Saturday, April 30, 2016

For International Jazz Day

Melody Gardot performing the Bill Withers classic, "Ain't No Sunshine"

Fire up a fattie

Today, April 29, is Willie Nelson's Birthday. The Red Headed Stranger is 83 years old and still counting.

The Home Gun Show Network

Amy Schumer really can sell on TV

Is a Cuban reptile eligible?

From the pen of Lee Judge

That Cuban Guy Cruz has his Carly

So one of the questions on the Republican side is who the most likely candidate for president will pick as his Vice President. The other question is will whoever he might pick actually agree to run with him.
It’s a time-honored tradition for politicians to deny any interest in the vice presidency. But this year, with the possibility of Donald J. Trump as the Republican nominee, they really mean it.

“Never,” said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who is still running against Mr. Trump. “No chance.”

“Hahahahahahahahaha,” wrote Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Jeb Bush, when asked if he would consider it.

“Scott Walker has a visceral negative reaction to Trump’s character,” said Ed Goeas, a longtime adviser to the Wisconsin governor.

Or, as Senator Lindsey Graham put it, “That’s like buying a ticket on the Titanic.”

A remarkable range of leading Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, have been emphatic publicly or with their advisers and allies that they do not want to be considered as Mr. Trump’s running mate. The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles.

But Mr. Trump has a singular track record of picking fights with obvious potential running mates like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has indicated a lack of interest in the vice presidency generally and has yet to reconcile with Mr. Trump publicly. Ms. Haley and another potential pick, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, have sharply criticized Mr. Trump at recent party gatherings and do not want to be associated with his sometimes-angry tone, according to advisers and close associates who have spoken with these Republicans.

Several Republican consultants said their clients were concerned that Mr. Trump’s unusually high unfavorable ratings with all voters and his unpopularity among women and Hispanics could doom him as a general election candidate and damage their own future political prospects if they were on his ticket.
Worse than running and losing with Trump, being seen within fifty feet of him is now the new poison in the Republican Party.

It's Been A While Since We Had That New Country Smell

Bill Maher rips into our penchant for 'fixing' what should be replaced.


Friday, April 29, 2016

A pop song in the 60's

Turns into a sexy song in the hands of Joan Osborne. The Classics IV song "Spooky"

What he calls "man"

From the pen of Tom Toles

They meant well but they screwed up

So the Pentagon, in its brass plated wisdom, will punish 16 people for the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Shitholeistan. According to the Pentagon they will all get an administrative "whack on the pee-pee" for it.
Mistakes by the crew flying an AC-130 gunship, compounded by equipment and procedural failures, led to the devastating attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan last year, and 16 American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike, the Defense Department announced on Friday.

The punishments for the attack on Oct. 3 in Kunduz, which killed 42 people, will be “administrative actions” only, and were not more severe because the attack was determined to be unintentional. The punishments include suspension and removal from command as well as letters of reprimand, which can seriously damage a career. But none of the service members being disciplined will face criminal charges.

The new top officer of the military’s Central Command, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, made the announcement during a Pentagon news conference. He said the military had conducted “a thorough investigation” that was “painstaking” in seeking an “accurate account” of what occurred.

Its conclusion was that the crew members of the gunship who fired on the hospital “did not know they were striking a medical facility” and that the attack on the hospital was the result of human errors compounded by “process and equipment failures.”

The AC-130, whose assignment was to support an American Special Forces team that was working with Afghan forces, came under fire from a surface-to-air missile, General Votel said, and received incorrect coordinates for the source of the attack. Its crew, communicating with ground forces, came to believe that the hospital basically matched the description of a Taliban-controlled building about a quarter of a mile away, and fired at the hospital.

The crew of the gunship did not get all the information it should have received about “no strike areas” that included the hospital, which was categorized as a protected facility.
The punishment to be meted out is more likely a response to the embarrassment of missing the real target by such a wide margin than it is for hitting a hospital. The MSF people should know better than to work anywhere near US Forces.

Someone always finds a way

And North Carolina's crying need for this device has been answered.

More Republican abuse of power

It could be said that almost all the Republican actions have been an abuse of power since the inauguration of Barack Obama. One thing is certain, it has now become as casual and accepted as racism was 100 years ago. One example is the nomination of the Secretary of the Army, a non controversial selection, that is being blocked by that paragon of pettiness, Pat Roberts of Kansas. And his reason? President Obama wants to close Guantanamo and Pat is scared shitless he might put some of those super-human terrist critters in Fort Leavenworth.
Arizona Sen. John McCain pleaded with a fellow Republican, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, on the Senate floor Thursday to withdraw his objection and allow a vote on Eric Fanning to be Secretary of the Army.

But Roberts wouldn’t budge, again citing his opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and transfer its detainees to U.S. sites, including, potentially, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Roberts said the White House called him Thursday to try to work out a solution but wouldn’t promise to take Fort Leavenworth off the list.

Obama nominated Fanning in September, and McCain’s committee voted to confirm him last month. If confirmed by the full Senate, Fanning would be the first openly gay secretary of any branch of the military.

At times getting impatient with Roberts, McCain said Fanning was “eminently qualified” and that he had “nothing to do” with he president’s policy on Guantanamo.

McCain, a Navy veteran and former prisoner of war, said Roberts’ action was “not the appropriate use of senatorial privilege” and “a distortion” of the Senate’s duty to advise and consent.

“If we inaugurate a practice here of holding nominees over an issue that is not related to those nominees,” McCain said, “we are abusing our power and authority as United States senators.”
It is to be noted that the Republicans have moved beyond using his being gay as a sticking point. But there is always some irrelevant point that the GOP can use to stop the proper functioning of government. And as Sen. McCain rightly puts, it is an abuse of power.

Simple Solution to a Non-Existent Problem

Thursday, April 28, 2016

One from the 60's that still plays well

From South Africa, Four Jacks And A Jill do "Master Jack"

Trump The Calendar

From the pen of Jack Ohman

R.I.P. Uziel Silna

You screwed the NBA really good when they thought they had got you. Well Done Ozzie Silna!

Doctors In The Bullseye

Doctors Without Borders is a charity of medical professionals who provide medical treatment in crisis areas to all who need it. And once again it becomes the target of one of the belligerents for reasons never stated but hardly accidental.
Syria’s divided city of Aleppo plunged back into the kind of all-out war not seen in months on Thursday, witnesses and health workers said, as they reeled from government airstrikes that demolished a hospital in the insurgent-held side and from retaliatory mortar assaults by rebels on the government-held side.

At least 27 people, including three children and six staff members, were reported killed in the strike on the hospital, which turned it into a smoking pile of rubble on Wednesday night. At least eight people, mostly civilians, were killed in the mortar attacks on government-controlled areas, said officials at a hospital where casualties were streaming in at midday on Thursday...

The location of Al Quds hospital, the destroyed facility on the rebel side of the city, was well known, and the hospital was assisted by the international charity Doctors Without Borders. “This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral center for pediatric care in the area,” the head of the charity’s Syria mission, Muskilda Zancada, said in a statement. “Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?”

Two hospitals in the town of Maarat al-Noaman to the east, including one working with Doctors Without Borders, were hit on the same day earlier this year, each by multiple strikes. Groups such as Physicians for Human Rights have tracked what they call a pattern of deliberate targeting of health services by government forces.

Witnesses contended that the same appeared to be true in the strike on Al Quds hospital, in the neighborhood of Sukkari.

“Those were multiple airstrikes targeting the same area with less than two-minute gaps,” Adnan Hadad, an opposition journalist, said shortly after returning from the scene.

The International Committee of the Red Cross called on all parties to stop indiscriminate attacks and to avoid harming civilians, or Aleppo would face what it called a new humanitarian disaster...

The hospital was hit when it was already full of victims from government shelling, Hadi Abdullah, an opposition journalist, reported in a video from the scene, in which a medical worker said that three of his colleagues had been killed.
Perhaps only hopeless dreamers believe that you can retain some humanity in a war, even a civil war.

The Once Brave Palmetto Bug State

Which once upon a time had the courage to start a war with the industrial northern states over a failed business model, now is scared shitless at the idea that a handful of prisoners may be held in South Carolina.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came to Washington, D.C., on Thursday with one clear message – keep Guantanamo detainees out of South Carolina, and if you need extra money to keep the prison open I’ll help you find it.

“You could pay the state of South Carolina to host these terrorists, and we wouldn’t take them. For any amount of money,” she said in her testimony before a House Homeland Security subcommittee on the local impact of transferring prisoners from the facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Barack Obama in February released his plan to shutter the prison, including measures that would transfer 30 to 60 detainees, many of whom have never been charged with a crime, from Guantánamo to an unidentified high-security prison in the United States.

Haley told the committee that the Pentagon reached out last summer to tell her they were scouting the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in Hanahan, S.C., as a possible site to transfer the detainees. The facility lies five miles from North Charleston.

“Imagine my surprise,” she said. “Not only was it against federal law (…) but why would anyone want to put terrorists in Charleston?”

Obama said his plan would save American taxpayers more than $300 million in the first 10 years after implementation and as much as $1.7 billion over two decades. Haley said that saving federal dollars does not justify the risk.

“I come from a state where we balance our budget – I promise we can help you find the $85 million elsewhere to cut,” she said.

Moving detainees to a different zip code just shifts the target and creates imminent danger for nearby communities, Haley said. The South Carolina delegation has argued for months that this is especially a concern for the Charleston location, a national tourist destination with a metropolitan population of almost 700,000.
Where they once stood up to a blockade and faced the Wrath of Sherman, now they cower in fear at the thought of al-Qaeda and ISIS driving their Toyotas across the Atlantic to attack South Carolina and free a handful of now worthless schmucks. Well Done South Carolina!

Restating the obvious

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

They can sing them and write them

And the trio of Matraca Berg, Gretchen Peters and Suzy Bogguss encompass some of the finest signing and writing talent in Nashville. "You And Tequila" was written Berg and Deanna Carter. A ladylike drinking song.

Step 2 - Underpants Gnomes Business Plan

From the pen of Chan Lowe

The Cicadas are coming! The Cicadas are coming!

And if you are in one of the prime areas for the emergence of this years brood, the warm summer days will be filled with the buzz of male cicadas trying to get laid after 17 years underground.(And you think your life is hard)
Although adult cicadas are harmless to people, they can cause some damage to shade and fruit trees, Mr. Hoover said. They can also cause a mess and discomfort for humans.

In addition to the eerie noise cicadas emit, they leave behind casings that can coat decks and patios, prompting some homeowners in the past to get power washers to remove them. If you have a phobia about insects, this will be a time of high anxiety. Dog owners have discovered the undigested remnants of the insects from the upset stomachs of their pets.

But for some other animals, such as birds and fish, the emergence of the periodical cicada means a bumper crop of food. Trout, bass and carp “will literally gorge themselves” on the adult insects, Mr. Hoover said.

The lead-up to cicadas’ emergence is a prolonged, low-key process. Cicada nymphs spend 17 years underground, where they “await an undetermined signal for emergence,” Mr. Hoover said.

A combination of soil temperatures reaching 64 degrees and light rain seems to trigger their ascension, he said. The nymphs climb trees and within an hour, they shed their skins and become adults.

Ten days later, the mating begins. Each female lays up to 400 eggs in the twigs of more than 75 species of trees.

Nymphs hatch in six to eight weeks and then drop to the soil for a period longer than four presidential administrations before they re-emerge and the cycle continues.
And kids will be finding shed casings of their former life, harmless but perhaps icky to people afraid of nature.

Send the lunch pail to a museum

The idea, and the hope, that any political candidate can bring about a manufacturing resurgence in this country is just another "snipe hunt". Worldwide thanks to automation and increased productivity, manufacturing of all kinds is declining.
In America’s factories, jobs are inevitably disappearing, too. But despite the political rhetoric, the problem is not mainly globalization. Manufacturing jobs are on the decline in factories around the world.

“The observation is uncontroversial,” said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-winning economist at Columbia University. “Global employment in manufacturing is going down because productivity increases are exceeding increases in demand for manufactured products by a significant amount.”

The consequences of this dynamic are often misunderstood, not least by politicians offering slogans to fix them.

No matter how high the tariffs Mr. Trump wants to raise to encircle the American economy, he will not be able to produce a manufacturing renaissance at home. Neither would changing tax rules to limit corporate flight from the United States, as Mrs. Clinton proposes.

“The likelihood that we will get a manufacturing recovery is close to nil,” Professor Stiglitz said. “We are more likely to have a smaller share of a shrinking pie.”

Look at it this way: Over the course of the 20th century, farm employment in the United States dropped to 2 percent of the work force from 41 percent, even as output soared. Since 1950, manufacturing’s share has shrunk to 8.5 percent of nonfarm jobs, from 24 percent. It still has a ways to go.

The shrinking of manufacturing employment is global. In other words, strategies to restore manufacturing jobs in one country will amount to destroying them in another, in a worldwide zero-sum game.

The loss of such jobs has created plenty of problems in the United States. For the countless workers living in less developed reaches of the world, though, it adds up to a potential disaster.
There may still be pockets of manufacturing sprouting up here and there but overall it is a field that needs less people every year. And when you take away the means to work without taking away the need to work you create a huge problem that does not lend itself to old solutions.

But it looks so cool!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Harmonious Singings Of Sweet Sisters

Joseph sings "Sweet Dreams" with a background of Casper The Friendly Ghost

Under Der Trumpenfuehrer

From the pen of Matt Bors

The power of public shame

The other day some Okie deputies from Muskogee County stopped a Burmese immigrant working with a Christian-Burmese band to raise money for a Karen school back in Burma, for a broken taillight. A semi-legal dog inspired drug search turned up $53,000 raised by the band, the deputies seized the money and charged Eh Wah with drug crimes despite not drugs or incriminating paraphenalia being found. The DA then eagerly sought to steal the money under the cover of a civil forfeiture. The the story went public.
On Monday, I wrote about a strange civil forfeiture case out of Oklahoma, in which Muskogee County sheriff's deputies seized over $53,000 in cash from a Burmese Christian rock band, a church in Omaha and an orphanage in Thailand following a traffic stop over a busted tail light.

After the story was published, Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge decided to dismiss both the civil case (the cash seizure) and a criminal charge of "acquir[ing] proceeds from drug activity" against the principal defendant, Eh Wah, after reviewing the evidence and speaking with the officers involved.

"I looked at the case and met with the officers and determined that we would not be able to meet the burden of proof in the criminal case and in the civil case," Loge said in an interview. He also cited the press coverage of the story and said that his office has heard from "a lot of citizens" who were upset about the details of the case.

Eh Wah was acting as the volunteer tour manager for the Klo and Kweh Music Team, a group from Burma. They were touring the United States to raise money for a Christian liberal arts school in Burma and an orphanage in Thailand. They collected their concert proceeds in cash, which they entrusted to Eh Wah to manage and safeguard.

Eh Wah was pulled over for a broken tail light in February by Muskogee County sheriff's deputies, who said a drug-sniffing dog alerted on the car. When the deputies searched the car, they found all $53,000 that the band had raised. They didn't like Eh Wah's explanation for why he had it, citing inconsistencies in his responses to police questions. So they seized the cash and eventually charged him with a drug felony, even though they found no drugs or paraphernalia in the car or in his possession.

In an interview, Loge, the district attorney, said the officers had enough probable cause to take the cash.

"In this case, the question was did they have probable cause to act? And in my opinion they did," he said. But he added, "Once you file cases and facts come to light, things change. That's the way our justice system is designed, and you have to let the wheel of justice turn and act — and that's what we did."
Yes, it is amazing how facts change when you shine a light on what is happening. No one as yet is calling DA Loge and the deputies a bunch of thieving bastards. Perhaps that is because no one yet has looked at how many civil forfeitures he has done.

The value of activist judges

As everybody knows, their value is revealed when they bend and twist the laws to make rulings that you approve of. In North Carolina, those who want to keep the pesky coloreds and poors from voting appear to have gotten their wish in the latest ruling from a Bush appointed activist judge in the North Carolina District Court.
A federal judge on Monday upheld sweeping Republican-backed changes to election rules, including a voter identification provision, that civil rights groups say unfairly targeted African-Americans and other minorities. The ruling could have serious political repercussions in a state that is closely contested in presidential elections.

The opinion, by Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of Federal District Court in Winston-Salem, upheld the repeal of a provision that allowed people to register and vote on the same day. It also upheld a seven-day reduction in the early-voting period; the end of preregistration, which allowed some people to sign up before their 18th birthdays; and the repeal of a provision that allowed for the counting of ballots cast outside voters’ home precinct.

It also left intact North Carolina’s voter identification requirement, which legislators softened last year to permit residents to cast ballots, even if they lack the required documentation, if they submit affidavits.

The ruling could have significant repercussions in North Carolina, a state that Barack Obama barely won in 2008, and that the Republican Mitt Romney barely won four years later.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which sits in Richmond, Va., will be the first to consider an appeal, which the law’s opponents said they would pursue. If the Fourth Circuit or the Supreme Court does not intervene, the changes will be in force when voters go to the polls this autumn. North Carolina voters will also elect a governor in what is expected to be one of this year’s most competitive state races.

The ruling is an early signal of how federal judges might regard changes and challenges to voting laws in the aftermath of a 2013 Supreme Court decision that effectively eliminated a portion of the Voting Rights Act that had forced nine states, mostly in the South, to obtain advance federal approval before changing their election laws.
Needless to say, North Carolina Gov. Pat "Pee-Pee" McCrory is delighted by the ruling as it now makes his re-election possible, he hopes.

Planning to vote GOP this year

Samantha Bee explains the 16 3 jamokes running for President

A woman goes to a shooting range

And hangs up a human silhouette target with the bullseye on the crotch...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yesterday looks better tomorrow

Or as The Wild Reeds called "Everything Looks Better In Hindsight"

The Trump pivots

And, according to that intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow, pivots on.

Happy World Penguin Day

Herring all around bartender!

And add a dollop of Kasich

From the pen of Jim Morin

Reviewing the Governor's Corruption case

It should be interesting to see which way the Supreme Court will go in their review of the conviction of Republican former Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell. And there are more truly interested parties to this case than we would like.
Along with the state officials and law professors who are happy that the Supreme Court this week is reviewing the corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, add inmate No. 24775-001 at the federal prison in Oakdale, La.

He is otherwise known as Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, whom many of those same people supported when the justices decided — twice — that his conviction did not warrant an extended review.

“I’m not the slightest bit bitter about that at all,” Siegelman said last week in a telephone interview from prison. “I’m delighted that the court has taken the McDonnell case, and I’m hopeful the court will clarify what constitutes political quid pro quo bribery.”

Most convicted politicians who ask the Supreme Court for relief — former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and former congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana being just recent examples — meet fates similar to Siegelman’s.

But the longtime Alabama officeholder was the cause celebre — still is, really — for those who believe vague federal corruption laws give politically ambitious prosecutors too much leeway in deciding what and whom to investigate. Such questions about political influence are only likely to grow as relaxed campaign contribution laws give rise to a new galaxy of individual mega-donors.

While the Supreme Court never accepted Siegelman’s case for full briefing, McDonnell grabbed the brass ring twice.

Not only is the court reviewing his 2014 conviction in its last oral argument of the term Wednesday, but the justices intervened at the final hour last fall to keep McDonnell from having to report to prison while the legal drama played out.

That was something the court had never done before, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices before they acted.
When governors are convicted, you can be pretty sure there is politics involved. The question is which way will the politics play in an 8 judge court.

The clusterfuck that is Puerto Rico

John Oliver explains how the Commonpoverty created itself, with lots of help from Congress & Wall St

The Senate needs her

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Not in the middle of the road

The Dead Fox that is. When Courtney Barnett sings "Dead Fox" from her Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit album she does include traffic hazards.

Some monetary changes that didn't make it

From the pen of Brian McFadden

She can dance with the President

But she can't fly commercial because she doesn't have the required "face card" as she puts it. And at 107 years, the hoops required to jump through to get the required ID become insurmountable barriers.
Virginia McLaurin, who recently turned 107, was still basking in the glow of her dance with President Obama in February. A White House video of the meeting has been viewed nearly 66 million times. The attention has resulted in invitations to New York and Los Angeles for media interviews.

To board an airplane, however, McLaurin needs to replace a long-lost government-issued photo ID.

To get a D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles non-drivers’ photo ID, she needs a birth certificate from South Carolina, where she was born. To get the birth certificate, she needs the photo ID. A classic bureaucratic Catch-22.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get that face card,” McLaurin told me during a recent visit to her apartment in Northwest Washington. “I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere. I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.”
She is not only a good dancer, but she illustrates the problems unnecessary ID laws create for people who have lived most of their lives just not paying attention to the brand new shiny requirements of those who too often have an ulterior motive to their high sounding legal acts.

30 years down 3000 to go

And that is just an estimate of when the site of the failed reactor at Chernobyl will cease to be a threat. And until then it remains a radioactive wild life preserve with occasional guided tours and brave intruders.
It will be 30 years ago Tuesday that Pripyat and the nearby Chernobyl nuclear plant became synonymous with nuclear disaster, that the word Chernobyl came to mean more than just a little village in rural Ukraine, and this place became more than just another spot in the shadowy Soviet Union.

Even 30 years later – 25 years after the country that built it ceased to exist – the full damage of that day is still argued.

Death toll estimates run from hundreds to millions. The area near the reactor is both a teeming wildlife refuge and an irradiated ghost-scape. Much of eastern and central Europe continues to deal with fallout aftermath. The infamous Reactor Number 4 remains a problem that is neither solved nor solvable.

All told, about 4,000 people would eventually die from the accident, according to a report by the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Others say those numbers are wildly low. Alexey Yablokov, a former environment adviser to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, estimated the global death toll to be 1.44 million. Other reports placed the cancer death totals at 30,000 to 60,000. Belarusian physicist Georgiy Lepin, a vice president of the association of liquidators of Chernobyl, the men brought in to fight the fire and clean up, estimated that within a few years, 13,000 rescue workers had died and another 70,000 were left unfit for work. The official number of disabled Chernobyl rescue workers today in Ukraine is 106,000.

A United Nations study says that “5 million people currently live in areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that are contaminated with radionuclides due to the accident; about 100,000 of them live in areas classified in the past by government authorities as areas of ‘strict control.’ ” About 4,000 people, mostly children, developed thyroid cancer from the radiation, the U.N. says; the survival rate for the cancer is 99 percent.
No joy in a 30 year anniversary when you can't open your present for another 3000 years.

Do we really want to know?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A song of junkie love

From her 2006 album Harpo's Ghost Thea Gilmore sings "The List"

But for how much longer?

Living up to her name

The Teabaggette Governor of Oklahoma has another chance to live up to the name many call her, Mary Failin. In a bill awaiting her signature, Gov. Fallin has the opportunity to further the termite like efforts of the vicious right wing warriors on women to outlaw abortion.
Oklahoma is just a signature away from revoking the licenses of most doctors who perform abortions.

Under a bill passed by the legislature this week, doctors who perform abortions — defined in the measure as “unprofessional conduct” — would be barred from obtaining or renewing their medical licenses. The bill, now on the governor’s desk, would not apply to abortions performed to save a mother’s life, although the bill lacks similar exceptions for abortions performed in cases of rape or incest.

“This is our proper function, to protect life,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nathan Dahm (R), said last month.

The bill passed the Senate early last month and the House on Thursday. Both houses are controlled by the GOP, but a few Democrats in each chamber voted for the bill. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has not yet said whether she will sign the bill, Reuters reports.

“Oklahoma politicians have made it their mission year after year to restrict women’s access vital health care services, yet this total ban on abortion is a new low,” Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which advocates for abortion rights, said in a statement.

“The Center for Reproductive Rights is closely watching this bill and we strongly urge Governor Fallin to reject this cruel and unconstitutional ban,” she added.

Several Democrats, outnumbered roughly 2-to-1 in the House, pushed back against the bill in debate on Thursday, suggesting it was misguided and unconstitutional.
And the governor will fail her state if she signs it or fail her party if she doesn't. And in the end another so-called fiscally responsible Republican will cost her state millions in legal fees to be overturned.

R.I.P. Lonnie McIntosh

Too many musicians. If you never heard Lonnie Mack, you probably heard one of your favorites playing his style.

400 years ago today

R.I.P. William Shakespeare. A pitiable scribbler dead at 52.

Some we already knew

But Bill Maher gives us a few more things we didn't know about Ted Cruz

Vocabulary lesson

Friday, April 22, 2016

Some New Orleans street music

Recorded in Amsterdam. Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns do a traditional tune "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down"

The Quest For An Alternative

From the pen of Berkeley Breathed

click pic to big

If you have done your time

You should be restored to full civil rights as a citizen. Too many states consider a criminal sentence to be a lifelong restriction of some of those rights although a few states let the cons come begging on bended knee for restoration of their full citizenship. Lately Democratic governors have taken to using executive orders to circumvent Republican legislatures.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing his Republican-run Legislature. The action overturns a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans.

The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.

Amid intensifying national attention over harsh sentencing policies that have disproportionately affected African-Americans, governors and legislatures around the nation have been debating — and often fighting over — moves to restore voting rights for convicted felons.

In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin, a newly elected Republican, recently overturned an order enacted by his Democratic predecessor that was similar to the one Mr. McAuliffe signed Friday. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a measure to restore voting rights to convicted felons, but Democrats in the state legislature overrode him in February; an estimated 44,000 former prisoners who are on probation are now eligible to register to vote as a result.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” Mr. McAuliffe said Thursday, previewing the announcement he made on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, just yards from where President Abraham Lincoln once addressed freed slaves. “We should do it as soon as we possibly can.”

The action, which Mr. McAuliffe said was justified under an expansive legal interpretation of his executive clemency authority, goes far beyond what other governors have done, experts say, and will almost certainly provoke a backlash from Virginia Republicans, who have resisted measures to expand felons’ voting rights. It was planned in secrecy, and came amid an intensifying national debate over race, voting and the criminal justice system.
If the Republicans are so keen on punishing people for life, they have to write such penalties into the criminal statutes. Otherwise when a convict has done their time the punishment ends, regardless of their color or who they might vote for.

Like playing a multilevel video game

Getting nominated by your favorite political party is so much more than accumulating the necessary votes in the various primaries. First after the votes have been counted, they need to be connected to the necessary delegates who like you. And the Republican Party has set a minimum necessary to even have your name put forward. And then, in convention there are the rules and the committee that decides what those rules are.
Forget, for the moment, the big convention where the roll of the states is called, the delegates wave signs and wear funny hats, and campaign operatives buzz the floor making sure they’ve got the votes.

What matters first are 112 people who have a big say in whom the party nominates as the next president of the United States.

They’re the convention’s rules committee, two members from each state and six other jurisdictions. A week or so before the convention opens, they’ll meet to determine how things will proceed.

They can block someone from being formally considered at the convention. They can make it easier for delegates to ditch their commitments to their candidates.

“Technically, the rules committee can change anything it wants,” said Louis Pope, a veteran rules committee expert from Maryland.

Right now, the committee’s very makeup is a mystery.

Members are now being methodically chosen day by day, in state after state. They’re picked at the end of a lengthy delegate-selection process that involves meetings at middle school cafeterias, Elks lodges or Holiday Inns off interstates across America. This year, they often feature gentle, though hardly subtle, persuasion by supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

This week’s renegades will find themselves up against the same forces that will make it difficult to make big changes for the convention right away: Convention rules committee members are often party stalwarts, more concerned with electability than ideology or die-hard loyalty to a single candidate. They are often the establishment that voters have signaled this year that they dread.

That’s why, at the moment, the committee is not expected to change the controversial Rule 40b. At least not right away. That rule, adopted four years ago, requires a candidate to have majorities of delegates in eight states or jurisdictions in order to be formally nominated.

So far, only Trump and Cruz would qualify. Since they’re likely to have most of this year’s delegates, they’re unlikely to seek a change. Several Republican National Committee members are promoting alternatives, such as no threshold or returning to the five-state minimum that prevailed before 2012.

If no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot, then a majority of the delegates will be free to vote as they choose.

At this point, “the Cruz campaign doesn’t want to see any rules changed on any subject in the middle of the race,” said Lionel Rainey III, a Louisiana Cruz strategist who had run Marco Rubio’s state campaign. The U.S. senator from Florida suspended his effort last month.
Naturally Ted doesn't want any changes, but the party bosses will do what needs to be done without looking to sleazy. The Rules Committee has long been a make or break point to insure the parties get what they want.

Why we have Republicans

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Before the Indians blow it up

With some Turkish help, let's listen to Underhill Rose sing "Montana"

So he says to push on

From the pen of Lee Judge

National treasure in great danger

When the Evil Koch brothers decide on a course of action, they have the connections, money and all the stooges they need to make it happen if people aren't aware. Their latest malicious intent is to block the expansion of the Grand Canyon National Monument to allow them to press for uranium and other mining up to the rim of the canyon regardless of the damage that may be done to the canyon.
Billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch are channeling money into an Arizona-based organization that’s fighting a plan that would include a permanent ban on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.

A proposal to declare the area around the Grand Canyon a national monument – Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument – calls for protecting 1.7m acres of land from uranium mining. A number of environmental groups and native tribes as well as the vast majority of Arizonans support the plan.

Still, a handful of Arizona Republicans and a major not-for-profit group are trying to block it. Much of the group’s efforts apparently are being funded by the Koch brothers, according to Greg Zimmerman of the Center for Western Priorities.

Zimmerman told the Phoenix New Times he became suspicious about the Koch brothers’ involvement with the anti-Grand Canyon national monument movement after reading a recent report co-authored by the Arizona Chamber Foundation and another Arizona-based group called the Prosper Foundation. The report referred to the plan as a “monumental mistake”.

Interested in learning more about the Prosper Foundation, Zimmerman looked through its 990 tax forms, which not-for-profit groups must file with the Internal Revenue Service. He found that between 2013 and 2014, the foundation received more than $1.5m – or 83% of its total budget – from a political-advocacy organization called American Encore.

Sean Noble, a political consultant who has deep ties to the Koch brothers, leads American Encore. The organization is formerly known as the Center to Protect Patient Rights. It changed its name in 2014.

Zimmerman discovered that a donor from the Koch brothers’ funding network was funneling money into the Prosper Foundation, so the group could continue its on-the-ground campaign to block the Grand Canyon national monument plan.

“I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but honestly I wasn’t,” Zimmerman said.

“We know that these anti-public land efforts have a lot of money behind them,” he continued. “It’s not surprising to learn that the Koch brothers and other wealthy, ultra-conservative industrialists are funding these efforts to roll back conservation measures across the American west.”
The Evil Koch brothers have an unpleasant history of astroturf organizations set up to thwart the will of the majority and buy the necessary votes in whatever legislature they need. Stopping them won't be easy but it is necessary.

R.I.P. Prince

Not Charles but the musician Prince Rogers Nelson died this morning at his home age 57.

Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II

Ninety years today and still driving poor Charlie nuts.

Curt Schilling finds out how long his ESPN leash is

And probably more to the satisfaction of baseball fans everywhere he found out what it means to go too far. ESPN has fired him for his second obnoxious social media post in a year.
Curt Schilling, a former All-Star pitcher and one of the highest-profile baseball analysts on ESPN, was fired from the network Wednesday, a day after he drew intense criticism for promoting offensive commentary on social media.

Schilling, who had worked for the network since 2010 and most recently offered analysis on “Monday Night Baseball,” was dismissed after sharing a Facebook post this week that appeared to respond to the North Carolina law that bars transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not correspond with their birth genders.

The post showed an overweight man wearing a wig and women’s clothing with parts of the T-shirt cut out to expose his breasts. It says: “LET HIM IN! to the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow-minded, judgmental, unloving racist bigot who needs to die.”

To that, Schilling added: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” ESPN said in a statement. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”...

Last month, he waded into politics on a Kansas City radio station when he suggested that Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere” if she gave “classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, after what happened to General Petraeus.”
Curt Schilling's failings as a human being are matched by his failings as a baseball analyst so hopefully this will preceed an improvement in the ESPN baseball telecasts.

Works both ways

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Mix together Luther Dickinson, Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June, and Sharde Thomas as The Wandering. Let them sing "Love, Life And Money". Enjoy

Donald's keeping it real New York

From the pen of Mike Lukovich

Someone has too pay

And in the case of the Flint Michigan Lead Crisis, the first scapegoats have been chosen for trial.Needless to say they are middle level administrators.
The first criminal charges stemming from the Flint, Mich., water crisis were filed on Wednesday, as two state officials and a city employee were accused of covering up evidence of lead contamination.

Two officials at the state Department of Environmental Quality were charged with misleading the federal Environmental Protection Agency about whether Flint was using the treatment needed to control lead levels after the city switched its water supply in 2014.

The officials Michael Prysby, a district engineer, and Stephen Busch, a district supervisor, were also accused of impeding a Genesee County investigation. And Michael Glasglow, the city’s utilities administrator, was charged with tampering with test results to make the lead contamination appear less severe.

The charges were brought by the state attorney general, Bill Schuette, and authorized by Judge Tracy Collier-Nix of Genesee District Court.
So far none of the people responsible are in danger, just some foolish ones who tried to cover up.

Just can't give it up

SuperPAC money to a politician is like crack to a junkie, you know it is bad for you but you just can't turn your back on it. A case in point is alleged 'progressive' Democratic candidate for Florida Senate, Patrick Murphy. Despite his voiced opposition to SuperPACs, he can't help taking money from one run by his family.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy consistently expresses disdain for super PACs — even while being a shareholder in a family business that recently dumped $300,000 into a super PAC supporting his bid for higher office.

The Jupiter congressman owns between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock in his father’s company, Miami-based Coastal Construction Group, according to financial disclosures Murphy has filed with the U.S. House of Representatives since his first election in 2012.

Coastal gave a $300,000 donation to the pro-Murphy super PAC, “Floridians for a Strong Middle Class,” at the end of March. That was on top of a $200,000 donation that Murphy’s father and Coastal’s chairman and CEO, Thomas Murphy Jr., gave in December.

Thomas Murphy’s and Coastal’s donations account for more than half of the super PAC’s reported income to date, according to Federal Election Commission records.

But “I hate super PACs,” Patrick Murphy told the Palm Beach Post on Monday after a campaign event in West Palm Beach. “ I think Citizens United was one of the biggest mistakes in our country’s history.”

Super PACs are not bound by campaign contribution limits, but they are prohibited by federal law from coordinating with a candidate’s campaign.
Can you ever divorce yourself from your family to accept SuperPAC money when that SuperPAC, set up to support you, is in part funded by your family's company of which you are a major shareholder? Someday we need to strip all the conflict of interest laws from the books because it is obvious we aren't ever going to enforce them.

First in line for Government help

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, live at Lincoln Hall

No longer in the Back Room, Still in Control

From the pen of Ted Rall

Bureaucratic fuckery

So you spend you working life at a nuclear waste facility and your retirement years dying of cancer from all that radioactive shit. You might think you should get some compensation for that, but you would be wrong.
Dan, known by his coworkers as “Big Dan,” worked from 1964 until 1997 as a radioactive waste packer at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a sprawling facility where some of the nation’s top scientists contracted by NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission once worked together to advance the fields of space exploration, weaponry and nuclear power at the height of the cold war.

And when he found himself dying years later of pancreatic cancer, Dan sought compensation from a government program meant to help former workers who had been exposed to radiation and toxic substances at nuclear technology sites.

Dan Kurowski was denied, becoming one of hundreds of Santa Susana workers refused compensation for a variety of illnesses potentially associated with radiation and toxic chemical exposure. That’s because those workers – many of them NASA contractors – were unable to prove that they were ever in the small sliver of the site known as Area IV.

The Department of Energy, the Department of Labor and the Boeing company – the site’s current corporate owner – all say Area IV is the only portion of the site where the Department of Energy operated. And therefore, the Labor Department insists, it can compensate only a subset of sick former Santa Susana workers.

All of Santa Susana was operated by a Department of Energy contractor called North American Aviation. Two divisions worked at Santa Susana: Rocketdyne took primary responsibility for aerospace technology and rocket testing. Atomics International focused on experimental nuclear reactors. For now, the government accepts claims only from people who worked under Atomics International or who can prove they spent time in Area IV.

But worker testimonials and historical documents reviewed by McClatchy suggest the divisions at the site were not so clear-cut, nor was workers’ exposure to hazards.
Radiation does not respect boundaries or employment contracts nearly as much as the Dept. of Energy. Mainly because radiation never seeks compensation, only its victims do.

Up for some walrus penis?

Samantha Bee examines a truly horrible Tennessee state legislator, Sheila Butt.

Welfare for those who can afford it

Monday, April 18, 2016

When love doesn't stay

Bonnie Bishop sings about the times it returns for a visit. "Every Time You Come Around"

In this phenomenal primary season

Intrepid reporter, civic mentor and all around nice guy Tom Tomorrow illuminates some of the phenomena for us.

The Constitution explained Texas style

Wait 'til he tries to cut off the tail

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

Sneaking into a new war

Having gotten his Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama has over his term of office sided more and more with the Pentagon elements who can start wars but aren't good enough to finish them. His latest efforts involve sneaking back into Iraq.
President Obama will send American military advisers closer to the front lines of the conflict against the Islamic State in Iraq, part of a series of measures that will broaden the United States military campaign against the extremist group there.

The advisers, who until now had been assisting Iraqi military divisions, which have about 10,000 troops, will now also work with units of about 2,000 soldiers who are more directly involved in day-to-day combat, Defense Department officials said Monday.

The officials said the advisers will not be on the actual front lines, but American and Iraqi commanders want them to move closer to the fighting so they can provide timely tactical guidance to the Iraqis as they prepare for the long-awaited assault on the northern city of Mosul, seized by the Islamic State in 2014.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter made the announcement in a speech to dozens of American troops at the airport in Baghdad.

To give the Iraqis more capabilities on the battlefield, the Pentagon will also deploy a handful of Apache attack helicopters, Mr. Carter said. The Apaches, known for their withering — and accurate — rocket and cannon fire, can provide strong air support to ground forces. The Pentagon will also deploy several long-range artillery units, Mr. Carter added.

“We want to have our forces there with them so they can help them and they can bring the great weight of the coalition’s enablers to this campaign,” Mr. Carter said. “It’s all consistent — these additions are consistent with our overall strategic approach which is to enable the Iraqi security forces, not to substitute for them.”
Couple of advisers here, a few helicopters there and the next thing you knw, you have a real war on your hands. This, of course, would please the Pentagon no end because they have plenty of bombs and no idea how to stop dropping them on other countries.

Get the lead out

John Oliver looks at some of the ways we have failed to do that

He didn't put Dick Cheney on trial

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Brit guitar picker

Doing a blues number for you. Dani Wilde with "I Love You More Than I Hate Myself"

What was missing

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

If we can't build a military outpost

In the few countries that haven't let our military set up in their land, we can still lend a hand against your particular bad guys. Like when Tunisia was dealing with a deadly terrorist attack, US forces were more than happy to lend a hand to Tunisia.
The March 2015 operation was a badly needed victory for Tunisia’s fragile democracy, whose leaders were struggling to deliver on the promise of the 2011 revolution. Prime Minister Habib Essid called the ambush by Tunisian National Guard forces the crowning success of a growing counterterrorism capability. One newspaper headline proclaimed: “The country has been saved from catastrophe.”

But what Tunisian leaders did not reveal was the pivotal role that U.S. Special Operations forces had taken in helping to design and stage the operation.

According to Tunisian and U.S. officials, American communications intercepts tracked down Chaib, an Algerian also known as Loqman Abu Sakhr, allowing the local troops to position themselves in the desert. An American team, made up of Special Operations commandos assisted by CIA personnel, helped the Tunisian forces craft and rehearse the ambush. And while the raid unfolded, an American surveillance aircraft circled overhead and a small team of U.S. advisers stood watch from a forward location.

Speaking by telephone, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Africa Command, praised the counterterrorism efforts of Tunisian forces but declined to comment on the operation in Tunisia’s Gafsa region. The CIA also declined to comment.

The operation illustrates the central but little-known role that U.S. Special Operations troops can play in helping foreign forces plan and execute deadly missions against militant targets.

In recent years, U.S. forces have provided this kind of close operational support — a range of activities including what’s known in military parlance as “combat advising” or “accompany” and “enabling” assistance — in a growing list of countries beyond the active battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, including Uganda, Mauritania, Kenya, Colombia, the Philippines and Tunisia.
Setting up housekeeping is not an option, but we will gladly stop by and assist you in dealing with your problem.

Like football stadiums, nuclear weapons get old

And like football stadiums, nuclear weapons have to be replaced by the newest and the bestest models at great public expense. And we are now engaged in a round of warhead replacement with China and Russia with each of us trying to be the Joneses and let the others try to keep up.
The United States, Russia and China are now aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller, less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of destructive force among nations that has kept the nuclear peace for more than a half-century.

It is, in large measure, an old dynamic playing out in new form as an economically declining Russia, a rising China and an uncertain United States resume their one-upmanship.

American officials largely blame the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, saying his intransigence has stymied efforts to build on a 2010 arms control treaty and further shrink the arsenals of the two largest nuclear powers. Some blame the Chinese, who are looking for a technological edge to keep the United States at bay. And some blame the United States itself for speeding ahead with a nuclear “modernization” that, in the name of improving safety and reliability, risks throwing fuel on the fire.

President Obama acknowledged that danger at the end of the Nuclear Security Summit meeting in Washington early this month. He warned of the potential for “ramping up new and more deadly and more effective systems that end up leading to a whole new escalation of the arms race.”

For a president who came to office more than seven years ago talking about eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons, it was an admission that an American policy intended to reduce the centrality of atomic arms might contribute to a second nuclear age.

One of the few veterans of the Cold War in his administration, James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his annual global threat assessment, “We could be into another Cold War-like spiral.” Yet it is different from Mr. Clapper’s earlier years, when he was an Air Force intelligence officer weighing the risks of nuclear strikes that could level cities with weapons measured by the megaton.

Adversaries look at what the United States expects to spend on the nuclear revitalization program — estimated at up to $1 trillion over three decades — and use it to lobby for their own sophisticated weaponry.
Can't eat them, can't wear them and we can't even play football with them but we will spend $1 Trillion on smaller more efficient nukes, less destructive enough to make someone think they might be usable.

Need help with those religious liberties?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Next Generation New Orleans Jazz

Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses perform an untitled tune in a carriage.

The state motto now makes sense

From the pen of Robert Arial

Terrorist state threatens Congress

Not Dick Cheney's good buddies in DAESH, but George W Bush's second family, the al-Saud, owners of the notorious terrorist exporter Saudi Arabia. It seems Congress want to pass a bill allowing the Saudi government to be held liable in US courts for the events of 9/11. Being identified for what they are has the Saudi government in high dudgeon.
Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.
The US Government is in a tight spot here, between its own citizens and a Congress that thinks it can impose American values anywhere and a foreign ally of some value. There is nothing to be gained by pissing off either side, but there may be no way to avoid it.

Tax the myth sellers

Bill Maher says Enough! Time to tax the churches.

Why we need our guns

Friday, April 15, 2016

She has been quiet since last year

But when she was active, Nashville singer Caitlin Rose recorded some fine songs, including "Pink Champagne"

What is your Trump score?

You can find out what your place in The Great White Future is under President Trump right here

To be Determined

From the pen of Jim Morin

Unfulfilled love

New York has a primary coming up, a closed primary so that only registered party members can vote for their particular candidates. Among those left out are members and supporters of a small progressive party who see in Bernie Sanders their "beau ideal".
As the New York primary approaches, many of Senator Bernie Sanders’s most energetic and enthusiastic supporters are members of the small but influential Working Families Party.

They have donated money, planted signs in their yards, organized rallies and phone banks, and knocked on thousands of doors on behalf of the man that many of them view as a once-in-a-lifetime dream candidate who shares their own left-of-center values.

There’s just one hitch: They cannot vote for him on Tuesday.

“It poses a problem, to say the least,” said Jim Mays, 78, a Working Families member who lives in Olivebridge, in Ulster County. He gave a resigned laugh and checked off the ways he has shown his support for Mr. Sanders, including donating small amounts of money, talking up the candidate to his friends and setting out a lawn sign in front of his house.

“Bernie represents the first time we’ve really had an idealistic, leftist candidate in this country in a long time,” he said, adding, “I’ve definitely been waiting for him.”...

The Working Families Party was formed by a coalition of labor unions and community groups in New York in 1998, as a way to put leftward pressure on the Democratic Party and halt what progressives saw as a conservative shift among Democrats.

The group has supported candidates mostly from other parties, primarily Democrats, although occasionally it has run its own candidates. It is currently running a candidate, Yuh-Line Niou, in the special election next week in New York City to fill the seat vacated by the former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who was convicted on federal corruption charges.

“Our mission is to advance the cause of progressive politics in New York and make people’s lives better,” said Bill Lipton, the party’s state director. He said that many Democrats looked to the party’s endorsement when choosing a candidate in a primary. “We’re like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for progressives in the Democratic primary,” he said.
The other problem with New York Primaries is that if you wish to switch parties you need to do so 6 months in advance. Some WFP members did switch in time but the rest will have to be content with working and donating to the candidate that best reflects their views.

Kim Jong Pudge bitch slapped by BFF China

North Korea is famous for having only one friend of consequence, China. And like any petulant spoiled brat, North Korea is famous for pissing off its BFF China. In an effort to show it really is a big, grown up country North Korea has been conducting nuclear and missile tests despite the disapproval of its BFF. So when the latest missile test fizzled, the Chinese response should not be considered unexpected.
China, North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic backer, has been angered by Pyongyang's nuclear tests and rocket launches in the face of U.N. sanctions that China also has backed.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the U.N. Security Council was clear on North Korean rocket launches.

"At present, the situation on the peninsula is complex and sensitive," he told reporters. "We hope all parties can strictly respect the decisions of the Security Council and avoid taking any steps that could further worsen tensions."

Chinese state media was more direct.

"The firing of a mid-range ballistic missile on Friday by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), though failed, marks the latest in a string of saber-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere," China's official Xinhua news agency said in an English language commentary.

"... Nuclear weapons will not make Pyongyang safer. On the contrary, its costly military endeavors will keep on suffocating its economy."
So far, none of this is enough to get China to cut off Kim Jong Pudge and his petulant actions, but the world can only hope that one day the Chinese will tell Pudge to go fuck himself and close the border, cutting him off completely from the world.

An NRA wet dream

Thursday, April 14, 2016

If you are moving to Canada

When your candidate loses the election, here is a song to help you ease into being Canadian especially if you plan on going to the Maritimes. Kim Stockwood sings "St. John's Waltz"

That Acme stuff never works

From the pen of Jeff Stahler

R.I.P. Anne Jackson

The stage, films and television are so much the better for you having been a part of them.

They will give up the information

When John Law comes looking for it with the right paper. But in a spasm of civil rights, Microsoft demands the right to inform those targets that they are targets.
The software giant is suing the Justice Department, challenging its frequent use of secrecy orders that prevent Microsoft from telling people when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails.

In its suit, filed Thursday morning in Federal District Court in Seattle, Microsoft’s home turf, the company asserts that the gag order statute in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 — as employed today by federal prosecutors and the courts — is unconstitutional.

The statute, according to Microsoft, violates the Fourth Amendment right of its customers to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and it breaches the company’s First Amendment right to speak to its customers.

Microsoft’s suit, unlike Apple’s fight with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over access to a locked iPhone, is not attached to a single case. Instead, it is intended to challenge the legal process regarding secrecy orders.

The company is also trying to fuel a public debate about the frequent use of secrecy orders in government investigations and, in the process, portray itself as an advocate of its customers’ privacy. The suit itself could plod through the courts, with appeals going on for months or even years...

Seizing information from file drawers or personal computers used to require entering a building to examine paper or a hard drive. Typically, the target of an investigation knew about it.

Not so in the cloud computing era, when investigators can bypass an individual and go straight to the company that hosts that information. And when courts issue secrecy orders, often with no time limit, a target may never know that information was taken.

Microsoft, in its suit, contends that the government has “exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations.”
Governments love secrecy and Microsoft is responding to the excess of secrecy that so much a part of the government experience. And The Borg is right in this case. The difference between seizures of old and current info seizures from the cloud may be different instyle, but they are the same in substance and that should be the determinant.

New ads for tourist season

North Carolina's Anti-Gay Tourism Commercial from Funny Or Die

Mississippi Anti-Gay Tourism Video from Funny Or Die

The truth Ted won't admit

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

No going back

Julie London had a big hit with this 1955 song since covered by so many people it is a classic. "Cry Me A River"

The Real Mr. Coy

From the pen of Tom Toles

Bad for you, inside and out

Can you imagine being afraid to use your water supply for anything? That is a growing problem in Flint, Michigan as people are avoiding all water use because of reported skin and hair problems.
Two years after Flint switched the source of its water, setting off a citywide health crisis, residents are still dealing with bottled water, filters and the inconvenience of living without safe drinking water. But near the top of the list of daily challenges that residents face is how and where to shower.

Reports of rashes, itchiness and hair loss are widespread, despite assurances from government scientists that they have not found any evidence that the city’s lead-tainted water is unsafe for bathing.

The complaints are so persistent — and the anxiety is so high — that Dr. Nicole Lurie, an assistant secretary at the United States Department of Health and Human Services who is coordinating the federal recovery effort here, said she had asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency to work with the state on investigating whether the water quality was contributing to skin problems.

Many residents are convinced that showering in the water is harmful. Some have taken to bathing infrequently, dashing into and out of the shower once a week with their mouths tightly shut. Others wash only with baby wipes — or, if they can, at the homes of friends or relatives outside Flint. Many said they mourned the loss of the long, hot showers of their past.

“You wonder what you’re stepping into when you’re getting into the shower and just trying to make it as quick as possible,” said the Rev. Rigel J. Dawson, pastor of the North Central Church of Christ, where some members have been trying to help others find places outside the city to bathe. “That uncertainty really kind of plays on you after a while; it wears you down.”
As yet the cause has not been determined, but whether the cause is in the water or in the minds of the residents, it is a very real problem that needs to be addressed.

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