Nov 152015

Individually and as a society, we must examine our attitudes towards terrorism, and our response to terrorist attacks.


Anytime there is an attack on civilians in the post-9/11 West, demagogues immediately blame it on Muslims. They frequently lack evidence, but depend on the blunt force of anti-Muslim bigotry to bolster their accusations.

Actual evidence, on the other hand, shows that less than two percent of terrorist attacks from 2009 to 2013 in the E.U. were religiously motivated. In 2013, just one percent of the 152 terrorist attacks were religious in nature; in 2012, less than three percent of the 219 terrorist attacks were inspired by religion.

The vast majority of terrorist attacks in these years were motivated by ethno-nationalism or separatism. In 2013, 55 percent of terrorist attacks were ethno-nationalist or separatist in nature; in 2012, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of terrorist attacks were inspired by ethno-nationalism or separatism.

These facts, nonetheless, have never stopped the prejudiced pundits from insisting otherwise.

On Friday the 13th of November, militants massacred at least 127 people in Paris in a series of heinous attacks.

There are many layers of hypocrisy in the public reaction to the tragedy that must be sorted through in order to understand the larger context in which these horrific attacks are situated — and, ultimately, to prevent such attacks from happening in the future.  

The Paris attacks, as horrific as they are, could be a moment to think critically about what our governments are doing both abroad and here at home. If we do not think critically, if we act capriciously, and violently, the wounds will only continue to fester. The bloodletting will ultimately accelerate.

In short, those who promote militarist policies and anti-Muslim and anti-refugee bigotries in response to the Paris attacks are only going to further propagate violence and hatred.

Click through for the rest of this inward looking article from Alternet.  Do we want a world at peace?  How far are we willing to go to bring about peace?  Are we even capable of bringing about peace?  Such will require a great deal of hard work.

Nov 142015

Des policiers recouvrent le corps d'une des victimes des attentats à Paris vendredi soir.From Le Figaro

Alternet — This is a running update based on information from The Guardian

  • One of the attackers at the Bataclan is understood to be a 30-year-old French national, who was known to French police because of links to Islamic radicals.

The news will be awash with questions, speculation, and hate in the coming days and weeks and months.  At one point I read that these attacks are by far the worst on French soil since WWII.

While ISIS claims responsibility and rejoices at the carnage, conservatives have pulled out all the stops on their vitriole.  This and others from Alternet

James Woods ✔@RealJamesWoods

If we can survive Obama and Kerry and Hillary until we can close our own borders, we might avoid this. …

3:07 PM – 13 Nov 2015

 The Daily Beast


From Le Figaro, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: «Nous répliquerons coup pour coup pour détruire Daech» (translation: We will repay blow for blow to destroy Daesh).  

And further down the page, The Metropolitan Opera showed solidarity with France by singing LaMarseillaise, the French national anthem.

From Al Arabiya 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt have been among the Arab states leading condemnations of the simultaneous attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and wounded 250 – 80 critically – on late Friday.

In addition, Saudi King Salman has sent condolences to French President François Holland and the people of France.  But is he playing both sides of the fence?  Saudi Arabia has been known to support ISIS in the past.

Of course Ted Cruz wasted no time in politicising the Paris tragedy for his own political gain.

Alternet — Ted Cruz continues to try to outflank the other Republican candidates from the right, wasting no time after yesterday's attacks in Paris to issue a bellicose statement insisting President Obama was too concerned with civilian casualties in Syria. 

"It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life. We must make it crystal clear that affiliation with ISIS and related terrorist groups brings with it the undying enmity of America—that it is, in effect, signing your own death warrant."

NBC News has a series of short videos which includes CAIR denouncing the attacks.  We must be careful not to condemn all Muslims for these cowardly attacks.  Perhaps if we all pull together as one people, we can defeat ISIS.

Please join me in condolences for France, the dead and their families, the injured and their families, the first responders.  Let our prayers and thoughts be with them in their time of need.

Nov 142015

I just got back to bed after eating breakfast in a wheel chair and taking a hunting trip a around the unit.  I couldn’t ketch one today either.  Smile with tongue out    I’m hoping OT comes today so I can mount the porcelain throne to Republicate.

Short Takes:

From KPTV: In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Portland City Council passed a resolution opposing any project that increases the transportation or storage of fossil fuels in Portland.

Now, city workers will develop rules that move Portland away from projects that involve coal or oil.

Furthermore they recently passed a measure banning explosive oil trains from the city. Oregon leads the way.

From Daily Kos: That Ben Carson gets awfully creative with the truth is by now well established. Here’s one if his more interesting ones, that Medicare and Medicaid fraud  is “huge—half a trillion dollars.” Which is pretty much impossible, since total spending for the two programs is less than a trillion—$980 billion last year, to be exact. But here’s a new wrinkle on that specific claim: Carson has some very personal experience with Medicare fraud: his best friend and business partner has been convicted of it.

The friend in question, indeed Carson’s best friend and business partner, is a Philadelphia-area oral surgeon, Alfonso Costa. 

Carson and Costa have long been tight. They vacation together, and Carson holidays at an Italian resort villa owned by Costa’s company. Costa is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Ben Carson Scholars Fund, which awards $1,000 college scholarships to students who demonstrate good character and strong academics. And Costa’s real estate development firm helps to oversee a lucrative investment for Carson and his wife, one that last year netted the Carsons between $200,000 and $2 million, according to the GOP candidate’s financial disclosure forms.

As much as a quarter of Carson’s $8 million-plus personal wealth is tied up in various real estate ventures with Costa.

Why am I not surprised? If uncle Token weren’t a criminal, he wouldn’t be a Republican!

From NY Times: The Paris area reeled Friday night from a shooting rampage, explosions and mass hostage-taking that President François Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack on France. His government announced sharply increased border controls and heightened police powers as it mobilized the military in a national emergency.

French television and news services quoted the police as saying that around 100 people had been killed at a concert site where hostages had been held during a two-hour standoff with the police, and that perhaps dozens of others had been killed in apparently coordinated attacks outside the country’s main sports stadium and four other popular locations in the city. But estimates on the total number of dead varied.

Witnesses on French television said the scene at the concert hall, which can seat as many as 1,500 people, was a massacre, describing how gunmen with automatic weapons shot bursts of bullets into the crowd.

This is tragic. I’m sending thoughts and prayers to the survivors, the victims families, all who love them. However you connect with the infinite, please join me.



Aug 192015

It’s another very hot very humid day.  After today, we should get two temperate days, before the 90°+ weather returns on Saturday.  Yesterday afternoon, I learned that my friend with cancer was in recovery, after a successful mastectomy.  I feel quite relieved about that.  Store to Door delivered groceries early.  I have them put away.  Now, if I can just stay conscious until after my articles are up and out, it’s A/C hunker time again.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:21 (average 4:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker:

On the evening of August 6th, when the news broke that Senator Charles Schumer would vote against the Iran accord, the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid, was as stunned as the rest of his caucus. The two men are close friends. When Reid became the leader, in 2005, Schumer was a backbencher, who mused about running for governor of New York. Reid took an interest in him, came to rely on both his fund-raising prowess with Wall Street and his counsel on a range of matters, and always advised his ambitious protégé, “Be patient, be patient.” Last March, when Reid announced that he would retire at the end of 2016, he endorsed Schumer to succeed him and announced that another contender, Richard Durbin, the Democratic whip (and Schumer’s former roommate), would stand down. For those progressives who questioned whether Schumer should be leader, Reid said that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would keep the caucus honest. Now, because of Schumer’s position as presumptive leader, Reid felt that Schumer should have informed him of his decision on the Iran deal, given its importance, according to a Senate aide. Still, when a White House official called Reid that night to ask if he would announce his support of the deal to counter Schumer’s opposition, Reid refused, saying he wasn’t ready, a close associate said. (A spokesman for Senator Reid later issued a statement denying that Reid was surprised by Schumer’s announcement. “Their relationship is as close as ever. On Iran, Senator Reid respects the decision of conscience Senator Schumer made and he did not raise concerns with the announcement or the timing.”)*

More than a week has passed, and Reid still wonders why Schumer decided to announce his opposition when he did. Schumer was the first Democratic senator to oppose the deal. And it was his timing, perhaps even more than the substance of his decision, that has upset his pro-deal colleagues and, most unmistakably, the White House. Josh Earnest, the President’s press secretary, said he wouldn’t be surprised if some members of the Senate Democratic caucus “consider the voting record of those who say they would like to lead the caucus,” and he went on to liken Schumer’s decision to oppose the Iran deal to his support for the Iraq War, in 2003. It always seemed implausible that Schumer—an AIPAC stalwart who boasted that he is Benjamin Netanyahu’s best friend on Capitol Hill—would oppose AIPAC and Netanyahu on a deal they both claim is an existential threat to Israel. (I have written about AIPAC’s influence on politicians for the magazine.) “Chuck was always among the least likely Democrats to support the deal,” a longtime close friend of Schumer’s told me. And, after Schumer’s announcement, Durbin said, “I always expected him to be against the agreement.”…

Click through for the rest of this highly informative piece. If your Senator(s) are Democrats, call them regularly to tell them to strip this Bankster-bought traitor of any and all party leadership positions.

From NY Times: Russians are experiencing the first sustained decline in living standards in the 15 years since President Vladimir V. Putin [R-RU] came to power. The ruble has fallen by half against the dollar, driven by the plunging price of oil, the lifeblood of Russia’s economy. As a result, prices of imported goods have shot up, making tea, instant coffee, children’s clothes and back-to-school backpacks suddenly, jarringly expensive.

The Russian people are learning first hand the steep price they have to pay for putting a Republican in charge of their nation.

From Alternet: Ann Coulter knows who she wants to be the Democratic nominee for president, and who that person is, well, it may surprise you.

She wants Hillary Clinton to be the nominee, and thinks that if Bernie gets the nod, he’ll beat whoever the Republicans come up with to run against him.

You won’t hear me say this often, but Ann Coulter is right.

If Bernie Sanders ends up being the Democratic nominee for president, and it looks more and more every day like he will be, his Republican opponent is going to have a very hard time beating him.

And that’s because of all the Democratic candidates running, Bernie Sanders has the best chance of capturing Republican votes.

I’ve seen how Bernie does this, up close and personal.

Despite its reputation as a place filled with liberal hippies, Vermont, like most of rural northern New England, is home to a lot of conservatives.

Anyone running for statewide office there needs to win these conservatives’ votes, and Bernie is great at doing that.

As much as I’d like to echo this author’s optimism, northern NH Republicans are more like the old time back woods Republicans that were somewhat progressive in their views and opposed to the old time Dixiecrats, that now hold the Republican Party in thrall. To get lots of Republican support, nationwide, Bernie would have to convince a lot of willfully ignorant voters, too lazy to want to learn, not to be afraid of media-hyped "Socialism". That’s a tall order, not because Bernie lacks skill, but because he would be trying to plow a swamp.



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.



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.



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


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.



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.



Being the Nevada Leg Hound can be dangerous!

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.



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.



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.

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):


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!



And the Holy Light broke forth from the Ellipsoid Orb!

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.

Aug 292014

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 130.  This morning I was tied up trying to fix a computer problem.  In addition, I had no water for two hours, because maintenance had to do repairs in a neighboring unit.  I got my research done, but it’s much later than normal.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:


Short Takes:

From NY Times: The four-hour tours offered by one of the big gun ranges here are a popular tourist attraction. Starting at $200 a person, a bus will pick up visitors at their hotel in Las Vegas, 25 miles to the north, show them Hoover Dam and bring them to a recreational shooting range called Last Stop, where they can fire the weapons of their dreams: automatic machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers. A hamburger lunch is included; a helicopter tour of the nearby Grand Canyon is optional.

But on Monday, one family’s adventure went horribly wrong. A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi submachine gun while he stood to her left side, trying to guide her. A video of the shooting, which her parents recorded on a cellphone, suggests that the girl, in pink shorts and with a braided ponytail, was unable to control the gun’s recoil; the instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, was rushed to a hospital in Las Vegas, where he died Monday night.

I remember being a nine year old at an NRA shooting range, but the weapon they gave me was a single shot .22 short rifle, not an Uzi submachine gun. I consider any instructor who would put such a weapon in a child’s hands a victim of his own Republican Ammosexuality, but he and the girl’s idiot parents have emotionally scarred the girl for life. She is the real victim here.

From Christian Science Monitor: The toughened economic sanctions the United States and the European Union imposed on Russia a month ago over its actions in Ukraine appear to have had little of the desired impact.

Instead of pulling back from the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia appears to be escalating its involvement. On Thursday, Western officials asserted that more than 1,000 Russian soldiers have crossed the border into southeastern Ukraine to bolster beleaguered pro-Russia separatists.

That action quickly raised questions concerning what more and what kind of action the West is likely to take in response. And the quick answer appears to be: not much.

Vladimir Putin (R-RU), aka GOP Pootie, because the Republican Party adopted him on account of his hatred toward and persecution of gay people, is ignoring the sanctions, because he recognizes that we have our hands full with ISIS and he sees the power vacuum in the US, where Congress has the responsibility to decide military action against ISIS, but the Republicans in the House would rather duck their responsibility, and complain that Obama has not taken action, while suing him over the hast time he took action, when they complained that he hadn’t taken action.

From CBS: They rejected him in 2008 and 2012, but Iowa Republican caucus-goers may finally be ready to embrace Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee.

According to a new USA Today/ Suffolk University poll, 35 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in Iowa would vote for Romney in the 2016 GOP caucus if given the opportunity to do so.

The pollsters initially gave the voters a list of a dozen potential 2016 Republican candidates, not including Romney. Asked to name their first choice, 13 percent said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (who won the 2008 GOP caucuses). Another 11 percent named New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while 9 percent chose Texas Gov. Rick Perry and 7 percent chose former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

If the best they can come up with for 2016 is Little Lord Willard, infamous for Etching his Sketch, when reality does not suit them, Republicans are screwed in 2016. Vulture Capitalists make lousy candidates. Their greed sticks to them. Now we need to save the country by keeping them from increasing their power base before then.