory for the gun lobby, Missouri’s Republican-controlled Legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto and enact a wholesale retreat from gun safety in the state.

The law will let citizens carry concealed weapons in public without a state gun permit, criminal background check or firearms training. It strips local law enforcement of its current authority to deny firearms to those guilty of domestic violence and to other high-risk individuals. And it establishes a dangerous “stand your ground” standard that will allow gun owners to shoot and claim self-defense based on their own sense of feeling threatened.

The author is correct to call MO the "Shoot Me" State.



Sep 132016

Hot weather has returned, albeit not the extreme heat of a couple weeks ago.  I’m still having a lot of trouble with nerve pain.  Hopefully it will only be another week to ten days, as I see Megan on Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here are the results of Week 1 in our fantasy football league.





I got my butt kicked, but I don’t expect to do well this season.  I drafted last and had no players worth carrying forward, so I start from behind the 8 ball.  Congrats to Rob, Vivian, Patty Monster, Squatch and Dusty.  Pam, did you get the message I sent you on Care2?  Tom Brady, your starting QB, is suspended for the first four weeks.  You need to substitute Stafford for him for the next three games.

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Tell Trump, "Release the Measurements"


Dang!! Rump Dump needs to visit a plastic surgeon to get a hand job!!

From Daily Kos: Planned Parenthood has been winning in the courts in 2016, as state after Republican-led state has tried to cripple the organization by defunding clinics. Now the Obama administration is stepping in to attempt to short-circuit those lawsuits with a proposed rule reinforcing existing law, preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons.

The proposed rule says that states cannot withhold Title X federal family planning funds from providers for any reason other than their "ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner." This would essentially make the same laws that apply to Medicaid—states can’t pick and choose providers the federal funds go to in the absence of fraud—apply specifically to Title X funding. Bottom line: if the rule is approved, states could no longer bar Planned Parenthood funding because some of its clinics provide abortions.

“This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives," said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards…

It took far too long for Obama to learn the ropes and realize that, since Republicans are bad faith negotiators, even when they do make agreements with him, they always brake their promises. Now that he has learned, at last, and just does what needs doing, I’m going to miss this President.

From NY Times: The N.C.A.A., responding to a contentious North Carolina law that curbed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, will relocate all championship tournament games scheduled to take place in the state over the coming academic year, the organization announced Monday night.

Among the events affected is the Division I men’s basketball tournament, the N.C.A.A.’s most prominent annual event, which had six first- and second-round games scheduled to be played in Greensboro in March.

The announcement followed the N.B.A.’s decision in July to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte but was seen as a particularly substantial blow to officials in North Carolina, where college basketball is central to the state’s culture and pride. North Carolina has hosted more men’s basketball tournament games than any other state, an N.C.A.A. spokesman said.

Kudos to the NCAA. All things in the Republican Theocratic Police State of McCrorystan should be boycotted.



Aug 262016

Actually, I'll mention two days you probably didn't know about – with a tip of the hat to Lona the Napster.

First – August 26 was designated by Congress as Women's Equality Day by Congress in 1971 at the behest of Bella Abzug (remember her?)  The date was chosen because it was the day in 1920 that Congress certified the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote (and incidentally to hold public office).

Second – August 26 is also National Dog Day.  National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by Animal Advocate Colleen Paige, who chose August 26 because it was the date that her family adopted her first dog "Sheltie" when she was ten.  Colleen is also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day, National Cat Day, and other national days to bring attention to, and encourage adoption of, animals.  I hadn't planned to include this, but when I learned that more Americans are aware of National Dog Day than are aware of Women's Equality Day,  I thought I had better mention it, before someone else did, and get it out of the way.

Back to Women's Equality Day, which is what the column is really about, it was, as I said, created in 1971, by a joint resolution of Congress:

Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971
Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

The responsibility for keeping it going seems to have (appropriately) fallen to/been adopted by the National Women's History Project, a non-profit educational organization, which, among other achievements, got March designated as National Women's History month.  They produce and provide resources for educators, speakers for groups, guides for historic site tours, and – well, you name it.  They offer an on-line trifold brochure in color about the Day and detailed instructions on how to print it.

Mrs. Abzug spearheaded the Day as a celebration of women getting the right to vote, but it has become more general in focus, and, while you may notice the brochure has a voting quiz, they also pick a different theme each year to highlight, connected to women's history in general rather than just voting.  This year the theme is "Working To Form A More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Servide and Government."  A very appropriate theme for 2016.  Last year, Time magazine developed and published the graphic on the right for National Women's Day, which is, alas, still pretty accurate.

But I also want to mention two other organizations who work every day to make it easier for women to vote.

We probably know each major party has a GOTV effort in place this very important year.  But the American Association of University Women, along with their other projects, is providing non-partisan GOTV skill training free through webinars, specifically aimed at registering women in the milliennial generation, through their "It's My Vote: I Will Be Heard" initiative.  This program also includes providing voter guides, and goes beyond that to training participants how to create their own voter guides if none are available which are specific to their area.  Yes, they have "University" in their name, but they are far from an elitist group.  They are envisioning holding these drives on campuses, but that's because they are timing this set of webinars with back-to-school.  I can't imagine them being upset if someone wanted to hold a drive in, say, a mall, nor if someone signed up a male or two while registering women.

Then of course, probably the grandmamma of all organizations which pair women and votes – it was founded, by Carrie Chapman Catt, six months before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified – is the League of Women Voters.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

To this day the League concentrates on educating voters on issues rather than on candidates.  It is committed to being grassroots and non-partisan.  And it does register voters.  Last spring, League volunteers registered nearly 15,000 high school and community college students throough 350 registration drives.  They are looking to repeat or expand on this on National Voter Registration Day, which will be Tuesday, September 27.

However, the league does not stop at educating and registering.  It does get involved in fighting on issues.  Money in politics and defending the environment are the biggest, but there are some others as well.  You might be surprised how many others.  Click thrugh to the site and scroll down for a look.

Cross posted to Care2 at

Aug 072016

I’m running late, as Wendy just left.  She left both the TomCat and the Cat Box bright and shiny.  We feasted on Baby Back Ribs! I’m very tired as the hot sticky weather kept me up last night, but we have three days of cool weather before the heat returns.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:12 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Alternet: In an effort to bolster his policy platform, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Friday a new 15-member economic advisory council that does not include a single woman.

Rump Dump measures women’s intellect in bra size, not IQ.

From Crooks and LiarsA somewhat important question that Julian Assange manages to completely dodge.


If Assange had ducked discussing his complicity with Putin and Trump any harder, he would have quacked.

From Raw Story: North Korea has accused Washington of planning a pre-emptive nuclear strike, after the US announced it would deploy its B-1 bomber in the Pacific for the first time in a decade.

That’s insane even for North Korea. Is there a new leader there named Kim Jong-Trump?




Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 11:22 am  Politics
Aug 062016

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I try not to feature occurrences that are too new (like, say, yesterday) or which have received a lot of publicity – there are plenty out there under the radar more in need of the Furies' attention.  In this first item, the fact of it being under the radar actually IS the story.

On Friday, July 22, Germany was rocked by news of a terrible event – a young man shot multiple people outside a shopping center in Munich.  It became clear that the shooter, Ali David Sonboly, had Iranian ancestry; no one in the media hesitated to link him with Islam.  He was styled as "German-Iranian," and rumors spread that he had shouted "Allahu Akbat" before shooting (spoiler: he didn't.)  Right-wing politicians did their best to use the shooting to spread hatred and fear against Muslims, migrants, and refugees.

But once the dust cleared, the inident changed into a "classic shooting rampage" instead of an "act of terror," and quietly disappeared from news feeds.  Why?  He was not a Muslim, but a right wing extremist.  It wasn't the West he hated, but Turks and Arabs.  His hero was Anders Breivik who, five years to the day earlier, had killed 77 people in Norway.  His other hero was Hitler, with whom he considered it "an honor" to share a birthday.  Seven of his nine victims were Muslims or of Muslim background.

Sonboly's racist ideology was spawned in Central Asia, all right, but it was anything but Muslim.  Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan all consider themselves to be the cradle of the Aryan people (who lived 3,000-4,000 years ago and scientifically have little to do with the historical, or maybe I should say pre-historical Aryans.)  "Iran" actually means "land of the Aryans," and when Iran changed its name from Persia in 1935, both Afghanstan and Tajikistan responded with variations on "Who do you think you are?!!?"

German authorities mostly do not hesitate to link every rampage with Islam, but when right-wing terrorism takes place, they do their best to obscure the roots of the crime. This week, Bavaria's Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, insisted that Sonboly “probably had no links with right-wing networks.” And shortly after the massacre, Bavarian government and police officials claimed that there was no political motivation behind the massacre, claiming Sonboly had chosen his victims at random. According to this logic, a mass killer must shout “Allahu Akbar” in the midst of his murder spree for his political motives to be acknowledged. Everything else, no matter how clearly influenced by rightist ideology, is just a classic shooting rampage.

As long as right wing terrorism continues to be trivialized as isolated "rampages," and not treated as terrorism from the right, we in the west will make no progress toward suppressing terrorism at all.  Germany is by no means alone in this; it happens in the United States constantly.  Another case of decisions made on "facts" insteat of on facts are mostly very poor decisions.  Well, Bavaria is quite beautiful, Tisiphone.  Stop in to look at Neuschwanstein while you are educating Bavarian government officials.

I also have a couple of incidents related to rape culture, possibly appropriate in a week when a Presidential candidate and his number one son have said or implied that "strong women" do not get sexually harassed.  Yeah, right.

The situation in this story from Utah (but which could have happened anywhere) seems to me to illustrate just how extensively complaints of rape are routinely dismissed.  "In the most recent account, four women who reported that they had been raped by the same man were ignored by the Utah State University’s Title IX office, and by the police detectives investigating the complaints in Logan, Utah."

Had not reporter Alex Stuckey of the Salt Lake Tribune dug into this, no one but the victims (and the rapist) would even know the rapes had occurred.

Reporter Alex Stuckey of the Salt Lake Tribune conducted an in-depth investigation of a pattern of alleged rapes committed by an unnamed assailant. The first assault was reported in January of 2015; the fourth in December. The male student continued remained on campus until spring of 2016, when he graduated.

The four women did not know one another, and they all filed separate reports. Three of the women were Utah State students and reported the assaults to their school. Title IX, the federal statute passed in 1972 that mandates equal treatment of the sexes in education, requires that “schools must take action if there is a potential continuing threat to students.”

In stories that echo the disturbing details recounted in Jon Krakauer’s book, Missoula, which documented a spate of rapes in the Montana college town, police seemed more interested in helping preserve the reputation of the alleged rapist than in helping the women prosecute the man who had hurt them.

Click through for additional details of the attacks and the sham "investigations" conducted, if you haven't been nauseated enough by the brief summary I quote.  The prosecutor claims to be looking at the case more closely.  Alecto, maybe you can hold her feet to the fire.

Just in case anyone thinks the above story doesn't address sexual crime against strong women, this third story should lay all doubt to rest on that point.  It's had more exposure than the other two, as far as I can find (and I'm already late), so I'll be brief.

A prominent feminist writer and columnist said she is being forced to abandon social media after receiving rape and death threats against her 5-year-old daughter.

On Twitter, Jessica Valenti wrote: “This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5 year old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable.”

You know, after you've said that, what do you say?  Jessica goes on with several more tweets elaborating on the facts of this situation, and what an impossible position it puts her in.  I expect anyone here could have come up with every point.  Unacceptable?  Yes.  Of course.  But Facebook, Twitter, and law enforcement all seem to accept it just fine.  Megaera, everyone else already has an assignment.  But you are going to need reinforcements.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at

Jul 162016

A lot has happened in the world since my last post a week ago and much of it saddens me — Nice, Turkey, racial anger in the US.  But there are also things that inspire hope — kids getting excited about a day trip to a mine, purring kitties, a young woman succeeding at learning to walk again after a traumatic brain injury.  My brother, his wife and their friends dock tomorrow here in Vancouver and then immediately fly home.  I am sure that they enjoyed their trip and will be sorry when the ship docks.  So far in July, temperatures have been about 3 C (5.5 F) below normal, which for me is great — no super hot days and nights — and we've had needed rain.  I had someone approach me at physio about doing some more ESL teaching.  I'll have to make sure I don't take on too much.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — It's so hot that the door to The Depanneur restaurant is propped open for air circulation. The smell of frying onions and then stewed chicken wafts outside into the steamy Toronto afternoon.

It's hard not to stop and peer at what's going on inside the crowded open kitchen in the back.

About a dozen women — some wearing headscarves, others in jeans — are busy cooking a three-course meal. But none are staff; they're Syrian refugees who have been in their new home of Canada for just three months.

"I like the smell of cooking," said Majda Mafalani. "It feels great to be cooking again. I feel that I was born again."

So far removed from their homeland torn apart by civil war, this natural and simple act of cooking has given them back a semblance of community and identity, and an unexpected foray into entrepreneurship.

newcomer kitchen syrian

Senater said: "She said to me, 'I like coming here because I am learning new recipes and learning more about being Syrian' and I said 'I like having you guys here because I learn more about being Canadian."

From refugees to entrepreneurs with some support from the local community.  Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support refugees.  And that support leads to a stronger community, one filled with a great multitude of peoples.

Raw Story — A Kentucky county judge refused to officiate a couple’s wedding after they requested he respect their lack of religious beliefs, the Friendly Atheist reported.

Trigg County Judge/Executive Hollis Alexander confirmed that he turned away Mandy Heath and her fiancee when Heath went to file the necessary paperwork at the local courthouse on the day before their wedding.

Move over Kim Davis — you have company!  I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a judge, charged with upholding the constitution, doesn't understand it.  I'm going to go out on a limb, but Alexander must be a Republican.

Daily Kos — [Ten-year-old Carter Beckhard-Suozzi of New York] was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in May 2015. He underwent five months of grueling chemotherapy and surgeries before being told by doctors he had beaten the cancer, according to his mom, Jane Beckhard-Suozzi.

While Carter was in the hospital, he was visited by officials from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Months later, out of the blue, he told his mom what he wanted his wish to be.


“He said, ‘Mom, I figured it out. I want to meet President Jimmy Carter,’” Beckhard-Suozzi recalled. “When I asked why, he said, ‘We have three things in common. We have the same name. We both have survived cancer and we both love helping people.’

A moment of hope in a bleak week!  I just loved this so I had to share it.  Can't you just feel that awesome hug!  There is also a petition to sign thanking Jimmy Carter.

Washington Post — Mike Pence was a young lawyer on the rise, challenging a longtime Democratic congressman in a Republican-leaning Indiana district.

And then, scandal.

Campaign finance records from the 1990 effort showed that Pence, then 31, had been using political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.

The spending had not been illegal at the time. But it stunned voters — and undermined Pence’s strategy to portray the incumbent, Rep. Philip R. Sharp, as tainted by donations from special-interest political action committees.

“It was a brazen act of hypocrisy,”…


Pence was unapologetic at the time, telling reporters that he had taken a 30 percent pay cut to run for office and needed the money. “I’m not embarrassed that I need to make a living,” he said.

Finally, we have another extreme right wing politician to expose on a national level for all to see.  Trump = disaster.  Pence = disaster.  Trump + Pence = a disaster of monumental proportions whose destruction supercedes that of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.


The New Yorker — Over the past couple of months, Donald Trump hasn’t done much right, but in picking Mike Pence, the staunchly conservative governor of Indiana, as his running mate, he probably made a wise choice. History suggests that Vice-Presidential candidates don’t make much, if any, difference to the outcome of Presidential elections, but here are some reasons why, from Trump’s perspective, Pence was the best bet: …

3. He’s a Midwesterner. Further to my previous point, Trump’s only realistic, or semi-realistic, chance of getting to two hundred and seventy electoral votes is to storm through the Midwest and the Rust Belt, racking up huge majorities of white votes. To this end, his ideal choice would have been John Kasich, the popular governor of Ohio, but Kasich didn’t want the job. Nor did Rob Portman, the Ohio senator who served in the Bush Administration, or Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. And no one in Michigan or Pennsylvania was particularly suitable, either. That left Pence, who runs the most staunchly Republican state in the region. Although his ardent social conservatism may turn off some people in the suburbs of Detroit and Cincinnati, he can claim to be a Midwesterner through and through.

This is the third of seven reasons it made sense for Drumpf to pick Pence as his VP running mate.  Now it is up to voters to permanently retire these two Republican misfits who have absolutely no concern for the average American.

UltraViolet —

Gov. Mike Pence: 5 things you should know

Pence has been a big mistake for Indiana, and will be an even bigger mistake for the nation.

My Universe —

cat and rubiks cubeAfter the mental stimulation of Rubik's Cube . . .

cat traps workingafter the physical stimulation of escaping cat traps . . .

5733a.giftime for a satisfying Lona nap!!!