Apr 012014
 

Although I am not the impassioned animal advocate that many of my friends are, I have been a long term fan and supporter of the Sea Shepherds and an opponent of brutal Japanese commercial whaling in the Antarctic under the guise if scientific research.  Therefore, I am very happy to share this news.

0401WhalesThe United Nations’ top court on Monday ordered Japan to end its annual Antarctic whale hunt, saying in a landmark ruling that the programme was a commercial activity disguised as science.

“Japan shall revoke any existent authorisation, permit or licence granted in relation to JARPA II (research programme) and refrain from granting any further permits,” said the International Court of Justice’s Judge Peter Tomka.

Agreeing with Australia, which in 2010 hauled Japan before the Hague-based ICJ in a bid to end whale hunting in the Southern Ocean, Tomka said that “special permissions granted by Japan are not for purposes of scientific research.”

“The evidence does not establish that the programme’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to its stated (scientific) objectives,” Tomka said.

While Norway and Iceland have commercial whaling programmes in spite of a 1986 International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, Japan insisted its programme was scientific, while admitting that the resulting meat ended up on plates back home.

Tokyo was accused of exploiting a legal loophole in the 1986 ban on commercial whaling that allowed the practice to collect scientific data.

Conservation groups hailed the ruling, which Japan said it would respect despite “deep disappointment”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Raw Story>

It just makes no sense to slaughter endangered animals far more intelligent that people who vote Republican.

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Mar 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe that this month has gone so quickly.  I’ll continue to be scarce in April.  My schedule makes this month’s seem tame, by comparison.  Please pardon my brevity, lest I run out ofday, before running out of tasks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration.

It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is that he, like many others in agriculture here, is increasingly fed up with immigration laws that he says prevent him from fielding a steady, reliable work force.

“What we have going on now is a farce — a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Herrin, a lifelong Republican who grew up in central California, adding that the country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out. “We need these people to get our food to market.”

Even Republicans recognize the need to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but the Republican Party continues to sabotage it. To intentionally harm our economy for political gain, however ineptly done, is sedition.

From Think Progress: Last month, Uganda made international headlines when President Yoweri Museveni signed the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, calling for the imprisonment of gay citizens. But one religious leader refuses to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation, and has become a hero to the country’s gay community.

In defiance of the legislation, commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, Rev. Christopher Senyonjo hosts weekly prayer sessions and counseling services to LGBT worshipers and supporters. He also critiques fellow clerics’ “healing” approach to addressing the gay community, whereby church leaders attempt to fix people through prayer. “They said I should condemn the homosexuals,” he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.”

Citing questionable evidence provided by Ugandan scientists, the President justified signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February by arguing that being gay is a choice. According to the harsh law, first-time offenders can spend at least 14 years in jail, while others can serve lifelong sentences. As a result, LGBT people are ostracized and subjected to violence.

Reverend Senyonio aptly illustrates the difference between authentic Christians and Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, like the members of the US Congress, who coined this legislation, and even intended it to include capital punishment for gay people.

From Daily Kos: Mississippi has not been what you’d call a pro-union state, but it’s really hammering that point home this week, with the state Senate passing not one, not two, but THREE anti-union bills and sending them to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature:

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it. [...]

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict mass picketing of a residence or place of business. It says pickets would be legal as long as they weren’t violent and didn’t block entrances. But it also makes getting a court stop order against picketing easier.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs.

So basically, "unions GTFO. We will sue you for breathing."

The Republican Party is dedicated to create slave labor that the 1% can exploit without having to build in the third world.  You’re it.

Cartoon:

0331Cartoon

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Mar 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this will be the only article, because I spent the day working on volunteer training.  I may stay scarce, because I have errands to run tomorrow, and both an appointment and grocery delivery on Wednesday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:59 (average 5:33).   To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: “Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?” the online ad reads. “Come to Fukushima.”

That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.

The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, has been shifting its attention away, leaving the complex cleanup to an often badly managed, poorly trained, demoralized and sometimes unskilled work force that has made some dangerous missteps. At the same time, the company is pouring its resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, that it hopes to restart this year as part of the government’s push to return to nuclear energy three years after the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster.

Given the level of disregard Tepco is showing for their workers, the environment, and those of us to whom the Japan Current will bring the contamination from mistakes, I’m surprised that they aren’t a US energy company. I guess Japan has Republicans too. :-(

From Alternet: Purchases of American products generally come with a sales tax, and often an excise tax, and possibly state and local add-on taxes. A consumer can avoid all this by limiting purchases to  food and prescription drugs, or by shopping  online. There’s one more way — by visiting a nearby financial exchange and buying a million dollars worth of derivatives.

There is currently no U.S. tax on the purchase of stocks, derivatives, and other financial instruments. The rest of us pay up to a 10 percent sales tax on the necessities of daily life. A tiny  financial transaction tax  of perhaps a tenth of a percent on the trading of financial securities would begin to correct this inequity, while generating billions of dollars of revenue.

There are at least  five good reasons  why our country is ready for such a  financial transaction tax (FTT) .

This is obscene, but Republican welfare for the super-rich always is. Click through for the excellent list of reasons.

From Crooks and Liars: Crimeans voted overwhelmingly Sunday to join former political master Russia as tensions soared in the east of the splintered ex-Soviet nation, the epicentre of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Partial results with more than half the ballots counted showed 95.5 percent of voters were in favour of leaving Ukraine, in the most radical redrawing of Europe’s map since Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

I can certainly understand the desire of Crimeans to rejoin Russia, since Crimea is a Russian area, included in Ukraine when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. If that’s what Crimeans want, an inter4nationally supervised referendum should be organized to facilitate that end. A referendum conducted under Russian guns is no more valid that one in a Red state, where Republicans control e-voting machines with no paper trail. Therefore, I continue in opposition to the Republican militarism of Vladimir Putin (R-RU).

Cartoon:

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Subsequent unconstitutional decisions have rendered this one all but moot.

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Mar 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, having fully enjoyed my day off yesterday,  My paid helper-friend, after having missed several appointments came unexpectedly and did the heavier work that, otherwise, I would have had to do today.  After just one day away, I feel out of touch with the political world, and I feel I have some catching up to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:19 (average 6:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here’s a visual that I hope gets more people to think about these three words: Redistribute. The. Wealth.

The Distribution of Wealth in the U.S

This picture really is worth a thousand words.  Here are my three words: Amen!  Amen!!  Amen!!!

From Think Progress: On Thursday, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced plans to invest more of the nation’s $840 billion sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the country struggles to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, built in large part on investment from the country’s oil and gas reserves, currently only invests a small fraction of money in green technology. The fund invests in listed equities, bonds and real estate, about 10 percent of which is made up of coal, oil and gas investments. The fund is also evaluating whether to exit these investments, as over the last 10 years nuclear weapons producers, companies in-breach of human rights, and tobacco companies have all been excluded.

Kudos to Norway. The US should redeploy welfare payments to oil, gas, and coal companies to investment in renewable green energy!

From Raw Story: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, the libertarian-leaning senator said he supported the Enforce the Law Act, which has been approved by the House. The legislation would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot was happy to join his misanthropic father in pretending to favor legalization, but only as long as it was actually illegal. He’s just one more goose-stepping Republican hypocrite.

Cartoon:

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This led to the US overthrow of democratic government in Iran and installation of a dictatorship under the Shah,

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Mar 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and am feeling quite tired, because, between personal business, volunteer business, and research, I’ve been going strong for six hours.  Two pounds of you know what in a one pound bag is a constant around here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:05 (average 6:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law is so extreme it’s almost unbelievable. But it is very real for the lesbian and gay community living there. And if you want to organize a movement against the law in Uganda? You could go to prison too. That’s why the rest of the world must speak up, and loudly.

0305Uganda

When Republican Representatives and Senators from the US originally travelled to Uganda to propose and promote this law, it also contained the death penalty.

From Daily Kos: You know how experiencing personal tragedy can make some Republicans very nearly human? Like when Sen. Mark Kirk had a stroke and the epiphany that low-income residents on Medicaid wouldn’t get the same chance at rehabilitation that he got? And that that was bad? Well, that doesn’t work with every Republican. Meet Arkanasas [sic] state Rep. Josh Miller, one of the Republicans trying to take Medicaid away from what is now about 100,000 people who’ve gained it through the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Miller, 33, was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can’t remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw. He was rescued, but suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. Miller was uninsured. [...]

Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation followed, including a long stretch in intensive care at St. Vincent Infirmary. There was a $1 million bill. Medicaid paid most of it. Miller was placed on disability and checks began. In time, between Medicaid and Medicare, all his health costs were covered by the federal government. For that reason, he need not be among the 82 Arkansas legislators (61 percent of the body) who enjoy heavily subsidized and comprehensive state employee health insurance.

Health insurance isn’t Miller’s only government benefit. Another federal Medicaid program for which he qualifies provides daily personal care assistance…

Click through for more. How do you spell hypocrite? R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N!!

From The New Yorker: Russian President Vladimir Putin received “strong, unqualified words of support” last night in a ninety-minute conversation with himself, Mr. Putin confirmed today.

The invasion of Crimea was the main topic of the conversation, which Mr. Putin described as “extremely collegial and enthusiastic.”

“We discussed a wide range of issues, including how everyone in Ukraine had invited us to come to Ukraine, and also how the soldiers reported to be in Crimea were not actually Russian soldiers but, in fact, local volunteers who looked a lot like Russian soldiers,” he said. “There was strong agreement on all of these matters.”

But Andy, Putin (R-RU) dies not need himself for praise. He has the Republican Party!

Cartoon:

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Note here that the lawyer who volunteered to defend the British soldiers was John Adams, because he believed that all accused have the right to a vigorous defense.  If only Republicans would recognize this.

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Mar 022014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and running quite a bit late, because collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report takes several hours.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:53 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Bill Nye takes a whack at dispelling the myths surrounding child mortality and foreign aid.

 

Kudos to Bill Nye. What he does not cover is that the majority of the foreign aid we do give is military aid.

From Daily Kos: The iron curtain of the Supreme Court was breached on Wednesday. Activists from the the group 99Rise entered the Supreme Court chamber. After videoing the session where the justice can be clearly seen, one of the activists stood up. He said the following before he was accosted by the Supreme Court security detail.

 

Kudos to the protestors. What they said is true.

From Alternet: The Death Penalty: The Sanctity of Life Manifested

America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective laments that the death penalty, and thus the sanctity of life, have become less hip. Back in the good old days, “because people believed in the sanctity of human life, most states practiced capital punishment.”

A Beka Book knows what God was thinking when he killed people for crimes like prostitution, bearing false witness, and not crying out while being raped (if you are betrothed): “Most people believed God instituted capital punishment to discourage murder and to teach mankind the value of human life.”

This is just one of seven absurd things Republicans are gutting public education to teach to children. Click through for the other six.

Cartoon:
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Feb 222014
 

You already know that the Republican Party has established a strong presence in the former Soviet Union through the anti-democratic policies of Vladimir Putin (R-RU), aka GOP Pootie.  Sadly, Putin has a Republican ally in the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who is killing hos people to maintain dominance.  Putin supports him.  Consider the years of sacrifice athletes undertake to earn an opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.  That Bogdana Matsotska has sacrificed that opportunity to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian protestors makes her a true Olympic Hero.

0222BogdanaMatsotskaTwo members of Ukraine’s Olympic team withdrew from the Sochi Games on Thursday in a show of solidarity with protesters who are locked in a violent conflict with their government in the capital city of Kiev.

Bogdana Matsotska, an Alpine skier, and her father and coach, Oleg Matsotskyy, announced on Matsotskyy’s Facebook page that they would be leaving Sochi before Matsotska had finished competing. Matsotska, 24, will not take part in the women’s slalom, which is scheduled for Friday…

…In explaining the decision to leave early, Matsotskyy wrote in his Facebook post that “as a protest against lawless actions made towards protesters, the lack of responsibility from the side of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.” It is believed that at least 25 people have died and hundreds more were injured in a confrontation in Kiev this week.

Along with his message, Matsotskyy posted a picture that appeared to be of him and Matsotska, standing in front of the Olympic rings and holding a Ukrainian flag. He wrote that he and his daughter had come to Sochi hoping that President Viktor F. Yanukovych and his government would negotiate peacefully with the opposition during the Olympics. They added that they believed the violence that erupted against protesters was a “violation of the old principle of the Games — the Olympic Truce.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Here’s video of Bogdana.

 

Lawrence O’Donnell also covered this story. I’m sorry that international readers cannot watch this, but I could not find it from another source.

Kudos to Bogdana and her father.

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