Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A tad too late


The October Project "Return To Me"


Reality At The End


From the pen of Tom Tomorrow



If Bogie doesn't know



Joanne Shaw Taylor


"Jealousy"


Heads Up!



Monday, May 30, 2016

Joan Baez


"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"


Something to remember



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daphne & the Mystery Machines


"Resurrection"


His freedom? We pay the price.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jill Andrews


"Sweet Troubled Man"


Qualifications?



Friday, May 27, 2016

Kelleigh McKenzie


"Eleanor Rigby"


Oh My! Trump Speech explained



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers


With a live performance of "Ravenous"


If it's on the Internet.....


From the pen of Tim Eagan



R.I.P. Mell Lazarus


Your classroom cartoon was one peach of a strip. Did your momma know what you were doing.

Some Japanese want to get their war on


It seems no matter where you go and what the circumstances may be, there will always be a few SOBs who want to kill someone.Even in a country like Japan that was so thoroughly trashed in their WWII loss they have never since engaged in a conflict, there are some who still want to show that old Samurai mojo.
From a militarist empire whose armies tore across Asia in the first half of the 20th century, Japan, seared by the most horrific consequence of war, embraced democracy and nonbelligerence seemingly overnight. It has not sent a soldier into combat since 1945, a record of pacifism that exceeds even that of its onetime ally, Germany...

“The Japanese Constitution is a Hiroshima Constitution, more than a Tokyo Constitution,” referring to the transformative basic law handed down by the United States after Japan’s defeat. The charter renounces war, declares that “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained,” and rejects “the right of belligerency of the state.”

But the Constitution, and the array of pacifist-tinged laws and policies that flow from it, has come under attack as external dangers loom. The pacifist movement that has long been centered in Hiroshima is struggling to remain relevant to younger people, many born several generations after the war’s end.

“Obama is visiting Hiroshima at a time when the contrast between the city and what’s happening at the national level is getting stronger,” said Tadatoshi Akiba, a former mayor of the city.

Seven decades after World War II, Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party says the constraints placed on Japan in the conflict’s aftermath are outdated and enfeebling, and it has proposed an array of constitutional amendments, including a rollback of the charter’s pacifist clauses.

Mr. Abe argues that change is vital because a more potent and assertive China and a nuclear-armed North Korea have emerged on Japan’s doorstep. And he has offered a brasher alternative to the inward-looking exceptionalism that grew out of Hiroshima, campaigning to transform Japan into a “normal” country, with a freer military and a bigger role in global affairs.

For some, that vision runs counter to the “never again” message inscribed on Hiroshima’s war memorial, and symbolized by the skeletal atomic bomb dome preserved at ground zero nearby.

“Abe’s approach is a kind of ‘military pacifism’ that takes war as a given,” said Motofumi Asai, a former Foreign Ministry official who directed the Hiroshima Peace Institute from 2005 to 2011 and is now a professor at Osaka University of Economics and Law. “If Japanese people embrace this, they are denying their postwar constitutional pacifism.”
Sure, Japan has a Self Defense Force but it has never operated outside of Japan except in purely peaceful missions like disaster recovery. And they never were much good against Godzilla. On the other hand, despite all the obvious advantages, like not pissing away a fortune on excessive military hardware which only gets the generals and admirals hyperventilating to use it. some in Japan feel the need to return to the good old days when they could attack anyone they chose to. Because each passing year makes it easier to forget what happened the last time they were free to do that.

How the RW Religious Whackos gave us abortion politics.


And Samantha Bee only needs 7 minutes to reveal it all.


Pay no attention to the clown.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A London singer with a lovely voice


Bella McKendree " Grace"


I've heard that song before


From the pen of Chad Lowe



Elizabeth Warren does Donald Trump


Skinned, gutted and roasted perfectly. And unless one of his handlers has a gag on him, we expect one of his trademark schoolyard retorts sometime soon. In a speech on Tuesday night the good Senator from the Commonwealth nailed an orange his de to the wall.
Elizabeth Warren unloaded on Donald Trump in a speech on Tuesday night, calling him a “money-grubber”, a tool of the Wall Street banks and a tax delinquent who rooted for families to get thrown out of their homes in the housing market crash.

The Massachusetts senator seized on remarks made by Trump in 2006 and recently unearthed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, in which Trump said of a housing market crash that “[I] sort of hope that happens because then, people like me would go in and buy … If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money.”

Her voice resonating with offense, Warren, a former Harvard professor of law and high school debate champ, said that Trump “was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown”. She continued:

What kind of a man does that? What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out of their house? What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out of their jobs? …

What kind of a man does that? I’ll tell you exactly what kind of a man does that. It is a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt so long as he makes a profit off it.

What kind of man does that? A man who will never be president of the United States.
The comments from the StormTrumpers, to a boy, make some sleazy reference to the Indian heritage smear that didn't work for Sen Scott "Nudie" Brown. They should show more restraint, their Trumpenfuehrer is acting like General Custer.

People who have had so much smoke blown up their ass


It's coming out of their eyeballs.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Her beginning


Joni Mitchell was the musical asteroid that wiped out the folk dinos when she released "Both Sides Now"


I voted for Bernie


But I'm with her regarding this. With proof like this, never trust a Republican.



Brother can you spare a dime


From the pen of Chan Lowe



How Great Thou Art



Monday, May 23, 2016

San Francisco Roses


"Sally Go Round The Roses" by The Great Society with Grace Slick on vocals


How much Trump is too much


If you did not say "Any Trump is too much" then our intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow has some clues to let you know when you reach the limit.

Toddlers kill because we let them


From the pen of Clay Bennett



Last time around Viet Nam wanted them gone


But now, as President Obama is on a state visit to our erstwhile existential enemy, the Government of Viet Nam can't wait to get their hands on US weapons without having to ambush someone. And President Obama has obliged his hosts by lifting the long time arms embargo, opening the way for regular sales.None of this is in any way connected to how nervous both the US and Viet Nam about China.
Vietnam has long sought an end to the moratorium. But the request took on a more urgent tone in recent years after its neighbor, China, repeatedly threatened or attacked ships in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and started picking territorial fights with Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

Obama said at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang that the decision was not about China, but rather one “based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process towards moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

“This change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War,” he said. “It also underscores the commitment of the United States to a fully normalized relationship with Vietnam, including strong defense ties with Vietnam and this region for the long term.”

The U.S. has not sold lethal weapons to Vietnam since communists took control of the entire country at the end of the Vietnam War, which left nearly 60,000 Americans dead. President Ronald Reagan officially prohibited arms sales in 1984.

“Vietnam very much appreciates the U.S. decision to completely lift the ban on lethal weapon sales to Vietnam, which is clear proof that both countries have completely normalized the relations,” Quang said.

The move angered some human rights groups who said it eliminates the leverage the U.S. has used to push Vietnam to change its still-poor human rights practices.

“The United States government has been telling the Vietnam government for years that they need to show progress on their human rights record if they are going to be rewarded with closer military and economic ties,” said John Sifton, Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch. “Yet today President Obama has rewarded Vietnam even though they have done little to earn it: the government has not repealed any repressive laws, nor released any significant number of political prisoners, nor made any substantial pledges.”

Sifton called on the US government to use the regulatory framework and licensing regime for future sales and transfers to create incentives for Vietnam to improve its human rights record.

Obama can lift the arms embargo to Vietnam without congressional approval. But lawmakers will need to sign off on individual sales.

Vietnam has not given the United States a specific wish list of weapons. Experts say Hanoi could be looking for warships, missiles and radar, surveillance and communications equipment. Examples include Lockheed’s P-3 Orion and C-130 Hercules, or Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon. The military aircraft could help track Chinese ships and submarines.

The country’s main source of weapons now is Russia, which has provided Vietnam with Kilo-class submarines and Sukhoi fighter jets, and would likely remain a cheaper and more efficient supplier.
All the usual malarkey about human rights, ignoring the fact that nobody buys arms to protect or respect human rights. And how surprising is it that we could sell non-lethal weapons? I didn't think there was any market for the F-35.

Dissecting the primary process


John Oliver wades into the muck to try and explain a disaster all around.


Not even the full nag



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Boston Bluegrass


Della Mae sings for Labor Rights in "Boston Town" on Prairie Home Companion.


When your job requires arrests and imprisonments


And those arrests and imprisonments bring you rich rewards from government sources and that Law Enforcement cherry on the top, asset seizures, you can be sure you will oppose marijuana legalization.
ROUGHLY HALF OF the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.

Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.

Opposition to the marijuana legalization initiative, slated to go before voters in November, has been organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month.

The funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization. Other donors include the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana advocacy group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.

Law enforcement officials in Minnesota, Washington, and other states that have debated relaxing the laws surrounding marijuana have said that they stand to lose money from reform. Police receive federal grants from the Justice Department to help fund drug enforcement efforts, including specific funding to focus on marijuana.

Asset forfeiture is another way law enforcement agencies have come to rely on marijuana as a funding source. Police departments, through a process known as asset forfeiture, seize cash and property associated with drug busts, including raids relating to marijuana. The proceeds from the seizures are often distributed to law enforcement agencies. From 2002 to 2012, California agencies reaped $181.4 million from marijuana-related asset seizures. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014, pot legalization in Washington state led asset forfeiture proceeds to go up in smoke.

Law enforcement lobbyists in Sacramento, including Lovell, have steered Justice Department grants into marijuana eradication. Last year, Lovell successfully worked to defeat measures to reform asset forfeiture in California.

Prison guard unions have also played a part in defending lucrative drug war policies. In California, the prison guard union helped finance the “three strikes” ballot measure in 1994 that deeply increased the state prison population. In 2008, the California prison union provided funds to help defeat Proposition 5, a measure to create prison diversion programs for nonviolent offenders with drug problems.

For their part, the groups say they fear the dangers of legalized pot for non-selfish reasons.

“The membership of the CCSO opposes the full-blown legalization of marijuana,” Paul Curry, a lobbyist for the California Correctional Supervisor’s Association, told The Intercept. Curry said prison guard supervisors do not want to see a society that encourages pot use and said many of his members are grandparents who are concerned about their children. “If marijuana is not a dangerous drug, the federal government would have made a change, but the fact remains that it’s a federal crime,” he added.
A lot of people haver a dog in this fight and whatever reason they give for it is probably shit. In reality they are all afraid of this measure breaking their rice bowl. If the money tap from any source shuts down they fear having to go out and get a real job and learn how to not beat the crap out of people you don't like.

Investor bait


From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big


The Afghans say we got him


The Talibs are saying no we didn't. And The Pakistani government is asking, again, why are we blowing up people in their country?
The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, was killed by an American drone strike, the Afghan intelligence agency said on Sunday.

Some Taliban commanders vehemently denied that Mullah Mansour was present in the area of the strike, which occurred on Saturday near the Afghan border in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, but a statement from the intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, was unambiguous.

“Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban group, was killed around 3:45 p.m. yesterday as a result of an airstrike in Dalbandin area of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan,” the statement said. “He had been under close surveillance for a while, until his vehicle was struck and destroyed on the main road in the Dalbandin area.”

The United States did not offer confirmation of its own.

“We are confident, but at this point we do not have indisputable facts that he is dead,” said Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, a spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan, said on Sunday.

Pakistan was not informed of the strike beforehand, said a senior American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational details.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement Sunday denouncing the attack as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. In the statement, the ministry said a man carrying a Pakistani passport under the name of Wali Muhammad was targeted in the strike along with his driver. It was not immediately clear if either was Mullah Mansour.

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on Sunday in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, where he was visiting the nation’s new civilian government, was the first senior official to talk about the targeted attack. He repeatedly referred to Mr. Mansour in the past tense.

Asked if Pakistan had been kept in the dark about the operation until it was complete — which is what happened with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 — Mr. Kerry said he would not say “when we communicated.” But he indicated that he had talked with Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, on Sunday morning, after the strike was announced.

“We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians,” Mr. Kerry said. “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners.”
Pretty much business as usual over there in Shitholeistan and going much better than Donald Trump could ever imagine.

Some Sunday thoughts



Saturday, May 21, 2016

10 years on the road wore them down


And Katzenjammer the band is no more. The four talented multi-instrumental women are still playing music, just not together. They did leave a lot of fine music behind, including this "Demon Kitty Rag" from a concert in Hamburg in 2012.


It's not easy being Number 1


From the pen of Jim Morin



The Undeclared State Sponsor of Terrorism


There are a few countries described as State Sponsors of Terrorism that have killed fewer of their own people than Saudi Arabia has chalked up around the globe. And they continue to export their terror agenda under the guise of Wahabi Islam, a form of Islam so unholy and devoid of religion that most American evangelical TV hustlers would fit right in if they switched gods. Unfortunately the Saudis have used their vast pool of oil money to spread their hateful religion to millions of previously peaceful Muslims around the world.
The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

“They promoted political Islam,” said Fatos Makolli, the director of Kosovo’s counterterrorism police. “They spent a lot of money to promote it through different programs mainly with young, vulnerable people, and they brought in a lot of Wahhabi and Salafi literature. They brought these people closer to radical political Islam, which resulted in their radicalization.”

After two years of investigations, the police have charged 67 people, arrested 14 imams and shut down 19 Muslim organizations for acting against the Constitution, inciting hatred and recruiting for terrorism. The most recent sentences, which included a 10-year prison term, were handed down on Friday.

It is a stunning turnabout for a land of 1.8 million people that not long ago was among the most pro-American Muslim societies in the world. Americans were welcomed as liberators after leading months of NATO bombing in 1999 that spawned an independent Kosovo...

Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2015 reveal a system of funding for mosques, Islamic centers and Saudi-trained clerics that spans Asia, Africa and Europe. In New Delhi alone, 140 Muslim preachers are listed as on the Saudi Consulate’s payroll.

All around Kosovo, families are grappling with the aftermath of years of proselytizing by Saudi-trained preachers. Some daughters refuse to shake hands with or talk to male relatives. Some sons have gone off to jihad. Religious vigilantes have threatened — or committed — violence against academics, journalists and politicians.
It is easy to see why Saudi Arabia has done little or nothing to counter ISIS. You don't blow up your own peeps. The real problem is where will they rear their ugly heads next?

Know where it comes from.



R.I.P. Alan Young


Famous for listening to a horse, not a bad gig. Just don't believe what the horse says.

Friday, May 20, 2016

She would make wingnut heads assplode


When Dar Williams sings "When I Was A Boy" imagine how confused they would be.


The role model for all those GOP states


From the pen of Matt Wuerker



No one wants Batty McBatface


But the choices for a new name for the Double A Binghamton NY Mets are not really all that much better. While they are not giving up their affiliation with the Mets, they are seeking something different from the parent club.
The Mets’ Class AA affiliate has been located in Binghamton, N.Y., since 1992. Throughout that time it has had a logical, informative and slightly bland name: the Binghamton Mets.

That will soon change. Next year at this time, the team could well be the Binghamton Stud Muffins.

“Mets” is definitely out. The team has turned to fans to find a replacement nickname with greater links to the area. Ideas were solicited online, and 1,500 were received. The goal, said John Hughes, the team president, was “a name that captured and embraced the community — something with a positive, uplifting story to it.”

The team has selected six finalists, and fans will now vote for a winner. Four of the choices allude to the local merry-go-rounds that have given Binghamton the nickname the Carousel Capital of the World: the Rocking Horses, the Rumble Ponies, the Timber Jockeys and, yes, the Stud Muffins. The choices are rounded out by Bullheads, celebrating a local fish, and Gobblers, in honor of the wild turkeys of the region.

Hughes stressed that the move was not a slight against the Mets, noting that Binghamton was one of the last teams in the minors to still carry its parent team’s name. “We are a very proud New York Met affiliate in the state of New York and plan to remain so,” he said.

The change will also be a blow to the career of the team’s current mascot, Buddy the Bee. “Buddy has been put on notice, though he may make special appearances,” Hughes said.

Many of the fans’ suggestions, like Stallions and Stampede, were rejected because they were in use in other leagues and sports. Other nominations were just a little too off the wall. Hughes cited “Baseball Players” as one of the suggestions that made him chuckle but did not make the cut.
Voting goes on until June 1 and then we will see what comes of it.

Even if Trump wins the election


Those in the Republican establishment with any brains know that unless the party controls the Senate, nothing he wants will pass and he will probably be impeached before his 100 days are up. With that in mind, the big money is being thrown at the Senate races where the Republicans are seriously in trouble because you can't gerrymander a state.
Hundreds of millions of dollars that Republican groups had been poised to spend in the 2016 presidential election are now increasingly likely to move into Senate and House races, as many big donors look to distance themselves from the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump.

These groups and their Democratic counterparts have already spent more than $25 million on advertising in Senate general election races alone, according to Kantar Media/CMAG, significantly outpacing both the 2014 and 2012 campaigns in outside spending. And more than $134 million in advertising for Senate races alone has been reserved by groups for the general election.

“There’s at least uncertainty about what the impact of Trump’s candidacy would be down ticket, and there’s also a sense that investing in the Senate is an important defensive play,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, a Republican “super PAC” that was one of the biggest spenders in the 2012 campaign. “It’s an insurance policy against whatever might happen at the presidential level, keeping in check the potential for a President Clinton or keeping in check whatever a Trump presidency might mean.”

Mr. Law added that many of the donors to his group, which was founded by Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, are still eager to play a role in the 2016 election, but do not necessarily feel comfortable yet supporting Mr. Trump.

“A lot of our donors were investors in either campaigns or super PAC activity on behalf of specific presidential candidates who are no longer in the race, and that investment opportunity has been taken away,” he said.

Crossroads, which in early 2015 created a new group devoted solely to protecting the Republican Senate majority, is in a wait-and-see crouch, with officials saying that they currently have no plans to buttress Mr. Trump’s candidacy and that they expect the Senate contests to remain the focus.

And the vast political network of Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who have provided critical support for conservative causes, which early last year pledged to spend nearly hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2016 election, has spent money only on Senate races so far. Its three most prominent groups — Freedom Partners Action Fund, Americans for Prosperity and Concerned Veterans for America — have already invested $12.4 million in five different states.

The Koch network announced on Tuesday that it had reserved an additional $30 million in digital and broadcast advertisements in crucial Senate swing states for September alone.

And Republican groups that spent more than $25 million trying to stop Mr. Trump’s march to the nomination are also directing their funds elsewhere. The Club for Growth, which ran a series of negative ads against Mr. Trump, has been spending aggressively in Senate and House races in Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, among other states. (The group is frequently a target of criticism in the stump speeches of Mr. Trump, who calls its members “crooked as hell.”)
Plenty of Evil Koch money and that shitbird Rove's Crossroads along with all the usual presidential money is now flowing into Congressional races of all kinds. If you spend enough on specious bullshit ads, you can pervert anybody's reality and elect Republicans.

Colbert weighs in on pre-convention Trump


With a perfectly appropriate promo.


That explains it



Thursday, May 19, 2016

The pair from Pennsyltucky


The Sisters Chace singing as The Hello Strangers do "Runaway"



A real birdbrain



Who quit and put us in charge?


Almost everyone is aware of America's Manifest Stupidity in trying to be the World Police, militarily intervening wherever and whenever we choose. But few people have noticed the quiet effort to prosecute crimes committed far beyond our borders.
The revelation that the Justice Department is looking into allegations of doping by Russian athletes seems to be the latest example of American law enforcement reaching beyond U.S. borders to target corruption — a noble effort, experts say, that nonetheless opens the country up to criticism about trying to serve as the world’s prosecutor.

In recent months, the Justice Department has assigned 10 new prosecutors to work exclusively on foreign bribery cases, while the FBI has created three squads dedicated to international corruption. The department also has proposed legislation to give prosecutors more tools to ferret out such wrongdoing.

While federal prosecutors’ efforts have long been focused on corrupt foreign businesses and elected officials — they recently announced that the Amsterdam-based telecommunications company VimpelCom had reached a deferred-prosecution agreement that required it to pay a criminal penalty of more than $230 million to the United States — they have also shown a willingness to examine wrongdoing in sports.

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York — where one person said the investigation of Russian doping is based — are in the midst of a massive case against high-ranking officials at FIFA, the organization responsible for the regulation of soccer worldwide.

“It’s part of our culture of wanting to bring democracy and transparency to the world,” said Andrew B. Spalding, a law professor at the University of Richmond who teaches and writes about international anti-corruption law. “We really stretch jurisdictional principles. Whether we should be doing that is an open question.”

The probe involving Russian doping, first reported by CBS News and the New York Times, appears to be in its infancy, and it is possible — perhaps even likely — that it will lead nowhere. One person familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing review, said among the people investigators seem to be targeting is Grigory Rodchenkov, the longtime head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory. He told the Times that he helped Russian athletes use banned substances to get ahead in global competitions, including the Sochi Olympics, and that he did so at the direction of the Russian sports ministry.
Why yes we will just declare our jurisdiction over these crimes whenever to wise solons of our Congress deem it so. But you can easily imagine the howls of outrage if any other country tried to do the same to our citizens. It is past time for the US to recognize its own borders, again.

No need to close the barn door


Once again Congress, in its "wisdom", is making sure the barn door stays open on a serious problem created and supported by some of their corporate sponsors. This one is a pharmaceutical problem created by the widespread sale and use of opioid painkillers.
The House and the Senate passed bills this spring that would, among other things, bolster prescription drug monitoring and treatment and abuse-prevention programs; fund drug disposal efforts; and assist states that want to expand the availability of the drug naloxone, which helps reverse overdoses. Even though their differences have yet to be worked out, lawmakers in both chambers are trumpeting those actions, banking on them to bolster their re-election prospects.

More quietly, Congress passed and President Obama signed a very different measure last month that curtailed Drug Enforcement Administration powers to pursue pharmacies and wholesalers that the agency believes have contributed to the epidemic.

Mr. White, 67, said the law was crucial. “The crackdown by the D.E.A. has gone too far,” he said.

Advocates of a stronger response are incredulous.

“I’m shocked that Congress and the president would constrain D.E.A. from taking on corporate drug dealers in the midst of the worst addiction epidemic in U.S. history,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and an addiction specialist. “This law allows opioid distributors to reap enormous profits and operate with impunity at the public’s expense.”

Congress’s actions have sought to balance the conflicting demands of deep-pocketed chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens and drug distribution companies like Cardinal Health and McKesson with the victims of an epidemic that has ravaged some of the poorest parts of the country — but also some of the most politically sensitive, like Ohio and New Hampshire.

Chain pharmacies and drug distributors say their businesses have been disrupted and profits hurt by D.E.A. investigators who have ordered immediate closures of pharmacies deemed regional destinations for addicts seeking a fix.

“The D.E.A. has employed the same disrupt-and-dismantle tactics to take down international drug cartels and other criminals as it does to combat prescription drug abuse,” said John Gray, the president of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, a trade organization for drug wholesalers.

But past and present agency officials complain that they were steamrollered by a powerful lobby.

“Under this law, the bad actors simply have to promise to be good, and we won’t take them to court to punish them for what they’ve already done,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who retired in October after 11 years of directing the D.E.A.’s office of diversion control. “It’s obvious that industry had a very strong hand in crafting this bill.”
Because nothing can be allowed to get in the way of corporate profits. At least not until the death toll starts to diminish the market.

R.I.P. Morley Safer


A Journalist from Vietnam to your last day.

Some things never change



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shortly before she put her career on the shelf


And subsumed her life in the intervention to keep some drunken bum named Isbell alive. No accounting for love, she married him. Before this Amanda Shires recorded "Devastate" for her Down Fell The Doves album.


Making the suggestion work


From the pen of Ted Rall



Twenty weeks is all you have


If you want an abortion in South Carolina you will have 20 weeks from the fateful squirt to get it done in South Carolina. This is thanks to that hotbed of gynecological wisdom, the Palmetto Bug State legislature's new law restricting all abortions to the first 20 weeks. This hateful misogynistic piece of crap includes pregnancies from all causes, including rape and incest. Can't have you getting rid of Daddy's little belly booger.
The South Carolina legislature has passed a bill making it illegal for a woman to get an abortion at 20 weeks or more, even if she has been raped or is a victim of incest.

The passage of the legislation, which is headed to Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s desk, would make South Carolina the 17th state to approve such a ban. Ms. Haley, a Republican, said in March she “can’t imagine any scenario in which I wouldn’t sign it.”

The Republican-controlled chamber voted 79-29 late Tuesday to approve the measure, which would allow exceptions only if the mother’s life was in jeopardy or a doctor determined that the fetus could not survive outside the womb.

Reaction to the vote was swift.

Alyssa Miller, the state’s director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement that the bill was “dangerous” for women, and that it was “made even more extreme by removing exceptions for victims of rape and incest,” according to Reuters.

She added, “The reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare and often takes place in complex and difficult situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.”

But others praised the legislature’s vote. According to The State, Representative Wendy K. Nanney, a Republican sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, said: “I am so excited. This is something that we’ve been working on for four years. It is a nice ending to a lot of hard work.”

She could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.

The legislation states that no abortion may be performed if a doctor determines the post-fertilzation age is 20 or more weeks. Exceptions can be made only in the case of fetal anomaly, or if an abortion is needed to avert a woman’s death or physical impairment.

Governor Haley, who has five days to sign the bill, was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. She had been traveling outside the state when the bill went to vote.
The South Carolina legislation is now working on a bill to require that all male ejaculate be date stamped to insure adherence to the time limit.

They miss you when you are gone


But when you return after having been kidnapped by that fun loving crew at Boko Haram, then all of a sudden you are a piece of shit to be shunned and abused. No matter what your family and friends may have said while you were held, when you get back you have Boko cooties.
After being held captive by Boko Haram for months, they made it to this government camp for thousands of civilians who have fled the militants’ cruelty. But instead of a welcome, residents gathered around, badgering them with questions and glares.

They beat her 10-year-old brother, convinced that anyone who has spent time among the militants, even a young kidnapping victim, could have become a sympathizer, possibly even a suicide bomber.

Zara, in fact, was hiding a dangerous secret strapped to her back: her baby. The child’s father was a Boko Haram fighter who had raped her, but Zara knew the crowd would still doubt her loyalties. So she quickly spun a tale that the militants had killed her husband, leaving her a young, widowed mother.

“If they knew my baby was from an insurgent, they wouldn’t allow us to stay,” said Zara, whose full name was not used, to protect her safety. “They’ll never forget who her father is, just like a leopard never forgets its spots.”

In northeastern Nigeria, the years of suffering under Boko Haram have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, stealing something — or everything — from countless families.

Now, a deep suspicion is raging against anyone who has lived alongside the group — even girls who were held hostage, repeatedly raped and left to raise infants fathered by their tormentors.

Much of the anger stems from fear. Boko Haram has used dozens of women and girls — many not even in their teens — as suicide bombers in recent months, killing hundreds of people in attacks on places like markets and schools. Girls have even been sent to blow themselves up in a camp like this one.
Boko Haram is the distilled essence of all that is evil in religion and sadly any period of association with it leaves a stain on you in the eyes of those who knew you before.

All his minions drink it



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Linda had the big hit


With "Love Has No Pride" but Tracy Nelson's cover is top shelf, too.


Everybody has their heroes


From the pen of Darren Bell



R.I.P. Madeleine LeBeau


Madeleine you were 'tres belle' when you sang the Marseillaise in Rick's that night.


As the first results come in...


Zika virus in Puerto Rico has given us its first young Republican with the birth of the first microcephalic baby. Needless to say the Republicans, who need to grow the party, are dilly-dallying, log rolling, and kicking the can rather than fund a response that could keep the Republican Party small.
The Senate is expected to begin casting votes on Tuesday on aid to combat the Zika virus, one day after House Republicans rejected a demand by the White House for new emergency funding.

House Republicans instead put forward legislation on Monday that would require the Obama administration to reallocate $622 million from existing health programs to fight the mosquito-borne disease, which causes severe birth defects.

In announcing their proposal, House Republicans said in a statement that they were supporting “critical activities that must begin immediately, such as vaccine development and mosquito control.”

But the White House swiftly condemned their refusal to consider the Zika virus a health emergency that warrants new spending without corresponding cuts. The administration is seeking $1.9 billion from Congress to fight the virus.

Senate Republicans have scheduled votes beginning on Tuesday on three proposals, including a compromise measure that would provide $1.1 billion on an emergency basis without requiring cuts to cover the cost. The other two Senate proposals — one granting the administration’s full $1.9 billion request, and another requiring offsets — are expected to fail.

In the House, the Republican legislation highlighted a core philosophical dispute that has frequently paralyzed Washington in recent years: a refusal by some hard-line rank-and-file Republicans to support any new federal spending, even as President Obama and his fellow Democrats insist that the government’s involvement must grow to meet expanding needs.

The same dispute resulted in a government shutdown in 2013, and last year it led to the resignation of the House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, whose willingness to cut deals with the White House spurred a revolt by conservative hard-liners. Mr. Boehner’s successor, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, has hit the same roadblock, as the deficit hawks have refused to provide the votes needed to pass a budget resolution.

For Mr. Ryan, who built his reputation as the architect of ambitious Republican budget plans, the failure to cobble together the votes to adopt a budget resolution is a stinging embarrassment, particularly in a presidential election year in which he has promised to articulate an agenda that would help the Republicans win the White House.

Traditionally, a budget plan is the majority party’s clearest statement of its policy priorities, but the hard-liners in the House have refused to abide by an agreement reached last fall between Mr. Boehner and the White House that called for modest increases in government spending in 2017.

The refusal by the House hard-liners to approve new spending has also contributed to a deadlock over money to combat a nationwide opioid epidemic. Both the House and the Senate approved legislation in recent days to help states fight opioid addiction, but Democrats and even some Republicans say the proposals are pointless without money to put them in place.
Republicans, you always have to watch what they do not what they say. They may piss and moan about the existential threat of ISIS, but when money is needed to face real threats to the country and the people they are the first to say "No Way, Jose".

Why Trump instead of Cruz?


Samantha Bee explains to all how the followers of the evangelical right have finally and totally disowned Jesus to support Trump.


The important things in life



Monday, May 16, 2016

A haunting tune


Basswoman Cassie Taylor sings "Haunted"


Life must embrace Hope


But, as Tom Tomorrow show us, keep those expectations as a reasonable and not to expensive level so we won't be disappointed if it doesn't work.

We have been here before


From the pen of David Horsey



R.I.P. Julius LaRosa


Fired on the air by that monstrous Arthur Godfrey was the best thing for your career, but you and Arthur probably inspired Donald Trump to fire people on the air.

Having No Issues or Policies To Run On


Combined with his total lack of ethical character and the moral fiber of a Denebian Slime Devil, Donald Trump has set out a very simple campaign against Hillary Clinton. He and his people will dredge up every bit of smear, slime and shit ever thrown at her or Bill and dump as much as possible on her every day until the election.
Donald J. Trump plans to throw Bill Clinton’s infidelities in Hillary Clinton’s face on live television during the presidential debates this fall, questioning whether she enabled his behavior and sought to discredit the women involved.

Mr. Trump will try to hold her accountable for security lapses at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and for the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens there.

And he intends to portray Mrs. Clinton as fundamentally corrupt, invoking everything from her cattle futures trades in the late 1970s to the federal investigation into her email practices as secretary of state.

Drawing on psychological warfare tactics that Mr. Trump used to defeat “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, “Little Marco” Rubio and “Low-Energy” Jeb Bush in the Republican primaries, the Trump campaign is mapping out character attacks on the Clintons to try to increase their negative poll ratings and bait them into making political mistakes, according to interviews with Mr. Trump and his advisers.

Another goal is to win over skeptical Republicans, since nothing unites the party quite like castigating the Clintons. Attacking them could also deflect attention from Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities, such as his treatment of women, some Trump allies say.

For Mrs. Clinton, the coming battle is something of a paradox. She has decades of experience and qualifications, but it may not be merit that wins her the presidency — it may be how she handles the humiliations inflicted by Mr. Trump.

She would make history as the first woman to be a major-party nominee, yet she would also be viewed, in part, through the prism of her husband’s flaws. Some political allies and friends, while disgusted with Mr. Trump, see a certain cosmic symmetry at work: After decades of fighting what she once called “the politics of personal destruction,” Mrs. Clinton will reach the White House only if she survives one more crucible of sordid and scandalous accusations.
Isn't that special, Hillary Clinton will win if she manages to survive her opponents failings. Nobody seems to think the Trumpenfuehrer needs to be cast aside because of those very failings. The ultimate in failing upwards, something the Republicans do so well.

"I'm actually inside you right now"


John Oliver exposes the weaknesses of the 9-1-1 system.


A little humor, very little



Sunday, May 15, 2016

A young Irish singer


With equal parts talent and charm Orla Gartland sings "Ripping At The Seams"


What they don't say in their speeches


From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big


Start with a Nobel Peace Prize


Then proceed to make a mockery of it by engaging in 8 years of constant warfare. Such is the legacy of Barack Obama that was seldom mentioned.
President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

Granted, Mr. Obama is leaving far fewer soldiers in harm’s way — at least 4,087 in Iraq and 9,800 in Afghanistan — than the 200,000 troops he inherited from Mr. Bush in the two countries. But Mr. Obama has also approved strikes against terrorist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for a total of seven countries where his administration has taken military action.

“No president wants to be a war president,” said Eliot A. Cohen, a military historian at Johns Hopkins University who backed the war in Iraq and whose son served there twice. “Obama thinks of war as an instrument he has to use very reluctantly. But we’re waging these long, rather strange wars. We’re killing lots of people. We’re taking casualties.”

Mr. Obama has wrestled with this immutable reality from his first year in the White House, when he went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan.

His closest advisers say he has relied so heavily on limited covert operations and drone strikes because he is mindful of the dangers of escalation and has long been skeptical that American military interventions work.

Publicly, Mr. Obama acknowledged early on the contradiction between his campaign message and the realities of governing. When he accepted the Nobel in December 2009, he declared that humanity needed to reconcile “two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

The president has tried to reconcile these truths by approaching his wars in narrow terms, as a chronic but manageable security challenge rather than as an all-consuming national campaign, in the tradition of World War II or, to a lesser degree, Vietnam. The longevity of his war record, military historians say, also reflects the changing definition of war.
President Obama is certainly not as careless with military lives as W and Darth Cheney but he does love to blow up other countries. Does this indicate a bloodthirsty streak in him or is he just unable to resist a man with lots of medals and brass? Either way he has left a legacy that would be unwelcome to follow.

Gotta have a home


Whether you are part of a family who lost their home in the Great Bankster Mortgage Fraud, looking for a place to set up your chop shop or simply looking for a place to squat, Las Vegas provides lots of opportunities to find what you want and it is keeping the police busy.
Squatters have descended on every corner of the Las Vegas Valley, taking over empty houses in struggling working-class neighborhoods, in upscale planned communities like Summerlin, and everywhere in between. And they often bring a trail of crime with them.

While some unauthorized tenants are families seeking shelter, police officers here say they are more frequently finding chop shops, drug dealers and counterfeiters operating out of foreclosed homes. One man who the police say was squatting has been charged with murdering a neighbor during a burglary.

Even as construction cranes have returned to the Las Vegas Strip and unemployment here has fallen to single digits, the situation is getting worse: the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has received more calls about squatters each year since it began tracking the problem; there were more than 4,000 complaints last year, up 43 percent from 2014 and more than twice as many as in 2012.

Residents say the explosion of squatters has shattered their sense of security, leaving them wary of any new neighbors at a time when the city is still trying to climb back from the depths of the recession.

“Things get out of hand pretty quickly when these people move in,” said Jacquelyn Romero, 59, who has lived in the neighborhood for about 15 years. “We’re trying to do almost like a neighborhood watch, just to keep ourselves safe.”

Like many homeowners here, Ms. Romero does not know how many squatters have taken up residence on her block over the last few years. There was the one who broke into cars on the street, and the one who threatened neighbors with a metal pipe. She is sure there have been others in the neighborhood’s foreclosed and boarded-up homes, but it is sometimes hard to identify them.

The problem has grown so acute that the Nevada Legislature passed a law last fall to make it easier to arrest squatters, who often brandish phony leases in hopes of staying longer in the homes they have taken over.
Nevada isn't the only place with a squatter problem, other states hard hit by the Mortgage Fraud have problems as well. If the Banksters worked as hard to get the homes filled as they did to get them emptied, this might not be a serious problem. But there is no money in that for them.

Just got to be white



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Some rockabilly to jump start the weekend


From Lara Hope & The ArkTones "I'm The One"


Campaign ad for Gov. Peckerchecker?


From the pen of Jeff Danziger



They had to do something themselves


After 13 years of failure, the Afghan government was well aware of something that has been ignored in the Pentagon, the US military won't win them anything. So the Afghan government began a process that is showing its first fruit.
Afghanistan is expected to finalize a peace deal with a notorious militant group in the coming days, in what could be a template for ending the 15-year war with the Taliban, a government official and a representative of the militant group said Saturday.

The deal is partly symbolic as the group in question, Hezb-i-Islami, has been largely inactive for years, but it marks a breakthrough for President Ashraf Ghani, who has made little progress in reviving peace talks with the far more powerful Taliban.

Under the 25-point agreement, a draft of which was seen by The Associated Press, Hezb-i-Islami would end its war against the government, commit to respecting the Afghan constitution and cease all contact with other insurgents. In return its members would receive amnesty and its prisoners would be released.

Ataul Rahman Saleem, deputy head of the High Peace Council — a government body charged with negotiating an end to the war — told the AP that the deal could be completed on Sunday, after two years of negotiations. A senior representative of Hezb-i-Islami, Amin Karim, also said he expected Ghani to approve the final version of the agreement on Sunday.

Hezb-i-Islami is led by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces killed thousands of people in Kabul during the 1992-1996 civil war. He is believed to be in Pakistan, though Karim has said he is in an unspecified location in Afghanistan. He could soon return to Kabul to sign a formal peace deal and take up residence.

Hekmatyar, in his late 60s, is designated a “global terrorist” by the United States and blacklisted by the United Nations. The agreement obliges the Afghan government to work toward lifting those restrictions.

The group has had only a minor role in the conflict in recent years. Its last major attack killed 15 people, including six American soldiers, in Kabul in 2013.

Ghani’s spokesman, Zafar Hashemi, would not comment directly on the Hezb-i-Islami deal, telling reporters Saturday that “the doors are open for peace talks” to all groups. He added, however, that “there are developments” and “optimism.”
Start with the easy ones and hopefully the good results will continue and soon enough, the Afghan government will kick us out of the country.

Is Megyn Kelly Bitch Enough To Grab The Gold Ring?


The way to being the top interviewer and Queen of the TV Heap. Those who went before her have moved on to other ventures or retirement leaving what looks like a clear path for Megyn to the top.
Barbara Walters is retired, Oprah Winfrey is running a network and Megyn Kelly sees an opening.

“It’s there for the taking right now,” she said in a recent interview.

And what is there for the taking? What those famous hosts had accomplished: conducting the sort of interviews that could transfix a nation.

“Those were the biggest spots to go for an interview if you had something you wanted to get off your chest, if you were in the middle of a scandal or a major news story and you wanted to do a long-form sit-down to get past it or to go on the record,” she said.

She quickly added: “And I’m here!”

Making the Oprah or Barbara Walters leap is a remarkably tricky business. Many have tried before, with daytime shows or prime-time specials, only to run into a wall and return to a more comfortable corner of television. And the interview special is a relic from a time on television when what was broadcast on the Big Four networks was what mattered most.

But on Tuesday, Ms. Kelly, the Fox News anchor and host of “The Kelly File,” will take her first crack at a prime-time special on Fox — the broadcast network, not the cable news station — with “Megyn Kelly Presents.”

There is certainly one big hook to draw viewers: She will confront the likely Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, a man who over the last nine months has kept Ms. Kelly in the middle of a running news story by relentlessly attacking her.

And though Mr. Trump represents the so-called get, she will also interview two actors (Michael Douglas and Laverne Cox) and a lawyer (Robert Shapiro) who is back in the news after the successful O. J. Simpson anthology “American Crime Story” on FX.
It remains to be seen if she can overcome the drag of coming from Fux Nooz, Murdoch's comedy channel.

Look What You Made Me Do


Bill Maher puts the blame for Trump where it belongs, on the Know-Nothing Conservatives and Teabaggers.




Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive May 14


Our Republican Congress takes our tax dollars for planes that won't fly but won't pay to feed hungry children.



Friday, May 13, 2016

One of the seminal 50s-60s girl groups


The Shirelles sang many of the songs us geezers remember from those days.




Gov Peckerchecker brags about The Shitheel State


From the pen of Kevin Siers



Can't stop those boots from walking


And if those incompetent assholes in the Pentagon have their way, they will be walking in every possible place on earth. And the latest soil to be blessed by American boots is Libya.
American Special Operations troops have been stationed at two outposts in eastern and western Libya since late 2015, tasked with lining up local partners in advance of a possible offensive against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

Two teams totaling fewer than 25 troops are operating from around the cities of Misurata and Benghazi to identify potential ­allies among local armed factions and gather intelligence on threats, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive mission overseas.

The insertion of a tiny group of U.S. personnel into a country rife with militant threats reflects the Obama administration’s worries about the Islamic State’s powerful Libyan branch and the widespread expectations of an expanded campaign against it. For months, the Pentagon has been developing plans for potential action against the group, which has at least several thousand fighters in the coastal city of Sirte and other areas. And the U.S. personnel, whose ongoing presence had not been previously reported, is a sign of the acceleration toward another military campaign in Libya.

The mission is also an illustration of President Obama’s reliance on elite units to advance counterterrorism goals in low-visibility operations.

The activities of the American “contact teams,” as they are known, take place in parallel to those of elite allied forces from France and other European nations in the same areas, U.S. and Libyan officials said.
Either President Obama is the biggest closet warmonger we have ever had and in no way deserves the Nobel Prize he was given. Or he is just a complete pussy when dealing with the brass plated bastards in the Pentagon, the ones whose only apparent talent is losing conflicts wherever thy go.

No restrictions that can't be papered over


If you apply enough "Benjamins" and "Tubmans" to the problem. It will cause some problems down the line if you are still around when somebody notices. Like this simple building solution in New York City.
During the same week in November that an obscure New York City agency lifted a protective covenant on a nursing home on the Lower East Side — an alteration that is now the subject of at least three inquiries — a similar move was playing out in Harlem.

Few people knew that the agency, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, had accepted $875,000 in exchange for lifting a deed restriction, in place since 1976, that required a corner lot at St. Nicholas Avenue and 152nd Street to be used only by nonprofit cultural organizations in the area.

Neighbors who learned about the change after the fact feared that the lot, owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem, would soon end up in the hands of developers. What they did not know, at that point, was that a developer who made a financial contribution to one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political causes was already in contract to buy the property. The developer, BRP Companies, closed on the sale last month for $3.1 million.

The process by which the deed restriction on the unremarkable but nonetheless valuable Harlem parcel was lifted in many ways mirrors the one involving the Lower East Side nursing home, known as Rivington House.

The decision to amend the nursing home deed, for $16 million, is being investigated by Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general; the city’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer; and the city’s Department of Investigation.

The transactions in Harlem are likely to face new scrutiny. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has said he was unaware of the Rivington House deal and ordered a review of the process for removing such deed restrictions imposed by the city. The head of the administrative services agency is scheduled to testify at a City Council budget hearing on Friday. And the Council is planning a separate hearing on deed restrictions in the coming weeks.

As little public notice as there was for the contentious deal on the Lower East Side, which resulted in a developer of luxury condominiums buying the nursing home property in February for $116 million, the decision to remove all restrictions on the Harlem property got even less.

The local community board was not informed. Neither was the local councilman, Mark Levine, or the Manhattan borough president, Gale A. Brewer. A notice of a public hearing appeared on a back page of the City Record for a single day in April 2015. No one showed up at the hearing to testify.

“We found out after it was lifted by just looking up the deed,” said April Tyler, chairwoman of the community board’s land use committee. “I think this is worth highlighting and investigating.”
Money talks and bullshit walks in New York City.

Made from parts, like Frankenstein


But unlike Mary Shelley's deathless creation, modern scientist hope to recreate the modern genome from scratch using the basic chemical components.
Scientists are now contemplating the creation of a synthetic human genome, meaning they would use chemicals to manufacture all the DNA contained in human chromosomes.

The prospect is spurring both intrigue and concern in the life sciences community, because it might be possible — if someone were able to create a totally artificial genome — to implant that genome into embryos and create human beings without parents.

While the project is still in the idea phase, and also involves efforts to improve DNA synthesis in general, it was discussed at a closed-door meeting at Harvard Medical School in Boston on Tuesday. The roughly 150 attendees were told not to contact the media or to tweet about the meeting.

Organizers said the project in some ways would be a follow-up to the original Human Genome Project, which was aimed at reading the sequence of the three billion chemical letters in the DNA blueprint of human life. The new project, by contrast, would involve not reading, but rather writing the human genome — synthesizing all three billion units from chemicals.

But such an attempt would raise numerous ethical issues. Could scientists create humans with certain kinds of traits, perhaps people born and bred to be soldiers? Or might it be possible to make copies of specific people?

“Would it be O.K. to sequence and then synthesize Einstein’s genome?” Drew Endy, a bioengineer at Stanford and Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at Northwestern University, wrote in an essay criticizing the proposed project. “If so, how many Einstein genomes would it be O.K. to make and install in cells, and who would get to make and control these cells?”

Scientists and ethicists are already raising concerns about using new gene-editing techniques that could change individual traits in embryos. But it would be possible to make much more extensive changes by synthesizing an entire genome.
Would Einstein's genome actually produce another Einstein? Or was there more to his genius that came from his nurture? And what would they do if they accidentally included the dreaded Abby Normal gene? And would they ever know if they had "thought of everything"?

Something out of whack



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Who will be the next great repeat of the last one


The music industry just loves to copy success which is why I am waiting to see who will be the next Margo Price And The Pricetags. Until then I will just listen to her rendition of "Tennessee Song"


It's hard to turn that way


From the pen of Tom Toles



After 2000 years


Pope Francis has put forth a suggestion that would be a tectonic shift in the Catholic church if it came to be.
Pope Francis on Thursday told an international conference of nuns that he supports deeper study of female deacons, triggering debate over whether the news-making pontiff was opening the door for radical change or instead turning back the clock by reviewing biblical history many feminists see as settled.

Reaction Thursday seemed to fortify Francis’ reputation on the topic of women: A pope who speaks of moving the needle on female leadership but often in the voice of a macho elder.

“I never imagined there was such a disconnect, truly. Thank you for telling me so courageously and for doing so with that smile,” Francis told the group as he reaffirmed women’s lack of influence in church decision-making.

As is typical of the spontaneous Francis, his comments came unexpectedly during an unaired question-and-answer session, and the Vatican press office declined to immediately clarify or release a transcript. It wasn’t clear from reports, which came first from The National Catholic Reporter and the Catholic News Service, whether Francis meant to show support for studying more deeply the role of women in the early church or rather the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons now.

Senior Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told the Washington Post that it was “too early to say what he has exactly in mind.” He said Vatican officials will need to more closely examine transcripts of his comments, which Lombardi described as coming in the form of a “spontaneous conversation.” It wasn’t clear, Lombardi said, whether the pope was speaking historically or was thinking of the future.
For a leader who is supposed to be second to God in the hierarchy and infallible, the paths taken by Pope Francis indicate how entrenched the opposition to Jesus really is in the Church. We can only hope he can appoint enough good cardinals to continue his legacy after he has gone.

Trump is The Great Divider


That title has to be bestowed upon the short fingered vulgarian for his ability to separate those two old butthole buddies John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham paused for five full seconds and stumbled over his words pondering the question: When is the last time he split with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain on a major issue?

“I don’t know, let me think about it,” Graham (S.C.) finally said of his closest Senate friend. “There have been several. I just can’t recall right now, right off the top of my head.”

Yet that’s what has happened in the wake of Donald Trump’s ascendancy to presumptive Republican nominee for president. In the Republican civil war over Trump, this is perhaps the most glaring example of two “brothers” fighting on opposite sides of the battlefield. It reflects a larger chasm in the Republican Party over whether to embrace the anti-establishment businessman that could end up costing the party the presidency in November.

A former Trump rival in the presidential campaign, Graham is part of the anti-Trump coalition promising to never support the businessman — he has declared the presumptive GOP standard bearer’s positions anathema to conservatives on everything from immigration to fitness to oversee the world’s most powerful military. He told reporters Tuesday that “no re-education camp” would change his mind and added he would likely write someone else in for president when he casts his ballot this fall.

McCain (Ariz.) is part of the growing ranks of Republicans who, grudgingly, have decided that the voters have spoken and it’s time to unify so they can defeat the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

“I feel, as a Republican and a longtime Reagan Republican, that I support the nominee of the party, and that’s what I’ve said all along,” McCain said.

To be sure, this duo are still close friends. “My dearest friend,” McCain said of Graham in a brief Wednesday interview. “We discuss everything.”
Good friends or divided politicians, one can not help but get a feeling that John McCain's heart is not in this election. He is just too much of an old warhorse to shrug off the harness. And in the meantime The Incredible Orange Trump will continue his bull-in-a-china-shop ways until the end in November.

One way to stop Republican induced starvation


Saturday May 14 is the date for this years Postal Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" campaign.
Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 24 years.
Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved.
The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), United Way, Valassis and Valpak Direct Marketing Systems are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted, and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.
With 49 million people facing hunger every day in America, including nearly 16 million children, this drive is one way you can help those in your own city or town who need help.

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