Jun 062015
 

Forty-nine years ago today, I graduated from High School.  There are bands and festive floats passing under my window, but I don’t think they are there to celebrate me.  It’s the Grand Floral Parade, the second and last of the Portland Rose Festival.  Unfortunately, it’s blocking my access to prime kitty basking in the sun.  By the time it’s over, it will be too hot.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:42 (average 10:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: Ten Ideas to Save the Economy: Raise the Estate Tax

Inequality slows economic growth. To prevent the rise of a new aristocracy, we need to raise the estate tax.

 

The Reich on the left is right. America does not want a privileged aristocracy, but those are the ONLY people Republicans, the Reich on the right that is wrong, actually represent. This is the eighth video in the series. Please click through to MoveOn, and share it from there.

From TPM: A panel of federal judges on Friday ruled that Virginia lawmakers must redraw the state’s congressional map because it places too many black voters in one particular district at the expense of their influence in other districts.

“Because plaintiffs have shown that race predominated in Virginia’s 2012 plan and because defendants have failed to establish that this race-based redistricting satisfies strict scrutiny, we find that the 2012 plan is unconstitutional and will require the commonwealth to draw a new congressional district plan,” the judges wrote in the 2-1 decision, as quoted by The Roanoke Times.

…The panel of judges ordered the Virginia House of Delegates to redraw the map by Sept. 1, which The Washington Post points out would force the state’s General Assembly to hold a special summer session. But the state’s Republican congressional delegation is likely to appeal the latest decision, according to the newspaper.

Republican attempts to steal elections never end!

From Think Progress: The Norwegian Parliament voted Friday to remove coal investments from the country’s $890 billion government pension fund, which is considered the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.

Under the new policy, power and mining companies whose activities or revenue are at least 30 percent coal-related will be removed from the portfolio.

Kudos to Norway. May this mark the start of an international landslide.

Cartoon:

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May 082015
 

Here’s the rest of what happened yesterday.  Fortunately the LIFT bus dropped me off over an hour early, because I discovered that my doctor’s office sent me to the hospital Imaging Department, when I was supposed to go to the Professional Plaza Imaging Department down the street.  I called TriMet LIFT and they agreed to change my pickup location.  A walk up a steep hill later, I got to the Professional Plaza who discovered that my doctor’s office screwed up the paperwork for the X-Ray.  They called and found that her back office staff had just left for lunch.  I had to sit al hour waiting for them to return to fax them the right paperwork.  Apparently the order was unsigned.  After they got the paperwork I went into the queue.  The X-Ray only took 10 minutes, which was good, because I made it to the LIFT bus area with only a few minutes to spare.  I got to take the grand tour dropping off other riders, but there was no congestion from Obama’s visit.  I’ll be brief, because I’m worn out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy: Fight For $15

No one who works full-time should live in poverty. A decent nation ensures that all workers can pay their rent and feed their family.

 

Please click through to MoveOn to share this from there.

From The New Yorker: In a deepening humanitarian crisis, residents of the city of Austin report that they are completely surrounded by Texas, a situation that locals are calling “dire.”

Austin has traditionally enjoyed freedoms as a semi-autonomous region, hosting film festivals and literary events without the interference of its hostile neighbors, but there are growing fears that those days may be coming to an end.

Alarmingly, citizens of Austin report, extremists within the city limits have taken over the Capitol Building and installed a militant government with dominion over its residents.

In recent days, Austin has made desperate requests for assistance to the U.S. military, which will be conducting exercises in Texas in July.

From Andy we have the clarion call. Save Austin!!

From Reuters: Prime Minister David Cameron won a stunning election victory in Britain, confounding poll predictions that the vote would be the closest in decades to sweep into office for another five years with a clear majority and his Labour opponents in tatters.

My condolences to the people of the UK for demonstrating that the US does not have an exclusive on voter idiocy. Perhaps Pat can fill us in on why this happened.

Cartoon:

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May 052015
 

I’m waiting for Store to Door to call me for my grocery order, and it’s a very busy week.  Tomorrow is grocery delivery day and Thursday afternoon I go for the MRI on my shoulder.  Getting home, even on the Lift bus, just got a whole lot more difficult.  I just learned that Barack Obama will be attending a fund raising event just seven blocks from my home that afternoon, and the streets will be clogged with spectators and the demonstrators protesting the TPP.  It could take me hours to get home.  Now I’m all for Obama fundraising in Portland, and I’m all for protesting the TPP, but does it have to be THAT day?  ARGH! :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:36 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? 

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The most racist areas in the United States

0505Racict

Some of the spots are surprising.

From Upworthy: See how a group of Swedish police officers responded when a fight broke out on the New York subway.

 

Portland should hire a few Swedish cops!!

From NY Times: When the U.K. Independence Party received a donation of 1 million pounds a few weeks ago — about $1.5 million — it seemed like a big lift heading into the British general election on Thursday.

But the populist, anti-immigration party then faced an unusual problem: spending its cash.

In a country where television election spots are banned, billboards are booked long before voting day, and other strict laws constrain election spending, that task proved so hard that the party says it is unlikely to use all the money before Britons go to the polls.

Britain is not unusual in running short, relatively inexpensive campaigns. But few nations combine enthusiastic fascination with American-style politics — the governing Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party both hired top advisers to President Obama this election cycle — with campaign finance rules so stringent that they would seem better suited to City Council races in the United States.

The US needs to implement campaign finance rules from the UK.

Cartoon:

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Jan 082015
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 64.  I’m also waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  I missed sleep because of street noise, and cannot catch it up until my groceries are here and stashed, so I’m feeling quite tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Reuters: Hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly satirical magazine known for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in decades.

One of the men was captured on video outside the building waving his arms and shouting "Allah!". After dozens of shots rang out, two assailants were seen calmly leaving the scene. One police officer was seen being shot as he lay wounded.

What a horrid crime! My heart goes out to the surviving victims and to all the victims’ families and loved ones. Remember that these violent reactionary right-wingers are not authentic representatives of Islam. Also, contrary to the Republican Reich rumors that have already begun, this attack has nothing to do with Barack Obama.

From Upworthy: Honestly, I think what the Waltons do to people who work for them is criminal. But let’s hear more about that from economist Robert Reich.

 

Than goodness Robert Reich is the Reich on the left. The Walton family supports and is represented by the Reich on the right, the Republican Reich.

From The New Yorker: In a troubling sign for the 114th Congress, a new poll released on Tuesday indicates that the day-old legislative body is the most hated in the nation’s history.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, only eight per cent of those surveyed approved of the job Congress is doing, a scathing indictment of the legislators’ first day on the job.

The 114th Congress started the day on a slightly more positive note, garnering a ten-per-cent approval rating, but after the House of Representatives reëlected John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to a new term as Speaker, the number sank to eight.

On the Senate side, Joni Ernst (R.-Iowa), newly elected to the most despised Congress in American history, said that the low approval number was no cause for concern.

LOL Andy!! Give them time. They’ll get it much lower than that.

Cartoon:

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Being the Nevada Leg Hound can be dangerous!

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Sep 072014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 139.  What a rude awakening!  I took a cat nap after breakfast and did not wake up until after supper. :-(  Fortunately, I did my research before breakfast, so all I have to do is compose.  Tomorrow is a Holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, and the mighty Broncos will be honored with the first Sunday night meditation.  They hope to dine on small horse, but last time they tried, the small horses’ Luck was amazing.  This time, it’s our pasture.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: A special Upworthy partnership with the UN Climate Summit 2014. Made possible by Unilever Project Sunlight. Read more.

When you see photographs of the Earth from far away, the implications may not immediately be clear. This puts it all into perspective.

 

Amen!

From Daily Kos: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—the same birther guy who thought it was a good idea to get President Obama’s birth certificate before considering a challenge to putting him on the ballot in 2012—is trying to help incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts win reelection by refusing to allow the former Democratic candidate to remove his name from the ballot…

…Taylor, however, says he spoke with the head of the state’s elections division who told him that he’d done everything he needed to do in order to withdraw. Taylor’s withdrawal boosts the independent campaign of Greg Orman, who has a very good chance of unseating Roberts in November’s election.

Assuming Taylor is telling the truth—and given Kobach’s history as a bigoted right-wing lunatic I’d trust him over Kobach any day of the week—then Kobach is going to have a hard time explaining what appears to be a nakedly partisan move.

There is no crime Republicans will not commit to steal an election they cannot win legally. Get out the vote!!

From Think Progress: Canada leads the world in forest degradation, according to a new mapping project.

The project, put together by World Resources Institute, Greenpeace and multiple other groups, uses interactive maps to display forest degradation and destruction around the world between 2000 and 2013. According to WRI, more than 104 million hectares (about 401,546 square miles) — a chunk of land the group notes is three times the size of Germany — of the world’s remaining large, undisturbed forests, or Intact Forest Landscapes, were degraded in the last 13 years. The Northern boreal region of Canada, Russia and Alaska had some of the largest area of degraded forests, with the Amazon having the second-largest and the Congo basin the third.

In Canada’s tar sands region, forest fires and industrial development have destroyed or degraded almost two million acres of boreal forest since 2000, according to Peter Lee, Director of Global Forest Watch Canada. Lee told ThinkProgress in an email that Canada’s main driver of forest destruction is an “increased frequency and extent of forest fires” driven by climate change. These fires are likely converting areas that were once heavily forested into shrublands. Logging and road-building are the second-biggest causes of forest destruction and degradation, Lee said, and “massive increases in the pace and scale of energy developments, especially non-conventional oil and gas developments in northern Alberta’s tar sands region and also in north-eastern British Columbia with the shale plays,” is the third.

I almost always have reason to compare Canada favorably to the US the, but in this case Harper and his Harlots are outdoing us. They must have taken a course in Koch … never mind.

Cartoon:

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I have mixed feelings about the pageant.  Because I grew up in Atlantic City, it was the source of several pleasant childhood memories adolescent fantasies.  I understand that it tends to objectify women, but at the same time, it provided more scholarship money to women than any other organization in the country.  For me, it engendered respect for the beauty within women, not just without.

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Sep 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 135.  It has been an incredibly busy day, so this is tomorrow’s only article.  I cleaned in preparation for a maintenance inspection.  I ordered groceries for delivery tomorrow from Store to Door.  I learned that the prison has approved  joint executive body meetings this month.  During the week if the 21st of this month, I’ll be spending two nights in Salem for joint meetings between the Officers of out outside group and the officers of my guys’ inside group for planning and coordination.  I got my motel reservation and bus tickets.  I negotiated the migration of this blog to more a more powerful server while renewing our HSP service until September, 2016.  The blog may be offline, starting at about 2 AM Pacific time until that transition is complete.  If you could not get through, that’s why.  I’m so swamped, I even stole last year’s cartoon again.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:06 (average 5:47).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: All over Mexico, children have begun making their way to school for the start of a new year — many stepping into run-down buildings without running water, new textbooks or trained teachers.

Spending is not the issue. Mexico budgets more for education, as a proportion of gross domestic product, than Brazil, Spain and even Switzerland. So where does the money go?

According to one calculation now appearing on a new “abuse meter” — a giant electronic billboard hovering over a busy intersection here in the capital — about $2.8 billion annually goes into the pockets of 298,174 no-show teachers and administrators who collect pay without working.

While I agree that Mexican teachers and administrators should not be paid for not working, it’s rather hypocritical of us to criticize. After all Republicans in Congress get paid a hell of a lot more than Mexican teachers, and they do even less than nothing.

From The New Yorker: In what he called “a provocative and defiant act,” President Obama charged on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has started letting his calls go directly to voice mail.

Speaking at the White House before this week’s NATO summit, a visibly furious Obama said that Putin’s new practice of letting his calls go straight to voice mail “hampers our ability to discuss the future of Ukraine and other important issues going forward.”

Having left dozens of voice mails for the Russian President, Obama said that he tried to reach him via e-mail on Monday night but received an out-of-office auto reply.

“Given what he has been up to in Ukraine over the past few weeks, I find it impossible believe he has been out of the office,” Obama said.

No matter what Andy says, Obama is wasting his time trying to get in touch with Vladimir Putin (R-RU). Just like other Republicans, “GOP Pootie” will just lie to him anyway.

From Daily Kos: At the beginning of the year, we heard a lot of talk about how 2014 was going to be another Republican wave year, like 2010, or bigger [Limbarf delinked]. Now, however, it’s clear that 2014 has not followed the same trajectory as 2010.

By this time in 2010, Democratic fortunes were sliding downhill fast, according to generic congressional ballot polling questions. This year—not so much. Take a look at the trends (Loess curves):

0903Loess

Based on the Loess curves, we should win easily, but due to Gerrymandering Republicans have marked the cards and stacked the deck.  No doubt Joanne will agree that neither of us has ever said that it comes down to turnout. Riiiiiiiiight!! Get out the vote!

Cartoon:

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And the Holy Light broke forth from the Ellipsoid Orb!

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Aug 302014
 

I have long supported the idea of a carbon tax because it is the most direct way for corporate polluters cover the cost they are now pushing onto taxpayers.  In several nations, the carbon tax ix making inroads.  Chile, for one, is making excellent progress since throwing off the murderous Pinochet dictatorship, established by Nixon, Kissinger, and the US Republican Party in 1971.

0830chile_glacierIt’s a big year for fighting climate change in Chile. A carbon tax is set to go before its House of Representatives next week, as part of a larger tax reform package that includes measures intended to fight air pollution and climate change. Chile would become the first country in South America to institute a carbon tax, and the second in Latin America after Mexico, which imposed its carbon tax in January.

A carbon tax is what it sounds like. The government charges emitters of carbon pollution for every metric ton they release into the atmosphere. Carbon taxes are gaining popularity as a way to massively cut the amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere, while creating jobs, raising incomes, and cutting deficits in countries where they’re implemented. British Columbia, Canada has had a carbon tax since 2008 and has seen success cutting energy use and carbon emissions, and giving revenue from the tax back to low-income families to offset higher energy prices.

Chile’s initial tax will be $5 per ton of CO2, and Mexico’s taxes fuels at different rates, averaging out to about $3.50 per ton. Those are both pretty low, but once a carbon tax is in place, it can be raised. British Columbia’s started at C$10 per ton in 2008, ramping up over the years to C$30 in 2012. A study in California found that even a $200-a-ton carbon price would actually help businesses and create jobs in the state, though it’s far higher than anything that has been tried yet.

There is currently no carbon tax in the United States, and any attempt to pass one would be extremely difficult, thanks in part to a pledge from the Koch-backed organization Americans For Prosperity that requires signers to “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” A third of the U.S. House of Representatives and a quarter of Senators have signed the pledge… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

In 2008, Obama supported a Carbon Tax, while both Clinton and the Republican Party supported Cap and Trade.  In a misbegotten early attempt to foster bipartisanship, Obama switched to Cap and Trade, and the Republican Party disowned it immediately, calling it Cap and Tax and a Socialist, Kenyan conspiracy.  Now Republicans just support polluters, because that what the Koch Brothers want.  So we get to suck pollution, while Republican politicians suck … never mind.

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