Thursday, March 31, 2016

Concern Trolling the Letters Section

     I've been reading and enjoying the letters in support of Donald Trump. My understanding is that many of his backers do so because they've been lied to by Republican politicians who promised stuff like "repealing and replacing Obamacare," in 2014. It's pretty likely they knew they couldn't do that, yet they led people on. How deceitful. I empathize. There were unfulfilled changes I would love to have seen completed under President Obama. I recently saw that Congresswoman Stefanik gave him a 4 out of 10 rating. Unfortunately, she didn’t grade her former boss.
     I'd like you to go online and search "76 Trump campaign promises" (no, not 76 trombones!). Please, write and tell me how many of those you expect him to accomplish. He's not going to build that wall, let alone make Mexico pay for it. He's not going to deport 11 million people, nor stop Muslims from immigrating. He's not going to replace Obamacare with something that is "terrific" or "be the greatest jobs president God ever created." Campaign hyperbole has limits.
     On a related topic; when feeling masochistic, I listen to right wing radio. I'd like to give regular listeners some advice. The best time to invest in gold, is never. In fact, when those hosts suggest any product to you, keep your wallet buried deeply in your pocket.
     Don't let me discourage you from writing, even though there is a zero per cent chance of Mr. Trump winning New York State. I realize someone may tell you he can because he's a New Yorker, or some such. Take it from your liberal pal. We’re one of the yellowest dogs in the Union.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Guns at the Convention is Probably a Good Idea

Things might get a little messy even without them. The Trump rallies have just been the opening act.

Political observers have wondered for months whether Donald Trump’s unconventional, “political outsider” campaign would put him at a disadvantage if the Republican presidential race were to come down to the wire. Now, a fight stemming from the complicated process of selecting convention delegates suggests it has.

July 18th to the 21st. Put that on your calendars and don't you dare miss it.

And from the book of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Duck:

The Mississippi Church Protection Act, which expands gun rights inside and outside state sanctuaries, passed the state Senate, 36 to 14, on Tuesday. It will now return to the House, whose approval would poise Mississippi to become the ninth state where a permit is not required for concealed carry firearms.

Aside from the gunnuttery, the name of the act is some Orwellian bullshit as well. 

Critics also say that its name, the Church Protection Act, distracts from other gun rights it would expand, such as the right to carry a holstered, concealed gun without a permit. 

Some folks are in a hurry to get to Heaven. 

Can You Shoot Me Now?

I'm sure nothing will go wrong with this idea.

A new handgun disguised as a cellphone promises its wearers will "not have to engage other people about why they're carrying," Ideal Conceal creator Kirk Kjellberg says.

The Minnesotan inventor, whose two round capacity, .380 derringer isscheduled to start selling in October, was inspired to create a gun that folds up to resemble a smartphone after a child shouted "Mommy, that guy's got a gun!" in a crowded restaurant.

There is a video at the link as well.

What's Scott Walker's Endorsement Worth?

Well, probably more than Sam Brownback's.

Only 18 percent of Kansans are "very" or "somewhat satisfied" with Gov. Sam Brownback's (R) job performance, according to a poll from Fort Hays State University released Friday.

In comparison, President Barack Obama (D) had a job approval rating 10 points higher in the deep red state than the Republican governor: 28 percent.

Damn liberal polls. They're better to Walker

The poll found 39 percent approve of his job performance, compared with 55 percent who disapprove.

The poll also found 52 percent of respondents say the state is on the wrong track, while 44 percent said it’s headed in the right direction. And 36 percent said the state budget is in worse shape than a few years ago, compared with 28 percent who say it’s in better shape. That’s a reversal from 2014, when 43 percent said it was in better shape and 27 percent said it was in worse shape.

Top of the world, Ma!


Yeah, I know. He endorsed Cruz. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Josh Marshall on Trump's Misogyny

Josh Marshall in this post pointed out some things I have been thinking about. I left a comment at PE to the effect that if Trump wasn't bad enough to begin with, the fact that he's facing a woman (likely) is going to make him look even worse.

I noted on Friday that what seems very likely to be the Clinton v Trump general election match-up will be a gendered electoral armageddon - an unreconstructed, unabashed and angry male chauvinist against a women of great power and accomplishment who can more than hold her own against him. It will be ugly. But I think it will be Trump's undoing. 

Would you like more?

Now every time there's some new outburst, every Republican candidate from dog catcher to Senator gets asked to denounce or endorse every time. Every time.

It's hard to be chained to a car like that you can't control or predict.

Are you ready for that, Elise?

But at no point in the last year has a woman been Trump's principal competitor. This will bring out the worst in him. So whatever we've seen to date, odds are what's coming will be more toxic still.

I don't think she is ready.

If Trump's not a winner, the available options for denying him the nomination seem if anything worse in electoral terms. But down ticket races are another story. What's the damage?

It'll be yuuuuge! Down ticket is the real cherry on top. I'm hopeful that with the big Democratic turnout due to it being a prez race and Herr Drumpf at the top of the ticket my district rids itself of Stefanik and Marchione. Buh-bye!

I do want to link to the previous article by Marshall and to the piece at the Slate by Frank Foer.

TACKED ON: 76 campaign promises of The Drumpf. How many do you think he'll fulfill if, God forbid, he was to get elected?

Update on Carrie's Minimum Wage Proposal

I hadn't heard that Oregon was doing something similar to what Carrie Woerner is proposing. Today's CSM had an article that alerted me to that. Here is another article from The Atlantic on that.

In and around Portland, the state’s biggest city, the increase will be the largest: The minimum wage will rise there to $14.75 in 2022. Outside of Portland, the minimum hourly wage in mid-sized counties will go up to $13.50 over the next six years, and more rural areas will see theirs increase to $12.50.

That piece was prior to the governor's signature here is an article in the Guardian indicating that she has signed it. 

Oregon’s governor on Wednesday signed trailblazing legislation that will raise the minimum wage to nearly $15 in six years, and do so through a three-tiered system that has not been tried anywhere else in the country.

“I’m proud to sign into law my top priority of the 2016 Legislative session – raising the minimum wage,” Governor Kate Brown said in a statement. She said the new law “is a path forward – so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase”.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Major Major Marchione

Not that I'm ever going to have much to post about her because the only time the Post Star mentions Senator Marchione is to say she did not return comment for something they asked her to comment on. I do want to get her on the blog, though. I'm dearly hoping for a strong candidate to take her on this November. A Democrat, wiseguys. Not a Green.

I realize that the Major Major allusion may be a little too literary. I'm open to Duck Duck Marchione. For the record, she was also a no show at a debate in the last election.

Letter to the Chronicle on Minimum Wage

Hi Mark, 
     I realize you're likely to get a flurry of letters in response to the minimum wage pieces you had in your last issue. Thank you for running those, btw. I also enjoyed the photos and story on your trip to the Holy Land. Very nice. I am enclosing a letter with my admittedly prosaic thoughts on the wage discussion. If you would like to run it, I'd be delighted. Awhile back, you noted what a fine magazine The Atlantic is. Taking your advice, or possibly due to the lovely portrait of Barack Obama on the cover of the most recent issue, I took the plunge and subscribed. Thank you for the recommendation. 

To the editor:
     Assemblywoman Woerner's proposal, for a regionally adjusted minimum wage, has changed the debate. I hope that her fellow Democrats, including the governor, recognize the utility in a plan that takes into account the cost of living differences between upstate and downstate. I appreciate that when she says her approach is data driven, she has put forth the effort to look at statistics applicable to each region. She admits the idea will need tweaking, but it sounds like an innovative first step and worth exploring. 

     Matt Funiciello mentions Seattle having raised their minimum to $15 per hour. Using an online calculator, I found the cost of living in Albany (GF area is not available) is 80% of what it is in Seattle. Fittingly, the wage Ms. Woerner is suggesting for the Albany/GF region is $12 an hour, or 80% of $15. The added benefit of her legislation is the greater possibility of it coming to fruition. I'm optimistic that our state Republican office holders are more open to compromise than their federal brethren. 

     Robin Barkenhagen's idea of a tax deduction for employers, at least recognizes they would face a hardship if they were required to go up to $15 per hour. It seems to this admitted non-economist that the lost revenue would leave a big hole in the state budget which would have to be filled. And maybe I'm looking at it wrong, but it appears the business owners who are paying the lowest wages would get the largest deduction because they would be raising pay the most. That seems unfair to those already paying decent wages. 

Thank you and be well,

Kevin Robbins    

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Chicks Don't Dig Him, Daddy-O

God knows I try not to put up posts on Trump, but what can you do. It's like the moth and the flame. I know it will lead to eternal damnation or at least a quick immolation. So, I'm an old, white dude, if I haven't mentioned that before. And I don't dig Donald Trump. Apparently, the fairer sex, likely of all ages is not grooving on him either. No, I'm not jiving you. Just got my hipster doofus dictionary!

For instance, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of Republican female voters agreed that they “could not imagine themselves voting for Trump.” In other words, almost half the women in Trump’s own party don’t like him. A lot.

Among women as a whole, his numbers are worse. Seventy-five percent of female voters now have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. That’s up from 64 percent in November.

So, Judy and Karen, you ladies are in some select company. Congrats!

Rather than waste another post, I'll just tack this rumination on here. Something I've been thinking about is this idea that the supporters of Herr Drumpf do so because they have been so under-served by other Republican pols who promise so much more than they could ever deliver. A case in point would be my own representative, Elise Stefanik, who ran on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. In fairness to her, no I don't know why, she is not the only one. And that's the point of Trump. So, after conducting a lengthy internet search of 30 seconds or so, I arrived at this article in the WashPo. 

Most presidential candidates are careful to not promise too much on the campaign trail. That’s not at all the case for Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Listed below are 76 things that Trump has said he would do if elected, or has predicted would occur as a result of his election. 

Yes, they have compiled 76 promises he has made. No, I'm not going to copy and paste them all here. Go. Read. Enjoy. Don't be a lurker. Tell me how many you think he is going to fulfill. 

Oh, for the record, here's another lady who is not so into The Drumpf.

As long as I'm just tacking shit on here. This is a link courtesy of Ducky at Shaw's place. Thanks Ducky, if you had a blog I'd give it a big hat tip.


SUMMARY: In July of 2016, the GOP will host its convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Though Ohio is an open carry state, which allows for the open carry of guns, the hosting venue—the Quicken Loans Arena—strictly forbids the carry of firearms on their premises.

I'd sign it, but it would make me feel all icky. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Talk From Josh Marshall

I haven't really focused on the presidential end of the election much at this point and don't know if I will. First, I may be overconfident, but I do believe that Hillary is not going to have a huge problem beating Donald Trump. Here's Marshall with a piece that strengthens my belief. Among many reasons I see Hillary as stronger is her cast of supporters: Obama, Big Bill Himself, Biden, Gore maybe. These guys are goinng to be out campaigning for her while Dubya, unfortunately, sits in his Houston apartment painting pictures of his toes and Cheney is off in his torture chamber tormenting hitchhikers who have been procured for that purpose. I presume on that last part.

I live in NY State and blog mostly local now. There are a number of people who focus on the national politics and are phenomenal. Never miss a day of Charles Pierce. Living in NY, I can be assured that my state is solidly in the Hillary column from the start. In fact, that leaves me free from worry over Chuck Schumer retaining his Senate seat, as well. He's running against Wendy Long who ran and lost to Kirsten Gillibrand last time around.

What does concern me however is my representative in the house. Elise Stefanik claimed that honor in 2014 in a race against Aaron Woolf and Matt Funiciello. That is a race that is in doubt, we can at least hope. Mike Derrick will be the Democrats' champion in the 2016 election. The 5 to 10% that I expect Funiciello to receive is possibly the margin that will be needed to flip that seat over to the forces of righteousness (that's us).

Triple H's For Trump

A couple of fine letters from Humorless Harpies of Hate For Trump today in the local fishwrap. Sorry, Ken Tingley. You know I love you and the Post Star. Don't be humorless. First up, Judy Thomas, who I do believe has been featured at Hometown previously and who buys exclamation points by the gross. (Update: Yes, she does have a previous appearance. One more for a free eggroll.)

I have never heard of any person seeking election being sought to be stopped as Donald Trump, and by his own party as well as Democrats. I have seen our government becoming more socialist in the past few decades, certainly run by a dictator in the past seven years.

I have to question how hard she actually looked. Then, I'm not a historian either. I would suggest that if she truly believes the last 7 years have resembled a dictatorship she should take a look at actual dictatorships. 

Only one person can save our democracy, Donald Trump! He is committed to no one but the American people!

He may be a billionaire. No, really, I mean he may be. Whatever he is though, he's "jes' folks."

No one could ever reach the success this man has by being a “loose cannon.” He’ll surround himself with the best advisers in the country, just as he has in business. 

Sure he will. 

If enough people are tired of being oppressed and find their spine, we will live in a democracy again. If not, hello tyranny!

It's a little known fact that the first cut of Sounds Of Silence went, "Hello Tyranny my old friend, I'm come to speak with you again." It would have been so much better that way. 

We’ll no longer have a president, we’ll have a queen. No one has any chance of stopping Hillary the horrible but Trump! Wake up! She has bought enough people, including some Republicans, to get her propaganda spread like an epidemic!

Shouty, isn't she? So now I'm picturing Hillary with that Hagar viking helmet. It's gonna be a long election season. 

What have you got for us, Karen Dewey?

I have reluctantly become a 'Donald Trump for president' indoctrinee. I know he’s a wild card, a big gamble, a loose cannon, but maybe, just maybe if his promises are sincere, and I think they are, he’s the cure for the Washington, D.C., quagmire. He’s going to need his hard edges smoothed over and a whole lot of expert advice when he wins the presidency.

Well, she and Judy agree that Trump is going to need advisers. Maybe he can get Dick Cheney to take time off from waterboarding kitties and puppies and mentor another blank slate. There does seem to be some contention as to whether Herr Donald is actually a loose cannon or not, though. Get together and iron that out, would you. 

Now the Democrats — Bernie Sanders, a socialist really, and four more years of the same with Hillary? Our country wouldn’t survive. I would love to see Trump shake up Washington, D.C.’s bureaucracy (set of officials following inflexible routine).

At least she's not saying it's been a dictatorship the last 7 years. I really love the inclusion of the definition for bureaucracy. That's so thoughtful that I almost feel bad calling her a humorless harpy of hate. There is some stuff about how the state of Utah pays Orrin Hatch's tailor, but I'll skip that. 

We gave an actor a chance with Ronald Reagan and we won. Let’s try an unpolished businessman and let some fresh air in.

Roll the dice, Sheeple!

Pearls Before Swine

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thanks Carrie Woerner

I'm not sure if Assemblywoman Woerner has been reading my blog. Pretty much assume no. But, if you are Carrie, don't be a lurker. Say hi! Anyway, she has put forth a proposal to raise the minimum wage, but to raise it by varying amounts based on regional cost of living. I just searched and can not find where I wrote about that. So, it may have just been something that stayed at the level of idle rumination. It's so nice to have someone representing me that actually does have common sense.

Speaking of which, the once and future Green candidate did not show up at the PS comment threads to give his take on it. Quel dommage!

If you’ve ever spent a day or two in New York City, you know how illogical it is to imagine you could live there on the same salary that could support you in northern New York or western New York or anywhere else in New York.

It can take a good chunk of a day’s salary just to get from one side of the city to the other. Renting a closet-sized apartment can cost you half a month’s salary or more.

So setting the minimum wage at the same level for New York City and other regions of the state, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to do — at $15 an hour, eventually — makes no sense.

Thanks for the Common Sense proposal, Carrie. And if you took some wind out of Funiciello's sails, I and Mike Derrick, thank you. Who knows? Maybe she plays 3-dimensional chess as well as Grandmaster of the game, Barrack Obama. 

Thanks Shaw

Ouch! That's gotta leave a mark.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Brownback Selling Dildoes

Just going to link to this article at National Review which would normally be painful. We never live in normal times, though. Do we.

Trump brings out two of the Right’s worst tendencies: the inability to distinguish between entertainers and political leaders, and the habit of treating politics as an exercise in emotional vindication.

Wouldn't that be something that we on the left have been saying for oh so long now?

And don't miss Seth Myers on doings in Kansas.

 "Republicans want to replicate these policies on a national level, but even when you buy couch cleaner they tell you to try it on a small patch of fabric first," he said. "That's what happened here — Kansas was the small patch of fabric. Not only did the cleaner not work, the couch exploded."


And to Make it More of a Beautiful Day

Join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. No matter how big your garden is.

Join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Monday, March 21, 2016

It's a Beautiful Spring Day

I have a "Look on the Bright Side" and love to use it. I've put this sort of Pollyannaish link up from time to time and will probably continue to.

Today, Vietnam, while still under one-party rule, is a friendly trading partner and tourist destination. Latin America is mostly at peace. Rwanda, if not exactly democratic, is the economic success story of East Africa. The Balkans are mostly calm and until recently were giving care and comfort to the migrants flooding into Europe. Another update from the past: Colombia – once ripped apart by drug cartels, rebel movements, and paramilitaries – has rebuilt itself as a Latin American success story.

And then there are eccentric planets

Wall Inflation

The Trump Wall gets more and more expensive.

From John Oliver to Charles Pierce:

The problem is, was, and will be, until complete electoral calamity overtakes it, the fact that the only energizing force within the Republican Party is a radically extreme conservative movement that is becoming more mindless and more hysterical by the hour. Now, though, the hysteria concerns the monster of its own making, the creature of its own Id. People like Erickson, Reynolds, and Brooks were perfectly willing to make peace with the Bible-bangers, the anti-science crackpots, and the Black Helicopter Liberation Armies as long as they could use them to shuffle some more politicians into office who were guaranteed to shove more of the country's wealth upwards. The answer is not that the Republicans failed to deliver on their promises to the fringes. The answer is that they never should have made those lunatic promises at all. (For example, they should have jettisoned the supply-side snake oil sometime during the recession of 1982. Hell, Reagan did.) If you keep pounding unreality into your most enthusiastic supporters, decade after decade, then, sooner or later, they're going to demand an unreal candidate. Welcome to 2016. 

I have a congresswoman who ran on repeal and replace Obamacare in 2014. I have no doubt she will do likewise this time around. Selling bullshit to idiots.

Maybe this is why Mark Frost loves him the WashPo so much. Stupidity like this. Yes, if the Dems would just become pro-lifers anti-choicers. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It's Not the Tangible That's Important

I really just want to link to this commentary at CSM. I do think that materialism (and lack of spiritualism) is the biggest problem in the world. You can take whatever will get you through the night or whatever path you want to the mountaintop. Any spiritual practice or religion, practiced with compassion and faith, is the Way.

The true nature of man is wholly good, the very likeness of Spirit, of the one God who is Love.

I may be a Pollyanna, but I choose to believe that. 

To focus less on physical personality day by day, and more on man’s timeless, God-derived individuality, can play a modest but significant role in helping to lift off humanity the impositions of materialism that undermine people’s well-being. The deeply felt desire to look beyond the material and to nurture within ourselves our God-given spirituality is a key to increasing freedom and happiness.

Seeing and appreciating your own half-full glass is better than coveting the half-full glass of your neighbor.

One of Many Dominoes

A snippet from Charles Pierce:

When you're trying to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed, nervous Republican senators are your very best friends.

"Right," Kirk replied. "Just man up and cast a vote…The tough thing about these Senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes," Kirk continued. "Your whole job is to either say yes or no, and explain why."

Don't matter, big fella. Tammy Duckworth coming to get you anyway.

To God's ears.

Bonus Pierce: Quoth the Bobo:

Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn't know what he doesn't know and he's uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.

How sad. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

I'm Open to Investment Advice if Trump Becomes President

Unfortunately this article does not include any. Here's the bad news:

A leading global forecasting service has just ranked a Donald Trump presidency at No. 6 on a list of major threats to the global economy, somewhere between the utter collapse of the Chinese market and a new cold war between Russia and the West.

And the good:

That said, these same experts do not expect Mr. Trump to win the nation's highest office.

Thank God for that. Here's a good post by Rude Pundit to make you feel better about everything. It could be worse, you could be a Republican. 

It's laughable that a group of psychopaths believes that the psychopath who likes to disembowel his prey and dance with the innards is just a little too crazy to support.

Oh, dear, sweet, dumb Republicans, you own Trump. He is your deformed, conjoined twin who has pulled away from your side, leaving you bleeding to death as you wonder what you can do to ever be whole again.

trump cat swallows gop elephant toles
Hat tip to Balloon Juice.

An Article I Forgot to Link To

Probably not the only one, but a very good several from James Fallows and his wife Deborah. "Long cover story" in JF's words.

The piece by Deborah Fallows on the importance of a good library to a community or area.

And if you only have time to read one, this is James Fallows "Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed."


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cruz is Absolutely Worse Than Trump

And there are people on his foreign policy team who might be worse than Frank Gaffney. Good Lord, I'm surprised Pam Geller isn't on it as well.

 "We're at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It's not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing," Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and a Cruz campaign adviser, told me. Jim Talent, a former Missouri Republican senator who was a key adviser to Romney in 2008 and 2012, is signed up for the Cruz team. So is Mary Habeck, a former staffer on George W. Bush's national security council, who is an expert on jihadi organizations and has warned against demonizing the entire religion of Islam. Another Cruz adviser, Elliott Abrams, helped craft Bush's policy to empower moderate Muslims in the Middle East against radicals. He told me he feels much the same way as Habeck.

If Ted Cruz was running in first, I would be singing the praises of Donald Trump. It does hurt to say that, but that is the definition of the lesser of two evils. 

Coming to a Church Near You

At least I hope so. One near me as well, hopefully. Bless Robert Greenwald.

The rollout for Robert Greenwald's new documentary, "Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA," is targeting pastors, politicians, domestic violence counselors, African American leaders and others angry over the high body counts and broken lives that have shaken cities and seeped across the heartland.

The film, which premieres Tuesday, will be shown for free in church basements, colleges and state capitals and later will be available on Facebook, YouTube and other outlets.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Five Reasons Not to Vote For Trump

In case you need any more.

Bonus reason: He apparently is too gullible.

"All I know is what's on the internet," Trump said.

No word on whether is also aware of all internet traditions.

And, a plurality for Trump likely, a majority maybe not

Tuesday in the Post Star

I'll start with Bob Henke's outdoor column.

Scale aside, returning to the impact on wildlife, the apple core tosser sees the fact that something might eat it as a good thing. In actuality, it may be a very bad thing. Current studies estimate that somewhere around one million wild animals are struck by vehicles on our highways every day. This number, while sobering, actually tallies only those animals large enough to be noticed.

Think about it as a chain reaction.

You dump the remains of your soda out the car window. Maybe you even feel good about yourself for not throwing it out cup and all. As it warms in the sun, the sugars become detectable and it attracts insects from flies to butterflies. These attract predatory insects, frogs, toads, other amphibians and birds that are hit and killed by vehicles, along with some of the insects. Insects that are killed, along with some of the sweets as well, attract small rodents.

These, both the living and those that get squashed, attract predatory birds that get hit. The dead bodies in turn attract carrion eaters ranging from raptors to skunks, foxes, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, bobcats and even bears. Each one of these that gets hit, in turn attracts not only more scavengers but more insects to start the cycle over again.

That's something I've never considered as I tossed my apple core or banana peel, thinking it was alright because, "Hey, it's bio-degradable." Consider me reformed. 

Today's Frazz:


I believe a better vocabulary and attempting to use the correct word is important. I spent a minute or two coming up with reformed up above after considering chastised and chastened. Not to say that it's necessary to use ten dollar words. There are many common, or once common, words that maybe don't get used enough. The word perplexed came to me this morning. It's one I don't use or hear often, but it has a nice sound to it and it's one of those words that sort of sound like what they mean. Oops, that calls for a big one.

And a good letter today in support of Mike Derrick. 

I am writing this letter in support of Mike Derrick for Congress. I first met Mike in October at an event where he was speaking. Our meeting was brief with mere pleasantries, but as I listened to him describe his extensive military experience as a leader and commander and his educational experience as a teacher at West Point, I couldn’t help but think, “This man was made to lead the 21st District.” 

And there's more, but that's the lede. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mexican Wall is Not Enough

Having just seen the collection of cartoons at Progressive Eruption, I feel these folks at Hard Dawn have the right idea.

The most insidious threat to American greatness today may not be Mexico or even the liberal media, but that pompous cultural wasteland known as Europe.

We’ve heard a lot about illegals this election season. They’re flooding our borders and stealing good jobs from hardworking families. They target our children and harass the fundamental values that this nation was built upon. There’s been a good deal of focus on the Latinos, but did you know that Europeans are guilty of all these things? And much worse, too?

Having recently, and not so recently, discovered that my own attempts at sarcasm and satire don't go over so well, I'll just say that I hope Kaylee Aurora's does. 

A Couple of Links on Violence at Trump Rallies

I don't think I can speak to what's happening authoritatively since, thank God, I've never been to a Trump rally. I do like to hear the wisdom of my betters, though. Josh Marshall:

Trump has repeatedly claimed that instances of crowd violence at his rallies occurred when protestors - "bad dudes" - attacked his supporters and his supporters fought back. Until the events last night in Chicago, there is no evidence that anything like this ever happened. Not once. It is all lies. It's still not clear exactly what happened last night in Chicago. I have seen numerous reports from the event that show that the great majority of protestors were peaceful, in many cases there as families, from various political and community organizations. But clearly there were scuffles and disorderly behavior inside that both sides participated in - who started what, I have no idea. It was a qualitative advance, or descent, from what had come before it.

But let's go back to the incident with Dimassimo, who appears to be a left wing activist affiliated with Black Lives Matter and similar groups. This is not only totally unacceptable behavior, it is also totally unhinged behavior. When you try to rush the stage when a presidential candidate with Secret Service protection is speaking, you are literally taking your life in your hands. This is the kind of crazy thinking, which even if Dimassimo didn't intend to hurt Trump, leads to very bad outcomes. And this is from the anti-Trump side!

I'm sure that Trump supporters are, in the majority, assholes. Don't help to mitigate their assholery by engaging in it on the left, though. Charles Pierce:

Stay out of the buildings.

Stop being played for such suckers. Stop enlisting yourself in his bloody vaudeville. Stop giving him stuff to lie about at all the rallies that actually do end up happening. Stop making yourselves part of the show, because it's not working. It doesn't affect him at all. In fact, his campaign gains strength from it, like some science-fiction monster that absorbs the energy of whatever attacks it and then uses it to destroy. It doesn't gain you any allies; as should be clear by most of the meeping responses from the elite political press, the best it can get you is lectures about how Both Sides in our politics should settle down and let cooler heads ponder impotently about How We Got To This Point. 

Yes, that's what I'd like to be able to say as well as he does. 

And here are some of the fine Christians that make up the Trump supporters.

Ayy, fuck Islam, Allah is a whore, Jesus is the most high God, and you bitches are done! (makes gun-fingers) Fuck you!

There is also a video clip from the Free Beacon, no less, at the link. It's easy to nut pick, but probably easier at a Trump rally than in most locations. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Essential Uncommon Sense

Since the show has ended because Matt is going to be elected to Congress, I thought I'd take that as an opportunity to present the best of Uncommon Sense.

The 9/11 show has to come at the top. That link goes to the podcast of the show with Tony Cerro. And this was my post at the time.

This show was a strong second. This was the show where he accused the Board of Elections of Washington County NY of conspiring against any party that's not represented by a donkey or an elephant. It also, to my mind, raised the question of where he voted in November of 2014. Since he states on the show that he moved to Hudson Falls in May of that year. My post at the time.

Those shows were sins of commission; the following, of omission. The first  is the show that followed the day after the shooting in Charleston. He talked, that day, with two of his Green Party disciples. He asked them both for issues that come to mind that need to be addressed. Delbert mentioned oil trains. I can get behind that since I live relatively close to where they pass in Fort Edward. His second, however, was voter apathy at 37 minutes in. Valerie mentions grassroots democracy for her second concern. With 9 black people shot to death by a racist the evening before in Charleston, I can't give him a pass for voter apathy or her for grassroots democracy. Firearm deaths didn't cross your minds?

The second omission broadcast was the show that followed the day after the shooting in San Bernardino. I did mention it briefly in this post. So, I'll just repeat myself.

Same thing yesterday, the day after the San Bernardino shooting. Does the Green Party have no position on guns or is it too embarrassing to talk about?

Instead of talking about that, he yammers on about being a vegan. Kudos for that, but patting yourself on the back for not eating meat really doesn't do any substantial good.

Go to the link. Listen to the podcast in both these cases. The Charleston shooting was on June 17, 2015. The first show I mention was on June 18, 2015. The San Bernardino shooting was on December 2, 2015. The show was on December 3, 2015. 

I realize that the gun soapbox is the one that I obsessively climb onto. But "What The Fuck!" Listen to either of those and tell me you couldn't have at least fit some discussion of guns into the show, particularly if you were intending to run for Congress as a Green candidate.  

Things I Learn From Charles Pierce

This is a sleazy bit of treachery by Richard Nixon that was interesting reading. It more than a little reminiscent of the William Casey/Poppy Bush dealings with the Iranians to hold onto their "guests" for a few more months. Allegedly. Maybe someday that story will ooze out, too. Thank you, Mr. Pierce.

By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands".

Then there's amanuensis, which is a word will never use and likely have forgotten already. And fizbin, which I had long ago seen explained and long since forgotten as well. Thanks again.  

The Nixon treason and the idea that LBJ thought of jumping into the race in 1968 will stay with me for awhile and that was the important info anyway. At least until fizbin displaces Texas hold'em. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bless You, Rude Pundit

Drumpf's supporters are schlongs.

Every day, the Rude Pundit reads some oh-so-compassionate writer, often liberal, who has penned a mighty article where he (and, yeah, it's generally "he") warns Democrats and the cranky left to not be such elitist jack-offs about the people who have said they are voting for Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president. 


Watching Tim Scherbatskoy with rapt attention at ACC. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Short Notion

I'm sure there are others thinking this, but I believe it would be a good idea if Hill and Bern decided to run as a package deal. This is in spite of the fact they are both white, Northeast liberals. Blah, blah. I'm sure there are other downsides as well. Then, that's why I don't get paid for my ideas. Let's avoid that whole PUMA thing this time around, tho.

UPDATED: Not surprisingly, Charles Pierce has a much better take on who the VEEP choice should be.

 A vice presidential choice must represent sufficiently the losing candidate's vision for supporters while compensating for the winning candidate's weaknesses. While Hillary Clinton is, by her own admission, not a natural politician, Elijah Cummings is all that and with a back story, too. The son of sharecroppers with third grade educations, he is the special ed kid who was told by a school counselor he could never be a lawyer, the lawyer who counted that very same counselor among his first clients. And as the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he was an impressive wingman for Clinton during the Benghazi hearings. Cummings is also good on articulating the subtler distinctions of race and class that elude Bernie Sanders. And for all you Ready for Warren folks, over a year ago Cummings and Elizabeth Warren launched the progressive Middle Class Prosperity Project "to give a voice in Washington to those who need it most."

And the Garth Brooks story holds a lesson for me as well.

"I was doing to Garth Brooks what was done to Freddie Gray," Cummings recalled for a packed auditorium at Brown University's Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy on Tuesday evening. "I made a judgment call," deciding Brooks had nothing to offer. And then Cummings stopped and saw him.

I'd have pre-judged Brooks, too. And I probably do it in other circumstances as well. 

Pierce also has a post pointing out why I love Bernie and have to bite my tongue supporting Hillary and actually give Funiciello a smidgen of credit.  

Sanders was asked if he regretted having once supported the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and having once paid some compliments to the Castro regime in Cuba.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Ultimate in 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Either I hadn't heard this before before or managed to block it out.

Supertramp's 1979 album Breakfast in America is at the centre of one of the most bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories yet. 

Yes, the album cover absolutely predicts 9/11. Is this any stupider than those who persist in saying no plane hit the Pentagon? Absolutely not.

Despite the message of the song there is a lot to be said for logic. Or else I'm just getting old. I do still enjoy being a radical, a liberal and I still haven't learned to watch what I say.

No One Wants to Endorse Ted Cruz

Despite earlier reports to the contrary. I try not to do stories about the presidential election. I live in NY State where there are a large number of sane people (i.e. Democrats) and they will vote reliably for Hillary or Bernie for president. But, something this funny:

After the National Review reported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is set to unveil his first endorsements from colleagues in the Senate this week, the magazine corrected the record to show the story was wrong.

The people repellent is strong in this one.

I'll add this strange story here as well. Apparently, this pastor was shot the day after delivering a prayer at a Ted Cruz rally. No jokes here. The pastor was shot 6 times and is alive, but in critical condition. They're tough in Idaho. Did want to bring up that I went to do a search and entered "pastor shot in." Reaching that point I had a choice of states.

Green Gala Coming Right Here to Hometown USA

First my comment before I forget that it's on my clipboard. Yes, I forget is a good spot for a link.

Funiciello garnered more than 10 percent of the vote (more than 19,000 votes), as Republican Elise Stefanik won with 53.1 percent and the Democrat Woolf got 32.4 percent.

I'd like to point out that Funiciello got 10.9% of the vote, since you gave Woolf's and Stefanik's to the tenth of a per cent.

I'd also like to thank Bernie Sanders for running as a member of the corporate war party.

I left a long and beautiful comment yesterday and those bastards at the corporate-owned Post Star didn't see fit to put it up. So, let's get some quotes from Matt.
 “The best way to describe it is heartening,” Funiciello said. “People are starting to understand Greens are a serious political party.” 

My comment yesterday put the lie to that. Fuckin' politely, too. I'm going to have to start doing the Repsac What'd I Say thing with the Post Star. They've quashed a few of my comments and I'm always fuckin' decorous. Maybe they don't like words like decorous.

Funiciello said Sanders’ presidential candidacy has helped get out an anti-establishment message domestically, but he said he was still critical of Sanders running as a Democrat. He said people with similar ideologies to the Green Party are now investing in Sanders’ Democratic campaign instead.

And good for them. 

“He would have been an amazing voice for third-party candidates,” Funiciello said.

And he would have lost and maybe put Drumpf or the Canadian in the White House you fuckin' loony tune motherfucker. BTW, my comment at the PS did not include all the f-bombs. Matt does bring that out, tho.

“Greens are now starting to reap the benefit of Ralph Nader having run 15 years ago, presenting real choice.” Funiciello said. “You don’t have to vote between lesser evils.”

I did point out in my first comment that there have been third parties for a long time. Gus Hall ran for president 4 times and Lyndon LaRouche ran more times than can be counted on both hands. What I didn't mention in my comment due to my concern for decorum was that MF and LaRouche would likely have a lot in common, what with both of them being loony tune conspiracy theorists. Courteous to a fault, I am. 

“I have a feeling that a lot more people are going to come our way this election cycle,” he added. “I’m really excited about it.”

So, you're expecting a higher none of the above vote. I'm actually not. 

“Most Americans have no relation to (the) stock market other than (their) retirement portfolio. That’s not the economy,” Funiciello said. “The economy for us is how much a dozen eggs cost. How much a gallon of gas costs.”

The stock market affects the investment portfolios of many who are retired or hope to retire some day. So, let's not totally pooh pooh it. 

No, W Tucker, I do not. But I do pay considerably more than other food businesses in our area and far more than I can afford. Most of us also lack health insurance. As do I. This is what happens when costs and profits are mandated by the representatives of your two corporate war parties. You keep voting for them and pretending that I am a hypocrite. That's worked pretty well so far, huh? Good strategy. As for support, I'd say you're missing the boat. I've got tons of support but its mostly from working people and people who are very well-informed. I can only assume that you are pretty out of touch with both groups.

I believe he uses the same brand of people repellent that Ted Cruz applies. He's so sweet and cuddly. Also love the "I've got tons of support..." It sounds so Trumpian.

My new campaign slogan for Matt is:

Vote Local and Loco,
Vote Funiciello


A Noun, A Verb and Corporate War Party

They may need some work. 

I totally blame the Rude Pundit for the tone of this post. The man is a bad influence and I refuse to accept personal responsibility.

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Sunny Ways, My Friends, Sunny Ways"

I don't have any idea if Justin Trudeau will be successful as prime minister of Canada. He's led an interesting life up until now, though. I certainly wish him bon chance in his efforts there and bon appetit in dining with President Obama.

Trudeau tends to surprise his opponents. His carefree waltz into the boxing ring came after three months of quiet but intensive training. Similarly, he plotted his recent elevation to the prime ministership of Canada years in advance, vaulting the Liberal Party from a dismal third place to a majority government. 

Go. Enjoy. Anyone who can provide that post title deserves a "look on the bright side" post label.

Why can't we have nice things?

Thank God I Can't See These

If my TV was capable of receiving these shows, and I had a gun, I would shoot it.

We are going to do something unprecedented with this week's House Cup. We have declared a three-way tie between Face The Nation, This Week With The Clinton Guy Shocked By Blowjobs, and the Hotel Overlook, where my man Chuck Todd always has been the caretaker. The cup will be shared by the folks who do the "talent" booking for this trio of doom because, probably accidentally, they gifted us with the most incredible array of has-beens, never-weres, and over the hill comedians since The Love Boat went off the air. 

When I saw that Glenn Beck was on one of them, I had to go back and read it again. Go, if you dare, and read it all. Want to share this quote that I saw elsewhere. Don't remember who it was attributed to. Anyway, Ted Cruz has a "thick layer of people repellent." I believe he does.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Letters Written and Never Sent

     This is in response to writers to the Post Star who see things, that I see as good, bad. Not the best sentence I've written. To try to make it clearer, they see progressivism as a bad thing. A definition of progress from Merriam Webster is, "gradual betterment; especially: the progressive development of mankind. I realize the dictionary, and possibly the English language, has a liberal bias. In any case, regress turns out to mean, "a movement backward to a previous and especially worse or more primitive state or condition."
     Moving on to the word socialism which I would characterize as less evil than it is normally portrayed in the Post Star letters opinion forum. In MW, we can find various definitions for social. Possibly not even the most optimistic is, "tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others of one's kind." That sounds like a good attribute to have. Antisocial? Not so much, "hostile or harmful to organized society; especially: being marked by behavior deviating sharply from the social norm." Why must right-wingers insist on being antisocial?
     There was a tech sergeant in the service that suggested to a friend of mine that he have an operation to disconnect his optic nerve from a certain bodily orifice to improve his outlook. I'll clean that up all the way and just ask, why do conservatives look at the world through muck-colored glasses? It's gloom and doom everywhere while we liberals are singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" along with Mitch Miller ( on youtube for you kids). "Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. Even those who live many years should rejoice in them all."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Something You Won't Hear at a Republican Debate

Because there are no dick jokes.

The insurgent presidential bids of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have roused Americans who are angry and anxious about an economy they feel has left them behind.

Most economists have a brighter view. They say that while many people haven't benefited much since the recession ended, a stronger economy lies ahead.

An Associated Press survey this month of nearly three dozen economists found that a majority thinks the United States remains resilient enough to defy a global slump and the sinking stock markets that have raised fears of a new U.S. recession. With job growth solid, higher wages and spending should offset global threats and support growth, they say.

That may be overstating it a bit, but I'm trying to bring the song back for the Democrats. Where have ye gone, FDR!

Mark Frost Comes Concern Trolling

Unfortunately The Chronicle is not published on-line so I can't link to Mark's forays into concern trollery. Right. I almost forgot. First, say something nice. I love 99+% of The Chronicle. It's a weekly with great articles on local happenings and what to do and lots of ads for area businesses and is everything a weekly paper should be. There. That's out of the way.

I like Mark Frost and am a bit concerned about his mental state, though. He seems to be getting as loony as Matt Funiciello. Maybe he's eating that Rock Hill Bread and there's something in the ingredients that leads to delusions.

"To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid seeded rye that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?"

The March 3rd edition in his Inside Scoop contains the suggestion that Hillary Clinton should pick John Kasich as a running mate. This is due to the fact that "she denounces Donald Trump Drumpf (editorial correction) as a divider and depicts herself as the Uniter in Chief." I have to ask myself has Clinton ever depicted herself as the "Uniter in Chief." The reason is that Mark Frost has a tendency to engage in mostly strawman arguments.  

I'm mostly just posting this for the record. I expect to see this sort of thinking in 9 year olds. Kids believe all kinds of stupid shit. They might not realize that the vice presidency normally is not worth a bucket of warm piss. OTOH, if the president is incapacitated, the VEEP gets a big promotion. One that would not set well with many of us who voted to elect a Democrat as president. Then, there's that oddball tradition where Kasich would have the opportunity to break ties in the Senate. As a Democrat, I gotta say I would not be real comfortable with that notion. 

I should point out here as well that Mark did not call on The Drumpf to pick a Democrat as his running mate despite his depicting himself as a Uniter. 

"Believe it or not, I'm a unifier," Trump offered during a raucous rally Friday in suburban Detroit. "We are going to unify our country."

Friday, March 4, 2016

Latest Letter to the Post Star

     This is in response to Stuart Fields' letter justifying the stonewalling of President Obama's potential replacement for Justice Scalia. I'd like to start by asking what plan B is. If you don't re-take the White House, do you stonewall for another 4 years? Do we go for over 5 years with 8 justices and a lot of 4 to 4 non-decisions?  I really am curious.
     Realistically, or optimistically if you prefer, I expect Hillary Clinton to be the next president. In addition, while I'm dreaming, the Democrats regain the Senate. In part, Republican obstructionism will be the reason for this. If that happens, Ms. Clinton has a clear mandate to choose a nominee as far to the left as she likes. I suppose.
     I also would like to comment on the socialist "epithet." The president has been labeled as such for over 7 years. That's in addition to cruder name-calling. The stock markets have more than doubled since he took office. Unemployment has gone from over 10% to under 5%. Because of Mr. Obama there are still automobile manufacturers in the US.  Republicans were willing to let them die. More socialism please and less of whatever George Bush was.

     I'm old. I remember what things looked like in January 2009. Maybe this is the reason Senator Sanders is doing so well despite the Democratic Socialist moniker he himself has adopted. In plainspeak, that socialist dog don't hunt no more. And we dirty hippies have won.   

Can't stand nonsense in my morning paper.


Thanks Shaw.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Good News on Butterflies and Kev's Brushpile

If you click and enlarge, you'll see a bunch of sparrows who are loving the brushpile. And I like it, too, since I'm lazy and can just throw the odd branch that falls off my silver maples into the pile.

Monarchs on the march in March in Mexico.

Millions of monarch butterflies settled in Mexico for the winter this year. Forming a 10-acre carpet of black-and-orange striped winged insects in their wintering grounds, this year's migration represents a significant uptick in numbers for the majestic butterflies.

Because the monarch butterflies cluster on trees by the thousand, lepidopterists keep count of the insects by the area they cover. This winter saw a the butterflies blanket an area more than 3.5 times greater than the previous season, which saw 2.8 acres of butterflies. This is also up from the record low of 1.66 acres in 2013. 

I have a pretty good size patch of milkweed (Asclepias, for you Latins) planted now and am going to add another in the Spring.

John Oliver on Trump

Best takedown of Donald Drumpf yet.

Bonus Trump clip:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Welcome to Reality Show America

A new Andrew Bacevich at American Empire.

In contemporary America, celebrity confers authority. Mere credentials or qualifications have become an afterthought. How else to explain the host of a "reality" TV show instantly qualifying as a serious contender for high office?

It's not as optimistic as I'd normally like. But then, American Empire doesn't do optimism well. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Result of Actually Engaging With Other Countries

Iran, in this case, not Cuba.

Shaping the Middle East to become more peaceful may seem a daunting ordeal but not when its people are allowed to speak. In a Feb. 26 election that was really more of a plebiscite, voters in Iran sent a clear message to their controlling clerics. They want Iran to be open to the world, not self-isolating by threatening other countries or barring foreign investment.

I had seen elsewhere that some of those running as reformers were not so much actual reformers. happy to see this then.

(D)espite the stunted democracy, voters were able to triple the number of reformist members in parliament. More important, reformers took a majority in the Assembly of Experts, the body charged with selecting the next supreme leader.

Voters also defeated many hard-line candidates opposed to last July’s nuclear agreement that lifted most sanctions on Iran. Overall, the election results boosted the political strength of President Hassan Rouhani, a centrist who won the 2013 election with the support of moderates and who wants to open the economy and create jobs. 

As someone who is technologically illiterate, this fascinates me. Truly the bright side of the internet. 

They mobilized popular support using a Russian-designed messaging application called Telegram, an encrypted platform used by at least 20 million of Iran’s 77 million people. Activists were forced into operating in cyberspace after a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2009 following a highly rigged election. 

This is a link to the actual news article at CSM on the elections. 

In results announced Monday, a moderate-reformist coalition swept all 30 seats in Tehran for the 290-seat parliament, with the remainder still nearly a 2-to-1 pro-Rouhani advantage and 59 seats subject to a runoff.

Pro-Rouhani ayatollahs also won 15 of the 16 Tehran seats in the Assembly of Experts, squeezing out two hard-liners in the 88-member clerical body that will choose the next supreme leader.

I trust voters in this country will remember what party was so obstructionist in regards to the Iran nuclear deal. 

Tea Party and other conservatives had hoped to make their gathering in Washington on Wednesday a clarion call to rally against the Iran nuclear deal, drawing on the star power of Donald J. Trump, the rhetoric of Senator Ted Cruz and a cast of 40 or so supporting characters speaking on a stage with the United States Capitol looming in the background.

I am so looking forward to seeing Hillary debate one of these LOSERS.