Oct 152017
 

Wendy is due in about 25 minutes to de-stink the TomCat and help with housework, so I’ll write until she arrives and finish after she leaves.  Today id a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are worshiping with the Giants in the night game, so I’ll eat supper early and be in full meditation mode afterwards.  May the holy Orb shine its blessed light on your team, unless they claim to be oversized.  Tomorrow I have an appointment to pick up and adjust my glasses.  It won’t take long, but by the time we factor in the lift bus, I’ll be gone for around four hours.  I’ll publish, if I can, but I may have only a Personal Update.

Wendy just left.  She thanks you all for your kindness, and JD for the earrings that she will wear watching football this afternoon.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:09 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (SNL Channel): Donald Trump Trucker Rally Cold Open

 

Alec led his Pence around by the nose just like the Fuhrer does his Pence. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Late Professor William T. Kelley taught Marketing at Wharton School of Business and Finance, University of Pennsylvania, for 31 years, ending with his retirement in 1982.  Dr. Kelley, who also had vast experience as a business consultant, was the author of a then-widely used textbook called Marketing Intelligence — The Management of Marketing Information (originally published by P. Staples, London, 1968).  Dr. Kelley taught marketing management to both undergraduate and graduate students at Wharton. www.upenn.edu/…  Dr. Bill was one of my closest friends for 47 years when we lost him at 94 about six years ago.  Bill would have been 100 this year. 

Donald J. Trump was an undergraduate student at Wharton for the latter two of his college years, having been graduated in 1968. www.thedp.com/…  

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this — “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  Dr. Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure.  Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

Isn’t it a shame that the state of Ivy League education was such that Kelly and his fellow profs passed Trump anyway, instead of flunking the dumb SOB? And why didn’t the Electoral College flunk him out?!!? RESIST!!

From NY Times: In a desolate corner of northeastern Australia, about 100 miles from the nearest town, a grassy stretch of prime grazing land sits above a vein of coal so rich and deep that it could be mined for decades.

The Australian government is considering a proposal to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in this remote locale, known as the Galilee Basin, where acacia and eucalyptus trees grow wild between scattered creeks.

An Indian conglomerate, the Adani Group, has asked for a taxpayer-financed loan of as much as $800 million to make the enormous project viable, promising to create thousands of jobs in return.

But the plan has met intense opposition in Australia and abroad, focusing attention on a question with global resonance: Given the threat of climate change and the slowing global demand for coal, does the world really need another giant mine, especially at the public’s expense?

I hope that the Land of Oz will prefer green energy. Aussies, would it be feasible to invest that $800 million in a giant solar farm or wind farm? RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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2017 Russian Missiles Discovered in Washington DC.

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Oct 132017
 

I’m feeling tired, lethargic, and unmotivated, so it’s a good day for TGIF13!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is Mueller Trying to Stop Trump From Pardoning People?

 

The only people Trump would pardon, other than family, are people, who know enough about his own crimes to be dangerous, if they flip.  Mueller would not have to investigate this, unless he intended to indict Trump, his family, or people who can spill the beans on Trump.  Wooo Hooo!! One possible way is to bring simultaneous indictments in state and federal court. RESIST!!

From Upworthy: The city’s government unveiled an ambitious plan to ban gas-powered cars from the city by the end of the next decade.

"We have planned the end of thermic vehicle use, and therefore of fossil energies, by 2030," Christophe Nadjovski, Paris deputy mayor in charge of transportation, told France Info radio.

The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, had already announced a plan to ban diesel-powered vehicles from the city by 2024.

Bravo à la France! RESIST!!

From Washington Post: President Trump is throwing a bomb into the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, choosing to end critical payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. The decision coincides with an executive order on Thursday to allow alternative health plans that skirt the law’s requirements.

The White House confirmed late Thursday that it would halt federal payments for cost-sharing reductions, although a statement did not specify when. Another statement a short time later by top officials at the Health and Human Services Department said the cutoff would be immediate. The subsidies total about $7 billion this year.

Trump has threatened for months to stop the payments, which go to insurers that are required by the law to help eligible consumers afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. But he held off while other administration officials warned him such a move would cause an implosion of the ACA marketplaces that could be blamed on Republicans, according to two individuals briefed on the decision.

Health insurers and state regulators have been in a state of high anxiety over the prospect of the marketplaces cratering because of such White House action. The fifth year’s open-enrollment season for consumers to buy coverage through ACA exchanges will start in less than three weeks, and insurers have said that stopping the cost-sharing payments would be the single greatest step the Trump administration could take to damage the marketplaces — and the law.

Trump’s idiocy is a major abuse of power. The job of the executive branch is to enforce existing law, not to refuse to enforce whatever the moron doesn’t like. It will also kill thousands of people, many of whom will be the deplorable idiots that voted for him. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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After my nap, I think I’ll go cross paths.

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Oct 052017
 

ANOTHER VIEW ON GUN CONTROL

The Las Vegas shooting this week has given rise to many discussions on gun control (again), mainly on the left side of the field, while the right side either pushes for more guns for self-defense or maintains that it is too early to talk about it and without respect for those who were killed or wounded and their families and friends (again). This isn’t the first shooting that led me to write an ‘As Seen From Afar’ about gun control, and by now there’s little left to add. All arguments have been brought to the table and have been rehashed over and over, but nothing changes. Only the number of victims increases with each mayor shooting, something I personally think was the main motivation of Stephen Paddock: to go down in history as the man who single-handedly shot and killed or wounded the most people.

Having addressed the subject in at least two earlier articles, I thought it might be interesting to show how opinion in another country is increasingly influenced by recent American events and especially by its current politics. The following article is my translation of a column in my Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, by Frits Abrahams who writes a daily column about his observations in everyday Dutch life. Sometimes these columns are funny, now and again they are very serious, every now and then about politics, occasionally about sports, always with a keen eye for the human element and lately more often about America. Like many of us in The Netherlands, Frits can’t make heads or tails of America’s thing with guns:

Again the irony of it all. Three days before the slaughter in Las Vegas by a deranged shooter, our valued country singer Douwe Bob appeared in the peaceful ‘Ilse’s Veranda’, a  television program by Dutch country singer Ilse de Lange. Douwe [had made an item because] he was fond of outlaws and the weapons that went with it.

A resident of Nashville was heard to say that in cities of this size every week someone was shot and killed, and that he himself kept at least twenty weapons at home. Wasn’t it time to have a ban on that? ‘Not really,’ he smiled, ‘the weapon is not the perpetrator’.

After that Douwe visited Charlie Haffner, the owner of America’s oldest shooting range. Don’t you  want to shoot, Douwe? Yes, please! He shot at a shooting disc on which a bear was drawn. ‘Right between the eyes!‘ whooped Douwe. ‘Everyone can appreciate a good Winchester,’ Charlie said as if he was talking about an exquisite type of wine.

Douwe had to admit that ‘it’s also double, you know’. How? ‘I know what weapons do, Charlie is a fantastic guy, but on the other hand he’s a redneck, he just went crazy.’ Rednecks once were hardworking, rebellious white laborers in rural areas, but today they are mostly associated with macho behavior, racism and violence. Whether they all are going crazy, I do not know, but at the very least they love to show how tough they are. They are mostly men, as well as most of the mass shooters. They also love country music very much, just like me.

Stephen Paddock, the mass murderer in Las Vegas, does not have the background of an authentic redneck, as he apparently has become rich in real estate. But he loved weapons and country music; again it’s ironic: he was a country fan who killed other country fans. And Paddock, like Douwe Bob’s trigger-happy Charlie, must have gone crazy. A whole lot crazier even.

But the strangest form of irony to me is that America has become so scared of violence that it actually evokes this kind of violence. ‘This is the price we pay for freedom,’ said Billy O’Reilly, the ultra-right ex-anchorman of Fox News. ‘The Second Amendment clearly states that Americans have the right to protect themselves. Including crazy people.’

So to protect himself, O’Reilly hands out weapons to madmen, who can then shoot him out of their hotel room when he dances a little to Johnny Cash’s music. Now who has been going crazy here exactly?

I no longer can wrap my head around it and that’s why I understand the consternation of the comic US talk show hosts, who realized that they should suspend their irony for a while. ‘You want to be a change-oriented president and do everything different in Washington?’, Stephen Colbert called out to Trump. ‘Prove it! Do it! I mean it! You want to make America great again? Do what the last two presidents were unable to do. Come up with judicious weapons legislation, the vast majority of the American people want it too.

‘To do nothing is cowardice,’ said Colbert, ‘to do something requires courage.’ In fact, Colbert and his colleagues are asking for moral leadership here. If comics do that, there really has to be something going on.

This article was published in NRC Handelsblad on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, page 20

Cross-posted at C2NN here

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Kurds Vote for Freedom

 Posted by at 1:34 pm  Politics
Sep 262017
 

I find myself in the highly unusual situation in that I am on the same side of an issue as Paul Manafart, who is currently in Iraq, lobbying for Kurdish independence.  However, there is a difference.  Manafart believes what he’s paid to believe.  I decided that I supported partitioning Iraq, shortly GW ChickenHawk, attacked that nation in his Republican war for oil and profit.  Republicans gave us no oil.  Republicans gave us no profit.  What Republicans did give us is ISIL.

0926Kurds

As jubilant Iraqi Kurds celebrated their vote Monday on independence from Iraq, shooting off fireworks and parading in cars festooned with Kurdish flags late into the night, their neighbors conducted military exercises on the region’s borders, raising the threat of military intervention if it secedes.

The vote played out on a historic day for several million Kurds in northern Iraq, and was a pivotal moment in the Kurdish dream of a politically independent state.

While officials said the vote would not be tabulated until at least Tuesday, it was expected to be overwhelmingly in favor of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan, the semiautonomous region in northern Iraq.

Despite the celebrations, the vote may come at a steep political cost to the Kurds.

It proved highly provocative for Turkey, Iran and Iraq, whose responses are likely to roil the region in the coming days, stirring the very turmoil that the United States hoped to avoid when it pressured the Kurds to call off the vote.

The White House has warned that a Kurdish move toward independence could set off ethnic conflict, and that it could fracture Iraq and undermine the American-led coalition against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. “We hope for a unified Iraq to annihilate ISIS, and certainly a unified Iraq to push back on Iran,” the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Monday.

The vote has strained Iraqi Kurdistan’s relations with the United States, which relies heavily on Kurdish fighters to assist the American-led coalition against Islamic State militants. The region, which is landlocked, is vulnerable to growing threats of sanctions along its borders…

Inserted from <NY Times>

One reasons I have supported partition is that Iraq is an artificial country, created by Western powers in the aftermath of WWI.  It is made made up of three mutually hostile factions.  Forced together, there will be no lasting peace between them.  Another is that for years the Kurds were oppressed by the Sunni, and barring independence, they face oppression by the Shia.  Finally, I believe in the rights of all peoples to self-determination.

I fully believe that, if the US does not oppose them, they will support us against ISIL, as it is in their self-interest to do so.

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Sep 182017
 

I love feeling comfortable with the AC off, and barring the unforeseen, it will stay that way for the rest of the day.  Now all we have to do is get rid of a Nazi Republican Reich, and I’ll be in a good mood.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

0917Broncos42-Cowboys17

I was a rout, and I was quite pleased with the Orb’s holy light.

Short Takes:

From YouTube (PBS Channel): Facebook allowed advertisers to target anti-Semitic groups

 

Perhaps they should change to a Republican name: Sphincterbook. RESIST!!

From The Independent: A Soviet officer who averted thermonuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union had died aged 77.

Soon after midnight on 26 September, 1983, duty officer Stanislav Petrov was in charge of an early warning radar system in a bunker near Moscow when computer readouts suggested several missiles had been launched from the US towards the USSR.

The protocol for the Soviet military would have been to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack, but Mr Petrov decided not to alert his superiors.

"I had all the data [to suggest there was an ongoing missile attack]. If I had sent my report up the chain of command, nobody would have said a word against it," he told the BBC’s Russian Service in 2013.

However, he suspected a computer error, believing a first-strike nuclear attack by the US would likely involve hundreds of simultaneous missile launches.

"All I had to do was to reach for the phone; to raise the direct line to our top commanders – but I couldn’t move. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan," he told the BBC.The duty officer decided to call the Soviet army’s headquarters to report a system malfunction.

"Twenty-three minutes later I realised that nothing had happened. If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief."

He was a great man. But the USSR under Yuri Andropov was more free and less aggressive than Russia is under Trump’s boss. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos:

A fascinating study was recently reported in Vox and The Root. And the conclusion of that academic study(1) is, as the title sadly suggests, that a mere photograph of a black person can actually make a Trump supporter angry. From The Root:

“When researchers simply asked subjects how they felt about a not-so-complex housing-assistance issue, they were split on their support. But there was a subtle twist to the study: When the information about the issue was accompanied by a picture of a white person, Trump voters were much more likely to support it than when they were cued by an image of a black person.”

If the study ended there, it would probably reveal only what we (sadly) already knew about too many of our fellow Americans.

But there was more:

“The study revealed that when Trump voters were exposed to the “black cue,” it not only made them less supportive of the issue. It made them angry. Yes, a picture of a black man—not an actual black man, but a picture of a black man—made them mad.”

The Republican Reich has carefully cultivated this attitude, ever since they adopted the Southern Strategy under Nixon.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Jun 182017
 

I’m waiting for Wendy to arrive to de-stink the sweaty TomCat and to help with chores, including the dreaded task.  If you played Fantasy Football in our league last year and have not told me whether you are still playing, please let me know.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): A GOP Father’s Day

 

You know Bought Bitch Mitch and his goose-stepping criminal cronies will only make the bad things in the House Bill worse. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: No experience? No problem! Donald Trump rewards loyalty above all else. Like a king doling out titles and land to loyalists, the U.S. is now Trump’s own personal fiefdom. He’s proved it once again by announcing he’s selected Lynne Patton for a key role at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Patton was appointed Wednesday to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, where she’ll oversee distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars.

What makes her qualified for a job overseeing billions of taxpayer dollars? She coordinated Eric Trump’s wedding, not to mention some ‘celebrity’ golf tournaments.

What’s even sadder is that she may be the most qualified of all of Trump’s appointees. RESIST!!

From NY Times: Many governments must be thinking along the same lines, but few have spelled it out so clearly. Germany did, when Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are somewhat over.” Now Canada, a country tightly bound to its neighbor by history, alliance and the longest border in the world, has declared the need to recognize that the United States is relinquishing its role as the “indispensable nation.”

“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, told her Parliament this month.

Ms. Freeland never mentioned Donald Trump. That wouldn’t be diplomatic. But every line of her speech before a silent House of Commons was clearly about a world order thrown into crisis as President Trump scoffs at trade agreements, hectors allies, rips up the landmark Paris climate accord and otherwise demonstrates disdain for anything that isn’t “America First.” Canada’s course, Ms. Freeland said, would be the opposite of Canada First; it would be “the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”

Dear world. It is my fervent hope that we will defeat the Republican Reich and return to the community of civilized nations. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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