Monday, August 31, 2015

Black Coffee

Julie London

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Winter Trees

The Staves - w/intro

Saturday, August 29, 2015

St. Roch Blues

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Friday, August 28, 2015

About Farewell

Alela Diane

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heaven's Gate

Della Mae

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

From the southwest

Fremantle's own Mama Kin sings "Tore My Heart Out" from her first album.

And let it wait until the next "harvest" of your money

From the pen of Jim Morin

When the clean up fails

What do you do when efforts to clean up a problem aren't going to work? And you can't leave the problem where it is because it involves nuclear waste? We should find out sometime in the near future.
A nearly completed government facility intended to treat the radioactive byproducts of nuclear weapons production is riddled with design flaws that could put the entire operation at risk of failure, according to a leaked internal report.

A technical review of the treatment plant on the grounds of the former Hanford nuclear site identified hundreds of “design vulnerabilities” and other weaknesses, some serious enough to lead to spills of radioactive material.

The draft report is the latest in a series of blows to the clean-up effort at Hanford, the once-secret government reservation in eastern Washington state where much of the nation’s plutonium stockpile originated. Engineers have struggled for years to come up with a safe method for disposing of Hanford’s millions of gallons of high-level radioactive waste, much of which is stored in leaky underground tanks.

Energy Department officials have spent tens of millions of dollars to design and construct the site’s Low-Activity Waste Facility, intended to convert some of Hanford’s radioactive waste into a glasslike product that could be stored underground in the future. Although the plant is regarded as one of Hanford’s most successful projects, the internal report identified serious flaws in its design...

The report cites fundamental lapses in multiple areas, ranging from ventilation of waste-
handling areas to the plant’s backup electricity supply. The reviewers found numerous problems with the system that “vitrifies” waste by turning it into glass, noting that the engineers miscalculated how long it would take for the radioactive end-product to cool. “When a container full of molten glass is lifted, there is a chance that the container lifting flange will fail because it has not cooled enough to regain its strength,” the document states.
It's nice to know reviewed the design before construction was complete. Hate to find out about these problems in a working plant.

They really need a No Crimes Unit

The confession, that stalwart element of the Catholic Church and murder mysteries can, in the case of police investigations, all too often be a crime in and of itself.
An investigation by the Brooklyn DA’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) found that Fowler had inadequate legal defense and that the case relied on unreliable witness testimony, false identification and a false confession by Fowler, who was only 17 years old at the time.

There is a presumption that if “someone confessed, then they were guilty, and what more was there to think about?” said his attorney, Lynn Fahey. But that is not always true, especially in cases involving young or mentally ill defendants or others who might believe that a confession offers the best chance of escaping life in prison, she added.

Fowler’s case illustrates a national concern, since reforms to assist prisoners who claim postconviction innocence are lagging. The CRU under Thompson is dedicating significant resources to look into alleged miscarriages of justice. Many legal advocates believe that others should follow his example, because as a 2014 report by the National Registry of Exoneration points out, there is no reason to believe that the problem of wrongful convictions is limited to Brooklyn.

More than 40 percent of exonerated defendants who were younger than 18 at the time of the alleged crime gave a false confession, according to the report from the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School. The number jumps to 69 percent when the accused is mentally ill or deficient, compared with just 8 percent of adults with no known mental disabilities who confess to a crime they did not commit.

False confessions have been a contributing factor nationwide in about 13 percent of exonerations, according to another report by the project.
Police has a great incentive to "solve" cases and a confession neatly wraps up everything because a good interrogator can get someone young scared and maybe not very smart to say what he needs to make his case. And despite the Miranda warning, not every arrestee understands that even a public defender can help.

Time to get this snake off the plane

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Freckled Ocean

A new song from Mike and Ruthy.

Judge says its the best you can get

So after many years of polluting wetlands and marshes around its refineries in New Jersey, Exxon will get aeay with paying a mere $225 Million, thanks to the efforts of The Outlaw Jersey Whale, Chris Christie.
New Jersey’s widely debated $225 million settlement of a pollution lawsuit with Exxon Mobil Corporation was approved on Tuesday by a state judge who called the deal fair, reasonable and in the public interest.

The ruling comes in a longstanding legal battle in which New Jersey demanded $8.9 billion in compensation for natural resource damage to more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters at refinery sites that Exxon once owned in Bayonne and Linden.

Environmental groups, federal and state politicians and others had sharply criticized the administration of Gov. Chris Christie for accepting just a small fraction of the damages that the state had long sought, and had filed briefs asking the judge to reject the deal.

But in an 81-page opinion, the judge, Michael J. Hogan of Superior Court, found that “although far smaller than the estimated $8.9 billion in damages, Exxon’s payment represents a reasonable compromise given the substantial litigation risks” that the state faced at trial and would face on appeal.

Criticism of the decision was almost immediate. Margaret Brown, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the organizations that fought the deal in court, said, “This is a multi-billion-dollar gift to Exxon Mobil from Gov. Christie and his administration, at the expense of New Jersey residents.”
Of course it is at the expense of New Jersey residents. Did anyone really expect a major oil corporation to pay for cleaning up their shit?

Water, water everywhere...

And the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin is experiencing the agony of what Samuel Taylor Coleridge was writing about as the contamination of their aquifer requires it to get a new drinking water source, but Lake Michigan a mere 17 miles away is out of bounds to them.
Waukesha has run smack into a landmark 2008 compact that prohibits large amounts of water from the five Great Lakes from being pumped, trucked, shipped or otherwise moved beyond the system’s natural basin without approval from the governors of each of the eight states that touch a lake. (Unless it is in a product like beer or soft drinks.) Waukesha, despite being so close to Lake Michigan, is about a mile and a half outside the lake’s natural basin.

In a wetter era, the city’s plan to build a $200 million pipeline to tap into Lake Michigan might have fallen on more sympathetic ears. But it faces a daunting obstacle now: historic drought in the West, which has made officials in the Midwest more protective than ever of their increasingly valuable resource.

“Obviously I have concerns about the usage of the Great Lakes in any capacity,” Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan said in an interview, adding that he was closely watching the Wisconsin city’s request and had yet to decide how he would vote. A single governor can veto a diversion of water.

“To some degree it’s like, where do you draw the line?” Mr. Snyder said. “It shouldn’t be done just as an ad hoc thing or a political thing. It should be based on sound science and good economics and what’s best for the long term. The Great Lakes are one of the world’s most precious assets.”

If national drought conditions and the economic and political pressures that follow worsen over time, some Midwestern water experts fear that the lakes’ existing protections might ultimately weaken. Waukesha’s quest for water — the first proposal for such a diversion outside the Great Lakes basin in years — is seen by some as a first major test of the compact, its strength and its limits.
Obviously the solution is to have Nestle build a water bottling plant that draws from the lake and sell all the output, at a profit, to the city.

The Power of Makeup

Number 3 is absolutely fabulous dahling!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A French Canadian Superstar

Coeur De Pirate is seen here performing "Our Love" before an audience of ordinary Canadians who speak English, eh. Station plug at the end.

The Ultimate Proof

Developed by Very Serious People and exposed for us by Tom Tomorrow

Well named but it should be a little lower

From the pen of Glen McCoy

Must be something in the TV rays

Last week John Oliver did an expose of Television Christohustlers whom the IRS has failed to properly oversee. And part of his schtick, he revealed that he was the head of the new church of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.
In just one week, John Oliver has received thousands of dollars in donations for Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, the ministry the HBO host said he founded to draw attention to the tax-free practices of prosperity gospel churches.

“And we asked you to send us money at this address,” Oliver said, displaying a P.O. box number on the screen during Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight.”

“To be honest,” he added, “slightly more of you responded than we were expecting.”

Oliver, moving into the pseudo-reverend character he uses to speak about his new ministry, then displayed a large pile of letters (and at least one FedEx package), surrounded by several U.S. Postal Service bins filled with additional donations.

There were thousands of letters in all, he said, equaling thousands of dollars in donations.
More responses than expected. Either people will send money to any request from television, even when they know it is false or his viewers responded to the notice that "Doctors without Borders" would receive anything left if and when he dissolved his church. I like to think it is the second reason.

Having suffered little to no damage

Except from the occasional stray shot from the Army and Air Force, Israeli villages near Gaza were hardly damaged during IDF attacks on the ghetto and are finally showing signs of recovery from their ordeal. And in an effort to cover up the lack of recovery in Gaza thanks to the Israeli economic stranglehold on Gaza, Israel has their PR people wailing about the struggle of their poor villages.
The volunteer program, Tent and Tower, run by the nonprofit organization New Guard, is one of several signs of recovery along the Israeli side of the border. Residents of the farms and villages in the area are reporting a stronger sense of community. Young families are moving in, replacing those that left after the war.

The border communities are still dotted with fortified bomb shelters, and because the war ended inconclusively, many residents say they can never quite escape the thought that the rockets and mortar rounds will start flying out of Gaza again or that Hamas militants will burst out of surreptitious tunnels right into their midst. Still, life is returning, though more quickly in some places than in others.

In Nahal Oz, a kibbutz north of Sufa, 16 families — nearly a fifth of the 380 residents — moved out permanently last year, traumatized by the death of a 4-year-old boy, Daniel Tregerman, who was killed by shrapnel from a mortar shell as he played in his home just days before the war ended. The potato, sunflower, wheat and jojoba fields were churned up by tank tracks.

But the crops grew back, 12 new families have recently arrived, and four more are expected by the end of the summer.

Sharona Poslushni, 41, a kindergarten teacher, moved into one of five newly built houses at Nahal Oz on July 1. She and her husband, who works at the port in Ashdod, came with their three young sons from Yavne, a town about 40 miles north.

“We wanted a place that is more open, more intimate, to be part of a community where the children can run around freely without shoes,” Mrs. Poslushni said, adding that she had also been looking for somewhere “with a good educational level and with good values.”

The Gaza periphery, or envelope, as the area is known in Hebrew, also offers newcomers incentives in the form of tax breaks and lower housing costs.

The Poslushnis had been planning the move for more than a year, but it was delayed by last summer’s war. Despite fears of renewed violence, Mrs. Poslushni said, the values of Zionism and love of the land that attracted them to Nahal Oz in the first place had become “more prominent.”

After the crisis last summer, the government provided financial support for the kibbutz, and the regional council brought in psychologists. Industry consultants and other professionals came to offer help to get them back on their feet, and veteran members of the kibbutz held brainstorming sessions and formed teams to explore development opportunities.
It is truly heartbreaking the suffering they have endured. The Israeli government deserves high praise for their help in restoring the lives of these suffering Israelis.

John Oliver Takes On Gay Rights

Meet your welfare family

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There was a shy musician when this was recorded

The music track of this performance of "Molly Town" from Joss Stone's new album Water For Your Soul clearly has an accordion or similar sounding instrument on it but whoever is playing it is not seen.

GOP's best & brightest playing catch up

From the pen of Brian McFadden

When intelligent people don't want him

God's Own Hemorrhoid Ted Cruz has switched to going after evangelical voters. It makes sense for a man who has a stark raving loonie who calls himself a pastor for a father.
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has assiduously courted evangelicals throughout his presidential run, will take a lead role in the launch this week of an ambitious 50-state campaign to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood — a move that is likely to give the GOP candidate a major primary-season boost in the fierce battle for social-conservative and evangelical voters.

More than 100,000 pastors received e-mail invitations over the weekend to participate in conference calls with Cruz on Tuesday in which they will learn details of the plan to mobilize churchgoers in every congressional district beginning Aug. 30. The requests were sent on the heels of the Texas Republican’s “Rally for Religious Liberty,” which drew 2,500 people to a Des Moines ballroom Friday...

The push comes as Cruz seeks to grab a decisive edge in a crowded primary-within-a-primary, with half a dozen GOP contenders battling for what he has referred to as “the evangelical bracket.”

Roughly 1 in 4 voters have identified themselves as evangelical in exit polls from the 2004 campaign on. In key Republican primaries such as Iowa, and in some of the Southern states that Cruz has said are critical to his run, that figure was higher during the last presidential campaign — nearly 50 percent.

Cruz has consistently pointed to his ability to motivate and mobilize those voters as a key element of his 2016 strategy. Earlier this summer, he said repeatedly that his main bases of support were tea party voters — and religious conservatives.
With so many so-called evangelicals who know nothing of God but will jump through fiery hoops at the command of their self styled 'pastors', what better group could he hope to enlist in his benighted cause?

Ben Carson digs in deeper

There is an old adage that says "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging". All too often, people in power, like politicians, make mistakes and their attempts at correction just make matters worse or to put it another way, they keep digging. One of our latest diggers is Ben Carson, former brain surgeon and Republican presidential candidate, who having stumbled when he proposed using armed drones at the US-Mexican border tried to correct what he said.
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Sunday called for using drones to beef up surveillance along the U.S.-Mexico border and destroy caves used by those who smuggle people and drugs, but said he did not support strikes aimed at people.

Carson, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," dismissed reports that he had suggested using drone strikes to target people trying to cross into the United States as a "total lie" and blamed media reports as irresponsible.

"Read my lips. I said there are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. I'm not talking about killing people," the retired neurosurgeon told CNN. “In no way, did I suggest that drones be used to kill people.”

Carson suggested greater use of drones to patrol border areas after a tour of the region last week. He said local authorities told him they were completely outgunned and receiving little assistance from federal authorities.

Immigration has become a contentious issue for Republicans seeking the presidency in the November 2016 election. Donald Trump, the party's front-runner, and other contenders have called for amending the Constitution to end of the right of automatic citizenship for all people born in the United States.

Carson reiterated his support for deporting families who come to the United States expressly to have children and ensure them U.S. citizenship. Critics call those children "anchor babies," but others view it as offensive.

Carson said he did not view the term as racist and dismissed such objections as "silly political correctness."
No doubt he will tell anyone in those alleged caves to leave before he drops a little Hellfire on them. Maybe he had a good reason to retire from brain surgery.

An unusual defense

According to his lawyer, the Moroccan dude who was tackled while trying to shoot hi AK-47 for which he had 9 filled magazines as backup, was only trying to rob the train because he was hungry.
A gunman who attacked passengers on a high-speed train in France two days ago is "dumbfounded" at having been taken for an Islamist militant and says he only intended to rob people on board because he was hungry, his lawyer said on Sunday.

As details emerged of the gunman's early adult life in Spain, lawyer Sophie David said her client -- now in detention near Paris -- also looked ill and malnourished.

French and Spanish sources close to the case have identified him as a 26-year-old Moroccan named Ayoub el Khazzani who was known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant.

"(I saw) somebody who was very sick, somebody very weakened physically, as if he suffered from malnutrition, very, very thin and very haggard," David told BFMTV.

"He is dumbfounded by the terrorist motives attributed to his action," she added.

David said the man was barefoot and wore only a hospital shirt and boxer shorts for the police interrogation in Arras, northern France, where the train stopped after the incident.

The Moroccan told David he had found the Kalashnikov he had taken onto the train in a park near the Gare du Midi rail station in Brussels where he was in the habit of sleeping.

"A few days later he decided to get on a train that some other homeless people told him would be full of wealthy people traveling from Amsterdam to Paris and he hoped to feed himself by armed robbery," David said.

The lawyer said the Moroccan had untreated wounds on his face when he spoke to her through an interpreter. He also told David he did not think he had fired any shots before his gun jammed.
If he was going to imitate Jesse James, he forgot his bandanna. Can't rob a train without your bandanna.

The Natural Order of the World

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Before sister Jessica left

They were a bluegrass trio known as The Lovell Sisters and sang songs like "One Day I Walk". Since then sisters Megan on dobro and Rebecca on mandolin changed the band name to Larkin Poe and have taken a turn towards rock.

A new standard, of a sort.

From the pen of Rob Rogers

We bagged another Number 2

According to White House reports, US airstrikes continue to make the position of Number 2 in a terrorist organization the most dangerous job in the world.
The second-in-command of the Islamic State died in a U.S. airstrike near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul earlier this week in what the White House described on Friday as a blow to the group’s operations.

Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, who used the alias Hajji Mutaaz, is the second senior leader of the Islamist extremist group killed by the United States since May. It remains unclear, however, how much damage the losses have done as the Islamic State continues to hold huge swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria more than a year after the U.S. began efforts to crush the group.

“There’s no doubt that ISIL has proven capable of replacing leadership losses,” said a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms by which the group is known. “That said, the death of Mutazz removes a key figure from ISIL and further pierces the group’s veneer of invincibility that it has sought to cast.”

The U.S. official requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the issue publicly.

Hayali died when the vehicle in which he was riding was struck by U.S. aircraft on Tuesday, Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement. Killed along with Hayali was an Islamic State media operative Price identified as Abu Abdallah.

Hayali was a member of the Islamic State’s leadership council and second-in-command to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization’s paramount leader. He was responsible for coordinating the movements of large amounts of ammunition, explosives, vehicles and fighters between Syria and Iraq, Price said.
Makes you wonder why anybody would take the job.

Sharing pubes but not the profits

Bill Maher gives us his take on the "Sharing Economy"

Feel The Bern

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Real Thing

Sahara Smith

And they want to be president

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

The prodigal corporation returns

Having tasted the foul cup of foreign sinks of depravity, General Electric is returning, albeit in a small way, to one of the cities in Upstate New York it so heartlessly abandoned under the reckless asset stripping of Neutron Jack Welch.
General Electric, once one of the biggest employers in Utica, one of New York’s hardest-luck towns, is coming back.

Dolloping out another economic perk to a long-maligned upstate locale, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday that G.E. would return to Utica for a high-tech project in a city where it once made low-tech radios.

The announcement of G.E.’s plans to package silicon carbide power blocks at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Utica was just part of what the governor himself packaged as a “transformative moment” for the entire Mohawk Valley, west of the state capital...

The new project will be housed in a 56,000-square-foot “clean room” on the SUNY Poly campus, and could be expected to generate 420 jobs in the next five years, among its company, the university and other partners, according to a G.E. spokesman.
Not the economic mainstay it formerly was, but so much more than it has been for all those years.

As the GOP dreams of blocking the deal

Iran and Europe understand that the agreement is the effective end of sanctions and are preparing to return to business as usual.
During the past decade, well-connected Iranian investors amassed undervalued assets in poorly executed and frequently corrupt rounds of privatization, buying insurance companies, hospitals, refineries and public utilities, among other things previously run — usually poorly — by the state.

But with Western sanctions putting an ever-tightening stranglehold on the Iranian economy, finding buyers for the assets became next to impossible, especially in recent years. In the absence of outside investors, and no deep-pocketed private buyers in the country, Iranian investment companies fronting for state pension funds, military cooperatives and religious foundations bounced shares back and forth on the Tehran Stock Exchange just to make small profits.

“They had no one to sell to inside Iran but now, with the nuclear deal done, everything is falling into place,” said one well-established Iranian-American consultant who asked to remain anonymous because his business activities are punishable under United States law as long as sanctions remain in place. “A lot of people here have started pulling out their calculators.”

The potential sell-off began to take shape in July, as the nuclear agreement began to move toward a conclusion, economists say. That was when the Etemad-e-Mobin investment company, part of a cooperative fund belonging to the Revolutionary Guards Corps, put the Telecommunication Company of Iran on the selling block.

The fund’s chief executive officer, Mostafa Seyyed Hashemi, told the Tabnak website that bidding for the company — which Iranian news media reported was acquired after Etemad-e-Mobin’s strongest competitor was barred from the auction — would start at the $7.8 billion it paid in 2009.

That the company could put itself up for sale to the highest bidder, foreign or domestic, might seem impossible in a country founded on an anti-Western revolutionary ideology. However, a law passed with little fanfare in 2002 and mostly forgotten since then as sanctions and anti-Western feelings piled up practically rolls out the red carpet for foreign buyers.
If the Republicans do get around to saying NO to the Iran deal, it will just be so much pissing into the wind. And once again the rest of the world will be passing us by as we sit mired in the glue of failed Republican ideology.

Beware Prince Not-So-Charming

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eleven years ago at Montreux

Suzanne Vega sang "The Queen And The Soldier"

Lots of lobbying going on for this deal

From the pen of Signe Wilkinson

Jimmy Carter is ready

Jimmy Carter, in his latest news conference has revealed that his cancer has spread to his brain. More importanly he revealed that he is at peace with himself and ready for whatever will come.
Former president Jimmy Carter said that the cancer doctors discovered earlier this year on his liver has also been found on his brain. Carter, 90, said he will receive his first radiation treatment for the disease Thursday afternoon.

"I'm perfectly at ease with whatever comes," Carter said at a news conference.

Carter said Thursday that doctors found "four spots of melanoma on my brain -- small spots" after first discovering cancer during an Aug. 3 operation to remove a tumor from his liver...

Carter spoke to a full room of journalists, reflecting on -- and occasionally joking about -- his legacy in the White House and as a global humanitarian.

He called his work with the Carter Center "personally more gratifying" than his presidency, though he joked that he wished he might have been able to serve a second term and then engage in humanitarian work after leaving the White House.

"I think I have been as blessed as any human being in the world," Carter said. "So I'm thankful and hopeful."
Those who speak so loudly of their faith would do well to emulate this man.

This is what happens when you don't end a war

In the news today is the story of North and South Korea taking a few potshots at each other across the truce line.
South Korea fired dozens of shells Thursday at North Korea after the North lobbed a single rocket round at a South Korean town near the world's most heavily armed border, the South's Defense Ministry said.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that its artillery shells landed at the place where North Korea had fired its rocket. There were no other immediate details from the military and no reports of injuries.

It appeared that North Korea did not respond to South Korea's returned fire.

North Korea had previously threatened to attack South Korean loudspeakers that have been broadcasting, for the first time in 11 years, anti-Pyongyang propaganda messages across their shared border. Pyongyang also restarted its own loudspeakers aimed at the South.
Two little children who hate each other and have lots of grownup toys to "play with". And 63 years later they don't know any other way to play with each other.

The candidates only talk about it

But the state of Texas has taken the bit between its teeth and is getting sued over the first step in denying birthright citizenship, refusing to provide birth certificates.
Her children, born the Texas side of the border, are U.S. citizens. But when she went to the local vital statistics office earlier this year to get a copy of her youngest daughter’s birth certificate, she was turned away for lack of proper identification. Her child, who was born in November 2013, still does not have a birth certificate.

“What’s going to happen if she’s in an emergency?” she asked. “Will they say they can’t treat her because she doesn’t have a birth certificate?”

Juana is among 28 undocumented immigrants who are suing the Texas Department of State Health Services on behalf of their U.S.-born children for denying them their birth certificates. The suit was filed in May and was amended on Tuesday to include more plaintiffs.

The lawsuit comes as 2016 presidential candidates engaged in bitter debates about the fate of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Some 26 U.S. states filed a lawsuit attempting to block the White House’s plan to protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The 14th Amendment states that all people born in the U.S. are citizens. But in the immigrants’ lawsuit, the two civil rights groups suing the state on the immigrants’ behalf say the department is violating the law by refusing to recognize the matrícula consular — an ID card issued by Mexican consulates — as a valid form of identification.

Parents must present a birth certificate to enroll a child in school or day care, apply for benefits or even to have a child baptized.

Because undocumented immigrants, many of them from Mexico and Central America, do not have a required form of ID like a green card or work authorization papers, they are required to show two secondary forms of identification to get a child’s birth certificate. Often that includes the matrícula consular. But Texas in 2008 announced a new policy of rejecting matrículas, citing security concerns. The measure went largely unenforced until 2013.

Efren Olivares, an attorney for the nonprofit South Texas Civil Rights Project — which, along with Texas-based nonprofit La Union del Pueblo Entero, is representing the immigrants — told Al Jazeera that the timing of the state’s enforcement appears to coincide with a spike in Central Americans arriving in Texas, many of them fleeing violence in their home countries.

The lawsuit accuses Texas of deciding to reject the matrículas knowing that undocumented immigrants are largely unable to present other forms of ID.
Texas, The Lone Brain Cell State. Despite having a government that is little more than a redolent pile of manure, they persist in thinking their shit doesn't stink.

It captures her true spirit

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grace Potter is now a creature of the day

The Nocturnals are no longer mentioned on her latest release "Empty Heart".

Not such strange bedfellows after all

From the pen of Jack Ohman

R.I.P. Yvonne Craig

That Marta was one hell of a dancer to this teenager.

In desperate need of American Express

Now that George Pataki has thrown his hat into the GOP Clown Car, he needs to expend all his energy reminding people who he once was. He could use a revival of the old AmeEx ads which asked "Do you know who I am?".
Mr. Pataki spends a lot of time these days reminding voters that he used to run the State of New York. The former three-term governor faces vast obstacles in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but none may be more daunting than the electorate’s fleeting memory.

In a political culture that prizes novelty and high drama, Mr. Pataki is a genial, low-key campaigner who left office nearly a decade ago, and sounds like it. Addressing small groups of voters, Mr. Pataki repeatedly invoked his upset 1994 win over Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, “that great liberal icon,” holding up an election more than 20 years old as proof of his political mettle. Advertisements running on television here feature the same victory.

Of all the candidates running this year, Mr. Pataki, 70, may be the most awkward match for the climate of 2016.

Where his party has lurched right, Mr. Pataki has done nearly the opposite: He has criticized Republican rivals for attacking immigration, questioning mandatory vaccination policies and opposing abortion even in cases of rape. He has highlighted his experience cutting deals with Democrats in New York, tackling crime and welfare reform through compromise, and wooing Latino voters in the process.

Mr. Pataki, who has struggled to raise money and gain attention, acknowledged at a lakeside meet-and-greet in Sandown, N.H., that the campaign had not exactly proceeded as anticipated: Donald J. Trump, the billionaire immigration hawk, has led the field of 17 candidates in recent polling, while Mr. Pataki has struggled to register even in the low single digits.

“Things are kind of, ah, different with Trump out there,” Mr. Pataki told voters, adding, “Ultimately, I think people are going to want grown-up government.”
Perhaps what he needs to do is make a lot of noise and throw his shit at the others so the current base can call him one of their own.

They elected the skeevy little putz

And now that he is going national with his disastrous copycat Trump immigration pogrom, Wisconsin farmers are afraid of what they started.
With 380 cows, the process would take all morning, before it was time to start all over again for the afternoon and night milkings. Hours of gritty, grueling work would ultimately lead to the production of hundreds of pounds of dairy bound for high-end pizza parlors up and down the East Coast via Bruenig’s buyer, a Wisconsin-based cheese manufacturer.

Bruenig said maintaining a reliable workforce — seven out of nine are immigrants from Latin and Central America — is a critical part to keeping his business afloat.

“I couldn’t do all of this and at the same time, run the business,” he said. “The most important thing is, who’s willing to do the job, willing to train and improve every day, and that’s what my staff really wants. We are always working on getting better.”

These days, Bruenig’s employees look much like the rest of the labor force powering Wisconsin’s $43.4 billion dairy industry, more than 40 percent of which is made up of immigrants, according to a conservative estimate from a 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison study. Many of them — like Sancristobal and Gonzalez — are undocumented.

The importance of immigrant labor to dairy may come as a surprise to some who have followed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trajectory on the issue as he’s gone from a swing state governor to a 2016 presidential contender. Critics say Walker’s rightward drift reflects a tendency to capitulate to the whims of the Republican party’s base, particularly on social issues, no matter what the realities on the ground may be.
Once upon a time, the Evil Koch Owned Homunculus Scvott Walker supported a path to citizenship. Now that he has seen how that idea will end all his hopes of the White House he has gone all out to out Trump the Trump. And that scares the farmers who elected him and need their immigrant labor to do the job that the home grown crowd won't do. What ever will they do?

Congress moves slowly, if at all

But American business is not going to sit around waiting for those cementheads to get their shit together. Following the restoration of diplomatic relations, US airlines are making their first moves toward Cuba.
Regular commercial air travel to Cuba has been heavily restricted since 1963. But last month, the U.S. restored formal diplomatic ties with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. And with the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana last week, many expect the travel ban to be lifted soon.

David Bach, a senior lecturer in global business and politics at the Yale School of Management, said that regular commercial air service is essential to the process of renewing ties between the estranged countries.

“Politically, it’s incredibly symbolic,” he said.

Airlines aren’t waiting for Congress to lift the embargo, though. They’ve already expanded charter flights to Cuba or announced plans to do so. Charter flights are not part of an airline’s regular schedule.

American Airlines said Tuesday that it would begin nonstop service later this year between Los Angeles and Havana, Cuba’s first direct connection to the West Coast in many years. The airline has operated charter flights to Cuba since 1991.

The charter flights will operate on Saturdays beginning Dec. 12 with Boeing 737s. American plans to offer another Saturday charter flight from Miami to Havana.

Last month, JetBlue began direct charter service from New York’s JFK International, building on its existing charter flights from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

United, Delta and Southwest don’t currently operate charter flights to Cuba, but spokespersons for all three airlines indicated Tuesday that they were considering it.

Under current law, U.S. citizens can visit Cuba under a narrow set of categories, such as family visits, official U.S. government business, journalistic activity and athletic competitions.

It would take legislation from Congress to lift those restrictions. Similar bills in the Senate and House of Representatives each has at least 40 bipartisan co-sponsors.
Clearing out the deadwood in Congress and repealing dead laws will take awhile, but it will come. Until then, business will do whatever it has to to make a profit.

A moment of truth

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A whole song about trendy fashion shoes

Rickie Lee Jones strikes again with "Jimmy Choos" from her lates album

One of them isn't fried yet.

From the pen of Kevin Siers

The autopsy said it was a homicide

But the victim was a black, mentally ill inmate at New York's Fishkill Correctional Facility and the perpetrators were a group of correctional officers, including the "Beat Up Squad". No charges have been filed and no one has even been disciplined.
On the evening of April 21 in Building 21 at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, Samuel Harrell, an inmate with a history of erratic behavior linked to bipolar disorder, packed his bags and announced he was going home, though he still had several years left to serve on his drug sentence.

Not long after, he got into a confrontation with corrections officers, was thrown to the floor and was handcuffed. As many as 20 officers — including members of a group known around the prison as the Beat Up Squad — repeatedly kicked and punched Mr. Harrell, who is black, with some of them shouting racial slurs, according to more than a dozen inmate witnesses. “Like he was a trampoline, they were jumping on him,” said Edwin Pearson, an inmate who watched from a nearby bathroom.

Mr. Harrell was then thrown or dragged down a staircase, according to the inmates’ accounts. One inmate reported seeing him lying on the landing, “bent in an impossible position.”

“His eyes were open,” the inmate wrote, “but they weren’t looking at anything.”

He was taken to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and at 10:19 p.m. was pronounced dead.

In the four months since, state corrections officials have provided only the barest details about what happened at Fishkill, a medium-security prison in Beacon, N.Y., about 60 miles north of New York City. Citing a continuing investigation by the State Police, officials for weeks had declined to comment on the inmates’ accounts of a beating.

An autopsy report by the Orange County medical examiner, obtained by The New York Times, concluded that Mr. Harrell, 30, had cuts and bruises to the head and extremities and had no illicit drugs in his system, only an antidepressant and tobacco. He died of cardiac arrhythmia, the autopsy report said, “following physical altercation with corrections officers.”

The manner of death: Homicide.
Those correctional officers really corrected him good. He will be a good boy from now on.

Another glass of Chateau de Cochon Rire?

It looks like the United States is going to get another wine growing district when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau finally approves it. A portion of western Iowa and northwestern Missouri has given over enough land from the usual corn and cattle to develop over sixty vinyards.
Northwestern Missouri meets the wine world, under a bid to designate one of the nation’s largest grape-growing regions.

At more than 8.2 million acres, the proposed Loess Hills District sprawling across western Iowa and a slice of northwestern Missouri would far surpass any federally recognized winemaking region in California. It could also add some fizz to an area currently home to 13 bonded wineries, vineyards that pay a federal excise tax.

“I think this is going to be great for economic development in both states,” Michelle Wodtke Franks, executive director of the non-profit Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development, Inc., said in an interview Monday.

If approved by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, following the public comment period that expired Monday, wineries within the Loess Hills District Viticultural Area could use the term on wine made from the region’s grapes.

Sixty-six commercial vineyards, spanning a modest 112 acres, currently operate in the region still dominated by corn and soybean fields.

“The idea is that it would enhance the demand for grapes from the Loess Hills area,” Franks said, adding that viticultural area designation “has a capacity to be used as a marketing tool” for the broader region.

The Golden Hills organization filed the viticultural area application, along with the Western Iowa Grape Growers.
Perhaps one of the vinyards might name a wine after Steve King. Something like Le Connard Grimaçant

One way to save Planned Parenthood

Monday, August 17, 2015

Forty years on

From her memories of a couple of light years ago. Joan Baez sings "Diamonds And Rust" from her album of the same name.

Republican outreach to women voters

Tom Tomorrow must have access to a GOP playbook to be able to illustrate the Republican Outreach program so well.

He just keeps rolling on

From the pen of Jim Morin

Too often we only see one viewpoint

And we conveniently forget that the rest of the world sees what we see from a different viewpoint. And all too often that viewpoint is not necessarily more accurate than ours, but it does explain their reactions.
“The security of Syria as our strategic ally is very important,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahlan, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, told McClatchy. “We do not support the establishing a no-fly zone or a protected one in Syria. We believe this will complicate the situation more.”

Although Iran’s influence is on the upswing following the July agreement with six great powers on its nuclear program, there are major questions about the country’s ability to manage crisis, not only in Syria, but also in Iraq, where Iran has been the dominant outside power since U.S. forces departed at the end of 2011.

It was on Iran’s watch and under the leaders it backed, Assad in Syria and Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki in Iraq, that Sunni extremists captured an enormous swath of territory in both countries and set up a self-styled “caliphate.” Yet few in Iran accept any responsibility for the upheaval, and many put the blame exclusively on Arab states, Turkey and the U.S.

Officially, Iran even disputes that the Syrian revolt was home-grown, but blames it on unspecified “foreign intelligence services.”

“It is more than four years that Syria has been fighting terrorism,” Amir-Abdollahlan said.

“Based on our information, the uprising began in the border city of Daraa, and from the early hours of the uprising, foreign forces entered Daraa. . . . Of course the people’s demands turned violent. And the Bashar Assad government took measures to control it.”,,

Across the political spectrum, Iranian foreign affairs experts claim that the Islamic State is sponsored by U.S. allies in the region.

“You see half of Syria has now been captured by Islamic State forces with the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and with technical assistance by Erdogan,” said Mohammad-Javad Hag-Shenas, a journalist, academic and former government official, referring to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bigdeli, the university professor, said the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar “created” the Islamic State in order “to rein in Iran’s power in the region,” and for this same reason, the U.S. decided “not to eradicate the Islamic State group.”
And don't you know, from their side of the Persian Gulf, all this is the correct way to see what has happened in the region. And someday we may discover what really happened and learn about a whole 'nother viewpoint. Because that is the way the world turns.

John Oliver takes on the Christohustlers


He's good for something

Sunday, August 16, 2015

From Texas to Tennessee

Carolyn Wonderland still has the blues, "Judgement Day Blues"

The New Sugar Exercise Program - sciencely approved

R.I.P. Julian Bond

A long and fruitful life dedicated to the rights of your fellow humans.

NSA & AT&T Kissing

And while they were kissing each other, they were giving the rest of us a jolly good rogering. And to show its love for NSA, AT&T freely gave NSA just about every e-mail that passed through its system, including those from the UN.
The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.

The N.S.A.’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.

One document reminds N.S.A. officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, “This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”
And a fecund partnership it was is. The other telecom's were also providing to the NSA, but there is little doubt that AT&T was the Number 1 concubine.

What's old is new again

It seems like there is nothing new under the sun when to consider the latest trendy drink in Mexico is as old as the gods themselves. Pulque, was originally the nectar of the Aztec gods a thousand years ago. Now it is the hot new drink in town.
“It's got a great taste … and it's a natural product that doesn't have chemicals in it,” Ivan Alejandro Camarillo said, explaining pulque's appeal as he sipped it from a brightly colored plastic beaker. “It's also really mellow and doesn't make you crazy” like other drinks, he added.

The 19-year-old restaurant worker is among thousands of young Mexicans rediscovering the so-called “nectar of the gods” first made more than 1,000 years ago by the Aztec civilization of the country’s central highlands and drunk by priests in rituals, including human sacrifice.

Subsequently widely made in haciendas dotted across the central highlands, pulque became the staple tipple of Mexico's working class until, amid false rumors that it was made with excrement, it was gradually eclipsed with the advent of beer. A decade or so ago pulque slipped into what producers and pulquería owners feared could be a terminal decline — until it was rediscovered by a new generation of drinkers.

“Now it's all young people that come in,” said Noe Hernandez, Los Paseos' proprietor for the past 45 years, as he cast his eye over his youthful clientele sipping several varieties of pulque, some “cured” or mixed with fruit including guava and passion fruit that make the pungent drink more palatable. About half of the customers are “new faces,” he added.

The drink's popularity peaked in the late 1800s when there were some 1,100 pulquerías across the capital, according to some estimates, of which perhaps 80 to 100 have survived. Renewed demand in the past five or six years has reinvigorated some of the older bars, and led to a rash of start-ups in Mexico City's trendy Condesa and Roma neighborhoods, where the ancient drink is now served to a dance music beat.

The revival is also giving a boost to rural areas where pulque is produced, like the nearby state of Tlaxcala where emigration to find work is common.

At the historic Hacienda Xochuca, in Tlaxcala, manager Vicente Franquiz takes a growing number of visitors around the fields of hulking magueys, relatives of the blue agaves used to make tequila. Visitors to the estate founded in the 1800s are shown them the traditional techniques to gather the sap known as aguamiel (honey water) that is used to make pulque. He one day hopes to bring output back from the current 130 gallons a day to the 26-32,000 gallons that the estate produced in its heyday, although he finds himself battling a rumor that is endlessly repeated in Mexico that a cloth-wrapped bundle of excrement — dubbed a muneca (doll) — is added to the sap to kickstart fermentation.

“It's a complete lie … pulque has a 100 percent natural fermentation,” said Franquiz, standing beside softly fizzing tanks of fermenting juice in the cool interior of the tinacal, or brew house, at the hacienda. “When people come here, we show them that the myth isn't true. We give them the honey water to take to Mexico City, and then they see that it starts to ferment without adding anything at all.”
Is pulque the "Pabst beer" of Mexico? The growers should be so lucky.

An Exceptional American Geography Lesson

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Faith never comes easy, if at all

And Jess Klein's song about "Learning Faith" makes that clear.

Quote of the Day

When it comes to blowing up things or threatening other countries with sanctions or invasion, Republicans take nothing "off the table." When it comes to paying bills or leaving their country better than they found it, they take away the table.
Tom Sullivan, posting on the sad state of American financial politics thanks to Reagan, Norquist & the GOP.

Maybe he will be sick when they vote.

From the pen of Matt Davies

ICE tries to prove they are real cops

ICE, that federal agency that sounds like a '60s movie criminal organization, used to have it easy. Simply request that any police agency having custody of an undocumented immigrant who has been convicted of a crime would be held until they sent a van around to pick them up. Then a federal judge called bullshit on that operation so now they have to find them all by themselves.
It used to be simpler for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to locate and deport immigrants who had been convicted of crimes. The agency would contact local jails and ask that such inmates be held until an ICE van could pick them up.
But last year a federal judge found that practice illegal, prompting hundreds of counties to stop honoring the detainer requests. As a result, ICE officials say they have to rely on costly and dangerous manhunts like the one conducted Wednesday in Riverside. 
The agency's Fugitive Operation teams carry out raids across the country every morning.

Originally formed to locate immigrants who had failed to comply with a judge's deportation order, the program is increasingly being used to find immigrants with criminal convictions who have recently been let out of jail. Of the more than 27,000 people whom authorities arrested last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2014, about 78% had criminal convictions, according to ICE data.
"It would be so much safer for the community if we took custody of this individual in the jail," said David Marin, deputy director of ICE's Los Angeles field office. "It would have taken us two officers to do that, as opposed to the eight or nine that we have out here now."
ICE officials have held up the agency's new Priority Enforcement Program as a cheaper and safer alternative to dramatic neighborhood raids. Under the new program, ICE asks jails to notify the agency when potentially deportable inmates are being released from custody, and occasionally asks jails to hold detainees it considers especially dangerous.
Immigrant advocates don't buy that argument.
Newman and others say the agency's new jail program is simply a rebranding of a controversial earlier initiative, Secure Communities, the post-release detainer program that the federal judge found unconstitutional. Advocates say thousands of U.S. citizens were wrongfully detained and many immigrants with little or no criminal record were deported as a result of the program.
Since counties stopped honoring ICE detainer requests last year, the number of deportations has plummeted, along with the number of people held in immigrant detention, according to ICE data.
So now they get to put on their "Action Jackson" gear and storm into house looking for people who may have committed serious offenses or simply failed to answer a traffic ticket, it makes no difference to them. Now they get to be 'real cops'.

WHAT?! You want us to do something?

The current Republican Party is very good at one thing. Whether in power or on the outs, The Republican Party can shout long and loud about what the other guys are doing. In fact it is about all they can do as they have few, if any, suggestions about what should be done.
If the diverse group of candidates competing for the Republican presidential nomination agree on one thing when describing how they would engage with the world if they made it to the White House, it is this: If only the United States were stronger, and more feared, the country would not feel threatened by the Islamic State, manipulated by Iran or challenged by a rising China.

But after that, finding any consensus on how they would exercise American power differently from President Obama, or a Democratic opponent in 2016, much less how they would define an alternative Republican foreign policy, gets a bit messy.

In speeches, town-hall-style meetings and interviews, many align themselves with the spirit (but not the arms control agreements) of President Ronald Reagan, knowing it is a sure pathway to applause. Except for his son Jeb, they usually avoid talking about the first President George Bush, now considered, despite his victory in the Persian Gulf war, as far too internationalist for current Republican tastes.

And many struggle with the question of whether to align themselves with the unilateral actions of President George W. Bush’s first term, dominated by the invasion of Iraq, or his second term, when, over the objections of hard-liners, he negotiated with the North Koreans, placed modest sanctions on Iran and set a schedule for America’s withdrawal from Iraq.

“They are all having a hard time threading this needle,” said William J. Burns, George W. Bush’s ambassador to Russia and undersecretary of state for policy, and then Mr. Obama’s deputy secretary of state. “For a long time after 9/11 we focused on military force with diplomacy as the backup, often to clean up the mess. President Obama has tried to reverse that — with diplomacy backed up by force.”
How dreadful is it that they view George W as too internationalist and not as the abject failure that he really was.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Probably not the right time of the year for this

Since it is the title song of their holiday album, but I like listening to Over The Rhine sing "Blood Oranges In The Snow".

Please don't feed the Ego

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

German paranoia or smart move

Maybe it is driven by memories of the Gestapo and the Stasi, maybe it is just a well developed sense of privacy, but the German people have embraced a number of steps to try and insure that privacy.
When it comes to privacy, Germans can’t take a joke. After it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency had intercepted calls in Germany, sales of old-school typewriters were reported to have skyrocketed, as some Germans assumed that sending letters might make communications surveillance harder for U.S. officials.

It’s not only American surveillance that Germans are concerned about, however. On Tuesday, a 29-year old man was arrested at Frankfurt Airport after authorities noticed that he had microwaved his German identification card, reported German news agency dpa.

According to a police statement, the man was concerned that his privacy might be violated by the microchip that has been embedded in all German IDs since 2010. The man now faces either a fine or time in jail for the offense of illegally modifying official documents. According to German law, identification documents are state property.

Microwaving one’s I.D. is in fact not as uncommon as one would expect. Here's a video of a literally exploding German identification document...

German officials were aware of the strong public backlash against the microchip IDs even before they were first issued. In 2010, a governmental survey came to the conclusion that it would “take ten years for the document to establish itself.” Although several studies have refuted concerns that the microchip could be used to spy on individuals, many Germans remain cautious. Not everyone is willing to use the microchip, which would enable them to fill out online formulas much faster.

Skepticism of state authorities is deeply entrenched in German society: In June, activists inaugurated an Edward Snowden Square in the eastern German city of Dresden. Snowden had for instance revealed that the NSA had spied on German telecommunications data two years ago, and many Germans suspect their own intelligence services to have collaborated with their American counterparts.

"Much of this can be explained historically," Edward Snowden Square creator Markwart Faussner told WorldViews in June. "Germans have experienced observation throughout the 20th century. After the Nazi era, the Stasi intelligence service in the former East Germany monitored most of the country's citizens. When the Berlin Wall fell, East Germans suddenly found out from official government files that their friends or even family members had spied on them for years or decades. Hence, there is still a deeply rooted suspicion of state authorities in Germany,” Faussner explained.
The Germans do know surveillance, from both sides. I wonder if the people in this country could ever do this?

Some people will do anything for sex

Take DAESH for example. They would prefer to be called ISIS or ISIL, but they are so horny, they use their god to justify rape.
The systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets.

The trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held, viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated fleet of buses used to transport them.

A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.

A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.

“Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” said F, a 15-year-old girl who was captured on the shoulder of Mount Sinjar one year ago and was sold to an Iraqi fighter in his 20s. Like some others interviewed by The New York Times, she wanted to be identified only by her first initial because of the shame associated with rape.

“He kept telling me this is ibadah,” she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship.
Many of us have prayed for a little sex at some time or other and even called out to God when it went right, but it was a consenual thing at the time. If there really was a god, ISIS would be roasting in one of those imaginative hells that Mohammad dreamed up.

Here comes kindly Uncle Talib

Having been unrelenting pricks in their first time around ruling Afghanistan, the Taliban has decided it would be better to put a smiley face on their governing this time.
As they have captured more in Afghanistan this year, the Taliban have twinned their military offensive with a publicity push. Their pitch goes something like this: We’ve learned the lessons from our time in power, and we’re ready to moderate a bit.

At international conferences, delegates from the Taliban — infamous for outlawing girls’ schools during their rule from 1994 to 2001 — have made a point of being willing to meet and talk with female officials. Old hard-line stances against music and photography have been softening.

But for insight into how the Taliban might rule if they succeed in holding large stretches of Afghanistan, consider Baghran district, in the southern province of Helmand.

There, where the Taliban were scarcely ever out of power, the harsh old policies of the ’90s are still in full swing. Men are hauled into jail if they shave beards, and spot turban checks are still in place to expose any fancy haircuts. And there is still no freedom for women to travel or learn.
But it is only a smiley face pasted on the same old underlying son of a bitch. People in power never really learn anything.

80 y.o. and still going strong, despite the GOP

Thursday, August 13, 2015

She does have talent

And Emily West shows some of it singing "Real Good Dancer"

Sinks naturally, no digging necessary

From the pen of Jim Morin

Cattle Oil & Stupid - Texas Traditions

And never let it be said that Texans don't embrace their traditions with a bear hug. Take the Texas shithole of FARMERSVILLE, Texas. For some strange reason the area Muslims want to establish a cemetery in that town. And rising up from a deep pool of Derp, baseless opposition to it has been raucous and determined.
Khalil Abdur-Rashid kept his calm as meeting attendees hollered at him during his speech in a high school auditorium in the tiny northern Texas city of Farmersville. As he tried to explain why his organization, the Islamic Association of Collin County (IACC), wants to develop a 35-acre cemetery in Farmersville one man yelled, “You’re not welcome here!”

Local residents have protested the proposed cemetery since it was approved by the city on May 28 as a concept plan, prompting city officials and the IACC to host a City Council meeting to address locals’ concerns. On Aug. 4 a mostly white, older audience packed into the school auditorium, where a man led a Christian prayer before the meeting started. Farmersville is home to about 3,300 people, more than 80 percent white and nearly entirely Christian, according to city officials.

Abdur-Rashid, a resident scholar at the IACC, said, “Some folks have unfortunately been party to [groups] spreading hate towards Islam and Muslims. It’s based upon ignorance.”

Although the IACC said it doesn’t know of any Muslims living in Farmersville, the group purchased the land because of its scenic location on the shores of Lake Lavon and its affordability compared with real estate in the more densely populated parts of Collin County closer to Dallas. The families who will bury their loved ones there are part of the estimated 22,000-person Muslim community living mostly in the nearby cities of Plano, Richardson and Garland.

At the public meeting, some angry attendees screamed and interrupted Abdur-Rashid as he tried to speak. Near the end, the one who shouted, “You’re not welcome here!” continued. “Every place y’all have been, you’ve caused some kind of controversy in the schools, and the government lets y’all have y’all’s way. Well, it’s not going to happen in Farmersville.”

Much of the opposition is based on incorrect information and rumors. At the meeting and in national media, some residents argued that Islamic burial practices contaminate groundwater because Muslims do not put the dead in coffins — a claim that Abdur-Rashid dismissed as inaccurate, saying that bodies would be buried in caskets or coffins.

One of the most vocal opponents of the cemetery is David Meeks, the 65-year-old pastor of the local Bethlehem Church, which describes itself on its website as “a conservative Southern Baptist Church that believes in the inerrancy of the word of God.” He has told reporters that the plan is an attempt by Muslim groups to build “a mosque or madrassa training center” in the town.
Opposition based on misinformation and ignorance is not unusual. Self identifying themselves as Christians should be painful to all who actually believe in Him. Southern Baptists, shaming Christ since 1845.

First lawyer wins

Get to the rubes with the forms for their signature first and your side has the best chance of winning. But in the aftermath of the Gold King Mine spill, the Navajo Nation leaders have said "Hold on there Kemo Sabe".
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to stop handing out forms to Navajo citizens impacted by the Animas River spill that would effectively waive an individual’s rights to sue the agency for any future damages caused by contaminated water released from an abandoned mine upstream in Colorado last week.

“The people that live up and down the river, the Navajo people, many do not speak English, and those that do may not comprehend legal language,” Begaye said.

Around 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater spilled into the Animas River from an abandoned gold mine in southern Colorado last week after an accident caused by the EPA. The agency says the water contains lead, arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals, but has still not disclosed what impact the spill will have on river users downstream, like those in the Navajo Nation. However, Begaye says officials are already trying to preempt future lawsuits by taking advantage of Navajo citizens.

“My interpretation as president of the Navajo Nation is the EPA is trying to minimize the amount of compensation that the people deserve,” said Begaye. “They want to close these cases and they don’t want more compensation to come later.”

The EPA did not return requests for comment.

Claims for damage, death or injury caused by a federal employee’s negligence are covered under Standard Form 95, but the form also states that any payments made are final.

“They’re saying if we pay you $500 for buying hay for your cattle, and you sign your name here, that’s all you’re going to get,” said Begaye. “Next week if you find something else that comes up because of the contamination and maybe your livestock may be injured, then we can’t pay you because you waived your right.”
Once again the Great White Father comes in with a grin and a paper to sign. Fortunately there are some who know what to do about it this time.

Ted Gets Good Advice From God

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

You could say it was her signature tune

No doubt that Dinah Washington put her brand on "What A Difference A Day Makes".

Just a sampling of their reasons

From the pen of David Horsey

9 of 17 GOP candidates embrace Anarchy

And the latest one to sign on to the program to destroy the government is The Outlaw Jersey Whale himself, Chris Christie.
Chris Christie Wednesday became the latest Republican to sign a pledge to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

Americans for Tax Reform has been urging presidential candidates to sign the pledge. In 2012, all Republicans except one, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, did.

Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is the ninth of the 17 prominent 2016 Republican candidates to agree to no tax increases. Also making the commitment are Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, former business executive Carly Fiorina, former Sen. Rick Santorum, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas.

Christie’s fiscal record has also come in for criticism from some conservatives. The Club for Growth Tuesday didn’t list Christie as one of its acceptable 2016 candidates.

“The Club for Growth praised the governor for winning concessions from public employee unions and withdrawing from a multistate compact designed to curb emissions contributing to climate change,” reported But, the group added, “there are enough warning signs in Christie's record to give fiscal conservatives pause," such as his decision to expand Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act.
We can not be sure, but we suspect that all the grand plans they will propose will be paid for either from defense spending(fat chance!)or with a pinch of fairy dust.

Planned Parenthood Exposed!

The Shocking Truth About Planned Parenthood from Funny Or Die

All the same to this guy

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not sure which wild animal she sings about

But this was recorded up in Canada where Jenn Grant sang "Wild Animal" at the Festival

Reince Priebus' favorite dream

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

What did you expect them to cut?

As the financial problems of America's last sizable colony continue to mount, one of the proposed solutions comes straight out of the "Trash the Government" playbook, slash education funding.
On Aug. 1, Puerto Rico defaulted on a bond payment, setting the stage for a protracted fiscal battle between the U.S. territory and its creditors. San Juan paid only $628,000 toward the $58 million on its Public Finance Corp. bonds, though it managed to pay nearly $500 million in other debt payments due on Aug. 3. The selective default may be a gambit because Puerto Rican residents, who are owed much of the overdue payment via credit unions, are unlikely to pursue the legal remedies that litigious hedge funds would be expected to aggressively undertake.

The island’s economy is buckling under a staggering $72 billion debt. In June, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla urged investors to renegotiate the terms of repayment, calling the debt “unpayable.” But hedge fund investors, who bought up Puerto Rico’s distressed debt, are demanding austerity measures that would exact a toll on the public. And they have rejected proposals to restructure the debt, which would reduce their returns on investment but enable the economy to recover.

Proponents of severe austerity measures attribute Puerto Rico’s debt crisis to fiscal mismanagement and corruption. They are calling for punitive reforms that suggest the island is solely responsible for its dire predicament. While Puerto Rican authorities have no doubt contributed to the island’s economic distress, investors contributed to the troubles by wagering on risky investments. The island was attractive in the municipal bond market until the crisis hit because of high yields and exemptions from federal, state and local taxes. In addition, its colonial history and globalization played prominent roles in creating and sustaining the structural deficits that made the commonwealth a target for the ruthless investors that are now demanding their pound of flesh.

And that colonial legacy extends into the present. Puerto Rico does not enjoy many of the benefits afforded to U.S. states, including the right of its municipalities to file for bankruptcy. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed a federal district court’s decision in February that found that Puerto Rico’s 2014 debt restructuring law was unconstitutional. In addition, the island lacks voting representation in Congress, which continues to dictate its fate. And because of its status as a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is ineligible for multilateral loans made to sovereign countries...
What’s more, the island’s health care system is collapsing. Nearly 60 percent of the commonwealth’s residents rely on Medicare and Medicaid, but the lower rate of reimbursement has prompted an exodus of doctors. The federal government is expected to impose an 11 percent cut in Medicare Advantage plans in January, and Medicaid funding may also be curtailed.

Despite these dire circumstances, investors are calling on San Juan to slash public spending. A new report, “For Puerto Rico, There Is a Better Way,” commissioned by a group of 34 hedge funds that hold an estimated $5.2 billion of Puerto Rican bonds, recommended a typical austerity package: tax increases, harsh spending cuts — including teacher layoffs, school closures and health benefit reductions — The report criticized Puerto Rico for excessive outlays on education. (The island spends $8,400 per student, far below the U.S. average of $10,667.) More than half of Puerto Rico’s children live in poverty, and the government has already closed nearly 100 schools this year, in addition to 60 closures last year. These arguments are self-serving and greedy: The hedge funds are asking the Puerto Rican people, especially its children, to make deep sacrifices, but they are unwilling to accept any themselves. privatizing public resources.
Just as in Europe with Greece, we see lenders making risky loans and demanding that the borrower shoulder the burden of their risk so as not to jeopardize their 100% return. Risk is for the little people. What the hedge funds needs is a deep, deep haircut, but that is not likely to happen.

Has the gravy train stopped running

After years of milking students (and the government) for massive sums of money and providing questionable education in return, for profit colleges are looking at new regulations which may put an end to the gravy train. Needless to say they don't like it one bit.
After trying for years to tighten the rules on for-profit colleges, the Department of Education finally enacted regulations on the industry this summer. But the fight’s not over.

A month after new rules went into effect, the department faces continuing push-back from the colleges, and Republican lawmakers as well.

The regulations require for-profit colleges, such as prominent names like the University of Phoenix and ITT Tech, to prove that students can find “gainful employment” after finishing school.

The intent is to separate credible programs from those that weigh students down with significant debt for degrees that end up being worth little. Colleges are now asked to show that the average student’s annual loan payment is not more than 20 percent of the student’s discretionary income after graduation.

If the schools don’t meet the standard, they risk losing their federal financial aid. Public and private nonprofit colleges are not required to prove that their students meet such a standard.

For the Education Department and others that have spent years fighting to implement the regulations, it’s an important step toward cracking down on an industry that has been criticized for taking advantage of students.

“It’s a big issue,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. “They wind up in serious economic difficulty. With high debt, they default. They don’t come out with a meaningful education or degree or certificate that allows them to be gainfully employed.”
And is anyone surprised that the for profit schools have Republican allies in Congress? Just another part of the Republican efforts to divert tax dollars for education into private pockets.

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