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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,207

Journal Archives

Half Of California Freed From Drought Thanks To Rain, Snow

I hope this is true...

Half Of California Freed From Drought Thanks To Rain, Snow
Three months ago virtually all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels.
John Antczak
Mar 3, 2023, 04:32 AM EST


“Clearly the amount of water that’s fallen this year has greatly alleviated the drought,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It has not ended the drought completely but we’re in a very different place than we were a year ago.”

California’s latest drought began in 2020 and no relief appeared in sight heading into this winter.

Three months ago virtually all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels. Water agencies serving millions of people, agriculture and industry were told to expect only a fraction of requested allocations.

The turnabout began with a series of atmospheric rivers that pounded the state from late December through mid-January, building a huge Sierra Nevada snowpack, causing flooding, toppling trees and smashing the coast with extreme surf.

Water authorities began boosting allocations and, after a few largely dry weeks, powerful storms with arctic air returned in February, creating epic vistas of white-capped mountains while shutting down highways and ski resorts and burying communities in enough snow to collapse roofs.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 3, 2023, 09:35 AM (9 replies)

Why is this Democrat helping bail out Republicans on Social Security?


Why is this Democrat helping bail out Republicans on Social Security?
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Wednesday March 01, 2023 · 3:38 PM EST
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Some days, it really feels like some Democrats just can’t stand winning. Case in point: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) who cheerfully volunteered his participation in a Republican scheme to cut Social Security, the same one Sen. Angus King (I-VT) has been touting, the one he’s working on with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

This comes one day after President Joe Biden was actually in Virginia playing offense on keeping the safety net intact. He’s been effectively pounding Republicans on Social Security and Medicare and on their hypocritical deficit peacockery for weeks. He’s got them in a hole, and they can’t stop digging.

So why in the world would any Democrat work against him and, just as importantly, the working people of this country?

It also comes at the same time as this:

As of Feb. 28, anyone making more than $1 million had paid all of their Social Security taxes for the year, because the payroll tax cap is set at $160,200. After someone earns that, everything else they earn for the whole year is exempted from payroll taxes. The rest of working Americans—94% of us—keep paying that 6.2% payroll tax the rest of the year. Because that is helping our retired loved ones live with at least of modicum of security and comfort.

Do we need to look any further for ensuring the future of Social Security than making millionaires and billionaires actually pay their share? Why would we look any further than that?

And why would we risk a system that has worked for 87 years for the idea that Kaine says he’s so excited about: risking at least some of our Social Security financing in a sovereign wealth fund. That amounts to a backdoor privatization scheme, another way for the banksters to get their paws on our old-age funds. If the risk doesn’t work, then the bright idea is to either raise payroll taxes or cut benefits. That’s adding a layer of risk and complexity that is absolutely uncalled for.

"If Senators Cassidy and King are so convinced that a sovereign wealth fund is good for the country, why are they proposing to use it to fund Social Security rather than to fund defense and other spending?” Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, told Daily Kos. “One of Social Security’s strengths is that it does not add a penny to the deficit, so deficit hawks have a hard time claiming it should be cut to reduce the federal debt.”

“Notably, the Cassidy-King proposal requires the immediate borrowing of $1.5 trillion, which, if enacted, would make it harder to keep Social Security out of the deficit hawks’ cross hairs,” she continued. She also points out that this is a distraction from the real and “massive benefit cuts” that the senators are also kicking around.

“Rather than simply releasing the entire package, the wealth fund idea was shared with progressive economists to give the media the impression that progressives might support the package,” Altman said. “When all the details are out, they won’t. Indeed, this should be an absolute non-starter now for everyone who cares about protecting current and future Social Security beneficiaries."

What really doesn’t have to be messed with is the retirement age, which is up for discussion as well with this crew—eventually going up to 70. There are an awful lot of people employed in jobs in this country that require physical work and long periods of standing, from most of the trades to the service industry, things that get increasingly more difficult as bodies age. Plenty of people simply can’t work in their profession that long. Plenty can’t work to the current retirement age of nearly 67. In fact, about half of people retire early, at 62.

Raising the retirement age is a benefit cut, for people who retire early and for everyone else.

When the full retirement age was 65, workers who filed at 62—as about half of claimants do—could get 80 percent of a full benefit (or $800, if a worker had a full benefit of $1,000). Now that the full retirement age is 66, workers who file at 62 get 75 percent of a full benefit ($750, in this example); when the full retirement age rises to 67, workers who file at 62 will get just 70 percent (or $700, in our example). That reduction in monthly benefits lasts for the rest of a beneficiary’s life.

It’s just a bad, harmful, and completely unnecessary idea that should don’t get any consideration from Democrats, period. Particularly right now when encouraging Republicans on possible cuts to these programs means making it that much harder to hold the line on the debt ceiling fight.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Mar 2, 2023, 09:02 AM (12 replies)

Dave Grohl Spent Over 24 Hours Barbecuing For The Homeless During Winter Storm

Dave Grohl Spent Over 24 Hours Barbecuing For The Homeless During Winter Storm
“He wanted no glory for it,” California’s Hope the Mission said of the Foo Fighters frontman’s kind act.
Elyse Wanshel
Feb 28, 2023, 07:19 PM EST


“He provided the food and the time and got caught cooking over 24 hours in the middle of the storm last week.” Grace Ancheta, director of development at Hope the Mission’s Trebek Center in Northridge, California, told HuffPost.

The organization told Today that the Foo Fighters frontman whipped up and served ribs, pork butt and brisket to people in need. The shelter said Grohl showed up at around 3 p.m. on Feb. 22 and began preparing the meat in their kitchen.

“The meat didn’t go into the smoker until midnight that night because he’s like, ‘Oh, it has to season, and it has to do this,’” Ancheta told Today. “He’s definitely a craftsman when it comes to that, and then he spent the night.”

Grohl and other barbecuers took turns dodging hailstones and rain to smoke the meat overnight until it was ready around 3 p.m. the next day. He then served the food to guests at 6 p.m. and was happy to take photos with fans.

“He wanted no glory for it,” Ancheta told Today. “He was like, ‘I just want to do this for you guys and give back in that way.’”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 28, 2023, 09:42 PM (3 replies)

House Oversight Chair Laments That Joe Biden's Dead Son Was Never Prosecuted

House Oversight Chair Laments That Joe Biden’s Dead Son Was Never Prosecuted
Fuming that the Trump-appointed attorney probing Hunter Biden hasn’t yet brought up charges, Comer then invoked Beau Biden and wondered why he wasn’t indicted at some point.
Justin Baragona
Senior Media Reporter
Published Feb. 28, 2023 6:02PM ET


During an appearance on former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs’ podcast, Comer and the election-denying MAGA acolyte bemoaned that the U.S. attorney probing Hunter Biden has yet to bring any charges.

United States Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss, a Trump-era appointee, has been investigating the president’s son over his tax affairs since 2018, and it has been reported that prosecutors are close to wrapping up the case. Additionally, authorities have also weighed bringing charges against Hunter Biden for allegedly lying on a gun application form.

At one point, Comer seemingly suggested that Weiss was overly sympathetic to the Biden family before bringing up Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general who died of a brain tumor in 2015.

“This U.S. attorney had had an opportunity to go after the Bidens years ago,” the Kentucky lawmaker huffed. “In fact, it was Beau Biden, the president’s other son, that was involved in some campaign donations from a person that got indicted, as well as Joe Biden was involved in some of these campaign donations when he was a senator, and then when he ran for president against Obama.”

Comer continued: “But nothing ever happened. So I don’t know much about this U.S. attorney other than he’s had an opportunity to investigate the Bidens before and he chose not to. We all know that he’s just been silent for a long time.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 28, 2023, 07:37 PM (15 replies)

Still-indicted Texas AG files suit to shutter most of the federal government


Still-indicted Texas AG files suit to shutter most of the federal government
Daily Kos Staff
Monday February 27, 2023 · 2:30 PM EST
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Regretfully, still-indicted Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is at it again. It's still not clear why Paxton even remains in office, seven years after he was indicted on felony state security fraud charges and two years after multiple top members of his own attorney general's office accused him of bribery and abuse of office. We can only presume it's because Texas Republicans are, as a group, so corrupt that bribery and securities fraud doesn't raise an eyebrow for them—and anyone looking for evidence to the contrary there is in for a tough, tough search.

Yes, Paxton remains in office, and in the same office he's been using to launch numerous performative lawsuits against the federal government using Texas' usual judge-shopping mechanisms. This time, Paxton wants a Texas-based federal judge to declare that nigh-on the totality of the current federal government is unconstitutional.

Specifically, Paxton has filed Texas v. Garland, a lawsuit asking that the $1.7 trillion spending package passed by Congress and currently keeping the U.S. government and U.S. military in operation be declared unconstitutional. Paxton's argument is that, because Congress used proxy voting to pass the bill during pandemic quarantines and lockdowns, it is invalid and the government can't spend that money, ergo the government must be ordered to shut down. All the federal employees and soldiers will get letters asking them to return their paychecks or something—God knows how it would actually work in practice.

Paxton's problem, not that he gives a particular damn, is that this is already a settled federal issue. There was already a federal court case challenging the validity of pandemic proxy votes; it was found to be valid, and even our nihilistic, hard-right Supreme Court didn't want to revisit that decision. Vox has a long explainer that details the many problems with the theory, so read that if you want the rundown.

The short version, though, is that Congress has broad constitutional authority to define its own rules however it wants, and if it says members can vote by proxy then they can vote by proxy. It is true that the Founding Fathers did not envision even the telegraph, much less the telephone, satellite communications, or internet video feeds. Unless Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito or his peers want to have another seance with long-dead English witch hunters to declare that all of this newfangled electronica is inconsistent with our time-honored, leech-reliant values, Congress is free to hold entire sessions via Zoom call if that's what they vote to do.

What a Paxton-shopped Republican judge can do, however, is throw the entire federal budget into chaos by issuing a ruling that contradicts the previous rulings, forcing the whole question back to the Supreme Court. That's been Paxton's mode of operation throughout, as he files outlandish claims in front of Trump-appointed judges and basks in the resulting publicity. Paxton, this time, has judge-shopped the case to Lubbock, Texas, and to Trump appointee Judge James Wesley Hendrix.

Hendrix was previously in the news for striking down a federal statute ordering hospitals to perform abortions if they are medically necessary, because Texas, and could choose to use this case for a new disruption of federal powers—but it would be a remarkable move, because the remedy Hendrix would have to attach would be ... what, exactly? That the paychecks be rescinded? That the money be yanked back from federal agencies and departments, causing offices nationwide to go dark until House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's new burn-it-down caucus can come together to "fix" it?

Until this newest Supreme Court was hatched, federal courts have generally been wary of causing straight-up national crises based on their own pseudo-textual nitpicking. If there's a Trump appointee out there who really wants to be the name attached to every member of the U.S. military losing paychecks for an indeterminate period, they won't find much support even from their cocktail party peers.

In the meantime, the real question remains. Why on earth is Ken Paxton still in office, even after his own attorney general's office lieutenants reported him to the FBI for taking bribes? Does Texas judge shopping also come with the ability to just ignore securities fraud indictments forever? Does this state have any remaining court systems that aren't explicitly devoted to anti-federal stunt rulings for the sake of blazingly crooked Republican officeholders?

The Department of Justice appears to be asking some of those same questions; the D.C. office has now taken Paxton's bribery and corruption probe from the Texas team that had been investigating it, with the U.S. attorney's office in Texas recused from the case shortly after Paxton agreed to pay out $3.3 million (in taxpayer funds, not his own) to four of the ex-staffers who alerted the FBI about his actions. Perhaps D.C. prosecutors will be able to work at a less glacial pace than the Texas prosecutors that have slow-walked Paxton's previous indictment for the better part of a decade now?
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 28, 2023, 10:11 AM (10 replies)

Bruce Willis' frontotemporal dementia diagnosis reveals an uncomfortable truth

Bruce Willis' frontotemporal dementia diagnosis reveals an uncomfortable truth
Americans would prefer to not think about what happens if our minds and bodies start to decline. Caregivers don’t have that luxury.
Feb. 26, 2023, 6:00 AM EST
By Linda Phillips, the director of research and innovation at the Arizona Center on Aging and Mindy J. Fain, co-director of the University of Arizona Center on Aging


Currently, more than 6.2 million individuals in the U.S. live with some form of dementia. These millions of Americans will all, slowly and over time, become progressively unable to perform even the simplest of tasks on their own. They will all eventually require care from others.

In this country, more than 80% of individuals with dementia receive care at home, which is provided by the more than 26 million informal caregivers. Without a doubt, a diagnosis of dementia is devastating for the individual, but we cannot lose sight of the profound and complex ways in which it touches the lives of those expected to provide care.

Caregivers are confronted with the difficulties of learning how to give care to a loved one, which entails managing symptoms, navigating the complexities of the health care system, finding resources and taking care of themselves too. Some might think the easy answer is to hire in-home assistance. But while some families — like Willis’ — are resource-blessed, the vast majority are not.

And dementia does not discriminate.

For those lacking adequate resources, the challenges of providing care are magnified and compounded by stress, difficult physical labor, out-of-pocket expenses, loneliness and worry. It is no wonder that caregiving, although rewarding in many ways, threatens caregivers’ physical, emotional, mental and financial health.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 28, 2023, 08:30 AM (24 replies)

The Rude Pundit: It Pisses Them Off...

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
It Pisses Them Off That We Were Right About Regulations and That We Actually Do Give a Shit About East Palestine

Two things can be true at once. We can believe that the people in East Palestine, Ohio, are a bunch of fucking idiots who vote against their own interests repeatedly, electing horrible motherfuckers who don't give a happy monkey fuck about their health or safety, but, man, they sure hate Black people and migrants, so they got your vote. And we can also believe that they should get all the help they desperately need to recover from the toxic chemicals that were spilled and burned when a Norfolk Southern train derailed in their town.

You can hear the nematodes of the right spout off about how Democrats and the "left" ignored the disaster because, as Fox "news" Tucker "You can tell I'm lying because I'm breathing" Carlson put it on February 15, "East Palestine is a poor, white town that voted for Trump. So honestly, who cares? No one in the Biden administration did care and that's an atrocity." And you can wonder, "The fuck are they talking about?" It's a fucking lie. The train derailed on February 3. By February 4, the National Transportation Safety Board was already investigating it. By early morning on February 4, the Environmental Protection Agency was already there to monitor air and water and help where it could. (Seriously: the derailment happened at 9 p.m. on the 3rd. By 2 a.m., the EPA was there.) The Department of Transportation was there, and FEMA was in contact with Ohio officials about what it could offer.

Now, I'm no big-time professional con artist pretending to be a journalist, but I'm pretty sure that both the NTSB and the EPA are part of the Biden administration. I'm pretty sure the DOT and FEMA are, too. I'm pretty sure that means the Biden administration did care and that no atrocity occurred. No, President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg didn't rush there, but that's not really an accurate measure of the care the area received.

And if the motherfuckers in conservative media and in politics want to racialize this, let's fuckin' go.
You know what Tucker Carlson didn't berate the government about? The Flint water crisis, but Black people were the main victims, so fuck 'em, right? You know what they don't talk about on Fox "news" or, indeed, much of anywhere? The continuing effects of toxic chemicals in places like Cancer Alley in Louisiana, which is such a fucking tragedy of high cancer rates in a region of primarily Black Americans that the United Nations has declared it "environmental racism."


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:20 PM (17 replies)

MANCHIN: I identify as an American.

Yay for him and


Exchange of the Day
February 26, 2023 at 3:40 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News:

BARTIROMO: Do you still identify as a Democrat?

MANCHIN: I will be involved in any way I can to help.

BARTIROMO: Do you still identify as a Democrat?

MANCHIN: I identify as an American.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:47 PM (11 replies)

Sen. Sherrod Brown


Quote of the Day
February 26, 2023 at 5:05 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

“I run my own race, and my own brand. So, I’m not going to run from Biden. He’s also delivered more than any president in recent history.”

— Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), quoted by Insider.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:16 PM (12 replies)

Collateral Beauty (2016)

I am wondering why I never heard about this movie (on Netflix). I loved it-it was such a surprise.

The cast is reason enough to watch: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren...for starters.

The premise is sad; a child dies at the age of 6, this is the story of that baby's dad dealing with the aftermath and how his friends step in to help. It's a charming fantasy that gave me some comfort.


I have a very ill relative who is dealing with bone cancer, so the comfort was welcome.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 25, 2023, 08:20 AM (2 replies)
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