David Kurtz: So Much Winning (TPM; published 23 March 2017)
The nugget that probably best captures the day came from the Congressional Budget Office. It assessed the most recent version of the bill and concluded that it will still take coverage away from 24 million people, just like the original version of the bill, but will cost an additional $186 billion to do so.
Paul Krugman: The Scammers, the Scammed and America's Fate (NY Times Column)
This false symmetry [by the media] - downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents - isn't the only reason America is in the mess it's in. But it's an important part of the story. And now we're all about to pay the price.
James S Gordon: Does the 'Cyrus prophecy' help explain evangelical support for Donald Trump? (The Guardian)
The Persian king might have been a pagan, but he still served God's plans. For some Christians, Donald Trump does just that.
Charles Bramesco: "Invade and conquer: film's grisly return to body horror" (The Guardian)
Get Out, Life and Alien: Covenant are gruesome reminders that being taken over by someone (or something) else is as terrifying as ever. Spoilers ahead.
Alexis Petridis: "The Jesus and Mary Chain: 'Pop is dreadful. Switch on a radio, I guarantee it'll be garbage'" (The Guardian)
Jim and William Reid have been back in the studio for the first time in two decades - and just about survived each other to make new album Damage and Joy. They talk about being trapped in the desert, playing the Haçienda and the horrors of Heart FM.
JF Sargent: How Zootopia Gets Its Own Point Exactly Backwards (Cracked)
There's a great old comic that a lot of you read in college called Maus. It's a personal history of the author's father surviving the Holocaust, told through the metaphor of cats chasing mice. The Nazis are cats, the people they're trying to exterminate are mice, in case you were at all confused about how that situation might shake out.
Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming (The Guardian)
A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens.
Susan Cooper: libraries are the frontline in the war for the imagination (The Guardian)
"We write the books, but you people, out there, have more influence than anyone over our readers. Without the channel that you keep clear, between the private worlds of the child who became a writer, and the new child out there reading, there would be no point in children's literature at all. Like all authors, I'm grateful to you. Please don't stop."
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Michelle in AZ
Nunes is completely incompetent, an idiot, and unfit for his committee chairmanship. He must be replaced.
And Mr. "Art of the Deal" couldn't threaten and intimidate his own people into voting for their crap bill any more than Mitch the Bitch and Eddie Munster Ryan have been able to do hundreds of times before. What a shame they couldn't strip people of health care. LOSERS!
Get used to eating excrement, Stain. Loser is what you are. Crap is what your term of office will be judged. Can't wait for the treasonous wretch to be impeached AND removed from office. Let's find someone who actually wants to govern & lead the country from the White House instead of feathering his own pockets illegally and using our tax dollars for constant vacations/escapes to Florida (and paying to protect his grown-ass kids on business trips to make more money for all of them)!
I vote for erecting a guillotine and dispatching them all--Stain, all the kids, Bannon, Priebus, The Hag, Spicey, that Southern cow spokeswoman, and Miller! You can add Pence, Ryan, and Mitch if you want. Once we start dropping the blade, we might as well purge all the traitors.
Actually, a guillotine may be too merciful as it was invented to be swift and a "clean" cut. Let's go back to the dull axes used by the Brits in the time of Henry VIII--remember Anne Boleyn PAID for a swordsman so her execution would be fast and less awful.
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
THE MISOGYNIST PIG SHOW!
SIMON LEGREE IS ALIVE AND WELL.
THE TRAITORS! PART TWO.
FROM "ENEMYS LIST" TO "SHIT LIST".
"DON'T NAZIS NEED LOVE, TOO?"
"THIS IS A CENTIPEDE."
"…BUT IT'S DAMN GOOD FOR CBS."
TRUMP CARE IS DEAD.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and seasonal.
Plan To Dig Up President's Body - Again
James K. Polk
President James K. Polk did big things for America, dramatically expanding its borders by annexing Texas and seizing California and the Southwest in a war with Mexico. Achieving undisturbed eternal rest has proved more difficult.
In a proposal that has riled some folks in Tennessee, including a very distant relative of the nation's 11th president, some state lawmakers want to move Polk's body to what would be its fourth resting place in the nearly 170 years since he died of cholera.
The plan is to exhume Polk's remains and those of his wife, Sarah, from their white-columned tomb on the grounds of the state Capitol in Nashville and take them about 50 miles to his father's home, now known as the James K. Polk Home and Museum, in Columbia. A vote on the resolution could come as early as Monday.
Backers of the resolution, including Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican whose district includes the museum, have argued that Polk's tomb is in an out-of-the-way spot on the Capitol grounds and that he deserves better.
Polk died in 1849, just three months after leaving the White House, and was originally laid to rest in what is now the Nashville City Cemetery because of an ordinance that said people who died of infectious diseases had to be buried on the outskirts of town within 24 hours. Less than a year later, he was moved to a tomb in the yard of his Nashville mansion, just as he had specified in his will.
James K. Polk
Beth Fukumoto Leaves Republican Party
Rep. Beth Fukumoto, who served as the Republican leader of Hawaii's House of Representatives until being demoted for calling out President Donald Trump, resigned from her party Wednesday.
Fukumoto, 33, who was the youngest Hawaii lawmaker to be the state's House minority leader, will now try to become a Democrat, NBC News reported Wednesday. Trump's presidential campaign rhetoric in which he frequently marginalized Muslim and Mexican communities caused the Republican Party to become a political group that tolerates "racism and sexism," Fukumoto wrote in a letter announcing her resignation Wednesday.
Republican lawmakers in Hawaii stripped away Fukumoto's position as House Minority leader one day after she addressed participants of Hawaii's Women March in January and said Trump's remarks about women and minorities on his campaign were "unacceptable."
"This party has chosen to be Trump's party. The Hawaii Republican Party is the party of Trump. Especially the things he says about minorities, if the Republican Party doesn't contradict them I do think it's going to hurt," Fukumoto told local reporters Thursday.
Fukumoto, the granddaughter of a Japanese-American grocery store owner, reportedly became convinced that resigning was the clear choice when Trump and his Republican supporters failed to condemn the internment of roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II while promoting a Muslim registry. Creating a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries would be legal and "hold constitutional muster," Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told CBS News on Nov. 17, citing the internment of Japanese-Americans and security measures put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks where non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries considered as military threats had to register with government offices.
Art Basel In Hong Kong
A "breathing" Fidel Castro is among several ex-communist leaders gathered in Hong Kong this week -- one of the world's centres of capitalism -- as part of a cheeky exhibition at Art Basel.
Lifelike replicas of Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, Kim Il-Sung, Ho Chi Minh and the former Cuban leader are lying in state in the city's harbourfront convention centre, drawing curious, smartphone-snapping art enthusiasts.
Made from acrylic and silica gel and dressed in their signature uniforms, all lie in glass coffins, except for Castro, who can be seen "breathing" almost imperceptibly on his deathbed.
The installation, called "Summit", was created by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin who said the work was conceived as a response to the global financial crisis of 2008.
It was originally commissioned for the Sydney Biennale contemporary art festival in 2010 -- when Castro was still alive -- as an imaginary meeting of former dictators to parody the now defunct G8 grouping of wealthy industrialised nations.
UN Warns May Be War Crime
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday condemning the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage and warning the Islamic State extremist group, al-Qaida and other combatants that such attacks may constitute war crimes.
The resolution approved by the U.N.'s most powerful body expands previous measures which were limited to the illicit trafficking in looted cultural items to fund terrorism, and focused on Iraq and Syria where Islamic State extremists have destroyed ancient sites including Palmyra.
The newly adopted measure targets not only IS, al-Qaida and its affiliates but all parties to conflicts.
It condemns and urges prosecution of those responsible for attacks against historic monuments and sites and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes as well as those who carry out illegal excavations, loot and traffic in stolen goods.
Oil Spill 3 Tmes Larger Than First Estimated
A December oil pipeline spill in western North Dakota might have been three times larger than first estimated and among the biggest in state history, a state environmental expert said Friday.
About 530,000 gallons of oil is now believed to have spilled from the Belle Fourche Pipeline that was likely ruptured by a slumping hillside about 16 miles northwest of Belfield in Billings County, Health Department environmental scientist Bill Seuss said. The earlier estimate was about 176,000 gallons.
No decision has been made on any fines against Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the pipeline. The company says it is committed to cleaning up the spill and that the job is about 80 percent done.
There's no timeline for completion, spokeswoman Wendy Owen said. "We will be there until it is" done.
The pipeline had been leaking since being restarted Dec. 1 following routine maintenance, Seuss said. A landowner discovered the spill on Dec. 5.
Bill Would Bar Discrimination
Climate Change Deniers
Maine laws protect people from discrimination based on factors such as race, disabilities and sexual orientation, and a Republican lawmaker wants to add a person's beliefs about climate change to that list.
Rep. Larry Lockman has introduced a bill that would limit the attorney general's ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person's "climate change policy preferences."
Lockman, an independent business consultant from Amherst, told The Associated Press that he believes it's an open question whether human activity is the primary cause of climate change.
Peer-reviewed studies, science organizations and climate scientists say that the world is warming from man-made forces.
Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt, a Democrat of South Portland and a marine biologist who sits on the judiciary committee that has the bill, said prospects for passage are poor. She said she expected "the entire Democratic caucus is going to hate it," and some Republicans will, too.
Climate Change Deniers
Charities Targeted In East Europe
When his government lost a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights last week over its detention and expulsion of two migrants from Bangladesh, Hungary's rightwing prime minister blamed the usual suspect: a billionaire in New York.
"It is a collusion of human traffickers, Brussels bureaucrats and the organizations that work in Hungary financed by foreign money," Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday.
Across former Communist states of east and central Europe, leaders with a hardline bent have turned their wrath in recent months against Soros, a Hungarian-American financier who funds liberal charities and non-governmental organizations worldwide through his Open Society Foundations (OSF).
The campaign against Soros in countries formerly dominated by Moscow appears to follow a template set by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose own crackdown on foreign-funded charities drove Soros's foundation out of Russia two years ago.
And now, with President Donald Trump in the White House, anti-Soros campaigners in Eastern Europe say they have also drawn inspiration from the United States, particularly from rightwing U.S. media like the website Breitbart, which has long vilified Soros as a liberal hate figure.
Takes Up Broadband Privacy Repeal
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took up a measure to repeal regulations adopted by the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc .
The Senate began debate on Wednesday evening under a provision that allows Congress to repeal recently approved federal regulations.
Under the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.
Earlier this month, the FCC temporarily blocked those rules from taking effect, a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc that had strongly opposed the measure.
But Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said that broadband providers build profiles "about our children from birth. This is a gold mine of data - the holy grail so to speak. It is no wonder that broadband providers want to be able to sell this information to the highest bidder without consumers' knowledge or consent. And they want to collect and use this information without providing transparency or being held accountable."
OKs More Saints
Pope Francis is making five more child saints: Two Portuguese shepherd children who said the Virgin Mary appeared to them in Fatima 100 years ago, and three Mexican adolescents who were killed for their Catholic faith in the 16th century.
Francis signed the decrees Thursday, raising the likelihood that he might canonize the Portuguese siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto during his upcoming trip to the Fatima shrine.
In the case of the Mexicans, Francis declared the three Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala worthy of sainthood without having a miracle attributed to their intercession, once again sidestepping the Vatican's typical saint-making process.
The boys, Cristobal, Antonio and Juan, were converted to Catholicism by missionaries in the early 1500s and were killed by their countrymen. St. John Paul II beatified them in 1990 during his second visit to Mexico.
No date was set for either canonization ceremony, but it's possible that Francis will declare the Marto siblings saints during his May 12-13 visit to Fatima, adding another reason for celebration at the shrine as it marks the centennial anniversary of the apparitions.