Jul 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, say 88.  I’m rushing, because I have physical therapy in the morning, I’m tired, and I’m running out of day.  Depending on how badly the PT wipes me out, I may be AWOL for Saturday articles.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Having cash in the bank, stocks, a 401(k), and a house (or houses) full of stuff worth money — that’s all wealth. And it’s great to have for two basic reasons: (1) It’s handy when the goin’ gets tough (e.g., expensive medical emergencies, car troubles, making tuition, etc.), and (2) having more wealth means having more freedom to think about and plan for the future, including retirement.

But over the last several decades, rule changes that benefit the rich have made wealth harder to come by for most of us. Take a look below.

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If you haven’t guessed, in the GOP War on the poor and middle classes, they’re winning.

From Daily Kos: If you think House Speaker John Boehner’s pre-impeachment lawsuit against President Obama for failing to implement Obamacare quickly enough makes him look like an obstructionist jackass who is more interested in political stunts than doing the right thing for the country, you’re not alone:

A majority of Americans view House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) lawsuit over President Obama’s delayed implementation of ObamaCare’s employer mandate as a “political stunt,” according to a new poll released Monday.

The survey, commissioned by liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change, found that 51 percent of voters don’t believe the lawsuit is legitimate, versus just 41 percent who do.

Moreover, 56 percent say the lawsuit is wasteful spending, with just 36 percent saying it is a good use of taxpayer dollars.

That’s exactly what I said, when Agent Orange first announced it.

From AlterNet: The Associated Press is reporting that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was allegedly shot down in Ukraine near the Russian border Thursday. An advisor to the Ukraine’s Interior Minister confirmed the report at 11:40am. The plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, Ukraine officials are reporting on Facebook.

A Russian aviation industry source told Reuters news service that the 777 did not enter Russian airspace when it was expected, but crashed in eastern Ukraine.

The Boeing 777 had 280 passengers and 15 crew members,  Interfax reported citing an an aviation industry source. It is reported that all passengers and crew have been killed. Twenty-three Americans were reportedly on the flight. 

Political tensions and violence have been high in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. The Ukranian government is alleging that separatist rebels shot down the plane, and the separatists are blaming Kiev. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families. Of course Republicans say they know who is at fault.

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Jul 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 85.  Last night I crashed big time, making me late in getting my articles posted.  I ordered my groceries from Safeway, because Store to Door shops at Fred Meyers, and this week, their specials stink.  So Tuesday is a grocery delivery day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:58 (average 4:47).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A recent tour of the United States-Mexico border by Texas Governor Rick Perry has had the unintended consequence of convincing thousands of immigrants that anyone can succeed in America.

After Gov. Perry and the Fox News host Sean Hannity toured the Rio Grande on Thursday, news quickly spread that the two men were actually among the most powerful in America, fueling the immigrants’ impression that the U.S. is a place where anyone can make it.

“When we learned that these two men were the governor of a large state and a top broadcaster from a major news network, it seemed too incredible to be true,” said an immigrant from Honduras, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We all said to ourselves, if those two can succeed in America, imagine the wondrous things we might achieve.”

LOL! Andy needs to tell the poor immigrants that those two make it here only because of their willingness to sell their souls to and betray the America for the 0.1%.

From NY Times: The deal that Secretary of State John Kerry brokered to ease the Afghan election crisis with a sweeping audit of the vote was quietly built on an even more profound reshaping of the entire government system, American and Afghan officials confirmed Sunday: The sides have agreed to gradually create an empowered prime minister post after years of an all-encompassing presidency.

Nearly a decade after American officials pushed a Constitution that enshrined near-dictatorial powers for the president, it is a tacit admission that changing to a more parliamentary system — a fraught undertaking at any time — is now seen as crucial to holding the country together after years of mounting political crises and ethnic and factional hostilities, officials said.

The Bush Reich never intended the original Afghani government to be a real republic. They intended to create a fascist puppet dictatorship under Hamid Karzai, a pipeline expert working for Unocal.

From Think Progress: Last January, the two lawyers behind Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit claiming that President Obama is not implementing Obamacare fast enough authored an article in Politico Magazine laying out the legal theory behind this litigation. Yet, this article contains a glaring misrepresentation of a recent Supreme Court decision that undermines much of the basis for this lawsuit.

David Rivkin and Elizabeth Price Foley are the lawyers behind Boehner’s lawsuit. In their Politico piece, they correctly acknowledge that the biggest obstacle to suing Obama is something known as the “standing” doctrine. Standing is the requirement that a plaintiff bringing a lawsuit must have actually been injured in some way by the person that they are suing. But neither Speaker Boehner nor any other member of Congress has been injured by President Obama’s decision to delay implementation of a provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring employers with more than 50 employees to pay a fine if they don’t offer a minimal level of health insurance coverage. Boehner has not lost his health insurance because President Obama delayed this provision. Nor has this delay cost Boehner a single cent.

Of course, all Boehner wishes to do here if to get his lawsuit tied up in the courts until after the elections. As I have said before, it is a mere pretense, and it’s only intent is to stop the Baggers from embarrassing the rest of the party by trying to impeach Obama.

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Jul 102014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 80.  I’m feeling quite tired, because my groceries arrived late, and I had to stay up waiting for them.  They also woke mw calling with a question while they were shopping.  They did nothing wrong, but the timing cost me sleep.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:22).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone took a stand? Maybe we can all take tips from these boys. A government report came out in France saying "teachers give preferential treatment to male students." So as a protest, the schoolboys deconstructed gender stereotypes in a very visual way. They were met by a counter-protest from an anti-same-sex-marriage group that was already hot under the collar about a new gender equality curriculum introduced in 2014. The curriculum includes teachings on LGBTQ tolerance and gender theory.

 

Can you imagine the hateful screams from Republicans, if the US had a gender equality curriculum that included LGBT tolerance?

From Daily Kos: One by one, the GOP’s talking points about President Obama’s management of the American economy have fallen by the wayside. Even before he first took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, Republicans were warning about the "Obama Bear Market." Instead, the Dow Jones has more than doubled in value in hitting record highs. Contrary to bogus Republican claims that the Obama stimulus program "did not create a single job" and "made the economy worse," the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and most other observers concluded his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) boosted GDP, added millions of jobs and prevented "Great Depression 2.0." And with last week’s strong jobs report, the final GOP soundbite—that under President Bush "added jobs for a record 52 straight months"—has now been tossed into the rhetorical dustbin of history.

With word that the U.S. economy added a robust 288,000 jobs in June, the Obama White House noted that the private sector has added 9.7 million jobs over 52 straight months of job growth. If that 52 number sounds familiar, it should.

The "52 straight months" was a highlight of President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address and has been faithfully regurgitated by Republicans ever since.

The job growth under Bush was slower than it has been in the last 52 months under Obama. The Republican growth was based almost completely on the bad debt created by Republican Banksters. The Republican crash at the end left a net job loss.  The last Republican lie I heard on their bogus record being broken is that Obama cooked the books.

From NY Times: Republicans chose Cleveland on Tuesday for their 2016 national convention, with the hope of appealing to Rust Belt voters who eluded them in the last two presidential elections, and an acknowledgment of the political value of ending the party’s nomination process sooner.

The city edged out Dallas after a review by the Republican National Committee that narrowed the field to the two finalists last week. Both cities aggressively courted party officials, with Dallas presenting cheerleaders and a parade of elephants, and Cleveland turning to the Browns’ first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. The choice must be ratified at a meeting of the full Republican National Committee next month in Chicago.

While each party lost the state where it held its 2012 conventions, Republicans believe holding their convention in a vital swing state will help them from an organizational and message standpoint.

Perhaps Texan Republicans are so divorced from reality that the party does not want them on display, during the event intended to convince middle America that Republican officials and candidates are not the seditious bastards that they actually are.  On the other hand, I think that the author missed one key point. In Cleveland, John Boehner (R-OH), aka Agent Orange, already knows where the best bar and hookers are, saving the party money on research.

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Jun 192014
 

Ever since it became crystal clear that ObamaCare is working so well that Republicans can no longer use it is their scandal du jour, Benghazi has been the be all and end all of Republican attempts to manufacture a scandal to keep Americans from focusing on how Republicans in government are behaving.  Why is the terrorist responsible still at large?  Why did you decrease embassy security?  Why didn’t you protect the American Ambassador?  Why did Susan Rice lie to us with that ridiculous tale about a movie setting it off?  On and on they go, whine after whine!  But while Republicans whined, Obama acted.

0619AbuKhatalaAmerican commandos operating under the cover of night seized the man suspected of leading the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, the government announced on Tuesday, ending a manhunt that had dragged on for nearly two years and inflamed domestic and international politics.

With drones hovering overhead, about two dozen Delta Force commandos and two or three F.B.I. agents descended on the outskirts of Benghazi just after midnight local time on Monday; grabbed the suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala; stuffed him into a vehicle and raced away, according to officials briefed on the operation. No shots were fired, and the suspect was spirited out of Libya to a United States Navy warship in the Mediterranean.

The capture was a breakthrough in finding the perpetrators of an episode that has been politically divisive from the start. President Obama and the State Department have been buffeted by multiple investigations and charges of misleading the public about the circumstances of the attack, which cost the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. The president and administration officials have strongly rebutted the allegations and accused Republicans of politicizing a national tragedy… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

So the terrorist responsible is no longer at large.  Neither is Osama.  Obama brought them to justice.  Bush looked for Osama under the furniture.  Embassy security was reduced, because House Republicans cut the funding for it. The Ambassador chose to go beyond the area where he could be protected, and Susan Rice told the truth, as you’re about to see.

Chris Hayes provided excellent coverage of this story, debunking Republican lies along the way.

There’s little I can add to that, except that Joe Wilson had better take care. Republicans might commit sedition by illegally outing his wife, Valerie Plame from, the CIA. OOPS! To late! They already did that.

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May 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite tired out after the exertions of yesterday and today.  I arose at 3:00 AM and spent several hours completing my most hated chore, and I still have lots to do to prepare for my two-day prison volunteer trip next week.  I have had a couple cat naps since.  Day 40.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: OR-Sen, -Gov: PPP’s first post-primary poll of Oregon finds both of the state’s top Democrats, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Gov. John Kitzhaber, with comfortable leads over their GOP opponents. Merkley currently beats physician Monica Wehby, whose public image has recently taken a hit thanks to stalking allegations, by a 50-36 margin. Wehby’s favorables stand at just 26-40, while Merkley sports a decent 41-34 job approval score.

Except for one impossible-to-believe survey from Republican pollster Vox Populi, Merkley’s always had double-digit leads, so PPP’s numbers seem plausible. However, as Tom Jensen notes, most of the undecideds don’t like Obama (even though this is a blue state), so the race will likely tighten.

Kitzhaber, meanwhile, holds a similar 49-35 advantage over state Rep. Dennis Richardson, even though Kitz earns just a 42-46 approval rating. Richardson is little-known, though, and again, things are likely to tighten up. But Oregon’s demographics simply make victory for Republicans, especially against incumbents, very difficult.

The undecided voters that don’t like Obama are mostly further left than he is, so there is no danger of them voting for a billionaire loving stalker like Wehby, as Merkley is one of the most progressive Senators in the US. The danger is that too many may stay home.

From NY Times: President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority asked Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister, on Thursday to form a “government of national consensus” that would unite warring Palestinian factions for the first time in seven years and could send Israeli-Palestinian relations into a tailspin.

The new government, made up of politically independent professionals, would formally ally Mr. Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival, Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, under the terms of a unity pact reached last month. Palestinian officials said the new government would most likely be announced in the next few days, with Palestinian elections to be held in about six months.

I see this as a good thing for the Palestinians, as Israel has been using a divide and conquer approach to achieve a one-state solution by attrition, in clear violation of the Helsinki Accords.   Without a united Palestine to negotiate for all Palestinians, there can be no hope for lasting peace in the middle east.

From Upworthy: Maya Angelou was a poet, novelist, and public figure who became an American treasure in her 86 years on earth. Her work has received accolades, and in particular, her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" — about her early life overcoming racism and trauma by turning to the written word — has become a literature classic. Listen to a popular poem of hers, one I distinctly remember reading in the newspaper as a child, below.

 

She is and will be very missed.

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May 242014
 

Paul Krugman is a wonderful asset for Americans, but he’s given us a special treat by applying his economic talents to Europe.  In so doing he has found some fascinating parallels from history that should certainly give cause for concern.  Here is his introduction.

0524EuroRight

A century ago, Europe tore itself apart in what was, for a time, known as the Great War — four years of death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Later, of course, the conflict was renamed World War I — because a quarter-century later Europe did it all over again.

But that was a long time ago. It’s hard to imagine war in today’s Europe, which has coalesced around democratic values and even taken its first steps toward political union. Indeed, as I write this, elections are being held all across Europe, not to choose national governments, but to select members of the European Parliament. To be sure, the Parliament has very limited powers, but its mere existence is a triumph for the European idea.

But here’s the thing: An alarmingly high fraction of the vote is expected to go to right-wing extremists hostile to the very values that made the election possible. Put it this way: Some of the biggest winners in Europe’s election will probably be people taking Vladimir Putin’s side in the Ukraine crisis.

The truth is that the European project — peace guaranteed by democracy and prosperity — is in deep trouble; the Continent still has peace, but it’s falling short on prosperity and, in a subtler way, democracy. And, if Europe stumbles, it will be a very bad thing not just for Europe itself but for the world as a whole.

Why is Europe in trouble?…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Photo credit: Aljazeera (Click through for an excellent interactive breakdown of the parties by nation.)

Krugman goes on to explain how the 1% in Europe have hoodwinked Europeans into believing that austerity is the answer, much as Republicans did here, and that danger that extremist nationalism could emerge as it did in Germany after World War I.  Click through.  This is a must read.

Now, I don’t claim any expertise at all in European politics, beyond a fairly good understanding of the history.  Keeping track of InsaniTEA here in the US is a full time job.  However, seen in the light of history, Krugman’s analysis seems quite chilling to me.  I look forward to seeing the views of our European friends.

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May 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow.  It’s late in a busy day.  Because tomorrow is a prison volunteer day, I may have little or nothing for Friday and/or Saturday, as I shall get home late Thursday night and will have missed a sleep cycle.  Day 31.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: The Colbert Report 2014-05-19 Elizabeth Warren

 

Hilarious! Did Bernie have it right or what? Warren played it great.

From Daily Kos: On Friday evening I went up to Bellingham to hear Bill McKibben speak. Bill has something fascinating to share with his audience, how Germany has reached the point where it had gotten over 74% of its electrical power from renewable sources the other day. That’s a huge milestone, and it demonstrates that renewable sources can power a large industrial nation. Germany shows us that renewables aren’t a potential source of power for some time in the future, they are a viable alternative TODAY.

I’m no fan of the German conservative government, but they do deserve kudos for this.

From Alternet: Giving out prescriptions for vibrators seems more like a doctor’s bad pick-up line than good public policy. But in Sandy Springs, Georgia, you really do need a medical reason – and a doctor’s prescription – to buy a sex toy.

Melissa Davenport, a resident of Sandy Springs, has filed suit against the city because, as her lawyer Gerry Weber  told a local TV station, the ordinance allows the government to "stick its nose in your bedroom and say you can use this but not that." Davenport has multiple sclerosis, which she says has impacted her sex life with her husband, and she credits sex toys with saving her marriage. Yet her doctors still won’t write her a prescription.

Leaving aside the bizarreness of the policy itself – people should be able to buy sex toys for the sheer fun of it – it seems ironic that a woman with a real medical condition is being denied sex toys, when you consider that the vibrator was actually  invented to cure a (fake) medical condition: hysteria.

I intend no disrespect to women here, but disrespect for the Republican War on Women.  No wonder I call Republicans the Grand Old Pussy Posse! If they spent 1/20 the time policing Banksters that they do policing vaginas, we’d be in far better shape!

GOPP

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