Friday, September 30, 2016

Thanks for the Mary Jane

Brandy Clark sings about getting through the days nowadays. "Get High"

And it never ends

From the pen of Tom Toles

R.I.P. Richard D. Trentlage

You wrote the classic jingle and earworm

So many applications, so little time

One and perhaps the only good thing to come out of the Trump campaign is the surge of applications for citizenship among people eager and hopeful that they might be able to vote against Donald Trump. And as the voter registration deadlines approach, it appears that many of those applications won't be approved in time.
They stayed up late studying for civics tests. They went to classes, paid hefty fees and underwent background checks.

During the last year, nearly a million legal immigrants applied to become American citizens, many of them hoping to take the oath of citizenship in time to cast their first ballots on Nov. 8 in a presidential race where immigration has been fiercely debated.

But as the number of aspiring citizens grew this year, the backlog at the federal agency that approves naturalizations swelled. With the agency now reporting that it takes up to seven months to complete the process, Obama administration officials are reluctantly admitting that many — perhaps most — of the immigrants in the backlog will not become citizens in time to vote.

In the last year almost 940,000 legal immigrants applied to become citizens, a 23 percent surge over the previous year. As of June 30, more than 520,000 applications were waiting to be examined, a pileup that increased steadily since last year.

Immigration officials “anticipated that there would be a spike in applications this year, but the increase has exceeded expectations,” said Jeffrey T. Carter, a spokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency in charge of naturalizations.

Hillary Clinton Struggles to Gain Traction in Florida, Despite Spending SEPT. 17, 2016
The official figures revealing the backlog, published in late September, came as a shock to immigrant groups that put on a nationwide push early this year to help eligible immigrants to naturalize. Some of the biggest increases in applications came in battleground states where they had focused their efforts, including a 30 percent increase over a year earlier in Colorado, a 40 percent increase in Florida and a 53 percent increase in Nevada.

“The agency has developed an acute case of the slows, and it could not be a more critical moment,” said Tara Raghuveer, deputy director of the National Partnership for New Americans, a coalition of 37 groups that held citizenship workshops around the country. The groups scrambled to file applications before May 1, she said, after the immigration agency originally advised them that the process would take four to six months.

This year for the first time the naturalization drive also had high-profile backing from the White House, which sponsored ad campaigns, gave $10 million to community groups and made fixes to make it easier to apply. But officials said the White House was not monitoring the results to confirm that the immigration agency was completing naturalizations in a timely way.
The good thing is most of the applicants will become citizens, the downside is they will have to wait at least another year to vote.

She must have refused his advances

The is precious little other reason for why 20 some years after the fact Mr Misogyny himself, Donald Trump, continues to attack Alicia Machado for her so-called 'weight problem'. Trump may include Hillary in his attack tweets but she is not the main target of his bile.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump deepened his attacks on a former beauty queen Alicia Machado on Friday, calling her "disgusting" and alleging the existence of a sex tape as he refused to back away from an issue that threatens to damage his already weak standing among women and Hispanics.

Trump was quickly and sharply rebuked by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and by Machado, a Venezuelan-born former Miss Universe who was criticized by Trump for gaining weight after she won the crown in 1996. Clinton called the Republican candidate "unhinged."

Clinton had raised Trump's treatment of Machado during the two candidates' first debate on Monday night as an example of how he views women. Clinton said Trump, the former owner of the Miss Universe pageants, had called Machado "Miss Piggy" and also "Miss Housekeeping" because she was a Latina.

Trump did not apologize then and in a television interview the following day he strongly criticized Machado over her post-pageant weight gain. With less than six weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election, Trump has refused to let the issue fade and he went on a pre-dawn tirade on Twitter on Friday.

"Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?" Trump said.

Offering no proof of his claims, he said the Clinton campaign was unaware of the beauty queen's past and was "duped" by her. His attack came as he struggled to rebound from what was widely viewed as a loss to Clinton in Monday's debate.

Machado denounced the accusations as "cheap lies" from a man intent on defaming her, posting her response in Spanish on Instagram next to a photo of herself draped in the U.S. flag.

"By way of his hate campaign, the Republican candidate insists on discrediting and demoralizing a woman, which is clearly one of his most frightening characteristics," she wrote.

Clinton rebuked Trump in her own Twitter posts, saying "This is...unhinged, even for Trump."

"What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?" Clinton wrote, praising Machado for standing up to Trump.
Donald Trump is never denied anything so a refusal by her to have anything to do with him outside of business would easily stir up this amount of anger. Perhaps she even got a look at his teeny weenus and laughed?

h/t Betty Bowers for mod.

Playing the man card

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Maria Muldaur does some gumbo

From her Louisiana Love Song album she does "Second Line"

Charity Ends at Home

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

Living the Playboy lifestyle

When everybody else has cast it aside and move on. Donald Trump continues to show the only class he ever had was in school as the news leaks out that at his golf course he tried to fire women he didn't consider pretty enough. Never mind he did this as the creeping uglies were overtaking him.
Donald Trump wanted only the pretty ones, his employees said.

After the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes opened for play in 2005, its world-famous owner didn’t stop by more than a few times a year to visit the course hugging the coast of the Pacific.

When Trump did visit, the club’s managers went on alert. They scheduled the young, thin, pretty women on staff to work the clubhouse restaurant — because when Trump saw less-attractive women working at his club, according to court records, he wanted them fired.

"I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were 'not pretty enough' and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,” Hayley Strozier, who was director of catering at the club until 2008, said in a sworn declaration.

Initially, Trump gave this command “almost every time” he visited, Strozier said. Managers eventually changed employee schedules “so that the most attractive women were scheduled to work when Mr. Trump was scheduled to be at the club," she said.

A similar story is told by former Trump employees in court documents filed in 2012 in a broad labor relations lawsuit brought against one of Trump’s development companies in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The employees’ declarations in support of the lawsuit, which have not been reported in detail until now, show the extent to which they believed Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, pressured subordinates at one of his businesses to create and enforce a culture of beauty, where female employees’ appearances were prized over their skills.
Is it surprising that a man as superficial as Donald Trump would be totally concerned about superficial aspects of his employees? And by his measure, shouldn't we, the people, fire the Great Orange Ugly? I think so.

When you are a lard ass

It really is not a good idea to call other people fat. Initially it may distract from your own jellybelly but sooner or later people will refocus on your own particular failings in that regard. And that is what is now happening to that tub of goo Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has a serious weight problem: He can’t seem to stop criticizing the girth of others.

For decades, Trump has commented on other people’s bodies, particularly women who he believes had gained too much weight or were, in his word, “fat.” The recurring habit flared again this week when the Republican presidential nominee attacked the size of a Miss Universe winner, claiming she had gained “a massive amount of weight” while she wore the pageant’s crown and that “it was a real problem.”

Trump called actress Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” and said she has a “fat, ugly face.” He said singer Jennifer Lopez has a “fat a--” and said reality television star Kim Kardashian had “gotten a little large” during her pregnancy. He kept a “fat photo” of one employee whose weight fluctuated in a drawer and told an overweight executive, “you like your candy,” according to the employees. When a reporter complimented his wife, Melania, on her appearance shortly after giving birth, Donald Trump replied: “She’s lost almost all the baby weight.”

Trump also mocks the weight of men, but usually in a more jocular way than his remarks about women. Trump reportedly told a producer on “The Apprentice” that “everybody loves a fat guy,” and he has joked about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s size on the campaign trail.

Trump’s comments about weight, along with a long line of other incendiary comments about women, present another serious challenge for him in attracting female voters in November. Trump needs to gain support from moderate suburban women to ascend to the White House, but so far he has found little success with female voters, many of whom find the Republican nominee offensive and unacceptable. According to an ABC News-Washington Post poll released this week, 55 percent of women surveyed said they plan to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
If you are running for office, it is never smart to insult people for a problem that many others may share. But then, a beer belly and yuge love handles do not correlate to a smart mind.

Samantha Bee reviews the Debate

And gives Lester Holt a grade of Bee among other things.

Find the Boys in Blue

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

When Beth Hart sings a love song

The title "Fire On The Floor" is probably the coolest thing about it.

A line for Trumpoons to snort

From the pen of Bill Day

It's a start

In a desperate effort to save his job Wells Fargo Thief-In-Chief John Stumpf has allowed his board to 'claw back' $41 Million in stock grants. At present, this is the largest such 'claw back' from a CEO in any industry.
Wells Fargo announced on Tuesday that it would claw back compensation valued at $41 million from its embattled chairman and chief executive, John G. Stumpf, as the financial consequences of the scandal over illegally created sham accounts at the bank reached the executive suite.

The action represented one of the first times since the 2008 financial crisis that a chief executive has been forced to give up compensation. Many large companies have adopted clawback provisions at the urging of regulators and shareholder advocates, but boards have been hesitant to invoke them.

And it came one week after a blistering Senate hearing in which lawmakers criticized the company and its board for not holding its leaders financially accountable for the scandal.

Carrie Tolstedt, who led the Wells Fargo community banking division now engulfed in scandal, will surrender stock grants valued at about $19 million, the board said as it announced an investigation into the company’s practices.

The two executives will also forgo any bonus payments for the year.

Mr. Stumpf, 63, will forgo his base salary, $2.8 million annually, during the investigation, Wells Fargo said. The company’s board has hired the law firm Shearman & Sterling to work on its inquiry.

Only a relatively small portion of the compensation of Wells Fargo’s executives can be clawed back. The bank’s clawback provisions are specific about the circumstances in which it can recoup money from executives — most hinge on misconduct that forces the company to significantly revise its financial results or pay that was received based on inaccurate financial information. Neither is the case here.

But it took advantage of a clause that allows the company to retract performance-based stock awards if an executive causes significant “reputational harm” to the company.
Ms. Tolstedt will also not seek to cash in any stock awards during the investigation. And potentially the board can remove Stumpf as Chairman and/or CEO if they wish.

Watching this would be great fun

Apparently the brightest minds in the Trump camp have put their thinking caps on and come up with another sure fire way to win the next two debates. Practice! What should make this fun is The Great Orange Attention Span, often described as shorter than Trump's dick.
Campaign advisers to Donald J. Trump, concerned that his focus and objectives had dissolved during the first presidential debate on Monday, plan to more rigorously prepare him for his next face-off with Hillary Clinton by drilling the Republican nominee on crucial answers, facts and counterattacks, and by coaching him on ways to whack Mrs. Clinton on issues even if he is not asked about them.

Whether he is open to practicing meticulously is a major concern, however, according to some of these advisers and others close to Mr. Trump.

While analysts from both parties and several focus groups declared Mrs. Clinton the winner of the debate, Mr. Trump tried to claim that title for himself on Tuesday, citing unscientific online surveys, and told his advisers that he believed he had done well in the first half-hour of the 90-minute event.

A delicate approach to the candidate is now in the works. Before his advisers can shape Mr. Trump’s performance for the next debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis — which, contrary to speculation, he does plan to attend, a top aide said — they need to convince him that he can do better than he did in the first one and that only a disciplined, strategic attack can damage Mrs. Clinton with voters. Advisers said that Mr. Trump had been prepped to handle Mrs. Clinton’s attacks on Monday but did not effectively execute responses to them.

Republican allies of Mr. Trump said he needed to exploit what they see as her vulnerabilities.

“People know who Hillary is — they’ve seen her and heard about her for 30 years,” said Sean Spicer, chief strategist for the Republican National Committee, who works for the Trump campaign part time. “And what needs to be done next is that he is seen as the element of change.”

Even as Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly backed him on Tuesday and praised his debate performance, they were privately awash in second-guessing about why he stopped attacking Mrs. Clinton on trade and character issues and instead grew erratic, impatient and subdued as the night went on. In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers, most of whom sought anonymity to speak candidly, expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance Monday night.

They blamed his overstuffed schedule, including a last-minute rally in Virginia that was added days before the debate. They blamed the large number of voluble people on his prep team, including two retired military figures with no political background. And they blamed the lack of time spent on preparing a game plan in the first place.
Just like their master, at no time did they blame the Great Orange Idiot Child for his disastrous debate performance. And even if they get him to pay attention long enough to put some ideas in his head, there is no telling how quickly they will dribble out his ear holes and be forgotten. The task ahead of the campaign people is somewhere between Sisyphus and the Augean Stables.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Horse sense good for men, too

From Yazoo City by way of New Orleans, Lynn Drury gives us an optimistic song, "Down The Road"

He couldn't even do this much

From the pen of Jack Ohman

Bill Maher is right, for once

He often refers to Donald Trump as a whiny bitch. In the aftermath of Trump's Terrible, Horrible Debate Disaster, Donald Trump is doing his best to show the world that Bill Maher is right.
A defensive Donald J. Trump lashed out at the debate moderator, complained about his microphone and threatened to make Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity a campaign issue in a television appearance on Tuesday just hours after his first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton.

And defying conventions of civility and political common sense, Mr. Trump leveled cutting personal criticism at a Miss Universe pageant winner, held up by Mrs. Clinton in Monday night’s debate as an example of her opponent’s disrespect for women.

Mr. Trump insisted in the Fox News appearance that he had been right to disparage the beauty queen, Alicia Machado, for her physique.

“She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” said Mr. Trump, who was the pageant’s executive producer at the time. “Not only that — her attitude. And we had a real problem with her.”

Mrs. Clinton mentioned Ms. Machado by name, quoting insults that Ms. Machado has attributed to Mr. Trump and noting that the pageant winner had become a citizen to vote in the 2016 election. During the debate, he showed disbelief at the charge that he had ridiculed Ms. Machado, asking Mrs. Clinton repeatedly, “Where did you find this?”

But Mr. Trump abruptly shifted course a few hours later, with comments that threatened to escalate and extend an argument that appeared to be one of his weakest moments of the debate.

Mrs. Clinton assailed him late in the debate for deriding women as “pigs, slobs and dogs.” Mr. Trump had no ready answer for the charge of sexism, and offered a muddled reply that cited his past feud with the comedian Rosie O’Donnell.

His comments attacking Ms. Machado recalled his frequent practice, during the Republican primaries and much of the general election campaign, of bickering harshly with political bystanders, sometimes savaging them in charged language that ended up alienating voters. In the past, he has made extended personal attacks on the Muslim parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq and on a Hispanic federal judge.
Or to put it another way, Donald Trump is an absolute loser who whines and throws tantrums like a child when he doesn't get his way. And there are few people running other countries who couldn't eat his lunch in any meeting short of war. And who would trust that WATB with the means to fight a real war?

52 years is a long time

And maybe we will surpass that record in Afghanistan, but to date the longest running guerilla war in modern times has ended in Colombia .
Colombia's center-right government and the Marxist FARC rebel group signed a peace deal on Monday to end a half-century war that killed a quarter of a million people and once took the Andean country to the brink of collapse.

After four years of peace talks in Cuba, President Juan Manuel Santos, 65, and rebel leader Timochenko - the nom de guerre for 57-year-old Rodrigo Londono - warmly shook hands on Colombian soil for the first time and signed the accord with a pen made from a bullet casing.

A crowd of dignitaries chanted: "Long live Colombia, long live peace" as Santos handed Timochenko a white dove pin. One man waved a large Colombian flag that had an extra white stripe in homage to the peace deal.

Colombians will vote on Sunday on whether to ratify the agreement, but opinion polls show it should pass easily.

Attendees at the event, many of whom also wept, observed a minute of silence in memory of those killed, maimed, raped, kidnapped and displaced during the war.

The end of Latin America's longest-running war will turn the FARC guerrillas into a political party fighting at the ballot box instead of the battlefield they have occupied since 1964.

"No one should doubt that we will conduct politics without arms," said Timochenko, who asked for forgiveness from FARC victims. "We are all prepared to disarm in our minds and our hearts."

Guests at the ceremony in the Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena were asked to wear white and included United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Showing its support for the peace deal, the European Union on Monday removed the FARC from its list of terrorist groups.

Kerry said Washington would also review whether to take the FARC off its terrorism list, and has pledged $390 million for Colombia next year to support the peace process.

"Anybody can pick up a gun, blow things up, hurt other people, but it doesn't take you anywhere. ... Peace is hard work," he said of a rare diplomatic good news story for the Obama administration as it contends with the seeming intractable war in Syria and other conflicts.
Sometimes you just get tired of trying to kill each other. We hope that their peace will last a long time.

His biggest asset?

Trump's Towers weren't enough last night

Monday, September 26, 2016

We all have our reasons

And Nashville singer/songwriter Brandy Clark decided that a crime of fashion meant more than a crime of passion as she sings"Stripes"

Ever talked to a block of granite?

The ever resourceful Tom Tomorrow, with the assistance of Sparky, shows us what it is like to talk to a block of granite in the form of a Trump supporter.

The highest, best use

From the pen of Tim Eagan

Still plenty of finless brown trout

And if you are not familiar with the euphemism, that stands for turds floating along from failed or non existing septic systems in poverty pockets that can't afford proper sanitary set-ups.
Here in Lowndes County, part of a strip of mostly poor, majority-black counties that cuts through the rural center of Alabama, less than half of the population is on a municipal sewer line. While that is not a hardship for more affluent communities — about one in five American homes are not on city sewer lines — the legacy of rural poverty has left its imprint here: Many people have failing septic tanks and are too poor to fix them. Others, like Ms. Rudolph, have nothing at all.

That is not so uncommon. Nearly half a million households in the United States lack the basic dignity of hot and cold running water, a bathtub or shower, or a working flush toilet, according to the Census Bureau. The absence has implications for public health in the very population that is the most vulnerable.

Crumbling infrastructure has been a theme of this country’s reinvigorated public conversation about race — for instance, a botched fix for old pipes in Flint, Mich., that contaminated the city’s drinking water with lead. But in poor, rural places like Lowndes County, there has never been much infrastructure to begin with.

“We didn’t have anything — no running water, no inside bathrooms,” said John Jackson, a former mayor of White Hall, a town of about 800 in Lowndes that is more than 90 percent black and did not have running water until the early 1980s. “Those were things we were struggling for.”

There is no formal count of residents without proper plumbing in Lowndes, but Kevin White, an environmental engineering professor at the University of South Alabama, said that a survey that he did in a neighboring county years ago found that about 35 percent of homes had septic systems that were failing, with raw sewage on the ground. Another 15 percent had nothing.
This article details one particularly bad spot but until the advent of Reagan Republicans, many poor areas did get federal help, up to 90% of the cost, to put in clean water and sewer systems. Over the years the GOP has gleefully slashed funds for maintenance of these systems so that many areas are deteriorating towards this level. Finless brown trout are easy to catch but no good to eat.

R.I.P. Arnold Daniel Palmer

One of the best things to ever happen to golf and the second best thing to come out of Latrobe, PA.

Some things are getting better

The latest census figures show that employers are finally creating jobs and the numbers of people in poverty has decreased significantly over the last year.
The Caicedos are among the 3.5 million Americans who were able to raise their chins above the poverty line last year, according to census data released this month. More than seven years after the recession ended, employers are finally being compelled to reach deeper into the pools of untapped labor, creating more jobs, especially among retailers, restaurants and hotels, and paying higher wages to attract workers and meet new minimum wage requirements.

“It all came together at the same time,” said Diane Swonk, an independent business economist in Chicago. “Lots of employment and wages gains, particularly in the lowest-paying end of the jobs spectrum, combined with minimum-wage increases that started to hit some very large population areas.”

Poverty declined among every group. But African-Americans and Hispanics — who account for more than 45 percent of those below the poverty line of $24,300 for a family of four in most states — experienced the largest improvement.

Government programs — like Social Security, the earned-income tax credit and food stamps — have kept tens of millions from sinking into poverty year after year. But a main driver behind the impressive 1.2 percentage point decline in the poverty rate, the largest annual drop since 1999, was that the economy finally hit a tipping point after years of steady, if lukewarm, improvement.

There are different roads out of poverty, said Sheldon Danziger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, a social science research institution, but today, one of the most promising is to “go somewhere where they raised the minimum wage.”

About 43 million Americans, more than 14 million of them children, are still officially classified as poor, and countless others up and down the income ladder remain worried about their families’ financial security. But the Census Bureau’s report found that 2015 was the first year since 2008, when the economic downturn began, that the poverty rate fell significantly and incomes for most American households rose.
Life has not improved for everyone and there is still much to be done but positive growth usually begets more positive growth as the economy enjoys an increased cash flow. About the only thing that could stop it would be increased tax cuts for the wealthy allowing them to squirrel away the monies that should be moving and working in the economy.

America's Wealthiest Hemorrhoid

John Oliver looks at the candidates scandals and declares Hillary's are irritating but Donald Trump's scandals are Hugely OUTRAGEOUS!

And he doesn't even include Trump's Russian Scandal

Stop & Frisk is a Constitutional violation

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Alynda Segarra wrote this for Trayvon Martin

Taking time to perform her composition "Everybody Knows" at the Newport Jazz Festival

It's not in his constitution

From the pen of Jim Morin

Most durable thing on Earth

You can't see it but you can easily see what it does. The Blue Wall Of Silence that surrounds and protects bad cops and gives the good cops who built it a bad name with the public they are supposed to protect and serve.
But in some ways the more galling thing that we watched is that officers within these departments and more than a few administrators also watched and more importantly knew that their fellow officers were blatantly breaking the law. Yet, not one stepped forward before, during, or after the videos exposed the lies and the cover to blow the whistle on the lie and cover-up. This is so routine that it would have been a shock if one officer had actually broken ranks and screamed foul.

Here’s how deep, prevalent, and terrifying the blue code of silence is in police culture. The National Institute of Ethics in a study commissioned by the International Association of Police Chiefs surveyed hundreds of cops in 21 states. They found that nearly 80 percent of cops said that a code of silence exists, more than half said it didn’t bother them, almost half admitted that the code was strongest when excessive force was used, and half also admitted they had witnessed misconduct by another officer but kept their mouths shut about it. Why? Because in many cases they were told to keep quiet by other officers and in even more cases by department higher-ups. And if they didn’t they were scared stiff that they would be ostracized; the officer who committed the misconduct would be disciplined or fired; or worse, they’d be fired, or at the very least would be “blackballed,” or that their bosses would simply blow their complaint off. A significant number of them said they wanted to speak out about the abusive acts of fellow officers but were pressured by “uninvolved officers” to keep quiet.

The reasons they clammed up can’t be cavalierly sloughed off. Many readers and movie goers have long memories and remember the true life account of what happened to NYPD officer Frank Serpico who blew the whistle on police corruption, became an instant pariah and eventually was set up for the kill. But officers don’t have to envision themselves getting the extreme Serpico treatment for finger pointing abusive officers to know that their stock would plunge beneath the floor among other officers if they were tagged a stoolie by other officers.
The days of Serpico are over, but the silence continues. Cops know they have to clean their own house but the house does not want to be cleaned. How and where does a good cop start?

None from Burger King

Donald Trump's whoppers may come from different sources but they are all filtered through his Orangeness so he can claim full ownership when they work. The New York Times assembled their own list of The Big Lies of Donald "Little Hand" Trump just from last week.
All politicians bend the truth to fit their purposes, including Hillary Clinton. But Donald J. Trump has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies in the general election, peppering his speeches, interviews and Twitter posts with untruths so frequent that they can seem flighty or random — even compulsive.

However, a closer examination, over the course of a week, revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, described the practice as creating “an unreality bubble that he surrounds himself with.”

The New York Times closely tracked Mr. Trump’s public statements from Sept. 15-21, and assembled a list of his 31 biggest whoppers, many of them uttered repeatedly. This total excludes dozens more: Untruths that appeared to be mere hyperbole or humor, or delivered purely for effect, or what could generously be called rounding errors. Mr. Trump’s campaign, which dismissed this compilation as “silly,” offered responses on every point, but in none of the following instances did the responses support his assertions.
As with all serial liars, Donald Trump's lies fall into several general categories.

An interesting collection to which most intelligent people can probably add one or two items of their own that they noticed. Certainly a good reason to help get out the vote between now and November 8.

And Lo, the people were tested

Saturday, September 24, 2016

When Ritchie and Candice fell in love

They discovered their love included all things Renaissance which explains their costuming and music. But their musical heritage was too powerful to let anything keep Blackmore's Night from rocking out as they do with "All Our Yesterdays"

R.I.P. Stanley Dural Jr.

Better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, you did much to bring zydeco to the attention of music lovers.

Trump campaign strategy explained

From the pen of Jim Morin

In truth Trump is a stingy bastard

Donald Trump likes to brag about what a yuge benefactor he is for all manner of recipients. However a little diligent journalistic digging has shown that The Great Orange Dookie is very generous with his pledges, it's the follow up check that seldom appears.
Over the years, Mr. Trump has billed himself as an “ardent philanthropist,” and his official biography says that he is “involved with numerous civic and charitable organizations.”

But the depiction of Mr. Trump as a generous benefactor has recently come into question amid a series of reports raising doubts about whether he has followed through on his lavish pledges, whether he misused the foundation that bears his name and whether he financially supports it at all.

Interviews with people who have worked with or solicited money from him, as well as years of publicly available charity records, paint a picture of Mr. Trump as a reluctant giver despite his wealth. Donations from his foundation, which in recent years has been exclusively financed by others, sometimes served his own needs while helping the recipients.

Jack O’Donnell, who was president and chief operating officer of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in the late 1980s, said Mr. Trump would question the need for donations, even those as small as a couple thousand dollars.

“He’d say ‘Why are we doing this?’ or ‘Do we have to give this much?’ ” said Mr. O’Donnell, who parted ways with Mr. Trump on bad terms and was described by the Trump campaign as a disgruntled former employee. “I don’t know how else to put it: He’s cheap.”

Mr. Trump’s philanthropic endeavors over the past four decades have been dotted with pledges to donate the proceeds from books or speeches. Sometimes, Mr. Trump has stepped in to help a person in need, with the cameras rolling. And Mr. Trump, usually accompanied by his wife, Melania, has been a familiar face at well-publicized benefit galas in New York and Florida, where the rich and famous mingle and are seen.
As long as Trump can get people to donate to his Foundation/Slush Fund, he will write some checks whether they be for charities or for bribes. If you expect any money to come from his own pocket, fuhgeddaboutit!

The Outlaw Jersey Whale harpooned by witness

The case of the George Washington Bridge lane closings is getting better and better. The latest juicy bits come from the "mastermind" of the closings who pins the whole thing on Governor Chris Christie.
The admitted mastermind of the mysterious George Washington Bridge lane closings broke a three-year silence on Friday, testifying in federal court here that everything he did in his job was at the direction and for the benefit of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

David Wildstein, who has confessed to coming up with the scheme to close the lanes and is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the trial of two top Christie administration officials accused of conspiring with him, described the governor and his aides as scheming for creative ways to use government resources to help Mr. Christie’s re-election and, ultimately, his ambitions to run for president.

Mr. Christie and his aides were looking for favors to hand out to officials they hoped would support the governor, he said. And they saw the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the $8 billion-a-year two-state agency that runs the bridge along with other major transportation hubs and systems in the region, as a particularly sweet “goody bag,” as an email revealed in court described it. The Christie administration used the agency to spread money and jobs, as well as emotionally rich gifts like pieces of mangled steel and ceremonial flags from the World Trade Center and private tours of the construction site there, Mr. Wildstein said.

Mr. Wildstein, who had been hired at the Port Authority by one of the defendants, Bill Baroni, Mr. Christie’s top staff appointee at the agency, recalled a conversation he and Mr. Baroni had soon after they started their jobs in 2010, establishing what they called the “one constituent” rule.

“The only person that had to be happy was Governor Christie,” Mr. Wildstein explained, adding, “We used that as the barometer by which a decision would be made at the Port Authority.”

“How did you know what the one constituent wanted?” a prosecutor, Lee Cortes, asked him.

“Because we were told by Governor Christie or a member of the governor’s staff,” Mr. Wildstein replied.

Mr. Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, are charged with closing access lanes to the bridge for four days in 2013 to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, the town on the New Jersey side of the bridge that was gridlocked by the closings, because he declined to endorse the governor for re-election.

Mr. Wildstein, who arrived at the Port Authority with no transportation experience — he had written an anonymous political blog for the previous 10 years while working at his family’s textile company — has pleaded guilty to conceiving the plan. Mr. Baroni approved it, prosecutors say, and Ms. Kelly directed it.
In fairness to TOJW he is not on trial in this court but we can expect something to follow from this case, the more so if and when the two principles, Baroni and Kelly take a plea in return for testimony.

Growth is way over rated

And Bill Maher makes that perfectly clear.

Trump does pay some people

Friday, September 23, 2016

Can't talk to a man, with a shotgun in his hand

Carole King doing "Smackwater Jack" on David Letterman with a mad piano break by Paul Schaeffer.

In his own words

Food for thought

From the pen of Clay Bennett

It ain't easy being a college Republican these days

The majority of the students on campus tend to be liberal and ready to mock and hoot tomorrows Mitch McConnells and Paul Ryans. Now, in addition, they have to deal with the Great Orange Dookie as their fearless leader in the upcoming election.
For decades, College Republicans have drawn ridicule from — and defined themselves against — the more liberal masses on college campuses. But this year has been especially nightmarish for C.R.s, as they call themselves.

The nomination of Donald J. Trump, who has attacked their conservative heroes and esteemed alumni, has prompted widespread mockery from their liberal classmates, dissension from within and something of an identity crisis.

While some College Republican leaders profess an appreciation for the anti-establishment voters that Mr. Trump has awakened, many in the preppy Vineyard Vines set are wondering if Mr. Trump is transforming the party they hope to inherit into one in which they are unwelcome.

“They tend to be center-right traditional Republican conservatives, and so you know there is a little bit of a mismatch there,” said Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns.

Mr. Rove’s career in politics started as a blazer-clad national chairman of the College Republicans who won the position in 1973 over opponents supported by Roger J. Stone Jr. and Paul Manafort, both of whom went on to become advisers to Mr. Trump. “There’s a tension there,” he said.

That tension, tangible on campuses across the country, threatens to change the nature of both the organization that has long trained the party’s leaders and the party they are being trained to lead. Since 1923, when Calvin Coolidge became the first former College Republican to become president, the list of the group’s alumni reads like a who’s who of the Republican establishment.
This year could very well be a crucible election for the little boogers. Their chance to stand up and reclaim the party for the adults or sink into the pullulating mass of vicious violent stupidity that is modern conservatism.

She has the true Republican's rubber principles

Yesterday Trump's Ohio Mahoning County chair was sure PBO caused racism and by the end of the day she was out on her ass and a new county chairman was named. Maybe it was why she was chosen, but Tracy Winbush, who replaced Kathy Miller as Trump County Chair in Mahoning County, is black. She also had the honor of fiercely opposing Donald Trump in the primaries.
Donald Trump’s campaign has replaced an Ohio official who was forced to resign over a racism controversy with a woman who has previously said she was “offended as an African American” by the Republican candidate and confessed she had “bashed the crap out” out of him in the past.

Tracey Winbush is also on record stating Trump had “denigrated the Republican party”.

The Trump campaign announced it had appointed Winbush as its new chair in Mahoning, a crucial Ohio county, on Thursday, shortly after the previous chair resigned over comments she made about racism in a Guardian interview.

However, within hours of Winbush being named as her replacement, it emerged that she fiercely opposed Trump before his nomination for the White House.

An Ohio reporter also claimed to have obtained evidence that Winbush had begun deleting previous tweets. Her timeline suggested she had used a piece of software to suddenly delete over 17,000 past tweets. One included a link to a news story that had described Trump as “a racist, sexist, demagogue”. Another shared news story described Trump as a ‘Godless Man.’

A YouTube clip from an Ohio GOP meeting in April showed Winbush telling fellow Republicans that she and a colleague had been “offended as African Americans” by some of Trump’s comments and tactics.

“For those of you who know, I have a radio show and I have bashed the crap out of Trump for the last five months, six months, nine months,” she said. “And my listeners are going to kill me if I say anything positive about him.”

Late on Thursday, Winbush said in a statement that she was “proud to take a leadership role in Mr Trump’s campaign”.
Like Kellyanne she is flexible in her support, perhaps hoping for some sort of career boost from tying herself to the Great Orange Dookie. Certainly the Democratic folks in Mahoning county have some choice ammunition to drop on the Dookie Team.

OK, I admit it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


A classic Lone Justice tune with Maria McKee on piano & vocals.

What is important to you

From the pen of Jen Sorenson

Wells Fargo account scam just a follow up to mortgage scam

In the Great Mortgage Fraud, Wells Fargo had the distinction of educating judges dealing with their foreclosures in the shady ways of bankster frauds.
After observing years of abusive mortgage loan servicing practices at the bank, an increasing number of judges hearing foreclosure cases after the financial crisis grew to understand that banks could not always be trusted in their pleadings.

This was a major shift: For decades, the nation’s courts had been largely pro-bank when hearing foreclosure cases, accepting what big financial institutions produced in documentation and amounts owed by borrowers.

“Wells didn’t intentionally educate judges. They didn’t raise their hand and say, ‘Judge, we’re sorry,’” said O. Max Gardner III, a prominent foreclosure defense lawyer who teaches consumer counsel how to represent troubled borrowers. “It was people really digging in and having the resources and the time to ask the right questions about what they were doing with the money.” Those practices included levying improper fees and incorrectly foreclosing on homes.

During the financial crisis, Wells Fargo was at a remove from Wall Street and was not a big player in creating toxic and complex mortgage securities that were engineered to fail. But the bank’s ability to emerge from the crisis with a relatively good reputation is something of a mystery to anyone who paid attention to its aggressive foreclosure activities.

There were enough problematic foreclosure cases involving Wells Fargo moving through the courts that the bank’s dubious practices seemed as pervasive then as the questionable account-opening scheme does now. And some of the elements of both scandals — improper fees and forgeries — are the same.

The only difference: Mr. Stumpf, who was named Wells’s chief executive in 2007, has apologized to the customers his bank harmed with its account opening charade. Lawyers who represented troubled borrowers say no such apology came from Mr. Stumpf during the foreclosure mess.

“I sure as heck haven’t seen it,” said Linda Tirelli, a longtime foreclosure defense lawyer at Garvey Tirelli & Cushner in White Plains, who has often battled Wells Fargo. “I don’t remember ever hearing him apologize, because that would admit wrongdoing, and that’s not part of Wells Fargo’s corporate culture. Their culture is about not holding anybody at the top accountable.”
WF's remove from the Wall Street fraudsters who created the Great Mortgage Fraud enabled it to operate in a sleazy dishonest fashion outside the spotlight other banks were under. Judges dealing with foreclosures and bankruptcys eventually came to understand the dishonest dealing behind Wells Fargo's actions and began ruling against the bank but Wells managed to stay under the radar until the accounts scandal broke.

Time to get over it

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The title song of her first solo album

Carrie Rodriguez' "Seven Angels On A Bicycle" came out in 2006. The picture of a real neat bike is an extra.

The important points to look for

From the pen of Tom Toles

Hotline used to eliminate bad workers

Wells Fargo, notorious of late for its hugely deficient business ethics, apparently set up a call-in hotline for employees who wanted to report ethics violations. The bank used these reports to eliminate those employees who might report the bank to higher authorities.
Wells Fargo admitted to firing 5,300 employees for engaging in these shocking tactics. The bank earlier this month paid $185 million in penalties and has since apologized.

Now CNNMoney is hearing from former Wells Fargo (WFC) workers around the country who tried to put a stop to these illegal tactics. Almost half a dozen workers who spoke with us say they paid dearly for trying to do the right thing: they were fired.

"They ruined my life," Bill Bado, a former Wells Fargo banker in Pennsylvania, told CNNMoney.

Bado not only refused orders to open phony bank and credit accounts. The New Jersey man called an ethics hotline and sent an email to human resources in September 2013, flagging unethical sales activities he was being instructed to do.
Eight days after that email, a copy of which CNNMoney obtained, Bado was terminated. The stated reason? Tardiness.

Retaliating against whistleblowers is a major breach of trust. Ethics hotlines are exactly the kind of safeguards put in place to prevent illegal activity from taking place and provide refuge to employees from dangerous work environments.

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf made precisely that point on Tuesday when he testified before angry Senators.
"Each team member, no matter where you are in the organization, is encouraged to raise their hands," Stumpf told lawmakers. He mentioned the anonymous ethics line, adding, "We want to hear from them."

But that's not the experience of some former Wells Fargo workers.

One former Wells Fargo human resources official even said the bank had a method in place to retaliate against tipsters. He said that Wells Fargo would find ways to fire employees "in retaliation for shining light" on sales issues. It could be as simple as monitoring the employee to find a fault, like showing up a few minutes late on several occasions.
The easiest way to get rid of troublemakers, get them to turn themselves in to the hotline. And a corporation the size of Wells Fargo can follow up and make their lives a misery with less effort than it takes to clean up their act.

Just what Syria needs

Another armed group with the latest in free weaponry from the United States. The group are Kurds and they have proven to be effective fighters against the evil scumbags of ISIS. The real question is, will another armed group really make any positive difference?
The Obama administration is weighing a military plan to directly arm Syrian Kurdish fighters combating the Islamic State, a major policy shift that could speed up the offensive against the terrorist group but also sharply escalate tensions between Turkey and the United States.

The plan has been under discussion by the National Security Council staff at a moment when President Obama has directed aides to examine all proposals that could accelerate the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Mr. Obama has told aides that he wants an offensive well underway before he leaves office that is aimed at routing the Islamic State from Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in northern Syria.

Deciding whether to arm the Syrian Kurds is a difficult decision for Mr. Obama, who is caught in the middle trying to balance the territorial and political ambitions of Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, two warring American allies that Washington needs to combat the Islamic insurgency.

Directly providing weapons for the first time to the Syrian Kurds, whom American commanders view as their most effective ground partner against the Islamic State, would help build momentum for the assault on Raqqa. But arming them would also aggravate Mr. Obama’s already tense relations with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The United States and Turkey sharply disagree over Syria’s Kurdish militias, which Turkey sees as its main enemy in Syria.

The plan has filtered up through the Pentagon’s Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East. It calls for providing the Syrian Kurds with small arms and ammunition, and some other supplies, for specific missions, but no heavy weapons such as antitank or antiaircraft weapons.

In the past two years the Pentagon has provided small arms, ammunition and other supplies to a group acceptable to Turkey — the Syrian Arabs, a minority in the Kurdish-dominated umbrella group that is fighting the Islamic State. About 350 resupply deliveries have been made by air or by land to the Syrian Arab militias, according to the American military command in Iraq.

But out of deference to Turkey, the United States has not directly armed the Kurdish fighters themselves.

Many analysts say the Pentagon’s support to the Syrian Arabs is basically cover for aid to the Syrian Kurds, who call the shots in the wider alliance, coordinate airstrikes with the United States, and are considered the most capable fighters. But arming the Kurds directly, even for just specific missions, would still be a significant shift practically and symbolically.
In the end it all comes down to what we want to say to Turkey. And after the post-coup purges, that may be a very important statement.

H.L. Nailed It

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Her parents showed restraint and named her Molly

Which let Molly Parden move more easily to Nashville from her native Atlanta. Here she sings her song, "Things Change" with assistance from Zachary Dyke

When you tell me....

Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station has a perfect response to a commenter on his Facebook page about one of his posts. He carefully explains who and how he chose the side he is on.
See, here's the thing: I'm partisan because people like this commenter MADE me that way. 
You demanded that I choose.
Oh yes, you did. 
When you attack my friends for their sex or sexual orientation or their identity or their race or the color of their skin or who they love, then you force me to take a side. You or them. 
When you attempt to force your religion on me, or onto my friends, or upon others against their will -- and that's exactly what you're doing when you try to pass laws governing reproduction and women's bodies and who can use what bathroom and who can get married and let's not waste my time pretending otherwise -- then you force me to take a side. 
When you attempt to force your religion on me, force it into my life against my will, force me to kneel down before your god when you yourself steadfastly and petulantly refuse to adhere to your own prophet's order to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, do unto others, judge not, and look to the beam in your own eye first, when you demand I live up to the tenets of your religion when you will not, then you force me to take a side. 
When you attempt to force your religion onto me by fiat, when you attempt to force your miserable god onto my children, force your ridiculous beliefs into my schools as some kind of disingenuous quackery masquerading as science, then you force me to take a side. 
When you turn dogs loose on peaceful protestors, you force me to take a side.
There is much more and I admit he speaks for me on every point.

Terror's Deadliest Move

From the pen of Mike Lukovich

A charitable slush fund

In the wake of a ferocious attack on the Clinton Foundation, a top rated charity, for imagined and magnified dishonesty, we heard calls for it to be closed down. Now we are learning that The Great Orange Fungus, who also has an alleged charitable foundation, has been using his as a slush fund to pay settlements and judgments against him. We await the calls for it to be shut down as he faces the music in court.
Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.

In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.

The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a D.C. preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.

Or, rather, another portrait of himself.

Several years earlier, Trump had used $20,000 from the Trump Foundation to buy a different, six foot-tall portrait.

If [More likely when-ed.] the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.

More broadly, these cases also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.
Trump needed the money other people donated to make these payments because he, himself, has little cash. He lives in a mad world of money moving from one Trump business to another, paying his way as needed, one step ahead of the bill collectors, except when he decides to stiff his creditors entirely. If any links in his money chain are shut down, his house of cards could come tumbling down.

Donald Trump Jr prove you can inherit stupid

And in his incredible performance as he does so, also impugns the integrity of a great American candy. The poisonous spawn of The Great Orange Fungus attempted to demean refugees with a truly retarded idea of poisoned Skittles.
Donald Trump Jr. is facing intense backlash on social media after he posted a message on Twitter Monday night that compared Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles sprinkled with a few that “would kill you.”

Mr. Trump, a top adviser in his father’s presidential campaign, appeared to suggest that the nation was faced with a blind selection process in which a few potentially poisoned pieces would be lurking among the thousands of Syrians fleeing a brutal five-year-old civil war.

The post, shared widely on Twitter, drew swift condemnation and comparisons to white supremacist memes. Social media users shared images of bombing victims in the region, including Omran Daqneesh, the bloodstained, dust-coated boy who was shown sitting in an ambulance after an airstrike and who became a symbol of the suffering in Aleppo, Syria.

The post also spurred a strong response from Wrigley, the owner of Skittles:

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing,” the company said in an emailed statement from a spokeswoman, initially reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

It also drew criticism from a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is providing aid to Syrians.

“Syrian refugees are fellow human beings who have left their country to escape war and terrorism,” Melissa Fleming, the spokeswoman, said in an email on Tuesday. “Depictions like these are dehumanizing, demeaning and dangerous.”
The official responses are the kindest, the rest of the internets were truly cruel and deservedly abusive of Shady Donny's little cock drip. At least he proved that Stupid doesn't fall far from the tree.

Samantha Bee updates the election

Helluva businessman, Orange Dude!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Not a pirate ditty but a sea song

With some pantomime so the German audience can understand the Norwegian ladies singing in English. Katzenjammer "To The Sea"

A rip in the seat of Reality's pants

And that intrepid reporter of the abnormal, Tom Tomorrow, reports on what is coming forth.

Arrgh! Shiver me scuppers, I almost forgot

Today September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day. So have at it me vast hearties!

Unlike his supporters

From the pen of Jim Morin

Kinda slow on the uptake

Nashville likes to think of itself as "Music City" thanks to all of the country singers who have passed through and made it home. And while it is true that many of them are conservative types, a great many have enjoyed the pleasures of the divine weed. Some even as they voted Republican. So even with the pervasive Methodist/Baptist influence, it is somewhat surprising that Nashville is only now getting away from the hypocrisy of looking the other way with famous users and arresting the unknowns.
Willie Nelson’s famous habit of smoking marijuana is not seen as a badge of outlaw courage here anymore, so much as the frivolous foible of an eccentric uncle. A popular FM station disgorging the Boomer rock hits of yesteryear calls itself Hippie Radio 94.5; one of its sponsors is a smoke shop that incessantly hawks glass pipes and detox kits. Even mainstream country acts mention smoking marijuana now and again among the litany of acceptable American pastimes.

So perhaps it is not surprising as much as telling that this city, which residents often refer to as the Buckle of the Bible Belt, may be on the cusp of joining the long roster of American cities, including New York, that have decriminalized the stuff.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Council, the legislative body for the consolidated city-county government here, will vote on a proposed ordinance that would give the police an alternative to criminally charging people caught with a half-ounce of marijuana or less.

Under the ordinance, officers will have the discretion to forgo a misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession, and instead issue a civil citation with a $50 fine. A judge could then suspend the civil penalty if the person cited agrees to perform up to 10 hours of community service. The goal here, as elsewhere, is to keep minor drug offenders from clogging the court system, and relieving them of the stigma of a record.

It is hardly a sweeping measure, and hardly the most significant American drug policy reform under consideration this year: In November, voters in five states, including California, will consider legalizing recreational marijuana, while at least three states, including Florida and Arkansas, will decide whether to legalize its medical use.

But the fact that the decriminalization proposal has a good chance of passing here in Nashville — the great promulgator of heartland values in song, and home to the conservative Southern Baptist Convention — says something about the steady erosion of the fear of marijuana, which, for many here, has come to seem about as threatening as a Lady Antebellum ballad.
I imagine if a cop ever stopped Willie's bus under that ordinance the fine would have to be $500 for the size of the cloud that rolls out the door.

The Outlaw Jersey Whale knew all about it

The prosecution in the Bridgegate trial intend to show that Gov. Chris Christie knew all about the lane closings in real time.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey knew that his close associates were involved in a plan to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as it was happening and that the closings were intended to punish a local mayor for declining to support him, prosecutors said on Monday.

It was the first time Mr. Christie, a Republican, has been accused of knowing about the scheme as it unfolded.

The prosecutors made the assertion during opening statements in the trial of two former Christie administration officials charged with closing the lanes in 2013 and then covering it up.

Mr. Christie has insisted that he had no knowledge of the plot to close the lanes, and said that he did not recall being told about the closings while they were happening.

Defense lawyers have also said that Mr. Christie knew. But the statement on Monday was striking in that it was prosecutors confirming that assertion.
Now that everybody agrees that Christie knew all along, it should be easy to nail him after the jury convicts those currently on trial.

Doing it the right way

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Something Good From North Carolina

Nikki Talley accompanied by her husband Jason Sharp performs ""It's You Babe"

This election has gone beyond the outer limits of reality

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

Two plans, one could work the other is just hot air

Both Hillary Clinton and The Great Orange Fungus have made promises to rebuild the nation's infrastructure which has been allowed to crumble under 30 years of Republican neglect. Hillary's plan actually includes a means to pay for it but requires the elimination of Republican control of Congress. The Great Orange Fungus has a yuuger plan than Hillary with no real means of paying for it, but that is OK because if he is elected he has no intention of following through.
Mrs. Clinton has said that if she is elected president, her administration would seek to spend $250 billion over five years on repairing and improving the nation’s infrastructure — not just ports but roads, bridges, energy systems and high-speed broadband — and would put an additional $25 billion toward a national infrastructure bank to spur related business investments. Mr. Trump said he wanted to go even bigger, saying his administration would spend at least twice as much as Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Trump, taking a page from liberal economists, said he would fund his plan by borrowing several hundred billion dollars, but has offered no specifics. Mrs. Clinton’s more detailed proposal, by contrast, would be paid for by a business tax overhaul aimed at collecting additional revenue from companies that have parked assets abroad.

These are only plans, of course. Either would have to get through Congress and the inevitable acrimony over any proposal to raise taxes or add to the national debt.

“The next administration will be in prime position to deliver on a comprehensive infrastructure plan,” said Tom Jensen, vice president for transportation policy at UPS.

Infrastructure spending, unlike many other forms of government outlays, holds the power to give the economy a sustained lift for decades down the line.

First comes the addition of jobs — particularly the kinds of higher-wage blue-collar jobs that have been lost in recent years — and spending on products like concrete and steel to build new roads and repair worn-out bridges. After that initial jolt, the economy would continue to reap the important but harder-to-measure benefits of fewer delays, faster internet connections and more reliable power.
All of which would reduce the feelings and attitudes that Trump needs to sustain him in office. So if you have a route to work that does not go over or under any bridges, go ahead vote for Trump.

Getting rich on the backs of the little guy

The Great Orange Fungus would have us believe that his alleged $Billions were the result of his brilliant efforts alone. Research done by the New York Times shows a totally different story, one where his success came from wheedling yuuge tax breaks from his father's buddies.
The hotel, Mr. Trump bragged in “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” his 1987 best seller, “was a hit from the first day. Gross operating profits now exceed $30 million a year.”

But that book, and numerous interviews over the years, make little mention of a crucial factor in getting the hotel built: an extraordinary 40-year tax break that has cost New York City $360 million to date in forgiven, or uncollected, taxes, with four years still to run, on a property that cost only $120 million to build in 1980.

The project set the pattern for Mr. Trump’s New York career: He used his father’s, and, later, his own, extensive political connections, and relied on a huge amount of assistance from the government and taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, grants and incentives to benefit the 15 buildings at the core of his Manhattan real estate empire.

Since then, Mr. Trump has reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York, according to city tax, housing and finance records. The subsidies helped him lower his own costs and sell apartments at higher prices because of their reduced taxes.

Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has made clear over the course of his campaign how proud he is that “as a businessman I want to pay as little tax as possible.”

While it is impossible to assess how much Mr. Trump pays in personal or corporate income taxes, because he has refused to release his tax returns, an examination of his record as a New York developer shows how aggressively he has fought to lower the taxes on his projects.

Mr. Trump successfully sued the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch after being denied a tax break for Trump Tower, his signature building on Fifth Avenue. Two decades later, in a lawsuit that spanned the administrations of Mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg, he won a similar tax break for Trump World Tower, a building on First Avenue with some of the city’s highest-priced condominiums in 2001.

The tax breaks for those two projects alone totaled $157 million.

The tax break at the 44-story Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle came to $15.9 million.

No possible subsidy was left untapped. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Mr. Trump lined up a $150,000 grant for one of his buildings near ground zero, taking advantage of a program to help small businesses in the area recover, even though he had acknowledged on the day of the attacks that his building was undamaged.

“Donald Trump is probably worse than any other developer in his relentless pursuit of every single dime of taxpayer subsidies he can get his paws on,” said Alicia Glen, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who first battled Mr. Trump when she worked in Mr. Giuliani’s administration.
One deal alone was worth 3 times the actual cost of the project, a 200% return on investment. The sad part is those forgiven taxes have to be made up elsewhere for the city to pay its bills. And if the rich dude won't pay that leaves the ordinary citizens to reach deeper into his and her pocket to keep the city going while they subsidize the poor little rich fungus. But don't worry, he will gladly take all the credit for it.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

They sing, in English, so well

Erato was a trio of Swedish women when when they recorded " Now Go". They are a duo now.

Kerry Washington lights up that pile of trash Trump

On RealTime with Bill Maher

People seem to like what he is selling

From the pen of Mike Wuerker

Ancient religious cult takes over religious hucksters monument

One of the premier religious hucksters of California, Robert Schuler, died last. Having made his bones with drive-in religion, Schuler amassed a fortune and built himself a Crystal Cathedral to skin even greater numbers of rubes. Now owned by the ancient Catholic cult, it is being redesigned to fleece the rubes in a more traditional manner.
The Philip Johnson-designed structure made of steel and 10,000 panes of glass became world famous and was a forerunner to other so-called mega churches.

But more that a year after Schuller’s death, the Crystal Cathedral is undergoing a major transformation in both design and ownership.

The makeover will transform the building into Christ Cathedral as the Catholic Church takes it over.

Officials from the Diocese of Orange, the nation's 12th largest, gathered earlier this week to preview the changes, which they plan to unveil for the public at Sunday’s celebration of the diocese’s 40th anniversary, an event expected to draw nearly 10,000 of the Catholic faithful. The diocese bought the famed building in 2011.

During the preview, people can take a virtual tour and see a sanctuary splashed in white, highlighting an altar, the bishop’s chair and baptismal font. With nearly 3,000 seats, the new space will allow for more people, with pews arranged in a radial pattern and featuring a circular shaped Blessed Sacrament Chapel, bearing a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“The great cathedrals of Europe took generations to complete,” said Bishop Kevin Vann, who promised the creation of “a beautiful and functional Catholic interior design.”

“We do not have the time luxury of former cathedral builders. Our goal is to dedicate Christ Cathedral by 2019,” added Vann, who started his job after the purchase of the church and its 34-acre campus. A driving force behind the design, he has sought ideas from priests, lay people and experts.

Estimated costs for the cathedral are about $72 million, according to the Rev. Christopher Smith, rector and episcopal vicar of Christ Cathedral who is leading the design project.

Four years ago, officials launched the For Christ Forever campaign to help raise funds for refurbishing. They collected about $39 million with an additional $21 million expected to come in during the next two to five years, according to Cindy Bobruk, who heads the Orange Catholic Foundation.

She counts 24,000 families among contributors who gave $25 to $20 million, with the latter amount coming from an anonymous, non-Catholic donor. Priests from the diocese with 57 parishes and more than 1.3 million registered Catholics donated an average of $8,000 each, Bobruk said.
It was originally built for the greater glory of Robert Schuler, not sure who will get the glory in its new iteration. Perhaps they can sell glory rights like sportsball teams sell naming rights.

A democracy, not a bum fight

Bill Maher calls for civility in politics and every day life.

A little help from his friends

Friday, September 16, 2016

Don't you just hate it when

You find a group on YouTube whose music you really like only to find that they have already split up. Such is the case with Ellen and the Escapades who did "I'll Keep You Warm" back in 2012 and no longer exist as a group.

Water the flowers with your crocodile tears

From the pen of Jim Morin

Privatization fails again

The latest disaster is a privately run prison in Mississippi that, by all accounts, could best be described as a hellhole.
A privately operated Mississippi prison that a federal judge once concluded was effectively run by gangs in collusion with corrupt prison guards, closed Thursday, its prisoners transferred to other state facilities, officials said.

Conditions at the prison, the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, were deemed so substandard by Judge Carlton Reeves of Federal District Court, that he wrote in a 2012 settlement order that it “paints a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”

The move to shutter Walnut Grove, in Leake County, comes one month after the Justice Department announced that it would phase out its use of private prisons to house federal inmates after concluding that such facilities are more dangerous and less effective than prisons run by the government.

But the Obama administration decision does not affect states, which have increasingly come to rely on private firms to manage prison populations, including Mississippi.

While states say they enter arrangements with for-profit prison contractors to save money, some studies have cast doubt on whether private prisons are actually less expensive for taxpayers.

On Thursday, Walnut Grove’s demise was celebrated by prison rights organizations and civil liberties groups.

“Good riddance to Walnut Grove, a cesspool sponsored by Mississippians’ tax dollars,” said Jody Owens, managing attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Walnut Grove was run by Management and Training Corp., a Utah-based company that is among the nation’s largest private prison contractors.
While the State of Mississippi can easily be described as a hellhole, it would be prudent for any and all states that may have contracted with Management and Training Corp. to run any prisons to investigate these operations closely. It is highly unlikely that corporate policy would vary significantly from state to state. Better to shut them down now before any lawsuits get too expensive.

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