Saturday, December 31, 2016

These ladies show what laps were made for

Rose Sinclair and Cindy Cashdollar rock some steel guitar with an old Bob Wills tune, "Steelin' Home"

To the Wayback Machine!

The cabinet is definitely stacked against science

From the pen of Matt Davies

There goes the neighborhood

The Upper East Side
has been an anomaly in New York City ever since the 2nd & 3rd Ave Els were torn down in the 40's, a veritable transit desert away from New York's subway arteries. The will end on Sunday with the opening of the 2nd Ave extension of the Q line.
The new Second Avenue subway will provide badly needed relief to one of New York’s most congested transit corridors and is expected to be a boon to the local economy, making restaurants and stores suddenly easier to reach. But even as the city celebrates a line many doubted would ever open, its arrival has prompted fears that rising rents could force out longtime residents and shops — the kind of displacement that has swept through many other parts of an increasingly affluent New York and deepened its inequality.

People living near three new stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets could face rent increases as high as $462 per month, according to a report by StreetEasy, a real estate website. Sleek high-rises are already popping up above the walk-up apartment buildings that have served as first homes for many New Yorkers.

One of those is Dina Zingaro, who gravitated to the neighborhood when she moved from New Jersey. She and a roommate pay $2,400 a month for a two-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of a walk-up building.

While the new line will shorten her trip to work, she worries that it could also bring a major rent increase and ultimately push her out of Manhattan.

Once a German enclave where elevated trains ran above Second and Third Avenues, the Yorkville neighborhood on the Upper East Side is now home to millennials looking for a deal, families drawn by good schools and older people with limited budgets. Rowdy bars with beer pong games exist alongside hordes of strollers. On its eastern border sits the verdant but out-of-the way Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion, the mayoral estate, whose current resident, Bill de Blasio, prefers to use chauffeured cars over the far-flung subway.

The elevated lines were razed in the 1940s and 1950s, to the delight of many residents who viewed them as noisy eyesores and expected a new subway line to open soon. Instead, the area became a rapid-transit desert, one of the few neighborhoods in Manhattan that the subway did not reach.

But this has also made the neighborhood relatively affordable by Manhattan standards. Yorkville’s median rent is about $2,700 per month, lower than Manhattan’s rate of about $3,300, according to StreetEasy, and there are clusters of rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments.

A real estate wave seemed forever around the corner as plans for the subway line were delayed again and again. Until now, residents have been forced to trek blocks to the nearest packed subway stops to board No.4, 5 and 6 trains on Lexington Avenue, the nation’s most-crowded subway line.

The first phase of the new line, which cost about $4.4 billion, is opening at a critical moment, with subway ridership reaching its highest level since 1948. The flood of riders has led to uncomfortable crowding and increasing train delays, while people who choose to drive or take the bus face intensifying gridlock.

Since the subway first opened in Manhattan in 1904 and expanded farther into the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, it has paved the way for development, and it propelled the city’s soaring population in the first half of the 20th century. But in recent decades, the system has largely remained the same size, even as the city’s population of 8.5 million is the highest ever and continues to climb.
It was going to happen sooner or later, the question is how bad will it be?

When his agent becomes our President

In the last century a fairly large number of Americans chose to work on behalf of the late Soviet Union. Since the creation of the Russian Federation and its capture by an ex-KGB man, there is no reason to think that the efforts of that country to spy on and for that country to affect the US policy has changed to any degree. But now it appears that Putin and his FSB & GRU are about to achieve their ultimate success, installing one of their most unlikely agents as President of the US.
The two statements appeared to be business as usual — each side representing enemy No. 1 for the other, as they have since World War II ended and the Cold War began.

By Friday that mood had been abruptly cast aside, however. President Vladimir V. Putin announced that Russia would do nothing in response to the new American measures, awaiting the next administration, prompting President-elect Donald J. Trump to call him “very smart” in a Twitter post.

Russian-American relations are passing through one of their most confusing moments in modern history amid the transition from one presidential administration to the next, with the sitting president calling Russia a national security threat and the incoming one praising Mr. Putin.

With Mr. Trump making admiring remarks about Mr. Putin, without the support of Congress, many American voters, accustomed for generations to be suspicious about Russia, are understandably confused and uneasy. Russia was an enemy on Friday morning, and a friend by the afternoon.

“We are in a whiplash moment right now, and I think it is unprecedented in several respects,” said Cliff Kupchan, the chairman of the Eurasia Group, a political risk assessment firm in Washington, and a former State Department official from the Clinton administration. “The most important one is that the baton is about to be passed from an administration with a very hard line on Russia to one that is very much more sympathetic.”

No clear agreements or even offers are on the table yet, however, bringing uncertainty. “Russia’s relations with the U.S. are currently up in the air — both sides have no clear strategy about how to move them forward,” said Aleksandr Morozov, an independent Russian political analyst.
The uncertainty will continue for a while until Putin is comfortable with what he can make is Little Orange Puppy do. And given the 30 year Republican drift away from American principles and ideals it may shock many of us what he can get away with.

The Proud Papa

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hudson Valley Rockabilly

Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones play it and anything else the audience wants to dance to. "Calling My Name"

Overkill as defined by Lyin' Ryan

From the pen of Tim Eagan

New Jersey town afflicted with 4 year curse

The Tangerine Shitgibbon
owns a golf course in Bedminster NJ. That simple fact will curse the little town with his presence more often than they will want in the near future.
This seat of presidential power is far from Fifth Avenue and its gold-hued Trump Tower, and farther still from Washington and the White House. It sits on a golf course in Bedminster, a rural New Jersey township of just over 8,000 residents, where small farms and crumbling Revolutionary War-era structures abound. This sleepy pocket of the state, where residents boast about their miles of dirt roads, has suddenly found itself in the glare of attention as the home to Mr. Trump’s weekend getaway and the headaches that may come with it.

A few days before Christmas, Representative Leonard J. Lance, a Republican who represents the area in Congress, sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch requesting a grant to help Bedminster pay the cost of protecting Mr. Trump when he is at his country club. As Mr. Lance put it, the golf course could become “Camp David North.”

Mr. Trump’s transition team has indicated that he may continue to use the property after he moves into the White House, which will bring new kinds of disruptions to a town where a loose horse or a stranded hay truck is usually the most difficult traffic problem.

“With the highway getting shut down for his motorcade to come in, that’s something we’re not used to,” said Ray Goettel, 22, a truck driver and a captain with the Far Hills-Bedminster Fire Department. For Mr. Goettel and other members of local emergency services, solutions to novel situations — like how to respond to a fire alarm at the golf club when it is cordoned off by security — are still being figured out.

“I don’t know if it’s really hit us yet,” Mr. Goettel said. “People who didn’t know about your town are now like, ‘Oh, that’s the place where Trump is.’ It’s getting the spotlight. That is not what the town is used to.”

Before Mr. Trump’s arrival as president-elect in November, Bedminster was asked to assign most of its 16-person police force to the task of blocking roads and patrolling perimeters, according to Steven E. Parker, the town’s part-time mayor, who also runs a local airport. It was a “hair-on-fire type moment,” the mayor, a Republican, recalled.
The town residents can probably look forward to quiet winters but they can expect their summers to be hell as he shows up to play golf. And no one yet knows how frequently that will be. One thing is certain, the club will bill the government for every little item possible.

Sometimes government has to keep up

And in areas of the sea affected by global warming,the agencies involved with fishery management is still working on adjusting local catch limits to line up with fishery migrations caused by warming sea water.
“We used to come right here and catch two, three, four thousand pounds a day, sometimes 10,” he said, sitting at the wheel of the Proud Mary — a 44-footer named, he said, after his wife, not the Creedence Clearwater Revival song — as it cruised out to sea.

But like many other fish on the Atlantic Coast, whiting have moved north, seeking cooler waters as ocean temperatures have risen, and they are now filling the nets of fishermen farther up the coast.

Studies have found that two-thirds of marine species in the Northeast United States have shifted or extended their range as a result of ocean warming, migrating northward or outward into deeper and cooler water.

Lobster, once a staple in southern New England, have decamped to Maine. Black sea bass, scup, yellowtail flounder, mackerel, herring and monkfish, to name just a few species, have all moved to accommodate changing temperatures.

Yet fishing regulations, which among other things set legal catch limits for fishermen and are often based on where fish have been most abundant in the past, have failed to keep up with these geographical changes.

The center of the black sea bass population, for example, is now in New Jersey, hundreds of miles north of where it was in the 1990s, providing the basis for regulators to distribute shares of the catch to the Atlantic states.

Under those rules, North Carolina still has rights to the largest share. The result is a convoluted workaround many fishermen view as nonsensical. Because black sea bass are now harder to find in their state waters, North Carolina fishermen must steam north 10 hours, to where the fish are abundant, to even approach the state’s allocation. Mr. Brown and other New England fishermen, however, whose states have much smaller shares, can legally land only a small fraction of the black sea bass they catch and must throw the rest overboard. And New England states like Maine, where fishermen are beginning to catch black sea bass regularly, have only a tiny allocation and no established fishery.

“Our management system assumes that the ocean has white lines drawn on it, but fish don’t see those lines,” said Malin L. Pinsky, an assistant professor in the department of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University, who studies how marine species adapt to climate change. “And our management system is not as nimble as the fish.”

The mismatch between the location of fish and the rules for catching them has pitted recreational fishermen against commercial ones and state against state. It has heightened tensions among fishermen, government regulators and the scientists who advise them and raised questions for fishery managers that have no easy answers.
It is no easy thing to change state and local allocations and needs the cooperation of all involved. Until then the frictions brought on by the fish travels will continue and few people will be happy. We sure are lucky that global warming is a fraud.

Gives Speaker Ryan a warm, fuzzy feeling

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Subtle Boy

Suzanna Choffel

More orange crush

From the pen of Ed Hall

Donald made two promises about defense

First he promised to make it bigly yuge again and second he promised to pay for it by cutting waste. The first part is almost guaranteed to happen, Republicans love to throw a shit-ton of money at the military.The second part will never happen because the Republicans never cut anything unless poor people and others are involved.
That criticism triggered meetings a week ago with the heads of those two projects’ main manufacturers, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., at the billionaire’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump said afterward that he’d extracted promises to cut costs.

But it remains to be seen whether Trump will be able to stay on top of Pentagon excess after he becomes president Jan. 20. The day after Trump met with the leaders of the two defense contractors, the Pentagon announced a long list of spending projects that totaled nearly $550 million.

Trump will have a difficult time focusing on that wide range of spending and carrying out his pledge to pay for expanded military operations by trimming Pentagon waste, say experts on the way the Pentagon oversees its contracts. He won’t find many friends in the process, they note.

“He’s going to encounter a Pentagon bureaucracy that will instinctively say ‘no’ to most reforms he proposes,” said Todd Harrison, a former defense lobbyist and retired Air Force Reserves captain who’s now an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “He’s certainly not the first president to come in saying we can cut waste and abuse within the Pentagon budget. Very few have had much success.”

William Hartung, who in 2011 wrote a book about the clout F-35 contractor Lockheed-Martin wields in the U.S. Congress, made a similar observation about the Pentagon.

“They don’t scrutinize the original bids carefully enough, so contractors come in with a low bid while understanding that they’re not going to meet it,” Hartung said. “And then the Pentagon will add requirements and new features along the way. Eventually the costs get out of control.”

By the time that’s evident, however, inertia keeps the program going. “Once they put a certain amount of money on the table, they’re reluctant to end or dramatically scale it back,” Hartung said.

Whether Trump will be able to change that culture is what experts in Pentagon procurement are watching. With a price tag of $400 billion and rising, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for example, already is the most expensive weapons system ever built. It could end up exceeding $1 trillion by the time all planned 2,457 planes are manufactured.
The military previously scored points with the locals with base locations across all the states. Now that the Pentagon has closed most of the bases and shipped them overseas, it has replaced its influence point with the states in defense spending. The F-35 is a true mutt, being built in all 50 states and several countries overseas that we hope will buy the Flying Dogs Breakfast when the time comes. This insertion into the national being makes useless and wasteful programs next to impossible to kill and a man like Trump will soon find out how few friends he has in Congress if he tries to cut spending in any meaningful way.

Telling it like it is

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Continuing the greatness of Morcheeba

Skye and Ross are out and about in support of their first album. "Feet First" is from the eponymous effort.

That's Far Enough

From the pen of Signe Wilkinson

Partying Down Under

The people of Australia
have developed a reputation for hard drinking and partying and this last Christmas folks around Sydney showed what they can do.
Christmas and New Year in Australia typically involve barbecues, beaches and beer.

But a Christmas Day celebration that drew more than 10,000 people has led to a suspension of that tradition on Coogee Beach in the Sydney suburb of Randwick, where officials estimate that revelers left behind more than 16 tons of garbage. The City Council banned alcohol on the beach for the rest of the Australian summer.

“I’m a local, and in all my time here I’ve never seen anything like it,” Tony Waller, president of the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club, told Channel 7, adding that the club used four oxygen cylinders and 15 resuscitation masks to treat drunken partygoers.

“By late evening, it got so bad that we let the shark alarm off three times to try to get the swimmers out of the water, we had such grave concerns for them,” Mr. Waller said. “They were all intoxicated.”

“I’ve seen sex on Bondi Beach on Christmas afternoon,” Mark Cotter, president of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, said in an interview, referring to a beach north of Coogee. “People are often off their heads, drunk and sunburned.”

At Bondi Beach, the local council has also banned alcohol consumption. But many residents say that beer, along with cannabis and other drugs, is openly consumed on a grassy area where turntables and D.J.s entertain crowds.

“The grassy knoll at north Bondi is the place to be seen on Saturdays and Sundays as it attracts buff bodies and bikinis,” Zak Mann, a 20-year Bondi resident, said in an interview. “It’s cheaper to drink on the street than in the swanky, upmarket bars.”
And a Happy New Year to you.

I'd worry if he lit firecrackers

Someone influentially involved with Donald Trump has been jonesing for all things nuclear with the Peabrain-Elect. The results have been rash tweets from Roaring Chicken calling for a yuge increase in our nuclear capability, as if our current stockpile was not sufficient in quantity and quality to destroy the world more time than he can count. And to add insult to injury, the Cabinet member in charge of the nuclear stockpile would be Rick Perry.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter post last week that the United States must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” provoked confusion and anxiety that intensified the next day when he added, in a television interview, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Largely unspoken in the tumult, but running just below the surface, was a deep uncertainty about the future of a cornerstone of America’s nuclear policy: its program to safeguard the nation’s atomic stockpile.

A central mission of the nation’s weapons laboratories is to ensure that the country’s nuclear weapons still work if needed. To do that, the government has long relied on a program that avoids the need for underground testing, instead using data from supercomputers and laboratory experiments and inspecting the warheads.

But some nuclear analysts say that the Trump administration is likely to face decisions that could upend the bomb program, leading to a resumption of testing and perhaps a new global arms race if they are mishandled. Adding to the concern is Mr. Trump’s choice of a politician with no expertise in nuclear or technical matters, former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, to lead the Energy Department, which runs the nation’s nuclear-weapons labs and the safeguards program.

Mr. Perry, who will follow two highly accomplished physicists if confirmed, is far more familiar with issues involving the oil and gas industry. But weapons programs account for more than half of the Energy Department’s $30 billion budget.

The United States has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992, and some weapons experts believe that it has lost ground to Russia and China as they ambitiously improve their arsenals and delivery systems. Mr. Perry is certain to receive pressure to resume low-yield underground tests to ensure that existing weapons will function, and to help create new bomb designs, which have been off-limits in the Obama administration. How Mr. Perry responds to that pressure could define his tenure.

“Support from outside the Trump administration for testing will be robust,” said John Harvey, who from 1995 to 2013 held senior positions overseeing nuclear weapons programs in the Energy and Defense departments. “I don’t think they will be compelling in changing minds, absent a serious problem that we uncover in the stockpile,” he said.
Rick Perry having fireworks is a scary proposition. Letting him play with nukes is death-defying.

An American oddity

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An erstwhile Chocolate Drop from Carolina

Leyla McCalla is out on her own and here sings her version of an old Haitian folk song "Peze Cafe"

The Three Wiseguys

From the pen of Steve Benson

There is a major split in the medical community.

The choice by Donald Trump of Rep. Tom "Dr. Death" Price, an erstwhile doctor, for head of Health and Human Services has caused a division among doctors between those who believe medicine should heal and oppose his choice and doctors who believe medicine should make doctors rich and approve of his choice.
Mr. Trump and a Republican-held Congress are considering some of the biggest changes to the American health care system in generations: not only the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which is providing insurance to some 20 million people, but also the transformation of Medicare, for older Americans, and Medicaid, for low-income people. Mr. Price has favored those changes.

Seven years ago, the A.M.A.’s support helped lift President Obama’s health care proposals toward passage, and the group has backed the law, with some reservations, since its adoption in 2010. But as Republicans push for its dismantlement, deep disagreements within the A.M.A., which has long wielded tremendous power in Washington, could lessen its influence.

The concerns voiced by dissident doctors do not appear to imperil Senate confirmation of Mr. Price, but they do ensure that his confirmation hearings next month will be as contentious as any held for a Trump nominee, featuring a full public examination of the new president’s proposed health policies.

“Doctors are divided big time,” said Dr. Carl G. Streed Jr., a primary care doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a member of the A.M.A. house of delegates, the organization’s principal policy-making body.

The controversy began soon after Mr. Trump announced on Nov. 29 that he had chosen Mr. Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services, which controls Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance exchange, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Within hours, the A.M.A. — the nation’s largest medical advocacy group, which has nearly 235,000 members and calls itself “the voice of the medical profession” — issued a statement saying it “strongly supports” the selection.

It noted Mr. Price’s experience as a doctor, a state legislator and a member of Congress. It praised, in particular, his support for “patient choice and market-based solutions” and his efforts to reduce “excessive regulatory burdens” on doctors.
The argument will be fierce and long lived because when you stop looking at patients as humans, they quickly become either cost centers or profit centers and whichever your doctor chooses illuminates his position.

R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

One less Princess in this increasingly ugly world.

A long time coming, a long time gone

Monday, December 26, 2016

Born in Canada's capitol

Amanda Rheaume goes against type and actually displays a full deck of talent. " Wolf Of Time" is from her most recent album Holding Patterns.

A picture is worth 1000 days of 2016

A model for the future?

From the pen of Tom Toles

Another 1st ranking for America

As this year slides down to a final midnight, the US has come out ahead of all other countries in one category. We sold over $40 Billion worth of weapons.
The United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study.

Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

Although global tensions and terrorist threats have shown few signs of diminishing, the total size of the global arms trade dropped to around $80 billion in 2015 from the 2014 total of $89 billion, the study found. Developing nations bought $65 billion in weapons in 2015, substantially lower than the previous year’s total of $79 billion.

The United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015, as purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion and France’s deals increased by well over $9 billion.
The high dollar amount may well be because much of the equipment is overpriced, like the F-35, one squadron of which would account for almost half of the spending, but who cares, we made our numbers.

Building on their last Big Lie

The vast chorus of Conservative Bullshit Screamers is set to assault the current Maon Stream Media as purveyors of Fake Nooz. With their success in making people believe news organizations were "liberal" and therefore bad resulting in a hard right turn in media reporting, the Loonies in charge want to go much farther.
The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news.”

Rush Limbaugh has diagnosed a more fundamental problem. “The fake news is the everyday news” in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently. “They just make it up.”

Some supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump have also taken up the call. As reporters were walking out of a Trump rally this month in Orlando, Fla., a man heckled them with shouts of “Fake news!”

Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.

In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country’s increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.

“Over the years, we’ve effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it’s gone too far,” said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. “Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don’t see how you reverse it.”
News consumers, over the years have lost the ability to discern fact from fiction. In it's place they were trained to only accept what they believe. And because people like that fat junkie Rush Limbaugh is on of their trainers, when he says,“The fake news is the everyday news” in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently. “They just make it up.” His listeners believe and we are all fucked.

Hope Trump got his new kneepads from Amazon

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

From The Tangerine Shitgibbon and His Mom And the pen of Martin Rowson

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Decorate your tree, wrap your gifts

Sleep warm until the morning

That's why

From the pen of Tim Eagan

Gee, you people mean it?

Donald Trump and the merry band of Trump Spawn have finally realized that Washington is very serious about the Grifter-in-Chief's conflicts of interest. As they scramble to unload, close down or otherwise defuse these conflicts Donny is still trying to hide behind a stream of worthless tweets.
Realizing that his presidency could face potentially crippling questions over conflicts of interest, Donald J. Trump and his family are rushing to resolve potential controversies — like shuttering foundations and terminating development deals — even as the president-elect publicly maintains that no legal conflicts exist.

In recent days, the president-elect and his aides have said that he intends to distribute the assets of his personal charity and then shutter it. He has examined a plan to hire an outside monitor to oversee the Trump Organization and has terminated some international business projects.

“This is a process that my father and my family are taking incredibly seriously,” said Eric Trump, who will help oversee the Trump Organization, and who announced last week that he was terminating fund-raising for his own charity, the Eric Trump Foundation.

Even with the proposed steps, it is unclear how much the Trump family can or will unwind its ties to its business empire. No matter what, Mr. Trump will enter the White House with a maze of financial holdings unlike those of any other president in American history. Many ethics experts still say the only way Mr. Trump can eliminate his most serious conflicts is to liquidate his company, and then put the money into a blind trust — a move Mr. Trump has so far rejected as impractical and unreasonable.

The potential roles that his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, may play in the administration are particularly vexatious. Both have business operations that could benefit from their government roles — even if they are not involved in the businesses on a day-to-day basis. Ms. Trump’s business is so tied to her name that any position she might take in the White House or informal role she might play as an adviser to her father could benefit her company, which she will still own.

And because Mr. Trump refuses to release his tax returns, the extent of his potential conflicts remains unknown.
Tough choices for The Tangerine Shitgibbon. Everything hesuccessfully hides now will be used to hammer him if and when it is uncovered. And it won't just be Democrats doing the hammering, as time goes by he will piss off a lot of Republicans who will turn on him if they get the chance. If the legal system wasn't so malleable, the next four years could be on continuous legal proceeding.

Our wish for Christmas

Beyond the usual goodwill hopes for all, we wish a complete recovery for Carrie Fisher.
Hollywood actress and writer Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" movies, suffered a cardiac episode on Friday during a flight from London to Los Angeles, where she was rushed to a hospital after landing.

Fisher, 60, was described by her younger brother, Todd Fisher, as being in critical condition, and he said she remained under medical treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Los Angeles hospital several hours after becoming ill.

"It's not fair to say 'stable.' I am not saying she is fine, or not fine," he told Reuters by telephone in response to reports about her condition. "She is in the ICU."

He said he was driving and en route to pick up their mother, the veteran entertainer Debbie Reynolds.

Todd Fisher offered no details about his sister's condition or the circumstances of how she was stricken. He said the information had came from his sister's assistant.
As so many of her well wishers have noted, this is 2016's way of adding insult to injury in our lives this year.

Trump and Climate Change

Seth Meyers

A last reminder before Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2016

When they do play together

Jenny Berkel and Jennah Barry, two Canadian folk singers with separate careers, make a fine sound so you wish they would stay together. "Blues Run the Game"

What They Do Is What Matters

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

Why is Trump looking for an arms race

At this time everybody pretty much happy with the balance of nuclear power in the world. Sure you have a few loonies like India, Pakistan and Israel clanking their nuclear balls at every chance, but there is no demand for any increase in the world, just in Donny's empty head.
President-elect Donald J. Trump on Friday welcomed a new nuclear weapons arms race, vowing in an off-camera interview with a television host that America would “outmatch” any adversary. The comment came one day after he said in a post on Twitter that the United States should “strengthen and expand” its own nuclear capabilities.

The president-elect escalated his comments about nuclear weapons with the show of bravado during a brief, off-air telephone conversation from his estate in Florida, according to Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“Let it be an arms race,” Mr. Trump said, according to Ms. Brzezinski, who described her conversation with the president-elect on the morning news program moments later. Mr. Trump added: “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary for Mr. Trump’s administration, said earlier on the “Morning Joe” program that the president-elect’s Twitter post about nuclear weapons was intended to send a message to America’s adversaries around the world.

Asked if Mr. Trump’s post on Twitter was a response to Mr. Putin’s speech to the military, Mr. Spicer said, “I think it’s putting every nation on notice that the United States is going to reassert its position in the globe.”

Mr. Spicer added: “Other countries need to understand that if they expand their nuclear capabilities, this president is not going to sit back, he’s going to act.”
Donny might want to get our troops out of Afghanistan, it hardly backs up his bluster when the world can see a bunch of primitives unconquered by his military.

Hard to find an honest broker

And when that broker is shifting your late lamented granny from your designated Alzheimer's research to military research into what happens when bombs explode next to it for a profit, it could piss you off.
He had cared for his elderly mother, Doris, throughout her harrowing descent into dementia. In 2013, when she passed away at age 74, he decided to donate her brain to science. He hoped the gift might aid the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.

At a nurse’s suggestion, the family contacted Biological Resource Center, a local company that brokered the donation of human bodies for research. Within the hour, BRC dispatched a driver to collect Doris. Jim Stauffer signed a form authorizing medical research on his mother’s body. He also checked a box prohibiting military, traffic-safety and other non-medical experiments.

Ten days later, Jim received his mother’s cremated remains. He wasn't told how her body had been used.

Records reviewed by Reuters show that BRC workers detached one of Doris Stauffer’s hands for cremation. After sending those ashes back to her son, the company sold and shipped the rest of Stauffer’s body to a taxpayer-funded research project for the U.S. Army.

Her brain never was used for Alzheimer’s research. Instead, Stauffer’s body became part of an Army experiment to measure damage caused by roadside bombs.

Internal BRC and military records show that at least 20 other bodies were also used in the blast experiments without permission of the donors or their relatives, a violation of U.S. Army policy. BRC sold donated bodies like Stauffer’s for $5,893 each.

Army officials involved in the project said they never received the consent forms that donors or their families had signed. Rather, the officials said they relied on assurances from BRC that families had agreed to let the bodies be used in such experiments.

BRC, which sold more than 20,000 parts from some 5,000 human bodies over a decade, is no longer in business. Its former owner, Stephen Gore, pleaded guilty to fraud last year. In a statement to Reuters, Gore said that he always tried to honor the wishes of donors and sent consent forms when researchers requested them.

Jim Stauffer learned of his mother’s fate not from BRC or the Army but from a Reuters reporter. When told, Stauffer curled his lip in anger and clutched his wife Lisa’s arm.

“We did right,” Lisa reassured him. “They just did not honor our wishes.”
Unlike the reusable body parts business, like kidneys & hearts, there is big money in whole bodies and parts used for non viable purposes and none of those pesky regulations that get everybody's panties in a twist. It's not just Potter's Field cast offs that get diverted and this means that real live people are affected if the result is known.

Rachel done good

Maddow does The Trump Whisperer Kellyanne

With Trump's Nuclear War on the horizon

This all seems so innocent.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A new single going in a new direction

Rockabilly Queen Imelda May still looks and sounds fantastic as she sings the ballad, "Call Me"

Thin skinned either way

From the pen of Tom Toles

Some folks in Kansas figured it out

And while, on the federal level, they continued to shoot themselves in the same feet they shot last time, on the local levelthey realized that some of these Republican shits were screwing them and maybe it was time to break a bad habit.
In this election year, voters across Kansas leaned firmly to the right at the federal level, but showed far more nuance when it came to their state. In parts of Kansas, they punished conservative legislators linked to Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax-cutting doctrine, instead gravitating toward moderate Republicans and Democrats like Mr. Parker who blame the governor and his legislative allies for imperiling the state’s finances and putting public schools at risk.

“Their goal was very simple, and that was to associate me with Brownback,” said James Todd, the two-term Republican lawmaker Mr. Parker challenged here in suburban Kansas City. “That obviously was effective enough to beat me.”

For generations, Republicans have dominated Kansas politics, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon. Many voters here believe strongly in the party’s message on issues such as abortion and gun rights and want limits on government spending. But some of those same Republicans have grown frustrated during Governor Brownback’s six-year tenure with perpetual budget shortfalls, cuts to road projects, rollbacks to social services and, especially resonant here in Overland Park, perceived budget threats to public schools.

Kansas, which faces a roughly $350 million budget shortfall this fiscal year and is projected to have a larger one next year, is among 24 states recently reporting lower-than-expected revenue collections, and may serve as a cautionary tale for those other states and their political leaders.

Here, conservatives attribute much of the strain to downturns in the agriculture and energy industries, both central elements in the Kansas economy. Others question whether the cuts and deficits are symptomatic of a political swing that went too far to the right.

“The pendulum finally snapped,” said Brian Brown, a Republican who lives in Mr. Todd’s House district, but who spurned his own party and volunteered for Mr. Parker’s campaign.
Local awareness in Kansas is a good sign, the question is how long will it take for this awareness to spread to the federal level?

Samantha Bee on North Carolina

Following the tweets of Trump

Prepare for social media in full Assmode.

Maybe Trump can learn the language

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The old time Christmas Party

Brenda Lee "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree"

On closer reading of Dickens

From the pen of Drew Sheneman

If there is one thing Texas hates worse than poors

It is poors who are women
. What with their having all that funny plumbing down there and no money to pay for the necessary medical plumbers, they cost money that could be flowing into rich peoples accounts. So Texas has decided to redirect one of those money streams by blocking $3 Million in Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. For some reason Planned Parenthood, whose main effort is providing health care and advice to all women really gives Texican gubmint men a real wild hair across their ass.
Texas plans to block about $3 million in Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood operations in the state, according to a legal document obtained on Wednesday, a move the reproductive healthcare group said could affect nearly 11,000 low-income people.

Planned Parenthood said it would seek court help to block the funding halt, which would cut cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing and other programs.

Planned Parenthood gets about $500 million annually in federal funds, largely in reimbursements through Medicaid, which provides health coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

Texas and several other Republican-controlled states have tried to cut the organization's funding after an anti-abortion group released videos last year that it said showed officials from Planned Parenthood negotiating prices for fetal tissues from abortions it performs.

Texas sent a final termination notice to Planned Parenthood in the state on Tuesday to alert it of the funding cut, the document showed, saying the basis of the termination was the videos.

Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing, saying the videos were heavily edited and that it does not profit from fetal tissue donation. It has challenged similar defunding efforts in other states, calling them politically motivated.

Republican President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, and at least 14 states have tried to pass legislation or taken administration action to prevent the organization from receiving federal Title X funding.

"Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "With this action, the state is doubling down on reckless policies that have been absolutely devastating for women."
Trump himself could care less but Texicans get all wild eyed at the though of a woman not totally dependent on some good ol' boy and beating up on women works well for them because there is a large group of women in Texas who believe in self-flagellation.

Really strange bedfellows

Samantha Bee and Glenn Beck

Updated Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Time to get into the Christmas Spirit

Let Deanna Durbin singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" get you started, too,

The general consensus is...

From the pen of Ted Rall

Won't let a little riot stop the profits

And don't let our branding change fool you, our privately run prisons are still the same badly managed understaffed shitholes that they were before the riot.
As of April 2016, the Adams County facility was one of 13 privately run prisons holding criminal immigrants, a practice begun in Taft, California. The Obama administration planned to phase out their use, though the Trump administration could shift course.

Designed to serve up to 2,567 low-security, non-U.S.-citizen male inmates, the Adams County prison is operated by CoreCivic Inc., a firm formerly known as Corrections Corp. of America. The company challenges some of the audit’s findings, and notes the improvements underway.

“We are dedicated to our mission to advancing corrections through innovative solutions that benefit and protect all we serve,” the company stated in its official response.

The company was managing the facility at the time of the 2012 riot, during which one correctional officer died and about 20 staffers and inmates were injured. A Federal Bureau of Prisons after-action report found “deficiencies in staffing levels, staff experience, communication between staff and inmates, and CoreCivic’s intelligence systems,” the new report said.

“Four years after the riot, we were deeply concerned to find that the facility was plagued by the same significant deficiencies in correctional and health services and Spanish-speaking staffing,” the investigators wrote.

The investigators noted that in July 2015, the facility’s inmate population consisted of approximately 2,300 immigrants, predominately Mexican nationals, but only four of 367 staff members spoke fluent Spanish. The company offers “substantially lower pay and benefits” than comparable state or federal agencies, investigators noted further, adding that this contributed to “significantly higher turnover rates” and a corresponding lack of experienced staff.

The Office of Inspector General also calculated staffing levels in a different way than the private contractor, leading to different results than had been reported to the Bureau of Prisons.

“Staffing levels were lower than the levels represented by CoreCivic’s headcounts and were frequently lower than the BOP’s minimum staffing threshold,” investigators said. “We found similar issues regarding CoreCivic’s reporting of health services staffing.”
In the meantime the former CCA is disputing the report so as to insure no action is taken prior to The Time of Trump when the inmate population should double.

A Closer Look

Mr Meyers Sethsplains what happened in North Carolina.

Is God dead or just the Teachings of Christ?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Started out playing bluegrass with her father

And has absorbed a whole lot of other music since then. Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line have some fun with a road song, "Dreamin" from their album Wake.

You have your truth, I have mine

And in the spirit of the holiday season, Tom Tommorow runs down a few of the more prominent ones. Happy Holidays!

Still looking for That Gift?

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

R.I.P. Sari Gabor

Zsa Zsa was glamour with taste, something we lost in the transition to Trump Trash.

The Chuck & Johnnie Show

In the Senate there is a bi-partisan move to investigate the Russian assault on America's voting systems that resulted in that tangerine colored shitgibbon being elected by the Electoral College. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and and Republican occasional maverick John McCain are leading the calls for a select committee to look into the penultimate Republican electoral fraud.
Pressure mounted on Sunday for a broader congressional investigation of Russian cyberattacks aimed at influencing the American election, even as a top aide to President-elect Donald J. Trump said there was no conclusive evidence of foreign interference.

The effort was being led by a bipartisan group of senators, including John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate Democratic leader, who called on Sunday for the creation of a Senate select committee on cyberactivity to take the investigative lead on Capitol Hill.

“Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American,” the senators wrote on Sunday in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who has said a select committee is not necessary. “Cybersecurity is the ultimate cross-jurisdictional challenge, and we must take a comprehensive approach to meet this challenge effectively.”

The developments served to deepen the fissures between high-ranking lawmakers of both parties who see American intelligence reports implicating Russia as the basis for additional inquiries and Mr. Trump, who continues to reject the conclusions of those reports.

But the developments also put new strain on Mr. McConnell. He now faces calls from Mr. McCain and Lindsey Graham, two Senate Republicans considered well versed on national security issues, to form a select committee. If he were to reject that appeal, he would be subject to criticism that he was trying to avoid a spotlight on an issue that senators in both parties believe is worthy of more focused scrutiny.

Mr. McConnell said last week that while he respects the intelligence agencies’ conclusions, the Senate Intelligence Committee is “more than capable of conducting a complete review” itself. He also acknowledged that Mr. McCain could conduct an investigation on the Armed Services Committee, an option that remains open should Mr. McConnell decide against a select committee.
Surprisingly, the Republicans who, prior to the advent of Red Rupert Murdoch's Propaganda Machine, had never looked at a bed without measuring how many Commies could fit under it, are cool to the idea of investigating Pooty, Trump's BFF. Spokesweasel Kellyanne Conway even suggested it would be patriotic to ignore it. So I guess the only real question would be how much did Donny sell us to Pooty for?

A monkey with a machine gun..

SNL Weekend Update

Good thing he is lying about it

Trump's much tootled infrastructure building surge
would run into a serious problem if it were real.According to contractors across the country, there are not enough skilled workers to do what is needed. Republicans having spent the last 8 years starving the beast and denying necessary funds for the work have kept the demand for them low and allowed them to retire without replacement or just wander off to other fields.
More than two-thirds of U.S. roads are in less than good condition and nearly 143,000 bridges need repair or improvement, the Transportation Department estimates.

At the same time, construction contractors have reported tight labor conditions in the South, Midwest and Southwest, causing project delays, the Federal Reserve noted last month.

Earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders estimated there were around 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the United States, an 81 percent increase in the last two years.

Infrastructure projects need highly trained workers, such as heavy equipment operators and iron specialists. But as a result of the 2007-2008 recession, which caused an estimated 25 percent of construction jobs to vanish, their ranks have thinned.

Many of these workers went back to school, joined the military or got lower-paying jobs in retail, services and other sectors. Some just got too old for the rigors of construction.

"They wandered off into other careers," said Leonard Toenjes, president of Associated General Contractors of Missouri, which represents contractors in the state.

Undocumented immigrants, who otherwise might help replenish those ranks, are unlikely candidates however, since companies do not want to invest in training people with an uncertain status, especially given Trump's anti-immigrant bent.

The labor shortage is driving up construction costs, according to government and industry experts, which could cut into the scope of any new Washington investment scheme.

In response to the construction "skills gap," the U.S. Department of Labor and Federal Highway Administration are aiming to expand help to localities training workers for road and bridge building, according to a FHWA spokesman.

Even if the scope of work is not as grandiose as Trump originally envisioned, it would benefit a range of businesses, from steel maker Nucor Corp and concrete firm US Concrete Inc to construction machinery companies such as Caterpillar Inc.

More infrastructure spending would boost trade unions, too, which appeals to Democrats.
Whoo-Hoo! Third world, here we come!

Now the GOP wants to steal their Social Security

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Martha Argerich was a Kennedy Center honoree this year

Enjoy her performance of Chopin & Liszt. Next year you get the Nuge

One way to express your opposition

From the pen of Berkeley Brethed

Lose an old market, make a new one

Ever since its heyday as the drug of choice for that fat junkie Rush Limbaugh, the sales of Oxy-Contin have been falling off as doctors cease prescribing it and their old users die off. To maintain their flow of sweet, sweet profits, the owners of Purdue Pharma are seeking to exploit fresh markets around the world.
With the nation in the grip of an opioid epidemic that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, the U.S. medical establishment is turning away from painkillers. Top health officials are discouraging primary care doctors from prescribing them for chronic pain, saying there is no proof they work long-term and substantial evidence they put patients at risk.

Prescriptions for OxyContin have fallen nearly 40% since 2010, meaning billions in lost revenue for its Connecticut manufacturer, Purdue Pharma.

So the company’s owners, the Sackler family, are pursuing a new strategy: Put the painkiller that set off the U.S. opioid crisis into medicine cabinets around the world.

A network of international companies owned by the family is moving rapidly into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers in places ill-prepared to deal with the ravages of opioid abuse and addiction.

In this global drive, the companies, known as Mundipharma, are using some of the same controversial marketing practices that made OxyContin a pharmaceutical blockbuster in the U.S.

In Brazil, China and elsewhere, the companies are running training seminars where doctors are urged to overcome “opiophobia” and prescribe painkillers. They are sponsoring public awareness campaigns that encourage people to seek medical treatment for chronic pain. They are even offering patient discounts to make prescription opioids more affordable.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said he would advise his peers abroad “to be very careful” with opioid medications and to learn from American “missteps.”
Obviously Purdue has identified large markets in South America and Asia where there are masses of people just waiting for the chance to kill themselves and they live in countries that aren't too squeamish to walk around the bodies of dead junkies in the street. This move should elevate the Sackler family from filthy rich to disgustingly rich in no time.

Donny & Pooty & Rex, Oh My!

Sometimes it comes too late

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday Night + Love Song = Linda Ronstadt

Te Quiero Dijiste

Those were the days, my friend

From the pen of Chan Lowe

Montreal n'aime pas L'Arbre de Noël de Charlie Brown

And it all came about from trying to one up New York City.
The idea was to celebrate Montreal’s coming 375th anniversary with a Christmas tree bigger and grander than the famous one at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Instead, downtown Montreal wound up with something only Charlie Brown could love.

“It’s a bit of an eyesore,” said Noor Malick, who has a view of the tree from her office window.

A classic specimen, the tree is not. Its trunk is crooked, for one thing. And its other shortcomings are painfully obvious to passers-by. “It doesn’t have a top. It looks like it’s missing branches; it’s kind of skinny-looking,” Pierre Bourcier said after snapping a photo with his phone.

And then there are the ornaments: The tree is covered with red plastic inverted triangles topped by green maple leaves, the logo of the Canadian Tire retail chain, which supplied its white lights. A small child standing at the base of the tree this week stumped her father by asking why it “looked like a store.”

How did a holiday celebration became a municipal punch line? Chalk it up to (perhaps too much) ambition, inadequate financing and Murphy’s law.

“We have good intentions,” said Jean-David Pelletier, one of the principals of Sapin MTL, the company that came up with the idea of rivaling New York’s tree. “But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and we had problems.”

Sapin MTL is in the business of home-delivering normal-size Christmas trees, and it proposed the big one as a promotional gimmick. Mr. Pelletier said the company had a more majestic, shapely tree in mind. It researched the typical height for recent Rockefeller Center trees — 74 to 76 feet — and found a 78-footer in Ontario that Mr. Pelletier described as “amazing.”

But its narrow height advantage vanished in early November when Rockefeller Center announced that its 2016 tree would be a 94-foot Norway spruce.

Mr. Pelletier and his partners then had less than a month to come up with a new, taller rival, and they appealed to the public, which suggested about 100 candidates. The balsam fir they chose came from the Eastern Townships of Quebec, near the border with the United States.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s authentic and it’s a real tree that you find in the forests of Quebec,” Mr. Pelletier said. “We’re not pretending this is the most amazing, beautiful tree in the world.”
And so Montreal was blessed with the biggest Christmas tree sponsored by the Grandest Civic Jackasses in Canada. Perhap, as in Charlie Brown's Christmas, the people of Montreal will learn to love it. Don't hold your breath.

The perfect hiding place

Put it where Trump hides his tax returns, according to Stephen Colbert.

What Could Go Wrong

Friday, December 16, 2016

For the next four years

Susan Werner sings Marvin Gaye's "Mercy, Mercy Me" to help you remember what clean air and water were like.

Trump's Grim Fairy Tales

From the pen of Wiley

The Republican Party has sent forth their most affable liar Lyin' Paul Ryan to pretend that the ACA needs to be repealed because it is working better it has created a crisis and needs to be replaced by a plan to provide universal access that currently does not exist and most likely never will while the GOP has any say about it.
In defending the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and advocacy groups have focused on the 20 million people covered by the law, which has pushed the percentage of Americans without health insurance to record lows. The American Medical Association recently said that “any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured.”

But House Republicans, preparing for a rapid legislative strike on the law next month, emphasize a different measure of success.

“Our goal here is to make sure that everybody can buy coverage or find coverage if they choose to,” a House leadership aide told journalists on the condition of anonymity at a health care briefing organized by Republican leaders.

Republicans have an “ironclad commitment” to repeal the law, the aide said, as lawmakers moved to discredit predictions that many people would lose coverage.

“There’s a lot of scare tactics out there on this,” said Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “We can reassure the American public that the plan they are in right now, the Obamacare plans, will not end on Jan. 20,” the day Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated.

The suggestion that 20 million people will lose coverage is a “big lie,” Mr. Brady said, after meeting here with Republican members of his committee.

“Republicans,” he said, “will provide an adequate transition period to give people peace of mind that they will have those options available to them as we work through this solution.”

Republicans have not settled on the details or the timing of their replacement plan. The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, portrays repeal of the law not as an ideological crusade, but as a form of urgently needed relief.
No doubt St Ayn Rand would be pleased with the felicity with which Lyin' Paul Ryan spreads his bullshit. But those currently with health insurance should be really clear that the Republican Party has no intention whatsoever of replacing ACA beyond giving you the address of the nearest Emergency Room.

Trump as created his first diplomatic crisis

And make no mistake, it was The Great Orange Fungus's ill conceived phone call to Taiwan and his follow up insults to China that brought this about. The Chinese Navy has has seized an unmanned oceanographic drone in international waters.
The Pentagon said on Friday it had issued a formal protest to Beijing demanding the return of an underwater drone seized by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea, an incident that risked increasing tensions in a region already fraught with great-power rivalries.

A Defense Department official said that the unmanned underwater vehicle was discovered missing on Thursday when the crew of the United States Navy vessel Bowditch tried to retrieve it.

The Bowditch, an oceanographic ship, was operating in international waters and carrying out scientific research, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a potentially sensitive international incident.

American officials said they were still trying to determine whether the seizure was a low-level action taken by Chinese sailors who spotted the drone — or a strategic-level action ordered by more senior Chinese leaders.

The incident is the second this week in the South China Sea, coming just after China signaled on Thursday that it had installed weapons on disputed islands that it would use to repel threats. The latest moves complicate already testy relations between China and the United States, ties that have been further complicated by President-elect Donald J. Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan.

Mr. Trump angered Chinese officials by holding a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, an island that Beijing deems a breakaway province of China. It had been nearly four decades since a United States president or president-elect had such direct contact with a Taiwanese leader.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Trump also criticized China over its trade imbalance with America and its military activities in the South China Sea and its ties to North Korea.
I do believe that Trump has set a land speed record for creating a diplomatic crisis. Usually Presidents wait until they have been sworn into office.

The party is lame when the band doesn't to come

Colbert does TrumPutin

Hope springs eternal

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Townes Van Zandt wrote it

And the Be Good Tanyas do justice to "Waiting Around To Die"

You just keep forgetting, Rick

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Hell hath no fury like...

A whiny little bitch with short fingers and a pretense of being rich. And it is no surprise that when Vanity Fair reporter Tina Nguyen roasted the Trump Grill(e) better than any of the meats in the kitchen, our Orange Pretender tweeted in fury at Vanity Fair for criticizing him.
Donald Trump is “a poor person’s idea of a rich person,” Fran Lebowitz recently observed at The Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit. “They see him. They think, ‘If I were rich, I’d have a fabulous tie like that.’” Nowhere, perhaps, does this reflection appear more accurate than at Trump Grill (which is occasionally spelled Grille on various pieces of signage). On one level, the Grill (or Grille), suggests the heights of plutocratic splendor—a steakhouse built into the basement of one’s own skyscraper.

On another level, Trump Grill falls somewhat short of that lofty goal. The restaurant features a stingy number of French-ish paintings that look as though they were bought from Home Goods. Wall-sized mirrors serve to make the place look much bigger than it actually is. The bathrooms transport diners to the experience of desperately searching for toilet paper at a Venezuelan grocery store. And like all exclusive bastions of haute cuisine, there is a sandwich board in front advertising two great prix fixe deals.

The allure of Trump’s restaurant, like the candidate, is that it seems like a cheap version of rich. The inconsistent menus—literally, my menu was missing dishes that I found on my dining partners’—were chock-full of steakhouse classics doused with unnecessarily high-end ingredients. The dumplings, for instance, come with soy sauce topped with truffle oil, and the crostini is served with both hummus and ricotta, two exotic ingredients that should still never be combined. The menu itself would like to impress diners with how important it is, randomly capitalizing fancy words like “Prosciutto” and “Julienned” (and, strangely, ”House Salad”).
So far all that might be expected of a bad restaurant review that spares nothing out for respect for the magnificence of its owner. Maybe it was the wrap up that annoyed the short fingered vulgarian.
I reflexively want to be generous in my assessment of what the post-election Trump Grill says about the Trump presidency. Perhaps it’s a sign that Trump is in over his head, and a shallow, mediocre man who runs a shallow, mediocre business empire (and restaurant) would sink and implode, crushing the expectations of millions of his hopeful supporters. But watching Trump parade his enemies through the nearby lobby, taunting them with prestigious appointments only to cruelly humiliate them, I had to look over at the human cattle herd at the Trump Grill, overwhelming a well-meaning staff with their dreams of a meal fit for a president, and wonder if he cared about any of them, either.
But it is hard to say anything nice about a restaurant that has gone downhill since its last review.

Colbert does Sinatra and Trump

When you are a cult hero

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Carrie Rodriguez is reaching back to her roots

Singing "Perfidia" from her Lola album in which she paid tribute to her Mexican American heritage

At least SkyNet isn't real

From the pen of Jen Sorensen

Who would have thought it possible

In their desperate desire to completely dominate women, anti-abortion zealots have a habit of loudly proclaiming gross lies as their god's own truth. On of the more pernicious ones was that having an abortion led to serious mental health problems later in life. The latest medical study has shown this to be absolute bullshit.
Some states require women seeking abortions to be counseled that they might develop mental health problems. Now a new study, considered to be the most rigorous to look at the question in the United States, undermines that claim. Researchers followed nearly 1,000 women who sought abortions nationwide for five years and found that those who had the procedure did not experience more depression, anxiety, low self-esteem or dissatisfaction with life than those who were denied it.

The findings come as the abortion debate intensifies in the United States, with President-elect Donald J. Trump promising to nominate an abortion opponent to the Supreme Court after taking office next month. The question of the effect of the procedure on women’s health, both physical and mental, has been an effective argument in recent years, used by states to enact a number of regulations and restrictions, and is likely to be a continuing part of the debate.

The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, found psychological symptoms increased only in women who sought abortions but were not allowed to have the procedure because their pregnancies were further along than the cutoff time at the clinic they visited. But their distress was short-lived, whether they went elsewhere for an abortion or delivered the baby. About six months after being turned away from the first abortion clinic, their mental health resembled that of women who were not turned away and had abortions.

“What I think is incredibly interesting is how everyone kind of evens out together at six months to a year,” said Katie Watson, a bioethicist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

“What this study tells us about is resilience and people making the best of their circumstances and moving on,” she said. “What’s sort of a revelation is the ordinariness of it.”
I can imagine women having an abortion and then living among anti-abortion activists and suffering mental health problems, but that kind of poisonous environment would make anybody crazy. For everyone else, their mental health is not dependent upon their reproductive health.

A Who's Who of Why? What?

Colbert discusses Trump's cabinet picks

How do you answer kids questions?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cold weather time for cool music

And who is cooler than Rickie Lee Jones, "Easy Money"

Didn't notice them earlier

From the pen of Jeff Stahler

How sick is this?

From the Washington Post:
Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.

“Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”

In recent weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a growing list of Cabinet members who have questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus around global warming. His transition team at the Department of Energy has asked agency officials for names of employees and contractors who have participated in international climate talks and worked on the scientific basis for Obama administration-era regulations of carbon emissions. One Trump adviser suggested that NASA no longer should conduct climate research and instead should focus on space exploration.
Protection from the Luddites before they start wrecking everything they don't like.

Hard Sell for Secretary of State

As there is no sane reason to believe Rex Tillerson is in any way capable of acting as Secretary of State, Donald Trump is gathering all the important people he can to vouch for his (Putin's) choice.
President-elect Donald J. Trump is enlisting veteran members of the Republican foreign policy establishment to vouch for Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, as his choice to be the nation’s chief diplomat.

To win Senate confirmation, Mr. Tillerson will need to counter bipartisan skepticism about his ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia over his long career at the giant energy company. Hearings are expected to focus, in particular, on the potential conflict between Exxon’s oil and gas deals and American sanctions on Russia.

But Mr. Trump’s transition team has lined up high-profile endorsements for Mr. Tillerson that began to roll out early Tuesday morning and were intended to address concerns about Russia and Mr. Putin, according to people familiar with the plan. The transition team’s goal is to press for a swift confirmation after Mr. Trump is inaugurated next month.

Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense under President Obama and President George W. Bush, strongly endorsed Mr. Tillerson in a statement Tuesday morning, calling him “a global champion of the best values of our country” and saying he would bring “vast knowledge, experience and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders in every corner of the world.”

Others expected to strongly back Mr. Tillerson — and to reject concerns about Russia — are said to include former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Condoleezza Rice, among others.

Senator Bob Corker, who was a finalist to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state and will oversee confirmation hearings as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also issued an enthusiastic statement about Mr. Tillerson’s selection on Tuesday. “Mr. Tillerson is a very impressive individual and has an extraordinary working knowledge of the world,” Mr. Corker said. “I congratulate him on his nomination and look forward to meeting with him and chairing his confirmation hearing.”

In the last several days, Republican and Democratic lawmakers warned that Mr. Tillerson would face intense scrutiny over his relationship with Russia, which awarded him its Order of Friendship in 2013, and with Mr. Putin.
Having had to play kissy-face with Putin, Rex may not be totally hopeless, but this is a pick that will require the public watching what his underlings do because they are the ones who will actually run the State Department.

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