Middling Monday Reads: Adulting in what passes for the USA these days

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There are several story lines cooking their way to the news day.  None of them are particularly uplifting which just about matches stuff I’ve been going through lately too. I wish I could give up adulting but Spring Break and Carnival  have ended not that I could truly enjoy either with this ever lingering flu.  I’m going to fill the pages today with imaginary creatures since I’ve pretty much had it with the real ones.  They are from Danish Illustrator/Artist Kay Nielsen whose primary works are illustrations for Fairy Tales and are stylistically Art Deco but many have Asian influences.  He is best known for doing the Bald Mountain Scene in Disney’s Fantasia.

Super Tuesday is tomorrow and we’re down two candidates today as Pete Buttigieg just bumped Tom Steyer out of the last man out of the race place. His race was historic no matter what you thought of his chances or his positions.  From the AP:

He opened February by sharing victory with one of the Democratic Party’s best-known figures and ended it with a humbling defeat at the hands of another. Yet Pete Buttigieg’s unlikely path over the last 30 days exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations of his presidential ambitions, except perhaps his own.

The former mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, an openly gay 38-year-old whose name most voters still can’t pronounce, formally suspended his White House bid Sunday night. He did so acknowledging that he no longer had a viable path to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, even after finishing in the top four in each of the first four contests of the 2020 primary season.

“By every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all,” Buttigieg reminded his hometown crowd, which was disappointed and hopeful at the same time. The crowd interrupted his speech with chants of “2024.”

Buttigieg began the month effectively in a first-place tie with progressive powerhouse Bernie Sanders in Iowa’s presidential caucuses. The mayor made history as the first openly gay candidate to earn a presidential delegate, never mind becoming the first to finish on top in any presidential primary contest.

And now we hear Amy’s out and gone over to the Biden side via NYT.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who entered the Democratic presidential race with an appeal to moderate voters and offered herself as a candidate who could win in Midwestern swing states, has decided to quit the race and endorse a rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., according to a person close to Ms. Klobuchar.

Ms. Klobuchar will appear with Mr. Biden at his rally in Dallas Monday night. The decision comes one day after former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., departed the race, and after weeks of Democratic Party hand-wringing about a crowded field of moderate candidates splitting a finite field of centrist votes, allowing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to march forward unopposed among progressives and amass delegates.

 

 

No photo description available.

From the fairy tale ‘Mother Among Thorns’ Kay Nielsen Danish illustrator 1886-1957

What would year would it be without the Republicans trying to get rid of the old Republican cum American Enterprise Institute cum ChaffeyCare cum Dole cum Care/Romney care relabeled and passed as ObamaCare?  The odd thing thing about this is that it will likely kill off their most ardent Trumperz which is why they’ve got it to the Supreme Court but the Court won’t actually here it until after the Election because, well, you know that’s what the Trumpist regime requested.  I’m headed for Medicare about that time so my ObamaCare is safely in place until then but all I can say is that those of us with pre-existing conditions are evidently just supposed to die so they can get on with it.  This is the headline from WAPO: “Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act”. written by Robert Barnes.  It will also be a test of Republican Court Stacking efforts since they’ve managed to get another Religious Inquisitor on their Bench.

The Supreme Court will hear a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time at the request of Democratic-controlled states that are fighting a lower court decision that said the entire law must fall.

The court’s review will come in the term that begins in October, which would not leave time for a decision before the November presidential election. The law remains in effect during the legal challenges.

Democrats are eager to keep public attention on the fate of the act, sometimes called Obamacare, which has features voters value, such as required coverage for preexisting conditions. Health care is a leading concern, especially among Democratic voters, and many considered it a persuasive argument when the party won control of the House in 2018.

The House and Democratic-led states asked the court to review a decision last year by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Hearing a challenge from Texas and other Republican-led states and backed by the Trump administration, the panel struck down the law’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance but sent back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the statute can stand without it. The lower court had said the entire law must fall.

The House told the Supreme Court that the 5th Circuit decision “poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of health-care markets throughout the country, casts considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation’s economy in unacceptable limbo.”

he House and Democratic states also have been eager to get the issue before the Supreme Court because the majority that has upheld the ACA in two previous challenges remains.

Scheherazade offers to marry the Sultan, Kay Nielsen Arabian Nights

Sheherazade offers to marry the Sultan

Texas is leading the efforts in voter suppression yet again. This is from the UK Guardian: “Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote.  Guardian analysis finds that places where black and Latino population is growing by the largest numbers experienced the majority of closures and could benefit Republicans” 

Long considered a Republican bastion, changing racial demographics in the state have caused leading Democrats to recast Texas as a potential swing state. Texas Democratic party official Manny Garcia has called it “the biggest battleground state in the country”.

The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Ongoing research by University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus indicates that people are less likely to vote if they have to travel farther to do so, and the effect is disproportionately greater for some groups of voters, such as Latinxs.

“The fact of the matter is that Texas is not a red state,” said Antonio Arellano of Jolt, a progressive Latino political organization. “Texas is a nonvoting state.”

On a local level, the changes can be stark. McLennan county, home to Waco, Texas, closed 44% of its polling places from 2012 to 2018, despite the fact that its population grew by more than 15,000 people during the same time period, with more than two-thirds of that growth coming from Black and Latinx residents.

In 2012, there was one polling place for every 4,000 residents. By 2018 that figure had dropped to one polling place per 7,700 residents. A 2019 paper by University of Houston political scientists found that after the county’s transition to vote centers, more voting locations were closed in Latinx neighborhoods than in non-Latinx neighborhoods, and that Latinx people had to travel farther to vote than non-Hispanic whites.

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will hold nominating contests to pick who they think should square off this fall against likely GOP nominee President Trump.

There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates. So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated.

People will head to the polls all across the country, from Virginia to California, Tennessee to Texas. The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas.

fine art print Kay Nielsen vintage illustration folk tale fairy tale home decor Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince 8.5x11.5 inches

Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince by Kay Nielson

And who’d have thunk it?  The Taliban have already broken their “peace” agreement signed with the Trumpist Regime on Saturday via Agence France-Presse.

A deadly blast shattered a period of relative calm in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban ordered fighters to resume operations against Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal to usher in peace.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at a football ground in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, where three brothers were killed, officials told AFP.

The blast occurred around the same time the Taliban ordered fighters to recommence attacks against Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed and given Afghans a welcome taste of peace.

The partial truce between the US, the insurgents and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.

and the entire thing under the watchful eye of this guy which doesn’t seem to know about it even though French Journalists obviously do …

Night in a Chinese Garden by Kay Nielsen

And, I want to go back to Fairy Tales again. I’m tired of this adulting stuff.  This article in The Atlantic has just about done me in: “The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions. How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will.” by George Packer.

But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible

This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.

Read each of these stories please.  Unfortunately, they are not fairy tales.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: How long must we wait?

 

After reading Boston Boomer’s post yesterday about all this…shit, it makes me even more disturbed.

I am not able to work my thoughts into words lately.  Maybe it is the fact that nothing or no one will hold this nightmare accountable…and that we are this close to having a cancerous monstrosity of this administration appointed for a lifetime membership to the Supreme Court. Together with Gorsuch…Kavanaugh and the rest of the conservative members will change our lives as Americans. The impact will be fatal. In an all to literal sense. It will solidify tRump…he will get away with everything. (And this is not pushing it too far, would tRump even take it to announcing himself…president for life?) Would Kavanaugh just nod and say, sure…it is within his executive rights?

I’m tired of being Chicken Little, or a Cassandra…but nothing gives me hope.

Here’s a few links you may have missed:

This article was recommended by Sarah Kendzior:

Some more issues with Women’s Tennis:

At U.S. Open, power of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka is overshadowed by an umpire’s power play – The Washington Post

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos managed to rob not one but two players in the women’s U.S. Open final. Nobody has ever seen anything like it: An umpire so wrecked a big occasion that both players, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams alike, wound up distraught with tears streaming down their faces during the trophy presentation and an incensed crowd screamed boos at the court. Ramos took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him.

Williams abused her racket, but Ramos did something far uglier: He abused his authority. Champions get heated — it’s their nature to burn. All good umpires in every sport understand that the heart of their job is to help temper the moment, to turn the dial down, not up, and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role in determining the outcome. Instead, Ramos made himself the chief player in the women’s final. He marred Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and one of Williams’s last bids for all-time greatness. Over what? A tone of voice. Male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalized as Williams was in the second set of the U.S. Open final.

 

We can only hope something good can come out of November:

And what about that plaid shirt guy?

And by the way:

Meanwhile…

 

Latest update on Florence:

17 years, is a long ass time!

Check out this tweet from Pasco Sheriff’s office…

And what the fuck is with the brown sock monkey?

In relation to that….

 

I want to end with this news out of Dallas…

 

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads: Put on a Happy Face!!!

there was always light by Amanda Blake (contemporary), American

Good Morning Sky Dancers

I wish I could be your little ray of sunshine this morning but I don’t know how that’s possible given the utter daily chaos and destruction that the 2016 election brought us.  The chickens are definitely coming home to roost and the banty rooster is a crazy and mean little bird.

I woke up today to the sad news of a second celebrity suicide.  First, we had Kate Spade whose handbag designs were wonderful.  Now, it’s Anthony Bourdain. Both have left behind young daughters.

Celebrity suicide always starts a conversation that never reaches the ears of the our policymakers who could provide necessary things to solve problems but instead choose to exacerbate them. But more about Trump and the Republicans in Congress and the yanking of funds from the Children’s Health Program last night in a stealth, decidedly one sided vote. Any one with young ones in their life should spend time with them now.

According to several studies, publicity surrounding a suicide has been repeatedly linked to a subsequent increase in the act, particularly among young people.

After Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962, the cause listed as probable suicide, the nation mourned — publicly. In the month that followed there was sweeping news coverage, public memorials and a 12% increase in suicides. That month saw an additional 303 suicides in comparison to the year prior, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

When Robin Williams died in 2014, the world reacted similarly. The comedian’s image was everywhere, details of his untimely passing spawned countless news articles and think pieces. His death is also similarly associated with a 10% increase in suicide across the United States in the five months after his passing, according to a study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, in February.

The phenomenon is often referred to as “suicide contagion,” defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as an increase in suicides due to “the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide.”

And the overwhelming influence of a celebrity or high-profile suicide is far from a new discovery. Following the 1774 publication of Wolfgang Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” — a book in which a young man ends his life after a failed love affair — Europe also saw a spike in suicides, particularly in men the same age as the protagonist.

The outbreak prompted the novel to be banned in several European locations.

 

PAUL RAFFERTY, American (contemporary)
Hydrangeas Contre Jour

Suicide, however, has been on the rise in the US since 1999.  Like most mental illnesses, it receives less preventative attention than it should.  It does, however, generate a lot of revenues for pharmaceutical companies.  It’s less likely the pills are accompanied by human help and counselling.

I’ve struggled with depression for like 50 years. Some of my youngest memories are of my dad, my baby sister, and me in Kansas City waiting in the car outside a small hospital while my mother sat with her mother during her shock treatments. My mother lived with it too. They put her on antidepressants the last year of her life and I saw a happy, cheery woman I had never known before.  I personally rely heavily on my Buddhist practice which grew from my adult-in-process practices of the relaxation response and positive affirmation. I hurl mantras like I live in a gompa some where up in the Himalayas with shaved head and nun vows. I only wish more people had access to learning meditation. It also helps me to stay away from mean, nasty people which is proving challenging in the Trump era.

But, actual science and properly funding and staffing the CDC is not a priority at all right now.

Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.

More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.

In 2016 alone, about 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.

“Our data show that the problem is getting worse,” Schuchat said.

 

surprise!! chickens!  roosting!  crazy ass rooster!!!

The Daily Wire has some more of these stats.

Bourdain is just the latest in a string of prominent celebrities suffering from depression who have taken their own lives. Last week, Kate Spade committed suicide; she was reportedly fixated on Robin Williams’ suicide. And suicide rates across America have been spiking: as of 2014, American suicide rates had skyrocketed to their highest rate in three decades, all the way to 13 people per 100,000, even as death rates from other causes declined markedly. Suicide was particularly common among middle-aged white people. The overall suicide rate climbed 24 percent from 1999 to 2014; in 2014, over 14,000 middle-aged white Americans committed suicide. Between 2006 and 2016, the suicide rate for white children jumped 70 percent, and the suicide rate among black children (while lower than that of white children overall) jumped 77 percent. According to USA Today:

A study of pediatric hospitals released last May found admissions of patients ages 5 to 17 for suicidal thoughts and actions more than doubled from 2008 to 2015. The group at highest risk for suicide are white males between 14 and 21.

What’s causing this uptick? Traditional theories regarding poverty don’t seem to hold much water – the economic recovery was well underway by 2014, and more poverty-stricken demographic groups in the United States had lower suicide rates than whites did on a consistent basis. And theories regarding bullying don’t seem to solve the question either – bullying isn’t worse in 2017 than it was in 1999, and studies seem to show that once depression and delinquency are factored out, bullying does not rate as an independent variable changing suicide rates.

Suicide is a complex social phenomenon, and it’s difficult to pin down cause and effect. Surely rising rates of opioid abuse have contributed to the suicide increase, but that wouldn’t explain the jump among young people. There’s a case to be made that decline of religiosity in wealthier societies has led to an uptick in suicide(poorer societies tend to have far less of a suicide problem than wealthy societies, so religious differences matter less statistically). We are suffering a crisis of meaning in the West, and it’s having a significant impact on suicidality.

Hendrick ter Brugghen, Old Man Writing by Candlelight, c. 1626-27, Dutch Baroque painter and leading member of the Utrecht followers of Caravaggio

I don’t think religiosity necessarily connects to leading a meaningful life. But, I’d say constantly be sent off to war is one factor because suicide rates for Vets is off the wall.  I’d also say feeling helpless to change things in your work life and community leads to some of that too.  (From Foreign Policy, September, 2017)

Veterans are about 20 percent more likely than nonveterans to kill themselves, according to a Veterans Affairs press release issued on Friday afternoon at the close of business. (Traditionally, that’s when Washington public affairs types put out bad news they don’t wish to discuss. Mainly they hope to see it tucked into Saturday newspapers that no one reads.)

Also, the suicide rate for female veterans is 250 percent that for female non-vets.

Then, there’s death by abhorrently racist federal policy.  There’s a surge in that.  From the daily paper of my childhood days The Des Moines Register: “Des Moines DREAMer dies within weeks after being sent back to Mexico’s violence.”

Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco should have graduated from high school in Des Moines last month. The oldest of four siblings should have walked across a stage in a cap and gown to become a proud symbol to his sister and brothers of the rewards of hard work and education.

Instead, Manuel died a brutal death alone in a foreign land, a symbol of gang supremacy in a country plagued by violent drug cartels. It happened three weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement returned him to Mexico, a country he had left at age 3 when his parents brought him here without a visa.

The fact that America was the only home he has known made Manuel eligible to apply for and be granted DACA status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by former President Barack Obama. It exempted from deportation certain young people, referred to as DREAMERS, who were brought to the U.S. without papers as children.

But that status didn’t protect Manuel when he came to immigration authorities’ attention after being stopped for speeding last fall and charged with driving under the influence. An ICE spokesperson said in a statement that ICE officers arrested him in Polk County Jail and a federal immigration judge terminated his DACA status because of two  misdemeanor convictions.

The statement from Shawn Neudauer, ICE public affairs officer, also said Manuel wasn’t technically deported, but was escorted to Mexico by ICE deportation officers at the Laredo, Texas border this past April 24. He called it a voluntary departure process that doesn’t carry the penalties of a formal deportation. But  the impact was the same: Manuel had no choice but to go back, either as a deportee or in a “voluntary departure.” He chose the “voluntary” route.

The Glasgow Rose, Charles Rennie MacIntosh, Scottish, Glasgow School

You may read more about this young man’s short life at the newspaper’s link.

Other Republican policies will be cutting the lives of children short if this bill passes the US Senate. It moved through the House like a stealth fighter. Funny, how Republicans can get it done when it involves propping up their give-aways to the rich and powerful.

The House voted along party lines late Thursday to pass a White House proposal that would claw back nearly $15 billion in previously approved government funding.

The House approved the measure in a vote of 210-206, with conservatives calling it a step in the right direction after they ripped into the price tag of the $1.3 trillion spending bill President Trump signed earlier this year.

“President Trump and this Administration are fully committed to protecting taxpayers, and Senate passage of this legislation is critical to reducing wasteful, unnecessary spending and making our Federal Government more efficient, effective, and accountable,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement late Thursday.

Trump had pushed lawmakers earlier this week to vote in favor of the clawback plan, known as the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, which GOP leaders have been working on for two months.

“The HISTORIC Rescissions Package we’ve proposed would cut $15,000,000,000 in Wasteful Spending! We are getting our government back on track,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

The push to slash spending stemmed from conversations between Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in April, weeks after Trump signed the omnibus into law.

“The President’s rescissions request is a straightforward approach to begin cleaning up a bloated federal budget and respecting hardworking taxpayer dollars,” McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday.

While the move was welcomed by fiscal hawks, Democrats and a handful of moderates argued it could hinder future budget negotiations and drain unused funds that may prove necessary for programs down the road.

Opponents blasted the administration’s decision to target unobligated funds within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) –– which make up nearly half of the $14.7 billion in rollbacks –– alleging the cuts could lead to a loss of coverage if enrollment is higher than expected.

“The nearly $15 billion in rescissions cut numerous efforts to create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our communities. It cuts funding for the economic development administration, and for community development financial institutions. Both of which create jobs in rural areas and distress communities,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, said on the floor.

Officer with a Laughing Girl: ca 1657, Johannes Vermeer, Dutch Baroque Painter

Then, there’s a stab at Obamacare again. This time it’s by the Oldest Living Confederate widow as she attempts to get people with preexisting conditions thrown out and re-establish womanhood as a preexisting condition.  From Forbes Magazine: “The Trump Administration Is Using a New Tactic to Dismantle Obamacare. What You Need to Know About It”

The Trump administration is trying out a new tactic to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): calling at least one provision of it unconstitutional.

In a brief filed Thursday, the Justice Department sided with Texas and a coalition of other Republican-led states that had filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. While it is uncommon for the Justice Department to go against federal law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he acted with the “approval of the President of the United States.”

Here’s their argument, and what they want.

The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate—which requires almost all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a “tax” if they don’t—and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated. These include a “ban on insurers denying coverage and charging higher rates to people with pre-existing health conditions.” The Justice Department reportedly also wants to repeal limits on insurance costs based on gender and age.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department’s position did not go quite as far as the Texas suit. In it, the states deem the entirety of Obamacare and its regulations invalid.

 

Childe Hassam, The Goldfish Window, 1916,

The DOJ will not defend the cases brought by GOP state.  This why we have a spate of crazy obviously unconstitutional shit coming up from the states. The DOJ is deciding which cases to defend based on religious and ideological whims instead of actual legal grounds.

The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history

Horse’s Skull with Pink Rose
Georgia O’Keeffe (United States, Wisconsin, Sun Prairie, 1887-1986)
United States, 1931 

 but contends that it is not unprecedented.

Stacking the benches with unqualified judges is a good way to get a decision based on total ignorance of law and precedent and even the Constitution.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report Friday accusing their Republican colleagues of conspiring with President Donald Trump to reshape the federal judiciary by appointing judges whose only qualifications are youth and conservative ideology.

“President Trump and Senate Republicans are stacking our courts at record-breaking speed,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee and one of several signatories on the report. “Nominees have been largely controversial and incredibly young, allowing them to shape our courts for generations.”

The 61-page report titled “Review of Republican Efforts to Stack the Federal Courts” details both the pace and volume of the nomination and confirmation process, as well as the obstruction and filibustering of President Barack Obama nominees that afforded Trump the opportunity to shift the balance of federal courts.

“President Trump entered office with 112 judicial vacancies, compared to just 53 vacancies when President Obama entered office,” the report states. “To fill these vacancies and change the nature of the federal judiciary for decades, President Trump and Senate Republicans have been rushing nominees through the Senate at a breakneck pace by changing the process for consideration and eliminating traditions that had been followed for over a century.”

The “blue slip” tradition referred to in the report is an unwritten rule in the Senate process, honored by both parties for decades, meant to simultaneously preserve a more bipartisan approach to the judicial nomination process and make sure both home-state senators approve of judicial nominees.

The tradition is named after a blue form that is given to the two home-state senators asking for their assessment of the nominee. If the senator has no objection, the blue slip is returned to the committee chairman with a positive response. If they don’t approve of the nominee, the blue form is withheld or returned with a negative response.

Friday’s report says Republicans used blue slips to block 18 Obama court nominees, including six nominees for federal appeals courts, which rank just below the U.S. Supreme Court and have a huge hand in determining some of the most important matters of law in the nation. 

After Trump was elected, Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, eschewed the blue-slip tradition, according to the report.

Michael Brennan was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit on Thursday over the objection of Tammy Baldwin, the home-state senator from Wisconsin. Similarly, Ryan Bounds was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Ninth Circuit over the objections of Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Democratic senators from Oregon.

Republicans can only get things done by sneaking stuff through in thoroughly undemocratic and crooked ways.

And here’s why Germaine Greer is trending.

 

Speaking in a BBC documentary that will be aired on Saturday, called Germaine Bloody Greer, and reported in the Sun and the Mirror, she says: “Someone like Beyoncé – who I think is a fantastic musician, a beautiful voice as true as a bell – why has she always got to be fucking naked and have her tits hanging out? Why?

“I’m not saying you have to keep your clothes on, but why is sexual display part of the job? I might as well ask that question to a barmaid who says she doesn’t get any tips if she doesn’t show cleavage.”

Greer also criticises female athletes, saying: “Why do women athletes have to be naked? I watched bloody figure skating and the woman is virtually naked. She has got a few wisps of cloth and the man is in evening dress. You think nakedness is usually a sign of submission, it’s a sign of inequality.”

She describes her own nude photos, taken for Suck magazine in 1971, as “revolutionary” and a “disruptive gesture”.

Accused of transphobia having repeatedly declared that people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are not women, Greer caused further outrage recently when she said that “most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever”.

Oh, yeah there’s more. She’s written a book “Rape” due out in September.  I actually think she and Bernie Sanders should take up knitting. Oh, and Susanne Sarandon can join them too!

I think I’ve had enough sunshine for one day!  Did the paintings help?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Wednesday Reads: tRump’s Good Deeds

Cartoon by Glen Baxter

tRump continues to carry on his “good deeds” today… Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military via The New York Times although more than a distraction from the monstrosity of yesterday’s best, great, good dead  deed. (Wow, mighty slip of the fingers there, eh?)

Health care bill: Senate votes on full Obamacare repeal – CNNPolitics.com

The Senate’s marathon debate to dismantle Obamacare enters Day Two on Wednesday, as Republican senators continue painstaking deliberations to reach an ultimate agreement on health care reform.

The first order of business Wednesday afternoon: senators will consider as an amendment an Obamacare repeal bill — without an immediate replacement — that Congress passed in 2015 and was vetoed by former President Barack Obama.
Well, lets take a look at some of the Twitter responses from the last 24 hours:

 

 

 

 

As we look at cartoons today, we can appreciate the drawings of medieval beasties:

 

 

 

 

Now for the cartoons. This one from Pat Bagley is gold…its gold!

Jamboree: 07/26/2017 Cartoon by Greg Kearney

Cartoon by Greg Kearney - Jamboree

Flout’s honor: 07/26/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Flout's honor

Repeal and replace: 07/25/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Repeal and replace

07/26/2017 Cartoon by Charlie Daniel

Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -

COMEDIAN-IN-CHIEF: 07/26/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - COMEDIAN-IN-CHIEF

tRUMP LOYALTY: 07/25/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - tRUMP LOYALTY

PARDON ME: 07/21/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - PARDON ME

 

07/26/2017 Cartoon by Bob Gorrell

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell -

From a right “leaning” cartoonist:

07/26/2017 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

Nate Beeler was always ragging on Obama…and he was fucking hateful to Hillary. I wonder how he feels now.

07/25/2017 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

07/26/2017 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and the Boy Scouts: 07/26/2017 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and the Boy Scouts

07/26/2017 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

07/26/2017 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Seems a lot of cartoonist had the same idea…

Table the Label: 07/26/2017 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Table the Label

 

Hopefully you can see the Facebook embeds:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an open thread…

 


Wednesday Reads: Grabbing Justice by the Pussy …Hump Day Cartoons 


This cartoon by Marian Kamensky  says it all!

See all those people in the riot behind tRump? That is what I see everyday here in Banjoville. 

 At least one reporter spoke up yesterday during the White House Press Conference, in what has become the tRump regime’s latest attempt to grab democracy by the pussy. 

And would you believe in the same conference that thing behind the podium went on to suggest….

….a video by James O’Keefe. 

It really begs this question:

And all I can say is, take a look at one of the responses to that tweet:

What does that mean? Are other news outlets forcing their colleagues to “follow” these outrageous rules being set against the press and by extension the people? Authoritarian rule.  I suggest a new set going forward for the WH press room:


I think the beams of light give it a nice historical feel…Bannon will like that, and so will the crowd of hateful moronic shitheads that don’t have a problem with the fall of our democracy and freedom. 

I realize that I keep harping on this GOP healthcare bill being the tRump Administration’s “final solution” ….but think about it. 

Do you see it?

Tell me if I am not drawing conclusions that are not too far fetched?

Next up… a few quick hits:

 
 

Alright enough.  More cartoons, because:

End this on a funny or die note:

This is an open thread. 

(I hope the format isn’t too bad, I had to do this post on my phone. )