Thanksgiving Day Reads

The Thanksgiving Turkey, by Sharon Eyres

The Thanksgiving Turkey, by Sharon Eyres

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing day with family, friends, or by yourself–whatever works for you. I’m not a big fan of “the holidays,” and I’ve spent many of them by myself in the course of my life. In recent years, I’ve mellowed and come to be more appreciative of the joys of getting together with family and friends. However you spend this day of thanks, I hope you nurture yourself as you join with or reach out to those closest to you.

There is actually quite a bit of news today, so I’m going to share some of the stories I’ve been reading this morning. Please comment and share your own recommended reads if you find the time, and have a lovely day.

Sadly, some people cannot stop themselves from spreading their hatred and rage–at the moment much of it is directed at Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism or terror plots.


In Irving, Texas, armed anti-Muslim extremists have been trolling a local mosque and following individual Muslims in a threatening manner. One of these horrible people posted the names and addresses of members of the mosque on line. From The Houston Chronicle: Armed group publishes home addresses of Muslims in North Texas.

David Wright III, who organized a protest at the Irving Islamic Center last Saturday, posted the list on Facebook. Members of the group believe a Paris-style terrorist attack is imminent in the U.S. Before publishing the list, according to the Morning News, Wright posted on Facebook, “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”

The list includes the names and addresses of local Muslims who opposed a bill that sprung up after fabricated rumors accused the mosque of practicing Sharia law. The Sharia court rumors – spread partially by Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne –have repeatedly been proven false.


I guess we should be grateful no one has been killed–yet. But shouldn’t these “protesters” be reined in by authorities? Apparently the police there aren’t particularly concerned, according to a post by Avi Selk at The Irving Blog:

Anthony Bond, an Irving activist who spoke against the state bill before the City Council, said he was shocked to find his name on the Facebook list.

“We have a right to disagree, but we do not have the right to target and cause … harm just because we differ in our beliefs,” he said. “That is the goal of this post: to put a bulls-eye on the back of all the people that stood up against the so-called anti-Shariah law bill.”

Bond said he had reported his concerns to Irving police.

Irving police spokesman James McLellan said he was unaware of any complaints about the list.

“If we do receive any contacts or concerns from anyone involved, then of course we will respond appropriately,” he said.

Um . . . Anthony Bond says he complained to police. Does that not count? A number of other Irving residents are quoted in the post as expressing concerns.

Folk art landscape by Vered Cohen

Folk art landscape by Vered Cohen

You may recall that Irving is the town in which a young boy was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. From The Guardian: Family of Texas boy arrested over clock demands $15m in damages.

The family of a Texas Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb to school demanded $15m in damages and an apology from the city of Irving and its schools to avoid a lawsuit, lawyers said on Monday.

The lawyers represent the family of Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student who dabbles in robotics and attended a Dallas-area high school. His arrest in September sparked controversy, with many saying he was taken into custody because of his religion.

In separate letters to the city of Irving, located west of Dallas, and the Irving independent school district, lawyers said the ninth grader was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained and questioned without his parents.

The Mohamed family is asking for $10m from the city and $5m from the school district or they will file civil lawsuits within 60 days, the letter said.

“Understandably, Mr Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son – and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it,” attorneys said in one of the letters.

Ahmed’s family subsequently moved from Texas to Qatar where he accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program.

Blue Heron Thanksgiving by Thomas Swopes

Blue Heron Thanksgiving by Thomas Swopes

Muslims are being targeted in Belgium too, CNN reports: Suspicious powder packages found at Brussels mosque.

Suspicious packages with white powder were discovered Thursday at a prominent mosque in Brussels, a spokesman for the Brussels Fire Brigade and Emergency Medical Service said.

The news comes amid heightened security in Brussels in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Brussels remains at the highest terror alert level, and much of the city has been shut down for the last several days.

Police in Belgium have conducted several raids connected to the terror attacks. Investigators have focused particular attention on a Brussels suburb, Molenbeek, witha history of links to terrorism.

Additional information about the suspicious packages at the mosque was not immediately available.

Reuters: Chemical teams attend Brussels mosque after powder found.

Firecrews and decontamination teams attended a major mosque in Brussels close to the European Union headquarters on Thursday after a suspect powder was found that the fire service said was feared to be anthrax.

Reuters journalists saw about a dozen emergency vehicles, including police, outside the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium, a large Saudi-established institution including a mosque situated 200 meters from the European Commission.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said it had taken a call from the mosque from a person saying they believed that they had found anthrax powder, prompting the deployment of specialist crews. There was no immediate word on what the substance was.

vegetables autumn season fruits food thanksgiving cornucopia 1600x1200 wallpaper_www.knowledgehi.com_15

The GOP candidates are continuing to spread hate. Marco Rubio actually claimed that the Supreme Court should have nothing to say about anti-gay discrimination because “God” can overrule them. From The Hill: Rubio: ‘God’s rules’ trump Supreme Court decisions.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says religious believers are called to “ignore” laws that violate their faith.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio said in an interview with CBN on Tuesday.

“So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win,” he added.

“God’s rules” apply to discrimination against women too, according to Rubio. (But only the Christion version of god, of course.)

Rubio said Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to abortion, is open to revision.

“It’s current law; it’s not settled law,” he said. “No law is settled. Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

The Republican presidential candidate, who is rising in the polls, encouraged the faithful to work within the political process to change laws that violate their conscience.

Thanksgiving Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes

And of course there’s Donald Trump. The media folks are starting to complain now that he’s targeting them.

The Hill: Reporter: Trump camp requiring bathroom escorts for press.

“Trump campaign now requiring media to have bathroom escorts at his rallies when leaving ‘the pen,’ ” NBC News reporter Katy Tur tweeted late Tuesday alongside the hashtag “#watchthemedia.”

“Media told they aren’t allowed to leave ‘the pen’ while Trump is in the room,” she continued. “It’s now official policy that the secret service is enforcing.

“Let’s be clear — this is even happening after the event,” Tur added.

Trump’s campaign has regularly clashed with the press, but the latest report comes amid growing tension between the media and the GOP front-runner.

The five leading U.S. television networks arebanding together in the hopes of changing the Trump campaign’s press guidelines, according to reports.

Senior managers from ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC

News spoke with Trump aides last Monday to address their grievances.

Good luck with that.


Also from The Hill: Trump: Report your neighbors for suspicious activities.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said late Tuesday that everyday Americans should monitor their neighbors for questionable behavior.

“The real greatest resource is all of you, because you have all those eyes and you see what’s happening,” he told listeners in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in,” Trump continued. “You can see and you report them to the local police.

“You’re pretty smart, right?” he asked his audience. “We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK.

“That’s the best way. Everybody’s their own cop in a way. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.”

Wow. This is the kind of talk that is leading more and more people to accused Trump of creeping fascism.

Sorry about all the negative news. I’ll give you the rest links only.

Associated Press via ABC News: Federal Authorities Still on McDonald Case.

The Atlantic: How to Beat Donald Trump.

Politico: New York Times slams Trump’s mocking of reporter as ‘outrageous.’

Ezra Klein: Donald Trump beats Marco Rubio in a head-to-head matchup among Republicans.

Los Angeles Times: Sanders’ pledge illustrates how plans to curtail mass incarceration fall short.

Sky News: Suspects Named In Minneapolis Rally Shooting.

USA Today: Cop in Chicago shooting had history of complaints.

New York Times: Pope Says ‘Catastrophic’ if Interests Derail Climate Talks.

Los Angeles Times: Turkey releases recording of ‘warnings’ to Russian plane

Again, Have a great Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you get and give lots of hugs!

Tuesday Reads

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Good Morning!!

Police shootings of black men are back in the news, with a vengeance. In Minneapolis yesterday, five protesters of the killing of Jamar Clark were shot, allegedly by white supremacists who have been interfering with the protests. 5 shot near Jamar Clark protest in Minneapolis; suspects sought.

Five people were shot late Monday near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, Minneapolis police said. None of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

The shootings occurred about a block from the police department’s 4th Precinct, where protesters have been demonstrating since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said in a news release that officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 10:40 p.m., and 911 calls shortly after reported five people had been shot. Dozens of officers assisted victims and secured the scene, the statement said.

None of the victims had critical injuries, but three were taken to the hospital with wounds to legs, arm, and stomach.

Oluchi Omeoga, who has been participating in the protests since last Monday, witnessed the incident.

Protesters saw three people wearing masks who “weren’t supposed to be there,” Omeoga said. Eventually, the three people left the crowd and began walking down the street, and a few protesters followed.

When they reached a corner, the three people pulled out weapons and gunshots rang out, Omeoga said.

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark

More details from The Washington Post:

“Tonight, white supremacists attacked the ‪#‎4thPrecinctShutDown‬ in an act of domestic terrorism,” Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said on Facebook. “We won’t be intimidated.”

Though Clark’s family called for the protests to come to an end following the shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis vowed to return to the police station for another demonstration on Tuesday.

A video recorded by a journalist at the scene showed people fleeing from the shooting — then screaming for an ambulance. A young African American man was seen writhing in pain with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg while fellow protesters — then police and paramedics — tried to help….

“A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a Black Lives Matter organizer, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Police have not confirmed or denied Noor’s claim.

Here’s some background on the Jamar Clark shooting from The Atlantic (November 18): How Did Jamar Clark Die?

How did Jamar Clark end up with a bullet hole above his eye?

The 24-year-old black man was shot by a Minneapolis police officer early Sunday morning under unclear circumstances. His family says he was taken off life support Monday, and died that evening.What’s agreed on is that Clark was shot by an officer after police and ambulances responded to a domestic-violence call. Police said Clark was a suspect in the domestic assault, and interfered with responders. From there, things get murky. A number of people watched the incident unfold—it was across the street from an Elks Lodge—and several of them say that Clark was handcuffed when he was shot in the head. Police insist he was not cuffed.

“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest,” a man named Teto Wilson who said he saw the incident was quoted as saying by the local NAACP chapter. “Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”Police claim that Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot, according to dashboard video that they haven’t released.

Vigil for Jamar Clark outside police precinct

Vigil for Jamar Clark outside police precinct

Authorities…initially wouldn’t even say if there was footage, either from dashboard cameras or from body cameras. (A September report by a city police-oversight commission recommended that body cameras be activated during all community contact.) Bystander footage from shortly after the shooting is available. On Tuesday, the BCA said it has obtained several videos but that “none … captured the event in its entirety.” ….

Even if Clark was not handcuffed, there is a separate question of whether the use of deadly force was appropriate in the situation. Just as the death of Freddie Gray brought new scrutiny on a Baltimore Police Department with a long, troubled history with its citizens—and particularly citizens of color—the police in Minneapolis are about to come under new scrutiny.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night,” Jason Sole, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune.

Read the rest at The Atlantic. In Chicago another police shooting has resulted in a murder charge against a policeman, but it took a whole year for the case to get to this point.

Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald

CNN: Video of police shooting that could shock Chicago.

A Cook County Circuit Court judge has ruled that police must release dashcam video showing the death of 17-year-old old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in October 2014.

The video is expected to show the officer shooting McDonald even as he lay on the ground.

Police say McDonald had PCP in his system when he died and was refusing police commands to drop a 4-inch knife.

The judge, Franklin Valderrama, not only ordered the video released by Wednesday, he also denied a motion from the city to appeal the decision, which all but assures this will happen.

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently claimed, along with the Chicago Police Department, that release of the video might compromise an ongoing investigation. But last week, the mayor’s office released a statement suggesting that even Hizzoner is conflicted about the video: “Police officers are entrusted to uphold the law, and to provide safety to our residents,”the mayor said.“In this case unfortunately, it appears an officer violated that trust at every level.”

Drawing from autopsy of Laquan McDonald

Drawing from autopsy of Laquan McDonald

Much more at the link. And from the WaPo: Reports: Chicago police officer to be charged with murder of black teen shot 16 times.

A white Chicago police officer is expected to be charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of an African American teenager caught on dash-cam video,individuals close to the investigation told the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times Monday night.

Unnamed officials told the news organizations that Officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to appear at a bond hearing at noon Tuesday, at which time he is also expected to be charged with murder. His lawyer has said that the officer’s actions were lawful.

“He believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life … he was concerned about the lives of [other] police officers,” Daniel Herbert told reporters last week.

According to the Chicago Tribune, if Van Dyke is indicted, it would be the first time a Chicago police officer “has been charged with first degree murder for an on-duty fatality in 35 years.”

In presidential politics, it’s looking more and more like Donald Trump will actually be the GOP nominee. Hillary Clinton could be the only thing standing between us and a crude, narcissistic fascist becoming President of the U.S.

I guess we all know that Trump loves himself too much, but Vanity Fair actually asked some experts for their opinions on whether he could have a clinical diagnosis: Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!

For mental-health professionals,Donald Trumpis at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologistHoward Gardner,a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologistBen Michaelis.“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologistGeorge Simon,who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. AsDr. Robert Klitzman,a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master’s of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual’s mental state without examining him personally and having the patient’s consent to make such comments….

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares “You’re fired!” at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick

But you don’t need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you’ve just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past—grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one’s superiority; a lack of empathy—are writ large in Mr. Trump’s behavior.

“He’s very easy to diagnose,” said psychotherapistCharlotte Prozan.“In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll doanything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.” Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump’s desire to deport immigrants: “This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?”

Mr. Trump’s bullying nature—taunting SenatorJohn McCainfor being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has “low energy”—is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. “In the field we use clusters of personality disorders,” Michaelis said. “Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one’s own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.”

Head over to Vanity Fair to read the rest.

AP photo of Russian jet shot down by Turkey

AP photo of Russian jet shot down by Turkey

In world news, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border. From ABC News: Vladimir Putin Calls Turkish Attack on Russian Fighter Plane a ‘Stab in the Back.

The Russian Su-24 jet was hit by rockets fired from Turkish F16s as it conducted airstrikes on militants in northwest Syria. Turkish officials have said the plane violated Turkey’s airspace and that its jets had warned the Russian plane repeatedly to leave.

“Today’s losses is connected with a blow, that was delivered as a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today in any other way,” Putin said during a televised meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan.

Turkish officials told the United States they shot down the plane after it entered their airspace, two U.S. officials told ABC News. No U.S. forces were involved in the incident, both officials said.

Putin said the Russian plane was operating less than a mile inside the Syrian side of the border when it was hit and Russian officials have said it never crossed into Turkish airspace. Putin said the plane had been striking ISIS militants and had posed no threat to Turkey, which he said was “an obvious fact.”

Putin’s words showed Russia had determined it would not let the incident pass without complaint. Initially, Russian officials had said the plane had likely been hit by ground-fire from inside Syria.

It seems there are too many cooks involved in Syria. It’s getting scary.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday.


Monday Reads

165623_600Hello Monday and Sky Dancers!!!

I’m beginning to think we should offer free psychotropics and mental health screenings for folks voting Republican these days. You might consider putting a candy bowl of them out for your crazy uncle and cousins still voting Republican as a holiday treat.  Tolerance and displays of so much delusion should definitely be on the radars of what’s left of our mental health systems.  It’s hard to know where to start but the fact that Donald Trump is the leading presidential candidate and basically doing it by taking pages and policies out of Hitler’s playbook is one example worthy of discussion.

However, let me start locally with Slum Dog Governor Piyush Jindal who has decided he needs to take a “victory lap” around the state before he fades into oblivion.  You might think I’m kidding on this so I’m going to include some quotes from the state’s major newspaper for good measure because  I am not kidding.  He’s finally retreated  from the cornfields of Iowa. We’re expecting a huge budget deficit mid term thanks to his stupid accounting tricks and tax giveaways.  A Blue Dog Democrat–John Bel Edwards–supported by many Republicans is set to follow him into the statehouse.

Jindal wants to travel the state for some local accolades.  Good luck with that Governor!  All but about 20% of us can’t stand the sight or sound of you.

With only weeks remaining in office, Gov. Bobby Jindal has returned home to try to shore up his Louisiana legacy after his presidential campaign ended unsurprisingly with him headed to a new home in Baton Rouge, rather than the White House.

A statewide tour and press releases touting his accomplishments might be too little too late to win kind thoughts from the folks in Louisiana, where his approval ratings have dropped to record lows.

The term-limited Republican is seeking to exit the governor’s mansion in January with Louisiana residents remembering his economic development wins and education overhaul, rather than prevailing criticisms that he put his national ambitions over the state’s needs.

Jindal dismissed such criticisms in the press conference he held in Baton Rouge, a post mortem of sorts, after scrapping his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“We’ve continued to work every single day that I’ve been governor to work hard to move our state forward. I’m proud of the result,” he said. He added: “I think that I will be leaving our state better off than we were eight years ago.”

Yes indeed!  Well, about that leaving the state better that it was eight years ago part …

Now that his campaign is officially dead, however, it’s worth highlighting Jindal’s record as governor of Louisiana. This is what the man did. This is what he accomplished. This is what he leaves behind. And this what he should be remembered for.

  1. He entered office with an $865 million surplus and he will exit with a $1.6 billion deficit.
  2. Funding for higher education has been cut by more than 80 percent, and the entire system is experiencing a fiscal crisis.
  3. Funding for youth services has been cut by 40 percent.
  4. Funding for Veterans Affairs programs has been cut by 69 percent.
  5. The Department of Environmental Quality has been cut by 96 percent (in a state with a rapidly eroding coastline).
  6. He rejected a Medicaid expansion in order to protest Obamacare, and thousands of low-income Louisianans remain without health care as a result.
  7. Louisiana has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation; the highest diabetes-related death rate; the highest rate of death from breast cancer; the third highest rate of cancers deaths overall; and the eighth highest rate of teenage pregnancy.
  8. He rejected $300 million of federal stimulus money (one his favorite talking points at the time), despite Louisiana’s underfunded and crumbling infrastructure.
  9. He issued a symbolic executive order that defended discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.”
  10. He sold out his state to protect BP against legitimate lawsuits. (Side note: Jindal’s brother is a lawyer for the firm representing BP).
  11. He held a massive “prayer rally” on the state’s flagship campus, a rally that promoted his presidential campaign and distributed materials blaming gay people for hurricanes and natural disasters.
  12. He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allowed creationism to be taught in science courses at public schools.

There are countless other examples of Jindal’s failures, but this list is fairly illustrative of his career as Governor of Louisiana. This is what he did in order to pitch himself as a fiscally responsible, small government conservative in GOP primary states. It explains why 70 percent of Louisianans now disapprove of the job he has done. And it explains why he won’t be missed and why the Republican gubernatorial candidate following him, David Vitter, has tried unsuccessfully to run away from Jindal’s record.

The stench of Jindal’s administration will linger for years in Louisiana, and everyone here knows it. His presidential campaign was and is a punchline, but his governorship was a moral and political failure, and a tragedy for thousands of Louisianans. If he’s ever elected again for public office, I can assure you it won’t be as a Louisianan.

I’d say Sean Illing’s list is a pretty decent capsule of the wreckage.  I’d have to add that you can put many a sad face on how bad life has gotten with Jindal administration including mine.bobby_Jindal_No_Go_Zone_ColorWEB

We have a kinda sorta Democrat now whose first act was to appoint the former Republican State Senator responsible for the Creationism in public schools disguised as science to be his chief of staff.  His transition team is remarkably full of Republicans.  However, he still says that the Medicaid expansion is priority one and it could be one of the reasons why Nevers got the job.   I’m trying to be optimistic here.  You can hold my hand if you want to help.

“The expansion of health care coverage for working families is among the highest priorities. It’s something I’ve been working on for three years, and I never once during this campaign shied away from that particular issue,” Edwards said during a news conference with reporters in New Orleans. “So we are going to expand the Medicaid program in Louisiana. We’re going to do it as soon as we possibly can and as responsibly as we possibly can.”

The strongest signal yet of Edwards’ commitment to Medicaid expansion is his appointment of state Sen. Ben Nevers to be his chief of staff. Nevers has been one of the foremost advocates of Medicaid expansion in the Legislature, at times offering tearful testimony as he pleaded with colleagues to expand the federal program to cover people who aren’t paid enough to purchase their own insurance.

Asked about the significance of Medicaid expansion to the working poor, Nevers said, “it means life or death to many people across this state.”

“There are over 242,000 people without medical insurance in this state who go to work everyday; who have been dependable employees,” Nevers said. “It would mean the opportunity for them to have insurance for them and their families. I can tell you that there’s many people across this state who’ve suffered tremendously because we’ve refused to expand Medicaid.”

When asked what it means to him personally, Nevers said, “It means a tremendous amount to me.

“As you know, I filed bills the last three years to expand Medicaid and could not get them out of the Senate or the House,” Nevers said. “It’s been a very frustrating experience because I know we’re sending dollars to Washington D.C. that we refuse to take back in our own state. Now that’s just ludicrous.”

This state is among the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick.  Things certainly could not get much worse.

People here and all around the country certainly do not trust their governments.  Is this the real legacy of Reagan’s dementia and eagerness to poor shame?  cjones11072015

A year ahead of the presidential election, the American public is deeply cynical about government, politics and the nation’s elected leaders in a way that has become quite familiar.

Currently, just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time,among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20% would describe government programs as being well-run. And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55% of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.

Yet at the same time, most Americans have a lengthy to-do list for this object of their frustration: Majorities want the federal government to have a major role in addressing issues ranging from terrorism and disaster response to education and the environment.

And most Americans like the way the federal government handles many of these same issues, though they are broadly critical of its handling of others – especially poverty and immigration.

A new national survey by Pew Research Center, based on more than 6,000 interviews conducted between August 27 and October 4, 2015, finds that public attitudes about government and politics defy easy categorization. The study builds upon previous reports about the government’s role and performance in 2010 and 1998. This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the survey from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The partisan divide over the size and scope of government remains as wide as ever: Support for smaller government endures as a Republican touchstone. Fully 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they prefer a smaller government with fewer services, compared with just 31% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Yet both Republicans and Democrats favor significant government involvement on an array of specific issues. Among the public overall, majorities say the federal government should have a major role in dealing with 12 of 13 issues included in the survey, all except advancing space exploration.

There is bipartisan agreement that the federal government should play a major role in dealing with terrorism, natural disasters, food and medicine safety, and roads and infrastructure. And while the presidential campaign has exposed sharp partisan divisions over immigration policy, large majorities of both Republicans (85%) and Democrats (80%) say the government should have a major role in managing the immigration system.
But the partisan differences over government’s appropriate role are revealing – with the widest gaps on several issues relating to the social safety net.

165965_600 (1)That last bit certainly shows up in the Trumpettes and his followers who don’t appear to understand that offering up the same policies as Hitler isn’t a good thing.

Only about a third of Republicans and Republican leaners see a major role for the federal government in helping people get out of poverty (36%) and ensuring access to health care (34%), by far the lowest percentages for any of the 13 issues tested. Fully 72% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the government should have a major role in helping people out of poverty, and 83% say it should play a major role in ensuring access to health care.

Moreover, while majorities of Republicans favor a major government role in ensuring a basic income for people 65 and older (59%), protecting the environment (58%) and ensuring access to high-quality education (55%), much larger shares of Democrats – 80% or more in each case – favor a large government role.

So what explains the Republican base’s fascination with some one touring the country touting a book written on the Constitution that believes the Constitution was written by Thomas Jefferson? Is this the result of whackadoo Texans controlling the nation’s textbook content or deliberate, delusional ignorance?

It’s a common misconception that Thomas Jefferson participated in drafting the U.S. Constitution in 1787. But as Republican presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson points out in his latest book, “A More Perfect Union,” Jefferson was “missing in action,” serving in Paris as minister to France.

That did not stop Carson from praising Jefferson in a C-Span interview Sunday as one of the most impressive of the Founding Fathers because he “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control peoples’ natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”

It’s not the first time Carson has abused Jefferson’s history. “Thomas Jefferson himself said, ‘Gun control works great for the people who are law-abiding citizens and it does nothing for the criminals, and all it does is put the people at risk,’ ” he told Fox’s Neil Cavuto after the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., in  early October. Jefferson never said that.

In his book, Carson repeated a version of the same statement, noting what he called “Thomas Jefferson’s warning: ‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather than encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

The supposed Jefferson comment on gun control is listed among many “spurious” quotations by the Monticello Web site. “This is not something Jefferson wrote,” say the researchers at Monticello, but rather comes from a passage he included in his “Legal Commonplace Book.” The passage, they note, was written by Cesare Beccaria in his “Essay on Crimes and Punishments” and was copied by Jefferson.

Oddly, Carson’s footnote to the quote duly notes that it comes from Beccaria and not Jefferson.

Republican obsession with all things not true but that play into their views of the world is on full display in the Trump poll numbers.  The more outrageously untrue and appalling things that spew out of Trump’s Cartoon_18.14mouth yields a bump up in the polls.  I mean, what kind’ve person could get a huge number of the Jewish population volunteering to register as Muslims just to express their outrage at the suggestion we start a database of the nation’s followers of Islam.  Trump’s latest outrages include the huge lie that thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks.    This earned him another Pinnochio from WAPO’s fact checkers and the NYC police.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at your latest rally. I want to show them, relating to 9/11.

VIDEO CLIP OF DONALD TRUMP, IN WHICH HE SAYS: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you misspeak yesterday?”

TRUMP: “It did happen. I saw it.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “You saw that…”

TRUMP: It was on television. I saw it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: “…with your own eyes?”

TRUMP: “George, it did happen.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “Police say it didn’t happen.”

TRUMP: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.”

— Exchange on ABC’s “This Week,” Nov. 22, 2015

This exchange demonstrates the folly of trying to fact-check Donald Trump. Even when confronted with contrary information — “police say it didn’t happen” — he insists that with his own eyes he saw “thousands and thousands” of cheering Arabs in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Trump has already earned more Four-Pinocchio ratings than any other candidate this year. He is about to earn another one.

The Jersey City Mayor says the “account is absurd” too. 

He also is race baiting and just bragged about his audience beating up a Black Lives Matter protester.  He upped the ante by tweeting the right wing trope that blacks are murdering blacks with an appalling racist graphic attached.  He still has yet to suggest any thing policy related. He seems perfectly happy to just spew vitriol.  That is also what the base seems to love.  His tweet about black murder rates is definitely creating consternation from every one but the Republican base.

Donald Trump is taking heat on social media for a Sunday afternoon tweet of statistics purporting to show that the vast majority of murdered black people in the U.S. are killed by other black people.

The tweet was apparently Trump’s response to a Twitter thread about support from white supremacists for the GOP front-runner.

It also comes the day after a Black Lives Matter protester said he was physically and verbally assaulted at a Trump rally.

The image Trump posted includes a list of “USA Crime Statistics ~ 2015.” The two that are highlighted are “Blacks Killed by Police ~~ 1%” and “Blacks Killed by Blacks ~~ 97%.”

A drawing of a black man wielding a sideways pistol and wearing army pants, military boots and a bandana and mask accompanies the statistics, which are sourced to the “Crime Statistics Bureau” in San Francisco.

The message immediately took off on the social media platform, with thousands of people retweeting it and liking it within an hour. But many also lashed out angrily against the real estate mogul, calling Trump a racist and questioning the veracity of the stats.

Indeed, an initial search to confirm the numbers couldn’t turn up a “Crime Statistic Bureau” in San Francisco.

However, the percentages do, in some ways, align with Department of Justice (DOJ) findings from several years ago. A DOJ study released in 2011 reported that 93 percent of black homicides were committed by other blacks between 1980 and 2008.

In 2014, that figure was roughly 90 percent in 2014, according to the latest DOJ numbers.

The category tweeted out by Trump that doesn’t fit with DOJ statistics is “Whites Killed by Whites,” which Trump’s tweet indicated was 16 percent.

According to the department’s 2011 report, 84 percent of white homicides were committed by whites between 1980 and 2008. That number was 82 percent in 2014.

Trump has been roundly bashed during his presidential campaign for disparaging comments made about Mexican immigrants, Syrian refugees, Muslims and black people.

We’ve written a lot about the alternative reality were Republicans and their elected officials and candidates reside.  I’ve noticed the disconnect is getting worse on many levels.  But, again, look at Louisiana.  People down here got fed up with it.  Maybe the rest of the places that have Republican governors that are beyond delusional–Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan,Indiana etc.–will wake up to what’s actually going on.  But then again, take Kentucky.


What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Sunday Afternoon: What a difference 48 hours makes.

9 103 114 NewsBlurIt is an afternoon on Sunday. I have not checked online since early Friday Morning, (Wait, do I have the times right?) Oh well, whatever the hell the time frame is…I can always tell the passing of the hours by my Newsblur reader.

<———– See, all the big numbers of articles I have to go through. And yes, I do name all my folders “Minx Crap” because that is my way. I have a sense of humor that some would get offended by, but who gives a fuck right? It is my personal way to deal with things. (For fucks sake…)

Quick example, one of my friends got a kick out of the name of the town I was in this weekend, for my daughter’s State Honor Choir…Cumming, GA. “Was I joking?” he asked…nope, would you believe I was not…joking.

He then said to me, that a friend just told him of an Intercourse, PA. Which I replied, yup…there is a Bird-in-Hand and a Tickle-me-Balls, Pennsylvania too! (The first one is a real town, the second one is something I made up.) I wonder if he believes both are somewhere on a road map of PA? Gawd, I hope I don’t offend those folks who live in the State of Pennsylvania. Eeesh….

Anyway, you see the numbers by the folders…those are the unread articles within the feeds I subscribe to.

It says a lot without even looking at the stuff behind the folders. Ah, shit went down alright, but not shit that the right wing was too excited about. Per the 3 Minx Crap RWN (aka Right Wing Nuts) folder after all that time, the 25+ sites I follow were relatively quiet.

My main crap blogs were busy, but not scandalously busy. These are the left wing blogs…

And a shitload of Main Stream Media news…(BTW, no Fox News Feed in any of my folders, the only right leaning news feeds I have in my main stream folder are NYTs, CNN, and WaPo…uh…The Hill. A few border main stream, right leaning…Politico, FiveThirtyEight, Memeorandum etc.)

The point I am making here is that I have no clue what the fuck happened this weekend. Looks like something big, which the right did not want to get involved in, and the left was fine touching with a 25 foot pole.

As far as my Medieval/Science/History folder and my “Other” folder, which is mostly Classic Movies, technical movie stuff and fine art, photography, music, ballet etc. Seems to me that it was a busy weekend for the Humanities.

So due to this extreme situation, and my extreme laziness…tiredness. This will be an open thread. Otherwise it will be another 48 hours to get a proper post up here.

Dumpage of links:

French police ask for help identifying third stadium bomber

Police in France are asking the public for help in identifying a man they say was involved in the Nov. 13 assault on the national stadium in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris.


What Do Ben Carson and Bruschetta Have In Common? – The Daily Banter


They’re both basically toast.

Carson toast

The few polls that have trickled out since the last Republican debate have shown somesoftening of support for the good doctor, but as long as Ben Carson is doing well in Iowa, there’s no real reason to panic. Within the past month, Carson has opened up leads over Donald Trump as wide as 14 points in the state, while dancing around the national lead. The surest sign that Carson’s fade might show some durability came Sunday morning with therelease of a CBS News poll that shows Carson not only falling well behind Trump in Iowa, but also now trailing Senator Ted Cruz:

Donald Trump has returned to the lead in Iowa while Ted Cruz has now surged past Ben Carson into second place. Carson has slipped from a first-place tie into third.

While Iowa’s Republicans generally feel Trump is ready to be commander-in-chief, Cruz scores even better on this measure, boosted by support from very conservative and Tea Party Iowans who feel he is ready to assume the post. That’s more than say so about Trump, Carson, Rubio and Jeb Bush.

Trump gets 30% in the new poll (up from 27% in October), Cruz gets 21% (up from just 12% last month), while Carson’s support has slipped to 19% after tying Trump at 27% in the lastCBS/Yougov poll.


Donald Trump: Black protester at my rally was ‘disgusting’ and ‘maybe he should have been roughed up’

Donald Trump Approves Of Supporters Who ‘Roughed Up’ Protester


Look at the expressions on the faces of the host....

Look at the expressions on the faces of the host….as Trump telling them, “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said during a Sunday morning call-inappearance on “Fox & Friends.” “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”


A CNN reporter captured video of the Saturday incident in which a protester was reportedlypunched and kicked after he was tackled to the ground by attendees or security at Trump’s rally. At least one onlooker yelled, “Don’t choke him! Don’t choke him!” according to The Washington Post.

Trump is heard in the video yelling, “Get him the hell out of here!”


Donald Trump: I Would ‘Absolutely’ Bring Back Waterboarding | Mediaite


Donald Trump: My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester | ThinkProgress


Trump Still Leading Republican Presidential Field


If that isn’t enough to ruin your appetite.


Ted Cruz Seeks To Cast Himself As The Electable Conservative


In other news:


French aircraft carrier sent to target ISIL in Syria – Al Jazeera English

Schools closed as Belgium extends Brussels lockdown – Al Jazeera English

Growing number of MPs signal they will back more airstrikes on Syria | UK news | The Guardian

Brown University Will Spend $100 Million To Improve Race Relations

Starbucks launches national diversity initiative in Ferguson | theGrio


A few links from Mediaite:

‘Chuck, You Need to Calm Down’: Kasich Explains Plan for Judeo-Christian Department | Mediaite

Greenwald Blasts CNN on CNN: Anchors Get Away With ‘Despicable’ Anti-Muslim Comments | Mediaite

#BlackLivesMatter Protester at Trump Rally Speaks Out on Brawl: Like a ‘Lynch Mob’ | Mediaite

Stephanopoulos Confronts Trump on Muslim Database and Surveilling Mosques | Mediaite

Tapper Presses Christie: Would You ‘Oust’ Refugees Already in Your State? | Mediaite

SNL Cold Open Savages Fox & Friends and Ben Carson | Mediaite


All that above…wow…just wow….this has truly been a hellish weekend. And to see the shit these candidates are saying, makes me so ill. To know I had to stand up, against the GOP candidates positions, and lost a troubled friendship for good over it, it still is bothersome.  But I feel a relief.

I can’t take the crazy talk from those bigoted/right-wing  politicians, blowhards, talk show/radio host and “religious” leaders…and it hurt to see someone I know who used to be so caring and considerate of all persons, totally become changed over the years, to the point where they out right tell me, no amount of cited sources/articles/commentary/direct quotes from right or left leaning news/media/etc could change their mind or make any difference to them.

Onward, because I am done with all that other stuff.

Argentines set to choose new president – BBC News

Colombia to free 30 jailed FARC rebels as peace talk gesture | Reuters

November 22, 2015 Day in photos via VOA

And this last link, is a bit frightening: Apple CarPlay Corvette review – Business Insider

CarPlay 1



Oh…..that is just the comparison to finish on, don’t ya think?


This is an open thread.

Lazy Saturday Reads

I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

Boston buried in snow last winter. I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

 Good Morning!!

To my horror, a good-sized winter storm is working its way across the middle and upper Midwest. A previous storm already dropped a lot of snow on Colorado and Nebraska. This one is more widespread.

Associated Press via ABC News: Storm Blankets Parts of Midwest With More Than Foot of Snow.

The first significant wintry storm of the season blanketed parts of the Midwest with a foot of snow and more was on the way Saturday, creating hazardous conditions as some travelers prepared to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snow blowers were out from South Dakota through southern Minnesota, Iowa and southern Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service said the snow would continue in Illinois and Indiana on Saturday and move into Michigan. The front will head northeast to Canada late on Saturday and into Sunday.

Selfishly, I really hope it heads to Canada and skips New England entirely.

Snowfall reports so far

Snowfall reports so far

The Weather Channel reports in depth: Winter Storm Bella Dumps Up to 18 Inches of Snow in South Dakota; First Snow of Season For Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.

Winter Storm Bella will continue to bring the first, not to mention locally heavy, accumulating snow of the season for some in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Saturday after dumping up to 18 inches of snow in the Missouri Valley Friday.

Parts of the Sioux City, South Dakota metro area picked up over a foot of snow in an intense snowband Friday. Snow has since ended, there, but has now spread into the Great Lakes, with some totals over 10 inches already coming in from parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Winter storm warnings continue from parts of eastern Iowa into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Quad Cities, Madison, Rockford, Milwaukee and Chicago.

In the much of the Upper Midwest, this means a likelihood for at least 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.

Winter weather advisories are posted for much of Lower Michigan and far northern Indiana, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing, where somewhat lower snowfall totals are expected.


When I spoke to my mom this morning, she was headed out to the grocery store, because they are expecting snow and then heavy rain this afternoon. This much snow this early is pretty rare in much of the Midwest. Can you believe even Arkansas got a small amount of snow from this storm?

One factor in how much snow will fall this winter could be El Nino. The Weather Channel: The Impact of El Niño on Seasonal Snowfall.

El Niño, the periodic warming of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean, can have a number of effects on weather around the world, from heavy rain to extreme drought, persistent warmth to stubborn cold, and inactive versus hyperactive tropical cyclone seasons.

Does El Niño also influence how snowy your winter is?

To answer that, we examined NOAA seasonal snowfall data for 51 U.S. locations for which sufficient data exists and snowfall is at least typical once a year.

We grouped these seasonal snowfall totals into El Niño, La Niña (its opposite, namely, a cooling of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean) and neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) seasons.

el-nino-typical-winter-pattern 2

Since no two El Niños/La Niñas are alike and the intensity of each matters for impacts, we further examined moderate and strong El Niño seasons, based on the categorization by Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.

For most of the 51 locations, we had 23 El Niño, 20 La Niña, and 22 neutral seasons of snowfall data. One admitted drawback to this study is the rather limited sample size of strong El Niño seasons (five such cases), given NOAA’s Oceanic Niño Index dates only to 1950.

Finally, given El Niño/La Niña is not the sole driver of the atmosphere at any time, we thought it would be interesting to examine another atmospheric influencer during the winter months, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

Put simply, a positive NAO typically means cold air will drain from west to east across Canada, rather than plunging into the eastern U.S. Conversely, in a negative NAO, more blocking of the upper atmospheric pattern over the north Atlantic Ocean sends cold air deep into the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Read the results of the Weather Channel study at the link. As you can well imagine, I’m hoping that Boston will not get a repeat of last winter–the worst one on record with more than 100 inches of snow.

So….I decided to write about the weather so I could stave off the even worse news of the day. Here’s a sampling.

The Guardian: Brussels in lockdown after terror threat level is raised to maximum.

Brussels has been blanketed with security after the Belgian government raised alert levels on terrorist threats to the maximum, warning of the “serious and imminent” possibility of a Paris-style attack involving firearms and explosives.

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

The city’s metro system was closed down on Saturday until Sunday afternoon at the earliest as shops shut, shopping malls were partly shuttered, professional football was cancelled, concerts were called off and music venues, museums, and galleries closed their doors for the weekend.

The heightened alert level followed meetings of the national security and counter-terror services late on Friday, which concluded, on the basis of undisclosed evidence, that a major attack was being planned in Brussels. The rest of the country was put on a level three alert, one level short of the maximum.

“Following a new assessment, the terror alert level has been raised to level four, very serious, for the Brussels region,” said a government statement. “Analysis shows a serious and imminent threat that requires taking specific security measures as well as specific recommendations for the public.”

People were told to avoid rail stations and airports, shopping centres, concerts, and other public events where people congregate.

“We’re mobilising very strong security capacities,” said Charles Michel, the prime minister. “There’s a threat of attack by several individuals in several places. The [crisis centre] took this decision following information on a risk of attack similar to Paris.”

I sure hope this is a false alarm, but it will probably make Republican politicians even more panicked than they already are.

 A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel
Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

Another terrorism report from ABC News: Mali Hotel Attack Survivor Barricaded Himself as Gunmen Stormed Grounds.

Mukesh Chellani, a businessman from Indian, said he and his employees locked themselves in a room at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako on Friday. The country’s Ministry of the Interior said 21 people were killed — 18 hotel guests, a Malian policeman, and two attackers.

“We covered the door with lot of heavy stuff,” Chellani recalled. “At some point of time, we heard someone is knocking the door and lots of bullets.” ….

President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.

“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorismthreatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.

President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.

“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorism threatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.

Slate reports: Obama Meets With Refugees: “They’re Just Like Our Kids.”

President Obama tried to put a human face on the global crisis that has become a political battle back back home as he sat down with migrant children in Malaysia on Saturday, vowing that the US would keep its doors open to refugees “as long as I’m president.” Obama met with elementary-school-age children in Kuala Lampur at a humanitarian center who had already been cleared to enter the United States. “They’re just like our kids,” Obama said.

“They were indistinguishable from any child in America,” Obama said. “And the notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave us to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.” The words were clearly directed at the politicians—including governors, lawmakers, and Republican presidential candidates—who have spoken about the possibility of blocking the arrival of Syrian refugees into the US after the Paris terror attacks.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after speaking to disappointed opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court's decided to uphold the law, voting 5-4. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Of course, Obama’s words will have no effect on Republican politicians. Here’s the latest ugly example from Buzzfeed: Steve King, Citing Obama’s Time In Indonesia, Says Obama Is Filling U.S. With Terrorists.

Republican Rep. Steve King, while discussing on Thursday the Obama administration’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, said President Obama is “filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us” and cited Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia as giving him an entirely different idea of what America should be like.

“We just should remember that, when — where we grew up is — when we were in our grade school that’s when the world was right and we tend to want to recreate that idyllic scene in our adulthood thinking that’s the best thing for America. And in my case, it is. I grew up with ‘Fun with Dick and Jane,’” said King onBoston Herald Radio. “Wonderful. But you know, while I was going on, he was going to a school in Indonesia, so his idea of America is entirely different than the idea that most Americans have of what we ought to be like, and he’s filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us.”

What a sweetheart Steve King is, bless his heart.

I’ll have more links in the comments. What stories are you following today?

Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

I’m sure you’ve heard that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected “ringleader” of the Paris attacks, was killed during an intense siege by French police. NBC News reports: Abdelhamid Abaaoud Killed in Saint-Denis Raid.

PARIS — The Belgian jihadi suspected of being the ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks was killed during a raid on a suburban apartment, officials said Thursday.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, died during Wednesday’s operation in Saint-Denis, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. He was identified by his fingerprints. His body was riddled with bullets, according to officials.

Abaaoud died along with a woman who blew herself up with a suicide belt when elite police forces stormed the scene. Eight other people were arrested.

In addition to being the suspected ringleader of Friday’s coordinated assaults, he had been linked to the thwarted attackson a Paris-bound high-speed trainand a church near the French capital earlier this year.

Abaaoud boasted in ISIS propaganda about avoiding capture and claimed he had been able to travel between Europe and Syria without being noticed.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later said that Abaaoud was involved in four of the six attacks foiled by French intelligence since this spring.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud

Abdelhamid Abaaoud

Go to the link to read the rest. There’s quite a bit of background on Abaaoud in this article at The New York Times that I can’t copy and paste from. I’m sure we’ll be learning much more about him.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. the public assault on Syrian refugees continues in the U.S., and there have been multiple attacks on muslims since the Paris attacks, thanks to the ugly hate speech that has been spewed by childish and decidedly unpresidential GOP presidential candidates and other politicians looking for attention. Unfortunately, the worst example so far comes from the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia. From USA Today:

A Roanoke mayor is getting national attention after citing the use of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II to justify suspending the relocation of Syrian refugees to his city in Virginia.

After requesting that all Roanoke Valley agencies stop Syrian refugee assistance, Mayor David Bowers, a Democrat, wrote in a statement: “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

The comment has sparked outrage on social media from citizens of Roanoke and the rest of the country — including celebrities.

The Japanese internment camps, which detained about 120,000 Japanese-American men, women and children, are widely remembered as one of the U.S. government’s most shameful acts. More than four decades after World War II, the U.S. government issued a formal apology and paid reparations to former Japanese internees and their heirs.

Roanoke VA Mayor David Bowers

Roanoke VA Mayor David Bowers

Actor George Takei, whose family was interned with other Japanese-Americans after World War II responded on Facebook. Here’s Takei’s post, From Vox:

1) The internment (not a “sequester”) was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.

2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected “enemies” then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.

3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.

George Takei Appears On "The Morning Show"

I’m not going to quote the garbage that has come out of the mouths of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruze, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. I’ll just stand with President Obama and his calm insistence that we be true to our principles as Americans. From Newsweek: Obama: Republicans Blocking Syrian Refugees ‘Scared of Widows and 3-Year-Old Orphans.’

President Obama continues to push back against governors and lawmakers who want to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States. On Tuesday, speaking from the Philippines, Obama said those who seek to shut the door on refugees fleeing the ever-expanding violence in Syria are “scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans.” ….

Obama said shutting the door on refugees and treating Christian refugees differently plays into the hands of the Islamic State militant group, known as ISIS or ISIL, which French media has blamed for the attacks. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” the president said. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.”

Sadly, a new Bloomberg poll found that most Americans now want to refuse to accept Syrian refugees. You can read the details at the link.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Carson officially launches bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit

Ben Carson’s campaign could be in trouble after The New York Times published remarks made by Carson’s foreign policy advisers: Ben Carson is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say. Again, I can’t copy and paste, but I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t already. David Corn has a fascinating article about this at Mother Jones: The Spooky and Scandalous Past of Ben Carson’s Top National Security Adviser.

On Tuesday, theNew York Timespublished astorythat had the politerati abuzz. The headline was bold: “Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say.” The piece reported that the GOP presidential candidate’s “remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject,” and it noted that “two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.” Duane Clarridge, a top adviser to Carson on terrorism and national security, told theTimes, “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” Ouch.

The Carson campaign immediately blamed the messengers. Carson’s spokesmancalledthe article “an affront to good journalistic practices” and claimed that theTimeshad taken “advantage of an elderly gentleman.” Clarridge—known to his pals as Dewey—is 82 years old. But the damage was done. Clarridge’s observations reinforced the impression that Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is in over his head when it comes to national security issues.

A particularly intriguing aspect of this dustup was that Carson had turned to Clarridge for foreign policy advice. Often portrayed as a veteran spymaster in the media, Clarridge has indeed had a long career in intelligence, but it has been a checkered one.

Carson is being advised by one of the main people behind the Iran Contra scandal.

Duane Clarridge

Duane Clarridge

Clarridge first achieved public notoriety during the Iran-contra affair—the doozy of a scandal in which President Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms to the terrorist-supporting regime of Iran in order to free American hostagesandin which his national security crew used these ill-gotten proceeds to secretly finance the CIA-backed contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist government of Nicaragua. Clarridge, then a top CIA official, played a role in both sides of the conspiracy. He helped White House aide Oliver North use a CIA front company to ship US-made HAWK missiles to Iran. According to the independent counsel who investigated the scandal, he also sought funding from the apartheid regime of South Africa for the contras, after Congress had cut off assistance for the contras. Clarridge retired from the CIA in 1987 after being formally reprimanded for his involvement in the Iran weapons deal.

But there was worse blowback to come. In 1991, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh charged Clarridge for lying to congressional investigators and a presidential commission about his role in the trading-arms-for-hostages skullduggery. Essentially, after news of the clandestine deal with Tehran broke, Walsh alleged, Clarridge had repeatedly lied to investigators, claiming that he had not known that the shipments he had helped North arrange contained weapons. Clarridge had stuck to the cover story that these shipments involved oil drilling equipment. Walsh asserted, “There was strong evidence that Clarridge’s testimony was false.”

Walsh also pointed out that Clarridge had falsely testified when he had told government investigators that he had not known about Reagan administration efforts (arguably illegal) to seek secret financial aid from other countries for the contras and and that he himself had not sought such funds for the contras.

Much more at the Mother Jones link.

A new poll by WBUR (NPR) in Boston shows Carson’s support dropping in New Hampshire and a new Fox News poll has Carson in fourth place there, according to CNN. Unfortunately, that leaves Donald Trump securely in first place in the first primary state.

Two more important stories:

ABC News The Note: Democrats Take Center Stage on National Security.


HILLARY CLINTON SET TO LAY OUT ISIS STRATEGY:This morning, Hillary Clinton will unveil her plan to combat ISIS during remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York,ABC’s LIZ KREUTZnotes. According to her aides, her speech will focus broadly on three objectives: “1) Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and across the region. 2) Disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world. 3) Harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats.” Earlier this week Clinton called the rhetoric from the GOP who don’t want Syrian refugees coming to U.S. “a new low” and said not allowing them would undermine “who we are as Americans.”

BERNIE SANDERS DETERMINED TO BE HEARD ON FOREIGN POLICY: During a whopping 32-minute interview Tuesday, Yahoo’s Katie Couric asked Bernie Sanders simply, “What about those who say you’re not that strong on foreign policy?” The Vermont senator scoffed. “Oh, really? Well, compared to whom?” he said with a little guttural gruff. “Many of the serious problems we face in the Gulf region and the Middle East are, in fact, attributable to the war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. And it is not only that I voted against it – and Secretary Clinton voted for it – I helped lead the opposition against it.” Such a response, in a nutshell, is the crux of Sanders’ argument for why he is fit to be commander in chief, and he’s sticking to it. it would have been easy for the independent Sanders, 74, to shy away from this topic, his perceived weakness, in the days after the head-to-head debate in Iowa. But he has done the opposite. The bellicose rhetoric from Republicans on the other side has offered the progressive an excuse to hit the airwaves, opening himself up to interviews focused on foreign policy.ABC’s MARYALICE PARKShas more.

–HAPPENING TODAY:The Sanders campaign says the Vermont senator will address his vision for responding to ISIS as a part of a major speech he has scheduled at Georgetown University this afternoon.

The Washington Post: O’Malley’s presidential campaign is perilously close to financial collapse.


The Democratic hopeful this week began asking the roughly 30 staffers at his Baltimore headquarters to redeploy to Iowa and elsewhere, a tacit acknowledgment that he will need a surprisingly strong showing in the first caucus state to stay in the race.

And the campaign is now planning to seek public matching funds, a move that could help pay bills in the short term but undercut the candidate’s ability to compete once the voting begins. In recent cycles, major candidates have opted out of the antiquated matching system because it imposes state-by-state spending caps now considered impractical.

“You might get the plane off the ground, but then you quickly run out of gas,” said Joe Trippi, a veteran Democratic operative who served as the co-manager of the 2008 campaign of John Edwards, the last major Democratic candidate to accept matching funds and the accompanying spending limits.

Given the meager amount O’Malley has raised to this point, “it’s not a dumb thing” to seek matching funds, Trippi said. But, he added: “You die now or die later. Either way, it’s not going to end well.”

Other observers greeted the decision this week by O’Malley to move headquarters staffers to Iowa as the likely beginning of the end for a candidate who still lags far behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the polls and is rapidly running out of opportunities to change the narrative of the race.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Thursday!

Wednesday Reads: Intolerant of the Intolerant Bigoted Hypocritical Christian Conservatives


Am I…..intolerant?

Nigel Powers: There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.

Goldmember: What?

Yes, I am intolerant.

Of the Intolerant Bigoted Hypocritical Christian Conservatives.

The ones who play the victim when someone confronts them about their “beliefs” or as I did recently, what and who they support in the political arena.

I don’t know, maybe I took it too far, but as you saw yesterday…even Boston Boomer was using the “F” word in her post ;) .

This entire scene regarding the Syrian immigration has us all very upset. I went from discussing the refugee situation in an intelligent manner with my old friend of 35 years, Jose, who is the brother-in-law of Aasif Mandvi….to being patronized and having my words twisted to play into the conservative Christian victimization routine by another old friend of 22 years, who now lives among the cornfields of Iowa.

It is all so depressing.

In response, all I can muster today is a heavy cartoon post.

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -


11/15/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

This next cartoon is also from Heller, but from October 7th of this year:

10/07/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -


I am a little behind on this one:

Free Speech vs. Safe Space: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Free Speech vs. Safe Space

More of these Safe Space cartoons later.

A message to ISIS: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - A message to ISIS


11/17/2015 Cartoon by Charlie Daniel

Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -


11/17/2015 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -


Digital Threat: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Digital Threat


Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett


Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon


11/17/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -


How to tell the difference between ISIS and Muslims: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - How to tell the difference between ISIS and Muslims

11/17/2015 Cartoon by Phil Hands

Cartoon by Phil Hands -

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Scott Stantis

Cartoon by Scott Stantis -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -


Je Suis Paris: 11/16/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Je Suis Paris


The Pinata: 11/15/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - The Pinata

A Call to Harams: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - A Call to Harams

Prince of Darkness Roast: 11/13/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Prince of Darkness Roast


From Cagle Cartoons:


Critical Thinking Needed by Tom Purcell

Anchor Baby Battle by Will Durst

Donald Trump dropping by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

Stuff Happens by Political Cartoonist Kevin Siers

ISISsssss by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

Strategy to destroy ISIS by Political Cartoonist Paresh Nath

Russian Doping Scandal by Political Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies

Syrian refugees and Rep King by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

Jumpstarting the Jeb! Bush Campaign by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson

Refugees by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons

Muslim Refugees by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Christo Komarnitski

Paris Terror by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart

Daesh Target by Political Cartoonist Stavro Jabra

Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Mike Keefe

ViVe La France by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee

France Weeps |

Paris Attack by Political Cartoonist Nate Beeler

Signe Wilkinson: City of Darkness – Signe Wilkinson – Truthdig

Nick Anderson: Safe Space – Nick Anderson – Truthdig

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

Relax?: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Eric J Garcia

Cartoon by Eric J Garcia - Relax?


11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

War Near Christmas: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - War Near Christmas

Radical Islam Death Wish: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Monte Wolverton

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - Radical Islam Death Wish


Bruce Plante Cartoon: Syrian refugees: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Syrian refugees

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Wages are too high?: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Wages are too high?


11/18/2015 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -














Let’s end it with a cartoon that is from October 6th:


Exhibition by Political Cartoonist Pavel Constantin

169683_600And that is all folks…this is an open thread.